Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my loyal readers, fans, followers and stalkers and their families a very Merry Christmas.

Although engaged in classified command and control operations in Afghanistan, I've always found time for Christmas cheer.

Have a good one,

Colonel "Whopper" Creedon

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

F.E.A.R. 2 unfeared.

As I mentioned a few times on 2IGTV, Monolith’s original F.E.A.R. [First Encounter Assault Recon] was a triumph. An injection of freshness into an otherwise tired and overpopulated genre of First Person Shooters. Not only was it heralded as a remarkable achievement in graphics, but it’s gameplay too, was astounding. F.E.A.R.'s themes drew from popular horror and martial artistry, two elements that had not been given their deserved treatment in the FPS before.

The controversial gore was not simply your application of enemies endless blood and bones on the walls like Soldier Of Fortune; although you can add to it with your combat – in many cases it was pre-existing and set the tone for a most unusual horror story, yes, F.E.A.R. had an actually plotted script to set you on your way and a frightfully effective antagonist in the form of Alma, a dark long-haired 7 year old girl in a red dress that would appear out of nowhere and make you shit yourself before squeezing off a burst of lead into nothingness.

While the idea of Bullet Time was not new to the PC gaming world after the excellence that was Max Payne; F.E.A.R. used it to a wonderful extent as your impressive range of weaponry had a disastrous yet artistic effect on the enemies you encountered. In an unusual move for an FPS, you could actually see your own feet – remarkable - and they became lethal weapons during bullet-time as you could kick the crap out of your enemies better than any Norris or Segal.

One problem with F.E.A.R. was levelled at the fact that practically the entire game was set in very “samey” generic office block sort of levels with little or no environmental diversity. This was in stark contrast to Monolith's previous offerings and players could not perceive why the developers couldn't develop a game with a more diverse environmental selection.

With such a revolutionary game as it's original, it was expected that F.E.A.R. 2 would be as good as Half-Life 2 and Far Cry 2 were to their respective franchises, sadly fans were not treated to anything of the sort. The gameplay itself was pretty faultless for a bog-standard linear shooter but most people noways expect something more, and certainly more from Monolith.

F.E.A.R. 2 is first and foremost a very solid shooter. The weapons are varied and feel meaty. While the basic weapons would be at home in the most superior shooters of the past few years - I was delighted to see the return of "The Penetrator" [although they changed the name to "The Hammerhead" sadly], which can be used to impale your enemies against walls. Oh and all the weapons cut down your enemies in a satisfying slow-mo ballet of death which by all accounts I'd still consider as "art".

While there are at times some genuinely scary moments as a result of the excellent atmosphere through amazing sound an visuals; it doesn't hold a candle to - well every single time little girl Alma appears out of nowhere and makes you shit yourself. It's like someone said "well that was just too scary in the original, lets tone it down a notch". Why?

One problem with the original that was addressed was variety of environments, while still a firmly urban setting - it brought you out of the bland samey office buildings and endless corridors. While this was most welcome, I was somewhat unimpressed with most of the actual design of these levels and sadly even the outdoor environments seemed a bit too claustrophobic and much to obviously linear.

There is a distinctive lack of innovation in the story which does take a more "adult" turn as Alma [the grown-up version] now wants to mate with you as opposed to take over your mind. But for the life of me I could really follow what was happening until the very, and I mean very last scene where I was left saying "My God! This is some pretty sick shit!", but no sooner had that thought crossed my mind - the game simply ended. Right just there with a cutscene, with more questions than answers. WTF?

An impressively polished, graphically beautiful game with most enjoyable gameplay and atmosphere despite woeful lacklustre level design, no cohesive plot, flat ending and devoid of the genuine creativity that we know these people are capable of.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shatner pwned by Palin

For some months now on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien; William Shatner has been reading excerpts from Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston's blogs and Twitter pages to an audience in his own "style." Here's one example.

Well this week after reciting some excerpts from Palin's new autobiography, it was Shatner's turn to be on the receiving end as former Governor Sarah Palin appeared, took over his seat and proceeded to read some even more hilarious lines from Shatner's own autobiography.



As they left the stage arm in arm I realised that if Shatner was an American - they'd make an unstoppable team for the 2012 presidential bid!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2012

Opting for the high-science of neutrinos superheating the core of the earth as opposed to an asteroid-of-the-week scenario; Roland Emmerich pours in his not to inconsiderable special effects direction talent into another disaster movie and we get 2012.

The Mayans apparently predicted this apocalyptical world-ending event thousands of years ago and naturally no one listened to them so we must pay the ultimate price – with our very existence.

Typically for Emmerich just as in Godzilla or The Day After Tomorrow and pretty much any movie he's done; we are first treated to a graphically intense explanation of what is happening through one or more intelligent science-guy characters explaining it to someone less knowledgeable cue Chiwetel Children Of Men Ejiofor as Adrian Helmsley a geology professor who in 2009 has the high priority task to bring news of the impending disaster to President Wilson [Danny Glover]'s Chief Of Staff Carl Anheuser [Oliver Platt]. From there a plan is born to save humanity by 2012, or so we assume…

What works in this movie is a genuine sense of desperation delivered through the always wonderful John Cusack who somehow has never regained the “career high” he had with Con Air which is disappointing considering his wealth of talent in movies like Grosse Point Blank. Cusack’s character is an extraordinary departure for Emmerich in so far as he’s just an ordinary Joe with no scientific or military background to aid the plot, who will do anything to save his family when disaster does strike in the year 2012. Cusack plays Jackson Curtis a down-on-his-luck writer of - coincidentally - a science fiction novel which explores the psychological impact the end of the world has on a group of astronauts now stranded in orbit after witnessing a similar disaster. Sadly his perspective on this as an analogy to what is happening during the movie isn’t explored whatsoever, save a chance encounter with Adrian who mentions he actually read the book – but other than that, Jackson may have just as well written a cookery book. As the novel sold only 500 copies Jackson is now a divorced limo driver who takes his kids to Yosemite National Park, site of a long dormant volcano – that is until today!

