Monday, October 30, 2006

Half-Assed Costume Critique '06

Last year's theme: Pulp Fiction. This year's theme: Kill Bill!
In mere days I'll be posting pictures of MJ and I in our Halloween gear. She was Gogo and I was a Crazy 88. Unfortunately, she had to carry a homemade mace around all night so people wouldn't think she was just a psycho schoolgirl.

In the meantime, I thought It'd be fun to be a jerk and review Halloween Costumes. Specifically: Half Assed Halloween Costumes.

(Update: Upon review my costume was fairly half-assed as well.)

The Name Tag Costume:

Here's a quick test - if your costume can't be deciphered without a name tag ("Hi, I'm an 80's Vampire") - then you, my friend, have a bonefide half-assed costume.

Exceptions: The guy who was Mel Gibson in Rehab. Funny stuff.

The 'One Piece':

Upon deep reflection, my costume this year was a definite 'One Piece'. I.e, if I were to take off just one part of my costume (in this case, a mask), I would have just been 'guy in suit'. Granted, I added blood for a combined costume cost of 4$. Point being - if it comes down to some 'crazy wicked prop I found in storage' - then you, good sir, have a half assed costume.

The Novelty Shop Costume

Funny - but half-assed. You know these guys or gals walking around in a 'kissing booth' or 'Donkey's Ass' shopped at a Spencer's gifts the night before and put down a cool 50$ for a pre-fab novelty costume. What's worse is pre-fab novelty costumes that take up the space of 3 people in a party. As much as Joe looks funny in his 'Portable Mammary tester box' - it looses its appeal the third time he knocks your drink out of your hand.Exceptions: Home-made novelty costumes. Effort = full-ass and risk.

The Generic

These are the guys who shopped last minute but couldn't really muster up the energy to go beyond the fall backs. I'm looking at you "Doctor and Nurse Combo" or "Cowboy" and even "2$ Horror Mask and Robe"

The 'Yo, I 'aint Dressin' Up' No-Costume'

A 'too-cool' fallback. Dude, its Halloween - you wouldn't show up to a wedding without a suit would you? Or maybe you would because 'you're beyond that'. Have some fun! Live a little!

The 'Excuse to Be Damn Sexy' Costume

Actually - I have no problem with this.

Disclaimer: I've been known to be a half-asser on multiple occasions - so if you took offense, let me be the first to apologize...right after I get up off the couch...which doesn't look likely to happen anytime soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Amazing Changing Format

Ok, blogspot, I give.
I've been trying for a half hour now to format these entries but it seems everytime I click the program randomly chooses a new spacing/size.
So...apologies if the following is hard on the eyes. I assure you it'll be soft on the mind.

Attack of the TV Cliches

Alternate titles include: "TV Cliches That Must Die" or "My Semi-Complete Guide to Over-Used TV Crutches (and How They Must End)"
You get the point.
I watch a lot of TV. Me and the ole radiation box have enjoyed a healthy, warm and open relationship (I'm allowed to watch other TV's).
Still, like all relationships - there are the inevitable bumps in the road. So in the spirit or getting things back on track, I offer this list of TV Cliches that must immediately pack up and move out.
Feel free to add...

The Inconclusive Season Finale: Everyone loves a great cliffhanger, but how many people love watching 22 episodes just to be treated to more questions, more loose ends and the obligatory '[insert character] might be blown-up/shot/drowned/choked or otherwise dead!' As viewers, a season is an investment - and to have that investment end with no closure is like standing in line for a ride only to be told we have to come back next year when we're tall enough.
Recent Offenders: Smallville (Zod's coming, Zod's coming! He's here! To be continued) and Lost (Oh! Finally! We found the others! The hatch is about to blow and ... to be continued).

