Monthly Archives: February 2016

#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain

I had plans for another blog post tonight. Then we watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. And we had to share.

We try to avoid current politics and many current issues in their current context here on the blog – that’s what our Science Fiction Today posts are for. But this year’s US Presidential election might be something out of a science fiction novel – or perhaps the history books. We have an election going where we might see a Nationalist and a Socialist facing off, which feels frighteningly 1930’s to me.

So take a second look. Maybe a third look. And to help, make Donald Drumpf again. Oh, and this might help:

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5 Great Bands I’ve found lately

It’s been a while, but for a time I was blogging music on Sourcerer. Maybe my most successful post – in part because it was open to so many suggestions and wasn’t focused on one artist – was about vocal duos in bands. It’s great and all when there’s just one person singing, but I really like it when you can get two people going, either separately on different songs, or together on one.

In that post I point back to the Raconteurs as the first time I was really noticing and liking this, but afterwards I’ve realized I completely missed the mark there – it would be Fleetwood Mac, a band I grew up listening to with my family and on my own. So I’ve been listening to music like this for a long time…

Between writing that post, and getting Apple Music, I didn’t pick up too much new music – so it’s been an explosion of me finding and obsessing over new bands, and new material from bands I had one album for, ever since! And my jumping-off point has been this post, the idea of these sorts of bands. Several came up in that other post or in its comments, but let’s explore!

Oh and I should note here… I haven’t really watched these music videos, so hopefully they’re not too weird?

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Re-watching the New Star Trek Movie

Star TrekI remember thoroughly enjoying the new Star Trek movie when it first came out. It has been a little bit since I had watched it so today I decided to take an opportunity to do so. Watching it again I am remembered how good that movie was. There could have been so much that went wrong with that movie because how do you reboot a franchise that is so beloved and already had so much story that was considered cannon? They really did keep the things that are loved about Star Trek, but put a new twist on the story. Now this is not to say that the movie is perfect, but it did start the new movies off on a strong foot.

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Revisiting Skyrim

I have a really bad habit of always wanting to create new characters, no matter the game. It was a bad habit of mine when I used to play WoW, it was a huge habit when I was younger and played Morrowind, and I never got far in Oblivion because I always restarted. I think part of that was based in the pre-built characters, and wanting to try a different style of playing early in the game because I didn’t like the one I was playing or just out of curiosity. The only way to try a new style when I played those games was to start over.

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It’s been talked about on the blog before, but I’ve been playing Skyrim (on PS3) again on and off recently, and I’ve been pushing myself to stay with the same character. One of the reasons I love Skyrim so much is because you actually can stick with the same character – while also trying out new styles of play whenever you want. The way that Skyrim lets you build any combination of character from the start is amazing. I love that you can level using any skill, and are as competent in them as you try to be. I started this game as a heavy armor wearing mage who stole anything and everything, but that turned into a light armor wearing conjurer who uses bows.

The addition of making skills Legendary upon maxing them out is another fantastic way of continuing to try new styles within the same game. To make myself stay with the same character, I’ve been resetting skills – even ones I use all the time (RIP my awesome sneakiness) to try new styles of play without giving into my awful character creation addiction. One can only escape from Helgen so many times before it gets old. This is challenging me to experiment and explore. I’m actually doing quests I thought were too tedious before to even try. I spent more time in Blackreach this time (if you’ve been there, you know how intensive it can be) because I wanted to experience more. I’ve been checking out the many hidden Easter Eggs and the Unmarked Locations, some of which are insanely cool and hilarious.

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I’ve loved Skyrim since it came out. The gameplay is so much fun. The scenery is breathtaking. The characters are engaging and oftentimes hilarious (“I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee”). I think that’s part of the reason I could not get into Elder Scrolls Online. After Skyrim, it was such a letdown graphically, gameplay-wise, and in terms of story. Plus for me that was all coupled with the fact that I’m really over MMOs because people in general are the worst and I’d rather do my own thing. Skyrim, on the other hand, I can return to again and again. I’ll probably start a new character at some point, and try to challenge myself with different parameters, like no fast traveling at all, but for now I’m going to try to get through as much of the game as I can. It’s going to take me a while.

Putting the Blah in Bond: Spectre

One of the movies we missed last year (what with the Geek Baby) was Spectre, the 4th James Bond movie with Daniel Craig in the lead role. We liked Casino Royale and the new take on Bond, although Quantum of Solace being a sequel was pretty jarring. We really liked Skyfall, although the idea of Bond being an actual person born with that name was kind of odd – it throws off the whole continuity of the films.

Spectre poster

Even Bond looks Blah.

Anyway, we were intrigued, and had heard both that it was better than the rest – and that it was plain awful, as Julia has mentioned. Our main grocery store just added a Red Box alternative service, and I saw Spectre, so I scooped it up for movie night the other night.

And… eh? There were some Bond movie elements, to be sure. But we’re back to a full-on continuity, a conspiracy tying together all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. By tapping into Bond’s old opposing spy service, at least in name: Spectre. On the one hand, it seems like an awesome plot. On the other hand, it seems like jumping the shark to the entire Bond franchise…

I could go into spoilers, but don’t even really feel the need. And I might not remember things well enough to do so anyway. Because the movie really was just off for us. Like, I’ve seen bad Bond movies. Something like License to Kill can be kind of fun to watch. And it has some similarities: Bond working outside the system, having his official authority removed, Q coming to give him help out in the field. But while the one film is kind of a joke in its badness, Spectre tries to be way, way serious. So each step in the action is super serious… but it didn’t transition well for us at all. We got lost. We didn’t care.

And the ultimate big bad, the leader of Spectre? Nowhere near as compelling as Silva was in Skyfall. While Silva got a lot of time to introduce and run us through his backstory and why he’s doing everything – and it’s not directed at Bond, but at M, which maybe helps as well. In Spectre, all the vengeance is directed at Bond, apparently, and in fact everything that’s happened in the four movies… or possibly everything that’s happened ever. Ever. I dunno, he just really failed to convince about his revenge plot or need, and the comparison in particular to Silva – or even to the desperate rage of Le Chiffre in Casino Royale – is just not in this movie’s favor.

All-in-all? Glad that we used a free coupon to check it out from the store?… What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!