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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The other day I had dinner at Snakes and Lattes, an establishment that lets you play board games while you dine for a nominal fee.  One of the games that I wound up playing was my new all-time #1 favorite game: Patchwork.  A two player game where you compete to build a quilt out of oddly shaped Tetris like pieces while collecting buttons.  Believe me, it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds.

This got me thinking though.  If someone can make a board game about quilting then surely I could make a game out of something equally obscure, yet close to my heart.  A game about antiquing.

Here’s how it would work.  Each game would come equipped with multiple game boards depicting various settings where one might go antiquing.  There might be a house undergoing an estate sale, an actual antique shop, a garage sale,  a junk yard, a local swap meet, etc.  Whatever the case may be.

Each of these boards would be littered with random items and players would be tasked with collecting items from an assigned shopping list without going over budget as they navigate their way across the board with alternating dice rolls.  The key to the game would be to move about the board as efficiently as possible, to collect all the items on your list before your opponent collects all the items on their list.

Now here’s where things get interesting.  Also scattered throughout the board would be certain obstacles.  You may be forced to sell an item that you already collected in order to pay one of your bills.  Or your opponent may have an opportunity to swap out something from your collection for something that they don’t have a need for.  You may even be in a race to be the first to collect an item that you both need.  But have no fear.  If you pass by one of the conveniently located pawn shops you’ll be able to swap or buy back anything you need.

You’d also have an opportunity to use your creativity throughout the game.  Let’s say that collecting a bird feeder is on your list.  Instead of trying to collect the actual bird feeder on the board, you could instead find a few other smaller items, and assemble them into a bird feeder.  This ability to re-purpose items would be what separates the good players from the great players the way that triple word scores separate the wheat from the chaff in Scrabble.

Would this antiquing game be the Greatest Game Ever? Maybe.  Maybe not.  But surely it can’t be any worse than the game about gardening that I saw in Snakes and Lattes. In a world consisting of thousands upon thousands of obscure games, perhaps there’s room for one more.

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Is a board game about antiquing the Greatest Idea Ever?

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This year’s Super Bowl with its extravagant half-time show, million dollar commercials, and star-powered lineups headlined by Tom Brady was quite the spectacle.  But it wasn’t even the best event of the past week.  That honor belongs to a virtual concert held inside a video game in a stunt that could portend the future of entertainment.

The event, a Marshmello concert, was held within the widely popular Fortnite game for ten minutes, during which time weapons were banned.  A brief truce so that everyone could cut loose.  And as it turns out a lot of people wanted to cut loose with approximately 10 million players participating in the event, a new record for the number of concurrent players that were active within the game out of a total of some 200 million registered users.

As the Verge puts it, “Even if you’re not a huge fan of electronic music or have never heard of the EDM producer Marshmello, Fortnite’s live in-game concert was still a shockingly stunning sight to behold — it was also an unprecedented moment in gaming. It truly felt like a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment, where the worlds of gaming, music, and celebrity combined to create a virtual experience we’ve never quite seen before.”

Although one that we are likely to see again.  Because now that the groundwork has been laid it’s likely that Epic will put on more concerts or other events within the framework of their game opening up unprecedented marketing and branding opportunities for all kinds of celebrities.  The Super Bowl is out.  Fortnite is in.

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Is a live concert inside of Fortnite the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,441 – Freedive

Need something to watch while you wait for Game of Thrones to return in April?  Then IMDb (the Amazon owned Internet Movie Database) has got you covered! Wait. What?

According to Mashable:

“IMDb Freedive offers a variety of content, spanning film and television, at no cost. There is no IMDb or Amazon Prime subscription required, as the service is supported by advertisements. Viewers simply need to create a free IMDb account to begin watching.

Older movies like The Illusionist, Memento, and The Last Samurai are currently available to watch on the service. Fringe, Heroes, Without a Trace, and The Bachelor make up some of Freedive’s current television offerings. (There are multiple categories on the service, including drama, comedies, horror, action, family, and so on.) The streaming service also boasts of a few IMDb original series’ that take a look at the movie and TV industry.”

