Survival Strategies to Stay Safe While Traveling Abroad | Infographic

This is a guest post by our ally Mike from Mike’s Gear Reviews

If you’re traveling abroad this summer what are your key priorities? Passport? Check. Suitcases crammed full of your finest shorts and vests? Check and check. How about safety equipment and items that could be the difference between survival or not? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Often it’s overlooked by many of us, but having essential safety equipment stowed away in your luggage is a vital component to having a stress free and safe vacation. Can you imagine being stuck in a remote location after a day of rock climbing, suffering a wound and not having a first aid kit to patch you up until help arrives? In some cases that could be the difference.
What about emergency services? Do you know the correct numbers to call in a foreign land? 999 isn’t universal. Quickly, it becomes apparent that personal safety is often neglected when it comes to preparing for a vacation, but fortunately, Mike’s Gear Reviews are on hand to give you the correct information you need to enjoy a safe and sound trip abroad. Read on and discover the essential bits of information for surviving in a foreign country!. Continue reading “Survival Strategies to Stay Safe While Traveling Abroad | Infographic”

Can't Live Without [July '17]

Crayon Shin-chan

Starting the day with the news is horribly depressing. Instead, I watch cartoons. Specifically, this summer, I’ve been all about watching Shin-chan on Hulu.
When I get up and start my putzing about, I put on the Chromecast and stream Shin-chan.
Completely vulgar, inappropriate, and satirical, this show has it all. Ass dance? Got it. Joking about things that are no laughing matter? Yup. Parents regretting all their choices and just trying not to get sued? All day? Teachers, who only teach because it’s the job they happen to have? Check.
Crayon Shin-chan is a wonderfully cynical and sunny way to kick off the day. Continue reading “Can't Live Without [July '17]”

I tried to make a Community for fun and profit and everyone died [Community Inc.]

Community Inc. is a video game that would fit in a crossroads of genres.

Those genres that Community Inc. bridges are hard to define though they’re mostly exemplified by:

  • Black & White – a God Game Simulator with citizens to tend to and keep happy
  • Viva Piñata – a garden-based life simulator with a community of individuals who each offer something different and outsiders to protect from
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization – a turn-based strategy game centered on world domination via tile acquisition and resource leveling.

tinyBuild tried something different by taking aspects of different kinds of games and putting them into Community Inc. Afterall, Community Inc asks the player to create a whole, fully-functioning community – that they can then sell to new overlords.
The difficulty is that all these aspects are available and in the mix right from the start. Citizens’ happiness, resource planning, enemies, contracts, and more are all fighting for space on the player’s list of things to do. Continue reading “I tried to make a Community for fun and profit and everyone died [Community Inc.]”

Movie Review: LIFE [2017]

LIFE is a dark movie about death. Violent and inevitable death.

Oh, the joys of living on The International Space Station (ISS) with people on earth trying to micromanage your every move but, at the same time, couldn’t help you find your toothbrush.  These scientists are delighted to be living on the ISS answering the questions of elementary school children about where they shit.

Spoilers below. Continue reading “Movie Review: LIFE [2017]”

Watch Out: "XX," a female-focused horror anthology

XX is a horror anthology in four parts, all from female perspectives available on Netflix.
Mothers doing their best, Girls just trying to have fun, and Single Ladies looking for a little solidarity. In XX we get to see vignettes of everyday life going horribly wrong and getting darkly twisted.

Check out the trailer and then if you’re not convinced, check out my review of the parts and the whole of XX.

