"Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea" seems to be a perfect addition to the story

As a gamer, it’s not often that I think “I hope they do this next” and actually see the developer deliver. But it seems that Irrational Games has done just that with its newly announced Bioshock Infinite DLC “Burial at Sea.”

When I finished Bioshock Infinite, my mind raced with the possibilities of additions to the story. Irrational had already announced they would be releasing downloadable content, so it couldn’t hurt to dream.BurialatSea2

“They should continue the game’s themes and included the same characters in an alternate reality!” Check.

“I’d love to see the setting of the previous game rendered in this game’s engine!” Check.

“Being able to see Rapture in its pre-apocalyptic state would be so awesome!” Check.

Are the developers reading my mind? Maybe that is the ability given to one by some new vigor or plasmid. Most DLC releases I’ve played through recently have been underwhelming, to say the least. Most are obvious cash-grabs with very little substance. The problem often is that the story just doesn’t have anywhere else to go, unless the game ended with some frustrating cliffhanger. Bioshock Infinite’s creators wrote themselves into a good place with the alternate universe motif, which affords plenty of freedom even after the game’s very definitive ending. And continuing that theme seemed the logical way to go, but many developers seem averse to logic these days. I’ve been conditioned to expect mediocrity.

From the looks of things, Irrational somehow managed to create an interesting in-between experience that fans of the original Bioshock and Infinite would equally enjoy (if said fans were not already in love with both games). Booker’s back. Elizabeth’s back. Rapture’s back, too. Maybe Andrew Ryan…? Well, I better not get my hopes up, but add that one to the dream pile.

The kind of story “Burial at Sea” will offer is hard to call, considering the returning characters’ Bizarro World personalities cancel out much of what we already know about them. Plus, the original Bioshock and Infinite both had very different approaches to the “Egomaniac with a City” narrative. Can this hybrid of the two games bring anything new to the table?

Either way, I’m excited to play through what will apparently be a two-part series of Bioshock prequels. Part one of the series is lined up for the end of this year, and part two is scheduled for next year.

Watch the trailer here

Not exactly a spoonful of sugar

In 1928, when the world first met a mouse named Mickey, no one could have predicted the ways in which Walt Disney would change the world. Walt built not just an animation studio that produced movies entwined with the childhood of millions around the world, but an entertainment empire encompassing films, television, theme parks, hotels, cruise ships and record labels.

Walt was not only the original voice of Mickey, but also the face of the Disney company. He came into the living rooms of countless Americans every week through Walt Disney Presents. It’s difficult for me to imagine a time when Walt Disney himself was promoting the newest animation and walking the streets of Disneyland. He has become a legend, a myth. To many, he’s the visionary genius who set the bar so high that Disney’s competitors have always been playing catch up. To others, he was a relentless task master who expected his employees to go above and beyond.

Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in “Saving Mr. Banks.”

This December, Walt makes his return to the big screen. It’s not cryogenics that brings Disney’s Big Cheese back to life, but rather Tom Hanks. This weekend, I watched the trailer for Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks.” I had heard last year that Hanks had been tapped for the part and thought, “Hmm, that could be interesting.” I didn’t know the direction the movie was taking. I at first thought it was going to be a biography of Walt’s life. However, this film focuses on the production of “Mary Poppins.”

After watching the trailer twice, I of course, had to immediately research the subject matter. The tension between Disney and Poppins author P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) is the center of the film. I had no idea the story behind this beloved classic was not exactly a spoonful of sugar. In fact, the real life Travers fought for nearly two decades and several studios before agreeing to have her nanny adapted for the silver screen. In addition to the $100,000 payday, Travers also received final say on the script. This was an unprecedented move for someone working with Disney.

Hanks seems to have captured Disney’s charm, attempting to persuade Thompson’s Travers to trust the studio. Travers, on the other hand, is concerned about the way her beloved character is rendered on screen. She is insistent on having no animation in the film. She doesn’t like the music composed by the golden duo the Sherman Brothers (who penned some of Disney’s most well-known tunes). In real life, she was adamantly against Dick Van Dyke as Bert and thought Julie Andrews was far too pretty to play the no-nonsense caretaker.

I’m curious to see the approach Disney will take to Disney. It marks the first time someone portraying Walt Disney is a starring character in a Disney movie. I wonder if Disney will skip over some of the dicier points of the tiff. For instance, Travers wasn’t initially invited to the Poppins premiere and had to beg Disney to let her come.

