Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Greatest Animated Series of All Time

Here is my list of the greatest animated series of all time. Note that since yours truly is definitely a child of the early '90s, my pop culture tastes will reflect that. This all began when I skimmed through IGN's list of the top 100 animated series of all time and found it deeply lacking. Thus, I endeavored to compile my own list, reflecting reality as I see it. Those assholes at IGN did a dreadful job with their one hundred slots. For some reason, they decided to fill it with tons of lame stuff from the 70s. Seriously, what the fuck is DangerMouse? And the Smurfs? Goddamn lunatics. Well, without further ado...

1. The Simpsons
Oh c'mon, you knew this was gonna be at the top. It's obvious. Don't deny it cause it's popular (despite the decline in quality over the years). The Simpsons defined mainstream network cartoons. Sure, I didn't immediately think of it either, but that's because when we think of cartoons, we generally think of saturday morning or afternoon fare. The Simpsons on the other hand is clearly late night adult entertainment. The great granddaddy of stuff we all take for granted now like South Park, Futurama, Adult Swim, and yes, Family Guy. Bart Simpson was the rebel without a cause for an entire generation of young people and "Eat my shorts" was enshrined in pop culture forever. While it's steadily gone down the shitter after season 9, we can always look back at those cherished reruns when Mindy was seducing Homer with room service and Bart still made prank phone calls to Moe's.

2. ExoSquad
The greatest sci-fi war epic of all time, in saturday morning cartoon format. ExoSquad was no funny series of hijinks and misunderstandings. Nor a treasure trove of pop culture references randomly inserted throughout. It was simply a dramatic and at times brutal account of the Second Neo Sapien War. For a saturday morning cartoon, this show took risks. Characters you'd grown to know and love could and would die. Entire populations were brought to starvation and slavery in concentration camps. And the most frightening aspect of all... mankind had pretty much brought this on itself. We were responsible for creating our own conquerors, the genetically engineered Neo Sapiens. Slaves who were now our slavemasters.

The show basically took World War II and transported it into the 22nd century, with sci-fi exoskeletons known as Exo-Frames. Basically, all the cool aspects of Starship Troopers, but with a much more relatable conflict. Instead of just blowing away anonymous bugs, we were fighting our own bitter creations, who were politically ruled by a megalomaniacal tyrant named Phaeton. I'll never forget the first season episode "The Brood" in which the ExoFleet, returning to Earth to liberate it from the occupying Neo Sapiens, ended up being overwhelmed by two Neo Sapien fleets. The flagship Resolute going down in flames as its lifeboats shot out and were blown apart by hostile fire is probably one of the most traumatic images of my childhood. Sure, I'd seen the Reliant get blown apart by the Enterprise in "Wrath of Khan" before then, but that was a ship full of escaped criminals and villains. They were trash. Seeing the Resolute, flagship of the entire Exofleet, the pride and joy of Admiral Winfield, slowly get ripped apart by laser fire and then explode with the traitorous Captain Marcus aboard invoked a curious mixture of horror, despair, and wonderment.

Now that I've grown up, I actually find that I can appreciate the series more, which is rarely the case with these saturday morning cartoons. But it's only now in my adult life that I find myself recognizing the subtle touches of the writers, like the state of the Neo Sapien people in the first few episodes resembling the state of Germany before World War 2. Or the problem of human collaborators working with the Neo Sapien occupation, just like the Vichy regime of France.

Here's a quote that I've found especially memorable. Only a mere taste of the excellence embued in this animated masterpiece.

Thrax: "I used to worry how I would face the end. Would I go bravely like a soldier? But let me tell you something, Neo Mega, it's life itself that matters, not how it ends. Each moment is a precious gift, if only we have the courage to accept it. That is where our duty lies, not in taking life, but in living it."

3. TaleSpin
Disney's Afternoon Block was king in my after-school entertainment schedule. Two solid hours of animation, followed by the segue into Full House. And of all the excellent animated shows on that block, none has stuck with me like TaleSpin. Sure, you might be wondering to yourself WTF Disney was thinking with this concept... taking the characters of The Jungle Book and sticking them into a prewar 1930's seaside city named Cape Suzette? Baloo the bear piloting a cargo plane? Shere Khan the tiger as some corporate mogul who scratches his wooden armrest all the time?

While a bit odd at first glance, this dynamic absolutely worked in execution. Baloo was just as lovable an oaf as Homer Simpson, while his supporting cast of Kit Cloudkicker, Wildcat, and Rebecca Cunngingham were equally as entertaining and charismatic. And the 1930s Americana setting was warm and rich with interesting embellishments. G.I. Joe might have had their ground based fortresses but who didn't want an Iron Vulture as a child? It was the ultimate airborne war vessel, IMO.

I can easily name off dozens of memorable episodes which seemed to have that same old Disney magic which made the Mouse company a household name. My favorite one is probably the episode where Baloo and his friend Louie go off in search of treasure and a date with a damsel in distress in this ancient lost city of scarabs and magical wind chimes. The whole thing was quite sinister with the gigantic scarab gates of the desert city, while the alluring female archeologist probably turned me into a furry momentarily. Kinda felt like a lost Indiana Jones movie, honestly.

But hey, that's just one episode. What about the one where the air pirates build an enormous mirror in the sea to confuse and crash airplanes? Or the one where Baloo loses his memory and befriends a guardian angel? Or the one where gangsters hijack the Spruce Moose? Or the one where Howard Huge builds an enormous airwing out of the parts of various airplanes? Or the one where Kit frees a giant whale? Or the one where Wildcat finds a lost world of dinosaurs? Or the one where Kit goes off and joins a Soviet cadre? Or the one where Baloo competes against a robot pilot, the future of aviation? Or the one where Rebecca falls in love with a ghost captain on a flying Dutchman? See what I mean? This show had tons of amazing episodes, made with care and that high Disney craftmanship. Unfortunately, we won't see the likes of that again, I reckon.

4. Batman The Animated Series
The greatest superhero animated series, bar none. Batman had been given a fair shake on the big screen with Tim Burton's two films, but this cartoon was the real deal. Sure, you have to get past all the bad guys shooting their tommy guns but never managing to hit Batman, but that's a minor issue. The storytelling of this show was basically everything good that the comics had produced, with some stuff that was actually much better, encapsulated in 30 minute chunks. The pinnacle of which was my favorite episode "Heart of Ice", a near perfect example of animated entertainment. Here we get not just the best portrayal of Mr. Freeze, but the best sort of Batman story, the best episode of the show, and the best episode of superhero animation by far. I can't think of many television episodes which have made me cry, but this is one of them. To watch it and not shed a tear, you would almost certainly have to have a literal heart of ice.

So how come this series isn't higher on my list? Well, to put it simply... I hate Bruce Timm's art style. I can't stand it. The ridiculously huge chins and broad torsos... they just really looked odd to me. Also, the art deco style I was never crazy for. You have to remember, as a child watching this... it was very strange seeing people in old 1950's cars and riding in blimps while also seeing Batman fighting androids and artificial intelligence with lasers. So, it does have some flaws in my eyes. However, it's still really really high on my list because the writing and characterization were so amazing. Mr. Freeze wasn't the only character that the show used well. Other villains like Harvey Dent, Mad Hatter, Clayface, and Poison Ivy were utilized in dark and emotionally deep stories that were arguably superior to the comic books at the time. And the show also created wholly new adversaries like Baby Doll and HARDAC who were worthy foes for the Dark Knight. Simply put, this show is really fucking good. So good in fact, that even after the release of The Dark Knight, many fans still rate this show as their favorite portrayal of the Batman in any medium. That's high praise indeed.

