Monday, 29 June 2009

The Perfect Home Cinema?

Some useful, if basic, hints from Sky Movies on how to create The Perfect Home Cinema. I would have preferred a few more specifics and technical details, viewing distances and room dimensions are the only ones here, considering What Hi-Fi? was involved.

Still this reminds me of a dream I posted about a couple of years ago:

A while ago I dreamt that I had build a cinema in a shed in my back garden. As I live in a 2nd floor flat this was my first clue that it was a dream. The shed was large like a Scout hut and the dream was full of practical details; I had put a lot of effort into blacking out the place, choosing the right mix of seating and setting up a digital projector.

Of course it wasn't the Geek-fest created in the Star Wars cinema below or in the same league as Dan and Nicole Chilton when they built their own real-life cinema, but it was a nice dream...

Since I wrote that post Dan & Nicole are now on Moxie II and the only addiction to my cinema is a big leather settee. Still there's always the Gadget Show competition...

Buy Home Cinema @|

In Case of Zombies

In Case Of Zombies - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Review | Price: $18 | Sizes: S-2XL | Threadless


Actually, I love this Tee more than brains. The use of the shirts own colouring as one of the main image colours, as well as its even layout, makes this a subtle Tee. Subtlety is very important for a versatile Tee; one that can be worn both with your geek mates and out-and-about town without fear of scaring off the norms.

Of course the killer for this Tee is the hidden detail of the In Case Of legend. Once people spot the numbering and the list, your chest becomes a talking point. Just make sure that when they lean in to examine they don't have that glazed stare of the dead!

Cross-posted @

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Torchwood: Children of Men

Preview | On: BBC1 06/07 9pm | BBC

I know. I know. Torch-meh!

Like every other Whovian, while I genuinely enjoy the new generation of family oriented Doctor Who, I miss the darker edge of some of the older episodes. Who can forget Peter Davison hacking Adric's gold badge in to the heart of the Cyber Leader.

So when the BBC announced they would creating a spin-off series targeting an adult audience and featuring Captain Jack Harkness I couldn't wait. Of course, what I got was stories with a cast of character who's emotions and libidos were set to random.

Now we are on the eve on the new episodes the question is as always: Is it worth another chance? The trailer looks like it adds some new characters, replacing those killed off last season, and has a vague Children of the Damned feel. Jack dying. Gwen looking miserable. A lot of Spooks-esque running around. I'm not overly impressed.

The main change is in the format however. Instead of the usual 13-episode series of individual tales we are now presented with a five-part story. This could make the difference, Torchwood like The Bill has struggled between two genres. The Bill drifting between soap and drama, changed to a two-part story structure to reinforce the drama aspects.

Hopefully the change in Torchwood format will save it from the adolescent action-soap it was make it into the sci-fi for adults we are all waiting for.

Buy Torchwood @| | Forbidden Planet

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers

Preview/Demo | Price: 800 MSPs | Xbox Live / Wizards of the Coast

Tap this!

I was never one of the Magic crowd. Sure I tried the game with every other geek when it was first released; I bought a couple of decks and boosters but was put off my the exponential increasing complexity of the rules and the sheer number of cards. But the final nail in my M:TG coffin was the killer decks that the uber-players could construct; essentially turning was should be an entertaining card game into 60-seconds of ass-whupping.

This demo I like though. Well laid out and attractively designed, with a nifty card zoom so you can see every detail, it feel like playing a proper card and table game. No need to collect and construct your killer deck here either, the demo features two-decks, a red fire deck or a green creatures deck, and two AI opponents to play them against, Chandra Nalaarand her (playable) red fire deck or Elspeth Tirel and her white flying deck.

With the Y button to confirm actions and the X button to freeze time you get a good control over the flow of the game. The full game will include 16-opponents, 8-decks, bonus cards, Xbox Live play and the obligatory achievements. Plus there's a two-player co-op game I haven't had chance to try. Sure the sound effects get a little grating after a couple of games but this is definitely tempting me to spend the 800 MSPs to unlock the full version.

Buy Magic: The Gathering @|

Horror Movie Shower Curtain & Math Mat

Preview | Price: $14.99/17.99 | Think Geek


Simple but morbidly pleasing. A nice addition would have been a silhouette of an arm and knife that could be seen while you are in the shower. Of course I assuming this could be manufactured easily and wouldn't tip the fear factor past the point were you would cease to bathe. Smells can kill too!

£33 for the set is a little expensive, but this would a great detail to add to that Halloween house-party.

