Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Shall Not Pass... Up on These LEGOs

With all of the merchandising LEGO does, (I'm looking at you Star Wars), I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened earlier.  I'll let LEGOllum speak for himself.

With Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' set to be released at the end of the year, LEGO has announced they will start releasing LOTR-themed LEGOs this summer.  Some of the sets already announced include: The Battle of Weathertop, The Mines of Moria, and The Battle of Helm's Deep.  Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather have medieval fantasy themed LEGOs than space-themed anyday.  

LEGO also released photos of some of the individual minifigs.

Check out the teaser LEGO Lord of the Rings site here.

Can't wait to reenact Helm's Deep.  And those hobbit mini-legs crack me up

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Skyrim Battle Royale

Check out this video by mans1ay3r (Machinima).  It's a free-for-all battle with all of the enemies in Skyrim.

I'm not entirely sure what mod was used, but I could probably waste a lot of time with it.  It seems like all of the enemies with ranged attacks seem to do the best, just hanging around the perimeter picking people off... unless they were fighting a werewolf.  And of course the dragon just flies around for a while, which seems a little unfair.  But still a really cool video to watch.

Honestly I'm a little surprised the mudcrab didn't take it

Saturday, January 28, 2012

LEGO Man in Space

So probably about two years ago, there were a rash of amateur videos of people cheaply sending cameras high enough into the atmosphere to photograph the curvature of the earth.  Very cool stuff.  Recently, a similar video has popped up from two Canadian high school students.

This time, along with the camera, a tiny LEGO astronaut went up too.  The entire project took 4 months to plan, but only cost the students $400 total.  Their apparatus consisted of three point and shoot cameras, a wide angle video camera, and a cell phone with a GPS app.  They packaged them all in a lightweight styrofoam box, with some disposable hand warmers so the cameras would function at high altitude, and set it aloft with an $85 weather balloon.
Full story here (LA Times)
It took a little over an hour for the cameras to reach their max altitude of about 80,000 feet, and a half hour for them to drift back down to earth via their homemade parachute.

Not a bad test flight for the first LEGO astronaut.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dark Days for Nintendo: Company Posts First Annual Loss in 30 Years

Nintendo released its financials Thursday, stating an estimated annual operating loss of 45 billion yen ($575 million).  This estimate was far higher than the 4.2 billion yen loss estimated earlier in the year.  Part of this is attributed to declining sales of the Wii at the end of the console's run, and terrible sales of the much anticipated 3DS.  Sales of the 3DS were so poor that Nintendo was forced to drop its price only 6 months after release.  Nintendo's common stock dropped to its lowest levels since 2004, before the launch of either the DS or the Wii.

Nintendo has also been seeing Sony and Microsoft cut into the Wii's market with the Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect respectively.

I find this interesting after Shigeru Miyamoto's stepping down as head of game design in early December.  I can't help but think that the move was related to the state of Nintendo's sales.  Expect a paradigm shift in Nintendo toward different marketing strategies as they adapt to stay competitive in an ever expanding gaming market, with companies like Google (Google TV) and Apple (iPad)  taking larger shares.
Source: Reuters

One bright spot at least is that Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has been the fastest-selling Zelda title.  But is it enough?

What does this mean long-term for Nintendo?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Every Doctor Who Story in 10 Minutes

Doctor Who?  Yes, quite right.  This was too cool not to share.

And if you've actually watched every available episode, congratulations.  I won't call it a waste of time, but 50 years worth of Who is a lot of Who.  Just watched the new series and a little bit of 4th Doctor myself.

Eurotrip: Robot Fight Gif

This movie has been playing on tv recently, which is nice because despite the fact that the movie isn't great, there are some funny scenes which hold up over time.  One of my favorites which became very popular on the interwebs, is the robot fight scene.  You've all seen this gif:

Another scene is the one with the creepy Italian guy on the train, played by Fred Armisen.  Every time the train would pass through a dark tunnel, Armisen would have his pants off, or be licking one of the male leads... you get the idea.  In 2004, when the movie came out, I'm pretty sure no one knew who he was.  Now with his long tenure on SNL and the show 'Portlandia' doing well, he's a recognizable figure.  And he still looks the same.  Mi scusi:

Then we have the German safe word given to one of the teens as he gets trapped in a German BDSM club.

