Sunday, September 12, 2004


For some reason I find people who lack earlobes somewhat disturbing. I assume most of you have encountered someone so afflicted, but for those of you who haven't allow me to assure you that it is most distressing.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Resident Advisor

Today I met a friend and we went to go see Resident Evil: apocalypse. Now, despite the near universal lack of anything approaching quality or substance, I cannot but admit a certain affection for the Zombie genre. I'm not really sure what it is that's so attractive, but for the life of me I can't help seeing the walking dead. And, when you throw in Milia Jovovich, well...

Anyway, the chance to see it came up, so I took it. I don't normally go to movies on opening day, but we caught an afternoon show. Not that I think there would be lines for this one or anything, but you never know. Even though we caught the matinee, it was still seven bucks for a ticket. I've noticed a general increase in the price of admission, and we actually went to the more expensive theatre in nearby Union City. I prefer that theatre because it has stadium seating; that is, seats on elevated levels. At a modest 5'5" it takes little to block my view, and to make matters worse I often have the misfortune of sitting behind some rotund NBA reject. An extra fifty cents or even a dollar seems a reasonable price to assure that I'll be seeing the movie and not someone's misshapen rear profile. Unfortunately, in this case, stadium seats simply afforded me an unobstructed view to a dismal offering.

The movie itself is surpassingly dull. Sure, they can make you jump by blaring a sound effect loud enough, but there is no surprise. Rather than concentrate on a meaningful plot, interesting characters, or even novel effects, the RE:A people relied on tired and familiar horror cliches. There is really nothing worth paying attention to at all, save perhaps the delectable trio of female "actresses," and not only are they of interest to but half the audience (give or take), the movie eventually robs them of even that appeal. Or, at least, diminishes it.

Milia plays the invincible hardcore woman warrior with a stiffness indicative of rigor mortis, her few attempts at dead pan humor somewhat less amusing than the emergency broadcast system. She was supposed to have been altered by Umbrella, but you never get the feeling that her flat performance was influenced so much by thespiatic integrity as incompetence. They do show her nude at one point, but it seemed to me an oddly emaciated body. She looked kinda like a skinny man with no shirt.

There was a reporter girl, cute in the way they are all dolled up like that, but aside from that largely unremarkable. Her character has a surprising amount of screen time, and her dialogue if forgettable was nonetheless considerably more interesting than that of nearly anyone else's. As far as the plot goes, she really adds nothing and her sole disnction came in opposing splitting up (though, of corse, they do anyway).

Perhaps the most attractive of the three women was the girl who played Jill Valentine. She was definetly very cute, and her clothing, if somewhat inappropriate for a police officer, left little to the imagination. Unfortunately, she was severly disappointed in the dialogue department. The line "fuck me" featured prominately, and though it was a suggestion not entirely without merit, I think most of us had hit on the idea already by the third or fourth time she said it. As far as the plot goes, Jill was more important than the reporter. Valentine, a member of STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) was supposed to be integral to their escape efforts, though she's the one who decides the group should split up. She also has to deal with that most predictable of problems, a friend infected with the zombie virus. All in all, a shallow and unremarkable performance, but one of the better ones probably at that.

Aside from dismal main characters, the movie has all the other shortcomings you'd expect. An unrealistic plot, a supposedly organized and well equipped military losing to shuffling corpses limited to the speed of crippled slugs, a dumb monster boyfriend for Milia, a heartless and mindlessly evil corporation, and an over reliance on so-so effects and predictable jokes. The comic foil, this time a loud mouthed taxi driver, is once again a high point, and this type of character is quickly becoming a saving grace for these kinds of movies. Even so, they are certainly incapable of carrying the movie on their own, though fortunately none of them have been expected to.

So, all that being said, take my advice. Skip a second trip to Racoon City.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Champion of Troy

As I was getting ready for class, I was watching the Missouri v. Troy football game on ESPN. Missouri was a nationally ranked team, and Troy was supposed to be something of a pushover. The underdogs eventually win though, just going to show that you can't ever count anyone down in that game.

