Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Cincinnati

Happy Thanksgiving. Here's the classic Thanksgiving WKRP in Cincinnati episode from season one, "Turkeys Away." Enjoy and God bless.

Thor: The Dark World 3D review

I usually don't start a movie review with a tip about the end credits. But I feel it's important if you see Thor: The Dark World. There are two scenes in the closing credits. One comes midway in the credits. The other is at the very end of the credits of the movie. It's this one that I strongly urge you to stay for. This end credit scene should have been in the main part of the film. I'm guessing that maybe Marvel Studios thought it was too annoying for pre-teenage boys.

Thor: The Dark World starts out with a flashback. Evil elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) wants to unleash the Aether. From what I can tell the Aether will destroy the universe and replace it with a dark world. Oh, why couldn't this elf be one of Santa's. Bor, the father of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor's father, defeats Malekith. But the Aether is trapped in another universe and the evil elves escape.

In the present day, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) who's a little crazy and very funny, discovers that the nine Realms are aligning allowing passages between them. Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is accidentally sucked into one and comes into contact with the Aether. Thor (Chris Hemsworth)returns to earth to find Foster. In the first Thor movie, they had a romance. Anyway, Foster tells Thor not to do remakes of silly right-wing fantasies like Red Dawn. Okay, that's not what happened. Thor takes Foster to Asgard to find a way to remove the Aether from her. You see Obamacare doens't cover this type of sickness. Anyway, Malekith is still looking for the Aether and Thor must enlist the help of Loki (Tim Hiddleston) to find Malekith's dark world.

Thor: The Dark World delivers the goods even with this strange and confusing plot. There are nice touches of humor. And director Alan Taylor doesn't let his camera get in the way of the sincere performances of he actors. The film is touching at times, and features entertaining action scenes. One complaint. There are times that the action is too frantic and there's confusion. The score by Brian Tyler is magnificent. It's heroic and the bold main theme should be used for all future Thor movies.

As for the 3D version of this movie, I recommend you see it in 2D. Like its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World is a 3D conversion Unlike the first one, this movie is well lit. I'm not sure if the filmmakers knew it was going to be released in 3D and adjusted. But you can see most of the picture. Unfortunately, like almost all 2D conversions to 3D, this movie lacked pop and depth. Nothing to see here.

Thor: The Dark World is a worthy successor to the first Thor movie. Fun, humorous and romantic. And remember don't leave until you see the last scene after the credits. The grade is B+.

Grand Theft Auto V: Knife Flight tips

If you want to get the one hundred percent achievement (Career Criminal) for Grand Theft Auto V, you're going to have to complete eight knife flights. And if you want the achievement Close Shave you will have to do all fifteen knife flights. Just in case you don't know, a knife flight is done with a fixed wing aircraft, i.e. airplane or jet plane. To complete one, you must fly sideways between two buildings or structures.

Sounds easy? In case you forgot, this is flying planes in a Grand Theft Auto game. And if you played GTA: San Andreas, you remember it sucked. The game mechanics for flying planes in a GTA game stink. You're asked to fly a plane with overly sensitive controls with real world physics and turbulence. The knife flights must be done within a certain zone. And to make matters worse, many of them are low to the ground. Oh, I forgot. Knife flights are not marked and some of the angles taken require sharp turns. Yep, knife flights are painful.

So here are some tips. I got all fifteen. I'm not the greatest GTA player. And if I can do it, you can do it.

1. Get the right aircraft. There are three aircraft you should consider. Generally, don't use jets except for one. Jets are too fast and lack maneuverability. You see you will have to make sharp turns with accuracy. The two airplanes I recommend are the Mallard and the biplane Duster,

There is one exception to the no jet rule. It's the Lazer, the fighter jet. You can get one at Fort Zancudo. Below I've posted a video of the locations of the knife flights and note it shows how to get the Lazer. Thanks to Next Segment. Now the fighter jet is good for a couple of reasons. It's more maneuverable than most jets. And it has more power than an airplane allowing you to stay in the air longer during the low altitude knife flight attempt. It also goes through the area quicker which may save your life.

2. Quick save while in the air. You can quick save after a successful Knife flight or you can save before you attempt one.

3. You can complete a knife flight even if you died in the attempt. Many times I died in the knife flight attempt but still got credit for completing the flight. You will either see the graphic of completion or after you get out of the hospital, the program will ask you to autosave which means you got it. Regardless, check your stats to confirm it.

4. Use landmarks to set up the knife flight. There's a knife flight north of the movie studio. I used a triangular building to help me to line up the knife flight.

5. PATIENCE. If you're not lined up right, circle around. Look it's less annoying than reloading a saved game after dying so take your time.