Buy Horror @|

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Antiques of the Future

Turn the clock back to 1992, I had left school and begun an apprenticeship as an engineer. This meant I was earning a real wage for the first time. Not that I hadn't been paid before, but the pennies I got as pocket-money or for my part-time market job came and went quickly.

Now with more money than I could practically spend1, I could afford something substantial. Something that would bring me both great pleasure and be a sound financial investment: Antiques of the Future!

Of course for a true sci-fi geek2 there was only one obvious choice: Star Trek - The Next Generation on VHS!

I had watched the original series and the first two seasons of TNG on the BBC, but now the series was moving to SKY TV. Satellite television was height of luxury at the time, reserved for those families who's dads drove BMWs and who's mums owned sun-beds. This meant I would have to wait months, maybe even years for the new episodes to be repeated on terrestrial telly; a cruel starvation diet that my geek metabolism could never survive.

The timing was fortuitous too. The BBC had stopped showing the series after the Best of Both Worlds episode, the turning point in terms of the general quality of TNG episodes, which meant that I had suffered through those awkward early episodes for free and now every double-episode cassette I bought would be TV gold.

Everything was going great for years. I gained much kudos from my friends as their Star Trek pimp. Eventual I left my job as an engineer and started working at Virgin Megastore which gave me a 25% discount on the new releases. A new series about a certain Cardassian space station started meaning I could now buy twice the Trek!

But all good things... as they say. TNG came to an end, DVDs gained popularity and I convinced my mum that paying to have the equivalent of a wok bolted to the outside of our house was a good idea. So, I stopped buying the videos three seasons into DS9 and thanks to the regular repeats of the old episodes on SKY 1 the tapes were relegated to a dusty shelf.

Flash forward. After moving homes several times, each time lugging around 60+ Star Trek videos which I not opened in a decade, I decided something must be done. I tried eBay3, but the last VHS boat had sailed and probably sunk tragically long ago. It seemed my antiques of the future had become the ballast of the present.

I could donate them to a charity of course, but I had an emotional as well as financial investment in these bricks of plastic and pleasure. I've always been a want-to-be writer so I mulled the idea of using the tapes to pen my own Star Trek guide book; a mixture of review, personal analysis and British wit. Sadly the main trait of a want-to-be writer took hold and the idea never progressed beyond the mulling stage..

So for a couple of years it swam around the To Do pool at the back of my mind. Which where Wil Wheaton, and his damn Traveler intellect, must have found it!

I have been reading Mr Wheaton's blog words since before it went into Exile and frequently linked across to his Next Gen reviews on TV Squad. So when he announced he would be collecting and expanding the reviews into a book called Memories of the Future I couldn't be more pleased. Lets face it, any Trek related book written by the former Wesley Crusher is sure to be more entertaining and insightful than anything I could have done4.

So my Antiques of the Future have become Wil's Memories of the Future. I suggest you check out some of the working previews he has posted on his blog and wait patiently with me for its imminent release.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with these damn tapes:

1 Strangely I could draw out less than I got paid on my first cash card.
2 The earliest I can remember watching is re-runs of B&W Buck Rogers on weekend afternoon telly.
3 I did sell an whole season, 13-tapes, for £1, Yay!
4 Not to mention more likely to be finished.

Buy Star Trek @| | Forbidden Planet

Bag of Cthulhu

Preview | Price: $14.95 | Due: Soon | Fantasy Flight Games | 3 Gs

Cute. Not a word you should associate with The Great Old One but sill. A little bag of 30 Cthulhu figs is one of those thing that I have no real use for 1 but still really want. The sign of true geek OCD (Obsessive Collective Disorder).

1 Maybe as replacement markers in the Arkham Horror board game?

Buy Call of Cthulhu @|

Monday, 22 June 2009

Fighting Crime Doesn't Pay

Fighting Crime Doesn't Pay - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Preview | Price: $18 | Size: S-3XL | Threadless | 4 Gs


Down on their luck heroes DO make cool tees. Who would have thought. IMHO Batman seems to have gotten the roughest deal here, at least everyone else has both their shoes. Plus, I am pretty sure if Dianna did go on the Game, she would be more of a high-end, got her own webpage type of hooker.

Nice colours. Nice layout; the lamp-post brakes this out of the usual t-shirt image box. Of course, like all self-enlightened geeks, I stay clear of the dreaded black t-shirt cliche but this asphalt grey colour is a pleasant compromise.

Cross-posted @

Buy Superheroes @| | Forbidden Planet

Thursday, 18 June 2009

30% off Operation Anchorage


That is what they call it when one day you say that the first expansion for Fallout 3 is at the bottom of your to get list and the next day you discover there is a 30% discount on that very same title.

