Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Heroes Season Premiere and Episode 2

I apologize for the delay in this. Cubs baseball took up a lot of my time and resources last week. I also threw in a little of last nights episode which has lead to this whole post being horrible cobbled together.

I felt the same way about this season premiere as last season's series premiere. That is I wasn't in love with it, but I saw promise. I chalk that up to Tim Kring the show runner. I don't think he's that great of writer. I'm certain he's a great showrunner, but his episodes always feel stilted to me. Episode 2 flowed much better even though it was basically more of the same information from episode 1. My concern is that the departure of Bryan Fuller, who created Wonderfalls and Dead Like me will really hurt the show. He moved on to the TV show Pushing Daisies.

Unfortunately, many of the storylines didn't grab me. The Hiro story being the best example. Hiro meets his childhood hero in Kensei, who turns out to be some British lug. What? You mean Hiro now has to turn Kensei into the hero he believed him to be? This wouldn't happen to include Hiro having to pretend to be Kensei would it? We haven't seen this a million times have we? I love the Hiro character, but I hate how this storyline has begun. The discovery that Kensei has the same healing abilities as Claire was a nice find.

I don't mind the murder mystery of Hiro's father. Still would've liked to have seen what his superpower was. The storyline that someone is out to kill the previous generation of Heroes because of their mistakes is intriguing though nothing new. It certainly leads to discovering who these people were and adding to the Heroes mythology. I also like the symbol drawn on their photo and it being discovered in random places. It's just creepy. I do question the fact that Parkman though he just signed up with the NYPD is now the secondary investigator in a high profile murder. I did like Ma Patrelli yelling for Parkman to get out of her head during the questioning. I also liked her being attacked, but I hope they don't kill her. Once the attack began I kept wishing don't kill her, don't kill her. She's too good of a character. I would also like to find out what her super power is. Parkman has become somewhat of a badass now. He shoots first and asks questions later in NYPD hostage training sessions. He breaks windows with chairs.

I would also like to know what is going on with Nathan and mirrors. I do love his beard though. Why hasn't anyone said anything to Nathan about his forfeiting the Congressional seat he won? Nobody has said a thing to him.

Parkman My Two Daddying it with Mohinder and Molly is ok. I'm finding Molly annoying quickly. The mystery of who the big bad guy keeps me somewhat invested. Though couldn't the drawing of her nightmares be a little more frightening. They just didn't invoke the fear of dread it should have. I guess she's just a crappy doodler.

Mohinder didn't bother me as much. I still don't buy his tough act. I also don't believe that he's the best person to infiltrate "The Company." I understand that what he knows would be important to the "The Company," and therefore would still try to bring him into the fold. I just think he'd buckle once they found out he was trying to take them down along with HRG. I liked the Haitian reveal in episode 2. Still would like to know how HRG and Mohinder know what is going on with the "The Company."

I hope the storyline of HRG and his family still trying to live normal lives moves along quickly. We've already seen this storyline last season. The wrinkle that the whole family knows what is going on isn't enough of a wrinkle. Is working at a Kinko's the best hiding place for HRG considering is previous cover was working for Primatech Paper? What happens if he has to attend a convention with paper suppliers? I did love the judo finger move. Is that his superpower?

On to Claire who once again is stuck being an outsider in high school. At least her parents gave her a new Nissan Rogue! Though sadly stolen in episode 2. I do like that she wants to push to see how far her powers go. Though I would think walking up to an nuclear exploding man and sticking a needle in him would be a nice physical limit that's already set. She does though seem to accept her power now and wants to use it help people. Perhaps the creepy flying voyeur and her will become a superhero duo. I hope not. I hope he ends up becoming evil, or slightly bad at least. Sylar can't be the only person with super powers that uses them for evil.

By the way Sylar better show up in episode 3. As should Niki/Jessica and her family.

The two new characters are ok. The ying and yang twins from South America. One kills and the other heals though the girl the kills ala X-files black oil doesn't do it on purpose. I'm saying now she is going to be the one that kills the main bad guy of this season. They basically gave that away in episode 2.

