Friday, November 2, 2012

The Amityville Horror (1979) Review

Last night, after sitting around talking about dicks for three hours while occasionally standing up to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, my friends and I decided that we should watch a horror movie on TV seeing as how it was Halloween and all. There were two movie that were just about to start when we sat down with some pizza: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the original Amityville Horror with Josh Brolin's dad, James Brolin. For some reason we went the latter even though, shockingly, none of us have ever seen Rocky Horror (something to do with it being on Much Music which is a shitty channel that would ruin it somehow). By the end of the movie I was fairly certain that Rocky Horror would have been significantly scarier, though perhaps not as hilarious.

The first sign that maybe this movie wouldn't live up to the last word of its title was the PG rating that appeared in the corner. The second indication was the excruciatingly annoying music that I can't fucking get out of my head. The story begins on a dark and stormy night and only gets more cliche from there. I'm not going to go too deep into the story. Suffice to say its about a young family that moves into a haunted murder house and start to go crazy. You can probably figure out most of what happens from that brief summary alone. The only real surprise is that nobody dies, and that's not necessarily a welcome twist. There's also a subplot involving a priest that never amounts to anything, and a subplot that follows a cop that similarly goes nowhere. The movie climaxes with the family slowly walking down a flight of stairs while blood drips from the walls, and then they get in their car and leave. That's it. Evidently their budget ran out before they could give the movie a proper ending and tie all the various threads together.

There isn't really much you can say about the characters. The mother is religious. The daughter is creepy. The sons exist. The father looks like a hobo and acts like one too. Its also revealed that he is not actually the father of the children, but not until three quarters of the way through the movie and its almost entirely irrelevant to the plot. Like most characters in a horror movie, they are also retarded. Despite all the batshit crazy stuff that happens in the house they refuse to leave, and seem to have amnesia when it comes to all the horrible things that happen. And its not like they didn't know about the house's checkered past. At the start of the movie the mother and father are discussing the murders that occurred in the house, and they recognize that its a major reason why the its so cheap. Characters constantly come in and tell them that the house is cursed, but they just dismiss it as irrational. At one point they literally find the portal to Hell in their basement, and they still decide to stay another three days. The best part is they try to cover it up with an old mattress. Because that will keep the demons at bay.

The most intelligent character in the movie appears to be the family dog who is the only one who seems to recognize the serious threat to personal safety having the portal to Hell in the basement presents. My friends and I invented this alternate story where Dog is the main character and spends the whole movie fighting back Satan and his demons while simultaneously dealing with the bullshit of theh his masters. At the end of the movie he's doing battle with Satan in the basement when the father comes to "rescue" him and take him away with the rest of the family only to fall into a pool of blood. This pisses the shit out of Dog, because now he has to save his useless master while trying to keep Satan at bay. I imagine him barking in dog language, "Holy fuck man, seriously? I got bigger things to worry about than saving your sorry ass! Goddamn noob weighing me down!" I am fairly confident that this would make a far more rewarding and entertaining cinematic experience.

As for scares, there aren't any, not even jump scares. Other than the aforementioned blood, what passes for scares are such spooky occurrences as doors or windows that open and close on their own, chandeliers that shake a bit, and rocking chairs that move with nobody in them. The Wishbone Halloween episode is genuinely more terrifying than this. The film tries to be creepy with the daughter who befriends the ghost of an infant murder victim, but that sort of thing has been so many times and to much greater effect in other movies. So even if you don't care about plot or character and are looking purely for chills and nightmare fodder, then this movie has very little to offer.

In conclusion: 2/10

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guild Wars 2 PvE Review: A Fanboy's Perspective

If you're wondering why I haven't made a post in a hella long time, one major reason is the recent release of Guild Wars 2 which has eaten up quite a bit of my free time. To say I've been looking forward to this game is a bit of an understatement. In most areas it has lived up to or even exceeded my expectations, though there are a few places in which I've been a bit disappointed. Like Obama and his "change," Guild Wars 2 doesn't quite live up to all the hype of being a revolutionary, greatest game of all time, but it already ranks as one of my favorites and one that I'll be playing for years to come. I haven't had much of a chance to look into World vs. World or structured PvP, but here are my thoughts on the PvE game.


My level 80 asura Necromancer with Rata Sum in the background

Personal Story
As the name implies, the personal story is your primary source of plot for the game and is essentially solo content. Originally I wasn't too excited about this aspect of the game, but after playing through most of it, the personal story is one of my favorite parts of Guild Wars 2. It's fun, well-written, and has worthwhile rewards in addition to plenty of cool characters. In some respects however, it doesn't completely live up to expectations assuming you've been following this game since it was announced. When you first create your character you are faced with a number of story options to make which will, supposedly, make your story completely different from somebody who makes other choices. To some extent this is true, you will have different story steps in the beginning, but these stories appear to have very little, if any impact on the primary story of the game or the choices you make further down the line. These creation questions mostly just determine which early game sub-plots you'll see. Just as these early storylines are forgotten so is the Home Instance which was touted earlier on in development as a place that will change along with your story. Considering its your home, you visit it rather rarely and not at all once you reach level 25 or so, and other than a few NPCs added every now and then who stand around not doing anything, it doesn't really change either. I think Arenanet may have missed out on a golden opportunity to make a space for players to customize and that they can truly call their home. But as it stands, all of the sub-plots and the main story are thoroughly enjoyable so I don't have much trouble seeing past these minor discrepancies.


This is the most interesting thing I could find in my home instance

Events
Events are the bread and butter of the game and what you'll probably spend most of your time doing if you're a PvE focused player. These are what I was most looking forward to about the game, and I'm pleased to say that, with the exception of a few buggy events here and there, they have met my expectations. They are buckets of fun and feel so natural that I forgot about the traditional MMO questing system within moments after I started playing. A lot of hours can be spent following an event chain or wandering between events across the map with nary a dull moment. Its also pretty amazing to see just how quickly and easily random people come together and work as a team to complete more challenging events which really helps the world come alive. When alone however, it can often become apparent that the majority of events aren't designed for one player to complete by themselves regardless of whether or not it is designated as a Group Event which can be frustrating. Luckily, with the already massive popularity of this game, you'll very rarely find yourself in this situation and fun times are had for all.


One of the more memorable events sees a group of us chasing after a jakalope

Exploration
When events aren't running or you feel like a change of pace you'll find Tyria one of the more rewarding online worlds to explore. For starters, its beautiful with varied locales and unique set pieces. You can also find plenty of lore tidbits (and many references to the original game) scattered around by interacting with books, plaques, or NPCs if you're into that sort of thing. If you're looking for a challenge you may find one of the games many hidden jumping puzzles which reward you with an achievement and some loot at the end. If you don't really care for beauty, lore, or challenges and are one of those min/max types then you'll get all valuable experience simply by visiting all the vistas, points of interest, waypoints, and skill challenges on a map, earning yourself some useful gear to boot. You'll also have to fill in renown hearts, however, which are pretty much just traditional quests without the exclamation mark. Most will have you running around killing monsters in a given area to fill in a bar which can be a real chore if there aren't any events running nearby. Thankfully there are normally multiple ways to fill in a heart and while most are forgettable, there are a few that can actually turn out to be quite memorable. Once you reach the later areas of the game, the hearts disappear entirely, but it is also at this point that in order to explore and not get ganked by hordes of undead, you need a group of people with you. This is when exploration can become something of an aggravating chore, and instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment for getting to that hard to reach vista, the predominating emotion is relief for finally having it over and done with. Nevertheless, Tyria is an explorers paradise and a worthwhile use of your time and effort.


This vista from Divinity's Reach is one of the most popular, and for good reason

Dungeons
For me, dungeons are the best part about Guild Wars 2 which feature the most enjoyable and challenging content. While the free-for-all that are dynamic events is all fun and good, I find I get more pleasure from the more structured dungeons where communication between party members is key. Every encounter in a dungeon is fun and often unique, and the boss fights are a blast. Upon finally reaching the end, the sense of completion and success is enough reward in and of itself regardless of what the loot chest contains. On the subject of loot, I feel Arenanet may have backpeddaled a little bit on their promise of not having to grind the same dungeon over and over to get the gear you want. Although you do get the gear via tokens earned from the dungeon, and the tokens are guaranteed to drop at the end, you only get appear to get a fraction of what you need for a single piece, meaning you'll still have to repeat the dungeon over and over again if you want that awesome looking armor. On the plus side, it is in dungeons where the lack of a holy trinity in Guild Wars 2 is at its most liberating. Not having to wait on a healer or tank makes forming groups a breeze and once in the dungeon their absence isn't even noted.