On his travels, Jackson encounters one of the more endearing characters Charlie Frost. Woody Harrelson expertly plays Charlie, a seemingly insane recluse who broadcasts “the end is nigh” and “government conspiracy” ramblings over makeshift pirate radio equipment. Despite being an obvious throwback to Randy Quaid's ID4 character Russell Casse, Harellson works here providing considerable comic relief in to what is certainly a most depressing movie at the end of the day.

It's painfully obvious the level of input that Emmerichs' former producer Dean Devlin had in their collaborative movies, StarGate, Independence Day, The Patriot even Godzilla! But since Devlin and he parted ways professionally, the quality of Emmerich's movies have been halved. This is evident from 10,000 B.C. and The Day After Tomorrow. Sadly 2012 is no different and fails to make any semblance of impact considering it’s potential as a new take on the end of the world scenario. While the special effects are top notch [CGI a bit hokey in places though] generally it’s let down by a convoluted implausible scenario, insulting characterisation and an exploration of Emmerich’s spiteful personal vendettas, such as those he has against the Queen Of England [by portraying her as a coward] and The Catholic Church [by showing us what happened The Pope]. I can't really say all the ridiculous plot points that made me laugh in places where it wasn't intentional or just plain annoyed me - but if you thought Dennis Quaid's little trek from Washington D.C. to NYC in the middle of the new ice age in The Day After Tomorrow was nonsense - then you'll bust a gut witching what happens during this!

Final Verdict: I’ll be honest, if he's so obsessed with CGI; Emmerich should make outstanding scientific - based Imax 3D documentaries narrated by Sam Neill rather than these sub-par disaster movies, or at least make more character driven movies like The Patriot. 2012 isn't a load of shit, but neither is it brilliant – do catch it on Sky Movies or TV when the time comes but keep your money otherwise.

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2

Official Site / IMDB / Wikipedia

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bishops love Sci-Fi!

At least according to Fr. Dougal in the Fr. Ted series. It'd be easy to dismiss as utter nonsense, but Dougal may not have been too far off the mark. Considering a recent conference in Rome, one may wonder if it may be that a few Bishops even Cardinals somewhere watched too much Star Trek at some point...
The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences held its first ever conference on astrobiology, the study of life beyond Earth, last month. Thirty scientists, including non-Catholics, from the U.S., France, Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Chile gathered in Rome for the five-day conference, called to explore among other issues "whether sentient life forms exist on other worlds."

"The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration," said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Pope's chief astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory. Funes said the possibility of alien life raises "many philosophical and theological implications" but added that the gathering was mainly focused on the scientific perspective and how different disciplines can be used to explore the issue.

The Church of Rome's views have shifted radically through the centuries since Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for speculating, among other ideas, that other worlds could be inhabited, and they've come along way since Galileo was tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant his finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Earlier in the year they embraced Darwin's theory of evolution.

Colonel “Whopper” Creedon, Special Operations Commander for UNETIDA, while not specifically invited, also spoke at the conference warning against blind acceptance of E.T.s should they arrive. “Ya know, for such an outmoded and traditionally close-minded, even backward-thinking group of people - to begin seeking out information concerning E.T.s is quite astonishing” remarked the stalwart Marine after a ceremony declaring him a “Hero of Sweden” in Stockholm earlier this week.

Pope Benedict XVI, listens intently at Colonel Creedon's plan for subduing Extra Terrestrial life. "You remind me of a man I once knew in my youth" remarked the Pontiff.

“I was glad to give the cardinals and theologians some basic information on what we’ve been researching ourselves and preparing for" continued Creedon. "Obviously UNETIDA is more concerned with alien’s weapons and attack strategy to which we must formulate a defence against and just as importantly our ability to subdue them in order to use their special abilities and advanced technology for ourselves. But the Vatican seemed like they wanted to prepare to adapt their teachings to include the possibility of life on other planets. Sure this “Almighty God” dude [not Lucas] created the heavens and the earth etc. in six days and rested on the seventh – is there something that says he didn’t start up somewhere else on Monday morning again? Just because we don’t have a record of it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. You really think the almighty is going to tell us everything? Would you if you were him?"

Somewhere right now: Dan Brown is scribbling furiously….

Sources: The Colbert Report / The Telegraph / BBC News/ AP

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lap Dance research officer required

It was reported on The Telegraph Friday that Leeds University's School of Sociology and Social Policy, is looking for a “Research Officer - The rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy”.

The successful applicant would work on a research project to examine the “rise, tolerance and integration of sexual consumption and sexual labour displayed through the erotic dance industry”, and the commercialisation of female sexuality and the female body. It's purpose is to determine where dancers are recruited from and what their working conditions are like, as well as examining how erotic dancing has become a “mainstream” entertainment, available on the high street of most British cities.

The advertisement further stipulates that “prior experience of conducting research in the female sex industry” is essential. I wonder if actually going down to strip joint with the boys counts?

Read Job reference: 316199 for yourself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tokyo man marries game character

Sometimes a link comes across my desk that I find so bizarre I just have to share it with folk!

Apparently a man in Tokyo who calls himself SAL9000 [I have no explanation for that, so don't ask, it may be an in-game handle] has married his virtual girlfriend from the game Love Plus. The man is reported to have fallen in love with one Nene Anegasaki [if that's not her on the left, then it's one of the other two girls in the game, but you get the idea] one of the games characters whom he then took to Guam for a legal ceremony and honeymoon - or rather he took his Nintendo DS with him as it's on that device on which his "bride" exists.