Finally we have Peter who is still alive. But we already knew he would survive. How is it Nathan is still alive is the bigger question? So Peter is found handcuffed in a shipping container in Ireland. He has amnesia (ugh). He does at least find out his name in the second episode. He also seems to have gained a couple extra super powers. Again all will be answered in the "Four Months Ago" episode. Except for the Hiro storyline because that picked up right where we left off last season.

So after two episodes we have a decent start. Just like last season, it will probably take another two or three episodes for it to get rolling. I'm also looking forward to the "For Months Ago" episode that is certain to happen.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why Madden Frustrates Me

This can probably apply to all video games, but it begins and ends with Madden. It is called the "No F-ing Way Game." Those who play Madden know what this is and there are numerous terms for it. I'm sticking with "No F-ing Way Game" because that is what I always yell when it happens. The worst example I have happened last night. I was six games into my franchise season as the Buffalo Bills. I was also 6-0. I can't score a lot of points, but my defense is an expert at the bend but don't break. So I'm playing the Ravens last night. I pull off a great 35 yard run for a TD. I'm feeling pretty good. Then the Ravens score a TD where the running back broke about six tackles and goes in for the TD. Alright, that's fine. I can handle this. On the ensuing kickoff, my return man fumbles the ball and it is run back for a TD. Now, I'm a little miffed, but I can come back. On the next ensuing kickoff my return man fumbles again, they return it to the two yard line, and score another TD. Now, it is taking all the self control in the world not to hurl the controller through my window. Still, I'm confident I can make a game at this. On the next ensuing kickoff, you guessed it my return man fumbles again and they return it for a TD. Madden has once again made sure there is "No F-ing Way" I'm winning this game.
I do though get within ten, and intercept a pass into the flats. I even run that interception back for a TD, only to have it called back for clipping. Which is again ridiculous. There is no reason for clipping on that type of interception because there is no one that needs to be blocked.

This is my problem with Madden. It always feels like you are playing against a stacked deck. You can dominate, but the game will always rig things every now and then to humble you. Do you want to try to score before the game ends even though you are leading because you want to practice your two minute drill? The game will punish you for that. You will not be allowed to run up the score. You will not be allowed to do anything out of the norm for a football game. It is you against the machine, and the machine holds the power. Yet, I keep coming back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ramblings (Updated)

The Cubs are in the closest race for the playoffs this season, and there is little to no national TV coverage. Can't WGN work a deal with Comcast so they can air more than two games a week? Why doesn't ESPN have a deal to show games during tight races? What Cubs fan across the nation isn't going watch? Man, my nerves are already shot. That Houston series nearly killed me.

In the latest issue of ESPN the magazine, Bill Simmons wrote a piece on saving Friday Night Lights. He praises it better than I did in my plea. finally put up the article. You can read it here

A week and a half till Halo 3 and the season premiere of Heroes.

A month and a half till Guitar Hero 3.

This year has clearly been brought to you by the number 3.

I've been battling myself over buying NHL '08, but I don't think it would be the same playing a hockey video game without Jiff.

iPod classic or iPod touch? Reading that Apple stores received the iPod touch early, I almost bought one...almost. This current control I've been showing over my impulse purchasing has impressed even me. I think it's that thought of the impending writer's strike?

I know I've been told that we won't care about such things, but I want to know answers to some of history's mysteries when I get to heaven. And, I don't mean Easter Island statues or Stonehenge or even Area 51. I mean I want to know those, but I'm more interested in who killed Hoffa and where is he buried? I'd like to know who Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac was.
Where did D.B. Cooper go after he jumped out of that plane? Who killed the Black Dahlia? Things like that. I'd also like to know who wrote those dirty poems to Susan Rice and put my name on them. That still bugs me.

Tottenham Spurs plays Arsenal this weekend. Again this is like OSU vs. Michigan only with more hatred in the fans hearts.

It's taken me longer to come up with a review for Bioshock than it took me to actually play the game.

