Categories
Sci-Friday

Will STASIS creep you out? The latest in horror video play.

Last week we discussed the rejuvenated popularity of sci-fi and fantasy on television as well as the big screen.  With The Hunger Games still packing theaters full and the leak of the second Game of Thrones episode for season two, both genres are undeniably thriving.  However, it appears that sci-fi is about to receive recognition on yet another screen – your PC.

This week, a second teaser trailer for sci-fi horror adventure game STASIS was released. Although no real gameplay is included in the trailer, the game’s designers have done an excellent job in creating tension build up– and that’s just in the trailer. If the game in its completed stage keeps up with what the trailer has anticipated, players are sure to experience all the chills, thrills, and goosebumps they hope for.

STASIS begins with “you” waking up disoriented on the floor as John Marachek – an ordinary family man who finds himself in an extraordinary and unfortunate situation. Although the game plays off of traditional adventure game mechanics including puzzle solving and logic, it is very unique in its graphics and attention to detail, creating an interactive and realistic environment for players to immerse themselves in.

Possibly the most terrifying part of STASIS, though, is that most of the situations the player finds himself in are not over the top far-fetched and could feasibly happen in real life, truly playing off of players’ instincts and challenging their thoughts. Dubbing its environment as “a place where humanity’s horrors come out to play”, STASIS ultimately asks the question: how far would you go to protect your family? – a question I’m sure we’ve all thought about at one time or another, but hope to never need to find out.

Although no official release date has been announced, Stasis is predicted to launch sometime in 2013. While STASIS is certain to meet or exceed expectations and excitement, I would not be surprised if it also leaves us questioning things we’ve never previously considered or looking at daily circumstances in a slightly different light.

Categories
Sci-Friday

As Ned Stark dies, science fiction is reborn.

Just a mere two years ago, it seemed as though Science Fiction’s popularity as a genre was dying in the United States. The nice folks over at io9.com even created this nice little infographic for us, detailing the rise and fall of Sci Fi and Fantasy esteem on television, both in a steady decline after receiving a sincere whooping from reality television.  Although it does sadly look like reality TV is here to stay, at least for a little while longer, it also appears that both Sci Fi and Fantasy are in the midst of a popular comeback tour.

Headlining for the Fantasy fanatics, we have the Game of Thrones HBO program, based on the popular Song of Ice and Fire book series. I have not read the books myself, and the only two scenes of the show I’ve witnessed both happened while walking through my living room when others were watching it – one with the unnaturally blond chick drenched in blood from consuming a human heart, and the other with a woman breastfeeding a young boy who looks to be about 9 or 10 years old – so while I personally do not share the same enthusiasm for Sunday’s premiere, I do recognize I am very much in the minority and should probably give these books a chance. Season 1’s finale brought in over 3 million viewers, trumping the ever popular Vampire porn series, True Blood, and leveling the same playing field as Boardwalk Empire. With these figures and a projected even higher audience for Season 2, it’s hardly feasible to regard Fantasy as a dying genre in 2012.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it should come as no surprise to anyone that playing in SciFi’s court, we have The Hunger Games. This popular book series took it to the big screen, hitting theaters last weekend. Although only in its second week, The Hunger Games has already broken box office records, grossing an estimated $155 million in its opening weekend and selling out more than 2,000 show times before Friday’s premiere to reach the highest advance ticket sales of any non-sequel movie. Even with sequels included in the mix, The Hunger Games still scored highly on the charts, ranking as third-highest opening gross ever, beat only by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight. To top that off, it also receives the award for biggest opening weekend for a non-summer release. I’d call that a return with a vengeance for Sci Fi!

Although reality television remains America’s guilty pleasure we love to hate, it is extremely refreshing to see both big and small screen hits stemming from literary roots. And, you know, the reassurance that our country still has the ability to branch out of the Kardashian/Jersey Shore bubble once in a while.

