Quick Fix: So, um, about that deadline…

I know I said I had a firm deadline of February 4th for the next retrospective series, and when I wrote that I actually intended it to be 2 weeks from when I made that post. However, when I released it and realized that it was only a week til then I figured “eh, I can probably get it done”… well, unfortunately I’m caught between a rock and a hard place right now. I haven’t had time to get the damn movie even watched, so I’m basically going to have to delay it for a week to the originally intended date. It was either this or break my “at least one update per week” rule, and I’m not about to do that if I don’t have to.

Anyway, in other news I’ve been working on a fan edit of The Hobbit, and it’s nearly complete. Honestly, I like The Hobbit, but I feel the movie gets dragged down by the overly-lighthearted tone and filler sections. I’ve cut out nearly 40 minutes of footage (from the extended edition anyway) and the movie seems to be far better paced, with much less silliness. When I finish it I’ll probably provide a link (that said, fanedits are a major legal grey area so I might not be able to follow through on that).

I’ve also started a DayZ series on Youtube, part one should be up shortly. I have a lot of trouble even connecting to the damn game, but when I can get a major play session in, it’s a lot of fun… buggy as shit though. Pretty much certain that I lost my character too in the latest update, which just sucks because I’d had him survive over 10 hours. Seriously, I’d only legitimately died twice in all of my time on DayZ, every other time I’ve either had my character randomly wiped or I’ve been killed by lag. Yes, lag is so bad in DayZ that it can literally be fatal to your character. Still, I’m enjoying the game in spite of its major problems.

Oh and I can’t forget Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Holy crap that was unexpected, shocking and tragic. It was a senseless waste of talent, Hoffman was easily one of the most talented actors in Hollywood (and unlike most celebrity eulogies, that is not hyperbole). His death really goes to show how destructive addiction is. I was at work listening to Sixx Sense, and Nikki Sixx was talking about how this event really hit home for him because of his past with drugs. Apparently Hoffman had been sober for almost 20 years, but relapsed and… well, this just shows that if you struggle with addiction, you never are fully over it – that shit can come back and kill you if you don’t fight it every day. RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman, you will be sorely missed.

Quick Fix: Updates!

Just a quick post this week with some updates on life and the blog. First of all, I got a new computer finally! For the last couple years, I’ve been operating off of a relatively cheap laptop which I always considered a stop-gap to a longer term solution. It was adequate for school, but when I wanted to do video editing it could barely handle it – rendering would take hours, video clips couldn’t be more than 720p at 30FPS, etc. Plus it couldn’t handle PC gaming beyond the least-intensive titles (thank God for Civilization IV). Anyway, the new computer is doing quite well for me, with my only real complaints being that I think I need a better network card and that Windows 8 is idiotic. Well, I’m also having some troubles with DayZ, but I chalk that up to my Internet connection and the game’s buggy alpha status rather than the computer itself (by the way, get DayZ, it’s addictive).

Related to the new computer is some paintballing news. My team, The Stormrunners, is gearing up for the 2014 season, our fourth as an organized unit. In anticipation for this, I have put together a video of the highlights from the 2013 season, it should be online soon so keep an eye on my Youtube page for it!

Finally, it’s been almost a month since the last retrospectives series ended, so it’s getting pretty close to the time for the next one to start. I’ve been mulling over three possible franchises for this latest series, but I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to a single candidate. I was considering doing something quite different, but I’ll save that for sometime in the future for now… Anyway, I’m going to set a firm start point of February 11th for this series, so be sure to tune in for that.

Quick Fix: Follow-up + Current Events

Okay, due to the nature of last week’s quick fix, we’ve got a bit of follow-up on some of the “top stories” which were in that post. First of all, I caved in and got that Elgato Game Capture HD I had been looking at and it seems to work quite well. I suggest that you see the results for yourself if you don’t believe me. Currently I’m stuck with PS3 footage, but I’ll be getting a PS4 before the next blog post is up so expect footage at some point soon thereafter. In fact, you can always reach my Youtube channel by clicking the link in the sidebar near the top of the page – now that I’ve got this Elgato, updates should be fairly regular.

Also as follow-up, the AVP miniatures game has been announced and has already gotten underway on Kickstarter! I’m a bit torn on it to be honest… on the one hand, the minis are amazing and it looks like it’ll be a pretty fun game. Plus it’s FREAKING ALIENS AND PREDATORS (if that wasn’t clear enough)!!! On the other hand though, the game company’s communication has been lackluster and it’s rather expensive… even more-so with the stretch goals getting unlocked which are largely paid expansions. I mean, I’d LOVE Alien Warriors and Predator Hounds, but the notion of paying 30GBP on top of my 75GBP pledge isn’t particularly appealing. On the plus side though, the freebies are starting to pour in (at present, pretty much everyone’s getting free Facehuggers, a 10GBP add-on, a Berserker Predator [SQUEE!!!!] and almost certainly a model on a 40mm base once we hit 2000 backers). On the whole, I’m still happy about the project and will probably even increase my pledge, although I hope that the news is only positive from here on out. If you’re interested in checking it out, the Kickstarter is underway here. You can also check out the awesome minis on their Facebook page.

