X-Files 201: s01e07 “Ghost in the Machine”

“Ghost in the Machine” is the story of an artificial intelligence turned bad. It has been done before and there really is not anything new here. There is a certain novelty of seeing what people envisioned the future of computers would be like, so it at least has that going for it.

In the first minute of the episode a man is shown typing on a keyboard. If a camera is going to focus on a person’s hands typing, the actor should try and make the typing look realistic or at least use more than just the bottom row of keys when what he is typing quite clearly requires more than one row of keys.

Some technical jargon is used in this episode. I would really like to know what data travelers, electro wizards and techno anarchists are.

Another car in this series gets damaged again when a security gate falls on it. I’m surprised it didn’t cause more damage.

X-Files Car Crushed

Mulder’s backstory is briefly explored by introducing one of his former partners. I don’t know if he is going to be brought back in future episodes, but Deep Throat from the second episode in the series made a return. This is the first time in the series that I have noticed explicit continuity between episodes.

In the end there are movies that are far better about artificial intelligence that can be watched instead of this episode of The X-Files.

X-Files 201: s01e06 “Shadows”

When a mugging goes terribly wrong, Mulder and Scully set out to find why the muggers died in a mysterious way.  Mulder suggests it was an act of psychokinesis.

There is a car crash in this episode that appears to be caused by psychokinesis.  Car crashes are always exciting.  It is also exciting when people find clues from seemingly nothing.  Mulder somehow knows that breathing on his glasses will reveal finger prints.  That is some Agent Dale Cooper-level work right there.


The climax of “Shadows” leaves a man’s office in complete chaos.  Hundreds of papers are flying around and end up scattered on the floor.  I like how Scully enters the office at the exact moment that everything returns back to normal.  I don’t want to think about how annoying it must be to clean and reorganize everything.  It isn’t anywhere near as bad as the scene in Ghostbusters where the library index cards go flying.


There isn’t much to “Shadows”.  I’ll just end with a picture of a grave that I found mildly interesting, Graves’ grave.


X-Files 201: s01e05 “The Jersey Devil”

“The Jersey Devil” goes back in time for the cold open. It features your typical 1940s/50s family happily singing Bingo in a car until a tire is blown. The father must be slow at changing a tire. The next time the children are seen, they are knocked out in the car. Personally, I would be a little more worried if I was in a car that needed a tire changed in the middle of the night. The father gets mysteriously dragged away. His dead body is later discovered with his leg missing. Who or what could have done this?

Scully walks in on Mulder “investigating” something in a magazine. Scully tells him about another body that has been found with limbs missing. Mulder has an idea as to what it might be. Scully guesses correctly. It is the work of an X-File.

I guess Mulder and Scully did not have permission to investigate this case as when they go to view the body in Atlantic City, they are politely told to leave. Supposedly it is a three hour drive back to Washington D.C.. They must have had an early start to their day as Scully is able to drive back in time for a birthday party at 6:30.

Not even the dog is enthusiastic.
Not even the dog is enthusiastic.


I think this is the first time there has been a glimpse into Scully’s life outside of work. Later in the episode she goes on a date. It doesn’t really go anywhere.

Is this how people dressed in the '90s?
Is this how people dressed in the ’90s?

Meanwhile, Mulder stays in Atlantic City and pays a homeless man to give him information about the guy who was killed. The information sounds like an urban legend. Mulder spends the night in the streets to see if the homeless man is right. Mulder ends up finding himself in jail.

Atlantic City, home of 555 phone numbers.
Atlantic City, home of 555 phone numbers.

Mulder is released from jail and continues investigate the case. This is how he spends his free time. The clock on his wall is nice. You would think it would be a standard thing for clocks to have both the 12 and 24 hour times on it. If tape measures can fit inches and centimeters, a wall clock should have no problem with fitting a second set of numbers.


The creature is eventually found and leads into what is supposed to be a thrilling chase. Supposedly “The Jersey Devil” is what fans refer to as a “Monster-of-the-Week” episode. There is a monster, but not a particularly memorable one.

