Miscellany for April 2.

•April 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

Ok.  I’m attempting to climb back on this horse, here, and get back on a relatively regular schedule with this thing.  Between classes, trying to find a job in this horrific economy, and trying to teach myself Adobe Creative Suite in a very short period of time, the blog has fallen by the wayside.  I know you people have been dying for new material, so how can I deny you any longer?  So, I’ll at least try to collect some random thoughts and items on a daily basis.

I have found a little time to get some back issue comic reading in here and there, finishing the two X-Men crossovers, Operation: Zero Tolerance and Messiah Complex, the latter of which led into the current storyline in the X-books.  Spoilers ahoy!  Zero Tolerance, honestly, was pretty boring, with an awfully simple and easy wrap-up.  But I enjoyed Messiah Complex, with the fragmentation and breakup of the X-Men at the end, with Xavier being shot by that wack job Bishop, and Cable being handed the responsibility of the future of the mutant race in baby form.  Cable always been one of my favorites (really, him or Jamie Madrox), so I’ve always enjoyed crossovers and arcs that feature him, like the X-Cutioner’s Song from the 90s, or the upcoming Messiah War with Stryfe.

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I also ran through Final Crisis and Secret Invasion, DC and Marvel’s big recent “event” crossovers in their respective universes.  For the uninitiated, Final Crisis dealt with Darkseid taking over the Earth via the Anti-Life Equation (trust me, I’m really simplifying), and what was the final wrap-up of the event that started a few years ago with Identity Crisis.

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FC and most of its lead-ins were written by Grant Morrison, which, if you’re familiar with comic writers, means that it was a cluster-F of ideas and minor characters.  While he’s one of my favorites, and I do appreciate his ideas and the fact that he loves to bring oft-unused characters to starring roles, the tradeoff is usually complete and utter plot disarray.  I had to go back and use Douglas Wolk’s Final Crisis Annotations just to begin to comprehend what was going on.  I’ll tell you this much; someone major does die.  Kind of.  But not really.  You know how it is in comic books.  All told, though, I definitely enjoyed it more than Secret Invasion, written by the other insanely prolific, bald writer, Brian Michael BendisSI was pretty anti-climactic, with the Skrulls invading Earth after having infiltrated it for months, if not years.  I was hoping that Iron Man would be revealed as a Skrull, explaining why he’s been acting like a complete douche for the last couple years, but, alas, he was just revealed as incompetent, being replaced by Norman Osborne in the end.  This leads into the current Marvel event, Dark Reign, with Osborne essentially taking over national security for the US.  Gee, I wonder how that’s going to work out.  So, Final Crisis wins out in the end, just barely.  They definitely had better covers:

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In other comic tidbits, local comic shop Capes Comics uploaded a couple pictures to the internets yesterday;  following the Green Lantern theme, here’s one:

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Awesome.  I want them all.

I’ve become hooked on Blip.fm, which allows you to choose from thousands of songs and “Blip” them to your Twitter account, allowing you to share and stream music to all your followers.  It’s somewhat crack-like.

Speaking of Twitter, I tried out TweetDeck about a week ago, and besides the web interface, there’s no turning back.  I’ve tried Twitterrific and Twhirl, but TweetDeck really tops them all.  It allows you to group who you’re following into separate columns, making it easy to keep up with everyone.  It has a built-in URL shortener (no tr.im yet, unfortunately) and all the usual features of a stand-alone Twitter client.

For April Fool’s Day, the A.V. Club did a Taste Test feature on a cookbook quickly becoming notorious, Natural Harvest: A Collection Of Semen-Based Recipes.  Yeah, it’s real.  No, I won’t even show you the cover; while it looks harmless, after reading the title of the book, it takes on a different appearance.  The article spawned what may have been the most juvenile, asinine and childish comments section to date over there.  It was also hilarious.  “That’s what she said” has never been used to greater effect.  A warning – it’s some of the most NSFW language you’ve ever seen, so watch out.

That’s about it from here; the weather still sucks (we’re supposed to have more snow on Sunday, what a crock) and I still don’t have a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Somebody get on that, ok?

See you next time, peepholes.

The Gadget Roundup for March 26.

•March 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

Here’s some stuff I found in the last couple weeks, enjoy!

In T-shirt news, apparently there’s been a big rise in Ghostbusters/Pac-Man mashups.

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Here’s one from Glennz Tees.  $19.95.

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And this one from Busted Tees for $20.

io9 had a link to a Costa Rican t-shirt artist known as Tony Aguero G. producing some great sci-fi designs.  Here’s my favorite:

pixelgunteeCheck out all his designs over at his Threadless page.

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In more Pac-Man is blowing up news, these stools put the ghosts to work for you.  These were created for an exhibition at the Japan Society in New York by architechtural firm Atelier Bow-Wow (fantastic name).

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via Engadget

Finally, someone has decided to redesign the standard power strip.  As you can see from the slightly disturbing picture above (seriously, what’s with that cat?) Movable Power changes shape to allow for space, or when you have those bulky rectangular AC adapters that only fit at the ends of a normal power strip.  Below is a shot of all the possible configurations.  Only a design for now, but hopefully we’ll see this in stores soon.

