Category Archives: Off-topic

The Continually Disappointing and Melodramatic Dead

Warning: This post contains ranting. Also, spoilers! So if you aren’t caught up on The Walking Dead or haven’t watched the season 5 premiere (and you still care), turn back now.

Ah, The Walking Dead. I never read the graphic novels, but when the television show started back in 2010, I was excited. I love apocalyptic fiction, and it’s not a genre that’s covered often, or well on television. The BBC series Survivors was enjoyable, but only lasted for 12 episodes, and I guess you could call BS:G post-apocalyptic, but that’s about it. The Walking Dead gave us the end of the world and gave us zombies, which hadn’t been quite so overdone as they are now.

The 6-episode first season was well done. The setup was good, personal relationships and conflicts were established. There was a clear goal of getting to the Atlanta CDC to see if there was hope for a cure.

Season 2 starts with some excitement (oh by the way, the CDC stuff from last season? A hopeless waste of time). Sophia is missing! Carl is shot! The apocalypse is clearly no place for children. The group finds a farm which seems safe enough, owned by a vet who moonlights as a doctor and they stay there. For the entire season. Just hanging out on the farm. The story stopped moving forward, and instead each episode centered on personal drama and all the characters yelling at each other without actually communicating.

Season 3 has the survivors camping out in a prison. We get introduced to the Governor, who’s a bit of a caricature of a villain and Michonne, who everyone loves, but her defining character trait at this point is that she has a sword. Rick goes crazy, but he’s such a boring character that nobody cares. A bunch of major characters die, and the survivors return to the prison. Oh, and now there’s a baby. Because that will end well.

Season 4 brought the Governor back, and this time tries to make us sympathize with him. He just wants a family to take care of, he’s not so bad. Oh, wait, he just decapitated a sweet old Hershel, never mind. Once the prison is left behind, things did pick up a bit. The group gets separated, new relationships form, Michonne develops into an actual character. And then there’s Terminus. Everyone starts heading toward this apparent sanctuary. There’s mystery! There’s intrigue! What is Terminus? Is it safe? Who are these people who run it? The season ends with most of the group locked in a shipping container. Apparently no, Terminus is not safe, but Rick and the others are determined to survive.

That brings us to season 5. I’m so mad I can’t even form proper paragraphs.

  • After all the Terminus build-up – who are these people? What are they going to do? Are they cannibals? Within 5 minutes of the season opener, all the questions are answered. Yup, they’re totally cannibals, and they’re going to kill Rick, Bob, Daryl, and Glenn RIGHT NOW.
  • The four merry men are knelt in front of a trough and we watch 4 redshirts get their throats slit like pigs. Then, it’s Glenn’s turn. Oh no! Not Glenn! He’s going to die!
  • Nevermind, we get Carol ex machina, who blows up part of Terminus just in time to save him!
  • Ugh, this whole situation is so dumb and lacks any kind of tension. We know they’re not going to kill off 4 leads in one scene at the very start of a season. Was anyone actually worried? And having them saved right before it’s Glenn’s turn to die is just lazy. Mix it up a bit. If Bob had been first in the kill line, I might be worried for him. But Glenn? Don’t waste my time.
  • So the whole five episode arc leading up to Terminus is just done, boom. Cannibals all dead, Rick and co. are free in the first half of the episode.
  • This episode also features Tyreese. He’s with Judith (Carol has gone off to be a hero), and watching over one of the people from Terminus. This character plot device tells Tyreese he and the baby are going to die because T won’t kill him. Tyreese is a good guy, he just wants everyone to get along, but he gets the message and eventually pounds the guy’s face into the dirt (though I’m kind of skeptical that he actually killed him since he wouldn’t let Carol go in and see the body).
  • Then, a happy ending! Rick and Carl are reunited with Judith! Tyreese is reunited with Sasha! Carol is reunited with Darryl! Beth’s still MIA, but who cares! There are tears of joy, maybe the rest of the season will be one big love-in.
  • We got two flashbacks at the beginning and end of the episode that showed the people running Terminus and how they had been captured and brutalized by others before, so that’s why they turned into butchers themselves. But there’s a pretty big discrepancy between killing your captors and protecting your own, vs. sending out broadcasts and putting up signs drawing people to you so you can capture, kill, and eat them. And they’re all dead now anyway, so the flashback at the end really did nothing. If you want to explore these characters, fine, but this was a really brief and lazy way of doing it.
  • TDW is very subtly trying to show us that our favourite characters are becoming the monsters they were trying to fight. Oh, did I say subtle? I meant they are using a sledgehammer to drive that point across.
  • The action scenes are starting to feel like they’re just showing off how good the make-up and effects departments have gotten at gore. And they are good. But now it just seems like the show is trying to gross us out rather that create horror in any literary way.
  • There are things that make me think I want to continue watching season 5 – another actor from The Wire, Morgan from way back in season 1 – but I also know I’ll continue to be disappointed. They’ll continue meeting and killing new people. Some big thing will get built up this season only to be resolved within an episode once they finally get there. Characters will yell at each other and question if they have become monsters. And on and on and on.

