Tag Archives: Entertainment

Late to the party

I just started the eighth Amelia Peabody mystery two days ago.

Actually, I restarted it five years after I started it the first time. I’ve been borrowing it from my Mom all that time, but since Elizabeth Peter’s books are only about 6-7 dollars for the Kindle I picked it up for that and have been moving along at a merry pace. The series is now over, or at least has reached as far into the forward chronology as it’s going to, and it’s nice to know I’ll have another eleven books to read after I finish this one.

I never keep current with anything that is currently airing, or releasing or whatever. My one kind of exception to this is John Scalzi’s “The Human Division”, but I’m already a week behind so I better catch up. But more specifically I’m talking about TV I like.

Here’s how it tends to work for me, either I watch some of the show, determine I like it, and then wait for the DVD or Netflix to watch the rest, or I think maybe I’d like it, file it away, and watch it years later, often when it’s over.

I’d like to say it’s because I don’t have time for all that TV, and that is part of it. Even with a DVR, there are a lot of forces that want you to keep your appointment with TV, whether it’s filling DVR drives, or wanting to watch the episode you just saw a preview for and realizing you’ve got ten more before you can get there. But I do watch a lot of TV shows, on Netflix or on DVD.

I recently discovered Chuck. Chuck‘s right in my wheel-house, both in terms of the humor (particularly Adam Baldwin from Firefly), and that’s a show that probably could’ve used my help when it was airing (it had to be sponsored by Subway in its third season). I knew it was airing, I just never followed it. But now I can shotgun whole seasons, and know the size of my investment (5 seasons).

Same goes for Fringe (which I’ll probably watch in a year or two), Castle (which I followed for a couple of seasons and then gave up hope), How I Met Your Mother (which we discovered while season 6 was airing, I tend to like to watch the new episodes in “six-packs” so you can see more of the connections), The Big Bang Theory (don’t tell me anything).

Ironically it’s been NBC comedy that’s been the best at keeping my loyalty (Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock’s last season, and Go On (okay I want Matthew Perry to succeed like the rest of you), though Up All Night lost me when they got rid of Maya Rudolph’s show and changed the formatting.

As for books I might finally read the first Wheel of Time now that I know that mess is over. It’s nice to be able to blaze through, without having to wait for cliff-hangers or long spells between books or not knowing how many 1000 page tomes you’ll have to sift through. Sure you risk spoilers, and you don’t have the same experience as everyone else, but good writing and good TV will stand up to both those tests.

What do you follow currently, and what are you putting off for later?


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On Valentine’s Day, You Won’t Die Hard Alone

This valentine’s day take your special someone to the movie she really wants to see, A Good Day To Die Hard.

Here for the first time, courtesy of myself and the Little Red-Haired Girl, is the definitive list of alternate titles for Die Hard V:

– Old Habits Die Hard

– Only The Good Die Hard

– Live Long And Die Hard

– All Good Things Must Die Hard

– Eat, Pray, Die Hard

– Live And Let Die … Hard

– Kiss Kiss, Die Hard

– Die Hard: The Musical

– Crawl Into A Hole And Die Hard

– Die Hard And Goodnight

– Die Hard Another Day

– Eat, Drink and Be Merry … For Tomorrow We Die Hard

– Let Them Die Hard

– 50 Ways To Die Hard

– CSI: Die Hard

– A Very Special Die Hard Christmas

– Die Hard Unchained

– Die Hard V: Die Hardest

– Die Hard, Charlie Brown

– Chitty Chitty, Die Hard

– Tomorrow Never Dies Hard

– The Man Who Died Hard

– Born To Die Hard

– Die Hard With Me

– Don’t Speak, Die Hard

– A Die Hard Day’s Night

– A Die Hard State Of Mind

– Another Day To Die Hard

– Be Of Good Cheer And Die Hard

– Show Me How To Die Hard

– Forgive And Die Hard

– I Would Die Hard For You

– Ticket To Die Hard

And don’t forget the official movie tie-in:

Monopoly – The Die Hard Edition

Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!


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The act of creating dangerously

How much are we willing to sacrifice for our creative endeavors?

This is one of the central questions in a documentary about independant game developers, Indie Game: The Movie. The movie follows three teams in various stages of production, from pushing to the finish line, to not being sure how to react once you get there.

I was interested in this movie not only because I was familiar with several of the games covered (Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez), but as a programmer and `creative type`. All of the teams in this movie were staking their financial, professional and personal futures on their game (the developer of Fez said he`d commit suicide if his game was a flop). All were spending long hours, sacrificing food, sleep, time with loved ones or even hope of a social life, all to do something great.

