Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kiefer Sutherland's Touch...

I'm not going to lie. During the time that 24 was airing, Kiefer Sutherland was the king of TV. Whenever the latest episode of 24 was on, nothing interrupted me. I didn't answer the phone, the door, or respond to texts. When the show ended, I figured that Sutherland would take a break and relax for a season or three, maybe go back to doing films. Instead, he comes back with another show called "Touch".

The idea is simple: A father finds out that his son's autism hides a deeper secret: His son is able to predict future events. Granted, that concept isn't really a big one. Frankly, it sounds like the "B" storyline on an episode of Supernatural or Grimm or something. Definitely not something that you can base a whole show on, right? WRONG! Check out this preview:

You know something major is going to go down when Jack Bauer goes to Murtaugh for help. But seriously, how awesome was that trailer? The show looks really interesting, and seems to focus on the family aspect alot. I particularly liked the ending with the father finding a way to communicate with his son. A theme that is practically eternal. Fox is going to preview the show tonight at 9pm.

What do you think, my dear readers, are you going to give the show a shot?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Colony: The Second Reality TV Show I Watch...

This is why I hate the Discovery Channel (TDC). I have frequently stated that Fear Factor is the only reality TV show that I would watch. The folks at TDC heard that and unbeknownst to me said, "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!" They jumped into a time machine, went back to 2009 and created a reality show called "The Colony".

Now, before you start waving victory flags and signing me up for your "Survivor" viewing parties, go back and re-read what I just wrote. This is a show created by THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL. You know what that means? There isn't any million dollar contest bullshit going on. The point of the show is to TEACH its viewers. You watch the show to LEARN stuff. I will admit that "The Colony" is a reality TV show, but I use that label EXCEEDINGLY loosely.

Here's the premise of the show:

Our world, as we know it, could end in a moment. Nuclear war, global pandemic, and other threats could wipe us all out. If you were to live through the disaster, how would you survive? The Colony is an experiment that simulates a post-apocalyptic world where 10 volunteers are given the task of surviving and re-building civilization for 10 weeks. The part that really makes it interesting is you get insights into the three major aspects of the show: psychology, security, and technology by experts during the show!!

Now, I just found this show, so I'm only on S1 which takes place in a cordoned off area of Los Angeles where they simulate life after a global catastrophe. In doing some research, I found that the SECOND season of the show takes place in an isolated area near New Orleans where they simulate life after a global viral outbreak, and that they just finished casting for the 3rd season. It'll be interesting to see what apocalyptic scenario they test out this time!

The first two seasons are available for download and on DVD. If you're looking for a good show, I highly recommend The Colony. Check out the series with this trailer for season 1:

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Cautionary Tale...

One year, two months, two weeks, and six days ago (not that I was counting), I bit the bullet and bought the PlayStation 3. It was a first gen console with the hardware based backwards compatibility. And despite initial reservations, I LOVED it. I was able to play my PS2 and PS1 games, and I jumped into the new PS3 games with reckless abandon. I enjoyed my first forays into Blu-Ray movies. Later on, I discovered that it could play various types of video files (DIVX, Xvid, WMV, AVI, MP4, etc.) and my previously burned computer data discs and I was TRULY in love. You have no idea how much easier that SINGLE ability of this console made my life. It was simply awesome. Unfortunately, it looks my PS3 has unequivocally died. I tried resurrecting it and for a few days it worked, but now death has come back for my console. In the end, you just can't cheat death.

Now as a seasoned veteran in dealing with electronics, I know that sometimes, machines just simply die. That's not really the problem or what makes this a cautionary tale. See, this failure brings to light a classic mistake. One that everyone falls victim to eventually. I had spent almost 15 months playing various games, both disc-based and downloaded games, and storing the save files on my PS3... WITHOUT BACKING ANY OF THEM UP.

Since the first death of my PS3, I started researching the PS3 and whether or not I could restore the hard drive (HDD) to another PS3. And that's when I discovered a couple of things that I hadn't known about the PS3. First, in an effort to combat piracy (specifically movies) Sony introduced a mechanism in the PS3 that formats and encrypts any newly installed HDD in a way that ties that drive to that SPECIFIC console. Transferring my HDD to a newly purchased PS3 would only allow me to reformat the HDD, consequently erasing all the data I would want to save.

Thankfully, all the downloadable content (DLC) for my games is linked to my PlayStation Network (PSN) account so all the items I paid for I can re-download without having to re-purchase. And all the trophies I synced to the online servers aren't lost to me, either. The only data that I'm currently in a position to lose is my game saves. Yeah, that's right. FIFTEEN MONTHS OF GAMING IS NOW OFFICIALLY GONE! I'm looking at a lot of time and effort to reclaim all of that.

Some of my friends and family have taken this opportunity to push the idea of switching to the Xbox 360. Their biggest gambit being that with an Xbox, this wouldn't be an issue. It's designed to allow for the switching of the internal HDD with no issues. And yet, despite all the work I'm going to have to redo, all the battles I'm going to have to re-fight, it's STILL not in me to go to XBox. I won't do it. It simply will NEVER happen.

Now, I'm the first to admit that the Xbox Live Network is better than PSN. But that's not really saying much. Microsoft is first and foremost a COMPUTER company, if their online network sucked it would reflect badly on the computer part of their company. But, here's the thing, I don't play the multi-player options on my games. I'm old school. I play my games on my system by myself. Speaking of games, I will give the Xbox it's due props; they have some serious hit games that are exclusive to the system. But, none that I care about. The only one that they managed to pique my interest on was Ninja Gaiden Black, but once that was ported over to the PS3 as Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Xbox lost it's tenuous grip on me.( Let's also consider the cost of replacing all the games I have for the PS3 for the Xbox. Definitely NOT an option.)

