Adventures in fucking up! I want to connect my Xbox to the internet so I can make a Live account, thus allowing me to install the homebrew safely without losing out on anything bodacious. The Wii has spoilt me with how all I need is a USB device plugged into my computer and that grants it internet access, while the Xbox needs me to dick about with leads into the router. Well, I ordered an ethernet cable about two weeks ago, and it finally arrived.

The router box is at one side of the house, and my Xbox is at the opposite wall of a room at the other side of the house. I'm not sure how or why I thought a five metre cable would handle the task.

The irony is I have a maths exam on the 1st of June. With a humongous blunder like this, to get even an E on it would be a blessing.


I watched The Neverending Story last night. We've had the video as long as I've lived, it seems, but I have never, ever watched it. For a twenty five year old film on an ancient VHS tape, both have held up reasonably well!

 Some kid's mother has died and he's got a problem with bullies who dump him into garbage cans. He takes refuge in a bookshop where he steals a book that "isn't safe" according to the eccentric shopkeeper, since it is more than just a story, and thus, reads about the world of Fantasia where nothing is destroying everything, and if the Empress weren't sick she could solve everything, so a small kid and his horse (who the real kid happens to love but is simultaneously afraid to ride) go about trying to find a cure for her. And, uh, wacky cast happens.

First of all, I was expecting this to be a typical "kid with real world problems gains the confidence to conquer them through the power of this fantasy adventure and its problems" flick, along the lines of Pagemaster and... surely some other movies have that cliché, right? Pagemaster is the only one I can think of. I mean, the kid is mopey about his mother's death, he doesn't even try to stand up to the bullies before running away, and he bunks off a maths exam (which is apparently something he's been getting progressively worse at) so he can sneak into the attic of the school to read the book. It's flaw after flaw after flaw, and I just kept expecting it to wind up in the kid knowing the balance of reality and fantasy, knowing how to work out his real problems but still maintain the daydreaming fantasies a child of his age usually has.

But... nope. Apparently the humans' lack of imagination nowadays is quite literally the evil nothing, but by remaining imaginative and artistic they can keep the world of Fantasia alive, and allow it to grow. So the kid saves the day and solves his bully problem by scaring the shit out of them with his luck dragon. We don't find out what happens to his maths problem, and I can only assume that naming the Empress after his mother sorts out that issue, but I guess having a badass dragon to fly around on can clear up any ails.

The world of Fantasia is slightly similar to the world in Krull, how you see a lot of environment and vast landscapes, but very little civilisation. The most people you see are in the Empress's tower, who are really downright wacky. There's giant stone heads, bird-headed folk, elephant heads with tiny legs, giant tortoises, gnomes, generic knights, and all sorts of weird and wonderful critters. Although you only see a few characters at a time, what few you do see are interesting and memorable, and for the most part free of obnoxious traits (the tortoise's scene was a pain to sit through with his sneezing and repeated speech, not to mention what little of actual worth is said). The giant Rockbiter, even if he was rather unrealistic at times with his dense stone build being made out of soft puppet materials was particularly striking. To paraphrase Ebert's review, it really does a great impression of creating a whole new world. It's not just boring old humans and the same old creatures, but all kinds of wacky hominids and... slightly bigger same old creatures. It's lovely and whimsical.

And then it's all destroyed.

Seriously. We see the Rockbiter sorrowfully lament how he was unable to prevent two characters we saw earlier being sucked into the nothingness, blaming himself for their deaths and wishing the same fate to happen to him as punishment for his incompetence. The young hero makes a narrow escape from the world collapsing around him, and when he awakes, he's in a void with the luck dragon, seeing naught but rock fragments and debris - all that remains of the world. It's frighteningly powerful for a children's fantasy flick. And even when the Empress's tower is still standing, even that crumples into oblivion, meaning nothing is left whatsoever. Rocks fall, everyone dies. Holy shit.

Of course, the real world kid, after some really distracting meta elements (it's one thing to have the book's events refer to him, the reader, but when the Empress refers to us, the people watching the film, as people suffering along with the main character, my mind chose to dwell on the ramifications of that subject than the gobbledygook regarding how the world-destroying problem is solved), manages to wish the world back to how it was, with the bonus of getting to ride the dragon himself. Cue awesome theme music!

