29 July 2007

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRR...

..RRRRRRRGH!!!

I just stepped on a goddamn plug that was lying pins up on the floor! Damn that stung.

So! What else is on my mind today? And, obviously, not in my foot!

Yet another great, yet somehow cancelled show - Dead Like Me. I don't understand why I keep falling in love with shows that get cancelled - or, indeed, have been cancelled for ages! But it keeps happened. Dead Like Me is an enormous amount of fun; it's apparently a 'Bangsian fantasy'. And that, for those - like me - who have/had no clue what that means, the Wiki page is very informative. But in short, it's set partially or wholly in the Afterlife. And it's about Reapers - ordinary people who die, and then get drafted into the employ of the Divine (or something) to reap souls!

It's got a fantastically morbid sense of humour - some of the deaths that the main characters have to reap are hilarious, as is the occasionally totally insane dialogue. The main characters are all drawn from varioius parts of modern history - they are, after all, dead and have been for some time - and the clash of personalities is particularly entertaining. Anyways, basically, catch it if you can! It's great!

I also tried to convince my 55-year-old father to go to see Transformers with me - but as you can probably guess, that was 27 minutes of my life wasted! Still, I'm certainly wanting to go see it, so I'll probably get the bus into Falkirk during the week. Should be fun. I've been looking forward to this for a while - with almost TMNT levels of anticipation. Those were two of my 'things' as a kid, Transformers and Ninja Turtles (or 'Hero' Turtles, as we were forced to call them in good old Blighty.

I was mildly pleased with the with the way TMNT turned out - and to be absolutely honest, I love Michael Bay films; so Transformers has all the potential to be one of my favourites of Summer 2007! Although Spidey 3 is certainly up there...

I finally bit the bullet and began retconning my story to be 1) more coherent, plotwise (it was already pretty coherent, but I just wanted it to be more so), and 2) to incorporate a few things I'd been wanting to put in for a while. Also, I completely reworked the money system - with the help of my esteemed friend Nathaniel - because honestly the amount of inconsistencies were getting ridiculous. So I've now got it set in stone! Wahey!

Oh! Saw III has finally graced my sight, and honestly? I enjoyed it. It was far gorier than the last two - the Twisting Crucifix was particularly ingenious/twisted (pun intended) - but the plot was a little more coherent than the second (which didn't seem to have any plot when compared to the first). So overall, a rather fun rating of 7/10 from me!

And that's about it for this evening/morning/what-the-fuck-ever.

Laters, everyone!

22 July 2007

Harry Potter, Fuses and more...

Wow - it's been a Harry Potter weekend. I just can't escape the bugger. Yes, that's right - I'm one of the handful of people who doesn't like. I won't say they're in any way bad books - in fact, most of the evidence points to them being very good books - but I just honestly don't get them. Maybe I got into them too late (I read the first one when I was 15, in 2002); maybe I'm just weird. Could also be that this is a much 'lower' standard of fantasy (as in, there's High Fantasy, and then there's 'lower' fantasy) than I was brought up with...it's more mainstream, it's more teen-orientated, it's just more...bleurgh. But hey, everyone else seems to like it, and I realise I'm in a tiny minority...but I'm sticking with my opinion.

Anyways, my friends convinced me to go to see the latest film offering from the bespectacled boy-wizard. And I have to say that whilst I wasn't exactly enthralled - I have, after all, maintained that they would've made better films from the outset; and was bitterly disappointed with the first four films - they've finally found the right director for the job. Chris Columbus was just plain wrong; Alfonso Cuaron I admire greatly, but he had the tough job of balancing the style of the third novel with his intense style of filmmaking; and Mike Newell - despite making the better of the first four films - still wasn't quite on the money. But David Yates' direction was excellent - he balanced the slightly more cutesy stuff perfectly with the darker final third. And good news, he's signed on to direct number six! So clearly the boys at Warner Bros. were just as impressed as I was! Plus Imelda Staunton was fantastic as Umbridge; as were a lot of the other adult actors.