Love Plus, requires players to take out the virtual girl on dates, buy her gifts and make them happy. The player can increase their abilities by studying, working out and solving the problems of their virtual girlfriend, but if they fail to make their girlfriend happy, the game restarts after 100 days.

SAL9000 livecast the vacation on Japanese video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga and he intends to also livecast the public wedding reception back in Tokyo.

The story broke on Boing Boing.

I'm waiting for some really obvious comments below :)

Source: Grunt / Fox News / Boing Boing

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ireland devastated by severe flooding

Ireland is tonight bracing itself for more heavy rains which brought devastation to parts of the country earlier. Environment Minister John Gormley said it would not be possible to gauge the full scale of the damage in Cork, Galway and Clare until the middle of the week. “I think it’s fair to say what we are experiencing at the moment is unprecedented,” he said.

Much of Cork City was seriously flooded in the early hours of Friday morning causing an estimated €100m in damage. Damage to the main city pumping station at the Lee Fields means that most of the Northside of the Cork will be without water until next weekend. Several main roads and streets in Galway, Cork, Limerick and Clonmel, Co Tipperary, remained impassable at sections during the day.

Flooding in Cork City.

Hundreds of people evacuated from their homes in Ballinasloe, Co Galway and Ennis, Co Clare, have not been allowed to return to their homes. Iarnrod Eireann said services were disrupted on the Galway, Sligo, Rosslare and Limerick to Ennis lines. Eircom said it has restored service to more than 20,000 customers over the weekend but 4,700 more remain without a connection because of flood and storm damage. The Defence Forces have been deployed to some of the worst hit areas to help local emergency services, and remain on high alert should conditions deteriorate.

Speaking after a meeting of the government’s Emergency Response Co-Ordination Committee, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen warned that high tides and further heavy rainfall were being forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday.

Colonel "Whopper" Creedon himself is reported to be without a running water supply, but as UNETIDA's Special Operations Bunker 14 is equipped with days of emergency supplies in the event of Extraterrestrials compromising the planetary defence grid or the Zompocalypse; it is not as disastrously affected as others.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's great to be right, but the price was too high :(

Regular readers will all know how much I "love" the french. However, I regularly come under fire for this love. People claim I'm "over-reacting" and have an "unnecessary degree" of loathing for the french. Today however that changed; it was as if overnight my family, friends, colleagues and the media all began to agree with me in unison. Today people understood what I had been trying to make them understand for years. Today they understood that the french are just a pack of cunts.

Last evening in the Stade De france during extra time after a tied score during a 2010 World Cup qualifier soccer match between Ireland and france; one Thierry "Le Cunt" Henry [as he's now known from this Wikipedia page]...
...did hand the ball to his Froggie teammate who scored the winning goal - automatically eliminating Ireland from qualifying for the World Cup tournament.

The outpouring of anger towards the man today was staggering. The entire country was in a frenzied grip of National hatred directed at france and Henry [pronounced Hon-REE - you know in that stupid french way?] in particular. National broadcasters gave their opinion on the travesty. There were dozens of hilariously photoshopped E-Mail images created and sent to and fro from every corner of the country; one of our prominent comedians Dara O'Briain said he will no longer accept french Fries in McDonalds - now demanding "Saoirse Fries" [a nod to the yanks attempt to rename "Freedom Fries" etc.]; there was a cover of A-Ha's "Take On Me" song played on our airwaves which substituted the lyrics "We Hate Henry." It was such a wonderful day and it filled my heart with pure joy. I'll admit, I was almost moved to tears.

It's interesting to note that I did not encounter any such problems with Sweeden. You see the obviously blind referee and his equally inept assistants were Sweedish. I did see that that the Sweedish tabloid press tore strips off them for their performance [or lack thereof]. A leading Sweedish newspaper also issued a formal apology to the Irish people. However I still don't understand why there was practically no backlash against the Swee... oh wait - now I remember:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Earth calling Mars!

The fine fellows at Letters of Note recently uncovered a document from 1924 which highlights just how far back the possibility of alien life has been taken seriously by governments and the military. Some 70 years before the fomation of UNETIDA, SECDEF Curtis Dwight Wilbur sent a telegram instructing all Naval stations to monitor the airwaves for any unusual transmissions due to anticipated contact from Martians.

The reason for this was that on August 22nd of that year, the closest Mars opposition since 1804 [a mere 55.7 million km], and as such provided desirable conditions in which to receive radio signals from the Red Planet.

And just in case you think it stops there? I could tell you about some crazy shit SECDEF John Lehman had me looking for during the Regan era - sheesh!

Monday, November 16, 2009

RIP: Edward Albert Arthur Woodward OBE

The passing of the great actor Edward Woodward [79] from pneumonia today has not gone unnoticed. Woodward played many notable characters on the silver screen, he was Sgt. Howie in The Wicker Man [1973], Commander Powell in Who Dares Wins [1982] and more recently had supporting role as Tom Weaver in the Whopper Award-Winning Hot Fuzz [2007].

Woodward continued acting up to his illness earlier in the year completing work on A Congregation Of Ghosts currently in post production for director Mark Collicot in which he plays the lead role of an eccentric vicar who is said to have alienated his congregation and preached to cardboard cut-outs.

Woodward was arguably more successful on the small screen and made appearences in both Eastenders and The Bill in the past 2 years. He played the title role in the 1960's spy series Callan and Harry Malone in the short lived CI5: The New Professionals in 1999. He will of course be best known for playing Robert McCall in all 87 episodes of the 1980's show The Equalizer.