It`s a romantic notion in a way, giving yourself fully to art. I`ve always believed in a more moderated approach, with a day job and attempts to have a real life, a real marriage. It is not a small thing though to ask a spouse to sacrifice time together for the sake of a nights programming or writing. It`s certainly something that has to be at the core of the relationship from the beginning, as it was for one of the Team Meat developers. But even in that case there are often questions as to whether it was worth it, whether it would be better to walk away or whether you are in too deep to quit now.

It`s important to face these questions head on rather than let them sneak up on you. But often the work of just doing a thing gives us little time for reflection. That`s one of the reasons I appreciate the forum of this blog. It gives me a chance to sit quietly in a coffee shop and talk to good friends about this thing we`re all trying to do.

Also at the center of this movie is the question of how to react if something you create is loved for the wrong reason. I think we all want to be like the married Team Meat programmer who can just watch TV on release day ignoring stats and comments. But at heart we`re obsessives, wanting to know how something is doing, wanting to know if people get it, and maybe trying to explain ourselves if we think they don`t. Should we explain ourselves, with social media we can, but we also risk being chided as being pretentious. Creative works are democratic, people can enjoy them however they like, but it can be hard if someone appreciates your work ironically rather than for what you wanted to say.

Indie Game: The Movie not only gives us a picture into how our favorite things are made, but challenges those in creative fields as to what they really might be getting into. We all have to think about it sometime, but happily for many of us it is still worth it.

Indie Game: The Movie is available on Netflix and for one more week as part of Humble Bundle 7. It contains a fair bit of salty language, and some Aqua Teen Hunger Force-esque content, so consider yourself warned. Worth the wade though.

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Big Deal. We Made Star Trek 7 Back In ’94.

As you might have guessed (full disclosure), I’m a Trekkie (and a B5’er or whatever you call people who like Babylon 5). But it’s not because I hate Star Wars, or think Star Trek is somehow better (I just watched an episode of Next Gen that basically involved the Enterprise fighting a flying pirogi). In fact I love the original trilogy, and even some moments of the prequel trilogy (if nothing else from an ironic stance).

But I don’t know if Disney’s the right fit.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that we’re getting George Lucas out of the picture. That man has been screwing with a good thing for years. The special edition re-release was one thing, but all the additional tweaking and nonsense in the BluRay releases is just ridiculous. It’s worse than the fifteen releases of Blade Runner! Give me my crummy special effects (I’m looking at you too CBS for your Star Trek: Original Series “remaster”), and Han shot first dammit!

And as bad as the prequel trilogy was it was by no means the worst thing to happen to Star Wars. For that we only need look to the dozens of TERRIBLE video games (interspersed with some excellence), the animated Clone Wars, and well, anything Clone Wars related (sorry kids). Hell, my favorite series took 11 movies to make six good ones, so I can cut the Warsies (?) some slack on this one.

And Disney at first glance doesn’t seem like a bad choice. Star Wars isn’t just for the sci-fi crowd after all, it’s fun for the whole family, and nobody does that better than Disney. I’m actually reasonably certain that Star Wars 7 will be excellent, it’s 8 and 9 I’m worried about. I’m not convinced Disney is good at series. Just take Pirates of the Carribbean. The first movie is an excellent romp with a nice love interest, a lot of action and humor. By the end of the third movie, the main love interest is dashed, as one part of it is doomed to steer the dead home and only see his love once every ten years (after knocking her up of course, cause nothing says love like dooming people to single parenthood). And did we really need a Cars II, or any of the direct to video nonsense Disney produces?

And for that matter, do we really want a company that likes to put things in a vault in charge of when and how we get to see Star Wars?

On the up side, I bet there’s a reasonable chance the original movies will see theatrical re-releases prior to the new movie, and that’s always fun. And Disney has had decent success with Marvel super hero properties (hell if you can get Joss to write the Avengers, why not a little lightsaber action?).

I think Star Wars is always going to be a generational argument (and I mean quite literally given the almost twenty years between the start of each trilogy). The originals will always be the best in my heart, and I don’t feel like I need anything else, but that won’t stop Disney from making Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money (though if they did make that I’d definitely watch it). A new generation will grow to love this new trilogy, and maybe cast a glance at what came before, and that’s fine.

And you know what, I’ll watch too, especially if a promo has Donald Duck saying “may the forks be twith you.”

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