So that’s it. I obviously didn’t care for the episode, which is disappointing since the build up in season 4 actually made me excited for this premiere. I think I’m mostly just mad that I keep watching the show when it clearly gives me no joy.

Follow Friday and Other Baffling Twitter Phenomena

I’m feeling a little ranty today and I figured I’d take it out on social media since it can’t defend itself, and WoW has done nothing to provoke my ire lately. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I love it more than hate it since I’ve ‘met’ so many awesome people on it who I like to chat with. But certain Twitter behavior can irritate me to no end, especially when I’m kind of grumpy in the first place. Here are the top offenders. They’re all related to filling my Twitter feed with a bunch of crap I’m not interested in seeing.

Follow Friday

Alright, I can understand this conceptually but, practically, most #ffs are duds. If I see:

#ff @Serrath_ @RunningTracy @ThunderRodent @WTSHeals @healiocentric @Therya_EJ @Rezznul @Restokin @Smmoke_ @SerrinneWoW @Kaleri_ @kurnmogh 

You know what the chances are that I’m going to follow any of these people? (Pretend that I don’t follow all of them already :P ) Zero. Why would I follow these people? Who are they? Why should I want to see what they have to say?

However, if I saw this:

#ff @Serrath_ because he’s taken over as the new healing lead of Apotheosis (sucker). He’s an awesome holy Priest, even though he plays a gnome.

Then I might actually follow, assuming I was interested in Apotheosis, healing, or Priests; and not too turned off by the gnome part.

If you really want to get someone some new followers, put in a little more effort. Otherwise, why bother?

The worst thing people do is when they post 12 big blocks of #ff tweets that list every single person they follow. Please, stop.

Thank you

I admit this is a strange one and I could possibly be the only person bothered by it. It’s especially odd considering I’m Canadian and all about being polite to strangers. However, it bugs the hell out of me when people say thank you for RTs. Yes, it’s great to be appreciative, but it’s also great to not clog your other followers feeds with 12 tweets that say “ty” to various people. That said, I do appreciate when people RT my blog posts! I just do it silently.

The worst Twitter thank you behaviour is related to Follow Friday. If someone mentions you in one of those big blocks of names in a #ff and you feel the need to thank them… for the love of god, just thank the person who wrote the #ff. Do not reply to everyone. Argh! (Reply All is a function that many, many people can not handle. Not just a Twitter problem.)

Auto Tweets

Worst thing. I seriously find these more annoying than DMs telling me about how you lost 10 lbs with Garcinia. So many sites do this auto posting BS – I find YouTube, FourSquare, and Raptr the worst offenders, and it’s the quickest way to make me unfollow someone. I don’t care that you liked a video on YouTube. I don’t care that you’re at the Tim Hortons on 4th and Main (and it’s kind of creepy that now everyone knows where you are). How twitchy my unfollow finger gets when I see these depends on my mood, but if I see more than one or two of these in a day from a person, I’m probably not following them anymore. It’s really annoying. There are a few people who I really want to follow so that I can see their actual thoughts on things, but then 25% of their feed is: “Played World of Warcraft (PC) in the last 24 hours. http://raptr.com/” and I don’t want to see that. I generally wind up following and unfollowing these people every couple of weeks.

