A Week of Tweets on 2011-01-23

  • So the wife and I ended up back in WoW and on the Moon Guard server where we spend out time howling at the moon and dodging ERP requests. #
  • Hit me with your list of Must Have WoW Addons. Go! #
  • Is it wrong that the first guild event I'm organizing on my worgen is titled "Scott Howard Memorial Bastketball Tournament"? #teenwolf #
  • Idea: An RP WoW group called The Hand. Pollex, Secundus, Medius, Annularis and Minimus. #
  • I feel old when people say they "grew up listening to" bands of the late 90's and early 00's. #
  • $20 Amazon.com Gift Card for $10: http://bit.ly/i6Tkuh via @addthis #
  • Unpossible! #
  • I trust people to do their jobs, and it bites me in the ass every single time. #peoplesuck #
  • If you try to call me, do not reach me and do not leave me a message, you have failed to pass the buck. The ball is still in your court. #
  • Quicktime took over all wav playing in IE. How do I get it back to using Windows Media Player? #
  • Fingers crossed. #
  • The absurdity of tanking lies in that calling an opponent names in no way would stop them killing the healers and damage dealers. #
  • So, my site's RSS feed just decided to switch from full text to excepts without me changing anything. W.T.F. #
  • Finally relented and took down the tree. Christmas is truly over. 🙁 #

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AMC greenlights The Walking Dead

I love zombies.  Not like in a romantic way, but like in a “they make a great setting for human drama” way.  I have enjoyed reading every page of The Walking Dead comic book, as it is probably one of the best zombie stories ever done.  I was thrilled to hear that a TV project was in the works, and now I’m simply over the moon after hearing that AMC has given the project a greenlight.

I cannot wait to see this.  It will be epic.

Movie Round-Up: November 20th, 2009

Not only am I under the weather, but its November and I’m trying (and failing) to do the NaNoWriMo… but enough about me and my lack of posting, on to the week’s releases.

New Moon:

I’ve never read the books, and doubt I ever will.  The first movie was horrible, and I suspect this one will be horrible too.  You would have to pay me to see this in the theater, my rates begin at $30 per hour.

Planet 51:

It looks like a fun family movie… and that’s all I have to say about that.

The Blind Side:

A better family movie, if you are inclined to see one, would be The Blind Side.  It follows the story of Michael Oher, a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family and plays football.  Based on a true story, it is funny and heart warming, and frankly I enjoyed it far more than I expected to.  I can’t say for sure if I would pay full price to go see this in the theater, but if you are already taking the family out to see a movie, already willing to pay money for a couple hours of entertainment, you can do much worse than this inspiring tale.

Happy Halloween!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

A little more than a doodle, but a doodle just the same.
A little more than a doodle, but a doodle just the same.

Finally back for another Saturday doodle and it being the day that it is the doodle fits the theme.  I limited myself to black and orange, and I’m not 100% happy with the moon, but it is what it is.  I even messed around with some layering and putting in a border.

Trick or treat!

Moon over a Castle

This morning’s doodle was my attempt at drawing in the negative.  I wanted to do an image set at night, but I didn’t want to draw in white on a black background, so I doodled with black on white and when I got the image to where I wanted it, I inverted the colors.  It came out well enough that I didn’t bother doing any touch ups after the invert.

Moon over a Castle
Moon over a Castle

Of course, my edge bleed to white works less well with this theme’s image border, but if not for that, I like the effect of the uneven edge like perhaps looking through a window in winter.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

I realize this game is not new.  I even got it over a year ago, but I am just now getting around to playing it and I think I broke it.

My understanding is that if you play through the story of the game as designed, it will provide a moderate level of difficulty all the way through, perhaps even getting harder toward the end.  However, I didn’t do that.  I played through the first section of the game (immediately switching my team out for the West Coast Avengers inspired team of Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Spider-Woman and Iron Man), but once I got to Stark Tower, the first HQ and mission hub in the game, I went exploring instead of taking the next mission immediately.

One of the features of the game are the Comic Book missions.  These are short (20 minutes max) training simulation missions that you discover while playing through the game.  However, they do also give you six of them to start.  Because they are given to you, there are no rewards for these missions.  You don’t unlock extra gear or suits, but you will gain experience and cash while playing them.  I played all six (and I had to repeat one because I fell about three hundred points shy of getting the Gold level on it, so I actually did seven missions).  The result of this detour was that when I went to do mission number two I wasn’t level 4 or 5 like a player should be when going through the story missions alone, I was level 14 or 15.  For the next two story missions I ripped through them like a hot knife through butter.  I take enemies out in two or three hits easily, sometimes less.  Boss fights are a breeze as I am doing 60-80 points of damage with one of Moon Knight’s special attacks (he’s my favored character on whom I dump all point spending and the best items).

I’ve just moved from Act 1 to Act 2, Dr. Strange’s house, and I am hoping that maybe the game will get a tad harder.  We’ll have to wait and see.

But, this brings up a discussion of game design.  The question is, did the designers put in the training missions expressly for the purpose of giving players who can’t progress in the story a place to play and level up a bit, or is this leveling path I have discovered unintentional?  I would like to think it was intentional since it can be extremely frustrating to get stuck in a game, however since I managed to get 10 levels in just a few missions, I think they may have misjudged them and made them too rewarding.

Of course, I may have also broken the game design through my method of play in that I am dumping all my power and money into one character and treating the other three members of my team as “additional damage”.  So many years of playing MMOs with the tank/healer mentality leaks over in to every game I play.  I can’t blame that entirely, though, as mathematically and logically it makes sense to play this way, if defeating the content is your goal.

