Tuesday 30 August 2022

August 2022: Day 188 of the war

Ukraine has managed to hit targets deep in Crimea, which the USA agrees is part of their territory. This has sent Russian tourists in that region fleeing back home and leaving the resorts empty. You can actually check on this webcam if/when people start coming back. That said, exploding stuff and retaking territory are two different things, but the counter offensive has begun.

Russia has settled into a defensive stance in anticipation of this so the battle lines haven't moved much from last month. Reports state that they are failing to pay some of their troops, but that doesn't stop them from threatening to explode nuclear power plants and deploying Steven Seagal. It might require one of these powerful exo-suits to stop that guy.

While this all might be "same/same" and war fatigue for you, Ukrainian redditor Saberflux gives daily updates from Kharkiv which seems to be on the receiving end of Russian missile strikes almot all the time. Redditor PCX99 also has daily war summaries for those interested.

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Monday 29 August 2022

The Sandman (Season 1 - Netflix)

When the lord of Dreams (Tom Sturridge) escapes from his magical prison he must go about regaining his power, rebuilding his ruined kingdom and saving and/or punishing those he sees fit. That's the main selling point for me: the main character is often quite heartless when dealing with problems, and the visual effects are great.

He could also pass as a vampire.

The story is also structured very differently than to most other shows which is intriguing, but might be too odd for some viewers. It might also be the most "representative" show when it comes to races and sexuality that I've seen. Not a bad thing, but it is noticeable. Definitely one I'd recommend but as it is a bit out there, your mileage may vary.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Warframe: Khora and Lavos

The cat and the snake whippers.


My first recommendation is to only passively farm for this warframe as her blueprints come from Sanctuary Onslaught. You will already be doing SO for a lot of things - ranking up other frames, weapons, Tenno powers, then frames and weapons again when you forma them so just collect her as she comes. You might go crazy if you specifically only do SO for her as the drop rate is low.

The "cat warframe" is a very PG description of Khora, who does look like a cat woman and has an immortal cat as a pet (in addition to your regular pet/companion). What she actually enjoys is wrapping enemies up in wires to stun them (the cat pet also wraps enemies in wires), sometimes dangling them from the ceiling (which for some reason makes them hostile to their friends), and whipping them like the bad, bad things they are. This makes infested particularly easy, but despite my best efforts to prep her for Steel Path interception, she just keeps running out of power and has very low survivability against any SP foe with a firearm.


"The snake" is also a misnomer for Lavos, who is acquired from the Entrati syndicate store. He is actually an alchemist that looks snake-like and has twin snakes he can whip out at enemies which restore his health. He also has a nifty speed slide, a pulsating flying drone, and a whirling AoE all of which can be imbued with almost any status you like (he can't innately summon puncture, slash or impact).

Not only does he have instant access to almost any status effect in the game, he also does all this with 0 energy! This is because his powers simply work on cool downs which probably appeals to any World of Warcraft readers. While he can be a pretty tough cookie, especially with the right weapons, I don't have a purpose for him that my firewalking Loki can't already do - outside of energy drain missions I suppose.

Thursday 25 August 2022

The Gray man and Full Metal Alchemist (2017 / Live Action)

People who want to save people are the most dangerous people of them all?

The Gray Man

CIA trained assassin (Ryan Gosling) becomes the target of his own agency when proof of their corruption falls into his possession. While the plot is thin and predictable it is an action packed film with some good fight scenes and some laughs included. Entertaining enough to recommend, especially for Ryan Gosling fans. Just don't go in with any expectations and everything will be fine.

Full Metal Alchemist (2017)

Based on the popular manga of the same name, this series follows a pair of brothers desperately trying to retrieve that which they lost due to their own foolishness. While the film condenses and alters a bit of the story, it is still pretty solid for the most part (the ending is a bit lol and the pace means it lacks some emotional hits) and while the CGI isn't the best as its obviously on a budget, it's passable. The main issue for me is the protagonist.

While all the actors cheesily try to act like their comic counterparts the protagonist is simply unlikable or weak acting wise, but to be fair he also has the hardest job. His "blonde" hair is also the most distracting of all of them. In the end, I'm not sure I can recommend this because there are better methods to get the same / similar story and for fans, you already know the story so...? That didn't stop them from making two more live action movies though. :P

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Warframe: Specters and the Proboscis Cernos

While my Loki can handle a lot of the steel path now thanks to the Xoris and the Nataruk bow (both quest rewards you can't miss), defense style missions are challenging enough that I rebuild a Frost to handle them as well defense specters (2 Star Vauban for infested, 1 Star Frost for the rest) armed with Proboscis Cernos bows, which actually starts out as a Cernos that you buy from the market. You then use upgrade it into a Mutalist Cernos and again into the Proboscis form (note: each form gives mastery!).