I really enjoyed 3:10 to Yuma, though the turn in the story still doesn't seem rational.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Adventure of Independent Brad (Mandy, Your Residual Check Is In The Mail)

So I stepped out of my comfort zone Saturday. Awhile ago, I signed up through my church with the Reading to Kids program. I figured because it was a once a month thing, and was just reading to kids that it was something I could handle. As the day approached though I began realizing what I'd committed to. That is waking up at 7:45 in the morning on a Saturday to spend three hours with a bunch of complete strangers. Flop sweat. So Saturday came, I crawled out of bed, and drove in a daze to the school near downtown. I walked into the auditorium and gave my name. Now I've been considering tinkering with being called Bradford rather than just Brad. Not a full implementation where I would require it, but it'd be fun to see in a couple years the differential between who calls me what. For example, it seems like everyone older than Anne Marie calls her Anne Marie. Those her age or younger call her Anne. Anyway, I went with Brad on the name tag. I'm clearly still unsure on where to go with this name thing.

They assigned me to the second graders which I thought was a perfect fit. Also, the book selection was Fog and Toad are Friends. Frog and Toad are Friends! I could've recited this book. Being a new guy, I was paired up with veteran. My original partner never showed, so I was partnered up with what was basically Neil at the age of 65. I realize I just referenced a person that only Ben I would know, but it fits. Wait! Jennie knows Neil. Actually, the only slight negative I had was my partner. He was a nice enough guy. It's just he was a little scatter brained, a little tightly wound, and he took the best stories. He stuck me with the worst story in the book! For those familiar with Frog and Toad, it is the story where Frog is not feeling well and Toad tries to come up with a story. (SPOILER ALERT!) It basically ends with Frog reciting as a story what Toad did to try to remember a story. So the last half is just you reading again what happened in the first half.

After reading it was time for crafts where they had to make frogs. Yeah, I know. It's not the most creative but my partner wasn't really up for discussing alternatives. Luckily, the kids were creative enough on their own to go outside the box. One girl just decided to screw the whole frog thing. She wanted to make a manta ray. My personal favorite Manuel made his frog with it's own head, a hole for a stomach, and a cape. All the kids were great. Sure their attention span was around 10 minutes tops, but their second graders. They were also very well behaved and respectful. They also clearly loved that this opportunity was made available to them.

The real moving moment though was meeting their parents. I spent two hours reading and helping them cut construction paper, and the kids were adamant about me meeting their parents like I was some their new best friend. And the parents were so thankful. They made such a point to thank us. I admit I got a little emotional having parents pulling me aside, shaking my hand, and thanking me.

That ended the day. It's such a nice contrast outside of the normal LA world I wade through. So my independent adventure was a rousing success, and I've already signed up for next month.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Fingers Hurt

So in less than two months the rock gods will descend from the Mt. Power Chord and bless us mortals with Guitar Hero 3. The anticipation is building. Co-worker Dominic asks at least once a week when the game will be released, and I'm sure bobby is at least slightly anticipating my purchasing it when it is released. 46 of the songs have been announced, and some videos have hit the net. Which brings us up to the reason for this post. One of the bonus songs is a song by Dragon Force called Through the Fire and Flames, and word was going around that it will be nigh unto impossible. Then awhile back a video came out, and my heart sank. I think I'm pretty decent at the game. I mean I struggle through the expert setting, but still...this is ridiculous. I think carpal tunnel syndrome can set in just watching this. The thing is the video doesn't even show the solo part, which can be witnessed near the end of the music video. I do wonder about those kids that play this game and can complete songs like this. Are they seriously going to be paying for it down the road? What are there fingers going to be like after years of playing Guitar Hero?

July & August Heavy Rotation

Because of a lack of "new" songs in July, I decided to combine July and August for a heavy rotation. The list contains everything from dance rock, to indie rock, to rock with some other genres thrown in. A little bit of everything for everyone or no one.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Life Lesson #729

No matter how much you might be craving them, do not eat hot wings after midnight. I think my stomach just hatched a Gremlin.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Whooo!