Episode 110 – Stuff Jakob Actually Likes

April 29, 2011

Just from listening to Nerd Hurdles, it’s easy to see how I got this reputation for hating everything. Or, if that’s putting it too strongly, a reputation for harbouring mild to complete disdain for most things on the planet, living and dead. In an attempt to dispel this myth and give listeners a little perspective on why I’m so critical on the various arts and entertainments we cover, we thought we’d do an episode devoted to the stuff I like.

Well, if you don’t attempt it, you can’t fail at it.

Which is why we have shownotes. And here follows a brief explanation of my very narrow ideal of the ideal form in various arenas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Loving and leaving

March 10, 2011

We’re going to be “off the air” for a few weeks. But to make things right, we’re going to love and leave you with this video from the Scattered Trees. See you (or, more accurately, hear us) on March 25th.

I gotta tell you though, it really pisses me off the girl is dressed like Amidala and not Leia.

Episode 82 – Residunce Evils and the 3 biggest sins of Afterlife

September 21, 2010

The most chafing costume ever?

We went to opening night of the fourth installment of one of my favourite movie franchises, Resident Evil, with the intention of reviewing it (RE: Afterlife) on the episode. Too enamoured with Milla Jovovich and Zelda we didn’t get around to talking about it much.

So let me lay-out for you what’s wrong with it here in these (very late) show notes. Be warned, I’m not going to shy away from spoilers but, since this movie has probably been dropped from theatres by the time this post goes live, you’ve had your chance to remain spoiler-free.

First off, like I’ve said all over the internet, I love the Resident Evil films because they’re the “greasiest cheese.” I went into the opening night showing not just prepared for le fromage, I was hungry for it.

Simply put: Afterlife delivers the curds.

Paul W. S. Anderson and co. seem to be taking the film franchise seriously. Unfortunately, not only are they taking it far too seriously, they shouldn’t be taking it seriously at all.

What began as a series of underdog B-movie mash-ups of The Matrix, The Cube and every George A. Romero flick, is apparently now being treated as an epic approaching the grandeur of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Or, more accurately, the aforementioned Matrix trilogy. A seemingly lofty goal until you consider that the Matrix trilogy was a pretty hokey affair to begin with. The risk of emulating a pop-culture watermark like Keanu’s cyber-fu adventure, is ending up as merely another second-rate knock-off cluttering up people’s Netflix queues. Afterlife suffers this fate in three main ways.

1: Lack of LOLZ. The first film got by as a decent action/horror film in its own right. Cheesy, yes, but that’s exactly what makes a decent action/horror film decent. Without a few yuks along the way to a zombie headshot, there’s really no point. With diminishing returns on the storyline and acting fronts, the only thing the second two installments of the series had going for them was unintentional comic relief. Afterlife‘s overly pretentious atmosphere significantly mutes the potential for sniggering at poorly delivered dialogue and cheesy snuff-lines.

2: The baddie is the baddest baddie ever. But not “bad” meaning good. He just sucks. He basically does the worst impression of your drunk friend’s worst Agent Smith impression the entire time he’s on screen. But he dresses like Neo. Actually, if your drunk friend was Keanu, you have a pretty good idea of this guy’s Agent Smith act. Only it’s not as good as when Keanu does it.

You’re probably wondering how this doesn’t factor into point #1 and the LOLZ. Remember Shane Brolly‘s hilarious performance as Kraven in the Underworld movies? Along with Bill Nighy, he saved that movie. This guy’s performance is that bad. Only somehow too absolutely meh to even be amusing.

3: Third time’s the charm. You can always tell when a director has disappeared up his own ass because the film doesn’t start until the third act. Their own rectum acting as a blindfold prevents them from seeing no one cares about Alice‘s trip down Amelia Earhart lane. Her whole discovery, or lack of discovery, of “Arcadia” in Alaska should have been told in a series of quick flashbacks. Instead it’s a long and ultimately pointless lead-up to where the story actually picks up in Los Angeles. Say what you will about the first three films, but the pacing was flawless (or nearly flawless) in all three.

It’s a fault that could be forgivable if the film didn’t begin with the final scene from the Matrix. Only replace the Agent Smith clones with Alice clones and add guns. Lots of guns. Too many guns.

