Saturday, August 18, 2012


Time to dust off those dancing shoes and learn Gangnam style

I'll be honest, I think I'd probably take the next elevator as well.

El Professore Movie: Massacre Mafia Style (aka The Executioner) (aka Like Father, Like Son)

An amazing, no budget legend of a film that became a huge Grindhouse theater favorite in the '70s and a video fave in the '80s.

Director: Duke Mitchell
Starring: Duke Mitchell, Vic Ceasar, Lorenzo Dodo
* * * *
This was the labor of love of one Duke Mitchell (real name, Dominic Miceli). Duke was initially a popular lounge singer in the '50s (where he was known as Mr. Palm Springs). He was also part of a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis imitation act with Sammy Petrillo (Duke played Dean). In 1952, they appeared together in the notorious comedy, 'Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla'. That film probably deserves it's own blog entry... or maybe not.

Full review after the jump.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let's Play The Secret World Part 3: Alfie Chooses a Weapon!

In this light 'n' easy foray into The Secret World, Alfie "Egganchips" Geezeburger enters the Templar temple and chooses a weapon to cause a bit of bother with. Check it!

And hit subscribe for more Alfie and Puggypants videos!

Review: The Bourne Legacy

Alright, so I'd been pretty geared up to see The Bourne Legacy. It was going to be all spies and espionage and Jeremy Renner, right? Well. It's actually taken me nearly a week to process what happened before me on the screen, so take that as you will and head below the cut for a spoiler-filled look at Bourne 4: Bourne Harder.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thank GIF it's Friday

Todays GIF comes from the mighty, bearded Edward J Grug III, and displays the general attitude of the Australian public towards Steve Irwin. Yes, I'm sorry you're dead, Steve, but in that poor stingrays defense, you were trying to wear his tail like a mustache. Dude's gotta draw the line somewhere.

Halo Avatar Figures Are Weirdly Addictive

Remember the initial backlash when X-Box 360 added the new menu / avatar system? It's been a few years now and everyone has gotten used to it. But.. enough to sell blind packaged figures of Halo styled avatars?

I gave in and bought 3 of them. At $2.99 a piece, they felt like pocket change in the overpriced Mohegan Sun casino marketplace (as seen in the fancy marble backdrop of my photos) . For the price of three of these weird little guys, I could buy 2 bottles of water or spend 30 seconds at a slot machine. Given the circumstances, Halo Avatar Figures were the best option. Plus this was a Suncoast Motion Picture Co., which doesn't exist back at home... so I'd probably never see these again.

Check out the waving camo dude! And the Warthog! Are you curious what these look like up close? Click through the jump to see which ones I got.

Book Review: Batman: The Court of Owls (New 52!)

I have a complicated relationship with Batman. That relationship is simple on its face - Batman exists, and he's probably my least favorite superhero. For one, he's not really super. For another, he's not really much of a hero as much as an overbearing fascist force in a city that really should have had the National Guard turned on it decades ago.

I am one of four people who didn't care much for The Dark Knight Returns. Forget The Dark Knight Rises entirely. Batman seems to make bad Wonder Woman stories worse. And on and on and on.

Seriously? Give me billionaire playboy Tony Stark over Bruce Wayne any day of the week.

With all that said, I'm trying to expand my horizons somewhat with the New 52. I never would have tried Animal Man without the New 52, and I'm hoping to give Superman another shot if the library ever ends up buying any of the new ones in that line. With a few friends who think I'm absolutely crazy for disliking Batman, I figured I'd give The Court of Owls a shot.

So this book is not really much of a reboot - one of the old Robins is still Nightwing (someone had to explain that whole thing to me) and there's a new Robin. The whole "Batman Inc." thing is gone, and Bruce Wayne is the only Batman. We good so far? Yeah, I guess.

So first things first, the Batman stories I know are gadget-heavy, for sure, but this is the first time that I've been able to look at a Batman story and say "yeah, that's actually cool, useful tech." Batman comes across not as a huge, despotic jerk, but rather someone who is probably a little too creepy for his own good, but using realistic tools to fight an unrealistic enemy. I can get behind that.

The idea behind this arc is that there's a shadow group that runs the Gotham underground - the Court of Owls. They've been around longer than Bruce Wayne has, and now they're gunning for him. What comes around is issue after issue of simple, concise action. They waste very little time overall, instead pushing the plot forward in a really great, fast way, and proving plenty of time for Batman to not only be heroic, but also human.

