Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

WoW: Wrong.


Yes I'm levelling a Worgen.

Yes, it's a caster. A Priest in fact.

Yes, it definitely needs a new piece of chest "armour", if that's what you call cloth caster robes.

Desperately.

Friday, December 17, 2010

RftP: Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy is a sequel to Tron, the first of the two seminal early 80's movies with CGI Elements; the other being the far more cheesy, fun, and memorable The Last Starfighter. I'm not going to go back and watch the original movie for the purposes of this - so you'll be spared a list of all the "nods" you're "supposed" to go see this movie for - but I will recount that I recall renting it when I was.... oh... 15 or so and found myself bored by it.

While the new movie should do a better job of holding people's attention, it still suffers from a certain amount of pacing problems in the middle/last two acts much like the first film and can be a nasty violator of the "show, don't tell" anti-cocktease philosophy I tend to endorse around here in that we just don't get enough of the elements people are likely paying to see; light-cycle battles and disk fights are short and simply not intense enough. There's one time where they hide a fight entirely to try and play off someone's reaction to the sounds of it that runs too long and ends up failing to be as effective as they'd like. Part of me wonders if they were too worried about getting "too Matrix-y" and not worried enough about bringing the kick-splode.

Otherwise definitely pretty in spots - although set almost entirely against the "dark" in that way Cheap CGI fights tend to occur at night in low budget films - and sounds good, but story wise its brutally straight forward in its implementation of the son seeking lost father plot arc. Although, there are some false trails initially set up implying "villains" that either don't exist or won't be explored until someone gets around to making a sequel, if ever.

Overall, it's a decent spend of money for the holidays if you're looking to have a bit of Sci-Fi.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Link Storage: RftP Footnote

It's articles like Johanna Schneller's "Hollywood Actresses and the art of Strategic Nudity" over at The Globe and Mail that help form the basis for the shots I take about how young actresses frequently break their "kit" out to score "adult" or "hot" points in Hollywood.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TotD: Only in Canada...

... would you find a "Rim Rolling Tool" at checkout.

Friday, December 3, 2010

RftP: Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's latest film is hard to describe without spoiling things but heeeeeerreee weeeeee goooooooo....




Nah.

Let's just say it's worth at least one viewing and leave it at that because all you really need to know is that it's a job well done. But, wait a week until it opens wide in Toronto 'cause Varsity is one of the last of the "watch the movie through the back of someone's head" theatres left.

WoW: A Fishing Daily That Ducked the "Bad Quest" Executions...

... would be called Big Gulp

Why? Because its a reminder of the worst style of WoW quest: the double random drop. In order to complete this daily you need to catch Royal Monkfish, which float around 50% per catch based on my casts. Then, you need to gut these random catches for the necklace.... which is not a 50% drop and likely closer to 10-20%. Which means it can be quick... or really slow to get done...

So, it's not remotely hard but definitely can be an annoyingly frustrating little time sink which is oddly out of place compared to all the other dailies they've put together for cooking and fishing so far.

Bad Quest Designer! Bad!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

RftP: Tangled, Faster

Catching up on two films from the weekend, Tangled is apparently Disney's 50th animated film and, basically, a prototypical Disney flic.

Adding Rapunzel to the lineup of "Disney Princesses", Tangled is a loose adaption of the original Grim Bothers tale that shifts a lot of the elements around to service Disney's need to be both "family friendly" and "empowering" as they say in zee focus groups. Functionally this still results in a good film but also is a piss poor retelling of the tale; not that the later's ever been the primary goal out of this crew anyways.

Apparently the most expensive animated film ever made (to this point), and the second most expensive production of all time, you kinda get the idea that most of that was in startup costs for the Disney CGI Division because it doesn't really set itself apart from any of its predecessors in terms of graphical "wow-ness" though is certainly pretty enough in that regard. Story wise its pretty much what you've come to expect from Disney love stories lately (initially cold leads warm to each other over the course of a few days of forced/orchestrated co-habitation), and the songs and comedy are decent enough to make it reasonably fun.

As such, if you're in the mood for an animated flic it's not a waste of money. The only sad part is that the ~49 million opening weekend for this vs the ~24 million for last years Princess and the Frog likely further drives in the spike that says traditional animation is done with consumers; which is a bit of a shame when we could see the medium go away because of failures elsewhere.

Moving on, Faster throws Dwayne Johnson at us in the "Revenge Killer" role while slipping in homages to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly intermittently. This film suffers from a meandering storyline that does at least manage to come together reasonably well in the final act. But, it's all the deviations on the trip that serve to kill the pace and see to it that the movie doesn't live up to its title. Its simply doesn't embrace it's theme as well as, say, Crank or Shoot 'em Up, nor manages to be interesting enough to be, say, Heat or The Town let alone something like Inception.

Existing in that middle ground of action flics where its not bad enough to dismiss outright but also not good enough to make it worth running out to see, probably it's greatest failing is in giving Johnson little to do but look resolute and one shot people as he wanders through the film as some amalgam of The Terminator and a horror movie killer's ability to ghost in and out of situations. While he's not going to be working Stratford next season, he has shown himself to have a broader toolset than that in the past.

For most people, this is gonna be a catch it on video kinda film.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WoW: The most "Fun" new Cooking Daily...

For the moment? Weeeelllll.... read the text for Rock Lobster...


Yeah... beware the Sharks.... the Level 85 Sharks...


Unless you can self heal, have a raider's wad of Hit, and it certainly doesn't hurt to have a personal off tank, watch your back and keep a wide berth. If you do pull one, prioritize DoTs and reactive damage because a lot of strikes are gonna miss but once you get those on the sucker it's going to take consistent damage and slow die as long as you can stay ahead of the damage it does to you. At least it makes running up cooking tokens for Cat interesting...

Monday, November 29, 2010

WoW: Stormwind Dwarven District Parkour



Start the new zones up already... the prep work is done and I'm now just finding silly stuff like this to do...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RftP: Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs is your prototypical "two broken people find true love with each other" dramedy with the caveat that it's got lots of sex scenes and nudity. In that sense, it's perhaps the world's most optimum date flick because you're going to get lots of opportunity to check out Anne Hathaway or Jake Gyllenhaal in their birthday suits depending on your personal preference. Or not, depending on how competitive/possessive/puritanical you or your SO are.

There's some good scenes here and, even when they're laying around naked just talking, Hathaway and Gyllenhaal play off each other well but the funniest thing is just how much the PR has avoided the fact that, when you go to see this, you're going to see naked people. You are. While groins stay effectively covered, everything else is in play at some point during this film as we get plenty of, well, "tasteful" at least (post-)coital nudity. Best be prepared for that.

Getting back to the plot, our broken people are a combo of an early onset Parkinson's patient (Hathaway), and the family underachiever (Gyllenhaal), with the former trying to simply get through life now that she believes normalcy is gone and the later burning out gloriously working sales jobs - his latest being as a Pharmaceutical Rep - whilst fucking his way through the staff/clientele as a means to get ahead - or simply off. So, we also get some commentary on Parkinson's treatment/life and "Big Pharma" sales tactics as we cruise though the plot.

Otherwise, it sticks to the genre conventions and doesn't really do anything you can't see coming down the pipe if you've ever seen any other movie of it's type. It's a movie you see to score points with the significant other as long as they're not the type who's going to ream you out as soon as the breasts/abs come out.

There's some other stuff out this weekend I wanna see but will have to wait until the week for me to catch up with.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

WoW: Thats... um... a BIG Bear....


Found wandering near Dun Garok (OMG, the Dwarves... they're all dead...), in Hillsbrad Foothills, all the Vicious Black Bears were that big. Not sure if that's intended or a graphical bug.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WoW: Apparently...

