Posted by Mesmorino in , , , ,

You just know I had to drop a hot one (like it's hot!).

Let me explain my absence. School started last September and well, I had things to do. Anyway, back to... Whatever it is we do around here. All the tv shows I like watching ended a season and they haven't started back up, I've not got an ETA on them, and what with the aforementioned school, I haven't really had time to wonder about them. The Unit, Stargate Universe, Flashforward, they're all on hold. I occasionally see them on tv but they're re-runs. At least I think they are. I can always jump in again later anyway.

In other news, I saw Avatar in the cinema, and... it was good. Very good. That is all I will say about it, because it's slightly anvilicious but once you get past that (or if you can), it's a very good action movie. Come to think of it, I've seen a lot of new movies lately Videogames also keep coming out and I'm still on the fringe, seeing as I have no money to buy them. I do have a hit list though! Oh yeah, My computer's also making funny noises. I do not know what to do and I'm putting it down to old age, seeing as I installed Windows 7 on it... Oh well, if it dies, new computer! I probably shouldn't be thinking about it like that but oh well. On the bright side, I've been reading a lot of novels lately... Reviews to come later, methinks.

All in all, it was a good 2009. Looking very forward to 2010, mostly for the movies but also because well, it's a new year. I can't wait for summer

The Unit  

Posted by Mesmorino in , ,

I gotta say, I really like The Unit now. A large part of that is due to the intro theme tune, which has me dancing to it if i happen to be on my feet when it kicks in. I actually want to know what's happening with Jonas & company, and I like their day to day (or perhaps mission to mission) exploits. As before, i much prefer the show when it focuses on the unit itself, but the wives have sorta grown on me. I caught the season finale last night (although I still don't know what season it is), and it was pretty good i thought, if a little confusing in places. I don't know how to describe it to someone who hasn't seen it (the whole show, not last night's episode). Like, each episode's mission is self contained, but you get occasional call backs to previous episodes, and then several episodes down the line it all comes together, but not so much that you lose the thread if you miss one episode. It works for the most part.

Flashforward is just there, and with the revelation that the future guy is in on the conspiracy it's just annoying. We're what, four episodes in and this was dropped already? It's something that could have been held back for a few more episodes at least. I liked the bit about the guy who needed surgery, the way the visions might influence people's jobs was interesting. The problem I find with it is that it's still. a self fulfilling prophecy. Like, a guy sees himself at a job six months down the line, so he applies for the job. To steal and mangle a quote from The Oracle in The Matrix, would he still have applied for the job if he hadn't seen anything? It's like the show's basically said "This is what will happen, so stfu and make it happen" I don't really like that, but whatever. As long it doesn't get too far up it's own quantum singularity, i'm fine with it

The Unit  

Posted by Mesmorino in , ,

So I started watching this show too, right after i watched FlashForward actually. I'd heard a lot about it, mostly good things but you know how people are, they'll always gush about shows they like. My first impression's mostly good, because hey i like the action shows. The only detriment is the bit about the personal lives of the soldiers. It's probably because i've literally just jumped into the series (I don't even know what episode in what season i am), but i don't care about the Wives and Girlfriends. It just felt like such a distraction from the main story, like a useless subplot about some dude who's getting engaged and how he doesn't make it back, blah blah blah. In comparison, the main plot is about the unit giving America's support to this insurgent General in some other country. It features a kidnapping, attempted interrogationm, and intrigue. Yanking me away right in the middle of wondering just who kidnapped the senator to talk about some people i don't know or care about isn't very wise. I stuck with it only because i know the show by its very nature will have action scenes sooner or later

I must say, i've been watching a lot of tv recently. I was watching the new Knight Rider series up until it ended (once again i jumped in at the middle, and i hope it was season 1 that just ended), and i really liked it. While it got a bit stupid towards the end, watching a cool car transform is always enjoyabe. More videogames later.


Posted by Mesmorino in ,

I finally got round to watching the show, and my first impression is... meh. The premise sounds good, but I don't particularly like any of the characters, or want to know about them. Yes i know it was the first episode, but they're just not that particularly likeable to me. Everyone's blacked out for 2.17mins... and we're about 45 minutes into the episode before they get round to reviewing the security tapes, the eyes that never sleep. And right at the beginning of the episode we have the "four hours earlier" flashback. In a show called FlashForward. Mildly annoying, because i dunno why they couldn't have done it in a straight forward manner- Start the day/episode normally, make it seem like just another detective/cop series, and then BAM! Right in the middle of the car chase, you hit em with your flashforward. That way, i'm marginally interested in whether Agent Whatshisface will ever make it back home and fix the garage door (he does, but at that point i don't care anymore, i just want to know what the flashforward was about). Also at the beginning of the episode we have the naughty babysitter, whose charge is sleeping... In the middle of the day... Because there's no school... And because she (the babysitter) does not have better things to do with her life on a weekday morning than to babysit some random kid.

