I Read Stuff!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fight Club

This is a fascinating post about the evolution of the Hollywood fight scene. It starts with Charlton Hesston in The Big Country (1958), and takes 10 steps through Bruce Lee, The Matrix, Jason Bourne, and the revival of the long edit.

His remarks about each clip are spot on, though he does tend to enjoy the long edits more than I do. We share a dislike for the MTV Aesthetic/Shaky Cam which The Bourne Supremacy fell prey too and Ultimatum recovered slightly from.

On the other end, I can respect the desire and skill of the long edit most recently championed by Tony Jaa and Prachya Pinkaew. While they might claim inspiration from Bruce Lee, they fail to incorporate any of his style.

I believe the best fights can be found somewhere in between the stylized wire fu Morpheus/Neo fight from The Matrix and the WTF shaky cam of Bruce Wayne/Prisoners in Batman Begins. Examples of such scenes can be found in The Borne Identity, Kill Bill, and Troy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

TR2N

Who remembers TRON? Everyone does! Well, the long awaited sequal is finally making it to the big screen. The folks at San Diego Comic Con were there to witness the teaser trailer release.

Accordingly, bootleggers with shaky cams were there to. Let's watch...



Update: In Soviet Russia, bootleg video finds YOU!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Foaming At The Mouth

In 1997, more than 700 school children showed up in hospitals after suffering an epileptic seizure. The cause turned out to be the cartoon show Pokemon. Flashing lights and fast edits were so effective at inducing seizures that the news clips aired the following day sent another surge of folks to the hospital.

Fast forward to present day and it seems we have actually learned something. Part of Sony's quality assurance is an epilepsy test, and the anticipated game, WipEout, failed miserably. A futuristic racing game, WipEout's fast moving neon tracks caused so many problems the art direction is being completely re-engineered.



It's a wonder that they continue to bother with the game at all. It feels like the current publisher environment would instead cancel it completely, but the PS3 really needs the games.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where The Hell Is Matt?

This guy, Matt, was a game developer for Pandemic Studios in 2003. He came up with the idea for Destroy All Humans! as a joke despairing about the direction of the Xbox and the game industry. The studio didn't get the joke and green lit the project.

He quit in disgust and spent all his money traveling abroad. As a memento to all the places he traveled, he started filming himself doing a silly dance that is somewhat of a calling card.

This video won him his 15 minutes of fame on YouTube, but more importantly it got the attention of Stride Gum. They decided to pay for his dancing around the world. And this is the result...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ROCK AND ROLL!!!

The music game industry is really taking off, and I have to say I'm hooked. I really enjoy banging on plastic drums like I know what I'm doing. In that vane, there have been three announcements that I thought you should know about the future of rock.

1. Rock Band 2 will import all of your downloaded songs from Rock Band. Do not worry; your copy of Roxanne will be easily available in RB2. Harmonix doesn't distinguish between RB2 downloads and RB1 downloads which means the opposite is true as well. You can download all the new songs into RB1.

2. The RB2 set list has been released. You cannot get these songs unless you buy RB2, and you obviously want these songs.

3. Red Octane finally got their shit together. Guitar Hero World Tour will support all of the Rock Band instruments. They even shrink their 5 button drum chart to 4 buttons to accommodate. That's so nice of them.

So much music, so little time...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Morning

I was talking to a friend recently about waking up in the morning. She explains to me that alarm clocks don't work for her. She just sleeps through the buzzing relying on her husband to kick her out of bed.

In an effort to poke fun at her in the most efficient manner, I went looking for a bigger better alarm clock.

Meet the Sonic Bomb:



Capable of dealing anywhere from a gentle squawk to 113 decibels of ear piercing noise, this alarm clock is designed to drag you out of bed and beat you awake. At 113 decibels with the bed shaker this alarm is equivalent to sleeping on your lawn mower.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Speaking of Beer...

