16 February 2009


Burn After Reading
Hysterical dark comedy that resonates with the Coen frequency.  Great performances from the entire cast!  Starts off slightly slow but then takes off mid-way with a big finish.

American Psycho
James favorite movie.  Crazy novel adaptation where Christian Bale goes on an insane murder spree.  Impressive cinematography, sets, and costumes make this 2000 film look like it was really made in the late 1980s.  Amusing commentary on late 1980s upper class Wall Street businessmen.

In Bruges
Simply amazing film.  I wish I could write a story like this.  However, I can't decide if the coincidences are smart or contrived.  Either way, they are compelling.  This movie didn't come up on my radar until the Golden Globe awards and I am sooooo glad I've seen it now.  Glad to see Colin Farrell back on screen and taking things seriously.  He brings a likeable, star-crossed gunman to life.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
The legendary return of Neil Patrick Harris playing his alter ego.  A couple other funny jokes, but not quite the original stoner comedy.

21 is a safe, predictable, formula of a movie.  The main actor is easy on the eyes; part Jake Gyllenhaal, part Tobey Maguire.  The math behind the card counting appealed to me the most and I wish they had done a little more with it.  Perhaps a scene after the explanation of the rules to see if the viewer can keep up.

Tekkon Kinkreet
Intriguing anime film from Studio 4°C, based on a manga.  It's drawing to a conclusion as I write this post.  Rare in my experience, but the English version is very good.  Interesting art style and some amazing shots for 2D animation.  GORGEOUS settings/backdrops.  I won't bother to present an interpretation of the plot! =)

13 February 2009

BSG Report: Game 7

Players: Ryan (Baltar), Casey (Adm. Adama), Lisa (Starbuck), Josh (Tyrol)

Game 7 was a return to the original "cast" of players aka The Pod.  I brought back from my games in Atlanta some insight on rules clarifications and card strengths.  Most importantly that Raptor scouts and Investigative Committees are huge as well as the fact that the President does not lose his/her title when placed in the brig.

Overall, this game was heavy on Cylon fleet cards and light on skill checks.  As such, the Humans usually had the skill cards they needed and rarely failed skill checks.  It did mean, however, that there was generally a sizable Cylon threat in space for most of the game.  Lisa did a great job shooting toasters down in total Thrace style.  

The game did not get past round 2 without the Cylon reveal.  Seeing so many Cylons in space made it irresistable for me to hold back and I revealed.  I had the reveal bonus of choosing two damage tokens for Galactica, so I picked the FTL control as one of them, hoping to keep the humans from jumping away early.  Casey/Tigh got my presidency (a winning combination, for sure) and I was promptly airlocked.  

By the game's end, I regretted revealing so early.  To me, the game isn't quite the same without the Cylon suspicion element.  Being President Baltar, I had the best possible position to put suspicion on others.  My reasoning for revealing was that I thought there would be no other better point to reveal in the rest of the game.  In a five or six player game, there would still be another Cylon to covertly disrupt the human efforts, but in just a four player game, it felt like I was only rolling for Cylons and not really participating much in the game.  In future four player games, I will likely hold off on revealing in order to do more psychological and subtle damage.

The mid-game was pretty standard.  Towards the end, the humans had seven points of distance towards Kobol and picked up the Legendary Discovery crisis card.  If passed, this crisis card adds one to the humans' distance, meaning they would only have to jump one more time to win.  They were already at FTL prep spot #2, which means one more jump prep icon and they could jump early to win.  Unfortunately, such a prize is expensive and the humans did not have the skill cards necessary to pass the check.  The game ended when their final jump to reach eight points of distance dried up the remaining fuel, leaving them forever stranded in space.  Tigh probably would have nuked the fleet to prevent them from dying at the hands of the Cylons. :)

Humans 2 - Cylons 4

12 February 2009

Battlestar Galactica Report: Game 6

Players: Ryan (Helo), Tony (Baltar), Jason (Roslin), TJ (Apollo), Carey (Adama)

Tony drew both Cylon cards at the start of the game.  He didn't reveal until the final jump cycle.  He will never live it down.

The accusations for two hours were hysterical.

Humans 2 - Cylons 3

BSG Report: Game 5

Players: Ryan (Baltar), Jason (Adama), James (Apollo), Jack (Helo)

I'll never forget this game!  I had such a fun time as Cylon Baltar from the start of the game.  I had all three human players second guessing each other and totally unsure of who was the Cylon.  I sabotaged two skill checks early on to let them know there was a Cylon among us, but did all I could publicly to reduce my suspicion.  My grand master plan came to fruition as I convinced the group to send Jason to the brig on my turn, then have Jason himself use Executive Orders on me to look at Jack's Loyalty Card.  The look on his face was PRICELESS when I disgustedly put his card back on the table and said "Well, we've got our Cylon."  His face was utterly shocked and yet he was smiling because I was clearly lying AND essentially revealed myself to him.  After another five minutes of outright lying and trying to convince Jason and James that Jack was the Cylon, I used the other action of my Executive Orders to reveal and damage the ship in two places.  It was delicious and I don't think Jason will ever trust me in BSG again!  This was the second or third time I've been the Cylon and totally burned him.

The game came down to the wire, but I used the "Inbound Nukes" Super Crisis Card to reduce one of the human resources to zero before they could jump for the win.

Humans 1 - Cylons 3

11 February 2009

Battlestar Galactica Report: Game 4

Players: Ryan (Starbuck), Tony (Baltar), Carey (Tyrol), Justin (Helo), Tessa (Roslin), Matt (Tigh), James (Apollo)

Ugh.  Guess who put this off too long.... this guy.  The highlight of this game was Tessa.  Most masterfully played Cylon player to date.  She was the President and a Cylon from the very beginning and no one EVER suspected her.  She did a wonderful job of putting doubt on several other human players.

We had to improvise upon the rules for this game.  We accidentally setup seven people to come over and play without realising the game only supports six.  I don't remember how, but we managed to deal an additional Not Cylon card and played with two Cylons and the Sympathizer.  

Unfortunately, we ran out of time playing the game.  A couple folks had to turn in and we called the game without knowing really which side was winning.  The game momentum can change so rapidly that it's hard to predict a winner in BSG.

Something I'll never forget is Matt reading his second Loyalty card for more than five seconds, to which Tony points a finger and starts yelling, "Matt's taking too long to read his card! He's clearly a Cylon!"  And he was right. 

Humans 1 - Cylons 2

Great Tunes

More stuff I've been listening to.

Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People
Silversun Pickups - Carnavas (I am psyched for their April album!)
Black Rebel  Motorcycle Club - Take Them On, On Your Own

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - (self titled)
764-HERO - Weekends of Sound

07 February 2009

My Contribution to the 'Fail' Movement

Excerpt from an online food delivery website.  Do you see the glaring flaw?

02 February 2009


New Belgium Brewery -- Mothership Wit

New Belgium Brewery -- Blue Paddle Pilsner

Full Sail Brewing Company -- Pale Ale

All NBB beers are magical, no need to tell you about them.  The Full Sail is a new company to me and I'm glad Josh handed me one; normally I don't care much for pale ales but this one was delicious!