Category: Blog Posts

[BLOG] Hatton Just Bought Playstation Plus…

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Oh no – it’s the Steam Summer Sale again… please help me, no.

Amusingly enough, I recently came into a lot of different video games, so I’m really loathe to look through the endless deals that are going on in Steam. Playstation changed their whole monthly service, meaning instead of the two sub-par games they were providing you every month, you now have a library of games available to you for a couple bucks more.

I have faded a bit on playing console games, but when I saw some of what they offered, I paid upfront for the year and we’ll see what I think when it comes time for renewal.

Here’s the games I downloaded first.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – This was up front top of the list on their advertising, and for good reason. It’s a game that sold very well, so they probably aren’t losing a lot of money in giving it away. For a budget gamer like me that was waiting for the price on this to drop to below $30 to now get to play it for almost free? Easy.

Anyway, it’s an almost on-rails action game with a ton of character. They really went somewhat deep into the comic lore, blending it with the movie lore so it’s fun for everyone and they don’t have to pay Chris Pratt for likeness licensing.

GHOSTS OF TSUSHIMA – This is the game I installed first. I have head nothing but good things, and with already 8 or 9 hours in, I get it. It’s Dark Souls combat, but easier. It’s Grand Theft Auto with samurai. It’s gorgeous landscapes and mythology. The fact that the world isn’t as engaging as something like Red Dead doesn’t matter when I’ve stopped to watch flowers bloom as I ride my horse across the world.

CHOCOBO MYSTERY DUNGEON: EVERYBUDDY! – It’s a loot-grinding dungeon crawler with rogue’y elements. Originally for the WII, it features big fluffy Chocobo in outfits as you give them classic Final Fantasy job classes. My wife, looking the list with me, looked at me like I had two heads as she is downloading the zombie world Days Gone, and I’m squeeing like I just got let out of elementary school early because I get to play with Chocobos.

So do you do Playstation Plus? What are you downloading. Tell us in all the usual places. Till then – this has been Hatton.

[BLOG] A Little Something About Data…

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The internet has made us all boiled frogs.

The boiled frog syndrome is that people don’t accept bad situations at once. If I was to suggest you need to listen to screams all day, you would think I was bonkers. If I told you that you would be given a dollar for every scream every hour… maybe you would say yes. Then the scream got a little longer. A couple more screams, but a slightly higher payout. Longer screams. A little less payout. More screams. Etc etc until your life is now making nothing and listening to a scream all the time. You would be a boiled frog, the temperature getting higher and higher until you didn’t even know you were dead.

So on one side of the internet, places like Facebook and Youtube have removed your ability to see things the way you would like to see them in lieu of providing you the things it expects you want to see. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen them before or they are years old – their science has shown this content will provide them with the best situation for revenue, and what you want bedamned.

I spend more of my life than I would care to admit trying to find ways to give me data the way I want it. The people that have grown with the modern internet, at times, don’t even realize that these are options! The belief that for your video to be relevant it must be on Youtube or have high Ups on Reddit… all the while your work, your art, your podcast, your video, is chaff on the wheel of data aggregation.

Here – to help you all on your journey of freeing yourselves from the shackles of Big Data are some applications and programs I use to help me fight through the drudge of companies telling me what and how I want to look at things. If you have any more, you know where to find us….

BNTP – Bookmarks in New Tab
This is actually the thing that spawned this article. I lose links. Google is getting harder to find fine-tooth detail the way it used to. This bookmark app puts all of your links right up front and they’re super easy to read and organize. Love it.

Fluff-Busting Purity
Facebook is a nightmare. Ads. Data spread out. Timeline in hodgepodge order. Ads. Sponsored posts… which are really just ads. Only seeing 20 of your friends posts and feeling like you are missing out on so many other people’s lives. Fluff-Busting gives you a giant list of ways to change Facebook from dark mode to removing sidebars to tabbing everything. I have no idea what modern Facebook looks like.