5. BattleTech The Animated Series
The show which introduced me to the beautiful universe of BattleTech.

6. Futurama
Brilliant sci-fi comedy molded to look like The Simpsons.

7. X-Men The Animated Series
Marvel's first 90's cartoon, and the best.

Honorable Mentions:
The Bots Master
Eek! the Cat
Rug Rats
Kim Possible
Rescue Rangers
DarkWing Duck
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Muppet Babies
Spider-Man The Animated Series
Alvin and the Chipmunks

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fuck the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

WTF. Unbelievable. Fucking ridiculous. The Dark Knight is snubbed for both Best Picture and Best Director.

And for what? "The Reader", a film that's 60% on and a 58 on Metacritic? That's what the Academy deems the best of the year? Some movie about an ex-Nazi who likes sleeping with little boys? WTF Academy, Nazi pedophilia makes for more interesting cinema then the uncertainties of being a just hero in a world of anarchy and chaos?

First Obama wins the election, now this. I... I just can't take much more of this bad news. The universe completely fucking sucks ass.

I really do hope nobody watches the Oscars now. Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos... it's fair.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Review: Gran Torino

Well, this left me disappointed. The Hmong actors were fucking terrible. Specially that Toad guy, him screaming to get out of the basement at the end was laughable. "Walt! Waaaaaaaalllllt!" Cmon, that was just the worst scene in the movie. And how the hell could a pussy like him even have a driver's license to drive the Gran Torino? It was inexplicable.

It was strange, this film was trying to show us to be nicer to our neighbors and more accepting of foreign cultures... but then they go out of their way to show us that the Hmong are really weird and freaky. Like... no touching the tops of people's heads? An actual no-shit voodoo witch doctor? Cranky old woman spitting out a bunch of weird brown fluid? But hey, it's all good cause their food's really tasty, right? Right? Heh...

The padre was just annoying me throughout the entire film. Not badly acted, but his character just came off as a sanctimonious prick. Mission accomplished if that was what they were aiming for.

Clint was good as usual. But that ending... just didn't work for me. I know they were setting us up for a more traditional ending and then went for an unorthodox approach, but still... I wanted that traditional ending. Instead, they gave us Walt committing suicide, essentially. Very disappointing ending.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is a Stream.

You don't have tv, do you?
Well, if you wanna watch some streaming, you should try
They've got quite a selection.
I just watched a couple hours of Seinfeld.
That show's really funny.

Are you bored?
I'm sorta bored.
We should do something.
Nah, nothing gay.

I'm tired of masturbating.
Already masturbated three times today.
It was tiring.
You know what sucks?
When you keep masturbating at the end but there's nothing left coming out.
It feels unsatisfying.
Like you're not living up to your end of the bargain.
Cause the porn's right there on the screen, and it's hot, but you can't give anymore.
And once it's over, it's suddenly unappealing.

And then the guilt starts creeping in.
You know what I'm talking about.
Don't you watch porn?
You must've encountered the guilt.
I dunno, I feel guilty.
Cause I've cum, so it's all done with.
The desire's all gone, I'm just spent... and then I feel shame and guilt cause... I start thinking about the porn stars. And how they must've screwed up their lives and this isn't how they planned on making a living.
And whether or not they were molested by any family members
And it's sad that I'm deriving pleasure from their shameful profession.
I dunno.
I can't help it.
I guess I'm just a sensitive human being.

When I'm not horny.

It's just so depressing, those poor pornstars.
What must their parents think.
They can't be proud of their child's profession.
They might be estranged.
And yet I'm whacking off to it.

Did you ever have any pets?
You know what I really don't like?
When animals are forced against their will and neutered.
That seems pretty messed up.
Animals getting castrated too.
That's even worse.
They're getting violated in their nether regions.
But we don't want unwanted little baby animals.
Well, I think I have a solution.
So that we can avoid the unwanted offspring, while also foregoing the neutering process.
Because those are both awful options.

We just have to use animal condoms.
I mean, when you see your dog about to mate with a bitch, you just fit a condom over them.
And that'll work splendidly.
You'll only have to watch your dog when you take him outside, which is when they'll meet other dogs to mate with.
It won't be that bad.
Owning a pet's a lot of responsibility, you know that.
Using condoms is the best way to prevent pregnancy while also preserving an animal's dignity and biological integrity.
I think PETA should endorse it.
You'd just be slipping the condom on.
Because the dog isn't capable of doing it himself.
You scoop up your dog's shit, it's the same thing.
And besides, it's no different from washing your dog.
Just another aspect of pet ownership.
Well, this condom idea is for all sorts of animals, not just dogs.
We're out to save all pets from being neutered.
Cats will need smaller condoms, I guess.
We won't have to worry about condoms if dogs fuck cats though.
Cause that's interspecies, and they won't make babies.
Though it'd be cool if they could.
You'd get some weird hybrid.
Animals need condoms. It's the right thing to do.
Human condoms won't work.
We'll need to manufacture all new sorts of condoms to fit animal dicks.
Cause I've read that dogs have a penis that actually expands into a balloon.
To keep the bitch tied to them.
It's quite fascinating.
And can you imagine dog condoms flavored like peanut butter?
That would make a lot of sense.
So the condom would need to expand with the knot.
Don't you think that's weird?
Like, if some guy decided to fuck a female dog, would the dog feel unsatisfied?
Cause the guy's penis doesn't expand at all?
That would be kind of a letdown, doncha think?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Star Trek: The one romance I was actually interested in.

WTF ever happened to Picard and Crusher's romantic subplot? Seven seasons, and it pretty much went nowhere. Sure, they stuck in that lame "Attached" episode at the end to sorta appease us, but it was too little too late IMO. Here's what I wish Picard had said:

"I love you. And not, not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. I love you. Very, very simple, very truly. You are the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider. But I had to say it. I just, I can't take this anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't look into your eyes without feeling that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And I know this will probably queer our friendship but I had to say it, 'cause I've never felt this way before, and I don't care. I like who I am because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But God, I just, I couldn't allow another day to go by without just getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you know, I'll accept that. But I know, I know that some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there's a moment of hesitation, then that means you feel something too. And all I ask, please, is that you just - you just not dismiss that, and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds. Beverly, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between you and me. You can't deny that. Even if, you know, even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I am forever changed because of who you are and what you've meant to me."

Yes, Chasing Amy is the fucking shit.

BattleTech: WarShips are built like WHAT?!

Good lord, the new Strategic Operations sourcebook for Classic BattleTech has some really crazy shit in it.

"WarShips are built like space-going skyscrapers, with dozens and even hundreds of decks built perpendicular to the K-F drive core."

My whole world has been turned upside down. This is... shocking. I'd always just believed they were normal decks that ran the length of the ship, like in Star Trek or Star Wars. The viewports always looked that way.

I dunno, viewing those WarShips as skyscrapers on their sides just isn't as interesting as how I'd imagined them before. The whole naval aspect is gone. Instead of sailing towards something, you're just shooting up and they're somewhere over your head beyond the ceiling. It's a very strange concept.

I've slept on it, and gone back to the TROs and... the WarShip thing just doesn't work for me. Not one bit. Flipped through 3067 and the designs all look like they have parallel decks. You can't look at the Conqueror class battlecruiser and say that is in anyway meant to have perpendicular decks, the internal layout just wouldn't make any sense. It looks like a BattleTech Star Destroyer. There is clearly some sort of bridge or observation deck that is parallel. Same thing with the Feng Huang and Leviathan. They all just look like they were built to have long decks instead of many many floors. Only exceptions I can think of are the Fox and the Potemkin.

A few paragraphs in Strategic Ops goes against almost every WarShip artwork ever released and I think the artwork wins out. Not that the artwork's all that amazing. They don't have anything to match the iconic look of the Enterprise, obviously. Most of em resemble bricks. But at least before, I believed they were functional sensible ships. Now you tell me they're these skyscrapers with hundreds of decks and I'm trying to reconcile that with the artwork I've seen and it's just not computing. I don't believe in these ships as anything with a logical layout anymore and that's much much worse then just being bland spacefaring bricks.