Tomorow... Tomorrow... New quest zones... minus the Worgen and Goblins... Tomorrow...

It's only a daaaaaaaaaaaaayyy awayyyyyyyyy....

Friday, November 19, 2010

RftP: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

... reaffirms the reality that David Yates can't direct for shit and/or Steve Kloves should've been tossed on the heap a long time ago in favour of someone more suited to a long form adaptation.

In being given two films to deal with the last book - thus being deprived of the excuse that there's too much material - the weaknesses of that director/writer combo are simply given twice the opportunity to jump up on screen. The script is abysmal at short-handing in things suddenly deemed important (My favourite: "Hi Harry, I'm Domhnall Gleeson. I'll be your Bill Weasley today. Because we didn't shoot the actual last act of the prior book, I'm contractually obligated to mention Fenrir Greyback caused this scar the makeup department spent an hour putting on my face at some point when no one was looking. Oh, and I'm marrying Fleur - you all remember Fleur right?"), and the direction is technically sound but completely and totally emotionally bereft. How do I know this? Because we're not watching a Jackie Chan movie and the audience is laughing their heads off at the end of your snake chase and again when the characters are trying to be emotional because you can't find the proper line between drama and laughable level melodrama.

The combo then goes on to remove things for what becomes pretty obvious as simply budget concerns and appearance sake ("Hi Harry... err... it's Domhnall again... Ron won't be hiding out at Shell Cottage because someone thought it would make him look weak... oh, and, um, when you run from the Malfoy's... Fleur and I won't be there because then they'd have to pay us... Hell, it's probably Dad's summer cottage now... you'll find out in part two), which gets kinda annoying when you also read that they spent money to try and 3D'ize this - failing miserably - in order to charge you an extra $2.50 but couldn't be arsed to pay for the actors to do things "right". So, much like the last HP flic these two brought to the table you end up with a disjointed mess of a film that jumps from scene to scene while looking pretty.

There are many comments that this is the most "dark" and "mature" Harry Potter to date but... not really... It's only "dark" and "mature" in the same sense that slapping black leather on your main character while adding some "fucks" and tits to your video game makes it "mature" - it's some elderly executive's idea of what's "naughty" which is why the audience was ROFL'ing during the much ado about nothing "naked Harry Potter/Hermione makeout" scene.

I honestly think your enjoyment of this mess is likely dependent on whether or not you've ever read the novels so that's your deciding factor here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Link Storage: More indie music...

TheSixtyOne.com

That ought to keep you busy until I get around to updating my playlist....

Friday, November 12, 2010

RftP: Skyline

Normally I do a weekend roundup, but lets get this slug out of the way.

Ahhhh, Skyline. From the looks of things you didn't deem yourself worthy of preview copies for the reviewers. That means you don't get "no detail" immunity from me; a benefit I generally give because I get annoyed at reviewers who run down the entire script over the course of their article. Which is good, because you deserve to be SPOILED for the good of humanity.

Skyline's premise is outlined in the original trailer by the newscasters:


Yeah, aliens come. They kick our ass. We don't win. The President doesn't lead a victory squadron to everyone's rescue while Aerosmith blares. The rest is essentially Cloverfield without the shaky-cam. The number of people who left the theatre angry at this reality was amusingly large given the trailer was pretty honest about what was coming here but only topped by those annoyed when the movie tried to have it both ways in the last 5 minutes by breaking out the subplot in the dumbest possible way. We'll get back to this in a second.

Skyline was apparently an experiment by a CGI house to see if they could make a "Blockbuster" alien film for $10M*. The answer to that is a qualitative yes; as long as you accept shitty plotting, greyscale CGI with some occasional pixelation - especially in "bad blue light" scenes - and your film is a bottle show. Essentially The entire movie takes place in the LA apartment/condo building of the best friend of the male lead and focuses on the efforts of our lead, his buddy, their respective wives/girlfriends, and various building people to try and get the hell out while, for some reason, the Aliens seemingly focus on their lone building out of all of LA.

Think about that for a second. Aliens that can hoover up people by the 1000's are sitting on 5 people in a high rise.

Yeah. The rest of the film is similarly dumb and written in such a way as to basically ensure that our cast stays in its bottle while our aliens chase them for their brains; which are apparently a powersource/internal component of some sort. In the background is the subplot that, for some reason, when our male lead is exposed to the "bad blue light" early in the film he becomes "infected" by it: gaining increased strength when he gets angry enough to pull it out. Sooooo, you're sitting there waiting for him to Hulk out on an Alien but it never really comes.

Instead, BIG HONKING SPOILER
we get an epilogue to the world being conquered and everyone being captured where our lead's GF wakes up in the spaceship just in time to see him get harvested for his brain and for her to get hauled off to what passes for an alien birthing room because she's pregnant. Except her BF's brain isn't blue like all the good ones: it's blazing red, angry, and implanted into an alien battle brute who proceeds to beat the shit out of the others, kill the alien attempting to harvest the kid from his wife, and scoop her up to try and flee.

/BIG HONKING SPOILER

Which just goes to show that movie studios aren't the only ones who could use much better quality control systems. Wait for this one to show up on a Sci-Fi channel.

* The official budget is said to be $20 Million, 10 of that is stated to be paying for those posters you see all over the place.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TLU: See movie, Hit movie...

Her: So, why'd you go see Unstoppable?
Me: Because it was on.
Her: No, no, no... How'd you decide to see that over everything else that was on?
Me: *shrugs* I didn't really give it that much thought.
Her: Come on, I know there's lots of movies on; I see the listings in the paper! Why'd you see this one?
Me: You know, treating every decision as if it were a complex one is probably why you're on those anxiety meds...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LS: Because it Made me Laugh

"Listen: I’m not saying pandas aren’t cute. They’re very cute. They’re so cute that Newfoundlanders instinctively want to club them to death."

RftP: Megamind, Unstoppable, Due Date

Gonna be a busy weekend in which I manage to steal a glance at something from next week.

Starting off, Megamind proceeds to tread much of the same ground as Despicable Me and, to be blunt, not do it as well. Replacing the cute little kids with a Lois Lane analogue and Jason Segel with Jonah Hill, the movie blows its load in the first act before proceeding to plod though an hour or so of love story and dated jokes (of all the video games you could reference - say... Pokemon or Mario - that kids and adults would currently identify with you instead dig out OG Donkey Kong?). It gives one more little burst of fun at the start of the last act then collapses under the weight of a pile of deus ex machina.

In fact, if there's no Heavy Metal song playing, you may as well break out a crossword puzzle while Will Ferrell verbally mugs for the camera in rather tired fashion and Tina Fey wonders why they bothered to cast a "comedic" actor for her role because those are the only times the animators get into the film too. Probably one of the quietest movie theatres I've been in this year and I caught an afternoon show full of kids. Maybe that's a good thing, but I doubt it. Also, yet another case of: "If you've seen the trailers, you've seen this film."

You have to have skipped Despicable Me or really be tied up into the conceit here to have fun with this. It's probably a "catch it on TV movie".

Speaking of fun, opening next week but I caught a sneak showing this Saturday at AMC, Unstoppable brings us Tony Scott in his element: fun and well paced action flicks with some decent character work. In fact, there's a word you could use a lot in a review for this: fun. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine carry the load and are clearly having fun playing off each other as the older train driver and comparative rookie conductor who find themselves and their train sharing a track with a runaway locomotive in this very loose adaption of the tale of Ohio's infamous Crazy 8888 train incident that amps up the drama, shifts locations for obvious storytelling purposes, and renames everything. Some of that is likely so no one can get sued but also it's also readily apparent no one wants to stop the fun train here and they're right not to.