It’s like the action sequences that open James Bond films—a bit of excitement that has nothing to do with the rest of the film, but whets your appetite for more. Unlike a Bond film though, this is a sensory barrage that deadens you to the rest of the film and perhaps any experience you’ll have in your life ever again.

Come to think of it, it was actually the perfect ending to Extinction. A little George Lucas-style re-cutting in future DVD editions and the two films could be somewhat salvaged.

Even if they don’t do that, and in spite of the film’s failings, I’ll probably still buy the DVD when it’s released. It’s always good to have plenty of greasy cheese on hand to help you get through those killer hang-overs.

Death Disco Star

December 1, 2009

It was Jakob’s birthday yesterday and Mandi made him this amazing Star Wars origami (and discoball) mobile.

Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter is rather outnumbered here.

The Disco Star didn’t stand a chance with all those Rainbow Brite X-Wings dancing around it!

Pretty awesome.

Episode 38 – Hobbies

November 6, 2009


What is it about the word “hobby” that causes a mild but palpable aversion? Perhaps it conjures images of pasty skinned men huddled in their basements painstakingly painting plastic models of Spitfire fighters and Panzer IV tanks. It also conjures images of knitted doilies and scrap-booking.

The “hobby shop” is a nerd hurdle in itself. It could partially be due to the bags of doll parts hanging on the wall of the “ladies” side of the store. But they’re kind of cool in their creepiness. The fake, dried flowers for making god knows what (wreaths perhaps?) on the other hand are neither creepy nor cool.

Is it this association with the word, combined with hobby stalwarts such as stamp and coin collecting,  that turns us off? Or is there something about anything falling under the column “hobby” that is intrinsically nerdy?

Whether pursuits such as scrapbooking and ceramics are immutably dorky in and of themselves, as soon as someone proclaims their interests as hobbies, we look down upon them (the person and the activity).

Perhaps it’s that only true nerds would use the slightly outmoded term. Todays hip and savvy crafter has “interests” and their “thing”but never a hobby. Even the older generation has cottoned on that they “do” ceramics or scrapebooking, but they don’t sully their handiwork with the dergatory H-word.

I suspect that part of the nerd association with hobbies is that they are innately personal, solitary pursuits where a person’s true colours really shine. There’s an ernestness to hobbies (usually accompanied with a fanatical devotion to them) which sets them apart from mere interests. And there is, of course, no nerdier quality than ernestness.

Which brings up an interesting dicotomy. Is an ernest interest in ironic fashion nerdy? Would the kids on latfh.com be less nerdy if they had an ironic interest in ironic fashions or more so? Thinking about it can make your head spin painfully—though undoubtedly specifically because you’re thinking about it at all.

So… what’s your hobby?

Above: Mandi mans the Ampersand Publishing table at Canzine 2009 where we nerdily nerded out on some of our zine and button oriented hobbies.

Referenced links: Look at This Fucking Hipster; Regretsy; Crappy Taxidermy; Disturbing Auctions (no longer updated).

Project Potter: Half Blood Prince

July 6, 2009

Though I enjoyed it more, generally, than Order of the Complainers, I can’t remember much of The Half-Blood Snape. I’m finding there’s not much to say about it. My one complaint is with all that’s going on, I find it hard to believe Harry would care much about quiddich or house points or girls. Okay, girls maybe. Love always flourishes in times of strife. But when Snape is unfairly taking points away from Gryffindor, the fact Harry thinks any of that matters just further strengthens my belief he is a big wiener. He may as well change his name to Skywalker.

Otherwise, there are only two things I can remember about this book. The first is the underground lake full of zombies. Awesome. Though Rowling massively pulls some punches in the that scene. She may have brought zombies to the table, but then she doesn’t let us have any. What a crappy host. I can only hope these Inferi creatures show up again in The Deadly Marshmallows and are used to their full potential.

The second big event is of course the Snapester killing Dumbledor. I have to give Rowling props for not having him saved by some contrived bit of magic like Snape’s curse was blocked by a cigarette case or a jinx-proof vest. Which is what I was expecting. I am however concerned he’s going to pull an Obi-Wan and show up as a ghost or, worse, is perhaps living in Harry’s wand.

Anyway, Half-Blood Prince. It’s alright. Don’t have much to say about it.

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