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Ain’t That A Bitch: NFL Fantasy Football

December 30, 2012

So, yeah. Been a while. There’s a little background for this one. Last season, I wound up second after being intensely involved in the league. I made a spreadsheet of the players I was hoping to get in the draft. I was making changes to the lineup once, maybe twice a week based on how I thought the players would preform next week. That level of dedication got me second place my first real time out.

This year, on the other hand, I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t participate in the draft, with all of my players picked by the computer. And I didn’t change around my roster at all. You know where I wound up? Before I tell you, go find a pen and paper or pull up a text editor and write down your guess for where I wound up in a field of twelve. I’ll give you some time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready? Fourth. I wound up fourth. By doing absolutely nothing.

If I’d scored three more points in last week’s game, I would have won the league.

I…I’m not even how that happens. Think about that for a moment. A team whose owner and head coach is completely uninvolved in any of the processes running the team goes on to first place in the league.

Ain’t that a bitch?

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Review: Dexter

December 4, 2012

First and foremost, UNICEF is raising money for children in Malawi schools to get desks. There are kids over there who are sitting on concrete floors and dirt floors, and it’s really doing a number their ability to learn. If you can, if you would like to give, you can do so here: UNICEF

Second, things are stabilizing a bit, but updates are still going to come in fits and starts for the foreseeable future. I won’t be following any schedule, which should help things.

And now, your featured presentation.

There is a Dexter video game.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Showtime series, Dexter is about a blood spatter analyst with the Miami police. And he kills people who evidence shows have been wrongly freed from the justice system. And collects their blood. Not in, like, jars or anything, but on microscope slides. Get it? Because he’s a foren-you get the picture.

There is a game based on this.

I am absolutely shocked that this game got made. Mainly because you play a killer. And it’s a game where you actively stalk and kill people (albeit, yes, people who are themselves killers). It’s kind of weird.

As for the game itself, it’s not bad. It follows closely the events of the first season, with the first kill in the game being Dexter’s first victim in the show, the choir director who was dead five minutes into the pilot. After that, you return to Dexter’s lovingly-rendered apartment where a message from his adoptive sister Debra awaits. And that’s where the game starts to impress me, because they got all of the voice actors to come in and reprise their roles for the game. And all of them give good reads, with the notable exception of Julie Benz who, in her defense, was about a season away from leaving the show.

The game itself isn’t bad – the first season is done well even if the graphics look a bit dated (c. 2005-ish). But the sticking point is that the game is kind of…unsettling, as a game where you play a serial killer might well be. It forces you to think like a serial killer to a certain point, and frankly that’s a place in my own head where I don’t want to go. And having Michael C. Hall’s dark narration over characters with soulless eyes really isn’t helping matters any.

I…I can’t recommend this game. But it’s not for anything in particular with the game. It’s the fact that the source material really shouldn’t have been adapted to a game. It just really gives me the creeps.

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Red Dawn – What the hell?

November 3, 2012

Okay.

I wasn’t going to say anything about the remake of Red Dawn, but fuck it.

I’m not even entirely sure where to start here. So, the premise of the original was Cubans and Soviet Russians airdropped into America’s back yard with the successful aim of taking over the country. That’s a movie I can watch. That’s something I can turn my suspension of disbelief on for. Especially when it’s coming at a time when the Soviet system is stumbling hard and they might try one last-ditch sneak attack, AKA 1984.

And then you have Red Dawn 2012, in which North Korea-stop. Just…just stop right there for a minute. I’m going to repeat that premise, because it bears repetition. North Korea. Invades. The United States. And wins.

what.

This is the exact same problem I had with the game Homefront. I’m going to start in on this from just a purely technological viewpoint. In fact, my technological argument can be summed up in one image.

 

You see that space between Seoul and southern China there that has exactly one light on? They’re the ones who are supposed to invade the United States and take it over. North Korea, the country with one light bulb. North Korea, the country that hasn’t invaded anybody with any real degree of success since 1950 (The 8th Army retreat doesn’t count, that was China). North Korea…third funny thing.

