Posts Tagged ‘halfapanda’

Review – Tree of Life (2011)

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Sean Penn's character ponders the meaning of life.

Synopsis:
Middle aged dude in current time period spends the day pondering how he got to where he is now. He does this by going back to the primordial ooze and works his way forward, spending a large part of the movie in space, under water, with the dinosaurs and reliving a Summer in his childhood.

Pluses:
No denying that Brad Pitt’s acting was the best this about this movie.
It finally ended.

Minuses:
Where to start?
Dinosaurs?
Jesus H Christ the amount of David Attenborough-esque shots was a joke.
Way too much time trying to be existentialist.
The time line was totally out. If he grew up in the 50’s, how can he be in his 40’s now?
The promise of nature vs grace was ignored.
It’s ok because a carnivourous dinosaur did’t eat a dying dinosaur. WTF?

Now I know this isn’t your normal narrative style movie, but this was drawn out in ways it didn’t need to be. It reminded me of that movie you saw at uni if you were stoned. Can’t remember what it was called, but that one. Totally unnecessary “bullshit wank wank whine whine oh thank god it is over” movie.

On the plus side, my friend and I went to an early preview 2 weeks before opening and we got good champagne and more popcorn that we could eat. It promised so much, and didn’t deliver at all.

#halfawankypanda

 

Review – Age of the Dragons (2011)

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

When I said yes to this role I didn't know I was going to have to sit in the make up chair for hours every day. Going to fire my agent!

Synopsis:
Imagine Moby Dick isn’t a whale but a dragon. The Rachel isn’t a whaling boat but a person. Queequeg isn’t a burly warrior but a hipster, and the Pequod isn’t a boat, but a land vehicle.

Pluses:
I am all for unusual adaptations.
Scenery was nice.

Minuses:
How do you screw up a classic like Moby Dick? (see synopsis for answer)
Vince Jones with dialogue.
No gams (less the raiders count).
Ahab’s backstory.
Love interest in Moby Dick??
Average CGI.
The Pequod was a bit of a joke.

I knew I was getting myself in for something terrible, but this was bad. Beyond bad. The acting (How did they get Danny Glover? Did he need a new ferrari or something?). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bad movies when they are good bad movies, but this was just bad.

#halfanadaptedpanda

Review – Arctic Blast (2010)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

This is my "I am a serious meteorologist face" that I use when I tell people the world is going to end.

Synopsis:
A world leading meteorologist is working in Hobart (yes HOBART) as a tear in the ozone layer causes icy air from the mesophere to rush down to the Southern Ocean and an Ice Fog (yes an Ice Fog) is heading towards Tasmania. Can our hero scientist save Tasmania, the world, his daughter AND his marriage?

Pluses:
I laughed within 20 seconds.
Nice to see a disaster movie with Australian accents.
Hobart is very pretty.
Michael Shanks is the lead for all the Stargate tragics.

Minuses:
The acting.
The dialogue.
The mix match in deaths – the first few all died one way, then they died a different way from the same event.
Did I mention the acting and dialogue?
The plot.
After Hobart, every other event happens over the landmark of an international capital city.
The special effects weren’t very special.

What Arctic Blast proves is that Australia can’t make an Eco-Disaster movie. Let’s be honest though, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

#halfanembarrassedpanda

Review – The Cape – Goggles and Hicks (S01Ep06)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Let's be stereotypical assassins in the way that stereotypical means "nothing like."

This week:
The Cape needs some time to heal and get his head back in the game so takes a day off. What could possibly interfere with that?

Pluses:
I did like the Tarot duo.
Vince’s son makes a friend.

Minuses:
Where to start?
The plot was dull.
The tech was ridiculous.
Flemming was under utilised and when he was on screen it was just stupid.
Orwell – yawn.

Thankgoodness this has been shelved. These days I watch just to see if it can actually get worse… it can.

#halfapanda

Review – V – Red Rain S02Ep01 (Season Premier)

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Hey look mum, now I am a whiny arse teenager with no face!

I am not much of a fan for V (redux). I loved the original, even had it on VHS which I faithfully recorded live, pressing pause to get rid of the ads (remember when you had to do that?). Anyway – I fought my way through the ups and many downs of the front half of the season. Given the absolutely blah weather we have been having lately, I figured I would see if it picked up after smooshing the also iffy FlashForward (book was awesome BTW).

