Sunday, May 30, 2010

Of Gold Sellers and Hackers

MY WOW ACCOUNT WAS HACKED! YAAAY!

Sigh. So, I've mentioned before that I play WoW. Well, today I checked my e-mail to see that I had recieved the following.

"***Notice of Account Closure***

Account Name: ***

Reason for Closure: Terms of Use Violation -- Exploitative Activity: Abuse of the Economy

This account was closed because one or more characters were identified exchanging, or contributing to the exchange of, in-game property (items or gold) for "real-world" currency. This exchange process negatively impacts the World of Warcraft game environment by detracting from the value of the in-game economy.

Even if this behavior is the result of a third party accessing the account instead of the registered user (for example, a friend, family member, or leveling service) then the account can still be held responsible for the penalty because of the impact it had on the game environment.

We've found the above behavior is many times directly related to groups responsible for compromising World of Warcraft accounts; we take these issues very seriously. To better understand our position against exploitative activity and the risks involved, please review this article: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/basics/antigold.html

The exploitative activity that took place on this account violates the World of Warcraft Terms of Use. We ask you take a moment to review these terms at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/legal/termsofuse.html. Any recurring subscriptions on this account have been suspended to prevent further monetary charges.

For any disputes of this action, please visit the Exploitative Activity FAQ and Contact page here: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/exploitfaq

Regards,

Blizzard Entertainment
www.worldofwarcraft.com"

I figured this was some sort of scam at first, so before I clicked on the links, I tried logging in.

"Please enter your authenticator key."

Crap. I don't have an authenticator.

So, first thing I did was MSN a good friend of mine through the game and let him know I had been hacked so he could demote my characters in our guild and keep my doppelganger from stealing from not only me, but my guild bank.

After that, I had a lovely time calling Blizzard's Billing and Support. Actually, it was pretty darn good service. I explained what had happened, and he asked me a few questions to make sure I was... Well... Me. (When were you last online, what's your main character's name/class, what's your "secret question" for password recovery.) As soon as he did that, he looked up my account, and he told me he saw that I had been banned for suspicious activity. "I" had traded 34,000 gold in the span of five hours, across five realms. In other words, I had been selling gold.

For those who don't know, gold selling is a fairly common, but highly despicable practice in WoW. You pay real money for virtual money. The stereotype is that there are Chinese guys work around the clock for $0.10 an hour to get gold, but the truth is the money comes from hacked account like mine. They take whatever they can find on the characters, sell everything they can, and then give the money away. In other words, I expect when I log back in in about a week to have NOTHING. Luckily in most cases anything really valuable can be restored after another week or so by a GM (Game Master).

The worst part is that I hate gold sellers. They're scum. To think that my account was used to help them? It's salt in the wound. I guess I've learned my lesson, I'm buying an authenticator as soon as I can. Plus I get a cute in-game pet, so that's a plus.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Speech and Life - The Blog Version

Ok, so. For the past few weeks, my youth group has been having student led weeks, where the students prepare everything from the worship music, to the game, to the message. This week was my groups turn.

Overall we spoke on the first 1 Timothy 4:12, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example to the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

My subjects were Speech and Life. This is (roughly) what I said about them. Well, actually, this is the long winded version, since I had to cut some things for time.


---

Setting an example to believers in speech starts with simply speaking. You may not necessarily be talking about God and religion. However, If you don’t say anything about being a Christian or about God we can’t expect anyone to hear it. Psalm 19:3 says "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." If no one had ever told me I could have a relationship with Christ I would have never known I could have one. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live", which is obviously not a Christian show at all, but it had a special episode after the series finale of Lost last week. In this show, he said something I found quite interesting...

video


I would hope everyone in this room knows that is not what Christianity is. The bible actually says that no one can get to the bible through works. There is no amount of good you can do to work your way to heaven. You can save lives, deliver babies, solve world hunger, and cure cancer, but at the end of the day there's only one thing that really matters. Have you asked Jesus to forgive your sins? If you have, then no matter how much, or how little good you do, you will be saved.

You have to have bravery to get out there and say that kind of thing to people though. It’s not always easy, like right now I wish I was in the back of the room putting up slides in my comfort zone. Because my comfort zone is, well, comfortable. But, God has not called us to be comfortable. As Christian we have to do hard things. And sometime the hard thing can be as simple as telling your friends about Christ. I have to wonder how it would have changed if anyone had ever told Jimmy Kimmel what Christians ACTUALLY believe? Now, maybe he would never have been saved, but what if he had said what we ACTUALLY believe, up there on national television, broadcasting to millions of people? A lot of good could have come out of that.

So now that we know we have to speak, what should we say? Does it mean we have to speak of Christ all the time? We all know that’s impossible. But a lot of the time, it's less about what we say, and more about what we don't say.

1 Peter 3:10 says “For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”

We can't just be swearing and cursing, and making crude jokes left and right. How easy it is to write it off as "I'm just with my friends, I can say what I want. These guys know me." But we need to be careful all the time. Even people we know judge us by what we say when we are around them.

But, it’s more than that, you never know who else is listening. Speech is a big responsibility. As Humans, speech is our main way of expressing emotions and thoughts, from the simplest ones such as "I am hungry." to much more complex ones such as "I feel hurt because I feel what you did was betraying me, and I don't know if I can trust you any more." What you say, good or bad, people judge you by. And if you aren't swearing and aren't saying bad things then they will have a completely different impression of you, than if you are.

But more importantly, as Christians we need to think about how our speech represents Christ. If we have presented ourselves as believers in Christ people will be watching us and what we do will affect their impression of us. People will think of us as hypocrites, and by extension, all Christians as hypocrites if we say we believe one thing and speak another way.

I know this will shock absolutely everyone in the room but... I play a lot of video games. In fact, I've even been known to play some video games ONLINE. I know, it's shocking.

It took a long time for me to convince my parents to let me use voice chat in the video games I play, for obvious reasons. When I did finally get to do voice chat I felt a large responsibility to not speak in a way a Christians shouldn’t . No, I wasn’t waving a flag and telling everyone I was a Christian. In fact, a lot of them never knew for month, or even years that I was a Christian. However, over time I said things in simple conversations like “I can’t raid on Wednesday night I have church.” Right there it is. Everyone is trying to remember how I have spoken and how I have represented myself. Because I have made a point to be cautious about my speech several times I have actually had people I will never see in person ask me to pray for them.

