Blogger Recognition Award — A Geeky Gal

Last week, A Geeky Gal was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Libarah! They are a new follower here on the blog, and their blog is all about cooking. They must be doing something right as they have been racking up their own blogging awards lately and raking in new followers! Thanks again Liba for […]

via Blogger Recognition Award — A Geeky Gal

Megan // A Geeky Gal nominated me for this in October and I’ve finally got around to it. The idea is to tag others in order to share blogs that we think are worth reading.

The criteria:

  • Acknowledge the blogger who tagged you and link back to their post.
  • Give a summary of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for any new bloggers.
  • Tag at least 15 other bloggers.

 

The story of why I started blogging isn’t a very dramatic one. I’d been watching John Campea on YouTube for some time when he put up a video answering his frequently-asked-questions about getting starting with blogging and online video. He highlighted WordPress as one option, and I thought, “What the hell?” That also makes him responsible for all the different communities I’ve become a part of as a result of creating a WordPress account.

And having been blogging for so long has actually provided me with enough experience to be able to give advice to new bloggers. I wouldn’t have been able to do this so long ago:

  1. Don’t overthink it. Nothing should be overthought, because then you’ll convince yourself not to do it. Just think about it a bit but not too much. You’ve no idea what’ll happen, so do at least something. If you scrolled down my blog all the way to the end, you’ll see it consistently changing its identity, but what’s wrong with that? That’s life. I think it’s good for posterity because it shows me growing as a person. You can only connect the dots looking backwards, so start blotting them.
  2. Make it your second nature. If you write a little bit each day, then you’ll develop a habit that will become something more. It can seem overwhelming at times, but if you make it something that you’re doing regularly, you’ll stop noticing how difficult it is.

 

I tag:

  1. Krysanthe
  2. Joan Alba Maldonado
  3. Murr_GSRR
  4. Chris Durston the Sometimes Vaguely Philosophical Mage
  5. Sterling Guilherme

  6. Stev3 L the Techie Mage
  7. Anna Reel
  8. Fitzy
  9. Christopher Lee
  10. MikeySNES
  11. Heather
  12. SAM FODEN
  13. Winst0lf – The Bizzaro Mage
  14. Michael
  15. Hundstrasse
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Announcing: Blogovision 2019! — Shoot the Rookie

Good afternoon, evening, morning or [no time zone specified], dearest readers! I, Jon Ola Sand Pix1001, am delighted to be here today in my role as Executive Co-Supervisor of The Video-Games Broadcasting Union™ to announce their most flamboyant and extravagant event to date: Blogovision!

via Announcing: Blogovision 2019! — Shoot the Rookie

Blogovision 2019: OG Lok contestant EPK

OG Loc’s story is an incredible one. He grew up on Los Santos’ infamous Grove Street neighbourhood, which made his early life as a criminal inevitable. Having always been surrounded by gangs, Loc quickly became a part of LS’ unemployed working classes whose only means of expression were revenge killings and grand theft auto.

But Loc knew this isn’t what he really wanted from life. His dream was to be a hip hop artist, like his hero Madd Dogg. His criminal peers didn’t take his ambition seriously, and frequently ostracised him for it.

With no means of breaking out of his environment, Loc was eventually jailed. While in prison, he was raped by another inmate and was regularly the victim of violence after a rumour was spread that he was a homosexual. But Loc endured, and writing hip hop lyrics became his escape. This soon paid off, and Loc established a reputation for himself as a hip hop artist amongst his fellow prisoners.

After being released from prison, few companies would employ him and the only job he was able to get was working as a cleaner in a Burger Joint. He didn’t enjoy the job, but he kept at it, and had soon saved up enough of his pay to buy a music van. At night, he’d record his hip hop singles and would demo them at beach parties and house parties. His friend Carl Johnson, Loc’s lifelong friend and neighbour, volunteered to manage him.