Still the movie wasn't without it's problems - Emma Watson bizarrely has turned into a eyebrows-and-nose-flare actress, the script was still a bit flakey, and the editing department once again cut far too much out (and occasionally left things in that they should've cut out). So I'd give it a 6/10, for the fantastic direction, the solid acting (finally), and the quality of the final battle.

As for the new book...well, I have a copy - but I'm in the middle of The Northern Lights, and I don't like focusing my attention on two different books at once - mostly because I'm a moron and get the two plots mixed up in my head! But my thoughts shall be returned to you faithful readers (hah!) when I finish it. The adult cover is certainly very foreboding...a Slytherin amulet, eh? Intriguing!

What else, what else...oh! Microshaft have pissed me off. We had a power spike that blew half the fuses in the house. I know this because half of the lights went off, loads of devices stopped working (including my Xbox 360 mid-use). Anyways, so I worked my way around the house, replacing all the fuses, until I finally got to the thing. I replaced the fuse, then crashed back down on my bed to see if I can pick up where I left off.

Nothing. Nada. So I check the supply, and the light isn't coming on. My initial reaction was 'silly Ross; you replaced it with one of the already burnt out fuses!'. So I go downstairs, retrieve one that I know to be working (first one out of a newly opened pack!). Still nothing. So I think 'bugger...my power supply's fucked'.

But then, on closer inspection, on the plug it claims it only draws 2.7 amps from the wall. The 'blown' fuse in the plug was 10 amps! Intrigued, I slap the fuse I into the power cable for my laptop, and guess what? The bloody fuse wasn't blown! Which means that the goddamn factory fitted it with a fuse that was too goddamn big!!!!!

Argh! I'm furious with Microsoft, to be absolutely honest. The power supply's buggered, and there's a good chance that the 360 might be buggered along with it; all because of one tiny component problem. Hopefully they'll deliver their great customer service tomorrow, because I really don't want to have to shell out on a brand new console.

Well, that's it for today. Keep chilled out, ladies and gents!!

17 July 2007

I Hate Mondays...

Yeah, it's clich├ęd, but Mondays still are my least favourite day of the week. They always so damn slow and boring compared to the rest of the week - there's rarely anything good on TV, I can never get anything done because I'm pining after the weekend. Well, I lie - I did manage to phone around for flats so I have somewhere to live. But apparently all the Flat Companies hate Mondays too - most of the ones I phoned up were apparently now 'off the market', and the one that wasn't was worse, because the buggers wouldn't even pick the damn phone up! Anyways, I can hardly blame them; so I'll be trying again later today!

Nothing too interesting happened to day beyond that. Watched You, Me and Dupree and Syriana on good old Sky Movies. Kinda enjoyed both - although the former could've easily been much, much funnier. Syriana was interesting, but honestly I found it to be a little protracted - and it wasn't nearly as clever as it thought it was. Still, Clooney and Damon put in decent performances, and I quite liked the cinematography style. Bit depressing, though...

Beyond that, very little to report, so I will bid y'all adieu!

15 July 2007

A Cancellation of Innocuity

Yes, I'm finally retiring that joke, seeing as it weren't funny. But it's also a fairly neat lead in to what I be thinking about presently.

Thing is, Fox (the broadcasting company...not the dude from Lost) have done it again - they've cancelled a show just as it was getting interesting. The show in question? Drive.

It was absolutely ace! I don't usually get instantly impressed by shows in 2 episodes; but this one had me hooked. This was a Firefly-esque 'this is going to be fantastic' kinda feeling. But then, I should've listened a little harder to my gut - because as I'm sure you know, Firefly too was given the chop by Fox.

It's just disappointing that Fox are so very money driven (excuse the pun); surely they can afford to hold up a few not-so-highly rated shows with their (so-called for that very ability) tent-pole shows - 24, House, Prison Break and The Simpsons, along with their bullshit reality shows. Besides - Drive achieved 6 million viewers! If a show achieved that many people in the UK, it'd be considered a success. But for Fox...axe it.

And to really drive (god I can't stop...) the knife home; they haven't properly aired the 'final' two episodes - having originally stated they would air them on the 4th and then the 13th, just two days ago - instead posting them online where no-one is going to be able to watch them! So honestly, I'm annoyed at them.