This week:
After getting her nefarious on at the season cliffhanger by making the sky red, Anna makes it rain… who would have guessed given the title. V’s have been around longer than we thought. Tyler is helpless and shags Lisa. Hey Joshua. Oh, and hi Mum!

Pluses:
Dianna! (though this was totally given away with the intro credits by listing Jane Badler)

I wonder how many takes this took. I laughed just watching it, can't imagine trying to keep a straight face while acting it.

Minuses:
Why do they need to breed with humans when Anna can spawn hundreds?
Obvious plot devices.
Killing off the most interesting character by bringing him back to life.
Everything else especially really poor CGI.

I won’t be back for another episode, unless there is nothing on TV that night, the internet is down, and my media drive exploded.

#halfabadlyrenderedpanda

I thought I would share the funniest review I found of V series final (Red Sky)  – it made me laugh so much when I first read it I dug it up again for your enjoyment. You can read all of Olly Hume’s reviews here.

The season is complete and V has well and truly invaded our TV sets, unmercifully culling Flashforward while solidifying its own position with consistently good ratings. Is it a shining example of Sci-Fi drama? Or does a look beneath the surface reveal something not so pretty?

V had a bumpy start that wasn’t helped by a four month hiatus between the 4th and 5th episode. The first few installments showed promise, and the element of mystery surrounding the V’s motives (for those who hadn’t seen the original) made for some compelling viewing. However, there were also many problems caused by poor casting and a significant lack of truly likable characters.

Red Sky is the season finale and, even though the buildup to the final episode was rather lackluster, said episode does involve some rather major events both on the mother ship and on Earth. The resistance realizes that Anna’s baby soldiers are about to march out of their embryonic slime (gunge if you are British) and when they do, Earth will be in a right pickle. So, Erica hatches a plan (pun intended) to destroy the little blighters while Tyler invites his mother to tea with Anna and Lisa. I say plan, but in reality it’s more of:

“When I’m on the ship, I reckon I’ll blow up all the eggs.”

This is about the equivalent of me having a plan consisting of:

“When I’m within 500 yards of 20 Victoria Secret models, I’ll seduce them all and make them my wives.”

Anyway, lack of foresight aside, things do manage to conveniently fall in place, ironically due entirely to Joshua and Lisa. Joshua is actually one of the few characters I really enjoy watching onscreen. Mark Hildreth does a great job of providing us with a character that projects sincerity and depth using very little dialogue and some rather corny lines. Unfortunately, Joshua is forced to get rid of his Comms device quite early on, and the resistance has no way of contacting him about the kind of distraction Erica will require. But fear not Earthlings! Father Jack has an awesome idea. You remember Chad Decker, the reporter who betrayed them in Hearts and Minds, the one who went on the air to make a tearful plea for all of mankind to beg the V’s to stay? Well, Jack reckons Chad would be the perfect person to trust with a coded message to Joshua on the V ship. Needless to say, Chad sets up Joshua, and he is quickly imprisoned. Lisa is actually the person who turns out to be most instrumental in the plot, releasing Joshua and providing Erica with the magic blue ball of destruction. It’s worth noting that Joshua also refers to her as “my Queen,” hinting at things to come.

Val gives birth to her lizard/human hybrid baby, providing another enormous disappointment. The best we get to see is a poorly implemented CGI tail and some gargled baby sounds from a voicebox. I had been holding out to see this creature, and showing a bunch of swaddling blankets is a cheap cop-out. Sci-Fi shows rely on strong visual imagery; remove that and they quickly become farcical nonsense.