 

Categories
Wackiness

The Duckface of Doom: what cancelling your cell phone service buys you with the Secret Service

You’ve read the article on Channel 10’s website – you saw the photo – but have you read the affidavit (PDF)? No? Well, let me tell ya a little story ’bout a woman named Christine…

I cannot do credit to the Secret Service’s special brand of humor, which seems reserved for the most professional of documents the Secret Service has to offer the general public: the affidavit. But the first thing that jumps out at me is that cancelling your cell account after having admitted to a crime and spoken to the Secret Service multiple times seems like an ineffective way of escaping punishment.

We’ll probably never hear the tape, unfortunately. But let me recount the story in order.

It seems Mrs. Wright-Darrisaw had a bad time of it in court and, in a fit of frustration, decided to take things up with the person responsible for her whole situation: President Barack Obama. She called the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence and, in what the operator there describes in an “angry, excited and loud,” voice, proceeded to air her grievances with our 44th president.

Hard to say, based on redacted text, but it seems Mrs. Wright-Darrisaw was working through not only aggression issues, but something deeper. The operator testifies that Mrs. Wright-Darrisaw threatened to, “XXXX and kill Obama.” At least, it looks like four characters to me, I’ll leave it for you to decide what she actually said.

The call was traced to her phone and she actually returned a phone call from the Secret Service – who identified themselves as such. She admitted that yes, she’d called the White House; yes, she’d complained about the state of child custody laws; but no, she did not threaten the police. In fact, as is often the case in these situations, she’d been calling from a very, very busy location and set the phone down. So really, anybody could have made that call with all the nasty threatening business.

And anyway, she’d cancelled her cell service so… problem solved. Bygones!

But Secret Service investigators are anything if not sticklers for the law, it seems. And detail. So they followed up with the operator who told them, alas, that this was in fact not Mr.s Wright-Darrisaw’s first such call to the White House. Nor apparently this particular operator’s first conversation with our Rochesterian friend.

Really, you’ve gotta read the whole thing. It’s pretty awesome. And of course, DFE will be very interested to see how the case proceeds. For now, we know that 44 is safe from harm from at least one angry woman in Rochester.

Categories
Wackiness

Your Top 5 Posts for February 4th, 2012: Erin Brockovich, Ashleigh Banfield and Miss Piggy

The situation in LeRoy – the “mystery illness” if you like, or the “mystery refusal of diagnosis” if you’re more in line with my thinking – has predominated much of the time here on DFE. But that’s not to say that we didn’t have some fun. Ashleigh Banfield and the comedy of errors on CNN’s morning show starts us off, Miss Piggy jumps in Fox News’ shit, our Jillian Seaton talks condoms in schools, and a local boffin discovers a way to figure out where you live based solely on your tweets and Facebook posts… no location needed!

Have a great weekend, folks! Big things in the works for DFE, so stay tuned. Until next week:
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CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield Quizzes David Vitter Over Prostitution Scandal » Huffington Post

Could any one screen cap more perfectly capture CNN's irrelevance?

As if they hadn’t had enough after the prank calling fiasco, CNN continues to let their morning show just sort of “wing it” through their day. This time around, they brought David Vitter on to talk about Newt Gingrich for some unknown reason, then end up interviewing him about his prostitution scandal. Really? Is this why I should be tuning into CNN?

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Doctor Issues Statement About Meeting With LeRoy Teens » WGRZ.com

Photo: WGRZ.com

The list of uninvited guests in LeRoy continues to climb, but answers other than the original diagnosis – which has been so summarily dismissed by the media and parents alike – are not forthcoming. One doctor claims the girls are suffering from a condition known in some circles as PANDA.

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The grey area in LeRoy: when is a diagnosis not a diagnosis?

Thera Sanchez and Katie Krautwurst appear on the Today Show

After all the speculation, I think it might be time to reevaluate what the media wants out of this story. Trading one medical mystery for another does not get us any closer to getting the people affected by this problem better.

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What your online trends reveal about where you are   New Scientist

Little did they know: the CIA considers blended ice cream treats unamerican.

Local boffin comes up with an algorithm that can predict your location within a few hundred feet. Is he using Lo-Jack on your car? The recently-overruled GPS tracking systems the White House wanted to install? No. Just your tweets, check-ins and general townie-ness. By the way: you need to clean the cat box.

