Sorry for the delay, folks. I finally succumbed to unconsciousness this morning in a chair that has some reclining function, so I might have managed to get some decent rest for the first time in days without unpleasant sounds of distress after waking. Anyway, new comics, so yay!
Firstly, fans of The Clone Wars animated series can get ready for another animated series called Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place between when Darth Vader stares at the skeletal superstructure of the first Death Star and when he has his daughter’s ship fired upon over Tatooine.
Next it appears that the Game of Thrones TV series may be completed sooner than the novels, giving away the ending. This is preferable to how I figured the books would go, which was something along the lines of “author dies before series is finished, his pipe setting fire to all of his notes.” I’d be tempted to go the route of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and make one ending for TV, the other for the book, but knowing George RR Martin, this would just require a re-order of who dies when and how.
And thankfully, those behind Batman: Arkham Origins have tapped Kevin Conroy to reprise his role as Batman. Rumors to the contrary had been circulating, with worries that the desire to have a younger-sounding actor had resulted in a new person being cast. This also prevented a video game themed villain or two being created from the resulting nerd rage, so bonus points for that.
Friends called and texted me here in Kansas City to make sure we were okay yesterday. It did look like what went through the city of Moore, OK was going to at least clip us, but we lucked out and didn’t even get a heavy shower from the storm system. The devastation is truly breathtaking, as can be seen in this video clip of someone emerging from their storm shelter:
It looks like the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, minus the fire and radiation.
If you can help, several organizations are taking donations, as there might be even more severe weather on the way.
About a week ago, I messed up my back. I was doing some heavy garage-saleing with my son and heaving him in and out of his car seat in my hatchback apparently raised some complaint in my lower spinal area. I do this every so often, either via a cramp or pinching a nerve (I think it’s the latter this go-around) and I get to gobble lots of over-the-counter pain pills for a week or two. This time, however, there’s a twist: I can’t go to sleep if I want to not injure myself further.
Ironically, when I’m up and around as of late, I feel a lot better. I was even able to move a large toy chest from the downstairs to Josh’s room this morning with little difficulty. However, if I want to sleep, there are only two places in this house that are currently fit for snoozing: The couch and my bed. My back pain is such that if I twist my hips too much, which is necessary for exiting a low-built couch or a high-standing bed, I get a twinge that feels like someone is sticking an ice pick in my lower spine. This afternoon, I took a quick 20-minute power nap followed by 20 more minutes trying to extricate myself from the couch without making someone outside think I was being murdered. In the end, I got out, but the shooting pain down my legs made me realize that I’d probably un-done a lot of the mending I’d accomplished over the past few days.
So I’m stuck with being upright (standing or sitting) for the time being. I might try setting up some blankets on the floor, but that’s no guarantee of safety; This morning I woke myself up painfully because my subconscious forgot the state of my body and decided a good stretch was called for. Owie. If nothing else, I’ve learned that if I get more decrepit as I get older, I’m going to want a house custom built by Craftmatic and a reputable recliner chair manufacturer with hot and cold running aspirin.
It’s about the UK Badger cull, but more importantly it’s got (1) Queen’s Brian May, (2) Brian Blessed, and (3) Hawkman Badgers. So something for everyone, then:
Has Weebl given any thought to redoing the 1980′s Flash Gordon in an animated form? Just an idea…
There’s a JJ Abrams series coming up on Fox called Almost Human. As opposed to Being Human, which is about monsters trying to be normal people, this one’s about robots trying to be cops, and one cop-bot trying to be a person:
I might enjoy this just because some people from Fringe worked on it, which means if we need corpses for the police to investigate, we’ll have people die in wildly fantastical and gruesome ways. I do get a little Bicentennial Man vibe from this show, along with a few other Asmovian concepts, but it’s too early to tell. I will demand that the robots make sense, however. If there’s a robot that’s being given a gun that has a history of killing the wrong people, then that robot should never have been allowed to continue existing except as for perhaps a challenge on the firing range. I’d also like a good reason for a robot to want to be or seem like they’re human. In the Asimov stories, it was assumed that the Positronic Brain was basically a mechanical version of the human brain (or close to it) that was governed by the 3 (or more. Spoilers, sweetie!) Laws of Robotics. This allowed for robots to express distress at having robotic law conflicts, like being ordered by a human to fetch another human but the human to be fetched refuses to come, while maintaining a fairly rigid set of behaviors. They could also develop foibles and even apparent attachments to their human masters that were out of the ordinary but still within the 3 Laws framework. In this show, it seems, the first law has some loopholes as the robots are of the shootin’ variety.
