The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

Category: Arts & Literature (page 3 of 16)

Video Game Addiction and Child Abuse in Reno

Hmmmm…while I’m a firm believer that people can become addicted to pretty much anything, I’m having a hard time believing this story, where a couple in Reno, NV, are saying their Internet and online gaming addiction caused them to starve and otherwise horribly neglect — c’mon, let’s call it what it is: abuse — their very young children.

Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing “Dungeons & Dragons” series, to give their children proper care. “They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games,” Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Are we really going to say that kind of neglect stems from their video game use? They couldn’t tear themselves away long enough to feed or wash two babies? Or is it more likely that they wouldn’t have been feeding or washing them anyway? Either way, perhaps they’ll be put somewhere where the food won’t be delivered because the kitchen staff is playing Tetris. Oh, and where there are a lot of cats on the floor above. (Trust me.)

As an aside, what the heck is the prosecutor talking about when she refers to the online “Dungeons & Dragons” series? Is talking about the D&D Stormreach MMO? If so, I’m amazed there are enough players for there to be addicts. 😐

A Brief Snippet of Our Experience Watching Knocked Up

We went to see Knocked Up the other day. I didn’t think it was the instant classic A. O. Scott called it, but it was funny. (I liked The 40 Year Old Virgin a bit more, partially because the lead was a lot more charming and the story had more focus, but in both cases I kind of like Judd Apatow’s approach to romantic comedy: If two flawed people get together, romance isn’t going to suddenly make them better. As a result, in both films don’t end with “Happily Ever After”…more like “We’ll Give It A Good Try!”)

Anyway, this was supposed to be about the experience watching the movie, not a review, and nothing stands out more than watching any movie sitting near The Really High Woman Who Talks REALLY LOUD (hereinafter referred to as RHW).

RHW and her male friend walked into the theater as the trailers were playing, and he somehow got her up to our row as she weaved alarmingly. I thought perhaps she was just having some balancing the gigantic hair someone had placed on her head. (She seemed unfamiliar with it.)

They sat down, and RHW asked some loud questions of her paramour about the trailers that weren’t entirely intelligible. She then announced she was hungry, to no one in particular.

Then the movie came on. Knocked Up features an alarming amount of pot smoking through the first half of the movie. (Seriously. I really like Harold & Kumar, and this movie made that one seem like one of those talking, anti-drug dog commercials. In Knocked Up, you just hope they’re not in an enclosed area so they can get oxygen.) This fact seems to have touched a nerve in RHW, who proceeded to yell at various points during the first 15 minutes:

“THEY’RE SO HIIIIIGH! HAHAHAHAHA!”

“LOOK AT THEM!”

“I WISH I HAD SOME OF THAT!”

“I’M SOOOOOO JEALOUS!”

“HAHAHAHAHA…LOOK AT THAT BONG!”

“OOOH, I WANT THAT…HAHAHAHAHA!”

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I find that kind of running commentary more entertaining than any movie, but what really amused me was what happened next:

“I WANT To…mumble…mumble…LET’S GO! HAHAHAHAHAHaHaHahahahahaha….” And they left. Less than 20 minutes into the movie. We were wondering if they went to get food and got distracted. We just hoped she wasn’t driving.

So, kids, think of it this way: If you’re overly enthusiastic about marijuana, our anecdotal research indicates you will waste $17.00 on movie tickets on most modern comedies.

In the meantime, I’m kind of hoping she comes to see the sequel to Superman Returns. “HEY, THAT GUY’S FLYING! I WANT TO FLY! WOOOOOOOSH!” 🙂

They Call Him Lightning

Just to show I’m a huge nerd, when I saw this news about Seth Adams being the likely starting quarterback for the University of Mississippi, I read it as Teth-Adam. Not too bad, but then I was unreasonably intrigued by the idea of a killer supervillain/hero with the power of seven ancient gods playing in the SEC.

“The line collapses and Dempsey’s getting a free shot at the quarterback…OH…Oh my! Teth-Adam just threw Dempsey’s head to the receiver! The receiver drops it!”

“Well, Brad, normally he’s got great hands, but there’s a limit to the amount of horror you can withstand on the field.”

“Even if he had caught it, there’s a flag on the field, and I have to assume it’s against Ole Miss. Let’s go to Paul Maguire for his view from the sideline while we wait on the call.”

“GUYS, THAT WAS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN! Dempsey’s arm landed right in front of our cart!”

“The referee has made the call…It’s a personal foul…unnecessary roughness against the Rebels.”

“Bob, it looks like Teth-Adam is going out to dispute the call…Our producers are telling me it’s a good time to cut to a commercial break.”

That all being said, I hope Seth Adams is successful, but how did Ole Miss get to the point of needing to start a transfer from Delta State who never started a game at his old school?

Link courtesy of Every Day Should Be Saturday.

A Few Thoughts on the Concert for Diana

We saw part of the Concert for Diana yesterday, and it looked like it went pretty well, given the difficult nature of huge live events. I had a few thoughts run though my head while watching, though, and figured I’d share them with an interested audience:

  • Realizing they weren’t promising music Princess Di liked, I still found it interesting that several of the acts weren’t known ten years ago. The list might have reflected the princes’ musical tastes as well, but I kept thinking it partially looked like the artist list you would get automatically from the BBC and VH1 for any concert.
  • Speaking of which: Fergie? Really? And she didn’t do London Bridge? When is a better time?
  • I didn’t catch this part, but why would English audiences care if Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson were there with Simon Cowell?
  • Josh Groban did a remarkable job fighting off Sarah Brightman during their duet.
  • Oh, Rod Stewart. That’s why they didn’t fill the entire concert with acts Diana liked.
  • In case you were wondering about Donny Osmond and dozens of kids wearing Chickenshed shirts, here you go.
  • Drop It Like It’s Hot. Pharrel Williams, everyone! A big round of applause! He’s really captured the spirit of the event!
  • Oh, good, Kanye West is here. He’ll straighten it all out. “Now I ain’t saying she a Gold Digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke…” Oh, that’s not good.
  • For the first time in my life, I felt sorry for Ricky Gervais.
  • And Elton John was finally able to take the stage to finish off the concert — he opened as well. This time he’ll do Candle in the Wind for the first time since Diana’s funeral, right? Nope. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.
  • Wait, when did Diana die? Oh yeah, Saturday night.