Reddit Enhancement Suite
This is almost a gimme if you are a reddit user – but I have to assume there are some that aren’t aware of it. RES adds so many useful desktop features to Reddit. Sadly, organizational control over when articles came in isn’t one of them – but tagging users, mass opening, color coordinationn, tabbed viewing and grouping. It really makes Reddit a slightly less home for scum and villainy.

[BLOG] A Little Something About The Seasons…

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It’s that time a year again… my least favorite time of the year.

It should come as no shock that I’m a bit of a homebody, and the last two years have done absolutely nothing to help that. I enjoy going out and doing a thing on occasion, like hosting burlesque or having in-ring segments for UWA Elite, but by and large – I’m content at home. Inside.

Now though, as we reach the beginning of the Summer, the inside begins to bake. My apartment, for as much as I like it, has one major flaw… and it is that it is made out of some sort of anti-thermos material. It makes the tepidly warm things hot in the summer and cold in the winter – and on a nice breezy day, it ruffles their hair. So given we are on the cusp of my most miserable time, I thought I’d do a quick run down of the seasons, and my opinion of them. In order of favorite to least favorite.

WINTER – It’s a delight. You’re cold, so you put on a sweatshirt. You’re still cold, so you wear a blanket.  Still cold? Drink some coffee.  Seriously, nothing is better than being ever so slightly chilly, but having reasons to wear thermals and sweatshirts. Everything is crisp and crunchy and dead, which isn’t some gothy outcry.. you’ll understand in a moment.

FALL – I know a lot of folks who love the fall, mostly because of Halloween, but I do appreciate the change of fall. It’s probably the most visually pleasing of the seasons, and aside from Christmas smells, has the best flavor profile of the seasons. I would have to really think hard as to whether I like eggnog or apple cider more… so yes, Fall’s enjoyable, but it doesn’t get snow.

SPRING – Here’s where the pain begins. The first third is the inverse Fall, which is all the growing, budding, pollening, flowers with a nice breeze.  The rest is a wet sloppy mess that starts climbing the roller coaster towards ..

SUMMER – No, I don’t want to go out. It’s hot. Yes, fine, I’ll go and enjoy the beach for a day or a pool, but I’m going to go home – and it’s still going to be this miserable sticky skin-blistering rage virus on my skin. And the bugs are out. So many bugs. All of the flying, buzzing, wooshing, biting, tree-falling, stinging, swarming, crawling bugs are out because outside is a dirty hellscape filled with monsters that are all trying to usurp our land with their nests. Remember that adorable and charming image of how you get warm in the Winter?  Yeah… all you can do in the Summer is reverse it, and eventually you’re left naked, with nothing else to take off, and making whimpering noises every time the oscillating fan moves beyond you.

The Summer sucks, and if you are one of those ‘Oh Summer, rah’ types… I don’t want to hear you bitch when the thermometer hits three digit temperatures and you feel like saying things like ‘Real scorcher out there!’ — of course it is.

It’s Summer, and it hates you

– Hatton

[BLOG] A Little Something About Trek…

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Hatton here with this week’s blog that was supposed to be last week’s, but I have lost all cohesion and concept of the passage of time. Thanks Rob for picking up my dumb dumb slack.

Anyway – I am a Trek person. If you love all sci-fi equally, go you, but if I had to choose between watching a lightsaber or a phaser, I’m going to choose a phaser every time. That said, not all Trek has been created equally, and in recent years there has been a surprising number of new shows that wear the Trek name. Thankfully these shows have disregarded the Abrams version of Trek entirely and have rested solely on the ‘prime timeline’ for lack of a term.

So what are my thoughts on these new Treks? I thought I’d give my pros and my cons this week.

Star Trek: Discovery – Starting in a world before the original series, with nods to original Captain Pike, Tribbles, and Spock, we follow Michael Burnham who was the canonically inserted adoptive sister of Spock.

The good here is that this show has the heart of Trek right. The characters grow and learn lessons, they are humans who are fighting for the Prime Directive. Also, given this show is being produced now, the morality of Trek is updated along with it featuring women, people of color, non-binary, lgbtq all in the chain of command with absolutely no fanfare. There are moments of real tearjerking beauty in Discovery, and I look forward to every season.

