[The End] Golden Girls

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We’ve traveled down the road and back again – and we’re here with another episode of… THE END!

It’s been a few months of supernatural, outerspace, dystopian nightmares – so we decided to go with something a little lighter this month – a show about 4 brilliant women who keep joking about death. 

That’s right – it’s everyone’s favorite mid-afternoon show you put on and won’t admit to watching… Golden Girls!  

So, how did the adventures of Sophia, Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy end? Was it in a hail of bullets? A mass chemical explosion that merged them into one mecha Golden Girl?  We’re about to tell you… 

Thank you for being a friend – now let’s go!

Full Episode

[BLOG] PCR talks TTRPGs!

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Hey all, PCR here.  Reading Hatton’s blog last week as he took a walk down memory lane with some video game accessories got me waxing nostalgic as well, and this week I wanted to speak on some of my favorite Table Top RPGs from back in the day.  So, without further ado, grab your sheet and your dice, and let’s roll….

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition – Still my favorite version of D&D as it’s what I spent the majority of my D&D time playing.  I don’t begrudge folks their 5th ed and their D20 systems, but for me, this was something special.  More streamlined than 1st ed, some great new spells and categories.. to me it just had a great, smooth feel to it.  Had I the books, I would love to get into a 2nd Ed group to this day.

Mutants & Masterminds – My first foray into the d20 system came from M&M, and I have to say, I loved this system from Green Ronin.  The rules were polished enough that combat was easy to jump into without feeling overly bogged down, and the creation was flexible enough that everything pretty much made sense.  I’ve played RIFTS and GURPS and such, and while you can come up with anything your heart imagines in those systems, sometimes it just feels “Huh… sure.. ok…”, but in M&M it all felt like it made more sense.  The closest a Super Hero RPG has been for me since the original “Marvel Super Heroes”.  Speaking of…

Marvel Super Heroes – I still love this system, even with all its flaws.  Loved the FASERIP chart, loved the d100 system.. my friends and I would spend countless hours just doing Battle Royal games…setting a timer for 5 minutes per person, having so many points to spend and just the Ultimate Powers Book to make a character, grab a random map, and off we go.

[The Wheel] Mysteries of the Somethingverse: Oakville Blobs

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We’re back with our random episode generator – THE WHEEL!

THis time, it is taking us back into the Mysteries of the Somethingverse while we discuss a phenomenon from the early 90s where slimy… something.. rained down from the skies.  

What was it? Where did it come from? Why hasn’t it happened again? There is only one way for you to learn about these questions (I can’t say the answers, because then it wouldn’t be a mystery, duh..) 

On this – Mysteries of the Somethingverse: Oakville Blobs

Ok here we goo!

Full Episode

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra.. about Video Game Accessories

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In the last couple weeks, Steam just announced their new Steamdeck – which for those who aren’t video game obsessed, is a small portable gaming system that is running, quite literally, a computer. The key is that it is made very specifically to play your Steam games. So, that brings us to me, someone who plays altogether way too many video games. So many video games it gets in the way of important things like getting podcast blog posts up on time and doing my job effectively and providing love and support to my family. Why do any of that when I’ve almost gotten the final Valkyrie in God of War?! PRIORITIES, PEOPLE!

That leads us to this list – a list of video game technology I have owned that sadly, for one reason or another, completely failed…

The Power Glove – Yeah.. it’s so bad.. When I was a kid, the commercials for the Power Glove were everywhere. As a science fiction nerd, it looked like the type of thing you could wear in your Blade Runner future. It was loaded with a hundred buttons, it had tentacle pipes coming out of the fingers, it was made to look like you were about ready to journey through the slipstream of data and right into the non-existent information super-highway at unthinkable speeds like 14.4 baud.

God it sucked.

I wanted it to play one game well.. only one. And that game was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. I’d heard you could drive the car in Outrun with your hand on the invisible wheel… didn’t care. You could, ummm… make Zelda move by waving your hand vaguely up and down? I don’t know – and it didn’t matter – you should have been able to throw a punch at your screen and have it ‘get it’. Sadly, it didn’t. It was bad at everything. I would take it out to show people.. or put it on because it made me feel like I wa sin the future! Then it would go back in the box.

