This Week Online - May 27, 2014

Hello readers. Been away for about a month. Don't really have an accounting for myself. Time passed. Things were done. Other things weren't done. Back now. Happy birthday to Harlan Ellison who turns 80 today. He is my absolute favorite short story writer and the most adorable curmudgeon out there. Read a story or ten of his to celebrate.

Many things have been piling up on my desktop over the last month. I hope you find them amusing!

This Week Online - April 26, 2014

Hey all - Hope you've had a good last week. Amusingly enough, I didn't have a whole lot to post from last week so I had to wait a few extra days before some goodies came to my attention. I hope you enjoy these!

  • Do you enjoy literature? Do you enjoy comedy? The perfect melding of the two is at Thug Notes on YouTube. It's simply fantastic.
  • Are you a Patrick Rothfuss fan? You should be. He announced on his blog today that he is coming out with a new book which is not the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicle. Yes, I'm a bit disappointed, but it's set in that world so that'll be a nice consolation.
  • Stephen Colbert is closing down The Colbert Report and taking over The Late Show from David Letterman when he retires at the end of the year. As a result, Stephen has been making the rounds on shows this week. Here he says goodbye on The Daily Show. And he was also on The Late Show this past week.
  • John Waters filmed a no-smoking PSA? Yes!
  • Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen being adorable, AGAIN.
  • A fantastic fan film featuring Harley Quinn.
  • Short film following two astronauts on a ship that can travel back three minutes in time. Simply great.

I'm still trying to find the time to finish the Berlin installment of the latest Shadowrun Returns game in order to review it properly here. So far it's great, but I'm only about 10 hours of gameplay in.

Also, I picked up a game for the iPad (and other systems) called Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon. It's a "free to play" city-building-in-a-pvp-world type game. I played Evony back in the day for a while until the pvp stuff eventually drove me away from it. The interface on a touch screen is great. And it has neat added features like building mythical troop units (minotaurs, dragons, ogres) and you can raise an epic dragon to defend your city. If you like this sort of game, give it a try.

This Week Online - April 14, 2014

Hola all - please enjoy some amusements I found online in the past week!

Lastly, you know I'm a big fan of Tabletop, the Geek & Sundry web show hosted by Wil Wheaton on YouTube. They've decided to crowdsource the third season of the show over on Indiegogo. Check out the campaign and give if you can. If he can reach $1m, we will get a third season of Tabletop with 20 episodes AND a new spin-off show all about roleplaying games. THAT is something I really want to see!

Enjoy your week!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

ca_wintersoldier I caught Captain America: The Winter Soldier last night, and it is a fantastic film. (spoiler-free)

I wasn't a big fan of the first one. Sue me. Superman doesn't appeal to me for the same reason Captain America doesn't appeal. Do-gooders are boring.

This film, however, takes Cap and makes him interesting - which is a thing I never thought I'd see. There's plenty of action in the film, as one would expect from a Marvel superhero film, but the thing I noticed the most were the quiet scenes. And there were a good number of quiet scenes.

These scenes allowed the viewer to reflect, to appreciate the growing relationships between various sets of characters. You don't see a lot of quiet in action films these days.

Yes, Cap is still a do-gooder. But he agonizes over that fact. The fact that he is constitutionally incapable of taking the easy way, doing things expediently, taking missions which are morally grey, makes him agonize over his place in the world. As Nick Fury says early on, Black Widow has no such compunctions. That's what makes them such a great team. It certainly doesn't hurt that Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson have great on-screen chemistry.

Marvel fans will get a number of happy moments, none of which I'll spoil here. Suffice it to say - there are two "extras" at the end of the film. One mid-way through the credits and one at the very end of the credits. Stay for both!

If you are watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you should get out to see this film within the next day. Marvel is doing an unprecedented thing by having Cap2 impact Agents starting tomorrow night. They've given fans opening weekend to see the film so that you're up to date.