Also what's with the stupid love notes by the main characters? It's not funny or clever, it's just odd. "I hope I never see you again"? That would elicit a major WTF from me, but i suppose they deserve each other because he whispers "I hate you too" to her. I dunno, i truly do not care about any of these people, i just want to know what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. You could replace the entire cast with the people from Firefly, and i'd still be ambivalent about it. Actually, I would be much more interested, because those characters have funny dialogue, or at least conversations that make you want to know more.

I like the premise, but i think it's seriously let down by the characters. If such a thing happened globally, people wouldn't be interested in finding out whodunnit, they'd be searching for meaning and dealing with the ramifications. Not one hour after zero hour the FBI guys are strutting about and taking charge and going on about "set up an interagency database... blah blah blah". No one calls their loved ones? No one wants to know if their nan is okay? Only the main character calls his wife, everybody else just keeps calm and carries on... The same main character who was just in a traffic collision and at the very least has a concussion but he's right as rain, naturally. If i was one of the guys in their meeting room, i'd be like "Stick your frickin' plan where the sun don't shine mate, i'm going to take the rest of the day off and see about me mates/family/dog/cat/rabbit". To put it simply, they're not behaving like real people. Sure you could say lots of other shows are guilty of the same thing, but either the premise is good enough that you ignore it, or the sfx are shiny enough that they distract you.

The only reason i'm going to keep watching is because of the Man in Black, who was randomly walking about a baseball stadium. I want to know more about him, for several reasons:
  1. What kind of stupid villain (hey, he's obviously the bad guy here) manages to execute his plan successfully, but is in a baseball stadium when it happens? To see the effect? I'd much rather be in a bank, or a shop, ready to rob the living daylights out of them
  2. Why would a villain want to cause the entire human population to not just black out, but experience future visions for 2.17mins? If you want to destroy the world, okay you're a misanthropist. We know your story. If you want to take over the world, okay you've got a huge power trip going on. We got your number too. But making everyone see the future for a little over 2mins... Yeah, you're either a weirdo or your plan failed. In either case, i want to know what sort of weirdo you are or what the original plan was if in fact it did fail. If it didn't fail then you're just a rubbish villain, and i won't bother with the show
Another immediate problem with the show is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy writ large. The main character sees a vision of himself drinking (he's a recovering alcoholic) and investigating the event. So what does he do? He goes ahead and investigates the event, even going so far as to put the notes on the wall in the same places they were in his vision. I'm just waiting for him to break out the schnapps and fall off the bandwagon. If it was me (and i hope, any rational individual), i'd quit the instant i saw where it was going. I can't investigate anything if i'm unemployed now can i? I might still end up drinking, but at least it wouldn't have been my own doing.

Let's hope this doesn't turn into another Lost (winner of the most retarded tv show in the history of mankind) or another Heroes (which got confused, distracted and eventually senile)

Siji's Bulletproof Plan to Solve Electricity in Nigeria Once & For All  

Posted by Mesmorino in , ,

This was very coherent and organised in my head but that was four or five hours ago, so deal with it.

Solar Power is the future. You build a huge mirror farm, angled to follow the sun and reflect light onto a tower. The resultant energy is used to boil water and generate electricity. You now have your first power station. Being brand new and rated to be able to supply at least one state, you connect it to the grid and set it as spinning reserve, so that it'll take the load when PCHN (inevitably) drops the ball. It should pick up the slack for as many states as is energy efficient, and cost effective. This is a patch, and we don't want our patch to fail. Of course, you build as many of the power stations as needed to make the patch work. Just as long as you bear in mind that it's just a stop gap solution.

So while you have a more stable supply, you get to work on several more (solar!) power stations. According to wikipedia, the UK has 181 large power stations generating about 80GW, so when i say several, i mean hundreds (load forecasting will give you a ballpark figure here, but feel free to go nuts). This new batch of stations will be the foundations of the new National Grid, so you take your time to build substations and lay down some pipe- er, i mean cable. You do a thorough job here, so much so that even the Fulani nomad with his cattle herd can charge his cell phone at the next oasis. No point having all that juice if everybody can't drink some of it, right? So you wire up everybody. You install infrastructure, from the ground up. Meters, transformers, generators, the works.