The bad though… the bad is its main character, Michael Burnham. Not the actress, as Sonequa Martin-Green is excellent, but the character. Her primary flaw is that she isn’t perfect enough to compete with her near god-like Spock, so she is always fighting for relevancy when compared to him. That concept makes her too good at near everything else, and as the show goes on she seems to somehow get smarter than people at the height of their profession. Answering medical questions for doctors and history questions for anthropologists… she’s just too much at times.

Star Trek: Picard – The final adventures of my favorite captain, Picard is an interesting mix of nostalgia and telling stories outside of the standard ‘captain and his crew’ world that most shows lean into. I have only taken in the first season, but within we learn what’s happened to Data, Riker, Troi, Seven of Nine, and I have no doubt that there is more to come in the next Season. It clearly loves the source material and pays homage in every inch of it.

The bad is mostly plot oriented. It’s story, where fun and intended to take us to various corners of the universe and explore the aftereffects of what Picard went through in Next Generation, the big season plot would have largely never been a concern if not for the heroes getting involved. There is a season finale issue as well that others may have a problem with, but I’ll leave that for the forum-arguers.

Lastly – we have the cartoons. Lower Decks and Prodigy. Decks is a Family Guy style comedy and Prodigy is a CGI animated kid-friendly adventure. Both have their merits and their love of Trek on their sleeve. (Prodigy, notably features show friend Bonnie Gordon as the ship computer). Lower Decks makes fun of the things we love, but holds onto a lot of Trek’s heart, and Prodigy is a big adventure that, due to its CGI, sometimes feels less Star Trek and more Reboot… both though are enjoyable as hell.

So, what’s your favorite current Trek? Are you looking forward to Strange New Worlds? Sound off in the usual places. Hatton out.

[BLOG] Thank you!

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Hey all, PCR here!

I know we missed Friday’s blog post, we were a little busy doing a 12 hour stream over on Twitch helping to raise awareness for Livestream For The Cure 6!

Thanks to your early donations, we are OVER $1100 towards our goal of $20,000!  That’s HUGE being just under 2 weeks away!

If you were looking to donate early, you can do so here!

If you see any of Livestream’s posts on social media, please give them a share!  The more eyes we get on the event, the more money we can raise!

Thank you to all the early donators, and we look forward to seeing you May 19-21st for the stream!

– PCR

[BLOG] Kickin’ it Old School (music)

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Hey all, PCR here (again!)

I’ve been in a weird music mood lately as I drive around for my job, and I’ve been falling back in to some Classic/Old School Rap tunes, so for those of you who love it so loud your rear view mirror vibrates, here’s what I’ve been bumping lately…

California Love – Dr. Dre/Tupac.  A quintessential West Coast anthem.  The lyrics from Dre feel laid back while Tupac’s verse has a sense of urgency feel to it.  Both sides of that coin flow amazingly with the beat and the musical hook.  “Bumpin’ and Grindin’ like a slow jam” indeed.

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio.  Quite possibly the most memorable thing about the movie “Dangerous Minds”.  The haunting violins and chorus merge with the window-rattling beat as Coolio weaves his verses about being a victim of his surroundings and street upbringing. a subwoofer thumper for sure.

Rockbox – Run DMC.  An even further back classic from their debut album, it was one of the first rap songs I can remember that merged with shredding guitar tracks to create something that had as-of-yet been unheard of.

Shake Ya Tailfeather – P Diddy, Nelly, Murphy Lee.  From the Bad Boys II soundtrack, this is like a mini-recreation of “P. Diddy and the Fam”.  Each verse is unique and fits each artist’s style while still maintaining the flow of the song.  Still hits.

ANYthing off “No One Can Do It Better” – The D.O.C.  I can’t even begin to think of how many hours and hours and hours this CD used to play in my car on road trips back in the day.  A car accident crushed his larynx and changed his voice, but 7 years later he regained enough of it for his second album, but the debut record for the man who co-wrote Eazy E’s solo debut remains a classic.

