Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's the matter, Hand Solo?

So, "Solo : A Star Wars Story" has tanked - and I could not be happier. I am at a point in my life where I have vowed never to watch another Star Wars film ever again - and they seem to be making it quite easy to keep that resolve, what with the derisive Last Jedi, paint-drying Rogue One and "that's not Han Solo" Solo film. But, really, it wasn't that surprising - and here's why:

George Lucas would be happy

The original two directors were fired because the first cut of the movie was awful. They then assigned the one-foot-in-the-grave antics of Ritchie Cunningham to pick up the pieces.

We have a feminista robot named L3-37

First of all, what's with the cringe-worthy name? For those of you who don't speak nerd, it means elite. The fact that we get a pointlessly emotional diatribe from a robot talking about 'womens' rights' is all parts ridiculous; and apparently this character is on its way to reach the upper-echelons of Jar-Jar Binks territory.

Woody Harrelson cashes a checque

I love Woody as an actor but even I can see the glazed stare - even in the trailers - and that he's just doin' it for the benjamins. At least he'll be well stocked in 'green' if you know what I mean ...

Shall I compare thee to a - line?

Despite an exhaustive selection process to get the perfect guy for the job, they neglected to notice he couldn't actually act. I'll repeat: 'Han Solo' needed acting lessons.You would think that being able to act would be the first requirement for, you know, being an actor.

Han Solo is not Han Solo

If it's not Harrison Ford playing this character (when he was of an age where he could still play this character) I don't want to know. I think even Hansel would have a better chance of playing a roguish smuggler. Instead we got this guy:

You would think that if you are looking for a ruggedly handsome guy to attempt to fill Harrison's shoes, you'd get a, you know, ruggedly handsome guy to play the role.

In conclusion ...

This is probably the best thing that could have happened for the Star Wars franchise. When the fans are disenfranchised with the latest actual sequel of Star Wars, I am actually predicting ever-diminishing returns in the world of Star Wars. At least you would hope that Disney will have hopefully learned to not lean as heavily on nostalgia and actually spend more than a rudimentary level of attention on story, characters, actors and directors for once in their life.

Monday, April 30, 2018

More like god of bore

So, the new God of War is out ... and I am pretty disappointed. In the ever-diminishing world of fantasy and deity genocide, old Kratos has now been inflicted with an annoying boy to torment his misadventures - and he has lost his blades of chaos. Let me say that again: HE HAS LOST HIS BLADES OF CHAOS (actually, they come back later ... but you have an axe for most of the game).

Where once we had the beauty of his balletic, timing-based aggressions:

We now get the stilted throw/power-up axe, wait, dodge, throw/power-up axe 

... and we have boy

This annoying little leech sees fit to attach itself every time you climb up anything. What's the matter? Does boy not know how to climb on his own? And worst of all, this boy is your son and he is used as a counter-point to Kratos' violence with words of reason and understanding. To add to this annoyance, this runt has somehow developed smarts and the ability to read rune symbols - so we have an annoying millennial showing up this lumbering neanderthal's shortcomings. In the first game Kratos killed his family - I'm not really sure why he should stop now. Oh, and by the way, Kratos has now moved onto Norse Gods. I guess this was needed considering he had already murdered the Greek ones.

Now, I am probably the first to acknowledge that the God of War series has become stale. The third was feeling very long-in-the-tooth and was a chore to get through but that doesn't excuse throwing out the baby with the bath water. Fans of the series will be insulted by this Last of Us vs Thor amalgam. Heck, he even grew a beard (although, interestingly, even in the first one they were toying with him having a beard). Maybe I'm getting into the nostalgic part of my life but it feels like it's only God of War by name. It's a brand new game repackaged with the God of War branding. I guess if you love having a small boy writhing sensuously over your frame, answering questions about why you kill all those around you and like playing out your lumber-jack fantasies, then this is the game for you. For myself, I don't believe I'll be playing this and, based upon what I have seen on twitch, my opinion will not be changing any time soon. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Creative corner: Sunshine

And now for a creative outlet - my first poem immortalised.


The light shines bright
Too bright
I wither and squint and yet
The light shines bright
I make out my family, tall and strong
They look at me
And I look at them
I cannot see because
The light shines bright
I wait for the darkness but it does not come
Faces beam and mouths curl up
And all for what?
To see my family under a bright-searing sun?
I endure as my flesh desiccates and yet
The light shines bright

A little dark, don't you think? But, not to worry; it was simply about a bouquet of flowers in a vase. I thought it would be fun to have a poem which seemed dark from the outset but, with a change of context, would be hilarious (unless you happen to be a flower).

props go to XKCD

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nobody likes good news

It is now time, my friends, to reflect and introspect upon how you and I feel about the news spoon-fed into our quivering brains. To that point, I've made a conscious effort to try and not listen to news and adverts. Mostly because they almost invariably come at a hidden cost upon my reception.

