If anyone's done this before (and it's not hard to believe someone has), I don't know about it. So, in the grand tradition of The Llama Song, I give you....

Note: the click-thru big version is 400x400 and over 4MB. So be warned.

Edit for derped HTML.

Double Edit for the video version. Sorry, no sung lyrics. You do not want to be subjected to my singing voice. It is a wretched, terrible thing.
sigma7: Sims (Sims)
( Jun. 8th, 2012 02:35 pm)
Been reading more and more about DC's insistence that not only did everything prior to 2011 not happen in their continuity, but that the '90s were a good thing and should be revived. It's like saying everything was horrible about the Renaissance except the plague: that was a keeper. They've been giving books to Rob Liefeld -- bit like handing your car keys to Gary Busey1 -- and seem surprised that they've been getting zero-star reviews. And zero issues are a thing again, which might serve some purpose as post-Flashpoint your characters have literally a dozen (at best) issues of definite continuity to them. And they're at the point they get to every ten to 12 years where they try to launch Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld again, and in this climate, there's no way that book lasts 12 issues -- I'm betting eight. Not sure who to give ultimate credit to, Bob Harras or Dan Didio: who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who edits him? Guh.

Oh, and Green Lantern is gay now. No, not Ryan Reynolds. Or any of them from the movie. Or the animated series. Or the other one from the animated series. Not even Crab-Faced Guy. It's Alan Scott, your great-grandpa's Green Lantern who isn't even on what they call Earth-1 anymore (he briefly called himself "Sentinel," but nobody cared). For a longtime fan, it's not...even a blip on the radar. (And, as Andrew Wheeler noted, this retroactively removes Alan Scott's gay son Obsidian from continuity, so the GLBT net is actually zero: conservation of gayness in action. Though we missed the Heathers reference possibility: "I love my gay retconned son!") It's a big deal because it's still a big deal; Marvel's approaching inclusiveness with a GLBT cast that can't be encapsulated in 140 characters with room for emoticons and hyperlinks. DC has Alan Scott, Batwoman (remember the media flurry surrounding that little revelation? Neither does anyone else; pity, as she's an excellent character), and, of course, Apollo and the Midnighter, who've had their marriage and relationship retconned into oblivion -- but some things are just inevitable. And there's Voodoo, but she's too boring to even hyperlink.

It's just amusing to me -- this is one of those social issues I don't really have a horse in, but God, but I reserve the right to be pissed off about lazy narratives and abysmal storytelling. It's not even really my fandom anymore -- haven't bought a proper DC book since All-Star Superman (still worth every penny), and don't see myself moving to change that under the current regime. I did watch Justice League: Doom, though, and I love how they managed to keep just enough of Tower of Babel to keep it recognizable, they did suck out plenty of character moments and the entire language-bit in lieu of explosions and punching. Voice cast was great. Otherwise tedious. Read the Tower of Babel Wikipedia entry for a better narrative experience.

In other news, downloaded the entirety of Red Dead Redemption and Mortal Kombat -- the former because I'd heard it was pretty nifty and the latter because, some days, I just need to beat something up and see bones break in slow-motion x-ray vision (Sniper Elite V2 has spoiled me). Red Dead is quite fun -- pretty much the first thing that happened to me when I got into the sandbox part of the world was to get bit by a rattlesnake. Double-fun: one of my cousins (the twin brother of one of my two favorites, in fact) was named Marston -- same as Red Dead's protagonist -- with the same first initial, "J." He also got bit by a rattlesnake. But then, that's almost a rite of passage around here.

And I finally got around to finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum (the game). Until I get to Arkham City, Asylum must simply be content the best Batman game ever, and it actually succeeded in freaking me out at one point. In short, I have too many games to play and there's not enough weekend to play them. ...Hrm. Surely this would qualify for sick leave, right?

Also, apropos of nothing: I would totally have this turtle tortoise's "yeah" as a ringtone.