One of the more interesting armor sets in the game and it will only cost you 1380 tokens 

Other Thoughts
- Combat is fun, fluid, immersive, and rewarding when you do it right
- The professions and their associated skills/traits all feel distinct and are fun to experiment with
- When you receive mail, a little bird flies to your character to deliver it which is a nice little flourish
- Lots of small conveniences like being able to deposit materials into the bank from anywhere
- Crafting is actually pretty fun
- The emotes in this game are fantastic


This image of a norn dancing makes me absurdly happy

And just for kicks here's a picture of asura children (aka progeny):


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Game of Thrones Characters


Here is my rankings of all the major (and some minor) characters in Game of Thrones. So long as you've watched season 2 or have read Clash of Kings there won't be any spoilers. 

1. Tyrion Lannister – This probably won’t come as much of a surprise. He’s funny, smart, and plays by his own moral code. I think Martin knew he had a winner when he created this character, and I look forward to seeing where his crazy journey takes him to next.
2. Jaime Lannister – If you only watch the show or haven’t read any books after the second one then you’re probably questioning why I put Jaime at #2. Without spoiling anything let me just say that despite his propensity towards incest, Jaime does have a moral code and is more keenly aware of the hypocrisy inherent to the power structures of Westeros than any other character. He’s a rebel who’s trying to simultaneously fight against and work within the system.
3. Daenerys Targaryen – Despite being a bit whinier in the HBO show, and trying too hard to be the good guy in later books, Daenerys is easily the most interesting woman in the series, but I wish she’d hurry up and get to Westeros already. 
4. Jon Snow – Jon Snow has to make a lot of very difficult decisions despite his young age, and although he may not always make the right call, he does his best to do what’s right which is a hell of a lot more than most others can say.
5. Arya Stark – Although Arya gets progressively angrier as the series goes on, she still retains her fighting spirit and a place as one of my personal favorites.
6. Brienne of Tarth – Stronger and more honourable than the vast majority of knights, Brienne is one of the most compelling women in the series and I hope she manages to find happiness one day.
7. Dolorous Edd Tollett – Everything this character says is genius.
8. Davos Seaworth – I have a thing for noble characters who everybody else treats like dirt, and that pretty much describes Davos in a nutshell.
9. Jorah Mormont – He may at first appear noble and upright, but when you get down to it, Jorah is one of the more morally ambiguous characters which is precisely why I like him.
10. Varys “The Spider” – In the war between Varys and Littlefinger that runs in the background throughout the series, I’ve thrown my lot behind Team Varys because despite his secretive ways I do believe he has the best interests of the realm at heart.
11. Stannis Baratheon – Some may consider Stannis too rigid and unwilling to compromise, but these qualities are what make him so fascinating to me. I’ll admit that he’d probably be a terrible king, but he’s a great character.
12. Tywin Lannister – What he lacks in fatherhood material, Tywin more than makes up for in being perhaps the most cunning man in all Westeros.
13. Ned Stark – Ned is noble to a fault and his death remains as one of the most emotional highpoints of the series.
14. Podrick Payne – I’m not entirely sure why, but I have a real soft spot for Pod. I think it’s because of his quiet dignity and unwavering loyalty.
15. Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully – The fact that they cut him from the show makes me sadder than all of the other changes combined.
16. Walder Frey – Though there are plenty of good reasons not to like this guy, I still find him hilariously entertaining.
17. Tormund Giantsbane – Har! Har! Har!
18. Meera Reed – Bran would be dead a thousand times over if it wasn’t for Meera and assuming both survive the series they’ll probably get together.
19. Robb Stark – Apart from one very stupid decision, Robb is one of the best characters who’s point of view we never see.
20. Bronn – For a sellsword, Bronn is pretty loyal guy and also pretty clever.
21. Osha – She’s probably cooler in the show than the books where she doesn’t play as major a role, but I like her nonetheless.
22. Greatjon Umber – It’s hard not to like this guy.
23. Asha Greyjoy – Easily the smartest and best of the Greyjoys.
24. Arianne Martell – This girl is one to watch.
25. Jeor Mormont – He’s like a more badass version of Santa Claus.
26. Ygritte – You should listen to Ygritte, Jon. She knows more than you.
27. Khal Drogo – One word: boss.
28. Doran Martell – The best part about Doran is that nobody realizes just how scared of him they should be.
29. Barristan Selmy – One of the few knights who actually lives up to the job.
30. Shagga and the Mountain Men – These guys always make me laugh.
31. Grenn/Pyp – These two have a good comedy routine going on.
32. Quorin Halfhand – All around a pretty cool guy.
33. Jaqen H’Gar – For a cold-blooded professional murderer, this guy is alright.
34. Donal Noye – I don’t want to spoil anything, but this guy may just do the most badass thing out of anybody in the series.
35. Val – Wilding women are so much cooler than Wildling men.
36. Gendry – Some people seem to have this fantasy of Gendry and Arya getting together, and although I like him, I don’t really see that happening.
37. Mya Stone – I like Mya and I hope she plays a larger role in later books.
38. Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell – Best nickname in the series.
39. The Sand Snakes – Each more deadly than the last. The Martells are pretty badass.
40. Olenna “The Queen of Thorns” Redwyne – She definitely has a fitting nickname and is pretty much the grandma who says whatever she feels like because she’s old goddammit!
41. Garlan Tyrell – He may not do much, but Garlan the Gallant lives up to his name and is one of the most decent men in the books.
42. Margery Tyrell – A triple threat of beautiful, charming, and clever.
43. Bran Stark – Despite being crippled, Bran may just become one of the most powerful beings in Westeros if he can ever get over his insecurities.
44. Sandor “The Hound” Clegane – He’s one of the best killers in Westeros and also has more honour than most knights, though he doesn’t like to let people know that.
45. Roose Bolton – Roose is not a very nice man and will do whatever it takes to ensure the most efficient and beneficial outcome even if that means murder. I may not approve of his methods, but can appreciate his desire for some peace and quiet.
46. Theon Greyjoy – I know a lot of people really don’t like Theon, but I can see where he’s coming from and sympathize with his conflicting loyalties.
47. Daenerys’ Entourage – They’re all pretty boss in their own way, but you can’t really say much about them individually.
48. Sansa Stark – She starts off really stupid and annoying, but gets better as the series progresses.
49. Mance Rayder – He’s a clever man to say the least, and that’s something I can appreciate.
50. Maester Luwin – Luwin is the ultimate mentor figure in the series and has one of the most touching death scenes.
51. Yoren – He’s smelly and crass, but he has his own brand of nobility.
52. Maester Aemon – Aemon has one of the coolest backstories out of any character.
53. Rodrick Cassel – A loyal man with boss facial hair.
54. Sam Tarly – He’s smart and has a good heart, but his prissiness does get tiresome at times.
55. Griff – I’m not sure what to make of him yet, but he seems cool.
56. Kevan Lannister – He’s pretty much the Lannister equivalent to Victarion Greyjoy, but earns bonus points for telling off Cersei.
57. Renly Baratheon – His death pretty much comes out of nowhere, and you never really get to know him, but I guess he’s alright.
58. Patchface – He may seem like a mental patient, but it has been suggested that Patchface holds dark secrets. For starters there’s the matter of how he drowned before washing up on shore. Then there are his little rhymes which seem to predict the future. Finally, there’s the fact that Melisandre is scared of him which does not bode well.
59. Shireen Baratheon – She may not seem all that important, but there are hints that due to her grayscale as a baby, she may play a major role down then line.
60. Melisandre – I’m still not entirely sure if I should trust her or not, but either way she’s an enigmatic character.
61. Jojen Reed – Jojen is kinda weird, but I suppose that’s forgivable when you know how/when you’ll die.
62. Benjen Stark – I have theories regarding what happened to Benjen, but shall refrain from voicing them for spoiler reasons.
63. Ilyn Payne – This guy knows a lot of secrets and may know things that even Varys doesn’t, but he ain’t talking anytime soon.
64. The Three-Eyed Crow – Overall, a creepy…thing, but he seems to be looking out for the good guys.
65. Beric Dondarrion/Thoros of Myr – The Brotherhood Without Banners is an interesting organization to say the least, mostly thanks to these two.
66. Vargo Hoat – He may be cruel, but he’s also pretty funny due to his lisp.
67. Tommen Baratheon – A nice boy, but not the ideal for royalty.
68. Wyman Manderly – He may be fat, but it turns out he’s actually pretty smart.
69. Euron “Crows Eye” Greyjoy – I don’t know what his endgame is, but I know it’s not going to be good.
70. Myrcella Baratheon – She hasn’t really done much yet, but shows greater promise than her mother.
71. Qyburn – He’s pretty much the mad scientist of the series.
72. Quaithe – She’s pretty mysterious, but seems to know what she’s talking about.
73. Ramsay BoltonIf you think Joffrey is bad then you haven’t seen anything yet. Ramsay is pretty much an officially sanctioned serial killer, and even his own dad (Roose) finds his cruelties excessive, yet for some reason I like him better.
74. Robert Baratheon – Pretty much a Westerosi fratboy. He may be a great warrior, but he is a less than ideal king and father.
75. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish – I can’t think of a character that I trust less.
76. Shae – The worst mistake Tyrion ever made.
77. Aeron Greyjoy – All this guy has going for him is a head full of crazy.
78. Cersei Lannister – She may be a horrible person, but reading her chapters are a joy just to watch her fail harder than your mind will allow you to comprehend.
79. Edmure Tully – He means well, but is still pretty foolish.
80. Loras Tyrell – He means well, but is still pretty foolish.
81. Rattleshirt – Beyond looking badass he doesn’t really do much.
82. Gilly – In book 4 she does something very disgusting.
83. Hot Pie – You know you suck when you’re nickname is “Hot Pie”.
84. Victarion Greyjoy – A more boring version of his older brother.
85. Daario Naharis ­­– Quite possibly the worst decision Daenerys ever made
86. Illyrio Mopatis –.The portrait of gluttony and greed.
87. Young Griff – I don’t think this guy is who he thinks he is.
88. Hizdhar zo Loraq – Does anybody trust this guy?
89. Dontos Hollard – A cowardly, drunken fool who borders on pedophilia.
90. Boros Blount – A fat, useless turd.
91. The Kettleblacks – It turns out being a lackey runs in the family.
92. Xaro Xhoan Daxos – This guy is a pompous phony.
93. Mace Tyrell – He’s pretty much just a big windbag.
94. Areo Hotah – Hello, I have no personality and part of my job is not to think. Would like to read about my view on the world?
95. Quentyn Martell – He comes from my favorite family in Westeros yet has the lamest, most disappointing story.
96. Arys Oakheart – I have no idea why Martin thought this guy deserved his own chapter.
97. Randyll Tarly - One of the top three contenders for Worst Father in Westeros.
98. Lancel Lannister – Lancel can’t do anything right.
99. Alliser Thorne – Little more than a big, mean jerk.
100. Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane – Dumb muscle 1
101. Amory Lorch – Dumb muscle 2
102. The Tickler/Weese/Dunsen/Polliver – The dumb muscles of the dumb muscles.
103. Grandmaester Pycelle – The toadiest toady of them all.
104. Janos Slynt – It’s hard to see the good side of a man who murders babies without a second thought.
105. Balon Greyjoy – Part of the reason why I dislike Balon is because he’s a terrible father who has trapped his sonly son in a Catch-22. The main reason, however, is because of his completely idiotic plan to invade the North. It’s a bad idea in so many ways, but I won’t get into it here.
106. Viserys Targaryen – A right royal prick like Joffrey, but without a crown to back it up.
107. Lysa/Robert Arryn – These two are really, really, really creepy.
108. Craster – It’s hard to sympathize with a man who has sex with all his daughters.
109. Joffrey Baratheon – A right royal prick.
110. Catelyn Stark – The story of Catelyn’s life is an endless parade of bad decisions. She has a tendency to trust the wrong people (Littlefinger) while vehemently disliking goodhearted people (Jon and Tyrion). She does a lot of silly things which cost a lot of people very dearly, and she only gets bitchier/more psycho as the series progresses.
Honourable Mention: Hodor – Hodor!

