Thursday, December 31, 2015

Disney Infinity for Xbox

...or should I say, "Infinitely Boring"??

Last Christmas, my Unit and I bought the Disney Infinity 2.0 game for Xbox 360.  I kept seeing ads for it that looked pretty awesome, and we don't have nearly enough two-player games.  Plus, with all the Marvel characters, what's not to like?!?  We bought the Marvel starter set, and I tried to "limit" myself with number of add-ons, like a good Leonard.  As I picked up Groot and slowly set him on counter, my Unit says, "Where's the raccoon??  You can't have him without the raccoon!!"
"What's a raccoon?  Ain't no thing like me, except me!"
Not too bad for someone who had only seen Guardians of the Galaxy once.  So I raced back to grab Rocket Raccoon, and then I went a little crazy with the characters I "had" to have.  We bought the game and went home.
And we set up the game.
And we tried to figure it out.
And she had a lot of fun playing as Thor and picking up my Iron Man and throwing him across rooms and such.  And we did missions.  And missions.  And more missions.

And then we noticed something:  they were all the fucking same thing.  All missions were basically the same, no matter which game we were playing.  Lots of "shoot 'em up before the time runs out" stuff.  And if you're a ten- or twelve-year-old boy, that might be interesting, but we were bored quickly.  There was no storytelling, little to no problem-solving, definitely no RPG.

And everyone talked about how great the "Toy Box" feature was.  So I took some time to investigate that feature, and it ended with me nearly throwing the Xbox across the room.  It was so clunky and hard to use; it took me some hours just to build Cinderella's castle (and it's only one piece!).  And after all of that, it didn't "do" anything!  I couldn't even go inside or open the doors; it was like reliving my disastrous trip to Disneyland all over again.  What gives?  Frankly, I didn't want to build games; I wanted to play them.  That's kind of the point.

I went online and checked other reviews, and there were people with similar frustrations to mine:  all shoot 'em up repeats, and apparently the 1.0 Toy Box was a lot easier to use and a lot more fun.

We hadn't opened all of the plastic packages, so I suggested we return them for either the cash or a better game.  My Unit insisted we keep them because we might change our minds.  So they've sat -- the unopened boxes, the Disney Infinity console, and several Avengers -- on a bookshelf gathering dust for the past year.

Now (almost a year to the day), I see Disney has released a 3.0 version with Star Wars characters.  I'm not so interested in the new Star Wars characters (NO, Leonard STILL hasn't seen the movie yet!  STOP ASKING!), but I wonder if they brought back some things from 1.0 that were great?  Or made it easier to use or at least more interesting?

What say you, fellow nerds?  Leonard needs your help.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

NYE Curse

It's that time of year again:  Leonard's New Year's Eve Curse.  Each year, I start to think about plans for NYE; perhaps I'll venture out during "amateur night" as we call it.  And then I remember.  No, I can't go out.  We want to keep the collateral damage to a minimum.

For the past 10+ years, the horrible things that have happened to me have happened either on New Year's Eve itself or within the first month of January1.  Here is a list of past things that have happened, in no particular order:
  • robbed at gunpoint
  • concussion
  • locked out of my apartment.  At midnight.  With my dog.  But no cell phone.
  • car breaking down on the highway.  Late at night.  Bad part of town.
  • trip to the ER for emergency plastic surgery
  • a series of broken car windows (retaliation from our jackass neighbor -- repeatedly).
  • endoscopy and colonoscopy
So if you see me and I'm asking about New Year's Eve plans, kindly remind me of this list.  Even better, just hand me all of the leftover bubble-wrap from your holiday shopping and shipping and walk away.  Run.  Save yourself!

1With the exception of lightning car.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Feminist Xmas Songs

A friend turned me onto the trend #FeministXmasSongs on Twitter.  Leonard is rarely on Twitter, though, so instead we posted several to Facebook over the Christmas holiday.  By request, I have compiled them here.  Please note, these are not in the original order posted, rather by popularity (using Facebook's oh-so-scientific system of "likes").

#10 "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He doesn't respect the boundaries you've set,
So, girl, get a restraining order.
You don't owe him anything, no matter how many dates you've been on.
#9 "O Holy Night"
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother --
And our sister!
Women can be slaves, too, y'know.
And in His name all oppression shall cease -- black lives matter!
But please leave your (straight) white (male) savior complex at home.
#8 "I Saw Mommy Kissin' Santa Claus"
I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
She didn't see me creep
Because I'm a creepy little kid
With an Oedipus complex.
#7 "Frosty the Snowman"
Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly, happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal
Frosty the Snowperson
Is a gender neutral character
Because a pipe and coal doesn't make one a "man."
#6 "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
God rest ye merry gentlemen --
#5 "Santa, Baby"
Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing -- a ring.
I don't mean on the phone;
You can just text me
Because I know my worth isn't dependent upon the monetary value of "gifts."
#4 "Santa, Baby" again
Think of all the fun I've missed;
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed;
Because the patriarchy shames women who have a healthy sex life.
Next year I could be just as good,
Since we're only rewarding women who claim to be virgins.
#3 "Silver Bells"
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing,
People passing,
Meeting smile after smile
People smiling because they want to,
Not because someone insisted they do so.
It's just a smile, not an invitation for harassment, Mr. Street-Shopper!
My public person is not for you to comment upon.
#2 "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"
In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say, "Are you married?"
We'll say, "That's really none of your business; we're two consenting adults."
#1 (and Leonard's personal favorite) "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas Eve
You can say there's no such thing as Santa
But as for me and Grandpa,
We know that Western literary tradition punishes women who show independence.
Honorable Mentions:

Several of Leonard's friends joined the movement as well.  Here are their contributions (reposted with permission).

Serena "In the Bleak Midwinter"
What can I give him? Poor as I am? anything I want because consent is like tea! Seriously, if someone said they didn't want tea, you wouldn't make em drink tea! Give me heart, if I want to! It's up to me!!! 
Liz "Little Drummer Boy"
Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum
A new-born king to see,
Or not, which is totally fine,
Because consent is important,
Especially when you're teaching
Kids that they have agency over
Their own bodies. And forcing them
To feign affection in order to avoid
Hurting someone's feeling is
Participating in rape culture.
Jamie "Carol of the Bells"
 Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say, "Throw cares away."
Christmas is here, bringing good cheer or not, because it's ok to feel however you want to feel, you don't have to smile just to make others feel ok with you.
To young and old, meek and the bold, and also the middle aged because women don't have to be only young or old no mater what the Hollywood anti aging machine tells us about standards of beauty.
Ding, dong, ding, dong, that is their song.
Michael "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
 - I really can't stay...
- Baby it's cold outside--so bundle up and have a pleasant evening.
(End of Song.)
Tess "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
 I know dashers and dancers and prancers and vixens and none of them deserve to be judged by what society says they should be!
Image compliments of University College London Union
P.S.  "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has received several requests.  I know there has already been a "Honest" video about it (which I haven't watched yet).  As it is a trifecta of date rape, guilt-trips, and slut-shaming, it deserves its own blog post (forthcoming).