Now, onto current events. It’s been a little while since I last tackled a recent news story, but this one’s a doozy which I just can’t escape when I turn on the TV. I’m talking of course about Rob Ford, the crack smoking mayor of Toronto. Honestly, I wish he’d just step down because then I wouldn’t have to listen to the media drag this thing on indefinitely. In all seriousness though, Ford really does need to bow out – he has become an international embarrassment to himself, his city and his country. Saying that he’s going to keep working just makes no sense – does he think that no one else can run his job as well as him? Obviously there’s something up there.

Now I hate conspiracy theorizing, but I’m going to do some speculation so take the rest of this paragraph with a huge grain of salt. An acquaintance on Facebook made a post after the confession came out, suggesting that Ford might have called out a hit on gang members he had been famously photographed with (in front of a suspected crack house), one of whom was murdered recently. Now while I didn’t think there was much to back up this statement, it was certainly an interesting take on the situation. In any case, it is likely that Ford knew more than he was willing to admit to the press leading up to his confession. For one thing, there’s a story going around that his office hired a hacker to try to destroy the tape before it could fall into police custody. I can’t exactly verify it, but based on the information and evidence it presents, I’m willing to believe it. If it’s true, then there’s probably some seriously illegal and corrupt actions going on in the highest levels of the Toronto government. In a lot of ways, this reminds me of a film I watched called Tycoon: A New Russian, where a gangster funds a politician, but keeps a sex tape to blackmail him with (according to the story, it is thought that the Dixon City Bloods have a Ford sex tape as well) in case he ever turns on them. I wonder if a similar sort of situation is going on here which will be revealed in due time… Again though, this is almost entirely speculation and unverified information, so don’t take this as anything more than that.

Quick Fix: Battlefields, Retrospectives, Aliens and Novels

A bit of a quick post this week on, coincidentally, the 5th of November. Not that I’m an anarchist or even a huge fan of V For Vendetta, but the date has a bit of pop culture significance so it’s notable in itself.

Anyway as you probably know, Battlefield 4 was released a week ago and (predictably) I’ve been playing the shit out of it. Actually, I rented it for 4 days and have since had to return it, but I’m already jonesing to play again. I’ve only gotten ahold of the PS3 version so far, but I’m stoked to see it in action on the PS4. I’m actually surprised at how BF4 turned out on PS3, the beta had tempered my expectations, but it’s fully-featured and functional. Graphically, it’s muddier and has worse textures than BF3, and I think the maps might have been shrunk, but overall if you can’t get any other platform then the current-gen versions of the game are certainly a lot of fun. When I’m a bit more acclimatized to it I’ll probably make a new “Battlefield Tips” post, but in the meantime you can check out my Battlelog profile. I’m also seriously considering buying an Elgato Game Capture HD to record in-game footage, so keep an eye out for that – my Youtube page might be getting updates in the near future… On the negative side though, the netcode needs some retooling, at the moment it’s extremely frustrating getting killed in what seems like a single shot by everyone. I probably need a bit more practice (it took me about 30 hours to acclimatize to Battlefield 3 from Battlefield: Bad Company 2), but hopefully this issue is rectified in the PS4 version, or a patch comes along soon.

I think I’ve also got the next Retrospective lined up, partially out of convenience since one of my brothers owns the whole series on DVD. I don’t have a firm date on when I’ll begin the series, but it should be before the end of the month… actually, now that I think about it, that’s pretty much perfect and should coincide well with future events… and I won’t say anymore than that. Ho ho ho. In any case, I’m thinking of doing something unconventional for the Retrospective after this one, so be sure to keep an eye on the blog in the new year!

This is a bit of personal excitement here, but there’s an AVP miniatures game coming soon, and based on the sculpts it looks FANTASTIC. I’m seriously stoked beyond belief for this. It’s coming to Kickstarter and traditional retail methods soon, so I’ll post up a link when it becomes available and when more info is released. In the meantime, I need some people to play it with on release…

Finally, a bit of exciting news. I have begun writing a sci-fi novel, which will expand into a series at some point. Of course, this is assuming I finish it – I already have an unfinished manuscript sitting on my computer from an abandoned project so I don’t like to count my chickens before they’re hatched. The novel is largely in the conceptual stage at the moment, but I’ve got the basic trajectory of the story developed and have written first drafts of the prologue and about half of the first chapter already. All-in-all I’m pretty excited about it and sincerely hope I actually take the effort to finish the damn thing!

