Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Media Overload...

Supposedly Christmas time is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" because of all the supposed "Holiday Cheer" and togetherness and all that happy horseshit, but everyone knows it's because of all the cool shit they get from their loved ones and, hell, typically themselves (I know that's how I roll). But honestly, what the hell really comes out at that time of year? Sure, some of the film studios hold out their biggest summer blockbusters for DVD release, and there's a decent rush for video games, but most of the time the more "geek-savy" stuff that everyone truly wants is already out there, it's just got a much more reasonable price tag on it.

More and more in the recent years though, it's looking like the early fall is where it's at. You've got mass releases of all the Television shows on DVD that you can handle, gaming companies are using it as a launching pad to get people amped for the Holiday Sales Season, it's by and far away the best time of the year for film (not movies, there is a difference here), and hell, even some of the bigger movie releases get popped out then instead of waiting for December.

Like, take this year for example. In the past six weeks alone I've purchased five seasons of television (Family Guy, Boston Legal, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, and Veronica Mars, natch) and there's gonna be a copy of Scrubs Season six in my mitts tomorrow even if I have to beat a senior citizen into a bloody pulp to do so... as if I needed an excuse to do that. Oh, and I've added Heroes and Jericho to my NetFlix queue as well, like I've had the time to actually watch them with all the stuff I've spent "real" money on. But that Fall rush, that giant swoop of releases by the Networks to get their product out there to be seen so that they can accumulate new viewers has already made this time of the year pretty daunting on the wallets of media whores like myself, and it gets worse.

Video games are starting to monopolize this time of year too it seems. I remember a time back around when I got my PSone that seriously, there was like four games a year worth looking into, and they all came out about quarterly. You had your big X-Mas game, your "Back to School" game, and then something in the Spring and Summer to gather your friends around (or just spend 100 hours on yourself if you had no friends like me. Good motherfucking times). But now they've all migrated to that area from about the last week of August until dreaded Black Friday, and hell, typically the giant gaming Blockbusters; the Halo's, Grand Theft Auto's, and so on of the industry usually slate themselves right around late September for their releases anyway. I think it's rare to see anything relatively huge come out in the actual month of December. This year I think the highest profile games we're seeing that month are Mass Effect and Burnout Paradise, not exactly the kind of games that shatter records.

In the past three weeks alone I've headed down the Waterfront (one of our entertainment hubs here in the Burgh, and the only place I'll go see a movie) and have seen Eastern Promises, Gone Baby Gone, The Darjeeling Limited, Michael Clayton, and The Assassination of Jesse James. Now, yeah, I'm a huge bit of a movie guy, but usually I only average about one movie a week seen at the theater, and I can tell you half of that average is because of this stretch we're in now. In just three weeks I've seen five movies plus right now there's still Dan In Real Life, Lars and the Real Girl, and Things We Lost in the Fire playing at this moment that I have to see, nevermind American Gangster coming at week's end. Yeah, Die Hard 4 was a great action romp, yeah, Transformers had some good FX, yeah, Pirates had Johnny Depp, but come on, you can have a eight month long summer and the movies out then still can't hold a match to what I've seen in the past six weeks.

Oh, and added on to ALL of that, lets not forget that I've received $175 worth of Comic book Omnibuses and Absolutes deliver to my doorstep in the past three weeks.

Now, why the long diatribe on all that Materialism above? Because it's too fucking much in too fucking short a span, that's why.

You know how hard it is to try and digest all that? In the month of October I have soaked up, no shit and no fucking less than 18 hours of movies (in theater), 50 hours of TV on DVD, a dozen hours of new programming, and spent at least 30 hours of my time trying to get through Folklore and Ratchet & Clank for my PS3. That's almost a week out of a month just trying to get caught up on geekiness of all types, and I've got about the same over in all those categories to go still.

And look, yes, I know I'm a special kind of media whore. I love my stories. I appreciate craft. I thrive to be entertained and seek a distraction. I like to look for revelation in all these different types of art. And I have all sorts of extra time because you couldn't pay women to go out with me (yes, I've fucking tried, don't you judge me. It's a harrowing experience there in the real world trying to "meet someone". I'd just as soon shove two pencils in my eyes and headbutt the bar as I would propping it up praying some desperate piece of girlishness that actually looks to have the ability to think and speak at the same time walk in... fucking blah!) but for fuck's sakes it's not like there's not ten whole other months in the year that could be used for this nonsense isn't there?

Yes, I understand the marketing behind this. Yes, you want a lead in for your fall tv programming. Yes, you want to build some Oscar buzz for your more "art house" flicks, yes, you want to sell systems to go with your software. But why am I, self-proclaimed Media Whore and top loser at life typically sitting around from January to May just rewatching seasons of Deadwood, or rereading runs of comics, or playing through Devil May Cry 3 for the hundredth time and trying to calmly wait for something new to come zooming by my face?

