Saturday, December 7, 2013

Arbor Records Presents 13 Free Christmas Albums

It's that time of the year to bust out the Arbor Records Christmas Collections.

Each year a new album is released for free online, and as of now there are 13 full albums made up of (mostly original) Christmas music. There is enough music here to get you through the entire holiday season. The styles range quite a bit with a good amount of indie bands, and a few edgier songs on each compilation.

And in just 2 weeks, another album will be released to coincide with their yearly live show: The 13th Annual Arbor Christmas Show. A heartwarming holiday play featuring a live performances of a selection of the songs. If you are in the NJ area, it's always a blast. Just get there early if you want a seat.

The Infiniteens -  by Mark Martucci Photography
Photo by Mark Martucci Photography

You can download or stream all of it at And for a taste, The last 6 albums can be streamed below.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 7: Nice Rack!

It's already day 7 of our trek across the warring stars and that means another dip into this year's Lego Star Wars advent calendar. After yesterday's reveal of a grimacing, unsung Endor rebel soldier I began to get a Han Solo-esque "bad feeling" that today we'd get nothing more than his accessories. Was I right? Do I know how this stuff works? Or am I all sound and fury signifying nothing?

Let's pop open Door Number 7 and find out...

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 7: Minecraft.

It's day 7 of our treacherous trek into the dark heart of the Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar where devilish deathosauruses lurk behind every trembling leaf, but are yet to actually emerge. Could today finally be the day when we are flanked and disembowelled by the cruel talon of a surprise raptor? Will we finally fulfil our week-long Christmas wish?

Let's gouge open Door Number 7 and find out for ourselves!...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thank GIF it's Friday!

I have no explanations or context for this. Just enjoy for the randomness.

The Unheard 13 of 2013: Day 1: Geri X - "The Perfectionist (In Love With the City)"

I'll share my Top 10 Albums of 2013 later on this year, but I figured that I would take some time to offer up some songs that you probably didn't catch over the course of 2013 to help aid in your quest to find that perfect song from this year. So, for the next 13 weekdays, I'll be offering up 13 of my favorite hidden gems of this calendar year.

The first song is Geri X's "The Perfectionist (In Love With the City)," a song I tripped up on somehow along the way from her album Loyalty Sport. It's a pretty interesting, straightforward singer-songwriter rock track, but what fascinates me most about it is that the song has a number of interesting versions. The version above is an early cut that doesn't get the full impact of some of the remixes available, and then there's this dance remix that I happen to love but is so far off from what I originally heard...

Either way, a solid song you should know and love. Her website is here.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 6: Rebel Yell.

It's Day 6 of our star jaunt through the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar which seems determined to eschew all our favourite, iconic characters in order to present us with a blocky clearing house of space saga obscurity. Surely today we are due a bona fide minifigure complete with arms, legs, and a studded head. Please let today be the day...

Let's pull the lever on Door Number 6 and see what we get...

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 6: Walk the Talk.

It's day 6 of our steamy sojourn into the wilds of the Jurassic Park Playmobil advent calendar where death is fast and full of teeth! We live in constant hope now that any day an actual dinosaur will tear free from its cardboard prison to menace our hero, Dr. Ian Goldblum, but alas, today's door is just a tiny one. Maybe it's an anklyosaurus, curled tight in a defensive ball but eager to unfurl and unleash armoured havoc! Or it could be something crap.

Let's bust open Door Number 6 and find out...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spaceteam: Calling All Space Captains

My mobile gaming is pretty hit or miss. sometimes I’ll get super excited over an app thats coming out for iOS and will count down the days until its release and then proceed to never ever play it (I’m looking at you Eclipse). Other times, I will just happen upon a game by chance that ends up being so ridiculous and straight forward that I am blown away by it and can’t put it down.

Enter Spaceteam.

If you have what it takes to be the captain of a space team, you will want to read on. This game has changed lives, and continues to shape future generations to come.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 5: The Twins.

It is Day 5 of our journey beyond the stars to the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, a box of unseen gifts that seems intent on giving a small blocky incarnations of obscure vehicles from Attack of the Clones. Have your younglings embraced this years bounty or have last year's tears of disappointment begun to pour again, raining down like the torrential storms on the cloner world, Kamino? What are we even talking about anymore? Let's just open this thing.

Let's bust open Door Number 5...

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 5: Heartvester.

It's Day 5 of our steamy journey into the death-packed jungles of the Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar and the tension is mounting. We are constantly aware that at any given moment a half-eaten goat might drop down on our noggins, signalling the imminent arrival of the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. Is today's door hiding the King of the Dinosaurs? I don't know... it looks pretty small.

Let's cautiously open Door Number 5...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Concert for Kate

Fruitless Pursuits readers,

This post is an unusual one for the site, not necessarily full of the latest news on Doctor Who or thoughts on recent Blockbusters.