BattleTech: Changes FanPro should've made for Total Warfare

For those of you who follow Classic BattleTech, they've made some changes in the newest edition, titled "Total Warfare." Some of them are pretty drastic, like the partial cover which no longer bestows a +3 to-hit modifier to attackers.

Okay, here's what I *wish* they would've changed.

First of all, no regular SRMs in Clan Mechs. At all. It never made any sense. The Clans have Streak technology, there is absolutely no reason to have regular SRMs in use. Just like you won't see a Clan Mech mounting regular ACs or PPCs, a Clanner shouldn't be using obsolete SRMs when they have Streaks.
They also could've gotten rid of the jamming for Ultra ACs. Yea, the circuit would overheat and break in 2750, but it's been 300 years. If the Clans can invent something like the OmniMech, they should be able to fix an overheating chip.

It'd also be nice to have Ultra ACs hit more often with 2 shots. Just my opinion. Right now, autocannons are somewhat neglected because of really good energy choices which can use TCs better and don't risk ammo explosions. Yet when you look at the fluff, Omnis are described as using ballistic and missile loadouts for heavy assaults because they're supposed to deliver more firepower over shorter durations, while energy loadouts deliver lower amounts of firepower but can sustain it better. This doesn't really reflect the game, where energy loadouts are about equivalent, and generally preferred. Allowing Ultra ACs to make double shots more likely would go a little way towards that ideal.

On the artistic front, one of my problems with Plog is his tendency to give Ultra autocannons multiple barrels like an RAC. This has never made sense. An Ultra autocannon fires two shots in rapid succession from a single barrel, like setting a rifle to fire fully automatic instead of semi automatic. Autocannons and Ultras should always be depicted with a single barrel, and multibarrel artwork should be reserved for RACs, since that's their whole gimmick. The Burrock is a perfect example of this irritating trend. I also dislike how he draws his lasers with the lens right at the front end of the barrel, leaving it really vulnerable.

Another art trend I think I've seen recently is the tendency to show ammo being fed into the weapon from the exterior. Not sure exactly which Mech it was, but I'm pretty sure there was one with this ammo belt feeding from an arm mounted weapon all the way up to the back. This seems really hazardous because ammo in BT is explosive and it just doesn't follow the precedent of Duane Loose's 3025 art, which has the ammo completely housed internally. Now, he did show some magazine boxes nestled right around the weapon sometimes, like the Zeus's LRM having an ammo box mounted along the arm. But an entire belt from the arm to the torso is way too much. One hit to the belt and the entire Mech is toast.

Finally, they need to take the Mech's design into account for torso-twisting. Right now, every mech in the game can torso-twist. Yet when you look at a lot of the artwork, there are quite a few designs which don't seem to have any sort of torso articulation. The Stalker and Nova come to mind.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Let's Ponder The Universe.

Sometimes I do despair.
It seems like the world's a cruel and unusual place.
A dark labyrinth of human causality and mutual disdain.
But ya know, then I just go look at some porn.

I was just pondering how scary death is for an atheist.
Cause if you think about it, dying is like having a hard drive die on you, with everything on it, and not backing anything up.
Your entire existence is that hard drive.
And it gets reformatted.
And then beaten with a sledgehammer.
Your entire existence, all you ever were, all you could be, every memory and emotion you ever had, all lost forever without a DVD backup or anything.
That's pretty depressing.
But I guess people do live on, in a way, through their works.
Probably why I started writing this blog.
Let your words roam free across the information superhighway.
Share your intellect and experience with strangers.
Remember, a stranger's just a friend you haven't met.

Attendence Policies Suck

Truth be told, I was in college once upon a time. It was kinda fun, being out on your own. Buying your own food, sleeping whenever you feel like. For some people, fucking whenever you feel like. Lots of great times, right? And of course, college classes themselves are usually pretty flexible. Yet, there are still some limitations. For some classes, there aren't any attendance requirements. These are the lectures, and they don't bother taking roll because the class is just so damn huge. This is awesome if you're smart and lazy, because all you have to do is study at home, and you'll only really be required to go to three class days: once to take the midterm, once to turn in the paper, and once to take the final. Of course, there are other classes which will be much smaller discussion-based classes, and those do take attendance.

Now, a lot of classes also have a dual form, in that there will be a lecture section as well as a discussion section. You'll have to attend one, and the other will be flexible. I always opted out of attending lectures when I could, because they were fucking boring as hell. And I like to think of myself as a relatively bright guy. Of course, attendance did bite me in the ass once, and I barely got by.
Here's the story.

Well, there was one class I really wanted to get into.
I couldn't get into this History class, cause it was full at the beginning. So I just put myself on the waitlist and went to this other class, which was Business economics or something. After 2 weeks of classes, enough people finally dropped out for me to get added to the History class. Which was cool. So I start attending the discussions with the TA, which require mandatory attendance. The lecture sessions aren't, which was fine. Cause the class was 20th Century History, the easiest history there is. Well, one discussion I decide to miss, cause I was feeling under the weather that day. At the end of the semester, the TA pulls me aside and tells me I'm gonna fail, cause I've missed 3 out of 10 discussions. You'll remember I missed 2 at the beginning because I wasn't formally enrolled, and the other 1. Now, I had gotten an A- on the midterm in this class. This is not a class that you can legitimately claim that I do not know the material. So I tell him I missed the first 2 because I was on the waitlist and was attending the other class at the time. He looks at me regretfully and says that 2 absences are allowed, but 3 is too much. So I'm like... "dude, I've got an A- on the midterm, I'm not sure what I'll get on the final but I bet it'll be pretty good too, this is complete bullshit."

So finally, he tells me that if I can show proof, like a letter, that I had been attending that other class for the 2 weeks, he'll let it slide. Well then, I diligently track down the professor for this Business Economics class that I had been in, go to her office hours, wait a bit while she helps out her students with their math problems, and fucking beg her to write this letter for me. Of course, she needs proof, so I pull out these lecture notes that I'd taken and somehow saved from the 2nd week, and she writes it. I'm not streaming tears from my eyes, but it was a big relief, let me tell you. So I take the final exam and just slap the letter down in front of my TA as I'm handing it in. Problem solved.

The moral of the story? Attendence is overrated. Listen up TAs... just because some kid in your class happens to miss a couple of classes, it doesn't mean they don't know the material. Give em the benefit of the doubt.

Oh my god, this was strange. And yet somehow hot.

Guess what, I had a really weird dream yesterday. Dunno why, but I dreamed that I had sex with my old high school science teacher. This is kinda weird, cause I never found her attractive when I was in high school. But lo and behold, I was just nailing her in the science closet. Ya know, that room where they have all the dioramas and microscopes and tools. Very awkward. Well, I just felt awkward waking up from that, cause we always had this sort of love-hate relationship in her class. On one hand, she was always really easy-going and friendly with students. But on the other... she was this really liberal environmentalist. So I would always call her out on pushing her agenda in... ya know, science class.

Like, we had this project to illustrate some form of environmental degradation one time. So I went and came up with this game called "Ghetto Bowling" whereby I constructed this apartment building and street, and made a chute where the apartment dwellers would slide their garbage down and try to knock over pedestrians on the street below. Ya know, to show the state of waste disposal in early 19th century cities. That got a good response.

And then there was this one time when someone else was giving a presentation on environmentally friendly housing construction, so he was talking about... I think it was straw-bale houses. So I, being the clever one, raised my hand and asked "Well now, hold on a second here. I'm no architect, but if the Three Little Pigs has taught me anything, it's that houses made out of straw aren't too structurally safe." Another sorta good example that comes to mind was this symposium that was being held by some professors. She was gonna give us all extra credit if we went, so I of course decided to go attend. They were discussing bacterial colonies I believe, so one of them asks the audience, "What are colonies composed of?" I immediately shout out, "Colonists?" She just turns to me and says in this exasperated voice "Thanks Pete."