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The best rejection letter rejection, ever » Geeks are Sexy

Don't go down without a fight! Or at least, confuse the shit out of them so they think twice the next time.

We’ve all been there: after working your hands numb filling out job applications and working your mind numb going to interview after interview, sometimes that rejection letter is just too much to take. Well, one inventive job seeker decided to have a little fun with it. Hell, if it was me? I’d hire him just on the strength of this letter alone.

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Categories
Wackiness

An open letter to TV execs: the man in the leopard print tights will not be changing his spots

Steven Tyler is a rock-n-roll icon. Steven Tyler is a founding member of one of the most successful rock groups in history. Steven Tyler is “icky.”

So saith MSNBC commentator Craig Berman, because apparently Steven Tyler said something of a sexual nature to a 15-year-old girl. Well, what he said was, “Hot, humid and happening — just like your daughter,” which to be honest, sounds more stupid than legitimately, intentionally sexual.

Is it appropriate to say such things about a 15-year-old? No. Is it appropriate to say such things about just about anybody on network television? Probably not.

But this is Steven fucking Tyler we’re talking about. A cursory inspection of his 40-year career would make it crystal clear for anyone who looks that there is nothing terribly appropriate about Steven Tyler’s career. Because he’s a rock star. Because he’s a rock-n-roll icon. Because he’s Steven fucking Tyler.

Because... this.

And it was Steven Tyler that they hired for the show. So, lets not pretend that anything less than rock star attitude – which is, first and foremost, about sex – was what the network execs were looking for. They took a beleaguered old television show about finding the next Celine Dion and made a desperate play to make it interesting. In other words, American Idol + Steven Tyler == Joanie Love Chachi.

Though to be honest, the world wasn't ready for Chachi to do blow off Joanie's ass in 1984.

And if this were the only glaring case of manufactured controversy begetting manufactured outrage, I would have left this post unwritten. But like Hollywood loves copycats, so does Hollywood media. Today we learn that a woman on the reality show Mob Wives who goes by the delightfully unsuspicious moniker “Big Ang,” apparently has been arrested several times for selling drugs….

Hint....

That’s right. We’re shocked to learn that Big Ang is not entirely on the up-and-up. I would find it strange if you couldn’t find Big Ang’s number in Steven Tyler’s phone.

So, I guess what I’m getting at here is: if you want a more dignified network television selection – one that focuses on important things like violence, instead of all the fun things sex and drugs – you’ll probably want to not hire people with forty-year histories of said. You know, maybe Google them. Or something….

Categories
Sci-Friday Technology

Sci-Friday: In 2012, Big Brother is following. And you love it.

Anyone who has ever spoken to me knows I’m a product of my generation. A day without my smart phone is comparable to the day I was cut from my mother’s umbilical cord. I must have Spotify on any computer I use because silence is the devil. I own paper books – but they’re becoming dusty because I have a Kindle now. If you still use an AOL email address, I assume you’re elderly; if you still use a yahoo email address, I assume you live under a rock.  I multi-task like a champ, at all times keeping two browsers open with six tabs running on each to toggle between my work tasks and my personal branding and you better believe I will click off a website in under a second if I don’t like the fonts it uses.

I’ve always loved reading, and though I enjoyed George Orwell’s 1984 when it was assigned in high school, it was almost laughable to think of this supposed futuristic world taking place a year before I was even born. I hadn’t really given the book, or the premise behind it, much thought until this week when my friend told me she had quit Foursquare.

“I have to check in before my roommate gets home so he doesn’t steal my mayorship.”
“Yeah, I recently just lost all of mine.”
“How?”
“I quit Foursquare. Twitter, too.”
“Why?”
“I reread 1984. It really creeped me out.”

Light bulb. While I didn’t react with the same Big Brother fear that she did, I definitely got that feeling of everything coming eerily full circle. Facebook asks what’s on your mind. Twitter asks what’s happening. Foursquare asks where we are –and we tell them. 1984’s constant tabs on everyone was government mandated, but we voluntarily share everything and anything with anyone who cares enough to read it.

