Log in

Because I apparently hate myself I decided that now would be a good time to remind everyone that video games will still never be art. Let's watch!
19 February 2011 @ 05:08 pm
I'm talking about this thing.

I first saw this trailer a couple of days ago, and then I saw nothing but heavy praise heaped on it. But it's a terrible trailer!

1. Too complicated.
Reverse timeline + slow motion + time jumps makes a simple sequence of events difficult to follow. Look around for a recut version which puts all the clips in the correct order (why would anyone do that if it was easy to follow as is?). Here's one that preserves the heart-tugging soundtrack. I submit that the effect is not the same, because the events are not given additional significance by all the work you have to do to piece them together.

2. Bad CGI.
The characters all fall into the uncanny valley. The kid looks dead and lifeless whether she is alive or a zombie or in fact dead and lifeless. The slow-mo doesn't help. The shot of the mom freaking out when the kid goes zombie can't be intended to be hilarious but it is. The final shot of the dad reaching for the kid is supposed to be a tear-jerker, I assume, but the expression they've painted on his face makes me think he has down syndrome.

3. Actual experience not as represented.
Am I to take from this teaser that this game is an exploration of the tragedies that occur when zombie apocalypse interrupts one's tropical vacation? I will be generous and assume that something like this could work (or could have worked ten years ago) in the spirit of the original Resident Evils, where the focus of the survival game was on survival as opposed to mowing down everything on screen with increasingly ridiculous weaponry. Maybe I am cynical, but something in the vein of Dead Rising is the kind of game I imagine when I see the title graphic and am told this is a game about zombies overrunning a tropical resort. The added value is that the boss fights will also feature increasingly ridiculous Hawaiian shirts.

4. Nitpicks.
I have watched this thing forwards and backwards several times to make sure I did in fact hate it before writing this. Why is the little girl out on her own when there are flesh-eating zombies? Are we to assume this is the beginning of the outbreak? But what about fat Hawaiian shirt zombie, who is clearly in a more advanced state of decay than the rest? Where did the gash on the girl's neck come from? I see bellhop zombie going to town on her leg, but when dad comes to the rescue she's got a big gash in her neck. How? So many unanswered questions in this three minute video!

5. Manipulative.
The teaser is almost certainly a marketing ploy to generate interest in a game which is probably otherwise uninteresting (and hence not featured in the teaser). We'll manufacture a vaguely tragic sequence, jazz it up with a lot of flashy editing (no, not enough flashy editing, more!), add a slow piano and voilá! No one has ever thought of a family torn apart by a plague of zombies before! To the Youtubes!

The Internet appears to have fallen for this in the hardest way possible, and that is what makes me sad. Is everybody so uncritical?
11 January 2011 @ 09:28 pm
Fall term marks were released this afternoon, reaffirming my status as a completely average student of law. There was some concern about this: The Income Tax exam was so grueling I had exam-hangover the day following, which was when I had to write Trusts. But the magic of the B-curve prevailed in both cases, and so for another term I can rest assured that I suck at law school no more significantly than my peers.

Consequently, I am taking the evening off from the hated law of mining to address some other pressing concerns. Like uploading vacation photos to Facebook, and continuing my once-a-month LiveJournal revival party.



2010 may be considered broadly as a play in three acts: The end of first year, summer at the office, and the beginning of second year. In a pinch, these acts can be compressed into one for convenience! But it is just me working all the time.

That is not entirely fair. There was a period of about 6 or 7 weeks in the beginning of second year when I wasn't working all that much. It's possible I may even have become bored for a day or two. However, in retrospect, this is time that I probably should have spent working, to avoid having to work quite so much as I did in the weeks that followed.

I also did, occasionally, find some time to do some things. Remember that time that Brian and Meghan got married? I was there for that! And there was that... that vacation I took to Salce's place at new years! I did actually think there was more than this, but neither LJ nor Facebook photo records bear out this assumption. I recall I did organize an excellent weekend adventure at the cottage in July, but that may actually be the sum total of my expanded leisure activities last year (unless, perhaps, you count the time I took to illustrate analytic defences of unpopular positions). This comes as a surprise to me since I am still used to thinking of myself as rather lazy.

But ceaseless toil is what your law school years are for, as far as I'm aware. 2010 was certainly not wasted in that respect, and I did manage to enjoy it more than intermittently. This is good because the forecast for 2011 is really just more of the same. Except without the accumulated credit card points to blow on year-end airfare.



New years vacation was so awesome and I cannot thank Salce and Belinda enough for putting up with me (and the other folks crowding the house) for a week. Someday I'll return the favour.