Just when you thought that Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Go, and every other streaming service would provide you with an infinite number of viewing choices here comes another offering from an online database of all places.  Cord cutters may be rejoicing but personally I’m not sure what to make of it.  The last thing we need is more content.  What we really need is a better way to search through and discover what we already have.

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Is Freedive the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I want to be a vampire.  Correction.  I want to be THE vampire.  Not the immortal, suck your blood, afraid of the sun, Twilight vampire that you may be imagining.  But rather the person who won’t get to pick at all in next year’s fantasy football draft.  That’s right.  There’s a new kind of league in the making and it could turn a multi billion dollar industry on its head.

Here’s how a vampire league would work.  One team misses the draft entirely.  That person is the vampire and it could be anyone.  A random victim of fate.  An eager guinea pig.  Or perhaps the person who came in last the year before.

This person would then be tasked with filling out a roster entirely off of the waiver wire.  To make things fair they would also get to keep that #1 waiver priority throughout the entire season as well.  But here’s where things get interesting.  If the vampire team wins they get to swap out any player in your starting lineup with one of their own from the same position.  Suddenly they went from having Jeff Driskel as their starting quarterback to having Aaron Rodgers.

As time goes on and injuries accumulate around the league this vampire team will continue to amass talent thanks to their #1 waiver priority and the increased likelihood that in any given week they could pull off another upset and snag themselves another quality player.  Once the bye weeks kick in and fantasy football becomes even more of a crap shoot then all bets are off.  This vampire team of misfit toys might suddenly become an actual legitimate contender.

Now here’s where things get really interesting.  Since losing to the vampire team could cost you a star player do you risk a loss by benching all of the guys you’d be afraid to lose?  An intriguing strategy. Now all of a sudden its a waiver wire team versus a bunch of bench guys and once again all bets are off.  If faced with that scenario every week the vampire team could even run the table and win the championship without ever stealing a star player.

I for one can’t wait to start a vampire league next year.  After all, winning championships year after year has kind of sucked the fun out of fantasy football for me.  It’s time for a new challenge.  A real challenge.  It’s time to become the vampire!

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Is a vampire fantasy football league the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I recently discovered the greatest TV show of all-time.  A TV show that is even better than Lost, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Dark Matter, or even my latest obsession, Rick and Morty.  A show that is fast-paced and hilarious, featuring razor sharp wit and epic performances.  A show that knows no bounds and has no equals.  Unfortunately, it’s also a show that most people can’t watch.

A cross between Seinfeld, Mad Men, Sex in the City, and Gilmore Girls you’d be hard-pressed to find a better show that the Emmy award winning Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  And yet there are still a ton of people out there who haven’t seen it and never will.  And unless you currently have Amazon Prime you are likely one of those people.

What can you do to change this fact?  You could take a page out of Midge’s playbook and make a brisket to offer to Jeff Bezos in hopes of improving your situation.  Or you could suck it up and pony up for an Amazon Prime subscription, which is quite frankly, worth having anyway.  But if neither of those two options work for you, there really is nothing else you can do, unless if you want to risk trying to stream the show on the dark web through nefarious means.

I get why Amazon does it this way.  If you create exclusive content that people just can’t live without, they’ll be forced to sign up for Prime.  And the more people that sign up for Prime, the more money you’ll have to create even more programming that people can’t live without, and the cycle will continue.

But this bothers me.  Award winning content shouldn’t be hard to find.  It shouldn’t be locked away behind a pay wall, available only to those who can afford to watch it.  Simply put, this isn’t fair.  Because as good as the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is, it’s not worth busting your budget for.  Neither is Stranger Things or anything offered on Showtime or Starz for that matter.  Nothing is.  And yet there is plenty of content on each of these platforms that is worth watching.  For instance, I would have loved to watch the new Star Trek on the new CBS streaming service but I wasn’t going to pay a separate fee to do so.  When Disney launches their own stand-alone streaming service in the near future that’ll be yet another service that will feature content that I may be interested in but would never pay for.