This film isn't going to win any Oscars but anyone who sits down and says it's not a good little popcorn flick is wrongheaded and anti-fun. There's just enough swearing that I'd probably have to clear it through his dad first but my 11 year old train nut nephew would probably leave this grinning ear to ear.

Hell, even I had a stupid little one growing throughout.

Finally, Due Date is the latest in what's becoming a long line of "insane situation" comedies. Staring Robert Downey Jr. as the expectant father with anger issues and Zach Galifianakis as... well... the same role he plays in every comedy lately, it applies it's particular brand of insanity to the odd-couple road trip movie and comes out pretty well as long as you don't think about it too much.

That said, there's some solid laughs here and probably the best new comedy out this weekend, live action or otherwise.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TotD: Apparently they make Men's Uggs..

... and some guys actually wear them?

Really?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rant: Why I'd never want my kid to be a "Child Star"

Demi Lovato Enters Rehab because:

- she punched out a dancer.
- got busted for partying
- she is struggling with body issues and "cutting".
- like any sane teenage girl, she's totally ashamed to be dating Justin Bieber.
- she's really just seeing a psychiatrist.
- she's not getting along with her ex's GF... the same ex who apparently just used her for publicity.
- she's desperately trying to turn herself into her ex's new GF.
- whatever the reason, it's totally not Disney's fault.
- she's a Yandere... errr... sorry. Got caught up in the dumbness. There's your new word of the week folks.

But, that there is 3 days of the more sane gossip mongering about an 18 year old girl who's trying to figure out life and is making mistakes in a world where gossip is currency and having the best of it is a license to print money. Why the hell would I want to submit my kid to that? It's not even a female limited thing either. Quite possibly my most angering moment in history reading movie reviews was for Spy Kids 3 where more than one reviewer had the audacity to call Rodriguez on the carpet for scripting the movie around the male lead from the first two because he "isn't cute anymore". At 13/14 you're politely calling a kid out on his appearance? Fuck that shit.

Should I ever get around to participating in the birthing process and they decide this kinda thing is what they wanna do for a living, someone's gonna have to make a really good case for why I shouldn't encourage them to stay small/local, learn their craft, figure out who they are, and go for it when they're older and ready to deal with it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TyL: Why Phineas and Ferb is awesome...



While there's multiple levels of awesome in here, jump to 2:12 for a fine example of slipping a risque double-entendre in the script and completely getting away with it.

I'll let Wired explain to you further why this is the current generation's Spielburg Era Looney Toons.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

TotD: The Future of Warfare...

"Target acquired. Would you like to fire missile? Yes, No?"

"Are you sure? Yes, No?"

"Windows User Inventory Control: Windows needs your permission to continue - If you started this action
  - Initiate Missile Launch - Subtract Missile from Inventory
    Microsoft Windows DND

To continue, type an administrator password and then click OK"

"McAfee/Intel Security Scan
We have detected and blocked an non-certified program attempting to access secure code.
  - Missile Firing Sequence

To unblock this program..."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WoW: Soloing Lieutenants - The Easy Way



In short:

Charge!

<Monty Python>Run Away!!!</Monty Python>

Charge!

Collect kill.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TyL: There's a new section coming to your bookstore...

If it's not there already because apparently 'Fantasy' is too apt a term for books in which a passive teen female "outsider" completely flukes into the true - and totally non-sexual - love of the hottest teenage boy in school merely by existing. Especially when said boy is a vampire/werewolf/zombie/etc...

While the term has apparently been around for a bit, Barnes and Noble is in the process of rolling it out to their stores now in an effort to subdivide this out of the Fantasy section so the No-Kissy-Kissy Fantasy Nerds and the Kissy-Kissy Fantasy Nerds can stop throwing daggers at each other whilst tripping over opposing turf. This is probably also where I should point out my amusement at the reality that the two places you'll most often find Harry Potter in a bookstore are the Kids section in it's colourful "children's" format, and then stashed in the straight up Fiction section in it's more subdued "Adult" skin; not in the Fantasy section either.

These kinds of shelving decisions largely come down to targeted re-branding designed to avoid the social stigmas attached to Fantasy and Science Fiction as genres - especially amongst Youth where simply reading is a good way to end up mocked as a nerd before you get caught with something "geeky". Now, if the store says it's Paranormal Romance... well... you're not reading one of those skeevy Fantasy books that oddball girl or the boys like are you? You're reading Romance. With Vampires. There's an entirely other set of social stigmas assigned to Romance as a genre, admittedly, but most of those don't get applied until you're 30, have 12 cats, and no romantic options are forthcoming. For teen girls who need to be fed up a bunch of completely unrealistic parent-pleasing expectations about how relationships work they're A-OK! Especially since teen Fabio never makes a play for or gets in your panties.

After all, you've got to be 18 before you're fit for Harlequin. And Married.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TotD: Looking back at history...

... is the rate at which Women gain power directly proportional to their perceived need within a society outside the "traditional role" of "Easy-Babe Oven"

Or, to spin it from the other direction, do Men often only cede equality ground when faced with the reality that they need to augment the labour force due to lack of... well.. Men...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: There was a pie in this box...

Sadly, it's gone to a better place now...

Just to extend a bit, when I was growing up we had strawberry bushes on one part of the property and rhubarb on another (also: blueberries across the road), so I had lots of this kinda thing for the few years my mom was into making preserves/jams/etc... Tremendous soft spot for it.

Not so much for rabbit. Which my dad also... farmed... for a bit. Nor the racing pigeons. Which we didn't eat, but feeding a coop full of the shit machines is not high on the list of things you want to do at 6 years old.

On the other hand, I do miss the kennel of Irish Setters. Awesome dogs - Setters and Retrievers are the only Dogs I'd ever have - but I'd never own one in the city. They need room to run.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

WoW: All Flight Trainers aren't Equal...

In one of the 3.x.x patches they updated riding trainers so that they'd give you discounts based on your reputation with them. The gotcha is that the most readily available trainers - the one sitting on Dal and the ones in SMV you got used to going to in BC - aren't members of any faction and, therefore, don't give a discount. In other words, if you're lazy you get screwed. Why?

Well, if you fly out to Hellfire Peninsula or Borean Tundra you'll find Flight Trainers near your Flight Masters in the starting fortifications of these zones. These FT's are members of specific factions (Honour Hold/Valiance Expedition for the Alliance, Thrallmar/Warsong Offensive for the Horde), and, given that you should at least be able to make Revered with the former of those by 70 and Exalted with the later is easy to get grinding dungeons sans tabard at 80, scoring a 15-20% discount on your 5K Artisan (280%) and 5K Master (310%) Riding costs is a breeze. So, for a little Flight Time, you're saving 750-1K Gold on each of those; a nice little sum of money to keep in your pocket for Cataclysm and really adds up when you've multiple toons to buy Master for.

You might also want to remember this when 4.0.3 hits and you've gotta put out 250G a toon for "Old Weather Flying"

PS: For those that don't read patch notes: all your mounts that ride now go the speed of your fastest land training - 60-100% at max - and all your mounts that fly now go the speed of your fastest air training - 150-310% at max regardless of what their original limiters were set at. So, grab your favourite mount and ride free :)

TLU: The woman in question was like 5' and looked 18 at ~35

Her GF: If she's going to keep harping on how small [a classmates, shall we say, manhood] is I'm gonna start breaking out the short jokes...
Me: Please. That would be too easy. If her husband wasn't within earshot [and built like an NFL linebacker] I'd go with: "Don't mind the married woman. She hasn't orgasmed in a while so she's really curious what it is you're doing to satisfy your GF"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TotD: Because you know it's going to happen...

What's the over/under on the number of years until Kanye and Taylor Swift deliver a Grammy Award/are the "surprise musical act" together?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TotD: Homemade Teriyaki Burgers = Yum.

