Sunday, 27 February 2011

Community - S2 E17 - Intro to Political Science

Annie and Jeff compete for Student President at Greendale Community College. Ahead of Vice President Biden's visit to the college, Abed is investigated for being suspicious.

Recap after the jump.

30 Rock - S5 E16 - TGS Hates Women

TGS hires a new writer who draws the ire of Liz and Jenna. Jack plots out his strategy for becoming CEO of Kabletown.

Recap after the jump.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

No Ordinary Family - S1 E16 - No Ordinary Proposal

Joshua proposes to Katie while the super serum is stolen from the Powell household by a mystery interloper.

Recap after the jump.

Glee - S2 E14 - Blame it on the Alcohol

Rachel throws a boozy party for the club while her dads are away, ironic considering it's Alcohol Awareness Week at McKinley High.

Recap after the jump.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

House, M.D. - S7 E13 - Two Stories

While waiting to talk to the principal at a school, House tells an unbelievable story to two children in exchange for their own story.

Recap after the jump.

Gossip Girl - S4 E16 - While You Weren't Sleeping

Blair is overwhelmed tasks and Eric finds himself in a sticky situation on his 18th birthday. Meanwhile the battle for Bass Industries continues.

Recap after the jump.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Mr. Sunshine - S1 E3 - Heather's Sister

Heather sets Ben up on a date with her sister while the other plot threads are ill-defined and instantly forgettable.

Recap after the jump.

Mad Love - S1 E2 - Friends and Other Obstacles

Ben and Elliott Kate's first date is somewhat haphazard and interrupted by their respective best friends.

Recap after the jump.

How I Met Your Mother - S6 E17 - Garbage Island

Ted encounters the Captain, Barney denies interest in Nora and Marshall is depressed about the mythological Garbage Island.

Recap after the jump.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Episodes - S1 E7 - Episode 7

Beverly tries to hide her infidelity from Sean as they prepare to fly home following the failure of their pilot.

Recap after the jump.

Monday Notes - Pokémon and NFL Top 10s

Concluding the Legendary Beast event, Suicune is now available to download for the next week over wi-fi for all fourth generation games. The usefulness of this particular one is questionable given its reduced speed, but hey, look how shiny! Pokémon Black & White, the fifth generation of the game is released in about a week and half and I will be... not first in line, probably not even 1000th, but some time soon I'll be getting it and blogging about it.

Anyway, I spent most of the weekend watching NFL Films Top 10 shows. I'm not sure how they select the order of this stuff, but they get a bunch of talking heads together and it's always great because you get to dip into the history of the league a bit. What do you mean, it's not awesome? I already had a collection, the ones listed after the jump are the ones I've just watched but I really have to take issue with the Super Bowls edition. XLII is clearly the greatest given the circumstances. No one cares that the blasted Steelers won again in XLIII, particularly considering a (alleged) rapist threw a pothead the winning touchdown. XXXIV was conspicuously missing from the list, it should have been at #2 or #3 for sure.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - Finale fails to light my fire

I can't shake a feeling of disappointment. I'm not exactly sure what I would have done differently or how I would have liked it to play out... but that wasn't quite it. Perhaps it's because upon finishing it felt more like the middle of the story than the end. That may be the effect of lacking the courtroom and the finality of the Judge's gavel. Could be the jumbled timeline of events or a lack of memorable characters. Or maybe, with the imminent release of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, it really was the middle of the story. The Logic system was a big fail. In the final showdown with the killer, you get handed new pieces of logic to connect in the middle of the affair. What? No, this is when we should be going full throttle in confrontation. This happened all throughout every case actually; Rather than being a cool skill for Edgeworth to have, it felt more like a convenient deus ex machina to lump in last minute revelations they'd been hiding.

Overall the game had its moments. If you're a fan of Ace Attorney, it's definitely worth playing. Just be aware that the atmosphere is very different. In tone, it's more similar to Apollo Justice than the Phoenix Wright trilogy.

"Turnabout Ablaze" spoilers and score after the jump.

