Archive for October, 2011

What Lies Ahead? Church Slaughters, Lost Reminders, Best Show On TV [Walking Dead Recap]

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
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There is a breath of fresh air, a unique buoyancy, to viewing a television series where you trust the storyteller. Gone is the nagging sense of second guessing or internal apologizing for obvious flaws because you so want to love the project as a whole.

It’s just you and the story, riding the rhythm of plot.

That is The Walking Dead.

Of course any informed fan of the series is living in fear, not unlike Andrea trembling behind the RV door with a curious walker sniffing inches away, as to when the current sense of rapture might abruptly end after AMC’s senseless in-production banishing of series mastermind Frank Darabont.

But enough of the dread, let’s focus on the now.

The zombie apocalypse survive-a-long returned to television Sunday after a nearly yearlong absence with nothing short of the best episode the series has delivered to date. Characters reset, season plots began to emerge and a few Lost tropes were dusted off for good measure.
The End is back, read on AFTER THE JUMP to get all the details on “What Lies Ahead” including the episodes best moments, ratings triumphs and a countdown as to when we can all start panicking about the quality of the series… (more…)

Podcast: The Great Shark Versus Octopus War

Monday, October 17th, 2011

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Andrew geeks out about the new Space X launches and proposes the first ever Weird Things meet-up. Brian descends into the jungle to find a furry, bipedal creature. Justin plays referee as the rest of the crew argue with each other on which side of the great Shark / Octopus War they are going to be on. Who will you choose?

Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s new book The Chronological Man: The Monster In The Mist for only 99¢ at Amazon.com by clicking the image below!

Skitched 20110621 210403

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Picks:

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Breaking Bad

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Andrew-

• Real Steel

Hard Days Knight [eBook Review]

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

“Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just eat people, like a normal vampire, but no, not only do I have a conscience, I have a roommate with a Kal-el complex and a priest for a best friend. “

I love vampires and I love detective stories, so imagine my excitement when I came across Hard Days Knight by John Hartness!  He’s taken two of my favorite genres and combined them into one heck of a story!

It’s the week before Halloween and all Hell is about to break loose, quite literally.

Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired by a young boy to keep him from being cursed for all eternity, but end up with a bigger problem than they could have ever imagined; a problem roughly the size of the 7th circle of Hell.

Hartness writes a story that feels like a cross between Moonlight and Cara Lockwood’s Every Demon Has His Day.  His writing is witty, culturally relevant and has a good dose of pop culture references to keep you turning the pages to see just how bad it can get for these two self-professed nerdy, permanently college-aged vampires.

Our protagonists find themselves trapped in the middle of a multiple kidnapping case, during which Jimmy and Greg uncover a plan to bring forth an archduke of Hell.  In their attempt to thwart a literal Hell on earth situation they enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, and a fallen angel (who also happens to own strip club) to save the world. This unusual group of human and non-human band together to stop zombies, witches, neuroses and potentially the worst sunburn of their lives while cracking jokes and searching for the perfect midnight snack.

Hard Day’s Knight is a perfect fall read, just in time for Halloween!

[Amazon]

 

The Walking Dead Television Series Is Superior To The Comic Series [Opinion]

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
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Walking Dead mastermind Robert Kirkman has famously said his most popular franchise was borne from wondering what happens after a zombie movie. Typically, a zombie outbreak story begins with a relatable reality, add zombies, initial crisis ensues, survivors band together and after a few casualties the initial crisis is solved. But when the credits roll, our main characters are left in a world changed forever.

What happens to them? How do they cope? How do they eat? Do they forget the past? Do they make a future?

The Walking Dead is that story and Kirkman is telling it twice. Once in the original comic incarnation and simultaneously on AMC as a surprisingly popular hour-long drama (returning with a second season this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC) of which he is a writer and executive producer. There is a reason his second draft, initially reshaped by mastermind Frank Darabont, is more popular.

Thanks to more consistent relatable characters, key revisions in the canon story and new wrinkles added exclusively in the AMC series it’s way, way better than the source material. Some might disagree but we survive by pulling together and not apart, with a warning of heavy spoilers through the first season of the AMC show and the first 25 issues of the comic, I’ll explain my position. (more…)

Zombie Extras Injured On Resident Evil Set Horrify Paramedics

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
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While filming the fifth installment of the Resident Evil franchise 16 zombie extras fell from a platform. Emergency responders, who were unaware of the costumes, were taken aback when brought to the pile of mangled faces, discolored skin and peeling flesh.

