March 31, 2015

Goodbye Bluesfest, Hello City Folk

Well, it seems that the Ottawa Bluesfest has finally reached its low. Why? Because this year's line-up stinks. There only about five acts max I would consider going to see. On top of that, we were waiting for 'the big announcement', and that's exactly what we got - Kanye West.

Don't get me wrong, he's had a couple of good singles back in the day. Then his ego exploded, and he started doing stupid off, and now nobody cares. According to the Bluesfest's Facebook page, nearly every person who commented was not happy with this news, and about every 2nd or 3rd wanted the Foo fighters.

What is the Bluesfest line-up? Right here:

Meanwhile, I've turned my focus to the Ottawa 'city Folk' event, held at Landsdowne Park, from Sept. 17-20, as you can see in the picture. With folk getting a revival in the past 5-10 years [in terms of 'mainstream' I mean. The genre is becoming popular again] thanks to artists such as Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men and others, it's a safe bet that the music festival in September will offer a much better music experience than the Bluesfest. 

It's a shame that Bluesfest has come this way - the last truly great one was in 2013. Which is shameful, because last year was the festival's 20th anniversary, and nothing too memorable.  Here's hoping it will get better, and get some bigger acts, as well as use of budget. On the other hand, now I can get exposed to more quality folk music. 

"The Girl in the Spider's Web" Reaction

There is another Lisbeth Salander novel coming out. There are a few ‘howevers’, however….

March 26, 2015

Let the Raiding Continue!!

Great news!

I just saw IMDB TV that Vikings got renewed for a fourth season, which means that the raiding will continue next year. Whenever the series finishes, I hope that the creative crew knows ahead of time to plan a final season.
Aside from 'something to watch wile waiting for Game of Thrones to come back on, it is a really good series on its own.

I look forward to watching Vikings: Season 3 once it finishes for the year.

March 25, 2015

Now Streaming - "Turn: Season 1"

At long last, Netflix has uploaded Turn: Season 1. I've been waiting for this one for a while (and hoping), as now I can watch the show....properly, let's say. If you like historical dramas and suspense, give this one a go. It may be a week or two by the time I get to watching it myself, but I look forward to it.

"Go Set a Watchman" Coming Soon...

Harper Lee has a new book coming out! Those impatient with George R.R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss have nothing to say now…

The new book is a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird . Behold the cover image, official synopsis, as well as ISBN to pre-order the hardback [there will also be an ebook].

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014. Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic.

ISBN: 9780062409850

March 21, 2015

Up Next For Me To Watch

So many shows that I watch are beginning to end! Mad Men. Downton Abbey. Hell on Wheels. I just finished watching Boardwalk Empire. And there are some that I watch that are still going: Vikings, Game of Thrones, Sherlock Homeland, and House of Cards. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to Netflix uploading Turn, Halt and Catch Fire, as well as their own Daredevil. I also see that Rectify is up there too. None of which I've seen yet.

So what's next for me??

I am currently on Friends: Season 9 on Netflix. I will finish that as well as Season 10 and carry on with That '70s Show as my comedy. I have been quite keen on starting up The Killing, and very recently Netflix uploaded Spartacus. I would also like to start Sons of Anarchy, but that's further down the road.  

So that's how TV is looking for me in the next little bit!

"Boardwalk Empire" Review

I have just finished watching Boardwalk Empire. The series ended at 5 seasons - thankfully, it wasn't canceled. If it was, they knew going in that 5 would be the last. 

I won't waste my words and your time telling you what the series is about (there are other places on the internet for that), but it had a pretty strong start, and showed promising potential. Overall, the series was pretty good. It could have been better. Some characters / actors (actresses) annoyed me here and there, some episodes had a few too moments of filler, or stretched out, some episodes felt like filler....but on the whole, minor gripes aside, I enjoyed it.

The show was very well produced and designed. At times the writing is a little bit "...hmm..." or "why?" but has been among the best on TV, even though if Boardwalk was overshadowed by other shows, in the pop-culture sense.

