Presents of Mind II: Some Gifts Just Speak for Themselves

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Uh, would you like something to eat, game?

…And some gifts just sit right down on the nearest loveseat when they walk out of the box. Yikes. I saw this Death Stranding Collector’s Edition on sale at a local shop when I was poking around on ebay listing a few games I’m selling and yes, the price was right, so I bought one. The shop actually wasn’t the lowest priced one I saw, but Best Buy RAISED their crazy low price of $89.99 before I could buy it. I literally slept on the deal and thought about it, decided it was a go the next morning, but I was surprised to see them jack the price back up up to only $30 off the original 199.99 MSRP. Oh well. Adorama, you have my thanks for keeping your deal where even with tax, I made out all right and got free shipping in the process. Oh, and a LOT or air packing bags in the rather huge box, too.

I still need to find time to play this, but with a copy now on hand, it’ll happen sooner than later. Actually, I need to find a space for the box as it’s so huge, it takes up more room than I thought it would. At least Sony put the steelbook right on top so when the box in opened, it’s separate from the other goodies inside. Back in a bit – I need to go find out where I’m going to put this thing.

-GW

Presents of Mind

So, it was my birthday last month, but I don’t celebrate it these days like “normal” people do. I tend to just wake up and be thrilled to be breathing, move on and let a new year pass hopefully without any bad stuff occurring. Cake is optional these days (Hey, diet? You doing OK?). I also don’t do presents unless I get surprised with one,Β but this year, I decided to pick up a few things for myself with a bit of extra money I had left over. A little retail therapy, if you like. It’s been quite a year or few years, is all I’ll say about that. Anyway, here’s a small list of what I got myself:

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“I can stop anytime I want to…”

I wanted to cut back on the caffeine and someone suggested trying mixing chicory with coffee, so I went with Community’s 100% chicory, as I have a few large canisters of coffee here and I like experimenting when I get the chance to do so. Finding the correct mixture for my tastes was an interesting thing as well, but I did try a pot of pure chicory first but found it a bit too strong. Well, that was my fault, but it did remind me of some of my first attempts to make coffee some decades back where one person liked it and another had her eyeballs practically leave her skull. Let’s just say I got a lot better at the making coffee thing since then.

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It’s My Party…

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At The Florist – Frederick Childe Hassam

So, I got a birthday card last week (it’s today, so go get me some cake, please, thank you) and I laughed aloud when I opened it because the card had a portion of a painting I’d seen a while ago and it impressed me so much that I went and wrote a (bad) short story based on the image. This was some decades ago, but I recall more or less it was about humans being briefly ruled by a flower race and it not being so bad because it was more a symbiotic relationship at the end of the day.

As those flowers smelled nice and only tasked humans with carrying them from place to place, things were pretty laid back. If I’m not mistaken, this period of peace ended with a few servants, tired of allergies and a few bee stings, attacked their masters and realized they weren’t able to do much in the way of defending themselves. Hey, I said it was a bad story, didn’t I? Okay, it was VERY bad. Anyway, the point was today’s flower markets are reversals of how flowers once shopped humans to work for them and my, how things have changed, haven’t they? Yes, I used to write some weird stuff. Eh, oh well.

(Thanks, good times!)

Back to the salt mines and all that jazz.

-GW

Banner Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

It’s John Carpenter’s Birthday. You Know What To Do Next.

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And guess who sold off his record player a while ago? Boooo to me!

Clearer message: Go here. BUY STUFF. Be happy. That is all. Rinse and repeat if necessary (and it will be necessary). Show this post to friends and don’t be at all surprised when it works on them as well. OBEY.

Okay, NOW, that is all.

-GW

May the 4th Needs a Fifth, I Think

Yeah, yeah. I kind of don’t like the over-celebrating thing when it comes to some stuff I appreciate, but that’s the way things are these days. Still, a little tribute is in order to a film that deserves it (well, in its original format), so here’s mine.

Perspective from an old fart who knows stuff: There was not a hint of internet nor the sort of over-speculation we suffer though today way back in 1976 when I was sitting in a movie theater and saw this teaser for the first time:

(Thanks, thecoolman!)

I vaguely recall being really curious about this upcoming film because it looked completely different than anything I could recall seeing (hey, I was only 12 at the time), yet it seemed really familiar in a few ways to stuff I’d seen on the local PBS station. At that point, I had zero idea of what a homage was or a way to grasp that George Lucas was borrowing from the past to create his own futuristic adventure (what was curiously, set in the distant past). Anyway, I noted the non-date and filed the film away in the memory banks as something to look forward to seeing. Those school friends I knew were either not interested at all or worse, had a low opinion of sci-fi films that extended to books and comics of the period. So only a rare few of the kids I knew even cared about this film before and to some extent, after it was released.

