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Geeky Goodness

There are a lot of things filled with geeky goodness going on right now. Like Adam Savage doing a recreation of the space suit from the Martian. And check out this awesome photo of the crescent moon, Venus and a two tailed comet all in the same shot.

So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite geeky things from this week.

I’ve been playing a lot of Stardew Valley lately. It’s a farm sim with a mystery hiding under the layers. While the game has a simple pixel graphic look and feel to it, there are a lot of things to find and places to explore. (But if you play it read this article first. It will save you some headaches.)

And on the subject of games, No Man’s Sky is coming out in June! I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while. It is a (sort of multiplayer) universe simulator. You can fly around in your space ship, or land and discover new planets, and resources. Then you can run like hell from the centennials trying to make sure you don’t destroy planets. I will definitely be getting this game. It is one of the few $60 games I will get.

Then, on a sad note, the final episode of Mythbusters is going up, but they are going out with a bang. Their also sending Buster off with a show stopping bang as well. (I just hope this means the newer seasons will be available on Netflix eventually.)

Deadpool was AWESOME, by the way. I’m also looking forward to Batman vs Superman and Captain America Civil War. But there are A LOT of superhero movies coming out this year. TMNT, Suicide Squad, and a new Independence Day movie… Ya, it’s a good year for movies.

 

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Review: Between

I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix originals lately. They are usually great shows with interesting plots, great writing, some fantastic directing, etc. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are fantastic. Hide of Cards is captivating. Etc.

So tonight I sat down to do some Christmas decorating and thought I’d try “Between”. The premise seemed interesting. An unknown disease kills off everyone in a small town over the age of 22 leaving the children and young adults to fend for themselves. The government swoops in with promises of a cure and quarantines them.

Add in some tensions between some of the high school boys, a couple of love triangles, and a couple of mysteries and you have yourself a TV show, right?

Well, no. Not a good one at least.

I’m kind of sad because it has some interesting story elements, but the writing for this show just goes flat. The characters aren’t believable, and half the things going on are just contrived. In the six episodes there are a handful of interesting moments, but often the bad plot line or mediocre acting gets in the way.

I could have lived with mediocre acting. But the story and unconvincing character lines just couldn’t make up for it. In the end I have to say: don’t watch it. Go watch Jessica Jones instead.

Want an example? One of the main guys is a “rich boy” that almost kills someone by speeding past them, then gets out of trouble because money. Then when his parents die he suddenly wants to take charge, and he gets ahold of a bunch of guns to do it.

Then there is the sisters, one a teen pregnant and about to give her child up for adoption. The other a ministers daughter to the core constantly going on about her sister needing to repent.

Most of the characters are stereotypes. It’s incredibly lazy writing. And I kind of wonder if the director didn’t take half a vacation while this was being edited. It’s that bad.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Review

 

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There’s nothing on tv

Let me just start out by saying that I count myself as a “cord cutter”. Technically I still have cable. There is a cable box under my TV, unplugged, and I could technically plug it in any time and watch something on it. Not much, but something.

I’d take it back if I could. In fact I was going to before the representative on the other end of the line asked me if I’d like to pay less for my internet for an entire year. Pay less, you say? Why of course I’d like to pay less. At the time Comcast had a deal to sign a contract and pay $50 a month for internet and very basic cable. Or, I could pay $70 if I wanted internet only.

Let’s see, $20 less and I just have to store a stupid cable box for a while, and keep it safe so I can return it at the end of the year. Ya, I can do that. No one here watches sports. I’d have to pay extra for sports anyway. I don’t want HBO, Showtime, or Skin-a-max (except when Game of Thrones is playing), so basically it saves me $20 to hold onto this equipment.

Now, when Game of Thrones is on I wait until the season is mostly over, then I will rent HBO for one month for $5-10 and binge on ALL of it at once. Saves me so much money, and I get to watch it all instead of living in suspense from week to week. If it wasn’t so expensive to rent each episode I’d do that, but I don’t mind waiting.

The problem I have with the cable box, besides the fact that there is nothing on there I want to watch, is that I’m now one of their statistics. Just another number they can add to make it look good to investors. We have “this many” subscribers, and they can view “this many” tv shows. Doesn’t matter much that I don’t watch any of it. It just matters that I subscribe, and pay them money for the privilege of having access to their crappy product.

It pisses me off even more now that Verizon and Comcast are having Netflix pay blackmail money for the privilege of using their service.

What do I watch? There are some awesome science shows on youtube. I also like to listen to music while I write, or I might watch some game play of a game I don’t have time to play. But mostly I just create my own content instead of consuming someone else’s.