But it works both ways. We have to set a good example in life, by acting in a way that reflects the way we say we will. I myself have run into many people who have said they were believers too, but not acted in a way that has impressed me. It upsets me when I hear speech like this, or see actions like that, from someone who claims to be a Christian.

One time I was playing World of Warcraft, and I was doing a raid (a group involving a large group of people.) Halfway through, one of the other players (a real person, mind you.) made some wisecrack about Jesus not being real. I privately messaged him and asked him not to joke about things like that. He proceeded, naturally, to yell at me, and rant at me, and yell every curse word he could think of at me, alongside calling me things like "Close minded idiot" and "Bigot" and other things along those lines. In the midst of his words of rage, he mentioned that he was "Just kidding, and believe in Jesus and God too." Could've fooled me. If that were my only example of Christianity, I sure wouldn't have a good impression about it.

Now, I'm not saying this guy wasn't a Christian. That's not for me to judge. That is between him and God. But you know what? I've had people in these same games tell me I was the only Christian they know. How about you? Maybe among your friends, you will be the only Christian influence their lives ever have? Are you setting a good one?

Psalms 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word needs to not only guide us in how we should speak, but in how we should live.

Now, I'm not perfect. I certainly don't claim to be. No one is. The only one who's perfect is God. I've slipped up in speech. Everyone has at some point in their lives, said a curse word. I'm most certainly not a perfect example when it comes to setting an example in life. That's impossible. I've done something I said I wouldn't, and I've slipped up as a Christian many times. Everyone does. The point is to try harder.

In life we need to act like a Christian where ever we go. Following Christ is not just about coming to church. It’s about representing Christ wherever we go. This doesn’t mean we have to be serious and preachy all the time. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big goofball. But there comes a time to be serious. There are people out there that are watching. They hear you say that you're a Christian, and they're just waiting to see you slip up, so they can say they were right and all Christians are hypocrites. So remember, people are watching. Even more importantly, remember, God is watching.

I Prove I Can Come Up With Better TV Shows Than Most Actual TV Writers - Part One

So. Lost is over. No more. Finished. The end.

It was a great show, with a great cast, but where do they go from here? I mean, some of them have proved themselves as some of the greatest actors of all time in this show (Michael Emerson) while others have... Not. (WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!)

So I'm going to pitch some ideas for new shows for some of the actors here. You ready? I knew you were.



Michael Emerson


This guy is freaking brilliant. The way he can make anything sound creepy is both shocking, and awesome.



This is what he needs to play into in a new show I'd like to call...

"The Michael Emerson Power Hour"

Think of it as a Monty Python styled show filled with skits, only Michael Emerson PLAYS EVERY ROLL IN ALL OF THEM. They could range from parodies of children shows (Mr. Rogers, as played by Michael Emerson?) to SNL styled parody commercials where he could turn harmless objects into the creepiest thing you've ever seen? Creepy can be funny. All I'm saying.



Terry O'Quinn


The way Terry O'Quinn switched from being John Locke to the MiB so well in seasons 5 and 6, that was pretty darn good acting. That's why I'd like to pitch the new show...

"Where's That Doppelganger?"

The show would be a sitcom about a normal guy, let's call him Brad, who just so happens to live with his evil clone, let's call him Darb, created by his best friend, Zeke, a zany mad scientist. He can't let anyone know about his clone, or else Zeke will be arrested for illegal human cloning. So instead, he lets his doppelganger live with him, and his doppelganger gets a job working at a local coffee shop where ALL OF HIS FRIENDS like to hang out. As such, Brad never actually goes with them, telling them all he's moonlighting as a barista. There would be many episodes featuring zany misunderstandings! SO MUCH POTENTIAL!


Dominic Monaghan

Charlie was a great character. I liked Charlie a lot. What probably didn't occur to people is the Lost spin-off potential from the show, with a show I call *drumroll*

"Drive Shaft"

Imagine a "The Office" styled mockumentary show, following the band Drive Shaft and all about band life. Charlie could reprise his role, and the guest star, and tie in opportunities are endless. Not to mention the merchandising. Oh the merchandising.


Josh Holloway and Ken Leung


COP DRAMA STARRING SAWYER AND MILES. YES. Ok, ok, I can see where this could be problematic considering the fact that *spoiler* they were dead during the whole cop thing, but even if you didn't want to do a direct tie in with it, the idea still stands. A cop drama, starring Josh Holloway playing a cool cop who doesn't play by the rule (We'll call him Shmawyer.) and Ken Leung as his by-the-books partner who is his best friend, and incredibly loyal to him, but is frustrated by the way he... Well... Doesn't play by the rules.

WHO WOULDN'T WATCH THAT?


Jorge Garcia

Ok, this one is actually pretty difficult to me. I will always think of Jorge as Hurley. He will forever be ingrained in my mind as Hurley. I suppose if the Michael Emerson Power Hour doesn't pan out, the two of them could always do "Lost: The Ben and Hurley Years" set in the far flung future with the two of them controlling the island, as a new evil tries to destroy ZE WORLD...

Ok, that's a terrible idea. I don't know, but whatever he's in, I will probably watch it just because he's in it.


(Note: None of the above were in any way a joke. I don't care how rediculous the Michael Emerson Power Hour may be, I would watch it every week. And "Where's That Doppelganger" could be a really fun quirky sitcom.
Note 2: I titled this post Part One, because I may have more ideas in the future for incredibly awesome TV shows. Because I'm cool like that.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The End



*Spoilers. Duh.*

What an ending. Lost, I gotta say, I'm impressed. You know, I've always loved lost. I've always though Lost has been brilliant. But the level of genius of this episode took it to the maximum.

This episode was beautiful, and gave the show a truly satisfying ending. Was every last minute detail explained? No. No it was not. Was the ending powerful and touching? Without a doubt.

