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Waiting for Sombra

Posted in Trending Topics on 4th November 2016

Waiting for Sombra

Overwatch fans love their lore. Blizzard has created a completely multiplayer experience yet filled it with unique and vibrant characters, giving each a unique backstory that ties them all together. It is a testament to Blizzard’s world building that fans have reacted to so strong to these characters, creating amazing fan art and fan fiction that approaches canonicity for some fans. So why are so many of their community members furious about Sombra?

Sombra is, theoretically, the second addition to Overwatch’s stable of playable characters. She comes after Ana released back in July. Many fans actually thought Ana was Sombra at first. Initially, the ardent detectives of all things Overwatch had discovered an in-game folder titled “SOMBRA [CLASIFICADO]” all the way back in the pre-beta days of the game. Attentive players will even catch Reaper saying, “Where’s Sombra when you need her”, occasionally when spawning on the Dorado map. Blizzard seemingly laid the groundwork for a cunning Sombra reveal.  Eventually, the hints at Sombra’s existence became more complex. The video that revealed Ana also revealed the seeds of an ARG, or Alternate Reality Game. Fans had to decipher a hexadecimal code, turn it into ASCII, then use a cipher to decode a cryptic message and, once again, the name “Sombra”. This was not going to be just another timed character release. This time, clever Overwatch players could get involved.

For ARG fans, this was the start of something exciting. While generally part of an existing marketing campaign, ARGs can be their own intricately designed and immensely rewarding experiences. The Battlefield developers have a long history of incorporating complicated and devious puzzles into their updates. Participants are treated to a myriad of unique challenges and to ultimately earn some narrative or in-game reward.

Unfortunately, many players of the Overwatch ARG grew increasingly upset at short puzzles that Blizzard has released, most of which lead towards some kind of countdown to the next event. At this point, most everyone expects a complete Sombra reveal at Blizzcon this weekend. For those hoping that the ARG reward would be an early look at Sombra, their effort seems futile.

Earlier this week, at the height of another puzzle and subsequent countdown, the Overwatch subreddit was alight with arguments. One post was a plea to Blizzard to never reveal a character with an ARG again. Other posts poke fun at the incessant teases, suggesting that when her ultimate reaches 100 percent, it will simply reset and start another countdown. Some have come to Blizzard’s defense, suggesting fans should never have had an expectation of being rewarded for their efforts.

In a way, they are right. When you buy Overwatch, you pay for the game and all of the characters in it. There’s no guarantee that any external content will be created, let alone that it will be good even if it does. There’s also a certain entitlement implicit in the way that some Overwatch fans have reacted to the ARG. Some participants feel as though they have been intentionally misled, lied to, or strung along—even though Blizzard has barely said anything official about the ARG, one way or the other.

Others take a more level-headed approach to Blizzard’s strategy. The folks putting in all the effort to decipher these clues know this is all a marketing strategy. The issue is not that Blizzard is misleading fans into thinking they can somehow unlock Sombra early. It is that the ARG participants are being reminded how they fit into the consumer-creator relationship.

On the other hand, I suspect the trauma felt by the Sombra ARG participants is actually grounded in an expectation of fairness. An ARG, in a way, is an agreement. Folks will put in the work to decipher clues, reveal new information, and therefore build buzz around game content. They have an expectation (I believe a reasonable one) to see this value reflected by the ARG creators. This could be in the form of new information, art, or even simple recognition.

In a perfectly executed plan, the ARG reveals information at the same pace that the creator wants that information revealed anyway. By including such long delays and countdowns between ARG segments, the illusion of earned recognition vanishes. Instead, we see how the sausage is made. That is, according to the sausage-maker’s own meticulously planned schedule.

Even so, that has not stopped Overwatch fans from latching onto what little we do know about Sombra. The community is already rife with fan art, and I suspect we will see at least one Sombra cosplay attempt at Blizzcon. Maybe, in an underappreciated form of live comedy, the Sombra cosplayer will arrive on her own time, two weeks after the doors have shut.