So yea, it was an interesting class to be in. But never did I imagine I would want to fuck her. Cause... I totally didn't find her hot. Couldn't really tell how old she was. Late 30s, early 40s maybe? It's hard, cause I imagine teaching high school must age you horribly.

Wow, thanks.

Colin Powell has apparently asked us all to "renew America together." Wow, fuck you Colin Powell. Goddamn traitor to the conservative cause.

And Obama's mother-in-law is moving in too? WTF? I don't even know what that's all about.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nostalgia: Early 90's Marvel cartoons had amazing intros.

Is it just me, or were the early 90s a great time for kid's cartoons? You had Saturday morning cartoons about scifi war like ExoSquad or BattleTech, and then the Disney afternoon block with stuff like Duck Tales, TaleSpin, Gargoyles, and Darkwing Duck. And of course, we also had the Marvel animated series, namely the X-Men TAS, Spider-Man TAS, and Iron Man TAS. The funny thing is, all of those early Marvel shows have now had replacement series pop up. While I haven't watched these new millenium newcomers and can't comment on their content quality, I feel I am justified in saying that... well, the intros for the early 90s shows are far far superior. Just watch and be reminded of how fucking catchy those were.

X-Men TAS (1992):
Wolverine and the X-Men (2008):

Spider-Man TAS (1994):
The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008):

Iron Man TAS (1994):
Iron Man Armored Adventures (2008):

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What’s up with being contrary to going against the grain?

So because the road less travelled is being less travelled, people are noticing that and taking the road less travelled because it's less travelled and they don't want to travel like everyone else, so everyone is taking the road less travelled, leading to the road more travelled being less travelled, and so we should actually travel the road that used to be more travelled but is now strangely less travelled in order to stand out from the less travelled-posers and just travel really really fast down that more travelled road that is now somewhat less travelled but maybe still as well travelled as the road that was less travelled but may not be.

What's an Asian?

You know, it's sorta funny how people classify other people in our world. Take the word "Asian" for example. In America, we generally use it to define Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Japanese people. Maybe sometimes Hawaiians, but that's iffy. However, Americans generally won't refer to Indians or Russians as Asians. Even though, technically, they totally are Asian. I first noticed this when someone wrote that Harold and Kumar was the first mainstream film to star two Asian-Americans. It took me a second to realize that yes, Kumar is Indian and therefore technically Asian. But we usually just call Indians Indians, and not Asians. Same for Russians. They live in the upper colder part of Asia, but nobody goes around calling Ensign Chekov an Asian.

It's even weirder in Britain, they call Muslims Asians.

BattleTech: Cover Art

I can't help but feel that the cover art for the FanPro and Catalyst stuff is somewhat boring.

No, I'm not talking about the cover to TRO 3075 either. We all know that one is awful. I'm talking about the stuff here: Gallery

It's not awful, but it isn't as good as the old FASA covers.
Just compare this: Total Warfare

to the cover of the Tukayyid scenario pack cover: Tukayyid

It's competent to be sure, but it's very bright and colorful and filled with Photoshop effects that I could make if I did some research. While the Tukayyid cover is nicely painted and looks epic in a mythic sort of way. It doesn't look like something you'd be able to find on a deviantart site.
I'm not saying all FanPro covers suck or that all FASA covers rock, but I do tend to prefer the older, less glossy work.

This FanPro cover also suffers from what I'm talking about. A lot of shiny photoshop beams: Combat Equipment

I much prefer this sort of approach. Painterly and stylized: AeroTech 2

The Tukayyid cover is amazingly effective at conveying the battle. A giant, hazy muddle of forces battling in the background... then two Mechs ducking it out when we pull closer, and finally infantry playing cat and mouse in the foreground.
Take a look at the paint too. The Thug has "Blakes Wrath" on its PPC coiling, while the Stone Rhino is sporting the sort of nose art you'd see painted on an A-10 Warthog. I just love little artistic touches like that. And the important part... there are weapons discharging, but they aren't overpowering the overall image. As opposed to this: Combat Ops

I just found out Doug Chaffee did the Tukayyid cover. He also did the AeroTech 2 cover that I linked. So I guess I just really like Doug Chaffee's cover art.

Here's another FASA cover that wasn't done by Doug Chaffee that's great: Coventry

Again, very little pyrotechics. In fact, there's a sense of peace throughout the image. A serene calm just washes over me when I look at it. It's a beautiful forest, and this Jade Falcon force is just casually strolling through it. To the left, you see some actual falcons startled and scattering in their wake. It's art, and I would definitely hang this up in my room in a frame if I owned it. Can't say the same for most of the FanPro covers.

I think in general, covers that have little to no combat are more impressive and impactful. The whole "Less is More" concept. Here's some examples.


3057 TRO

House Steiner Handbook

All the Field Manuals had great covers too. Probably because Doug Chaffee did 90% of them.

BattleTech: the Star League Atlas II

They released official specs for the Star League era Atlas II finally.

Oh my god... that is not an Atlas.
That is a pale imitation. An imposter. You cannot have an Atlas without a large cannon of some sort on the right torso. I was expecting some sort of hybrid of the 3025 and 3050 refit. And boy, I did not get it. They really butchered that thing to hell. The weapons configuration is just all over the place. An LB10X in the right arm? 2 ERLLs in the left? That doesn't look anything like the classic Atlas.

It seems to be some sort of bridge between the Atlases we're used to and some wacky DA designs. And I hate wacky DA designs. There's no need for a bridge. They're awful, disgraceful.

I'm not adverse to change. When 3050 came out, I thought that AS7-K was a very well done upgrade to the original. It still felt like an Atlas. This Atlas II could be any sort of Mech with a cobbled together weapons config. It doesn't have that same sort of silhouette that the original had.

There're a few design features that an Atlas should follow. One is that there has to be some sort of large cannon mounted in the right torso, right around the hip. Another is that each arm has to have a laser mounted, whether Large or Medium class. And lastly, there has to be a missile system of some sort, though the location of that is more flexible. The Atlas II completely disregards the first two.

The problem is, they finally committed to canon one of the most legendary Star League designs of all time, and just screwed it up when the solution wasn't all that hard to reach. People have been conjuring up Star League designs on their websites for years now. I would've even settled for an Atlas II with arm mounted PPCs, now that I think about it. 2 ERPPCs, an AC20 in the torso. That's not a bad design.

The original Atlas AS7-D

The Star League Atlas II

BattleTech: Listen to me rant.

(To properly read this, just think about John Rambo's speech at the end of First Blood, and you'll get the right tone.)

You know, I'm kinda pissed off. This has nothing to do with anything in real life, just BattleTech in general. I'm pissed off because they call my BattleTech "Classic BattleTech" now. Like I'm some sort of old fogey, hanging onto the classics, watching a ton of VH1, etc. Like hell it's classic. I started reading BattleTech when I was 8, now I'm 23 years old. I'm not ancient. And it isn't Classic by any means. This title of "Classic BattleTech" just rubs me the wrong way.

And why is it classic? Because we had to make way for the new Dark Ages. For the new fans, who can't be bothered to read about Aidan Pryde or Joanna or Hanse or any of the pivotal characters. What a joke. Who goes into BattleTech wanting to see nukes? Isn't the whole appeal of BattleTech based on BattleMechs? Not a flurry of nukes followed by AgroMechs. I didn't leave BattleTech behind... it left me behind. And now it calls my era Classic. Like I'm a fossil. A dinosaur.

I'm not happy.

Youtubes Ahoy!

This is the pinnacle of unintentional humor.

Batman and Joker work together to provide an important public service announcement.

A great year in cinema.

A little white thing you step on.

ExoSquad DVD Release



Star Trek: A Shitty List

Oh my god... this is the worst list I've ever seen:

Shitty List

I just can't comprehend anyone placing TWOK below first or second. It just doesn't make any logical sense. Dismay grows heavy in my heart.