This show has known how to do powerful, touching episodes. The Constant is an excellent example. Another is the moment I mentioned yesterday, the scene of Alex's execution. This episode followed up on that theme.

Overall, Lost has been a brilliant show, and I'd argue if you don't like it, you don't understand it. I know that's pretty much the ultimate cop out answer, but Lost has been an epic story of good and evil, love, betrayal, redemption, and ultimately this episode built upon all those themes and more. I love Lost. I will miss it. A lot.

From the first scene of Jack opening his eye, to the final scene mirroring that, Lost has been ingenious. From the idea of the flashbacks to build back story, while still progressing the plot, to the pacing which although slow, looking back was pretty much perfect. It's done things no other show has dreamed of. It's characters have grown on you to the point where, even though at the beginning of the season this wasn't true, at the end of the season I honestly can't say I disliked any of the characters. Even Kate.

Take the character of Sawyer. When the show first started, I couldn't stand Sawyer. As we saw more of his past, and I understood his motivations, he grew on me, and finally in the fifth season, when he and Juliet fell in love, he became one of my favorite characters. Then when Kate returned, and Juliet was convinced Sawyer still loved her... Well, that was pretty tragic.

Or Jack. Watching Jack go from being a broken individual to becoming what he was in the end of this episode... It was pretty cool.

Desmond. Desmond is one of my favorite characters too. You didn't really know what to expect when he first appeared in season two, but by the end of the series, his character had progressed. You cared about if he found Penelope again.

Hurley. Charlie. Claire. Locke. Watching the island change all of them was an excellent thing. Lost may have had good mysteries surrounding it, but the show was always about the characters. The way they built the entire show around the battle between good (Jacob) and evil (MiB), but never even revealed that until this season? Ingenious.

So now the show is over. I'm going to miss it. Lost was certainly an epic tale. Lost was possibly the greatest show of all time. So farewell Lost, it's time to move on. What a beautiful show.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Most "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" Moments of Lost

Well this is it. Tomorrow is the final episode of one of the greatest TV series in history. Lost has been an epic story. I'm not saying epic in the slang term of "DUDE THAT WAS EPIC!", I'm saying it has been an epic. Lost has been a fantastic story, with fantastic actors, writers, and moments that have made you go "WHAT?"

In fact, it's had a lot of moments like that. A LOT. So I decided to point out the best moments like that from the show.

*Warning: Spoilers follow. If you have not seen Lost and ever plan to, don't read this.*

Pilot - Where Are We?



From the very first episode. Charlie asks the question all of us are wondering, where are they? This is when you begin to realize just what you're getting into with this show. This is one of the most iconic scenes from the entire series.

Man of Science, Man of Faith - Opening



This is one of the best openings to any episode the show had. At first you're wondering if it's a flashback or not, and the moment you realize this is actually the inside of the hatch? Pretty cool.

Live Together, Die Alone - The Four Toed Statue



The scene where they see the Four Toed statue (which never comes into play again until the fifth season) stands out as one of the strangest moments of Lost. Right when you think you know what's going on, BAM. Four toed statue. Where did it come from? Where's the rest of it? Why does it have four toes? These questions stuck around in your head for a long time.

The 23rd Psalm - Smokey



After years of wondering what the monster could be... Oh. Hi. There it is. Right there. Huh.

A Tale of Two Cities - Downtown



Great scene mirroring the opening to season two. The twist at the end is awesome.

The Man Behind the Curtain - Help Me!



Still not sure what happened here, but it was awesome.

Through the Looking Glass - Not Penny's Boat



This moment is as "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" as it is sad. So, there's a boat off the island, that they're trying to contact, because it apparently belongs to Desmond's girlfriend Penelope. Turns out, that's not entirely truthful. "Not Penny's Boat" is one of those moments that sticks with you as well. Especially with what a great character Charlie was. I miss Charlie. Sigh.

Through the Looking Glass - We Have To Go Back!



So, after years of getting used to flashbacks, doing this as the end of season 3? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. For the whole episode, you assume it's a flashback. Revealing it's actually a flashforward of them off the island? Brilliant.

The Shape of Things to Come - The Execution of Alex


Embed Disabled


This is the moment Ben went from being evil, to broken. This is the moment I went from hating Ben, to feeling sorry for him. This is a truly tragic, and shocking scene.

Cabin Fever - He Wants Us To Move The Island


Embed Disabled


Oh. Ok.

There's No Place Like Home - He's Coming Too.



Not my favorite ending to a season, but the final shot was pretty good. The shot of Locke in the coffin is pretty crazy.

The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham - Life

Oh. Maybe he's not so dead after all.

The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham - Death



Or maybe he is.

The Incident - Do You Have Any Idea How Much I Want to Kill You?



After hearing about Jacob for so long, and finally seeing him and the man in black? Great scene. GREAT. SCENE.

The Incident - The Nuke



And that was it. For a year, that was all we saw. That was the last image, burned into our minds. I think this is the best season finale any show has ever done. Ever. It's one of them at least. Not to mention the fact that this was tragic, especially since Sawyer had become such a great character over this season, and Juliet was always awesome.

LAX - Underwater



I'm still not sure if this will have any kind of explanation, but it did make me go WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I'll give it that.

So there you have it. While those aren't all the moments like that, there's too many moments like that to list in one blog post, those are the big ones for sure. Well Lost, you certainly were a great series. I'll miss you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Yes, I Am A Geek, Why Do You Ask?

I've also mentioned my love of video games, MANY times before. You know what else I love? Music. I know, shocker, I like music. You know what else I love though? video game music. As in, the OST (Original Sound Track) to games. I actually own a couple of them.

This is the point where several of you start laughing, but I'm serious. There are some brilliant OSTs out there. I personally own one that I'm quite fond of called "Zelda: The Music" which is comprised of songs from every Zelda game made up to the point it was released. (No Phantom Hourglass, Twilight Princess, or Spirit Tracks songs I'm afraid.)

Now, I know a lot of you are skeptical of this, so I'm going to point out a few pieces that are just brilliant.

Take for first, a few of the pieces off of the "Wind Waker" OST.

For example, this piece called "The Legendary Hero" is played at the start of the game, when the story is being laid out.



