July 27, 2010

Battleship movie?!

Everyone remembers the board game Battleship, right?  You guess where your opponent has placed their ships in hopes of sinking their entire fleet.  A description can be found here, though it focuses more on the pen and paper version.  Most people know the the Milton Bradley board game version pictured below.

So now they're going to make a movie based on this.  Part of me thinks this is a horrible idea.  Why?  Well, according to this article, the whole movie is going to be in space.  So instead of flying around shooting each other, we get boring bomb launches in outer space.  Space is three dimensional fighting!  It's not meant to have stagnent ships!  

Also, Rihanna is starring in it.  Nothing against Rihanna... but I hope her acting is better than her singing.  You think she sings well?  Have you heard her without autotune?  No?  No one has.  Anyway, there are some other nerdy stars there, but this project... this sounds like a cheese fest waiting to happen.  And unlike Snakes on a Plane, there's isn't an actor on the project smart enough to make the cheese factor work for them.

Once again Hollywood will ruin a small part of my childhood.

Though to be honest I will probably be dragged into watching the movie with some friends anyway.  That's how I got dragged into every other movie I had serious doubts about.

July 25, 2010

ScrewAttack commemorates horrible fan-fiction

Admit it.  We've all written fan fiction.  We've all taken our favorite worlds and tried to make them our own.  I've done it.  I'm not ashamed of it.

Okay, I am a little, but still you get the point.

One of the best examples of fan fiction done wrong is "Doom: Repercussions of Evil".  It is famous on some internet circles for just being horrendous.  Here's an article discussing it with the fan-fic in its entirety (it's really short).  You can see why it has a horrible reputation.

One of my favorite websites to visit, ScrewAttack, has done the fan fic justice with a little movie promo.  I wanted to share it all with you guys.  It's hilarious, and probably better written than half the movies that will come out this year.

Okay, I'm joking, only a quarter.

July 23, 2010

Inception... is it sci-fi?

I got to see Inception today, which was totally worth it!  I rarely think it's worth the time to go see a movie in theaters, just because the silver screen can be rather expensive.  However, this is a movie that you need to see with friends so afterwards you can look at each other and say "What the hell did I just see?"

Part of the reason I'm writing about it now is because at the beginning of the movie I started to wonder... is this a science fiction movie "disguised" as a cerebral drama?  I use the quotes because most sci-fi concepts are cerebral.  But the sci-fi part of this movie were not emphasized.

The main plot is that Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a man extremely good at extracting information from people through dreams. He finally gets a job that could allow him to go back to his family (he's accused of a crime and constantly on the run) and makes a team to do something that many think impossible: Inception.  They're given the task of planting an idea through a dream.  Only one person claims to have done it before, which is our hero Cobb.   Everyone else knows it's risky, and it will take a lot more delving into the mind than any of them have done.  Using a bunch of "science", they figure out a way to plant an idea that is crucial to preventing a global company becoming an international energy monopoly.  Everyone is used to getting ideas, but can they give one that is convincing?

What makes this movie a sci-fi?  Or any movie for that matter?  Well, it tends to show an image of a future, close or distant, with a technology that people find somewhat believable, and using that to explore an idea about humanity.  And I would like to argue that Inception almost does that.

Image of the Future:  It could be now, but everyone who watches the movie knows that the technology to infiltrate dreams, which seems more like a skill than a technology, is not something that exists right now.  The way it's presented, this isn't an alternate universe.  This is either now or in the near future.  It's future enough.

Believable Technology: This is where it starts to get tricky.  Sharing dreams with other people hasn't been a technology proven yet.  Using an IV in your arm to share a dream with up to 5 people where everyone is aware and somewhat in control... that's where realistically I can't 100% buy in.  Now you may think I'm hyper critical here, that space ships really can't be in space like they are in the movies and aliens aren't realistic either.  And you're partially right.  But this is something that is partially true.  We've done space travel, and there are planets that could possibly have life.  Robots do exist.  I know of nothing that recently investigates a shared dream state.  You readers are definitely allowed to prove me wrong.

Idea about Humanity:  This is definitely true.  Regret and baggage, along with the idea of inception itself.  It can't really be an outside force, it does have to come from within, which is why the dream diving is so necessary.  Great ideas.  Maybe not shown in the whole scope that many sci-fi's do, but after reading Lathe of Heaven I can see how these ideas can be applied to a small cast of characters.

Inception is almost pure sci-fi.  My particulars for my personal taste make it not, but if someone called it sci-fi, I wouldn't be as offended as I am when people call Star Wars sci-fi.  But that's another blog post for another day.

July 19, 2010

Glare Con--Totally worth it

I spent this entire last weekend LARPing like a fool.  And totally worth it.  Sure, sleep was lost and food consumption wasn't the best for my health, but damn is was worth it.

I'm not going to go about it day by day, but I will go by venue.  So:

The only venue where having a completely insane character is respected.  For those of you who don't know, the concept is that you play a character who was kidnapped by a Fae, who are striking and powerful but completely lacking in empathy or compassion and are truly selfish.  Your character was kidnapped to be a slave of some sort and changed magically, and has escaped back to a culture of others like you: changelings.  In this game I play a juvenile 18 year  old woman who has an oedipus complex (no, I don't mean elektra, I mean oedipus) and acts like an 8 year old.
It was the Olympics for the region, including a chess match where there was one on one combat.  Hallie didn't realize it could get violent, so she went out of her way to be a chess piece.  She helped the team leader assemble the rest of the chess pieces, got a bunch of super powers temporarily added to her... and her team lost in one match due to a power that has nothing to do with combat.  She was sad, then proceeded to get scared by a super depressing changeling named Henry.  She has decided that if she think she'll see him, she's giving him something happy to counteract the sad.

