Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: Edge Of Tomorrow

There's a moment early on in the movie Edge Of Tomorrow where I found myself questioning the movie's logic.  Tom Cruise's character, Major William Cage, is rather forcibly put into the front lines of a major battle against alien invading forces known as "Mimics."  Once at the base, despite his protests that he is an officer, he is treated like a private and nobody seems to recognize him.

This, despite the fact that as near as I can tell, his character has been the major public face of the war effort for some time now.  SOMEBODY should have recognized his face or name.  Someone should have said something.  Even if it was just "hey, I've seen your face on television."

Of course, the movie also doesn't bother explaining why the most "elite" soldier the collective armed forces has is also stationed at this same battle, considering it's supposed to be "relatively quiet."  Maybe it's just a shoddy military.

Anyway, this is my review of Edge of Tomorrow.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Planet Hulk

I've never been a huge Hulk fan.

He's had some great moments that I've loved.  But when it comes to reading stories about a guy established to be stronger than anybody and throw him against guys who are, by definition, not as strong, the stories can get rather boring rather quickly.  It usually boils down to "gee, will the Hulk get mad and smash the problem?"

Spoiler alert:  He usually gets mad and smashes the enemy.

Now, when the Planet Hulk story hit comics, promising something brand new that had never been done before, my eyebrow raised slightly.  They tried making him smart, they tried making him a gangster, they tried reversing it so when he got angry he turned into Bruce Banner.  

So what could they possibly do that was new?

"We're going to make Gladiator, starring the Hulk and a bunch of aliens!"

Here was my reaction.

To put it lightly, I was underwhelmed.

However, I was rather surprised to later learn that they were able to take "Gladiator...IN SPACE!" and make it into an actually well-received story.  In fact, it was one of the better stories to come out involving the Hulk in quite some time.

So when they decided to make an animated movie out of the storyline, I thought it might be worth watching.  Someday.  At some point.

That was 2010.

I'm...a bit behind.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Day Twelve of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Here it is.  Day twelve.

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "I can't wait to find out how a "calling bird" is actually some kind of fish."

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's not a fish.

"So then what is a "calling bird?""

It's a sexist nickname given to old-time telephone operators.

"Why, is it 1915 London already?  Here, let me transfer you to (555) GET-LOST."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day Eleven Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

If someone told me they were getting me a bunch of Pipers, I know what I'd hope they were getting me.

You know what?  I'd be happy with just one.  I don't need to be selfish.
However, I somehow don't expect that the song is about the heartbreaker from Coyote Ugly and Covert Affairs.

I almost suspected that it might reference one of the animals known as a "piper."  Not the least of which is a New Zealand fish.

I wish I was kidding.  This is, what, the third one that's gone to fish?

However, most people think of the sandpiper when they think of animals and "pipers."  Well, that and a certain Pied Piper.

But out of all the different Pipers out there, how much would some of them cost compared to hire people who play "the pipes?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day Ten Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas


What on Earth can I do to talk about geese that wouldn't already have been done before?  I could make a lot of references to Goose in Top Gun, but there's really only so much you can do with Anthony Edwards.  I could discuss goose down and compare it to other means of crafting pillows, but, well, the bit I've read so far just isn't really that interesting.

I guess I can go the completely nerdy route.  Let's talk about one of the best video game bosses of all time:  Geese Howard.

Geese Howard is amazing.  First off, he's a villain whose story connects to the primary hero's storyline, something many video game tournament fighters tend to forget about these days.  Having killed the lead character's father, we had (as one person I know put it) "the count to Terry Bogard's Inigo Montoya."

My personal favorite part was that Geese used akido.  It's one of the (if not the) most defensive martial arts in the world, so you have the big bad boss of the video game whose entire combat routine is based around "no, you try to hit me and see what happens."  He was built to be ridiculously good at countering attacks players would throw at him, and would casually stop you in the middle of an attack, pick you up, and throw you across the screen with ease.

