Monday, 13 May 2013

Thoughts on Superman (and America)

Superman: The American we need.
As a comic book fan, who regularly attempts to provoke discussion about comic books, with non-fans and fans a like, one of the trends I've noticed is that people don't really like Superman that much. From experience people seem to feel this way for a number of reasons. He's too powerful, he's too clean cut, too good a guy. In this day and age he's not edgy enough compared to someone like Batman. He's too... Alien a concept for people to aspire to. Not because he's an alien, but because he's too good to be true. Literally.

After several failed attempts to bring success on the big screen since the first few Christopher Reeve movies, they're having another attempt, and I for one am really hoping they pull it off. I like Superman. I like the idea of him. Strange visitor from another world comes to Earth presenting an ideal for us all to strive towards. What's not to like? He's kind of like Jesus, but without the religion. Sci-fi Jesus. Science Jesus.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Raoow! is hibernating

Raoow! is not dead, just hibernating. Once the snow clears and he can make his way out of his cave I'm sure you'll spot his prints on the ground once again...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Why I hate online gaming

I don't play online games much. It used to be because I couldn't be fucked trying to win against dozens of unstoppable pre-adolescent killing machines who clearly don't do anything else but play online games. I don't have the time or the drive to get that good, so it stops being fun.

Lately thought I've experienced something of a gaming renaissance, I've been playing Dead Rising 2, and I've had a stab at playing the Online Beta for the Assassin's Creed 2 Brother hood game. Both are relatively new and well balanced so you actually have a shot at winning.

The problem is, in a nutshell, assholes with microphones. It seems to be impossible to get games without some twat on the other end saying all manner of outlandish shit over the game. It's like they've employed some foul mouthed white trash kid to do narration over the whole game. Just before I played a game where some dude was like "ohh, fuck, cunt, fuck" over the whole game. I like a good cussin' session as much as the next guy, but it's unbearable to try and play when you're assaulted with this level of uneducated bullshit (Although I will concede that it's really satisfying to kill someone in the game and immediately hear "Ohh what, that prick just killed me"). I constantly find myself uselessly yelling at the screen "SHUT. THE FUCK. UP." I'll quit the game, and then have to wait ten minutes until getting a game without some asshole commentary.

So please. Game developers, in your next online game, please incorporate a "mute chodes" option. Thanks.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Dead Rising 2

So I got Dead Rising 2 a week or so ago, and I just finished my first playthrough this morning.

Set five years after the original Dead Rising, DR2 takes place in a world adjusted to the presence of the Undead. It seems that these Zombies are fairly well controlled, even to the extent that infected people can take a drug called Zombrex every 24 hours to stave off turning into a zombie. A massive game show, Terror is Reality (think American Gladiators with Zombies) exploits hordes of the undead for entertainment.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Specific Target Market

So the other day I made contact with the New Zealand branch of a major energy drink company (you can probably guess which one) to say, "Hey, I love your product. Where can I buy some of your merchandise."

They directed me to an online shop, but this was more specialised sports gear of dudes or sports they sponsored. I sent another message saying "Yeah thanks, I saw that, but I was talking more generalised stuff, like t-shirts with the brand on it, that kind of thing."

Then they told me something I was not at all expecting:

"Hi Chris,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately only our [promotional] Team Members and branded athletes are allowed to wear the [company's name] logo"

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

It was so great working with them

Don't you just love it when celebrities, droning on at the inevitable release-date interview - you know the ones, in a dark room in front of the film poster, where they go on about how amazing the film was despite the fact that it got universally panned - talk about how great it was working with their co-stars. One of the first questions always asked by the over-eager and sickeningly bubbly so-called film reporter is "what was it like working with X?" to which comes the response "X is a really amazing person, such fun to work with, makes everyone laugh and really takes his/her acting seriously." Sometimes things go wrong in these interviews, as shown in this video, where the "interviewer" mistakes John Cusack for Kevin Spacey. I mean, duh! They are like, totally different guys! But hey, I do understand her confusion, all those middle-aged brown-haired male actors eventually merge into one anyway especially in the context of the release-date interview where all they're going to go on about is the same old shit about how great a person their co-star and director are and how fantastic the film is.

Come on now guys, they can't all be such amazing people. Whatever happened to a little honesty? I thought people respected truth-telling more than the manufactured watered-down family friendly drivel. People like Henry Rollins tell it like it is, you might not agree, you might think he's ranting like a lunatic, but at the very least you're hearing exactly what he thinks. And yes, I do detect the fact that I'm using Henry Rollins as an example in a rant about actors when his most notable performance on screen was the angry nerd in Johnny Mnemonic, but it illustrates my point. Why can't the so-called gritty A-list actors, often playing people who don't take any crap, occasionally break out with "Man, to be honest that guy is a total douche. He was a prick on set, a prick to the director, a prick to the drinks guy, and a prick to me." When that happens, I'll respect Hollywood slightly more. Which won't be much, really.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Joining the Prescriptivists' Ranks

As a linguist I should be upholding the tenets of descriptivism, embracing changes in language as part of its natural evolution, not judging those who diverge from the accepted "norm", being open-minded and curious about what differentiates individuals as language users. I tried to read Eats, Shoots and Leaves but I threw it away after twenty pages. Text messaging isn't destroying language, it's evolving it, pushing its boundaries, adding to its richness. Yeah, OK, any other day I'd give you that spiel. But from time to time some things piss me off enough that I'll cast aside the descriptivism that I hold so dear and momentarily join the ranks of self-proclaimed language "experts", high-horsed grammar mavens, and those who have their own newspaper columns about language yet can't tell the difference between a Chomsky and a Chimpsky.