The U-Force – Everyone remembers the Power Glove, but do you remember the U-Force? I put a picture for you to maybe possibly remember the endless commercials that played during your late 80s rock block of Saturday morning cartoons. It was a laptop of a thing that you were supposed to run your hand over and make gestures to have it control the character. The idea was a freedom of movement that hadn’t been seen since The Power Glove!

Sadly, whatever its intention was – failed. the Infrared tech that ran it just wasn’t good enough to register consistently and, honestly, it was never quite clear why it existed in the first place. I mean, look at this thing…

U-Force Value / Price | Nintendo NES

The Vita – Sony’s self-made albatross. The Vita is an amazing, pretty, compact, great sounding, fantastic feeling, handheld console that you can play your Playstation 4 on if you are on the same network. (It only works 25% of the time when on a different network). It could have legitimately been the thing that made the Playstation 4 a /must have/ instead of a ‘I’ll see how it goes’ with good enough support.

Sadly, in America, it bombed pretty drastically – it got no press whatsoever after its initial outting, it is missing a pair of shoulder buttons to make it replicate the Playstation controller, and its worst offending trait: it uses a memory card that is made by Sony instead of using the same MicroSD cards that you can get at any tech store.

I still pick it up and play games on it, although as time goes on, I find myself leaning more and more on my tablet for such things – and there are a few diehard Vita loving folks out there… sadly, Sony is not on that list, and I expect if the Steamdeck does half of what it says it does, the dust is going to start to pile up on it.

So what are some of your favorite video game accessories, loved or not?

[Something In Review] Loki w/ Tim Stevens

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Welcome to the Something Variance Authority. 

Please sign-in by clicking the link below where all of the opinions and ideas about the most recent Diz show, Loki will be revealed. If you bump into your own self, don’t stress it, it’s cool.. and yes, it’s ok if you make out with them. We here at the Something Variance Authority are totally ok with it.

That’s right Somethings, we’re heading into the Marvelverse again, but this time we’re bringing back a Something Alum – one of our favorite people in the world. None other than @UnGajje himself, Tim Stevens.  After you are done listening – go check out Tim’s work on The Spool (@TheSpool on Instagram & Twitter) as it is a certifiable fact that you’ll want more of the entertainment this man provides. 

So welcome to a fixed location in time. The rest of the future is mutable, but you – here – listening – is clearly something you shouldn’t mute. 

Ready? Loki here we go!

Full Episode

[BLOG] PCR questions “When does ‘style’ become ‘gimmick’?”

Hey Somethings, PCR here.

I’ve had something rolling around in my brain ever since we did our “Hateful 8” episode that we’ve joked about on a few occasions, but never really dove in to, and that is… “When does Style become Gimmick?”

There are a lot of directors that have a certain “style”, but I feel many of them lean on that style so much that they become a parody of themselves and their movies no longer feel like “A movie directed by…” as much as they feel like “A movie done in the style of…”.  Here is a list of my biggest offenders.

Tim Burton

You knew he was going to be on this list.  He’s shown he can indeed use more than 4 colors (Big Fish, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Mars Attacks!…) but he’s most well known for his ‘gothic fantasy’ color palette as seen in “Batman”, “Sweeny Todd”, “Sleepy Hollow” and many MANY many others.  Even “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” felt like instead of making a regular movie Tim Burton said “WHAT IF… I use a LOT of colors???”.

M. Night Shyamalan

Sure, “The 6th Sense” put him on the map for most people, and “Unbreakable” was great… “Signs” and “The Village” turned him into “the twist ending guy”.  Now, I’m not sure if it’s because he felt if he ever did a movie without one people would turn on him for not doing ‘his thing’, but the name that used to put asses in seats became a bit of a punchline for a while.  I remember seeing a trailer for “Devil” in the theaters, and the crowd was very into it… until the screen showed “…a movie by M. Night Shyamalan” and the place erupted in boos.  To his credit, perhaps the most self aware he’s been of his ‘gimmick’ is when he backed out from doing “Life of Pi” stating…  “I   was hesitant because the book has kind of a twist ending. And I was concerned that as soon as you put my name on it, everybody would have a different experience. Whereas if someone else did it, it would be much more satisfying, I think. Expectations, you’ve got to be aware of them”