Bonus points to whoever can tell me what is most wrong with this list.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lumberjack Show


Yesterday was Canada Day, and in celebration a group of us headed to Vancouver in search of fun and entertaining events to instill in us a sense of patriotism. After a few hours of wandering around finding nothing but activities and shows aimed at 7-year-olds and promotions for local businesses, we eventually came across a lumberjack show outside of Canada Place. Granted, the show also appears to have been directed at 7-year-olds, this does not excuse it from how truly awful it was. I can safely say that I have never seen a worse live performance in all my life and I once saw a high school production of Treasure Island where one of the actors was reading directly off of a script that he was holding the entire time. Much like that play, the lumberjack show was embarrassing and cringe-inducing for everyone involved with the added negative of being fundamentally retarded.

The show begins with the host attempting to pump up the crowd which is mostly comprised of Canadians so it fails dismally. Next he introduces four men in overalls and plaid shirts all of which have their arms ripped off. Two of them have beards and are a bit flabby while the other two are more strapping and may have formerly been male strippers. Within five minutes it becomes apparent that none of the men on stage can act, and that spending all that time in the forest has robbed all of them of any sense of comedy. To be fair to the lumberjacks, they were pretty good at handling a saw, throwing axes, climbing poles, and other such feats, but for every one minute of feats of strength and lumberjacking skill there are at least ten minutes of them making horrible non-jokes and awkward silence from the audience. Their humour came in two forms: misinterpreting what the host was saying, and attempting to cheat. An example of the first type would involve the host saying something like “we have a red team and a green team so let’s split the audience in half,” and then one of the lumberjacks would charge forward with a chainsaw. The host would ask him what he was doing and he’d reply “you said to split the audience in half!” The second type of “joke” would typically involve the red team trying to get a head start on one of the challenges while the host wasn’t looking (like sawing part way through a log before the timer starts) and then acting like nothing had happened. Essentially, they repeated these two jokes over and over again at least once each between each challenge in the vain hope that it might eventually become funny. I’m assuming they were operating under the logic that if nobody laughs the first time it must be because they didn’t get it, so you have to say it again every five minutes until they do. If this is the case then I’d like to inform them that we did in fact get it, but their jokes just suck. All they succeed in doing is making young children cry and ask their parents where all the joy in the world went.

I think the highlight (or anti-highlight if you will) of the show came when they invited two young girls from the audience up on stage to participate. One was a local, but the other was from Mexico. Upon announcing this, a sense of shame rippled through all Canadians in the audience at the knowledge that somebody from outside the country was not only a witness, but actually a part of this terrible display. A few more awful jokes were made, the girls sawed through a log with help from two of the lumberjacks, and the Mexican girl won and was given a souvenir mini wooden chair as a prize. This could have been the end of it, but the host had other, creepier plans in mind. The 50-year-old host pulled the runner-up aside and told that as a consolation prize she would get him. He then proceeded to put his arm around her shoulder and make comments such as “I wish you were older,” and “I like a woman who does what she’s told,” while the audience laughed nervously. I’m pretty sure the girl would have run screaming if he wasn’t holding her hand so tight. This was the only time they attempted a joke that wasn’t a repetition of the two mentioned above, and I never thought I’d say this, but I wish they hadn’t tried branching out.

After they finally let her flee with another miniature chair, I really just wanted to leave, but we stuck around to see the log rolling competition which we thought would be the last part of the show. It turns out we were wrong and that they had devised even more ways to rob the world of all mirth and goodwill. We left anyways because if we stayed any longer I’m pretty sure we would have lost all sense of national pride and identity. As we were walking away a friend who is almost always in a good mood turned to me with a sorrowful look and said, “I tried so hard to enjoy that. So hard. But I just couldn’t.” I cannot think of more fitting words to end this post. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Kevin Rey Trivia Game


My good friend, Kevin, is getting married next week and his bachelor party is tonight. I thought it would be nice to make a trivia game about all the embarrassing things he's done in his life. A lot of these are inside jokes, but I'm sure you can all find something to appreciate. 

