I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bush or Batman

Spoiler Alert: True Blood S04E01

Well, I totally called the time lapse thing. It's been twelve and a half months since we've seen our good friends in Bon Temps, just enough time for Eric to own Sookie's house (and Sookie by extension), Andy Bellefleur to get addicted to vampire blood, Tara to start a new life elsewhere as a lesbian kickboxer, Hoyt and Jessica to annoy the crap out of one another, Tommy Mickins to be taken under Mrs. Fortenberry's wing after he was shot in the leg, and Sam to join an anger management group consisting only of fellow shifters. For some reason, I pictured season three ending with Tara leaving, and season four beginning with her returning to town after "finding herself." I hadn't imagined that time would move much faster in Faerie, and I sure as heck hadn't thought about the fact that whenever someone gets pregnant in a TV show, like Arlene, there is always some sort of time lapse so that we can skip the whole nine months of boring pregnancy.

Here are a few threads that might be worth looking into:

1. Sookie in Wonderland

Faerie looks pretty fantastic, but it turns out that everything that the human/fairy hybrids see is some sort of projection. Sookie can see the gross underside of Faerie somehow, and she even uses her powers to attack the projector and turn it off. Maybe Sookie's this powerful because she didn't eat the fruit. Maybe something else is up...

Because of the fear caused by "Vampire" Bill Compton's appearance in Faerie, the dimension has become split into two factions, the first led by a sister (above) that believes Earth and Faerie should be separated, the second led by a brother (below) that believes in freedom and what have you.

It is revealed that the bad female fairy is interested in harvesting humans who have fairy blood. The word harvest sounds awfully violent. We're immediately frightened for the lives of Sookie and all the human/fairy hybrids, but let's not forget that there's a young hybrid back on Earth, an innocent named Hunter, Sookie's nephew, who may be in grave danger because of this decision.

While in Faerie, Sookie has a short meeting with her presumed-dead grandfather who has been in Faerie for twenty years, though it has felt like two hours. He soon dies when they escape from Faerie, so one is forced to wonder: What's the point? Well, first of all, Sookie brings up the complete lack of information regarding the death of her two parents, a mystery that I've often thought we're going to see more of (perhaps via Lafayette's coven?). Second, the grandfather gave Sookie a pocket watch for Jason, which makes me think that there might be something special about this pocket watch.

2. King Bill

When Sookie returns to Earth and we see both Eric and Bill's eyes open, this is the precise moment it should have been obvious that Bill is now the king of Louisiana. It is day time, so we know that at least five or so hours has passed since Sookie disappeared and Bill challenged the Queen of Louisiana to a fight to the death. Of course, it's been over a year and Bill is alive, which means he won the duel and is now the King of Louisiana. I'm left wondering how exactly Bill killed a vampire much older than him, but I'm sure we'll find out.

There are plenty of other clues throughout the episode. Though Eric is older than Bill, owns the property that they were arguing on, and is appealing more to Sookie than false Bill, Bill commands Eric to leave and Eric obeys. There is no explanation than this other than the fact that Bill now outranks Eric. Bill explains Sookie's absence by saying, "She was working for me. Vampire business." This excuse wouldn't fly unless Bill was understood as an authority in the vampire world. Furthermore, Bill offers to repay the cost of the Sookie search effort if the police would only clear his name, a political move for a vampire who is now in the world of vampire politics.

Bill works closely with a lawyer named Portia Bellefleur. But when Sookie sits down with Portia in order to find out how to get her house back, Sookie hears her thoughts and it begins to look like Bill and Portia are in some sort of relationship. Portia is a big ol' question mark, and I think we can expect a lot more from this story-line.

3. Panther Town

Why couldn't the inhabitants of the small town on the outskirts of Bon Temps be were-cougars instead of were-panthers. Then we could have Cougar Town puns, which are surprisingly funny ever since the episode of NBC's Community where Abed acts like Cougar Town is some sort of work of art. (Oh, and don't get me started on the episode where he was obsessed with The Cape...)

I had mentioned that Jason couldn't likely fit in with the panthers, and certainly couldn't lead them, as an outsider, one who is completely human. They're going to have to turn him, and it just so happens he's been locked in a freezer. What are they going to do to Jason? We'll, they're going to turn him, aren't they?