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Tippi Hedren claims Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted her

Posted in Trending Topics on 1st November 2016

Tippi Hedren claims Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted her

Writing in her autobiography, she claimed the director “threw himself” on top of her in the back of his limousine and tried to kiss her.

The actress described the encounter as “an awful, awful moment”.

Hedren added that she did not tell anyone because “sexual harassment and stalking were terms that did not exist” in the early 1960s.

She continued: “Besides, he was Alfred Hitchcock, one of Universal’s superstars, and I was just a lucky little blonde model he had rescued from relative obscurity. Which one of us was more valuable to the studio, him or me?”

Hedren appeared in The Birds in 1963 and the following year starred in Marnie – both of which were directed by Hitchcock.

The actress, now 86, made the claims in her autobiography Tippi: A Memoir, which is published in November.

She has spoken in the past about the director’s alleged treatment of her, but has gone into more detail in the memoir.

Hedren described a later encounter in Hitchcock’s office where the director “suddenly grabbed” her and “put his hands” on her.

She wrote: “It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I could not have been more shocked and more repulsed.

“The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became. Then he started adding threats, as if he could do anything to me that was worse than what he was trying to do at that moment.”

After refusing his demands, Hedren said Hitchcock “looked directly into my eyes, his face red with rage, and promised, ‘I will ruin your career.'”

The actress said Hitchcock then made her life difficult, refusing to submit her work for the Oscar nominations or let her take on other acting roles while he still had her under contract.

Hedren, whose daughter Melanie Griffith is also an actress, said: “I have made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life.”

She went on to say that, despite his treatment of her, she felt “a wave of sadness” when he died in 1980.

“It surprised everyone that I went to Hitchcock’s funeral,” she wrote, adding: “As far as I was concerned, there was no unfinished business between us, nothing more that needed to be said.

“I had already healed and moved on by the time Hitchcock died, far past anything I had ever imagined for myself. So in the end, I was there to say, ‘Goodbye, and thank you, Hitch.'”

Canzano: Going A-Z on the win (Oregon Ducks) and loss (Oregon State Beavers)

Posted in Trending Topics on 31st October 2016

Canzano: Going A-Z on the win (Oregon Ducks) and loss (Oregon State Beavers)

Oregon beat Arizona State 54-35. And Oregon State led Washington State by three scores when you went to bed… but lost 35-31 by the time you woke up.

No better time to open a can of A-Z on them…

A) My Sunday column focuses on the only question that matters right now at the University of Oregon: Can freshman QB Justin Herbert save coach Mark Helfrich? After blowing a 31-point lead vs. TCU in the Alamo Bowl, the PAT debacle vs. Nebraska, having 70 points pinned on his team by Washington… Helfrich’s future feels in the hands of a kid who was basically a fill-in scholarship offer. If you saw this coming you do not need to dress as a witch for Halloween. You are one.

B) Communicated with Oregon State coach Gary Andersen after the loss to Washington State. He is insanely proud of the way his team is fighting… and simultaneously aware that he needs to recruit better to win games against good teams. Talent and toughness end up a sobering dichotomy. One that Andersen will have to resolve to win big games.

C) The Beavers did it with smoke and mirrors in the first half vs. Washington State. It was a McGyver-like effort. Ryan Nall had 19 carries for 131 yards and two TDs on the ground. Ultimately though, WSU lined up in the second half and said, “You ca not throw. We all know it.”

D) The Cougars were right. OSU rushed for 160 yards on 15 carries in the first half, but had only 11 rushing yards on 13 carries in the second half. The Beavers are getting better, and better, but they have a shortage of talent/speed/length.

E) Ducks quarterback coach David Yost first saw Justin Herbert in person during a trip to a Sheldon High basketball game. Remember, Oregon only offered Herbert a scholarship after four-star recruit Seth Green (now at Minnesota) decommitted. Yost said of the 6-foot-6 Herbert, “He was a tall, smooth athlete. He had that same look on his face no matter what was happening in the game. And after the game it was, ‘Yessir. No sir. Thanks for coming.'”

F) No kid. Thank YOU for coming.