What else...what else. Watched a few movies - including Zodiac as I write this - but nothing really significant, mostly either the dross on Sky movies or things from my DVD collection. I may or may not post a review of Zodiac, depending on how much I like/dislike it. At the moment it's leaning towards the former!

I located my 'His Dark Materials' books, inspired by seeing the trailer during my general perusing. Gonna try and get around to reading them - and hope they're just as good upon a second viewing.

On the trailers side, too, I found one for a great looking movie called Shoot 'Em Up; which looks like good old smashmouth fun. Plus, I love Monica Bellucci ('cause I'm a sucker for a brunette with big...eyes); and Clive Owen - as an actor - is growing on me, after I saw him in both Children of Men and Inside Man.

Anyways, that's it for now.

Lata!

13 July 2007

The Fun Thing About Pomeranians...

...is that the fuckers always manage to sneak up on me. Seriously, every time one's been in my house, I've opened a door and it's scared the skin off of me. Impressive for a dog that some would call 'pointless'. Apparently not! They can be used for scaring tall people! And ain't they just so kewt?

Anyways, Aslan - yes, our lovely cleaning lady Vicky apparently enjoys fantasy fiction/cinema - is currently dancing all around the house, being a madman. Apparently - though this beggars belief - he's been jumping through windows...spry little bugger!

As for me, I officially finished my 27th chapter of my novel last night! 'T'was an exciting chapter, full of mystery, intrigue and...exposition of my Magic system. That's right, it's taken me 27 chapters to actually explain how Magic works in my metaphysical world. Probably not the wisest move, but honestly...it never came up! Managed to correct most of my grammatical mistakes myself - though I probably missed about a hundred of them, because I am Captain Ungrammatical after all (you know...Captain Obvious and General Obscure's penniless cousin twice removed...)

The next gen console debate continues to entertain me; with people actually attempting to convince me that not only will the PS3 version of GTA4 look better; but will somehow play better. I ridiculed them, of course, but it just brought to my attention how devoted Sony's fanbase are, despite the company that is the subject of their adulation delivering them a sub-par product.

There was also a silly person who claimed that the Xbox was huge and ugly when compared to his slim, sleek PS3. The picture left proves otherwise...but hey, whatever. Self-delusion is a human right...right? Or at least, I certainly hope it is, because people seem to do it a lot...much like I'm deluding myself that there's a chance anyone is a) reading this and b) enjoying it. So I shall stick to it, thank you very much!

Another topic that's been on my mind lately is the Halo movie - and beyond that, video-game to movie adaptations in general. Me and my mate Al had a long - frequently tangential - debate about it over MSN last night - with him trying to convince me the Halo movie will be crap, despite plenty of evidence that suggests the contrary (here, here and here). I'm not saying it's guaranteed to be great, but the fact that studios seem to be realising that you can't just churn out crap when it comes to the video-game adaps, along with the three previous bits of info - I'd say it's certainly get a better-than-most chance of actually being a decent film. So that's one that's definitely on my 'to watch' list.

Ah yes, and to end - a song recommendation. My buddy Nate (yes, I called him Nate) sent me a version of 'All Along the Watchtower' by The Paperboys (not just Paperboys - their music is awful), and it's fantastic. I've apparently got a deep-seeded love of Celtic Rock, but y'know...whatever.

To finish...a Scrubs quote.

"P.O. That's 'Peace Out'." *leaves*

10 July 2007

Console Wars: Episode I

A Continuation of Innocuity
Yeah, I know..shameless rip-off of Star Wars - but my brain is numb.

So, now that the PS3 has finally been on the worldwide market for some time now, there's one helluva lotta shit being tossed between the three 'fanboy' camps (with the PC gamers standing at the window, laughing their arses off). And it's honestly got me thoroughly entertained.

For starters, I want to clear something up. I'm frequently lumped in with the Xbox 360 'fanboy' camp. That is totally unfair - I'm actually more in the 'not in the PS3 camp' camp, if you catch my drift. And I have good reason for this - with the PS3, Sony have essentially given a giant middle finger to their loyal following. I honestly can't see how the PS3 fans can't see that Sony have delivered them a product that is nowhere near what they could have gotten.