It's definitely not the strongest plot, and the entertainment really comes from the fascinating environments and intriguing characters. Most of the plot is just spent with the young hero fumbling around going "how do I solve this crisis, guys?" and hoping he gets a reasonable answer. In fact, it's not until just before the climax that it's really properly explained; everyone before just... talks nonsense, really. That fact alone was something I wasn't keen on, but what made it worse was that the huge info dump came from someone trying to kill him.

Honestly, a wolf who's been chasing him the whole time quite contentedly sits down and explains the crisis going on, the cause behind it, how it can be stopped (and also why it can't be stopped, being a villain after all), and anything and everything he needs to know, and then tries to kill him. After waiting the whole movie for him to finally catch up, he's killed off-screen and does nothing more than lunge. It'd be hard to make a convincing wolf puppet battle him, of course, but seriously. If I were the wolf and I'd been waiting the whole movie to find him and kill him, I don't think I'd be too keen to play Answer Me This, Wolfie-Kins when my real goal is to munch him for breakfast.

As always, disregarding my nags that take up a majority of the review, I was pleasantly surprised with the film. A good, simple, whimsical fantasy movie with some mesmerising environments and entertaining characters. I'd like to check out the sequels, but I'm under the impression they're a load of balls.



Remember back in December 2008, when I bitched and bitched about Sonic Unleashed, and bum chum Blaze was telling me it'd be the best thing ever? Well, he actually played it recently. Not just the explicitly terrible Wii version, but the supposedly-good 360 version.

These are his exact words.

<Blaze> wow
<Blaze> i finally played the 360 unleashed demo
<Blaze> and i dont like it so much
<Ragey> hahaha
<Ragey> elaborate!
<Blaze> its too fucking fast
<Blaze> i could hardly control it
<Blaze> let alone see anything
<Ragey> hahaha
<Ragey> so does this change your world view yet?
<Blaze> yes

Ohhh, yes. My elation is immeasurable. Justice is served. Now you know how it feels to have fun with a stranger in the Alps, huh, Blaze?

I'm a very petty individual.



Strange thoughts that have popped into my mind: There's something attractive about a girl with a moustache.

Elaborating on strange mind thoughts to prevent odd stares: A fully bloomed moustache, y'know. If it's a moustache in the making with speckled hairs that just ain't cool.



Been thinking of reorganising the site yet again. I've already merged all the FAQs into one horrible gelatinous page, but I'm hoping to just make more things accessible from the main Random Hoo Haas page, y'know. I'll see what happens!

In other news... there was an Ace Ventura... Jr.? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED




I'm not a big fan of PC gaming. For the most part, it's simply the fact the popular genres are first-person shooters, real-time strategies and hyphenated-adjective nouns. I'm more of a platformer and hitting-people-in-the-face genre fan. There's also the matter of games being controlled by a keyboard and mouse. In FPS games, you aim and shoots with the mouse and do everything else with the keyboard, meaning the movement keys are placed among an onslaught of other identical keys which almost all have their own purposes. I just find that immensely awkward, and I prefer to be able to have every finger of both hands accessible to every button (like one can easily do on a pleasantly-shaped gamepad) rather than waste one hand on a mouse with two buttons and the other on a keyboard with fifty million. Not to mention the simple matter that this setup favours precise aiming over precise movements - whereas I value the opposite, simply because if I can't aim then at least I can keep myself alive and spray bullets everywhere and hope one of them hits. I've run into people far too often in Halo who would stand perfectly still and shoot at me as I approached and walloped them in the back of the head for an instant-kill. It's embarrassing for both parties.

The other matter is that, dude, there's so many PC games! Unlike a console, you cannot keep track of them all. There's no Nintendo Seal of Quality to worry about, no real quality control, no way to see every possible PC game being released by the month - there's always going to be something somewhere coming out. Obviously the popular stuff is going to be easy to keep track of, but there's always going to be something that slips by unnoticed.

And I hate things being lost to time.