May he rest in peace.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Next Phase of Skynet's plan proceeds

According to Fox News; Armies of robotic drones just like Skynet's may be just around the corner. The U.S. Navy is developing unmanned fighting vehicles that network together and operate in "swarms." These drones have proven one of the most effective — and yet most controversial — weapons in the arsenal. Officials credit the use of Predator drones with guided missiles, with eliminating a senior terrorist leaders beyond the reach of ground forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Until now, a UAV had been controlled remotely by a human over satellite link, but they were unable to communicate with each other until in a demonstration last week, NAVAIR linked unmanned drones, including air and ground vehicles, into unmanned squadrons with a single person operating all six vehicles.

"It's an initiative to coordinate air vehicles with ground vehicles or each other," says Ward Carroll, editor of Military.com. "Instead of six guys controlling six UAVs, you've got one guy controlling six. This optimizes use of available resources in any battlespace."

Patrick Esposito, president of Augusta Systems who created the intelligent network device that made this possible; said swarming algorithms "are driven by digital pheromone-based maps of the area in which the swarms are operating. This is similar to the reasoning used by insects, which was the inspiration for the swarming concept."

Carroll thinks linked groups of vehicles are the future of combat drones. "UAVs are cool but we're not utilizing them effectively," he points out. The USAF has 7,000 UAVs and they need "to start thinking about midair collisions, interaction, saving intel, and so on.

Read the full story here.

Source: Fox News / Eamo

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

Today is either Veteran's Day, Remembrance Day or Armistice Day depending on your part of the world. I request only that, if you see a veteran today that you thank them for their service. It will mean a lot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 234th Birthday USMC

And once again we have a Birthday message from The Commandant, General James T. Conway. Semper Fi.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What's on TV? Part 1: New Shows

Fall TV as it's known in the states, debuted about 6/7 weeks ago and it's time to examine what's working or what should't be on at all if necessary.

V [ABC]

I'm going to start with something that has just appeared right now on screens accross the globe - [well it was on ABC in the US on Tuesday and was on TV3 here last night] - I speak of the remake of the classic 1983 TV series V. A post 9/11 ultra-paranoid world in the grip of an economic crisis is the perfect time for the Vs to visit us again spreading messages of peace and change and offering universal healthcare [I'm not joking, they actually say it]. It borrows from its progenator in that it's not a special effects laden extravaganza but a fightening warning against misplaced devotion and I'll certainly be paying visits to it's subsequent 3 episodes before it goes to full series.

Starring: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Scott Wolf and Morena Baccarin as Anna.

US ABC - Tuesday @ 20:00; EIRE TV3 - Thursday @ 22:00; UK SyFy Jan 2010

****1/2



Flashforward [ABC]

An order for a full 25 episodes means ABC feels good enough about Brannon Star Trek: Voyager Braga and David S. Blade Goyer's unique vision of a world in the aftermath of the greatest disaster in history and has also witnessed it's own future; specifically 137 seconds of what they will be doing on April 29th 2010. In the past few weeks FBI agent Mark Benford has set about uncovering evidence of the cause of the disaster, evidence he knows he will find because he's already seen it in the future, and may even be killed for it.

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Sonya Walger, Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance as FBI Assistant Director Stanford Wedeck

US ABC - Thursday's @ 20:00; UK/EIRE Channel 5 - Monday @ 21:00

****1/2

NCIS: Los Angeles [CBS]

Airing right after the stalwart NCIS is its new spin off NCIS: Los Angeles. The series centers on the NCIS OSP - Office of Special Projects who assume false identities and utilise the most advanced technology to go deep undercover to apprehend dangerous criminals that pose a threat to national security. Special Agent: G. Callen is the undercover expert who together with Navy S.E.A.L. Iraq vet Special Agent Sam Hanna and their team put their lives on the line in the field to bring down their targets.

starring: Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J, Peter Cambor, Daniela Ruah and Linda Hunt as Operations Manager Henrietta "Hetty" Lange.

***1/2

US CBS Tuesday @ 21:00; US UK/EIRE Sky One, Wednesday @ 21:00


SGU: Stargate Universe [Syfy]

The 3rd series in one of the most enduring science fiction franchises ever. SGU is radically different from previous shows in that it's more like the premise of Star Trek: Voyager with the grittiness, darkness and reality of Battlestar Galactica but it's the Stargate setting that makes this work - as unlike Trek or BSG - no one here knows what the fuck is going on or how they're going to get home. 4 weeks in and they've only met one alien, they've not even found a single planet that looks like British Columbia! Brilliant! Big hiatus until Spring 2010 after episode 10 but that's a common thing now with Syfy's shows.

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, Brian J. Smith, David Blue, Alaina Huffman and guest starring Lou Diamond Philips as Colonel David Telford.

US SyFy, Friday 21:00; UK/EIRE Sky One, Tuesday @ 20:00


****


The Vampire Dairies [The CW]

Angsty diary-obsessed high school girl falls in love with brooding diary-obsessed vampire. This is everything Twilight seems to be, just on TV and everything True Blood isn't. This is what I was thinking of when I said "shouldn't be on TV at all" above. Avoid.

Starring: Who cares

*


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

And the winner of the Hallowe'en Baby Costume is...


The Alien Chestburster Baby
Source: scifiwire.com

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Could astronauts fly TIE Fighters to Mars?

A joint NASA/Canadian venture - a new ion engine, raises the revolutionary possibility that a manned trip to Mars could take less than 90 days instead of two years.

Ion propulsion, previously theorised only in the realm of science fiction since the '60's Star Trek series and well known propultion system of the imperial TIE [Twin Ion Engine] Fighter from Star Wars. But now mankind itself is close to the point where it could be tested on a flight to the moon, according to a veteran Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.


