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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hungry for more Games.

The Hunger Games. It's fairly likely that you've heard at least one of your friends going on about how amazing it is, whether they're talking about the book, the film, or both. I haven't read the book/s - though I think they'll be on my (rather long) to-read list - but I have watched the film recently. And you know what, it's pretty good.

The Hunger Games is set in a futuristic world; and at some point between now and then, there was something akin to the Russian Revolution, but it got knocked back. Basically, the high class are on top, subduing the lower class. Sound familiar? The high class decide that to remind the lower class of what they did, each year, two kids (guy and a girl, of course) from a certain age bracket will be taken from each district (of which there are 12, #12 being the worst off) and put in an arena to fight to the death, a bit of a cross between gladiators and Survivor. Whoever comes out the other end gets glory, fame, and food for their district.

The story follows a girl from District 12 who volunteers to go into the Games, so that her sister (who was chosen by the lottery) doesn't go in. She's a dead shot with a bow, and is noticed fairly quickly. The guy she goes with has a crush on her. (Of course.) The rest of it is a combination of the lead-up and training for the Games, as well as the event itself. And its quite an event - basically the big game show of the year for them.

There's some quite interesting things about the movie; District 12 is portrayed like a very poor country town in some backward place in the middle of nowhere - while in the Capitol (which is, strangely enough, the Capital), they have weird/wacky/fluoro hair, similar dress sense, futuristic - well, everything, pretty much. The difference between the upper and the lower is very exaggerated, very much polarised. It presents an interesting image.

Also, in the arena, everything is controllable. They can smack down a tree over here, introduce some wild beasts over there, and they have cameras everywhere. Literally everywhere. And it really is a game to them. That's it, nothing more. The movie certainly raises some interesting questions in this respect, that aren't necessarily fully resolved. I walked out thinking, "Yep. There's going to be a sequel." I think there's three books.

All over, it's quite a good movie, that I'd certainly recommend watching. Not really one for the little kids - as you can imagine - and does provoke some thought, so if you're not into being challenged too much with what you watch, then you won't get as much out of this.

Positives: Amusing fashions in the Capitol, asks some good questions, clever idea, well done.
Negatives: Not quite sure what to think of some characters, differences between upper and lower classes seem slightly extreme, some issues unanswered.
Just weird: The second-in-command's beard, and the show-host guy's smile.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Massive Effect Tripled.

Well, I've done it. I have finished Mass Effect 3! Woot! OK, cool.

Now, on to the review. Disclaimer: As I mentioned in the review for the demo, I am slightly biased. Just a little. Yeah. Probably something to keep in mind.

Mass Effect 3 is the last in the Mass Effect Trilogy, wrapping up the story of Commander Shepard and the Reapers. If you haven't played through the first two - you'll want to, just because it effects the game so much. Apparently, there's several hundred variables or something that can affect ME3 from previous choices you've made in 1 or 2. The "love interest" in number 1 (and who I went back to in ME3, even though her lips looked plastic :P ) was decidedly annoyed that I had gone with someone else in ME2, even though I didn't know that you could even stay with her! She wasn't even on the ship!

But anyway. You have the opportunity to bring together all the races - ALL of them - to pitch in to a final fight against the Reapers. Age-old rivalries will be sorted out, because Commander Shepard is just one cool dude. (Or gal, if you go for FemShep.) I don't know if it's possible to get fleets from every race - I didn't quite manage it, got all but one - but you can get forces from all of them, if you work at it. And, what I found interesting in this one; your Paragon (nice guy) and Renegade (badass guy) points add up to a total Reputation, rather than working in opposition to each other. Oh, and you get an omni-sword. :D And with the DLC, you can get a Prothean on your team. Which is pretty darn cool.