Notice the darker tone it takes toward the middle. The scene playing over this was a sort of recap of the events of the game set before this Ocarina of Time. At the point it gets sadder though, you find out that after the events of OOT, the villain returned, and the hero did not save the kingdom. It's explained that the goddesses sunk the entire kingdom, thus creating one of the most interesting setups for a game. The Great Sea.

This brings me to the Wind Waker Theme.



The use of the flute creates the entire feel for the game. This theme is more strongly linked to a game than possibly any other theme has been linked to any game, ever. Wind Waker reminds me of this theme, this theme reminds me of Wind Waker.

I'd also like to submit to you a video called "Wind Waker Unplugged" made by Freddie Gredde.



But then again, Zelda has always had major links with music, even in the gameplay. Ocarina of Time, considered by many to be the greatest game of all time, revolved around an Ocarina which is a type of flute. What about other games? There are still a lot of great OSTs out there for other games.



The Professor Layton Series has great music. Really superb music, especially for a handheld game. The music really sets the theme for the game.



The Wrath of the Lich King OST (Which I own a copy of that came with my Collector's Edition) is pretty darn good too.

The point of this post is just to say that video game music has come a LONG way from the days of Mario Brothers, and video game music can in fact, be good.

Let me finish with a video game song that's very very popular, and a personal favorite song of mine.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Glee Review - Dream On (For Real This Time!)



Alright, you caught me. The review last night was not a review of the actual episode. It was more a review of the episode I desperately wanted to be made.

No, in truth, this was not an actual Dr. Horrible/Glee crossover event, which for the record I still maintain would be the single greatest hour of television ever to air. No, it was just another episode. Although it did guest star Neil Patrick Harris, and was directed by Joss Whedon. Everything I wrote about Joss Whedon, from Buffy to Toy Story was true. The man is a legend.

But, sadly, Neil Patrick Harris was not revising his role as Billy. They're still saving that for the sequel I'm afraid. No, instead he played the awesomely named "Bryan Ryan". A rival of Will's during his High School days. Bryan was a star in the Glee club, and once he graduated, made it big. Unfortunately, it was not to last, and his career as a star came crashing down. Today he's a cold, bitter person who just happens to be in charge of the budget for the school's clubs.

Now, while it wasn't anywhere near what I claimed it to be like in my previous review, Joss Whedon's darker style was clearly felt during this episode. Bryan spends most of the episode trying to crush the dreams of the kids in Glee, and succeeding. But I really loved the storyline featuring Artie and Tina. Artie's dream is to be a dancer. A problem since he's stuck in a wheelchair.

Meanwhile Rachael and Jesse try to uncover who Rachael's mom is, since it's always been a dream of hers to meet her mom. I do find it kind of funny that Joss Whedon still managed to put in a MAJOR plot twist (that my mom actually called several weeks ago.) in his episode. I'm not saying what it is, but it's a good one.

Now, while it wasn't the turning point in history for all of humanity, it was a really good episode. Probably the best episode Glee has had so far. I really like Artie, and I've thought he was one of the only likable characters on the show every time he's been given screen time over Rachael, Puck, or Finn, but unfortunately those moments have been few and far between. I liked that this focused on one of the more minor characters, even if the end was a bit sad.

All in all, what I took away from the episode was simple:
They should really hire Joss Whedon to direct this show full time.

(P.S. I loved the cover of Safety Dance, but only because I think of that as the Heigan Song.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Glee Review - Dream On



Now this is the one I've been waiting for. This episode was directed by the legendary Joss Whedon, creator of such classic series as Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. More than that though, he created the completely awesome Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, so the guy isn't new to musicals.

Joss Whedon is a legend. Those who aren't quite as geeky as me should still know that name. He co-wrote the screenplay for Toy Story. The guy is amazing.

It may seem odd, to some people, to attempt to pull off what Whedon did with this episode. I mean, to take the main character of your beloved internet musical, and to feature him violently taking over the school? It seems like an odd direction to go. I'll admit, before the episode aired, I found myself doubting if it would work well. I was so wrong. The episode is brilliant, and he makes connections that, although I won't spoil them here, make me wonder how I didn't make the connection to realize that Doctor Horrible and Glee have been set in the same universe THE ENTIRE TIME. It's amazing how something can be staring you right in the face, and yet completely go over your head.

I'll tell you what though, Mr. Whedon clearly isn't afraid to pull a plot twist. I mean, he's always been known for (spoilers past the links) killing off fan favorite characters. But to pull off such a bold move as offing a character that's not even from your own show? That takes nerve. But Joss did in fact do it, in a tragic scene that left me stunned, and I'll admit it, crying, in which Artie, the character in a wheelchair, meets his grisly fate to a flight of stairs.

But without a doubt, what shocked me most was the way he connected ALL OF HIS SERIES within this one hour long episode. I mean, it would have been enough to simply connect Glee and Doctor Horrible together, but he didn't stop there. No, he manages to connect every one of his series, in a scene where a scorned Sue goes to the Dollhouse, to rent out a Doll that's imprinted with the personality of Buffy, in order to assist Captain Hammer defeat Doctor Horrible. I thought it would be completely impossible to connect the space western Firefly in with the other series, I mean, Firefly is set in the year 2517! But he even manages to hint at connections with that in a scene where Captain Hammer (Played by Nathan Fillion) reveals his true identity, and his last name is Reynolds, suggesting that he is an ancestor of Mal Reynolds (Played by Nathan Fillion), the captain of Serenity.

This episode really grabbed me in a way Glee never has. I found that, in that brief hour, I went from being completely indifferent about all of the characters, to melting in a pool of tears during the scene in which Tina cries over Artie's dead body. I went from wishing the love triangle (rectangle?) between Rachael, Finn, Puck, and Jessie would end, to being on the edge of my seat to see who Rachael would choose to save from the death trap Dr. Horrible had them all caught in.

My personal favorite part though had to be Felicia Day playing a zombified version of Penny, risen from the grave by Doctor Horrible. She managed to give a performance worthy of an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and every other award they make, without ever uttering a word that wasn't "Brains..." I hope she won't be overlooked from the award she actually deserved.

