Robert Chesley

What I WPR’d This Week #2

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I think I’m going to try to do this as a regular thing (twice makes this thing regular right?). Well, we’ll see how often I can keep this up.

I started school since the last article, so the content may be getting a little lighter as we continue forward. I’ve been going to college on and off for about seven years now. I admit, that I have made some mistakes in my past, and I shouldn’t even be in this position today, however, kids today have it so much easier than when I first started.

Both of my professors really don’t require me to purchase the book. Most of the content of the course is available to me through the slides they post online and through notes you take during lectures. Additionally, iTunes has a section that has free lecture series from top universities from around the country that you can download as podcasts. I took advantage of a Berkley Astronomy lecture series and got an amazing grade in that class, this semester looks to be no different as I’m also “taking” my Introduction to Biology through MIT as well.

I recommend these as sources of entertainment for people no longer in school but would be interested in learning about subjects. Most of the material found in these “open courseware” versions are the same as you would get from attending a college class.

It’s mindboggling how much information is open to students today than just a few years ago when I was just starting out in college, not to mention that it’s far easier to get a hold of professors (I attend a small college, which is both a blessing and a curse).

A lot of my instructors fully embrace technology and have encouraged us to find them on Facebook, email, text messages, boring old-school phone, office hours, and just about everything else sans telepathy.

Ferrel and WalhburgI’m going to start off the column proper by chatting about the movie I saw in an actual theater, can you believe it? I went to see “The Other Guys” with my friend this past week.

Outside of complaining about ticket prices (again, I’m spoiled in the fact that my “weekend” usually falls on Tuesdays, so going to a theater on a Friday night was a new monetary experience for me), the theater was quite nice and the movie really didn’t disappoint.

For those unfamiliar with Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s previous works, they worked on “Anchorman” which is considered one of the best comedic works of this century. We see the same witty writing style we’ve come to expect from this duo, but I was particularly impressed by Mark Wahlberg in this film. I generally feel that he is a stiff, uncharismatic actor. However, in this film we see him spread his wings a little as he plays the role of a hard-boiled cop very well.

The entire cast was great, but it was Ferrell who steals most of the scenes in this movie. I wasn’t too impressed by the action sequences, particularly towards the end, even though it is a motif of the genre, I felt like the movie had to hurry up to end in a lot of regards.

Recently, I also had a chace to watch “Date Night”. This romantic comedy starring two of the best comedic actors of our time, Tina Fey and Steve Carell was pretty much your typical, husband and wife who are going through a pretty monotonous relationship story. To get out of their rut, they decide to go against their normal “date” routine and go to the city. While in the city, they steal a reservation that was meant for another party and all of a sudden, this family from suburbia gets whisked away in story full of political intrigue and quickly get in over their head.

My complaints would have to be that I felt that there wasn’t really a plot to the movie and that Tina Fey doesn’t really strike me as an ‘everywoman’. She definitely looks the part, but there is a scene where she has to ask what a “flash drive” is. I didn’t believe her and I’m not sure why that was even in there. Flash drives are pretty universal these days and I didn’t feel like it needed an explanation. If anyone at your office asks you what the little “thingy that hangs out of the computer” is, smack them and explain to them what the term “flash drive” is.  Even with all of that, I recommend it. It is a pretty middle-of-the-road romantic comedy.

The final thing that I’ve watched this week was another romantic comedy called “It’s Complicated.” I’m a sucker for both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, and looking over the cast list of this film it read like it should have been a winner. The story is based on a woman who is just on the downward trend of her middle age who has an on-again off-again relationship with her Ex (played by Baldwin) and the love triangle that ensues when a new architect enters her life (played by Martin).

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this movie, but it was really clear early on that it was told strictly from a female point of view. I had a hard time relating as I am neither a woman nor middle-aged. Where as “Date Night” clearly played in neutral gender territory, this film was clearly aimed for a softer audience.

Some of the jokes will probably catch on with the older married audience that this film was clearly marketed towards which is too bad, because both Martin and Baldwin still shine on “30 Rock”. It’s unfortunate that both were played up to be the typical male stereotypes and weren’t really given enough to do in this movie.

As for what I’ve been playing? Well, I drafted on Magic the Gathering: Online this week for the first time in a long, long time. I actually did quite well, winning all of my matches on a fairly weak Green / White weenie deck. I love drafting core sets and M11 doesn’t disappoint as there is a lot of really neat combat tricks.

My opponents seemed either inexperienced or not as familiar with the new cards as I was because I saw a few play mistakes that if capitalized on, they could have easily bounced me from the tournament.

I played really well although I did notice a few play mistakes of my own. I can’t emphasize enough that you should be attacking when you are playing an aggressive style deck as soon and as often as possible. I won my 4 packs of cards, and judging by my budget this week, it was nice that my investment went a little bit further than normal.

I also picked up one of the “From the Vault: Relics” sets. These are extremely limited and if they are still on sale as of this posting (I’m not immediately sure if they are or not) I recommend getting one, the Mox Diamond is worth the entry price alone (32 dollars) and it has cards that are perfect if you are looking to jump into Elder Dragon Highlander or Commander as they call it in the online game.

I’ll also be playing some more actual paper Magic this coming week in preparations for the pre-release which are happening at your local game stores on the 25th of September. I’ll probably be making my way to either Dragon’s Keep or Blakfyre Games here in Utah Valley to play.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Anamanaguchi, they do the soundtrack for the “Scott Pilgrim” video game. I completely recommend it if you love old school NES style with a little surf punk thrown in.

Until next week, I have a lot of things on my plate. I’m going to try to get to Beatles Rock Band and more Red Dead Redemption. I know everyone on here will probably be rocking Halo: Reach…personally I’m looking forward to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

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