And the premise of the original only really worked out because at that point in time, the Soviet Union was still a juggernaut who a fair portion of Americans thought might actually drop the bomb any day now because they had nothing left to lose. Cuba and Nicaragua were really the only two Marxist powers in the West, but there’s no way they could have invaded independent of Soviet influence.

As for now, the only Marxist juggernaut left out there is China. Cuba’s got two Castros (one pushing ninety and the other five years younger) and a bunch of cars from the fifties, Venezuela has a potato-faced president who called Gadaffi “[A] great fighter, a revolutionary and martyr.”, and North Korea…well, that whole country is apparently run on a single potato battery. China’s the only real Communist threat out there, and I doubt they’ll attack directly because we buy all their cheaply made crap.

And now we come to the core reason that North Korea instead of China is attacking in the remake. China has more than four times the population of the United States and they like to watch movies over there, too. And what makes it worse, what pushes it over a line from confusing to downright racist is that all the changes they made were in post-production, consisting mostly of changing symbols from Chinese to North Korean. Because all Asians are the same, amirite? (Again, I am not right.) This is what the film’s producer said about the change:

“We were initially very reluctant to make any changes, but after careful consideration we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous Red Dawn that we believe improves the movie”

BULL. FUCKING. SHIT. You changed the invading army from Chinese to North Korean because North Korea only has one movie theater, and it’s in Kim Jong-Un’s house.

It didn’t have to be like this. Here’s, in my mind, what should happen if you need a Communist enemy after the fall of Communism. ALTERNATE HISTORY DAT SHIT. Seriously. Set up a timeline where Communism never fell. Make the United State the sole holdout against a worldwide wave of Socialism. Because that’s how to make Communists scary again. They have to be poised for global conquest or it just doesn’t work. Hell, even the original Red Dawn started with a spoonful of alt-history, what with almost all of Western Europe withdrawing from NATO and a Communist revolution in Mexico. None of that happened in real life, but it does set up a world where it feels normal for Americans to be scared of the Soviets. Really, when you’re dealing with Communists, it’s kind of an all-or-nothing proposal. It’s got to be the Russian Bear or nothing.

Man, it felt good to bitch about a movie online again!

 

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Hiatused…again

September 25, 2012

I hate to do it again, but things around here are well and truly fucked, so I’m going to have to go on hiatus again. And this time, it’s indefinite, because of the sheer preponderance of shit that has gone down, and believe me, it’s been building for a while.

First came my father being laid off by the school board in anticipation of funding cuts in November (this was back in early June). Then unemployment refused to cover him because the school board claimed that he quit. Then my maternal grandfather had a mini-stroke, my father was denied disability because our cars are worth too much, my cousin crashed the car we let my aunt borrow, and now my uncle’s threatened to leave her, even though none of us know where the fuck he’s going to go because his brother sure as shit won’t take him in.

Those last two happened just tonight. So yeah, it’s been a shit-caked couple of months.

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Review: Aces High and Prisoner of War

September 19, 2012

I’m…kind of hesitating about describing Aces High, because I’m not entirely sure how to go about it. Aces High is essentially a World War II-era combat simulator, but there’s more to it than that. There certainly are planes – there are a shitload of planes – but there are also ground vehicles, there’s a PT boat you can pilot, there are ground defense guns, and there are also aircraft carrier groups.

There are also a number of editors for the game: a terrain editor, which lets you create your own arenas to play in (I’m currently working on a Southern California one centered around LA), an object editor which I haven’t played around with enough to know what it does, even a cloud editor! You can edit how clouds form in the arenas! I…that is a level of incredible, almost obsessive depth that I am utterly unfamiliar with.

Hell, I recommend it even if you never go online with it. And I recommend not going online, because after two weeks there’s a monthly fee. Just be well aware that you’re going to need a proper joystick or a controller.