Each week Microsoft offer a discount to Xbox Live Gold Members, but this is the first that meshes with my game collection. Keep an eye on the official page for future offers.

P.S. The official Fallout 3 fan page on Facebook has also been known to post download codes their status updates! The first one to use it will get a FREE download!

Buy Fallout 3 @|

A social occasion.

Having been to several LARP events, we play traditional fantasy with Curious Pastimes rather than the Civil War re-enactments here, and spent more time in the inn than in character I feel a real camaraderie with Gavin's mates.

Now if you excuse me, I feel the need for mead...

Buy Bill Bailey @|

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fallout 3: Point Lookout DLC

Preview | Price: 800 MSPs / $9.99 | Format: Xbox 360 / PC | Due: 23rd June | Fallout 3 | 4 Gs

Welcome to the Swampland!

So far I've not bought any of the DLCs for Fallout 3. Despite now spending over 150 hours walking the Wastes there's still things to do and discover in the basic game and I am determined to deal with those before moving onto the next chapter.

The first two DLCs, Operation Anchorage and The Pitt, were criticised for being too linear and too brief. The 3rd, Broken Steel, is a must so I can finally get past Lv 20 but the next expansion, Lookout Point, is the one I am really looking forward to.

It's the visual and story depth that sold the game to me; being able to look across that harsh yet gorgeous landscape and explore that strange building in the distance is what made the game for me. Although it is not set in the Capital Wastes, this interview from Go! Gaming Giant makes it sound like Bethesda have made this next DLC just for a Waste Wanderer like me.

Buy Fallout 3 @|

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Recycling. It's not just for Jawas.

Price: $25.65
Sizes: S-3X
3 Gs


Star Wars Jawas and an environmentally friendly message; that's two-Geek points in just one Tee! This simple and clearly laid-out image works very well, but despite the eco-benefits of the organic shirt, they always look thin and miss-shapen to me. Fortunately you can change to a different style. Unfortunately, this can add another $10+ to the cost.

Buy Star Wars @|| Forbidden Planet

Monday, 15 June 2009

Captain America Reborn #1

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Released: 01/07/2009
4 Gs

All true Geeks know the film rule; if you don't see the body then the character is not dead. In comics, even if you see the body no-one stays dead forever.

Today Marvel announced that this July's Reborn limited series will feature the return of the first and true Captain America; Steve Rogers. Are we surprised? Not at all, we have been waiting for this day since issue #25.

Brubaker and Hitch have both rejuvenated the character in their own ways. Brubaker showing that Rogers could be a believable soldier and hero in a post-9/11 world when he started the current series and Hitch added a level of reality to the other-world version of Cap, and fellow Avengers, during his Ultimates series that is on par with the movie re-styling of Blade.

Cap will always have a special place in my Geek heart. The first real comics I remember buying were tatty, old second-hand issues of The Invaders from a local market stall, so I will be counting the days until this issue hits the shelves.

Buy Captain America @|| Forbidden Planet

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Waiting for Mr Snow...

from Warren

Oh yeah! A coloured page from the final issue of Planetary. I have been one of those check-for-the-next-Planetary-issue-every-time-I-visit-the-comic-shop guys for too-many-years.

My one question: Page 18, does that mean it’s halfway done?

Out in October according to the Wildstorm blog.

Buy Warren Ellis @|| Forbidden Planet

Can of Whoop Ass

Price: £20.58
Sizes: S-XL
Fair Weather Friends
3 Gs

Any self-respecting wrestling fan should recognise this term. Why? Beacuse Stone Cold said so!

A simple and bold design but I can't decide if the image is too large, too bright or both. Plus, should the can be open? The cost is a little high too, I would rarely pay over £15 for a Tee, but I suppose it is because these are limited editions.

Buy WWE @|

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Rourke cracks the whip.

USA Today has a first look at Mickey Rourke as the villain Whiplash in the upcoming Iron Man 2 film:

Whiplash in Iron Man 2
The classic look

The cape and ponytail are no great loss and Rourke now has an mean ex-con look with those tattoos and the orange jumpsuit. Fingers crossed, IM2 should be as good as the first.

Buy Iron Man @|| Forbidden Planet

Nothing says pizzazz like a paper smile.


I'm a B.I.G. Fallout 3 fan and occasional crafter, so this paper bobblehead makes me both Geekily happy and a little sad that I am so rubbish at fine-detail work. They also have designs for the Alien Blaster, Megaton bomb and Laser Pistol.

Buy Fallout 3 @|