Furthermore, the Court of Owls? A genuinely cool, steampunky-looking enemy. They're pretty dangerous, and you get the idea more than a few times that Batman may not be long for the reboot. A problem I have with Batman (and one that I know has been addressed a few times) is how seemingly immortal he appears to be for someone without real powers, and that's not the Batman we see here. He has reasonable endurance, and scary adrenaline, but the danger shines through. It's a welcome change.

The writing, obviously, is super-solid here. But the artwork in this? Absolutely gorgeous. It's modern without being overdone, and it mirrors the pace and action of the story perfectly. It's not stylized like the new Wonder Woman, nor is it trying to do anything special like Animal Man, but it's a piece all its own, and is neither distracting nor overshadowing. A perfect complement.

Guys, seriously - get The Court of Owls. Support this reboot, try Batman again for the first time if you haven't. A book we need and a book we deserve.

Available to buy at Book Depository

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Documentary About Dungeons & Dragons!

In the spirit of the recent nerd-documentaries like King of Kong, Monster Camp, Indie Game and Going Cardboard, comes the story of the god of all role playing games... Dungeons & Dragons!

I was always a closet D&D player. I've bought every single Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual since I was 12 years old. Since then, I've picked up all of the earlier books as well as magazines and supplements creating a pretty decent collection of D&D material. These books inspire almost everything I do creatively, yet I've only played the game a dozen or so times. The idea of the game excites me more than anything else, and will continue to be a huge frame of reference in my world of gaming, as well as anyone else who enjoys character creation, polyhedral dice and the extremely rewarding process of leveling up after your experiences.

We can only hope the documentary touches on the cartoon series.
Click through the jump for the trailer and full press release for Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary, as well as information on how to see a 10 minute sneak peek this weekend at Gen Con!

Let's Play Tera Part 3: Puggypants Explores the Taint!

Suzanne is back by my side commentating with me as our rotund, filthy-pipe-smoking hero Puggypants, now a turgid level 9, investigates the fearsome Tainted Gorge and faces the inky nothingess of death!

This is a pretty laid back episode but we do actually talk a little bit about the game mechanics for once. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 24: Willow!

The Book Was Better is the podcast where Jessica and I discuss, debate and make dirty jokes about the hastily produced tie-in (cash-in) book of the film! In this brand new, fresh-out-of-the-ear-oven episode we get lost in Willow, the novelisation of George Lucas’ sleep-inducing, brownie-infested fantasy epic Willow the Magical Peck

Why not download it right now from the official site or subscribe to us on itunes, where we’ll be directly posted to your ear canal every single dirty week!

(Yes, my computer fan goes nuts about a third of the way in and it sounds like God is vacuuming my room. We will endeavour to fix this next time!).

Kickstart the Week: I AM BIG BIRD

As of right now, there are only two days left to fund the documentary "I AM BIG BIRD", the story of Caroll Spinney's lifelong dedication to puppetry, character, and happiness. He's performed and voiced both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 5 decades now, and still going strong at the age of 78. And after all of those years, he's still fairly unknown.

I Am Big Bird should change all of that. It's heartwarming story about Caroll's life and career, performing one of the most popular characters of all time. According to Copper Pot pictures, the film will include:
…never-before-seen footage capturing unscripted moments of Caroll with giants like Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson.

…Caroll’s short films, in which he showcases his skill in animation, a talent which led to a job offer at Disney… which Caroll turned down. 
…Thousands of snapshots and hundreds of hours of videos that capture his undying love for his wife.
…Art displaying his hidden passion for illustration. 
…Puppets that were lovingly crafted by Caroll’s mother over 70 years ago and that he still uses today.
As a HUGE fan of all of Jim Henson's productions, I am extremely excited about this. If you aren't a fan (which is hard to imagine), you must have had some experience as a child with these characters. And if not (even harder to imagine), you have to appreciate the craft of a 78 year old man performing in a bird suit with his arm perched up above his head for hours and hours. Now we will all know how it's gotten to this point, and I can't wait. Even just seeing the 70's and 80's era photographs is getting me excited.