4. It's a Kind of Magic

Lafayette and Jesus join a coven. There's a woman there who can commune with the dead.

It's when she brings back a dead bird with the help of Lafayette that we realize there's more to Lafayette than meets the eye. My thoughts: he's some sort of magical battery, raw and unrealized, capable of amazing and terrible things.

While the rest of you were saying, "OMG! Bill's the King of Louisiana!" I was busy trying to figure out what was going on with the red-headed member of the coven. It would appear that Bill has a spy inside this coven. But why? Perhaps he's just keeping his eye on any potential super power. Perhaps he's interested in the idea that a being could be returned from the dead. Does Bill want to reverse his vampirism so that he can be a human again? Or does Bill want insurance against the final death?

5. Boys shouldn't play with dolls...

If that's the conclusion you got from the scene where Arlene's baby rips off the heads of dolls, then I think you ought to look again. This child is the son of serial killer Rene Lenier, and if he's showing signs of being a serial killer himself then there may be a suggestion that Rene's homicidal side might have been the result of some curse or supernatural situation, a situation that was passed down to his child. Only time will tell...

See you next week!

Arnold 365, Day 181 (Running Man)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paypal: My First and Last Request

Remember on that movie Social Network where the creators of Facebook were riding the wave and carefully waiting until the right time to capitalize off of the social networking web site? Well, I never really had any desire to capitalize off of Cavemen Go. I had some hope that I could use the writings in a portfolio for some sort of staff writer some day, but I never really hoped to ask for donations or what have you.

Because of a series of extenuating circumstances, I decided to place a Paypal donate link on the sidebar of the blog. I don't want this to push anybody away. In fact, if you just wish to ignore it and go about your normal browsing, feel free. But if you're sitting on some extra cash and you want to support your local blogger, there's now an option for you to send some donations my way.

This is the only time I'm going to even mention the donation link, and as a matter of fact, I feel kind of dirty even doing this. If you're feeling generous, then hook me up. If not, continue to browse like you've always browsed. Heck. Browse more. It's on me!

(Yes. I have officially sold out. Sorry.)

Woot Weekly Round-Up 6/27/2011

It has been a difficult week at Woot. Following the disappearance of "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" from the Reckoning last week, two of the best t-shirts on the chart have been sitting at the bottom of the list, dangerously close to disappearing forever. These are the three t-shirts I recommend from the Top 20:

#2. The Cheese is a Liederkranz

#17. Meh (At one point this week, Meh was in last place in the top 20. Eek!)

#20. In Harmony (Though readers like you made sure that this t-shirt didn't disappear this week, it hangs on in the last qualifying position this week. While I didn't see any t-shirts worthy of dethroning it appear this week, there is always that chance that In Harmony might be in trouble next week.)

Of the Bystanders, "Food Court" and "Funny Things are Everywhere" were pretty decent, but I wouldn't be hurt if they disappeared. I think they would be exactly the style of my beautiful girlfriend, but not quite mine. As for the Going... Going... category, I'm a little sad that #21. "Emperor Penguin" is disappearing, mostly because Amy had her eye on it, but otherwise I think they chose the right t-shirts to get rid of this week.

As always, check out Shirt.Woot for fantastic daily deals, and make sure you hop on over to the Reckoning and make sure your favorite shirts don't get kicked off of the site.

Batman: Number One

Pop Deconstruction: "Missing"