Michael Bay

The man who brought you “Bad Boys II”, “Transformers”, “The Rock” and “Armageddon” has also brought you metric fucktons of explosions, and throws around Dutch Angles like JJ Abrams uses lense flare.   Now, I’ll freely admit, I really enjoy Bad Boys II, and seeing that felt he’d be a great director for Transformers (and I still don’t think I was wrong when the first movie is discussed), but it’s like he started becoming a superfan of his own work and “Baysplosions” were really a thing.   Still, as bad and campy as they may be, most of them are still amazingly fun, and when Epic Rap Battles of History riffs on you, you’ve certainly put a mark on pop culture.

Quentin Tarantino

In my opinion, the worst of the bunch when it comes to ‘Style as Gimmick” because it’s the most egregious.  Tarantino has an eye for cinematography for sure, but it’s his scripting and language that, to me, have become problematic.  While “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” made him a name when it comes to great conversational scenes and dialogue, “Jackie Brown”, “Django Unchained” and more recently “Hateful 8” felt like he was going out of his way to be controversial when it comes to the use (and sometimes HEAVY use) of certain words (which won’t even be alluded to here… you know which one I’m talking about).  I’m not a ‘feet’ guy, but I’d have rather sat through 20 different shots of Quention licking toes than the nearly 50 times “that word” is used in “Hateful 8” (which is still less than half the number of times it was used in “Django”).  Now, there are people who defend his use of that language in his films (most notably, Samuel L. Jackson), but in my opinion, if you’re specifically using a word or language for no other reason than to make your viewing audience uncomfortable watching it, then it’s a crutch and only being done gratuitously.

Our Favorite Commercials

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What would you do for a Klondike Bar? Have you been injured in the workplace, you may be due compensation? Where IS the beef!  Have you ever felt… not so fresh? 

The Somethings are here to freshen up your day with a brand new classic Somethingcast episode where we are talking about the hours of television we rarely talk about. The periods between all of those “stories” that we “enjoy” — that’s right, we’re talking about the commercials. Which ones are our favorites or have blown us away with their commercialness.

Find out now – and call soon, operators are standing by.  ♫ Something you feel like a nut.. Something you don’t. ♫

..and now a word from our sponsors..

Full Episode

[BLOG] A Little Something About WNUF Halloween…

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I recently saw a movie on Shudder that I’d like to talk about. We usually don’t use this space for individual reviews, but this was so unique, and so bothersome for me, that I thought I’d change up the formula.

If you don’t have Shudder, it’s the Netflix for horror films. From classics to a lot of new, to some original.. it really is a great mix of the genre. That said, horror is one of the easiest genres to do poorly, so there is quite a bit of bad amongst the brilliant.

Amongst them was a movie called ‘WNUF Halloween Special’ that came out in 2013. The reason that it is notable is that it is framed like a syndicated news report. I’m sure if you live near a larger city, you have your ‘WNYC NEW YORK’ affiliate with its ‘GOOD MORNING, DAYTON’ morning show and its weekend ‘PORTLAND LIFE WITH CHIP MOCKLY’ or whatever. They talked about the big stories, too, but they always felt a little more personal and it wasn’t unheard of to even know or run into the anchors.

Well, WNUF frames their handcam-horror show based on a report that came out in the late 80s, early 90s as a reporter and camera person go into a supposedly haunted house to perform a seance on Halloween. The anchors are smarmy, the host is a jaded old news rat, the locals that have gathered are awkward and have no idea how to talk into a mic. It feels as real as it possibly could. The first five minutes, I was floored that this concept had never been concieved of doing before.

Then the commercials. If the news spots were good, the commercials are amazing. Each one handcrafted to taste like some local business. State fairs, late movie creature features, car salesman in stupid outfits.. its all there with this grainyness and audio tinnyness that feels like it comes straight from its era and was ripped off VHS. Again – if you have nostalgia for this period of time – you will be blown away how hard it hits the nail on the head.

