18/07/2016

Pokemon is go


I literally have nothing to say about the app Pokemon GO. Actually that is not entirely true, I have some choice words like piss poor and barley working. But that is in the long and short of it irrelevant because it is not the app it self that have made a impact. 

No it is the sheer social movement behind this barley AR like app that has me scratching my head and in equal measures praise humanity and start question if we should not start hand out "almost Darwin awards". But then again I have been a long time viewer of Radio Dead Air and the show What the fuck is wrong with you... So I have a fairly high bar for the stupidity of people. I am not even going to dignify you with a explanation of what Pokemon GO is, if you somehow have missed it i am utterly impressed. 

Now let us instead do a little mental exercise and I want you to try and remember the last time you saw a huge group of people from all walks of life getting together and sharing... Now try and find one that did not happen due to a tragedy of some kind. 

Pokemon GO have brought people together in a way that give me hope for humanity and show us that despite what media is trying to say, the world is not teetering on the bring of destruction. Not really. 

Of course this crazy will die down soon, give it a month or two and most people will be feed up and the novelty will have worn off. But that will not really matter because it will still have changed the people using it in a small way. And it have opened the eyes of the general public to what Augmented Reality is and what it can do. No longer is it a weird buzz word... OK it is still a weird buzz word but now you can tie it to P:GO and that way make it tangible. That in it self is a victory i think. 

As for all the arsehats and socially misaligned fucknuts, they will also move on to the next way to ruin their own and others life, because that is what they do. 

Then Pokemon GO 2 will come out and we start all over again. 

Until then 

Go forth and conquer. 

11/07/2016

First Ghostbuster numbers are in and i have started to watch NCIS:LA

Let me start off with that the early reviews of the new Ghostbusters movie are looking good, sure it seems that it went the road of Star Wars and played it a bit too safe. But to be fair the movie is 30 years old and never had the pop-culture presence that Star Wars had. Now I have stayed away from plot reviews and you can bet your arse on me doing a full review once I go see it. But for now things are looking good and I can´t help but feel a tiny bit smug. 

And now back to your regular scheduled programming.



So having some free time I decided to finally dive in to NCIS: Los Angeles. Having been a fan of the earlier seasons if NCIS and that this series dropped any pretense on being based in reality, it pretty much fixed all the things that annoyed me with the original one. Now the show itself is pretty much what you expect from a crime drama/action show. But what makes me appreciate it is how well it deals with humor, especially the character of Hetty. Hetty is the operational manager (aka big boss) and is played by the amazing Linda Hunt. Now Linda Hunt is a short woman and the series use this to the max by not only playing with our established idea of power and the attributes tied in to it. The writers also elegantly weave jokes about the fact that she is short in to the story in such a way that it empowers and even humanize the character. This is sadly an uncommon occurrence in modern day TV. Way to often I see writers lean on broad stereotypes and go for the simple laughs. As an overweight person myself, I belong to a group that way too often see this treatment. In general overweight males end up in one of three groups. The creep, the looser or most often… the punchline.

 

So to see a show that actually use a none normative character, putting a female with a look and stature that would normally exclude her from playing powerful roles as not only a strong lead but also write her as someone who has seen it all and have favors to call in from pretty much everyone. It is refreshing. Now I am only in season two (of eight) at this point so it might change but if so, at least they did it. We need more thinking like that. Breaking down the typical image of how things are “supposed” to be. Because stagnation is not good for anything. 

This is perhaps the biggest responsibility we have as a generation. We are now moving in to power and society has never been more open. We hold the keys to forming a new order of things. Don´t believe the knuckledraggers who try to paint equality and acceptance as something negative and dangerous. Don´t buy in to the idea that the goal is precis and absolute balance and thus an impossible goal.  It is about giving everybody the same basic chance and not provide a fast lane just because the person have dick. There will always be way to buy in to a fast lane, sail a gravy boat up the river privilege. But how about we try to widen that lane.

Also for the fucking love of all that is holy…..
STOP… HURTING… PEOPLE… JUST… BECAUSE… YOU… DO… NOT… AGREE… WITH… THEIR… LIFE… AND… CHOICE.
Who someone is and what they do should not be a concern of you as long as they are not hurting anyone. I know it is easy to fall back on threats and false bravado when faced with something that if different. Heck I do it myself sometimes, for an example I have at points wished bodily harm on people like the core of Westborough Baptist church and other right wing conservatives. But then I remind myself that abuse is the only language they speak and it would have no effect. Violence does not solve anything, not really.

Ok that became a bit political… but hey fuck it… this is my blog and if you do not like it you can write a comment and tell me so. We do after all live in a free world. 

04/07/2016

The new Top Gear. Life after Clarkson.