1 I step off the train
2 I'm walkin' down your street again
3 And pass your door
4 But you don't live there anymore
5 It's been years since you've been there
6 And now you've disappeared somewhere
7 Like outer space
8 You've found some better place
9 And I miss you
10 Like the deserts miss the rain
11 And I miss you
12 Like the deserts miss the rain
13 Could you be dead?
14 You always were two steps ahead
15 Of everyone
16 We'd walk behind while you would run
17 I look up at your house
18 And I can almost hear you shout down to me
19 Where I always used to be
20 And I miss you
21 Like the deserts miss the rain
22 And I miss you
23 Like the deserts miss the rain
24 Back on the train
25 I ask why did I come again
26 Can I confess?
27 I've been hangin' 'round your old address
28 And the years have proved
29 To offer nothin' since you moved
30 You're long gone
31 But I can't move on
32 And I miss you
33 Like the deserts miss the rain
34 And I miss you
35 Like the deserts miss the rain
36 I step off the train
37 I'm walkin' down your street again
38 Pass your door
39 I guess you don't live there anymore
40 It's years since you've been there
41 And now you've disappeared somewhere
42 Like outer space
43 You've found some better place
44 And I miss you
45 Like the deserts miss the rain
46 And I miss you
47 Like the deserts miss the rain
48 And I miss you
49 Like the deserts miss the rain
50 And I miss you
51 Like the deserts miss the rain
52 Deserts miss the rain
53 Like the deserts miss the rain
54 Like the deserts miss the rain

The song "Missing" by the band Everything But the Girl tells the story of a protagonist - presumably a female considering the fact that the one who sings these lyrics, Tracey Thorn, is a female, but this is not necessarily the case - who, it is not surprising to say, misses another person. One assumes, because of the history of popular culture, that this individual is a lover of the protagonist, but again, this is not necessarily the case. The fact of the matter is that the genders of the two characters of this story, the one who is missed and the one who does the missing, are uncertain, as is their relationship. One might glean a female-male relationship from the analogical desert-rain relationship and its potential sexual overtones, but this requires quite a bit of interpretation. It must be said that this could be a story about a son and his father, a woman and her female lover, or a child and her piano teacher. It does not have to be a story of a woman who misses a man that she is romantically involved with.

The verses of this song (vv. 1-8, 13-19, 24-31, 36-43) are not the object of my immediate scrutiny. Rather than telling a story of scandal like those of the Simon and Garfunkel song "Cecilia," these lyrics paint a picture of an individual who truly misses another individual. It is not a plot that we are to derive from the events of the lyrics, but a characterization. We are to feel as the protagonist of this song feels, to understand what it means to miss someone in the same way that this protagonist misses the person whose house he/she is walking past. While many would describe this superficially as a case of a stalker/stalked relationship, the lack of any specificity points to a more universal feeling. As a child I remember gazing at the houses of girls from my school as my parents drove by, wondering if I might catch a glimpse of a pretty girl, and in high school I remember driving by the houses of girls who rejected me on my way home from work if I felt sad enough. I believe that we are supposed to connect to the feeling of longing rather than linger on the potentially weird and dangerous creeper aspect.

What I want to focus on is the analogy presented by the refrain (vv. 9-12, 20-23, 32-35, 44-54): "And I miss you / Like the deserts miss the rain." I want to first consider the circular relationship of just such an analogy. The first line says clearly, "And I miss you." The listener is put in a place where their understanding of "Missing" must be clarified. How exactly does this protagonist miss the object of his/her missing? That's an easy question. "Like the deserts miss the rain." In order to understand this relationship of missing between, one assumes, two humans, we must understand how two inanimate objects miss one another. As inanimate objects, however, we must conclude that deserts and rain are incapable of higher emotions such as missing, emotions that we might deny even the most emotional of creatures, our domesticated pet dogs and cats. As such, we must personify the deserts and the rain in order to understand this feeling of "Missing." How exactly do the deserts miss the rain? The hidden premise behind this personification is that the deserts miss the rain much like a human misses another human, or, in other words, much like the protagonist of this song misses his/her object of missing. The analogy thus proves that the analogy is unnecessary. If you understand how the deserts miss the rain, then you already understand how the "I" misses the "you" prior to the use of the analogy.

