11 July, 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Harry, Ron and Hermione are back for another year at Hogwarts.  The school is surrounded by Dementors, the ghoulish guards of Azkaban prison, which are seeking Sirius Black because of his escaping from Azkaban and is believed to be on the hunt for Harry Potter.  Though they are meant to be protecting the students from Black, they seem more interested in Harry, and draining his soul of happy thoughts, rather than locating the escaped killer.
A new year, a new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher; this year, former student, and friend to James and lily Potter, Remus Lupin has filled the position as well taking it upon himself to teach Harry how to conjure a Patronus Charm to protect himself from the Dementors.
This is my personal favourite out of all the books and movies, the story is my favourite and the music is wonderful; unfortunately, John Williams, who also created the music for Harry Potter 1 and 2, left after this movie.

8 out of 10

20 June, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Harry Potter is back for his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it doesn’t take long before Harry, Ron and Hermione find something isn’t right at Hogwarts and students soon being petrified and messages are written in blood on the walls stating that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets and unleashed the gruesome beast within. As Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to find the secret chamber and slay the beast, speculation rises that an heir of Salazar Slytherin (co-founder of Hogwarts) has arisen and opened the chamber as someone had done before many years ago.
This is the second film adapted from one of J.K Rowling’s award-winning Harry Potter series, and stays fairly true to the story though I prefer the book.
This is a good film and can be watched several times.
7 out of 10

I recommend having a good sound system to watch at home for all the full effect of the movie.

17 June, 2011

Brink


Xbox 360, PS3, PC.
Set in the near future wherein the seas have risen and what was once an oceanic paradise, but with the guests staying no better then shanty towns, and no new people seen in over twenty years, the Ark, a self sustaining floating city, is one of the last known refuges of man.
Brink attempts to blur the line between single-player and multi-player gameplay into one seamless experience, this allows you to develop your character across all modes of gameplay.
The Ark is split into two zones, one guarded by security forces, the other by rebels.  Your first choice in this game is whether you want to save the Ark or escape it.  If you chose to save the Ark you will be put into the rôle of a member of the security, who believe “if we are to survive we must have order”. However, if you chose to escape it you will become a member of the resistance wherein you believe that the security are oppressors and if humanity is to survive you must escape the Ark.
This game really lets you play your way with extensive character and weapon customisation along with four different classes from which to chose that can be improved to your liking and swapped at any time.
I reviewed it on the Xbox and thought the character and weapon customisation are some of the best I have seen.  This game is hungry for more, with long load times and annoying texture popping, though I have heard that the PC and PS3 don’t have the texture popping or long load times.

7 out of 10

I recommend playing online with other people instead of on your own with bots because, on any level of difficulty other than easy, the bots just run off and don’t help you at all.

12 June, 2011

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


Harry Potter was only an infant when the dark wizard Lord Voldemort killed his parents and then tried to kill him; but, owing to his mother’s sacrificing herself to save him, Harry somehow caused the final curse to backfire upon Voldemort, draining him of his powers and giving Harry the title of “the Boy Who Lived”.
Ten years later, Harry has no memory of his encounter with the Dark Lord, or that his is famous in any way let alone a wizard. Instead, he lives in a closet under the stairs in his aunt and uncle’s house.  Until one day when he receives a letter informing him of his enrollment at Hogwarts.  Thus begins the series of adventures and dangers with his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, whom he first meets on the train and forms a life-long friendship that is able to withstand anything.
This movie follows the book fairly well and is a good film for any age. But not only that, it really is a movie which you can watch again and again.

7 out of 10

10 April, 2011

My High School’s Smoking Area


My school’s smoking-area has some advantages:  it has a lovely view of the river and the nearby beach; it has seating for sixteen with ease; it is a fair distance from the school, but not too far to walk during recess and lunch; and it has an undisturbed view of the school and its immediate surroundings, to watch for teachers, even though they completely ignore the matter.*
Like most things, there are disadvantages: there is no protection from the elements—wind, rain and sun; it can easily be spotted from the side of the school which overlooks the river; and it’s close enough to the soccer pitch to receive stray balls.