If you want your spoilers, there are a couple of articles that have been written that do a far more exhaustive job pouring over the film than I would be able to do.

  • All the Secrets and References in CA:TWS (i09). This is a great article which goes into a lot of detail about the comic book history of all the various characters encountered - a lot of which I didn't know. Two things I'll comment on which aren't really spoilers but that I learned from this article. I didn't know Ed Brubaker was in the film! He wrote the Captain America - Winter Soldier comic storyline. Completely missed noticing him in the scene in which he appears. Also, I think it's great Cap's to-do list has been customized for each country in which the film is shown. I think Doctor Who should've been on his list for the UK!
  • CA2 Spoilers: Every Easter Egg in The Winter Soldier (moviepilot.com). This list makes me want to go back and re-watch the film!

This Week Online - April 3, 2014

Ok, to be honest, it's more like the last couple of weeks online. Getting back into the swing of things here. Hope you enjoy these things I found!

This Week Online - March 10, 2014

Been a rough last couple of weeks, folks, but here's a list of amusing things I've found while I've been gone. Hope you enjoy them!

  • Star Wars prequel movies? Yeccccch.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron! There's going to be an hour long special on ABC on March 18th. You have been put on notice.
  • Steven Soderbergh edited together the original Psycho and the remake. No, really.
  • An infographic which shows how everyone dies in Shakespeare's plays.
  • Had you heard that Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are going to be in a vampire movie that is released in the US on April 11th? Yeah, me either!
  • While watching the Oscars, I discovered that Martin Freeman was in a nominated short film. Apparently it'll be touring with the other "Oscar Shorts" in the theaters. It's on my list to see.
  • An infographic of the 42 essential 3rd act twists from literature.
  • Fallon and Timberlake continue the History of Rap series on The Tonight Show with the fifth installment.
  • Ricky Gervais has put out a series called "Learn Guitar with David Brent". If you like his humor or his character from The Office, you'll find this enjoyable.
  • For everyone who has worked in corporate America, here is an example of what conference calls are like in real life.
  • Want to see a four minute scene from the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier? It's pretty darn squeee-worthy.
  • Have you heard about Oculus? It stars Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who fame) and Katee Sackhoff. It looks pretty creepy!
  • i09 created a list of 30 Cult Movies that they consider "must watch". I've actually seen twenty-one of them. Apparently I'm a cult movie fan!
  • The Sarlacc Toilet. I really kind of want this.
  • Bill Nye tells the story behind the selfie he posted of himself, Neil deGrasse Tyson and President Obama.

And, if you didn't catch Cosmos last night, you should try to catch it tonight. Or on streaming from your cable provider. Because, you like science, right? Right?!

This Week Online - February 24, 2014

I would like it if fantastic comic legends would stop passing away for a bit. This last week has been rough. We lost both Sid Caesar and Harold Ramis in the last two weeks. Both men were legends and influenced generations of comic talent. Here are some things of interest I found online in the last week:

RIP Mr. Caesar and Mr. Ramis.

This Week Online - February 15, 2014

Hey all - I'm getting ready to head out for a short vacation to Miami, FL, so I wanted to toss the things I've found so far online this week up on the site. Enjoy!

Have a great week!

This Week Online - January 27, 2014

I hope everyone is enjoying the Winter weather across the country. I know I'm glad the kids are back at school today. Here are some fun things I found online this week:

Please enjoy, and check back often!

This Week Online - January 20, 2014

Hola everyone! Hope you're having a warm & relaxing MLK day today. Here's some fun stuff I've seen online in the last couple of weeks:

We're expecting snow here tonight, which would be a nice change from the relatively mild temperatures and lots of rain we've had so far this Winter. Have a good week and check back soon for more posts!

This Week Online - November 25, 2013

Hey all! Coming down to the wire on NaNoWriMo - I've got 5000 words to go and 6 days until the month is over. Keep your fingers crossed for me! In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, here are the most amusing Doctor Who related things I've seen online in the past week:

Enjoy!