In a game series where story is pretty much "let's throw a whole bunch of characters at a wall and see which ones stick" he's managed to maintain a healthy presence in video games from SNK for almost two decades now.  Multiple games review sites have counted him as one of the "hardest bosses to beat" in a fighting game, and those weren't stated in the past, it's a reputation that continues to this day.

So, that pretty much covers our geese a layin' suckas d-

Hold on.  There's something else we can discuss.

You're not giving someone these geese for them to keep as pets or eat.  You're giving them for the eggs.

Let's talk goose eggs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day Nine Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Okay, yesterday pretty much fell apart into sex, eye candy, and Polish sex and eye candy.

Which embarasses me, because there was something I knew about milk maids that I found fascinating.

See, people have heard the phrase "as smooth as a milk maid's skin."  What they might not know is that milk maids would catch a disease known as "cowpox," which has no real serious symptoms, but could actually make you immune to smallpox.  Milkmaids would typically have none of the "pockmarked" complexion issues common to smallpox survivors.

It was actually that observation that helped lead to the development of the first vaccine.

See, this is what happens when I let myself get distracted by- okay, no, not going back there.  Focus, Erik, focus.

Anyway, we're going for something a bit more classy this time.  Instead of just sex, we're looking at romance.

We're looking at turtle doves.

Specifically, European Turtle Doves.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day Eight Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The world record for the most milk yielded from a cow is from a cow named Smurf owned by La Ferme Gillette Inc Dairy Farm in Canada.  The farm is located in Embrun, Ontario.  She gave up 478,163 pounds of milk as of February 27, 2012.

The world record for most milk extracted in two minutes belongs to Maurizio Paschetta, who extracted 4.5 liters from cows in Saluzzo, Italy on May 6, 2012.

Most milk in 30 minutes?  Jose Maria Serna Fernandex in Madrid, Spain, got 35.5 liters (9.37 gallons) in a half hour.

The world record for most people gathered in one area dressed as french maids is 264 people and was achieved at a gaming event at the Shanghai World Financial Center on January 19, 2013.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Obviously, we're getting into the eight maids a milking.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Day Seven Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

You know, if it wasn't for the fact that almost nothing else makes sense in the "The Twelve Days Of Christmas is used to help kids remember important things in the Catholic faith" system, I might buy that "Three French Hens" is supposed to represent "Three Wise Men."

It's pretty much the only one that really rhymes.

However, it appears that people who (mistakenly) think that the song is used that way believe the hens actually represent the three gifts of the magi.  Because when I think "gold, frankincense, and myrrh," I think "chickens."

I was going to put a picture here, but Google Image Search made me uncomfortable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Day Six Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Twelve drummers drumming.  I suppose, in a way, you're being courteous by having the loudest gift come last just so your neighbors aren't complaining, but much like the ladies dancing and leaping lords, you have to ask yourself, "what sort of quality am I looking for?"  Do you want a high school kid who picked up drums because they already had too many trumpets, or are you looking for one of the best?

Suppose money's no object.  You want to hire the most expensive drummer in the world.  Here's a hint, it's not Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, or Don Henley (though those are numbers 2, 3, and 4).

Think...English.  Think "silly name."

 First off, Lars Ulrich is Danish.  You could argue he's the world's most famous Dane in- no, I'm stopping this sentence early so there's no chance of posting a picture of Dane Cook.

Anyway, it's Ringo Starr.

Or as he was known back in the day, "the guy that Seth Meyers will kinda look like in the future."
Ringo Starr's personal worth is approximately 300 Million dollars.  Not too shabby.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day Five Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Fiiiiiive gooooolden riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings.

If I didn't do this one today, I think I'd be ashamed of myself.  It's pretty much obligatory.

Now, there are two thoughts that were bouncing through my mind as I tried to think of a new way of looking at gold rings:

1)  If a circle is filled in and a ring has an empty center, what do you call a square with an empty center?

2)  How could I have not done a Time Lord reference during my Lords A Leaping day?  I'm a terrible nerd.

And beyond that...

I'm tapped.

I can't think of anything clever about "golden rings."  Doughnuts?  No.  The One Ring times five?  No.  The Olympic rings dipped in gold?  No.