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lacie-key-storage

LaCie has created a line of key-shaped USB flash drives to keep you from losing them.  Definitely a great idea, I personally hate having something else to carry around with me.  $10 from LaCie.

tapguard

The TapGuard from Guyot Designs fits any widemouth water bottle, such as Nalgene or Sigg, and filters up to 95% of unnecessary chemicals out of tap water, allowing to refill your bottle anywhere you like.  $16.50.

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I know this is not a gadget, but it’s a great bag.  The Fossil Redmond Duffle Bag is $298.

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And finally, again, not in the gadget sense, is the Adidas Originals SL 72.  Gorgeous.  $65 at Zappos.

The Most Interesting Man in the World.

•March 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I know I’ve been heavy on the videos here, but this stuff is too good to pass up.  For those of you that haven’t seen any of the new Dos Equis ad campaign, well, just watch:

So he’s God, right?

MIscellany for March 23

•March 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m trying to get back on the horse here, after seriously slacking over the last couple weeks.  So let’s ease ourselves back in with some tidbits I’ve found recently.

There’s a video going around of Kill Bill wrapped up in one take, in one minute.  Pretty cool.

For those of you who may have not attended SXSW this year (which, according to who I follow on Twitter, is no one) the higher-ups at the festival provided 6 GB of music from all the artists in a three-part BitTorrent download.  There’s a lot of crap, of course, but there are some gems here and there.

Home of the (UNOFFICIAL) SXSW 2009 Torrent

With the demise of Battlestar Galactica this last Friday, io9 put up their list of the 10 greatest science fiction show endings ever.  And for those of you who are just dying to find out what I thought of the BSG finale, I’ll have a review up soon.

An amazing rap-fueled journey through the world of Mega Man is now available, for those of you who feel that life has been missing such a thing.  I know I feel better about the world now.

There’s a fantastic book available from Amazon, titled “BIRTH CONTROL IS SINFUL IN THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES and also ROBBING GOD OF PRIESTHOOD CHILDREN!!”  For real.  Be sure to check out the user reviews section as well as the product description, which contains brilliant sentences like the following:

THIS IS A HOLYSPIRIT MANUSCRIPT BOOK: WHEN YOU BUY THIS BOOK YOU WILL BE READING A HOLYSPIRIT DIRECTED BOOK FROM GOD; & *CHRIST JESUS.

I didn’t know HOLYSPIRIT was one word.  It’s almost as if it were written by some Bizarro ZMF.  Now on sale for only $135.  Seriously.

The Coen Brothers are going to “remake” True Grit. I’m not a big John Wayne fan, but count me in.

And finally, there’s another video floating around that looks a lot like something straight out of Half-Life.  The jury’s still out on whether it’s a fan video or not, but it looks way too slick to me.  Either way, I’m intrigued.  It looks to take place in the Netherlands; there’s a logo from Albert Heijn, a supermarket chain, along with some Dutch language here and there.

Bad-ass, right?

Lost 5.9 “Namaste”

•March 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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The agonizing two-week drought is over with “Namaste”, this week’s new Lost.  And yes, it felt like a drought to me.  I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel after the whole thing ends.

Strangely enough, there was no “previously on” tonight.  That may have been the first time that happened, I’m not sure.  But we went straight to the action, seeing what exactly happened to the Ajira flight when it went down on the island.  Frank Lapidus (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters) freaked out his co-pilot a little when he seemed to know what was coming for the flight, right before it did a 180 degree roll onto its top.  Which was weirdly reminiscent of United 93.  At least that’s what I was thinking of.  After the white light faded, the plane was back upright again, and about to plunge into the island’s mountains, which Lapidus deftly avoided, putting the flight down on the runway that was being constructed back in season three.  Frank got brained a good one, but his co-pilot wasn’t as lucky, taking a pretty big tree branch to the chest.

When he checked out the cabin, Jack, Hurley, Kate and Sayid were gone.  As the survivors argued over what to do next, Ben took off with Sun in pursuit.  Frank followed, and they came across the catamarans we saw earlier this season.  Once Sun was told where to go on the other island, she knocked Ben out with an oar (explaining why he’s in the makeshift infirmary when Locke sees him) and takes off for the main island with Frank.

Meanwhile, thirty years earlier, the full reunion comes about, with Hurley his usual jovial self, Jack being skeptical, of course, and Kate being awkward, which was her theme for the episode.  Sawyer got them all dressed appropriately (with Jack looking especially dorky) and passed them off as new Dharma recruits, just barely.  Jack was assigned to janitorial duty (Work Man), which he seemed to appreciate, Kate almost blew her checkin process, and Hurley, from what screencaps show, was assigned to be a cook.  Jin, meanwhile, while excited to see everyone back, went hunting for Sun out at the Flame, not realizing that she’s thirty years away.  With that, though, we got to meet Radzinsky as he was constructing the scale model of the Swan station.  Sayid then showed up, with everyone thinking of him as a Hostile, and ended up locked away at the Barracks.