So I was sitting here thinking about what my next post should be about. At first I leaned towards how most mobile games tugs on my nerve with the bait and switch tactics of making everything harder to get the longer the game is out. But I felt it was both a dated topic and that I did not have much more to say about it than that. So I will leave it with… “Dear mobile game designers… Fuck you”.

So I went back to the drawing board, hence the lateness of this post (but if you are a regular… and I use that term loosely… reader this will in fact be an early post as it has not been weeks or months since the last one.) But I simply decided to talk about Top Gear, especially the new series that just wrapped a short season. Let me first make it clear that this is not the Clarkson era Top Gear, and I am very pleased with it. Enough DNA left to make it recognizable as Top Gear but a new dynamic and enough changes to inject some vitality in to a show that had grown staler than a month old loaf of bread.
Because let us be serious for a while. The old show was so predictable that you could predict each down to the joke. The car reviews were still good but the rest was cringe worthy at best and desperate for the most.
So this new show brings in a new set of talent since Clarkson made his exit with the other two stooges. The setup is much more reminiscent of the competing UK motorshow Fifth Gear. Beyond the core duo of Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc taking the place of Clarkson, Hammond and May an expanded cast including a bunch of people I have no idea who they are… Apart from Sabine Schmitz do make the show have a bit more variety.
Beyond that most things remain the same, gone is the news segment, pretty much the only part of the old show I still enjoyed. And no longer having “a star in a reasonably priced car” they have “two stars in a rally-cross car” a segment that is about as hit or miss as the old one but at least it is something. Beyond that the show kept its car reviews of cars you will never even get to dream about and the story based challenges like “is a car, a bike or public transport faster across city X”.
Matt LeBlanc of course deliver a spot on impersonation of Matt LeBlanc and as expected by a seasoned actor hit all the beats. A sort of safe and toned down Clarkson. Big thumbs up from me. Chris Evans for me is not as good of a fit but I am sure that once he have a season or two beneath the belt he will stop chafing in the role. (Edit: Shortly after posting this i found out that Chris Evans decided to not continue on with Top Gear) The banter is still good and there is a warmth to it. BBC have toned down the toxicity that came to mark the later season of the Clarkson era and seem to work towards having the crew being more including and well… behave less like arsehats. Now I know some people liked the “edge” in the classic anti-authority vibe if sticking it to the norms and “PC Police”. But having Clarkson… A smart man… Acting like a punch drunk baboon for cheap laughs got old in the end.
This new Top Gear is very much a modern production, designed to offend no-one or at least as few is one can. But it was in my mind needed, the show had to be reeled back in before it was given some slack again. I am sure that BBC will now put the writers and showrunners to task going over the feedback and tweaking the show for the next season.


We fear change as Garth Algar put it. But sometimes change is needed and I feel that Top Gear was in need of such change. My recommendation is to give the new show a chance, go in with an open mind and enjoy the show for what it is. 

27/06/2016

The game is afoot... Game of thrones season 6... Spoilers


So... We can all agree that a lot of things went sideways in the most literal of way this season. And I know there is much complaining about how the season had less time continuity than Dr Who. But that is one of these things you either learn to let go or become forever stuck on. 

Me I just do not have enough fucks to give. 

This season saw the show wrap up a lot of loose threads and try to neatly wrap a bunch of rather lively scorpions. As expected it was messy and and well.. frankly.. sloppy. But I am sure that HBO have a very firm point of "wrap this shit up" because it is a very expensive show to make. Taking things at book pace and I am sure that they would have to release the final episode some time after the end of time. We... as the general population would not like that I am sure. 

Now things ofc kicked off with the least twisty twist in the history of the series. Jon Snow was not dead.. or well he was dead but he got better. As people are inclined to do. It would set the tone for some serious cases of "walking it off". Also just to get that out of the way "R+L=J" = True. For the people not in the loop, Jon is the bastard of Rhegar Taygarian and Lianna Stark. Ned only took him as his to keep him safe from Robert who probably did not like the idea of contending with a legitimate heir to the throne... Well as legitimate as any conquer can be. I guess that will be a fun thing for him to learn in the future. For now only Bran knows. Bran is now the greenest of seers and still bloody annoying. Beyond that he really did not serve as much beyond a plot device. But we got to know that he was the one who messed up Hodor. That was a nice twist. "Hold the door" indeed. Arya does her Daredevil thing this season and while it was sort of boring it was never really that good in the books either. She then decides to go home and straight up murder people, Walder Frey being at the top of the list. Nice touch how she baked a Frey pie... It is like a humble pie, but with the children of Walder Frey as the main ingredient. 