The response wasn’t very positive and Loc came to be considered the worst hip hop artist on the west coast. But he was determined to prove them wrong. While his talent wasn’t yet perfectly honed, Blastin’ Fools Records saw an untapped enthusiasm and were prepared to give him a chance. After signing with them, Loc released his first album, Str8 From the Streets, featuring such iconic tracks as “Hard in the Yard”, “4 to a Cell”, “Iz U Packin?”, “Loc is the Name”, “Don’t U Know I’m Loc, Oh Man” and the demo “It’s Loc Baby”. This was followed by the single OriGinal. These songs were inspired by his experiences in prison and growing up in a street gang and provided him with the alternative, artistic outlet he’d always needed.

But Loc’s troubles still aren’t over. Johnson released Loc from his contract and began to instead manage Madd Dogg, after he accused Loc of plagiarising lyrics from his unrecorded singles. This accusation also caused Blastin’ Fools to denounce him. Loc was heartbroken to be betrayed by his friend, unjustly fired by his label and accused of stealing lyrics by his lifelong hero. He maintains that Johnson in fact co-wrote those lyrics with him and agreed to forgo credit. But he picked up the pieces and forged ahead.

Str8 From the Streets sold over 500, 000 copies and is now certified gold. Loc now represents the Base 5 clothing brand and has a star on the Vinewood Walk of Fame. He considers his success to have proven his friends-turned-enemies wrong, and wants the multiverse to know that his story proves that dreams can come true.

Since his unexpected success, Loc has released no more music but has chosen this event to revive his career. When asked how he’d feel about the prospect of dancing on the programme, Loc said: “I ain’t down with that shit, it ain’t gangsta!” Critics have described his music as “a whole new style of hip hop, fusing dancehall reggae, nursery rhymes and straight gangsta into a str8 bundle of energy and hatred”.


From Grand Theft Auto’s 3D Universe,

OG Loc:

Racing Game of the Week #19: “Big Mutha Truckers” (2003) — The Well-Red Mage

It is 16th April 2003. In the National Basketball Association season play-off, the Philadelphia 46ers beat the Washington Wizards 107 : 87; this is the final professional game for the Wizards’ Michael Jordan, who receives a standing ovation. Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are admitted to the European Union. “Make Luv” by Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham is the UK no. 1 single. Empire Interactive publishes Eutechnxy’s Big Mutha Truckers to Microsoft Windows in Europe.

via Racing Game of the Week #19: “Big Mutha Truckers” (2003) — The Well-Red Mage

Film Journal: “Night of the Demon”

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Date released: 1957
Written by: Charles Bennett, Hal E. Chester
Genre: Horror
Starring: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins

Like… I get it. A horror film about an alleged demonic haunting, with some rational sceptic psychologists. It’s what I call a “test film”, in which some generic archetype personifies or embodies a particular idea or concept and is then paired with another, to experiment with their responses or reactions to the premise or gimmick. It’s fine, but it’s also boring. The characters in these things almost always end up being broad strokes with no real, believable personality. It’s story by numbers and it brings out my snob. It’s also deceptively simple, which means that the attentive viewer can see straight through the facade. What doesn’t help is the restrictions of the time, particularly of censorship and decency, which prohibits the relationship at the heart of the plot to ever develop into something interesting. So what we’ve got here is a horror that isn’t scary or focused on its own premise, a love story that isn’t convincing and a narrative that’s beginner level. I appreciate that all of these opinions may be retrospective of something contemporary but that’s art and culture.

No scene or quote.