Of course, there are some workarounds.  You might be able to swap subscription service passwords with a friend.  Trading your Netflix password for access to Hulu and vice versa.  But that’s not going to cover all your bases.  There are too many disparate services nowadays to make swapping a viable option.  Not to mention the fact that these services could crack down on that practice if they wanted to.  No, what you need is a better option.  A way to ensure that you’ll be able to watch content on any platform, any time you want.

What I’m proposing then is the creation of a MoviePass for TV platforms.  A monthly subscription (say $20 a month) that will get you limited access to every streaming platform that there is.  If you’re a Netflix power user you’d still need to keep your Netflix subscription to ensure that you’ll be able to watch obscure documentaries to your heart’s content.  But if you’re not into all that, and you only want to binge watch House of Cards or Orange is the New Black when they come out, then you’d be covered with this cross platform pass that will let you binge a limited number of shows per platform per month.  In theory, this pass wouldn’t cut into the existing user bases for these platforms.  Rather, they would just add users who wouldn’t otherwise be crossing their borders.

Just think about how great this PlatformPass would be.  If you’re politically inclined you could use this pass to watch Who Is America on Showtime and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO, without having to subscribe to either HBO or Showtime.  If you’re a Sci-Fi nerd you can use it to watch Star Trek on CBS, Dark Matter on Netflix, and Future Man on Hulu, all without need to subscribe three different services.  It’ll be the dream of A La Carte programming come to life, the dream that we’ve always wanted Cable TV to deliver for us.

Of course PlatformPass will never come to fruition.  And even if it did, it probably would never work, ala MoviePass. But that’s not going to stop me from hoping.  From wishing that there was a better way.  A way for everyone in the world to enjoy the greatness that is the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, regardless if they have Amazon Prime or not.

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Is PlatformPass the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Here’s a quick look at everything I’ve been thinking about lately:

The Oscars are getting criticized for adding a new category called “Achievement in Popular Film”, which is a way for the Academy to acknowledge the accomplishments of a movie that isn’t critically acclaimed yet still becomes a blockbuster.  Black Panther would have swept this award last year. Infinity War will likely be the favorite this year.  But there’s a different category that I wish they would add an award for: Achievement in an Opening Credit Sequence.  These montages set the mood for the movie or make me completely lose interest in it before it starts.  Some of them are really quite spectacular.  It’s time that we acknowledged their greatness.

I always try to slip on my shoes, even if the laces are already tied, and even if they aren’t slip-ons, rather than just untie them and retie them like a normal person.  I’m sure I can’t be the only one who does this.  Perhaps sneaker and shoe companies should consider this phenomenon when designing shoes and make the back heel of shoes collapsible so as to make them easier to slide on.

I wish there was an IMDB for writers so that I could know what my favorite authors were working on next.

Here’s a new dating concept: Escape room dating.  Put groups of 6-8 single people in an Escape room (3 or 4 members of each sex) and set them loose to try and problem solve their way out of the room.  It’ll be a fun ice-breaker as you’ll get to see everyone in a relaxed atmosphere.  You’ll also get to see how everyone responds to pressure and how well they can play with others.  You can rule out dating the hyper-competitive know-it-alls and give a chance to the shy, quiet type that you worked really well with, the same person who you might have otherwise never spoken to if not for the game.

Here’ a new restaurant concept: Roast master.  A restaurant specializing in Roast Beef, where the theme of the restaurant is insult comedy.  Comedy Central Roasts play in the waiting room while you wait for your table and live roast battles take place on the stage while you dine.  In between battles, the waiters and bus boys come around to serve you food, refill your drinks, and insult you to your face.  On the way out you can try to throw a tomato at a heckler just like at a Renaissance Festival or get revenge on your waiter while they sit in a dunk tank hurling even more insults in your direction.