That’s okay, though – we have privacy settings we can select! Sure. But just how private are they? After I had accepted my position with my current employer and submitted my two week notice to my previous one, I updated my Facebook status with my exciting news. Two days later, I received an email from another company I had interviewed with, informing me they had wanted to extend a second interview to me, but found during their “standard social media search” I had accepted a position elsewhere and wanted to know if this was true. I double checked. All my privacy settings were set to friends only. Unless I have a friend working in this company’s HR that I was unaware of, there’s more than one way to find someone’s information if you really want to.

Privacy settings aside – what about the individual who chooses not to partake in social media at all? Well, that comes with the price of an attached stigma. In college, one of my internships told me they had checked to see if I had Facebook before interviewing me because if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t have been offered the internship. Why? Because everyone has a Facebook account. If you don’t, you’re weird and behind the times.

The future of 1984 that George Orwell so vividly painted for us may now be 28 years in the past – but is it? Giving up all our info is voluntary, of course, but I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’ve become very relaxed and almost lazy about it. We all have things we’d never tweet, update, or check in with, but when I think about how open I am about the tiniest things, anyone, anywhere, could easily figure out who I am, what I’m about, and where I’ll be at any given moment- and I even use those fancy, new-fangled privacy settings available.

So knowing this, and being called out on it, am I likely to get be more mindful of what I do or don’t post on my social networks? Nope. Big Brother, feel free to keep watching. It’s Follow Friday, and I have a Twitter feed to catch up on.

 

Categories
Technology Wackiness

Google gives you the Chris Cringle jingle

In years past, everybody had to write out their own letters from Santa for their kids. But not this year! Google’s getting into the act by creating Santa’s very own Google Voice phone number and also the ability to create your very own personalized messages from Santa Claus.

Options for the phone message include funny “pet names” for you and your intended recipient, Santa knowing what their profession is, what they want for Christmas (including underwear and stiletto heels!) and a bunch of other wacky business.

Official Google Blog: Ho-ho-hold the phone: Santa’s on the line.

Categories
Rochester Wackiness

#RIT boffins help you get through the holidays

Don’t stress!

Before you go untangling those Christmas lights, maybe you aught to check out a few articles posted today on the RIT news website. Two articles should help you out. One gleans tips from an RIT economics proff about how best to avoid the post-Christmas buyer’s remorse. The second deals with the guy you’ll probably want to listen to more closely: the psychology proff, who offers tips to not, you know, go bat-shit insane.

Among the more helpful hints:

  • Pay cash instead of using credit cards.
  • Do not use service cards (really: don’t ever use them, period)
  • Have some flexibility. Don’t expect everything to go as planned
  • Keep your perspective broad.
  • The brandy is behind the cookies, third cabinet from the left.

That last one was from memory… may not have actually been in either article..

Categories
Politics Uncategorized Wackiness

This week in threats to National Security (vibrator edition)

Its a dangerous world out there. Not least because, according to the FBI, there is a grave and growing threat out there in the world of gang violence. Bloods? Crips? Hardly. We’re talking about the scarriest thing to come out of the ‘burbs since soccer moms. I’m talking, of course, about Juggalos.

Also: Bugaloos

Yes, in this violent world of Wahabi extremists threatening to take over the world, it is comforting to know that the tighter-than-a-frog’s-ass FBI maintains its composure and keeps its eye on the things that really matter. Not so much threats to your bodily presence as simply the moral wrongs of an unjust and wicked world. Or something like that.

Anyway, its as though Agent van Alden lives with us to this day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4o4zt0wEZ0

Not to be outdone in policing shit that doesn’t need policing, the TSA also has its finger on the.. well, let’s just call it the “pulse”.. of wickedness in the hearts of our nation’s fairer sex. But since they cannot arrest every wicked woman, they leave notes mocking those they cannot arrest.

Yes, one unlucky slut journalist had the audacity to bring her vibrator with her on a business trip (because hey: those goodie bags at the hotel aren’t free!) and those cunning bloodhounds at the TSA caught on to her. No, they may not be able to detect every loaded gun; they may be getting paid to chat with strangers; but by god, you leave a personal massager in your bag, you can bet the TSA will be there to sniff it out.