G) Arizona State was missing six starters and had eight players miss practice this week due to injuries. But a win is a win is a win. It had been 337 days between Pac 12 victories for the Oregon Ducks. The O’s Andrew Greif had the game story.

H) Oregon’s opponents in the first seven weeks of the season managed two combined victories this week. Washington beat Utah. WSU beat Oregon State. UC Davis and Colorado had bye weeks. The rest of the UO opponents went a combined 0-4.

I) Beavers wide receiver Jordan Villamin caught 43 passes for 660 yards and five touchdowns last season at Oregon State. He did not catch a pass on Saturday and now has 10 catches for 90 yards in eight games this season. The disappearance of Villamin feels like a “60 Minutes” investigative report.

J) Maybe put Ryan Nall on the case. After all, he appears to be doing everything else over there.

K) While we are solving mysteries… anyone who is closely watching Ducks running back Royce Freeman (bruised sternum after being trucked vs. Washington) knows something still is not right. Freeman (17 carries for 38 yards vs. ASU) looked more comfortable than a week ago, but was still not himself. Tyson Alger of The O caught up with Freeman after the game.

L) Nothing wrong with Alger’s game. His story included this gem quote from Freeman: “I am not stressing about it or anything. As long as anybody else in the running back room is eating, I am eating.”

M) Still, Oregon is not better with a less-than Freeman. Seven of his 17 carries went for zero yards or less.

N) Washington State has a ridiculous group of receivers led by Gabe Marks (8 catches for 110 yards and two TDs). That said, I like Colorado’s group of receivers better than Washington State’s. But barely.

O) WSU coach Mike Leach blew off the sideline reporter on the way to the locker room with his team trailing 24-6 at halftime against Oregon State. That elicited scoffing and criticism at Reser Stadium, but really, what’s the value of that halftime interview anyway? It is worthless. You never learn anything. It is rarely even entertaining. It amounts to a coach who does not want to do an interview saying nothing as he fulfills a contractual obligation negotiated by a couple of attorneys when the broadcast-rights deal was cut. I had be in favor of losing that interview in exchange for a 60-second fight between the opposing mascots.

P) Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott did a worthless interview at Autzen Stadium at halftime himself. I asked him the first question: What’s up with DirecTV? His response: “No new updates. Same as last week. Yup, not for lack of effort, our team is always reaching out and trying, but nothing new to report.”

Q) Scott bolted in the third quarter for Reser Stadium, beating the Ducks game traffic. He did a similar interview in the press box at halftime there with OSU and WSU media. It is part of Scott’s regular college football tour. He hits every Pac 12 home stadium at least once during the season. This was his Oregon swing. I doubt he will be back given that Oregon and Oregon State (a combined 5-11 overall and 2-8 in Pac 12 play) wo not be bowl bound.

R) The conference’s bowl alliances (Cactus, Las Vegas, Sun, Foster Farms, Holiday, Alamo and Rose) remain a sore subject. But one I hope is solved after the Pac 12 gets the DirecTV issue fixed, and also, stops playing games that finish close to midnight.

S) USC has played in a record 33 Rose Bowls. Question: Among Pac 12 members, do you know which team comes in second? See answer below in entry “U”.

T) National recruiting expert Greg Biggins (Fox Sports) talked about the Ducks issues with recruiting (Read: negative recruiting) and the Beavers new obsession with JC talent on my radio show (12-3p on 750-AM and 102.9-FM) last week. Fascinating perspective and worth a listen of the podcast.

U) Answer: Stanford. The Cardinal have 15 Rose Bowl appearances. Washington is next with 14. Then comes UCLA (12), Cal (8), Oregon (7), Washington State (4), Oregon State (3) and ASU (2). Colorado, Utah and Arizona have never played in “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

V) The Civil War will be the biggest game of the season for both Oregon and Oregon State for the first time in a long while. Who ya got?

W) This week’s Civil War Fact: Don Essig, the legendary public-address voice of Autzen Stadium, is an Oregon State graduate. Meanwhile, Mike Parker, the long-time Beavers play-by-play broadcaster, is an Oregon graduate. I have a fun interview with Essig slated to post this week on my YouTube channel.