No, seriously, it's a major pet peeve of mine. I'm a big history nerd, and have several books about wars and whatnot, and the ones I'm particularly fond of are ones with recreations of private documents, propaganda posters and whatnot. They never really say anything the primary text can't also say, but... it always intrigues me that it's been preserved, y'know. It's nice to see that they didn't just let it get discarded and lost forever to time. I think that mentality applies to a lot of my interests. Random Action Hour covers cartoons that would otherwise be forgotten (you wouldn't believe how happy I was to see the Incredible Crash Dummies again!), I write love-gushings or complaints about games that nobody but the frighteningly insane would care about, and even all the crap I upload to the site and subsequently take down because I'm a fussy little popsicle, I keep those. Not that I'd want to share them again (seriously, that Shadow the Hedgehog review was my worst fanboy reasoning ever), nor would I be too fussed to look at them again, but... it's nice to preserve them, y'know. Not that they hold any water in comparison to government documents or whatever, but it appeases me.

And this is all just a hideously long tangent to whine that I can't find a game I played years ago.

Badger Trail! Okay, I'm pretty certain that wasn't the name, but I played it on a primary school computer years and years ago, and it just popped into my mind while looking over Scary-Crayon's reviews of the DOS TMNT games. I'm guessing it was an educational title about the perils of badgers finding a place to set for the winter, but all I remember was that the badger could never cross the road. Even if you were given enough space to cross, the badger would stop in the middle of the path and be run over, prompting you to find an alternate path along a river. I made it several "levels" into the game, but I don't think I ever completed it. I want to complete it now.

See, Home of the Underdogs was great for downloading all these ancient PC games, but then it died. Everything vanished. I'd managed to reclaim a PC game I had years ago from there (Spud!), but obviously didn't check if it had this badger game before it went bust. And I'm very frustrated! I've searched for "badger educational PC game" and many variations on Google, but nothing comes up. No knowledge that such a game exists. I'm angered!

I suppose I could just see if the school still has those old computers. Highly doubtful, but not like it'd hurt to ask.



Watched Conan the Destroyer.

When I heard it was more tame than the original movie (not to mention it having a different director), I was a little uncertain. Conan is all about gallons of blood and rampant porking, so how can it work without those vital elements?

Pretty well, actually! After the previous movie acting as a setup for the mythos, Destroyer is a pretty straightforward romp, with a distinct goal in sight the whole time. Conan and his new thief buddy Malak (no mention is made of his previous partner Subotai, sadly) are enlisted to find a treasure and return it to the woman who hired her, but complications crop up, one of which is that the woman wants Conan dead! And antics ensue, really.

There's less padding and meandering shots of the scenery, since there's always something to be happening rather than the previous movie's habit of merely waiting for an inconvenience to crop up. This does lose a little of the charm of the original; you saw many cultures in the first movie, several towns and lots and lots of crowd scenes, and even a simple thing like watching the characters stumble through a city while drunk just gave a little more life to the fictional world. Here, there's one town where they find the ally Zula, and one crowd shot at the end where the princess gives everyone jobs. The rest of the budget appears to have been thrown into marvellous, marvellous sets and a couple of monsters. Which is obviously pretty good for the more typical adventure story that it is.

And although the lighter tone means less gratuitous nudity and beheadings, it does allow for more character moments and the characters to actually define themselves a little. As much as I liked Subotai, it really just boiled down to him having a wicked moustache. Thief buddy Malak acts as the comic relief, but... to be honest, he was fairly weak comic relief. What he said could've been funny, but the actor just never seemed to get a very enthused reading of his lines. The "brother's sister's cousin" act could've been mildly amusing, but the fact he never seemed to change the tone of his voice kind of dampened any humour they could've had. To be honest, he was most entertaining when he wasn't talking, such as being hit on the head by Conan's sword or stabbing the evil deity monster thing and claiming the victory as his own after it had been taken down - but for the most part, his cracks just seemed forced. Conan made better comic relief in just one scene: falling unconscious while trying to rise to his feet, bumping into Bombaata and falling like a felled tree, and the somehow hilarious exchange, "I suppose nothing hurts you." "Only pain."