“This engine is ... going to be tested on the ISS, launched about 2013,” Hadfield said. “It turns electrical power into thrust so that we can use solar energy to power a spaceship."

Theoretically a craft powered by this engine would take 40 days to reach Mars, compared to six months by conventional rocket power. As Mars and Earth only pass close together every two years, scientists assume a crew could travel one way, wait a year, then fly back the next time the planets were close together. The engine would accelerate a spaceship until it's halfway to Mars, producing a tiny stream of argon gas that it fires out the rear of the spacecraft. Then it turns the engine around and decelerates until reaching Mars.

Read all about it here.

Source: Canada.com / Astrarocket.com / Eamo

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Far Cry 2: A far cry from Far Cry


At sunrise, I retrieved my pistol, rifle and machine gun from my weapons locker and left the safe house at the edge of a vast desert. I picked up ammunition and explosives that one of my buddies had conveniently left just outside the door. A sturdy Jeep waited for me on the path, it’s previous owner was presumably now a dead carcass providing breakfast for hungry vultures. I recalled the previous night’s events; he should have just driven on by me but no, he had to turn around and chased me along the jungle road until he caught up with me and forced me off into a tree. By the time he was out of his car I had grabbed my truck’s mounted machine gun and unloaded almost 30 rounds into his mass. Just as well the truck had a mounted weapon as my small arms ammo was either spent or my weapons had degraded and broken apart earlier. I picked up his AK47 as one doesn't leave a working firearm on the ground [especially if your own weapons are gone] and took his Jeep as I wasn’t going to stick around so near to a guard post repairing my truck.

Now I drove along the dusty brown road at sunrise and I spotted a cell tower near the side of a hill, I manoeuvred my Jeep off the road and up the access path to the rusty tower, starkly alien to the trees and sheer cliff face. I abandoned my Jeep at the foot of the hill and went up to the tower’s control box at it’s base. I managed to intercept a transmission from an obviously electronically distorted voice who told me that there was an available target of opportunity in the area and that I was to eliminate them. The standard payment in rough diamonds would be paid into my account on completion. I pulled out my map and GPS locator and saw that the target’s co-ordinates had been added to my map which covered 25km2 of Burka Sako, the Northern District [of a diplomatically unnamed country]. Unfortunately it was some distance away, it would take a while to drive all that way which I could but the roads were filled with fighters from both sides of this lawless war-torn African country, and I’d get nailed for sure more then once before reaching my objective. So instead, I made my way to a bus station.


As it’s much slower, and presumably makes quite a few stops on the way; the bus journey took half a day. Strangely I didn’t even know the time had passed even though the ride was uneventful. Were it not for the obvious signs of the sun beginning to set I’d have assumed it took mere seconds. The bus stop at which I was eventually dropped was very close to my objective [and someone had left a car there]. I could see from my GPS that my mark was near an airfield. The contours on my map indicated hills to the South and West of the airfield but either too sheer or to far away from the target to get a good shot. There was however some sand dunes to the East where I could set up my Dragunov SVD sniper rifle and take out my target with a clear path to freedom should I stir up a hornet’s nest.

By the time I reached the dunes, I noticed that the target was moving. He was in a black SUV led and flanked by assault trucks. I was expecting maybe a few mercs guarding a stationery target – not this. I’d have to rethink my tactics on the fly and hope things didn’t go tits up like last time when I took out a mark in the centre of the ceasefire zone in the town of Pala. All three vehicles were in my line of sight now; tracking a moving target on a winding road was difficult enough – hitting one was another matter entirely. If I got the mark, sitting in the rear of the SUV, I’d be well pleased with myself, but at 6-700m away it was unlikely, even by someone with my considerable skill. No sooner I’d have either succeeded or missed, the boys on their assault trucks would close the distance and pepper me good. A better tactic would be to take out them first, then concentrate on the SUV.

My first shot missed. It guess wasn't unexpected, but the next shot found it's mark. This took out the driver of the tail truck. It disappeared behind a mound – it either toppled over or went into the river, I couldn’t see, but I know it was the last I saw of it or it’s occupants. I don’t think the other vehicle occupants were paying too much attention to their rear view mirrors, because I didn’t observe any change to the direction, speed or driving pattern, of the other vehicles; everything seemed copasetic to them. How wrong they would be. My third shot obliterated the head of the lead truck driver, the rest of him fell out and the truck stopped dead. I lined up my fourth shot to take out the rear gunner before he got a bead on me, he’d have seen my muzzle flash, but this guy was a slippery customer. I knew I had missed as soon as I pulled the trigger. Quick as a flash, the gunner had slid down to the driving seat and was undoubtedly getting the truck in motion again, to make matters worse – the SUV had changed direction and was driving away from my position at full speed – this was not good. I couldn’t see him but I was sure the driver was on the left as I lined up my fifth shot. It missed, as did my sixth. The range between me and the SUV was growing; by the time I ran back to my vehicle, my mark would surely be – LUCAS! Then I got the shock of my life: the lead assault truck was making its way up the fucking dune – its driver determined to run me over! This was terrible [and fantastic at the same time]. My seventh shot shattered the windscreen of the truck and hit maniacal motorist, but it wasn't until my eighth shot hit him in the face that he slumped out of the vehicle as it came to a stop mere inches from me. I jumped into the driver’s seat and sped off after the SUV.

