Nov 242011
 
rowing by pshab

rowing by pshab (CC)

Lost the fourth game in a row.

Lost so bad that the game was the blowout of the week in the league.

This being the Saints’ bye week, I knew it was going to be a hard game.

One of the guys picked up on account of Brees and Colston being absent from the crew was successful, the other wasn’t. Alex Smith once again led the niners to victory – with his low-key style (which doesn’t net that big points in the fantasy leagues). Denarius Moore suffered, like the whole Raiders’ aerial attack, and netted me a measly 1.40 points.

The game began really awkward, Eric Decker brought in a flat zero from the Broncos’ Thursday game, and the low scoring persisted. Even the usually reliable Matt Forte was held to single digits. The San Francisco defense brought in 16 points – without a returned TD, by squeezing the Cardinals something fierce.

Both of the opponent’s starting RBs went down with injuries before the halftime, but that didn’t help – got neatly outscored. And, adding insult to injury, his running backs off the bench would have opened an official can of whupass on the ‘niners.

Bring on week 12!

Nov 162011
 

The results for the competition are available.

Managed to play two games: one of which I liked (The Play, 3rd – implemented with Undum which merits further investigation) and one I didn’t (Andromeda Awakening, 17th – the first game I tried, rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning).

Nov 162011
 

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets posterRe-watched both of the National Treasure movies recently, and noted that I’d missed reviewing the sequel back in the day.

The first installment is even better on a second round – easily upgraded to full four stars. Pleasantly non-violent romp through the history and monuments of America (east coast only).

The sequel was put together quickly when the original exceeded all expectations in the box office. And while it’s not a bad movie at all, it fails to reach the lofty heights of National Treasure.

The story begins rather well, but gets stuck in a quick rinse-repeat cycle that takes us through a vaster array of sights in a wider area. Paris and London don’t get much love in this one. At least the plot stays away from the most well-visited of sights in the former.

The central trio of the cast remains the same. Nicholas Cage is in mostly tranquil mode again. They are joined by Helen Mirren and Ed Harris. Mirren is excellent as a tightly wound professor, but the plot doesn’t really do justice to Harris’ villain as his motives are very much on the vague side. Diane Kruger’s Abigail is relegated to a pure wallflower role (her presence in aforementioned London is pretty much unexplainable but very convenient). Harvey Keitel-led federal agents are under-utilized, and he could have been replaced by pretty much anybody else, continuity is in very short supply.

And that multitude of issues, and the improbability of the goal ultimately doom the movie.

It tries hard. It tries really hard. But rarely gets even close to the original. And almost immediately those good moments are rendered unsavourable when the suspenders of disbelief strain under yet another assault on logic and common sense.

And a moral minus also for showing the titular book of secrets for just half a minute on screen.

A third installment is allegedly on its way, I just hope the team spends a little more time polishing the script. No idea what is the object of the quest – my idea of a cross-over between this and the Pirates-franchise over the Fountain of Youth got already derailed by the unsynchronized arrival of the films.

Nov 152011
 

Lost the tenth game of the season by the narrowest margin thus far – 0.56 points: 94.28 vs. 94.84.

Three players off the bench would have won me the game. But that’s no consolation, as the opponent kept the Chicago defense off the field – the Bears D took home a massive 37 points.

The ‘niners is now at .500 after three consecutive losses. And with the Saints’ bye rolling in, time to get two new guys on the field (I don’t trust Jay Cutler, and I need one more receiver since Miles Austin remains hamstring-hurt) – let’s see what the waiver-wire brings in.

In the league the Packers won for the ninth game, and ‘niners held back Giants for their eighth win.

Bring on week 11!

Nov 152011
 

I’ve been persistently resistent to any learning to play the guitar.

Now, with two games to assist in becoming the latter-day-yngwie of Nöykkiö, it’s perhaps time to give the six-stringer a second shot.

In the electronic corner: Rocksmith, whose arrival in Europe has been delayed indefinitely by a lawsuit by a british band with the same name. The song list is impressively varied – and contains a couple of seventies classics that’d be nice in the repertoire indeed.

In the acoustic corner: Wildchords by Ovelin. The finnish iOS application has stormed into the appstore, but the website contains preciously little information about the actual content.

So perhaps it’s time to get not one, but two guitars into the HQ soon.

Nov 142011
 

Tintin posterAfter seeing the first of the Spielberg/Jackson alliance’s Tintin movies I was of two minds: either this was a horrible abuse of a long-beloved duo of graphic novels, or an inspired adventure movie that ranks among the finest of the year. In the end my opinion of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn landed on the latter choice.

The Secret of the Unicorn is a curious movie in many ways.

First of all it is motion-captured, with results that exceed the previous by a mile. The texture-wrapped characters seem a lot more alive than their counterparts in the likes of Polar Express. And with mo-cap veteran Andy Serkis amongst the actors, they indeed do not feel as artificial as I feared them to be.

Second of all, the plot has seen severe revisions from the original album. While the over-arching structure remains, the characters and plotlines have been rewritten thoroughly. The story includes a long segment from an unrelated album, the Crab with the Golden Claws. It also omits the sequel, Red Rackham’s Treasure, entirely – thus depriving us of the character and inventions of Theophilus Tournesol. Bianca Castafiore, on the other hand, puts in a gratuitous approach (within the frame of the plot).

Third of all, there’s plenty of action in the movie. While they are varied and definitely not boring, they do occasionally feel tacked-on – ready-made scenes for the video games licensed of the movie. Then again, Herge used physical comedy and action aplenty, so the scenes do not feel entirely alien. And pleasantly enough, Tintin is almost MacGyveresque in his treatment of guns – most of the time he’s running away from a hail of bullets instead of shooting.

In addition to Serkis, there’s plenty of decent acting on screen. Daniel Craig plays the villain of the piece. Jamie Bell is Tintin, almost a blank personality – with few definitive characteristics. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s take on the hapless Thompsons is surprisingly lifeless – the hassle-prone policemen begin to grate almost immediately when they appear on screen.

The film is expectedly done in three dimensions. The Z-axis doesn’t add that much. The most beautiful scenes are rendered with gloriously expressive lighting, not by layering objects.

There are homages to other albums as well. I hope the inclusion of the zero-gravity-alcohol gag doesn’t mean that the production team is dismissing the prospect of doing the Moon-albums as movies. Originally the sequel to this movie was going to be the Seven Crystal Balls / Temple of the Sun-duo, but that has recently been disclaimed as a fact.

I’m sure I missed something obvious on the first viewing, and do expect to pick the film up when it arrives on disc.

Nov 142011
 

This start of the season, I’ve been mostly sucking.

One draw, four losses.

The only thing where Nöykkiö Freeze excels is penalty minutes. Those, for some curious reason, are a positive thing in the virtual NHL. My 62 minutes on week 1 remain unbroken thus far.

Of the scoring I take quite a bit of blame, since I haven’t been the most diligent of coaches.

Then again, Corey Perry’s been like the rest of the Ducks – not that swell this year. Jonathan Toews hasn’t been on fire either. And Kris Letang hasn’t been as phenomenally productive as he was on the first weeks. That leaves my sole trade as the lone positive aspect: Joffrey Lupul has been nothing short of great in Toronto this season. Of the goalies Cam Ward’s been mostly disappointing, and Mike Smith suprisingly effective in Phoenix.