Mako returns as Akiro the wizard, but... once again, doesn't really do anything. His appearance is a nice little continuity reference to the first movie; I was fearing this would be entirely unrelated save for Conan himself, but there's Mako, his ambition is to revive Valeria from the previous movie (she died!), and there's a completely pointless yet amusing reference to the camel that Conan punched in the face. The reviving Valeria plot, however, seemed rather tacked on. The two had the hots for each other in the previous movie, and Conan was pretty miffed when she unceremoniously died, but... she wasn't incredible, y'know. Conan says she was a fearsome warrior and is currently sitting alongside Crom, the badass deity he worships, but I can barely remember her doing anything useful. She was just a female character for the purpose of titillation and mild fighting, but she wasn't exactly good at either. She was a pretty boring character. And she's compared to Zula, the female fighter in this movie.

Oh, Zula. Played by Grace Jones, she completely steals the show. She's this completely frightening half-naked Amazon warrior armed with a fearsome bo and abs of steel. At the sight of the costume I was worried Grace's acting would be a little weak, what with how even Conan shows less flesh than her half the time, but she appeared completely content in the role. Her attack on the village people is just brilliant, her war screams and unhinged grins - it's poetry in motion! Even comparatively weak moments like freaking out at the sight of a rat and playfully shrugging off the reactions of her comrades are made great by her over-the-top body language. Definitely a major plus for the film.

It's also interesting just the different styles of the two movies; the first does feature James Earl Jones as a snakeman for all of one scene (which isn't even the final battle, disappointingly), as well as some kind of spirits that try to kidnap Conan in the night and a witch who serves no purpose but a quick sex scene and death, but for the most part, Conan the Barbarian is set in a fairly realistic world (ignoring the fact it's the Hyborian age). Conan the Destroyer, meanwhile, goes nuts and has a freaky ice palace in the middle of a lagoon, Pat Roach residing within as a shape shifting wizard man who can turn into a smoke pterodactyl and is powered by the force of mirrors, wacky virgin powers involving walking through fire, and summoning a deity with the power of a horn (and then it's stabbed in the face). While Barbarian used 'supernatural' things (for lack of a better term) to merely demonstrate the weird and wonderful things in the world of Conan, Destroyer embraces it as a major part of the plot. They're entirely different beasts, mind you, the first movie being slow and pondering but engaging, while the second is a more typical gung-ho fantasy flick. I like 'em both!



Adventures in over-exaggerating: Funny story - I nearly drowned!

I was moseying around the local forest park, as I so often do, and I always love finding new places to snoop around. I saw a heavily diagonal decline that I'd never seen before, with a muddy patch at the bottom beside the river. Sweet beans, time to explore! It was pretty slippery, but I made it down fine. Fine in the sense that I made it to the bottom; what I didn't know was that the supposed muddy patch was just some crap floating on top of a pool of water that was deeper than the river (who looked toe-deep at the most). Wet leg! I got out just fine and spent ten minutes wringing out my socks, shoes and trousers as best as I could.

This is what bothered me - no one witnessed it! I had no one along to laugh at me for my folly, and a mere three people saw me wringing out my socks on a bench, and didn't query why I was doing such a thing. Not even a camera in sight. No mega bucks on You've Been Framed for me. Just a change of socks.

Theoretically I could've drowned since the forest never has many people in it so any potential cries for help were unlikely to have gone answered, but it seemed to only go up to my thighs anyway.

I want attention. =(



I watched Conan the Barbarian and Speed Racer. Both two hour long flicks, but very different pacing!

Conan is very slow and pondering. It dwells for quite a while on Conan's upbringing before he gets his "real" adventures, so to speak, and I'm pretty sure a whole five minutes is spent on the death of his mother being killed by a cheap attack. But even once his proper adventuring begins, it really feels kind of aimless, and the true plot of getting revenge on James Earl Jones isn't exactly hammered in until the second hour of the movie. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you, as like The Beastmaster, there's lots of pauses to pad out the movie with the camera focusing on lovely scenery. Except while Beastmaster mostly had silence, Conan has a wonderful soundtrack composed by Basil Poledouris, which I might have to say is a masterpiece. There's a song called 'The Orgy.' That's bound to be worth points. And it's an orgy with a leopard and a snake man watching! That's probably worth creepiness points, but points nonetheless. Also, some fabulous facial hair going on. The bad guys look like they belong in a heavy metal group than the Hyborian Age.