In any event, despite the game being “easy”, I am still enjoying playing it.  And that’s the important thing…

In a Darkened Theater

In a weird way, lately, I have been seeing more movies than ever.  I’ve found a number of ways (available to anyone) to obtain passes to free screenings of films.  If that were not the case, however, I would probably be seeing very few movies at all.  Sure, I would make exception for events like The Dark Knight (which I actually paid to see… twice) but with all the theaters going up to $10 or more for a non-matinee price, it makes going to see a movie with the wife in the theater more expensive that waiting and purchasing it on DVD.  At best, I’d go see a movie every now and then on a Saturday or Sunday morning, before noon, when they have $6 tickets.  At least then it is cheaper for us than buying the DVD, but only barely.

The main problem is simply that many movies aren’t worth the cost of the ticket.  If they lowered prices, I’d go more often.  If it was $6 for the night time price and $3.50 for the matinee, I’d see a movie every weekend, maybe two.  Yes, I would spend a ton more money, but I also wouldn’t feel like I am getting ripped off when I pay to see a movie that isn’t so great.  $20 to see a movie that is crap just makes me never want to risk it again, but at $12… I more apt to keep trying.

At this point, the only movies I do feel any real need to see in the theater fall into two categories.  One, event films, like the aforementioned The Dark Knight.  Two, movies in 3-D.

In the past few years we’ve seen Beowulf, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Fly Me to the Moon.  Of those, only Fly Me to the Moon was not worth seeing.  The other two I felt were good movies on their own, but shown in Digital 3-D those movies were fantastic.  And as of yet, 3-D hasn’t made its way to the DVD player yet, so to see an enhanced film in all its glory, you have to see it in the theater.  Something tells me that there are people in Hollywood who understand that.

Without a decrease in prices, frankly, 3-D films are about the only thing that will get me to pay for a film.  Well, that and if Marvel and others can keep up the quality level of their superhero films…

Fly Me to the Moon

4 out of 13 nots.
for wasting 3D on a film not worth seeing

I went an saw Beowulf in 3D and I liked it.  I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D and I loved it.  In Fly Me to the Moon they went for the gusto and used the absolute most 3D they could possibly cram into every single scene and I hated it.  There were so many things going on on so many levels that it physically hurt my eyes to watch some scenes.

If that weren’t enough, the movie itself was boring, the plot had giant holes you could launch the Space Shuttle through, and it wasn’t even very funny.  Unlike other kid’s movies, like those from Pixar, there is nothing in Fly Me to the Moon to appeal to the adults who go see the film with their kids.  In fact, most adults will probably be bothered, like I was, by the inane story and aforementioned plot holes.

The entire film seemed like a bunch of ideas thrown together to use 3D and mesmerize toddlers with pretty colors.  But don’t think just because the movie is aimed at kids that your kids will love it.  If you go see it in a 3D enabled theater, your kids will need to wear the glasses for the whole 84 minutes, and if the population of my theater is any indication, half of kids will “ooh” and “aah” and laugh at the funny flies, while the other half cry at all the things coming at them from the screen.

All in all, I really, honestly, can’t recommend this film to anyone.

Seeing Redd

Back in March I read a book called The Looking Glass Wars.  I enjoyed it enough to pick up the sequel, Seeing Redd.

We are back in Wonderland, and its been… well, some short period of time since the end of the first book.  The book uses “lunar cycles” to measure time, but its unclear if a lunar cycle in Wonderland is the same as one on Earth, but I suspect it isn’t.  Here on Earth, a lunar cycle means from full moon to full moon (or new moon to new moon, if you wish), which runs about a month.  In Wonderland, I am guessing that its much shorter, perhaps that the author might in fact mean just one day, as is the moon comes up and then the moon goes down.  In some places the book says its been a full lunar cycle, and you can easily imagine a month having gone by, yet in other places when an urgent task is required to be done in two or three lunar cycles… well, would waiting two or three months really make the task urgent?

In any event, the book keeps with that same similar style from the first book where things are said but not explained, which is good that the book isn’t bogged down with explaining exactly what an orb generator or a scorpspitter is, and yet, given the way that I read books, constructing the world in my imagination, without details I’m left to fill in the gaps myself, or just to have gaps.  Filling in the gaps myself often leads me to having to revise my image of something later when a new detail does emerge, which then causes me a little confusion concerning earlier events…

Despite those issues (which might be my issues alone), the book still reads well.  It moves along at a good clip, hits the high parts and delivers a decent punch.  I enjoyed it.

Fool Moon

Sometimes it must seem like I am a slow reader, and I am, but not as slow as it must appear if you keep an eye on my Currently Reading section. I read with purpose and with imagination. My mind paints full color images as I read, every detail being filled in from the prose, and my imagination filling in everything the author leaves out. I see books more than read them. I live and breathe them. And I also don’t get as much time as I’d like to enjoy them. A couple hours a week at best.

And the better the book, the slower I read. I envy Jim Butcher because Harry Dresden is the kind of character I’d love to dream up, and his world is a place my imagination loves to run free in. And here I am only in the second book of the series. I finally turned the last page of Fool Moon and extricated myself from Harry’s dangerous mystical Chicago, and all I’ve got to say is: Damn.

Seriously, its a good book. This time around Harry runs smack into a problem with werewolves, a few different kinds of them, and he’s in over his head from the beginning. Heart pounding and tense, I hated having to put this book down, craved it when I was away, and reveled in it when I could.

I can’t wait to dive in to the next book… I just have to buy it first.