Marketing is great, I mean, there's so many predictable and tasteless people out there that yeah, it's easy to market to them at their own special times, but come now, why take the risk of starving your consumer base to the point where they move elsewhere? In fact, it's a great way to get them hooked more steadily. I remember back when I got my PS2, and much like this newest system release there was really dick all to play for the first year it got to the point that I was willing to try any damn thing. And lo and behold, come mid-summer of 2001 a little game called Devil May Cry came out, and me without having pretty much any knowledge of the thing and sick of cranking out Final Fantasy VII in 25 hours or less took a chance on it and it became one of my favorite game series of all time.

Whatever, it's just the way things work these days I guess. I'm hoping that the tide is slowly changing. It looks like next year a lot of the bigger video games are coming in the Spring instead like Metal Gear and Grand Theft Auto, and now that TV series like Battlestar Galactica and Lost have shifted their programming schedules the DVD sets are following them to the late end of winter it seems.

But enough of that talk, it's time to try and kill a disc of Veronica Mars before I go to sleep despite it already being 6fuckingAM.

Only I could turn all this fun stuff into a goddamned chore.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Now it's officially Hockey Season!!!

Or at least it will be when the Pens finally play their first game on Friday night. I ever took off Saturday so I could at least watch the home opener. Why don't I have tickets to the home opener you ask? Because all the bandwagoning fucks (i.e. the people who couldn't be bothered to go to a game back pre-strike when the team was on the ropes thereby making it a huge possibility that the team almost moved but are going fucking now that we're a Cup contender) have bought them all out and the prices have gone astronomical. Seriously, I was looking at $70 easy just to sit up in the E section, and that sir is almost as moronic as a Fox Newscaster.

But fine, whatever, the season's here and it's time to celebrate. I'm off to a good start in Fantasy Hockey already with four goals out of just five starters tonight and the anticipation for the rest of the season is bloody well killing me. I've already sworn whole and true that I'm going to the Ice Bowl on New Year's Day if it kills me... or, y'know, several dozen people in the immediate vicinity of me.

Anyway, as for any predictions on my part, me being the little hockey guru that I am, fine, here we go. Here's my calls per Conference for the playoff seedings:

Eastern Conference
1 Ottawa Senators
2 Pittsburgh Penguins
3 Tampa Bay Lighting
4 New York Rangers
5 Buffalo Sabres
6 New Jersey Devils
7 Florida Panthers
8 Atlanta Thrashers

Yes, I know, I didn't take the homer approach and put my team first. I simply couldn't do it. Much as I hate those fucks that play for Ottawa (I hope Chris Neil takes a stray blade to the throat and bleeds out on the ice this year. Fuck, I'll YouTube that seven times the day it happens) the only real competition they'll have in that Division is Buffalo who isn't what they used to be to be able to take that title. And the Pens probably have the hardest Division in the league what with the Rangers beefing up, NJ still having one of the five best goalies of all time in net, and the Flyers making some decent upgrades, but not enough to hit the playoffs.

Sadly, I also have my Pens losing in the Conference Finals. They're just not there yet. Next year though, next year.

As for the West, I figure something like this:

Western Conference:
1 Detroit Red Wings
2 Vancouver Canucks
3 Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
4 San Jose Sharks
5 Calgary Flames
6 Colorado Avalanche
7 Nashville Predators
8 Minnesota Wild

I hate to put the Wings at the top of that Conference, but that Division is too much of a fucking cake-walk outside of the Preds who aren't even all that and probably won't even be around within two years. Ducks are going to struggle early on but once everyone is healthy, and yes, Selanne comes back (I just don't see him not going for one more) they'll right the ship. The rest is a toss up but I'm confident it'll look something like that. Watch out for the Flames and Avs, they've got a lot of pinache going their way. They could upset a lot of teams.

As for Dallas? Stick a fork in them, they're done. Modano has never been all that and now he's past time, and having really only Zubov and Turco isn't going to make the team. That's all she wrote there.

And as for the Cup? Well, I know it's a long shot for this to happen, but I seriously, honestly and truly have Anaheim taking down Ottawa again to be the first repeat Cup in, what, six years now I think. Fuck it, I'll live with that. Hate the franchise but like the way the team is put together. Have Pronger will travel.

But yeah, that's all I got. Hopefully I can score me another jersey for X-Mas from my dear old mom. I want a Fleury jersey because, a) he's the 2nd best player on the team (yeah, you heard me) and b) I think he's in for the long haul. Once we start losing players to big contracts I think him and Sid will the two big names standing for us for a huuuuuge run the next decade or so. At least that's what I hope.