The Animal Farm

March 29th, 2009

Cranberries

Most of my (free) time as of late has either been spent with Laura watching Weeds, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Mad Men or sitting in quiet isolation reading Fables and Scott Pilgrim. Or jogging in short shorts. Say what now? You’ll have to read to find out.

I’ve talked at length about Weeds, so I won’t reiterate. It’s Always Sunny (IASIP henceforth) was suggested by coworkers, and I found the first two seasons at FYE for $20 combined and couldn’t pass that up. It’s a very indy show, almost Lonely Island-esque, and very funny. Basically about three guys and a gal running a bar (in the second season Danny Devito joins this group). I’m sorry, let me reword that last sentence. Basically about three f-ing crazy guys and an f-ing crazy gal running a bar. The show alternates between inane and witty, subtle humor (mostly leaning toward inane), and it takes a few episodes to really find its groove, but once it takes off it’s a fantastic show all the way to the finish line.

Mad Men is one of only a handful of serious shows I’ve been watching. It’s about ad executives in the early ’60s, focusing on the adventures of hot shot Don Draper. And it would seem Draper has a mysterious past. I haven’t gone too far in to know fully how I feel about the show, but I know it’s good and I enjoy it thus far.

While we’re on TV, I’ll go ahead and address the BSG finale. It was OK I guess. I’m one of only a handful that has liked the show from start to finish; admittedly it’s been bogged down in a few spots and never quite recaptured the luster of the first season, and some of the decisions were… unfortunate (Ellen). But I always had a good time. They wrapped up most everything, if not somewhat anticlimactically. The “opera house” was a big letdown, and the way the colony ship was nuked was farcical. Still, who doesn’t get a little choked up when Roselin dies?

On to Fables. Someone at work tipped me off to this graphic novel; having just wrapped up Y, I thought I’d try it out. It’s about various fairy tale characters hiding in the real world after being forced out of their own worlds. The story starts with a crime scene and a lot of blood and follows the investigation by the Big Bad Wolf and Snow White. I’m close to wrapping up the first volume, and I’m fair-certain I’ll start (slowly) acquiring the others.

Scott Pilgrim was Ricky’s suggestion. It’s about a normal 23 year old in a band with a high-school girlfriend. Oh, and he falls in love with a different girl and to date her he has to defeat her seven evil ex boyfriends. Normal stuff, really. The writing is pretty good, and it’s a fun comic, though it starts to get a little over-the-top-crazy during the battles. We’ll see how the second volume turns out.

Ah, right, I promised you something for the end here. Laura insisted we go jogging. I don’t have any jogging clothes, being a mostly stuffy person whose closet is filled almost strictly with button-down shirts. She just happened to have some in her trunk that belonged to her brother. I looked very girly. The end.

It’s not nearly as dramatic as body bombing a group of six year old girls.

March 22nd, 2009

Dollhouse will return in 60 seconds…

It might not be the best show I’ve watched, but it is entertaining me for the time being.  Dollhouse is a very episodic show.  Every episode we are given a little morsel of overarching plot to chew on near the end of the episode and the rest is just stuff that only matters for the 60 minutes the show exists that week.  Still though, it is keeping me entertained.  Seeing Helo and Romo from BSG is nice :).

Speaking of BSG, its over.  Ricky and I watched the 2 hour series finale this weekend.  All in all, I am happy with the ending.  They left very little of the really important bits up to speculation.  I am not going to say more than that, as I am unsure whether or not Brian has seen the episode yet.  I look forward to his rating of the show.  I will say that the 4 or 5 episodes leading up to Daybreak parts I and II really put a sour taste in my mouth.  I am really happy Daybreak parts I and II were good, because I would’ve hated for the series to just curl up and die.

Szarko and I saw Watchmen a few weekends ago and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I bought the graphic novel after seeing the movie and it almost appears as if they used it for the story board.  Very little is different between the two.  That’s a good thing, the movie was really good.

I got to hang out with Ricky and Szarko this weekend, its always nice seeing those guys.  When I moved down here I had it in my head that I would be seeing Brian, Ricky, and Szarko as much as I could.  Turns out as much as I could isn’t as much as I thought.  It is really hard for me to get a free weekend where other people aren’t doing anything and I am up for traveling.  I mean, I have free weekends often enough but they are usually scattered in between trips home for wedding planning or other things and I just don’t have the will to drive 6 to 9 hours when I do get a free weekend.  I am still trying to figure out when I can visit Brian, haven’t been to NC yet, and I need to be.

Zach

“I’m not stuck here with you, YOU’RE stuck here with ME!”

March 21st, 2009

Resident Evil 5/Weeds/Happy Fun Times

Had a chance to spend some quality time with Resident Evil 5, which is a lovely splendid game that lived up to every expectation. People are saying this isn’t survival horror, which I guess is true in that the zombies don’t have green faces, but that’s about the only justification. When a crazy-fast maniac with a chainsaw chases me around a confined level, ignoring my limited number of bullets and absorbing various explosive barrels, I get pretty terrified. Then when I kill him and he gets back up after luring me to his body for a key (a classic horror movie ploy that I really didn’t see coming), my fear is heightened.