There was a highlight however, in Joshua’s sacrifice, as he forces Erica to shoot him in an effort to keep her cover intact. I was extremely disappointed to see Joshua die since he is the only character that is consistently enjoyable to watch. I was ready to curse V once again for ruining perfectly good characters, but, as I shall explain soon, there is a strange twist to this particular tale. Erica is able to destroy the vast majority of the baby monsters, and in so doing, she unleashes untapped emotion in Anna. It wasn’t quite as earth-shattering as one would have hoped, but it did have quite an impact, particularly her piercing scream and the sight of the first cracks in her flawless visage. Acting on her emotion, Anna sends what appears to be an attack signal to the other cloaked ships she has waiting outside Earth’s atmosphere. This has the most terrible consequence that anyone could have ever imagined. In fact, I’m at pains to describe it now because of how unbelievable horrific it is… Anna makes the sky go a bit red!!! I had no idea how evil she had become. Now every city across the globe looks like it does when there is going to be a really nice day tomorrow. I think this might also be the hidden meaning behind the episode title. Red Sky might well be called “Red Sky” because at the end of the episode there is a red sky. Who knew?

Sorry, I’ll try to be less facetious, but it really was laughable. There was this huge buildup and all we got was the hint of a couple of ships and what looked like some people admiring a nice sunset. If the audience had any idea of what the redness was all about, or if it looked the least bit sinister, then it may have had the intended effect. However, we were never really shown this cloaked army that Anna seemed to have, so there was absolutely no sense of foreboding, not to mention imminent doom. The scale of the conflict is not properly portrayed as all we ever see is Anna and a bunch of eclectic misfits that make up the resistance. We never hear anything of the countless other ships around the world or indeed the other few billion people going about their lives.

But the biggest problem with the series has been the poor casting, as well as character development that has verged on fictional homicide. Elizabeth Mitchell is not a good actress. Through no fault of her own she has an unnaturally expressionless face and delivers lines vacantly and without emotion, which is ironic in the head of a resistance against emotionless creatures. The character of Father Jack has descended into pious idiocy. His speech in Red Sky surrounding the rejection of false prophets was unnecessary, a little creepy and an obvious bit of hand-holding for the Christian majority in the US. Hobbes and Chad have also turned from interesting and complex characters into one-dimensional, self-serving traitors while Ryan has simply gone back to the dark side.

The only light at the end of the tunnel was a glimpse of Joshua awakening, his wounds healed by Marcus. Why this happens is a complete mystery and I’m a little annoyed that it got my attention so effectively because now I feel I’ll have to watch next season to see what happens. Maybe Marcus is alarmed by Anna’s new human emotions or perhaps Joshua will be a tool to infiltrate the 5th column whilst being one of Anna’s mindless pawns. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall

As an episode, it fell just shy of good. However, as a season finale, it failed miserably. The effort was obviously put in to create a climactic event; the trouble is there is very little tension surrounding the central characters’ activities. It’s difficult to identify with such unlovable people, and I find myself completely indifferent to any of their fates. Strangely enough, the only people I would like to see develop are Joshua and Lisa. The entire resistance should be replaced as far as I’m concerned; they simply do not evoke enough interest.

I’ll watch next season, if only so I can write another unadulterated rant, but I truly hope some heads are knocked together in the ABC board rooms. V should be about conflict on a scale the world has never seen, a threat to our very humanity. It needs to decide whether it wants to be a serious drama or a cheesy play on the alien invasion genre, because it most certainly cannot be both.

Review – Birdemic – Shock and Terror

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

We hover and are flammable but only attack people who aren't living at one with nature (according to some guy who lives in a tree house that will burn down from the forrest fires also happening).

Ok where to start.

Synopsis:
Two surprisingly successful nobodies who knew each other in high school run into each other and begin a relationship. Just as they take their romance to that special place (a sleazy hotel), birds (eagles and vultures) attack their sleepy little sea side town – and when I say attack they do exploding kamikaze dive bombs. Even though our protagonist (Rod) has an environmentally friendly car which he filled up with petrol, he ends up in a van conveniently filled with automatic weapons. They then rescue people haphazardly, meet an environmentalist or two, have a picnic then watch the world saved by other birds.

Pluses:
If it is meant to be this bad it is excellent.

Minuses:
The script.
The acting is cringe worthy – in fact the gif birds acted better.
The gif birds.
The editing.
The totally unnecessary shots.
The plot – there was a plot?
Global warming, blah blah blah, global warming.
Caustic bird poo.
WTF are they having picnics for?
Let’s go fishing.
WTF????

I can’t begin to describe just how bad this film is.