After seeing the finished film (complete with dancing animated penguins), Travers was devastated and wept with disappointment in the theater while other movie-goers gave it a standing ovation. She demanded Disney strike the animation from the movie, to which he replied, “Pamela, that ship has sailed.”

“Saving Mr. Banks” sails into theaters nationwide on December 20.

'Sharknado': Watch the trailer and understand what everyone is talking about

The Syfy channel aired “Sharknado” Thursday night — a movie about sharks being tossed on land by a tornado, terrorizing the people of Los Angeles

'Sharknado': Watch the trailer and understand what everyone is talking about

The Syfy channel aired “Sharknado” Thursday night – a movie about sharks being tossed on land by a tornado, terrorizing the people of Los Angeles.'Sharknado' has gotten a huge response from people, generally in the form of making jokes. The premise is, after all, about sharks falling from the sky.Watch the 'Sharknado' trailerThe hashtag #Sharknado quickly started trending on Twitter, and stayed the top trend into Friday morning.No way is SHARKNADO as entertaining as the Tweets about it. Congrats, @SyfyTV. …

View “'Sharknado': Watch the trailer and understand what everyone is talking about” on Spundge

A Star-Spangled Cake for the First Avenger

See, that doesn’t look too hard…

In addition to July 4 being the nation’s 237th birthday, it also was the supposed birthday of the First Avenger, Steve Rogers.

He’s supposedly 93, in case you were wondering.

What better way to mark it than with an awesome shield inspired cake? I saw this cake on the Internet somewhere—maybe Facebook.

It seemed pretty daunting. I’m not so good with the baking (that’s Grandma’s area of expertise) and I’ve never decorated a cake before. Sure I’ve frosted plenty of cakes, and eaten plenty of frosting, but I’ve never attempted anything like this. But I was feeling ambitious, and it was for the Star Spangled Man with a plan, so I gave it a shot. That’s what Cap would do if he baked.

The only guide I had was a picture. There were no directions, just a picture of the finished cake with a slice cut out. Hmm. OK.

I went over to Kroger and then to Walmart to get supplies and then I came home. Grandma saw what I’d brought home and asked what I planned to do. I told her it was going to be big and messy, she volunteered to help. I wanted to play it safe first, so I went the route of the tried and true—box cakes and canned icing. You can’t screw that up.

I mixed up the batter (two boxes) then poured it into two more bowls. I colored it the best I could with food coloring and poured the colored batter into three round cake pans.

so it looks a little pink… that’s ok, I think.

I cleaned up my mess while it baked and then set them out to cool while I ran errands.

Ok, so maybe this one looks a little green.

When I came home the cakes were cool and ready to assemble (see what I did there.) I cut them the way I thought they should be, cutting the red and white cakes in half lengthwise and then cutting a circle in the center of the blue cake.

Assembled

It’s lopsided, so you know I made it.

Assembling and frosting the cake took some doing, but I managed to get it done. Then I put it in the fridge because I was tired of dealing with it.

mmmm cake….

The next morning, after cleaning my whole house and getting sucked into a Jane Austen movie, I went back to the cake. I’d decided I would try the starry-dot method (not official name but that’s what I’m calling it) instead of fondant. I don’t like fondant and that’s just the way it is. I’d been playing with piping bags and frosting a bit earlier in the week and I watched a YouTube video. I could totally do this.

I went with the white first. The first problem I noticed was that the icing was getting warm and not forming as well. Hmm. Back into the fridge. First the white ring, then I colored red frosting and did two red rings, followed up with a white star in the center.

That’s a lot of dots….

I colored some blue frosting and filled in around the star. The rest of the icing was around the sides. Voila!

A star-spangled cake!

It took two days to make and by the time it was all done I didn’t even get to cut the first slice. My sister cut the first slice because I had to run out early for a press conference. But the cake came to the office Tuesday. The newsroom has never met a cake it didn’t like, and this one was no exception judging by it’s quick disappearing act.

Any day is a good day if there’s cake involved.

Now I’m plotting my next cake feat. I was thinking a full on TARDIS for the Doctor Who premiere in November, though the question is flat or standing? Maybe a flaming mockingjay for Catching Fire in November? Decisions, decisions.

But there will definitely be another shield cake coming in April when Captain America: The Winter Soldier drops.