But maybe my favorite is a little lower key.  The kids think they are going to die, so they start offering up deathbed confessions.  Leading to this: (could only find an audio clip)

Which is funny to me in particular because I had totally forgotten that line was from Eurotrip.  The line "the girls never came" ended up slipping into me and my buddies' lexicon for years.  It eventually just became "the _____ never came", used in almost any scenario.  

Again, pretty dumb joke, but kind of funny.  The main thing is that this movie came out right between high school and college for me and my friends.  I think any pop culture item from that time period really gets burned into your brain.

What movies do you and your friends quote incessantly? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

'The Walking Dead' Opening Credits: Recut to the 'Growing Pains' Theme Song

The internet has a long history of mixing up different video and audio clips for parody.  My all-time favorite is probably the re-cut trailer for 'The Shining' set to Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill", and played as a romantic comedy.

Anyway, MovieWeb has decided to do the same thing with 'The Walking Dead'.  This time the opening credit sequence has been set to the theme song from 'Growing Pains', and shot in a way to make the show seem like a family program.  

The whole thing has a perfectly late 80's/ early 90's vibe, right down to the typeface and the starwipe title at the end.  And I love the guest stars they list.  And while this is a funny take on them, my favorite opening credits version of the show remains the animated fan-made version.  

The parody almost makes up for this crushing moment from the end of season 1:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Return of the Jedi: How it Should Have Ended

All of the recent dvd/blue-ray releases of the Star Wars movies have have some annoying George Lucas changes.  The one that really irks me is the final scene of the original trilogy.  It's an iconic image in the series, the fallen jedi appear to Luke as ghosts/spirits/etc, approving of him and congratulating him on his victory.

They appear to Luke as they knew him.  Good, that makes sense.  

The Lucas change to Jedi, as it appears in the re-releases:

Wonderful.  I can just picture Lucas seeing this as a masterstroke to tie in all of the movies.

But let's think about this from Luke's perspective:
Luke: "Oh, hey.  I'm so glad my two teachers old Yoda and old Obi-Wan showed up.  It shows that they are always watching over me.  But wait... who's that random young guy?  I don't recognize him.  Is that like an alternate version of me as a Jedi knight or something?  Oh well, wish dad could have been here."
Never made sense to me story-wise.

This cartoon from the folks at How It Should Have Ended did a nice job illustrating this point, while making some other funny changes.

That "You killed all of us as children" line gets me every time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lowe's Commercial Song: April Smith "Colors"

(EDIT - April 2nd: Looking for the newer commercials?  Check out this post)

So we finished the move for my uncle's dental practice.  Ended up getting all of the functional pieces moved and installed from the old location to the new in 3 days.  It was crazy, workmen were still going hooking things up into Sunday night so my uncle could open on Monday.  We really probably could have used an extra day or two, but we got everything done.  I just can't move my arms today, no big deal.

I've sort of been lounging around all day trying to recover.  Been doing some studying, reading, had the tv on in the background the whole time.  There is this one Lowe's commercial that keeps playing with the catchiest song.  (For anyone who may be unfamiliar, Lowe's is a home improvement store very similar to Home Depot)  It's really wormed its way into my brain, and won't get out.  The song is "Colors" by April Smith and the  Great Picture Show.

Check out the commercial here:

This is one of those scenarios where I'll probably end up buying this song, but won't be sure if I like it because it's good, or because I hear it all the time.  The classic case for that being any song used in an ipod commercial.

Oh well... I also found this acoustic version of the song, which still sounds really nice.

Now share in my pain of having this song stuck in your head.
::maniacal laugh::

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bovine University: Where I Learned about the Food Chain

In nature, one creature invariably eats another to survive.

Don't kid yourself Jimmy, if a cow ever got the chance he'd eat you and everyone you care about.