As a main weapon it has a very low ammo count and each arrow takes time to fire as you need a full draw. Whatever the arrow strikes, be it terrain or an enemy, becomes the spawn point for tentacles that grabs every enemy nearby with a short immobilize and stun then pulls them close before exploding with viral damage (meaning survivors will take extra damage to health from subsequent attacks). It's pretty neat, but there are better things for you to carry.

Specters on the other hand, don't care about ammo count or mods since they and their weapons level up based on when you summon them. The whole tentacle thing is another awesome form of crowd control which works nicely with my AoE weapons. Now to work out how to handle interceptions, which are "capture the point" scenarios.

Obviously the easy answer is to bring more players but until my crew is ready I'm going to try be soloing these. So far I've only completed Steel Path Phobos. Lots more places to go! :)

Sunday 21 August 2022

Warframe: Mag and Grendel

Frames that have the power to suck?


One of the easiest warframes to get, Mag can either be chosen as your starter frame or by camping "The Sergeant" on Phobos who is possibly the weakest boss in the game as he's only slightly more durable than the other corpus troops. Mag's specialty is magnetism, and she can -suck- pull enemies towards her, pulse energy that lowers hostile shields and armor, crush enemy bones and perhaps the most useful is make magnetic bubbles that either trap foes or attract bullets within which is why she pairs best with piercing bullet weapons. Alas, she is lacking greatly on the defensive side which makes her quite squishy, encouraging the careful shooting game play from the early days of Warframe. She's at best a stepping stone to something stronger.


One of the hardest warframes to get as you need to complete the star map, win arbitration missions to get the currency to find Grendel parts locators and then do those three missions in which all your gear mods are deactivated, this chubby fella is actually quite funny to play. His main gimmick is eating, with his very first ability to suck enemies into his gut which increases his armor. Consumed enemies basically melt continuously but you can spit them back out at their buddies to cause more toxin damage (then probably eat them again), forcefully digest some to gain some minor bonus or turn into a large bowling ball that can knock enemies over and squish them.

While Grendel is decently tanky and it is hilarious to roll around and vacuum groups of enemies into non-existence, he is very energy hungry (drains per enemy in his belly) and by the time you get him you'll probably be looking to hit the steel path which he won't survive without lots of modification. In the end I just couldn't find a use for him that my current frame couldn't do, and fed him to the Helminth.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

The Croods and A New Age

Surviving the stone age!

The Croods

A family of cave men have managed to survive thanks to the strength and rules of their patriarch (voiced by Nicolas Cage) but to avoid fatal catastrophe must change their ways and their life style. With colorful settings, hilarious creatures and near indestructible characters this is a very fun flick. While it starts a tad slow the plot is quite good and a few characters get to grow out of it. My only complaint is that it celebrates a rebellious daughter whose curiosity would have likely gotten herself or her family killed had this been a more adult medium. Definitely recommended!

Not the sharpest rocks in the cave.

The Croods: A New Age

The survivors from the first movie meet another, more educated tribe and clash when it comes to their ways of life. Ugh. This is one example of the sequel not being as good as the original. The jokes are cornier, the story is very loose, and the threat is not really there when compared what the Croods had to go through in their previous adventure. Possibly a movie to watch while you do something else, but otherwise not recommended.

Monday 15 August 2022

RE:the Netflix Series and Welcome to Racoon City

Resident Evil (Season 1 - Netflix)

In an alternate universe where Albert Wesker is black (portrayed by Lance Reddick), this show follows two really stupid girls using the two time period approach: one that follows their youth and one where they are currently, constantly hopping between them just when the current one you are watching is starting to get exciting.

They've got some nice billboards too!

Despite the OK budget, they didn't do very well on the plot here as time and again either people just do the stupidest things or things just "happen". Great example: Oh no, we really can't drive out of this place because the horde is too dense. Take one guess how they get out of that place.

While there's currently only one season of this I can't really recommend it yet unless they up their game severely for season 2 (if it should ever happen). Lance Reddick fans rejoice though, as he has the best parts and is the highlight of every episode.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City

This movie tries its best to stick with the plot from the original games, but that actually translates into a pretty slow film with lots of wandering around in dark places with a flashlight at the start followed by lots of running and shooting when the armies of infected inexplicably show up.

It also creates the problem where fans of the game series know exactly what will happen which reduces tension a lot and to top it off feels a bit cheaper on the production values. Not a great watch and not one I recommend.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Warframe: Nightwave and the Exploiter Orb

While there are a few syndicate factions available in the game one of the best I feel is that of the space DJ who gives daily and weekly missions to mix up your game with decent rewards to encourage people taking a change of pace (this weeks weeklies are fishing and conservation / tranquilizing wild life for example).