1. What is Kevin’s middle name? Martin

2. What is the 5th letter of the alphabet? F

3. When did Kevin start dating Sandy? Grade 9

4. What ethnicity do we say Kevin is? Mexican

5. What ethnicity is he actually? Peruvian

6. What did Kevin’s dad say when questioned on whether they were Mexican or Peruvian? “Same difference.”

7. True of false: Kevin is the Nazgul? True

8. What is Kevin allergic too? Peanuts

9. Peanut oil is a common ingredient in cuisine from what Southeast Asian country formerly known as Siam?      Thailand

10. Who carried Kevin all the way back to the hotel in San Francisco when he ate Thai food? Justin Casol

11. Which of the following excuses has NOT been used by Kevin to bail on his friends: A. Saxophone shopping, B. Regatta, C. Dinner with parents, D. Too busy doing the Mexican Hat Dance?  D

12. Again, which of the following excuses has NOT been used by Kevin to bail on his friends: A. Bible camp, B. He actually hates us, C. He was sleepy, D. Had to go let Mike in to his apartment?  B

13. Name any two of the women Kevin has been accused of having a secret affair with. Marissa, Veronica, Joyce

14. What did the ring Kevin wore on shoe symbolize? Abstinence

15. What is Kevin studying at SFU? Molecular Biology

16. Kevin held what position in the SFU BGC until it became apparent he was awful at it? Vice President

17. What martial art is Kevin currently interested in? Kendo

18. What is the name of Kevin’s mom? Mrs. Rey

19. What board game is Kevin the worst at?  Settlers of Catan

20. What board game is Kevin the best at?  Puerto Rico

21. What is Kevin’s favorite brand of chips?  Doritos

22. Name three of the four languages Kevin speaks.    English, French, Spanish, Japanese

23. Who was Kevin’s favorite Chem 12 teacher?  Mr. Wade

24. Has Kevin ever knocked over or broken something in your house?  Probably

25. What denomination of Christianity is Kevin?   Baptist I think

26. What was the name of the movie Kevin tried to make in high school?  Elder Dragons

27. What is Kevin’s favorite outdoor activity?  Canoeing/Kayaking

28. What was the purpose to the speech Kevin gave at the hotel last PAX?  None

29. Why were people mad at Kevin last PAX?  Hotel problems

30. What did Mike say that made Kevin fall over laughing when we played Settlers of Catan at his house?         I love sixes because first I get wood, and then I have an oregasm!

31. What did Kevin do in the middle of a French presentation for no reason? Dance

32. Who is Kevin’s only high school friend he has never been mad at? Taylor

33. What movie do Tristan and Kevin often argue about?   Transformers

34. What word does Mannu frequently use to describe Kevin?  Smug

35. When did Damian and Kevin meet? Grade 1

36. True or false: Zach thought Kevin was really cool in Grade 8 Gym class? False

37. How many times have we been to Kevin’s house?  Maybe 5

38. Has anyone here ever seen Kevin kiss Sandy?   Probably not

39. What is Kevin’s preferred race in Warhammer?   Lizardmen

40. What table-top RPG did Kevin sometimes moderate?  Call of Cthulu

41. What was the name of Kevin’s main in World of Warcraft?  Inca

42. Why did Kevin lose interest in Game of Thrones?    Ned died

43. What major plot point did Kevin not realize when first reading Watchmen?  The Comedian is Laurie’s father

44. Where are Kevin and Sandy going for their honeymoon?  Mexico

45. In how many different places has Kevin lived since high school?   Three

46. What is Kevin’s favorite thing in the whole wide world?  Explosions

47. Why did Kevin originally not want to play paintball?  Fear of projectiles

48. What is the capital of Peru? Lima

49. Is Kevin gonna get smashed tonight? Yes

50. Will we ever see Kevin again after the wedding?  No

Sunday, June 3, 2012

True Romance Review


Since it seems as though the movie review podcast thing my friends and I were supposed to make every month will never happen again, I figured I’d just post my own thoughts on the movies we watch, kind of like what this blog was originally intended for. This month we watched True Romance starring Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater, directed by Tony Scott, and written by Quentin Tarantino.

The basic plot of the movie is a guy who works at comic book shop and is super into kung-fu movies (probably the closest Tarantino has come to writing a character based on himself) meets up with a manic pixie dreamgirl prostitute. Naturally, they immediately fall in love and get married the next day. Our hero is then convinced by his alter-ego, Elvis Presley, to go kill his new wife’s pimp played by Gary Oldman. In the process he steals a suitcase full of cocaine thinking it contains his wife’s belongings. I’m still not certain how makes the connection between “random suitcase” and “my wife’s stuff”, but whatever. When he gets home he tells his wife what he did, and because she’s a manic pixie dreamgirl she thinks it’s the most romantic thing ever. At this point two things became apparent: Firstly, like most Tarantino scripts, the plot and characters aren’t all that important compared to dialogue and copious amounts of blood (it has been said that the shallowness of Tarantino’s characters is profound). Secondly, that the reactions of one of my friends to the film will be just as entertaining as the movie itself. Even though I’m fairly certain this scene, and indeed much of the film, is meant to be ridiculous and played for laughs, she just couldn’t get over the absurdity and pretty much lost her shit. The movie doesn’t get much saner from there as the newlyweds flee from the mob to Los Angeles, so we shared many more laughs as her expense. And in case you wanted to know, her one word review for the film is "ridiculous".

As I said earlier, the plot and characters don’t really matter in the end, and it doesn’t take much to figure out the lovers will live happily ever after. I guess I don’t have too much of a problem with that since I have come to expect it from Tarantino, but that being said I found the ending to be a bit too sappy and silly for my tastes. Where the movie really shines is in the dialogue which should also come as no surprise. There are plenty of fun and hilarious conversations throughout the movie on various subjects ranging from Sonny Chiba to oral sex. My favorites tended to involve Elliot (Bronson Pinchot), a cowardly lickspittle who works for a major Hollywood producer. Brad Pitt also makes a memorable appearance as the perpetually stoned roommate of Christian Slater’s friend. The second aspect common to all of Tarantino’s work is the exaggerated violence, and True Romance certainly delivers in that regard. From Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo short-lived cameo appearance to the final showdown there is more than enough blood to satisfy all of your sadistic needs. Perhaps the most memorable of these scenes has a young James Gandolfini (you may know him as Tony Soprano) slowly and gleefully beating/torturing manic pixie dreamgirl. This scene probably packs the most raw emotional punch out of any in the movie. It is also worth noting two strange scenes where that aren’t particularly bloody, but still contain violent tensions. The first involves a mob boss played by Christopher Walken interrogating the protagonists’ dad played by Dennis Hopper. When you get these two guys in a room you know its going to be good, but the whole story of Sicilian genetics that dominates the conversation… was a tad bizarre, but was there because Tarantino, that’s why. The second is even stranger and takes place in an elevator as Christian Slater goes apeshit for no sane reason (there is an insane reason I suppose). I don’t really have much commentary on this scene, but I have noticed a trend in movies where when you get one or more characters in an elevator, then some weird shit is about to go down.

In conclusion this movie was pretty over-the-top, but still quite enjoyable. I don’t think it’s one of Tarantino’s best, but if you’re a fan then this is definitely a must-see. If you’re looking for something deeper and more meaningful then I’d go for Inglorious Basterds. Also, for best results watch with a friend who has lived a sheltered life.

Bonus points to whoever posts a one word review to this film.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Frientervention


A few months ago my dad realized that with the hundreds of TV channels we have access to he can conceivably watch reruns of Friends all day long. Since making this life-altering discovery he spends almost all of his free time watching old episodes to the point that my mother banished him to the basement because if she has to listen to that saccharine theme song one more time then she will actually flip a table. Suffice to say, his addiction to the sitcom has become a source of worry for us, so we decided it would be best to dissuade him from his obsession, or, failing that, to forcibly cut him off. Because seriously, Friends isn’t that great of a show, and there’s so much quality television on now I have no idea why you’d have to dwell on it. What follows is a transcription of what transpired to the best of my recollection.

Me: Alright, Dad. I think you’ve watched enough Friends for today. It’s time to take a break and maybe do something constructive. Like play your WWII computer game with that Russian guy.

Mom: Turn off the goddamned TV, Bob!

Dad: But I haven’t seen this one!

Me: There’s like 200 episodes, Dad. You probably have seen it and just don’t remember.

Dad: No, I’d definitely remember this one. It’s the one where Ross and Rachel hit a rough patch in their relationship.

Chelsea: Yeah… so we think you may have a problem.

Mom: When will it end! I don’t understand the appeal at all!

Dad: I’ll stop once I’m certain that I’ve re-watched all of them. And the appeal is that it’s funny.

Me: Firstly, the only sitcom more overrated is Big Bang Theory, and secondly, over 200 freakin’ episodes!

Dad: Hey, that’s an idea! I should re-watch all of Big Bang Theory when I’m done with this!

Me: …that was not my idea… at all.

Chelsea: He’s right, dad. You have shitty taste in comedy. I brought the first season of Arrested Development home with me. Why don’t you try watching that?

Dad: Isn’t that the show that was canceled.

Chelsea: Yes…

Dad: Well it can’t be that good if it got canceled. Friends ran for 10 successful seasons and it’s just great!

(At this point my sister ran up to her room where she blasted Edith Piaf music until she went to bed)

Mom: I just don’t know what to do anymore!

Me: It’s alright mom, I think I can handle this you just go upstairs and do some laundry.

Mom: Ok, but if I come down here tomorrow, and he’s still watching Friends, then I’m totally going to flip a table.

Me: So dad, do you know what day it was yesterday.