– PCR

[BLOG] Hatton’s Fictioning Again…

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Hatton time … but wait, you said, it’s not Hatton time. Hatton time was last week and we are unsure if we can handle this much greatness.

Well, suck it up, because tomorrow’s my birthday and I’m heisting the blog this week.  Why?  You see, your friendly neighborhood Hatton has a certain ailment that has affected him off and on since he was a child, and that is the curse of needing to write imaginary things down. Legally, I believe it is called ‘writing’. That said, when I’m in a writing rut, I have a secret that I’m going to share with you today.  That is, I have a Reddit account… I know, scandalous.

That account writes short horror stories out of nowhere – which is why, it’s called SurpriseHorrorStory

So for my birthday, here’s a gift of some creepiness from posts I’ve done in the past.

-=-=-

Mum and Papa were awoken before the sun lit their bedroom by Billy crashing into their bedroom, “THANK YOU! OH THANK YOU SO MUCH!”

Parents expected to wake up early on Christmas morning, but not so urgently. The pair exchanged glances with each other, and then to their closed closet doors. Billy’s new bike, his big gift this year, was tucked away in their closet. The rest of his gifts were wrapped, so what was he so excited about?

“He is adorable and I love him! He hasn’t told me his name yet, but he enjoyed the rest of Santa’s cookies.” The boy was vibrating with joy.

“Son? ..What are you talking about?” Papa asked, sliding out of bed and into his slippers. He then heard the crash of something downstairs. Glass shattering. The cat screaming angrily.

Billy, oblivious to the noise, said, ‘My Furby, Papa. He’s adorable!” The stairs creaked. “Oh! He’s coming up the stairs! I didn’t know they could do that!”
(Source)

 

-=-=-

“Look, I don’t know which one of you is doing it, but it’s starting to freak me out.”

My coworkers all shared confused glances as I sat down with my lunch. It wasn’t surprising, only one of them was likely guilty.

“The sign.. the googly eyes sign?” I asked, imploring one of them to reveal themselves, but nobody started giggling or raising their hand.

I sighed. In the ideal version of this conversation in my head, one of them admitted it was them and they could explain it to the group. With nobody owning up, I was the one that would have to tell the story and be the source of the laughter.

“Someone keeps screwing with the earthquake sign.. the stupid one with the googly eyes so that the eyes are always staring at my desk.” And the laughter came. It was contained as each of them realized I was taking this seriously, but it was most certainly going to come out more explosively when I wasn’t around.

With nobody owning up, I finished my lunch without much more discussion about it and went back to my desk, watching as the eyes followed me from the hallway to my seat.

Did they look angrier today?
(Source)

-=-=-

♫ Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Following new friends, while remaining hidden
Hiding my pistol inside of my sling
These are a few of my favorite things.

Starting off easy, then getting quite brutal,
using a knife so much that it gets too dull
Hearing the new words that my new friend sings
These are a few of my favorite things ♫
(Source)

[BLOG] A Little Something About Fiction…

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I promised myself that I was going to try and get through more books this year. I’ve digested so many movies, I honestly find myself not watching many lately, and the ones I do watch tend to be old schlocky sci-fi movies with people making fun of them underneath. MST3k and Rifftrax really have warped my brain that way…

Anyway, I promised I was going to read more, and I gave myself the allowance of audiobooks. I realized that I had a couple Audible credits just hanging out that I hadn’t touched from years ago, so I reinstated my account and between physical titles and audiotitles, I’m actually not doing so bad with a half-dozen or so books read this year.  On that note, audiobooks get the same treatment that movies I don’t have interest in – I listen to them at 1.25x because most readers are just too slow and I get distracted way too easily.