Another thing I like that they've changed is that you're not scanning every planet looking for things. You have an extra scanner that checks if there's anything on the planets nearby, then you scan just planets that actaully have stuff there. Oh, and you don't really get heavy weapons very often, which was interesting. Interesting development - you can also have same-sex relationships, if that's your kind of thing. You could do that before if you were FemShep with the Asari, but they were all women anyway. Now, there's a human same-sex option for both Sheps. I'm betting that they got a few angry letters about that. Anyway.

A lot of people have whined long and hard about the ending to the game. Now, I can't exactly give a definitive answer, because I've only seen one ending. There's three different ones that you can choose (well, technically there's a fourth; you could just fail): you can decide to control the Reapers (like the Illusive Man wants to), destroy the Reapers, but also all synthetic life, including the geth (like Anderson wants to), or fuse organics and synthetics together to create a new type of lifeform. I'm a pacifist, who doesn't like the idea of controlling or destroying much, so I went with the third. Oh, and, just to make it clear - all of these were available to you if you got to the end, no matter what choices you made in getting there. (Or at least, so I'm told.) I really liked the ending I got. I've heard some people complaining about not really finding out what happened to people - honestly, I'm OK with that. I got to see a few of them, smiling faces,bright blue skies, etc, I'm happy. Hey, maybe I'm just a cheap sell.

To sum up, I thought that Mass Effect 3 was pretty damn fantastic. Probably my favourite game, definitely one of the best I've ever played. If you're into your RPGs - this is an absolute must-have. Buy. It.

Oh, and as a parting note, the music is fantastic. Leaves a lovely poignant tone to it.

EDIT: OK. Figured out why everyone's saying the endings are shit now. Thanks YouTube.
Each ending is almost exactly the same. You don't really get to see what the different ones lead to - about the only difference between them is that in one the Reapers blow up. But the rest is almost exactly the same animation, with pretty colours so you know which ending you picked.
OK, yeah. Think I'd like something a bit better than that.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Song Saturday #6: The Chair

Yeah, I didn't get an interview up on Monday. And I didn't get a review up on Thursday. Sheesh, I'm really slacking off. But I do have a song for you guys today. Woot! OK, celebration over. :P Oh, and apparently, I'm getting slightly better at communication/starting. Was at the Camden Show tonight, and said hi to random girl. She was looking a bit lonely/cold. Twas windy. And she'd been there the whole day. (Was at one of the stalls.) Didn't really have much of a conversation. More of a jerky-me-asking-a-few-questions then standing-there-awkwardly. But, I think that's some sort of record for me. Woot!

Anyway. Song. This one is written as part of a performance project I'm doing. Bit of a metaphorical thing and such. I give you....The Chair.

The Chair

The chair.......The chair......
We're all sitting in our own chairs
We all have our own bruises
We all have things stopping us
From seeing, from talking, from doing
What's going to stop you

In your chair.........In your chair.......
You're all sitting in your own chairs
You all have your own bruises
You all have things stopping you
From seeing, from talking, from doing
What's going to stop you

In your chairs.........In your chairs.......

Stand up, stand up, stand up

From your chairs, from your chairs
Take off your blindfolds, take off your gags
Let's break these ties

Of course, some of us can't get out of our chairs
Some aren't strong enough to leave
So we live with it as best we can
Look to the future for fast reprieve

From our chairs........From our chairs........

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Song Saturday #5: Dark Poison

And another song for you guys. This one does sound very depressing and such, I know. I'm not. About sin, really. Half-inspired by the song "All Black" by Good Charlotte. Hope you like :)

Dark Poison

I may look like an ordinary person
But something's happening inside
It's only going to ever worsen
So I make sure that it always hides

It's spreading through me
Coursing through my veins
I can't let it take control
It's coming over me
Don't know what to do anymore
Cannot keep on hiding
This dark poison

Well sometimes I feel possessed
And sometimes I'm alright
But right now I'm obsessed
Can't give up this fight



Chorus x2

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dragon Training makes a mark.