The area (for location):  6 out of 10
The smokers (for deception):  8 out of 10
The teachers (for incompetence):  9 out of 10

* During recess you can clearly see students smoking,  and when they return to class they smell of smoke.  A boy in my class is constantly talking about getting high, drinking and smoking, and does nothing to hide the smell of smoke when he returns from the smoking area.  I am led to believe that students can easily buy both cigarettes and marijuana at school.  (I was shown some marijuana by the boy in my class; he was bragging that he had bought some from a student over at the smoking area at lunch.)
More photographs of the area are here.

Woolworths Select Flavoured Jelly Crystals

   

   

My brother and I tested four jelly flavours with and without cream, in combination with each other, and with a leading brand (which was inferior to all four Select jellies).


Results, alone and with cream:-


Port Wine:  quite tasty though not quite sure what taste it is meant to be; does not taste like port, but has a nice aftertaste. 7 out of 10
Port Wine with cream:  Works well as long as there is not too much cream.  7.5 out of 10


Rasberry:  tastes like raspberry and has a very nice aftertaste that lingers for just the right amount of time.  7 out of 10
Rasberry with cream:  works well with cream.  8 out of 10


Strawberry:  tastes artificial, unlike the rest.  6 out of 10
Strawberry with cream:  tastes nice but is better alone.  5 out of 10


Lime:  really tastes like lime.  6.5 out of 10
Lime with cream:  odd, tastes better without cream.  5 out of 10


Combinations:-


Port Wine with Rasberry:  prettly nice combination.  7 out of 10
Port Wine with Strawberry:  okay combination.  6 out of 10
Port Wine with Lime:  strange taste, not for me.  4.5 out of 10
Rasberry with Strawberry:  nice combination.  7 out of 10
Rasberry with Lime:  fairly nice combination.  5.5 out of 10
Strawberry with Lime:  very nice combination.  8 out of 10

Dead Space 2

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC
You’re walking through a corridor, then the lights go out and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by necromorphs; you fight to stay alive but then, without realising it, you’re out off ammo and being torn limb from limb. Yes, it’s Dead space, and Isaac Clarke has returned in the new third-person, shooter  developed by Visceral Games (Unlike the first Dead Space, Dead Space 2 has a multi-player option.)
Events kick off three years from when the first Dead Space ended.  With the exception of a few lengthy cut-scenes, the action begins nearly straight away and does not let you go.  The game begins with Isaac on board a space station infested with reanimated corpses swarming the station’s corridors.  You have but one mission: survive.
Though Isaac isn’t just fighting through the mutating hordes, but is tormented by dementia and haunted by the ghost of his girlfriend, who was killed in the original game. In terms of fear-factor, this game does not disappoint.  From the beginning, tensions are at an all-time high as you wander the seemingly abandoned station, looking for another save-point or a spare clip lying around, with every turn sustaining a sense of increasing panic. The threat of imminent attack remains throughout the game: will something burst from the wall or drop from the ceiling? More often than not:  both.
Being Dead space, there are plenty of opportunities to purchase new weapons and upgrade your suits in search of the perfect way to decapitate the next creature which attacks you.
One of the main annoyances for me while playing this game was the seemingly immortal necromorphs near the end of the game which, no matter how many times you annihilate it, just regenerates yet takes only one or so hits to kill you.  That being said, I had heaps of fun with this game, through my controller would probably testify against me.
This is a great game that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

8.5 out of 10

(I played the Xbox 360 version)




31 March, 2011

My ASUS Eee PC


My computer, an ASUS Eee PC, has malfunctioned yet again, destroying many reviews, as well as some further details of my class, before I could put them on this site.  I am now forced to redo the work whilst the computer is shipped back to ASUS for repairs.  (It was not my choice of computer, but I must have a computer for school.)

2 out of 10.

(Apology:  I regret that further details of my class which I undertook to provide won’t be available until next week.)

24 March, 2011

A New Site for Documentation

For all those people who have wanted evidence to support my current and future reviews of my SAH class, my father and I have set up a new blog, Impact of Climate Change, for supplying documentation of what passes for information in that class, and for other related material.