So here’s some books that I’ve braindumped in one form or another, and what I’ve thought of them.  I’ll warn you – they’re mostly not great…

CLOWN IN A CORNFIELD – Read mostly because of the cover and the title, this is a young adult book in the Christopher Pike, RL Stein variety where a bunch of kids deal with the craziness going on around them. It isn’t great, but it definitely will remind you of some late 90’s slasher films you’ve seen.  If you want something fluffy to inject into your brain, you could go a lot worse than ‘Clown’ … hell, you could go with…

FANTASTICLAND – Let’s start with the fact that the elevator pitch of this book is great. ‘What if we did the Warriors, but at Disney?’ and the first half of the book is trying to convince you that this premise is occurring. In the style of World War Z tales from people that surrounded the incident, Fantasticland is a damned mess that, the longer you scrutinize, the less sense it makes… oh, and why does an amusement park turn into a post-apocalyptic wasteland (without an apocalypse).. because these damn kids turn to monsters without their phones, by gum.  Blech.

THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP – I really enjoy Grady Hendrix. His stories take a simple premise and go crazy with it. ‘HORRORSTOR’ is ‘What if you had a haunted Ikea’. ‘SOLD OUR SOUL’ is ‘What if a band did sell their souls for rock & roll?’.  And FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP is.. well, just what the title tells you. What if the horror we digested in the 70s and 80s weren’t fiction, but fictionalized historical accounts of actual events.  What would Laurie Strode, Nancy Thompson, and Sidney Prescott be like in group therapy? It’s fun, tells a great story, and Hendrix has a love of his source material.

THE TROOP – Finally, ok.. if you want to be skeeved the hell out. If you want a novel that will turn your stomach, feel big and creepy and icky, and completely satisfying from top to bottom? I give to you Nick Cutter’s The Troop which, elevator pitch version is: ‘Stand By Me’ but ‘OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT THING?’ …A troop of boy scouts are on a private island for an overnight trip, but they run into some problems.  I know that says nothing, really, but you really should just dive in blind and be grossed out like it wants you to be.

Hatton, do you read anything other than horror?

Yes, I go through phases… as I’m currently reading Christopher ‘Eragon’ Paolini’s new scifi book ‘To Sleep In A Sea of Stars’ ..and it’s ok.. I’ll let you know some other time how it turned out, but I’m pushing to get to the end if that helps.

So what have you been reading? You know where to tell us…

 

[BLOG] PCR talks Trailers that were better than their Movies!

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Hey all, Podcast Rob here,

One of my biggest gripes about movies is how amazingly misleading the first thing we see about them is…. The Trailer.  I feel that, over time, the movie industry has gotten more insidious with movies that, while they may publicly praise and hype up, are worried internally about siad movie’s performance… so they go out of their way to make the trailer look as tasty as possible to get ases in seats even when they know the movie won’t live up to it.  I suppose in a way it’s no different than seeing a commercial of an amazingly delicious looking burger only to open the container and see roadkill on a bun.

That said.. here’s a few of my BIGGEST issues….

Avengers : Age of Ultron.   Look, I love me some James Spader, and when I first heard him as the voice of Ultron I thought this movie was going to be a homerun.  The eerie “I’ve got no Strings” was shiver-inducing. Unfortunately, the movie left me watching itless like Thor seeing Cap almost lift the hammer, and more like Ultron watching humanity and just shaking his head…

Highlander : Endgame.  Yes, yes, yes… “There Should Have Been Only One” (they’re not wrong…).  Biggest gripe about this movie?  There’s a scene in the trailer when the silhouettes of Connor and Duncan are fighting Kell (aside : What’s with K for all the bad guy names?  Kurgan, Katana, Kane, Kell…), and Kell gets cut in half and becomes TWO Kells, each fighting one of the Highlander pair.  It was something no Highlander villain had done before, and would have been amazing to see on the screen, except that was ONLY in the trailer and never mentioned nor teased in the movie.

The Crow : City of Angels.  There’s a version of the theatrical trailer from 1996 that shows a shadow on an exterior wall of a crow landing and transforming into Ashe Corvin (not the WORST name in the movie… I still laugh that the guy who played “Judah Earl” in The Crow : CoA also played “Jubal Early” in Firefly….).  Another instance of establishing something completely new in the canon of the movies that never actually made it into the movie.