Top scienticians agree.  Don't listen to your crazy friend.  They're just a grade-A moron

Busy Weekend

Sorry no interesting posts, I have to help my uncle move his dental practice into his new office this weekend.  Was there for 10 hours yesterday, been here 5 already today.  I'll try to post something cool tonight if I don't pass out early.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Walking Dead Alternate Season 2 Plot Leaked

So with the title of my blog, I'd feel remiss if I didn't have the occasional post about zombies.  With that, one of the major zombie pop culture touchstones lately has been AMC's The Walking Dead.  Based on the long-running comic series, the tv show just ended the first half of it's second season, which is set to return February 12th.

I have to say, the very first episode of this show was fantastic.  Absolutely fantastic.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the rest of season 1 after that was a bit of a let down.  Not necessarily because it was bad, just because the premiere was that good.  Season 2 on the other hand, so far, has been bad.

I believe part of the reason for this was ongoing budget disputes between the showrunners and AMC, which led to Frank Darabont leaving the show.  The money issue seems to have been keyed on Mad Men getting new contracts, and the AMC execs subsequently tightening their belts through the rest of the network.  Darabont, if you don't know, is primarily a film director best known for helming the best Stephen King adaptations (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist).  He really brought a cinematic eye to the small screen, evident in the 2-part premiere.  When he left, many of the other core writers from season 1 were let go.  The results in season 2 so far have been fewer locations, fewer zombies, and an agonizingly long arc involving searching for a missing girl, Sophia.  There was a payoff at the midseason finale, but somewhat dampened by the fact that every viewer just wanted the group to find the girl dead by about the 3rd episode in.

Now I say that the second season has only been bad so far.  Maybe the producers have backloaded the budget to the second half of the season, so we can get a different exciting location.  (I'm really tired of the farm and the woods).  For the show's sake I hope this is the case, otherwise I might bail on the show entirely.

But I recently saw this article which described Darabont's plans for the season 2 opener ( a little long but worth the read):

Here's a video interview from the article with Sam Witwer (most recently, SciFi's[refuse to call it SyFy] Being Human):

Now this really is a shame because that idea sounds awesome.  So if want to find out how to ruin a great show and slowly kill its viewership, take notes from AMC.

But keep watching for now... I guess... maybe... It can't get any worse right?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Blackout Day

So you have probably noticed, today is the blackout day for many popular websites (reddit, fark, wikipedia) as well as protests by even larger websites such as google (check their logo).  SOPA as well as the Protect IP act present a threat not only in terms of censorship on the internet, but a threat to the functionality of the internet itself.  I know my blog and probably a lot of yours would be shut down.  Imagine if your parents or grandparents decided to create rules governing the internet.  Yes, it's that bad.  SOPA even at one point had provisions to redirect DNS requests, which would undermine the functionality of the internet.

Here's a video that expands on some of the threats:

In any case, we love the internet.  I'd hate to think that these are the wild west times, which we'll one day look back on fondly and recount the tales of to our children's children.  Hopefully the internet will continue to exist in it's unadulterated form.  You can help with this.

I suggest you contact your local Congressman today and express your displeasure with the Act, particularly if your Congressman has voted for SOPA and Protect IP.  We may know this as a big issue on the internet because we spend a lot of time here, but unfortunately SOPA still hasn't garnered a lot of mainstream attention.

So speak out, and keep vigilant on all legislation.  The internet response to this bill has been great, but a lot of other questionable legislation can slip through the cracks.

You can find contact information for your local Congressman here:

Edit: handy-dandy video

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Game Review: Dungeons of Dredmor

So, I recently got a mac... and I wanted to pick up a cheap time-waster game from Steam.  I settled on Dungeons of Dredmor, from Gaslamp Games.  I have to say, it was money well spent (only $4.99).  It's a hack and slash dungeon crawler with humorous content, pretty much a send up of the genre.  In my short time playing I've picked up on Diablo II, Indiana Jones, Starcraft, LOTR, and A Song of Fire and Ice references.

The gameplay reminds me of Nethack, but with better graphics and a more light-hearted storyline.  You can die pretty randomly, but the characters are pretty much a throw-away each time you play.  You do have a save feature, but the notice on the screen "Congratulations, You Died" each time you bite it should be an indication of the gameplay style.  It really satisfies my loot-lust born from Diablo, and it has a skill and crafting tree to boot.

