Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Skins 3 a Sell Out?

Season 3. Stereotypes. Cliche. Banal TV for suburban tweens whose parents have too much dosh. Done.

The first episode sets the tone for the whole season and by the looks of it, the Brits too, can sell out. Download it if you must but be forewarned. It's like 90210 with ACTUAL teenagers as opposed to 40 year olds trying to look like 'em. It's like Degrassi with accents and pot. Oh I hate to say this out loud..... but it's bordering on Ready Or Not ......without the drums. You know what it is? It's Skins season 1 but without any of the good stuff. In fact, Effy, who WAS a great character who carried over onto the new seson, doesn't even seem like the same person. She's lost her dark and gothic silence. She's just a predictable slag. Do the writers expect us to believe she has to manipulate the boys just to get laid? It's high school and she's well fit. Plus, she was trained by the master, Tony, her big brother. She is smarter than that and if she's going through the trouble of manipulating a gaggle of boys it would be for something more useful.

The only other character introduced last season was Penelope - a fairly pathetic and naive young lady too innocent for her own good. Great sidekick for Effy, the dark horse. The possiblities there are endless and yet they've turned Penelope into a bumbling Six from Blossom!

As for the other characters I'm not even sure they're worth mentioning. The nerdy brainiac, (can't act), THE GUY WITH THE FEDORA (from Degrassi) who will inevitably fall for Effy and experience unrequited love, the drunken jock who has boobs on the brain (the biggest loser of all is the first to get lucky?!).

The one interesting character is the quiet-going-to-go-postal twin. Maybe that willl turn into something but her sister is so cliche I can barely watch. I mean, the good twin bad twin story is well over done and better suited to comedy or daytime soaps. It's like All My Children without Todd and Thad. Like Another World without Vicky and Marley.

Looks like season 3 will be a yard sale. Another one bites the dust. It was too good to be true.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Buzz off

The urban dictionary defines the word buzz as such:

  1. Anything that creates excitement or stimulus; The feeling experienced by someone in a stimulated state; Gossip.
  2. The effect of getting high off of something, such as drugs or caffeine.
  3. the feeling of being inebriated from alcohol or any mind-altering substance

The urban dictionary defines the word word like this:

  1. A versatile declaration, originating (more or less) in hip-hop culture. "Word" has no single meaning, but is used to convey a casual sense of affirmation, acknowledgement, agreement, or to indicate that something has impressed you favorably. Its usage among young blacks has been parodied ad nausea among clueless suburban whites.
  2. Word is the shortened form of the phrase: "my word is my bond" which was originated by inmates in U.S. prisons. The longer phrase was shortened to "word is bond" before becoming "word," which is most commonly used. It basically means "truth." Or "to speak the truth."
  3. to concur; agree; well said

The urban dictionary defines the term buzzword as such:

  1. (n.) Ambiguous word (often hyphenated) that is repeated over and over to win support for a cause. use of buzzwords is not exclusive to any side of the political spectrum, or any particular opinion on any matter.
  2. A contemporary yet cliched word, saying or catchphrase, often used by incompetent managers in an attempt to motivate staff. Which fails.
  3. A buzzword is a term or phrase that sounds good, but means nothing. Buzzwords are widely used in the media, advertising, politics and other sections of society.

Observation of the first: In popular culture English, as a language, is inconsistent.

Observation of the second: Buzzwords can also be defined as the same whiny moan you hear all night long when a mosquito is trying to get at your jugular. Know where this blog is going?

Buzzwords just won't go away.

Buzzwords are insects in the family Irritatidae. They have a pair of scaled wings, a pair of consonants, a vowel or two, a shallow body, and long legs. The females of most buzzword species suck blood (hematophagy) from your brain, which has made them the most deadly disease vector (OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT TERM) known, killing millions of people over thousands of years and continuing to kill millions per year by the spread of infectious parroting.