Season 1, to me, has been the strongest. After that, 3 would be a close second. I believe part of the issue was, where it seemed like nothing important or gripping was occurring, waiting another week for the next episode was bothersome. With seasons 4 and 5, I waited until they were finished, and then watched them, without having to 'wait'. The method of waiting a week for an episode needs to end, and, in my opinion, Boardwalk at times suffered because of it. Hopefully it did not suffer to the point that it led to cancellation. It can be argued that most series are like this, but with Boardwalk, the episodes are best viewed in groups.

Again, any imperfections or gripes are very minor - 'maybe episode x should have been 5 minutes longer' 'perhaps episode y should have been 10 minutes shorter' 'why did we need episode z?' and that season 5 should have been 10 episodes at the least, 12 or 14 at the max. Or, perhaps the entire thing could have a been 14-episode mini-series with a much tighter narrative and focus.

Anyway, the show never gets better than the overall quality and potential that season 1 showed. It's a shame in that sense, because they had plenty of great opportunities - some they took, some they avoided, and some were mishandled. The series finale is not noteworthy, but it's a good ending for the show. Of course, like any series finales, you'll either like it or dislike it....

So on the whole the show won't be the greatest you'll ever see, but from pilot to series finale, it is quite good overall, that gets more 'right' than it does 'wrong'. It's a shame it never reached 'heavy-weight status' when it came to awards season and pop culture.  

I give Boardwalk Empire, from start to finish, a solid
8 /10

Now Streaming: "Spartacus"

The other day while on Netflix, I saw that they uploaded the complete series of Spartacus. All four seasons, (Blood and Sand, Gods of the Arena, Vengeance, and War of the Damned) are uploaded to Netflix Canada.
I added it to my list, as i am interested and wanting to watch the series. Lately my TV plate has been full, but I've heard that the series is essentially '300 the TV series' so if you don't like 300, you most likely won't enjoy this series. 

Still, I wanted to let people know that it's up, and that someday I'll check it out - probably shortly after I finish watching Game of Thrones: Season 5.

March 20, 2015

Game Review: "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time"

When I got my N3DSXL close to a month ago, I decided to grab The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for it - it is definitely one of my favourite Zelda titles, I never played / completed the Master's Quest, and it seemed(seems?) that physical copies of the game were getting quite scarce, so I wanted to get it while I could.

It feels like I played the game for the very first time again, despite me recognizing parts of the game, or recalling them fondly. [I think it had been about.....close to 15 years since I'd played / beaten it last.]

for one thing, the game has never looked better. The graphics are vastly improved over the 64 version - not so 'jaggy', and there's some added effects here and there. And - small detail I'm thankful for - they gave Link his 'missing' sword-sheath (the diagonal brown one across his chest.)

I just beat it (100%) the other night, so I haven't had a chance yet to explore the Master's Quest version that got unlocked, but I noticed some differences in the game:

- more Sheikah Stones
- The Iron & Hover Boots are now 'items' like how the Iron boots were in Wind Waker. This makes getting in and out of them much quicker as you don't have to stop the game like before to equip / unequip them. So: they're items now, not 'gear'.
- you have one more 'item slot', thanks to button layout.
- the music of the Fire Temple has been changed (no more chanting, which as it turned out, were Muslims originally).
- the design of the Mirror Shield is a little different.
- less (red) blood. moments in the original where you see red blood has been re-colored to green. This includes Ganondorf's 'cough' (much less effective, looks like had a bad loogie) and...well...the 'final blows' by the Master Sword in the ending cinematic.
- Stone of Truth is now Shard of Truth (makes a noise and 'appears' on your screen, rather than rumble)
There may be other things, but those were the most notable to me.

All in all, a great game. Whether you're playing for the first time, or re-visiting it, there's tons to see and do. This is how a video game remake should be done. Well, it's more of a 'remaster' as they took what was there already and made it better.