Nothing feels right.

So we're hitting up gold ring (disambiguation) on Wikipedia to see what we get.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Day Four Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

I really want to email these people and ask them two basic questions.

First off, there's an "eFowl?"  Seriously?  eToys went bankrupt, got bought out by KayBee Toys, which then went bankrupt and I think everything went over to Toys R Us.

Secondly, there's really not much point in that first column if you can't buy that many.  Why have it there?

Okay, obviously we're talking about partridges and pear trees.

Okay, the obvious joke is done, let's get to work.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Day Three Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

At four months old, the cockerel (or rooster) is like a teenage boy with no control of his hormones.  Many species of bird starts the breeding process within the first year of life, but swans are special.  Typically, they start to think about mating some time between the ages of three and four.  They tend to mate in the spring/early summer time, and you can usually expect up to a dozen eggs to be fertilized by the male.

It's not uncommon for only a few of the babies to survive to adulthood, but it's also not uncommon for many of them to survive, depending on where the nest is located and what predators are around.

So, if you want seven swans a swimming (or, depending on how you read the song, forty-two swans-a-swimming) what does that entail?

Well, once again, we have to look at British royalty.

For the record, their babies might not be -as cute- as ducklings, but they're pretty darn cute.
The Queen, at any given time, can claim ownership of all unmarked swans in open water.  A "marked" swan typically has a nick taken out of the webbing between its toes, letting people know "this is already owned by someone else, but it's probably safer to deal with me than be accused of poaching the Queen's birds."   However, swans are serious business in England, where they're considered a native species.  There's even an annual event called Swan Upping that involves doing a census of "the queen's birds."

So trying to grab some wild ones in England can get you in pretty serious trouble.

But what if you want to buy some from a breeder in the United States?

Well, then you might need to pay attention to your local laws.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day Two of nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas

I had no idea prostitutes, strippers, escorts, hookers, or any other "frowned on by the church ladies" profession for young women were so uptight about declaring their earnings.

You learn something new every day.

Now, obviously, the writer of the song The Twelve Days Of Christmas probably didn't intend for the "nine ladies dancing" to represent "ladies of the night" or anything along those line.  He probably meant some highly respectable ladies who are willing to be bought for four nights (the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth days of Christmas) and perform for the person's true love.

Or maybe he just wanted to hire the Rockettes.

Either way, let's look at some options.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh hey, would you look at that, it's December. Time for a song.

Last year I spent the entire month of December nitpicking Christmas carols (I'd try to link to each one, but it would pretty much mean every word in this sentence is a hyperlink and that would just be terrible).

There is one thing that a family member suggested which caught my attention though.  Something I regularly give too much thought to (as opposed to everything else I give too much thought to) is the song The Twelve Days Of Christmas.

This song, every time I hear it, has me questioning so much about its logic and structure.

For instance, if you go based on how the song is actually written, by the end of it your true love gave you just as many partridges in pear trees as he did drummers drumming.  I really, really hope you like pears.  And partridges.

Now, PNC Wealth Management has already done a lot of the hard work and came up with the "definitive" list of how much each item would cost (as well as what it cost back in 2013, they've been doing this for about 30 years now).  It's interesting to note that the price of swans has skyrocketed in the past year.  Something I just happen to know is that swans are rather hard to reliably breed and don't tend to do anywhere near as well as chickens, so the supply tends to vary a lot.   Overall, though, there aren't that many changes, and the price difference total between last year and this year is approximately one percent.


I'm pretty sure we can go deeper into this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reaction to the new Star Wars trailer.

On Facebook I recently posted this:

That...really pretty much sums it up.

But I admit, I've been hurt before.  There was a time when the following had me convinced everything was going to be okay and that I was justified in my nerdly excitement.

Yeah, remember those days?  I still do.

Disaster Report

Okay, I touched on this game once before in my look at criminally forgotten games, but I wanted to spend a little time looking closer at this and why I still like to toss it in to a PS2 and play it.