Glee is nothing without musical numbers of course though, and this episode was not without those. The numbers were all covers of the music from the phenomenal Dr. Horrible musical. Dr. Horrible himself had taken over the school, and it appears he had been in Glee club himself as a child. He took special interest in the Glee club, and in a very vain move, had them perform songs he had "written himself" which were actually scenes from the musical itself. These amazing performances were knocked out of the park by the kids covering them, unfortunately it seems Fox has been guarding the music for this episode very closely, and as such I am unable to post any of it simply because it appears to have disappeared from youtube.

If I had to criticize the episode for anything, the way the worked in the cover of "The Hero of Canton" from the Firefly episode "Jaynestown" seemed to be a bit contrived to me. The song won't actually be written for 507 years, according to the timeline Whedon has established. Although I'm willing to forgive that, considering the sheer quality of the cover Kurt did. Phenomenal.

All in all, this episode of Glee stands head and shoulders above all the others. It went beyond heartwarming. It went beyond touching. It was truly life changing. In fact, this episode may be- No, it IS, the greatest thing ever to be aired on television. I'm not even kidding here when I say that I think in a hundred years, this episode will be looked back upon as the turning point for our worlds society that led to not only universal health care, and the destruction of all the worlds weapons, not just nuclear, but ALL of them, but in fact it will be viewed as the turning point for improved public education, the cure for cancer, world peace and unification, an improved space program, and ultimately true enlightenment.

Thank you Joss Whedon. Thank you for such a wonderful contribution to humanity. You've truly touched my life with this hour of television sir. You've truly changed the course of human history. Thank you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

HOLY CRAP.

So, something from Flesh and Blood, which has now aired in America, has been pointed out to me.





17:40, The Doctor leaves. No jacket.




18:06, The Doctor reappears, and tells Amy to remember what he told her as a little girl. Jacket.

Goof up while filming, or TWO DOCTORS? You decide.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Glee Review - Laryngitis




More like this please.

This episode was really good. Basically it was the anti-"home".

For one thing, the music was excellent this time. Apart from "Kurt's Turn" which I just linked, there were also great covers of "Jessie's Girl", "Lady is a Tramp", among a few others.

The plot didn't really go anywhere this week, other than in circles. Which was fine actually, I didn't mind.

The plot revolved mostly around 3 sub-plots.
1. Rachel gets laryngitis.
2. Puck loses his popularity, and uses Mercedes to get it back.
3. Kurt pretends not to be gay so his dad will be proud of him.

The first plot once again felt like it was falling into the category of forced touching moment. I'd just like to point out, the only storyline that has actually had any touching moments has been the one with Sue and her sister, which just melts my heart. I still maintain my opinion that Sue is the most likable character on the show.

I really don't care about Puck and Mercedes, because we know exactly NOTHING about either character. That's a problem I have with Glee, they expect us to care about these characters, but other than Kurt, Finn and Rachel, we don't really know anything about the other characters. Meh.

Meanwhile, Kurt's storyline included the single most awkward scene I've ever seen in a TV show ever. He pretends to not be gay so his dad will be proud of him or whatever, so he brings Brittany home, and starts making out with her. Then the awkwardness is brought up a few THOUSAND notches, when he asks her what (wait for it) boys lips taste like. At this point I tried to decide if finishing watching the scene, or killing myself would make the awkwardness end sooner. By the time I had decided, the scene was over though.

So yeah, the plot was meh this episode, and didn't really go anywhere, but I didn't really care, and the music was fantastic.

Next week is the Dr. Horrible crossover episode of course, so I can't wait for that.

Top 100 Top 100 Lists of All Time GO!




PC Gamer magazine has released it's annual "Top 100 PC Games Of All Time" list. There isn't enough face to palm in the world.

First of all, this is just a flawed premise. Lists only work because they are brief and concise, for one thing. Once you get into top 100, it feels like you're just putting in filler. And how do you define PC games? It's obviously not PC exclusive, because most of the games there are multi-platform.

But let's ignore all that for a minute, and look at the list. I'm only going to look at the top 20, because.... That's all I can find actually. I looked for the rest, but I can't find it on the site. Ah well, it doesn't matter.

Note: I'll be skimming, just a little bit.

20. Wurm Online
Release: 2006
Last year: New entry
It's like a first-person, massively multiplayer medieval town-building sim, except you're not the guy in charge, you're one of the toiling peasants. Struggle against starvation and bears, work to transform the world around you by building homes, farms and castles.


I've never heard of this game. Ever. In my life. I gotta wonder though, did this game get better in the past year, because it was released in 2006, and it's a new entry on this years list. I'm confused, ah well, whatever.

17. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Release: 2003
Last year: 18
Better characters and narrative than were coming out from the movies at the time. HK-47 is what C3PO should have been. Creating a character that is, by virtue of being a robot, purely logical, then portraying him as 'evil' is pure genius. He's a total total ****** and my favourite character in gaming to-date.


YES! KOTOR has writing tons better than 99% of the crap out there, and the characters of Bastilla, Carth, HK-47, and Jolee are brilliant! So why, I ask, did this not break the top 10? Bah.


14. Starcraft
Release: 1998
Last year: 8
This was my first RTS experience at a LAN party, so I had no clue what was happening. I finally managed to gather enough resources and buildings to make this expensive unit . What I got was a slow-moving beetle like thingy with an attack button that you could not press. So I just kept moving it around hoping it would do.


This game is basically the national sport of South Korea, for those who don't know. I don't even really LIKE Starcraft all that much, it hasn't aged well IMO and I'm more of a WC3 person, but COME ON! 14? That's pretty low for, as far as I know, the only game to inspire a hit stand up comedy routine of a guy doing impersonations of the characters.


13. Portal
Release: 2007
Last year: 7
Aperture Science would like to remind you that Portal is the Best Game Ever. Those disputing Portal's claim to the title of 'Best Game Ever' should speak to our complaints department, located in the Incineration Annex. Thank you.


Yep, Portal is the best game ever. So why is it placed at 13, might I ask?