The best part of the movie (and I use the term loosely) were the comments by the other 7 people who watched this with me at a bad movie night hosted by an evil and maniacal  friend. The pick of the comments was after one of the girls died “taking a shit” when an eagle slashed her throat – my friend’s comment? “At least she died doing what she loved.”

This film is worse than anything we made at high school, much worse.

Forget waterboarding, Birdemic is torture for the 21st century. Coming out soon on BluRay!

Also keep your eyes peeled for Birdemic II: The Resurrection. Though I wasn’t aware that the birds died – they just flew away for the last 10 mins of the film.

#halfapanda

Review – The Hangover

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Let's sit around and act annoying to pandas

A group of four guys head to Vegas with the intent to go wild before one of them gets married. 1 is whipped, 1 is the wife’s brother, 1 is getting married and the other guy is the token “cute” one. They wake up and can’t remember what happened, why their villa is a mess, why there is a tiger in their apartment and where their friend who is getting married actually is. Over the course of the movie they work their way backwards through their night in Vegas.

What am I doing, you all know the story.

Pluses:
The photos in the credits.

Minuses:
The rest.

OMG I can’t believe people recommended this to me. It was better than Hot Tub Time Machine (which isn’t saying much), but I had numerous tweets telling me I should watch it because it was just so crazy funny/awesome etc. I have decided that my sense of humour is so off the wall that I just don’t get main stream Hollywood humour any more. I didn’t laugh once. Maybe if I was drunk and in a full cinema but I certainly wouldn’t wish this film on anyone, and there is going to be a sequel? I really didn’t find it funny at all. From stereotypes to overacting this movie was as unfunny as Schindlers List – though at least Spielberg wasn’t going for laughs.

#halfapanda
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Review – I Am You – World Premier #BIFF

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

I Am You attempts, poorly, to tell the story of the disappearance and death of Rachel Barber.

You would think that with such an outstanding cast, you have a fair chance of a great movie. Unfortunately, Simone North’s inexperience as a writer and director, in conjunction with her being overly involved in the subject matter leads to a very poor piece of work. I actually felt for the actors.

It needs a damn good edit as much was irrelevant and over done. The amount of unnecessary shots was staggering and the way that the main character of Caroline Reid  was portrayed as lacking the complexity and sympathy of an individual with mental health issues was shocking. The young Irish actor though did very well considering what she had to work with. During the Q&A, Simone North’s abject contempt of the real Caroline was obvious – and it shone throughout her film.

It could have been SO much more, but it lacked on every level.

Positives:
Acting of Ruth Bradley (even through the terrible direction and script you could see she had talent).
It does actually end.

Negatives:
The immaturity of the script.
The lack of tidiness to the cut.
The direction.
Just how one dimensional it was.
Vignettes.
Overdone camera work.
One dimensional demonisation of characters.
Lack of depth of any “white hat” character.
Lack of examination of mental health.
It had more endings than Lord of the Rings and felt longer than all three combined.

Don’t bother.

#halfapanda
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EDIT: I should say that I wasn’t aware it was a “world premier” but the host announced it as such.

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Review – Caprica – Things We Lock Away

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A massacre in a massacre in a massacre

This week:
Hostage. Euthanasia. Cleaning. Manipulation. Battle for mind and heart.

Pluses:
Vergis telling Greystone he didn’t have the stones.
Vergis winning.

Minuses:
No Adama family development.
Lucy’s arc (yawn).
Pretty much the whole episode.

I was quite excited when this ep opened, as it seemed like we were going to do a New Cap City centric ep. We did, but it wasn’t the storyline I was hoping for – I don’t know what I wanted, but two 45kg girls trying to fight and then deciding to braid each other’s hair sure as frak wasn’t it.

Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep (Fringe) was a much better attempt at understanding what is it that makes someone ‘human.’ The whole hallucinating avatar was frustrating and the battle scene annoying on multiple levels. There were some moments throughout the duration of the ep when I thought YES – but nothing happened. I should check who wrote it – cause it was unstructured, out of character and lacking in depth. One twitterer in my stream asked me if Avatar Zoe had created her own Avatar Zoe. Yes, the writing was that messy.

Incase you missed it – there is a new BSG spinoff. I get what they were trying to achieve, but think they failed miserably – are they trying to get cancelled? With eps like TWLB, the writing isn’t just on the wall for Caprica, the grave is being dug.