Most species are marketing feeders. During the heat of the day most buzzwords rest in a cool place and wait for someone with no original thought to come along. They may still bite if disturbed. Buzzwords are adept at infiltration and have been known to find their way into residences via deactivated inspiration.

Feeding habits:
In order for the buzzword to obtain a blood meal from your brain it must surmount the vertebrate physiological responses. The buzzword, as with all blood-feeding jargon, has evolved mechanisms to effectively block creativity with their overuse and meaninglessness.

Control of buzzwords:
There are many methods used for buzzword control. Some target the larval stage, while others are used to kill or repel full blown phenomena. Much of modern buzzword control is no longer dependent on marketers but specialized THINKERS that eat buzzwords, or infect them with a disease that kills them. However, outbreaks of human buzzword-borne ignorance may still result in fogging with products that are less toxic than those used in the past.

Natural predators:
The smart account person eats buzzwords at all stages of development and is quite effective in controlling populations by simply allowing them to pass through their digestive systems and leaving them where they belong - in the crapper. Although writers and art directors can be prodigious consumers of buzzwords, many of which are pests, less than 1% of their diet typically consists of buzzwords. However, they too exhibit cannibalistic behavior and as such can reduce the population of buzzwords by coming up with ideas and original thoughts - the most effective control known to all marketing kind.

Historical reference:
Ancient tomes assert that the Roman Emperor Titus, who destroyed a temple, was punished by God who sent a buzzword up Titus' nose, picking at his brain, ceaselessly buzzing, driving him crazy and eventually causing his death.

The moral of that story is so clear I won't even bother to state it. The moral of today's blog is this:

Get original! THINK. Have thoughts of your own. Get an opinion. You must stand out above all others because the competition is fierce. That competition will grow exponentially in the next year. Add the speed at which technology advances to that equation and you are going to see a colossal fight for power over the digital space.

It's coming soon to an industry near you.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for supplying me with linguistic inspiration.)

Forcing an outcome

You can't do it.

Why radio won't die

It's like the internet but with words.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vive la Faust

Okay so I gotta say that Canadian Robert Lepage is a bit of a frikkin' star and I am not ashamed to say that I am jealous of his talent. That's right, I wish I had that kind of talent.

What he's done with Faust at the Met is nothing short of genius. I'm not an opera fan but I'm a fan of the play, which I studied in my Renaissance English class back in the university days. You know the one, it's the story of the guy who sells his soul to el diablo in exchange for the knowledge of necromancy. The play with Mephistopheles who's famous for saying things like

"Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?"

because he really teed the lord off, who cast him out. He regrets doing what he did but it's now his job to recruit new souls and seeing as how Faust is a miserable old curmudgeon who tries to commit the sin of suicide, he's ripe for the pickin'.

Anyways...great play that is proceeded by a great story and someone named Berlioz wrote an opera about it. So I went to the opera. Just because of Marlowe's version. There's a great picture of Marlowe here. I should be more specific and say that I didn't go to the opera, I went to the live HD broadcast OF the opera because I don't live in NY and even if I did I would never get tickets because I'm sure that sold out long before I even heard it was happening. Why do I think that? Because the HD broadcast of the show sold out so fast they added a second theatre. I've never seen so many geriatrics in one place. Not even in a retirement home.

Anyways...let's get back to why I was blogging about this in the first place. Robert Lepage. You might know him from Cirque du Soleil, our most creative export ever. He designed one of the best interactive experiences I've ever seen. The technology he used allowed the singers’ motion and voices to trigger and affect video projected onto the stage. So when the music swells, the video is instantly changed. He used layers of projections and screens to create a 3D effect, which is pretty ingenious considering it's already in 3D. Imagine a giant scaffold and at the top is a rowboat and when someone falls into the "water" below, which is projected, it triggers an entire underwater experience live on stage. Using silhouettes of galloping horses and unlit actors on wires he was able to float a dozen horses and their jockeys above the stage. Just the scaffold itself was brilliant. At one point you actually experience a complete mind freak when the x and y axis of your field of vision are morphed. I can't even describe this without spending too much time on it and I'll not do it justice otherwise. Just know that it's quintessential Cirque du Soleil but without the lady singing in that fake language they use, which was cool once but y'all can cut it out now. Enough with the la fluuuutillle de nexxoooos bonnnapooo shannnaa shannnna. We get it. You're global. You're cross-cultural. Enough.