The most amusing modern thing in regards to this teaser is the Official Star Wars YT channel has an (intentionally?) embarrassing low quality teaser while other non-official sites have not only better quality ones, but one that’s been redone to include footage found in the actual release print. Granted, while MUCH prettier, I find that clip problematic because it’s redone history that erases the fact that the teaser was supposed to be cruder thanks to the film still being nowhere near completion a about a year out from its eventual release date. Sure, film fans didn’t know this and other that tiny bits (VERY tiny) of information dropped in a few sci-fi mags of the era. But that all changed as 1977 rolled around and more info as well as the successful Star Wars comic book appeared. I avoided the comic for a while, but eventually collected most of its run over time, enjoying a good deal of what I was reading (including stuff now FAR outside the current canon)

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Someone Left a Cake Out in the Rain (So it’s Likely for Me)

So, whadyagetme for my birthday? It’s today, you know. As for gifts, well… I got myself a little party to throw later:

(Thanks robatsea2009!)

Or, wait… maybe it’s this party?

(Thanks, 88 Films!)

Hmmm. I’m confused, but I know it isn’t this party because I went to it and did NOT have a good time at all:

(Thanks, Zero Media!)

In reality, other than thinking cake-like thoughts for a hot minute, I have no big deal plans for today at all. The day will be spent at home maybe with a movie, definitely with some gaming (I have a few backlogged films and games to get to, as usual), and probably no big deal food item other than what I plan to cook for myself later (ah, the wonderful world of restricted dieting, but at least it will be quite tasty). General mood in my current state is more or less this (and I’m not Thulsa Doom here):

(Thanks, Dean Oliver!)

Eh, whatever. I suppose things cold be worse, but let’s leave it at that for the moment.

Back in a bit.

-GW

Tomb Raider Turns 20: Two From The Vaults Make Lara More Appreciated

Wow. Every game has unused content from early concept art to trailers and other elements that never see the light of day unless properly preserved. Today’s unearthing of two pieces of Lara Croft memorabilia (digital department), come from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix in time for the Tomb Raider franchise’s 20th anniversary. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed since Lara swung onto the gaming scene and became a worldwide smash, digital sex symbol (for better or worse), and even a role model of sorts to super-fans inspired by the character.

She’s survived some great and not-so-great games in the series, many, many deaths the introduction of the now forgotten by fans who know how to move on Kurtis Trent, two movies that weren’t so hot, but got butts into theater seats, and a two-time revival back into her former glory thanks to newer console tech and current developers Crystal Dynamics. Lara may have had some ups and downs over the years, but to those of us who dip a toe into the pool and replay her games from old to new, she’ll always be our golden girl.

Sony’s 20th Anniversary Limited Edition PS4: Nifty Shades of Grey


 
I should have figured that Sony would be going back to basics for their 20th anniversary, but seeing that familiar shade of grey on a new model PS4 made me chuckle a bit. I bet it’s not backward compatible at all, meaning some younger folks who buy it, might want one to add to their collection or just hate that color aren’t seeing the complete picture. I still have three of those old grey models here and they get trotted out from time to time, too. 20 years is a long time and I can still recall the initial skepticism some had about Sony jumping into the game console business with the PlayStation after a deal with Nintendo to co-create a game console fell through. How the gaming landscape would been had that arrangement not fallen through is anybody’s guess. Like them or not, you have to give Sony credit for making good on their initial promise to shake things up and continue doing it for so long despite some ups and downs over the years.


 

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Sony – you’ve certainly earned a place in millions of lives since 1994. Here’s to (at least) 20 more years (provided we’re all still around)…

ALIEN 35th Anniversary Blu-Ray/DVD: If You’re NEW to This Flick, It’s A Must-Buy…

Alien 35 (Custom)Hmmmm. I’m not sure I need another version of ALIEN for my library, but this 35th anniversary limited edition features a a reprint of the excellent Alien: The Illustrated Story comic and all-new, collectible art cards along with the 1979 original cut and 2001 director’s cut of the film. As this is one of my favorite films of any genre, I’ll probably cave in and pick this up at some point once there’s a price drop just to add it to the other sets I have here.

Yeah, Fox is pretty much jabbing us in the wallet with this one, but the price isn’t bad if you shop around and at least the new extras are different and worth checking out if you have to have EVERY bit of memorabilia. Between this and Alien Isolation arriving on the same day, I have the feeling that a whole new set of fans will be made for this absolute classic sci-fi/horror hybrid. The cranky older fans who think this one’s a double dip with a few bonuses surely won’t be buying this re-re-re-re-release, if my poking around on a few film boards is any indication. Those geezers are just too smug to see that somewhere in the world, someone STILL hasn’t seen ALIEN and yeah, they might be wanting to get this because it’ll be their first time experiencing this still near-perfect film…

VGA 101: Happy Birthday, Sega Dreamcast: “It’s Thinking”… But Probably About Better Times.

Note: This isn’t at ALL a “complete history” of the console. It’s just more random off the top of the head wistful reminiscing!

(thanks, Wiidork!)
 
For one brief, shining moment (well, that moment lasted three years or so), Sega has many of us gamers on the edge of our seats and extremely happy about it. Once the US arm of the company deemed the Saturn “dead” and started peeling away support for it, there was a gap of time where we were wondering what was coming next. When whispers of a new and more powerful console code-named “Katana” started getting traction in the game press, followed up by early screenshots of works in progress, some fans were trumpeting that upcoming console as a redemption and return to form for the company and in Japan, while Saturn games were still being sold, it seemed that everywhere you went in some spots, ads popped up announcing something was coming from Sega that would be new, unusual and exciting. And oh, was it when it finally did arrive… Continue reading