Dad: I’m not totally out of it son, it was Sunday.

Me: And do you know what’s on Sunday?

Dad: Friends!

Me: Yes, that’s on everyday, but do you know what else was on?

Dad: Ah crap, I didn’t forget another anniversary again did I. Is that why your mother’s mad?

Me: No, it’s May. Your anniversary isn’t for a while. She’s just mad because you watch Friends all day long instead of, you know, doing literally anything else.

Dad: I have no idea then.

Me: Game of Thrones is on Sunday. You missed it this week.

Dad: *gasp*

Me: Don’t worry, I recorded it for you, but next time I may not be so generous.

Dad: What have I become!

Me: There, there. It’s okay.

Dad: It’s just, Chandler is so cool.

Me: I know dad, but you know what Chandler did? He moved on. Friends ended and he went off to live his fictional life and do other things. He probably watches Game of Thrones.

Dad: Alright, alright. I’ll stop watching Friends. I’ll catch up on Game of Thrones, and then maybe start watching that Mad Men show you’re always talking about.

Me: That’s the spirit! I’m going upstairs now and tell mom of the progress we’ve made today.

Mom: So, how did it go?

Me: It went well. I think he’ll be alright.

Mom: Good.

Me: What are you watching?

Mom: Sex in the City.

Me: FFFFFFFFFFF-

Friday, April 20, 2012

My History in Profile Pictures

Your Facebook profile pictures say a lot about who you are and who you were, and it can both entertaining and intriguing to look back at old photos to see where you’ve been and ho far you’ve come. I have never actually used a photo of myself for my profile picture. That probably says a lot right there. In any case, here are all my profile pictures starting with my first going right up to the present day accompanied with my interpretation of what they say about me.


You may notice that this is also my Blogspot profile picture. I’m quite fond of this photo partly because I took it myself while on vacation in Ontario, and also because I never get tired of the absurdity of this sign. To this day, I’m still not entirely certain what its purpose is. I think this photo accurately summarizes my sense of humour and my love of the ridiculous.












This picture inaugurates my “Failblog” phase of profile pictures and is also my favourite example of them. Like the previous photo, it’s an accidentally ridiculous image that implies Superman is about to rape a small boy. If you don’t find that statement to be inherently hilarious then clearly you do not share my dark sense of humour.













I’ve talked about this picture in a previous post which I’m too lazy to dig up, but suffice to say it is disturbing by any standards. What kind of child would be put at ease by this dental aid? This photo tells you that I’m fascinated by abominations.














Hahaha! That kid is faceplanting! Actually, I’m beginning to notice a trend here…












Yep. I definitely enjoy watching children suffer.







For those of you who are functionally retarded, or not Canadian, this is our current prime minister, Stephen Harper, holding a kitten. Again, it’s a fairly absurd photograph that I’m assuming was taken in a hilariously failed attempt to quash complaints that Harper is robotic. As a profile picture, it tells you that I’m a politically aware individual.












I like board games. Especially when I can eat them.













It’s funny because it looks like that one mouse from Cinderella is pulling anal beads out of that other mouse! I have a pretty depraved mind.











Not gonna lie guys, I’d probably make a terrible father.












And thus begins my new phase of using fictional characters as my profile pic. I chose Arnold because I frequently gravitate towards the voice of reason in books/movies who are normally only supporting characters (such as Tom Hagen in The Godfather). I like that they made a TV show where he was the main character. This shows that I appreciate intelligence and forethought.











Gambit is boss! Also, I’m geeky…. EXPLODING PLAYING CARDS!!!!!!
















This is a picture of my dad in high school. This shows that I like to make myself look good in comparison to other people and am contemptuous of my family.
















I’m assuming you all read my post on Dr. Krieger and why he is awesome. He is everything I find funny rolled into one compact package. I love him.















Cassidy from the graphic novel, Preacher. He’s a drunk Irish vampire. This demonstrates my love of quality literature. Because I classify comic books as literature. Suck it.















I just think this would be an awesome crossover.













This is the closest I’ve come to using an actual photo of myself as my profile picture as it’s a screenshot of my main character in Guild Wars. As you can see, I’d just achieved god status (getting a bunch of achievements) and was quite pleased with myself. This picture proves that I do not, in fact, have a life.







This a pumpkin I carved last Halloween that I’m quite proud of. This shows my rarely seen arts and crafts side which is rarely seen because I suck at arts and crafts.










This is a picture of my good friend, Joyce Ngu, eating a potato chip in a very bizarre fashion. To be honest, I only put this up for like 5 minutes just to laugh at her get mad. Personally, I think it’s a lovely photograph. Also, I can be a jerk to my friends on occasion.













In all honesty guys, my grandpa looks cooler than James Dean here. Look at him: standing in the wilderness, carrying a rifle, smoking a cigarette, and straight up not giving a shit about anything except killing some bears. I will never be this cool. This shows both my love for my family and my love of all things badass.












 Yep, that about says all there is to know about me. Bonus points to whoever finds a photo that sums up my personality.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Best Movie Quotes

Originally, I was going to include the movies associated with each quote, but then I thought it would be more fun to have you guess where I got them from. Bonus points to whoever can guess the most. Only one quite per movie. Also, they aren't listed in any particular order.


1. I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!

2. You know what the worst part is? I’m not even supposed to be here today!

3. To my big brother George, the richest man in town.

4. Madness! Madness!

5. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

6. I am your father.

7. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

8. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

9. I hope that their first child be a masculine child.

10. I’m sorry, Dave, I’ m afraid I can’t do that.

11. I did not hit her. It’s not true. It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! I did not! Oh, hi Mark.

12. I am a golden god!

13. It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

14. A boy’s best friend is his mother.

15. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops, or greasers. You are all equally worthless in my eyes.

16. I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

17. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.

18. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

19. Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!

20. Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ‘cause we’re the people.

21. You’ll shoot your eye out.

22. I’ll have what she’s having.

23. Do you expect me to talk? No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.

24. The stuff dreams are made of.

25. I fart in your general direction.

26. Cream? No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.

27. All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

28. Funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?

29. Hey, don’t knock masturbation. Its sex with someone I love.

30. Again we are defeated. The winners are those farmers. Not us.

31. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.

32. Mungo just pawn in game of life.

33. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.

34. Plastics.

35. How much more black could this be? And the answer is none, none more black.

36. You’re a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. You know what happens to nosy fellows? They lose their noses.

37. If you have to shoot… shoot. Don’t talk.

38. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

39. My own. My precious.

40. You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

41. Are you gonna bark all day little doggie, or are you gonna bite?

42. Well, nobody’s perfect.

43. I’ma get medieval on your ass.

44. God damn you Walter! You fuckin’ asshole! Everything’s a fuckin’ travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Vietnam? What the fuck had anything got to do with Vietnam? What the fuck are you talking about?

45. I would have followed you my brother, my captain, my king.

46. There should be enough. Enough for what? The journey home.

47. You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?

48. Old brother left hand, left hand he's a fighting, and it looks like love's a goner. But wait a minute! Hot dog, love's a winning! Yessirree! It's love that's won, and old left hand hate is down for the count!

49. "Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to discover that he had been transformed into a giant cockroach." Nah, it's too good.

50. That was God laughing at me. Through that obscene giggle.

51. I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia - but only slightly less well-known is this: Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012 Oscars

The Oscars were last weekend and beforehand I picked out, as usual, my opinions on who would win and my predictions on who would actually win. Here is that list along with the results and a bit of commentary.

Best Picture
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: The Artist
Did Win: The Artist
The most important Oscar went to my favorite movie of the year so I am pleased. Though I do remain disappointed that Drive wasn't even nominated.

Best Director
Should Win: Michael Hazanavicius
Will Win: Alexander Payne
Did Win: Michael Hazanavicius
I was pleasantly surprised at this. I knew Scorcese would never win and I was pessimistic that the Academy wouldn't recognize Hazanavicius which is why I predicted Payne.


Best Actor
Should Win: Jean Dujardin
Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Did Win: Jean Dujardin
All I can say is why wasn't Ryan Gosling nominated for Drive?

Best Actress
Should Win: anyone but Meryl Streep
Will Win: Viola Davis
Did Win: Meryl Streep
I was among those who Meryl Streep addressed at the beginning of her acceptance speech. It's really hard to stay mad at that woman.

Best Supporting Actor
Should Win: Christopher Plummer because he’s Canadian
Will Win: I dunno. Nick Nolte?
Did Win: Christopher Plummer
I knew Jonah Hill didn't stand a chance and I figured it would go to one of the old timers, but which one it would be was more difficult to call. In the end, Plummer had the best acceptance speech of the night.