Godzilla (1998).  They shows JUST enough of Godzilla rampaging through New York City to get you really excited, and the scream at the end sent chills down your spine.. but once the whole creature was revealed, the “Uhhh… what?” was just the start of the repetition of that phrase throughout the rest of the film.

Matrix : Resurrections.  This trailer hit the nostalgia vein for sure, but not only was the movie an unnecessary and  thinly-veiled money grab by the studio… the movie was self-aware enough to TELL you it was an unnecessary and thinly-veiled money grab.

What are some of your trailers that were better than the movies?

ALSO

Livestream For The Cure 6 is May 19th-21st!  9am-Midnight each day!  100% of all donations go to The Cancer Research Institute, and this year we’re shooting for $20,000.  Please come join us and a whole host of other amazing content creators from around the world to help make a world immune to cancer.

Follow at @livestream4cure on Twitter and @Livestreamforthecure on Facebook for more details.  For those looking to donate, the early donations link is currently OPEN and can be found here…   https://fundraise.cancerresearch.org/fundraiser/3744472

– PCR

A Little Something About Charity Gaming…

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Hatton here with a blog this week, and since we are starting in on the Livestream for the Cure season – I came across a charity purchase that, if you are reading this in a month or so will have less relevance, but not absolutely none.

You see, I have been a fan of Bundle sites for years. The most famous, and the center of this article, Humble Bundle, are sort of the Godfather of the ‘spend less for more’ software and gaming bundle packs. There are a few sites that due similar things nowadays: Fanatical, Epic Bundles, etc… but Humble has always felt the most legit – and as they now distribute their own line of games, there’s good reason.

To put money, and donation is 100%, to the war efforts in Ukraine, they are doing a helluva bundle right now with the Stand With Ukraine Bundle. $40 for over 100 games, some software, a few pieces of 3D terrain renders, comics, etc… it doesn’t matter that I already own some of the topline games on that list, it was an easy purchase.  So I thought I’d list a couple of the games I have tried, or already love from the set. If this little post gets another donation to a good cause, it was worth it.

SATISFACTORY – Ever play Factorio? Do you like automating coal mining so you can automate iron mining so you can automate robot generation so you can automate your automation automator? Yeah… Satisfactory is Factorio in an FPS style – and it’s gorgeous.  Great biomes, gorgeous landscapes, and giant girder structures with a good sense of humor.  I’ve spent an idiotic amount of time building my horrible factory that I am very aware is inefficient.. but damn is it fun.

SLAY THE SPIRE / RING OF PAIN – I pushed these together because they are very much cut from the same ‘Deckbuilding Roguelike’ style of game that Slay the Spire planted a flag in and games like Ring of Pain brought their own concept to.  I don’t play CCGs because I am not good enough at deckbuild strats to win enough to have fun, but I sure as hell don’t mind losing hundreds of time to the same damn knight who keeps getting in my damn way.  Very much a ‘Play for 5 minutes, realize it’s been 2 hours’ kind of game.

SUNSET OVERDRIVE – This was my big surprise out of the bundle so far. A game from Insomniac Games (Spyro, Ratchet & Clank) that looks and feels like Fortnite (but 3 years earlier), plays like Jet Set Radio or Aggressive Inline, and is an open world’y, tower defense’y, splatterfest?  How did I miss this when it came out? Now, to be fair, the reason I probably missed it is because it isn’t the greatest game. The controls are very loose, the music cuts in and out as it sees fit, and the targetting is miserable… but for the cost of .37 cents?  It’s tons of fun!

That’s just a couple – I’ve tried Corridor Z, a runner that’s obviously a port from mobile that’s ok. Necroworm, a Sokoban puzzler, Neverout, a ‘Cube’ puzzle that hurts my head, and Pop-Up Dungeon, a ‘tabletop rpg’ style strategy game… so, if you see this early enough – give to a good cause – try a bunch of games – and tell the developers thanks.