Quick Fix: “Fat Shaming”

I was at work the other day listening to the local rock radio station’s morning program. It was the typical somewhat-raunchy banter you’d expect from morning hosts on a rock station, but it helps get through the day. Anyway, as I was listening the morning hosts mentioned that they had posted a photo on their Facebook page which was causing a bit of controversy. This got me curious and so I went and checked it out:

Apparently this photo has gone viral, and I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s clearly ripe for generating debate… although this being the Internet, that really means people screaming at each other and ignoring everyone else’s perspective. On the one hand, the woman who made the picture is coming across as being rather smug. Considering that her job is to be a physical fitness trainer, it shouldn’t be quite so difficult for her to get ripped in comparison to, say, someone who works 40 hours a week in a cubicle. The radio hosts were mentioning that there were people commenting on the photo claiming that it was an example of “fat shaming”, that the woman is bullying fat people and that she should go jump in front of a bus (again, it’s the Internet).

On the other hand, I kind of agree with the picture. I’m pretty skinny, but I wouldn’t kid myself into thinking I’m in great shape or anything. The picture isn’t shaming fat people, it’s shaming anyone who isn’t fit, which pretty much everyone seems to have ignored. But anyway, what’s my excuse for not having a six-pack? It really does come down to laziness. Sure, I could probably look like that if I put the effort in and reordered my priorities, but I don’t have the motivation to do so. Sure some people may physically be unable to look like that and then okay, you do have an excuse. That said, if you’re like me and (I imagine) 99% of everyone else who the image is directed at, then you need to fess up that maybe you don’t have an excuse beyond laziness. Obesity is becoming a major epidemic (not to mention those of us who just aren’t in shape to begin with) and I’m sure the vast majority of us don’t have some sort of incurable malady to give us a get-out-of-shame-free-card. Honestly, instead of being offended, many of us just need to look at ourselves and take the blame for once instead of deflecting it onto others.

News Dump

Sorry if this blog post feels a little scatter-shot, but my update day happened to fall on the same day as my two final exams, and so I’m writing this in the time between them… then it’s off to see Kick-Ass 2!* However, in the meantime let’s take a look at some of the wild news I’ve had bookmarked for you wonderful people…

We’re gonna start off with a bit of older news, but it was so funny that I couldn’t not post it. You may remember a month ago that Toronto was hit with severe flooding, with total costs of the damage reaching nearly $1 billion. The scale of the flooding made for many stunning images which were a reminder to all of the unpredictability of nature… nah, just kidding, it made people put on their tinfoil hats and go online:

These were literally the first comments on the article (you can check it out yourself, they’re still the top comments on the linked story). Of course we have an apocalyptic harbinger, because suddenly a flood actually affects you and it must mean that the Bible was speaking directly to you when it said there’d be increasing floods (what are the chances that people said the same in centuries past during floods?). Bruce Lees’ comment is the real gold though, the detail of his post really makes me think that this isn’t just trollbait. If you’re looking to start a flam ewar, why would they go into detail about the “Woodpecker” and “HAARP”? Furthermore, these are actually involved in conspiracy theorizing, so they don’t just pull words out of a hat and laugh – there’s a very good chance that they actually believe that the government is controlling the weather. Even better, they tell us to “read the science people, now”, which obviously will just further refute their special blend of insanity. Then, rounding out the stupid comments is “SCIENCE” who seems to be trying to mediate to no one in particular (and everyone at the same time). Actually that describes them pretty well because they don’t seem to be settling on a point at all: they are saying, more or less, that sometimes people are wrong, but not always. Not the same level of stupid as the other comments, but it’s one of those typical Internet commentators who thinks they can wield a level of control and pacify millions of anonymous people’s opinions. Good luck with that.

Oh and speaking of crazy people, there’s the woman who claims to own the sun and is going to charge us for using it. I think I can leave it at that because that’s another special brand of crazy (…or perhaps she’s shrewd like a fox).

Anyway, moving away from insanity to something more political, I was entertained by an article recently about why the media is not liberal. I know that the term “liberal media” gets passed around a lot by self-acknowledged conservatively-biased news networks (such as CNN and Sun News Media… and, uh, by my parents as well). I don’t really agreed with that assessment, but this article actually points out why it’s a flawed idea quite well. If anything, the media is (in general) probably closer to a centrist position, taking bits of conservatism and liberalism. There’s also the possibility that more conservatives are becoming increasingly alienated by gay rights, marijuana legalization, libertarianism (which is actually a conservative trait generally), etc so so assume that the media is automatically biased against them. That’s just my thoughts at the moment, but I’m planning on reading into it more and coming up with a more concrete opinion.