Continue reading “Watch Out: "XX," a female-focused horror anthology”

REVIEW – I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young

Basically, I Hate Fairyland is the end of the world

Skottie Young has a way of infusing cute with crazy in a way that no one else can. While his artwork is well-known, I Hate Fairyland is a welcomed introduction to his writing and storytelling skills. Image Comics, the biggest indie publisher stays on brand by getting behind this title.
I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young is the story of young Gertrude getting trapped in the magical Fairyland on a quest to get home. Unfortunately she is awful at quests and decades have passed forging once adorable and idealistic Gert in a foul-mouthed (as foul as the magic in Fairyland allows), sadistic, one woman (in the body of a child) Apocalypse carving her way through every delightful and dangerous neighborhood in the land to find the Key that will get her home.
She’s the only one of her kind, trapped in another world and forced to fend for herself – It may be just for one little girl, but it’s the end of the world.
Gert is assigned a little fairy guide named Larry who is 50% storage solution, 25% useless guide, and 25% link to the audience to help offer perspective.
Continue reading “REVIEW – I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young”

Review: OBLIVION

I feel like mentioning that this review has spoilers is the right thing to do, but really Oblivion spoils itself in the first five minutes and this review turned into more of a recap.
I don’t think good movies tend to start with five minutes of exposition explaining the setup and back story and what the main character’s job is and who that lady in his bed is and oh let’s not forget “the mandatory memory wipe five years ago.” For fuck’s sake. So now I know you’re not who you think you are.
Apparently aliens invade Earth because they’re greedy. To kick things off they blow up the moon which makes everything on the planet go haywire. After that, the aliens dropped troops and fucked shit up. Then the aliens got fought off but left the planet in ruins. The Humans built a thing called The Tet and are going to use it to travel to Titan (the moon by Saturn). Before that though, they want to harvest all of Earth’s water because it’s theirs and they want it. Unfortunately, there are still aliens kicking around the planet like… say, a resistance. Weird, they totally lost the war, why won’t they just go home? Tom Cruise works as a repair man charged with keeping the water things online. And the Scavs (left over scavenger aliens still fighting for some strange reason… If only he still had his memory).
Note: This all happened in voice over. The movie hasn’t really started yet. Just lots of sweeping imagery of really pretty devastation and oddly alien looking structures…
We got Oblivion in the mail from Netflix and kept if for at least a month before watching it. Maybe that was the first sign. There was just something repelling us before we even opened the package.
Eventually, Tom Cruise shuts the fuck up and the movie starts. He hops in his plane and does his round to check the water things and make sure the drones are online and whatever. This movie already sucks.
Tom Cruise plays Jack and some redhead plays Victoria, a team. She mans the comms and stuff from their loft and he does the rounds in a futuristic plane, making sure the water things and drones are online.
Jack keeps having these dreams or this pretty brunette. I wonder if that has anything to do with his mandatory memory wipe. Oh well let’s ignore it for now. Down on the surface he repairs a drone with some gum and gumption.
[This was so hard to watch from the jump but it’s even harder to write about.]
The drone is in a football stadium and Jack takes this opportunity to tell an elaborate recap for a game that neither Victoria nor the audience wants to hear. The drone comes online and starts acting sketchy like it doesn’t recognize him or actually sees the Scavs behind him.
Onward he goes, fixing drones and staying out of the “radiation zones.” Jack follows a drone signal to this busted up library and finds a book he falls in love with and SURPRISE the drone is a trap. It’s just a trick under a tarp. There are Scavs watching him and trying to catch him. Hopefully they eat people aliens clones whatever he is.
He’s Tom Cruise so he gets away.
More flash backs. Jack goes to a secret hide away he has filled with Earth stuff like books and a record player. Oooo, why’s he so obsessed with stuff? Why can’t he just follow the rules and be content like Victoria?
The Scavs send a signal and it ends up being a message off planet. Something falls out of the sky. HQ tells Jack not to check it out but he does. It’s pod filled it sleeping astronauts. Oh snap, on is the chick from his dreams. A drone comes along and scans the bodies and starts shooting. Jack is all, “WTF, they’re humans!” So he stands in front of the drone to protect the lady from and shouts his name and it shrugs as best as a drone can and goes back to making rounds.
He brings her home and his wife is not pleased. The lady is like, “They must have woken you and Victoria up first.”
NOTHING IN THIS MOVIE IS SURPRISING.
Astronaut (I think her name is Julia) wants her flight recorder. Obvi the right thing for Jack to do is go AWOL and take her. Scavs come and bob them and drag them off.
Back at the Scav base, which seems to be the stadium, Morgan Freeman sits across from Tom Cruise and says a ton of cryptic shit that doesn’t matter. He turns on the lights to reveal ZOMigawd they’re all HUMANZ! Eventually, after a bit of snarling and posturing, the humans let Jack and What’s-Her-Face go. In parting, Morgan Freeman is like, “If you want the truth, check out the radiation zone”
HQ wants Julia…. Some shit happens and Victoria gets Jealous and gets HQ to try to kill Jack and her (clever). Victoria dies and Jack gets away with the girl. They run around a lot. Sometime in all this Jack shows Julia his lair and Julia reveals she’s his wife and she’s been asleep for 63 years.
The drones are sent to kill Jack and he runs away and eventually goes into the “Radiation Zone” and discovers it’s just the territory covered by THE OTHER JACK CLONE. The Jacks fight and Julia gets shot and I feel no surprise.
So much sigh.
He takes the other Jack’s plane to the other Jack’s house and kisses the other Jack’s Victoria. He steals a first aid kit and takes it to Julia and then takes Julia to Morgan Freeman’s rebels.
They use drone parts to make a bomb that only Jack can make because he’s the repair man that the drone know and love. Then, because he’s a wanted felon, the drones descend on the base and kill most of the people and break the bomb.
Jack decided he should deliver the bomb himself and Julia is like yay! we can die together and I’m like yay! they’ll be dead and it’ll be over.  So they box up Julia and he flies to HQ because, “You wanted me to bring you the survivor.”
On the way there he decided to listen to the flight recorder. Um, that’s a vital piece of human history you’re taking on a kamikaze run. That could come in handy when rebuilding and explaining to the Jacks and Victorias what happened.
He gets in there and there’s a bunch of incubating Jacks and Victorias and the HQ lady is still acting like there’s nothing weird about that. but when he says he’s excited to meet her she says he’s lying. “I just want my people and Julia to survive.” Oh now poignant and cryptic and totally not a lie.
Die already, please!
So HQ isn’t suspicious at all and the drones hanging around don’t feel they should even gear up. they just hover while Tom cruise open up the body case and “This isn’t the survivor you were supposed to bring us (it’s Morgan Freeman because he was mortally wounded and wanted to take part in the kill).” He says something corny and blows up The Tet.
WHERE’s JULIA?!
They tricked her into going into the body box and then shipped her to the lair.
Three Years Later… Julia is at the lair with a little girl that apparently they had time to conceive.  Some of the people from the Morgan Freeman team and the Jack that (semi)original Jack beat up and stole from arrive at Julia’s door and she’s geeked because she has “him” back…. Um isn’t half the planet’s current population Jack and Victoria clones? Any Jack will do since they all seem to be drawn to her? Is she like a Queen Bee now?
Apparently Jack has been searching for her ever since he shot her because love at first sight and nostalgia and reasons
God Oblivion was an awful movie.
 