Best Supporting Actress
Should Win: Berenice Bejo
Will Win: Berenice Bejo
Did Win: Octavia Spencer
I probably should have had this one, but for some reason I thought it was Viola Davis who had all the buzz and not Spencer. Oh well.

Best Original Screenplay
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: The Artist
Did Win: Midnight in Paris
I found this result to be rather disappointing. That is all.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Should Win: The Descendants
Will Win: Hugo
Did Win: The Descendants
I find it interesting that neither of what I considered to be the top contenders for Best Picture (The Artist and Hugo) won for screenplay.

Best Documentary
Should Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Will Win: Hell and Back Again
Did Win: Undefeated
And now we enter into the world of random guesses based mostly on the title of the movies.

Best Foreign Film
Should Win: Monsieur Lazhar
Will Win: Footnote
Did Win: A Separation
I dropped the ball on this won. If I had noticed that A Separation was also nominated for screenplay then I probably would have called it.

Best Animated Feature
Should Win: Rango
Will Win: One of the foreign ones
Did Win: Rango
I don't really have anything to add here.

Best Original Score
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: The Artist
Did Win: The Artist
If it didn't go to The Artist, I would have been pissed.

Best Original Song
Should Win: Man or Muppet
Will Win: Man or Muppet
Did Win: Man or Muppet
Bret McKenzie is awesome.

Best Cinematography
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: Hugo
Did Win: Hugo
I guess I can accept that Hugo had nice cinematography.

Best Live Short
Should Win: Tuba Atlantic
Will Win: Time Freak
Did Win: The Shore
Based on the clips they played when they listed the nominees, The Shore looked to be the most boring.

Best Animated Short
Should Win: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Will Win: Dimanche
Did Win: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Looks like a nice short.

Best Documentary Short
Should Win: God is the Bigger Elvis
Will Win: The Barber of Birmingham
Did Win: Saving Face
I haven't seen any of the movies in this category.

Best Costumes
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: The Artist
Did Win: The Artist
People in the 20's/30's sure were snappy dressers. And had sweet mustaches.

Best Makeup
Should Win: Harry Potter
Will Win: Harry Potter
Did Win: The Iron Lady
Ok. Sure. Why not.

Best Art Direction
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: Hugo
Did Win: Hugo
I find it slightly humorous that a movie called "The Artist" didn't win for Art Direction.

Best Special Effects
Should Win: Planet of the Apes
Will Win: Harry Potter
Did Win: Hugo
I highly expected them to give the Harry Potter phenomenon at least some recognition now that its basically over. I was wrong.

Best Film Editing
Should Win: The Artist
Will Win: The Artist
Did Win: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Of all the wins on Oscar night, this one was the most random.

Best Sound Editing
Should Win: Drive
Will Win: Hugo
Did Win: Hugo
It is my great displeasure to say that this is the only category Drive was nominated in.

Best Sound Mixing
Should Win: Moneyball
Will Win: Hugo
Did Win: Hugo
Every other year they tell us the difference between sound editing and sound mixing and I always forget within 5 minutes. It doesn't really matter anyway since if a movie wins in one category it almost always wins in the other.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Board Game Taglines

I play a lot of board games, but rarely do I pay much attention to what’s on the box. However, after taking a closer look I discovered that quite a bit of effort went into the design of these boxes. After taking an even closer look, I realized that none of this effort went into coming up with a catchy tagline for the games. Below are some of my favorites.

Reminiscing – The game for people over thirty.
I never thought anyone would make a game designed specifically to remind people how old they are, but here’s proof to the contrary. I have to give props to the tagline for conveying the intended demographic to any potential buyers and scaring away anybody who is young and/or cool. From what I can tell, it’s just a simple trivia game that focuses on pop culture and history, but I still refuse to play it on principle.

Quiddler – For the fun of words.
If you think words are fun, then congratulations, you’re a social outcast! That being said, I don’t have anything against words or proper spelling. It’s just that I don’t exactly link them with good times either. I blame Scrabble for that mostly. Quiddler is actually an alright game surprisingly, though it does drag on a bit when every person spends twenty minutes trying to spell the best possible word(s). That’s about when Catchphrase starts to look like an attractive prospect.

Kings and Things – A fantasy board game with everything.
That tagline might seem innocuous at first, but that’s only because I left out the massive list of every unit in the game that follows that statement. Nothing says “this game will eat hours of your life away and confuse everyone involved” like a giant wall of text before you even open the rulebook. The game doesn’t even live up to its tagline seeing as how kobolds are conspicuously absent. Then again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Kobolds fucking suck.

Titan – The monster slugathon fanstasy wargame.
This tagline makes the game sound like an epic fun time where you’re just throwing dragons and shit at one another while laughing maniacally. Sadly, we have all been misled. This game has the most convoluted set of rules I’ve yet encountered and takes an absurdly long time to play. My friends and I tried it once and spent the whole time wandering around the board deliberately avoiding one another because we were too afraid to start a battle and have to deal with all the confusion that entails. I’m pretty sure Apples to Apples gets more aggressive than that game.

Zombies!!! – This one’s a no-brainer!
Hahaha! That’s hilarious! Because it’s a game about zombies and zombies eat brains! Hahaha! I get it! I don’t even know why I included this one on the list!

Stock Ticker – An exciting stock trading game for ages 9 to adults.
The words “exciting” and “stock trading” should never appear in the same sentence together. It’s a contradiction in terms and nobody will be fooled by it. And holy shit, are they actually suggesting we force 9 year-olds to play this game? What would they have to do to deserve that punishment? It could be worse I suppose. It could be Monopoly.

Theories – It’s a game.
Wow! Yes! Absolutely! I see nothing wrong with this. Whoever came up with this is a genius. I can see how that meeting went down right now:
Executive: Alright everybody, we’re not leaving this room until we have a tagline for this new game, what’s it called?
Employee 1: Theories.
Executive: Right! Theories! So what have you guys got?
Employee 1: Um…
Employee 2: Er….
Employee 3: I… got nothing.
Executive: Come on people! Think! What can you tell me about Theories?
Employee 1: Um…
Employee 2: Er…
Employee 3: It’s a… game…
Executive: Perfect! Brilliant! I love it! Well that was a great brainstorming session everyone. I think it’s time we took a well deserved cocaine break.

Guillotine – The revolutionary card game where you win by getting a head.
Some context: in this game you play an executioner during the French Revolution trying to collect the heads of various nobles. Armed with that knowledge and looking back at that tagline you just know that whoever came up with that pun-filled sentence still giggles to himself every night before he goes to bed. I like puns as much as the next guy, which is to say that I get tired of one after the second time somebody repeats it with a stupid grin on their face. With two puns in one only means I get tired of it twice as fast.

Bonus points to whoever comes up with a clever tagline for their favorite board game.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Skyrim

I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately and as most of you probably know it has been receiving rave reviews from pretty much everybody. Although this game is good, great even, and has many fine points I’m going to instead quibble over all the minor details that moderately irritate me.

Gold is Meaningless
It is so easy to accumulate wealth in this game that it makes me wonder how any of the NPCs in Skyrim can possibly be poor. I have so much money that I’ve pretty much stopped looting dungeons and if I can throw money at a problem to make it go away then I’ll be sure to do it, because I actually don’t know what else to do with it. The only other thing I use it for is to buy arrows from vendors so I can sell more loot to them (what little I bother to take). On that note, I find it annoying that vendors have a limited amount of money. The Elder Scrolls is about the only RPG series I can think of where merchants run out of gold which is just another reason to never loot unless you want to travel to every shop in the province so you sell all your crap. Now when I find a valuable magical sword worth thousands of dollars I think to myself, “this is more hassle than its worth” and just leave it lying there.

Dragon Fights Get Old after a While
The first few times you fight a dragon it’s pretty tense and exciting, but once you figure out how to take care of them it quickly becomes repetitive and annoying. For the most part, fighting a dragon follows this pattern: hide from its fire, shoot it with an arrow, it flies into the air, wait for it to land, rinse and repeat. For what is supposed to be an epic experience, a surprising amount of dragon fights is spent doing nothing. I’ve gotten rather tired of fighting them now so whenever one appears over the countryside to harass me, I either ignore it and continue on my merry way, or if that fails then reload from the nearest save and go do something else.

Buggy Quests
I currently have four quests in my journal that are impossible for me to hand in, and five quest items that I have no way to dispose of. It clutters up space in my log and inventory and even though it has no effect on gameplay (other than some of the quest items weighing me down), it still bothers me for some reason. It’s just one of those things that you expect would have been fixed before release.