This does generally not bode very well for Cersei but since she spent this entire season working her way from crazy to nuttier than Nutella i think she will be to busy to notice when Arya kille her. On the bright side we do have a less Wild Fire in Kings Landing (and a lot less Sept of Baelor) but i felt it was a tad bit heavy handed and not a very good buildup. Tomen´s reaction to the entire thing was very human. Having lost his love Margaery and any chance of ever ruling the land by any other mean than fear he simply steps out from his balcony and falls to his death. Nothing grand or spectacular about it. No real drama. He simply takes his crown from his head and calmly place it by the side. Then he just take a casual stroll out the window. And with that he fulfills the fate that was told to young Cersei. She has now lost all her children. My bet is that it will be Jamie who will wrap up the prophecy seeing how she is going in to insane territory. Combining that with her crowning her self queen and i fear Jamie will be forced to add another regent to his name. 

As for Danny, this season has pretty much just been a bunch of sizzle moments. Some more than other as she once again put the Dothraki people under her control, took back Mereen... again... and now sail for Westeros. She got to be bad ass but nothing of real consequences came to pass.  

Now the big question mark for me this season was going to be Sansa. After last season she was pretty much robbed of any momentum and left as a plot device. While she still serves this role in this season she does retake some of the momentum and show that she has been taught by some of the biggest arseholes in Westeros. Sure Jon might have been crowned king in the north but since he has the diplomatic ability of grape (as per all male Stark´s) my guess is that she will carry the brunt of that work.

Anyway... For what it is worth and to answer my question that I stated at the start of the season. Yes it was worth it if you enjoy the show for what it is. But if you are looking for solid and logical TV... 

This is not your show. 

24/06/2016

So... Brexit. (and a midsummer greeting)

And this is what happen when you put your faith in the general masses. You end up with a coin toss that splits the nation and leaves nobody satisfied. 

I guess the Cameron office felt it was political suicide to put in a clause that a clear majority was needed... Instead betting on people to do what is best for business. Somehow forgetting that a big chunk the voters are to young to remember a world before the EU but for sure remembering how things have pretty much been shit since... EU making a good scapegoat. The other half balls deep in nostalgia for "how much better the days gone past where". 

That was... Stupid. Especially as it ended up costing the Cameron office their office anyway. 


So... Go forth and conquer I guess. Let´s hope that our own SEK manages to stay afloat.. making those UK vacations a lot cheaper. Also i am looking forward to seeing where this leads since this is a unprecedented scenario. GG on the old commonwealth for taking one for the team i guess. 



Anyway...

Swedish midsummer time so drink smart, fuck safe and do fucking try to not kill each other.

20/06/2016

My watch is over.. Overwatch.


So I... Like pretty much all of humanity it seems. Have now had some solid time with Overwatch, Blizzards new hero shooter is about as solid as one would expect. But for me it ticks a much more important box.

Ain´t he the most adorable little crazy mercenary you ever seen.

You see... I suck at shooter games. Used to be fairly good back in the old days of BF 1942... Then things just kept getting faster and I kept getting slower, Then came the era of the sniper and i pretty much said... Fuck this... 

Now this is where the gameplay of OverWatch is so bloody brilliant. It is the epitome of the Blizzard idea of having something for everyone. No longer do I need to fear being useless to my team because i can not hit the broad side of Roadhog. I can go in and tank the living crap out of things as a over sized German knight with a power-armor and a freaking energy shield... As in a honest to god, carried on your arm shield. Simply put i can feel useful.


Now the game is at it´s core a fairly standard online arena shooter. You are part of as team and try to shoot the face of the opposing team. The maps are well designed but the game lacks game modes and while the ones we get a point capture mode and a escort mode that is very well designed and offer a ton of fun and action. They are also all we get. And it does get a bit repetitive after a while.

Now the core of OverWatch is the heroes, taking ideas from the moba space and giving us 21 (at the moment) unique heroes that as I mentioned before has something for everyone but without it feeling forced. We will see more heroes added as time goes by. But for now we have a good solid mix of wonderfully colorful and cheesy.

And that i think is the games strongest point. The art style is just so vibrant and lively. It is like a Pixar movie dialed up to 11.

Now this game is not for everybody, if you do not like shooters it has noting to offer gameplay wise. Aaaaand it has some micro transactions for stuff like skins and icons. While it does not bother me all to much I know it is a deal breaker for some people. More power to you. That will not change either but compared to EA´s pants-on-head stupid system of locking maps behind paywalls and splitting the player base i feel inclined to urge everyone to at least give Blizzard a pat on the head for not fucking their players over completely. So if you like arena shooters, give this one a try. I am willing to bet you will at least get your 40/60 bucks worth of entertainment out of it.