X) Essig will celebrate 50 years on the Ducks’ mic next month. Oregon now has celebrity guests introduce the rosters, but Essig does the rest. My favorite part of the Essig interview came when I asked him how much longer he will continue to be “The Voice of Autzen Stadium.” His answer: “When it stops being fun.”

Y) Oregon State’s game took 3 hours, 49 minutes to play. Oregon’s took 3 hours, 36 minutes. When you are kicking off at 7:45 p.m. or 8 p.m., you are hosing everyone but the television networks.

Z) Oregon travels to USC next Saturday (Kickoff: TBA shortly) and is a 14-point underdog. Oregon State goes to Stanford (12:30 p.m. kickoff) and is a 16.5-point underdog.

— @JohnCanzanoBFT

Watch Saturday Night Live Take on the Third Presidential Debate

Posted in Trending Topics on 24th October 2016

Watch Saturday Night Live Take on the Third Presidential Debate

Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump sparred again in a sketch spoofing the final presidential debate on Saturday Night Live.

The cold open sketch mocked the third debate held in Las Vegas last Wednesday. Guest host Tom Hanks played debate moderator Chris Wallace.

As they did in sketches mocking the first two debates, McKinnon and Baldwin centered on the notable moments of the night and both candidates’ personality tics.

He broke that promise immediately, screaming, “They’re ripping babies out of vaginas!” when asked about reproductive rights.

The sketch also addressed the sexual assault allegations that have hit Trump over the last month. Baldwin’s Trump maintained his innocence.

“I’ve said this before and I will say this again,” he said. “No one has more respect for women than I do.” SNL then showed clips of the audience laughing, and then a photo of earth appearing to laugh.

“Alright, settle down, settle down entire planet,” Hanks’ Wallace said.

Michelle Signs Overall Deal With Thinkfactory Media

Posted in Trending Topics on 23rd October 2016

Michelle Signs Overall Deal With Thinkfactory Media

Michel’le is expanding her relationship with Thinkfactory Media. The platinum recording artist has signed an overall deal that includes future television and film projects and her music, as well as an upcoming autobiography.

The recently aired Thinkfactory biopic for Lifetime, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, was a ratings blockbuster for the network with an average of 2.3 million total viewers, making it cable’s No. 1 entertainment telecast of the night among total viewers (excluding sports). Additionally, it was the No. 1 most social movie of the weekend with a total of 573,000 interactions.

As a follow-up, Thinkfactory is currently in talks with multiple networks about a docuseries which features Michel’le and her family. The unscripted series will give viewers a front row seat to her life as she battles to overcome her past, and move into the next chapter of her life and career. She also is slated to release a new album featuring songs written by Stacy Barthe (Katy Perry, Rhianna) and Midian Mathers (Beyoncé) in January, and is also currently penning her autobiography.

Thinkfactory Media has a longstanding relationship with Michel’le, having previously collaborated on TV One’s hit series, R&B Divas LA.

“Michel’le is one of the strongest and most courageous women I’ve had the privilege to work with,” said Leslie Greif, founder and CEO of Thinkfactory Media. “Storytelling is the core of Thinkfactory, and having Michel’le open up to us with such raw emotion and having so much trust in us is the foundation for a meaningful partnership. Thinkfactory Media is thrilled to build a business with Michel’le and be a part of her inspiring journey.”

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Good for Michel’le! I enjoyed Surviving Compton very much and look forward to her future endeavors and success.

Much love to this diva that came straight out of compton always wonder what happen cause you blow so hard vocals so 100 % like where she at i’m lookin 4 her but now! so on that note i’m introducing my girl michel’le luv$ $ $ $ $ $ $ HOOD

The movie was awesome when I went to see the other movie the first thing I was thinking where is Michel’ le? The movie wasnt prue and true.So when she was able to tell her life story it showed you why she acted and when in to seclusion for a while..But I follower Michel’le on divas too..And I understood her volatile Behavior..But to see her strong a ready to give us one more classic album ..Im excited..Go Girl …please give us some of those jazz scatts too.Congratulations long over do!

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