Category Archives: Uncategorized

Halloween: The Binge Part I – The Bingening

Crazy as I am about Halloween (The spookiness! The movies!  The treats!  ….!), I haven’t had the time to blog about the holiday yet.  Until now.  We (me and misses NxG) started our preparations early this year.  We went to the store and bought a truckload of treats.

Behold: our loot.

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You see that glorious pile of junkfood goodness?  I’ll be talking about each of those items this week.  Halloween-haters, you are warned.

“So what’s the yearly tradition at the NxG headquarters?”  I thought you’d never ask.  The tradition is thus: we submit ourselves to a plethora of scary movies and assorted snack food for as long as we manage to stay awake (or until we enter cardiac arrest from a sugar overdose).

That’s all there is to it.

The program this year was made up of movies that we suspected of being crap, but might still turn out to be good.  We started off with The Uninvited, a remake of the Japanese “A Tale of Two Sisters”.  A real stinker up until five minutes before the credits start rolling.  Then there’s this huge mindbending plot twist that manages to salvage half the movie.  If only the other half was decent…  Still wide awake, we followed up with The Unborn.  The trailer for this one had me excited enough (I simply love scary little kids) and it didn’t disappoint.  Not great, but not exactly bad either.  With our eyes heavy and our stomachs a bit more bloated than usual, we soldiered on and watched the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.  Which was okay, I guess.  But only if you can disconnect that part of your brain that constantly reminds you of the original.  You know, the part that goes “Ooh, they really handled this differently than in the original one!”  and “I liked Johnny Depp and Robert Englund better.”  After that, we were still not fast asleep, and decided to pop in John Dies at the End.  And were pleasantly surprised.  We had expected a B-movie crapfest and…  Well it was a B-movie crapfest, but an extremely enjoyable one!  Witty, clever story, decent acting, funny, touching all the right popculture clichés…  I loved it!

After four movies and too many treats we decided to turn in.  All in all, I’d call this edition of the Halloween-a-thon a succes.  Stay tuned for more on the spooky treats that gave us indigestion the next day (Burps!) (I’m sorry.)

Jan

Brand new bomber jacket

Winter is coming.  And I mean it.  That wasn’t a reference to that Thrones-show.  It really is coming.  Snow, sleet, coldness, ice, rain…  And here I am without a decent jacket.  About fifty percent of my clothes are tshirts.  The other fifty percent is a mix of socks, underpants and pants.  Seriously.

Until now.  The good people from Musterbrand have just launched a line of clothing based on Starcraft.  Among the tshirts, bags and jackets was this glorious grey bomber jacket.  I’ve always had a soft spot for bomber jackets, but I’ve never owned one.  Imagine my joy when the Musterbrand people decided to send one over for review!

Nice little logo.

Nice little logo.

The jacket looks really cool.  A soft grey on the outside and a really vibrant blue on the inside.  And when I say really vibrant, I mean it.  Wearing the jacket with the zipper down causes my skin to glow with a blue hue.  That’s how bright and shiny the inside is.  I bet, if worn inside out, I can use it as a safety vest next time I’m parked besides the road at night.

Blue!

Blue!

But aside from that vibrant blue, I’m really liking this jacket.  It fits really nice, and it’s really warm.  It’ll be perfect for winter.  I’ll be warm and as a bonus I’ll look really cool.

This is how cool I'll look this winter! (disclaimer: editor will look nowhere near as cool as this)

This is how cool I’ll look this winter! (disclaimer: editor will look nowhere near as cool as this)

Or really blue, depending on wether I leave the zipper up or down.

Musterbrand also have lines based on other game franchises like Portal and Assassin’s Creed.  You should go and check them out for a bit of that gamer chic!

Transformers Prime: Orion Pax

I’ve never been a fan of Transformers.  Sure, I had two of them as a kid, but they were handed down from cousins and I had no idea how to transform them correctly.  I always ended up with a rubik’s kube instead of a car, or some kind of kitchen utensil instead of the intended helicopter.  Later I caught the Michael Bay movie and, while I didn’t really enjoy it, I can’t say I hated it either.  Let’s just say my  official stance on Transformers is: “indifferent“.

Skip forward to today.  A package arrives containing a DVD to review.  Lo and behold, it is volume one of the second season of Transformers Prime.  Seven episodes of Transformers, two hours and thirtyfour minutes worth of robot-cartoons, the box even contains a free pack of trading cards!  Hmm…  Indifference level slightly reducing.

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The season starts off with a three part story that resolves what I assume was a cliffhanging ending of the first season: Optimus Primes lost his memory and joins the Decepticons.  Interesting concept.  However, because I didn’t catch the first season, I’m kinda in the dark.  The brief recap at the start of the episode doesn’t help at all, it only confuses me further.  Yet I stubbornly decide to keep watching.

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Besides the threeparter, the DVD contains four more episodes. I watch each of them, and… keep being indifferent about the whole Transformer thing. The cartoon is nicely done, don’t get me wrong, top notch writing as well, but the whole franchise fails to capture my imagination. Something about awesome robots, whose main feature is to transform into mundane everyday things, fails to fascinate me. As a result, the plight of the Autobots is not one I feel sympathy for.

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Sorry Transformers, I’m sure you’re great and all, but indifference still wins me over.