There is one further problem with the analogy, "I : you :: deserts : rain." It focuses on one "season" of the relationship of the desert and the rain. We imagine first and foremost that the desert is devoid of water. In order to maintain any kind of life in such an ecosystem, some sort of water must be attained. While plants and animals adapts methods of surviving without water or of conserving water, there is still a need for more water. This is what we understand - the need for water in order to sustain the ecosystem of the desert. But this analogy must also call to mind another relationship of the desert and the rain, the "season" in which the desert experiences heavy and even torrential downpour. While it is true that the sustaining power of water enters into the desert ecosystem during these times, it is also true that a great deal of destruction comes about during such a period. In the first instance, we imagine a lover who requires the presence of another lover in order to sustain his/her existence, a kind of melodramatic statement, but one that many of us can relate to. In the second instance, however, we imagine the return of the prodigal lover and the violence that it entails. "Missing" is no longer the story of the desire to reunite two lovers. It is the tale of a deadbeat who has returned from being completely absent. This return is accompanied by domestic violence and mistreatment, and yet the protagonist welcomes such a meeting, looks past the violence and sees only the presence of the violent lover.

"Missing" is the story of a dependent lover who awaits the abusive return of an absent lover. I hope nobody ever has to miss someone else like the desert misses the rain. I hope that people always miss one another like a respectful and trustworthy individual misses another respectful and trustworthy individual. To quote The Dude, "This aggression will not stand, man."

Arnold 365, Day 178 (Running Man)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

50/50 Trailer

Thursday TV Tournament: Match-up 6 Results

I know you've been wondering who would win between thirteenth seed, 30 Rock Season Five, Episode Nine, "Chain Reaction of Mental Anguish," which aired December 2, 2010, and twentieth seed, Community Season Two, Episode Nine, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design." Well, the results are in:

While 30 Rock delivered possibly the most consistently funny season of all of our competitors, this particular episode of Community just brought it a little bit more. It was not uncommon in the second season of Community to see a high-concept episode pop up, and it was also not uncommon to see one of those episodes fall flat on its face. Let's face it: when Community wasn't fantastic, it really wasn't doing much. But this particular episode engaged us in a complex conspiracy, much like every film in the late '90s tried to do. With the help of fantastic actor Kevin Corrigan, who must have been on a hiatus from Fringe, this episode was just plain good.

Our next match puts these titans of comedy at odds once again. This time we will be seeing a competition between twelfth seed, 30 Rock Season Five, Episode Five, "Reaganing," which aired October 21, 2010, and twenty-first seed, Community Season Two, Episode Fourteen, "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons," which aired February 3, 2011. Don't forget to let your voice be heard as to which episode you'd like to win!

Arnold 365, Day 177 (Running Man)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Griff the Invisible Trailer

Thursday TV Tournament: Match-up 5 Results

Big Bang Theory had big ratings all season, filling the top five highest ratings on the entire chart. As for Community, I think I can describe this show best as middling in the ratings. As we already know, the Nielsen ratings system may not be the best way to pick seeds for such a tournament, but many people believe that it has something to do with whether or not a television program is good. It certainly has historically had a great deal to do with which television programs are renewed or cancelled. Strangely, however, Community has won two of its three match-ups whereas Big Bang Theory has yet to add anything to the W column.

Regarding the match-up between fourth seed, Big Bang Theory Season Four, Episode Nineteen, "The Zarnecki Incursion," which aired on March 31, 2011, and twenty-ninth seed, Community Season Two, Episode Twenty-Four, "For a Few Paintballs More," which aired on May 12, 2011, the results are in:

While the concept of a bunch of geeks going on a manhunt to find the culprit who hijacked Leonard's World of Warcraft account is pretty darned interesting, I think even Big Bang Theory uber-enthusiast and fellow blogger Josh Toulouse would agree that Community's second take on a Clint Eastwood styled paintball episode (and third take on a paintball episode) was just a better half-hour of television. And before you accuse me of being unnecessarily anti-Big Bang Theory, let me remind you that they made it into the tournament five times, all of which are top seeds, in a season where nothing really happens! Will Big Bang Theory finally have a victory in the future? I cannot tell you for sure. I can tell you, however, that neither of the episodes we've seen do battle can be called the best Big Bang Theory episodes for the season. So there's reason to believe the show can pull ahead, and perhaps even win the tournament.

Tune in next time for a match-up between thirteenth seed, 30 Rock Season Five, Episode Nine, "Chain Reaction of Mental Anguish," which aired December 2, 2010, and twentieth seed, Community Season Two, Episode Nine, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design." Drop me a line and let me know who you're rooting for. I always consider the thoughts of followers of Cavemen Go, especially in the case of a tie.