Film Journal: “The Death and Return of Superman”

Director: Max Landis
Date released: 3rd February 2012
Written by: Max Landis
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Morgan Krantz, Elden Henson

Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to spend 15 minutes ranting about stupidly written plot lines if I hadn’t already watched this too many times. It’s a film made for people like me, who wish they could dress up in their lame superhero cosplay and re-enact famous story-lines, observed by confused (and often scared) onlookers. It’s also what superhero films look like to anyone else; not to mention their paranoid, obsessed fans who are convinced that we could do it better (because we can). I recall reading “The Death and Return of Superman” while on holiday in Devon. Of course, at the age that I was then, it’s edgy, emo style was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. It would take me some years to realise that it’s… well, the pretentious, dumb melodrama of unimaginative clichés that Landis shows it to be. If only it hadn’t inspired DC’s insecure director to make a counter-parody that’s even worse than the original, with a version of Lex Luthor based on Landis (err, allegedly). What began life as a harmless spoof became the catalyst for the cinematic mutilation of a beloved, iconic hero.

Full film:

Memorable quote:

The Death and Return of Superman didn’t kill Superman, it killed death.”

– Max Landis

Rally Report 2019: Argentina

The 5th round of 2019’s World Rally Championship was hosted by Argentina from 25th – 28th April. The rally was based in the Córdoba Province. The 18 stages were run on gravel over 349.48 KM. This was the 11th rally win for Belgium’s T. Neuville and his Belgian co-driver N. Gilsoul.

Special Stage 3 was cancelled: “Organisers said bad conditions on the liaison sections before and after the test meant the required safety and medical vehicles could not be deployed”.

T. Neuville rally breakdown:

Special Stage 1, Super Especial Villa Carlos Paz:
5th, 2:00.07/1.9 KM (+2.1). “If this superspecial was a challenge, I can’t imagine how difficult it could be the rest of the first leg out there. Will try to enjoy and get a good result but it will be tough!”

Special Stage 2, Las Bajadas – Villa del Dique (I):
9th, 9:32.01/16.65 KM (+13.0)

Special Stage 4, Santa Rosa – San Agustin (I):
1st, 14:05.5/23.44 KM: “Much better conditions than in the first stage for us. Also we changed the set up of the car. We pushed hard and it should be a good time even if we lose a bit in some places.”

Special Stage 5, Super Especial Fernet Branca (I):
1st, 4:47.2/6.04 KM (+1.8)

Special Stage 6, Las Bajadas – Villa del Dique (II):
4th, 9:14.5/16.65 KM (+4.8)

Special Stage 7, Amboy – Yacanto (II):
2nd, 17:46.3/29.85 KM (+7.8) “It was ok. The grip was quite good. I worked also a lot on the video last night to see where there could be some mud. I think I had a good run.”

Special Stage 8, Santa Rosa – San Agustin (II):
1st, 13:47.6/23.44 KM. “It was more rough on the second run and more slippery. I tried to push but being first on the road was not the ideal position. We should not lose too much”.

Special Stage 9, Tanti – Mataderos (I):
1st, 9:08.1/13.92 KM.

Special Stage 10, Matederos – Cuchilla Nevada (I):
2nd, 11:58.6/22.67 KM (+2.5) “I tried and I was on the maximum but we know that this kind of stages are more suitable to the Toyotas.”

Special Stage 11, Cuchilla Nevada – Characato (I):
2nd, 19:51.9/33.65 KM (+6.1) “I was flat out. I had a very good rhythm and I gave everything. We will keep pushing. The rally is still long.”

Special Stage 12, Super Especial Fernet Branca (II):
4th, 4:43.0/6.04 KM (+1.7)

Special Stage 13, Tanti – Mataderos (II):
4th, 9:02.5/13.92 KM (+2.6)

Special Stage 14, Mataderos – Cuchilla Nevada (II):
3rd, 11:46.4/22.67 KM (+2.0): “I had a good stage, I just tried to be careful with punctures and mistakes. I saw a Toyota but I wasn’t sure it was Ott so I tried to keep the pace.”

Special Stage 15, Cuchilla Nevada – Characato (II):
2nd, 19:39.2/33.65 KM (+4.7) “I took it quite steady at the beginning, there were a lot of rough places. I pushed more towards the end.”

Special Stage 16, Copina – El Condor:
7th, 13:21.6/16.43 KM (+13.4) “All ok. It’s very rough and I took it very carefully with a good rhythm. We will continue like that in the next one.”