Finally! The answers we've been waiting for! ... Next season

The 'Now I'm Evil' Complex: Shows love toying with character loyalties. And, for the most part, this makes for superb drama. However, once a character turns to the dark side, don't prolong the inevitable. Once we as the viewers know that they're up to no good - every other scene that follows is us waiting for the shoe to drop. Hold off the actual betrayal for too long and a) we don't care or b) we begin to believe the good guys deserve if for being so damn oblivious.
Recent Offenders: Battlestar Galactica (Baltar), Alias (Everyone at one point), Desperate Housewives (Don't ask)

"Bwahaha - I'm Evil. Maybe. I'll let you know in 20 episodes."

"Sometimes They Come back": A personal pet peeve. If you're going to kill off a main character - commit to it, damnit! I hate seeing characters go as much as the next boob tuber, but it's a memorable and poignant turning point - a turning point that is rendered utterly useless when said character is ressurected just episodes later! It ruins the importance of the death. It ruins the credibility of the show. It just ruins everything. Unless its 'Mario Brothers, the TV Show', no one should have more than one life.
Recent Offenders: Buffy, Alias ("Oh no [character of the week] everything has changed...wait, wait... there they are.") X-Files ("Mulder? You're dead? Wait. No. Now? No. How about now? Scully?)

"Noooooooooooo!!! Oh, hey...welcome back"

The Off-Camera Death: Related to both the above. Dear TV: you aren't fooling anyone. Now that we know characters most always come back, we also know that unless we actually see the brain matter splattered over the jail cell floor, its not a real death. We gotta see it to believe it.
Recent Offenders: Battlestar Galactica (A geek reference, nevermind), Every Single Dramatic TV Show - 24 included.

"Now you shall pay! Offscreen!"

Homework Required: Let's try to remember one thing; TV is our escape from work. It's our break from school and it's our time out from the daily upkeep of our lives. If we constantly have to read volumes of forums and show-created content on the web just to stay ahead, then it turns into work and at that point we might as well use the time for other things (family, friends, sleep). Likewise, a serial drama is an amazing ride for the devoted - but for the casual observer its a frustrating and alienating experience. If watching a show means freeze-framing the previous three, then you have a cult demographic - then you get cancelled in the third season and (maybe) a two-hour rushed series finale.

Recent Offenders: 24 (Miss an hour, miss a season), Deadwood - Anything HBO (Remember what Jimmy did from episode 2X03? Neither do we). Lost (sometimes I think even the writers forget where they've been). Note: I love serials, just wish I could get into others I've missed. 24

For more on Hurley's love interest, play the Lost Website game or sign up with American Express for special coded plot summaries.

I think that'll do for now. Stay tuned for future genre-specific beefs. And by stay tuned, I do mean please, please continue to read this blog.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Link Lot #1

I've decided to be highly original and post links. I know, I know - its a revolutionary concept but I guarantee you'll like the idea if you give it a chance.

That said, I think this first lot of links should be used to credit my main interweb influences:

MyExtraLife: If my friends and I got off our video-game/movie watching behinds and produced a podcast - it may sound a little like this. A great read and listen for any geek.
DubiousQuality: In a round about way, Bill's game/life themed blog was the final inspiration I needed to start this. Enviable writing and insight to be found. (plus muchly betterer grammar).
Pointlesswasteoftime: The title pretty much sums this up. I'd smack this in the category of 'comedy to take a break to'
darkhorizons: I've been going here for about 5 years now and while may be a little quicker at updates, this site makes up the balance with an awesome archive of show info/trailers/reviews and more.
theOnion: A hilarious compliment read to actual news.

That's all for now - stay tuned for more focused links.
Update: Now they work! Thanks to Nick for noticing my lack of computer skillz.
Oh - and Phil suggested these and

You can read Phil's Philadering Philosophies at

Official Movie Schmovie Rules

Behold: Movie Schmovie.

Passed down from uber geek to uber geek, Movie Schmovie is the penultimate test of 'movie-buffness' (real word) and memory. Movie Schmovie is the Olympics of movie knowledge - the Ed McMahon of Professional Wrestling Entertainment.

To play Movie Schmovie is to LIVE Movie Schmovie.

Alas, I cannot lay claim to creating Movie Schmovie (I believe it was developed by the Mayans), but I can take the credit for igniting the Movie Schmovie fire in 2 Ontario Universities and the entire province of Alberta. Yes. It's that good.