This post is about one of my oldest and closest friends Kate, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Fellow fans and geeks, lovers of pop culture and friends, I humbly ask you to please visit the site and spread the word into the far reaches of the internet. If you can donate some money, anything that you can spare for this girl that changed my whole life please do.

And in tribute, if you want to know a little more about this person, about her interests and about how sometimes we are all the same, join me under the cut.

My First Successful NaNoWriMo Experience

I was trying to figure out earlier this week when I first heard of NaNoWriMo. I distinctly remember trying to write a book in high school or college that was simply a disaster in every conceivable way. It was a fantasy book that involved a bunch of mutated hybrid children who could see an army marching toward their desert village and didn't know what to do - real compelling stuff. I thought it was a NaNo project, but NaNoWrimo, or National Novel Writing Month, was launched locally in San Francisco in 1999, and didn't really reach national prominence until 2002 or so.

If you haven't heard of it yet, NaNoWriMo is a self-directed project to write a short novel, or short novel equivalent, over the course of the month of November. The idea is that a standard short novel is around 50000 words (which, while short for a novel, is actually around the length of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and just a hair under the current young adult standard), and that, by writing just under 1700 words a day, the goal is achievable. The project is about quantity over quality to start - the belief that the major roadblock to getting a novel completed is the feeling that a full-length novel is unattainable and that, too often, writers get bogged down in rewrites and minutiae too early in the process. So, instead of trying to make a final draft the first time through, blast through the blocks and just knock out as many words as you can. Worry about the plot and characters and details and continuity later.

This year was the fourth time I tried to make NaNoWriMo work for me. For as much as I read, I was not someone who was very successful at long-form fiction on my own. This year, though, something changed for me, and it actually worked out.

Krosmaster Arena - A Highly Addictive Collectible Miniatures Game

I first caught Krosmaster Arena when it was on Kickstarter in March. It looked amazing, with large chibi-style painted miniatures and little cardboard paper craft-style trees and boxes. It oozed coolness, and I hope, hope, hoped it was going to be a solid game. And even more, I hope, hope, HOPED it was going to stick around. It's a collectible miniatures game with a ton of promise, and we've seen plenty of collectible games come and go.

A few weeks later, I got to check it out in person at Pax East and it looked as good, if not better, in person. I still had not gotten a chance to play, and time passed by.

Finally last week, after picking it up at a local Black Friday sale, we are able to dive into Krosmaster Arena and see what it was all about.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 4: Godzammit!

It's day 4 of the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, an intergalactic treasure trove that seems dedicated to celebrating Attack of the Clones, a film about star-crossed lovers and an irrational hatred for sand! Oh my god! What if some of these doors are filled with sand? I HATE sand! It reminds me of my unhappy childhood being a technological genius and winning races. 

Let's break the seals on Door Number 4 and see what's inside...

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 4: The Wheel Deal.

It's Day 4 of the Jurassic Park Playmobil advent calendar, and much like a real first visit to John Hammond's fabled theme park, there's still nary a dinosaur to be seen! But, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, "Hold onto your butts!" because today's door is pretty big...

Could it be a dinosaur? Let's claw the handle of Door Number 4...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nerf pitches for the baby Katnisses and wigs us out in the process

Admittedly I've still not recovered from the introduction of the Lego-for-Girls line, but there’s something ultra-squeamish about Nerf’s new Hunger Games tie-in line. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Join me after the jump for more adventures in horrific marketing!

Return to the FP (Movie Review of The FP)

In 2011 the Trost brothers wrote and directed a frightening depiction of our future. One so dark and frightening it was hard to watch. But watch it I did dear reader, as I, Michael Taylor, much like JTRO, must return to Frazier Park to relive the dark post apocalyptic future where rival gangs fight to the bitter end in epic heart pounding games of Beat Beat Revelation.

I must return to the FP.

This is my review.

The Dresden Readthrough: Summer Knight

We continue our readthrough of Jim Butcher's uber-popular urban fantasy series The Dresden Files today with book four, Summer Knight. The continuing plan is to do a book a month on the first Tuesday of each month, and with 15 books on the publication schedule between now and when our readthrough is over, and perhaps our timing being good enough for the 16th, our reading list should be pretty full for the foreseeable future.

As for Summer Knight, though, I continue to be absolutely shocked at how much more I'm enjoying this series from book to book.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 3: The Butler.

Plucky director J.J. Abrams might have his squint firmly set on Episode VII but meanwhile the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar is determined to mine awkward/stalker love story: Attack of the Clones! Yesterday we got Grandpa Dooku's Sunny Sailor Boat, so my heart shudders in reckless anticipation. What surprises do the stars have in store for us today?

Let's swing into Door Number 3 and reveal our destiny...

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 3: Right on Track.