#halfapanda

Are the naysayers right about CityCycle?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

You can tell this station isn't in New Farm or Teneriffe - There are lots of spaces AND bikes.

I have been a vocal supporter of CityCycle, forgiving their many errors and tardiness as teething problems, but still doggedly showering love on the program. But are those who say CityCycle will fail actually correct? All that I see cite the helmet laws as the nail in the coffin for CityCycle, but I think CityCycle’s greatest challenge is CityCycle themselves.

Looking back, the signs were all there.

I remember the day before CityCycle went live, I called their Call Centre to confirm that my location stations would be open on the 1st of October, and that their use wouldn’t be delayed until after Senor CanDo had done his official (and I suggest only) ride. I was reassured that my stations would be opened at 5am. At 5.15am I went to hire a bike, no bikes. Infact, only one of the two stations opened (with no bikes until 2.30pm) and the second station still hasn’t opened. A third station (and my closest) still isn’t finished, though I do see workers every few days. I should say, station building isn’t JCD’s fault, it is done by the council.
It is now 3 weeks in. Stations are slowly (read very!) opening, but problems remain with existing stations and areas.

An ongoing issue in my area (Teneriffe/Powerhouse/Merthyr/New Farm) is either a lack of bikes or a lack of spaces, and given that not all stations are live, it can be a bit of a walk to the next station. I spoke about this a week ago, and if anything, the problem has become worse as the weather improves and more people start using the program.

On Sunday, I decided to ride to my favourite Chai hangout to do some word dumping, then take a long and leisurely ride home taking some shots. Firstly, at Merthyr Village, there was only 3 racks free when I arrived at 8am. Secondly, after a ride down to Sydney Street and then a cycle back to the Powerhouse there were no spaces available. This is 10am Sunday morning. New Farm Park/Powerhouse is one of the few places you actually can ride to (other than the Botanical Gardens) and hang out on the grass on a beautiful day and at 10am it was already full. I decided to just ride on, and reset my bike at Macquarie St so I didn’t’ get charged extra. However, when two friends rode to New Farm later that day – there were no spaces at all in the area of Powerhouse and New Farm. Late afternoon, two more friends went to the Powerhouse, only to again find no spaces to rack their bikes. They ended up using a station quite some distance from the Powerhouse and then walked back (I hope they made their show in time). My friend called the Call Centre to get an idea of what was going on. He was informed that during the week (read business days) teams are dispatched within the hour of a rack being full or empty to move the bikes around, though on weekends they were trying to work out how to do it. Read most likely, no staff moving bikes on the weekend. I decided to put it to the test yesterday (Wednesday).

You might say it was entrapment, but I did not provide the shovel for them to dig themselves into this hole.
I know that the busiest station in my area is Merthyr Village – so I monitored it throughout the afternoon. 2 spaces at 1pm. 1 space at 2pm. 1 space at 3pm. 1 space at 4pm. 0 spaces at 4.30pm. 0 spaces at 5.00pm. 0 spaces at 5.30pm. 0 spaces at 6pm. 0 spaces at 7pm.

I got home at 4.30pm and decided to ride down to Merthyr (I needed a baguette, really). I called CityCycle to confirm that the station was actually working – you may remember that this station was allowing people to rack bikes but not to borrow when CityCycle went live (read when the station finally opened in the afternoon of the 2nd). I explained that I was riding to Merthyr. Angela (yes, name and shame) informed me that the station was working fine (more on that later) and that I could borrow a bike no problems. I explained again that I was riding to Merthyr but there were no spaces. She helpfully told me it was full. I told Angela that I had been monitoring the station all afternoon, and I was curious why no team had been sent to Merthyr to shift the bikes and make room as it was such a high volume destination (I have never ridden to Merthyr without seeing another person doing the same or walking around the complex with their yellow eyesore). I said that I was under the impression that CityCycle had a team that moved bikes within the hour of no bikes or no spaces being flagged on their system. She put me on hold. When she came back about 3 mins later, she told me, with what I can only describe as lacking in grace, that they don’t have enough technicians to move the bikes – they may be able to get some moved at 6am tomorrow. No apologies for inconvenience. No explaining on how the system works if you ride to a station and it is full. She didn’t even offer me the location of the closest available station.