This Week Online - November 19, 2013

Goodness, the month is flying by. I'm halfway through my wordcount for NaNoWriMo, which is great, but still about 6,000 words short of where I should be at this point. Distractions, distractions everywhere! Here are some fun distractions I found on the internet this week:

  • Pretty cool voice acting Batman vs. Superman!
  • Sesame Street did a send-up of The Hunger Games? They sure did!
  • Are you stoked about the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special on Saturday? Check out this awesome prequel minisode that leads into that episode!
  • Someone used game theory to figure out how to win consistently on The Price Is Right. Some people have too much time on their hands.
  • Steve Martin got an Oscar. Not at all sure why his award wasn't awarded during the main ceremony. But he's touching and hilarious and awesome in that way only Steve Martin can be.
  • A short film written by Neil Gaiman about a girl who tries not to fly.
  • And, sadly, the best thing I had to share with you has been removed due to copyright issues. Hal (Bryan Cranston) wakes up in bed next to Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) having had a nightmare about being Walter White. It was truly hilarious. The short will apparently be part of the "Complete Breaking Bad" DVD package. Here's a full description of the short.

Hope you're all having an excellent week!

This Week Online - November 11, 2013

Hi folks! Time for the round-up of fun things I found on the Internet this week.

Enjoy!

This Week Online - November 6, 2013

I've found a few entertaining things online in the last few days.

Enjoy!

Ender's Game

endersgame Saw Ender's Game today. Yes, I'm well aware of the Orson Scott Card controversy swirling around the 'net right now. Let's ignore that and talk about the film.

It was pretty good. Asa Butterfield is perfect as Ender. He's so tiny. Not a lot of time is spent with his siblings Valentine and Peter, for which I was thankful. They were my least favorite parts of the book itself. Though Peter's real monstrosity isn't conveyed in a way that makes Ender's whinging on about how he's "just like Peter" hit home the way it does in the book.

Harrison Ford as Graff is fine. To be honest, he's given a bit too much screen time. And his Graff is not nearly as cold and hard on Ender as he is in the book. Ender's entire training isn't nearly as solitary as it is in the book either. Perhaps it was the pacing that didn't allow for those periods of bleak solitude, feeling like he didn't have a friend in the world.

Kingsley as Rackham is great. But when is Kingsley not great? The supporting actors who play Ender's fellow trainees are all well done, particularly Hailee Steinfeld (Petra), Aramis Knight (Bean), Suraj Partha (Alai), and Nonso Anozie (Sgt. Dap). Moises Arias also puts in a great performance as the hateful Bonzo Madrid.

All of the action scenes are amazing, particularly the Battle School game scenes. The epic fights with the Bugg... er, Formics are also visually amazing. I do wish they'd spent more time developing the significance of the mind game Ender plays on his tablet in his free time. If they'd spent more time developing that I think the final reveal at the end of the film would have been more moving.

Overall though, the film is visually splendid. It does a competent job with the highlights of the story elements from the book.

Oh, and this is NaNoWriMo day 3! I managed to get 1774 words written today so am now up to 5372 total! Yay!

This Week Online - October 30, 2013

Some mid-week updates! Gearing up for NaNoWriMo, so I'm expecting November to be a wild ride! Please enjoy!

Have a happy (and safe) Halloween!

This Week Online - October 28, 2013

It's been a fairly slow week this past week in terms of interesting Geek News, but I was able to find a few interesting tidbits.

I hope you enjoy these!

This Week Online - October 18th, 2013

Goodness how the time has flown! Real life has kept me away from the site but I'm back with some fun things for you to check out on the Internet!

I've got several more posts in the pipe for the upcoming week. There have been two Tabletop episodes (Shadows Over Camelot and Betrayal at House on the Hill) since I last posted. Also, I saw Wil Wheaton vs. Paul & Storm in Northern VA a couple of weeks ago. More on all of that soon!

