"Parents will hear if they have received first-choice schoos [sic] for children"



lol you're spelt stupid :]


Way to hold onto your credibility, Yahoo news.



For those who it best when I speak words out of my mouth, I'm going to be on the next episode of The Everything Show, so long as I don't puss out!

I'm contractually obligated to plug it, see.

Okay, Blaze said he'd break my legs with mind bullets if I didn't.



I watched Star Trek: Nemesis a few nights ago, and today watched Star Trek: First Contact, meaning I've seen all four movies based off The Next Generation. And we all know what that means...


Star Trek: Nemesis is basically about a political cock-up on some place and a clone of Picard was made with the intentions of replacing him and mucking things up, only for that scheme to get foiled and thus the clone was thrown away to some obscure place and he's a touch bitter about that, and thus wants to kill Picard or something. Also, Data dies. That huge spoiler is actually the only thing I knew about it before I watched it, so I had no idea what the plot was going to be like.

It was fun! Riker finally gets married with that person I don't remember, Picard and Data have lots of big action moments including a completely out-of-place-yet-still-awesome dune buggy chase, and it's entertaining seeing Brent Spiner playing both a mature Data and a naive version. It goes all-out with the special effects and focuses particularly on wow factor. It's an entertaining ride. But... kind of like 300, it's an enjoyable watch, but not exactly a memorable one. After I finished it I could barely remember the plot, and now I can't really recall much about it at all. Then again, my brother popped over in the middle of it so that resulted in a long break so he could finish whatever it was he was up to. Action, I bet. Evil action!

Star Trek: First Contact is kind of similar in that there's lots of emphasis on action, except I think it's a bit more interesting in how it's done. There is, of course, the Borg, who are basically cyborg space zombies and therefore pretty menacing, plus the freaky Borg queen. Nemesis had Ron Perlman in a suit and a bald adolescent. First Contact's also got the secondary plot (well, not quite secondary since it's essentially the driving force of it all) of the Borg going back in time to prevent humans from using the warp drive which would prompt the Vulcans to first meet humans and subsequently allow the whole scientific progress of space travel and intergalactic relationships or whatever, which involves turning a crazy drunken hippie into the man who will make history. I... can't remember what Nemesis had as a side-story. It had Data finding one of his prototypes, which turned out to be under the control of the bad guys, and was then forgotten about until the ending. I think it helped that First Contact had a lot more amusing and interesting character interaction - the Borg queen and her dinking around with Data, Lily and her constant bewilderment with Picard, Zefram's disgust at the hero worship he receives... I don't recall anyone of the main cast besides Picard and Data getting up to much in Nemesis. Then again, I probably need to watch it again without interruption to have a proper opinion.

First Contact was pretty great, though! Very memorable - I still recall watching the bit with Picard, Worf and the disposable guy trying to stop the Borg on the outside of the ship from a decade ago.

Generations is probably still my favourite due to bias, though, but First Contact is definitely a worthy contender.


In other news, X-CulT has started updating again, and it does so by having lots and lots of unfinished pages and completely butchering a lot of our work at OMGWTCT. Changing "I" to "we" I can potentially live with in the Metal Slug article, though keeping the "here's some save states We slaved over" sentence and not keeping the actual save states is pretty moronic. Also, we had full, finished, detailed pages on the likes of Super Princess Peach and Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, and rather than actually taking those pages whole, only the images have been used, stripped of their context, despite the fact they came supplied with context. I gave permission to use those pages under the belief they'd be used!

Also it'd be kind of nice if the user account bar didn't take up half the goddamned screen, and the console side menu didn't require ten Page Downs to see it all. And the whole "we're back, fuckers!" vibe and self-congratulatory ten year respective would be a little more appreciated if there weren't a vast amount of empty pages, wonky menus and clunky emphasis on no-doubt-questionable user contributions.

But aside from that, decent work, fellas! It must have taken a lot of effort.