Anyway, I’m kind of picking on it, but like I said, it worked well. Much more smoothly than Live 8. I just wonder if everyone was told what the concert was for?

The Revolution Is Upon Us

Prepare for a dip in the global economy: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution.

On a side note, I’m going to be really busy next spring doing…ah…stuff…so don’t bother me.

Link courtesy of Too Many Topics, Too Little Time.

I, Simpson

Just in case you don’t know what I look like, I offer here an accurate representation of myself:

Shane, Simpson

Handsome devil, that. All yellow and…ahem…a few pounds less heavy than I would have thought.

It’s from the Simpsons Avatar Creator, on The Simpsons movie site. Their application works even better than the one for South Park, but South Park’s does let you become a pirate, which is cool.

Link courtesy of Best Week Ever, which tries for Paris Hilton, but I think this might work better as Paris in the Simpsons universe:

Inanimate Carbon Rod

The Inanimate Carbon Rod. 🙂

Box Office Almighty

So far, I’ve seen one news outlet after another talk about the disappointing opening weekend for Evan Almighty: $32.1 million. That return might not be so bad for a comedy, except this one cost anywhere between $175 million and $220 million to make, according to the same outlets.

Now, personally, I have almost as little interest in seeing Evan Almighty as I did Bruce Almighty. The only difference? I’ll see most things with Steve Carell in them, but I avoid movies with Jim Carrey in them. So, for me, spending that much money on the movie doesn’t seem like a good decision. However, maybe that’s just me?

Oh, wait…Hollywood has this great little tool they can use for decision-making. It’s called revenue, and it comes in numeric form. You know what Bruce Almighty made in the U.S. in box office receipts? $242 million. Worldwide it made $484 million. It was made for $80 million.

Did the studios — the project was dropped by one and picked up by another — really think spending over twice as much money would get them a similar increase in return? Or are they just satisfied pulling profit from foreign markets and DVDs, so the budget for any sequel can be equal to the estimated domestic revenue? (And if that’s the case, why the emphasis on first-weekend returns?)

Oh, by the way, the Wikipedia link just recounts the entire plot of Evan Almighty, so you might want to avoid it if you’re planning to see the movie. Or, like me, you can read it and realize you apparently aren’t missing anything exciting. 😐

Go See Nancy Drew

We went to see Nancy Drew last weekend, partly because we were curious what Hollywood might do with the character, and partially because we weren’t quite in the mood for seeing another comedy or comic-book action blockbuster on opening weekend in a crowded theater. You know what? It was good. Not one of the best movies of the year — well, I shouldn’t say that, the year’s been moving a little slow so far — but a good story that conveyed what’s appealing about the novels. It also would have been a good movie for parents to take their kids…as opposed to Ocean’s Thirteen, where we saw several children getting dragged.

Looking around, it seems that critics panned it as mediocre. The common theme was that it didn’t live up to their expectation of a fish-out-of-water comedy or a sophisticated, modern take on a classic character. From what I saw, the primary points where the movie fell flat were the fish-out-of-water parts, which just seemed jarring, and as for a sophisticated take on the character…well, I have a feeling that was wishful thinking based on an optimistic view of how complex the character actually was. I read a lot more Hardy Boys than Nancy Drew when I was younger, and I’m thinking complexity in any adaptation of the Hardy franchise would definitely end up fundamentally changing the source material.

In ND, they decided to stick with the source material. Not a bad option, but it only ended up garnishing $6.8 million of your hard-earned wages. That likely means it will be out of the theaters soon, which is a shame. Considering some of the other movies we’ll see this summer, it’s worth the money they’re going to get. So, go see it, while you still can. The Fantastic Four and Steve Carell will be waiting for you until next weekend. 🙂

Spam and Amanda Bynes

I love the Akismet integration in WordPress. It does such a great job of protecting me from comment spam I barely have to moderate anymore. 9,048 spam comments and counting.

However, sometimes I do wander into the spam room to see what’s popular lately, and this time one particular entry struck me:

Thanks for the good site and usefulinfo. I found amanda bynes feet

That’s good, Spam. You found her feet. I hope the rest was still attached, and no tragedy has befallen Ms. Bynes.

Hot 5

Hmm, looks like Maxim came out with its Hot 100 (supposedly straight), and AfterEllen.com responded with a lesbian version. Let’s see how they match up with a…uh…“random” list of five women.

List Maxim rank AfterEllen rank
Alyson Hannigan n/a 74
Jenna Fischer n/a n/a
Kristen Bell 46 56
Sarah McLachlan n/a n/a
Shakira 38 n/a

Yep, looks like my interests aren’t well-represented on either list, but more closely on the Maxim side based on the numbers. However, I was surprised at how much easier it would be to pick a second five from the AfterEllen list. C’mon, Maxim, you seriously listed Lindsay Lohan (#1, no less), Fergie (#10), and Shanna Moakler (I’m not going to bother looking that up) in your top 100? Combine that with Second Life avatars, and it’s just wasted space.

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