Monday, June 18, 2012

Silver Bullet Vs. The Night Shift

* = Fear is a powerful motivator.  This picture has made me afraid of cows.  I think the only solution is to eat them.  ALL OF THEM! 

It was a strangely productive weekend. In fact, shudder in collective fear those who read this drivel, we completed some home improvement tasks without assistance! That’s right yours truly used tools that didn’t involve breaking things. We changed the vents in the upstairs for better airflow. I have to say it worked beautifully. In addition, it was a nice example of the teamwork that I can have with only my wife. Only she’ll put up with my frustration at my personal ineptitude with tools. As angry as I can get at my inability to accomplish what should be, at least according to traditional gender roles, a simple task she is always there to calm me, re-direct me, and get me back on task. I know, I know I sound like one of my clients, but I have to admit I share that trait with many of the people I have served. When I become frustrated at my obvious flaws it’s enraging. I hate feeling inadequate. When things require that finesse and a bit of technical patience Ben simply wants to ‘SMASH’! Did you see that there? I just referred to myself in the third person, this means that the next time I see any of you in person you can punch me in my smug face.

Beyond the normal household duties and the home improvement tasks I also made time to watch the BBC version of The Green Man (*** out of 5).
It’s a strange little mini-series starring Albert Finney. I must admit, before it became a metaphysical/supernatural battle of ‘Good Vs. Evil’ I was enjoying the aspects of the story that were playing out like a good old fashioned Ghost Story. It’s strange to have a protagonist that has SO many unlikable traits, but is just so damn devilishly charming that you are drawn to him, that’s what Albert Finney pulls off in spades here. He’s a drunk, a Lech, a liar, a hypocrite, and seemingly incapable of seeing anyone else’s needs through besides his own. At the same time he’s gregarious, intelligent, and without fear. I won’t go into spoiler material here, but I will give you the basic rundown. Finney’s character runs a hotel and restaurant in a supposedly haunted place. Finney is married, has children, and is on at least his second wife; he’s also sleeping with just about woman who will go to bed with him, as well as drinking himself to death. It turns out the place IS haunted, and the entity that haunts it has some plans for Finney. Throw into that a talk with God, paganism, tree impalement, and the strangest threesome ever committed to film and you have a very quirky piece of film. Without Finney’s performance I think this thing folds in on itself because of the mediocre to bad special effects and the rapid changes in the tone, but with him it’s damn enjoyable. Not a ‘Must See’, but if you dig British Horror/Supernatural you could do much worse.

At the behest of my lovely wife we finally finished Season 2 of the American version of Being Human (*** out of 5).
What a bummer. You know the British show could be a downer, but the American version seems to languish in torturing its characters and giving the viewer’s lame ass cliff hangers. I want to like this show, we LOVED the British version, the actors are decent enough, it’s different but keeps most of the originals themes, and they’ve come at the material from an interesting and new perspective. However, it just can’t seem to get out of its own way. Sad and tortured does not mean interesting. Powerless to change is not entertaining. And I have to say when you have brow beaten your viewers with this for a season and then end in possibly one of the most unsatisfactory ways possible you are NOT inspiring me to want to jump back in. That’s a shame, because this seems to have all the parts and tools to be good, it’s just that the end product turns out to be ‘Blah’.

So I’m an unabashed Board Game Nerd, so it should strike no one as odd that I’m in current Internet Love with Will Wheaton’s Tabletop online show. This week they played a game I was completely unfamiliar with in Castle Panic. After watching this, I now WANT to own and PLAY this game! That’s the beauty of what Wheaton’s doing, he’s introducing people to all the wonderful games out there that you might have missed or that fill a niche that you didn’t know you’d be interested in. I for one enjoy Co-Op games and this one looks like a hoot with the right group. Don’t get me wrong I love competitive games as well, and if we can combine them like in ‘A Touch Of Evil’ (**** out of 5) then all the better. The fact is I don’t get to play games near as much as I’d like to, but when I do I want to play something that I love. Hence the reason I only seem to game with Dave. What I’m trying to say is I love you Dave. Oh and Games….

I think I’m going to make it my life’s work to make Dave as uncomfortable as possible every time I see him for at least the first five minutes. It’s an admirable goal. Oh I don’t know if you noticed, but another week passed so I’m obliged by the tenants of APE LAW to give you a Rise Of The Runelords mini preview!
This week we received our first look at the Common Goblin Warchanter! I have to say I’m a fan. Of course it’s another Goblin, so another variation on a theme, but as a DM can you really ever have enough Goblins or Kobolds? Really? I thought not. I dig that it’s a female, I like the yelling pose, the whip as a secondary weapon, and paint job that puts it smack dab in line with all the other Pathfinder Goblins. I’ll be picking up one for sure, maybe more depending on cost and ‘need’. In the next few weeks I’ll start to put together my ‘Buy’ list from this set, and based upon what I can remember about what I’ve written this might be a cheap set for me, and that’s a good thing.