Although it has reached it's funding goal, the film will cost well over that. If you pledge soon you can still receive exclusive art, signed copies on DVD and BluRay, a video chat, or if you are made of money you can pledge $10,000 for dinner with Caroll Spinney and take me as your guest.

Check it out on Kickstarter at

Nerd History: The Philadelphia Experiment

I mentioned in my post about the Chronovisor that I had really loved Bottled Demon by Matthew Rossi. This is one more topic that I'm borrowing from the book, the Philadelphia Experiment of 1943 where the US government allegedly teleported a naval destroyer from the Philadelphia Naval Yard to Norfolk, Virginia, and then teleported it back.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 8/8/2012

Howdy folks!  Time once again for some talk about comic books!  Second week of the month, as usual lately, is heavy on the Bats!  I love the covers to Batman lately...they've been so cool looking!  This month's is no exception so let's take a look...

Batman #12 - You may remember, back in Batman #7, poor Bruce had just thrown himself into icy water to escape the Court of Owls and was basically dead.  Luckily for him, a young lady by the name of Harper Row found him floating in the harbour and had to shock his heart with a car battery to bring him back to life!!!  He obvioulsy already knew her, but no other details were forthcoming...until now!

This issue, we get to meet Harper and her brother Cullen, and learn about their lives in the Narrows of Gotham City.  The Row siblings have had a rough go of things, getting beaten up and terrorized by street punks on a daily basis...until one day Batman stepped in and SAVED them!  As a thank-you, Harper, who works for the city maintaining the Gotham power grid and has mad skills at repairing things in general, decides she needs to help the Bat however she can, and boy does she find a way! 

Of course, this is BATMAN we're talking about.  Her "help" is actually interference and he warns her off.  A little rudely, but it makes sense...if civilians start interfering in this sort of thing they're only gonna wind up in the way or dead.  Of course, having Batman scold her doesn't take away Harper's motivation...I suppose luckily, as this all happens in flashback and if the scolding had taken, Batman may never have made it out of the Court of Owls alive!  I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Harper Row...she's an interesting character and I am very curious to see what becomes of her!

More Batman (and Robin) along with some Before Watchmen and tons more after the JUMP!

Let's Play The Secret World Part 2: Alfie Geezeburger Versus the Filth!

I'm solo this time, and freshly-hatched London Templar/geezer Alfie "Egganchips" Geezeburger on his first mission inside The Secret World, where he finds himself mysteriously inside a lady and hunted by the filth! Can the charisma-free, hungover Alfie find his footing and shotgun his way out of this mess? Watch the video and see!

And did you notice we have a brand new Fruitless Pursuits video channel that is now hosting all our content? Be sure to subscribe to keep abreast (chortle) of our ongoing video content!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 World Boardgaming Championships Recap!

Board game convention season is rolling on with Gen Con around the corner, but last weekend gamers of all ages gathered in Lancaster, PA for the World Boardgaming Championships, an event where the best of the best compete in games of all types.


There may have been some records broken, or new champions crowned ... but instead I spent my time in the open gaming area, opting for the unpublished and up-and-coming games over the tried and true classics. Nothing beats the energy, passion and talent of the unpublished games, and nothing is more motivating than seeing what's out there. This time around I was able to squeeze in a few published games as well. 

Click through the jump for more from the World Boardgaming Championships! We played new and unpublished games like The Great Heartland Hauling Co., and published wonders like Alien Frontiers and Cards Against Humanity.

Review: Step Up Revolution

My first warning bell really should have been the fact that my local cinema emailed me an offer for half price tickets to see Step Up 4: The Movie of Many Names (seriously, in some areas it's Revolution, others it's Miami Heat, and apparently originally it was going to be called Step Up 4EVER. Kill me). I often get emails regarding cheaper tickets, but it's rarely specifically only for one movie, so it was safe to assume it had been a resounding box office failure and they just wanted to get people in for a final push. But hey, I'm a glutton for punishment (and I actually really enjoyed Step Up 2: The Streets), so I cashed in those cheap tickets and prepared to be disappointed.

Let's Play The Secret World Part One: Alfie "Egganchips" Geezeburger!

We're switching it up! Here's a new video of Suzanne and I playing and commenting on the other new MMORPG... The Secret World!

Dark and arcane horrors are leaking into the modern world and we take up the mantle of a brand new hero to kick their freakish arses back to hell! Check it out!