Sneaking is Weird
I always make a sneaky character in Elder Scrolls games and it’s often a somewhat overpowered mechanic that let’s you to get one-hit kills without any risk to your own body. Skyrim seems to have struck a weird balance where it is either obscenely powerful or sort of useless. My sneak is high enough that I can actually land on top of a person’s head and they still won’t notice me. But once I shoot an arrow at that person and kill him instantly, then suddenly all of his friends in a five mile radius will know exactly where I am and come running. And that’s why invisibility is great.

The Circle of Crafting
There are three crafting skills in Skyrim: alchemy, enchanting, and smithing. If you put your mind to it then you can combine the three to make absurdly powerful weapons and armor. First make a potion to buff your enchanting, then enchanting an item to buff alchemy, then wear that item and make another, stronger potion to buff enchanting. Do this back and forth until you reach the desired level of overpoweredness. Then enchant as much apparel as you can to buff smithing and make a potion of smithing. Put on the apparel and drink the potion then create a bow that does insane amounts of damage. Congratulations, you beat Skyrim.

Magic Horses
I don’t really dislike how horses can climb up even the steepest mountains with ease. In fact, I find it incredibly useful seeing as how my character can barely climb up a hill, but that doesn’t stop it from being rather strange and a little bit glitchy. Of course, though getting up is easy, getting the horse down the mountain will almost certainly spell death for the poor creature who all of a sudden can’t find his footing. Strangely, my character has no problem at all climbing down mountains, so now I’ve developed a strategy where I take my horse to the top, dismount, climb down the other side, then meet up with him again when I map travel. It’s very convenient.

Laughable Traps
One thing the developers put into their dungeons in what I’m assuming was an attempt to make them more challenging were a variety of booby traps. This includes tumbling boulders, swinging axes, fire floors, and poison darts. I don’t give a shit about any of them and will sometimes deliberately stand in them just for laughs. They do a pitiful amount of damage. If I see that a chest or door is trapped, I say “fuck it” and open it anyway because the worst that will happen is absolutely nothing.

Fetch Quests
I remember when I played Oblivion, being impressed by the amount of what I thought were original and exciting quests. I remember stealing an Elder Scroll, going inside a painting, slowly murdering all the guests at a party, and making it rain burning dogs and loving every minute of it. Although Skyrim definitely has many more quests, there are very few that stick out in my mind. The majority of them boil down to “go to x dungeon and bring back y item,” though some will have you kill a guy instead. Some people will simply send you to deliver an item to a guy next door, which though easy money is kind of insulting to the value of my character. So far the only quests that really impressed me are the daedric ones, but I still need to play through the main storyline so I’m hopeful that this may change.

Bonus points to whoever describes their favorite bug in a video game.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

BGC Membership

Since I got bored of waiting for Daniel to make an official website to do this, I just decided to put it up here. Enjoy.

Name: Tristan Harris Rank: President Stance on Friendship: Loves



















Tristan possesses a startling natural intelligence, but makes up for it by having almost no ambition whatsoever, and is consequently going nowhere. For this reason we gave him the presidency so he feels like his life has meaning. That and because he has all the board games. In fact, that’s about the only reason why he ever gets invited out to anything as he’s kind of an asshole in almost every other regard. If he didn’t own the games (or somebody else also had them) then there’d be no reason for him to leave his house, and he’d just spend all free time alone playing TF2.


Name: Joanna Chan Rank: Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
Stance on Friendship: Loves













Our newly appointed Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Joanna, has done a stellar job doing the job of the vice-president/treasurer and is essentially second-in-command. Originally, we just made up the position because is sounded cool and it didn't come with any  real duties, responsibilities, or privileges. Since then, Joanna has proven adept at organizing pizza parties and bringing juice so we have expanded her role. Joanna spends most of her time being friendly, treating fiction as though it’s real life, and secretly plotting to steal the presidency. She also doesn’t like it when you walk on carpets with your shoes on, so be sure to do that all the time when she’s around.



Name: Joyce Ngu Rank: Treasurer Stance on Friendship: Loves



















Sometimes we like to play a drinking game in the club where we try to think of something Joyce isn’t afraid of. If she’s afraid of it then you have to drink. If she’s not afraid of it then everybody else has to drink. So far, the latter situation has yet to occur. Things we have learned that scare her includes, but is not limited to: thunder, rain, zombies, being the center of attention, things pertaining to sex, and the critically acclaimed film, The Descendants. With the help of her friends however, Joyce is slowly conquering her fears and we’re hopeful that one day soon she’ll be able to leave her bedroom.

Name: Zach Cochrane Rank: Secretary Stance on Friendship: Loves



















If you want to get anything done in the club, Zach is the guy you should talk to. He sends out the emails, books the rooms, reserves TVs, and handles the grant money. Despite his aptitude for the practical things in life, Zach is surprisingly clueless when it comes to street smarts. For the longest time he thought 4/20 was a gang and his knowledge of sexual terminology and euphemisms is hilariously low. This coupled with his crippling inability to form his sentences properly has led to some pretty fantastic quotes which you can learn all about when you come to the club.


Name: Michelle Tran Rank: Vice-President Stance on Friendship: Hates



















You might not want to say this to her face, but Michelle is a bit of a hipster. She’ll never admit it, but all of the evidence points to her being if not a hipster, then the closest thing to a hipster currently in BGC. She has a fondness for clothing from or to do with 80’s, has been known to make finger mustaches, and has attended a music festival in the hipster capital of BC (also the capital of BC), Victoria. And this is just scraping the surface of all the evidence we’ve accumulated over the years. Her other hobbies include bailing on friends and then lying about it, sacrificing her life to League of Legends, and being tired/half-dead most of the time.


Name: Brendan Lee Rank: Assistant to the Regional Manager Stance on Friendship: Hates















Brendan is one of our most devoted members who attends almost all of our meetings and events, and is always up for playing video games with you outside of the club. Despite this, Brendan hates you and everybody and everything with a passion (except for Dominion). He yells and swears at everything, and the only tone of voice he knows is bitchy. I think we’re all still technically friends with him, because he deigns to hang out with us, though he makes me wonder how he treats those he dislikes. On an unrelated note, he has a fascination with guns so it’s probably best to stay on his good side.

Name: Damian Craig Rank: External Relations Officer Stance on Friendship: Loves



















There are few who can claim to be as kingly or as tall as Damian. He’s appeared in our student newspaper on three separate occasions and doesn’t even go to SFU. He can pull off both a kilt and a bowtie and receive nothing but compliments. He worked at Disneyworld as a lifeguard and saved the lives of half-wit children on a daily basis. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Damian is a pretty cool guy. His only real fault is his terrible taste in movies. In his opinion, Juno sucks and Sex Drive is awesome. I guess it just goes to show that nobody’s perfect.

Name: Dana Robelle Rank: Official Photographer Stance on Friendship:Loves



















There are two things that Dana likes: taking pictures and shoes/feet. Whenever she takes a picture of shoes or feet… well let’s just say it makes her happy. When Dana’s around you can be sure that she’s taking pictures or recording almost everything with her camera regardless of how uninteresting it may be. If you’re hiding from the mob or some other organization, then I’d advise you to stay well away from her. Speaking from personal experience, it’s also a bad idea to say embarrassing or incriminating things in her presence.

Name: Eddy Ha Rank: Member? Stance on Friendship: Hates
















BGC members discount the existence of Eddy Ha and consider him to be a combination of folklore, misidentification and hoax, rather than a living person in part because nobody has seen him in such a long time, or in fact has any recollection of his existence beyond a few blurry photographs. A few members such as Michelle Tran and Aleck Pham, have expressed interest and belief in the creature, with Pham expressing the opinion that evidence collected of alleged Eddy Ha encounters warrants further evaluation and testing. Eddy Ha remains one of the more famous examples of an imaginary person, and an enduring legend.

Name: David Stocks Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent













David is American, but more importantly, David has a majestic beard. Those are really the only two things you really need to know about David, but there are other things about him that you may find interesting about him. He likes to match up his shoes and socks in fun ways. He often really gets into board games and will yell at you if you start making retarded moves. He also has a very unique laugh. But mostly the beard.

Name: Justin Chow Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates















When Justin is in the room the usage of the word “penis” and its synonyms increases by at least 500%. His vocabulary is pretty much limited to those words and laughter which led us all to believe that he was mentally handicapped. Because we’re a rather insensitive bunch, we gave him a hard time for his retardation and so he moved all the way to Penticton to be as far away from us as possible (also for co-op). Since then, it’s certainly been a lot quieter at BGC. At times we wish he’d come back, but then one time he did, took a sip of beer, and lost even that little ability he had to control himself. It was a memorable night, but also deeply humiliating for all involved.