Yeah, I didn't have an interview on Monday. Sorry about that. Need to get my act together and such. Hopefully have one for next Monday. Anyway, review. Errr....what to review. Yes. Oh, right. That would make sense. Movie happening right next to me. That'll work.

How To Train Your Dragon is one of the most recent animated offerings from Dreamworks Pictures. Put simply, it's about a Viking who's not really Viking-material. He's skinny, small, and actually has some brains. Hey, who knows, maybe he's an aspie too ;) Heck, now I'll be playing Spot The Aspie in all the movies I'm watching :P Anyway. He wants to prove himself as a Viking to the other guys, so he manages to use a crossbow-net type device to bring down the fastest, hardest dragon the Vikings know. But then he can't kill it. And ends up riding it. Of course. Natural association.

The film explores issues like not fitting in, taking a stand, being independent, you know, the typical ones you get with this sort of one. Basic plot narrative: Scrawny guy enlists help of hardcore girl (who he likes) plus geek guy, annoying twins, and stupid guy to face insurmountable obstacle, while being ostracised and reconciling with his dad along the way. That's probably been done somewhere before, I guess.

Pretty good. Some interesting characters for comic relief and such. The different types of dragons make it quite interesting. And, of course, they match up nicely to....well, if you watch it/have watched it, you'll see.

Downsides: Plot fairly predictable; not sure if you would have geeks in Viking times; accents a bit varied and such. Dragon at the end looks more like a T-Rex with absurdly sized wings.
Upsides: Interesting and humourous characters, some good moments. Good to see they used actual runes.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Asperger's + What's My Name?

There's a fair bit of lead-up to this song, which is kind of important. So thought I might go into that a bit.

Basically - hmmm. How to go about this. Well, to put it shortly, turns out I have Asperger's Syndrome. I'm cool with it, I'm not going to blow up, it's all good. And I only figured it out today. Can't really give any more details at the moment, sorry. Oh, and apparently I'm a "soft Aspie" (Aspie being a short/nice/affectionate/cool term for people with Asperger's), which is supposed to mean that girls will really like me.

.....Well, so far, nothing happening there. Anyway. It's been really great knowing that - because I've always known that there was something different about me, but I never knew what it was. So this has been really great. So I decided to do this song about that. Yeah, I had a bit of fun with it at the end. ;)

What's My Name

I'm sitting off to the side a little
Prefer it a fair bit to the middle
Though I wouldn't mind a little bit sometimes
Just cause I seem a bit more mind than heart
Doesn't mean that it's torn apart
It's still there, just hidden a bit deeper

Could someone please tell me
Could someone please show me

What's my name
What's this game I'm playing
I know I'm not like them, but I'm not sure what is me
What's my name
I'm not the same, I know this
How can you know who you are
If you don't know your name

I might be a little behind the others
When it comes to some sports, or making "blood brothers"
But I know in other ways I seem so ahead
And the other guys seemed to change before me
That strange old thing called puberty
Especially when my voice didn't break for a while

Pre-Chorus + Chorus


I'm aspie and that's OK, and I'm OK cause I'm aspie,
And that's cool, cool, cool, cool, yeah!

Final Chorus:
That's my name
That's this game I'm playing
I know I'm not like them, that's cool, this is me
That's my name
I'm not the same, I know this
Now I really know who I am
Because I know my name

Friday, 9 March 2012


I was in a discussion today (well, when I say "in", I more mean that I was with the two people who were having said discussion) with a couple of people who were talking about some activity that had recently splurted across every corner of Facebook. If you happen to have one, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, one of them called a lot of the action "slacktivism"; that is, people were making a lot of noise about something they didn't really know that much about, and it wouldn't really get them very far. One post they did like was yet another variant on the Boromir meme: "One does not simply do XYZ by liking a Facebook status/page." I believe a friend of mine raised a similar question when people were changing their display pictures to cartoon characters for some cause that I can't remember.