There's even a belt. I won it once - back in '02. But that's another story for another time.

Enjoy...with caution.

Players: 2 - Any
The Setup: None. Maybe Nachos. Access to or Leonard Malton's Video Guide is also recommended.
i)Choose someone to begin. This someone picks either a) a movie or b) an actor/actress to begin.
ii) The next player in sequence must then take this movie/actor and connect it to another movie or actor.
i.e, In the event that the first suggestion was a movie, the next person must name an actor in said movie.
In the event that the first suggestion was an actor, the next person must name a movie that actor has been in.
iii) Rinse and repeat for everyone else in sequence.
iv) When a player is finally stumped (i.e they cannot name an actor or movie based on the actor/movie given to them), they have the option to 'give up' or 'challenge'.
In a Challenge, the player can opt to challenge the person he has received a movie/actor from for the same answer he is stumped on. Player is 'out' if the Player before him can answer his own question. Reversely, the player who gave the movie/actor is out if they cannot.
v) Play continues until everyone but one 'the ultimate movie nerd' remains.

Sample Game:
Starter: Ocean's Eleven
Player 1: Brad Pitt
Player 2: 12 Monkeys
Play 3: Bruce Willis
Starter: 5th Element
Player 1: (now stumped). Challenge.
Starter: Milla Jovovich (sp?)
*Player 1 is now out. (if Starter could not answer, Starter would have been out)

i) The starter cannot stump right off the top
ii) No movie/actor can be named twice in the same round (even in challenges)
iii) First answers are final answers.
iv) No reference materials may be used

Optional For Beginners
Each Player can ask the following ONCE per round. However, once asked, they cannot challenge.
Initials of Actor
Description of Movie
Initials of Movie

*I cannot be held liable for any debates, fights, forgotten time and inebriation as a result of the movie game.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

XBOX Bully = the End of Civilization?

Well...its here. The game guaranteed to turn a generation of mindless gamers into an army of gun wielding moral despots. Nevermind that most gaming publications are hailing Rockstar's latest as a near masterpiece, it's called 'Bully' man. Bully. Can you even wrap your head around the sheer horror of it all? Truly, this XBOX abomination is the beginning of the end.

(Warning: Scenes of Extreme Violence)

But ... let me start again.
Today was birthday recon day. While Marijana finished off her costume shopping in Wal-Mart, I snuck into EB Games to get a little list going for the big occasion (3 weeks and counting for anyone who cares). I won't lie, I was caught up in the Bully hype - especially after reading tome after gushing tome of online praise. So I was ready for the posters - the displays - the gleaming EB geeks ready with their Bully sales pitches.

Nothing. Nowhere. Mortal Combat? Yes. Gears of War? You bet? Super Hardcore Fighter: Blood Edition? Uh-huh...but no Bully.

"You guys got Bully in, right?" I asked the nearest EB Geek
"Yeah. We have to keep them behind the desk," she responded with a blush - as if I just asked her where they kept the weed.
"We aren't allowed to display them. You have to ask. Federal legislation or something."

Federal Legislation? Or Something?? Surely, I had entered Bizzaro EB Games...where hookers, gangbangers and gut-ripping aliens were standard fare but a Teen rated video game about the life of a schoolkid was definately contraband.

Confused, I pointed to Mortal Combat Annihilation, asking: "So you guys can put this out."
"But no Bully."
"Yeah. Stupid, eh?"

'Stupid, eh' indeed. Before radio, I had worked at a videogame shop for two years, and at Roger's for another 2 (both for more pay I'm sure). I was there when WWF 2000 almost got banned and when GTA received its ill press. The most that happened in both these times is that we were made to ask for ID. That was the extent of the madness. Even Manhunt, a game the endorses hunting and killing human prey was granted immunity to this kind of idiocy.

To be fair, I understand the sensitivity of the subject and I can see where some talking heads may think the concept of a game called 'Bully' to be in poor taste (even if said concept is just that - an uneducated assumption). I also think we can all admit that the name 'Bully' was a dumb move for Rockstar considering recent events.