Lets see:
  1. They gratuitously didn't come up with a single original idea for their controller. They nicked the 360 Guide Button, the Ring of Light and the analogue triggers from Microsoft. They blantantly copied the Wii's motion sensing idea, in some kind of vain attempt to prove that it's merely a gimmick. And to cap it all, they didn't include a rumble feature - which most gamers would prefer over motion-sensing. At least Microsoft came up with a few neat ideas and mixed the controller up a bit (making it better, in the process), and Nintendo - obviously - came up with admittedly cool idea of motion sensing.
  2. The thing is huge. We're talking 'were the hell am I gonna put my TV' huge. Plus it looks like a grill my Dad bought in America - really, I'm not just saying that because of that slightly bizarre picture produced; my Dad actually has a grill that looks just like it. If I can find a picture, I'll post it! Anyways, when you think about the actual comparable power of the 360 and the PS3 - the relative sizes are ridiculous. We're disregarding the Wii here, because honestly, it's not truly next-gen. It's just a Gamecube with - yes, Sony you were right - a gimmicky controller; so they can compact it into a tiny space.
  3. The so-called 'backwards compatibility' doesn't...actually...work. You'd be better off playing your PS1 and PS2 games on your old PS2 - at least then you get a vaguely decent image quality. As it stands, the PS3 produces a vastly inferior picture quality when playing PS1&2 games. Microsoft have small problems with certain games when it comes to this (Fable and Thief 3 are the ones I've managed to identify), but for the most part the 360's BWC works like a dream.
  4. The menu is bizarrely complicated. Yes, it's aimed at the so-called 'hardcore' - but honestly, an iota of user-friendliness would have been appreciated. Also, the last time I used one (there may well have been updates in the last two months that fix these), it wouldn't allow us to connect to a wireless network that didn't have an internet connection...and it can't create ad-hoc networks - something the 360 can do pretty much out of the box, given the correct hardware.
  5. So far, every multi-platform game has looked better on the 360 (as proven by Gamespot) - with the notable exception of The Darkness, which looks different on each platform, but equally good.
The one thing I won't complain about is pricing. In order to get a 360 up to the additional hardware standards of a PS3, you have to spend £445 (360 Premium Pack, Wireless Bridge, HD-DVD player, Play-and-Charge Kit), as opposed to the £400 for the PS3, which comes with the equivalent built in/included. However, for people who aren't interested in HD movies (or for those who already have an HD player), it's a no-brainer, really.

Although, obviously the important thing is the games, right? And ultimately, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play. I bought the 360, because of the enormous number of exclusive titles that I want to play (Halo 3, Gears of War, Bioshock to name three) - plus I like the nice chunky controller.

As for the Wii - well, until Super Smash Bros Brawl comes out and subsequently gets good reviews, I'm on the fence as to buying one. But beyond that, the only criticism I have is that they didn't go truly next gen - which they easily could have. All other criticisms are aimed squarely at developers; you can't just port games to the Wii! It doesn't work like that! You have to actually think about it. Yes, EA, I'm looking at you.

And that's pretty much all that's in my brain at the moment...so...yeah...g'night!

The Innocuous First Post

Okay, so this is my first post in my brand new, rather shiny blog. Expect occasional harsh language, the odd rant, possibly an interesting comment or three, and the odd SP&G error! Also, expect a whole lot of superfluous crap - because honestly, I occasionally go off on one for no apparent reason. But I hope that I manage to do it with a small amount of showmanship, and all in good sport!

I'll probably end up posting the odd movie review, the odd TV review or a review of anything else that catches my fancy along with my general inane thoughts, along with producing comments from other blogs/message boards/new services/what-the-hell-ever and ranting about them. Then, of course, I'll probably post updates on my novel (which, by the way, is currently published on FictionPress, if you're interested).

Anyways, if anyone actually reads this, I hope you get some kind of entertainment out of it. Enjoy!