MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #7: Foil by Weird Al Yankovic

written by David Steffen This is one of a series of articles wherein I examine a music video as a short film, focusing on the story rather than the music, trying to identify the story arcs and characters motivations, and consider the larger implication of events. The film this week is Foil by Weird Al … Continue reading MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #7: Foil by Weird Al Yankovic

MOVIE REVIEW: Spies In Disguise

written by David Steffen Spies in Disguise is a 2019 computer-animated action/comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The movie follows super-suave celebrity spy (ala James Bond) Lance Sterling (Will Smith), who is on the top of his game, able to infiltrate an enemy’s facility and make it look … Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Spies In Disguise

TV REVIEW: Pushing Daisies Season 2

written by David Steffen Pushing Daisies was a fantastical and whimsical murder mystery romance show that aired for 2 (both very short, the first one cut short by the writer’s strike) seasons between 2007 and 2009. Ned (Lee Pace) is a piemaker, who lives a mostly quiet life, but who has a secret ability to reanimate the dead … Continue reading TV REVIEW: Pushing Daisies Season 2

TV REVIEW: Chuck Season 4

written by David Steffen Chuck was an action spy action/drama/comedy show, starring Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), who started as a down-on-his-luck geek working at the BuyMore fixing computers, when he ended up with a supercomputer with government secrets downloaded into his brain, as he has been used as an intelligence asset. And later in the series he got … Continue reading TV REVIEW: Chuck Season 4

MOVIE REVIEW: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is an animated action comedy science fiction movie released by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2014, which is loosely based on the Marvel superhero team of the same name.

Hiro Hamada is a 14-year old high school graduate  living in San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo apparently?), who spends his free time building robots to fight on the illegal underground bot fighting circuits.  His big brother Tadashi shows him to the advanced research lab where Tadashi has been spending his time inventing a balloon robot with nursing capabilities, and Hiro quickly makes friends with the other young researchers as well as the lab’s director Robert Callaghan who invites Hiro to apply to join the lab by entering something in an inventing competition.

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Spoiler Alert

written by David Steffen You are the Chili Pepper Knight, and you have already vanquished your foe and rescued the princess. But, now, time is rolling backwards and you have to replay the game in reverse, in this comedy platformer from Megafuzz in 2013. This is harder than you might think, because if you take any … Continue reading VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Spoiler Alert

DP FICTION #48B: “How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

Rabbi Dov Applebaum argued—quite eloquently, he thought—for keeping the spaceship to its original flight plan. After all, there were Jewish children on Orion Station who needed Torah lessons before their upcoming B’nai Mitzvah. And yet the AI refused to listen to him and instead plotted a new course towards the distress signal on Rigel-7.

When the AI stated that intergalactic law compelled them to answer a distress call, Dov might’ve kept quiet—he wouldn’t actually have kept quiet, but he might have—but when the fakakta computer started citing Jewish law, Dov had to object.

“True, Leviticus says not to ‘stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor,'” said Dov, “but there are many interpretations of the Jewish law around distress signals. For one, what is a neighbor, galactically speaking?”

GAME REVIEW: The Magic Circle

magiccircleThe Magic Circle is a first person puzzle/action game released by Question in July 2015.

Ishmael (Ish for short) Gilder is a celebrity in the gaming world, the designer of a wildly popular game twenty years ago, a text-based adventure.  The fans have been pining for the first person fantasy sequel that Ish has been developing… for the last twenty years. Ish dithers over every little choice, never making firm decisions on anything, and so the game continues to linger in “development hell”.  Not even so much as a color scheme, so the game in development is still in monochrome.

You are the character in that game.  But Ish is so indecisive, he won’t even allow the protagonist to have a weapon.  So, you can’t possibly win an action fantasy game like that.  Can you?

MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 computer-animated children’s comedy by Columbia Pictures.  The legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler), after the death of his wife at the hands of humans, raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) as a single parent. Frightened of violent and unpredictable humanity, he has made a life for them by founding a five-star hotel in Transylvania just for monsters, and telling Mavis constant horror stories about the human world so she won’t to go.  But it’s her 118th birthday now, which means she can make her own decisions and for some reason she still wants to go out into the world.  To make matters worse, a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) somehow finds his way to the hotel and is not scared away by the monsters, and Jonathan and Mavis hit it off.

DP FICTION #39A: “The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Prediction of Upcoming Misfortunes of Divination Colleagues, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms

MAGUS’S NOTE

My colleagues will note that in writing this paper I have not attempted to divide the research from myself, as can be noted here with my use of “I” and “my.” Unlike some individuals whom I will not name, I have never attempted to pass blame; I take full responsibility whenever it is deserved. Therefore, and because the use of the third person and passive speech loses the vibrancy and verve the subject of tyromancy deserves, I have elected to forgo the more pedantic and tedious tone such works more frequently employ.

CONSPECTUS

This report discusses whether tyromancy, divination using cheese, might be more effective and accurate in its predictions than the more popular methods of scrying through reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or bodies of water. Specifically, the report considers whether tyromancy is more effective at divining colleagues’ misfortunes. While the literature on tyromancy must be greatly expanded, this study’s results indicate that indeed, cheese might tell us more than the average crystal ball, mirror, or pool of water.