What bugs me though is that those who have actually played the game have reported content far tamer than half the games out there. Sure there are elements of 'bullying', but you do not (contrary to popular political opinion) play a Bully. Reversely, going to class is a key element of the game. So too is making friends, socializing, joining teams and getting exercise. I won't deify the game as it does sport a ton of other less 'school sanctioned' fun, but nothing I have seen or read would lead me to believe that this anywhere more moral corrupting than an episode of Wonder Years. There aren't even any guns!

What saddens me most is that those most against Bully won't see past the rare instances of wedgies and broken windows and not the other 99% of the game. It also bugs me that EB Games folded to this absurd benchmark for censorship. Its too easy to list the volumes of other games that may actually deserve the bad press so I won't.

Needless to say, I'm upset. Now, when I give Marijana my list it will have to say: 'Bully for XBOX- ask behind the counter'.

Oh, and I'll make sure she takes a brown paper bag.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Something Wii

This scares me
(from the Wii Experience videos)...

Nevermind that it looks like poor Mr.Wii Sr. has just thrown out his back playing tennis or that Mrs. Wii Sr is BLOWN AWAY BY THE SHEER AWESOMENESS (or aforementioned back injury), but also because it reminds me of this...

That's right. I went there. Actually, I went here: Particularly interesting are the media articles leading up to the ill-fated VB's release. It's even referred to as the 'Second Coming' by one and "BRR-IILLIANT" by another (Nintendo sure likes its double ii's)

Anyone see a trend? Nintendo releases a 'revolutionary system destined to shake up the industry' the Nintendo fanboys stir up a craze and then...boom...its a gimmick

Don't get me wrong - Nintendo is a gimmick genius and some have paid off big. I truly believe that the company wants to change the way we play, but can this new move really hold its own for an entire system generation?

That's 4 years people. 5 if we're lucky. That's 5 years of hand waving, wrist flicking, pseudo-workout gameplay. I'm a working stiff now, which means the last thing I want to do is come home, put on the gym shorts and work up a sweat playing Zelda. Ok, ok, maybe its not that strenuous, but sometimes just getting up to switch discs is all the energy I can muster when I just want to PLAY.

Remember the running pad? The super-scope? The power glove? These were all based on the assumption that 'flailing around like a moron' was a gameplay feature we all wanted. And sure, for a couple months it was.

And the developers? How long until ports are abandoned due to the time it takes to shoehorn them into a functional 'Wii experience'. Oh wait, there won't be many ports because the Wii isn't going to be on the same technical playing field. So what does that mean? It means we might see Wii dominated by japanese imports, niche games and the 'mario game of the week' (DS anyone?).

And televisions? I compell you to find an 18-35 year old with a tv big enough to accomodate one 'flailing moron' let alone 4. Save for my one buddy who works in finance...note to self: convince buddy who works in finance to buy a Wii.

I could go on...but I feel dirty. I actually really respect Nintendo and I'm leaning to the Wii side (though mostly for the virtual console features). Here's hoping I'm horribly wrong.

Until then...

Thanks again to for unknowingly lending me these pics.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bizzaro Matt

This just in:
My pimp name is Mack Master Matt Shmoove

The sad part is I'd probably make my monthly salary in just a few tricks.

Screw it - I'm now hiring. Apply in person.

Press Start

Hey, you made it! Can I get you a drink? No? Good - all I have is diet coke. Sorry, we usually do the shopping on Friday.

So? Sitting down? Good. Let's do this.

First things first: this is not a journal. I already have one of those and its in an offline directory far, far away under the watchful eye of an uncrackable MicrosoftWord password.

What this is (if all goes well) is a daily exercise in virtual geekdome. And, if you're a fan of games, movies, tv, entertainment, life, love and fondus then I think we'll get along. If you're not - well, stick around anyways.

To the two or three people I asked to read this: thanks for coming. I can't promise the content will always be pleasing or even, grammatically, correct (see what I did there?), but I can promise it'll kill at least five minutes of your day - and really...isn't that we're all looking for anyways?