Thia Megia and EASA

EASA - Or the East Asian Solidarity Alliance is something I made up just now and plan to use arbitrarily to illustrate certain points. It's a general union of all people of East-Asian ethnicity who are proud to be so. Birth grants you automatic membership, transgressions can lead to me exiling you damn traitors. Complicated cases are settled at my discretion as I'm the only one who recognizes this as a real thing under my criteria. If you have a better acronym, feel free to apply. More details after the jump. It mostly consists of highly offensive ramblings though. Now we have that out of the way, I am pleased to declare Thia Megia officially EASA approved!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - Back to the future, case very much open

This case was a marked improvement on the previous three despite once again being confined in scope to one area. Less smoke and mirrors and more straight-up investigation - even a courtroom battle although it seemed to end a little abruptly for me. Intriguing new characters were introduced and it sets up nicely for the final case, which has been epic in every game so I'm looking forward to it - my faith in the project has been restored! The references were toned down, even with the return to the courtroom and the lore and feel of a Miles Edgeworth investigation were allowed to flourish in their own right. I'll have to reserve final judgment on the story until the final case is solved though. Although interesting, it's somewhat confusing and likely not as emotional as any in the Phoenix Wright trilogy.

"Turnabout Reminiscence" spoilers after the jump.

30 Rock - S5 E15 - It's Never Too Late For Now

With the show on a forced hiatus, Pete and Frank form a band and record a song. Meanwhile Liz, after her break-up with Carol (Matt Damon), has "given up".

Recap after the jump.

Community - S2 E16 - Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking

Pierce (Chevy Chase), supposedly on his deathbed, calls the group together to deliver his last words and gifts.

Recap after the jump.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Glee - S2 E13 - Comeback

Sam (Chord Overstreet) attempts to copy Justin Bieber's style to seduce Quinn. Emma (Jayma Mays) forces Sue (Jane Lynch) to sit in with Glee club after her suicide attempt.

Recap after the jump.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

No Ordinary Family - S1 E15 - No Ordinary Powell

Jim investigates Dr. King who has sent shapeshifter Victoria (Rebecca Mader) to infiltrate the Powell household. JJ and Daphne look into an old murder case and improbably put the pieces together.

Recap after the jump.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

House, M.D. - S7 E12 - You Must Remember This

The team treats a patient with a perfect memory. House is concerned that Wilson has given up on future relationships and Taub has to retake his pathology exams or face being fired.

Recap after the jump.

Gossip Girl - S4 E15 - It-Girl Happened One Night

Chuck and Lily join forces to stop Bass Industries from being dismantled. Blair settles into her new job and Serena tries to avoid putting pressure on Ben (and fails miserably).

Recap after the jump.

Mr. Sunshine - S1 E2 - Employee of the Year

Crystal (Allison Janney) promises a golf cart for whoever "wows" her on the day of a big concert at the Sunshine Center.

Recap after the jump.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mad Love - S1 E1 - Pilot

It's love at first sight for Kate (Sarah Chalke) and Ben (Jason Biggs) but their respective best friends Connie (Judy Greer) and Larry (Tyler Labine) are highly skeptical about the whole affair.

Recap after the jump.

How I Met Your Mother - S6 E16 - Desperation Day

Lily wants Marshall to come back to New York for Valentine's, Ted and Zoey make plans and Barney specifically strives to not make plans.

Recap after the jump.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - No danger of Stockholm Syndrome here

A great final twist saved this case from being kinda dreadful, but overall it was still underwhelming. I'm on the edge, about to jump and declare this game a disappointment but there are still two cases to go, so I'll maintain some patience and see how it unfolds. For a game that should be simple, the main appeal of the original trilogy being fun scenarios and characters rather than gameplay, it feels extraordinarily complicated despite the fact that so far it's been even more linear than the first half of FFXIII. Every situation you find yourself in is force-fed and every solution is bizarrely different, there's no rhyme or reason to it.

Another thing that's force-fed is the separation of chapters. I've complained about it before, but the cut off points don't feel natural. They probably should have just eschewed them; Just because they were in previous Ace Attorneys doesn't mean they had to be shoehorned into this one. It's odd that they waited until the third case before introducing Agent Lang and Kay. The characters on the box have in the past all been introduced by the second case and with the fourth case being a flashback, that could leave Lang especially as almost a peripheral character rather than a cover star.