This Week Online - October 1, 2013

Hello all - Here's tidbits from the Internet that I've gathered over the last week. I hope you enjoy them.

I'll be back Thursday with a link to the new episode of Tabletop!

Riddick

riddick Finally the stars aligned and I was able to make it out to see Riddick. I will be discussing the film here assuming that you have seen it, so if you want to remain spoiler-free, I suggest you stop reading now.

I loved the first 15-20 minutes of the film. They truly showcased the superhuman will to survive that has typified Riddick in the previous films. It was gritty, grim and ugly. I loved watching him figure out the planet on which he was marooned, finding the essentials of water and shelter, and doing gruesome triage on his injuries. I don't think the narration kicked in until at least 15 minutes had passed, which I also enjoyed. Silent, grim and determined.

I'm not sure that the film needed to be tied into the previous films, but I am thankful the backstory of Riddick and the Necromongers from the dreadful Chronicles of Riddick was kept to a minimum. That is one of those films you'd prefer to forget was ever made - like the fourth film in the Alien franchise or the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise. In any event, I guess we needed to know why Riddick was on this awful planet, and since he came here straight from being the Necromonger King, I guess we had to hear about them some more.

I loved the dog. I loved the dog so much even though I know the dog was doomed. I wanted more of the dog in the film.

When Riddick calls for rescue from the bounty hunter station, I knew we were headed into Pitch Black redux. That was fine with me - I had heard the film was essentially exactly like Pitch Black so that was my baseline expectation going into the film.

A bounty hunting crew lands full of contemptible characters, demonstrated by the killing of the bounty-rape-victim-female they set loose and then shoot for sport after they land. The audience is set to detest them and cheer for Riddick to kill them all at this point. Also hearing the call is a military-style unit who also lands and offers the bounty hunters assistance. Interestingly, the leader of the military unit (Johns) is the father of the policeman/bounty hunter who had Riddick in custody from Pitch Black. Second in command is Dahl, played by Katee Sackhoff who I love from Battlestar Galactica and Longmire. Dahl is great - it's nice to see a strong female character amidst all the men in the film. I'd love to see she and Riddick team up in a future film.

Lots of characters. Lots of meat for Riddick to chew through.

As would be expected, he starts to pick them off one by one. He nabs the power cells to both ships and hides them and offers to give them one if they'd let him have the other ship. Just like in Pitch Black, there is a crisis moment coming -- a giant rainstorm which will unleash beasts buried just beneath the surface of the planet. So they've got to get their acts together by that point.

Eventually, Riddick's dog gets killed and Riddick gets captured. This was when the main plot issue I had in the film happened - they prepare to cut off his head but the power cells for the ships are still buried and he's the only one who knows where they are. It didn't make any sense to me. And when he breaks free and kills the guy who killed his dog, the guy died too fast. I wanted to see Riddick's feelings for the dog come out in his killing of the dog's murderer. But we didn't get that in the film.

More killing, rescuing of the power cells, and Riddick's survival instincts are showcased for the rest of the film. Surprisingly, the remaining characters (Johns, Dahl, and one of the bounty hunters) rescue Riddick (since when did Riddick need rescuing?), give him a ship and send him on his merry way.

I got the impression another showdown with the Necromongers is lined up for the next film. Frankly, I'd be happy to see that in a flashback scene while the film deals with something new and interesting.

All in all, the film was more than just a Pitch Black rehash. Riddick is great, as always, and Johns and Dahl exist as characters I wouldn't mind seeing again in the future.

Oh, and if you're a Riddick super-fan and have any idea where I can get my hands on the SciFi Channel's short film they made as a promo for Pitch Black called "Into Pitch Black", please let me know. I think it used to be available on YouTube but I can't find it anywhere. I remember that short film made the hair on the back of my neck stand up -- it made Riddick a truly terrifying character.

If you're a Riddick fan, you will enjoy this flick.