The point was then raised that people can try and try to make a difference, but the reality is, unless they're the US government or something, they won't. Australia can't really do anything. We'd like to think we can, but we can't really.

This type of thinking....gets me annoyed. Because basically, it's saying, "We can't do anything, so we won't do anything. Why bother?" And even if it's not, it's creating an environment where that's very easy to say. An environment of apathy. Sure, we're not the US government, and yeah, I know, Australia is a bit of a drop in the bucket. But, as the saying goes, "Every raindrop raises the sea."

It always does something. It might not do much, but it can do something. Empathy is always better than apathy, even though it's harder.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Assassin's Creed 2

Yeah, think I'll be doing a couple of game reviews. Also, I now have the N7 Collector's Edition of Mass Effect 3 (just casually :D ) and will be doing a review of that when I'm done. May take me a while, given I'm in uni.

Assassin's Creed 2 is a bit of an Action/RPG type game. It follows on in some respects from the first, but establishes a quite different setting; Italy, rather than the Middle East. And it can get quite exciting and interesting - you get to interact with some famous faces such as Da Vinci, which puts a bit of a spin on it.

If you're not familiar with the original - the basic idea is that you are an Assassin. You are trained and taught in the ways of the Assassin, to try and get revenge on the people that killed your father and brother. And it's not a short list. On the way, you start to learn about some bigger things - things that can influence people, supernaturally it seems - and an ending leaving you going "WHA-?" Seriously. It's a curveball coming in from left field with a fake moustache on.

There's some interesting new possibilities added with the addition of the double hidden blade, the glider, smoke bombs, and a pistol. Trying to get all the upgrades for your castle is quite interesting, as well as acquiring the different armour and weapons. It's also a bit of a challenge trying to find and complete all the parts left for you by Subject 17 (though not as hard as some are to get to in ACB. Gah!). There are also a lot of great locations available, which are interesting to explore.

The story is also quite intriguing - and unique from the position that it is, in actuality, two stories (both Desmond, in the modern world, and Ezio, in Renaissance Italy) that are woven into one. Though Desmond's contribution is quite sparing, it's still an interesting dynamic to work with, particularly when it comes to the twister ending.

All in all, a solid game. It got my knowledge of Italian up a bit, and made me want more - I'm currently working through Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, but it now has second priority to ME3, so don't expect that review any time soon.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Interview #5: Elyse Glynn

And, once again, we have another interview happening. This time, it's the good friend of mine from over at: Some pretty cool stuff there, definitely worth a check :)

For those who don't know you, who are you/what do you do?
okay, My name is Elyse Glynn. I'm currently studying a communications degree at UTS, majoring in film. I play the cello and I've just made a switch from netball to basketball. So we'll see how that pans out!

You've been to two other countries (that I know of) that are both very different, both from each other and here - what was that like?
Well, Holland was completely different to my America experience because I was only 15 at the time and I had to live with a family. Here in Aus I live with 2 sisters. My Dutch family had 5 boys and they lived on a remote dairy farm in the middle of nowhere. I had to ride my bike 7km to school each day, and I didn't speak a word of Dutch.
So, it was a great learning experience but I was very, very homesick. I look back on those 3 months now as a time when I had to develop a lot of the mental toughness I enjoy now.
America on the other hand was the easiest, most fun, best experience of my life. I went for 8 weeks in 2010 to work on a summer camp, and then returned in 2011 for a 6 month stay, to work on the camp again and then study in North Carolina. I just...gaaaaah. Can't even describe. if you ever get the chance to do uni exchange just....just do it. Don't question it. Just GO. (If nothing else because you'll be treated like a GOD because of your accent)

What's the next place you'd think of going, and why? Or do you just want to stick around for a while?

Haha. I've just got wanderlust it seems. I'm heading back to the U.S this year in June for 3 weeks to see my boyfriend. Then I'm flying to England to visit some of the international friends I made in North Carolina, then to Holland to visit my host family again, and then to Serbia to visit my Grandmother's home village.
So...not really looking at setting down JUUUUUST yet :P

Jealousy doesn't even....gahhhhhh.