1I swear to GOD that that was "Lindsay Lohan" before I changed it, deciding, "No, she hasn't been in any trouble lately, so we'll ease off her for now." Weird.
sigma7: Sims (Default)
( May. 30th, 2012 08:33 pm)
Got to see The Avengers in IMAX 3D. UNF. Worth it, worth it, worth it. The movie has purchase on my soul now.

I am sick, but two of my favorite teams are winning: Boston, and whoever's playing Miami, so, bonus. Orlando will be sitting the rest of this one out, sadly enough. Wah. Throat scratchy, sounding like Christian Bale Batman. Uncool So here's something cool to alleviate it.

59 pics below.... )
...So for pretty much the entirety of the first-person shooter craze, I always wanted to see more. Chalk it up to the grotesquely curious side of my brain, but I always wondered, when I was sniping from halfway across the map, did I actually hit that character in the heart? Most games treat a shot to the torso as a shot to the limb -- most modern games have begun to reward headshots, but not all of them employ diverse hit location to any vaguely-anatomical degree. And yes, maybe I've always been a little sick in the head to wonder, but...what exactly would that bullet have done? Puncture a lung? The heart? What exactly happened to that supersonic slug of lead? Careful: you may not want to know. )
So after being struck senseless by the digital effects in The Avengers, I wondered which movie I'd seen with the worst effects...and you know, I didn't even have to finish the thought in my mind. Of course it's Birdemic: Shock and Terror (entire thing online here, but...really, why?). No Syfy movie rivals its raw awfulness -- not Sharktopus, not Ice Twister nor Alien Tornado, or even, I'm sure, the upcoming (and I am not joking) Piranhaconda. It also helps that Birdemic's acting is a raw wad of suck, too.

Feel free to disagree with me, but you are wrong.

Anyway. Plenty of Avengers- (and really Coulson-) related images below, still. No huge spoilers, though, I don't think (about as many as in the last installment).

51 pics below.... )
sigma7: (Butcher)
( Oct. 25th, 2011 07:43 pm)
So one of my favorite recent comic book runs was Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's turn on Astonishing X-Men. It was quite the trip. You're not going to find many artists with the level of detail and depth Cassaday brings to the table, and Whedon's got a compelling passion for and awareness of the series and its legacy. They each have a downside or two -- some find Whedon's characters sound too similar, have disdain for a few particular plot twists he seems compelled to bring to every series he works on, and some of us could put our kids through college between Cassaday completing issues. But now that it's over and we're not clawing down the door to our LCS for the next issue, I think we can appreciate it all more.

Before Joss's 25 Astonishing issues, Grant Morrison (the delightful Scottish madman who gave us We3 and The Invisibles) took over New X-Men for a lengthy run, and while he saved most of his typical wide-eyed ideas for the last arc (set 150 years in the future), the duration of his run breathed new life into characters we'd given up on (Scott, Jean, even Emma Frost gets a new level of complexity and empathy) and added quite a few new wrinkles to the series mythology (Cassandra Nova, the Stepford Cuckoos, and the then-unthinkable Scott/Emma pairing) while subtly foreshadowing one hell of a revelation we all should've seen coming. Whedon doesn't quite serve so many screwballs with the established characters (except maybe Lockheed), and his few good fake-outs just aren't quite on the same level as Morrison's -- but they're not bad (except for maybe the identity of the second arc's antagonist, which is a conceit I still have trouble with), and he gives us Abigail Brand, for which I'll always be thankful.