And rounding out this blog post is a diatribe on the biggest cancer in TV today, TLC, and their 1 hour special The Man with the 132-lb Scrotum. Apparently back in the day TLC used to be an educational channel, but then they realized “hey we can make a lot of money off of derivative reality TV and sensationalist garbage”. Hence a line-up of mindless TV shows about antique hunters, pawn shops, guys making cakes, retarded rednecks and now a guy with a scrotum that weighs almost as much as I do. It’s total tabloid attention-grabbing, exploiting the guy (who is in serious need of medical attention) like he’s a freak show attraction. TLC is a terrible TV network and this latest special just further reinforces that idea.

Finally, just a note on the next retrospective series: since I’ll be done school today, I’ll finally have time to work on it. As a result, the new series will begin next week. Be sure to tune in for it, it’s going to be funner than a barrel of monkeys!

*POST-SCRIPT: I actually quite liked the movie, I know it’s getting savaged by critics (28% TomatoMeter as of 20/08/13), but if you’re a fan of the original it retains much of the elements which made the first movie so good. That said, it’s not as good as the first one was, but it is far, FAR better than the comic it’s based on.

Quick Fix: God is Dead?

If you listen to rock music on the radio, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Black Sabbath’s lead single off their new album, 13, “God is Dead?”. On my local rock station, you can be pretty much guaranteed to hear it a few times per day as the DJ gleefully declares “I’m loving this new song, it’s ‘GOD IS DEAD’!” When I first heard the song, I thought that it was just another song decrying the complete evils of religion and how God can’t exist. This actually surprised me because I was under the impression that Ozzy Osbourne is actually Christian (or at the very, very least agnostic), so if he was suddenly preaching that God is dead then he must have undergone a drastic, life-changing event of some sort. Basically, I took the song at face value, something which I imagine many more casual listeners would do – both religious (“Bah, the Prince of Darkness praises Satan once again…”) and atheist (“Woo you tell those religious sheeple Ozzy!”). However, there’s a major component of the song which doesn’t carry over to the radio listener and that’s the question mark at the end of the title. That punctuation mark makes all the difference to the meaning of the song. After hearing the song a couple times and actually listening to the lyrics, I began to detect the ambiguity contained within the interplay between declaration (“God is dead”) and questioning (“Is God really dead?”). Ultimately, I think that the song is leaving the decision up to the interpreter to decide.

Despite the doom-and-gloom tone of the song, it’s actually pretty inoffensive… well, unless you consider any attack on religious fanatics indefensible I suppose. In fact, “God is Dead?” is arguably commendable for a theist since it’s a major mainstream song which tackles one of the greatest philosophical religious questions – if God exists, then why do bad things happen? And why do God’s own followers commit atrocities in His name? In any case, I’m glad to see that “God is Dead?” isn’t the aggressively atheistic song that it appears to be at first glance… and as for Ozzy’s stance on this interpretation, it sounds pretty clear to me.

Thinking about “God is Dead?” also makes me think about religious music in general. I’m sure that there are still many religious people who would write off “God is Dead?” even with this interpretation, despite the sense of hope at its core. What defines “Christian” music? If “God is Dead?” was released by, say, Demon Hunter instead of Black Sabbath, would it be accepted? I’m inclined to think that it would. Why do Christian review sites, like the Childcare Action Project, condemn a very pro-faith movie like Signs for “blasphemy” when said blasphemy was part of the hero’s journey to redemption?* Similarly, there’s the issue of Christian musicians in general, which I think is best demonstrated by, of all bands, Korn. Yes, the Korn that’s famous for such songs as “A.D.I.D.A.S.” (aka, “All Day I Dream About Sex”). In 2005, Korn’s lead guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch left the band because he had converted to Christianity and broke his addition to methamphetamines. He then turned to a Christian music career. Meanwhile Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, Korn’s bassist, also converted to Christianity but decided that he could reach out to more people if he stayed with the band. This is a very interesting conundrum for Christians in the music industry: Christian music is largely a niche with a very limited reach, mostly concentrated on an already-Christian audience. However, if the artist stays in the mainstream then they risk having their message diluted. It’s a very difficult balancing act and I don’t think there’s a correct approach… but it’s interesting to note that Head’s back with Korn once again (predictably, this has pissed off some uptight Christians who Head soundly trounces on his Facebook page). I’ve never given a shit about a Korn album, but I’m excited to see how The Paradigm Shift turns out and hear if more positive aspects find their way in…

*From their website, they state that “The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up “messages” to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with “redeeming” programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior.” This is just unthinkably stupid. As I showed in my interpretation of “God is Dead?”, context is absolutely everything. This is the sort of inflexibility that makes evangelicals look like total tools…