What are you doing with yourself at uni, and how'd you get into that?
I kinda answered this? I'm studying film. Not sure if that's the direction I still want to head in. I'm getting really interested in doing an international studies subject (is ANYONE surprised? haha) Nope.
Anyway, I'll just see what happens with that.

What made you decide to start writing a blog?
Inspired while I was away as a way of keeping in contact with my friends, but also just because so many funny things happened to me while I was away (or aggravating things, but telling it as a funny story is a GREAT coping mechanism). Very true. The cartoons though were inspired by the blog Hyperbole and a Half. She is ridiculously funny. I can never compete. But don't read her blog. read mine!! :)

How epic was the Humans vs Zombies game, and have you thought of starting it up at your uni?
The HvZ game is just.
gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh. THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
Like, it's an absolute nerdfest. An epic, week long game of tag where humans are identified by a bandana tied to their leg or arm and the zombies wear it on their head. Read my blog for full details. We were given missions to complete, had to starve in our rooms for fear of being 'eaten' if we left... It was a week of complete and utter paranoia. Zombies would literally stalk out all the exits to the classrooms you were in and camp there in the rain waiting for hours...anyway.
I can't start up my own because I don't live on campus at UTS. I guess I could do it, but it would be more of like an afternoon game of tag.

And, I believe from memory that you were one of the few human survivors. Good job! :)

Lastly - why the handdrawn pictures (on your blog posts)?
I feel they help with communicating either the emotion or the absurdity of the situation I've gotten myself into. Also, they're just so plain bad that they stop anyone from taking my ranting too seriously.

I'll go with both emotion and absurdity, myself. And they're not bad - they're amusing :D

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thoughts on Death.

Death comes up a lot in movies. Books. TV shows. What have you. It can affect different people in different ways. I thought I'd take a moment, and share a couple of my thoughts.

I've had only two deaths in my lifetime that have really impacted me at all. My great-grandmother (my mother's father's mother), and our dog, Sandy. The former happened when I was fairly young, in primary school. The latter happened a few years ago. As such, you could say that I haven't really experienced loss that much. I would certainly say that. Both of these deaths effected me, certainly - but one happened when I was quite young (and didn't get it as much as I do now), and the other was our dog. She was a good dog, but still. It's not like I've ever had a friend that died, or a parent, a brother or sister.

But God has given me a great gift of empathy. Some might think a little exaggerated. Because I'll feel for people even if they're in movies, TV shows, books. I'd hope that I'd feel more if they were real, but I haven't been in a situation to know. But have a look at this one: from about 8:50. That's the closest I've felt to having a friend die. It's...chilling, to watch it, for me. Others will probably have their own stories that affect them. Each to their own.

Some people think this is a pretty sad/bad/shit world, and so they decide they don't want to hang around any more. Maybe because they think they'll go to a better place, maybe just so it's not here. Do I think it's a great world? No. Heck no. So why haven't I killed myself? God, basically. Honestly - I think that if I didn't have God there, there are some times in my life that I might have killed myself. Don't get too worried, I've always gotten through. God's seen to that. I've never really thought about killing myself.

Because I always think that God's got something better for me. Something more. Something that I was made to do. It's like a metaphor I read in a book once - it's like a war horse pulling a plough in a field. It does the job well, but it was meant for greater things. I think the same can be said (without getting too cocky) of me. I can do other things, like distributing catalogues, or washing and putting away dishes, and I can do them OK. (Not that well, but anyway.) But I was meant for greater things. What that is? I still have no clue. Still way too many castles in the sky. And I'm not really seeing myself getting any closer to any of them at this point.

