Friday, October 31, 2014


Halloween is here, which means there will be costume parties to attend, and candy to distribute, and costumes to wear. But perhaps most importantly, it means it's time to snuggle up under some blankets, grab some popcorn, and watch a good, scary movie. Of course, horror movies often aren't runaway box office successes, so finding out about a good one can be a challenge. Luckily, I've been watching said films via streaming services since September 1, and can make some recommendations for you, so here are 10 great horror movies, in alphabetical order, that the average person has probably not seen, and which in many cases even horror aficionados may not have gotten around to yet, along with links to where you can watch them online.

See the list after the jump.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


20th Century Ghosts My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This turned out to be an ideal read for the Halloween season. While many of the short stories here have a pretty "literary" feel, and some don't necessarily qualify as horror, they each have a haunting quality about them. The characters are always engaging, and I found myself caring for most of them, which is quite a feat given how few pages some were given in which to develop. And don't mistake my earlier comments to mean there is nothing scary in this book. There are quite a few tales here that left me creeped out enough that I will likely remember them for some time to come. This collection isn't perfect, but it really shows the promise of just how great a storyteller Mr. Hill would ultimately evolve into.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It's great to know that we, as a society, have reached the point where a transgender rapper can actually achieve some degree of notoriety. Of course, there has to be more than just the inherent novelty of the concept to really pull it off, and as she has proved over the course of her previous EP's, Mykki Blanco has what it takes. "Gay Dog Food" is easily one of the year's most vital albums, from a truly unique and talented voice. The harsh techno beats and squelchy sounds combined with the alternatively sad, angry, and dirty vocals add up to essential listening for anyone at all interested in the state of music in 2014. This is a near flawless debut.

Monday, October 27, 2014


There was much excitement a few weeks ago when Apple announced that they were launching an NFC payment service called Apple Pay which would allow users of their latest model iPhones to make in-store purchases using their mobile devices. Of course some, including me, pointed out that many Android users had been able to do this using Google Wallet for quite some time, but even we were excited as the hype around Apple entering the space meant that adoption for NFC payments in general was likely to skyrocket. Alas, that may not be the case. Retailers don't like that they have to pay credit card companies a fee every time someone uses one in their stores, and as such have been busy working on their own mobile payment service called CurrentC. Now, how would this save them from paying those fees, since a proper mobile payment service works like a wallet, letting you store all of your cards and pay with whichever one you choose at checkout? Well, CurrentC does not let you do that. Instead, it takes a direct debit from your bank account, with only a handful of store credit cards expected to be supported, severely restricting your options for how you would like to pay for something. Okay, you may be saying, but if it's an NFC service, they still have to have NFC readers, so I should still be able to use Apple Pay or Google Wallet or my NFC enabled credit card right? That would be accurate, except CurrentC is NOT an NFC service, instead the app generates a QR code which displays on your phone that a clerk must then scan to enable payment. And to make matters worse, many retailers that already were accepting NFC payments are now shutting the readers down in order to force shoppers to use the new service, which doesn't even launch until some time next year. Since many of the nation's largest stores are involved in this scheme, this leaves us with 2 choices. We can either trust a service that is run by our nation's retailers with our bank account information, despite their repeated demonstrations of just how poorly they protect our data already. Or we can give up on the convenience of using our phones to pay for goods in stores and continue using regular, old, insecure credit cards to pay for things, which means the stores would still be paying the same fees, and would have invested tons of money into something that nobody uses. FULL STORY (AND OUTRAGED COMMENTS): THE VERGE

Sunday, October 26, 2014


The latest release in the long-running "Civilization" game series was released on Friday, and if you're a fan of the games, it is definitely worth your time. In some aspects it is more of the same 4X strategy gameplay you've come to know and love, even occaisionally feeling like little more than a reskinned version of "Civilization V". But there are many elements that are completely new. Most notable is perhaps the use of a "tech web" as opposed to a "tech tree". This allows for a considerably larger amount of freedom in just what direction you want your civilization to follow, and is something that would be interesting to see incorporated into the next iteration of the base game. There are quests which arise throughout gameplay as well, each offering its own challenges and rewards, which also puts an interesting spin on the formula. It is a worthy addition to the Civ family, and while it may not feel quite as different as I had hoped, it will undoubtedly still provide me hours of "just one more turn"-based entertainment.

Friday, October 24, 2014


This week's hottie comes to us from the world of international superstar DJ's. Dutch 18 year old Martin Garrix rocketed to stardom with the release of his hit single "Animals" last year, which even managed to make it all the way to #21 on the US Billboard Hot 100, which is pretty much unheard of for an instrumental club track. Of course, he is not being featured here because of his ability to write a catchy hook, but rather because he is flat out adorable. See for yourself below.



Halloween is only one week away, which means it's time to bundle up under some blankets, eat lots of candy, and watch some horror movies. If you need any inspiration for what specific films to put on, you could start with this list of the best horror movie posters. There are some real gems in there, and a couple of movies I have yet to see, but if nothing else, you can at least look at some genuinely unique pop art from the world of cinema over the last several decades. FULL STORY: ROTTEN TOMATOES

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Seeing as this is the internet, and I'm talking about the next "Avengers" movie, there's a pretty good chance you already know that the trailer for it has leaked. As a result, Marvel have gone ahead and posted it officially to their YouTube account in hi-def. So, in case the bootleg copy you watched an hour ago was too grainy, or in case you didn't know yet, you can watch it below. It doesn't really reveal very much that we didn't know (or at least suspect) already, but it does look really cool. See you all in the theaters next year!


Sure, there's a lot of important things going on in the world, but many of them are very depressing, and almost certainly receiving better coverage elsewhere than they would here. Instead, let's hear some good news, like Starbucks' announcement that beginning on November 14th they will be launching their first new holiday flavor in 5 years; the Chestnut Praline Latte. If that doesn't help put one in the Christmas spirit I don't know what will. FULL STORY: THRILLIST

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Back in the 90's and somewhat into the early 2000's there was a glut of mainstream dance mix albums released on a fairly regular basis. Some of them weren't so good, but others wound up being classics in their own right. A couple of the "MTV Party To Go" and "Dance Mix USA" collections were so good I played them nearly constantly, sometimes still expecting songs to blend into the specific track that followed them on those CD's whenever I hear them to this day. There aren't nearly as many being made anymore, aside from the "Ultra.Dance" series and its offshoots, probably because streaming services sort of negate the need for them. So, in order to help me relive the glory days of the amazing dance music compilation whilst simultaneously helping to hammer the final nail in the coffin for said concept, at least in its original form, I have been putting together a semi-regular series of playlists on Spotify with the same general idea. They are designed to be listened to in the order presented, and I recommend that you turn on crossfade to 10 seconds to get the "mixed" feel, but of course you are free to listen to them however you like. Here is the most recent one to help you get your next party going strong, which features music and remixes by Avicii, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Tiësto, John Legend, Iggy Azalea, Nick Jonas, RuPaul, Charli XCX, Benny Benassi, Mary Lambert, Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Laidback Luke, Childish Gambino, Ultra Naté, Crystal Waters, StoneBridge, TKA, Eelke Kleijn, Kele, Mr. Probz, Hostage, Dillon Francis, Harry Romero, Deorro, Alesso, Treasure Fingers, and more.