14 March, 2011

A Photograph for Doubters


Some people have accused me of being not a real high-school student but a concoction by some big company.  As you can see,  this ID card* is from last year, when I was in Grade 7—the term is used interchangeably with “Year 7” and “First Year” throughout my school.

* class photographs have not yet been taken this year at my school.

13 March, 2011

Plants vs Zombies


This review was requested by sHx, a commenter at Bishop Hill.

Xbox 360-Arcade, PS network, NDS, PC, iPhone, iPod, iPad
“Plants vs Zombies”is a defence/strategy game based in your backyard where you are expecting a zombie attack and must protect it against those zombies by planting different arrays of plants to fight off the oncoming hordes.  At the very beginning of the game you start out with only the very basic plant-types such as “Pea shooters” and “Sunflowers”; but, as you continue fighting off the walking dead, you will receive new and exotic plants, with their own unique abilities, such as “explode on contact”, “immobilizing all zombies on the screen” or “make a zombie turn around and fight for you”.  Not only do you receive new plants but you also receive money to buy more plant-slots, and other useful items, from “Crazy Dave’s Twiddy Dinkies” to help you in your defensive efforts against the new and more powerful zombies. As you continue through the game you will encounter more and more zombies with their own individual abilities (including vaulting over plants, carrying an explosive surprise, “floating above the fray” or tunneling under the lawn to bypass your defence and attack from behind).
After some solid game play, this game becomes quite repetitive, there being only a few different game types and limited moves.  As an iPod game it is fun and entertaining, but there is only so much you can do before you start to get bored, I recommend playing this game in short, occasional bursts.

6 out of 10


11 March, 2011

Learning the Impact of Climate Change

I am in my second year attending a public high school in southern Hobart.  This is a review (requested by a follower) of my current Society and History (SAH) class, wherein we are participating in a six-month project on “the impact of climate change”.
For the first lesson we started out all sitting in front of the white-board brain-storming on what comes to mind when we think about climate change.  After the first few people called their answers, it became apparent that they believed everything that the Greens had been saying: that the polar caps will melt, and the sea levels will rise to flood all the low-level islands; that there will never be snow again; that all the polar bears will die out; that it was all the big oil companies’ fault; that this is happening and that everyone should go “eco” and drive a Prius, except for them.  My reaction thereto was that anthropogenic global warming was a hoax, another way for Greens, politicians and other greedy bastards to get even more money so that they can go get a new jet or a great big house right next to the sea.  The reaction of the class to my statement was, of course, to fall into an absolute silence of disbelief which my teacher broke by saying, in a sarcastic manner, that “There are some people, that [sic] don’t believe in climate change and think that it is a hoax or a con.”  Thereafter I was shunned for the rest of the day and most of the next.
The second lesson brought with it the first of many loads of complete bullshit into the class-room in the form of a PowerPoint presentation stating: that the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, that it is not a natural occurrence but man-made, and that the evidence therefor is undeniable; that the deaths caused by global warming will double in just twenty-five years to 300,000 people a year; that the sea levels will rise by more than twenty feet; and that category four and five hurricanes have almost doubled in the last thirty years.  My reaction was to laugh, and to ask aloud whether people really believed that the sea levels will rise by twenty feet or more.  The class fell silent once again, relying on the teacher to put me in my place; she broke the silence by telling me to ask only positive questions.  She then continued the lesson by reading the PowerPoint presentation.  (Laughing in the middle of class, by the way, can get you a detention for disrupting the class if done too often.)
For the third lesson the PowerPoint was brought out again with even more questionable statements claiming that putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is causing: an increase in temperature by one degree; a rise in sea levels; more bush fires; more droughts; more animals to become extinct; malaria to become more widespread (so much so that it would spread to the Northern Territory); the Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2050; the extinction of the polar bear; and, my personal favourite, “China and Indonesia will be too hot to grow rice.”  My reaction was to cry out, “What?”  The teacher simply told me to be quiet then went on with what she was saying whilst the rest of the class glared at me—accept for a select few whom I have been able to convince that global warming is fake.
Most of my class, including the teacher, has been completely brainwashed into believing everything that the Greens have said on the impact of climate change.  The teacher has supplied no evidence for her statements, no proof, no scientific arguments except that “the majority of scientists” say so, and she has considered no contrary points of view.  
The SAH class, by teaching only one view of the impact of climate change, is not teaching society or history.