Quick Fix: Multi-media News

Hello fine readers, thanks for coming back for the weekly update! I was going to write on something more… controversial to say the least, but it’s just not coming to me. Maybe I’ll find the words for it next week, but for now it’s on the back-burner. Anyway, that means that we get to talk about the generally less-heavy news in pop culture instead! As most nerds will tell you, San Diego Comic-con just ended and brought with it some major entertainment news. Probably foremost amongst these is the announcement of a Superman vs. Batman movie. Clearly this is DC’s attempt to kickstart a shared universe much like Marvel studios is enjoying now. Of course, this brings with it its own problems… like how Batman could possibly win against Superman… *SPOILER* especially now that he is willing to kill for the greater good. Again, I’m not entirely sure how this is going to get worked out, but it could be potentially monumental if it can all come together.

Next on the agenda are a couple of potential movies that I’ve been following for some time which are looking for support. The first of these is Dredd 2, the proposed sequel to a movie I’ve been gushing about since it came out. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, do so. It’s amazing, and deserves a sequel. The official news is that DVD and Blu-ray sales of the film have been through the roof and fan support is overwhelmingly high. This means that the likelihood of a sequel being made have skyrocketed. Back around December when I saw the box office figures for Dredd I was aghast – I was certain a sequel would never get made, with a status as a cult classic in a decade or two being the film’s best bet for success. However, it’s now looking quite likely that we’ll see a sequel, maybe 50/50. I just hope the same minds are behind it so we won’t get let down!

The other potential film I’ve been following is a Warhammer 40,000 fan film, The Lord Inquisitor. It was announced shortly after the official 40k movie, Ultramarines was released (to tepid reception) and looks like it will blow it out of the water. The movie’s being made by Erasmus Brosdau, one of the designers at Crytek (a video game studio famous for Crysis and originators of the Far Cry series). The only sad thing about The Lord Inquisitor was that it looked like we were going to be waiting a couple years for a 15 minute short… until now anyway. Brosdau is looking for financial backing to get The Lord Inquisitor turned into a full-length CGI animated movie. I first got into 40k 10 years ago and back then I thought the setting would make for an awesome movie. In fact, I can’t believe it took until 2010 before we saw an official 40k movie… unfortunately that movie, Ultramarines, was a pretty bland representation of the universe. If The Lord Inquisitor receives its backing, it should be a faithful version of what makes the 40k universe so awesome. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes in the future.

Finally, the biggest piece of pop culture news all week for me is this picture:

YES. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is well underway and I have little doubt that it is going to be amazing. Matt Reeves directing? YES. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are back writing? AWESOME. Andy Serkis is back as Caesar? HELL YES. Hell, even the supporting cast looks good with such big names as Gary Oldman and Kerri Russell. I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes – hopefully this one will be even better!

Quick Fix: Zimmerman Verdict

I’m sure by now everyone’s heard the virdict in the Zimmerman trial – not guilty. To a lot of people, Zimmerman just got away scot-free with murder. Of course, “a lot of people” have only the most cursory knowledge of what transpired and how the trial actually went, so this is mostly based on their political leaning, race, emotional state, etc. To be fair to everyone, I’m in that category myself as I have only really read when the case first hit the news and then forgot about it til a few days ago when the verdict was handed down (and then a few responses to it as well). I myself think that Zimmerman deserves to be tried for murder… but that said, I don’t know the whole story. My opinion (and the opinions of others) on the matter has been influenced by what we have been told, and that’s where the biggest issues in this case lie in my opinion.

First off, I am infuriated by how this trial was politicized as soon as it hit the airwaves. Obviously I’m furious that some people might use it as a defense of moronic “stand your ground” laws, but I’m actually more angry that it was turned into a racial war by liberals. This is irresponsible on the part of the media and served to make the actual details of the case itself irrelevant – all that matters now is that Zimmerman represents white oppression and Martin represents the black margin. Of course, the other effect which probably left the media salivating with anticipation was that the verdict would be inflammatory either way, driving up viewership. People are in an absolute frenzy right now, but if Zimmerman had been charged then there still would have been protests from people whining about how whites are now marginalized by minorities, that minorities can play the “race card” to do whatever they want and people would be attempting to keep “stand your ground” laws in place. I quite liked Disturbed frontman David Draiman’s take on this case’s treatment by the media.