X-Files 201: s01e04 “Conduit”

The cold open for “Conduit” must have taken some inspiration from Jurassic Park.  There is a shot of a coffee mug with the coffee starting to shake.  What is happening?  Is a T. rex approaching?  Is there an earthquake?  There can only be one explanation.  Aliens.

A person at the FBI headquarters tells Scully that she and Mulder are forbidden to investigate a case from a tabloid headline about a girl being abducted by aliens.  Aside from being terrible evidence to go off of, apparently Mulder is personally invested in this case as his sister also mysteriously disappeared when he was a child.  Scully tells the agent that she will talk to Mulder about it.  I guess they must have gotten permission to investigate the case after all because after Scully talks to Mulder, it jumps to them exiting a car in Sioux City, Iowa.


Scully and Mulder come across a child that is handwriting binary code that he claims is coming from the TV.  The NSA gets involved when it is discovered that the binary is a security risk.  NSA agents ransack the kid’s room.  Is it really necessary to go around knocking things off of shelves, destroying piggy banks and tearing off drawings that are hanging on the wall?  The kid’s handwriting must be impeccable because later on in the episode, the code reveals a picture.  I am impressed by the variance in shading of the multitude of 1’s and 0’s.


Most of the episode revolves around a girl that Mulder and Scully find at a library.  It is interesting enough with the interrogations and searching of things.  There is a white wolf that I thought would have more significance, but it was just a white wolf.

The highlight of the episode is at the end when Scully is listening to Mulder’s hypnosis session tapes.  There is just something about the way the audio from the tape plays over the last seconds of footage and into the end credits that makes it feel that something big is coming.

X-Files 201: s01e03 “Squeeze”

This episode starts off with an unknown creature with human-like characteristics slipping out of an air vent and murdering a guy in an office. The murder is not what caught my attention during this scene. Moments before his death, the man is at his desk making a phone call and casually shakes a snow globe. This guy has a globe inside of his globe. I want a snow globe like that.

A globe inside of a globe
A globe inside of a globe

The rest of the episode revolves around finding a serial killer responsible for a string of recent murders. This killer removed livers from bodies with his bare hands. Could this be the work of Sub-Zero? Mulder thinks it’s…something else…an X-File.

Whatever it is, the killer is not human. Thanks to advance finger print analysis software, the killer’s finger prints, when stretched and manipulated with a couple of keystrokes, prove to be an exact match with those of an X-File. If only software in real life was as simple and easy to use as it is on TV.


While on the subject of computers, how many words per minute can Scully type? She is shown leisurely typing what appears to be a lengthy explanation of events (at least if her voiceover is supposed to correspond to what she is typing). It is so leisurely that it barely looks like her left hand is hitting any keys at all.

Anyways, the killer is actually creepy with his unsettling stares. “Squeeze” is a solid episode. By the end of the episode, I was just left with questions about the state of chimney safety in America.

Girl Meets World: “Girl Meets Gravity” Review

The season 2 premiere of Girl Meets World was tonight.  Disney Channel must be eager to air new episodes of the show.  A new episode is airing every night this week and the gap between seasons one and two was incredibly short.  The first season ended at the end of March.  Not to mention that there is a special episode that aired in the middle of April that is supposedly not part of any season.  Even if the break has not been long, season 2 is off to a really great start.  The season 2 premiere is better than most of the episodes in season 1.

The show is starting to become self-aware.  Cory Matthews jokingly makes a comment at the beginning of the episode saying that he is not Mr. Feeny and will not be Riley’s teacher for the new school year.  After a convenient series of events, Riley once again finds herself in Cory’s class.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Cory ends up transferring to a high school after Riley finishes the eighth grade.  One thing that I kept pointing out during the first season is how Cory never keeps control of his class, always allowing students to have their own conversations.  Lucas finally asks Cory why he lets these conversations happen.  An answer is not given, but at least someone is aware of how crazy that is.  Also crazy is how a character in this episode is just killed off out of nowhere.