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Review: Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)

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Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)answers the question “What’s my motivation?” for payers of Hawken the game.
Hawken by Adhesive Games and Meteor Entertainment is part Total Recall, in that it’s set in a ruined dystopian planet; part my desperate hopes for what Pacific Rim will be, a ridiculous mecha battle royal; and part Gundam where everyone is fighting for or against a team but no one is really right.
But then Hawken: Genesis adds in a heaping helping of Top Gun.
It sounds like chaos on the surface but it’s actually a brilliant premise.
Everyone fled Earth for a brighter future on Illal but their hopes overwhelmed the new planet, destroying it faster than they destroyed Earth. Unfortunately for the poor planet, devastation isn’t enough and they’ve found one more resource to pry from the corps of their new home.
Already in the midst of an inter-corporation world war the citizens now have reason to stay and fight too. Not for honor or freedom but for their own slice of the pie. That is why they came after all.
From the jump, “the Hawken” is mentioned in a laundry list of terrible things that shouldn’t have happened, terrible things that ruined a once optimistic planet. I’m not clear what it is though… But I am curious.
I’m always drawn to a good premise, a well thought out backstory make most things that much more wonderful for me. And when I read the Hawken: Genesis issues put out by Archaia Black Label for the franchise, I was blown away.
Continue reading “Review: Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)”