Game of Thrones Theme (8-bit Remix)

Arnold 365, Day 175 (Predator)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Good Name: Stoney #2

If you've seen the hit movie Encino Man then you know that Stoney #2 was the name that Pauly Shore's character Stoney (Stoney #1?) wanted to call Link, the thawed caveman protagonist of the film. If you don't remember, it is probably because Pauly pronounced it "Stoney number two-ooh."

So, anyways, Stoney #2 is really a fantastic name. I recently started a new game of Mass Effect and began commanding a character named Stoney #2 Shepard.

I think Stoney #2 would also be a fantastic name for a sugar glider. Why? No good reason...

And, because it rhymes, why wouldn't you call your pony Stoney #2?

Horrible Bosses Trailer

Thursday TV Tournament: Match-up 4 Results

Unlike our last match-up between Community and The Office, which pitted a couple of the best episodes of the previous season, the episodes doing battle today were by far not the best. They were only better than everything else going on that particular week.

Of the two episodes at hand - The Office Season Seven, Episode Twenty-Six: "Search Committee," which aired May 19, 2011, and twenty-fifth seed, Community Season Two, Episode Seventeen: "Intro to Political Science," which aired February 24, 2011 - the clear winner is:

I re-watched the entire two-part season finale of The Office and there were a couple of really good moments, but certainly not enough for forty minutes of TV. Then I watched the Community episode in question and laughed harder during the opening scene than I did during two episodes of The Office. Notches...

The next match-up is between fourth seed Big Bang Theory Season Four, Episode Nineteen: "The Zarnecki Incursion," which aired March 31, 2011, and twenty-ninth seed Community Season Two, Episode Twenty-Four: "For a Few Paintballs More," which aired May 12, 2011. As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, "Stick around." As I would say, "Comment so I can know which episode you think should win."

Arnold 365, Day 174 (Predator)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Radiohead "Staircase" Live From the Basement

Spoiler Alert: True Blood Season Four

Season three of True Blood left a lot of open ends for us to wonder about until the fourth season arrived. Well, the fourth season begins in less than a week, so we'd better get a few things on the table.

Every season of True Blood to date has begun immediately after the events of the previous season. While there are a great deal of issues that we need to see resolved immediately, I actually think that this is the most likely season to have a time lapse. The reason the time lapse thing can work is because Tara left town at the end of the third season, so it would make sense for us to return to Bon Temps when Tara returns to Bon Temps. It could be interesting to see the consequences of these events a month or two afterwards, when they've had a chance to come to fruition. I'm not holding my breath on the time lapse thing, though. True Blood works really well when it is immediate.

One of the biggest things that happened at the end of the third season is that our good old friend "Vampire" Bill Compton challenged his queen, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, to a fight to the death, in order, we are supposed to believe, to protect Sookie's identity as a fairy. Sophie-Anne mentions that she is about twice as old as Bill, which we understand to mean twice as powerful. But Bill mentions that he no longer has anything to lose. Let's not forget also that Bill and Jessica trained for quite some time in the course of this season while as far as we know Sophie-Anne has just been sitting around playing Yahtzee, and probably cheating! Also, Bill has probably drank the most fairy blood of any of the vampires, which could give him an advantage. There are enough reasons on table for Bill to defeat Sophie-Anne and potentially become king of Louisiana.

Another strong possibility is that Sophie-Anne rips Bill apart. As soon as Sookie disappeared into the fairy realm, I began thinking: Why would Sookie come back? As pissed as she is at Bill, I wonder if his death would give her reason to come back into our world. The reason why this came to mind as the biggest reason Sookie would return to Bon Temps is the fact that Russell Edgington seemed tobelieve that fairy blood can resurrect a vampire who has experienced true death. That's why he carried the remains of his beloved around with him. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for Sookie to come back. Perhaps the fairy realm is in trouble and the two dimensions need to team up. Perhaps she needs to look after her cousin Hadley and raise her fairy child Hunter in order to protect himself from vampire detection. Perhaps fellow fairy Barry Horowitz needs her help. Perhaps any of her friends need her help. Sookie's coming back. Nobody doubts that.