Eating two of them when you've made 6 out of 1.2KG of ground beef = overkill.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

WoW: Dear Hunters...

Soooo, I'm kicking around Shola on my hunter gathering up herbs for my Incriptor and all of a sudden my pet dings as I harvest a node and I'm like: "WTF?"

Oh... yeah, we get Experience for herbing/mining now*. For example:
Before
After
about 2.5K pet Experience for a single Adders Tongue node. In the process of filling a 20 Slot bag, while wacking a few mobs that got in the way, I took my Devilsaur from 77 to 79 and about 6 slots into the next bag he was 80. Not bad for about an hour and a half's work.

From what I can see:
Herb Node Experience to Pet
(P at 77, H at 80, Herb maxed)
Goldclover + Tiger Lilly 1100 Exp
Adder's Tongue 2611 Exp
Lichbloom + Icethorn 2530 Exp

Talendra's Rose and "Frozen Nodes" are out of the way so I can't be bothered. Note also that, at 78, my Devilsaur was only getting 2457 from Adder's Tongue nodes so there's definitely a sliding scale in effect here but the best nodes to farm for Exp. appear to be AT, LB, and IT. Presumably mining nodes will provide similar numbers based on what colour they are to you at the moment, but I'm not levelling mining to find out what they are.

TLDR- "Pro-Tip": if you've a pet to level and mats to harvest - get it out.

* Note: when Cat actually hits, this will also apply to Archeology finds as currently stands.

TyL: Reading a Cineplex Magazine

There's a company in LA that specializes in selling the sperm of movie star look-alikes to prospective mothers.

Because this isn't creepy at all...

Friday, October 15, 2010

RftP: RED

RED - an acronym standing for Retired, Extremely Dangerous - is the latest comic book/graphic novel adaption to hit the screen this summer and it offers it's own lesson on how they can go wrong; this time when you go too far down the "tell your own story" road from the source material. In taking little more than the title and opening act of the book it's based on, the end result is yet another ensemble action flick that throws the remainder of the book under a bus and backs over it a few times in the process of hitting every stock "conspiracy plot" trope instead.

To a certain degree, this is justifiable because the source material is probably too bloody - and short - to get made with anywhere near the level of star power in the film. But, the unfortunate side effect is that the more original plot found in the book - fresh CIA Director gets shown retired former operative's file before he's properly settled into the job as an orientation joke by his agency handler then orders the man's erasure from the Earth in a panicked fit of outrage because: "we don't do that here, and the public can never know", followed by the operative's rampage of revenge in response to the violent interruption of his peaceful retirement - is lost entirely; most likely because it went so far past the anti-hero line in the process that it was deemed unbelievable and the "hero" remorselessly killing CIA officers not likely to evoke much sympathy from the audience.

So, instead what we have here is a rather average conspiracy comedy/action flick where a lot of the rough edges on our hero are purposely filed off to make him more aloof than threatening for the majority of the film - there's really only one spot in the film where just how evil a bastard he's been trained to be rolls out for the audience - with an all-star cast and story designed to pad the base idea out close to 2 hours. There's a few good jokes and action bits, but you've seen most of them in the trailer. It also has all the subtlety of a tank with regard to setting up it's twists and drags from time to time while giving you the feeling the script went through a few too many doctors in an effort to get screen time to the whole cast as the through-line gets a little messy in the sub-plots.

At the end of the day, you've seen this film before so only worth seeing if you get a woody at the thought of Helen Mirren firing a M-60. Otherwise, catch it on TV/Video someday.

Oh, one last thing, reviewers who use the term "slumming" WRT Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich doing a movie like this need to get a life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

TyL: That you Can't Unlearn....

Sexy Michelangelo (Orange) Deluxe Adult Costume
....

Ok...whooooooosh... there goes your childhood heading for the window. If I have to suffer with this info, I'll be damned if I'm not going to share.

Honestly though, I am somewhat amused that apparently you can make anything "sexy" by applying it's colour scheme to a mini-skirt and hooker boots.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TotD: On the "Glossy"

Random Male Designer: "Yeah... because when I see some chick with a massive cameltoe the first thing I think is that that would look soooooooooo much better if I could see my face in reflection off.... wait a minute!!!!! *grabs sketchpad*"

Monday, October 11, 2010

LS WoW: Oh, yeah...

4.0.1 is expected to hit tomorrow. This will bring about the "class and system's changes" part of Cataclysm. In simpler terms: all your toons and how you play them just got FUBAR'd but the new content won't show up until later.

It's Elitist Jerks reading time folks. Although, everyone's still sorting what works there by and large too. Soooo, um... good luck...

Update: Someone else has been kind enough to do a class/spec info roundup. Enjoy.
Death Knight
Elitist Jerks: Blood Tanking in 4.0.1
PwnWear: Blood Tanking Compendium
Elitist Jerks: Frost DPS | Cataclysm, You Found Me
Elitist Jerks: Unholy DPS | Cataclysm, All At Once
Consider It: Blog by the EJ main theorycrafter/poster
DK Sim: Gear, Spec, Glyphs, and Rotation simulations

Druid
Gray Matter: Moonkin Guide to Patch 4.0.1
Quieth's Quips: Moonkin Guide to 4.0
Relevart's Druid Reliquary: Moonkin Class Guide
Sunfyre's Nest: 4.0 Rotation and Glyphs
Syrco-Owl: Moonkin in 4.0.1

The Fluid Druid: Kitty Dps in 4.0.1
Feral Aggression: 4.0.1 Kitty Primer
Mew: Feral Druid DPS Analyzer
Think Tank: The 4.0.1 Feral Specs, Glyphs, Gear post
Allison Robert, WoW Insider: Bear Druids in Patch 4.0.1

Tree Bark Jacket: Tree Patch 4.0 Guide
Restokin: Resto Druid Healing Guide
Rank 4 Healing Touch: 4.0.1 Primer Resto Druid Basics and ICC 25 HM
RestoDude: Resto Druid Guide New

Hunter
MMO Champ Forums: 4.0.1 Hunters
The Brew Hall: Hunters Patch 4.0 Some Thing to Expect
Warcraft Hunters Union/WoW Insider: Scattered Shots: Prepare Your Hunter for Patch 4.0.1
Warcraft Hunter's Union: Beastmastery Hunter Patch 4.0.1 Talents Rotation and Glyphs
Warcraft Hunter's Union: Marksman Hunter Patch 4.0.1 Talents Rotation and Glyphs
Marks-365: Marksman Talents in 4.0
Warcraft Hunter's Union: Beastmastery Hunter Patch 4.0.1 Talents Rotation and Glyphs
Pets: Warcraft Hunters' Union

Mage
Mana Obscura: The Mage 4.0 Compendium
TotalBiscuit: Arcane Video Guide
TotalBiscuit: Fire Video Guide
Great Balls of Fire: Fire Raiding Builds Video
TotalBiscuit: Frost Video Guide
Great Balls of Fire: Frost Raiding Builds Video

Paladin
Kurn's Corner: What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.1
Blessing of KingsHoly Paladin Spec and Glyphs in 4.0.1
Righteous Defense: Everything You Need to Know about Prot and 4.0.1
Ret Pally: Ret Pally 4.0: Holy Shift

Priest
Dawn Moore, WoW Insider: Sp[iritual Guidance: Reforging, Gemming, and GCD Tactocs for 4.0.1
Dawn Moore, WoW Insider: Spiritual Guidance: Finishing Wrath Raids as a 4.0.1 Healing Priest
Tales of a Priest: 4.0 Survival Guide – Holy & Disc Specs, Glyphs, and More
Press H for Heals: Discipline 4.0.1 Guide
World of Matticus: Raiding Discipline for Priests in 4.0.1
World of Matticus: Smite Healing with Atonement Spec (balls of granite required)
Shadowpriest.com Forums: The 4.0.1 Checklist