10. World of Warcraft
Release: 2004
Last year: 4
My first RPG and MMO. I've had many good times (and a few bad), learning that a MMO is quite different from singleplayer. From day one I was hooked and this game is the longest one I have played. Now playing it less, but occasionally returning to have some fun.


Ah, now we're getting to the good stuff, number 10. Actually, I think this is the first spot I've actually agreed with. WoW at number 10? Sounds about right to me.




9. Half-Life
Release: 1998
Last year: 9
Half-Life was the first game that told the story to me inside the character's perspective. The opening of the game was just mind blowing and no other FPS does that today. I love being taken on a Disney ride type of journey in a game, I don't want to just view it all in a cutscene like other games.


I actually haven't played Half-Life, nor Half-Life 2, but from what I understand, it's very much the same reason I love Portal, no cutscenes, you're never brought out of your character for even a second. You are Gordon Freeman, and you never stop being Gordon Freeman. I'll agree with this spot.


8. Dragon Age: Origins
Release: 2009
Last year: New entry
The world is wonderfully built and the characters are full of personality that keeps me interested in the game. To top it off I actually understand the level-up system. The combat system is one of the best I've played with in an RPG. To sum up: it is awesome.


I don't know anything about DA:O, except it's done by Bioshock, creators of KOTOR. I feel unqualified to talk about this spot.


7. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Release: 2006
Last year: 12
Bethesda's vast, open-world RPG not only looked gorgeous (OK, apart from the people), it had a seemingly limitless supply of quests, dungeons, adventures, people to meet and things to do. From hunting vampires to making it rain burning dogs, Oblivion had it all.


Oh yeah, Oblivion is awesome. It's a great game. I love Oblivion. 7th best game of all time? I don't think so. Better than KOTOR, Portal, or WoW? No. Not even kind of. This should be waaaay further down on the list.


6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Release: 2009
Last year: New entry
The most modern of the warfares, the sixth Call of Duty is now a runaway success. A bombastic, over the top storyline that doesn't make much sense is saved by intense bullet-action, an updated multiplayer and new cooperative missions.


NERD RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

WHY IS A GAME THAT COMPLETELY SCREWED OVER THE PC GAMES MARKET WITH NO DEDICATED SERVERS CONSIDERED THE 6TH BEST PC GAME OF ALL TIME?



5. Team Fortress 2
Release: 2007
Last year: 6


Not even using their quote, because it's stupid. I'm glad that they recognized TF2 as being better than MW2, and this feels like a good spot for it on the list.



4. Deus Ex
Release: 2000
Last year: 10


Haven't played it, but from what I understand it's considered a really good game. I really wouldn't know where it should be on the list though, naturally.


3. Eve Online
Release: 2003
Last year: 2

I can feel my blood pressure rising. EVE has the unique honor of being the only game I've ever quit immediately after seeing the UI. It's a terrible, terrible game that shouldn't even be ON the list, let alone at number 3. In the words of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw:

"If there were four words to sum up EVE they would be 'Massive waste of time' with the runner ups being 'Bored bored bored eyestrain.' ... Usually you have to factor in personal taste, but if you think EVE is fun you are provably wrong. ... I was going to say in jest that EVE feels like a game that doesn't want to be played, but in reflection I think I was onto something. Either it's a glorified chat room for the nerd who are to nerds what nerds are to normal people, or it's a high powered executive toy for Businessmen who are too busy to play a real game. ... Apparently there are people who can stay awake long enough to join and run player corporations. Either they're all bizzaro people who wear shoes on their heads, or I'm underestimating the appeal of having a second job you pay for."



2. Fallout 3
Release: 2008
Last year: New entry


It's Oblivion with guns. I've played it, it's not the second best game of all time.


1. Half-life 2
Release: 2004
Last year: 1


Meh. This list is so flawed, complaining at this point is like telling a Twilight fan that sparklevamps are stupid and ruining everything. It's like talking to a brick wall.

So basically, this was one of the stupidest things I've seen in a long time. Good job PC Gamer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Have Something Positive to Say, Shock and Awe Across the Room

I get a bit passionate about things sometimes. Anyone who's read any of my posts tagged "Stupid People Doing Stupid Things" probably knows this. And when it comes to gaming, I rant and rave a lot. A LOT. I don't lie about this.

Here's the thing though, I love gaming. For all of its faults, I really love gaming. Understand what I mean when I say that, I don't think gaming is a fun distraction, I'm really and truly passionate about gaming as an art form. I believe it's a great way for artists to express themselves, and place upon emotions unto others.

There's a line in Ratatouille, actually, that applies to this. Linguini (the garbage boy Remy teams up with) starts says to the food critic "You're awfully thin for a guy who likes food." and he replies, "I don't like food, I love food. If I don't love food, I won't swallow it."

A bit corny I suppose for me to liken my love of gaming to, but it's true. I only rant and rave so much, because for all of it's faults (*coughbobbykotickcough*) I think gaming is an amazing meld of art and technology.

It's hard sometimes too, when you see things like TRH or the Activision Vs. IW case, not to mention things like video games being accused of being made by Satan and also Voldemort, or some guy blaming games for all his problems.

Gaming has issues, and sometimes they overwhelm me to the point where I almost forget why I love gaming so much. But then there are moments like I had last night.

I've mentioned how much I love Portal many many times before. If you're reading this, you probably know I consider that short 3-6 hour game to be at least one of (maybe even the) best games ever created. I've got nothing but love for Portal. In fact, if you look at my time played on it in my Steam list, I have 51 hours played. It's a 3-6 hour game. So yeah, I've played it a bit. I've played it with the commentary (a feature more games should include.) I've played the challenge maps, I played through to find all the radios after the patch, all sorts of things.

Last night, a good friend of mine took advantage of the Portal giveaway (It's free until the 24th!) and I listened to him play through it over vent. I listened to someone just having a really great time, playing a really great game. It took me back to the first time I played through it, in one sitting, with a friend and I taking turns playing, and giving suggestions on what to do.