Some have criticized Kirk's midlife crisis in the plot, but
I didn't have a problem with that, it made him much more human, instead of a caricature. And it had only partly to do with his age. Much of it was concentrated around his life as a deskbound admiral pushing data readouts. Seemed like a natural development. Didn't grate on me at all. Actually, I think the first time I watched it as a kid, I was really only bothered by the fact that the Reliant was taken over so easily and that we as the audience didn't get to see any of that.

Some people occasionally have VI The Undiscovered Country as their number one.

I can see where they're coming from with that. VI was also done by Nicholas Meyer and great in its own way.

VI was just more of a whodunit instead of a pure action adventure like TWOK. The ending battle with the Excelly and the BoP was fine, but the preceding scenes of Kirk and McCoy escaping from the mining prison and everybody searching through their drawers on the Enterprise... those didn't really captivate me. I'll always just remember it as the fitting swan song for the TOS crew that the TNG crew never got.

Howard the Duck on Hulu!

I have the best news ever.

George Lucas's magnum opus is now available on Hulu.

It's strange... the one product of Lucas I actually like is his most reviled work. You don't think there's anything wrong with me, do you?

I think a reason I liked it so much was cause I had a massive crush on Lea Thompson back in the day. It was like "Hey, it's the hot mom from Back to the Future! And there's this sexual tension between her and a giant talking duck. This movie is awesome!"

BattleTech: Thoughts on Aidan Pryde

I think Aidan Pryde is much more likable then Victor Steiner-Davion. Victor Steiner Davion is to me the Luke Skywalker of the BT universe. That's not a compliment, by the way. I don't know who Aidan Pryde would be, but I find him much more complex and understandable. Plus, it doesn't hurt that he's a Clan hero.

Aidan Pryde was one of the few reformed Clan warriors. His best friend was a freeborn, he eventually forgave and made up with Joanna and Marthe... he might not have been a Gandhi, but he was plenty likable.

What was the one main difference between Aidan and Victor? The key factor that makes me respect Aidan, yet I can't respect Victor?

Throughout the three books of the Trilogy, we see Aidan struggling for self worth, a modicum of respect, and his very survival. Hardships time after time. Trying to make the best of a second chance, one which costs the lives of others. A life of shame, guilt, and silent resolve.

Victor is born the prince of the most powerful allied faction in the entire Inner Sphere. Always in the lap of luxury. What does he have to worry about? Whether he'll get accepted into the most prestigious Mech academy, or merely the second most prestigious Mech academy. He gets everything handed to him, even a Dire Wolf OmniMech. His hardship to bear in life? How to get the hot princess of the Draconis Combine into bed with him. Is it any wonder I can't stand the guy?

This picture really illustrates why I dislike Luke Skywalker.

Really makes you wonder how people tolerated him for three whole movies.

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

First of all, they actually make Cate Blanchett look kinda hot in this movie with the heavy use of CGI, and I do not find Cate Blanchett hot. That is impressive.

Ok, this is basically Forrest Gump but gloomier, less colorful, and more boring. The main character here is not retarded, but merely aging backwards. Instead of a bird's feather, there's a hummingbird. Instead of a girl named Jenny, it's a girl named Daisy. Instead of a son played by Haley Joel Osmont, it's a daughter played by Julia Ormond. And instead of Vietnam, it's World War II. I repeat, this is a more boring Forrest Gump.

Now with that said, I still recommend this, because Forrest Gump was a hell of a picture. That movie made me cry quite a bit, this movie merely made my eyes tear up. It's incredibly shot, and of course the special effects are amazing. Brad Pitt looks like a freak for the first half, and Cate Blanchett gets turned into an 20 year old. It's long at 2 hours and 47 minutes, so be prepared for that.

Oh yea... while it was enjoyable, this movie does not deserve to win Best Picture. It's completely crafted to be Oscar bait, but is nowhere near as good as something like The Dark Knight.

The Ending of Prince of Persia (Spoilers)

Just in case you're not gonna play the game but wanna know what sorta mindfuck ending Ubisoft Montreal created.

Well, I'm not sure what you know of Prince of Persia... it's basically a fantasy platformer that's sorta presented in this cartoony storybook setting. Even the characters are cell shaded to give it that unique look.

When you first start, you're this guy, who's apparently the Prince of Persia, even though he's more like a medieval Han Solo then an actual Prince. Anyways, he meets up with this girl named Elika, who is running away from her father. It turns out that she's the Princess of this ancient temple that holds the ancient god of darkness Ahriman inside.

Her father the King has apparently gone insane and is trying to weaken the temple so that Ahriman can be freed. The Prince and Elika go platforming around these lands to undo the damage and restore the temple so the angry God will stay inside forever.All these areas are filled with this corruption, which looks like black ooze and is very hazardous to your health. A biohazard, if you will.

As you defeat the bosses in the lands, you'll be able to have Elika use her magic to heal the land and restore it to fertility. Which is a little scene where she floats up into the air, bright magic explodes, and she lets out this orgasmic scream. At least, I thought it sounded orgasmic. Anyways, about halfway through the game, you find out that Elika had apparently died from a fall one day, which made the King very sad and which led him to make this bargain with Ahriman, whereby Elika is brought back to life and endowed with magic, as long as the King agreed to free him.

So the duo eventually heal all the surrounding lands and venture into the temple itself, where they defeat Elika's father, who is completely corrupted. Then they face off against Ahriman himself, which is this giant big dark cloud. After a bit of platforming, The Prince launched Elika inside where she uses her magic to subdue Ahriman. Of course, the final step is to restore the temple to keep Ahriman inside, so Elika gives up her life energy to the temple, and promptly falls dead.

Which I saw comin a mile away.

The game at this point has you leaving the temple carrying Elika's dead body in your arms, where the credits suddently start rolling. And when that happened, I said to myself "This is the worst fucking ending ever."

Fortunately, you're able to hit Esc and procede to lay her body on this marble platform. Looking off into the distance, you see these four trees on top of four pillars, symbolizing the four fertile grounds you'd cleansed. You're able to climb onto the pillars and chop down each tree, which has a sort of freezing effect. Once all four trees have been chopped down, the door to the temple opens and you head inside. All the while, you can hear Ahriman whispering these evil things to you from the hallway. Inside the temple, there's another tree which symbolizes the temple and its power. Obviously, you chop it down, and are rewarded with this bright blue light orb. You carry it outside and place it on Elika's body, giving her life again. She wakes up, asks "Why" and you carry her towards the camera, while in the background the temple collapses and we see Ahriman emerge free and flying towards us.

That's when the credits roll again.

Review: Prince of Persia

Should you buy it? Ehhhhhh.... this is really hard for me to answer. I was one of those who read the reviews and was like, this is just too easy, Ubisoft went too far and this game is basically a quick time event made into 12 hours. At least in Assassin's Creed they let you chose your own missions and fight multiple enemies at once, this game seems more like a movie with minimal input from the player.

While I would still say the game is a bit simplified and easy, I had a great time playing it and really feel glad I decided to give it a try, cause the experience is pretty awesome. The graphics and overall craftsmanship of the levels is really well done. You can tell Ubisoft believed this is a AAA game, cause it is very polished and beautiful to look at. Nothing you wouldn't expect from Ubisoft Montreal, guys behind Splinter Cell. The animations are just as fluid if not more so then Assassin's Creed, and the boss fights feel suitably epic.

The combat's pretty basic in nature and can devolve into quick time events, so it's not gonna be for a lot of people who want a challenge, but I was alright, since I don't play platformers as a general rule. And the no death aspect of the game, which a lot of people have complained about, was actually a game design choice that made sense to me when I played through it. Instead of quicksaving every 5 steps like in other games, you can just die by falling off a ledge and there'll be a quick 3 second animation and boom, you're right back on solid ground before the mistimed ledge jump. It really takes the frustration part out of platforming and sorta compels you to keep progressing. So ultimately, it just gets rid of the F9 quickload and isn't really any easier then other games, it's just presented in a different fashion.