PSA: Help control the auto-tweet population – check your settings on these websites and turn them off!

Alright, I think I’m done ranting. Oh wait – Get off my lawn! There, now I’m done.

Because I don’t like to write posts that are totally whiny, self-indulgent and negative, here’s a cool screenshot of Jasyla rocking her legendary cloak proc. Four wings are better than two.Dual-wing

PSA: Twitter, Communication and Manners

Imagine this…

Someone on the Internet has pissed you off (I know, I know, this is an outlandish situation I’m suggesting, but bear with me). Maybe they’ve disagreed with something you firmly believe in. Maybe last night in Dragon Soul they wouldn’t get out of the fire no matter how many chances they got and kept wiping the raid. Maybe they’ve just been an absolute jerk.

Despite common practice, the appropriate course of action is not to go on Twitter and snidely make vague, undirected comments about the situation. This doesn’t fool anyone. Anyone who has been privy to the situation will know exactly what you’re talking about. The person you’re making the snide comments about will know exactly what you’re talking about. I suppose that’s the point. However, acting this way is passive aggressive and tacky. At best it accomplishes nothing. Likely, it makes everyone involved more angry and draws more people into a situation they don’t really need to be involved in.

Try taking the high road. Directly tell the person in question that you’re upset with them and why. If you feel like being super mature about it, you could even do it in private rather than on Twitter. The situation has much better chance of being resolved this way.

Communication tends to work better when you say what you mean, to the person you want to hear it.

/soapbox

Overwhelmed

Disclaimer: This post is completely non WoW-related, highly self-indulgent and a little on the emo side. Feel free to skip right on by and go read something about the MoP beta. Actually, it’ll be easier to hit publish if I think no one is reading this.

It’s March 22nd and this is only the second post I’ve written this month. I feel bad that I’ve been ignoring my blog, but I just haven’t been in the right mindset to write (or even play WoW) most of the time.

I feel a little odd writing this post. I don’t really like to talk about personal stuff too much, but I feel like I need to say something – need a little catharsis.

I’ve been going through a lot in the last few months. I’m way over 300 on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. I’ve gone through a break-up, sold my house, had to find a new place to live, moved to a much smaller place, lost a few friends, been gkicked, have been without my kitties for far too long, and in 8 days I’ll be unemployed. At times I feel like I could be the subject of a bad country song. I’m glad I don’t have a dog, because it probably would have died.

I’m trying not to feel too sorry for myself, as the responsibility for many of these things falls squarely on my shoulders. I’ve also had some really great things happen over the last while. But as someone who has never handled change very well, it has been overwhelming at times.

The worst part has been moving. I hate moving. Nothing makes me want to hide in a closet, curl into the fetal position and cry like packing my life into boxes and moving it some place else. I should have planned better. I should have just hired movers and got everything done in one fell swoop. But I didn’t. Instead I’ve drawn this process out over a couple of weeks, moving a few boxes at a time. I’ve made so many trips between my old house and my new loft, carting over whatever I could fit in my car – my dolly has become one of my best friends. At the end of each of these trips I’ve usually been an exhausted, emotional wreck.

Cleaning out my old house was stressful, as was getting rid of all the things I knew wouldn’t fit into my new place. I donated all my books to Goodwill. I loved the library I’ve built up over the last decade or so, but my new place really doesn’t have room for so many bookshelves. They’d just have to go into storage and then I’d have to move them again when my lease is up. So I got rid of them all, along with everything else I didn’t see an immediate need for.

The process of selling a house is funny. You put so much work into it – cleaning, touching up paint, decluttering, rearranging furniture and making it look good – then you leave and don’t get to enjoy any of it yourself.

On the bright side, it’ll be over soon. Last night I moved the last of my stuff out of my old place. The sale of my house closed today; my lawyer just called me to tell me that everything was done. I also got one of my kitties back this week, who happens to be the best at snuggling.

Momo snuggles
There is still lots to do. I need to unpack and finish furnishing my new place, but that’s not too stressful. I like the thought of putting everything in its proper spot (once I find it) and making the place my own. I’m looking forward to having people over to my new place for a housewarming party and lots of wine nights. I’ll also be writing a lot more cover letters (not my favourite thing to do) as I search for a job. To be honest though, I’m not in a huge hurry to get a new job, I could use some time off. I feel like I need about a month of sleep to clear my head and stop feeling so exhausted all the time.