Speed Racer is completely ridiculous, and when you try and mix racing and fighting while in CGI cars and have it directed by the fellows behind The Matrix, you know it's going to be absurd. The plot is fairly thin and Speed Racer himself is a particularly dull character; the charm really comes from the secondary characters and just how outrageous the whole damn thing is. There's a car whose gimmick is that it throws beehives. There's a Viking who spins around with two flails attached to the back of his car. While some people are bribed with money, a primitive tribe are bribed with animal skins. I was worried that, being directed by the Matrix guys, this would be as serious as a presidential election, but it's wonderfully camp, and instead of hampering it, the abundance of CGI helps it truly become a live-action cartoon. The deliciously hammy acting of the businessman bad guy (is there any other kind of businessman?) really seals the deal.


I always feel like a bit of a crook praising shallow movies so much when I'm hosted on a site where the forum encourages intelligent critique of intelligent material.



For some reason, the guy who played Kirk in the Star Trek movie reminds me of a grown-up Shia LaBeouf. And I'm not sure why.



I saw Star Trek!

I'd heard people summarise it as "good movie, bad Star Trek" movie, and that was certainly an interesting thought. My brother told me that he saw the trailer and was all "wow, awesome, tubular!" until he saw that it was a Star Trek movie, and his enthusiasm was neutered. It's quite understandable, really. Sci-fi and fantasy fiction all have their own set "worlds" that generally can't deviate too much without getting weird. Star Trek is primarily about exploration, friendliness, diplomacy, and all kinds of positive thinking. When you see that title attached to a trailer of explosions, chase scenes and frantic action, it kind of makes you go "aw man, they're going to nerd this up."

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously I'm no stickler for continuity, and I accepted the fact it was meant to be a reboot. But it was certainly odd adjusting to it. For forty-something years, Star Trek has more or less aimed at the same audience and had the same basic vibe about it, same basic pacing and tone. The Star Wars movies have a tying theme and vibe to them, while the spin-off material branches from children's cartoons to adult comics, and it aims to every audience; even Transformers, a toyline for kids, ranges from silly cartoons to serious comics, and for both of them you come to accept it. For Star Trek to finally try and deviate is... kind of weird. After forty years of diplomacy and treating things rationally unless totally necessary and being rather subdued, space explosions all up in your anus.

And even as a reboot, it's weird! I have to partially disagree with the "bad Star Trek movie" thing. Some parts were explicitly Star Trek, and did a great job. Some parts were more kooky and weird, and although a little odd (Scotty being teleported inside a water tube could've just been a quick gag, but somehow became a race to save his life) were generally pretty decent. And then there were the bits that, while good in any other sci-fi action flick, seemed exceptionally jarring being in the middle of a Star Trek movie. Where did that giant insect chase on the snow planet come from? I kind of wanted to say "bad Star Trek movie" too, but there was at least enough Star Trek to make it work, y'know. It was still the same Star Trek world, just with a quite different vibe.

Simon Pegg completely stole the show. I was surprised he showed up so late, and I admit I thought the guy plummets down with a parachute and gets toasted alive was Scotty, in an attempt to be hip and edgy and kill an original character, but no, it just happened to be someone else with an English accent. How about that.

Some nags, as always.

But, yeah. Special effects were fabulous (and it paid attention to the lack of sound in space!), acting was great, it still managed to be a Star Trek movie, and dude, Leonard Nimoy! He's back! And apparently he wants to do voice acting for the new Transformers movie! Sugoi!

Good show.



I now own an Xbox! Not a 360, but the original one. I'm a cheapskate bastard, see. Also, homebrew!

It's bad enough when the only reason I bought Twilight Princess was for the Twilight Hack, but buying a whole console just for homebrew? I am a sick little man.

It came with two "S" controllers and 14 games and it seems in pristine condition (even the stupid white foamy things from the box were there!), all for £45. Not too shabby.

It'll be fun playing all these new and exciting games, like... Tetris World and The Sims: Bustin' Out. See, when I get a new console it's perfectly acceptable to play games like that just for the curiosity factor, but once the newness wears out I try and dispose of them as quickly as possible.

This also means I'll have to update Games I Own, Like and Hate. That'll be a barrel of laughs.