Given Warframe is so many things, this is great as it sends veterans back to "finished" content or gives newbies clues about obfuscated game mechanics. Hand shake emotes or raid the hidden labs anyone?

Speaking of obfuscated mechanics, there's a big spider boss on Venus called the Exploiter Orb and unlike her sister Profit Taker who is locked away behind the Solaris United syndicate, she can "almost" be readily fought with any party that wants to try.

"Almost" because the key component, Diluted Thermia, only drops from a recurring event: Thermia Fractures, so stockpile that while you can. Next, you need to go to an unmarked location on the open world to start the fight. Awesome right?

Warp to the telepad that is closest to the right edge of the map (its middle-up) and from there go South West to the nearest cave at the base of a huge stone arch. Deep enough inside you should find yourself in "Deck 12" and get audio clues to confirm it. Near the very end and up on a small balcony is an unmarked machine you can put diluted thermia in. Doing so summons the Exploiter and begins the fight, which can be messy due to lack of instruction but it's pretty simple.

If its up high, shoot the rocks its standing on or coolant raknoids if they are being summoned to make it fall. Shoot the vents between its legs to hurt it, and if the vents are "immortal", find some respawning canisters to throw (middle mouse) at them to make them vulnerable. Easy peasy for an invis Loki.

Exploiter then flees to the surface for the most annoying phase. The idea is to get it to overheat and it does that all by itself. All you need to do is kill the coolant raknoid army slowing down that gauge which might be hard without a team.

These adds drop coolant canisters you can place in lava fractures that the Exploiter will create, instantly turning them orange. Pick em up again and throw em at the spider to help speed up the heating process by .00000001%. At least that's what it feels like. It takes soooo long!

When the spider faints from the heat, walk into it to trigger a cut scene that opens a weak spot for you to shoot. Repeat three times to kill the thing, grab the loot from its butt (literally) and get out before the self destruct sequence finishes. I face tanked that the first time while looting and lets just say it did not go well for me. :P

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Archive and the Terminal List

Archive (Movie)

In this sci-fi future, technology exists to retain the consciousness of a deceased person for a time and so skilled roboticist (Theo James) who lives like a hermit is trying his best to rebuild a person while using vast company resources with nothing to show for it, because he's doing this in secret. Like that won't get him into trouble right?

Some very cool staging and location shots here for what seems to be a quiet but entertaining movie, and I did quite like the "robots" too. Don't expect much action though. Still worth a watch.

The Terminal List (Season 1)

After a terrible mission where he loses lots of his squad, Commander James Reece (Chris Pratt) quickly discovers he's been setup and goes about making a list of people that need to die because of it. It's also possible that the head injury he sustained is impairing his judgement but you know - action series needs action!

And boy does this 8 episode series have some fun action. Gun play, fights and death are aplenty - and its great that the protagonist isn't held back by silly notions of honor when it comes to combat. On the flip side, he trips balls A LOT. Maybe 25% of the season is him tripping which gets repetitive. Other than that, its a solid show I really enjoyed. Recommended!

Sunday 7 August 2022

Warframe: Harrow and Mesa

The priest and the gunslinger.


Only available after completing the "Chains of Harrow" quest (after which you might need to grind a little for some of h8s other parts), this clergy like warframe has a strong focus on shields and teamwork - enjoying a double capacity over shield (shield on top of a shield) and starting each mission with full energy.

He can shield the entire team, throw out a corridor of chains that give him more shields for each enemy he tangles up, flagellate himself to remove all shields to buff the entire squad based on how how much shields he lost, and wave some incense around to help everyone regenerate energy (so that he can use all those abilities again). His power loop is a pretty straight forward one and provided he doesn't tangle with any toxin type enemies (because toxin goes directly for health and ignores shields) this makes him super durable - but not as durable as the Revenant. Because of that and because I'm not into team focused powers, this priest is worm food.


This gunslinger is locked behind the mutalist Alad V assassination mission (avoid that collar) which you'll need to craft keys for. On the plus side, you'll probably get a Nyx from all that key building. As expected all of Mesa's abilities are gun (mainly pistol) focused, and she gets benefits for not being armed with melee. She can jam enemy guns, briefly shield herself from bullets, re-apply stored gun damage with the next shot and lastly become a stationary (or slow moving) turret of doom for as long as her energy allows.

While she might be one of the higher DPS frames currently available she suffers from being not too sturdy. That bullet shield lasts mere seconds, enough time to get to the next cover I suppose but against melee hordes (hello infested) she'd be in trouble "turret" form or not. Might be one I'd like more if I got her earlier in the campaign when I still played it like a shooter all those years ago, but after seeing how quickly Steel Path grunts can shred through unprotected warframes I don't think she'll last in my arsenal for very long.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Ms. Marvel and Obi Wan Kenobi

Disney's the young and the old?