"The Kidnapped Turnabout" spoilers after the jump.

Monday notes - Pokémon and the inside of an interview room

Entei is now available for download over wi-fi if you are in the UK. It's finally an Entei worth using, as it gets Flare Blitz and Extremespeed, two strong physical moves to go with its 115 base attack. However, it's still outclassed by Arcanine which has a recovery move, Intimidate and more options regardless. For a pokémon that was the star of the third movie, it sure is kinda lame.

Oh yeah, so today I went to the police station to make a statement on a robbery. I had an appointment for 19:30. I remembered this at 19:15 while I was taking a shower, leapt out, threw on some ill-matching clothes and ran all the way there. Various crap goings on during the day meant I hadn't eaten since breakfast around 0800 and didn't make it home until 2100. I won't go into the details of the crime in question, but I will note that it takes a stupidly long time to get service there. I presume they're very understaffed? Anyway the point is, next time I think I'd rather just take matters into my hands so I don't have to end up waiting 45 minutes in a waiting room sitting with people who haven't bathed in... ever. Oh, and thanks to not having eaten the whole day, my legs have stopped working.

Episodes - S1 E6 - Episode 6

Beverly storms out, convinced Sean is having an affair, leaving him to face a critical meeting with the head of the network alone.

Recap after the jump.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

30 Rock - S5 E14 - Double-Edged Sword

Liz and Jack each take a break away from work with their respective partners but complications arise for both that could shake the very foundations of their relationships. Did I succeed in making a very silly show sound dramatic?

Recap after the jump.

Community - S2 E15 - Early 21st Century Romanticism

Troy and Abed take the same girl to the Valentine's Ball while Britta takes a lesbian friend. Jeff gives it a miss in favor of staying home and watching soccer but Chang interferes with that plan.

Recap after the jump.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Glee - S2 E12 - Silly Love Songs

With Valentine's Day approaching, Finn attempts to rekindle his romance with Quinn while Puck's object of desire is Lauren, sending Santana into a tailspin. At Dalton, Kurt's infatuation with Blaine reaches a head.

Recap after the jump.

No Ordinary Family - S1 E14 - No Ordinary Double Standards

Jim and Stephanie compete to solve a home invasion case before the other does, while Daphne and JJ each go on a first date.

Recap after the jump.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

House, M.D. - S7 E11 - Family Practice

Cuddy's mom is rushed to the hospital with a heart condition but has a disagreement with House (Hugh Laurie) and fires him as her doctor. Cuddy begs him to remain on the case leading to particularly unethical choices on the parts of both.

Recap after the jump

Gossip Girl - S4 E14 - Panic Roommate

Dan is shocked when Ben moves into the loft and begins scheming with Eric and Damien to get shot of him. Meanwhile, Blair and Chuck cross paths pursuing goals of their own.

Recap after the jump.

Mr. Sunshine - S1 E1 - Pilot

Matthew Perry is Ben Donovan, manager of the Sunshine Center, a multi-purpose arena, who is forced to re-evaluate his life when he turns 40.

Recap of the pilot after the jump.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

How I Met Your Mother - S6 E15 - Oh Honey

Through a series of phone calls, the story of Zoey introducing Ted to her attractive cousin (guest star Katy Perry) is related to Marshall.

Recap after the jump

Episodes - S1 E5 - Episode 5

Beverly is worried about her relationship with Sean who seems to be getting closer to Morning.

Recap after the jump.

Tuesday notes - Pokémon and John Morgan

Fellow UK pokémaniacs should note that a shiny Raikou is available for download over wi-fi for all 4th generation games until February 13th. All three legendary dogs or cats or whatever the hell they're supposed to be will eventually be released in successive weeks and when transferred to the upcoming 5th generation games, they'll unlock something called a "Zoroark". So make sure you get yours before it's too late!