Special Stage 17, Mina Clavero – Giulio Cesare:
1st, 17:02.6/20.3 KM. “The car was working well and I had a very good stage. We lost quite a lot in the morning because I was too careful so I wanted to push a bit more.”

Special Stage 18, the El Condor power stage, was won by S. Ogier with a time of 13:02.1 over 16.43 KM.

T. Neuville finished in 1st with an overall time of 3:20:54.6, saying: “Big thanks to the Hyundai Motorsport team for the stunning job and massive congrats to our friends Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger for their 2 position.”

The final driver/co-drivers’ podium consisted of T. Neuville and N. Gilsoul in 1st, A. Mikkelsen and A. Jæger-Amland in 2nd and S. Loeb and J. Ingrassia in 3rd.

T. Neuville earned 25 points for winning the rally and 3 points for finishing 3rd on the power stage for a 28 points total. Overall, T. Neuville earned 28 points in Argentina in 2019. This gives him a continued championship lead with 110 total championship points so far.

 

France’s S. Loeb increased three of his own records: most special stage wins by a single driver to 917 by winning 1 special stage; most podium positions by a single driver to 117 by placing 3rd; and most career points to 2068 by winning 20 points – 15 by placing 3rd and 5 for winning the power stage.

This was also the 200th rally of Finland’s J.-M. Latvala, who became the first rally driver to compete in 200 rallies.

The next stage of 2019’s WRC will be hosted by Chile from 9th – 12th May. There is no favourite to win as there have been no previous rallies hosted by Chile.

“Avengers Endgame” (2019)

Avengers  Endgame is a difficult film to review without revealing spoilers. I’ll try my best, but I’m not promising anything. Ultimately, my overall feelings about it are informed by the most important scenes, and those scenes’ importance makes them plot points that aren’t included in the marketing. In fact, the marketing created so much hype that it’s still difficult for me to separate my reaction from what I expected and predicted to happen. Part of the joy of finally seeing a film of this nature is discovering how right or wrong I was, since I don’t judge a film based on what I wanted it to be. What I will say is that there are certain moments I never realised could happen which surprised me, and certain moments that amazed me so much because I didn’t expect them to actually be done. Others were the complete opposite of what would typically happen, and they’re the moments I remember the most.

It doesn’t feel like a three-hour film due to how much there is to get through, though I do still have certain unanswered questions about the new status quo. There might have been more time to explain them if the gags were cut down. I don’t mind the gags, per se, but given how many obvious questions I feel remain unanswered, I do find myself questioning their purpose. Even then, that only matters so much because the very fact that so many story-lines are concluded here is cathartic enough. This also means that the plot is essentially rebuilding itself from the ground up, with the first act establishing where everyone is and what’s happened since last time, and manoeuvring the right characters to the positions necessary for the plot to unfold in the desired way. Yet, despite essentially being pieces on a chessboard, these characters have never felt more like real people.

On the one hand, that’s because they’ve been developed over the previous 21 films in this franchise, but it’s mainly because their need to come to terms with their own failure and the sudden disappearance of their friends and family brings out their humanity anyway. What’s so impressive about the way the story is told is that there’s so much character work and paced plot development at the same time – sometimes there appears to be no difference. The narrative is in constant motion – it’s definitely the most story-heavy film in the franchise so far, probably ever. That’s also why the third act climax feels so deserved, it’s a well-earned payoff. It plays out like the climax of any great symphony and is the most emotionally overwhelming moment that actually reminded me a little bit of The Muppet Movie. It’s also a love letter to the fans, who are the single reason these films keep being made.

While the general audience is always the priority, the fans should never be forgotten because after so many films, they’re the ones who are willing the series to continue existing. Every character is someone’s favourite, and I doubt anyone will feel shortchanged. They all get their own moment. The send-off that certain characters receive have been met with a strong emotional response across the board, though I did find them somewhat underwhelming for some reason. I did respond to them emotionally, just not as much as the social media reactions led me to believe I would. The problem, I think, is that the third act was more about giving the fans what they wanted, rather than what should have actually happened. For example, the final battle is by far the largest we’ve ever seen, but I did zone out a few times because there was no apparent through-line, it was more of a montage of each character, even if not every character or moment contributed something overall.