What really stands out is the beauty of the various levels and the interaction between the two main characters, leading to the ending... which I absolutely love. It's powerful and moving and depressing but inevitable and fucking brilliant. Ubisoft was sending a very meta message with that and I like how it makes a complete fool out of all the people who are complaining about it.

Ultimately, I can't really recommend you pay 60 bucks for the game, because the gameplay really isn't deep enough to justify it. The ease and quick time events... let's be honest, this is not Game of the Year material. However, if you can rent it for your console, or... obtain the PC version somehow, you'll be able to play it through in 2 or 3 days and have a very rewarding experience, I feel.

Maybe worth it for 40 bucks, which I hear they've dropped it to.

Resident Evil Degeneration

A Resident Evil animated flick just got released this year called RE Degeneration. Without going into too many words, just let me say that it's... a piece of shit. And yea, this is a pretty short review. But hey, would you really want me to tear into it with a scene by scene breakdown like I did with 28 Weeks Later? Just don't watch it, it's terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible.

I'm not sure if anyone else is aware, but the Resident Evil series in Japan is actually titled Biohazard. See, that just doesn't do it for me. I mean... Resident Evil, that's kinda catchy in a less literal sense then Biohazard.

Biohazard though, it could mean anything. Someone slipped and broke a test tube containing a mild strain of the mumps? That's a biohazard! A box of used needles that accidently got spilled? There's a biohazard...

It doesn't quite conjure up the terror of a full on zombie outbreak. I mean, a horde of bloodthirsty zombies stumbling towards you, that's slightly more then just a "biohazard."

An unpleasant online phenomenon gets examined by yours truly.

So yea, I was just browsing some gaming news a few days ago, and came across the Playstation Home beta. This is apparently the online network for the Playstation 3 that's kinda Second Life/MMORPG with a lot of commercial advertising. There's all sorts of customization for you to create an avatar and whatnot.

And I was reading how some guys had been creating female avatars for fun. Of course, they would immediately be swarmed by a bunch of horny guys on there. Right as they had a large gathering of stalkers, they would suddenly switch to a different model, this time of an ugly male avatar. At which point, all the swarmers would run away. Seemed pretty entertaining, considering that the rest of Home is pretty boring and mind boggling in its execution.

I just started thinking about this tiresome and ceaseless phenomenon of anyone appearing to be female online, whether it be a mere chatroom or in a multiplayer game, being completely bombarded with... maybe not quite stalkers, but desperate and oftentimes abusive males.

If we're going to talk specifically about a woman that plays a video game, there seems to be a sort of mob mentality at work. The woman is immediately singled out and metaphorically placed in a box where all the other male players proposition her in crude ways, hoping for... I dunno, cybering or something. Then, when the female refuses, cause she just wants to play a game, the players invariably decide that since she won't put out, she's useless and they're gonna be verbally abusive to her and make her gaming experience as unenjoyable as possible.

This is of course a generalization. Not everybody is an asshole like this, this is mainly something that happens more often on consoles and when younger people are involved. But there definitely seems to be a strong pattern for this sort of behavior.

I just can't help but wonder what's behind this frustrating phenomenon. Is it possible that perhaps this sort of thing won't be the norm forever? Will there come a time when gaming is a bit more mainstream then it is now, and it's pretty mainstream these days, where female gamers are just looked upon as normal fixtures and less prone to being fawned over. Ya know, when the Xbox^18 is around and we're all using neural implants to game.

One of the funny things that crossed my mind was the fact that... there seems to be something about the idea of a woman playing a game that's pretty powerful and attractive in and of itself. Whereas I doubt a female is really turned on by the fact that a guy plays a video game. That's why you've got Ubisoft with their shameless Frag Dolls publicity shills.

Still, that schtick they pull on Playstation Home seems pretty damn funny.

I can't stop thinking about that Busted Tees girl.

Has anyone noticed how seems to have a lot of different female models now to replace Erica Sullivan? That seems really poor marketing strategy to me, cause those shirts that are modeled without Erica Sullivan probably sell way worse then the ones with Erica Sullivan. Do you think she asked for too much money or something? I for one would like her to model every shirt on there.

Also, a lot of people have compared her to Snorg Tee's model Alice Fraasa. I for one would pick Erica Sullivan every single time. In case you still aren't aware, Erica is the redhead with the killer rack. She modeled most of their older catalogue but their newer stuff has had much less of her. She just has that sorta girl next door appeal that's really quite attractive to me, while Alice Fraasa perhaps has more of an exotic flavor.
While I would never buy any t-shirt from because I find the slogans on there pretty damn retarded and imbecilic, I find myself inevitably looking at their ads on the sides of websites because of Erica's stunning beauty. It seems to happen quite often in my browsing these days because BustedTees seems to be on almost every website I frequent. Alas, I can think of worse tortures to endure.

Star Trek: The Enterprise C

That design to me, is everything the Galaxy class was supposed to be and failed to accomplish. It took everything from the Connie Refit and Excelsior and advanced that design aesthetic to the 24th century, but with the proper proportions that the Galaxy lacked. The only flaw I can think of is how they forgot to include a photon torp launcher on the neck.

The Galaxy just looks grossly misproportioned though. Saucer's too big. Oval. Engineering section's got that hideous deflector that looked like a bullseye. Stubby and insubstantial nacelles. The one thing I felt the Galaxy did get right was the main shuttlebay on the saucer. That looked good and made sense, given the immense size of the ship. Unfortunately, they did away with the traditional shuttlebay on the engineering section, which I felt was a mistake. Another thing the Ambassador class did right, it had both.

Oh yea, the Galaxy also started the tradition of giving the bottom of the saucer a "Captain's yacht" which was completely unnecessary and offensive. Why would you design a special pleasure boat for the Captain to use? He's too good for a shuttle? It was ridiculous. Once you start making Captain's yachts, what's next? Making the bridge detachable and calling it a Captain's Command Craft?

The central problem of the Galaxy? It looks like a cruise liner. Which is completely what I DON'T want my Federation starships to look like. I like my Fed starships to look like hardcore warships. I wasn't asking for a dystopian look either. I mean, I'm not asking for the Sulaco here. But you look at the Connie Refit, and that neck photon torp launcher is big and prominent and menacing while also quite stylish and beautiful. That's what I mean.

I really feel that the Ent D went too far in the opposite direction. The thing looks like fully half of its surface is composed of windows. That's what makes it look like a cruise liner. And I can't help but feel like that looks structurally weak. Like, if it look a photon torp, it'd just hit windows and collapse a large part of the hull. Sure, it's scifi and technology means it's probably just fine, but the abundance of windows makes it look weak. The other starship designs had windows too, but never as many proportionally as the Galaxy.

You know what, that whole tone of the more peaceful time just didn't work for me. It made for some of TNG's worst episodes. It was responsible for the low points. And by that, I mean Holodeck episodes. As opposed to the highs of TNG, which were all pretty much the gritty hardcore episodes: Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday's Enterprise.

Were you ever let down that they never ever followed through on Picard and Crusher? And that episode Attached didn't fit the bill. Too little, too late. What can I say, guess I'm just an ol romantic.

But yea, Holodecks... hate em hate em hate em. Holodeck malfunctions, wacky hijinks ensue. With some sort of Sherlock Holmes or Gangster theme. What were they smoking back then? But I guess what's silliest is how they ever get access to the holodeck in the first place, considering there are 4 holodecks and they have to share it with a thousand other people on the ship. So you shouldn't ever have enough time to get holoaddiction or screw stuff up.

I just rewatched Best of Both Worlds Part 2 yesterday and this exchange really struck me as embodying what was great about the episode, and what was great about the best episodes in general.