Rogue
Elitist Jerks: 4.0.1 Rogue FAQ
PVE Rogues: 4.0.1 Mutilate Talents
PVE Rogues: 4.0.1 Combat Talents
Elitist Jerks: Combat Spreadsheet 4.0.1

Shaman
Myrddin: The Enhancement Shaman 4.0.1
Windfury, Enhancement: Are you ready for 4.0.1?
Totemspot: 4.0.1 The Elemental Guide
Sarah Nichol, WoW Insider: Totem Talk: Elemental Shaman Changes for Patch 4.0.1
Life in Group 5: The Resto Shaman's Guide to 4.0.1
Flow: Patch 4.0 Resto Shaman Build Speculation

Warlock
Optec: Cataclysm Warlock Changes Guide part 1
Optec: Cataclysm Warlock Changes Guide part 2
The Warlock's Den: 4.0.1 Cata Destro Rotation Spec
Undercity: 4.0.1 Destro Warlock Rotation
Forsaken Few Guild: Demonology in Cata

Warrior
Got Warcraft? The Cataclysm Warrior Guide
Naithin: Fun in Games: Prot Warrioring at 80 in 4.0

TLU: I Honestly Don't Know This....

"Are you married?"

*holds up both hands*

"You could've just held up your ring finger"

"Which one is it?"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

RftP: It's Kind of a Funny Story

A kinda mneh dramedy staring Zach Galifianakis as "Bobby" the depressive zen master to Keir Gilchrist's Craig - a 16 year old suffering from depression who checks himself into a psych ward after dreaming of tossing himself off the Brooklin Bridge - Funny Story basically runs a lot of stressed teen nerd movie tropes through his character and Craig hits pretty much all of them:
- massive inferiority complex and lack of self confidence.
- best friend is both better looking, smarter, athletic, and has scored the hot chick they've both known since they were kids and he secretly lusts for.
- dad's placing tons of pressure on him to succeed and guiding his progression through schools and schollarships regardless of where his son's interests actually lay.
- mom's one of those: "I'll support you in whatever you do" types who dotes on him while the father shoots him down
- younger sibling is the functional equivalent of his best friend. Only, not banging the hot chick. This time at least.

So, essentially, the setup is Better Off Dead in a mental ward with Galifianakis in the Scooter Stevens role and Emma Roberts standing in for Diane Franklin as "Craig" starts to learn how to deal with all the stress and fictional or real issues he's built up around himself that are slowly driving him insane and gets a bit out of his shell. To be fair, it should also be said that Galifianakis is actually given some acting to do and delivers pretty well the more subdued parts but, for the most part, the movie is pretty much by the numbers as these things go.

See if you're in the mood for a servicable teen flick

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

RftP: Buried, The Social Network

Buried is a movie one has to choose their words carefully to review 'cause there's only two possible outcomes to this story and the wrong ones will give it away. A high concept film, Buried takes place entirely from the POV of Ryan Reynold's character Paul Conroy; an American truck driver working for a third party contractor to deliver supplies in Iraq. We will open the film with him awakening in a wood coffin buried in the ground; hence the title. This will be essentially the only location seen in this film and really where it deviates from the norm where we'd have active cuts between all the invested parties.

From that point on, the film proceeds to ratchet up the tension as Conroy - finding himself with a cell phone through which his captors communicate and he's able to reach out for help with - goes through all the emotions someone under high stress would be expected to go through as he negotiates, tries to get help, and does everything conceivable to get out of the situation he's now in while running up against threats, barriers, and the simple reality of where he is now. It's here that Reynolds reminds us he can be more than just the guy you bring in to deliver a punch line and he's exceptionally good in the role.

Buried's probably not a film for everyone but its definitely unique and well done.

The Social Network... Huh... well, I'll say this: you've gotta give credit for taking something like the creation of a website and actually making it interesting and entertaining. It helps that, by all accounts, the events were actually interesting to begin with but that's still quite an accomplishment on behalf of the writer, director, and cast. The movie details the story of the birth of the now ubiquitous social networking site Facebook and the chaos and backstabbing that went on behind the scenes as Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg who's finally moving beyond his "can't get Michael Cera" phase as an actor, takes "his" idea from creation to fledgeling mega-corp. Sharply written by Aaron Sorkin from events detailed in the novel "The Accidental Billionaires" and testimony from the multiple lawsuits that surrounded the firm's inception it's probably as close you're going to get to the "truth" without having been there.

The movie is very much worth seeing. I'm also amused that Brenda Song is the latest child star to grab the "crazy slut" role as a "graduation strategy" to "adult roles". Oh, you wacky Disney Kids...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rant: On Prostitution

Much has been made about last week's ruling that the laws restricting brothels, communication, and living off the "avails" of prostitution are in violation of the Charter rights of those Canadians who otherwise... for the sake of argument since that was the apparent case here... choose to partake in this particular profession by placing them at additional risk. The thing is, this is inarguable - we do purposely remove the ability of the participants in this profession to establish a safe environment in which to operate largely in the name of disincentivizing while simultaneously turning a blind eye in many cases to the damage this does. In fact, the government's primary "defence" in this case was that the profession was dangerous to begin with so the judge should simply ignore the reality that the laws increased that risk. This is roughly equivalent to a Minister showing up to committee for a budget review and claiming flack jackets are unnecessary expenses for Police Officers because they're at greater risk of being stabbed or otherwise assaulted than shot in this country so we shouldn't bother going further.

Get back to me when that happens.

Even more amusing is Joy Smith, MP from Winnipeg, claiming: “My goodness we would have the nation as the pimp and that’s wrong and we can’t afford that,” while ignoring the reality that we've already had the nation running as outright pimp via the "Stripper Visa" which, while being officially discontinued, in effect simply runs through the regular visa system now. Right there is another case where the people were more concerned with the percieved "moral evils" of stripping than the fact we were shipping in girls to serve at the local meat market - and no one's going to argue all that they were giving out was the full frontal either.

So, why not make prostitution legal? Pretty much every paper in this town funds some portion of it's operations advertising the "professionals" anyways these days...

Moralists like to point to things like: "It destroys marriages!!!". Yet, StatsCan will tell us otherwise:

Geography, place of occurrence=Canada, place of occurrence
Reason for marital breakdown20042005
Reason for marital breakdown, separation for at least one year65,84867,526
Reason for marital breakdown, adultery2,1822,218
Reason for marital breakdown, physical cruelty687619
Reason for marital breakdown, mental cruelty891878

1. Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Vital Statistics, Divorce Database

Yup, that's right, the vast majority of marriages end because one or both of the people involved simply can't stand living with each other anymore. Furthermore, while the stats on this aren't readily available, the reality is that those adultery numbers aren't full of guys/girls picking up strippers/hookers on the side - they're almost always those who feel neglected or are egotistical enough to think they can get away with getting it on with a co-worker (some argue this is 50-75% of the occurrences), or someone you know or have regular contact with - a best friend, relative, neighbour, or worker around the house. Hookers are the least of your concerns. I'd check my browser history for Ashley Madison first.

The next big one is that no one wants a brothel in their neighbourhood. Yet, odds are you already do and don't know. Most are run quietly simply to avoid detection - hell, most of you don't notice when drug lords gut the neighbouring house, steal electricity from you, and grow pot. I also find it hard to give this argument validity because no one wants anything in their neighbourhood these days; be it a freeway or a park full of kids. That doesn't mean there couldn't be somewhere to put such a thing.

