Saturday, December 26, 2009

Screamers 2: The Hunting

Screamers is a favorite movie of mine. Not something I'll pop in to cheer me up like Bruiser, but if it's on, chances are I'll watch it. I'm sure a lot of that is because of Peter Weller, who is just aweesome. The first movie had an interesting premise, with two factions that had gone to war (the miners and the company who they worked for) and in the process created a weapon that eventually made life terrible for the both of them. Well, in the sequel, these robotic land sharks are back and ready to make life miserable again.

A distress signal is sent out early in the film and responding to it is a crack team of alliance soldiers. One their way to find the source of the transmission and rescue whoever sent it before a cosmic storm completely renders the planet unlivable, they find a group of survivors who want nothing to do with them and also a factory that made the screamers that goes from dormant to awake and starts the problems for everyone. The soldiers actually make some fairly smart decisions and decide that the mission is FUBAR and head back to the ship, but the screamers have drained their power cells so now they have to work with the hostile natives and find some more before they're all killed by screamers or the storm, unaware that the threat of a new variety of screamer may destroy them before either of the others.

Not a bad little film and unlike some sequels, a working knowledge of the first film is almost necessary, as there are references that aren't explained fully so you may be a little lost without them and some that aren't explained at all and you won't even notice without the first film. This mainly refers to the repetitive actions that the humanoid screamers do that sets them apart from others. Of course, perhaps they omitted this as not knowing this really keeps the ending a surprise. They could have made it a little better, mainly by cutting out some of the random deaths that didn't really make sense, like the engineer who is killed alone and found later by the soldiers when they return to the ship. It could have been more interesting if the screamers stowed away on the ship and were waiting for it to take off and then were found by the engineer and killed him and then drained the cells and ran because they were discovered. Better than most DTV efforts, that is for sure. There's another death that is random and they miss an opportunity for the later screamer variety to make an appearance via this victim, but so it goes.

It's a gory movie, much more gory than the original and the effects have been done rather well this time around, not suffering as much from the compositing issues of the original and the newer computer effects make for some neat hybrids. If you're looking for a good way to kill some time, check it out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cacophony

It's almost that day again, in fact, it's the eve of it, and as I sit here on a day off, watching my daughter run around the living room like a lunatic, I'm enjoying myself very much. I got quite a bit done today, from trying to resurrect my newly RROD'd xbox (again) to taking photos of Santa CHUD to watching as many xmas movies as I can. I hope everyone out there has a happy and safe holiday and remember to put out a bowl of angel wings with the milk and cookies for Santa CHUD, the other guy in red that is coming around tonight.

Also, bring me cookies. That is all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tekken 6

I can't say I've ever really played a game in this series, save for 3 which had Gon as a character, but I picked it up anyway for dirt cheap for Black Friday and I'm enjoying it. It seems to me that it is a lot more of a fighting fighter as opposed to the fireball and special moves of Street Fighter or the weapons of Soul Calibur. At least I haven't discovered anyone with a hadouken, though I'm sure the robot chick has something. The character models are done really well and the move sets are varied and interesting and you have 40 characters unlocked from the start, which is nice, as I've played games where you have 3 characters out of 20 or so to start and have to unlock the rest. It's got a robust set of gameplay styles, from Arcade to online to scenario, which has a crazy amount of cut scenes and is almost like an action rpg so far, but rather entertaining and also the best way to earn up money for unlockables. The unlockables could be annoying if you had to buy them all, as they cost a lot and in arcade you only get about 2k a pop. If you do scenario, that shouldn't be a problem. I'm having fun with it and and have only tried about 5 characters so far but there are no problems so far. Check it out.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Power of Thwack

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Mine was goodly, save for some illness in the family, but the colds subsided and now everyone is healthy. I managed to break 50k and win Nanowrimo for the third year in a row. That was quite happy. I've been puttering around the house and decorating and raking leaves for the most part, until last night, when I wanted to draw on my computer so I busted out the wacom tablet and found that the pen was active no matter what I did.

What this means is that it was registering that it was clicked, even if it wasn't touching the tablet, thus drawing a line when you didn't want to or just being annoying and selecting everything on the page. I tried updating the drivers. No luck. I removed and replaced the nib. No luck. I restarted and unplugged the tablet before plugging it back in. No luck.

What worked? I smacked it against my desk. Now it works. I tried it against my hand but there were no results from that. The desk was apparently the key, so now it's working. Note to other Wacom users--don't store the pen in the tablet, at least not with the nib in. Apparently this can cause the sensor to stick, which is what happened to me, I guess. This could permanently damage your pen and make you buy another one, so it's nice that if it isn't too bad, you can fix it this way.

It's amazing what can be solved by violence.