Also - nag, nag, nag!



Today's observation: Why does it amuse me so much that there's an article on the Japanese Wikipedia about EastEnders?



"A sign informing rail passengers kissing is welcome has been put up at a train station days after a ban was imposed at another stop."

I'm normally one of those joyless bastards who cares a lot about routine and keeping on time and thus can agree with the ban on sappy hour-long tongue fests, but I can still get behind why sappy hour-long tongue fests are a big deal to people at train stations.

"The operator, which serves the station, is even now running a competition to find their most romantic passengers."

That just sickens me, though.



Hey, remember WiiWare? That downloadable game service for the Wii that isn't the Virtual Console, but much like the Virtual Console, it's a bit shit? It just got an FPS game that has online multi-player, including both competitive and co-operative modes! And it's not that terrible! I'm as shocked as you are.

It's Onslaught.

The reason it's good is a clumsy one. If the game were actually released in stores as a full 30 game (or whatever it is they cost nowadays), it would be unlikely to go down well. The graphics are nothing special, the weapon system is unexciting, the story is hilarious in how generic it is, there's no offline multi-player, and quite simply, there's no real quality to bring it anywhere closer to a fantastic game. It's enjoyable, but nothing special, y'know.

But make it a WiiWare game that costs 10, and all those faults are excused. You've got to be aware that WiiWare is just... pretty terrible. There's Mega Man 9, Star Soldier R, World of Goo, Art Style and a few other corkers, but there's how many games? Over ninety? There's a ridiculously disproportionate ratio of quality to crap, and so many games are just terrible puzzle games that you could easily find on Yahoo! Games or something without the need to shell out money you can't refund. So when you get Onslaught, something that actually looks and plays like a game, albeit a rather generic one, it's just a relief to know that some people are remembering WiiWare is meant to be for, you know, games. I think a lot of people mistake it for a place to dump half-assed rip-offs and shoddily coded puzzlers.

It's kind of sad that the reason the game is good because the bar for mediocre is set so very, very low, but as generic as it is, it's just basic FPS fun. Walk around, get the screen stained in alien blood (acidic alien blood!) and you can play it with strangers online who have a bad habit of shooting you in the back of the head with rockets!



Watched Star Trek: Insurrection. It was an enjoyable flick, but having watched Generations first, it doesn't even compare - Generations has an all-out movie wow factor, with the big crash, the almost whimsical threat, and dude, frickin' Kirk and Picard team-up! All they need is Mike Haggar and that would be jawsome. Insurrection, meanwhile, certainly had a movie factor, what with the great sequence of recapturing the rampant Data, not to mention the beautiful location, but it really just felt like a TV episode given a bit more attention than the others. In Generations, some crazy man was blowing up stars and planets just so he could go into space ecstasy, whereas here, it's just one planet under risk. It's a very nice planet, yes, what with the fancy techno babble that keeps everything in healthy shape, and the firm breasts sweeten the deal, but... it's not like crazy universe genocide, y'know. When you're not making comparisons then it's still a decent plot, but y'know me: nag nag nag!

It has made me appreciate Star Trek, though, especially since I'm at the level of maturity where I can attempt to make sense of it rather than go JUST SHOOT THEM FOR GOD'S SAKE and demand more real explosions, not just command console ones. Generations reminded me of how character driven it is; sure, there's this evil albino going around blowing up stuff just so he can get his giggles, but there's Data's drama with the emotion chip, Picard lamenting on not having a family of his own and so on, and it's just very nice. I like character driven work, and I recently watched an episode of Mega Man, followed up by an Going back to Star Trek, I think it helps it's got a healthy dose of character interaction while still having a decent amount of action, and a plot to have a reason for that action to make a well-rounded story. Anime, I feel, has a habit of just having characters sit around and talk, and then sometimes if they're feeling nice, throw in some action to give reason to the episode. I'm judging incredibly broadly and with extreme prejudice here, of course, but I think why it works in Star Trek and Transformers is that we mostly see the characters "working;" Data will be spouting out the technobabble for the plot, Prowl will be going "but Prime...!", and they're more just tools for the story. We know they're characters, but while this plot is taking focus they can't go around exposing their cute little quirks, and since you can't cram a moment for every character into every episode, they've got to take some time out, thus when they do show a spark of life it pays off. Anime, thanks to the budget of animation and all that, likes to spend more time using mouth flaps than making the plot visually go places, and to do that - talking! Talking about anything! So, when the time comes for someone to get a chance to give themselves a more visible persona, you're hardly going to notice because it just means more talking. They were talking before, they were talking now, and not much is changed. I like to dub "plot talking" as "operating." They're a mouthpiece for the plot. When they're not, that's real talking.