Perhaps the biggest twist in season three was when Sam Merlotte shoots his brother Tommy Mickens. We don't see what happens to Tommy, whether he turns into an animal and gets away, whether he's shot in the shoulder or the leg, or whether he's shot in the head. I find it hard to believe that Sam would murder his brother, so I'm just going to bet on the fact that he didn't. What I'm really interested in with Sam are a couple of things he said in the first season. When he described himself as a shifter he placed two limits on himself: 1. that he cannot change into another human being because humans are too complicated, and 2. that he needs a model in order to shift. Sometimes rules are made because that's just the way things are, but sometimes rules are only proposed because nobody has ever broken them. Since Sam said these things before he'd ever really spent time with someone like him, I think it is a little hasty for him to set these limits. I think there's a chance that we might see Sam change into another human (most of our genetic makeup is indistinguishable from that of other animals) or perhaps something that he's imagined. And that's what I'm excited for with Sam.

Season three also surprised us by putting Jason Stackhouse in charge of a large group of people on the outskirts of town. These people were originally taken care of by a xenophobic family of were-panthers, but now Jason's the sheriff of sorts. Unfortunately for Jason we know that these people are not very cool with outsiders, so I think we can expect that they're going to at least attempt to change Jason into a were-panther. Will they succeed? I don't know. Will this be a major plot point for season four? I have no doubt. I hope they have some room for were-wolves too, because it seems like the only not terrible suitor for Sookie is now Alcide Herveaux, the were-wolf. He and Sookie are clearly interested in one another, and of course his former were-girlfriend is unaccounted for, because we totally have to have some sort of love triangle going on at all times.

One of my favorite stories follows the love affair of Hoyt Fortenberry and Jessica Hamby, a simple boy and his vampire girlfriend. Hoyt's mother Maxine and ex-girlfriend Summer showed their opposition so heavily that they have taken up arms against the vampires, which is kind of messed up. Expect this situation to blow up. As if that weren't enough, there's some sort of voodoo doll in the house that Hoyt and Jessica are going to move into.

And that brings me to what I expect to be the overarching theme of the fourth season. The fourth season is going to be the season of the witch. We've seen some fake witches, and we've even seen some that might not be fake. But Lafayette has certainly shown himself to be attuned, and his boyfriend Jesus has even been trained in magic. He's a bruha, or a witch. I expect that Lafayette and Jesus are going to come a little more to the forefront. I hope they're going to be the heroes who fight dark forces with their magical powers, but I do have some fear that they're going to become some sort of villains themselves.

But I guess we can't know anything for sure until the season starts up again this Sunday. And after that I'll begin my episode by episode run-down of True Blood. See you then!

Mad Men

They taught us at Barnard about that word, "utopia." The Greeks had two meanings for it: eu-topos, meaning "the good place," and ou-topos, meaning "the place that cannot be."

I've heard some people say that Mad Men glorifies bigotry. I've heard others argue that it critiques chauvinism, racism, and all of those other pesky -isms. Also homophobia. Which one do you prefer? Just watch Mad Men already.

Arnold 365, Day 173 (Predator)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Woot Weekly Round-Up 6/20/2011

This week has been full of changes over at Woot. There are only three t-shirts that I now recommend from the Top 20:

#2. The Cheese is a Liederkranz (For the first time since I can remember, this t-shirt has been dethroned from the #1 spot, and the really sad news is that the t-shirt that replaced it is cute, but completely inferior.)

#16. Meh (This t-shirt should still be in the Top 3, and if you ask me it's still the best shirt you can get from Woot. Unfortunately, it's sliding toward disaster.)

#18. In Harmony (We were very close to losing this t-shirt today, but through the actions of people who read this blog, and presumably others as well, we were able to save this shirt for at least another week. Congratulations. You deserve it!)

The Going... Going... category is peppered with some of the best designs on the entire list. "Actual Cats" and "Ro-boss" are nearly as good as the t-shirts I've been promoting for some time. Unfortunately, one of the best t-shirts I've ever seen on Woot is now only available for the next 24 hours. Of all of my favorites, "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" is probably the easiest for me to wave goodbye to, mostly because I already own this shirt, but I'm unhappy that after today none of you will ever be able to buy it again. If you're interested in this shirt, buy it now!

