Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas to all my fellow geeks and heathens. As a (sort of) gift, I am providing links to some of my YouTube playlists for you to ignore or enjoy. Note that I would like to edit the start and end times for some of these, but it seems that YouTube (aka Google) has decided to take this feature away. For some reason.

I maintain all these playlists to varying degrees.

Entertainment

Canada’s Worst Driver is probably my favorite reality TV show. And most episodes are available on YouTube! The last 6 seasons are at least. I maintain this playlist because my wife and I like to go back and watch it from time to time. As more episodes become available, I will add them.

Canada’s Worst Handyman is another good reality TV show from Canada. It’s also very Wintery, so it feels like Christmas. :)

Here is a playlist featuring movies, TV shows and other videos for geeks. Many of these are anime. Note that some of these get deleted from time to time and I have no control over that.

This is a playlist of standup comedy in no particular order.

Secularism, Atheism, and Skepticism

Conspiracy Roadtrip is a BBC show that takes true believers in various conspiracy theories, including the idea that evolution is a scientific conspiracy, on a bus throughout the United States to show them the evidence that their belief is wrong and to see if they can change anyone’s mind. Note that the host of the show is a nonbelieving comedian, but he seems to treat the people pretty respectfully.

This is a collection of secular and atheist videos I’ve found across YouTube in no particular order.

Below are two playlists of my favorite Atheist Experience episodes and clips.

List 1:

List 2:

Here is a small list of ex-Jehovah’s Witness videos. Note that it includes the one about Kissing Hank’s Ass. :)

Review: “Edge of Tomorrow”

Edge of TomorrowEdge of Tomorrow is a science fiction action movie about a man who is forced to fight in a war against alien invaders, called Mimics, against his will. Only the aliens have the power to reset the day by creating a time loop and correcting any mistakes they make in battle once the day resets. This renders them all but invincible until the hero, William Cage, steals this power by accident and learns to turn it against the enemy. Note that Edge of Tomorrow is also known as Live. Die. Repeat. Probably because Edge of Tomorrow is a stupid name for the movie.

So, what did I think about Edge of Tomorrow? Yeah, I’ve heard the jokes. Many of you scoffed at this movie because Tom Cruise starred in it. You laughed and said it might be worth it to see Cruise get killed a bunch of times but that was about as far as you would go. Then you either downloaded it illegally for free (no judgements) or didn’t see it at all. Because you thought it was going to suck. Well…

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Review: “Penny Dreadful”

The cast of Penny Dreadful.On the surface, the first season of Penny Dreadful, by Showtime, is about a group of monster hunters trying to save Mina – the girl from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I think it’s a TV show that most will either love or hate. The critics seem to like it overall, but I know some viewers who have had trouble adapting to how it tells its story. This is understandable. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or leave it during the first few episodes. Then I figured out what Penny Dreadful was really about and how much I was missing. Even some of its fans have missed the real point. (Keep reading to find out what that is.)

The most obvious comparison to make with Penny Dreadful is surely League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which did some things well and some things badly. (The ending of League was pure stupid on buttered toast.) Both feature characters and settings from Victorian England. But Penny Dreadful is not a ripoff of League. Or if it is, then it does whatever League was striving for and does it far better.

When I first started to watch the show, I thought it didn’t know where it was going. Now, I realize the show wasn’t the problem. I was. That’s because I didn’t understand the show’s central conflict. You could say that I was paying attention to the wrong things and waiting for the story arc to turn on the wrong axis.

Here’s the secret to Penny Dreadful: It isn’t about killing vampires or rescuing Mina. These are just the things that get the characters working together on screen. Instead, Penny Dreadful is about the monsters within us all. This isn’t unusual by itself, but the show truly revolves around this theme and focuses on it almost exclusively. The battle against external monsters all but slips into the background. If you pay too much attention to this outer conflict, you’ll miss the good stuff and be underwhelmed. There’s only so much I can say without spoiling it for you, but a closer look at the major characters will give you some things to think about when watching the show.

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Review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Days of Future Past PosterX-Men: Days of Future Past is the sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (which was sort of decent, but not great), and X-Men: First Class (which was shockingly good), and even The Wolverine (couldn’t bring myself to see it). That’s right. This movie is the unholy offspring of a cinematic three-way. And it’s legal to show in theaters. Who could resist that? I had to go see it. It’s the law. No wonder the reviews for X-Men: Days of Future Past were so high!

Rotten Tomatoes gave DOFP a 92% freshness rating, while Metacritic gave it a 74% metascore. Geek blogs were raving about it as well. Still, any time travel movie that is the love child of a menage-a-troi is bound to have issues. Continuity issues, that is, which is something that geeks have been whining about with the X-Men movie franchise for years. Legend has it that DOFP is out to fix those issues, as well as erase the blasphemous turd that is Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand.

Were the rumors true? Did this movie change my life the way that Avatar (which has 3 more sequels coming out because DAMMIT JAMES CAMERON!) changed the wedding plans of thousands of nerds? Or did it make X-Men Origins: Wolverine look like a masterpiece of cinema? (Shudder.)

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