See, I'm probably a little bit drunk, so I don't think my argument's going to stand up well when I look over this later, but I think it's just a case of, like, not having much, so what little you get makes you enjoy it more. Or maybe this'll become like that video review rant I did where I just can't bear to look at it again. What was that thing like, guys? I'm a bit worried about it!

So... yeah. Generations was great and managed to get the completely fanboyish concept of Kirk coming back to battle evil with Picard done in a rather charming and well-played manner; Insurrection was entertaining, but not impressive, y'know; and I can't make any discussion that involves comparisons without talking about Transformers.



Life's been fairly ho-hum at the moment, hence my lack of blogging and lack of inspiration for real content. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I barely updated the site at all this year! We'll see what happens.

In other news, SNOOOOOOW


Apparently England's in deep shit because they're undergoing crazy blizzards and, in a situation that just makes me lol, they don't have enough salt and grit to remove the snow. Hundreds of schools have been closed, and apparently people were stranded in their cars overnight somewhere! Meanwhile, we haven't had anything more than three whole centimetres of snow, if that. Lucky bastards.

I really wish snow came more than three day a year over here, because it really livens up the scenery. Adds an extra colour to what's already just too bloody green, y'know. The green scenery is nice, but the white snow just makes you appreciate it more.

I wish I wasn't working with such a crappy blog and stupidly imposing tiny images upon myself, because there's just so much texture to these photos; the photos on that day had some beautiful sunlight to give a great look to the snow, and Napoleon's Nose (the big protrudy bit there. That's what it's called!) was just remarkably striking - it seemed to stand out better than the rest of the mountain, clearer than things closer to use than it. Of course, going from a 2mb photograph to a 16kb image file kind of makes it lose a lot of impact. Click the image for an image that's four times bigger!

A robin!

A clearer robin!

No, seriously. Click it. It's like mega clear. That's the full size resolution there.


Some seagulls just chillin' out on ice. A friend of mine said seagulls were the avian representations of the Northern Irish, since they're noisy, thieving, violent, and like to crap on people. I don't see much wrong with his analogy.

A goose! It's got nothing to do with snow or winter related behaviour, but it was an adorable goose. Plus it's got a big drop of water near its tail, which I thought was rad.

Obviously, the mountains and the southern part of Ireland got more snow than us, which almost made me wish I lived in the middle of nowhere just so I could get more of it.

Meanwhile, today, the forest park was beautiful. Only a few people had walked through it, so the ground was more or less virgin. Sort of like people who don't like walking on cracks in the pavement, I don't like making fresh footprints in the snow, and even unconsciously was walking in the footprints of other people.

I love this bridge. I left the photo huge because I want you to love it too.


I think this is why I don't like making new footprints. I'd photographed the good snow before this, and all that was left was the regular snow. The ugly snow. I don't like the ugly snow, yet it's the kind you see more often. Go away, ugly snow. No one likes your style.

I hope at least someone cared, because I've got a fear that despite calling this place Random Hoo Haas, I keep squashing myself into doing the same old cartoon and video game content over and over simply because that's what gets easy approval, rather than anything and everything that comes to mind.

so lonely