Maybe that’s why there are so many cord cutters now. It isn’t that we don’t consume things, it’s just that our generation places more value one creating something, be it memories or items, then they do on sitting in front of a TV passively watching things. That and we know most everything we want is online already and we don’t need the cable companies anymore. Too bad we need the internet and it isn’t a public utility yet.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in On Writing

 

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This morning I watched “Teens React to CaptainSparklez“, and I have to admit… I’m aCaptainSparklez fan. He, along with YogsCast, are the reason I bought Minecraft, and why I come back to it more then any game I’ve ever played.

At the end of the video they asked why people might watch CaptainSparklez, and other play throughs on youtube, and most of the teens didn’t know, even those who watched them. But I know why I watch them.

I don’t watch sports, because I have no interest in watching sweaty guys running back and forth on a field/court, playing an intricate game of “keep away”.  I don’t understand all the fine rules of most sports, not because “you’re a girl”, like most people would assume, but because I didn’t grow up with sports in my home. My dad didn’t watch football, and never sat beside me cheering on his favorite team. So it doesn’t bring me any nostalgia, or happiness to watch grown men playing the game I was forced to endure during PE ever school year for three weeks.

I don’t watch much TV anymore. Not because I have some moral issue with TV, but because I remember when TV was good. When every channel made you feel something, either laughter, love, fear, or awe as you watched your favorite actors and comedians in the shows you loved. Or the documentary about going to space. Or the show with an amazing woman fighting dragons, vampires, and/or gods, and showing girls every week that there was more to life then being a house wife.

Now, TV is 80% fake reality TV. Not just fake, but they take the worst elements of our society, and parade them around for everyone to see.

Watching channels like CaptainSparklez, YogsCast, or NorthernLion give me a real look at someone. I get to watch them actually react, jump, cheer, or laugh because of something in the game I want to play.

Watching Let’s Plays is just another form of voyeurism, but it’s on my terms. It’s far more realistic. The people are people I like, and would often love to be friends with if I met them IRL.

Now, I do think Pewdiepie is half show, and half reality. I think he, like me, gets easily scared and is just more willing then I am to confront that fear. (No, I am not installing Amnesia on my PC again, F*CK THAT!) But he does ham it up for the audience. And yet he is the most subscribed channel on youtube. Because he’s an all around interesting guy.

If TV execs would stop working so hard to make reality tv interesting, and just let it be itself, or put interesting shows with good story, drama and feeling back on… we’d probably watch a little more. Especially if you stopped trying to force us to pay $70 a month to subsidize sports channels.

People love good stories! They flock to the theater to watch epic, 3 hour long narratives. They buy books in hordes, listen to tons of audio books, and still they clamor for more.

But they also crave honesty. Something, or someone they can relate to, admire, be inspired by, or just teach them more about how the world works.

It saddens me that almost all of the great science and education shows have been replaced by crap. That science fiction, one of the most inspiring genres ever, has practically disappeared.

But I still have youtube.

 

 

PS! Thank you to Simon who helped me save the post I had accidentally deleted. You are AWESOME!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Commentary

 

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The Walking Dead

Walking Dead

The phenomenon of “Walking Dead” isn’t really surprising. They tell a damn good story. And it’s ZOMBIES! Who doesn’t love a good zombie flick?

But it isn’t the zombies that make Walking dead great. In fact, the zombies don’t always play a huge role in the story. They are an obstacle for the characters to overcome. They are a background. But they are not the true focus of the story.

The major theme in movies like “Resident Evil” and “28 Days Later” is the zombies. How did they happen? How do they escape from them? How many interesting ways can we kill them? How much blood can we show on screen?

“Walking Dead” centers around the survivors, their interactions, and their characters. How do they cope with being alone? How do they interact? Who do they turn to?

Themes of racism, adultery, survival, and family overshadow the zombies. The zombies are present, and often become tools used by the writers to pull the characters together, or push them apart, but the zombies are not the theme of the story.

“Walking Dead” showcases how a character driven story can really captivate an audience no matter what the backdrop of the story may be. They managed to take something that is usually used as a two hour show and stretch it into two seasons of some of the best TV I have seen in a while. This is, of course, my opinion, and I am partial to zombie movies, so take that with a grain of salt. However, the ratings don’t like. People love this show.

Remember this in your own writing. A great book is usually about the interaction between characters, not the sensational item. Throw in a zombie, a dragon, a wizard or a spy. If your characters don’t make us feel something (amazement, sadness, laughter, edge of our seat suspense) then we won’t care to come back and read again.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in On Writing

 

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