Book review: The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse

The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse by Nina Post

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Amazon blurb:

As Pothole City races to rebuild, a bounty hunter-turned-building manager must find a missing Cluck Snack executive, settle a bitter dispute between warring donut shops, and foil yet another plot that threatens to eradicate the single-purpose angels.
After narrowly preventing the last apocalypse, Kelly Driscoll finds herself with an unlikely day job. She’s the interim manager of Amenity Tower, one of the few buildings still left standing in the rubble of Pothole City. But after answering a mysterious phone call, she signs up for a new mission that’s a perfect match for her skills: locating the missing president of the famed Cluck Snack brand.
As Kelly quickly learns, the missing executive is only the beginning of Pothole City’s problems. The city’s leading donut shops — run by two very different Gorgon monster siblings — are engaged in a bitter territorial dispute. Plus, the residents of Kelly’s building have hatched a new plot to kill the beloved single-purpose angels and set the stage for another apocalypse.
Teaming up again with her allies from the first book — including Af the Angel of Destruction, Stringfellow the ferret, and Tubiel and the other single-purpose angels — Kelly is up for the challenge. But can she rescue the missing president and restore peace between the donut shops before Pothole City is destroyed yet again?

Continue reading “Book review: The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse”

Apocalypse by Dean Crawford

A private Learjet filled with scientists travels across the ocean toward Miami. As it passes through the Bermuda Triangle, strange effects disturb the instruments and violent weather envelops the aircraft until it plummets out of control and vanishes without trace.
In Miami, Sheriff Kyle Sears arrives at a murder scene. A woman and her daughter have both been shot through the head. But while Sears is still on the scene he receives a phone call from the woman’s husband. With uncanny accuracy, he predicts the immediate future just as it unfolds around Sears, before revealing that he, too, will be murdered within 24 hours. The man gives him the name of someone he must contact. Ethan Warner.
As Ethan Warner and his partner Nicola Lopez race to investigate, they are thrown into the centre of a mind-boggling plot to blow a hole in the space-time continuum.
I’m not normally that ‘in’ to thrillers, even science based ones where the consequences of failure could mean the end of the world. But I got into this one.
I can’t really give you an intelligent review. I can’t tell you what I liked and what I didn;t and why, because instead of reading this thing critically (like I usually do for reviews) I just devoured it. It was pure enjoyment for me – hight staked with interesting characters and some damn good science in the background.
A flaw my intensely feminist upbringing wouldn’t allow me NOT to spot was the constant use of male gaze on all the female characters, but I understand that this is a common device in thrillers. I’m just not sure why it’s important that an incredibly competent, driven woman with a well-defined personality is constantly referred to in terms of how ‘hot’ she is.
A flaw my literature-orientated mind wouldn’t allow me to ignore was the way the prose sometimes wandered off the path of ‘competent but nothing special’ and into the thorny brambles of ‘lolwhut?’. But it didn’t do this often enough to ruin my fun, and it’s a pretty chunky book, so no big.
The thing is, that normally these two flaws, especially together, would normally be enough to get my patented ‘really?’ reaction, where I get pulled out of the world of the story and -worst case scenario – start to mock the book. Something similar happened with ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ when my final review was one dismissive sentence. But nope, not here. The critical part of me (Huge) was overwhelmed by the part of me that just likes to be entertained by a damn good story.
Four out of five, kiddies. Read this book.
Also, stay tuned for an interview with Dean later today.