The final minor argument is that: "no one grows up wanting to be a prostitute!". Yet, how many people grow up to become what they wanted to be at 5/10/15/20 years old? Those hopes change over time and adjust to current realities and I can tell you right now I've known a few women who found the prospect of being a Serenity style "Companion" appealing - and not just in a Cosplay at the Sci-Fi fest way. Furthermore, the most effective combat against this is not legislation but effective child rearing (in terms of conveying your beliefs and moral standards), and providing means for children to achieve those other dreams you'd rather them be going for.

But, now we get into the uglier bits: the drugs, the health issues, the human trafficing, abuse... aren't these all things that call for appropriate legislation and regulation? Bans on drugs on premisses, liquor licenses, health testing, monitoring/licensing of the "staff", requirements for protection and safety of the workers? Isn't this what we do in every other industry that places it's workers at risk?

There are those that argue that this would be ignoring the reality that there are many participants in this profession who'd operate without licenses because they've no choice. I'd argue you've now got a solid legal method to compensate for that - the establishment of firm legal consequences to non-compliance with the operating guidelines. Furthermore, we live in a country with free health care, welfare, and job retraining programs: if there's a perception in the community that there's no viable exit strategy for a drugged up prostitute... well, maybe we ought to do something about that?

Not only that, but does the potential disincentive of increasing the risk to these men and women justify them being beaten, ignored by police, or treated as a low priority when they go missing or are murdered?

Even more importantly: if we find this profession so objectionable, should it be legal at all and are the consequences of changing the law in that way - forcing it and those involved in it even further underground and into the hands of criminal syndicates just as prohibition did; out of reach of help and even more subject to abuse - worth that change just to satisfy our moral outrage at the worlds oldest profession?

Those are the discussions we should be sitting down and having about this decision: not tossing it at the Supreme Court and hoping it will go away. But we can't because "sex + money = evil" unless it involves sugar-mamas/daddys and no politician worth their salt wants to put their neck out and have an adult conversation on this or any other issue. They're too busy badgering Craigslist into stopping advertising for this altogether despite them being the most proactive of the online sources in combatting the more negative aspects of what's going on online. So, at the end of the day, we'll likely go back to women and men operating without a net as punishment for being in a profession society disapproves of or there's gonna be a bunch of people throwing hissy fits about "Activist Judges"; again ignoring the reality that it's the judiciary's very job when it comes to the Charter to protect "the public" from the "moral majority" to begin with by ensuring everyone is treated equally under the protections it provides.

Monday, October 4, 2010

TotD: If you want something bad enough...

... you'd best be prepared to go for it. No one else is likely to get it for you.

Me Wacky CBC Radio 3 Playlist...

For shits and giggles, I'm gonna track this as I feel like it. CBC Radio 3 does a businessweek-daily Track of the Day podcast whereby they essentially give away free music led in by VJ/Artist comments/stories. I'd been quick filtering through the noise for several months before I left for Japan and this is essentially what I was listening to, largely for the first time, while I was there:

Rah Rah - Betrayal pt. 1
Fembots - So Long
Stars - Ageless Beauty
Cherry Chapstick - Silencer
Brad Sucks - Dropping Out Of School
The Skydiggers - Pull Me Down
The Get Down - Dirty Power
Woodpigeon - Piano Pieces for Adult Beginners
Eddie Orso - Moving Straight
Faye Blais - Something's Changed
Dog Day - Oh Dead Life
Pathological Lovers - Storm Your Little
Treelines - Canadian Airlines
Julie Fader - Goodbye Before Hello
Darrelle London - Understand
Women - Group Transport Hall
Plants and Animals - Faerie Dance
New Years Resolution - Death March on the Tone Bank
Attics and Cellars - Sheep + Wolves
Geronimo - Just Like Water
The Mountains & The Trees - All Together Now (For The Holidays)
Jenny Whiteley - Indoor Lightning
The Golden Dogs - Construction Worker
Priestess - Lay Down
Jasper Sloan Yip - Kiddo
Jets Overhead - Addiction
Rock Plaza Central - My Children Be Joyful
Carbon Dating Service - Light Up The Synchrotron
Chow-Chow - Suits Like Animals
Young Galaxy - Searchlight
Greatest Explorers in the World - Hide and Seek
Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire
Meredith Grant - Stars
Maybe Smith - Crimes and Diplomacy
Memphis - I'll Do Whatever You Want
Cripple Creek Fairies - Call In Sick
A.C. Newman - Drink to Me Babe, Then
New Country Rehab - Angel Of Death
Boats - Drinking The Lake
Death from Above 1979 - Little Girl
Ben Globerman - Pirate Games
Plants And Animals - Lola Who?
Diamond Rings - Wait & See
Sea Ballast - I Don't Care
The Pack a.d. - B.C. Is On Fire
Racoon Bandit - Train Song
Silly Kissers - Thinking Of You
Parlovr - Pen To The Paper
Beast - Mr. Hurricane
Melissa McClelland - Passenger 24
Janet Panic - Lousy Wife
Ready Set Die - Face First
Caffeine Sunday - Plane
English Words - Rope
New Teeth - Suffering Sons and Daughters
Ryan Dahle - Chop-Chop
The Soft Province - Thin Ocean
Buck 65 - Indestructible Sam
Caribou - Odessa
The Hidden Cameras - In The Na
Plumtree - Scott Pilgrim
Peaches - Give'r
Emma-Lee - Until We Meet Again
Ladyhawk - (You Are My) Hellfire
Sandman Viper Command - Strawberry Quick
The Wheat Pool - Lefty
The Arcade Fire - Haiti
Dinosaur Bones - Royalty
Luke Doucet - Broken One
Julie Doiron - Consolation Prize
Sam Roberts - The Canadian Dream
Young Rival - Poisonous Moves
The Besnard Lakes - Albatross
David Vertesi - Gentlemen Say

You should be able to pop this handy link and crank the thing up to blow about 4 hours of your life.

I'll be adding/subtracting stuff to/from this list as time passes - I already have ideas for stuff that should be shot - but the core rule is that everything on it will be from the Podcasts so folks can rope their own copies. Therefore, there's no point in asking me to add something not from there though you're welcome to suggest other songs I should be fiddling around with on my spare time. The secondary rule is that if you like something that disappears, make your own bloody playlist 'cause I either don't or have simply had enough of it and it likely won't be back :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LS: An Accurate Summary...

Q. For a second there, I thought you were about to say Facebook was a good thing, the great democratic equalizer.

A. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. If you’re asking me what I think about it personally—which doesn’t affect the movie—I think it’s an insincere form of socializing. Socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.

Q. So people rebrand themselves. It’s like digital cosmetic surgery.

From this Macleans interview with Aaron Sorkin about "The Social Network". His answer in the paragraph before this one is good too, showing how people do this kind of rebranding by tapping into well known cultural reference points, but also huge and I don't like taking quite that much of a quote. Go read it instead.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thought of the Day: "Lucas converting ‘Star Wars’ movies to 3-D"

Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.Ha.









Ha.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thought of the Day: Because Everything Old is New Again


Spandex 2: The Glossy-ning

Now playing everywhere...

Monday, September 27, 2010

TyL: Answering a Summons for Jury Selection

Oooooooooohhhhhh... the dreaded letter in the mailbox has arrived (technically about a month ago). I'm summoned as a potential juror. This will be one roundup mega-post because I can't really say much until I'm not selected and I suspect Day 2 will be quiet.

Day 1:
Arriving at the Toronto Courthouse at 8:30 AM, I check in at a table where things are set up the same way you'd see arriving at an Election: goto your call number, they check your summons letter against the list and cross you off as present, then you go sit down to wait. A lot.

Speaking of your Summons Letter: treat this like gold. It's your hall pass and the Court Officers aren't going to let you out of the holding pen to run around the building at all (to hit the bathroom or cafe; you're not allowed to tour the building in general), without you being able to hand it to them because they've both the need to track who's there so you're available when called for selection and make sure you come back. Surgically attach it to your hip because they're not going to just let you leave or go home because you can't find it.

