Television

Falling Skies/Breaking Bad/Alphas

Every week I think I’m finally done with Falling Skies, but my DVR keeps stubbornly recording it, and to tell my DVR to not record it means I have to push, like, three buttons, so I keep watching it, hoping it will get a little better. It hasn’t, really.

The recent storyline has a lone army guy showing up and saying, essentially, “I need to take all the children away from the camp because of ALIENS. And you parents can’t come for SOME REASON.” And the parents are all “No way!” And he’s all, “But, ALIENS! And, SOME REASON!” And the parents are all, “Okay, then. Good luck with taking our children away, I guess.”

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Movies

Captain America Is A Movie I Looked At

We went to a 3-D showing of Captain America this weekend, which, as promised, featured Captain America, eventually.

I guess I’m a little tired of superhero origin stories. I kind of wish they’d just start making the sequel right out of the gate and skip the origin movie. (And with The Amazing Spider-Man coming, we’re going to have to sit through his damn origin story, again, even though we did it already about ten years ago. Snore. I say this, of course, as if I have no choice but to watch these films. But I’m a dork, so I kind of don’t.)

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Lady Business | Movies | Netflix

Lady Business: Through Being Cool

(For any newcomers, a quick word: My wife, Kris, writes a column here every Friday under the heading “Lady Business.” — Chris)

I’ve never been cool a day in my life. I’ve been known to have my very occasional moments of coolness, but they end in a heartbeat. One moment, I’m letting a witty rejoinder fly. The next, I’m typing the phrase “witty rejoinder”. It’s tragic, really.

There was a time in college (and slightly after) where I wanted to be cool so badly that I did the unthinkable. I dated a hipster…for seven long years. Imagine living for seven years talking about Einstürzende Neubauten, Beat Poets, Brian Eno, Peter Greenaway and David Lynch. We would watch Robocop or Predator, but only ironically. It was a dark time.

When I look back, I see that Peter Greenaway’s movies are insanely beautiful, and late 1980’s/early 1990’s Industrial music was pretty darned awesome. I just felt like I was living in a box. Don’t put Robocop in a corner!

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Television

Breaking Bad Is Back, Good, Slow

Breaking Bad! It’s back! It’s good! It’s still slow as hell! (Spoilers follow)

I’m not a huge champion of Breaking Bad, but I do like it for the most part. Bryan Cranston is great, and I love Bob Odenkirk as his sleazy lawyer, and Jonathan Banks is fantastic as Hitman Mike, and, well, that’s mostly it for me. But those three are enough to keep watching, even if I’m not particularly in love with the show as a whole, and think Jesse is one of the most unlikable and unsympathetic and irritating characters ever put on television, and Hank is boring unless he’s out shooting drug dealers, and don’t care much for Skyler or her sister or anyone else we spend time with, really.

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Movies

Summer Movie Fantasy League Update 2

Well, well. Just a quick update to our summer movie fantasy league, to capture the record-breaking weekend ‘Arry Potta’ An’ The ‘Eathly ‘Allows just had. Box Office Mojo is reporting that Potter took in $168,550,000 over the weekend, destroying not just my top-grossing pick Transformers: Look Robots Cars Tits Explosions Robots, but officially taking the all-time domestic weekend opening record from The Dark Knight, which made $158 million back in whatever weekend of whatever year that was.

Potter took in $92 million just on Friday, which included $42 million from those midnight showings (I checked our local theater, and they had the movie starting roughly every five minutes). It also featured the biggest Friday-to-Saturday attendance drop-off in history, but even that wasn’t enough to stop it from crushing everything else ever.

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Lady Business | Netflix | Television

Lady Business: Something out of nothing

Summertime is a real snooze-fest for TV watchers such as myself. Last Summer, we cut cable and brought it back just in time for It’s Always Sunny. We kept it this year because it was such a hassle to connect it again. However, the offerings are pretty slim out there when one absolutely, positively refuses to watch shows of the America’s Got Talent variety.

I’ve come up with some games to make the best of a sad situation and keep myself entertained without having to actually leave the house,  live my life or be social.

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Movies

Summer Movie Fantasy League Update

So, back in early June, Kris and I decided to have a little summer movie fantasy draft, based on what the guys over at Filmdrunk were doing. We each picked five movies we thought would have the highest gross based on their combined opening weekend at the box office (domestic). We also picked three films apiece that we thought would combine for the lowest Rotten Tomato score.

We’re halfway through the summer, and most of the movies on our lists have opened, so let’s look at how our summer league is going.

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Television

I Watched Alphas

I watched the ninety minute pilot of SyFy’s new show, Alphas, which I’d heard about roughly thirteen seconds before it aired. The show is about a group of government agents who solve unusual crimes by using what could be defined as superpowers. Nobody can fly or shoot power beams out of their eyes or deflect bullets: these powers are more down to earth. Mostly.

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Nondrick's Non-adventure

Monster Mashed

So, here’s my plan for the next few days.

Anvil was pretty disappointing for adding to my meager fortune or even practicing my chosen profession of alchemy: the land around the city was mostly barren of ingredients and even the city shops were pretty empty of stuff to buy, mix, and resell. I feel like I need to make up for lost time and do some real hardcore gathering before I return home to Imperial City. I don’t want people just noticing my stained fingers and how they attest to my diligence in mixing potions and learning their secrets. I want people gawking at my stained fingers and how they attest to my diligence in mixing potions and learning their secrets.