But that is an aside.

So look if you missed the Met Faust on HD you can see it again. TOMORROW. Saturday
January 17, 2009. 1:00 PM (EST). Look, I'm not telling you what to do but if you miss that you're a complete twatter. Just go to cineplex.com and get a ticket if you still can. Go. Trust me. Read more about it here if you're a geek. Go geek go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


*Beware stream of consciousness below. No grammar. Warning. Warning*

Yes, I'm late playing this game but you know what? I'm sick of buying games that every one says are great and then they don't turn out to be so great. And you waste your time and you're all excited about playing a new game and you get into it right at the beginning and then it all goes to complete shite.

Like Dead Space. It's listed as one of the best games of 2008 but can you say "repetitive" beyond all get out? Good then say it. As a matter of fact, you can say it over and over until the makers of Dead Space get really bored of you saying it. Just like I got really bored of killing the same HR Geiger Tony Scott Ridley Aliens 1 2 3 4 Resurrection 3D Jason Predator RIP OFF creature that is somehow supposed to .... I don't know what .... scare me? Gross me out? Surprise me? Whatever. The game had such promise! Promise, I tell you! But....

It's just a video game version of the very bad Bill Murray (blecccch) Andie MacDowell movie, Groundhog Day .... except it's in space! With no Sigourney Weaver to make it interesting. Bah! I gave up from sheer boredom by level 4 but wait....

I did go back for more.

That's right I gave that game it's second life! Second chance. And all that happened was exactly what I expected: A really big boss at the end of level fill in the blank who turns out to be "unbeatable" unless.... you hop to the top and hit him 3 times with a barrel....no wait...the barrel has to be on fire....no wait...you have to jump from the top corner to the bottom right corner to the left corner back to the top AND THEN throw a boomerang....no wait....flip him on his back and kill him that way....no wait...you throw a turtle at him and wait until Mario comes along with Princess Peach and .... no wait....you have to open an account with RBC and then write a story nominating your chef to get entered into the first draw where you sit in the doctor's office on flu shot day where you.....no wait...isn't this supposed to be a first person shooter? Isn't this supposed to be a game for grown ups? Why are we still using the same old platform big boss level garbage from 1983? Seriously? If I wanted to play a platform game with a big boss level I'd play NINTENDO MARIO FILL IN THE BLANK. I paid for a creepy horror deep space thriller kind of game where I expect to be really involved in a cool story with cool characters and cool stuff to do. What did I get for my money? Insanity. By definition I paid for insanity. Repetitive actions repeatedly where you repetitively repeat but expect a different result.

With all the money the video game industry makes.....yeah you....I'm talking to YOU, video game industry! You can't come up with something else for me to do at the end of a level? With all this money you're making you can't possibly conceive of something new, or interesting or clever or ANYTHING different? I have to flip the boss around and shoot him in the soft spot? THAT'S WHAT ONE OF THE BEST GAMES OF THE YEAR HAS TO OFFER? Fie. You should be ashamed. Hang thy head in shame, video game industry! Look! You're even making me use expletives!!

I sold Dead Space back to the shop. At a loss of $30. Of course.

Instead...Drake's Fortune. Now here's something interesting. Great characterization. All these different tasks and jungle and treachery and very .... ummm... Indiana Jones in terms of presentation. Cool! Hunting for treasure in an ancient city. Cool. Air, sea, desert, jungle...COOL. But wait ... what's this .... zombies? Killer fast zombies en masse? But wait a minute where the hell did these things come from. So far (albeit fantastic) it's a pretty believable plot.... But ... what are the zombies doing here? And what do you mean I have to KEEP STARTING THIS PARTICULAR LEVEL OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN? Why this level? I was able to save my game in all the previous levels that didn't have all these insane killer zombies coming at me!