Oh god. There's a prototypical 20 year old: "Here's how awesome it is to be a Juror!!!" orientation video. Kill me now...

People are notified that we'll be required to stay the next two days for selection and, if this would be inconvenient, they should let the Court Officers know and we'll let you delay. Many people take this offer up. I don't believe that's wise: we've lucked into a two day selection window as end of the week filler for the jury pools that came in Monday and have been depleted over the course of the week. Those opting out now will still have to serve later - you can only delay once selected not eliminate the calling for the most part - and next time they could pull that Monday crew where you're both here longer and far more likely to actually end up serving because you'll be running the gauntlet for the whole week. We're also told later by a Court Officer that Friday is almost always a gimme; fewer cases fill Juries Fridays. So, to be honest, if you pull a Thursday call, roll the fricken dice and see if you can get it done...

I nap while they process that queue and wake up around 10:15. At 10:30 we're finally called up to the courtroom where the Court Clerk details the case (it will be criminal, I suspect that's all I can say), and then the Judge runs through a list of conditions that will potentially disqualify you from his case should he agree. They are, in rough order:

1) Do you know anything about the case beyond that which you might have read in the paper/on the Internet? (Based on the details described before this process begins)
2) Do you know the defendant; his lawyer; the crown lawyers? (Whom the Justice will name)
3) Do you know the witnesses for the prosecution? (Whom the Crown will stand and then name)
4) Do you have problems understanding written or spoken English. (The Justice will test you to his satisfaction on this one if you try and use it)
5) Do you have a medical condition that would preclude you sitting on the jury. (You must approach the judge and describe the condition in detail, loud enough for the lawyers to hear, and he must agree to excuse you from this case)
6) If serving on the jury would provide you unreasonable inconvenience due to the expected time involved (You may only play this card once selection starts. We'll get back to this in a sec).

It's at this point where Jury selection begins and it's kinda a three stage process. First, two Triars are selected via random ballot. Their job will be to judge the fitness of a Juror based on their answer to an agreed upon question posed by Defence Council believed relevant to the outcome of the verdict.

Next, the Court Clerk will begin drawing groups of 20 potential jurors - in our case it was 4 - from a ballot spinner ticket style to ensure a random selection from the available pool. These groups will be escorted away for now. I'll pull the 3rd group: this puts me a fairly limited risk of actually being selected by and large because ~40 people will be seen before me and they only need 12 - though I'm unfortunate enough to have to risk actually seeing the rest of the process today. Anyone not in the 4 groups will be sent back to the holding room to be available for selection in other trials for the remainder of the day.

Oh, side note, one of the lawyers is blind and their dog is both severely well trained and old enough to be completely jaded by this experience now - it's not until the first batch of jurors gets near 10 deep that it bothers to lift it's head from it's slumber and shift under the table: going back to sleep.

Now that the basics are sorted, the third stage begins. The groups will be processed in order one person at a time, so you'll be placed in another room to sit and wait for your group to be called or be collectively told the jury has filled, you're no longer required and to return to the holding room. When your group is called, you'll be filed into a Jury room to wait for your individual call. Upon being called, the first thing the Court Officer will ask you as you enter is if you wish to play the Inconvenience card. If not, you will then be sworn in by the Court Clerk. Now, the Defence Attorney will be able to ask his question. Upon answering, the Triars must now both agree that you are fit, at which point the either of the Legal Teams have a limited number of times to veto (challenge) the selection as well. If they don't, you are part of the jury and replace one of the Triars for the next selection (As far as I can tell, the initial Triars get to leave and then they simply cycle people into the Jury seats until done). Otherwise, if the Triars don't like your answer/how you give it or the Legal Teams reject you, the Justice will dismiss you from the case and you return to the holding room to wait again. In this way, both the Jury Pool and the Legal Teams build the final Jury.

I'm asked one of the questions I very much expected to be asked upon being introduced to the case and my "No" is either quick, simple, or seemingly insincere enough for the current Triars to eliminate me in about 10 seconds. So, I'm excused from serving on the case. I'm not particularly wounded: those two ladies just saved me a week's unpaid work. Because they've gone through about 50 people at this point and - having stopped for lunch from 12:45 to 2:15 - it's now around 3:30 in the afternoon, I'm informed by the Court Officer on the way out of the courtroom that I'm released for the day but need to be back for 9:30 tomorrow to see if I'm required then.

One more kick at the Gauntlet then.

Day 2

Report in at 9:30 and sit down to wait. And wait. And wait some more... I start amusing myself seeing how many Trivial Pursuit questions I can get on the cards.

Around 11:30 they finally call my group to a courtroom where we're up for selection for another criminal trial - this time one dealing with issues near or at the top of the list of those you'd likely never want to have to hear testimony on short of cases that would make the Hague.

This jury selection goes differently from the one yesterday: there's no question this time so we're not shifted out of the room by group. Instead, the Jurors are selected by groups of 20 in the same manor as before, asked to report any of the same 6 issues from day one to the Judge for consideration of removal when called forth individually, and then the Defence or Crown are free to reject anyone they want. Many people run off issues that would preclude them from serving - this ends up being the primary reason they're removed from consideration as neither lawyer ends up being all that picky about those who say they can serve.

Unlike yesterday, 12 Jurors are chosen in the first 35 and then those of us who remain are run up to another holding room where we wait out the day in case a Juror still needs to be replaced before being released as the trial begins.

Service done; no one can be called again for another 3 years minimum.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thought of the Day: My Kryptonite...

Sarah's <-- insert/replace any variation thereof here. Seriously. If someone were particularly invested in getting me dating then pointing a cute one in my direction is effectively an Executive Decision to deploy WMD's.

Addendum: In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have suggested that name as an alternative English name to a former co-worker. Considering they were already reasonably cute on their own, that would've ended very badly....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things Left Unsaid: My Missed Wallace Wells Moment

Him: "So, yeah, she's been in a lot of relationships/trouble and I know the (14-16 year old girls) I keep dating are a mess but they have what I want..."

Me: "Non-existant Self-esteem, a willingness to put up with your bullshit 'cause "we're IN LOVE" so a breakup is the end of the world, and no idea what an adult penis is actually supposed to look like?"

For clarification, this one's in the ballpark of a decade and a half old before you start wondering.

God I wish I called him better on his shit at the time instead of just my usual 'why don't you try something more your age' passive aggressive posture; I'd find out through the grapevine away at college later that that one in particular cost him a large sum of money. Not just on booze and cigarettes either... This is one of the downsides to the teenaged "guy code" where you're not supposed to say jack to stress the group; just smile, wave, and then grumble behind their back as your friend continuously does something idiotic that's going to backfire on him sooner or later. Also, if you think I'm quiet, non-confrontational and shy by default now... yeah... you should've seen me 18-20 when I'd just spent 12 years trying to be invisible at school for various reasons. I must admit though, I was surprised at the number of Catholic parents who frequently just shrugged at the 18-20 year old "dating" their barely consent-legal at the time daughters or rolled over when they threw hissy fits about it or made silly little concessions - "Oh, yeah, I'll be in by curfew!!!". Mind you, it probably didn't hurt that he stood about 5'7 and could pass for 15.

The only "good" thing that came out of being around those "relationships" during my first couple of College summer breaks, if you want to call it that, was that the shit that went on on both sides taught me pretty much every reason why I'd no more interest in playing in that particular pool and weaned me completely off teenage girls in favour of something more... mature and less dramatic maybe? Seriously: I never, ever, again want to have to go get a girl's friends from the TV room to mop up after I've talked her down - one of the few times my being notoriously easy to talk to has been a blessing - 'cause they've been drinking, he's played the "Fine, it's over card" to try and trump the screaming fight she started when they went to bed because he was seen talking to an Ex the night before, and I'm the only one who spotted her running through the kitchen to the back deck while grabbing a knife from the block and pondering the end of the world after the GF's all just shrugged, said: "here we go again" and went back to the movie at the screamed "NOOOO" for apparently the 100'th time. Meanwhile, he's still laying in her bedroom for her to roll over on the issue and come back to bed - which she does once the GF's are done with her...