The second major issue with this case was that people are infuriated that Zimmerman was not found guilty by the jury. Of course, this is another side-effect of the politicizing of the trial, but what’s important is the legal procedure itself. Verdicts aren’t passed out by people’s own sense of morality – considering how much moral variance there can be between people, the legal process would be impossible. Instead, they have to pass down a verdict based on the laws of the State and the rules of the court. Based on that criteria alone, Zimmerman was clearly in the right – in the legal sense, he was acting in self-defense and there was “reasonable doubt” that he committed murder. If you’re going to be infuriated at the verdict, place the blame on the legal system, because I’m pretty sure that it’s now obvious that the law isn’t concerned with what you think is right. While it might be odd to cite The Onion in a post about a serious issue, I think that their article about how screwed up the laws are is quite a good take on the injustice of the justice system (in fact, I think satire is a fantastic way to “rage against the machine” so to speak). In fact, as far as the trial went, Zimmerman’s lawyers actually acted more professionally and had a better case.

Bottom-line: while I don’t have all the facts in the case, I think that Zimmerman should probably have been sentenced for 2nd or 3rd degree murder. That said, the first part of that sentence is the important part: I don’t have all the facts. I have no real justifiable reason to be completely outraged by the outcome of this trial. I think what we can learn from it is that the law needs to be changed in order to not obstruct justice in the future though, because if Zimmerman was actually guilty then we can’t have this sort of thing happening again.

Quick Fix: Retrospectives, Youtube and Skepticism

Hey, time for another relatively short and scattered post before I get into my next retrospective series – which, for the record, I am planning on starting by this time next week! It’s going to be a rather diverse and progressively overblown series, so be sure to tune in for that! And speaking of retrospectives, the recent release of After Earth has brought back painful memories. I must confess that in high school I really liked M. Night Shyamalan (enough so that I can spell his name without having to look up the spelling to ensure its correct). This was before Lady in the Water of course. The Village was merely mediocre, but still had promise. However, since Lady in the Water, Shyamalan has been in a massive and destructive tailspin that has annihilated his good name. It’s really just too bad because The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs are all fantastic films and every time Shyamalan comes out with something new I’m hoping that he can recapture the magic. Unfortunately, he has just disappointed me over and over again – the man has serious directing chops, he just needs to get better scripts and maybe some tighter oversight. If you want to try to recapture some of the glory days, check out this Shyamalan article (which, by the way, would make for a great retrospective series some day).

RIP The Great M. Night Shyamalan, 1999-2002.

In other news, Youtube has officially rolled out its new design layout for channels. I updated to it last night and fiddled around with my channel somewhat for the new layout. I actually made a new, scale-able banner for the channel too – it scales to fit your resolution, so you get a different version of it whether you view it on a smart phone, tablet, desktop, TV, etc. You can view the new layout here, and/or watch my latest paintball compilation video below.

Finally, a story that popped up on my Facebook news feed recently. I’m somewhat lucky in that most of my friends don’t post stupid things (although one cousin is a stereotypical conservative gun nut), but it was quite odd when someone posted this article about how Angelina Jolie was duped into performing a double-mastectomy. Of course, this story has been all over the news lately and while I haven’t really taken a strong stance on the matter (due to being woefully uninformed on the medical aspects of the story and some general apathy about the doings of celebrities), I thought the article might be interesting. Turns out it kind of was… although, not for the reasons they might have hoped. I could be wrong, but it looks to me like Real Farmacy isn’t really a completely medically-sound website (reiterated by their legal disclaimer). First of all, Real Farmacy screwed up their facts (or perhaps just intentionally misinterpreted them). For one thing, they claimed Angelina had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer. In actuality, she had an 87% higher chance of getting cancer than an average person, which is a pretty significant difference. They also  claim that you have complete control over whether or not you get cancer, and that this is based entirely on diet and lifestyle choices:

So the whole “chance” argument is pure quackery. There is no chance involved in whether you get cancer. It’s all cause and effect. You are either living a pro-cancer lifestyle and therefore growing cancer, or you’re living an anti-cancer lifestyle and keeping cancer in check so that it never becomes a problem. Cause and effect is what results in either the growth of cancer tumors or the prevention of cancer tumors. There is no “luck” involved.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it, that medical doctors don’t believe in luck or voodoo on any topic other than cancer. But when it comes to cancer, they want all women to be suckered into the victim mentality that cancer is purely a matter of “luck” and therefore women have no control over their own health outcomes. How disempowering! How sick! How incredibly exploitive of women!

Is it just me, or does Real Farmacy come across as the real quack here? They’re disregarding communally agreed-upon medical advice in exchange for their own agenda. I haven’t looked into the website too much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were selling health food or were sponsored by a major health food corporation. To further call their credibility into question, they seem to think marijuana’s a miracle drug. It’s also worth noting that this article has been copy + pasted across a number of healthy living blogs.

A healthy amount of skepticism is a very good thing to have. I don’t know how much crap I come across on Facebook which I’ve seen people take at face value, but with a 10 second Google search people would find out that it’s total bullshit. Websites like Snopes exist just to stop this sort of stuff. It also really annoys me because people will absorb this information and use it to inform future decisions, which is frighteningly dangerous. Of course, these are also the same people who say that the religious are gullible and simple-minded… *ahem*. Bottom-line: think critically about everything.