This disaster is not a reason to switch consoles. Because it's not about the console. Don't get me wrong, I HAVE spent the last few days pissed at my console, and even more enraged at Sony for not providing some kind of mechanism to recover the data from my HDD! But, to be completely honest, this is all on me. All the info was out there floating in the CyberWeb InterSpace, if only I'd had the foresight to look into it. but I didn't.

As a seasoned computer tech, I should have been backing up my data regularly, but I didn't. And now, I'm hoping for some kind of miracle. But, I beg of you, my dear readers, take a lesson from Dilking. Back up your data. It doesn't matter if it's your PC, PS3 or any other electronic device. Make backups. Keep them current. Learn from my mistakes. Or you could lose something much more precious than my game save files.


 Long Live Play!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I haven't been dialed in to the pulse of Hollywood for a long while, so the appearance of this fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series came as a complete (and welcome) surprise to me. While I have certain reservations about the first 3 films, I still great enjoy them. Walking into MI4, I was expecting a good story and lots of action, which I got. But, the story and action came with an unexpected friend: comedy. MI4 is by far the funniest of all the Mission: Impossible films. And not just because Simon Pegg's appearance in the film, but he does help.

In case you haven't seen the trailers, GP follows Ethan Hunt and his team as they race against time to take down a terrorist codenamed Cobalt who is trying to incite a nuclear war. An attempt to ascertain Cobalt's identity at the Kremlin ends in a disastrous explosion which the IMF is blamed for, causing the President to invoke the titular "Ghost Protocol" and disavows the entire IMF. However, Cobalt's plans are continuing and Hunt and his team (now deemed rogue agents) must continue their mission to stop Cobalt with no backup of any kind. And that's where a lot of the comedy comes from.

See, it's easy for a trained agent to complete assignments when they have the backup of their agency, funding, and all the high-tech gadgets a person could want. But when all of that is removed, everything becomes slightly more dangerous and a hell of a lot more difficult. Mix that concept with the one thing that spy movies always gloss over (that these agents are PEOPLE with all the normal reactions of people to extreme situations) and you get a surprisingly effective, very subtle vehicle for comedy. Take for example the section of the movie that takes place in Dubai.

In MI2, I thought it was a stroke of genius that the villain of the piece had a psychological profile of Ethan Hunt and explained why Hunt always seemed to favor acrobatic solutions to infiltrations. In MI4, when trying to capture an agent of the above mentioned terrorist, Cobalt, they run into a problem with taking over a building's security network. Dunn (played by Simon Pegg) brings up the "slight wrinkle" of having to get into the server room from the outside because he didn't have enough time to hack the servers. Now, the building in question is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at over 820 meters high. And Hunt has to go outside and climb up to the 130th floor to access the server room. While Tom Cruise is not delivering a punchline per se, his portrayal of Hunt's reaction to that "slight wrinkle" is nothing short of hilarious!! It's that kind of comedy that is spread out through the film. No snappy one-liners or quick rim-shot jokes, just normal human reactions to some of the most extreme situations imaginable, which ironically has the effect of making the action more palatable. With one shocked look or exclamation, the audience is told that not only does this plan seem insane to them, but also to the agents who actually have to ENGAGE that plan. It makes it so much easier to maintain the necessary suspension of disbelief, when even the agents have issues with the action sequences.

Speaking of those sequences, the Mission Impossible series has always set itself apart by creating action sequences that weren't just about bullets and explosives, they were about tension and suspense. It was just as thrilling to see the IMF agents in the slow moments in the sequences as it was when all hell broke loose. In MI4, the action is taken a step further by presenting it in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Under the direction of Brad Bird, the sequences went from adrenaline rushing, pulse pounding action to works of cinematic art. It looks like Bird was able to take his artistic sensibilities from his animated movies and successfully apply them to live-action movies. My personal favorite is the Dubai sequence. The cinematography was simply amazing to watch. Seeing these intense action sequences gorgeously filmed against the most visually stunning backdrops I've seen in a long time added a grander sense of scope that was truly awe-inspiring.

MI4 is without a doubt the best offering in the series. It's great fun with amazing action and a great cast leading you through it. If you're looking for a thrill ride, I would definitely recommend giving Ghost Protocol a shot.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome To The New Year...

Last year was a rough one for a lot of people, me included. The brakes went on my car while I was driving, I got arrested for driving with a suspended license, my birthday party got shut down before it even got started, my PS3 died, and I got to spend a week in the hospital due to a gall stone attack. Worse of all, I STILL didn't manage to get a girlfriend! However, I did make a promise to my friends to try to be less negative, so let's put all that in the past and welcome the new year!!

2012 is starting off great. I was able to resurrect my PS3, thanks to that gall stone incident I'm in Weight Watchers and am losing weight (Although, I gained some back due to all the holiday stuff.), my car issues are taken care of, and I might be getting a "do over" birthday party! I do say I really liked the way this year has started for me. Especially the fact that I got kissed not once, not twice, but FOUR times by one of the most beautiful women I know at the New Year's Party this year!

There's nothing in the world like kissing a beautiful woman. Nothing. Oh and no, I'm not going to reveal who she is. Just that she is beautiful and awesome, and a good friend of mine.

Talk about starting a new year off right, though!! I just hope this bodes well for the rest of the year. *crosses fingers* Happy New Year to all of you, my dear readers! May 2012 bring peace, love, and prosperity to us all!