It’s been an ordeal, but I’m looking forward to April.

My Favourite Blogs and Websites

This is Day 10 of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.

(What happened to day 9? Shh…)

I think I’ve talked about my favourite WoW blogs enough. And most of them are in my blogroll, so you can see them there. So instead I will talk about the non-WoW sites and blogs that spend the most time reading.

First, I love to cook and eat, so I frequent a lot of food blogs.

Tiny Urban Kitchen is probably my favorite food blog. Jen does such amazing restaurant reviews that make me envious of all the great restaurants she gets to go to. I love her series of Las Vegas reviews (I <3 Vegas!), and all the reviews she’s done of her hometown of Boston makes that once of the places I really want to travel to.

 Joy the Baker has amazing recipes with great pictures to go along with them that have me salivating at my computer every time she posts a new one. Pickle friesrosemary lime cocktailssalted caramel cheesecake pie. Yum. Beware of reading this site on an empty stomach.

The Pioneer Woman‘s cooking section is amazing. So many great recipes that overuse ingredients like butter and heavy cream…mmm. This site is what first convinced me to make my own crème brûlée, for which I am forever thankful (though my own recipe is better than hers). In addition to making me hungry, this site makes me green with envy. This woman lives on a ranch full of horses and cowboys, she spends her days cooking, taking pictures and blogging. Can I have her life please? (minus the 4 kids).

Other sites I really like:

Television Without Pity – I have a confession to make. I am absolutely terrible at spoiling tv shows. If I PVR something to watch later (which is what I almost always do), I will look up spoilers for the episode before I watch it. I can’t help myself. TWOP is where I go for my spoilers and as a bonus the episode synopses are full of snark. I’ve ruined many a surprise for myself on this site.

Listverse – New lists every day! The lists are sometimes a bit hit-and-miss, but I particularly enjoy the ones about arts and entertainment. Best X-Files episodes, creepiest movie characters, most disturbing novels, doomed cinema romances…there’s a list for everything.

Script Shadow – This site reviews movie scripts and I can’t really explain why I like it so much. I’m not a writer, much less a screenwriter. I have no plans to write a screenplay at any time, but for some reason I really like reading script reviews and writing tips. Maybe it’s just a reflection on my love of movies. One of my favorite series of articles was about the Start Wars movies – it broke down exactly why Empire Strikes Back was completely awesome and Attack of the Clones was complete shit (and looked at the other movies as well).

What are your favourite sites? Have any recommendations for me?

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me

This is Day 8 of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.

This one is tough…hard to think of 10 things that most people don’t already know about me that I want to share. Here goes.

1. I’m an only child. Sometimes I loved it, because I got spoiled; sometimes it was a little lonely.

2. I used to be a blonde. I’m definitely not blonde anymore.

Pamela is unimpressed
I seem unsure about why this boy is kissing me.

3. I worked in the game industry for a little while, in QA. When I first got the job, I thought it was amazing. Getting paid to play video games? Sign me up. But it wasn’t all that great. The games I tested…they were bad. I got to play games like  Warpath (a Halo knock-off), Land of the Dead (based on the movie), Playboy: The Mansion (The Sims with boobs – I actually kind of liked testing this one) and the bane of my tester existence, WWII Combat: Iwo Jima. Ugh, that game was so bad (really, read a review if you don’t believe me). What made it worse was that we’d often spend a week testing a single build when we were used to getting new builds every day. I’d often just flat-out refuse to continue to play it and instead go through the bug tracker and point out terrible spelling and grammar in the other testers’ bugs. As you can probably guess, I made a lot of friends this way.

4. I always ask for the same thing when anyone asks me what I want for Christmas or my birthday: a pony. I’ve yet to receive one.

5. I was an offensive backfield coach for my high school’s football team. I ran drills during practice and sometimes called plays during games. I also kept track of player stats. It was a lot of fun. I was never big on playing sports myself, but I was all for telling football players what to do.