And three cheers to Geoff again for the orchestration of surprise new year's Utahraptor neckties! My wardrobe was enhanced tremendously.
Music: The Strokes - Someday
06 December 2010 @ 09:51 pm
Just heard that Mark Dailey passed away this afternoon.

Mark Dailey was probably the first media reference that I understood as a kid. "That deep voice that comes on during the credits and promos on CityTV belongs to a news anchor.  That's neat."  It was a small step into a wider world of associations.

Later, when I was, like, fifteen, I remember realizing that I would one day read a headline like this.  "Everybody dies" is one of those conclusions you inevitably arrive at once you start realizing the interconnectivity of the world around you.  It was like a bookend on the original thought.

I didn't expect to read it for awhile yet, though.  It's much more upsetting than I thought it would be.
Lyrics from 'One Day' by UGKCollapse )

The version of the verse used in Every Day on the new Girl Talk has different lyrics than the ones I could find online, so I have transcribed them.  Then I added punctuation.  Because, in the future, rap will be immaculately punctuated.

I'm assuming that what sounds like "Repromoana" is a reference to a particular strain of marijuana--as opposed to a magnificently garbled attempt to actually say "marijuana".  These are minutia you don't learn about when you spend the '90s as an upper-middle class Canadian white boy.



So it is 3 PM when I am writing this particular sentence, which means I have been awake for about... twenty hours, we'll say.  This estimate doesn't reflect the additional fact that I had only gotten about five hours of quasi-troubled afternoon-sleep before I dragged myself out of bed to resume my end-of-semester toil.  For the past week I have basically been operating nocturnally.  There are fewer distractions at night and I needed to produce twenty pages on the incoming copyright reform law.  (Short story:  It's okay!)

The only classes being held this week were for review (until tax this morning, anyway), which I don't find useful when I have been too busy researching and writing to organize summaries.  Plus, it is that stressful weather-changing time of year, and the acts involved in catching the bus and sitting through a lecture take a lot of potential paper-writing pizazz out of me.  I have been at this school gig for awhile.  I Know The Score.

Exams start on Monday.  I had anticipated that I might be in the current situation and made some initial preparation some weeks ago, but my recent adventure in copyright paper has still left me well behind my colleagues in terms of actual exam-ready material.1  If I did not Know The Score this might be cause for a sleep-deprived study panic, but (a) a week of fourteen-hour night shifts represents approximately as much optimal use as I can get out of that schedule, and (b) the likelihood that your brain can retain useful legal information rapidly approaches zero after the sixteenth hour of consciousness.

So, LiveJournal.  Keep occupied until a reasonable bed time.  Resume end-of-semester toil tomorrow morning, slightly further behind but significantly better able to marshal available resources going forward.

Although it sounds perfectly awful, the situation is still much improved in comparison to the workload to be stared down at the end of each semester by every 1L.  My life is downright manageable.

1 Curiously, this has not put at least some colleagues off of enquiring after my help.  I believe this is a passive effect of Knowing The Score.  People believe that if you Know The Score you must have your shit together, even if the score you are knowing is that you are behind in the count.


Venture Bros. Season Finale (New Hank Cusses).  Weeds.  Boardwalk Empire (Steve Buscemi still occasionally difficult to take seriously; Gretchen Mol still most attractive woman alive).  Futurama Holiday Special. Bored to Death.

Running Wilde.  Effing Running Wilde, kids.  It's not like we can actually have nice things, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Music: The Dismemberment Plan - What Do You Want Me to Say?
A&E is airing a new whodunnit criminal procedural titled The Glades. At essence, it is a clone of CSI: Miami except they've amputated Horatio Caine and most of the forensic voodoo, and grafted on a Gregory House-lite and a some Jessica Fletcher-style deduction. I might have given it a miss in the regular season, but it's an excellent summer entry. The series stars Matt Passmore as homicide detective Jim Longworth, forced to relocate to scenic Florida from Chicago by his penchant for colouring outside the lines, and the friction (in the form of small arms fire) this caused with his former supervisor. He solves crimes!

The third episode1 is an essay in pathetic fallacy, as a string of related murders coincides with the landfall of a category 4 hurricane. Our Heroes race to find the thread that connects the victims before the killer strikes again. The cops think they've located the final target before it's too late, but at the eleventh hour Longworth realizes there's another possibility and arrives on the scene in time for a dramatic showdown.

Cut for spoilers and because there is a point to this.Collapse )
24 June 2010 @ 05:11 pm
So yesterday was pretty weird. I remember I looked at the sky as I went into the office (we were expecting severe thunderstorms) and thought "today is going to be a weird day." And then it was.

  1. There was an Earthquake. That would be intense on its own, but it's not like that was the only headline yesterday.

  2. Canada's intelligence agency announces "numerous" British Columbia municipal public officials under foreign influence. Also, two unnamed cabinet ministers in different provinces. Federal involvement specifically (suspiciously) denied.