Fans of Boy Meets World will enjoy the ending of this episode.  There was some confusion as to whether or not Mr. Feeny was a ghost in the first season.  This episode confirms it.  He is indeed not a ghost.  Mr. Feeny is very much alive.

The only real issue that I have with this episode of Girl Meets World has more to do with Disney than it does with the show.  Disney is just all over the place when it comes to release dates.  According to Disney, nothing screams the excitement of the approaching summer more than hyping up the new school year.  They did the same thing when Monsters University was released.  That movie should have been released closer to August instead of in June.  Also, if you want to consider Iron Man 3 a Disney movie, it was also released the same summer as Monsters University and is an even bigger culprit of being released at the wrong time.  Iron Man 3 would have been a great Christmas Day movie.  I think I am still just annoyed that High School Musical 2, a movie about summer, was released towards the end of summer.  With Girl Meets World airing so early and four more episodes airing this week, I am worried that the breaks between episodes will be even longer this time around.  How else will they be able to air special holiday episodes?

Everyday Atrocities: Pokemon on Emulators

Time and time again, I see people get excited over emulators.  Who wouldn’t?  Having hundreds of games at your disposal and the chance to discover a new hidden gem sounds awesome.  For most people, emulators are like a treasure box filled with childhood memories.  The franchise that I see people get the most nostalgic over is Pokemon and with good reason.  Pokemon is still fun to play.  I just cannot fathom playing it on an emulator.

While I rarely had the opportunity to trade and battle with other people in older Pokemon titles, having a link cable is essential to the Pokemon experience.  How else are you going to catch them all?  Knowing how dedicated the people who design emulators are, it may be possible to trade Pokemon on an emulator, but it just seems dull.  Doing that loses the sense of adventure that extends outside of those games.  Having to find other players or even driving to stores to get special event Pokemon is not the slightest bit convenient, but it gives the illusion that we live in a Pokemon world.  I wonder if Toys R US managers got annoyed of having kids enter the store just to obtain a Pokemon and walk out.

Aside from trading, there are other features that people playing on emulators will miss out on.  Players of HeartGold and SoulSilver will be missing out on one of my favorite features of those games, the Pokewalker.  Just transfer a Pokemon, put the pedometer in your pocket and level up Pokemon just by walking.  I do not know if the Pokewalker was an accurate pedometer, but anything that gives out easy to obtain (if you walk a lot) experience points is a welcome addition.   People looking to complete the Pokdex legitimately are going to have to buy the WiiWare title My Pokemon Ranch which communicates with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.  I never played it.  Capturing or hatching and then transferring 999 Pokemon to obtain Mew sounds tedious.

The best thing about playing Pokemon using actual cartridges is that if you so desire, your Pokemon stay with you.  Theoretically, if you have the right hardware, Pokemon caught over ten years ago in Ruby or Sapphire can be transferred to Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire, a game released last year.  Can you do that with an emulator?  If you are looking to play Pokemon, get a DS Lite or 3DS XL because playing Pokemon on an emulator is atrocious.

Everyday Atrocities: Cup of Noodles

How much protection does a cup of Maruchan Instant Lunch need?  It just seems excessive.  The cup is already protected by the cardboard packaging.  There is no need for the cup itself to also be wrapped, especially when there is a lid that has to be peeled off.  This is obviously done for health and safety reasons, but I have seen individual cups of cereal with just a lid that peels back.  Why doesn’t cereal get the same treatment?

Perhaps the strangest thing about the packaging is that the back of the cardboard explicitly states not to microwave it.  Yet when examining the cup itself, there are microwaving instructions.  Which one is it?  Can or can I not microwave it?