Also, who’s going to argue with Angelina Jolie…?

Quick Fix: Pageview Exposion Follow-up and More Updates!

Whoa, where did the last week ago? I can hardly believe it’s been 7 days since my last blog post! Anyway, I probably should have anticipated this, but my last post (in which I mentioned that my page views had shot up astronomically) has actually become one of my most popular posts already. It’s currently my 6th-most viewed post and by far my most commented-on. Anyway the referrer site, “topblogstories”, petered out its referrals a couple days after I posted my last update, although it seems that I’m still getting a few views from them every once in a while. For the record, if you get referrals from them, then do not click on their links.

In other news, the XBOX ONE was announced a couple days ago. I’m not going to weigh in what I thought in too much detail because it’s already being done to death, but I do think that Microsoft really bungled things with the new hardware architecture. Of course, the bit about used games and always online is only confirmed by Wired at the moment, so we’ll have to wait until E3 for a clearer picture of what’s going on. That said, if it is true, then Microsoft is going to take a lot of flak. I think Sony definitely has the initiative at the moment in the upcoming console war (disclaimer: I’m a Sony fanboy, but as you will hopefully note, I do my best to remain impartial). Of course, Microsoft also claims that XBOX ONE’s exact features aren’t complete yet, so they may drop the no used games/always online thing entirely. In fact, maybe the Wired article was an intentional “leak” to test the waters and see if they would include it in the final hardware. Of course, now I’m conspiracy theorizing, and I don’t really believe that myself, but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.

Also, some more current events have harkened back to an older article I wrote in the first couple months of this blog’s life. 3D printers have been in the news a lot lately, which (of course) brings back concerns about 3D printed firearms. In fact, apparently a group has made a gun which is ENTIRELY 3D printed (if you’ll recall, the only part of the gun which was 3D printed was the lower reciever). That said, this new development is really not that much to worry about… well, yet at least. For one thing, this is just the first working 3D printed gun – I’m sure that, over time, there will be better developments in the technology, at which point it may become a full-blown concern. A secondary concern is that, yes, it costs $10,000 to produce a 3D printed gun at the moment, but soon enough the technology will be far cheaper. Finally, this doesn’t address the gun from my previous post – it is a fully-functioning AR-15 and so it won’t just fire one shot and it won’t melt anywhere near as quickly as an exclusively plastic weapon. So 3D printed weapons are still a bit of a concern, but perhaps not an entirely pressing one.

Quick Fix: Page View Explosion and Updates

Hey, just a quick post regarding something really odd which is occurring on the blog. About a month ago I noticed that my page views were steadily climbing until it became common for them to get around 300 per day, although this soon stagnated to ~50 per day for quite some time. However, I’ve noticed that this seems to be a common trend, and so page views have peaked and dropped as long as I’ve been running this blog. As a bit of a stats-geek, it has actually been quite interesting and it’s fun to speculate on the causes of the peaks. For example, almost half of my total views have been on my Hulk review, and I believe that this is because The Hulk became very popular after the release of The Avengers – as a result, whenever a Marvel event happens (Avengers on DVD, Iron Man 3 hype, etc), its page views seem to go up. Interestingly, Final Destination 3 has been garnering much attention lately, so much that it has become my 2nd-most viewed post (still about 1/9th of the Hulk post, but still quite substantial all things considered), and Final Destination 5 isn’t far behind. If the trends continue, I predict that they might actually overtake Hulk before the end of the year.

Anyway, enough of that. Over the past 2 days, I’ve noticed that my page views have suddenly skyrocketed. I’ve gotten so many views that nearly 10% of all of my all-time page views have been in the last 48 hours. Holy crap.

If you studied the picture above, you’ll see that some website called “topblogstories” is responsible for most of those redirects. Now I’m not sure why I’m getting redirected to from that website, but it would seem that topblogstories.com is… a porn/escort/probably-phishing site. I probably should have guessed. Oh well, I guess that goes to show that if you want to get noticed, somebody has to get naked!

Whatever the case, that’s enough of that. I think I’ll start the next retrospective in mid-June. I’ve got 2 franchises I’m interested in tackling, although I’m leaning more heavily towards one of those for simplicity’s sake… I’m pretty damn busy at the moment, juggling a work and school (why did I take a bloody biology course? I hate science…), so it’s difficult for me to commit to all of that and then find time to watch a movie and review it more than once a week. Whatever the case, I do my best to commit to my “at least once a week” policy and haven’t broken it yet!