Sorry, Ed Asner. Figure of speech.

The thing is: its not as though she brought the Big Jim along with her. According to her own account, the vibrator in question was just a little Magic Bullet, which is as positively adorable as it is damning to her soul. This thing couldn’t have been easy to spot, in fact, I’m pretty sure they put a cord on it so its not easy to lose.

Its heart-stopping to think that, had she kept her rumble fish in her carry-on, we might never have known. Lucky for us, it must not have been a very long flight. Her immorality might have gone on unabated, and then where would we be?

Let this be a lesson to the nay-sayers. If you thought that they weren’t doing their due dilligence at the airport and profiling travelers, this is proof positive that they’re certainly paying extra-careful attention to the pretty ones.

Awe, yeah. Self-portrait Facebook profile pix are a dead-giveaway. Terrorist slut.
Categories
Wackiness

God Bless You and keep your hands off my trust fund

Hundreds of years ago, a brave and perhaps fool-hardy group of desperate people, hunted for their religious beliefs, boarded creaky vessels and set off across the ocean on a three-month journey to America. It was a journey the majority would never see the end of. Whole boats were often swallowed by the icy seas. Disease in close-quartered boats was common and ravaging. Many more would die shortly after making landfall. Life was hard and they suffered for their beliefs.

Many years later, that same Protestant rigidity would see Americans overthrow the rule of King George in the Americas. Upright citizens like John Adams, who viewed British Common Law as nearly as divine as the Bible itself, refused to be denied their rights as British citizens, on pain of death, and fought a revolution that would be modeled the world over for that belief.

Eventually, descendants of those same people would make their way to California. Shit’s pretty much been rolling down hill ever since then.

Because while our ancestors braved harsh weather, uncompromising seas, hostile native tribes and red coats just to live, Californians can find a way to make the quiet disciplinary methods of an underpaid teacher in a glorified baby sitting position into an assault on their freedoms. That’s right, one teacher in a California school has kids in class pulling the old “you pretend to sneeze and I’ll say ‘God bless you'” trick and tells them he’ll start docking points off their homework if they keep it up. Parents turn this into the Spanish Inquisition. Religious freedom in this case being defined as the ability to ward off evil spirits in the form of snot.

Pictured: evil incarnate

Welcome to Vacaville, population 96k, where the median home value is $425,000 and the SUVs run on the stored potential energy of our resident’s clamped sphincters.

Listen, I’m not going to debate you on the existence of god. Maybe we’re all wrong and the evil spirits our ancestors were warding off with the “god bless you” saying really were viruses. Maybe evil can really creep into your body through your nose. That belief remains ever-present, even with such learned minds as Tom Cruise.

Enlighten us, Your Holy Eye Patch

But let me hip you to something: your kid’s an asshole. We all were. And clearly in this case, they’re also little tattle-tale bastards for whom a small deduction to their Ivy League-bound grade point averages is as horrifying and psychically damaging as finding out their venti cinnamon dolce macchiato was actually made as a cinnamon dolce latte.

Which raises an interesting question: is the problem for parents that the kid’s “religious freedom” was being threatened, or the fact that their kids lost grade point average? Because once the grades stopped being threatened, the complaining appears to have stopped.

"What's that? The kids will be allowed into Oxford? Fuck it, back in the boat, folks. What the hell is that smell, anyway?"
Categories
Wackiness

[Off Topic] On True Blood, the only thing still sucking is Alan Ball.

Admit it: you've felt like this a couple times watching Season 4

I don’t often use this space to rant about television, but I thought I’d just go ahead and do it on a Saturday morning. Its Labor Day weekend and I don’t feel like doing anything productive, anyway….

I wish I could be surprised or disappointed by the way True Blood is turning out, but the dreary truth is that Alan Ball has done it again. Fans of Six Feet Under must surely have worried that he might go and ruin his latest creation. And I think we can all now admit that he has. He’s gone and painted himself into a ridiculous corner out of which no easy escape remains. He’s gone and written so fast and furiously that he’s got a million subplots, all of them shitty and really none of them focused on what made the show a success in the first place.