I caught up with the SUV soon enough as it neared a tree line [I'm an elite driver]. I managed to steer alongside it and the sides of the vehicles clashed with sparks and the sound of metallic grinding. I eventually managed to steer the other driver into a tree with a loud crash. I brought my own vehicle to a stop and got out bringing my PKM Light Machine Gun to bear on the SUV, but the driver was quicker and was already spewing hot lead in my direction from his HK G3A4 Assault Rifle. I ducked behind my truck shielding myself from the 7.62mm ammo. From my cover I lobbed out a fragmentation grenade which exploded sending my would-be assailant flying over my trucks bonnet, a lifeless ragdoll. I broke my cover and closed on the SUV, my vision obscured by the fire I started – the flames lapped at the SUV – and I knew from previous experience that the vehicle was seconds from exploding! It was time to run again. I was maybe 20 meters away when I heard the SUV explode behind me; I turned in time to see the remains of its chassis inconveniently land on my own truck, which too would now soon explode. But I wasn’t going to wait around for the fireworks, I apparently still had a man to kill as according to my GPS, he had slipped out of the SUV as his bodyguard was keeping me pinned.

I caught up with my mark on an open plain where a herd of zebras grazed. I opened up with my LMG and he began moving erratically and made for a tree stump. The zebras scattered at the sound of my gunfire and I began shooting at the stump. I felt all-powerful and cocky now; there was no escape for this man. I began swapping out my empty ammo belt but my mark popped out from behind the stump and took a few pot-shots at me with a Star .45. My arrogance disappeared as a round embedded itself in my thigh with a splash of red. He was certainly not waiting for me to let loose with my LMG again either because he bolted for the tree line. There would be plenty of obstacles to protect him there and from which to blast at me with his pistol. That was… if I let him.

My mark was too far away from me now to accurately hit with my LMG so I unshouldered my Dragunov again and peered at him though its scope. I prefer the crosshairs style to the Ruskies “chevrons”, but beggars can’t be choosers in this cursed land. I spent about a dozen rough diamonds on this the best one in the arms store and it wasn’t going to let me down. My ninth and final sniper shot of the day took down a running target at 100m. I breathed a sigh of relief as I reached for my tweezers to agonizingly pry the bullet out from my thigh and patch myself up. Now to get out of here, a sheer cliff face was to my right, behind me - an endless arid desert. To my left a raging brush fire [that I started] had enveloped trees near the remains of the vehicles. There was for once, only one direction I could go here - forward; to eventually find The Jackal and put an end to the war destroying this land… …by any means necessary.

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a chapter from my memoirs but it is in fact an account of a single one-hour session of playing Far Cry 2 and I think that it is a perfect way of reviewing a game like this where everyone’s experience will be different – there is very little or no scripting here – the level of detail I describe is all in the game - the actions of the enemies are all the AI, meaning that my experience will most likely not happen to you at any point in the game, or you may experience a some of these elements, but never exactly as with many other shooters. Some aspects generally happen as I describe - you steal and drive cars or boats through all the climates on the African continent condensed into two 25km2 regions in a free open game world as you collect diamonds to buy a wide range of small arms and explosive weapons to carry out assassination, destruction, courier or rescue missions anywhere within that world. You make few friends as practically everyone else you meet is billigerant and gunning for you. The buddies you do meet [like Nazreen - pictured here] will pull your fat out of the fire, and help you especially if you help them. You can carry three weapons but you must keep them maintained by replacing them with new ones from a gun store or they will jam and eventually break as readily as the crap weapons you pick up from fallen foes. Your map and GPS make sure you never get lost , only occasionally taking a wrong turn if you're not paying attention. The GPS will also reveal hidden diamond treasures. The graphics are on par with Crysis but are much warmer in tone and more varied in scope. I guarantee you, you will spend hours just marvelling at the scenery, expertly crafted with flora and fauna of Africa. High-Range Dynamic Lighting effects were practically invented for this game where the blistering sun will cross the sky casting a long shadow as you travel away from it or blind you as you face it. Survival isn’t easy, you need to get medicine to heal yourself once you’ve pried the bullets from your flesh and need copious amounts of malaria pills to prevent the disease’s debilitating attacks. The odds are against you, and you’ve no superpowers, air support, flashlight, night-vision, nano-suit or even sunglasses,. What chance do you have? But still, you must kill The Jackal, the scumbag who has armed both sides of the war. Then perhaps you can die in peace…


Final Verdict: Far Cry 2 is not the progeny of it's predecessor, it's connection to the original is in name only. Even by sticking to the main "quest" missions you're still going to need about 20 hours to complete it but double that if you take on missions of opportunity or side missions for more money and arms. Enemies are unrealistically difficult to kill, encouraging headshots all the time and you in contrast can be instantly killed if tipped by a moving car. Nevertheless this is graphically impressive, atmospheric, tactical FPS that sets the bar for the open world shooter. Highly recommended!
Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Friday, October 30, 2009

Doune Castle is a Film Set once again

The medieval keep of Doune Castle near Stirling, Scotland built at the end of the 1300s for Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, has become the setting for a new Hollywood production by HBO.

Scenes from Game of Thrones, a series based on George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy adventure novels, starring Sean Bean and Lena Headey, were shot there last weekend.

Doune Castle is already a place of pilgrimage for movie fans after it featured as Castle Anthrax in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is understood the castle will be used for scenes depicting the courtyard of the fantasy dream realm of Winterfell.

Here you can see the pictures I took there last Friday as they were setting up.



Source: IMDB / BBC / The film crew that were there setting everything up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dead Tauntaun Wedding Cake

You'd be forgiven from just looking at the picture there that Hasbro or some simarly associated manufacturer has created a new action figure diorama of Luke Skywalker bring stuffed into a Tauntaun's innards from The Empire Strikes Back.



This is not the case. This is someones WEDDING CAKE! Read all about it here.

Source: The Whitehouse / Starwars.com / Gizmodo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have returned




I took the liberty of visiting the wonderful land of the Scots last week. It is indeed a majestic land, rich in history, abundant with ancient castles open valleys and calm lochs. I stayed in Edinburgh, itself a city of inspiration for many now famous writers and it's easy to see why once you walk down it's narrow cobbled streets and wander through it's graveyards after dark.



