The experiments will resume, most likely after several jokes about how Joel/Mike isn’t Joel/Mike:
Patton Oswalt doesn’t look bad in TV’s Frank’s hairdo. I wonder if they can work it into his next appearance on Agents of SHIELD?
The experiments will resume, most likely after several jokes about how Joel/Mike isn’t Joel/Mike:
This weekend, Josh went with his mom to a big consignment sale where we get a lot of his school uniforms, the shoes he outgrows in about 10 minutes, and, of course, toys. We’re big yard sale people, since the price is not only right, you can find a lot of really cool things not available outside of eBay. Such was the score Josh made this weekend:
This is, of course, a Star Wars AT-AT. It’s not in perfect shape, but it cost less than our family eating drive-thru burgers (with coupons), the electronic bits still work, and if we really wanted to restore it someday, all the missing parts are available via internet shopping. What’s also amazing to me is that this particular toy is twenty years old this year.
The original AT-AT toy came out in 1981 and got a Return of the Jedi re-issue in 1983, so I was the right age for lusting after this thing when it came out. Needless to say, I’m vicariously enjoying it through my son’s delight, though as he hasn’t seen the entirety of the movies yet, when he’s not staging mock battles with it, he’s treating it almost like a robotic pet. This particular model was from the “Power of the Force” collection put out in 1997, loaded with sound effects and sound clips from The Empire Strikes Back. Apparently an Endor-specific version was made, which I guess shows the power of marketing since I think the AT-AT gets only a single scene on that planet and it’s not even one involving combat.
Maybe before the summer is over, he’ll find an original full-sized Millennium Falcon in a box marked “Everything $1.” It wouldn’t surprise me.
• With the recent news about our devices talking to spy agencies on our behalf, it seems fitting that someone hacked their “Alexa” to work like a talking skull.
• Huzzah! A D&D-style LEGO set called “Questbuilder” has reached 10,000 supporters and has moved on to the “review” stage!
• And as if that wasn’t enough, someone has invented LEGO tape!
• Did you find it increasingly difficult to find Waldo as his book series went on? There’s a reason for that…
• Adding to the “made in Minecraft” pile, we have news that Pokemon Red has been reconstructed in-game, complete with the Nintendo cartridge’s original bugs.
• It’s been over ten years, so of course they’re rebooting The Matrix. Does that mean Neo didn’t end the cycle and it was all a trick by the machines? Or is this just Level 2?
• Once there was a plan at Google to put tiny creatures with a reputation for being “indestructible” in your phone case as pets. It turns out that tardigrades (aka “Water Bears”) aren’t the immortal beings we’ve been led to believe.
• Get you medieval mayhem on with a sprite-based roguelike RPG, Rogue Fable II. I didn’t play the first one, and I died just fine in this one, but it was a fun (if short) life.
If you like techno-ish pop music in a language you (might not) understand with Japanese people in business attire doing synchronized dancing that appears to move at a different speed than everything around them, then good news: The rhythm combo known as World Order has a just-uploaded video for their song, “Singularity.” Enjoy!
Some may see the “Best Picture” mixup as one of the greatest gaffes in Academy Award history. Few, it seems, recall what happened in 1987 when Leonard Nimoy plotted to take home the “Best Actor” statue:
I hope Mr. Spielberg solved his money storage problem. 🙂
I really like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and I know a lot of people who I think would as well. They either never started watching it, or they stopped after something they didn’t like happened. The most common thing they didn’t like was called “the first season,” which is kind of understandable. It’s very much a “monster of the week” show for its first year, which is kind of odd for modern genre TV. We’ve gotten very used to our shows taking us to Epic Plotland from episode one, promising to be the next Lost or Battlestar Galactica, except maybe with an idea of where they’re going with it before they start filming.
AoS is an odd duck in that it’s a companion piece to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it was in a holding pattern of worldbuilding until the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier could play out. That’s not to say it still wasn’t an enjoyable show, but if I were introducing it to someone for the first time, I’d put forth a few caveats:
1. The stereotypical “pretty people” on the show aren’t going to just be set dressing. I’m talking about Skye (a.k.a. Daisy, Tremors) and Grant Ward. They look straight out of central casting for sex appeal, and one’s expectations were that they were going to be there to reel in viewers that want to see the hotties eventually get together and throw sparks. Additionally, Skye is supposed to be a super-hacker, which is fine, who lived in a van, which she doesn’t look like she has in the least. But anyway, these two surprised me as their arcs developed over time, and I found myself enjoying the ride rather than finding them annoying, like I thought I would with…
2. The stereotypical “nerdy people” won’t remain as socially awkward comic relief. Fitz and Simmons are the braniacs of the team, complete with British accents. They were almost like one of those strange “we share a brain” duos who were almost treated like one character. Again, I was sure they would grate on my nerves, but now I root for them in every episode. They aren’t always going to be like Monty Python versions of “Q” from James Bond, but you have to give them a little time.
3. When the effects are good, they’re very good, but you’re often reminded you’re watching a TV series. Given what I’m sure is a pretty limited budget as compared to feature film, the show does its best with what it has. However, I think the reason we never saw much from the cybernetic hero “Dethlok” is that for as much work that went in to developing him over several episodes, the final attempt to make him look believable still didn’t quite manage to not look a little goofy. Even in current shows, I find myself noticing how many FX-heavy scenes happen at night or in dim light, how when you expect an effect, the camera cuts away, etc. Still, given how hard it is to make comic-book costumes look like they could be practical, the producers are wise to keep most of the outfits limited to the black leather combat uniform the X-Men films favored.