Speaking of roasts I think it would be great if Comedy Central roasted a regular person, not just an over the hill celebrity like Bruce Willis.  The knock on this idea is that comedians wouldn’t be interested in roasting someone they didn’t know, and the audience wouldn’t watch a roast when they wouldn’t know any of the inside jokes, etc.  But as Roast Battle shows you don’t necessarily need to know the person to laugh at a good insult.  Plus you could minimize some of that by introducing the roastee via a video montage at the beginning of the show.  I would even volunteer myself to be the very first roastee!

One of my biggest pet peeves is that some of the photos that I take, which look great when viewed on my phone, don’t translate into the smaller window frame on Instagram.  Case in point: a recent full length shot of a 200 foot tall tree in Olympic National Park.  When viewed on my phone’s gallery you can see the whole tree.  When trying to post to Instagram you have to crop out half the tree if you want to post the image.  This is annoying.  I wish there was a way when lining up the shot that I can see what portion of it was going to fit on Instagram.  Perhaps I could have changed the angle of my shot accordingly.  I wonder then if there is a way to create a plug-in that you could download that would overlay an Instagram optimization frame over your phone’s view finder.

Is it just me or are electric razors really loud?  I feel like I’m disturbing my neighbors every time I shave in the morning.  If I was married I would most definitely be disturbing my spouse.  Perhaps we should invent a silencer for electric razors to muffle the sound?

Speaking of neighbors I think it would be cool if there was a way to create a CB radio network for apartment buildings, like there is for truckers, so that you could communicate with your neighbors.  This way you can send out an open-ended message to anyone in the neighborhood that you are down to hang out to watch the big-game if anyone wanted to come over, or, more importantly, so that you can yell at a noisy neighbor to keep it down, without having to confront them face to face.

Considering how much we use our hands throughout the day (and how dirty they could get) doesn’t it make more sense to greet one another, not with a handshake, but by touching our shoes together?  As popular as soccer is around the world I’m surprised there aren’t more greetings that involve foot to foot contact.

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Is a roast themed restaurant the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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Soon there may be a lot more waiters and waitresses waiting around for a big break in Hollywood that will never come.  That’s because all of the best roles will continue to go to existing actors.  Or retired ones.  Even long after their dead.  That’s right.  In the future it may be possible to digitally reincarnate actors using CGI to the point where you could shoot a flashback scene featuring a younger version of an existing actor or even continue to shoot a movie, say another Fast and the Furious, using Paul Walker, even after he has passed away.  The technology will be so advanced that you’d be unable to tell the difference between a real actor and a digital recreation.

This idea came to light recently when Carrie Fisher passed away.  Disney has already said that they won’t digitally recreate Princes Leia for the 9th Star Wars film, but that’s not really the point.  The point is that they could if they wanted to.

As MovieWeb puts it, “The digitally recreated Grand Moff Tarkin and Young Princess Leia in Rogue One were unsettling and creepy for some Star Wars fans. But that technology is almost two years old and only improving at an expedient rate. The next time an actor gets digitally inserted into a Star Wars movie, it’s going to be a lot harder to tell the difference. And before long, the line will be completely burred. Soon, Lucasfilm and Disney could have the potential to create a whole Star Wars movie featuring an authentic young Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, which practical effects built around them. And this will be entirely possible, even for Carrie Fisher, as Lucasfilm has confirmed they have digital clones of all Star Wars actors both young and old.”

Just like watching a hologram of Tupac Shakur perform a concert, it may soon become commonplace to go to a movie and watch a digital reincarnation act.  This is good news for fans of beloved characters who may pass away during filming.  Bad news for the rest of us who may be stuck watching Tom Cruise for the rest of our lives.

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Is Artificial Reincarnation the Greatest Idea Ever?

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