The most fertile place I’ve ever seen in Cyrodiil was the area around Skingrad. There were pick-tastic plants everywhere, and I made some good hauls the last time I was in the area. So. I’ll head along the Green Road toward Imperial City, but when I reach the river I’ll head due west, making straight for Skingrad. There, I’ll set up Beaker in the stables, and spend a couple days picking the landscape bare. That way, when I get back to Imperial City I’ll have a bit more to show for my multi-city tour. I know it’s a little dangerous to leave the road and head straight through the unclaimed wild, but I feel a little more confident dealing with wolves and imps than I do bandits and highwaymen.

And so, we’re off in the early morning light. It’s not long until we encounter our first opposition of the day: a bandit bowman. Luckily, he’s already dead, lying face-down by the side of the road, folded up like a cheap hotel towel. I strip him of his weapons and fur armor — and why is he in fur armor, anyway? I’m level six, now, shouldn’t chain-mail be making an appearance as the standard light armor? I’m tired of my leather duds and the iron armor proved too heavy and noisy. I want to get all blinged out in chain links, but I’d prefer not to have to buy it.

Soon after, another bandit appears, this one alive, angry, and wielding a hammer. Did actual warriors ever really carry giant hammers? Seems like a really exhausting way to kill someone, by hitting them with a huge honkin’ hammer.

This bandit goes straight for Beaker, ignoring me to wallop on my poor horse. Seems like an iffy strategy: I’ve already climbed down to the road and I’m the one with weapons, spells, and armor. Beaker just stands there, taking the hits, while I dig into the bandit’s back until she’s dead. She, too, has fur armor. I strip her, pause to take a spiritual bong-hit off a nearby wayshrine, then continue up the road.

Speaking of the road, I suddenly notice that my Crowded Roads mod is once again taking itself a little too seriously. It’s supposed to add a little extra foot traffic, but this is ridiculous. It’s more like a parade.

While I don’t mind all the extra company, the only wildlife I’m seeing along the road is dead boars. I’m assuming the boars have been attacking the mod-added travelers, and the travelers have been punching the boars to death. I don’t really want to fight boars, because they kind of scare me, but having every boar in the game being killed for me by a crowd of randomly generated wanderers just feels a bit like a cheat. Well, I’ll be off the road and on my own soon enough, I guess.

Beaker and I soon reach two lodges, The Inn of Ill Omen (that sounds ominous!), and the Faregyl Inn (that sounds faregyl!), and I briefly pop into both for a visit. I meet a Khajiit (cat-person) named S’jirra who tells me she’s lost some of her jumbo potatoes, without which she cannot make her “famous” potato bread. Zounds. After Anvil, which tried to tempt my adventurous impulses with ghost stories and multiple disappearances, the game seems to be lowering its standards a bit here to see if I’ll bite.

Normally, I wouldn’t even pose any follow-up questions about anything that smelled remotely like a quest, but, jeez, we’re talking about some missing potatoes. It’s not like she’s asking me to close an Oblivion Gate or save Bruma from demons or anything. What the hell. I can at least ask her about them. She tells me she put her potatoes outside and someone ran off into the woods with them. Well, I’m not going to go actively search for the crook, but if I spot anyone with potato-sized lumps under their coat, maybe I’ll stop them and ask a few questions.

After buying all the food in both inns, churning it into potions, and selling it back at a mark-up, I head West, and almost immediately spot a large, burly, mostly naked figure running through the trees. Ogre. It’s an Ogre!

He spots us and approaches, and we’re a little too close to do anything but fight. This is kinda scary: I’ve never fought anything remotely this big or dangerous before. Luckily, I’ve got a couple things going in my favor. First, I’ve already poisoned my blade. Second, the Ogre, like everyone else lately, seems to hate my horse a lot more than they hate me. Is it my high personality score making enemies decide, “You know, he seems like a decent fellow. I’d like him to die last.” Or, is it just that a paint horse is more obvious a threat than a fish-faced guy who can barely lift his own sword?

The Orge wades in, punching Beaker repeatedly. I ready my frost spell, then plunge in and touch the Ogre with a bunch of magical coldness. Then I hit him with my sword, both hurting and poisoning him. Already, I can see his health diminish to almost nothing.

He’s still swinging, though, and now he’s swinging at me.

And then, I am saved! Beaker, driven by his extreme love of me (or more likely he’s just tired of being a punching bag for every violent creature we meet), rears up and starts kicking the Ogre. The Ogre falls back into a bush, and Beaker charges him, sort of nudging him with his head. I don’t know if it was my poison or Beaker’s semi-ferocious charging that kills him, but the Ogre drops dead.

Attaboy, Beaks! My hero.

I lay some healing magic on Beaker’s wounded butt, then retrieve the Ogre’s teeth, and also find the cat lady’s missing jumbo potatoes in his possession. Well, since I’ve got them, I might as well bring them back to her. I am not really happy with having completed a quest, but this didn’t feel so much like a quest as a coincidence: she mentioned her potatoes were missing, and my horse and I happened to poison and head-butt an Orge to death, and the Ogre happened to be the guy who stole the potatoes.

Cat lady is happy to have her potatoes back, and even offers to kiss me, but I’m not really into cat people. I just like her as a friend. Cat woman gives me some bread she made out of potatoes. Funny. When I mix potatoes and bread I just get wet potato mush. She’s got mad skills.

Television

I Watched Some TV For A Change

I’ve gotten a little behind on my TV watching (gasp!) but I caught up this weekend. No, I’m no hero. Just a guy who can bravely sit on a couch for hours on end.

There have been a couple of new shows popping up lately, and the return of a couple of my favorites. Here’s what I’ve been watching:

Louie: I don’t know how to put into words how great I think this show is. It’s an oddity in that when you start to watch you really have no idea what you’re going to get: something funny, something depressing, something touching, something rude, and often, all of the above.

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