I didn't have any particular stake in the game, it was just on as background noise. For the most part, I wasn't even really paying any attention to it. But just as I was getting ready to leave, I saw the most remarkable play. Troy was down by seven points and they had the ball. The offense ran a draw play (a hand-off to the running back, who runs straight up the field) and the running back managed to get about ten yards. Ordinarily that'd impressive, but hardly noteworthy. This time, as he was about to be tackled, the running back pitched the ball to a nearby lineman, number seventy-nine, Junior Louissaint. Big fatty took the ball and rumbled fifty yards to the endzone. The only defender who even got a hand on him was a spindly cornerback, who Junior dragged into the endzone. It was quite a sight to see, funny and impressive too, and it's always nice when linemen get a minute in the spotlight.

So here's to you, Junior Louissaint. Good job.

Monday, September 06, 2004


Well, it's Labor Day here in the States. Three day weekends are always precious, but some of them are better than others, because some of them play host to gaming conventions. That's right, just in case it wasn't clear just how much of a geek I really am, I attend local gaming conventions. I'd visit the bigger ones back east too, if I could afford it. For those of you who have never seen one, a gaming convention is pretty much what you'd expect it to be. For four days a veritable swarm of nerds descend on a hapless hotel. Four days of hit points and armor class, where the fate of entire worlds hangs on the slender sides of dodecahedrons.

For those of us who have been going for a while, conventions are as much social occasions as gaming opportunities, if not more so. The intense atmosphere of the convention, and the fact that you are likely to be stuck with a particular group of people for several hours at a time prove efficient bonding situations. The "con buddy" is a peculiar sort of relationship. Such associations do not really rise to the dignity of a true friendship, but they are unusually strong given the brevity of interaction.

When you sign up for a con game, you can usually count on a good time. If you're lucky, you get a neat story from it. And if you're really lucky, you meet someone worth playing something else with. That's a con buddy. These people I see but two or three times a year, and it is only for the better part of four days at that, but shared experiences and common interests work swiftly to create a familiarity out of all expectations.

This year at Conquest I managed to play several games, including a few I usually miss for one reason or another. Listed below was my weekend itinerary, as well as my record:

Friday: Game Mastered a Dungeons and Dragons game. If you run a game at a convention, you get in for free. As a weekend pass will run about thirty bucks, it makes sense to run an event.

Saturday: I played Attack!, a board game made by Eagle Games. It's a pre-WWII game with many simularities to Risk, but you play a government type rather than a faceless empire. All in all it wasn't bad, but I didn't find the system particularly impressive. It was my first time playing, but I managed to spread the enlightened influence of Communism across the globe.

I also got to play jumbo sized Battletech. The people at Armorcast make giant sized mechs. They run this event at just about every local con every year, but somehow something always gets in my way. This time I got to play, and it was a blast. I had to play the Inner Sphere, which is made up of primitive warlords, and I had to resist the Clans, technologically sophisticated invaders. Still, thanks to my dazzling tactical genius, and awesome dice rolls (but mostly genius), I managed to win. Props to my erstwhile partner and my worthy opponent.

Sunday: Played Man O' War, an old Games Workshop product detailing age-of-sail naval combat with fantasy races. I played Chaos and the Chaos Dwarves (I know, but the fleets were pre-made) against Empire and Dwarves. Dominate is an insufficient verb to describe my victory.

I also played Paths of Glory twice. PoG is a GMT wargame simulating WWI. Unlike many wargames, PoG is fast and simple, using cards rather a library of rules to dictate the flow of play. I lost once as the Allies, and I won once as the Central Powers.

Monday: Didn't show at all. If I'm not staying at the hotel, I usually skip Monday. There aren't hardly an events, and most everyone has already gone home anyway, looking to recover in time for work on Tuesday. This year I had a cold most of the weekend, so I got some much needed rest. Missed a kublacon staff meeting though.

Well, that was my three day weekend, spent in the midst of geekdom. A good time had by all.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Pointless Factoid

Having nothing of particular interest to relate, I thought I'd communicate a pointless factoid. I figure this could become a regular practice, to supply an entry for those days when I feel like making one, but don't want to put too much effort into it. So, here goes.

Did you know that Number 10 Downing Street is actually the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury and not the Prime Minister? In fact, the Prime Minister derives both his salary and his official residence from the office of the First Lord of the Treasury.

This useless bit of information, and plenty more, are all available free of charge at wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.