More after the jump.
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Apparently, I have an itch for crafting games. From the scrap-gathering of Fallout 4 to the venerable Minecraft, I kind of dig the hunt for rare stuff that can be looted, sorted, and made into other stuff… which kind of explains why my workshop looks the way it does.
Anyway, one of these games I’ve dabbled with is Starbound, a side-scrolling 2D building-crafting-adventuring game that is set to get some kind of addition that lets you use your spaceship as more than just a floating house you can store other people in.
Now, if you’ve played the vanilla game and find it’s too limited, then there’s a mod out there called Frackin’ Universe that adds a lot more complexity and challenge to the game. If this were Minecraft, I’d say Frackin’ is what you’d call a “technology mod.” These are often mods that add new systems and machines that can be programmed, automate tasks, etc.
I wish I had the time to devote to things like these sorts of mods, as they look like they can be very satisfying to master. Fortunately for lovers of my comics, I’m more into the occasional log in, zen out while building a house, then log out sort of gameplay. That doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself, however. I dare say we may be approaching that event horizon I’ve long predicted where people will chose some game franchises like educational majors or careers, as to fully explore them could take a lifetime.
I hope when that happens that game achievements will be valid as currency. 🙂
It’s time for the irregular cleaning out of the ol’ bookmarks, and we start with:
• When planning your next offworld mission, consider if the Moon or Mars is the right choice for you. If that’s too close to the old neighborhood, you might look into just what it would take to make it to an exoplanet.
• Robots have been in the news lately, from gel robots that can grab a fish to robots that mimic bat-flight (and hopefully fight crime) to the frightening “Handle” robot, who appears to be a rather shady-looking Autobot that’s probably working for Megatron.
• If you’re writing a tech thriller, you could grab a plot device from some Russian hackers who use uploaded footage of a video slot machine to then customize an app that lets the player know when to push the “stop” button. Now if they’d only figure out how to let me win at the crane machines in the arcade, I’d be happy.
• Are you old (like me)? Then you might recall an era when Taco Bell used to be decorated in pastel stripes.
• When Hollywood was just getting started, a Chicago bank started encouraging clients to invest in the budding movie industry. From a prospectus in 1927, here’s a map showing the various “world locations” for filming in California.
• Here’s a dark game that (as far as I could tell) doesn’t have too much grimdark imagery (though the rabbit in the opening screen doesn’t look well), but if you like those “run right and don’t let the left side of the screen get you” and the video game Limbo, then you might enjoy Badland. Get your flappy-ish bird past obstacles while planning what avatar-affecting items to grab and which to avoid.
It’s been a while since I posted a cat meme, but I think this one is worthy:
It’s a lot more realistic than that old “Mazes & Monsters” made-for-TV movie Tom Hanks did back in the day.
I recently told my Patrons about a board game that it often seems only I remember (“Bonkers”), and it put me in mind of something else I’ve talked about that’s gotten me a raised eyebrow or two: The episode of Challenge of the Superfriends, a Saturday Morning cartoon show, where the Legion of Doom make a deal with a demon to defeat the Superfriends. You can watch it here, but you’ll likely have to imagine what it was like to be a wee lad and run across this while eating cereal in your pajamas.
I do have to wonder, when the Legion was offered zombie-powers, why they didn’t just point at Solomon Grundy and say they already had one?
Anyway, in this day and age, that would probably have never gotten past the storyboard stage. It wasn’t scarring or anything, it was just kind of weird to run across, especially since it was closer in time to some of the “panic” events where some groups were looking for shadowy forces in every toy and TV show. It was also an era where branding wasn’t as important when it came to cartoons, and the writers seemed to have had more of a free hand in throwing things at the wall and seeing what stuck. I mean, the Legion of Doom eventually tries to keep their otherworldly “benefactor” contained using a primitive form of Pokeball technology, which works about as well as one would think. Perhaps the most depressing thing is that if you ever join the ranks of the walking dead, you’ll be condemned to go bald and wear the same ragged t-shirt and pants as everyone else.
This wasn’t the only oddball tale to involve, shall we say, controversial entities. There’s an episode of the Star Trek animated series where the ship finds a planet where magic works and they meet Lucifer. From what I gather, “The Magicks of Megas-Tu” was a proposed episode of the live-action TV show which was probably rejected because they’d already done this idea with Apollo in the episode, “Who Mourns for Adonais?”
The crown for weird cartoons that I watched because it crossed all kinds of lines was Inhumanoids, which was basically Lovecraftian kaiju vs. a mecha-version of G.I. Joe. Body horror abounded, from the monsters themselves to some characters being twisted into possibly undead creatures. Most of the show was, of course, made to sell action figures and vehicles, but it apparently didn’t move enough merch, since it only got one season. Still, it was enough to get a respectable “Nightmare Fuel” page over at TV Tropes.
I don’t think there’s an equivalent to this kind of thing these days, is there? I mean, I’d love to be surprised by an episode of Paw Patrol where the characters take on Xenomorphs or something, but I’m not holding my breath. 🙂