Last week Cassandra sat down and watched Superman Vs. The Elite (**** ½ out of 5) with me.
Usually these animated flicks are hit and miss with her, she either is interested & enjoys them, like the tears shed at the end of All-Star Superman, or I’m watching alone, like Justice League: Doom. I was surprised that she showed any interest in this one, but she did and for the most part it didn’t disappoint. The premise is remarkably simple, a new super team shows up full of morally ambiguous anti-heroes and we’re left to wonder if Superman is still a viable entity. This is crux of almost every story since Alan Moore’s titular ‘Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow’. We, the readers, seem to be obsessed on why Superman is so hard to relate to. The fact is he’s not. He’s a morally centered man, who has to live every day with the fact that he’s not one of us. He routinely sacrifices parts of normality to help others, he is fallible, naïve, and beatable. He loves his family, he pines for Lois, and he has ginger headed scamp for a best friend. He is US. He’s just not the Us we want to be. We want to be ‘tortured’ or brooding like Batman, because it’s more nuanced or dark. It’s not. It’s not even more interesting. Watch All-Star Superman, or better yet you ignorant sods READ IT! Go on I dare you. Back yet? Good isn’t it? WRONG! It’s bloody brilliant. If you can read those 13 issues, and not feel a connection to the progenitor of the modern costumed hero than you, faithful reader, have no soul. I’m serious, you have no soul. But I digress; the film explores this theme extremely well wrapping it in the cloak of modernism versus the moral mantra of ‘Truth, Justice, & the American Way’. Should we kill our enemies, does absolute power corrupt absolutely, and can person make a difference. The last twenty minutes are especially fun, in a dark twisted way, as we FINALLY get to see what a really pissed off Superman is like. On a side note the art is a bit distracting. You can see how they are trying to mimic the comic work of Doug Mahnke who illustrated the Joe Kelly story this animated flick is based on. It just doesn’t translate well, especially Superman’s face at times. It really was the only complaint Cassandra and I had about the flick.

It’s a tad crazy to even be blogging today, as I had a class scheduled, but the inevitable happened and my person cancelled. I find myself grasping at straws a bit to finish this one up, so let’s end like we always do….


- Last night we put together a White Chicken Lasagna to have for dinner tonight. It wasn’t overly difficult to assemble, and it looks delicious. I do have to admit though it looks beyond rich. I’m optimistic about the flavor, but I’m already setting myself up mentally to only have one square for dinner tonight so I don’t keel over and die from the ‘heaviness’ of the dish.
- After we were done with that last night we turned our collective gaze to the DVR and finally sat through Mega-Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (Infinitely Bad, Seriously). See this picture;
 It looks amazing doesn’t it? I mean you see that you and think, ‘Man we’re going to see some sweet CGI fighting between two awesome monsters!’ Well you’d be wrong. This movie isn’t even MST3K worthy; it’s an endurance test of Awful. Not even the ‘acting’ of Deborah Gibson & Lorenzo Lamas (RENEGADE!) can save it from just being schlock appealing to the lowest common denominator. I actually felt dumber after sitting through it. Sigh. Now we just have to bite the bullet and get through Mega Pytho Vs. Gatoroid. Well at least we’ll get Deborah Gibson & Tiffany this time. Hooray us…
- If you’re not listening to the Nerdist Podcast, then you’re missing out on brilliance.
- I haven’t grilled in a while and I have some steaks and chicken marinating for tomorrow night. It’s not that I haven’t had the ‘itch’ to do it; it’s just that the weather has been crazy this year. Regardless tomorrow I’m grilling even if it’s under the awning.
- Yesterday Pink Floyd came on the stereo and I had to retreat to the basement as to not allow my wife to see how the grief that I sometimes carry around my soul like an albatross brought me low. For those that have lost loved ones, does it ever get any easier? It’s as if I’m living two separate lives; one of happiness, vibrancy, and love while at the same time over on Earth 2 I’m grieving this loss, feeling guilty about things beyond my control, and missing my father. Sometimes those two universes bleed together and I’m left with these momentary spasms of melancholy. They come on like an ‘attack’ and leave just as swiftly. It’s frustrating to feel bad about being happy. Happy belated Father’s Day ‘Big Love’, believe me when I say you are missed.
- I think in September we’re going to do our next Driveway Food War. It’ll be Grilled Pizza and I shall prevail, THIS I SWEAR!
- There has been loose talk and rumor about a Movie-A-Thon in two Fridays. The movies would be Iron Sky (Nazi’s In SPACE!), Black Dynamite (YES!), and Kill Or Be Killed (BIZARRE!). This one might have a real small turnout, but I don’t care. I haven’t seen the first two flicks, but they are insane exploitation flicks, so they are perfect to make fun of and the last is one of the craziest martial arts movies ever, so it’s ripe, low hanging comedic fruit.
- I hate being at work while Cassandra is home sick. So if you’re reading this gorgeous, I miss you and I’ll be home soon.

I wish I had something much more profound to say today, but frankly I’m just happy not to be grunting and banging two stones together. Happy Dinosaur Riding!

“You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.
You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it's going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older.
And in the end you'll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone.

I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone's expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything's done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer.

Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a pat on the back.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.”
* = Apparently Spider-Man is not a fan of nipple stimulus...

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