I didn't want to play my mage character (I've been in a funk about her) but I decided to NPC during mage.  I was told to be a gypsy and help the characters tell their stories during the day.  And I tried.  However, when the setting is a strange island in the middle of nowhere with a strange temple that half of the characters had dreamt about.  They weren't all in a mood for talking to random gypsies.  They were mostly talking to their orders and investigating.  We even had a tavern and alcohol and the only people truly interested were guys that decided to flirt in ridiculous ways.  Some of it worked in character, and some of it didn't.   Note to nerd guys: hallucinations of orgasms do not impress the ladies.
When they had a second day of it we were rendered unnecessary because most players decided to bite the plot.  So it was slow at the end, but fun overall.

My character, Ellen, was able to miss most of the plot, but she overheard some stuff involving her home city, and now knows of a couple blood-hunts on people.  I think the most important thing that happened is that Ellen made some contacts and deals with people she wouldn't have had an opportunity to otherwise.  She met some pretty cool people from her fellow clan (genetic line), she got some ideas on how to expand her heroine trade (she figures what's the point of legal businesses that get taxed when you're a being that shouldn't exist), and is continuing to figure out her niche in Vampire society.  I also met some people who are pretty cool in general and hope to see them at other events.

I think my favorite part was meeting a ton of cool people who played cool characters.  LARPing gets a bad rep sometimes, but at least in the Camarilla its an extremely social atmosphere that is always open to new fun people.  Sure, not all of the are great, but when 90% are you know you're in a good group.

Finally, a good friend of mine showed me this video during the last night of Glare.  I wish to share it all with you.

July 17, 2010

Tips when going to a (larping) convention

GlareCon is still going on, although right now it is 8:20 eastern time and the first game isn't until 11:00 a.m.    I figured I'd share some tips on how to effectively enjoy a con.  Some I've learned while I was here, some I've learned before.

-Realize people not part of the Convention exist in your hotel.  Be polite and don't scare the children.

-Make sure you do know when your continental breakfast ends.

-Make sure you're decent enough for continental breakfast, though pajamas are acceptable.

-Pack snacks and even lunch items to enjoy so you can money on restaurants.

-Don't get to worked up about the hotel room, because if it's a good con you won't spend much time there.

-If sharing a room with friends figure out sleeping arrangements BEFORE the first time you sleep.

-Figure out if people snore or if they're light sleepers, giving people ample time to buy earplugs.

-Respect that you showering isn't for you, it's for everyone else.

-The pool/hot tub is not a bath.  Seriously, use the shower in your room.*

-Do your best to practice manners

-Socialize with new people, if not why would you spend all this money to go out of town to only hang out with your friends at home?

*This is stolen from the advice given at the beginning of GlareCon

July 12, 2010

RPG weekend!

Fantastic weekend of nerd goodness.  It's not going to be as intense as next weekend, when I will be attending GLARE Con, one of the many regional conventions for LARPing goodness run by White Wolf's Camarilla group.  But it was pretty epic.

After over a month, I decided to LARP to get ready for GLARE.  I am very cool with Ellen being a side character.  She's not a big player, she's just doing her thing to help out everyone, specifically her fellow vampires who are of her covenant.  She was rewarded for her service to the city by obtaining domain over a significant part of Chicago.  Woot!

On Sunday I met (almost) everyone who is going to be in my campaign, and we'll be starting in late July/early August.  I am super excited.  I've got some people who obviously love to play a thoughtful game.  One guy made sure the rest of the players didn't have a clue what his class was so he could roleplay it out for the first game.  One guy is very smart about his items and his multi-classing, and I sense he'll be the strategist.  And I am bout to respond to another player's awesome backstory for his Wilder.  

All in all, this is going to be a fantastic continuation of the nerd hobby I love.  It's in a setting I've been working with forever and it looks like the balance I love of fighting and world interaction will stay in tact.

Now, to mange 6 players is going to be interesting.

July 6, 2010

Same campaign, different people

I finally just sucked it up and let the people at RPG Chicago know that I'm starting up a new campaign.  Well, an old campaign.  The one I said goodbye to when I left college.  I posted here about it over a year ago.  I decided that I liked that world so much that I wasn't ready to leave it.

This Sunday I am hoping to meet up with people who like a 3.5 DnD campaign with some psionics and eberron influences, and who like a good balance of role-play with their combat.

I am excited to see how it goes!  I will be sure to post details on the following Monday.  If anyone is in the Chicago area and would like to check out the situation, here's a link to the event.

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th, p.s. Pandora doesn't exist.

For my readers that are citizens of the United States, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!  We're independent!  Woo!

Second, The Boyfriend brought to my attention this article, which explains that fans of Avatar (Cameron's not Shymalan's) are suffering from depression because of the movie.  Why?  Because there is no place as beautiful as the fictional planet Pandora, and they don't want to live in any other world.

I'm serious.

How maladjusted to life do you have to be that your depressed because you can't travel to a fictional world?  Now I'm not talking about the people who realized society is ruining the natural ecosystems on our planet--being a sensitive person I can someone having those feelings.  I'm talking about people who have considered killing themselves because they want to live on Pandora.  That's just crazy.  Need-to-see-a-shrink crazy.

If you want to live in a world that is stunningly beautiful, you should check out this thing called the RAIN FOREST.  You will find a similar ecosystem.  If you just want to be a huge blue dude that connects to a neural network across the entire planet, too bad.  Find a hobby other than re-watching Avatar until your eyes bleed.

I know I sound bitter about it, but it just blows my mind that this is an actual problem.  Only in the Western world.