Guinan: "I've heard a lot of people talking down in Ten-Forward. They expect to be dead in the next day or so. They trust you. They like you. But they don't believe anyone can save them."

Riker: "I'm not sure anyone can."

The entire dark tone is just something so refreshing and exciting after the mellow meandering of the first two seasons. That exchange, full of despair, fear, and solemn resolve, really showed what the best kind of Star Trek storytelling could achieve.

All the best Star Trek episodes have moments like that. Sure, we've also got to deal with holodeck hijinks, microfractures in the dilithium recalibration chamber, remodulating the deflector array to emit a graviton pulse, stuff like that... technobabble that makes no sense. That's also a part of Trek, and it can't ever fully leave, because we need that stuff too. But the decline in the later Trek series is, I think, due to the fact that that latter stuff completely took over, and we weren't given any of the former.

Fuck Achievements

What's the point of achievements? I've never understood the appeal of these things. Like, I don't own a 360, but even if I did, I don't think I'd get the reason these achievements are worthwhile. At first, I thought you could use the gamer points to buy stuff on Xbox Live, but actually, you cannot. You actually buy stuff on Xbox Live with Microsoft points, which are obtained by paying real money. So gamer points are completely useless. Okay, so if that's not the reason, why are people going after the achievements? Why not simply play the game? Achievements are of course gained through playing the game normally, yet some achievements can only be achieved via ridiculous abnormal behavior. Which doesn't seem all that fun to do, like only using a pistol in Left 4 Dead. If you don't get any real reward for these, it's hard to see why people would do them.

Random Ramblings

Has anyone noticed that AMC has started showing movies that aren't really considered American Movie Classics? Like, you'll see films that aren't actually in black and white. They won't be stuff starring Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper.

It just seems strange, having a channel dedicated to American Movie Classics that actually shows a lot of trash.

You know, I was just surfing for porn torrents, when this one guy labeled his as JAP, because it had a Japanese porn star in it.

This other guy got pissed, cause he thought it stood for Jewish American Princess. WTF does that even mean?

You wanna know how I know I'm old? The day somebody on TV started talking about how hot the Olsen twins were. And I'm all... "What, the baby from Full House?! You sick fucks!!!"

And now there are porn stars and people like Megan Fox that are way younger then me. That's depressing.

Review: Dead Space Downfall

Well, I started playing Dead Space today and figured I'd give the companion animated DVD a spin, since it's supposed to fill in the backstory... and it's pretty entertaining. You might wanna give it a look.

And by entertaining, I don't mean it's entirely entertaining in and of itself. It's more like, entertaining because it's amusing to spot how much stuff they lifted from Alien and The Thing, and I hear also Event Horizon, but I never saw Event Horizon, so I can only really think of Alien and The Thing. Like, they utilized pretty much every sort of sci-fi horror cliche in the book.

Right off the top of my head, I can list... well, the central character is a security officer on board this ship who's pretty much Ripley but a redhead. And of course, she closes off the movie with a narrative that just screams "This is Ellen Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off." Though she doesn't go to cryo sleep with a cat, sad to say.

And they make every effort to make the ship as vulnerable as possible. The security team for this huge ship is apparently 6 people, half of whom freak out at the first sign of trouble. Oh, and they of course are only armed with these pistols that don't do much damage and require frequent reloads, since weapon technology never keeps pace with... ya know, interstellar travel. Annnnnnd they only seem to have a tank top, cargo pants, and these ugly leather jackets for protection.

It goes without saying that the ship's interior resembles the Nostromo, and the aliens quickly cover it in some mutant membrane, just like in Aliens.

Oh, but of course, these are only somewhat alien, since they're actually mutated crewmembers that get stuck in the head and injected by a flying alien, just like the brain bug in Starship Troopers.

And this whole accident started because these colonists on a planet discovered a giant alien "artifact," and you can't help but think of the alien crashed ship from Alien.

Of course, the Captain of the ship wants to bring the dreaded artifact back to Earth, which the doctor reasons is a somewhat dangerous endeavor, so he ends up killing the captain and trying to scuttle the ship, to prevent the aliens from infecting Earth. Just the same ol "Protect the rest of humanity" cliche we've seen time and time again.

Oh, and the final climax of the movie has the security officer using the emergency airlock to blow a bunch of the things out into space, a la the Alien/Aliens ending.

Have I impressed upon you the magnitude of the "flattery" this animated film engages in?

I almost forgot to mention, but this is probably the goriest bloodiest animated film I've ever seen. One poor lady gets completely chainsawed in half and you get to see her skeleton cross section...

Oh yea! Another cliche I just remembered... they meet this one Indian mystic who joins the survivors and holds off a wave of aliens before being butchered, a la Billy from Predator. And later, another character sacrifices himself by closing the door on the main character after saying "It's been an honor serving with you."

This is ridiculous, I ought to put together a friggin list.

Review: 28 Weeks Later

I just watched this for the first time because Left 4 Dead put me in a zombie movie mood.

And goddamn, what a fucking disappointment. This movie seriously pissed me off. I'm still angry sitting here thinking about it. It had a pretty cool premise, the US army reestablishing a colony on Britain after the infection died off. Unfortunately, the movie is really short, cause we're already at about the halfway mark by the time the infection comes back. That's just not enough, especially since this is a sequel, meaning we're expecting things to be bigger and better. For the most part, this didn't happen. And they had all the ingredients to make a great sequel.

First off, we're supposed to buy that these two dumb kids can sneak out of the safe zone. The level of military incompetence in this movie is truly a wonder to behold, it's fucking everywhere. And seriously, if these kids were real, they wouldn't fucking risk their lives going out to their old house, the area's got damn zombies. I'd be happy to stay in my cozy penthouse or whatever the fuck their dad had going. The girl apparently went back to pack her lame ass shoes or something, dumb.

Then, when they find the infected mom and bring her in, we're supposed to buy that the dad, Mr. Carlyle, has the handy dandy all access keycard and can sneak around like fucking Sam Fisher to get in undetected and see his wife. Again, absolute military idiocy. What kind of military gives a civilian caretaker access to a medical bio hazard quarantine?

So he goes and kisses her all sloppily and gets her saliva, which is icky. Then he gets infected and attacks her. This is odd, because this is the only known case of one infected attacking another infected. In every other instance in the movie, the infected are all running together merrily as one big horde, never attacking each other. How strange.

Later, the military stupidly sticks the civilians all together in one big warehouse for their own safety. And locks it, with one cheap ass padlock. Ok, whatever. However, their brilliant containment plan is somewhat flawed, because this warehouse apparently has a back door which is not locked, and unluckily gets accessed by the infected Mr. Carlyle. Great, all the innocent civilians are locked in a room where they can all get infected together. What the fuck movie? Why do you make yourself so damn stupid and nonsensical?

So everything goes to shit and Doyle the Delta sniper comes to rescue them. Cool, this is getting interesting. But then they run into another army sniper who begins sniping at them. Now, this is where they again lost me. Instead of getting on his radio and saying "Whoa whoa, stop shooting at us, we're not infected!" Doyle shoots the sniper. Wait, what? Would a US army sniper really shoot another US army sniper in cold blood? This didn't make any sense.

Now, there were a few things I liked. One was the helicopter chopping up a bunch of infected with the rotor, that was pretty awesome.

Later on, they get stuck in a car to escape a gas attack. Now, I'm not really sure that getting in a car, closing all the vents and breathing through your T-shirt would really protect you from a gas attack, but we'll let that slide. They see that there are gas mask soldiers coming to torch shit with flamethrowers, and the car won't start. So Doyle decides to get out and push. This leads to him getting burned alive. This was really dumb. Nonsensical. Why didn't he just get out and show the guys with flamethrowers that he wasn't infected? Then he wouldn't have been toasted. Or hell, he could've gotten out and shot them all with his rifle, which he happily did before to the sniper. No logic at all. Just a cheap death to shock the audience, after making us like the guy.