Granted, they are two different things. Six Feet Under was a quirky, macabre and always interesting look at life through the eyes of those for whom dealing with death is a vocation. The opening sequences showing random deaths that had nothing to do with the plot (except to provide a corpse on which to work for the rest of the episode) were a real highlight of the show. They displayed life as fleeting and death as potentially silly, and with that as the amuse bouche, I was always eager to get into whatever crazy story line he was going to weave next.

But about season three, Ball decided to take the quirky and the funny and replace it with unendingly painful, shameful and ugly impostors. The show I used to watch for a light splash of death became a horrible burden of life. I enjoyed all the characters and wanted to see them do well, so I kept watching. I was invested. But soon enough, the sheer number of plotlines – David and the damned adopted kid, Nate and his emotional issues after the stroke thing, cute and funny Ruth suddenly becoming this horribly desperate character – overwhelmed my interest in the show. And anyway: what the hell happened to the funeral business?

With True Blood, we had vampires fucking. Remember the heavy metal Goth vamps speed-fucking willing human participants? Occasionally killing one, now and again? Gothic, sexy, raunchy, drug-fueled, nihilistic, funny, zero-sum Saturnalia, constantly filmed at night. It was everything I wanted my childhood to be. The simple yet completely implausible plot of vampires suddenly springing into the public eye – and humans blithely accepting it – was so silly that it made for great mind exercises. You just had to go on imagination and wonder what happens next.

Well, what happened next – about Season 3, if you recall – was Beverly Hills 90210 with expensive special effects. Oh, sure. There’s the occasional were-panther rape sequence. But that’s bad, like Brandon and his *one* fucking ecstasy trip. Pht. Remember when violent, doped-up supernatural sex was a good thing? Yeah, that’s gone.

Instead, the football team (The Vampires) has a beef with the lacrosse team (The Witches) and they’re duking it out for control of the lunch room (Merlots). The leather-bound, heavy metal hacker kids (Werewolves) are just waiting to see who loses so they can get their licks in and maybe steal some shit to fence out by the baseball diamond. Nobody but nobody gives a shit what the geeks and emos are doing (Shifters and god help us, Faeries, respectively), except the loser AV kid (Alan Ball). And everybody drops everything when the hot blond girl-next-door with the sweet ass who won’t put out comes into the room (Sookie).

I don’t give a rat’s ass in a red wheelbarrow about any of these plots. I want to see the vampires fucking. Goth music at Fangtasia, just like I’d like to remember Vertex. Freaked-out innocents and creepily-submissive tourists. Death and gore and sex and mind-bending intoxication and all the good things in life.

But no. Now we need to watch Jason the Fuck-Machine discuss his feelings with Jessica the Gorgeous Red-Headed, Nominally Uncontrollable Baby-Vamp. Are you kidding me? When do we go back to the fun?

There are now so many plots and subplots that there is no way to get back to the core of True Blood without jerking the wheel violently to the right and hitting a retaining wall. Which I admit: I’ve considered an acceptable plot-line, while watching the show. As it is, we had Russel in concrete and Queen Sophie-Anne about to do the Dance of the “True Death” with Bill at the end of Season 3, then we come back to Season 4 and its as if none of those plots happened. Did you feel a little cheated when the plot suddenly became about Faeries? Presumably living on one of the more cheaply-constructed Star Trek Voyager sets?

And oh, you just know those fucking Faeries are coming back at some unwelcome moment in the next two episodes, don’t you? Yes, you do.

Fucking Faeries.

Categories
Wackiness

Only 4 More Years of Payments, That Baby’s All Yours!

I understand anger and frustration perfectly. I’m a Democrat. But really: how much worse can you make the situation? I’m thinking that the initial estimation of $20k in damages will soon rise. So, there’s that he has to pay off as well:

When life gives you lemons.. – Yahoo! News:

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) – A man angry that a car dealership refused to take back a “lemon” van he had purchased, intentionally crashed it into seven parked vehicles, police said on Thursday.