It's not that I oppose zombie games...it's just that I DIDN'T BUY A ZOMBIE GAME. And I most certainly DID NOT buy a zombie game like this. Where I play 18 levels that have no zombies and the last few levels are zombie ridden. Infested. Why would I buy a zombie game like that?

So what happened, video game developers? Yeah, YOU! I'm talking to you, video game developers. Did your creative department take ill and you just couldn't wait to finish the story so you decided to toss in a gaggle of zombies that are as dumb as a bag of hammers and as ugly as a bag of monkeys' arseholes? Did zombies take over your studio and force you to include zombies by holding their arms out at you and biting things? Did a mysterious zombie plague (Like in World War Z) take over the planet and it just hasn't reached this neighbourhood yet so I don't know yet that you are all dead and now zombies and have taken up the cause to promote zombie-ism in our fair country? Did you just have a bad day and decide to take it out on us? By robbing us of our $60? WHAT HAPPENED? WHERE DID ALL THE ZOMBIES COME FROM?

I sold Drake's Fortune back to the shop. At a loss of $30. Of course.

So now we're on to Metal Gear Solid 4. Don't worry, I won't disrespect the game. I know it's game of the year and all. I didn't play any of the previous Gears so maybe I'm missing something in terms of plot but ... yeah it's pretty cool.

I love the stealth stuff cuz it's THRILLING....really gets the ticker going to be waiting around like that while there's a sniper on a roof. Uh-huh. The acting is pretty good and there are tons of weapons. Uh-huh. And I'm only just really getting into this game (I think. I don't even know how long the game is.) But I'm not going to keep silent about how stupid the Laughing Octopus scenario was. Really.

Love the fact that there are these killer chick soldiers and yabbady yabbada and I can even excuse how goofy the Octopus costume is because of the camo feature but I gotta say .... the laughing the whole time. Bad-acting, laughing, not good-acting laughing. Not scary, creepy laughing like "Dang, she's messed up!" laughing. Just weird bad laughing. Irritating. Didn't make any sense to me. I'm like "What the hell is that thing laughing at?" See, she looks like a machine so why she finds anything funny escapes me right off the bat. I know, I know. You're thinking "You don't even get it yet. You don't get that it's part human and there's a story there. You're just too critical." Uh-huh. Well, here's the thing. It was bad enough that the thing was laughing incessantly but then....when I found out why ... well ... I kind of had to drop the game down a notch or two because it's just a stupid back-story that is one of the most useless back-stories ever. It's an especially stupid and useless back-story because I learned the back story AFTER I killed the thing and then I didn't even care. In fact, Snake doesn't care, neither. He even says so after the back-story scene is over. So what the hell was that for? Why put that whole scene in the game? Kind of a waste of time, no?

And what's worse is that after you pull all the camo armour off her, she becomes Laughing Beauty and she's all blonde and gorgeous and her hair is flipping in the *wind* (why is it even windy inside all of a sudden?) and she just won't stop laughing until she ... I don't know ... is shot 100 times and then somehow feels a bit of .... what is that? Regret? We don't even know until 10 minutes later.

And wait there's more weirdness....she's a HUGGER. Yeah, you read that correctly. After her armour comes off. After she spends all that time laughing and trying to blow your head off. After you watch her pull other people apart, you shoot off her armour off and she tries to hug you. Repeatedly. And you have to escape her evil hug. The evil hug of a hot killer blonde octopus robot stripped of her robotness. Yep.

Well, I guess I can't complain because that's the BEST GAME OF THE YEAR solution to the platform big boss challenge - you can only defeat it when you pull of it's armour and let it hug you.

I can't complain.