Also, I’m going to be paintballing again in 10 days. It’ll be the 3rd straight year my team and I have attended the D-Day Tippmann Challenge at Commando Paintball, and so there will be more footage uploaded to my Youtube channel shortly thereafter. If you want to view my previous paintball videos, click here or on the Youtube channel button link near the top right of the blog.

Anyway that’s it for this post. I’m curious to see how long this topblogstories thing continues, but I just wanted to share that little update with my readers. Hopefully I didn’t bore anyone to tears.

Quick Fix: Updates

I apologize in advance, this is going to be a pretty brief post. I’m right in the middle of final assignments period here, I have at least ~21 pages to write in the next 5 days, so that’s gonna be fun. However, there are a few interesting updates that I want to bring up so feel free to read on.

First of all, I’m paintballing on the 13th of April at the PRZ (Picton Recreational Zone). It’s an amazing field that I’d been wanting to attend for 3 years now – it’s about 2 hours from where I live inside of an abandoned asylum. It’s going to be epic, there’ll be around 400 people all fighting for it, including my team, The Stormrunners, and other affiliated scenario teams, such as Citrus Connection and The Sentinels. I’ll be recording the footage on my Contour HD helmet cam, so if you’re interested, the footage should be uploaded to Youtube around the 20th. You can view my channel here, and don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Secondly, I plan on starting the next retrospective exactly 1 week from now. This gives you a date to look ahead to, and it gives me a deadline. With papers starting to wind down at that point, it should be very do-able for me! Be sure to check them out, this is going to be a very fun series you won’t want to miss.

The last thing to mention is something… disgusting. After writing my post on Project X, I was looking up some more info on the movie when I discovered something horrific. J.B., the useless fat kid who contributed absolutely nothing to the movie, has entered the porn industry. This immediately set off two thoughts in my mind:

  1. I’m surprised that he fell into the industry so quickly, I would have figured that he’d at least get 2 or 3 crappy roles before having to fall back on porn.
  2. The fat kid? Ew. Gross. No. I’m not posting any pictures of that.
So… umm… yeah. Do your best not to picture that.
Oh God, I can’t not see it now…

Piggy-backing, Marrying Ponies and Remakes

Okay then, it’s about that time for my self-instituted weekly blog post. I’ve got a few things to talk about, and I’m not exactly the most eloquent, so I’m just gonna dive right into this one.

First of all, the Hulk review is almost at 1300 views. That’s nuts. I never expected to get that many views in my first couple months, let alone on a single blog posting. I’m guessing this is mostly due to inadvertently piggy-backing off of The Avengers‘ popularity, which makes the most sense. On DeviantArt, I did the same sort of thing with The Gorillaz, although it was intentional that time. I made a deviation which was Gorillaz-related in a flagrant attempt to garner page views and favourites… and it worked like a charm. This was almost 3 years ago and I still get new favourites because of that quite often. That just goes to show you that a quick n’ easy way to get noticed is to tap into a fan base and ride their coattails to victory.

Speaking of tapping into fan bases, I’m planning on starting the next retrospective sometime in April. I’m going to be working on final assignments pretty hardcore until the 10th or so, so after that time period I will likely begin work on that series. Be sure to stop in for them, they’ll be sure to leave you howling.

The only other things of particular note at the moment are a bunch of links I’ve been collecting all week. There has been quite a few interesting things that I’ve read about this week that needed sharing… some for different reasons that others. I’ll just leave that one at that.

Anyway, one of these links was gun control-related. I know I’ve harped about gun control a lot on this blog, and I honestly could have done so even more, but I’ve intentionally refrained from doing so on multiple occasions. For one, ranting about it too much can conflate me as someone who hates guns and wants them eradicated or something, which is definitely not the image I’m trying to foster. For the record, I advocate reasonable levels of gun control and gun owner responsibility, and plan on owning firearms myself someday. As for political issues, I generally will fall on one side or the other, but I like to acknowledge other perspectives when I do so. For that matter, I generally hate all political rhetoric in either case. Anyway, getting back on track, I recently read an article on one of my favourite websites which I felt showed gun politics from a very different (and balanced) angle. I certainly recommend giving it a read as it covers some issues which no one else bothers to mention.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog (I won’t lie, you probably aren’t), then you might remember my first article about Idris Elba as James Bond. Since then, it has become increasingly unlikely that the man actually will be cast in the part, but there has been a (potential) development. Barbara Brocolli has talked to Elba about a Bond casting… but maybe as the villain in a remake of Live and Let Die. Now if this is true, then it will be quite interesting indeed. It definitely sits better than casting him as Bond (especially since he’ll be too old by the time that Daniel Craig leaves the role), and going back to the novels is certainly a good idea – especially since the original films did not hew too closely to the source texts anyway (with very few exceptions, like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service I am told). Anyway, there’s not much info at the moment about Bond 24, but I’m very intrigued at how this whole rumour pans out…