Consider this a micro-review of Portal. What I'm trying to say here is, the reason I love Portal so much, is that it's a bright shining gem of a game, in the dark swampland that is gaming today. Portal is what makes it worth it for me. I trudge through the waste that is Modern Warfare 2, and My Little Pony The Movie The Game, to get to games like Portal. They make it all worth it. That's why Portal is on my list of greatest games of all time, alongside games such as Warcraft 3, KOTOR, and Psychonauts. It makes up for the idiocy in the industry, and surrounding the industry. Because after I finally make my way through the wasteland of the games industry, I find beautiful oasis such as Portal, and I have a lot of fun. And that makes me love gaming.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Movie Review - Iron Man 2




I've mentioned the The Dark Knight is my favorite movie before. The Dark Knight is a masterpiece. I don't however, necessarily consider it the best superhero movie of all time, because there's nothing super about it. It's based in a world firmly grounded in reality. It was a crime drama in tights.

Iron Man, which released a few months before hand, however, is what I would call the best "Superhero movie" in the traditional sense. Iron Man was a blast to watch. You watched the character of Tony Stark progress, but it never feels like he changes persay. He's still the same guy, but his near death experience has made him more responsible. It was a great movie. I loved it.

I guess I'm a little disappointed in the fact that Iron Man 2 just isn't as good. Don't get me wrong, it's a good movie... But I couldn't help thinking during it, "The first one was better."

One of the biggest problems is, in my opinion, the fact that Whiplash, the villain of the movie just isn't very interesting. I just couldn't care less about Whiplash. He was uninteresting. He was boring! For one thing, his accent was waaaay too thick. I couldn't understand anything he said. At several points I wasn't sure if he was speaking russian, or english.

In a superhero movie, the villain is as important- No! More important than the hero. Let me use The Dark Knight as an example. I'm of the opinion that Christian Bale is not a very good Batman. He's a great Bruce Wayne, but not a very good Batman. But The Joker and Two-Face are really great villains, and make it my favorite movie.

Better yet, let's look at another one of the greatest Superhero movies ever... The Incredibles. Syndrome, the villain of The Incredibles is a really great character. The interesting thing about him is the fact that you kind of feel bad for him! He was Mr. Incredible's biggest fan, and Mr. Incredible just pushed him aside! You understand his motivation!

On the commentary track for The Incredibles, Brad Bird (Director of that movie as well as another great movie The Iron Giant) said something that really applies, in my opinion, to Iron Man 2.

"A good villain can be funny. You can laugh at a good villain. But there's one thing you have to make sure: You have to make sure your villain is always a threat." Syndrome even says something similar in the film. "(Speaking to Mr. Incredible, who tries to reason with him) Now you respect me, because I'm a threat."

Whiplash never really felt like a threat to me in this movie. In Iron Man, Ironmonger was always a threat, but Tony never really knew until the end. In this, Whiplash spends most of the movie sitting in a lab. It's really rather boring. In fact, without giving too much away, the final battle at the end of the movie was really anti-climatic.

Of course, the movie does have some high notes too. The humor in this movie is still very similar to the first movie. The first time you see the character of Rhodey (who was recast in this movie. Don Cheadle now plays him, instead of Terrance Howard.) Tony says "I didn't think I'd see you here!" And Rhodey replies "Yeah well it's me. I'm here. Get over it." Unfortunately, I never really warmed up to Cheadle, and he and Robert Downy Jr. didn't have the same chemistry as he and Howard did.

Robert Downy Jr. did a good job as Tony Stark, just like in the first movie. I wasn't super partial to Scarlett Johansson in the movie though. She was ok I guess.

And that's the problem with a lot of the movie. The action sequences, the explosions, the plot... It all just end with me having a feeling of "Yeah, ok I guess." It just doesn't seem to have quite the same charm as the first movie did.

For all its faults though, Iron Man 2 is still worth seeing. I give it a recommendation, just... Don't expect it to be as good as the first movie. Because it isn't. That's all there is too it.

Oh, and without giving away too much... Make sure you stick around for the Easter egg after the end credits. It's basically a teaser for the next Marvel movie... Just watch it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And No, I'm Not Gay!

So. I like movies. In case you couldn't have guessed that, I really really love movies. There is one kind of movie I really love however, that is often called "girly". Guys are frequently accused of being gay for liking this particular type of movie.

Musicals. Ok? I love musicals.

Hold on now! I didn't say ALL musicals! There are a few particular musicals I really like however. Let me mention a few of them.

1776
1776 is an awesome movie. It's a musical about the signing of the declaration of independence. The main character is John Adams, played by William Daniels. KITT from Knight Rider. Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. Yeah. Awesome.



With the help of Benjamin Franklin, this movie is one of the best musicals ever made. It's pretty historically accurate, and it really gave me a love of that period of history more than any book ever could.

West Side Story

West Side Story is the story of Romeo and Juliet (Stay with me male audience!), but instead of two feuding families, it's the story of a gang war. The film features singing and dancing, that's true, but it's also pretty dang awesome. Also it feature a fairly high body counts for something frequently labeled a "chick movie".



Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!

This is a musical, about a low-rent supervillain. Need I say more? I do? Ok, how about Neil Patrick Harris playing Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame playing his nemesis Captain Hammer, and Felicia Day, creator of The Guild (And my favorite actress.) playing Penny, the girl Dr. Horrible falls for.

Oh, and the whole thing is written by the writer of Buffy and Firefly, Joss Whedon.



Oh. And if you buy the DVD, you get the commentary. WHICH IS ALSO A MUSICAL. Yeah.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is in a tie for my favorite movie, alongside The Dark Knight. I don't even know what song to put since they're all so iconic and awesome. The definitive Tim Burton movie, and also his best, this is a film about Halloween deciding to take over Christmas. Danny Elfman wrote all the music. You may not know who that is, but you've probably heard his scores in such films as:

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Scrooged

Batman

Edward Scissorhands

Men in Black

Spider-Man

Meet The Robinsons

And many, MANY more.

He's the singing voice of Jack Skellington, the main character.



I love this movie so much, not only do I own the OST (Original Sountrack) I own it twice. I own the original release soundtrack, and the 3D-rerelease soundtrack, with cover versions and demo versions of the songs.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar is the story of the last few days of the life of Jesus Christ. *Spoiler alert* Jesus dies in the end. Seriously though, this is a fantastic movie with a fantastic cast, who sing... Um... Fantasticly. It's done as a group of people putting on a play. Kinda. The costumes are... VERY 70'

Make sure you see the 1973 version though, not the 2000 remake. That was meh.



Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


Ok, lemme just say this movie is INCREDIBLY CHEESY. Like, you could not possibly make this movie any cheesier. It's the story of Joseph, from the Bible. It's done as a school play being put on (with better effects, of course.) so it's intentionally cheesy.



A Very Potter Musical

Ok, stay with me here people. I know none of you have ever seen this. I'm aware of that. This is actually a play, you can watch on youtube. Of all the musicals on this list, this is definitely the most... Erm... Crude...

It's a parody of the Harry Potter books (not any one in particular), originally written and produced by a group of college kids for their school. They filmed it and put it on youtube. It was actually so raunchy when they first put it up, they took it back down and edited certain jokes out of it to make it PG-13 rated.

Since it's a recording of a live showing, it's occasionally hard to understand what the characters are saying, and of course the production values are low. On the plus side it's available for free.

Between the harsh language, the sexual innuendos, and the multiple gay characters, it's not for those easily offended. It is however hysterically funny.

Darren Criss plays Harry Potter, who can only be described as "That guitar guy". He goes to Hogwarts, but trouble is afoot! The Dark Lord Voldemort is returning, and attempting to get his body back (And do a swell tap dance routine.)! The musical is a mix between books two, four, six, and seven, creating a unique plot that, while it has some plot holes, is pretty good all things considered.




The humor is really fun, and the songs, all original pieces, are pretty good. There's a few bizzare things, such as Draco Malfoy being played by a girl, but overall, it's hilarious. The girl playing Draco actually does a really good job as him. Like I said though, don't watch it if you're easily offended.


So there you have it, just a few of the many musicals I love. Almost every Disney movie could be added to this list too, of course, and this is far from every good musical out there, but the point is, GUYS DON'T HAVE TO BE GAY TO WATCH MUSICALS.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Doctor Who Review - Flesh and Stone



Warning - The following contains spoilers for Doctor Who S5 Ep5, "Flesh and Stone". It will air in America on May 15th. If you have not seen it, and do not wish to be spoiled, do not read the following.













THAT WAS AN AMAZING EPISODE! Seriously, I had the highest expectations possible for this two parter, and I was still blown away. Flesh and Stone was the perfect mix of fun, scary, and awesome that I've come to expect from Steven Moffat after "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit", "Blink", and "Midnight". Those four episodes are probably the best episodes of the new series. Moffat certainly has a knack for knowing what's scary. It's the unseen.

People are terrified of what they don't understand. They're terrified of what they don't see. The unknown is frightening. In The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, the beast isn't what's scary. What's scary in that two parter is the fact that for the most part you don't understand it. Heck, I'm still not sure if The Beast was actually the devil, or just claiming to be.

Midnight is a scary episode because you never actually see the monster. The monster of Midnight is mysterious. You hear it banging on the bus. And once it possesses Sky, it's freaky because you don't understand it. Unlike a lot of the monsters on Doctor Who, it doesn't seem human at all, even though you only see it INSIDE a human.



Blink was scary because you had to see them. The second they became unseen, they become a threat. And that's scary, because once again, the unseen is terrifying.

I'd now add "The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone" to the same list of terrifyingly awesome episodes. Possibly the scariest yet. This time, the angels are even scarier, more powerful, and much stronger in numbers. I did find it odd that they seemed to write off the "Only psychopath to kill you kindly" aspect of them from Blink, but I'm willing to excuse it.

But the scariest thing in this episode is the fact that one character can't see the Angels (or anything for that matter) for a good portion of the episode. It feels chaotic, confusing, and scary. I was worried they were going to downplay the scariness of The Angels this time, but quite to the contrary, they were the scariest they've been. I want nothing more than to see The Angels become reoccuring monsters Ala the Daleks or Cybermen, only more awesome.

The thing is, the Daleks aren't really that cool anymore. That was one of the big problems with Victory of the Daleks. When the Daleks were created in 1963, they were relevant. The Daleks, for those who don't know, were created to be a direct analogy to the Nazis. And back then when WWII was still fresh in peoples minds (Relatively fresh, at least. It had been 17 years.) they were scary! But now... They're kind of campy. Fun fact, the first four seasons of the revived Doctor Who series have had more episodes feature The Daleks than Tom Bakers entire run as The Doctor.

My point is, the Daleks are not scary any more. I'm not saying they shouldn't be in the show any more, it wouldn't be Doctor Who without Daleks, but they're being used way too much. Every season has one or more episodes featuring the Daleks. Let them be! Take a season or two without them! The Weeping Angels! The Master! Even the Cybermen are more interesting than the Daleks at this point!

But this is about Flesh and Stone, not the Daleks. I will admit it seemed like an odd tangent they got off on for a good portion of the episode with the crack. I won't say exactly how it's used, but those cracks we've been seeing? Well, it plays a major part in this episode. I'm glad. Every season has had a reoccurring theme that's been mentioned repeatedly, and played into the season finale for those who don't know. In season one the words Bad Wolf were found in every episode. In season two, Torchwood was mentioned in almost every episode. In season three you saw a lot of mention of a Mr. Saxon. In season four you kept hearing about the bees disappearing. Those never came into play until the season finale. This time, the cracks seem to be coming into play in more than just the season finale. I'm interested to see where they take it.

Matt Smith seems to be settling into his role as The Doctor. He's similar to Tennant's Doctor, but there is most certainly a difference there. I really liked him in this episode. David Tennant will always be my Doctor, but Matt Smith seems to be doing the role justice. I did find myself thinking a couple times during the episode though, "This episode would be so much better with Tennant!". Ah well. I'll go back and watch him regenerate, and mourn him some more.

In short, this episode is by far the best of the new season, and one of the best two parters of the new SERIES. I don't know how they can top themselves with this one, but here's hoping Vampires in Venice is as good next week.

Just kidding, I don't expect Vampires in Venice to be anything more than a fun romp like Victory of the Daleks was. Let's just hope it's better than The Beast Below.