New Photo Gallery

I’ve been using the Flickr Gallery plugin for WordPress to handle my photo gallery for some time and I’m actually very happy with it because it does precisely what I want it to do, but unfortunately Flickr, in their infinite wisdom, have seen fit to decide to force the merging of Flickr and Yahoo accounts, providing zero benefit to the users and breaking compatibility with every third-party application out there. Doubly unfortunately the plugin that I was using is no longer being updated so it’s living on borrowed time, forcing me to switch to something newer.

Thankfully the creator of the Flickr Gallery plugin, Ramon Darrow, has provided a link to an excellent alternative, FAlbum. It works with the updated authentication protocol and generates some nice looking (if slightly cluttered, but that’s nothing a bit of fiddling can’t fix) galleries that work pretty much in the same way as the old plugin. It’s not quite ready to go completely live as my replacement for Flickr Gallery because I haven’t gotten it to respect my stylesheet and layout yet and I want to make it pay somehow for all the grief it gave me getting it to work in the first place (it even managed to corrupt my .htaccess file, making the whole site inaccessible) but hopefully it’ll be done before the end of the week. It’ll save a lot of work and tears when the Flickr switchover happens next year.

You’re Governated

This is hilarious for its hypocrisy.

Now I’m all for controlling whether or not kids can get their hands on games that are meant for adults – they do it with films and games here and the world is yet to implode and it gives the moral crusaders of the world one less thing to hold against our industry – but the fact that this guy has the gall to tell people what is appropriate just makes me laugh. This is a guy who:

  • Has a string of sexual harrassment accusations against his name, including several in the recent future.
  • Admitted engaging in orgies.
  • Admitted using illegal drugs and steroids (which are sometimes named after him in bodybuilding slang).
  • Had parents in the Nazi party and invited a suspected Nazi war criminal, Kurt Waldheim, to his wedding.
  • Said this:

“Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.”

Of course I haven’t even started on the fact that this guy starred in some of the most violent films ever made where he did most of the killing himself, including Conan, The Terminator, Predator, Commando, Total Recall, and End of Days. These have some controls in place to stop kids laying their hands on them but it’s still absurd to me that a man who reached fame and fortune through his portrayals of violent killers can be vilifying games that depict content that is “heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”

GamesTM 37 Out Now

Issue 37 of GamesTM is out now with more Olly goodness. In this one I actually got to write something of substance so you can find my Great Retro Gaming Moment (Rainbow Road from Super Mario Kart) on page 147 and my Why Don’t They Remake (Unirally) on page 148. Since I have 1.5 pages that means I control 0.833% of the magazine, so soon it will be mine!

It’s actually not a bad issue with some good stuff on Liberty City Stories and the new Prince of Persia, but the fact that they review Ouendan (8/10) and have stuff by me pushes it into must-have territory.

Serenity Impressions


The whole Firefly/Serenity thing is an odd beast to say the least: Fox hands Joss Whedon, fresh from the monumental success and moderate success of Buffy and Angel respectively, some money to make his space opera opus, Firefly; he makes it as an idiosyncratic mix of sci-fi and western, complete with occasional deviations into Chinese; it flops and is promptly cancelled, but the DVD sales allow Whedon to convince Universal to let him turn the failed television series into a movie. Despite what has so far been a lukewarm but consistent box office reception, the fan response seems to be that the little TV show that could pisses all over the $100 million plus Star Wars prequels. Admittedly not a high watermark, but still…

I really enjoyed Serenity. It, perhaps unsurprisingly, has the slight whiff of an esoteric television adaption with some characters and references left unexplained, but still does a fine job of standing alone as an entertaining sci-fi adventure. It was funny when it was meant to be funny, exciting when it tried to be, and all of the characters hit all of the buttons they were supposed to. A certain other person known for their last few botched attempts at sci-fi should watch Serenity to see how a good script works.

Something that really blew me away is that this movie cost a paltry (for a modern sci-fi movie, at least) $39 million, and it looked better than most $100 million movies that get crammed into the multiplexes every summer. Through selective but effective use of CGI to do what wasn’t possible to do practically and to enhance actual sets, Whedon got more bang for his buck than any virtual stuntman or blue screen set that I’ve ever seen. At one point there’s a brief but intense space battle which, without trying to turn this into a Star Wars bash again, looks at least as good as the opening battle of Revenge of the Sith, which itself probably cost as much as the whole of Serenity.

So this one gets my hearty recommendation, and I’m sure anyone with a passing interest in sci-fi is planning to see it anyway. The theatre that I saw it in was disappointingly empty for a Friday night showing of a new film but since those that were there had good things to say at the end and seemed to be very into it, I’m hoping that the loyal fanbase and some positive word of mouth can carry this onto bigger things (a second series would be nice, for a start). Now I just want my Firefly DVDs to hurry up and get delivered.

DVD Binge

My making up for lost time with all the DVDs that I missed while saving continues, with the Oldboy, Grave of the Fireflies, and Mind, Body & Kick Ass Moves that arrived yesterday joining the Deadwood Season One that I bought on Tuesday, and soon to be joined by The Simpsons Seasons 5 and 6, Firefly, The Fly: Collector’s Edition, Mallrats X, and Land of the Dead Unrated which are all somewhere in the postal system at the moment. It feels good to have a backlog of movies to watch again.

The one in that list which might surprise some people is Land of the Dead, which was only released here theatrically on 23rd September (incidentally, we were the last country to get it, behind even countries that needed it translated before they could get it released – somehow they wonder why people import so many DVDs) and isn’t even out in the States on DVD until 18th October, but it seems that PlayUSA have performed some kind of alchemy and got it in the post twelve days before release. I was impressed when they got Fellowship of the Ring to me ten days before release but they’ve outdone themselves on this one. I was thinking of going to the Halloween event at Harbour Lights (the same place we saw Howl at the weekend) where they’re showing a double bill of the original Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead, but fuck that when I can sit at home and watch them without a bunch of Romero fanboys.

I’m also seeing Serenity on Friday night so impressions should be on here forthwith. The last sci-fi film I saw in the cinema was Revenge of the Sith so I need something to burn it out of my memory. I hope no-one in it screams “NOOOOO!” or I could have a relapse.

20 Today

Today is my 20th birthday, and as I write this I’m in the middle of my third hour of lectures and seminars today, with another five and a half to go. Including breaks between lessons I’m stuck up at uni for over ten hours and won’t get home until 9pm at the earliest which has me pissed off – that amount of time would be bad any day (unfortunately I’m going to have to suffer it every Tuesday for the next thirteen or so weeks) but especially so today.

I just got money from people which is usually more appreciated than anything else with me, because very few people apart from me have any idea what exactly I want. I’ve taken some of it and bought Deadwood Season One on DVD and another load to finally pick up a retail copy of World of Warcraft so that I can go back to playing the trial account from PC Gamer that I was playing obsessively for a couple of weeks. I’m thinking of adding Everybody’s Golf on the PSP to that list on the way home, but at this rate I’m going to be too tired to even think about anything as strenuous as that. Back to work…