It should not come as any surprise that all news broadcasts focus solely on the negative, hate-laden and fear-inducing aspects of every-day life. It's enough for anyone to consider punching out rather than enduring the never-ending negative rhetoric. And there does seem to be data to back up this disturbing thought. It is a sad state of affairs that I have to turtle my knowledge of world events merely because the powers that be choose to inflict me with messages of fear, hatred and intolerance. Even if they happen to have a piece on improving the world in some way, they still need to placate both sides by getting a cretinous representative to try and explain why we should be (as an example) intolerant of anyone not 'murican enough.

I hate that I am forced to be ignorant of the daily goings-on ... but they have forced me into this position. And we are all to blame for this. If everyone, as a whole, were to turn off the news and no longer read the news sites. The industry would take notice. They would no longer be able to peddle their agenda-laden messages and would be forced to provide a message which truly spoke to the people. We would make the world a better place simply by doing nothing, watching nothing and buying nothing (the simplest kind of revolution). The powers who control this information would be forced to bend to the common man's will and we as a global population would regain our control and, best of all, this would all be performed through non-violent means. A deafening silence would be heard by simply turning back to a time where we did not have internet, TV, smart phones or radio.

If you think about it, this would mean that we would no longer be
  • ruled by fear
  • envious of those with product X+1
  • cognizant of various wars or terrorist attacks
  • fixated on social media
  • a slave to our phones
  • fixated on vanity photos
  • fixated on plastic celebrities
  • bent to the will of public media
But we would be
  • able to make our own decisions on what we truly want
  • focussed on living our lives
  • content with living our lives
  • centred around human interaction
  • content with what we have rather than what we're told to love and desire
Naturally, this is a gross over-simplification ... but I do think I have a point. Maybe we would still need some kind of PA system for storm warnings but our lives would be more content simply because we would be focused on bettering our lives rather than fixating on things outside of our control. Maybe through this inaction they would finally have to step out of the shadows. All I know is that you rule the masses through fear ... and that is currently what we have; Fear, Hatred and Intolerance.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Say hello to my lidl friend

Well, it has happened. Now that I have become 100% indoctrinated into all things consumerist, I have now relegated my blog to grocery stores; namely Lidl (pronounced lee-dill ... which should appease the Mexicans and Germans amongst us). Now, for some of my readers, you would be asking me why I have lowered my quality blog just so I can talk about Lidl? Perhaps it's because of the huge cheque (take note, Americans :)) Lidl is paying me ... or perhaps it's because I can finally buy high-quality goods at prices which make the Krogers of this world cry. Hey, I'm all for it. Cheap? Check. Great quality? Check. European-quality ingredients? Chu-check. 

But that's not the point of this blog entry. Behold my current fixation:

Maybe it's because I've seen a few IQ tests in my time ... but the bag looks disturbingly like one to me. Doesn't it? Like one of those spatial puzzles. I initially tried to see if there was a predetermined rotational pattern by reading the icons in various orders like top-down, left-right etc. But that didn't seem to gibe. The best pattern I could determine was that  the top row would repeat on the third row ... but then the fourth row threw things out (note: black semi-circle up is what I define as up).
  • down, up-left, left
  • down-left, right, up
  • down, up-left, left
  • down

It's that last grape-fruit which puts a wrench in the works - it should have been down-left but it's not. Having, seemingly exhausted getting any rotational/reading pattern to line up, I took a step back. It could possibly be some kind of numbering pattern. Namely, each orientation could be a number. Considering there were 10 grape-fruits and 8 possible rotational positions (for what has been shown), the answer was obviously ten 8-bit numbers. The next was to determine the starting position. It made sense that the numbers would follow a classical clock-wise rotation so I devised the following:
  • up:  00000001 or 1
  • up-right: 00000010 or 2
  • right: 00000100 or 4
  • down-right: 00001000 or 8
  • down: 00010000 or 16
  • down-left: 00100000 or 32
  • left: 01000000 or 64
  • up-left: 10000000 or 128
So,  the code, as it stands, (read from left-right to top-down) would be:
  • down, up-left, left, down-left, right, up, down, up-left, left, down


