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February 18, 2010

A Paean to Bond Girls

Although I disagree with his reviews of Transformers and Revenge of the Fallen, I certainly don't argue the intelligence of Bob Chipman of the Escapist's Escape to the Movies review section. His most recent video is more opinion piece than review; a look at the rise and fall of that unique movie role, "the Bond Girl", and the James Bond movie franchise as a whole.

I'm tempted to argue that for all the talk of empowerment, it's hard to escape the point that their characters were interchangeable guests in a franchise whose only constant character is the male lead.

Still, does that necessarily devalue them?

February 15, 2010

The Wonder of Electronics

In case you're wondering, I'm still without PC right now. No, I didn't clean it out as promised over the weekend; it was so stinking hot that I didn't have the patience or steadiness to fiddle with screws and static straps. Instead I ironed, and it was during the course of setting up to iron that I discovered that our DVD player has crapped out (yes, I like to watch DVDs when ironing; yes, I even like to watch Iron Man while ironing). I don't know how, but from the sounds of it (or lack thereof), the mechanism that lifts the disc off the tray and spins it isn't working.

So, I wound up briefly fiddling with screws anyway, taking the player's outer casing off and cleaning the inner works of dust and dog-hair (although they were surprisingly free of both). Upon reassembly everything seemed to work fine, but when I returned from lunch, it had gone back to its inoperative symptoms again.

Now, this should only be a minor inconvenience, as my Xbox 360 is also DVD-capable. However, within the last few months, something odd has happened; when I pop a DVD into the 360's drive and tell it to play, the screen suddenly pops down to a 4:3 aspect ratio, so the image is "squashed" horizontally. I can't find any way of changing the ratio back to normal in any of the 360's menus, and when I go back to the dashboard, I'm back with the normal, widescreen 16:9 ratio.

Oh, and my 360 has developed the odd habit of hanging lately. It could well be the heat and humidity up here at the moment (especially as it tends to hang wile playing Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2) and it's probably inhaled its share of dog hair, but I dare not open it up for fear of Microsoft refusing to fix it.

Before you ask, no, I sure as heck can't afford to replace any of the above, especially as we're looking at a $5-600 vet bill in the next few months to fix Ziggy's teeth.

So have you had similar trouble?

February 11, 2010

Still Out of Order

In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still sans computer at home. The realm of the quandary has shifted, seemingly, from software to hardware, as the same issue has manifested itself after reformatting my hard drive. It's unlikely the keyboard, as I've tried two, but it could be the mouse somehow. A USB keyboard may also provide a workaround (both the keyboards I tried had PS/2 plugs) but my suspicions are still settled on a short circuit somewhere within the box. I think I'm just going to have to pull my PC apart, clean every component and hope for progress after reassembly.

This weekend. Between other engagements and cleaning priorities (you know, household stuff).

(Yep, Vickie's gonna kill me.)

Oh, erm. Interesting chatter about the office today regarding my role as game reviewer and the company's expansions into the digital space. More when I feel safe divulging details.

Mass Effect 2

According to Movable Type, this is my 1,000th post. technically, it's not true, as I have a heap of posts I've not yet imported over from the old, manual blog, but what the heck. Happy 1,000th, everybody!

To celebrate, here's my review for the paper of the Xbox 360 and PC game, Mass Effect 2. My editor reckons it's the best I've done so far, and that I'm really getting the hang of writing for an audience that isn't familiar with gaming. I hope you all agree!

February 04, 2010

Mass Effect

I was intending to do a review of the newly-released Mass Effect 2 this week. But the damn thing's so bloody big - it comes on two discs, for crying out loud - that I wanted to spend some more time playing before I penned the review.

Then, as I was making notes, I realised that half the things I wanted to say about the game in general were applicable to the original Mass Effect, and that reviewing it this week might free up some more of the precious few 500 words I get for timeIN every week to talk about the sequel next week.

So, here this week is my review of Mass Effect for The Cairns Post's timeIN page. As usual, it's an Adobe PDF, so you'll need Adobe Reader to view it.

February 02, 2010

Time for the Marathon Rebuild

If you have Facebook access, you've probably already seen my latest status update about my PC. Basically, both my Ubuntu and Windows XP installs have suddenly started behaving in a very screwy fashion. I've decided to go ahead and do my long-overdue reformat and reinstall on my PC this weekend; any e-mails you've sent me since Cyclone Olga are likely to be lost.

In the meantime I'm not touching my PC, so you'll have to resort to the dreaded electric telephone if you need to contact me.