I know that I am supposed to pour out the contents of the cup to a different container and stick that container in the microwave instead.  Doesn’t that defeat the point of it being called “Instant Lunch”?  If I had access to another container, chances are that I am near a stove and can just boil water, which is the best way to prepare it.  Besides, shouldn’t the external cardboard packaging provide a disclaimer with the microwaving instructions?  I guess it does not matter much as there will always be people who practice unsafe ramen cooking techniques by placing the entire cup in the microwave and that’s atrocious.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) Film Review

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of WaterI was kind of worried about how good the new SpongeBob movie was going to be, not only because of the quality of recent episodes of the show, but also the lack of hype for it.  The hype surrounding the first SpongeBob movie ten years ago was huge.  Maybe it has something to do with the movie not being targeted to people my age.  I watched the movie during the third week of its release and was almost alone in the theater.  In fact, I would have been the only person there if people did not walk in during the previews.  I guess the hype for the movie is there as it has slaughtered the box office rankings, especially when comparing it to the first movie.

Empty Theater
So many seats to choose from.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water surpassed my expectations.  The commercials made it seem like most of the movie was going to be live action.  This was not the case.  Most of the movie, a little more than two-thirds of it, was done using traditional animation.  Some people might be upset about the commercials being misleading, but there are enough live action scenes that it does not feel like a case of false advertising.  If there had been any more live action scenes, the movie may have dragged on a bit.

I was entertained throughout the entire movie.  While I did not burst out laughing, I had a giant grin on my face.  There are some funny moments that SpongeBob fans will appreciate.  The thing that intrigued me the most while watching the new SpongeBob movie is how weird it is.  It almost reaches Ren and Stimpy levels of weirdness.  There are trippy time travel sequences and a talking dolphin that controls time and space.  Not to mention that as the trailers reveal, SpongeBob and his friends somehow make their way onto land and transformer into superheroes.

The 3D models in the live action scenes look fine.  If they could use those models in a SpongeBob game, that would be great.  There is just something that looks off about the characters in SpongeBob games.  The games are mostly mediocre cash-ins anyways, so first they would actually need to try to make a decent game.  The live action scenes are probably the weakest part of movie.  They are not bad.  It is just that seeing SpongeBob characters out of water has already been done.  The first movie did it and it had David Hasslehoff.

The animation in the 2D scenes is great.  It is crisp and clean.  It is also refreshing seeing 2D animation on the big screen.  The animation style is not a departure from what people used to.  The style is a mixture of the TV show and the first movie.   That is fine.  There is no need to change things up like in the Rugrats movies which had a much darker color scheme than the show.

I am looking forward to the Blu-ray release of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.  I want to see how well it holds up to multiple viewings.  Will it stand the test of the time like the first movie, which seems to have only gotten better as time passes?  I have a strong feeling that it will.

Please Subscribe (2013) Film Review

Please SubscribeA documentary about the lives of YouTube celebrities sure sounds like it could be interesting.  I ended up losing interest about halfway through.  It tried several times to answer one question, why are these videos popular?  In the end there really is not a concrete reason.  Each “famous” YouTuber interviewed had no idea how their videos got so popular.  I use the term famous loosely as there was only one person that I recognized throughout the entire documentary, Dan Brown, the guy who did that great video on how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I guess it shows how much variety there is on YouTube.  When I think of top YouTube personalities, they are all gaming related.

This is how I learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I can’t help but feel that this documentary would have been more interesting if it used people that I recognize, but that is a narrow-minded outlook.  The main issue that I have is that most of the YouTubers were vloggers.  I do not have a problem with vlogs, but it is just that vlogs by nature are already exploring behind the scenes of a person’s life so it seems redundant to spend time exploring the making of one.   I think it would be interesting however, to watch a YouTuber make a documentary using footage from his or her vlogs.

There is a false ending that feels out of place.  The credits roll and another ten minute interview takes place, followed by more credits.   Did the director forget about the interview and shove it in at the last minute?   Maybe it was done for comedic effect.  The final interview was interesting and should have been placed earlier in the documentary, certainly before the credit roll.

Please Subscribe is repetitive.  The time spent watching it is better spent on YouTube looking for new channels to subscribe to.  If you are interested in seeing a great behind the scenes/making of video, James Rolfe has a great video of how he makes an Angry Video Game Nerd episode.