Vwooorp!



"Suck on this English dogs!" Etc....

I heartily recommend Haggis but must warn against the dreadful taste if Irn-Bru. Well worth a visit.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I must take my leave



...and go here for a few days. Reply/comment here with anything of importance during my absence.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Zombieland: "Where are the fucking Twinkies?"


The Zombie movie is indeed as tired a genre on the silver screen as WWII is in the land of video games. Even the godfather of the zombie movie, George Romero himself now produces woefully substandard movies of a genre he once pioneered and dominated. It took some British comedy writers to pave a clear path for what can really be now - due to over-saturation - the only future of the Zombie movie [save the Resident Evil franchise which is consistently innovative and more Sci-Fi then Zombie horror at the end of the day] and I speak of course of the Zombie-comedy. Edgar Wright’s 2004 movie Shaun of the Dead worked because it took an idea that everyone was more then familiar with and turned it on it’s ass in the best way possible way through a hysterical lampoon of the genre. Seeing the success and the status of Shaun stateside, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick set about creating a proposed TV pilot that would not only address a Zombie outbreak in the US and put an American slant on the zombie-comedy using the somewhat more familiar Zombie-movie setting, but also due to it’s location: serious, easily available firepower. It eventually became a movie and attracted the likes of Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray so [hopefully] a new movie franchise was born in the from of Zombieland.


The opening credits present a gleefully gory yet hilarious series of slow-motion images of what must be the Zombie outbreak. Like many of it’s contemporaries, it doesn’t investigate what caused the Zompocalypse or delve too much into what happened, a throwaway narrative comment is sufficient and enough to specify a virus [stemming from mutated mad-cow disease] as opposed to evil risen undead etc., and as it’s the subject of Robert Smith?’s paper – a virus is far more chilling these days. The style of the movie is seen from the protagonist’s perspective, one Columbus played by Jesse Eisenberg. Columbas is a likeable yet neurotic nerd who enchews human contact and a social life for pizza and World of Warcraft. He has applied his organisational skills with great effect to create a series of several dozen rules which he uses to combat the Zombies, these include "Cardio", "Seatbelts" and "Double-tap" and all are supported as exceptionally good ideas throughout the course of the movie and they even appear as large text on the screen whenever a rule is followed as you would find in an instructional video adding to the hilarity.



Columbus is supported by Tallahassee [Woody Harrelson] who seems to have been born to kill Zombies and take quite a delight in coming up with new and innovative ways to sadistically yet humourously send them on to the afterlife. His quest in search of Twinkies crosses his path with Columbus and later Wichita [Emma Stone] and her sister Little Rock [Abigail Breslin], a pair of young con-artists who trust no-one, not even our beloved heroes. Their journey stems from Austin, Texas along the road to Hollywood to partake in a lavish respite [a rest which took slightly too long on screen] from Zombie hunting before the finale in Pacific Playland in California, where the movie explodes with insanity – just think of how many unique ways there are to eliminate Zombies in an amusement park!

If anyone is going into this expecting a horror movie in the run up to Haloween, then forget it, this is a comedy through and through, while Ruben Fleischer has not directed a tale to trump Wright's Shaun, he, his writers and cast have created a worthy and highly entertaining addition to the genre and without a doubt, the funniest movie I've seen all year.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

HOLY FUCKIN SHIT!!!! THE EXPENDABLES TRAILER!!!!!

Original Link Removed
*** UPDATED 19:00 14/10/09 ***


Well this was working in the country I was in at 12:30 today but apparently not in the one I'm in now? I hope it works wherever you are...


*** UPDATED 19:30 14/10/09 ***
Here is a Low-Rez version: Expendables

*** UPDATED 22:19 14/10/09 ***
Wow, not only is it not available anymore there's some copyright claim from Lionsgate appearing. They took out that last link too. Lionsgate are after it like Colonel Decker after The A-Team - just gotta stay ahead of them!!!! Here's a new embed:


Friday, October 09, 2009

UNETIDA test weapons on Moon

Today's news will document NASA's successful deployment of their LCROSS mission which blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a missile that blasted "a hole in the lunar surface at twice the speed of a bullet." The story mentions that a Centaur rocket, was steered by a shepherding spacecraft that guided it towards its target - Cabeus - a crater close to the Moon's south pole.

Scientists expected the blast to be so powerful that a huge plume of debris would be ejected and believe ice could be trapped in crater shadows near the south pole which never receive any sunlight. If so it could provide vital supplies for a manned moonbase.

In reality this scientific NASA mission to prove there's water on the Moon is a cover story, and the real mission is specialist weapons testing being undertaken by UNETIDA. The mission was really a test flight of the Apocaylator One spacecraft which launched the KX-20, a new precision targeting warhead deemed capable of eliminating alien motherships, at the Moon just some 30 minutes ago.

"We call it the Muthafucker," said Colonel "Whopper" Creedon of UNETIDA, monitoring the event from Speciual Operations Bunker 14 today. "...well I call it the Muthafucker because of what's it's eventually supposed to do; blow some goddamn alien mothership out of our sky. General Jackson has some nerdy name for it, the K-20 or something but I prefer to name things that strike raw naked fear into the hearts of our enemies... ...if they have hearts that is."

Colonel Creedon watching something going "boom" on the Moon today.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Surrogates: An idiotic world of masks!

Let me get the premise of this movie out there first: Bruce Willis plays Agent Tom Greer and Radha Pitch Black Mitchell [Agent Peters] investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to Canter [James Cromwell] the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves – fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles – enabling people to experience life to the full from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The investigation leads to a conspiracy and the rediscovery of humanity, that is, if you can trust anyone who is not whom they appear to be...