It's day 3 of our trek into the savage sauropod-soaked jungles of the Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar, a seething testament to Jon Hammond's folly! First we met sex-starved archaeologist/chaos theorist Ian Goldblum and then we geared him up with a pair of pervy binoculars and the late Indiana Jones' actual authentic hat! What's going to come tearing out of the wilderness today to challenge him?

Let's kick open Door Number 3 and find out...

The Book Was Better Episode 71: Home Alone 3 (Live with Mystery Guest!)

This week we kick off our very special holiday programming with a Christmas threequel that disappointingly turns out to be not about Christmas at all! Yes, we're reading the McCauley-less novelization of the completely unnecessary Home Alone 3, written by BWB mainstay Todd Strasser! And joining me for the first time is an amazing special guest host that will blow your mind! AND THERE'S MORE - thanks to new experimental technologies, this episode is recorded LIVE so no matter when you listen to it, it is actually happening RIGHT NOW! (No guarantees).

You can download it RIGHT NOW from the official site!

Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes and join the discussion in our friendly Facebook Group!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kickstart the Week with Pixel Lincoln's Campaign for Re-Election

The 16-bit President of the United States is back on Kickstarter and looking for not only your pledges, but also your vote!

Re-Election is the next large expansion to Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game (a side-scrolling adventure board game) where Lincoln fights through Luchadors and Laser Sharks with his trusty Beardarang and Sausage Link Whip.

In this new set, we've amped up the game with a few new types of cards. Environments shape the levels that you are exploring. Vote cards allow an election to take place at the end of the game. Boss Powers make the bosses harder than ever. We've also included lots of new enemies (Lobster Cannons, Falling Cows, Ghost Slimes) and plenty of new items (Ladders, Bacon Shield, Extend-O-Glove).

If this all sounds crazy, that;s because it is! But if you are a fan of classic video games and want something a little different in your board games, check out Pixel Lincoln! It's $35 for the new set and $79 for both the Re-Election set AND the original game.

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013 Day 2: Hello Sailor!

Ho ho how about we delve back into the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar and see what glorious bounties await us from a galaxy far, far away! Yesterday we got a cowardly yellow droid so the law of averages suggest that we will get something far less impressive today. Like a peanut shell, or a piece of lint. Or will the stars align?

Let's quit guessing and blast our way into... Door Number 2!

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 2: Second Gear.

Our mighty festive ADVENTure continues today as we delve deeper into the saurian saturated jungles of Jon Hammond's arrogant excess! What will we see today? Will we get our eye poked out by a sudden triceratops? Or is it going to be all empty cages and a lonely goat?

The only way to find out is to start digging behind... Door Number 2!...

FPcast! The Fruitless Pursuits Podcast for December 2nd 2013! Thoughts on Fifty!

This week we pull apart Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary episode, muse on the return of Sherlock, the reveal of Rhino and a secret villain in Amazing Spider-Man 2, more Danny Boyle Frankenstein, Dead Rising 3, Hot Toys Bruce Banner, and books, books, books! Plus another Norse mythology story? It would be criminal to miss this!

Download here! (Click to stream, right-click to save)

And why not subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar Day 1: Chaos Theory!

Mere moments ago I kicked off our frighteningly festive advent coverage by posting Day 1 of 2013's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. Now I know Lego is far more popular than Playmobil but trust me, you'd be a real Christmas pudding if you were foolish enough to rule Playmobil out! They create some very extravagant calendars, and although this one is not a new one (it was released a year or two ago as far as I know), it is mightily impressive. Each Playmobil calendar comes complete with a fold out diorama for displaying all your gifts. Check out this crazy noise...

Last year I did the Dragon Castle and erroneously claimed it was Game of Thrones themed. This year I'm going to erroneously claim that we are delving into the Jurassic Park Playmobil Advent Calendar!

Ready for a dino-mite adventure? Let's excavate behind Door Number 1...

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013, Day 1: And It Was All Yellow...

It's that most wonderful time of the year again already, where I get the sometimes dubious joy of opening up the Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar each day and sharing its blocky, and often confusing contents with you, the reader. Last year was a big hit on the site (you can review that coverage here) and I'm hoping that this year will be just as exciting (even when the toys are not!). I know that there's a lot of parents out there who buy this calendar for their kids, open it up, and have zero idea what the hell they are looking at. Don't worry! I hope to have your back.

And you may notice that this year appears to have an accursed Attack of the Clones theme, following on from last year's Phantom Menace. For context, this is because Lucas originally planned to release Clones in 3D this year and all the tie-in merchandise deals have long been done and dusted. Then we got the sudden surprise of him selling everything to Disney and they then decided, "No. Nobody needs to sit through Attack of the Clones again. No, George! No! People need good memories of Star Wars. Not convulsing and vomiting." Still, this is what we're stuck with.

So without any further stalling, let's start those bells a jingle-jangling and pry open Door Number One...