Yes, I did say "her bedroom". This is all happening at her house where the parents have left the establishment and her 10 year old sister in the hands of her and her one year older friends - one of whom is technically "babysitting" for the night while they're out of town.

Pick your own "kicker" in that story.

RftP: Wall Street- Money Never Sleeps

It's been years since I've seen the original film so I'll spare you the comparison process going on elsewhere and just cut to the brass tacks. Money Never Sleeps is a film that wants to be many things: a posthumous condemnation of the 08 Economic Meltdown, a love story, a revenge story, a family reunion/redemption story, a plea for investment in Alternative Energy, amongst other things...

In attempting to do all this, you end up with something that's watchable but doesn't really nail any one element so well that you can say this film is a classic or must see. In many ways, it frustrates you: there's one scene where Michael Douglas as Gecko "the book writer and unbelieved prophet" prognosticating the collapse that will take place over the course of the film is called on stage at a college as part of his book tour to deconstruct the entire financial crisis and you're left wishing someone had wrote/included the whole speech because the highlights are legitimately one of the best attempts to deconstruct what went wrong and Douglas is right in his element. Then he's dragged into the love plot between our male lead and Gecko's estranged daughter and the movie drags somewhat as we run through the numbers, chase a revenge subplot and watch a lot of bankers beg the fed to save their skins, and build towards his "redemption".

Sooo, decent film, not a bad spend of money, might be something else out there you want to see more this week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rant: On Beauty

Ok... this has been percolating in my head for a bit - largely as a potential answer to a question never asked - and it's time to execute the primary purpose of this blog and info dump it so I can stop playing around with it and move on.

Does Canada have the most beautiful women in the world?

Well, here's a great chance to kiss some ass but that's not really my thing. Sooooo, instead here comes a whole lot of theoretical rationalization...

The first big gotcha here is that, when it comes right down to it, unless you eliminate everything down to Native Canadians there is no such thing as a "Canadian woman"*. Unlike most of the old countries, we're a nation whose primary population base is entirely immigrant in origin; even if you have to go back a few hundred years with some of the older families. Therefore, if someone were to ask: "Are Canadian women more beautiful than <insert country here> women?", it's really easy to cheat and say: "Canadian-<ICH> Women are the hottest ;)", and carry on because the list of countries of the world not represented here is simply not all that exclusive at this point. So, we've got variety, sure, but does that equate with greater beauty? Not really. For most folks, that's just freedom of choice.

This variety also runs into the second gotcha which is this: beauty is both subjective and arguably a constant. It's very rare that someone finds everyone attractive without requiring penicillin for their late stage Syphilis infection. Instead, we all have our personal likes and dislikes and they don't appear constantly across the board. So, the number of people we find cute/hot/etc stays relatively static regardless because the features we like aren't available in every representative of the opposite sex. To a certain extent, you can see this in a beauty pageant lineup - especially on the international level - because you get the opinion of what's "beautiful" from a country or world-wide series of selectors and the features that stand out don't end up being all that common save two. We'll deal with those in sec, but at the end of the day even variety runs into the wall that is personal taste. This is why those things are total crap shoots in terms of who wins: you're facing the subjective opinion of a random selection of C-List celebrities who lost the most to the house in Vegas and need to pay off Trump somehow :)

Now, lets get back to those two commonalties. First, you'll often see busty contestants at these things; this is entirely down to base sex drive and the reality that the people judging these things need/tend to play to defined norms as to what guys are supposed to "want". That said, it's pretty readily apparent that this isn't necessarily a make/break thing for guys given the number of women who somehow manage to get married/dates without being a 38 DDDD; IIRC, "average" size is 34B.

Secondly, yes these contestants are frequently statuesque but this gets back to modelling expectations and people really need to start accepting the reality that models aren't chosen for their looks; they're chosen for how they make the designer's clothes look and because they're more lifelike than throwing some mannequins on a movator and running them around the stage; somewhat. This is why you end up with Amazonian stick figures prancing around the catwalk - so some perfectionist fabric artiste can get their "nice clean lines" on stage. If they're pretty, bonus. It's also worth noting the other pretty obvious counterpoint that a huge number of performers/actresses are in the 5'1 -> 5'4 range; including some rather large Maxim bait like Christina Aguilera, Alison Brie, and Megan Fox. Hell, to an entire generation Madonna was sex so, obviously, height isn't a universal either.

We could go on spinning around the issue here but I think the subjectivity of the question has been firmly established. As such, it becomes increasingly obvious that any answer I could give on this question would be entirely my own because the opinion of the guy sitting to your left on the subway is going to be completely different. So, I guess the more important questions to be posed are: "Are you really that invested in whether or not I find you attractive?" and, if so and I do: "Are you free Friday night?"

* There's a legitimate argument to be made that Canadian cultural norms (ie: "acceptable" behaviour), define a "Canadian" woman but that would be both a) an entirely other discussion and b) assume that no one elsewhere is capable of/already is operating against their own; especially in those occasions where they're now increasingly more stereotypical than fact.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TyL: Reading a Fall Anime Preview



Own up: how much lobbying did this take?

Reviews from the Pad: The Town, Easy A

We now return from our travelogue for a little catch up RftP time.

Directed and staring Ben Affleck, The Town is your basic criminal vs cop caper film that hits all the notes decently enough though doesn't really leave much of a lasting impression. The primary twist on the theme is the replacement of the wife/hooker/general love interest for the criminal lead with the primary victim of their last crime: the female bank manager a member of the crew takes hostage as they flee the scene and then becomes worried that she will come across them and alert the police. So, it falls to Affleck's character to intervene and monitor her in order to try and keep this from happening and/or his partner deciding to kill her instead.

If you like these types of things, it's worth your time but not really special or noteworthy otherwise.

Easy A is less "totally original high school movie" and more the obvious result of a writer who watched a few thousand 80's teen movies/after school specials and went: "that supporting character... you know... the one the whole school thinks is a slut... who teaches the lead something important in act 4 while privately revealing they're not... yeah... that's gonna be my lead..."

While as realistic as one can expect from a comedy about a fake school slut and the consequences of being such when you're aiming for a PG-13 rating (and, lets be honest, if you want the "sad reality" about teens trying to rationalize their peers sex lives - particularly when it involves the unwanted kind - you should probably be over here or here...), the main strengths of the film are both it's lead, Emma Stone, who nails the character and the fact that the script is damned smart; setting up jokes in act one & two that it won't get back to until acts three or four. It's a legitimately funny little movie and good fun but the "originality" here is largely the shift in focus and the films willingness to attack it full bore; everything else follows your teen flick script outline. Given the number of direct references to John Hughes' and John Cusack's cumulative resume of "definitive" 80's teen flicks within the film itself, this isn't surprising for some reason.

That out of the way, good film. Go see it if you need a laugh.

PS: Can "us old folks" stop treating Hughes/Cusack as if they were the only people who've made good Teen flicks? Ever. There's acknowledging your influences, wearing them on your sleeve, and being that "up hill both ways!!!" guy. When you're making a character who's supposed to be in HS in 2010 run off a list of films as the entirety of what she always hoped/thought her relationships/high school experience would be like and every... single.... one... was made the decade before she would have been born and while her parents would've been in college... well, you're starting to push the latter on the old fuddy-duddy meter...