Maybe the sheer scale of the scene made its own potential impossible to achieve. A film in this genre requires an epic battle at the end, it’s just a basic expectation. But – to knowingly express an unpopular opinion – I thought it was a bit tacked-on just for the sake of it. As were, I think, the ending that a certain character gets. It’s an ending that I know a lot of fans had thought this character should have, but it flies directly in the face of everything they’ve come to represent and was more wish fulfilment than anything else. I immediately questioned the mechanics and morals of it, especially because of the questions that it raised which weren’t answered. What ending would I have written? I don’t know. There’s a reason I’m not the one – or one of the two – being paid to write these films. This character would’ve been difficult to definitively write-out any other way. But had some of the gags been cut down, there might’ve been more time to explain in detail exactly how and why it happens.

I liked Avengers  Endgame. I think it’s a great film, mostly. Three hours was more than enough time to tell the story had the gags not filled those gaps instead, the third act might’ve affected me more emotionally if it had been more focused and coherently structured – even if it’s one of reasons this genre remains popular – and the send-off that some characters get contradict the emotional realism that led up to them, but it’s worth seeing if only to find out what happens to the characters we’ve come to know and love over so many years. It’s definitely catered more toward the fans, but if the box office and critical response are anything to go by, that’s worked out just fine.

Racing Game of the Week #18: “Sega Rally Championship” (1994) — The Well-Red Mage

It is 25th October 1994. Susan Smith reports to police that her children have been kidnapped by an African American carjacker in order to cover up that she’d murdered them. “Baby, Come Back” by Pato Banton featuring Ali and Robin Campbell is the UK no. 1 single. SEGA opens its Sega Rally Championship arcade cabinets across Europe, using the Sega Model 2 board. It’s arguably the most significant racing game ever released.

via Racing Game of the Week #18: “Sega Rally Championship” (1994) — The Well-Red Mage

“And the winner of #TWRMGOTY1997 is…” — The Well-Red Mage

For a whole week, we’ve voted as a community to name a single game that Game of the Year of 1997, and it came down to a tie between the JRPG juggernaut from Square and Konami’s castle-filled nighttime nocturne.

via “And the winner of #TWRMGOTY1997 is…” — The Well-Red Mage

#TWRMGOTY1997 concession

Although there are a few more hours of voting left, it would seem that the apparent winner of #TWRMGOTY1997 will be either Final Fantasy VII or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

I extend my congratulations to their respective sponsors, the Well-Red Mage and the Hyperactive Coffee Mage for their success.

It’s also been obvious for a long time that neither of these candidates have, despite their popularity, been able to claim a majority of votes, and I’ll therefore be supporting a second run-off vote once the polls close.

Currently, these two candidates together comprise over 50% of the votes, but were one to pull ahead of the other – as has been consistently happening – this would no longer be the case and a three-way run-off vote would then be necessary with the additional inclusion of Final Fantasy Tactics.

I think that the nomination of both Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy VII is what split the vote enough for the results to look the way they currently do.

I’d personally expected the winning nominee to be 1997’s best-reviewed game (according to Metacritic), GoldenEye 007.

My second choice, behind my own nomination, would’ve been Mario Kart 64, but of course.

However, it is appropriate that Final Fantasy VII should be the potential winner, as the Well-Red Mage is, after all, themed on Final Fantasy.

I’d like to thank everyone who voted for Crash Bandicoot 2: The Wrath of Cortex, and hopefully I’ll do better in the next Reader’s Choice Game of the Year event.

I also extend my congratulations to remaining unacknowledged sponsors.

 

Here’s the exit poll I calculated that got the result almost entirely wrong:

exit poll