I hope this helps. It took my an evening to get all of them. And again, if I can do it, you can.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ghost in the machine : Mass Effect 3 Retaliation DLC crashed my XBOX

So I try to play Mass Effect 3 multiplayer when it freezes at the loading menu. That's the menu which looks like couple of PCs and features your galaxy at war report. It also tells you that your XBOX is connecting with EA's servers. Now this happened after I lost the Internet connection. I reconnect easily and every device that is attached works. I call EA support on a Friday. We delete everything including all the DLC and reload it. Well, it looks like it worked since I could immediately play the game starting from the menu. But the next day, I started the game back up again and it froze. My XBOX crashed.

I call EA support again. This time we did a route trace. (Don't ask me what that means. I think it has to do with looking at the Internet signal to my XBOX.) EA tells me i'ts my ISP. I call Cincinnati Bell. We do a route trace there. They analyze and say since I can play Grand Theft Auto, it ain't us. They tell me to call EA again. I call EA again. They think it's a particular DLC. I'm told to delete each DLC and reinstall to see which one. Oh and before that we created another profile to test my XBOX. On that one, the test profile ran and it worked. That means whatever is wrong is attached to my profile. Which stinks since my multiplayer profile has all the weapons maxed out. Hey I play a lot of Mass Effect. Goddess. Well, I test each DLC. Voila. It's the DLC Retaliation that is crashing.

EA moves me up past Tier 2 support. I'm now discussing my case with senior tech support. This nice gentleman tells me to take my XBOX to another network. Now I've already done everything in support protocol. Disconnect my modem. Take the XBOX off the Internet and reconnect. I literally took my XBOX and directly connected it to the Internet connection. And I had said before, created a test profile to test whether it was my XBOX or my profile. Loaded each DLC separately and found it was Retaliation. So I'm a little skeptical. He said something about re-synchronizing my profile and XBOX.

The Happy Ending.

Well, I take my XBOX to another network. And it worked. What the ? Then I took it home. It took a little bit of coaxing because I couldn't connect. I ran the connection tests and got the XBOX to go online. And it started to work! I have no idea why Retaliation crashed on my profile. All I can say is that taking it to another network may have reset everything. One more strange thing. When downloading the single player DLC again, I would lose connection to EA's servers. Not a real problem since I just would reconnect. The bottom line is that I got Mass Effect to work again. Thank the goddess.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bengals choke in second straight overtime loss

For the second straight time the Cincinnati Bengals lost in overtime. This time it was to the Baltimore Ravens, 20-17. The Bengals offense was putrid. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is beginning to remind me of Jon Kitna. He threw three picks. I gave up on the the third one. Here's the story from the Cincinnati Bengals. Here's Lance McAlister's point of view.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Colbert creates a service to "praise" Fox News

Stephen Colbert reported that Fox News would have staffers watch the Internet for negative comments and they would rebut them. Well, now Colbert's show has created a bot that takes positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and stick Fox News shows into them. Brilliantly funny.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V: "Legal Trouble" Gold Medal Tips

In Grand Theft Auto V, there are two tough requirements for the Gold Medal for the mission "Legal Trouble." They are the time limit of five minutes, thirty seconds and losing the wanted level in two minutes. There's also a tricky requirement of having the Weazel helicopter film the chase for fifteen seconds.

First, let's discuss completing the mission under five minute thirty seconds. The guys at Grand Theft Auto Series Videos show you how. When you reach the Maze Arena, take the road in front of it. Don't follow the yellow recommended route to the left. Now, watch the video below at the three minute forty second mark. You need to cut across the highway by the arena and go through the gap before the railing. That's a short cut that will save you time. Then when you get on the jet, don't worry about taxing on the runway. Just start her up and take off. Second, I fly west and high to elude the police. All of this should get you under the time limit and also cause you to elude the police by two minutes.

One more thing. I had trouble accessing the Weazel News helicopter camera. That's because I was driving in the first person view. You need to drive in the third person view to access the camera. Easy.

Grand Theft Auto V: " Repossession" Gold Medal tips

Here are tips for getting the Gold Medal for Franklin's "Repossession" mission. I got it with a couple of attempts. Now remember you can get all the requirements in multiple attempts by replaying a mission. IF you're great, you might get it in one try, like the guys that do Grand Theft Series videos.

The hardest part of this mission is the getting under the time limit. It's under six minutes and thirty seconds. First, you have to skip the cutscenes. Now once you get to the alleyway where the bike you have to repossess, go to the single garage on the right. That starts the fire fight with the gang.