Name: Lily Sung Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates













Now I’m not saying Lily is the most twisted and depraved of all our members, but behind that bright smile lurks something… darker. She is almost always peppy and upbeat especially when faced with images of death, gore, and blood. Her eyes are pregnant with malice and to look into them is to see the true face of despair. Her mere presence fills one with forebodings of doom that cannot be shaken. Whatever her plans for the future are, they can only mean total darkness for all mankind. None of us are safe!

Name: Aleck Pham Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent















Aleck is the life of the party and everybody enjoys his company, but sadly he doesn’t really care about any of us. Sure, he’ll make an appearance and tell a few jokes, but then he has to move on to some other party at some other inferior club. He’s like that boyfriend who you know has other girls on the side, but you stick with him anyway, latch onto him even, and relish any attention he gives you. For his part, he knows you’ll always be there for him when he needs you so he doesn’t feel the need to treat you special. Meanwhile, the BGC cries itself to sleep every night wishing he were there to cuddle with.

Name: Kerry Woodrow Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves















I would normally spend time making fun of Kerry here and poking fun at his weaknesses, but I won’t for two reasons. Firstly, because Kerry is the DM for my D&D group and can thus do horrible things to my character, and secondly, because Kerry is such a swell guy who is as perfect as a human being can get. Yep, that Kerry such is cool. We should all go to Gamedeals right now, buy up everything they have in stock, and say that Kerry sent us. Please give me a better battleaxe.

Name: Himmy Choy Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent



















Nobody asked who the strange man was in the blue scrubs and the paper mask when he first showed up to one of our meetings. Nobody questioned why he pranced around like a lunatic chanting in a high pitched voice. When he revealed his name to be Himmy nobody inquired as to what kind of name is that. And certainly nobody demanded to know why he was a carrying a bloody knife around with him. Since that fateful day Himmy appears fairly consistently to taunt us and play Dominion, and has even claimed one of our members for his own. She did not put up much resistance.

Name: Mike Fournier Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves















Mike’s primary function in the BGC is to tell us about good restaurants in the area we can eat at after we’re done playing games. Normally he leads us to good eats, but on occasion we also end up at a place like Mexican Chicken Hof. To be fair, it was an experience albeit in the same way that explosive diarrhea is an experience, but it makes for a good story to tell nonetheless. But for every one of those we get ten peanut butter pies so Mike still comes out on top in the end.

Name: Morgan Fells Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent















Morgan has a board game collection which I am fairly certain exceeds even my own. Every week he shows up with something new and fun to play and we always look forward to his arrival. I think he’s just happy to have somebody to play all his games with besides his wife which is probably the main reason why he comes. As you may have garnered from the fact that he has a wife, Morgan is one of our oldest members and as such we generally refer to him as "The Decrepit One” and you should all do likewise. He LOVES it.

Name: Tin Ma Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent













If you like your men surly, nerdy, and potentially mentally disturbed then you’ll love Tin who is all of that and more. He comes with all the bells and whistles including muttering under his breath and uncontrollable fits of rage. As an added bonus if you ever get tired of him the way he is then just liquor him up a bit and he’ll magically transform into his complete opposite right before your very eyes. Tin is quite a catch ladies and supplies are limited so order now before it’s too late!

Name: Tian Hu Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent



















What Tian lacks in thoughtfulness and intelligence he more than makes up for in being unnecessarily loud. There are countless stories of how Tian fails epically at the games we play, but my favourite has to be the time he scored zero points in Dominion and there is talk that he may have exaggerated his score. To put that in perspective, you start Dominion with three points. Then there was the memorable game of Werewolves where he didn’t clue in that all the werewolves were girls even though it was pretty much stated outright. Regardless of what game Tian is losing at, you can be certain that you’ll wish you had earplugs.

Name: Arthur Strongbody Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves















You’ll be hard-pressed to find somebody friendlier than Arthur. I don’t think I’ve heard him say one bad thing about anybody or even swear. He’s just an all-around nice guy. Consequently, he doesn’t come around to BGC that often because we’re all horrible, horrible people who strive to corrupt to your soul. One day we shall claim him for our demon king. He cannot escape our grasp forever. Until then, run and hide Arthur. Run and hide, but know that we’ll come for you when you least expect it.

Name: Andrew Jatzkowski Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates



















When you first meet Andrew you’ll probably think he’s a fairly decent person, but know this: it is all lies. He is guilty of the crime of breaking the sacred covenant of Secret Santa. The only way to atone for such a heinous transgression is to bring food to BGC at some point for all to share. Until that day I name him beast and will say no more!

Name: Marcus Carreira Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves



















Marcus is one of those people who will appear when you least expect them to and he's not even a stalker. Walking around New Westminster: Marcus is there. Going to the grocery store: Marcus is there. Sitting in your bedroom: Marcus is there. Thankfully, Marcus also appears when you do expect him to (such as at BGC and BGC related events) and will play games intelligently which is a lot more than most of the people on this list can say.

Name: Jonathan Doyle Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves



















Jon, or Baby Doyle as we like to call him, being the youngest member in BGC is inconveniently under the drinking age. On the bright side, he is also the future of the BGC as the current executive grows older/closer to graduating. On second thought that's more of a dark side so let's forget what I just said and pretend that the real world doesn't exist.

Name: Cherie Shea Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates


















Cherie is our most marginalized member in that every photograph she is in she is standing off to one side and is never at the center. We're not entirely certain why this is. Perhaps it is due to the bias of our official photographer. My theory is that Cherie prefers to watch from the sidelines, biding her time, waiting until we are most complacent before striking. I am terrified of her.

Name: Aries Li Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent




















Rather than talking about how Aries is as a person I want to talk about how he looks like an old, angry, Asian dad in that photo. You can tell he's berating the other players over the importance of wheat to a strong colony or some other such point. A lot of it is in his scrunched up face, but the real kicker is the single, outraged finger waggling in the air. He commands everyone's attention except Kevin who, as per usual, doesn't give a shit.



Name: Rob Tan Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent
















This is pretty much the only photographic evidence I could find that Rob ever attended a BGC meeting and he's not even looking at the camera and the focus is on Damian (as is required by law). Despite this lack of picture proof, I know that Rob shows up frequently and I cannot help but admire his skill at dodging Dana's camera. I'm not sure how he does it, but I'm going to assume its some sort of black magic.

Name: Taylor Laan Rank: Ex-Treasurer Stance on Friendship: Hates













Taylor was our treasurer for the first 5 semesters or so of BGC, yet the only work he ever did in that capacity was to occasionally threaten to embezzle money. The fact that he’s retained this position for two and a half years is a sign of just how apathetic we are as a club. I’m pretty sure he’s been carried this far on his smile alone. He won’t hesitate to backstab you in a game, but then he’ll grin at you and you’ll forget why you were mad at him in the first place. He'll appear all happy and friendly on the outside, but don't be fooled; on the inside he is secretly plotting your gruesome death.



Name: Jenerika Csanyi Rank: Ex-VP/Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent















Jennifer and Erika (or Jenerika as we affectionately call them) are identical twins. One of them was our vice-president, but we’re still not certain which it is. Despite their physical similarities, their personalities are almost exactly the same. They’re both unapologetic weeaboos, share the same little quirks (like putting question marks at the end of sentences that aren’t questions?), and like facial hair. The only real difference is that one of them hates friendship and the other one loves it. Together they cancel out and are indifferent.

Name: Kevin Rey Rank: Ex-VP Stance on Friendship: Hates















I’ve known Kevin for many years and I think it’s safe to say that no one shall ever surpass him in creativity for coming up with excuses to ditch his friends. Some of his more notable reasons include: eating dinner with his parents, band camp, bible camp, regattas, having a girlfriend, saxophone shopping, and “I was going to come over but then after dinner we ended up at Maddie’s house, you know Maddie right? Anyway we went there and we were having a good time and talking and stuff and you know what guys? You know what guys? I am really tired.” I think that last one succinctly summarizes both his hatred of friendship and his roundabout way of accomplishing nothing. Kevin is a special person and I’m glad to count him amoung my friends.

Name: Daniel Bowes Rank: Ex-VP Stance on Friendship: Hates



















The above photo is no mistake. Daniel is a bucket of chicken grease and dirty napkins. No matter what he does or how hard he tries, Daniel always manages to ruin everything. My goal in life is to be best man at Daniel’s wedding just so I can tell the assembled family and friends what a horrible person he is. If that fails then I hope to outlive him so I can give the eulogy at his funeral. I’m not going to explain why’s he’s the worst. He knows why, and all that matters is that you don’t give him any respect.