Knowing full well there were no spaces available, I decided to put their reswipe system to the test. For those not in the know, if you arrive at a station and there are no spaces, you swipe, it extends your hire for an extra 15mins at no charge and displays the closest alternative locations and rack availability.

Service Level Agreement? Pishposh!

So I ride to Merthyr. I wasn’t sure I was going to go through with it, because I just knew it would be a balls up. I even tweeted that I was going for a ride and most likely have to drive back to go buy my baguette.

I arrive at Merthyr. 0 spaces available – however there are three racks with the red plastic guards on them (faulty/non-operational). I ride up onto the pavement and swipe. It helpfully tells me that there are actually 3 racks available. I helpfully inform the machine that actually I can’t use those three, so please rethink this answer.

I swipe again. Same result. I swear those stations don’t listen. The station does tell me that if I am having problems, to call CityCycle – they are actually set to a speed dial I call so often (again that should be a sign). I get a guy, Nick I think. I explain to him that there are no spaces at Merthyr, but that it won’t approve a swipe to extend to cycle to the next stop. He doesn’t know what to do or say. We decided to take it one step at a time. I explain where I am, the station number, and that the station won’t allow me to extend my ride.

He has NO idea what to do. I mean it, absolutely nothing. I tell him that the station thinks there are three available racks, yet the app (AllBikesNow) says there are none, and that I can see that there are three racks vacant but that they are blocked with the red plastic guards. Still no idea what to do. Now I know that I rode here pretty fast, didn’t take the leisurely route I normally take – I so I have a good 10 mins before it becomes a problem and I get fined (and I half wanted this to happen to see how they would go with it). He doesn’t ask for my membership number to make a note incase I get charged. He doesn’t suggest the closet stations (which won’t display because this station thinks there are three spaces), only confusion. He doesn’t even apologise for the inconvenience. Just as I hear him get to a whole new level of flustered and nervous laughing, a user comes up who wants to take out a bike. I say goodbye to Nick, who is thanking Mary McKillop, that someone showed up.

All does not go smoothly however. The rack won’t release. She swipes, picks a bike and it won’t release. You can hear the click but the bike won’t budge. We try three times on different bikes and finally get one out. One user had this happen recently, but the station thought that they HAD taken the bike even though they couldn’t remove it. Naturally, there was noone at the Call Centre, so they left a message and faced a 12 hour charge on their account. The next day, the problem was solved, but no ride for that user as planned. At least this time, I can lock my bike in.

I go buy my baguette and naturally run into an ex workmate while I have helmet hair, but that is ok… really.
As I am walking back towards the pavement, I see a woman on a CityCycle pushing her bike along the pavement to get back onto the road. Obviously she has just tried to rack her bike (still no spaces) and swipe her card. She jumps back onto the bike on the road and heads off at speed to New Farm CityCat Terminal (the closet operational station). I get my bike back out (I do have a favourite bike, though it isn’t at my local station anymore as I stupidly rode it on a one way trip last night after my shopping adventures – #881 best bike of all I have used – I have at least 10+ trips on her too #sadpanda) and headed back. I pass another CityCycler heading towards Merthyr (I assume) just around the corner. I wish them a silent “good luck” and ride home.

5 Stations Opened in 3 weeks (including 1 that was broken)

Shortly after I get home, I check again – it is now 6pm and still 0 spaces. At 6.45pm I head out again. As I mentioned, I went out again last night via CityCycle to a pizza place on Merthyr right by a station. As I was riding there, I saw a lady get onto a CityCycle with shopping bags at Macquarie St. When I got to Vespa I checked the app – 7pm and still no spaces. Her shopping trip won’t end as well as mine did I imagine.

So my question is, CityCycle, when are you going to pull your finger out and fix the busted stations? When are you going to train your call centre staff so they have information required by users? When are you going to have the staff numbers to service the program as promised so that people who are using can actually use it? And finally, what are you doing to compensate the people who subscribed but their stations still aren’t live almost a month in – and let’s not forget those who are waiting for stations that are are at the “hopefully by the end of the year.”

When it works it is great, but right now we are still sitting at just under a pass over all.
My rating for yesterday afternoon is:

#halfapanda