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Friday, February 27, 2009

The Rain In Spain

Going to just call it and say bon voyage for about two weeks, peeps. I have to run to my hometown, jump onto a quick business trip and fly out of the country by this time next week. Going to Spain for a family vacation, so won't have much access to a computer outside the iPhone for a while, and probably not much there.

Thanks to Matt for loaning The Girl and I Prince of Persia, which is a title people kept asking me why I wasn't playing and now I know why. Weird as it might sound, it's more like the game I expected Mirror's Edge to be, has some of the best controls on the planet and a great female character. What's not to like?

My Killzone 2 preorder might be delayed, which is fine since I doubt I'd have much time for it this weekend anyway. I'm also trying to find someone to test out FEAR 2 for me, so I might have something of a review roundup to do when I get back.

Until then, good hunting.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TV Watch, Lost: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

A thumbs up here, this was upwards to one of my favorite episodes if not for any other reason than being another well handled Locke piece. It didn't really show us a lot new or at least not much that we couldn't have somehow ascertained - with the obvious exception of the events regarding Locke's death, and some of the new background information on Widmore.

Let's talk Widmore for a moment. We've had pretty good indications thus far that he is a pretty bad guy - but we might need to keep a record sheet here for both him and Ben to keep things clear. He sent mercenaries to capture Ben to the island, and there was the strong suggestion there to kill nearly everyone else but Ben as well. And those guys were certainly not Boy Scouts, but they also didn't simply go into the island guns blazing.

Ben, on the other hand, clearly has blood on his hands.

We know Widmore is something of a son of a bitch, and Penny has more than a few daddy issues to show for it, but has Widmore ever really lied to the Losties? Is it possible Widmore is a good guy with bad PR and Ben the inverse of that?

And naturally the key question in my mind is why Ben would kill Locke after hearing that Locke knew who Ms. Hawking was. Was it to protect the Lamppost? Or did Ben think that this somehow meant that Locke was in Widmore's camp? Being leader of the Others certainly seems to have some odd retirement plans, either way.

Now we have two sets of Losties, one in the past with Jin around the Lagoon and Locke in the future who seems to possibly be at the Hydra station, but I couldn't tell if that was confirmed last night.

Guessing things will still turn out to be Locke vs. Jack in the end, too. Maybe sooner rather than later.

Monday, February 23, 2009

RIA Cowboy On Our Flex Visualization

James Ward, Flex evangelist extraordinaire, interviewed a couple of my co-workers from Model Metrics about the data visualization we did in Flex using Congrats to Dave, who doesn't appear in the video, but has the distinction of doing all the hard work on it.

TV Watch: Oscars 81

So the opening number to this year's Oscars was laughably bad, a misguided attempt at being humorously self-deprecating which came off as one part campy and other parts hurried, cheesy mess. At its worst it simply reminded us of some of worst bits about the Oscars, especially the musical number ribbing The Reader for the fact that nobody had actually watched it.

I'm not saying it wasn't accurate, it just wasn't funny. I'm also not saying Hugh Jackman can't sing. I'm just saying there are times when maybe he shouldn't.

That first step aside, though, it was actually one of the better ceremonies in recent history. And to be fair to Hugh, there's only so much you can do with bad lyrics - no matter how chiseled your chin might be. For the most part, he did quite and well and ushered along a good show. The self-love bits were short and well produced, the award giving was kept crisp and swift and the musical numbers even somewhat entertaining. One of the reasons we watch the Oscars is to mock them, and there sure was still plenty of that - but there was less painful groaning and wanting to throw things at the screen.

In fact, my only real disappointment was Mickey Rourke not winning. I was half expecting him to take an eye out with that pinky ring during his acceptance speech.

Not a lot of upsets, but all in all it was a pretty vanilla selection anyway. I'm not sure Button deserved all that it got, and in retrospect I'm a bit taken Blanchett wasn't nominated for the film, since I honestly think she was the best part of the film.

High points include Winslet telling Streep to suck it up, an Oscar being balanced on a chin as part of an acceptance speech (best. speech. ever.) and quite possibly the best example of why you should use a translator in some situations.