As with all trailers, it’s a “we’ll see,” but I hope Abrams or someone has worked out some robo-mythology to hang some plots from.
Lots of little stuff to report, starting with:
• Tumblr is reportedly being purchased by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion. As another commenter elsewhere noted, this is probably the deep pockets some intellectual property holders were waiting for to start issuing copyright damage claims.
• You can now purchase the original Dragon’s Lair on Steam. To fully replicate the experience of the actual laserdisc game, they need to have it not work for weeks at a time while the arcade owner waits for the one guy who’s job it was to fix the entire country’s population of laserdisc arcade games to drop by. Also, if you do get it, the trick to which direction to go on the level with the electrified chessboard floor depends on which hip Dirk’s sword is hanging.
• It takes a while to get going, but at about the 1 minute mark the music video called “Planet Online” kicks the meme references into high gear, encapsulating the current state of the internet.
• Here’s a fairly reasonable proposal for some flags for the planets in our solar system. Of course, the residents will want some cooler imagery (especially Mars), so these will be like the Esperanto of flags.
• And now, here’s a video clip that demonstrates what it would be like to be a smurf tied to an arrow and shot into the air.
• For those who want to write a more reality-based post-apoc tale, here’s what it might take to start over from scratch. Well, from ruins, I guess, as the article goes on to talk about really starting from nothing, as well as how technologies are far more interdependent than we often think, even when playing a Civilization game.
• How to make your own glowing Converse sneaks. It’s applicable to other garments as well, so if you want your cosplay to glow a bit, here’s a starting point.
• And here’s a flash game for fans of old-school arcade game ROMs and twitchy hardware. Rom Check Fail puts you into familiar video game territory, until something goes wrong and you have to play Defender in Super Mario World, if you’re lucky. Try not to die until you can get the attendant to refund your quarter.
Some modding was involved in the following Minecraft footage, but I don’t mind. Heck, I think it’d make a great screensaver or do well on a giant video screen at a rave:
A great many entertaining people have put up “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube where they (both singular and in groups) review, deconstruct, make fun of, or improv up some performance pieces while showing off their skills (or lack thereof) at certain video games. The legality of these videos (as well as their monetization) is kind of a gray area. Myself, I’m of the opinion that by and large they fall under fair use, but some have compared it to posting a movie, since for some games you’re giving away the ending.
By and large, most game companies have let them stand. They’re free publicity, even if the reviewer says the game is awful. People will buy and play bad games for the same reasons they buy and watch bad movies. Plus, if you go in knowing it’s bad, you avoid the surprise-disappointment and can soldier on in the knowledge that you’re on a fact-finding mission to find new ways a title stinks that nobody has noticed before.
All of that prefaces this ill-advised move on Nintendo’s part to not remove LP videos starring their games, but to claim them for their channel(s) along with any ad revenue potential. Apart from generating ire from the gaming community in a time when its console offerings aren’t exactly going gangbusters, doing this when the phenomenon has become so widespread and (by nearly everyone else) accepted just might be enough to knock EA off of the “most hated company in America” list next year.
If you’ve had one of your Nintendo LPs nabbed, I do have a suggestion. I don’t know if it’ll work, but I figure there’s not much to lose. They can claim the game, the characters, and maybe even the act of playing it, but I don’t think they can claim the audio track with the player(s) voice(s) as theirs. That’s often at least half of the fun of watching, so I don’t see why one couldn’t make a claim on the audio and have it removed the same way music companies will have songs pulled but leave the footage. I hope they get the hint before making this a large-scale policy, but it often takes a lot of noise to get a corporation to change course. Maybe that new tablet controller will make it easier for them to steer.
I rather liked the first movie featuring Riddick, Pitch Black. It was an interesting setup, hinted at a larger universe, and had a cinematographic style that fit an alien world you really didn’t want to be on. It was also fairly defiant of standard movie plot tropes, and the only complaint I had (at the time) was that they showed the monster too long and too clearly to make it all that scary.
Then came The Chronicles of Riddick which had its moments, but failed to ignite what seemed to be a love of space empire like the one from Dune. I never played the follow-up video game, though I hear it was pretty good.
Anyway, now we have the third film, just called Riddick:
It looks like it’s going to be the first movie, only with a bigger budget and more shooting. I also have to question a future where someone “seeing in the dark” is a problem, given that if one has a gun that can shoot through a cliff, surely someone has developed night-vision contacts or cyber-eyes, right?