Paramedics responded to the call from Cinespace Film Studios around 8 a.m. to find what appeared — thanks to Hollywood special effects makeup — to be people who had suffered some untold catastrophe.

“I could see the look on the first paramedic, saying ‘Oh my God,'” Toronto emergency medical services Commander David Ralph said with a laugh.

Toronto Police Sgt. Andrew Gibson said responders quickly figured out which zombies were injured and which were just in character. “It did kind of catch us off guard when we walked in,” he said.

Thankfully, none of the injuries were life threatening and all of the zombies will live on to stagger another day.

[Fox News]

Is Your Itchy DVR Fast Forward Finger A Box Office Oracle?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
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Interesting find on Deadline today suggesting that Box Office success can be directly predicted by your impatience while watching a DVR’d episode of Fringe.

More specifically, commercials for movies that are fast forwarded more often tend to do worse when released in theaters than those that get viewed. One might think this would reward high spectacle films that would showcase an eye-popping visual to stop a FF in it’s tracks but it isn’t that simple. According to TiVo the most skipped movie ad is The Three Musketeers which features all manner of zeppelins, swordplay, muskets, jumping, bodices and swordplay.

The least skipped? Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots.

What still needs to be adjusted for, in our opinion, is repetition of ads. We might suspect that a film with an ad in heavy rotation for two weeks would get a higher skip rating in the second week than the first because people have seen the clip already.

So the next time you want to predict Box Office success, look no further than your own thumb for the answers.

[Deadline]

Hartebeest Takes Out Biker

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Red Hartebeest: 1 – Biker: 0.

That looked pretty deliberate on the Hartebeest’s part. Also looks very painful.

[Deadspin]

Seattle Superhero Arrested For Pepper Spraying Violent, “Drunken” Pedestrians

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

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Phoenix Jones prowls the streets at night, keeping things safe for the citizens of Seattle. But today he finds himself on the other end of the law, accused of needlessly pepper spraying a pack of late-night revelers who may press charges against the body-armor clad super hero.

A video of the incident, seen above, shows Jones rushing into what looks like a violent scrum before breaking it up. To pacify the crowd he pulls the trigger on a black bottle of pepper spray and shoots into the scrum. This does not please some of the women of the group who begin to beat Phoenix with handbags and shoes.

While waiting for the cops to arrive, two of the men from the group attempt to gain retribution by charging Phoenix, only to end up with an eye full of pepper-y tears for their troubles.

The pedestrians, described as “drunken” in the video of the incident, claim they were singing peacefully before Jones charged toward them.

Police eventually arrived and arrested Phoenix who spent the night in jail.

[Fox News]

Creator Of Creston Flats Bigfoot Video Explains Why He Isn’t A Hoaxster, That Isn’t Bigfoot

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

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In the comments on our post yesterday about the Creston Flats Bigfoot footage, and the resulting controversy over it’s legitimacy, we got a very interesting comment. A person claiming to be Troy Hunter, the creator of the video, gives us a full explanation on the video including how old it is (three years), if he believes it’s Bigfoot (he doesn’t) and if he used any kind of digital editing to create the clip (he didn’t).

The email used to create the comment is associated elsewhere on the net with Troy and the IP address used is from the appropriate Western Canadian region. So, we’re taking this one as legit but feel free to apply all due skepticism.

I believe this is not a Bigfoot but the footage is in fact real. There has been controversy about whether or not I created this scene using cuts from another scene; it certainly is not a cut, its all real.

What happened after I shot the video, I immediately drove my
car to where the thing would emerge; I cut it off at the pass. First off, there was an empty car sitting beside the track. When it came out, at the very moment it came out, another vehicle pulled out of the parking lot at the Creston Valley Wildlife Centre, which was just behind me and that third vehicle drove past the empty car, my car and the thing that emerged. I believe that the other person driving the vehicle also saw the thing that emerged, it would have been very difficult not to.

What was actually wading through those bushes? Find out AFTER THE JUMP where the rest of the story continues!

What I saw that day was a human being wearing some sort of
bug screen on his head and what looked like a complete bug suit of some
sort. He was walking with two dogs. I believe I had my 35mm camera ready to capture the best photos of a real sasquatch but man was I disappointed to see a man and a car. The look on the guys’ face was almost pure fright and I was so embarrassed for him, I couldn’t even take a picture of him.

I left to continue my journey to drive to Cranbrook thinking
that I was a victim of a hoaxer. All I could think about was that the beer brewery company in Creston was using the image of the sasquatch in their marketing efforts and that somehow this guy might have had something to do with it. What I didn’t think so much about was the other vehicle that sped off, maybe somebody was in the process of creating a video and I just happened to come along at the exact time and then I shot my own video.

When I shot that video, I imagined I was really shooting a
video of a sasquatch. I was as disappointed as many of you who read this will be as well and to you I apologize. Maybe that guy was just out for a walk with his dogs and he liked to go where the mosquitoes roam; I don’t know the full story only he does. Maybe the
footage I shot was really a Bigfoot and this guy in a bugsuit just came out of nowhere out for an early stroll but based on a balance of probabilities, that guy was the same in the footage I shot.

The weekend before I posted my video clip, I went to Cranbrook and retrieved all my videotapes. On Thursday night I found the three-year-old footage of what really, really does look like Bigfoot and without giving it much thought, I shared it to YouTube under Creative Commons – Attribution. If I recall, I didn’t do anything with this footage because I believed it was not Bigfoot and that it would only serve
to help sell more beer for a beer brewing company, “It’s the beer out here”.

The day after I posted the video, there were people who said
I made this footage by mixing the Patterson-Gimley footage into a different scene; it is all real, 100%. It is exactly as I saw it that day as I was passing by. Now that I have been asked about why I waited three years to reveal this footage, you have the answer. I am not a hoaxer, I just posted what I saw and then I defended the fact it is an intact footage.

Before this gets carried away, I felt it was important to share the rest of the story with you and I thank all the skeptics who were very
skeptical, you know who you are and I thank you and please accept my apology for not explaining everything I knew about this footage right from the start.

As a result of posting, I had the opportunity this past weekend to do some research. As for Bigfoot, yes, I am a believer and yes, we have stories, and I may have seen one in 1985 as well as evidence in the 1970s in the Creston Flats. I was able to do some learning through
various online blogs and videos, etc. I have a very strong theory about a particular Bigfoot story and I wish to shed light on in the future. Just remember that all I did was present original footage and respond to questions and comments that came out, since you have asked; now you have the full story.

Philippine Slums Are Using Water Bottles As Light Bulbs

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Need light? Can’t afford electricity? Here is a novel solution being implemented in the slums of the Philippines. WARNING: it does involve cutting a hole in a roof.

Proof Of Bigfoot Or Digital Hoax? You Decide

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Crypto folks were abuzz this weekend with a new video entitled Creston Flats Bigfoot. Without further comment, here is that video:

More details on the area where it was shot including local pictures and Google Maps can be found here at Bigfoot Evidence.

Meanwhile, The Crypto Hunters have called shenanigans on the clip and explain their grievance in a short video clip of their own, as found on their Facebook page.

So what say you weirdlings and weirdos? Real deal or digital trickery?

Newspaper Uncovers Decade Long Infestation Of Big Cats In Southern England

Monday, October 10th, 2011
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Two counties in Southern England have kept a disturbing secret since 2000. Big cats. Huge, killer beasts have prowled their streets. According to a Freedom of Information Act request, over 205 sightings in a ten year time.

Details of the phone calls range from straightforward details of times, locations and descriptions, to the somewhat strange.

One call recorded in February 2000, from the Roche area of Mid Cornwall, states: “Sighting of large cat-type creature. Caller stated that her son saw a large cat in fields behind their farm in the last five minutes or so.

“Caller stated that it has disappeared again but she wanted to know if they could shoot it, if seen again, or is it protected?” Seven months later, a member of the public from Axminster said: “The beast of Bodmin Moor is in the top of my garden lying down digesting his dinner. I called you 30 minutes ago re. this.”

Although reports have tapered off in recent years, there still remains the mystery of where these cats came from and if they are still lurking in the darkness. Waiting to strike.

[This Is Cornwall]

Even Golf Courses In Australia Are Dangerous

Monday, October 10th, 2011

This is a water hazard I can get behind.

[io9 via Sky News and YouTube]

Steve Jobs Changed the World (Again) The Day Before He Died

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Steve Jobs wasn’t just a man with great vision and instincts, he was a man that bet big on people, teams and concepts he believed in. Apple computers exist because Steve saw the potential in his friend Steve Wozniak’s hobbled together motherboard. The graphical user interface exists because Steve realized this academic notion that nobody knew what to do with was something that would make computers more personal, more accessible. He bet big on a couple of PhD’s and a fired Disney animator and shepherded Pixar for over a decade so it could eventually change entertainment and re-ignite the magic of storytelling.

At the Apple announcement the day before Steve Jobs passed away, we got another one of Steve Jobs’s visions of the future, a final legacy that will change everything, all over again. Like all his other visions, it was dismissed as obvious, incremental or no big deal. A year from now may prove otherwise.

From the beginning Steve Jobs has been dedicated to changing the way we interact with computers, making them more personal. Early Macs had text to speech functionality and primitive speech recognition. Both of these technologies have matured slowly over the last two decades. Neither in a groundbreaking moment. Part of the problem is that converting human speech into text is only a small part of the challenge.

Software and systems like Nuance, Vlingo, Google Voice Recognition and others have come a long way. But they still needed that magic touch to make them into practical alternatives. To do that you need three things: A powerful engine that can convert speech into text. Artificially intelligent software that can understand all the different ways you can phrase something and learn what you mean. And an over-arching idea on how it comes together and what it’s supposed to do for real people.

Watch the demonstration of the Siri voice assistant and you’ll see how Jobs and Apple saw beyond the present state of things and combined all three. Apple acquired the company and talent behind Siri because Steve Jobs recognized a team that got the way of the future. It wasn’t speech recognition. It was human understanding.

Siri is an AI system that learns things like an intelligent person. If you tell it “My mother’s name is Patricia”, it will remember that. When you tell it next time to “Send an email to my mom”, Siri knows that the “Patricia” in your contact book is who you meant when you say “mom”.

Speech recognition everywhere else is literal. It makes people bend to the way computers do things. You have to phrase things a certain way and be very specific. This has always been the antithesis of computing for Jobs. He believed that computing should conform to people.

Siri is built upon a lot of powerful technologies and concepts. Pundits who just saw it as another speech recognition platform totally missed the bigger picture. It’s a very big idea. If you ask it a question it doesn’t just do a Google search, it uses computational systems like WolframAlpha. Want to know the current distance to Mars for your kid’s homework? Siri will give you the actual answer and not just a search result that’s outdated and wrong.

A year from now voice interaction is going to be much more commonplace. It’ll go from just being text to speech and literal instructions, to a much more natural way to interact with our devices. Google’s impressive technology will continue to evolve. Apple’s Siri will get smarter. Other companies will continue to come up with brilliant contributions. iPhones, Androids and other devices will get better and better.

We’re about to see a paradigm shift in computing. All of the elements were there before. Natural language processing, speech recognition, AI. So was the GUI and mouse, the touchscreen, the MP3 player, the smartphone and the tablet. What they needed was someone to show us how to look at them and how to make them fit into everyday life so much so they become almost invisible.

Steve Jobs has always worked to put the hardware and the machine in the background. Siri is the next evolution of that goal. When you see the promotional video for the technology, it doesn’t feature people interacting with a piece of hardware, it’s merely a medium. It shows us people using technology in the most natural way possible, simply telling it what they need it to do. The last part of the video is the most touching. We see a young blind girl reading a Braille book and using her iPhone – a device she can’t even see – to send messages, interact and communicate with the rest of the world, the same as anyone else would. This is Steve Jobs legacy. This is how he changed the world, again.

Steve may passed away, but we’re only beginning to understand how big of a dent he kicked in the universe.

[More on Siri at Apple.com]

Ethereal [eBook Review]

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail 

“Falling in love is a lot like death.  It chooses you. It decides the moment and the chain of events that will preclude the precise intersection of life in which it occurs.”

Addison Moore crafts a tale of girly goodness in Ethereal.  If you enjoyed the Twilight series, the Vampire Diaries or just enjoy a good paranormal love story then you will most certainly like Ethereal.

Ethereal tells the story of young girl named Skyla who moves from sunny Los Angeles to foggy Paragon Island off the coast of Washington with her mother, sister and new step father and siblings.

Once on Paragon Island Skyla discovers that she is special in many ways and that she is not alone, especially on the island.   There she meets two handsome cousins, who both vie for her attention while trying to keep her safe from some of heavens darker elements.

I really enjoyed reading Ethereal.  It was a different take on the angel genre, that also had a strong, non whiney female lead that wasn’t content with just sitting around and waiting for whatever fate has in store for her.

Plus lets be honest what girl doesn’t like to read a good love story?  We can all relate to that feeling of being swept up in the good looks and charming personality of a new boy.

And then you throw in the supernatural/ sci-fi element and that love story becomes an intriguing tale of mystery and suspense.  Follow Skyla on her journey to discover who or what she is and what that will mean for her future and the future of her relationships.

If you are looking for a good romance with strong sci-fi elements then you should definitely pick up Ethereal.  You will not be disappointed!

[Amazon]

And Now… A Robot Peels A Grape

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Surgery robot Da Vinci shows off exactly how precise it is by peeling a grape. Like a show off.

[Da Vinci Surgery]