So I’ve been thinking about taking a page from Potato’s blog and run a (hopefully) weekly roundup of thoughts and musings that I had over the past several days. Sticking with the alliteration theme, I’ll go with Bug’s Brain for now.

StarCraft II
Potato posted his thoughts recently on the game after having a few months to play it. Unless he’s completely given up on his thesis, I would deduce that the majority of the team games he’s been playing have been with me. Mostly we play 2v2 against the Very Hard AI.

I’m not a die-hard strategy game fan, but I fully admit being engrossed by StarCraft II (as I expected to be). I find the worlds that Blizzard creates to be quite inviting (I’ve spent WAY to many hours in Azeroth… with potential for a return TEMPORARY visit when Cataclysm hits) and the narrative which weaves the SC2 single player campaign is fantastic. The single-player portion of the game was fantastic with my only complaint being having to wait at least 2 more years to find out how the damn thing ends.

The multi-player I find very inconsistent; and this is not just against other humans (as I tend to shy away from those, preferring the co-op experience). When we play against the very hard AI, it is such a crap shoot as to win or lose. Potato and I are good players. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not Korean, but we’re pretty good. The trouble, for the most part, is the maps. Maps which have a single choke point against the AI, we seem to have about a 70-80% win ratio. The problem comes when we have separate bases (and when Potato ends up with Zerg… the random addict). If they attack me first, we can usually make it through the first wave or two (for some bizarre reason, I find myself to be stronger in the early game defense than Potato… which I would say is the only portion of a strategy game I have ever been better at than him) but we can’t seem to overcome it. We are getting really good at turtling (hey look, it’s not a word), but it seems with the AI if you can survive the first 10-15 minutes, you win as the AI has trouble adapting to evolving contingencies in the later game.

Potato is much MUCH better at micro than I am (how the hell did you kill 5 marines and 2 Zerglings with one Zealot?!), but gimme a bit of time and my armageddon of battle cruisers will obliterate you!

Anyways, I’m blithering on here. To sum up, StarCraft II is a hell of a lot of fun and I’m greatly enjoying the games we play.

Predators
I don’t think I posted any thoughts on Predators when I first saw it, but I’ve watched it a couple of times now and I really love it. I’m glad that Robert Rodriguez was allowed to produce this property and I am even more glad that he let Nimrod Antal take the directing reigns. Rodriguez’s hand is very evident in the film but the shots and feel are different enough to make it something new.

If you’re not familiar with the Predator mythos (seriously?) it’s pretty simple; humans are used as prey for a race of bipedal aliens who are essentially the galaxies big-game hunters. The first Predator was released in 1987 and had Arnold Schwarzenegger as the hero (“GET TO THA CHOPPA!”). The sequel had Danny Glover take over the reigns in what I consider to be a good sequel, but a terrible movie.

From there, some idiot at Fox decided to give the Alien vs Predator idea a shot and let Paul WS Anderson have a go at it.

Sigh. Big mistake. I’m not going to go off on a diatribe about how awesome a well done Alien vs Predator movie could have been (I even wrote out a treatment, I thought it was that cool an idea), but suffice to say, they REALLY screwed up both of those franchises in one go.

Predators is a sequel to the first film (and to a certain degree the second) and it is a GOOD sequel.

The only complaint I have with it, is that it doesn’t do enough in terms of story to differentiate itself from the first one. There are a few beats here and there that make it unique (Laurence Fishbourne’s character is amazing, despite being a glorified cameo), but overall, it’s a retread. It’s a good retread, but it ends exactly where you expect it to. The story doesn’t go that extra mile like it did with Predator 2 and the post-battle on the ship.

Loved:

  • seeing the original Predator creature on screen again for the first time in 23 years
  • Laurence Fishbourne’s character (actually, all the characters in this were very strong)
  • the race war between the two classes of Predators
  • the dogs
  • the music (very similar in feel to the original Predator score, and hearing Long Tall Sally over the credits at the end was just icing on the cake)

Liked:

  • the effects: the jungle and the planet in general were fantastic; though completely improbable (I think the gravitational pull from those moons/planets would pretty much tear the planet to little bitty pieces) it sure makes the sky nice to look at.
  • Seeing Machete fight aliens
  • the pacing
  • Adrian Brody’s character as an updated Dutch

Hated:

  • the abrupt, predictable ending
  • the lack of explanation as to how they got there

Overall, a great film if you’re a fan of action and sci-fi. Recommended.

Machete
I’m not going to write much about this. It’s a fun movie. It’s dumber than a box of hammers and exactly what it sets out to be, a homage to exploitation movies of the 70′s (hehe, MEXploitation). It’s over-the-top stupid, gory, sexy, blatant, and hilarious. I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

New TV Season
So there were no new shows for me until this week and then everything started up at once.

  • The Event: There are no new series this year that I’m dying to see, though I did watch The Event and enjoyed it. It has potential. The actors are strong and the first episode was sufficiently WTF-ey to make me want to stick around. I didn’t like the really wonky jumping around of event sequence, but whatever. I’ll be tuning in for episode 2.
  • Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, and CSI: Meh, more of the same. It was nice to see Sarah back as a regular cast member on CSI, but what happened to David and Wendy? Criminal Minds had a FANTASTIC villain played by Tim Curry for the first episode, but other than him, it was very by-the-numbers. Patrick on The Mentalist I find to be a very interesting character, even if the rest of the show is very predictable.
  • Bones: They sure brought the gang back together quickly after they all split at the end of last season. I still enjoy the humour on this show, and David Boreanaz is amusing to watch (though Angel was better… just saying).
  • The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother: These shows make me laugh for 22 minutes straight each. I can’t ask for more than that.
  • Smallville: It’s a guilty pleasure. Though I am finding the 20-something drama to be tedious, the hidden gems that show up for comic fans are worth it. Although I’m more of a Marvel fan, the nods to the JSA, and the emergence of Darksied are nice to see.
  • Supernatural: I have nothing spectacular to report about this. It was my most-anticipated show of the new season and it didn’t disappoint. I love the Sam and Dean character dynamic and I’m sure I will thoroughly enjoy this season just as I have the others. The writing is great and the humour is fantastic.
  • Dexter: Dexter starts tonight. New show runner and writers, but I’ve heard good things so I’m looking forward to it.

The Gym
So I’ve been debating back-and-forth with myself about joining a gym again and I’ve decided I’m going to drive up to see Goodlife fitness this week. I simply can’t get enough weight for what I want to do at home with the Bowflex dumbbells and I can’t afford (nor do I have room or clearance for) a power rack and weights at home. I’m worried about getting locked into a contract, but I will protest greatly about signing anything and will insist on paying in cash (hopefully). I’m hopeful that the facilities are good and not overly crowded. TheCookieMonster’s blog (which I cannot recommend highly enough) has got me seriously rethinking my current routine and I’m going to go totally back to basics thanks to her and to many posts I’ve been reading on Reddit. I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s gonna be squats, dead-lifts, presses, cleans (hopefully), bench-presses, and pull-ups for the next few months.

School/Job
Once again, debating working towards some sort of degree part-time. Depends on what can be achieved through online courses and prior learning assessments. We shall see.

That’s all for now folks. I hope you had a good weekend. I did. :)