Now I replayed this mission with better weapons and laid waste to the gang members. The guy below is unbelievably good. It took me a couple of attempts to get all the requirements especially the time limit requirement.

Once you destroy the car driving away and kill all the gang members, Lamar will ask you how you are doing. That's the cue for you to look for the appearance of a gang member getting on the bike outside of the fence. Shoot him. Hopefully, you have an automatic weapon if you've already got the accuracy requirement. Aim to the right of the bike and at him. If you're good try to make it a head shot. If you miss and have to chase him you will run out of time for the Gold Medal requirement. If you're good or lucky, you will nail him. Once you kill him, hop on the bike and easily take it back. Skip the cutscenes at the end.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bengals bungle in Miami

Thursday night, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton learned what it feels like to be a Bengal. Against the Miami Dolphins, he threw three interceptions. Doh. Sacked in his endzone for a game winning safety in overtime. Doh. Bengals lose 22-20. This is how the old Bengals lose.

And to add insult to injury, Bengals superstar defensive tackle Geno Atkins tore his ACL in his knee. Out for the season. Classic Cincinnati Bengals heartbreaking moment. Doh, doh. Here's the story from the Bengals.

Grand Theft Aiuto V Golf tips

Having trouble getting the 100 percent requirement in Grand Theft Auto V's with the Golf game? As you know you must score par or under to get it. Here are some tips on how I got it.

Some basics.

I'm not going to go into detail about the game of golf. But here are the basic rules. The less strokes it takes to get the ball in the hole, the better your score. The 100 percent requirement requires you to get par or the exact number of shots in the game or lower. I've noticed that some of you on the Internet are having difficulties. I had trouble for a few hours until I figured out how to play the game.

Before you start swinging your golf club, scout the circumstances of the hole. On the XBOX, the left trigger previews the hole. The right trigger previews the shot. Note if you preview the shot, it tells you the trajectory and where the ball is going to land. The right trigger and right stick can also direct where the ball will land pursuant to your wishes. On the right upper corner is information about the club you are using, wind direction, and spin on the ball. There are four types of shots. Approach, normal, power and punch. Approach shots are accurate but have less power. I didn't use power much. Normal shots are just that. Punch shots put less trajectory on a shot.

Swinging is important. I'm talking about swinging your golf club so get your minds out of the gutter. On the XBOX, you start your swing by pulling back on the left stick. The power meter on the right shows a cross heading toward a yellow area. Push or shove forward on the same stick to hit the ball. Now this is most important. PUSH STRAIGHT. If you push off to the left or right, you will shank the shot. So think hit the ball straight through. You want the cross to hit the yellow area when you swing.

Now I've added a video below from Witness Gaming. It's a good video that will help you see what I'm talking about. The narrator tells you that putting spin on is an advanced technique. But I'm going to tell you that putting spin on the ball will help you immensely. If you see the ball is going to overshoot the hole then you might want to add backspin to cause the ball to roll backwards. When the ball is in the air, hold left stick back, tap the A button to cause the ball to roll back when it hits the green. If you need the ball to roll right push the stick right and tap A. And for the left, vice versa.

Basic strategy.

Like real golf, you need to get to the green with as little shots as possible. Where you are going to have trouble with GTA V Golf is the putting. For the right club, I use the recommendations from the program for shots. They are good. Remember what I said about hitting the ball.

Second, I basically use the program's recommendations for the first two shots of any hole. Now if I think the wind is going to be significant, I will compensate very slightly. That's about four to five miles an hour. IF the wind is blowing hard from the right, I will use the right trigger and stick to move the direction slightly right into the wind. But the program will do a very good job of direction for the first two shots.

The shot that you take to get the ball on the green is where you want to adjust slightly from the program's recommendations. You may need to adjust where the ball will land. Get as close to the hole as possible or even see if you can sink it. I never did but frankly, all I was concerned about was getting the requirement. Remember what I said about spin. If you land in the rough just outside of the green, I use a punch shot since it has a lower trajectory.

Putting is where you will lose on strokes. The reason is that GTA does a bad job of giving you touch to hit the ball with your putter. Once you are on the green, note the grid placed. Yellow areas are areas higher than the ball. Red areas are lower than the ball. The same philosophy for hitting the ball applies as above without the wind considerations. But if you need to adjust the direction of the ball, use the right stick ever so slightly to adjust the direction. With the loss of strokes on the green, this is why you need to get the ball to the hole with as few strokes as possible and as close as possible.

After a few hours, I finally got par or less. I got a couple of birdies. My score was two under par. If I can do it you can do it. And golf is a relaxing game. Hilarious too with Trevor. I played with Trevor in his underwear.