Willis was more than adequate in his role as human Greer although I found that his transformation from mere dissatisfaction to outright Chuck Heston class hatred of Surrogates in the space of a few scenes, rather unconvincing. Willis was less than stellar in his portrayal of cyborg Greer; His blond comb-over aside - The inane smirk he sported reminded me of the misplaced idiotic smile that James Caviezel sported in the Thin Red Line. Basically, no matter what he was doing, interrogating witnesses or discovering a gristly crime he'd still have this pursed lip smirk which was very distracting. The other performances were strictly B-movie grade with Cromwell only showing any remote attempt at acting.

I wished that this Philip K. Dick-style parable, a social commentary on civil liberty and free will was actually originally written by Dick as no matter how badly it was adapted, it would still couldn't be filled with as many plot holes and leave you asking so many questions afterwards as were presented here. You see the set-up was sheer madness, I've been able to sit back relax and accept a "future history" from a sci-fi movie like Judge Dredd, Terminator, Minority Report or practically anything, possible or impossible provided it's logically explained. But all you get from Surrogates is that by in 2017 we have humanity, 96% of whom are all so depressed with the way look that they'd rather become hermits and control robotic versions of themselves via a virtual reality chair to live their lives for them. This is probably understandable if you're a quadriplegic, weigh 700lbs or someone who otherwise could not have a semblance of a normal life but it doesn't explain everyone else.

I know some people would love to laze around all day as your robot does your job for you and brings home a paycheck, but that's not how this works here - you have to be in constant operational control of your surrogate in order for it to do anything!!! That's not to say there's no use for this tech, but surely it would be limited to high-danger situations such as a soldier, nuclear reactor technician or even a fucking lion tamer!!! But the most idiotic concept you're expected to grasp here is that 96% of the population of the entire world uses one of these robots to simply live their life - they work, throw parties and we even see them go clubbing! WHY????!!! Sorry that's as hard to swallow as a chalk sandwich. Now this is a pretty similar concept to something covered in the Caprica pilot and most likely it's series, but that's treated as an A.I. artificial reality, as easily escapeable as removing your headset. In Surrogates - you have to go the trouble of walking/driving your cyborg home in order to recharge it. What's the point? There's no explanation.

Final Verdict: The movie as a thriller was at best OK, it was sufficiently paced as an action-movie and adequately directed by Jonathan [U-571, T3] Mostow considering it's basically a meld of several highbrow sci-fi concepts melded with "we've seen it all before" action. There was sadly nothing revolutionary, it's not good enough to stand on it's own on your DVD shelf and it can't possibly get a sequel so it's really one to ultimately forget about, maybe after you've seen it once - but stop there.

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2



Sunday, October 04, 2009

VICTORY: Lisbon Ratified

“Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat.” - Malcolm Forbes

I recalled those words at the weekend as a final Yes vote on the Treaty of Lisbon came in at 67% vs. a shock 53% against on June 14th 2008.

"It is a good day for Ireland, it is a good day for Europe; We stand with them as we seek to move forward together. We do this because we know we are better and stronger together," said An Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

I'd just like to send out a big FUCK YOU - WHO'S YOUR DADDY NOW BE-ATCH!! to all the Shinners, parasites [students], commies, lefties, wasters and other neer-do-wells who voiced an idiotic opposition to the treaty since the first referendum. To those that stepped back into line and changed their minds to Yes this time around, I say: well done; but if you voted correctly the first time - you could have saved the country a couple of million euro in taxpayers money. But you've saved yourself from execution in the new order.

Now that the government has got their way, there doesn't need to be another vote, so there won't be a "best of three" or other such nonsense here but everything is not hunky-dory yet - while the Polish president is expected to sign the treaty this week, the Czech parliament did ratify the treaty but their president, a treaty opposer is required to sign it first, which he didn't. Instead he has tied it up with their Constitutional Court for a possible 6 months at which time it would be very close to the general election in the United Kingdom, an election in which the Conservatives are poised to win and whom have promised a referendum if the treaty has not been ratified by all members at their time of election, but are being urged to hold one even despite full ratification at that time. So the shenanigans ain't over yet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You're never too old to be Tasered! - Part 17 in my "Shoot First, Questions Never" series!

Police in a small Wyoming town used a Taser 5 times on a 76-year-old man riding an antique tractor in a parade after he allegedly disobeyed police orders and the tractor hit a car.

Retired truck driver Bud Grose of Glenrock told The AP in a telephone interview that he was OK after the incident, but is consulting with an attorney. "Yes, it hurt, but it didn't put me down or cause me any reason to go to a doctor," Grose said. "But I am 76, and I have a heart condition."

The incident occurred during the annual Deer Creek Days event in Glenrock, a town of about 2,200 residents about 20 miles east of Casper in central Wyoming. Police said Grose disobeyed their orders and the tractor hit a police car.

[Right: An example of the 1958 John Deere, Mr. Grose was driving recklessly]

Grose said the tractor was pulling a four-wheeled wagon that carried three women sitting on chairs inside and was near the end of the parade route when the incident occurred.

The Division of Criminal Investigation report said Grose disobeyed Officer Michael Kavenius' traffic command and steered around him to head toward the town park rather than the end of the parade. Kavenius told state investigators he was struck by Grose's tractor, but Grose denied hitting the officer.

The report said Kavenius then chased Grose on foot until an Officer Brown joined the pursuit in a police SUV and caught up to Grose's tractor. The police pulled in front of the tractor, which came to a stop as it bumped the SUV. That's when Kavenius shocked Grose with the Taser.

Following the incident Grose was quoted as saying "I'm probably gonna retire from parades now", so I say - lesson learned.