For about four and a half years now I've been frequenting Field Gulls the definitive place to be for all things Seattle Seahawks. After the Super Bowl, the owner and lead writer on the blog made a rather cryptic post and logging on this morning, my worst fears were confirmed. John Morgan had stepped down and will no longer write for the site.

I'm still a little devastated. Along with Bill Simmons, John is my idol as far as Internet columns are concerned. He has an incredible attention to detail, and fills his posts with such intelligence. He is a true fan who writes from the heart and never writes anything he doesn't truly believe in. The Seahawks fandom won't quite be the same without him leading the charge. No one is quite sure at this point what his plans are, but hopefully we'll see him back writing again soon and maybe, just maybe he'll get the mainstream recognition he deserves.

One final note, I am boycotting the new BBC show "Outcasts". Even though it sounds like it's right up my alley concept-wise, one of its stars Eric Mabius had the temerity to diss Lost while promoting it. Says he, "I felt Lost was too overt. I never really bought into it and I think this is more of a fully realised show." This from a guy who was in Ugly Betty. What the hell is wrong with people? Is he trying to be controversial, separate himself from the pack or something stupid like that? Lucky for him he wasn't standing near me when I read that or I would've caved his head in with a shovel and then eaten his eyeballs.

Memories of LAC

The London Anime Convention, organized by the animeleague was held over the weekend in the Rocket Complex at London Met University. Most if not all conventions were originally started by fans of the relevant subculture, and this was very obviously a fan-run operation, read: amateur. In ten years, when they have plenty of experience, when they've moved to the ExCel Centre and have corporate interests from around the world participating, people will look back on these simpler times and sigh longingly. But not me so much - I was lost in a perpetual state of confusion, partly because I had never been to a convention such as this before, and also I felt a little out of place with my suit jacket and briefcase.

More after the jump...

Monday, 7 February 2011

Miscellaneous curiosities from the weekend

Apparently it was my birthday yesterday. James paid a very pretty and apprehensive looking young artist named kinno-nabi to do a sketch of me. Thanks!

I came home yesterday to find that Waterstones Luton had been closed down. Disaster! That was my favorite store in the area. I had heard that some of their outlets were being shut down but it never occurred to me that included my local. 101 Computer Games is gone and Baronjon is about finished too. If HMV goes (they're owned by the same group as Waterstones) there's a possibility I might never go into the town centre again. Well, that's not even remotely true but it sounds a lot more dramatic that way.

I'm not sure exactly when it closed down, I hadn't been there in a week. I avoided the Arndale on Saturday with the EDL and various counter-protesters and anarchists in the area. In the end, the apocalypse predicted by the Guardian, shopkeepers boarding up their windows and the terrified girl who I walked with to her work for protection never came to pass - the police presence was too well organized and the turnout was a lot less than anticipated. Thank Heavens!

Glee - S2 E11 - The Sue Sylvester Shuffle

Hoping to stop the bullying, Will (Matthew Morrison) forces the McKinley Titans football team to join the glee club to perform a Thriller mash-up at half-time of the championship game. Meanwhile Sue (Jane Lynch) is lacking motivation as she pushes towards a championship showdown of her own.

Recap after the jump.

Quick Hits - Super Bowl XLV impressions

The one time I'm rooting for the Steelers and they go and lose. Thanks a lot, guys. I still think if it hadn't been for that bogus personal foul on the last kickoff, they would have had the mentality to drive up and score. OK, at this point I'm clinging to threadbare strands of hope. I'll just list a handful of things that I took note of during the game. If I have the time and clarity of mind, I'll sit down and write a piece about why I was rooting against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers some other time.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Other Guys

Just a quick hit here - I had a chance to see this movie over the weekend and it was a helluva good time. The Other Guys was released last summer, directed by Adam McKay. There are a ton of high profile cameos and even more laughs. Ferrell is Detective Allen Gamble, a desk jockey averse to field work while his partner played by Wahlberg is Detective Terry Hoitz, rambunctious and aggressive. Gamble is seen as cowardly and Hoitz is a loose cannon who accidentally shot Derek Jeter, scarring his reputation. A ludicrously complicated plot revolving around the financial crisis and investment scams should be largely ignored as you enjoy the absurdist humor and running gags. That's a good approach to pursue actually - don't take any part of this movie seriously at all - a general rule with anything Will Ferrell is in.