  3. CSIS backtracks from previous announcement. Professes contradictions instead: "this sort of thing is commomplace." / "we don't have the kind of evidence required for a formal charge.

  4. CSIS made any announcement whatsoever.

  5. Longest tennis match in history. Played all day yesterday without a conclusion.

  6. Obama replaces top General in Afghanistan. Appoints Petraeus instead, who you might remember as Bush's go-to General from the Surge-days.

  7. Australia elects first female Prime Minister.

etc. I think I've forgotten some of the things I intended to include when I originally conceived of this post.

I suppose it's possible to aggregate a bunch of headlines on any day and say "well that was pretty weird, wasn't it?" But come on. That was pretty weird! The weirdness is magnified by the simultaneity. It's not weird to have a few weird things happen on a given day, but it is weird for a lot of weird things to happen at once.
01 June 2010 @ 08:17 pm
This is how busy I have been: I have until now failed to find time to write anything about how busy I have been. I made a start or three or four but the time I had was never sufficient to describe my activities. Today is not actually any less busy than normal--more busy, if anything--but I am going to circumvent the problem by not attempting a description of the things that keep me so busy. This turns out to be win-win because any such description would be very boring for you, the reader. Because I work in a law office and my hobbies include bowling.

My metamorphosis into a Busy Guy strikes me as something of a surprise. In high school, and for a ridiculously long time afterward, I consciously organized my affairs so as to maximize the amount of time that went unclaimed. It's not clear to me in hindsight why I did it that way, but the upshot was that I came to think of myself as rather lazy. Hence my fresh sense of shock when I find that, in addition to working full time, my evenings and weekends are often committed long before they arrive.

What unclaimed time remains has been divided between clearing out my backlog of season finales and playing DotA bots so as not to embarrass myself utterly on Dick Falcon nights. An amusing tale: After three losses as the Pit Lord I realized the problem is probably less that I am doing it wrong and more that allied AI will consistently fail to do sensible things like wait for the enemy on a field of corpses I can explode, or attack when I've stunned them on such a field. The moral is that bot games are good for learning two things: A rough idea of how to proceed with a build, and what characters to never ever let the computer play.
21 April 2010 @ 08:38 pm
Google Reader delivered unto me today's Penny Arcade which alerted me to this and to the controversy resulting.  Having taken a break from studying the common law of property to watch the talk, read Ebert's response, and the response to Ebert's response, I find the reaction at Penny Arcade to be rather perplexing (if not necessarily surprising).  I find this amusing enough that I am putting my entire future on hold to write an Internet blogpost about it instead of studying for Friday's criminal law exam.

The first thing to note is that the thought experiment propounded in the comic (presumably as irrefutable a priori proof of the art-dom of video games), is hopelessly flawed.  We call artists artists because what they strive to produce is art.  The actual production of art does not necessarily follow from one's status as an artist (e.g. what does the artist produce when he is working his call center day job?).  Furthermore it is a logically unacceptable assumption for the purposes of this debate that all video game creators are artists (I doubt very much that even the majority think of themselves as such).  And finally, even if we accept this premise, a hundred artists working for any amount of time might individually produce works of art, but this is by no means a guarantee that the cumulative result of those works is any sort of single work of art.  In many if not most cases (and the video game industry is surely littered with such examples) all it creates is a mess no one wants to deal with.

additional analysis follows.Collapse )

In other news, when not brushing up on the parol evidence rule I have been looking at pictures on this Japanese cat-blog, and I would like to categorically pronounce that those cats are adorable.
Music: The Bravery - Tyrant
06 April 2010 @ 12:55 pm
So I went home for the Easter weekend, and when I returned to Real LondonTM I discovered that my TP-Link WR642G router had ceased to broadcast my wireless network.  I could also no longer log onto the router through the web interface (neither my user nor the default admin password would work).

The router was still working.  My desktop connects via cat-5 and that was still working normally, but the hardware had basically gone rogue.  Rebooting it did not solve the problem.  I reset it to the factory defaults and everything is back to normal now.

Notably, a wireless network that I could see broadcasting before I reset it now seems to be gone.

The likelihood that this was caused by some freak circumstance while I was gone seems too low to consider.  However the likelihood that someone sat outside my house and spent the time brute-forcing their way through both the wireless network WEP and my administrator username and password--for no other purpose than to hijack my access point on a frolic--strains credulity only slightly less.  Fing didn't show anything except my desktop connected to the network before I reset the router.

Should I be concerned?

Update (April 8, 2010): Turns out the landlord's family had reset the router while they were here over the Easter weekend to get the landlord on email.