Archive for January, 2012

Seven Swords of Shaolin

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Braak

Seven Swords of Shaolin is an epic, kung fu RPG for the…uh, let’s say the XBox and the PS3.  It comes with a “sword” — a plastic weapon that has a rumble pack and a bunch of gyroscopes and what not to keep track of its position.  In the game, you take the part of Zhou Xuan-Yun, a young martial artist who, in his quest to avenge his murdered brother, travels throughout medieval China to learn the secrets of the sword.

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Dear The Department of Justice,

I know you’re probably a little scared, learning these Anonymous guys figured out your password was actually just “123456”. And if this whole SOPA business has shown us anything, it’s that you guys are pretty baffled by the internet in general.

And also you don’t realize that when you say you’re not a “nerd,” what you mean is “I don’t know where the IT department is located.”

So I imagine now that you’re on the brink of deciding that Anonymous is a group of cyber-terrorists (which is totally what you’re going to call them, because admittedly that does sound cooler than “internet-surrectionists”). And you’re wondering just what it is they want.

I would suggest you start by watching the 1995 Modern Classic, Hackers. You will find the answer there.  (more…)

Reviews on the new J.J. Abrams/whoever-else-ends-up-being-in-charge-of-the-story series Alcatraz have been mixed-to-positive. Most have commented on its procedural structure, as though that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but by and large the reviews feel like an unjustified pre-judgment on the show now that Lost is done with.

These reviews seem to forget 1) that Abrams’ name was also attached to the completely (and hey, justly) forgotten Undercovers, 2) seriously, the guy’s a producer, he’s not Aaron Sorkin writing these things by his lonesome (meaning, we don’t really have room to judge Alcatraz the same way we could all laugh at Studio 60), and 3) Every criticism lobbed at Alcatraz seems to echo all the criticisms thrown at Fringe when that one first showed up.  (more…)

A friend of mine put this image up on Facebook:

I thought it was kind of funny, you know, and then someone responded with “So, we should just pray for world peace and nothing else?” in a way that seemed to me (purely delusory, of course, since there’s no way to establish tone or feeling on the internet) a kind of a snotty way, and I started thinking about it, and now I’m going to write about it.

What follows is a lengthy discussion of Christian theology, so I guess everyone but Moff and Carl can check out and come back tomorrow, when maybe Holland will write about Iron Man or something.

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Jamie Dwyer has kept her sister, Shoshannah, hidden from the rest of their family for more than ten years.  But when the family’s destructive supernatural legacy invades the life they’ve built for themselves, Jamie has no choice but to turn to back to her family and embroil her sister in their milennia-long secret war.  If Shoshannah is going to survive, she’ll have to become a part of…

…the Cabal.

Starring (apparently) Rosario Dawson and Natalie Morales.  Special appearance by Idris Elba as Ulysses Duvalier.

Coming this Fall to SyFy.

(Good job on that poster, Casey, that is crazy awesome)

Remember how after The Incredibles came out, the people making Fantastic Four had to scramble to rewrite their third act because Brad Bird had basically trumped everything they’d been doing?*

Well, it turns out by making Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, he’s basically screwed the next James Bond movie. Sorry, Skyfall, you’re gonna have to make Daniel Craig jump off of some pretty tall and unusual things now to compete.

It’s weird to praise this as the “best” Mission Impossible movie because that implies a level of quality control that’s not really existent in the franchise. Because there’s nothing about it that actually MAKES a franchise, despite the recognizable title and consistent lead actor.

Franchise isn’t the right word, then. Brand name. Anyway, even the presence of Tom Cruise isn’t required for it to be a Mission Impossible movie. If fortunes had turned a different way, Ving Rhames might be the headliner on this thing.  (more…)

The second part of our Short Fiction Friday Event, brought to you by TQP contributor Ryan Crutchfield. Part One can be found here, probably read that one first.
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Today’s Short Fiction Friday even is brought to you by TQP contributor Ryan Crutchfield. It’s in two parts, enjoy them in order or out of order, at your discretion.  (But “in order” is best.)

PANTHER MINE

They found the cemetery shortly after lunch, exactly where it was not supposed to be. It was slung low and wide across the southern shadowed side of the small hill that they stood upon, stretching out of sight down into the murky edges where the forest became the swamp. The headstones where scattered like dominoes after a knife fight and a number of them were broken or knocked over. The cemetery looked ancient.
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Since friend of Threat Quality Matt Burns was dear enough to provide me with a Playstation 3, I’ve been catching up on all sorts of things, like making use of Netflix streaming in a way that makes more sense than plugging a laptop into a TV, realizing I can copy videos to its hard drive via a flashdrive, and yes, playing video games that all my friends are done with and see fit to lend me.

Which means I finally got around to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, a game that is completely inessential and yet designed exactly for me in mind.

And by me, I mean the personal-continuity-obsessive who would also like there to be enough cheat codes that I don’t have to struggle.

I quite liked the first SW:TFU, especially since I played it on the Wii, which at the time was doing its best to provide games where you use the controls as a virtual sword (see also: Red Steel II), and so could wave the wand around and make the lightsaber noises with my mouth even though the sound effects were perfectly audible. And the cheat codes were readily available, which meant I could play the first time through with massive force powers and any costume I pleased.  (more…)

So, I am looking at going back to school, and getting a degree in engineering.  I applied at Temple University, and should be hearing sometime very soon — either I didn’t get in, and need a new plan, or I’m starting in, like, four weeks.  Hooray!

On the one hand, I am happy, because I like the idea of knowing how to do the things that I have ideas for.

On the other hand, the notion is actually extremely depressing — representing, as it does, a sort of general failure on my part to figure out how to make use of any of my actual talents.

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