All in all if you're looking for a solid hack/slash dungeon crawler to waste some time on, you'd do well with Dungeons of Dredmor.  Now if you'll excuse me, my bloodmage archaeologist viking vampire has some killing to do.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Favorite Futurama Sight Gag Ever: The Kegelcizer

This one kills me every time.

It's just a quick pan shot with this lady in the foreground straining at her excercise, but not moving.  Man is the joke ridiculous.

The Kegel muscles are the muscles of the pelvic floor.  They can be strengthened to aid in childbirth for women, help control urinary incontinence, and help prevent premature ejaculation in men.  Generally the conception is that for women, exercising the Kegels can help them get "tighter".

That sort of makes this a dirty joke, but just really funny.

(BTW the dirtiest joke to make it onto a prime time cartoon remains the "Sneed's Feed and Seed" joke from The Simpsons)


The LEGO Beer Song

So I'm at my grandparents' house for dinner last night, and my 9-year-old cousin is on his itouch killing time.  He calls me over and shows me this video, which he finds hilarious.  It is funny, but I was a little taken aback by how funny he thought a song about beer was, especially the "schlitz" joke.  I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised... I was probably the same way at that age.  It just seems a little young for beer shit jokes.  But who knows what goes on in public schools these days.

In any case, here's the video in question, which is older than the hills.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Skyrim Weapon Mods: May the Force be With You (To Save Aeris)

So a pair of cool Skyrim Skin mods for your endgame weapons.

The first one is an obvious lightsaber mod.  It allows for dual wielding with different colors.  Check it out:

The lightsaber magicka mod can be found here: http://skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=3174

The next mod gives you a two-handed version of Cloud's Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII.  Check it out: 

The only problem I'm having now is deciding which one is cooler...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our Future in Space

So while on my flights and in the airport yesterday, I was reading "Death by Black Hole" by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium.  It's a really interesting read about our universe and various celestial happenings.  For those who don't know, Dr. Tyson has also gained internet notoriety as the "watch out, we got a badass over here" guy.

And Dr. Tyson is indeed a badass, and an excellent writer.  I'd recommend any of his books, which are very accessible to even the layperson.  In lieu of giving you his book to read, I offer instead a panel discussion with NDGT among others, from the TAM (The Amazing Meeting) conference this year in Las Vegas.

Dr. Tyson also has a very entertaining podcast, which features a guest every week, at:

So check ch-check check check ch-check it out

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back from Denver

just got back from Denver.  Long day with a few flight delays.  Feels good to be home.  Will update tomorrow

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heading to Denver for the Week

Heading out to Denver to visit some buddies for the week.  Not sure how much I'll be able to post.

Should be a fun time, lots to do there.  One of those things will be to visit this place

 which according to my friend who lives out that way is like a bowling alley/pub/club.

If I'm lucky we'll end up sipping some caucasians while we roll (but not on Shabbos), which will look like this

but hopefully without this

Much will be micturated upon by all

Monday, January 2, 2012

Skyrim Mod: Fast Travel Directly to your House

Another nifty Skyrim mod here.  This one adds all of the player's homes as map markers, so you can fast travel right to your house's front door.  Another small mod that comes in handy for saving time.

Adds the following map marker locations:

* Whiterun, Breezehome (front door)* Windhelm, Hjerim (front door)* Markarth, Vlindrel Hall (front door)* College Of Winterhold, Arch-Mage's Quarters (roof)* Solitude, Proudspire Manor (front door)* Riften, Honeyside (front door and balcony on the outside)

Check out the details and download here:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Skyrim Road Map Mod

One of the things that can get pretty annoying in Skyrim is figuring out how to get where you need to go.  Now I'm all for wandering around aimlessly and adventuring, but sometimes you just want to get somewhere for a quest quickly.  For me, it seems like any destination in the mountains is always nearly impossible to get to.  There's usually only one road into the mountain pass, and I end up circling the entire range looking for it.

This mod adds a useful feature in putting roads onto the world map.  It has two map options: showing all roads; and showing only major roads.  Something simple, but very useful.

Here's a video showing the updated map interface:

Details and download can be found here at skyrimnexus: