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From the Trailer Park -- Avengers: Age of Ultron

Third trailer is out! Teasing Vision still…

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Robert Palmer. How can it be permissible…

Game Over Man


A Chinese gamer died after a 19 hour session of World of Warcraft, according to The Telegraph:

CCTV footage shows Wu Tai, 24, playing the game on his computer before repeatedly coughing violently and then slumping in his chair.

Mr Wu was visiting the internet cafe in Shanghai to play World of Warcraft, the role-playing fantasy game,alongside other fans. w

The footage shows fellow gamers looking on in shock as Mr Wu collapses and is then taken away by paramedics.

Hsin Lo, a fellow gamer, said he called an ambulance after noticing Mr Wu appeared to be pale and ill.

He said: “I suddenly heard him groan and when I turned to see what had happened he was very pale and looked uncomfortable.

“He was dabbing his mouth with a hankie which had blood on it.”

When the paramedics arrived they tried to resuscitate Mr Wu, but he was already dead.

A police spokesman said: “An autopsy will determine the cause of death but there seems little doubt his playing on the computer for 19 hours instead of resting contributed to his death.”

Whether he leveled up or not is a question above my pay grade.

Wednesday Open Thread

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park -- photo by Mrs. Turbo

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park — photo by Mrs. Turbo

Took the Turbos to Yosemite National Park back in 2011. Very few sites live up the hype — no one can say that about Yosemite. Whatever your favorite image of Yosemite — in person blows it away.

Classic Pick O' the Day: March 4

you married into it

No Country for Old Men (2007)
A poacher has to elude the Texas Rangers and the mob after stealing drug money.
Dir: Joel Coen Cast: Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Beth Grant. Rated R. Turner Classic Movies. 12:30 AM PST.

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Peter Gabriel. You could have a steam train, you if you’d just lay down your tracks…

The Walking Thread: Remember (S5, E12)

rick remember

Team Rick goes to the suburbs, and the biggest surprise is that things actually seem to be on the up and up there. But if so (and that’s a big if at this point), after so much time on the road, living only for survival, is this a transition they will be able to make?

“Remember” opens with the group arriving in Alexandria which, we learn, is a fully-functioning, secure and sustainable high-end neighborhood. The people there (led by Deanna, a former congresswoman) seem to be genuinely decent and normal human beings. Indeed, that appears to be the only thing about them that’s strange- having lived in this sheltered community ever since the Zombie Apocalypse, they don’t seem to have been much affected by it. Which Rick and his group find rather disturbing, but take as a sign of hope.

Upon their arrival, Deanna demands they “check” their weapons (always a red flag on this show), which they’re not happy about but are willing to go along with. (They hand over so many guns that one of the town’s residents remarks, “we should’ve brought another bin.”) Then she interviews Rick (and later the others separately) on camera to get to know them a bit, and then lets them all find a house to stay in.

The proceeding scenes make for some of the most entertaining in the show’s history, as we see how different members of the group adjust to a sudden return to “normal” life. Some of them embrace it (Carol is more than happy to put down her assault rifle, put on a sweater and return to being a housewife, albeit without the family this time), others are more hesitant (Rick is happy for the running water and the chance to – gasp! – shave off his trademark beard and have a cute blonde neighbor give him a haircut, but still feels uneasy about the whole thing), and others find it a bad fit (Daryl in particular, but then again he didn’t much fit in with civilization before the Zombie Apocalypse, either). It’s especially gratifying to see Rick’s teenage son Carl get back some of the childhood he’s missed out on, discovering that he can make friends, play video games and even go to school in Alexandria.

Eventually we learn why Deanna was performing the on-camera interviews of everyone; in fact, it’s the very reason she brought them to Alexandria: she has jobs she needs them to do, in order to keep the community running. In particular, she needs Rick to be their new Constable, to use his experience as a postapocalyptic leader and a former Sheriff to keep order there. Indeed, we soon discover that the town’s security currently consists of a couple of young hotheads who like to string up Walkers in their spare time, so it’s clear that Alexandria desperately needs some seasoned zombie-killers in charge.

Deanna realizes that Rick and his group have valuable experience out in the real world that will help ensure the cloistered citizens of Alexandria’s continued survival. A savvy move on her part, but it also underlines the main threat that Team Rick now faces: complacency. Alexandria doesn’t appear to contain the usual threats of Walkers or other humans (although Rick is keeping a close eye on both), at least not to a worrisome degree, but the real concern is that they will get too comfortable living here and become, as Carl calls it, “weak”, like the other Alexandrians have become. Complacency is something these characters have never had to deal with before, and they are well aware that if they’re not careful, it could be the death of them.

The episode ends on a dark and foreboding note, as Rick tells his people that while they will do their best to integrate and serve the people of Alexandria, they may need to take some unpleasant steps to ensure their own survival, possibly even taking the city away from them if necessary. This is a true antihero moment for Rick, but while he recognizes that these are good people and he’d rather avoid bloodshed, he also recognizes that he and his friends are lions living among gazelles. How long before the law of the jungle intrudes upon their fragile relationship with these people?

Random thoughts on this episode:

*When Deanna assigns the group jobs, she says with a chuckle, “I guess the communists won after all!” She clearly means it as a joke, but it’s also a sign for conservative-minded viewers that this place is a little too good to be true.

*When Carl meets and gets to hang out with other teenagers for the first time, they ask him to pick the activity, and he completely freezes up, unsure of what to say. It’s a great little effective moment showing all the social development this child has missed out on while wandering the roads and shooting Walkers.

*Melissa McBride (Carol) deserves special kudos for her acting in this episode. Particularly in the scene when Deanna interviews her, and she puts on a big smile and pretends to miss her husband (she doesn’t; he was an abusive a-hole) in order to give the impression she can’t wait to get back to being domestic. It’s a tricky scene because we in the audience know she’s engaging in a small deception to win over her new hosts, but she makes no attempt to signal it to us. McBride nails the subtleness of this scene perfectly.

*As the group is tensely approaching the gates of Alexandria, they are startled by a possum and Daryl shoots it with his crossbow. He holds up the dead skewered animal and, as their new hosts come out to greet them, he says awkwardly, “we brought dinner.” Awesome. Daryl rules.

Tuesday Open Thread

Photo by Cory John O'Quinn

Photo by Cory John O’Quinn

The photo is of the outline of Casa Grande from Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park. One of the great joys of my life was camping here while in college — sitting at night smoking good cigars, shooting the shit and watching the stars and satellites in Big Bend.

Crooked As a Dog’s Hind Leg

Here’s the Headline — Clinton had no official State Department e-mail address. Let that sink in for a moment…

Using personal email as a sole method of communication appears to break rules outlined by the National Archives and Records Administration. The government agency stipulates that personal email can only be used in “emergency situations,” and when used, the emails “are captured and managed in accordance with agency record-keeping practices.”

According to the Times report, Clinton’s “aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time.”

CNN emails to Nick Merrill, Clinton’s spokesman, have gone unanswered. But Merrill did tell the Times that Clinton had been following the “letter and spirit of the rules” and that she has “every expectation they [the emails] would be retained” because Clinton was emailing with other State Department officials’ government accounts.

Despite Clinton using a personal email address, all of her emails to official government accounts would be archived as received mail by the people on the other end of the email. Her communication with people not using government emails, however, would likely not be automatically kept.

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The Cars. Summer! It turns me upside down…