Ms. Marvel (Season 1)

Young daydreamer and superhero fangirl Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) discovers she has powers which put her in the crosshairs of a few people. Despite the main character being written as quite annoying, having not very well defined powers and that a few episodes are a tad slow, we really enjoyed Kamala's family, friends and heritage - including the impromptu history lesson included in here.

We especially liked the background visuals and creative displays when characters text or fantasize about stuff. Here's hoping they make a season two, but I suppose that will depend on how well her upcoming movie adventure goes first.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

This six episode series follows the titular Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) as circumstances force him to piece himself back together after the Jedi order got demolished primarily by his former friend and pupil. The story moves at a good pace and does have the same tone as the movies which include scenes of cute and silly droids to bad guys who can't shoot and all the way to spectacular duels.

The visuals and music are fantastic too - basically an all around winner in terms of entertainment. Due to the nature of the content it's unlikely there will be a season two for this but it's an easy one to recommend, especially to Star Wars fans.

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Warframe: Nyx and Rhino

Mind and body.

As I'm leveling the Helminth I've decided to rebuild a few old frames before feeding them for worm XP and helping me remember what they were like.


At first glance you might think it's hard to get this warframe as her pieces only drop from Phorid, an infested invasion boss, but in reality you'll get so many blueprints for her when you start going after the Mesa warframe, because Phorid invasions drop a key component to hunt for Mesa. My suggestion is to hunt for Mesa directly and you'll get a Nyx on the way.

That said Nyx is one of those warframes who feels super fragile out of the box but she has some pretty nice abilities if powered up correctly. She can make enemies fight each other, go into an invulnerable sphere that absorbs and then returns damage and she can shoot a mass of psychic bolts that strip armor and shields of enemies that sounds really great once you get into the Steel Path. Still just didn't click for me though, certainly not enough to spend resources to get her to a useful level. Worm food it is.


Collected from the Jackal (aka mercy kill training) in Venus, this is a beast of a frame right from the get go and is perhaps one of the best frames for new players to get. He can charge to rag doll enemies, roar to increase damage (of team mates too), stomp to crowd control a radius of enemies and activate iron skin which boosts his armor. I'm  pretty sure all of these enjoy a lot of invulnerability frames which makes this guy a sturdy choice for anyone early in their Warframe career.

Tank wise I think he does get eclipsed later on by the undying Inaros or ultra-shielded Revenant though as these two have in-built healing abilities (and longer invulnerability phases) which are almost mandatory for late game but until then he's an easy one to recommend.

Monday 1 August 2022

Warframe: Solo Thermia Fractures

Here's a decent way to solo the thermia fractures event on Venus. I'm using a firewalking and perma invis Loki but I'm sure any warframe will do as long as you have an archwing launcher and some strong weapons to deal with level 70 Corpus in mid to close quarters.

Step 1: Set your game mode to friends only or solo

Step 2: Head to Orb Vallis with no quest

Step 3: Use the telepad to warp to the top left of the map next to the Temple of Profit

Step 4: Archwing further North up the mountain to find the Exploiter Orb mother. It's a giant invulnerable robot spider that will try to shoot you if it sees you.

Step 5: Little coolant spiders trail the big one, kill four without engaging the Exploiter. Each will drop a coolant pod.

Step 6: Ferry four coolants back to the Fortuna telepad using the warp. You can pick them up while in archwing mode and you can drop them by switching weapons. Just make sure they don't roll off anywhere and don't press middle mouse while holding one as that makes you chuck it and it explodes.

Step 7: From the air, find the closest thermia fracture to Fortuna which looks like a firey lava vent. Enemies in the Orb get stronger the further you are from Fortuna so ideally find the closest one by flying in lazy circles until you spot one. Mark it with "G" to help your navigation.

Step 8: Ferry all four canisters to the fracture without starting it yet, and drop them as close to the thermia start point as possible. Once that's done you can finally start!

Step 9: Plug all four canisters into the fracture in quick succession as soon as you begin and then defend as Corpus start warping in. Do your thing and fight well until you've filled up the timer gauge. Note the fracture itself will occasionally screw with your abilities.

Step 10: If you've won collect the reward canister which should net you one diluted thermia (it won't if you put less than four coolants into the fracture, you'll have to do more with that canister to get it), then go back into Fortuna. Why? So that the Exploiter Orb resets position and that new fractures near Fortuna might spawn.

Update: For all the parts that I suggest teleporting, you can actually just hold down M to bring up the map and select where you want to warp to. You don't need to be standing at a warp pad to warp! Thanks to Juris for letting me know! :)