This will take decades (hopefully just one, but you know Nigerians) so while all this building is going on, start a publicity campaign. Absolutely blitz the masses- POWER IS COMING TO NIGERIA IN 20XX! Hire models if you have to. Hire translators if you have to. Just make sure the entire country knows what's up, that they have the right mindset: No more tapping electricity from overhead wires. No more generators or having to buy the diesel for them. No more secondary circuit systems for the house (one for gen, one for nepa lol). Pay for your electricity by card or cash at the bank, into the Grid's account. When the doubters, detractors and saboteurs raise their ugly heads, you point to the patch you built earlier, which should have drastically reduced the black outs and brown outs. It should also have increased power quality, but that's just a bonus. Then you tell the naysayers to sit down and shut up. When the first of the N-Series (N for Naija, naturally :P) power station comes online, you throw a big launch (most definitely not an 'owambe' party!), you let everyone know that if they thought you were joking before then homie, this shit just got real.

So all the power stations are online. There's power all day every day. You've set your price reasonably (although let's face it, most people would be willing to pay more as long as they had a steady supply. You're really just buying goodwill by setting fair prices). Now it's time to go sort out the old infrastructure. You decommission your patch, and since you now have a new, independent grid, you are free to either dismantle or rejuvenate the old power stations. At this point, i'd rather decommission the old equipment, and keep the patch. Being more recent, it should be relatively easier to integrate it into the grid, and you can sell the surplus- Profit for you! Now you have to protect your investment, but that part should be relatively simple- Why on earth would anybody want to shut down a power station, you ask? Well I doubt they'd miss the dark ages that much, but there's always that one crazy person isn't there? And you know nigerians, as soon as one of the power stations goes offline and you have a black out for 5minutes, everybody will panic and decry your new system and wonder why they ever bothered and they should have stuck to their deisel generators, yada yada. I'm joking, i'm joking!. Anyway, you protect your investment by investing heavily in competent staff to man the stations. If you need physical protection, well, employ guards. As an aside, this whole project will create jobs like crazy.

Since nothing in life is ever simple, this comes with some caveats:

This would have to be a government operation from the get go. The initial costs are something that only a government could afford. But hell, what are taxes for anyway? They sure as hell aren't going towards any form of civic amenities! So- Government funded project on government land (So there are no disputes about anything). Also, the government might (or probably will) have to run the project at a massive loss, but considering the pay off... I'd say it was worth it. Also, the government can help with protection- All the power stations will be government installations, so they might as well have the military guarding them. It's not like Nigeria's fighting any wars or something.

My mom also reminded me that it's all political so naturally, no matter how brilliant the proposal is, somebody would find a reason not to do it. So, find somebody who is prepared to back you all the way to the bank. You don't need funding (since it's government funded) but you do need friends. If your Godfather can get the right person to listen to you, then his job's done. Don't get bogged down in where to site the stations: When they say to put one in Maiduguri, just to represent, tell them "piss off mate, my losses will be astronomical!" Don't worry, your fellow engineers will know what you're talking about.

She had a few other points as well but i've forgotten what they were- I'm looking at this as an engineering problem, not a social or political one. Those i'll leave to smarter folk. And before anyone jumps on me for presuming to know everything, I just want to say i'm trying to help. While I'm not particularly patriotic, (i mean like Nigeria as much as a guy can like a country) i sure do want it to be as great as it can possibly be. This is just an idea i've had for a while now, and today it solidified.

Share this if you like it, and Happy Independence Day

Midnight Club LA  

Posted by Mesmorino in , ,

So I just watched a review of this game on youtube. The guy talks about the game, but he doesn't actually review it. He just says how it's a great game, how it's similar to GTA4 (a similarity i don't see myself). Sure it's a great game, sure it had a lot of customisation options, but what about the gameplay itself? I thought i'd take a crack at it.

Okay so it's a racing game, you win races, you get money, you get more/better cars. It's not original in that respect, but whatever. It's got a story, a premise for why you'd want to be street racing to begin with, but it's extremely threadbare as it should be. On the other hand, I actually found myself liking the characters and their lines whenever they came up. I gather the new guy needs to win either respect or rep, before he can be taken seriously and allowed to race with the pros. The City's the real star of the game, i found it very intelligently designed. I'm not sure whether that's a testament to the skill of the game designers, or the city planners who designed Los Angeles itself. Whatever, it's actually fun to drive around in. The GPS map system is also cool, your map view is a live (besides you, of course) representation of the city night and day. I don't like how you can't zoom in though. Instead of a proper zoom, it tilts the view in and out.