  • 16, 128, 64, 32, 4, 1, 16, 128, 64, 16
... and that's where I currently stand. The 10 characters don't seem to signify words, since we don't have the granularity needed to represent 26-characters. Nor could it be a phone number since we would need 10 pattern variations for that. I'm thinking it may be an accumulation ... which in that case would mean that the answer is 469. A little under-whelming a conclusion, yes. Maybe I'm over-thinking this but it seems like there's more to this than merely a desire to print grapefruits, yes? Or maybe I have a little too much time on my hands for this to be healthy - please let me know. I would like to get to the bottom of this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Following the money

I  am either turning progressively into a cynical curmudgeon or perhaps it's merely the result of peering behind the curtain and seeing more of the under-workings and its pursuit of the mighty dollar. It could, in all fairness, be a combination of the two ... but I'm not here to discuss my internal demons at this point in time. I'll save that for my imaginary shrink.

Forgive me if I've stated this in an earlier post but I think it's worth restating - even if I may be my only recipient. As my titular title states, it boils down to following the money but I thought it might be nice to summarise a few areas where you, the general public, may not realise that you are being duped. That is not to say that I am infallible of their guiles ... but I will list at least a few areas where I believe I can point out an outright lie:

Ignoring the incredibly poor English, you've heard milk is good for you, right? That you need calcium for strong bones? Well, it turns out it isn't. For your body to even be able to absorb the calcium in dairy you need equal parts magnesium ... or, alternatively, you could simply stand in the sun, eat your greens and do a little exercise. Then there is the study which correlates increases in bone disease directly proportional to dairy consumption. Here's a simple question: How much milk do cows consume to keep their half-tonne frames strong? How much dairy do animals consume after infancy from a completely different species? If you answer: none you would be correct.

Ensuring that you separate your glass from your plastics, paper from your trash is very important if we wish to keep Mother Nature looking her best, correct? Well, it turns out that this is mostly incorrect. How, do you ask? Well, it comes down to the amount of effort required to recycle your by-products back into functional items once again. If the amount of energy (and pollution) is more than the energy used to create a new plastic bottle (say) then it's eco-unfriendly. The whole point of recycling is to reduce the burden on the Earth but that gets lost in all the good intentions flying about. I guess the only area where there may be a case is if the core elements were in limited supply, thereby forcing us as a society to salvage that core element (e.g. precious metals in smart phones). The better solution to recycling is reuse/re-purposing. For example, in many parts of Europe they use glass bottles for their beers which, upon having been consumed are returned, washed out and filled once more with delicious, delicious beer. Now that's something I can get behind.

I'm sure I could cover the whole industry if I looked hard enough (e.g. Diesel engines / Dieselgate, Privatised war profiteering, democracy, denialists etc.) but I won't. In the end, the only question you should be asking is why would they lie to us? And, I'm sure for most of you, the answer would be obvious. None of these organisations are in it for our benefit and merely in it to bolster their numbers. It hurts to admit but who am I to stop the deluge of lies?

Monday, August 28, 2017

I think I know why

I think I've cracked why I hate new movies so much.

It's all comes down to a sense of perspective in the end. I came to this realisation while watching the original remastered Star Trek series. It's wonderfully schlocky, (by today's perspective) misogynist, and yet, I was enthralled. How could that be? Well, it comes down to the wonders of imagination, characters, heady subjects, strong plots and competent and logical progression. Spock would be pleased. It was not because I was captivated by the set design - although it does still hold up surprisingly well - it was because they had well-realised and starkly individualised characters. I would think that if Bones were to be cast today he would be as a 20-something ex Days Of Our Lives automaton who was vetoed for his sex appeal rather than as the best choice for the role. I don't think even Leonard Nimoy would be spared. And herein lies the problem.

Where once we had characters, actors and stories at the forefront of the directors and producer's list, they now focus on CGI, mass-market appeal and a movie which is more geared towards making a good trailer than a story we care about. Even fairly gifted directors like Ridley Scott have not yet realised this lesson - even though he has had more than enough time to do so. He still puts out pretty amazing-looking trailers ... but pretty poor films which most people hate due to their lack of coherent plot, believable characters or a film which makes any sense in the end. Unfortunately I don't think this current trend is going to subside any time soon, so all we can do now is simply look to the past for solace and remember a time when stories, characters and plot were still revered. It could quite be that movies of yore were forced to do this simply because they couldn't use the visual spectacle to curtail our ability to identify a stupid plot or poorly-realised characters.

So, given what we have learned, directors could simply drop the production value so we can forgive their failures as writers - or at least give a passing grade. And this is why The Room is so good ... because it's so bad. You have your out, Hollywood. I've given you a way of even further maximising your ROI, eh?