02/05/2016

Civil War – Marvel style. Captain America 3 Spoiler version



Captain America: Civil War is the latest offering form the house of the mouse´s super hero division. And as usual when it comes to the Cap movies it is not so much a super hero movie as a movie with super heroes in it. In this case a political thriller mixed with a psychological drama… Is said genres where raised on Rice Krispies.  But seeing how it is an ensemble film following in the messy footsteps of Avengers 2 I had my doubts that it would not turn in to a horrid convoluted mess.

It is my great pleasure to inform you all that it in fact was not a horrid convoluted mess.

But I get ahead of myself. The story goes thusly.
In the aftermath of Age of Ultron the world in general and Sokovia in particular are not all that hyped about the Avengers any more. Sure they did save the world.. or at least New York from giant armored space whales, but since they have not had much in the way of wins… Between Iron Man getting his house blown up and thrash a commercial dock, SHEILD trying to take over the world by the way of Hydra (or the other way around depending on point of view). Captain America dropping three very expensive experimental aircrafts on a fairly populated area and no to mention the rogue AI trying to annihilate an entire country… An AI created in part by Tony Stark. And as the movie opens they manage to explode a building when trying to capture a terrorist. To say it has been a couple of rough years is a mild understatement.

So the plan is to turn the Avengers in to a UN/Nato attack dog. This is done by the way of equal amounts of guilt and threats and for ol Steve Rogers this does not really mesh with the idea of them being a global force for good. So there you have the schism. But most people agree it could perhaps be a good idea to at least appear to fall in line. As this debate is going on Steve is informed that his almost dame and favorite British spy Peggy Carter has passed away and while visiting her funeral gets some words of “wisdom” from Peggy’s niece Sharon aka agent 13 aka Steve’s old neighbor. So while Cap and Falcon goes on a buddy road trip the rest of the Avengers gear up to attend the signing of the so called Sokovia Accord.

Here we meet T'Chaka, the current king of Wakanda and his son T´Challa. He seems like a nice guy and as such T'Chaka very quickly get an explosion in the back making T´Challa the effective king. Fortunately for him he does not only get the throne of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world but he also get a super suit and the alias of Black Panther. This is good as he seek to avenge his father. Go him.

Our buddy cop team of Cap and Falcon get involved in this when it looks like the Winter Solider was the one pulling the “trigger” and Cap want to save his old buddy seeing how pretty much everyone else he knew is dead. We do have to remember that Cap might be closer to 100 years chronologically but he is still a 25-ish year old nerd. This will also be important to remember once we get to Caps romantic sub-plot… if you like to call it that.
So with the issue and the motivation set up for this “civil war” the avengers set out to beat the ever living crap out of each other. As the story unravel we see that much of this fuzz was for a former Hydra agent by the name of Zemo to get access to the Winter Solider so he could find information on a very special mission that the Winter Soldier did back in the days. Turns out that Bucky was not the only Russian super soldier and that he did in fact kill Howard Stark. The plan here seems to be to drive a permanent wedge between Tony and Steve and in turn split the Avengers.

So Cap and Tony kick the snot out of each other and then Cap and Bucky makes off to Wakanda where they put Bucky on ice until they can figure out a way to break his brainwashing.

So… The movie is good in fact I would say it beats A2 by a mile and does so with about the same size of cast. Maybe it is because the story is much more personal and the conflict more anchored in… Well… Reality if that is the word to use. Sure we have to play with a lot of plot convenience and among other things I feel that Cap´s motivations are forced. But at the same time as I said we have to keep in mind that Steve is a young man who has one person left in the world that can relate to him and see him as the person he was before he became Cap. I would go pretty far for a person like that. Same goes for his rather hasty romantic sub-plot with Sharon Carter, forced but not entirely out of character. Sure it is a bit weird but she is the closest he will ever get to the love of his life. Not a healthy basis for a relationship but again he is a young (and in some way emotionally underdeveloped) man on the rebound from a lot of shit. To seek solace in familiarity is not unheard of.

Now I of course have to link back to the comics arch that provided name and over all story to this film… As expected they share very little beyond the name but the movie still do a very good job at hitting key points from the comics. The Stamford incident (one of the most emotional gut punches in modern comics history in my mind) where a villain out of hand blows up a good chunk of a town called Stamford including a school full of children. The super-person superMAX iirc called sector 42 or some such, Spiderman (did not do much in the movie but is kind of important in the comics) and the whole bit with Cap realizing that he is in fact going out of control. These moments all translated in to the film in one way or the other.

So it was a worthy end to the Captain America saga and a way to redeem Avengers age of Ultron for being a messy messy thing. It is with confidence I now turn my eyes towards the future of the Marvel cinematic universe.


//T