0 out of 10


UPDATE I:  The teacher so far has prevented students taking material out of the class, but I hope to procure some evidence of her claims (which some find unbelievable) as soon as possible.

UPDATE II:  Materials can now be seen at Impact of Climate Change.

UPDATE III:  Lately, during the SAH classes I have attended, we have been working on two or three tasks as well as our scavenger-hunt home-work task.  Other than getting us to walk to the library to work on the computers or telling us that we’ll be watching something for a portion of class, the teacher, during SAH, does little more than mark work or check her e-mail.  (I have no problem with this because it allows me to work on something that I am interested in or, if I really want, just relax.)  4 out of 10

UPDATE IV:  This week for SAH we had a relief teacher because our regular teacher had some personal things going on.  I wish I had this teacher for more then just a relief, because of just how relaxed he is and how he lets us work on what we want to work on.  If we have some SAH to work on, English work to finish, or even if we just want to read a book, we are allowed to, though only after we have finished this strange postcard to do with this bad book, Escape to Kalimantan—do not read:  1 out of 10—or at least if we say we have finished our postcard.  7 out of 10

UPDATE V:  This week we had only two lessons instead of three because we had an assembly instead.  For the other two lessons, I didn’t do much other than just muck around on the computer because the teacher was checking what work we had finished so far.  Since I had finished two of of my three tasks I was able to relax and, amazingly, to enjoy SAH, for a change.  When she came to check on me and look at my crossword and powerpoint on the history of cars which she said that was very good, I didn’t say that the two tasks took me only an hour to complete and had no reference to climate change within them even though she may have wanted some.  5 out of 10

UPDATE VI:  Today, one week before Easter break, we have stopped SAH altogether; at the moment we are just doing double English.  5 out of 10

UPDATE VIIIt is now three weeks since school has resumed and we still haven’t started any actual SAH work, forget the fact that we weren’t doing actual SAH before but religious mumbo jumbo, let’s just not do SAH at all.  We will just keep doing English when we are supposed to be doing SAH.  Are we going to do any actual society and history?  Hey, it’s not like history is important.  Who really cares what a bunch of people who lived before I was born did?  I mean, if they were so smart then how come they’re so dead?  3 out of 10

13 February, 2011

The Green Hornet


The Green Hornet is a movie about Britt Reid, an irresponsible 28 year-old with an attitude.  After the death of his father, James Reid—the head of a major newspaper, The Daily Sentinel—, he is suddenly left with his father’s whole media empire. Thereafter, Reid meets Kato, an engineer, inventor and a skilled martial-arts expert, and he changes his attitude; they team up to fight crime, but are completely clueless on how to do this.  After realizing that they have no idea on what to do or even what to name themselves, Britt uses the people at the The Daily Sentinel to help name this new crime fighter, and the Green Hornet is born.  He then goes on to use his new secretary, Lenore Case, to think of ideas of what the Green Hornet should do but without letting her know that he is the Green Hornet.  After some nice scenes of the Green Hornet and his unnamed partner beating up drug dealers and blowing up meth labs, they finally start to get on the nerves of the biggest crime boss, Benjamin Chudnofsky, a Russian gangster, who decides to eliminate the Green Hornet and reclaim the city.
The good scenes far out-weigh the bad ones, though there are some things I would have preferred changed; but, all in all, it is a good movie.  You don’t need to have read the comics to comprehend the movie, but I imagine it would help (I have not read the comics).  The black beauty is a cool looking car, especially when the two concealable guns are out and firing.
This is a good movie to watch with some friends if they can be quiet, because there are some scenes where you do have to hear what they are saying.

7 out of 10