Thursday, June 20, 2013

Introducing: The Big Brother 15 Power Rankings!

I'm not too much of a reality TV guy on a whole, but I have one exception: Big Brother. The 15th installment begins next Wednesday, so I figured it would be a fun game, given that there's 16 contestants and a ton of twists, it would be fun to do a weekly recap and a power ranking.

The show is kind of insane, if you haven't heard of it. This season, they have 16 people who don't know each other who will enter a "house" and compete for a grand prize at the end of the summer. Each week, the guests elect a Head of Household (who cannot be evicted), the Head of Household (or HOH) nominates two people for eviction (which might be three people this season, stay tuned!), and a competition occurs to have an opportunity to veto one of those nominations every week. Quickly, houseguests form alliances with each other to gain voting strength and do their best to control the house. It's absolutely nutty.

The show is appointment television for my wife and I. Playing on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays throughout the summer, plus with 24 hour live feeds (which I don't follow because I know I'd accomplish nothing but watch them all day long), there;s a lot happening. So, every Thursday (except for two weeks in August, when I will likely be posting on Saturday), I'll be posting a Big Brother Power Ranking! We'll see who's doing well in the House, who's floating along, who's looking to go home, and who should have already gone home. I hope that you'll get as addicted to this show as I do, and maybe we'll get some good debate going.

CBS has already introduced America to the contestants, so we'll meet our Houseguests beyond the jump. First recap is next week!

Matthew Rossi's "At Last, Atlantis" is Out!

You may recall our interview with Matthew Rossi in anticipation of his new book, At Last, Atlantis. The book is out today, and if the first few pages are any indication, you'll be in for a treat. Check out our interview with Matthew, and grab the book for your Kindle or Kindle app - iBooks and Nook versions coming soon.

Origins 2013 Convention Recap!

This past weekend was Origins 2013, the medium sized festival of tabletop games in Columbus, Ohio. At around 10,000 guests over 4 days (mostly repeats, I would assume), it's definitely larger than your standard local gaming convention, and at the same time it's no Gen Con. But Origins holds a special place in my heart as a game designer and gamer, and I believe that feeling is shared across the board. Being mid-sized, it's the convention that everyone will travel to, but not so insane that you can't actually spend time with those people. It's more of a "play" convention for me than a "work" convention.

This year I attended for 2 full days and played a handful of games, observed a bunch of others, saw some nice prototypes, and met some old and new friends.

Chris Zinsli (Cardboard Edison) & Patrick Nickell (Crash Games) play the Shakespearean microgame, Council of Verona.

Click through the jump for the full recap... with Kevin Sorbo! (kind of)

Review: World War Z!

If you’re the kind of fan who reads a lot of movie news then you may be entering World War Z with at lease some degree of trepidation. WWZ allegedly had a long, expensive and troubled production, resulting in multiple reshoots and a reworked ending, and much has been said as to whether it really has that much in common with Max Brooks' original book. However, as the film began, most of those concerns dissolved as I was immediately swept up into the writhing, undead sea of the oncoming zombie horde. World War Z wastes no time in getting to the good stuff and begins with such a tense, relentless pace that you can’t but help to let your expectations go and just see where it takes you. And I respect a film that delivers on its promise of a global zombie catastrophe within the first few minutes of its running time.

But the real test is: Is World War Z sustainable? Can it keep up that pace and continue to surprise us for nearly two hours? I’m going to share my thoughts on what they got right, and what went wrong... after the jump!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Gaming!

For those interested in a fun Diablo-style dungeon crawler, Torchlight is free at Good Old Games for the next 48 hours or so.

In my mind? It's actually better than Diablo, and it's DRM free.

DC Comics New 52 - Stryder's Weekly Top 5

It's Superman's 75th anniversary AND he's got a new movie in theaters!  What could be better?  How about an all new comic book, too!  Oh this week's comics were released on June 12th, 2013...

NEW!! Superman Unchained #1 - "They say it came from the skies...that it was unlike anything before..."

The highly anticipated new Superman monthly comic from all-star team of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee has finally been released!  Issue #1 starts out with a big bang, presenting an intriguing mystery, a personal anecdote from Clark and a crippled space station all in the first few pages!  From there, the plot only thickens...something or someone is causing objects in orbit to come crashing dangerously to Earth and looks like a job for Superman!

Cool all around first issue!  The characterization of Clark and his main supporting cast (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, Lex...) seems spot on to me, and the artwork of course is gorgeous!  Really nicely done.  There's even a "special feature" in that one page of the comic folds out to four times it's original size and is removable to become a poster (Be careful though...once it's removed there's no going back).   Overall I'd say it's an excellent first issue and I'm excited to see what happens next!  Get it while the getting is good!

Of course there were many more comics released...find out which four I liked the most after the JUMP!

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 47: Wild Wild West (with guest host Jack Scanlan!)

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we foolishly tackle the ridiculous task of reading and reviewing hastily-written movie novelizations with (often) hilarious results!

This week we battle Kenneth Branagh’s mechanical penis in the totally unfeasible gadget-filled train-wreck: Wild, Wild West! I’m joined by Young Australian Sceptics editor and podcast host, Jack Scanlan, who is incredibly sceptical of the events that allegedly occurred in this book. Jack is super smart and has a velvety voice so this could actually be one of the most civilised discussions we’ve featured in a while. So put on your smoking jacket and relax with a snifter of brandy for this one as two distinguished gents go Big Willy Style!

You can download it right now from the official site, or why not subscribe to us on iTunes like one of them city slickers!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Television Roundup # 1

I’ve been meaning to put together some short reviews of new shows that I am trying out on a fairly regular basis and so here is the first offering of my Television Roundups. Some of these shows are current and some are long done but all of them are new to my viewership. I may go on to write longer reviews for some of these but for now have some shorts that will maybe prompt you to get into a new show or avoid another!

This time around we have Continuum, Revolution, Warehouse 13, The Following and Primeval Season 3.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Music and Television: My 10 Most Memorable Musical Moments in Television

I’ve been researching a lot of music recently and discovered that there predominantly I am exposed to new music through my television viewing rather than the radio (unless it’s local music).

Music in television has a powerful affect on the viewer and often makes a scene that could have been good absolutely brilliant.

I’ve put together a list of my 10 favourite musical moments in shows that I love. Some of these moments have been hugely emotional in their respective shows and changed the course of the plot and certainly the character development moving forward. Some are lighter moments or include credit sequences that set the mood of the show and make you excited to watch.

Many of these shows have really great musical soundtracks in case you are keen for some new music!

Sunday Evening Self-Promotion

As it's been a quiet weekend, and since what I "do" when I'm not working is just write more, I wanted to take a moment and let you know of a few things I've been working on if you're so inclined:

* Not Terrific, but Competent: As I noted a while back, I'm a new father. I'm not so sure I'm necessarily good at it yet, but I've been posting more often since my kid was born three months ago. He's pretty great, and I'm chronicling what it's like for someone who's a little (lot) nerdy and not at all traditional to be a dad in a more modern time. I'm having some fun with it.

* If It's Too Loud: My friend Ken was one of the main bloggers/"Token Dad" over at The Music Moms, and we finally dove in and decided to start our own blog instead of talking about it like we have been since 2006. The angle is a little different, as we both still enjoy going to live shows, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that we're the creepy old guys in the back that we used to make fun of ten years ago, so there's that. I'll still share music-related posts here when it's on-topic/appropriate, but if you're looking for some more detailed album reviews (which is more Ken's department) or some old man musings, check it out.

Have a great week!