So we should watch it, you ask…

No – no you shouldn’t. Because what it succeeds in framing and graphical expertise in making everything feel and sound beautifully period, it fails in a story. It goes to commercials all too often, which is period accurate, but narratively frustrating as hell. In the same ways I was astounded that they made me feel like I was watching WPIX NY, I got angrier and angrier as a steady dose of nothing continued to happen.

I watch a lot of bad cinema, and I walk away going ‘well, they did what they set out to do’, but rarely does a piece of work make me feel anger at how much potential it gave up. If this is what my parents meant when they said ‘I’m not mad, just disappointed’ – then I finally get it.

If you have Shudder, do yourself a favor and watch the first 15 minutes of this… then turn it off, and imagine a really great movie they could have made. It will be better than the one you skipped.

You can find more reviews like this, over at my LETTERBOXD account where I catalog everything I watch when I remember to.

[The End] Stargate SG-1

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It’s the last of the YEAR 8 themed episodes, so now we get to The End… with our thinnest premise yet.  STARG8.

What started as a surprising cult-hit of a sci-fi movie that, I say having seen it recently, still holds up — turned into a television epic that spanned multiple television shows, a couple made-for-tv movies, and a universe of characters. 

This though, is the original. Stargate SG-1 and the end of its 10 season run.

Did it live up to its legacy? Was it simply a stopgap between one show and another network? Well, there’s only one way you are going to find out – and that is by either watching ten years of leaping through gates to mysterious lands, boldly going where no man has go– sorry, wrong one… you could watch the original, or you could just listen to our take on The End: Stargate SG-1

Ok, here we go!

Full Episode

[BLOG] PCR bring even more quotes…from ERB!

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Hey Somethings, PCR here!

James and I had a great time recording our “Movie Quotes” episode…so much so that we both wanted to continue on the quote hype train.  While James waded back in to Movies and Television, I’m going to drift more in to music… and.. more specifically, quotes from one of my favorite YouTube channels… Epic Rap Battles of History.

Without further ado… my “Top 8 favorite ERB lines”!

8 – “It’s Wendy, the hip-hoppin’ Pippy Longstocking… no flows as Frosty as the salad bars that I’m droppin’” – Burger King vs Ronald McDonald (feat. Wendy).   The cameo we weren’t expecting, but absolutely elevated an already awesome battle.

7 – “Meanwhile I’ve mastered the atom more than any man alive, now I’m here to split you like 2 and 3 from 5” – J Robert Oppenheimer vs Thanos.   This was a DEEP dive line that showed these guys seriously do their homework.

6 – “Let’s skip the kick flips and McTwists, you’ll be speechless after three periods like an ellipsis…” – Wayne Gretzky vs Tony Hawk.   Another example of these guys diving deep to not only make lyrics rhyme, but show amazing creativity while doing it.

5 – “You swamp-school dropout you’re too whiny to rhyme, at least when I Slytherin a sister.. she isn’t mine” – Harry Potter vs Luke Skywalker.    Two heavyweight franchises fighting it out gave us this fantastic dig.

4 – “Get beat by Count Dracula? You’re smoking crackula I dunk on your whackula raps like I’m Shaqula”  – Count Dracula vs Vlad the Impaler.    I’m a sucker for running rhymes and this one stole this battle.

3 – “Maybe Q can craft some new plotlines… you made Thunderball two bloody times” – James Bond vs Austin Powers.   As a Bond fan, this line almost broke me and once again shows the levels of research the team does for their lyrics.

2 – “O, happy dagger pierce me true, persuade my breath to stop.  Sheath yourself inside my heart, and like the beat…I drop” – Romeo and Juliette vs Bonnie and Clyde.    There was a LOT to like about this battle, but to have come up with this line was near perfection.

1 – “Face it Ernesto, you’re Castro but less so.  He’s Cuba Commander you’re more of the Destro”. – Che Guevara vs Guy Fawkes.    A brutal diss, great rhyme AND pop culture relevant?  Winner winner chicken dinner.