#21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (We'll miss you, t-shirt!)

The Bystanders keep getting closer and closer to something I would buy, but they are just missing that certain something. I would imagine that within the next week or so we are going to see a truly worthy t-shirt appear on Woot. We need one to make up for the loss of "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves," after all.

As always, check out Shirt.Woot for fantastic daily deals, and make sure you hop on over to the Reckoning and make sure your favorite shirts don't get kicked off of the site.

Arnold 365, Day 171 (Predator)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

One More The Muppets Trailer

Woot Last Chance Bonanza: In Harmony

I've been checking in on Woot quite a bit recently, and to my dismay one of their best t-shirts is in danger of disappearing from Woot forever and always.

The t-shirt is titled "In Harmony." Here's a picture:

The way we keep this t-shirt available is by buying it ourselves. Stop over to Woot and get your own "In Harmony" t-shirt. I need it to stick around at least long enough until I am not completely and utterly broke.

So, head on over to Woot's reckoning and buy "In Harmony." It may be your last chance.

Arnold 365, Day 170 (Predator)

Banner by Adam Friedli.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Election (1999)

If you told me that there was a really good movie starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Klein, I would probably say something condescending and then not watch the movie. But in the dark comedy Election we see these actors at their best, Matthew Broderick as a spineless and powerless teacher who takes out his anger at the world on a high school student running for class president, Reese Witherspoon as an ambitious high school student intent on succeeding regardless of the consequences, and Chris Klein as a kind-hearted idiot who is coaxed into using his popularity to his advantage in public election. Sometimes election films get heavy-handed, and Election certainly could have considering its proximity to the Bush/Gore election that turned into such a debacle, but this one is simply critical without being overly referential. Election is one of my favorite dark comedies of all time. It's kind of timeless.

Dirt Devil Exorcist

I found this originally on an article titled "Horror Commercial: Dirt Devil's Ad To Match Its Name" on 22 Words.

Alice: Madness Returns

Most of my friends who played American McGee's original Alice played it somewhere near a decade ago. I was fortunate enough to have played it for the first time this year, so when I entered into the world of Alice: Madness Returns I was still familiar with Alice's story and many of the bits of game-play from the original. I was also used to playing a video game with fairly terrible graphics (though not so bad for the early 2000s) and difficult jumping mechanics.

Alice: Madness Returns is a lot heavier on story than the original, and this makes sense. In the last decade, nearly all video games have beefed up their story, with the exception, I've heard, of Duke Nukem Forever, which was apparently a big let down. In many ways, the story is an expansion of the pervasive motif of the original game, that Alice is having difficulty coming to terms with the death of her family in a fire and she feels responsible for the fact that they are no longer among the living. Since Wonderland is a reflection of Alice's mind, Wonderland has turned into a Terrorland of sorts. In some ways, Alice: Madness Returns feels like a reboot of American McGee's Alice with better storytelling, graphics and game-play, but it is probably better to say that it is actually Wonderland that has rebooted. The story of Alice continues on.

I'm sure a lot of people are talking about the fantastic new graphics in Alice: Madness Returns. I agree that they are fantastic, and that they actually make this messed up fantasy feel like a wonder land. The design that went into this video game is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, the optimization of this sequel is likely to cause even the most advanced of PCs to chug along at times. (My computer savvy friend Joe suggests that, despite the fantastic quality of the Physx engine, to turn Physx to low. Otherwise, you're likely to have speed problems.)

The best part of Alice: Madness Returns is the innovative new system of control, which opens a whole new world for game-play. Like many video games, the Alice sequel assigns two controls, melee and range. It has a new targeting system for smarter combat, a dodge button so that you don't have to meet enemies' attacks with your forehead, and my personal favorite, shrinking mode. Shrinking mode allows you to access hidden areas through keyholes and what have you, but it also functions as a kind of Batman: Arkham Asylum-esque "detective mode," providing access to secret clues throughout the game.

I haven't even completed the first chapter of Alice: Madness Returns and it is already one of the best games I've played this year. Pick it up sooner than later. You won't regret the choice.