I thought I might be able to get a bit closer to one of them. Go on Australia's Got Talent. Share a few laughs, but also hopefully get somewhere with it. Maybe be able to start performing and such. Course, that didn't go anywhere. No shortcuts. So yeah. Still no idea what's going to happen at the end of this year. I'm hoping that I don't get there and still not know. Because I know that I could - do so much. Be so much. I just need a good opportunity. Guess that's God's call.

As I say in one of my songs -
"Let your will be done, in your time, not ours;
The world it was begun, in your time, not ours.
We don't know the when or the how,
Just that it needs to be in your time, not ours.
You really have all the time in the world."

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Still hasn't set in....

In about 24 hours or less, I'm going to be performing on Australia's Got Talent. It's only just starting to sink in, and it's feeling so weird. Like, really weird. And, who knows. If this actually goes somewhere, and I get through, people could know about me. And try and add me on Facebook, and Youtube, and Twitter, and.....yeah. Some possibilities I'm not so looking forward to.

However, some I am. If this works, it may open up opportunities for me as a performer. Which would be fantastic. Though I'm still not sure in some senses what I'd want to do. Do I want to be part of a band? Do I want it to be me + band? Do I want to be doing funny stuff all the time? Do I want to be doing Christian stuff? Serious stuff? The lot?

And then a more difficult question - what about money?
Part of me says that I don't want people paying me for doing what I love doing. Particularly not since so many charge exorbitant prices to see them.
Another part of me says that I'd love to be able to do just music, and I wouldn't be able to do that if I go completely for free. I could try going off donations, but also doubtful that would work. Possibly say that you pay for some things and not others - like concerts are free, but you have to pay for merchandise.

I just don't know. It's a bit....of a pickle, I guess. The musician's dilemma. Probably won't figure it out any time soon. Probably not before I need to. Usually how it goes.

Mine, mine, mine-craft!

The phenomenon that is Minecraft has permeated into the gaming world over the past year or so, and if you're a gamer that hasn't heard about it....that's slightly weird. It's part sandbox, part building, part survival game - it's really up to the player to choose whic they prefer. Except, more recently, it's drifted into the world of RPG. Welcome to the game that is Minecraft 1.0. (Which should actually be 2.0, but never mind.)

Basically, in Minecraft, you, the player, are in an infinite world. A world fairly similar to our own, with trees, and beaches, and pigs, and chickens, and water, and lava, and minerals, and DIAMONDS!!!! Oh, and there were creepers as well, which were strange green things that blew up if they got too close. And slimes, which were green too, but didn't blow up. And at night zombies and skeletons and giant spiders came out. So, yes, the game had a few monsters. And that was fine, that was cool. So you could go out and explore the world, or try and build something amazing, or just bunker down in your hdey hole and hope that the creepers didn't find you.

Then they added villages, and villagers, which were cool. And wolves, and ravines, which were good too. Oh, and I forgot to mention - there was also the Nether, which was basically Hell. Just casually. No devil, but there were ghasts and zombie pigmen. And then they added magma cubes and firey things. Then they put in Endermen, which teleported, and scared the wits out of people. No, they seriously are creepy. If you haven't seen them, look it up on Youtube.

And that was OK. But then they started adding other stuff. Enchantments. Potions. Levelling. A massive boss dragon in another realm called The End (where the Endermen actually came from, and mobbed you en masse), and a sort of game ending. And suddenly, it became like an RPG. And it...wasn't the same, for me. You could still do just building stuff, if you wanted. You could avoid the RPG stuff completely. But it just it had gone in a direction that I didn't think was in how I'd judged the spirit of the game to be.

I still have a lot of fun with Minecraft, though I do avoid the RPG part. And redstone, because I can't be bothered figuring it out. But it is pretty cool making massive structures and stuff there, though I get blown up so much it's not even a thing. I am seriously expert at dying on Minecraft, no joke. I've lost so many sets of iron armour...

But yeah. I don't think it's quite what it could be - maybe it could become that one day, I don't know. I guess we'll see.