Now we come to the worst part of the movie for me, the nightvision trek through the subway. This was fucking excruciating to watch. Some ppl actually said this was "artistic" but I don't see anything artistic about seeing everything in green night vision while being whirled around like in the Blair Witch Project. I go to the movies to be entertained and this was not entertaining in the least.

This scene also ended a very problematic element of the movie for me, the dad character as some sort of main villain. Sorry, but this whole thing didn't seem like a good idea. I prefer my zombie hordes to be, well, zombie hordes. Just faceless masses of death. The introduction of a boss zombie like the dad was lame and really took away from the sort of realism that the first film achieved, IMO.

So yea, this film was a huge disappointment, since I really liked the first film. While that was dark, this just seemed pointlessly retarded, especially the cheap deaths of some main characters. Left me feeling full of rage, you could say.

ExoSquad is now on Hulu

Exosquad was a very big part of my childhood and an incredibly underrated cartoon show. Ya see, it was one of those early Saturday morning cartoons that I always got up for when I was... oh, about 10 years old.

The basic premise is a scifi setting with a Frankenstein dimension mixed with, well, World War 2. In fact, now that I think about it, it's pretty much the cartoon version of another TV show I really like, Space Above and Beyond.

Take a look if you like war stories with enjoyable characters and long story arcs over several episodes. That's one thing that keeps me from enjoying some shows like DS9 or the new BSG, I can't find any of the characters likable. That's not the same thing as being relateable BTW, I don't need to relate to a character to like him or her.

Some Game Reviews

Here's my thoughts on some recent games I've been playing.

Red Alert 3: 3/5 stars

Ok, so I obtained this... it's ok. Not the sort of amazing experience like Company of Heroes or Sins of a Solar Empire. It feels just as wacky as the other Red Alerts, the movie cinematics are definitely the strongest selling point for this game. I couldn't help but feel very cramped and claustrophobic with the camera, I kept trying to scroll my mouse so it would zoom out, but no dice. That's kinda a personal preference though, so you guys might not mind.

The other thing that I noticed is that this game seems to have very hard counters. For example, you might be used to say, Company of Heroes where you can use a tank and pretty much throw it at the enemy without much worry. However in RA3, if you use the wrong unit against an enemy unit, you're gonna get your ass waxed very quickly. Something that's compounded by the fact that there isn't much real estate to work with on the maps. I found the units very big and hard to manuever around all the buildings sometimes. This only compounded the feeling of being cramped.

The co-op feature in single player isn't very interesting, you just get an AI teammate that has his own base and units following you around and helping a little. Nothing ground breaking.

For me, it's an average RTS. RA fans will like it, but the gameplay really isn't as fun as the cinematics, they're the best part of the game.

Far Cry 2: 4/5 stars

No prone option, seems pretty weird. Crysis had a prone position, and that game had you as an elite Delta Force guy in an uber nanosuit with a magical armor shield, as opposed to being a malaria patient wearing a hawaiian shirt.

This game runs fucking awesome. I have to turn everything to Low to make Crysis playable, whereas here I can run pretty much everything on medium with 2x AA with silky smooth framerates. Definitely impressed, and while it doesn't quite look as amazing as Crysis, it's still pretty good. Think COD4 quality, or a notch above. Of course, COD4 didn't portray 50 square miles of terrain.

I was kinda disappointed by the weapon selection, just judging by the upgrade menu. Hopefully more guns'll get added to the list throughout the campaign, otherwise the selection isn't very impressive at all.

Another thing I noticed is that to use the weapon sights, you have to hold down the right mouse button, it doesn't work as a toggle like in other games. A little miffed by that at first, but you do get used to it. Not a gamebreaker.

Does anyone else feel the mouse sensitivity for the game menus is way too low? Just a minor nitpick of mine.

So far, it seems pretty easy, and I'm playing it on Hardcore. Maybe this is why they didn't feel a prone position was necessary? A bullet will take from 10-15% of my health. Hardly a Tom Clancy feel, so don't expect that. Infamous is another notch above, so you'll maybe want to try that for a bigger challenge. *shrug*

I've already talked about the weapon selection, but here's a bit more detail. There's 4 weapon slots, one for your machete, one for a primary weapon, one for a secondary weapon, and one for a special weapon. A primary weapon counts as shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, and a grenade launcher. A secondary weapon counts as pistols, or machine pistols. A special weapon would be a machine gun, rocket launcher, or flame thrower. This seems alright, but is actually quite problematic with its restrictions. Because of the slots, no sane player will ever use a shotgun, since it counts as a primary and thus would take over the slot for rifles or sniper rifles, which are far more useful on the wide open African savannah. This is in contrast with Crysis, in which the best combo was often a sniper rifle coupled with a shotgun. In FC2, this combo is impossible, and thus the grenade launcher and shotguns must be neglected, which is a shame. Speaking of the lack of variety compared to a Rainbow Six game, there're only 3 shotguns, 3 assault rifles, a submachine gun, a grenade launcher, and 3 sniper rifles to choose from for the primary slot.

Another annoyance is the fact that throughout the landscape are various checkpoints manned by enemies. Clearing these checkpoints are pretty easy, but the problem is that they are quickly remanned as soon as you leave the area. With all the various traveling you must do in the game, it quickly becomes tedious reclearing the same checkpoints over and over again.

So far, I've been having fun sniping everything in sight. Though many tempting sniping spots are unfortunately out of reach due to the terrain being too steep to climb.

Oh yea... I did notice something really cool while playing earlier today. I'd sniped some guy in the chest but it wasn't a fatal shot so he staggered and fell down. A little later he got up to a crouch and a second enemy ran over and gave him a piggyback ride. No, I'm not kidding. Just thought that was pretty damn awesome.

Sins of a Solar Empire: 5/5 stars

This game kicks ass. It's pretty much a combination of Homeworld 2 and any regular 4X space empire game. You could also see it as a space version of Supreme Commander, it's goddamn epic. Like, battles with fleets of over 200 ships.

Plus, there's absolutely no DRM, if you know what I mean.

While I describe it as Supreme Commander in Space, Sins has a much better UI. Supreme Commander wasn't all that great IMO because the pacing was slow as hell and you had to individually upgrade all the tiny little resource poiints which really got annoying. You also do a lot of teching in Sins but it's all very easy and intuitive, without feeling like a chore.

The only thing this game lacks is a singleplayer campaign with a storyline, but the open sandbox levels do an adequate job.

Crysis Warhead: 4/5 stars

It's really fun, but pretty short. Overall, this game is more of an expansion pack then a sequel so don't expect too much.

My favorite loadout was the gauss rifle/shotgun. Perfect for sniping at long range and then ambushing from cloak mode with the shottie. But when I didn't have the ammo, I'd use the precision rifle/FY-17.

The minigun APC is insanely fun, as long as you stay at long range and shower your targets with the minigun. It's really inaccurate but so damn powerful it doesn't matter.

My only complaint is that the normal Korean soldiers can take insane amounts of damage. I mean, the elite nanosuit guys are durable, that's fine... but even the regular cannon fodder guys need multiple shots for some reason.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare: 3/5 stars

This game actually blows ass. I tried it on the hardest difficulty setting and it wasn't bad, until I got to the TV station. WTF? Infinite respawning enemies, who spam grenades at you every 5 seconds. Why should I try and play it realistically when you give me no cover system and infinite enemies magically coming out of a door. Fuck you Infinity Ward and the half-track you rode in on.

I changed it to normal difficulty and now I can play it without getting the urge to punch my monitor.

And for a game that's supposed to be about modern warfare, there's no rate of fire selector or any ability to customize your weapon accessories. Crysis had those, and that's a game with fucking giant robot squids.

So yea, I'm not sure why everyone called it the best game ever. The presentation looks nice at first, but there's a lot that's fucking retarded, and you'd think they'd have fixed their shit since this is the FOURTH fucking game in the series.