Anheuser-Busch pulled complete reversal in attitude toward InBev yesterday. Initially InBev made an unsolicited offer of $46 billion, or $65 per share. When Anheuser turned them down, InBev switched to a proxy attack. Basically they would buy enough shares to vote Anheuser's board members off one at a time. The theory being that a new board would look favorably on InBev.

Well, this move apparently scared the Anheuser's board. I'm sure each one of them was thinking about the profits they would miss out on if they were the first member to get booted.

August A. Busch IV, Anheuser’s CEO, is still fighting the merger. In an effort to quickly make the company more profitable he said he's prepared to cut Anheuser’s work force by 15%.

I'm sure Budweiser drinkers will appreciated the layoffs.

Update: It's official. Anheuser-Busch will be acquired by the Belgium company InBev for $49.91 billion, or $70 a share.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tequila!

Generally speaking beer is my alcohol of choice. I don't drink it exclusively, just more often than other forms of alcohol. As a result I don't know very much about hard liquor.

Well this article turned out to be very educational about the wonders of Tequila. It confirmed what we already know about Cuervo Gold. Namely that it's the Keystone Light of tequila. More interesting is that Patron USE to be artisan tequila, but the company has moved into big business and no longer uses 100% blue agave.

Ultimately the author claims that when making a margarita, look for the goat.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Guns! Guns! Guns!

I didn't grow up with any hunters or hang out with any. My mother's family hunted occasionally, but for the most part guns weren't a part of my life. However, that has changed as I've gotten older, and there are now a couple of hunting events that occur with my extended family. In order to participate, I have to get my Hunter's Safety License.

You wouldn't think this would be a hard task, but it turns out that in my part of the country they don't teach Hunter's Safety. The closest course is over an hours drive away, and it's taught every three months.

All is not lost as I have finally scheduled the course after a year of trying. In celebration of my success, I present to you "How Not To Shoot A Gun".

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's A Small City After All

To finish our New York adventure we wondered into the Disney Store on 5th Ave. It's a 3 story mecca to all things Disney. This turned out to be more entertaining for all of us than FAO Schwartz. They had movies running, crafting areas, and giant walking Disney characters. Best of all they had Mr. Potato Head.

I don't mean they were just selling Mr. Potato Head. They had a 10 foot tower of separated parts that dumped into a bin at the bottom. You would grab your potato and work your way around the tower to each of the stations. One station had nothing buy left arms, right arms at the next station etc. They even had Star Wars Potatoes!

After having our fill, we had some excellent Mexican food down the street to finish off our night. On our way back to the Hotel, we walked right by Studio 54 without so much of a backwards glance. It was then I realized that the vacation was a success.

We'd become jaded New Yorkers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'll Have What She's Having

Yes, Katz Deli was quite the experience. You get a ticket when you arrive, and you're told to hold onto that ticket for the entire meal. We thought this very odd, but we went along. Turns out the waitress will 'validate' your ticket after you've paid. If you attempt to leave the deli without a validated ticket, you will be charged $50 per ticket. I imagine this significantly cuts down on the dine and dash.

We did see a celebrity while we were eating, but we can't think of his name. In fact we couldn't think of where we had seen him before. All we could remember is that he always plays an old Jewish professional. If only IMDB had a search for old white men in supporting roles.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

MONEY

Our final day out and about in New York is a bit of a hodgepodge of attractions. Our first order of business is a set of bull nuts.



The lesser seen side of the Charging Bull is an incredibly popular attraction. Roughly 20 people are perpetually photographing this statue near Wall Street. We arrived as people were leaving, rubbed his bronze balls for luck, and were replaced by more tourists as we wondered on.

The New York Stock Exchange lies at the corner of Wall and Broad St and sports a ridiculously huge American flag. There were officers with M16 on patrol, but they weren't guarding NYSE. They were guarding 23 Wall St, the building across the street. It used to be the JP Morgan Trust, but these days it's being converted into apartments that apparently need heavily armed guards.

One can expect to pay 4.6 million for a two bedroom, but where else can you get a view like this:


Games
GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?