6. I like things to be in order. My movie collection and library are organized alphabetically. The clothes in my closet are sorted by colour. I’ve been known to reorganize the shelves in bookstores if I find something out-of-place. This is likely related to number 7.

7. My first job was at Chapters (a Canadian bookstore). I worked there for 4 years. I loved working with books and seeing all the new titles coming out. My customer service on the other hand, was hit and miss. I could be the best employee ever and make all the customers love me, but I could also be downright mean to the rude customers (no, the customer is not always right). I used to do things like announce over the store intercom that people should put their books back where they found them if they weren’t going to buy them rather than leave them in giant pile near Starbucks. Luckily, my managers loved me, so I could get away with that kind of thing :)

8. I’ve been fired from one job – when I was 2 years old. I was booked for a Pampers commercial, though I no longer wore them. As soon as the camera started rolling I’d tear off my diaper and proclaim “I hate Pampers!” My mom pleaded with me and tried to bribe me to pretend I liked them for a couple minutes, but I held to my convictions. That put at end to my acting career (though I was in a Mr. Christie cookie commercial previously – I had no problem eating cookies on camera).

9. I love games. Any games. Video games (I’m sure you knew that one), card games, board games. My dad taught me how to play poker, euchre, thousand and cribbage by the time I was about 8 and we used to play them all the time (also Risk and chess – two games which I never, ever managed to beat him at). In high school I played cards every day at lunch – usually hearts.

10. I have a single tattoo. I got it when I was 19. If you know what it is, you win my respect.My tattoo

Shared Topic: Favorites

This week’s shared topic at Blog Azeroth came from Ardol at World of Warcraft Philosophized who suggested people write about their favorite things. I really like this topic, but had some trouble deciding on a single category. I started a list of favorite movies, then books, then TV shows. Then I said to hell with it and decided to write about them all, so here are some of my mass media favorites.

Favorite Book

The Magus by John Fowles
The Magus
This book is one big psychological game, and I love it. It deals with the themes of destiny vs. free will, reality vs. fiction and takes cues from mythology, philosophy and even Shakespeare. While the story itself can be a little convoluted, it’s written beautifully and is intriguing the whole way though. Every piece can be taken at face value (though I wouldn’t recommend it) or dissected endlessly to find hidden meanings. It’s one of those books that will mean different things to different people and I find that I pick up something new every time I read it.

Other favorites:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
The Continent of Lies by James Morrow

Favorite Movie

Some Like it Hot

Some Like It Hot (Collector's Edition)Marilyn Monroe, mobsters and men in drag, what more could I ask for? If you haven’t seen this, I recommend you do so immediately. It was named the best American comedy film of all time by AFI for very good reasons. It also features the absolute best ending line I’ve ever heard.

Other favorites:
Full Metal Jacket
Gone with the Wind
Moulin Rouge

Starship Troopers

Favorite Show

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition (The Complete Series)Though its run was short, Twin Peaks was an excellent show with some of the most memorable characters and imagery I’ve seen in television. Every time I see a piece of cherry pie or drink a damn good cup of coffee, I think of Agent Cooper. Each episode veered wildly between melodrama, comedy and supernatural horror. One minute you were in a quaint diner in a sleepy little mountain town, the next you were in a surreal red room with a gyrating, backwards-speaking dwarf and a doppelganger or two. The series finale was the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen – but creepy in a fantastic way.

Disclaimer: When thinking about how great Twin Peaks is I mentally repress a few episodes from the middle of the second season.

Other favorites:
Arrested Development
The Sopranos
The West Wing
The X-Files

Favorite Game

Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good & EvilOkay, I lie. Planescape: Torment is my real favorite game, but I already wrote about that in another post. Right now I’m replaying Beyond Good and Evil and it is just as good as the first time I played it. The game play is solid, the story is strong and it actually has a relatable female lead. BG&E is one of the few games I’ve played that uses a photography mechanic successfully. In games like Dead Rising or Bioshock I think taking pictures is a little clunky and find that it takes away from the atmosphere. In BG&E it’s worked into the story and is enjoyable. Here’s hoping the sequel that’s been “in the works” for years is actually released.

Other favorites:
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Mass Effect 2
Shadow Hearts: Covenant

I also enjoy raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.