The only real changes in atmosphere are that the world is less confined and more takes place during the day, which are both complaints I’m willing to ignore because cramped dark hallways are boring. I can’t take another game that’s strictly dark tones and drab environments. Conversely, we still have things jumping out at us, creepy bosses, high-stress enemies, and hordes lurching in as ammo dwindles. I’m happy where things are. The rest of you can turn your TV’s brightness down.

My only complaint is that the story here is a little light. Resident Evil’s never had an amazing story, but there are always a few highlights in there. This one is fairly straightforward, having covered most of the major plot points & twists in the previous games. It’s not a bad story, it’s very solid, it’s just not especially gripping.

Moving on.

I had a chance to see Weeds Season 4. Still one of the best shows around, though they’ve made some dubious choices. A lot more nudity this time around, which was kind of Meh even though Mary-Louise Parker is one of the most gorgeous women ever. More comedy. Andy steals every scene he’s in. I don’t have much to say here. The whole season feels a bit short.

So apparently Dunkin’ Donuts is not open 24 hours here, which is criminal. Open ’til 11? That’s barely night! We called and someone answered their phone at 3 AM but nobody was there upon arrival. Which is weird. Laura hypothesized that they showed up early to start making donuts, which is as good a guess as any.

Oh, right, Watchmen. I still haven’t talked about that. Pretty good, actually. A 95% faithful adaptation of the graphic novel. More action, which was mostly welcome. Gruesome. Very gruesome. And one of the campiest 80’s-porn-style sex scenes since, well, the 80’s. I couldn’t help but giggle like a twelve year old boy.

Lunchtime is nearly over, so it’s back to work for me.

Mr. Flowers?

March 13th, 2009

Don’t Do Me Like That

Dungeons and Dragons.

It’s not a phrase with which I ever expected to begin a post. I’d managed to dodge this game for 25 years now - or am I 26? God I’m old. I never intended to play, nor did I have anything more than a vague curiosity. As far as extremely geeky things go, this was one I could’ve lived my entire life without and never looked back.

But Max. She’s a tricky one. She conned me one day, tricked me into ignoring general disinterest along with varied social anxieties. And thus Lambda was born, an Eladrin rogue and all-round trickster/confidence man. He was named after Lambda Calculus, not just the Lamda letter, so you know he’s for real. He spent most of his formative game claiming he was a lawyer and weaseling out of situations. And he got murdered by a minotaur. These things happen.

For a first game, it was both better than I expected and worse than I’d hoped. Basically it was a bunch of people goofing off around a table, sometimes rolling some dice to see the extent to which they goofed off. It had its moments of fun, but it suffered from the same problem I think any game suffers when you get more than four people - everything takes so bloody long. Simple decisions stretch on, and even a common combat encounter can suck away an inordinate amount of time. I think it could’ve been better had I been in a group of people I knew and was familiar with, people I could naturally react off of and interact with, but that was not the case. Whatever.

I’m playing again. I just returned from a character building session which saw the birth of — Ricky, I hope you’re reading this — Dr. Juicebag (pronounced Ju-ees-bak), the Dwarven wizard/scientist with an angry German demeanor, or as German as you can get in a world that has no concept of Europe. Will I have fun this time? I don’t know. The group’s just as large and just as foreign. But I know my way around the rules better, I won’t fumble quite so much. This all throws down Sunday, kids. Let us hope I have a good story to tell. For your sakes.

I mean she was smokin’.

March 9th, 2009

Whys and Why Fors

Street Fighter 4 is insanely difficult. Have I mentioned this? I regularly get brutalized on Very Easy. Very Easy.

I finished Y: The Last Man a little ways back. It’s a good series. The finale is anticlimactic, but really, there was nothing that could have matched the grandeur of the beginning of the story, and everything wraps up well regardless. Yorick’s a good character who actually grows throughout the story, although some of his ‘realizations’ seem forced. They do a good job of giving backstory without thrusting us into a complete life history. 355’s backstory was kind of shoved in - one minute they’re running from cannnibals, the next minute she has a flashback to her decidedly cannibal-free past. The art is solid and the progression smooth. It’s expensive - spanning ten volumes at nearly $15 a piece - so it’s not a purchase for everyone.

Best Buy is having a 50%-off anime sale until the 21st, and I’ve already hit up the two local shops. Quite the haul. I couldn’t find Cowboy Bebop, Noir, Hellsing, or Evangelion, which were what I was primarily hunting, but there was still a lot of good stuff in there. I’ve never heard of Coyote Ragtime and picked it up solely based on its name. I’ll let you know if the rest holds up.

Oh, and Saturday night was weird. I’m not going to go into it. I just want you to know it was very, very weird. And fun. But weird.

Apple of doom.

March 7th, 2009

Is 74 Degrees

And I love it!

It’s times like these I wish I didn’t live in a consantly trafficked area.  I would love to take out the car and drive around for a while, jamming to music with all the windows down.  I am sure there are some areas I could drive to to do that, but I’m not that familiar with the outskirts to do it.

Still though, this weather is so awesome.  Looks like the mid-week predictions say it’ll get into the 40s again by Friday, so I better enjoy this while I can.

Zach

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