(Score after the jump)

Weekend eats - Restaurant recaps

Miso Noodle Bar
67 Upper Street
London N1 0NY

27 Upper Street
London N1 0PN

While I've often described myself as a goat, able to eat almost anything without fussing over it too much, I think I can still figure out whether or not a place is good to eat at. I'm not a food snob or an architecture critic. I'm fairly accepting of minor faults, but I'm not blind to them.

30 Rock - S5 E13 - ¡Qué Sorpresa!

Jack (Alec Baldwin) struggles to impress his new bosses, while drafting in Liz (Tina Fey) to help Avery get a new job with NBC.


Recap after the jump.

Community - S2 E14 - Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Jeff (Joel McHale) gathers the study group for a game of Dungeons and Dragons to cheer up a depressed classmate but fails to include Pierce who is belligerently irked when he finds out.

Recap after the jump...

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Super Bowl XLV - my pick

There's a chance I won't be home before the game starts tomorrow, so I might as well make my pick now. Truthfully, I made my pick right after the championship round two weeks ago - I think the Steelers will win, because they always win.

One of the reasons the pick was so easily made is because I didn't give it much thought - this is the least excited I've been for a Super Bowl since, well, two years ago when the Steelers played the Cardinals. I loathe both of these teams, Pittsburgh and Green Bay, for very different reasons. I should go into that more at a later date when I have more time.

When it comes down to it, the Steelers have won the close games this season, while the Packers have always lost. The drama with Maurkice Pouncey has felt like a red herring all along. I've been hearing the whole year about how the Steelers have these major offensive line issues and yet here they are in the Super Bowl - it doesn't seem to have made that big a difference, although to be fair, the Packers likely have the best defense they will have faced all year. I have faith that Fat Ben will come through and media darling Aaron Rodgers will not, and I know that Coach Foreman Tomlin will make better game day decisions than Mike McCarthy.

Yukupo is picking the Packers by the way - loser owes the winner a beer! He doesn't know about that part yet...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - Second case just flew by!

Despite mastering the controls, the second case ends up disappointing. As a standard filler case, it works fine but it just felt like there was something missing... I can't quite put my finger on what just yet.
My concerns about the lack of clear cut off points between chapters were confirmed - They seemed forced, with the difficulty and length of each section feeling inconsistent. The partner system also feels clunky in that access to them doesn't flow with the game and beyond the typical Gumshoe humor, doesn't seem to add much to the investigation. We shall track if that changes with the upcoming cases.

"Turnabout Airlines" spoilers after the jump.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Episodes - S1 E4 - Episode 4

After losing a custody hearing, Matt gets wasted and calls Sean to drive him home in the middle of the night. Hilarity ensues! Or, as the case is more likely to be, not.

Recap after the jump.

Ace Attorney Investigations - initial impressions

Having finished my replaying of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy for Nintendo DS over the weekend, I turned my attention over to the latest game in the series, Ace Attorney Investigations starring the crimson-clad prince (as Bikini describes him) Miles Edgeworth. I've only played through the first case so far ("Turnabout Visitor") but all signs are leading to fun.

At first I was thrown off by the gameplay - familiar, yet somehow very different. It seems as though there are no courtroom scenes in this game which sadly means no Judge and no slamming of hands on desks. The Testimony and Cross-Examination sections have been renamed "Argument" and "Rebuttal" and have been smooshed together with the Investigation scenes so, unlike previous Ace Attorney games, it appears there will no clear division between chapters. That way there's a lot more to think about (or get confused by) and the path through the game could be less logical, more intuitive. Well, that remains to be seen and is probably untrue but it allows me to make a joke about that being ironic considering the new Logic system, which together with Deduction replaces the Psyche-locks of the Phoenix Wright era. By combining relevant notes like an alchemist, new trains of thought are opened, and by combining compiled evidence with investigation scenes, breakthroughs are made at which point Edgeworth will shout "EUREKA!"

"Turnabout Visitor" spoilers after the jump.