Parting thoughts: I think this game (the original in '98 but you get the idea) was the first time I thought "hey...maybe video games can be an art form, too..." and it's true - this is a classic masterpiece which has re-defined the Zelda series. Next up: Master's Quest version as well as Majora's Mask...
10 / 10

March 19, 2015

Ottawa Comic Con 2015 - Two Months To Go

Well, we are a few month away from the 2015 Ottawa Comic Con. I've gone the previous two years; and it's quite a blast. I don't cosplay (not that I'm against it, it's just something I don't do) but I do wear geeky t-shirts there, so that's gotta count.

There are tons of guests coming. Go to this link to see them all:

But you know what? Nothing against the con, but this year has the fewest people I'm looking forward to seeing their panels, as well as getting items signed. Bearing in mind that that could change - we are March, and the con is about two months away.

This leaves me with plenty of time to wander the floor and enjoy the various booths etc, as opposed to being in panels and getting items signed. I am still getting the deluxe, nor will I regret it either! Just this year i will get to enjoy a different 'side' to it.

I hope I don't lose any readers or make any enemies with this statement,, so here goes - I am not a fan of Star Wars, The Walking Dead, or Dr Who.

For the reasons I just listed above not long ago, while all the Star Wars fans are lining up, and seeing Wookie (which I' am sure they will enjoy) I will be on the floor, with hopefully less people about. Likewise goes for the girl from Dr Who.

Oh, I guess I should mention that! Who do I want to see? I'll list them, as well as 'how' I want to see the guests:

Billy Boyd ('Pippin' from The Lord of the Rings films) : panel, signature

Richard Dean Anderson ('O'Neil' from Stargate) : panel. My lovely lady is the bigger of the Stargate fans between the two of us, so I'm sure she would like his signature as well.

Liam McIntyre (Spartacus from Spartacus) : I won't be upset if I miss this one. This is a 'it depends on the schedule' type of thing. I haven't seen Spartacus yet, but I plan to...someday. If I can, I would not say 'no' to seeing his panel, nor getting a signature (depending on prices and what's up for grabs)

Nichelle Nichols : again, if possible I'd like to see her panel, but I won't be heartbroken if I miss it, nor will i make an 'effort' to make it in time. Schedule depending!

...and of course TBA!

So that's basically what I'm looking forward to / interested in. Most of my time will be spent wandering, and checking out the various booths, displays, cosplays and trades on special (please let someone have the Batman Knightfall and No Man's Land at a decent price, and the whole set...)

Should a great time - who knows, perhaps someday I'll get a spot there.

March 14, 2015

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

SHIELD. Gotham. Arrow. The Flash. There are many 'superhero shows' (some of which don't even have the heroes in them...) lately. 

After watching the preview for Daredevil, which will begin on April 10th exclusive to Netflix, I am sold as this looks like the one super hero show that I will watch. It also looks to be Netflix's best show since House of Cards.
It is made by Marvel (as in, Marvel Studios) so it will be interesting to see how / if Daredevil will interact with other Marvel characters, and vice-versa.

Here's hoping that the show is as good as the preview makes it out to be, and that it does well. After finishing House of Cards: Season 3, next on NetflixI look forward to Turn: Season 1 and Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1 being posted. I hope to finish them both by the time Daredevil: Season 1 gets uploaded....

March 11, 2015

A Letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix,

You and I have been together for a couple years now. I am greatly fond of the time we spend together, and all the lovely things you give me.

However, I need to ask for more.

For you see, I don’t have cable. I don’t have satellite etc. Instead, I’ve got unlimited internet. Through you, I watch a great deal of shows (and some movies) the ‘proper’ way. I would like to ask you to provide me with a few things, though:

- Homeland: Season 3 (and up)
- Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (and the rest of the series once it ends)
- AMC’s Turn. Since that you have The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Hell on Wheels and Breaking Bad, I hope to see Turn there sometime.
- Rectify (keep up with that one)
- American Hustle

So if you get those for me, that would be great, as I am looking forward to spending some time with you, should you get them for me. I am looking forward to these, and hope that once I done House of Cards: Season 3 and Friends, some of what I asked for will be there (it would be great if it all gets there though!)

If not, well, I see that you uploaded the entire series of That ‘70s Show and The West Wing….