When Sun and Frank finally made their way to the Barracks, they were obviously trashed, from Keamy’s commandos and Smokey.  Then a light switched on in one of the houses.  Creepy.  A figure came to the door.  Who else but Christian Shephard.  He showed them a “team” picture of the Dharma recruits from 1977 and told her that she has a long way to travel to find Jin.  The whole scene was just creepy.

After an awkward interaction where Jack discovered Sawyer and Juliet’s relationship, Sawyer dressed him down, telling Jack that he was going to figure out what to do.  I don’t want to quote the whole scene line-by-line, but it was fantastic to see Sawyer out-maneuver Jack in the dialogue department for once.

At the end, a young boy took a sandwich to Sayid.  Little Ben Linus.  From the looks of things, Sayid’s going to go all militant next week, probably in an aim to smoke the kid before he can cause any damage in the future.

  • Why were only a specific four taken back to 1977?  Boggles the mind.
  • Nice to see that the runway story paid off.
  • Hurley, hilarious as usual: “What if they ask us questions we don’t know the answers to, like, who’s President in 1977?”
  • As Noel Murray said over at his A.V. Club review, Jack Bender did some amazing things directing this week, as usual.
  • Seriously, who expected something else to happen when that door creaked open at the abandoned Barracks?
  • The Swan hasn’t been built yet, we finally met Radzinsky, and found out that it’s in Hostiles territory.  That would explain the “Quarantine” signs, to prevent any Dharmas from being caught and violating the truce.
  • Where the hell is Faraday?
  • When Jack said, “Now what?” I was wondering the exact same thing?  What’s the endgame now?  Who cares.  They’ll keep me entertained, I’m sure of it.
  • Along the disappearing people line, where the hell are Rose and Bernard?
  • Desmond had better come back too.

Lost 5.9 “Namaste”  B+

Death by Bauer

•March 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Since I’m no longer posting about 24, but still watching it obsessively, I wanted to share a site with you that was linked to at the A.V. Club today.  The “Jack Bauer Kill Count” is just that, a breakdown of Jack’s kills over the years, describing who he killed, what he killed them with, as well as links to images and videos of said kills.  Unnecessary?  Yes.  Bad-ass?  Also yes.

Be sure to check out my personal favorite, “Vampire Bite” from Season 6.  So awesome.  He’s got 22 so far this season, can he break the record of 49?  We’ll see.

http://www.bauercount.com/

Battlestar Galactica 4.21 “Daybreak: Part 1”

•March 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Here we are, at the end of the line.  Almost.  Penultimate Galactica.

This week began the series finale, and we’ve got some serious action coming in the final two hours.

This episode was flashback-heavy, going back to life on Caprica before the Cylon attack.  We got to see President Roslin host a baby shower for her sister, who, with the rest of the family, was then killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver.  Geez, did these people ever have it good?  The Admiral was shown grudgingly accepting an assignment to do something that “would only take an hour”.  I can only assume this was the Galactica decommissioning and museum opening.  Good thing he was there.  Kara was making dinner, meeting Lee for the first time, and we got to see Zak!  Sure took them long enough.  And Baltar, when not getting drunk and making out with Six in the back of a limo, was looking after his father (not happily), with Six arranging rest-home-type living for his old man.

All very interesting stuff, and we’ll see how much of that figures into next week.

Back in the present day, the old man was packing up his stuff, with bizarre-to-see labels routing his stuff to his new quarters on the base ship.  He visited the wall of photos one last time, and in a great moment, standing there illuminated by a spotlight, he turned back into the room with the wall, grabbed the picture of Athena and Hera, and made the decision to go after her.

Back at the Colony, creepy-ass Cavil prepared Hera for “surgery”, the best part being the reappearance of Simon! and tour-guide Cylon guy.  Ended with an ominous donning of the rubber gloves by Simon.  Yikes.

With the help of Kara and Lee, the Admiral’s decision culminated in a fantastic scene, where what appeared to be the entire main cast was assembled in the main hangar.  Adama gave the “this is likely to be a one-way trip” speech that, if you’ve been watching Sci-Fi at all in the last week, you’ve been unable to avoid, and showed everyone a long strip of red tape running down the center of the hangar.  Who’s with me to the starboard, who’s against me to port.

Understandably, most stayed on the port side, but all the main peeps that we all wanted to see headed for starboard.  The Adamas, Kara, Six, Tigh, the rest of the final five, all the miscellaneous pilots, even Laura climbed out of her deathbed to make the statement.  Naturally, as was fitting with the theme for him, Baltar stayed to port like a punk (however, next week shows him toting a gun, so we’ll see).

After the redeemed Racetrack and Skulls ran a recon mission to the Colony, discovering that it sits right next to a frakkin’ black hole (this one’s gonna be interesting), we got to see the gang readying their plans (including Lee back in a flight suit!!!!), with the Admiral closing out the episode with, “All right.  Let’s get to work.”

This Friday is going to simultaneously going to be bitchin’ and depressing as hell.

I can’t wait.

Battlestar Galactica 4.21  “Daybreak: Part 1”   A