I also don't like the cops. Not only are they much too aggressive, they are everywhere. I've been busted for stopping behind some other car at a red light. I've been busted on my way to an event, dumped at the police station, then busted again the second time i made my way to the event. I think a patch or something made it so they don't have a chance of appearing in all races, only some, but in free roam there's no such luck. If you see a cop coming, don't just park and wait for him to go by, actively avoid him. Do a handbrake turn, and go the other way. These days I free roam online, because there are no missions, no pedestrians, and most definitely no cops.

Another thing i don't like is the mission acquisition system. You get missions by way of a call on your t-mobile sidekick. Not a problem in itself, the problem comes because the sidekick blocks your mini map entirely. Sure you can dismiss it, but considering that the main map is also unavailable while it's blocked, it's a pretty big negative. For some reason (maybe it's just me), it also pops up at the worst of times. Like, in the middle of a Freeway race, or when the cops are after me, or in a Red Light race. I really hate getting missions in Midnight Club LA. A little envelop would have sufficed to let me know I had mail afterall.

I don't like night time in the city, because the races automatically become harder. For some reason, even though you flash your high beams at other drivers to initiate a race, you can't toggle them on or off for night driving. And your low beams are nowhere near bright enough. The game is also unfairly hard. Apparently it used to be insanely hard, but now it's just unfair. I don't know how to explain it, but it's not just rubberbanding AI, or magically increased traffic density. It's the feeling that you're not going to win the race right from the start despite having a car on equal footing with the rest of the pack, and slighty above average skills. Whatever happened to proper difficulty settings? Even though almost nobody plays Halo on Easy, it's still an option. A phrase I heard somewhere regarding easy difficulty is: "My grandma should be able to play it and have fun" or words to that effect.

In the game's defence, winning all the races is only a required for some of them, not all. I think you have to win all the mission based ones but the free roam races can be lost, and you'll still get money and rep (more for winning, obviously). That's basically what i've been doing although there's this one race that i still can't win, despite changing up to a better car. Hum. The game's audio is weird. It sounds like they mixed the music with the sfx, meaning the engines always sound louder than the music, and both sound louder than the mission descriptions. This is also a problem i have with Burnout Paradise so it might actually be something to do with my set up.

It's a really good game, the cars handle as expected, sound as expected to. It's faults are just too... irritating to make you truly enjoy it for long stretches.


Posted by Mesmorino

This right here is a movie i'm looking forward to, but i have to say i'm extremely annoyed by the idiotic IGN people who did the video, along with the critics. The video i'm talking about can be found here: http://uk.movies.ign.com/dor/objects/800318/avatar/videos/Avatar_long_26082009.html;jsessionid=1mbhlnnba8sbt

You notice how they all seem to have this unfounded idea that some guy's taming some creature? That's stupid! The clips shown aren't long enough to infer any such conclusion, all they show is that the creature screams at him, he jumps on, they fly away. End of story. How do you go from that to "Oh, he tames this creature"?! Besides, so what if he's taming a freaking pterodactyl?! If that's the movie's big appeal, it's failed already.

Second, what is the big deal about it being in 3d? SPY KIDS 3 was in 3d, and it was hardly the first! What's the big deal about there being cool monsters? Or is it cool aliens? Neither are new, Star Wars had bigger and badder aliens from the 70s, and so did Alien. So what if the main characters are blue? It's not exactly a special colour or something. They look like Elves from Lord of the Rings, with blue body paint on.

Just to be clear, I'm not hating on the movie itself, it actually looks interesting, and will probably be a pretty good action or sci-fi flick. What i don't like is the brainless hype surrounding it, all over what, less than 10 minutes of footage. None of the movie's themes are new (but that's not a bad thing), but if the story can stand up on its own, then it won't matter. What won't help is stupid "journalists" and "film critics" talking shit without thinking first. "OOoh, it's in 3d! Ooh it's got monsters and aliens! Ooh, the aliens are taming the monsters! Ooh, they're all fighting with human soldiers!" Please. Starship Troopers had monsters who meant business, not these dinosaur wannabes.

Also, watch out for the guy talking about the water's particle effects. Because you know, they just couldn't film real, actual, flowing water so they had to reverse engineer it (obviously) and make a CGI version.