Jan

Summertime…

Aaah…  the summertime.  That time of the year where everybody spends their free time outdoors.  Playing sports, going to the beach, swimming, blasting loud obnoxious music through portable radios, sweating like idiots, wearing flowered shorts and sandals…  I do not get the appeal.  Sure, the weather’s nice and all, but do you have to act like you were lobotomised?  Can’t you just enjoy the sun with a book and/or portable gaming device?  Or at least use some headphones?  No?

Okay…

Aaah the summertime.  That time of the year where I spend my free time indoors, watching movies on the big screen, reviewing them afterwards.  The cool darkness of the room protects me from those summery Baywatch types outside that are slowly burning themselves.  I’ll be back outside when it starts snowing, or when my pile of games to play/books to read/miniatures to paint/movies to watch is back at an acceptable level.

Whichever happens first.

Jan

Adventure Time

advtimeOk, I’ll admit it.  I am one of the very few people who have never seen Adventure Time before. 

Like, ever. 

Not even a single scene from an episode.  I was aware of the cartoon’s existence, mind you.  I’ve seen my share of “yellow dog + generic human boy” memes while killing time on the net and I always made a mental note to “check that show out sometime”.  But you know how it goes with mental notes, dear readers.  Not long after you make them, they get buried under other mental notes.  “Buy milk” is one of them, and “Clean cat’s litter box”.  And so Adventure Time sank deeper and deeper in my mental to do pile, buried under mundane tasks.

Until now.

A screener DVD found its way onto my desk.  On it are two episodes of the show.  I had no excuse anymore.  I had to watch this show that received so much praise from my peers.  It won an Emmy and a BAFTA!  Expectations on high, I started the first episode.

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Jake and Finn inspect an upcoming line of action figures…

“Puhoy” starts of with Jake and Finn taking shelter from a knifestorm (How frikkin’ cool is that?  A storm made of knives!).  To counter their boredom, Jake builds a pillow fort.  Finn however, isn’t really in the mood for fortbuilding.  He’s worried that his girlfriend dumped him on account of a joke he told her.  He opts for some alone time and ventures into the (huge) pillowfort.  Inside he finds a door that leads to an alternate dimension inhabited by pillow people.  He saves these people from the pillow dragon but the doorway back home seems to have vanished.  Stuck in this pillow dimension, Finn starts a quest to find the doorway back.  Sounds like a regular, run-of-the-mill cartoon for kids, right?

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Old Finn’s prosthetic pillow arm freaks me out a little…

Right.  Only this particular episode shifts from its basic adventure story for kids into an alternate-reality story, the likes of which David Lynch would be jealous of.  We see Finn growing older, marry a pillowgirl, have pillowkids, go on a quest for the doorway and discovering that true happiness lies with his pillowfamily.  We see elderly Finn dying, surrounded by his beloved pillowfamily, only to find out the light at the end of the tunnel is a doorway back to the pillowfort and Jake.  Back there, only a few hours seem to have passed.  Finn is back to his thirteen year-old self, and his friends haven’t even noticed his absence.

I’m sold.  I have a soft spot for scriptwriting of this level, and the added wackiness of the characters overall draws me in even more.  I mean: pillow people, come on!  Who thought of this stuff?  It’s hilarious and slightly frightening at the same time.  On to the next episode.

Since the whole screener DVD acts as a promo for the premiere of the Dutch version of the cartoon, the second episode is entirely dubbed in Dutch.  I’ve never been a fan of dubbing and the whole second episode falls flat on its behind because of that.  The Dutch voiceacting is just plain horrible.  Some of the characters even become annoying.  Jake’s gruff voice is kept gruff, but doesn’t sound natural at all.  You can hear the actor acting out a gruff voice.  Same goes for the princess.  Just because she’s a small child, the voiceactor decided to use a really high thin voice.  She succeeds in sounding not like a child at all, but more like a helium-addict.

The episode itself is also remarkably less inventive than the previous one.  Finn and the princess are trying to get rid of an usurper by playing all kinds of childish pranks on him.  It’s not bad, I can definately see kids get a kick out of this, but compared to the Lynchian madness of “Puhoy” it just falls short.

Adventure Time - Puhoy

Middle-aged Finn (Also pictured: adorable pillow family)

I’m torn.  On the one hand I really liked the show.  The wackiness, the crazy characters, the drawing style,…  Everything just clicked into place.  But then the voiceacting and the noticeably lesser script of the second episode killed my buzz.

Will I watch it again?  Probably.  If I come across it while flipping channels.  Provided there’s no Dutch to be heard.

That nightmarish helium voice of the Dutch princess still haunts me!

Jan

Astronaut in the store

I’m a bit starstruck right now.  I was out shopping for groceries, and all of a sudden I spot retired astronaut Dirk Frimout.

Right.  There.

Choosing a loaf of bread and bagging it.  He looked so…  ordinary.  I mean, here’s a guy who’s been to frickin’ outer space, and he was there buying groceries like us normal people.  He used a little shopping trolley for crying out loud!

I thought about going over there and telling him I had the deepest respect and awe for him, but I chickened out.  I just kinda followed him around to see what an astronaut would buy.

Pretty boring stuff it seems.  Milk, bread,… Your basic grocery shopping list.  I even bet his

Astronauts apparently eat even less exciting foods than us normals.

Astronauts apparently eat even less exciting foods than us normals.

wife wrote it down for him.  I’m kinda disappointed.  I expected him at least to go for a bit more exciting stuff.  There were rocket-shaped kid’s cookies on sale and he walked right past.  Without even looking at them.

I am disappointed.  But still in awe.

I stood behind a frikkin’ astronaut in line at the store.

My grandkids will love that story!

Jan