And then there’s Prisoner of War. This one is really easy to explain: USAAC Captain Lewis Stone and Lieutenant James “J.D.” Daly are shot down during a reconnaissance mission over Germany in the summer of 1944. Both men bail out and are eventually captured by the Wehrmacht (more specifically the German Army) and sent to a holding camp. During an escape from the camp, J.D. is shot and killed by General Stahl, in charge of at least a portion of Nazi weapons research and in the area purely by chance.

From there, Stone is bounced between Stalag Luft I and Oflag IV-C (better known as Castle Colditz) along the way getting roped into an English SOE operation to steal plans for a new type of V-rocket, calling for British bombers to launch a night raid on Stalag Luft I to destroy this new rocket before it can be launched at London (the raid itself is a goddamn miracle, because the bombers managed to hit the rocket and only the rocket), and to sabotage the weapons research taking place underneath Colditz.

The gameplay is heavily stealth based, and it is the only videogame I’ve seen that features soldiers of Nazi Germany and you aren’t shooting them. In fact, this game has the lowest bodycount of any World War II-era game that I’ve ever seen – exactly two people die. Three if you count one of the Colditz prisoners who is possibly taken to a concentration camp during your second visit to Stalag Luft.

But the most amazing thing about this game is that, despite being a decade old, it runs fine on Windows 7. Well, unless you count the fact that it doesn’t capture the mouse. That can get annoying sometimes.

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Review: McHale’s Navy

September 19, 2012

Well, let’s just face the facts: It was only a matter of time before Tom Arnold and Tim Curry would show up here. I’m just surprised that it was in the same movie. I feel that I should give some backstory on this one because it’s a little more obscure than Wild Wild West was.

McHale’s Navy ran from 1962-1968 and starred the late, great Ernest Borgnine. The series was spun off from a dramatic one-shot called Seven Against the Sea, in which McHale uses a stolen Japanese PT boat to assault a Japanese carrier. The series was…considerably lighter, mainly dealing with the comedic differences between McHale and his second-in-command, Ensign Parker.

And then we come to the modern remake. Tom Arnold plays the son of Quinton McHale, Quinton McHale. The younger McHale has just retired from military service, and now trades with the officers and enlisted at the San Ysidro Naval Base, in exchange for food and medicine for the people of San Moreno. The newly-arrived Capt. Binghampton (played by Dean “Al Calavicci” Stockwell) believes that the sailors have gone native, and confiscates the goods McHale’s been selling them.

Then Tim Curry shows up and generally starts making everybody’s lives hell, because he wants to steal missile launch codes. That’s the rest of the plot, it’s just McHale and Curry’s Vladikov fighting.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this movie in a good many years. From what I remember it wasn’t bad, but reading over the Wikipedia page, it sounds like they took an episode of the series and stretched it out to an hour and a half by adding post-Cold War plot elements.

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Current Events: Embassy Attacks & Mitt Romney

September 14, 2012

I’m going to start off with the attacks on the United States embassy and consulate, because that’s really the headline here. As you’re probably aware by now, late last Tuesday (this is local time, as far as the attacks are concerned) twelve protesters from a crowd of thousands scaled the walls of the United States embassy in Cairo, where they tore down the United States flag and raised a black one inscribed with the shahada. At ten P.M., an attack that has since come to be described as “al-Qaeda style” took place on the United States consulate in Benghazi, in which the US ambassador to Libya was killed, as were more than a dozen other diplomatic personnel.

It’s never easy to offer someone condolences on the death of a loved one. Especially in a situation like this, and with me in the position that I’m in. I’ve never had anyone come anywhere close to being in the line of fire like this, so I can’t even pretend to know what the families of the diplomats killed in these attacks are going through. But what I can say is this: These people who have been murdered so far away from home are some of the bravest people outside the military. They went to a foreign land to help an emerging democracy, and I can think of no better way to serve not only your country but all countries.

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