Okay, so I just found out that Bob Hoskins is actually British. Seriously, I thought he was an American! I was most familiar with him from his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Super Mario Bros. that I got used to that gruff accent as his real voice; not to mention it's just a real American style name. It sounds like Boston, which, to me, is the manliest name for a city ever. When I watched Doomsday a while back (I blogged about that, didn't I?) I was surprised to see Hoskins there, expecting him to have better things to do than hang out in some wacky zombie-meets-medieval-meets-Mad Max movie, but it all makes sense now. He's a Brit.

I guess that also explains why he was in Spice World.


Yes, I saw Spice World.

On TV, of course.

Years ago.

At my grandmother's house.

It was kind of stupidly enjoyable.



Last year everyone was shitting bricks over the bird flu, but I don't remember actually hearing if anyone died from it or not, and then all the worrying over it just disappeared. Now there's the pig flu, which people are saying will "threaten all of humanity." At least it's actually got mild support for this claim since the flu spreads across humans and has actually killed some people, rather than the bird flu which needed direct contact with an avian; or so I heard.

I find it ironic that pigs, the creature that's said to see humans as equals, are attempting to totally kill the lot of us. It's only fair, really.


I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Well, first thing's first: Deadpool doesn't wear his costume. In context it makes sense, what with his different role as a godless killing machine, but that's hardly going to stop the fanwank.

Also, yes, the whole movie is really nothing more than fanservice. Are you surprised? The Blob and Emma Frost are prominently featured and named in the TV trailers, but they only get like one scene each, and despite being the Wolverine's wife's sister, you don't even hear about her existence quite literally five minutes before she appears. Although only a few are named, there's probably a million cameos going on, some more obvious than others, and if I knew my mutants better (and gave a hoot about them) then it'd probably prompt a nerdgasm. The movie kind of doubles as a teaser for X-Men Origins: Gambit as it is.

And yes again, the Origins part of the title is dubious since the other X-Men movies allegedly gave you all you needed to know about Wolverine's history. I can't verify this personally because I've only seen the first movie, and I haven't seen it since I watched it in cinemas years and years ago. I mean, I know ol' Logan's a hard nugget to destroy and he barely ages and he's the best at what he does and what he does best is snikt snikt claw city, but I admit I was kinda clueless as to why he could live without aging to take part in several wars. I'm really not too familiar with any of the origins of the X-Men, but I was under the impression the adamantium thing was what made him unable to age, but it clearly shows here that that happened after the fighting-in-three-wars-and-not-looking-a-day-over-thirty part. But considering this is a movie with a person who can power light bulbs with his mind then I'm hardly going to complain. It's a movie fuelled by rule of cool and I'm hardly the man to grumble about that. It's got plenty of explosions, baby.

My dad made an amusing analogy that the movie worked great because obviously the film was filled with superheroes, but there were no costumes, so you could at least take it seriously. He said the first X-Men film worked so well,  but then once you saw the heroes in costume it was like a balloon suddenly losing air. I've got to agree, really; I admit I'm a big ol' sucker for costumed superheroes (and it worked well in The Watchmen despite how ridiculous everyone looked), but the X-Men costumes, no matter what, just aren't going to look good in film. However, it helped that despite that, each character still had an identifiable appearance, Wolverine always identifiable with his unique haircut and all. It also helped that characters would just appear and disappear whenever convenient - Gambit would help Logan to the island and vanish, then his wife would help him rescue the mutants and vanish, then Victor would help him fight Deadpool and vanish, and then Gambit would appear again. Convenient!

I suppose I'm positive because I'm shallow. I mean, the ticket cost £4 when I was expecting £5.50. Not too shabby.



So what's the deal with the term "most popular baby names"? Why not just call it "most popular names"? I mean, they're babies now, but then they're going to be kids, teenagers, adults, pensioners, and finally corpses. They're only babies for two years on average; though finding people who act like big babies isn't exactly difficult. Is it a case of it being okay to name a baby Gertrude, but once they're grown-up then it's not accepted anymore? Is it a suggestion that once your baby has grown up, you should give it a more fitting name? "Oh, our son Angel is a trouble maker. Let's call him Asshat from now on." I want answers, people!

Yahoo! News does a wonderful job of grinding my gears.