The only reason I'm blathering about Whedon's Astonishing instead of Morrison's New X-Men is because the former has received the motion comic treatment. It's been tried before with other series (most notably Watchmen) and is not without virtue -- from what I could tell of watching the adaptation of Whedon's first arc, "Gifted," it seems verbatim (and panel-for-panel) from the comics, which is only occasionally jarring when referencing outside the history of this particular series (the state of Manhattan, Jean, the particular X-Man who appears suddenly in the fourth chapter). Otherwise understand that it's Joss Whedon dialogue, and if you're into that sort of thing, you should be quite happy. The first chapter's...uhm, not quite "animation," really, but its "movement," I guess, is pretty choppy (with no mouth movement whatsoever) -- later chapters have lip-synch and some interesting breathing-like effects on torsos that make it a bit more kinetic. The voice acting is...serviceable -- Emma's accent (or lack thereof) grates, but otherwise it's still better than Australian Wolverine or, for that matter, Halle Berry. And while "Gifted" is the first and only arc up at the moment, word is the three subsequent Whedon/Cassaday arcs, "Dangerous," "Torn," and "Unstoppable" are also getting the motion comic treatment, and I'm...curious as to how they'll turn out.

If you're just coming over from the movie timeline, well...things are a bit convoluted. Forget X-Men: The Last Stand (please). Scott and Jean married, but Scott drifted into having a psychic affair with Emma Frost (who is their contemporary and not a '60s-era character and trying to reform) -- before he could choose between Jean and Emma, Magneto turned Manhattan upside-down and killed Jean, only to be beheaded (yes, really) by Logan. Colossus (Kitty's boyfriend) died to stop a mutant-only virus from killing them all off. The Professor battled his genocidal long-lost twin sister (!) who he thought he strangled in the womb (!!) and has apparently absconded for parts unknown, leaving the school in the hands of Scott and Emma, who're now in a relationship. That's about all you need to know to delve into the motion comics, and really, as far as X-Men continuity goes, that's probably the best jumping-in point there will ever be. Yeesh.
Time was I would have killed to have this. Or, alternately, would've paid $180 for this.

Arguably the most eagerly awaited DC Universe multipack, this Legion of Super Heroes set features a dramatic dozen of your favorite characters in 6” scale. The set also includes a 24-carat gold plated Legion Flight Ring you can really wear, a PROTY slug sidekick figure, and an empty (or is it?) slot for Invisible Kid.

Brainiac 5
Chameleon Boy
Colossal Boy
Cosmic Boy
Karate Kid
Lighting Lad
Matter-Eater Lad
Saturn Girl
Superboy (with 24-carat gold plated Legion Flight Ring)
Timber Wolf
Ultra Boy

Of course there's a Superboy, because there just aren't enough action figure variations of Kal-El. And the ring doesn't look that impressive. Still, three out of my four favorites ain't bad. And Matter-Eater Lad! And Proty!
From my take on the series as a whole earlier this month: The book to this point is about a knife's-edge balance of opposing forces that's tipping into pandemonium (and looks to take that first fatal step in the very next issue).

So. My three-word review? Quite spoilery, I guess.... )
Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female are The Boys: a CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most lethal force on Earth -- superpower. Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them -- sometimes -- need to be taken out of the picture. That's when you call in The Boys.

To get this right out of the way, let me contrast The Boys with Y: The Last Man in a very important regard -- I wholeheartedly recommend Y to anyone who enjoys a strong sci-fi story with engaging characters and intriguing concepts. The fact that Y just happens to be a comic book is incidental; even those not fans of illustrated narrative may well find themselves convinced of its virtues. But not only is The Boys inexorably tied to its medium, it's all about its medium, specifically superheroic comics. But it's not the sharp scalpel-like dissection and deconstruction that Alan Moore gave us with Watchmen -- it's a brutal, unforgiving dismemberment via chainsaw. You need to not only be acquainted with comic book history to get most of the references in The Boys, you also need to be willing to watch them get dragged through the mud until they can take no more. If you're still inordinately sentimental about comics (or, really, anything), this is not for you. Writer Garth Ennis said that this book would out-Preacher Preacher, and if that makes sense to you, maybe you'd enjoy it, but otherwise...mmm, keep on moving.

So why do I like it? A few big pics and truly disturbing ideas below.... )
I can now no longer play with anything except the default graphics set in Dwarf Fortress. I'm addicted to the ASCII. And, of course, vivid textual descriptions of carnage the game provides: bones breaking, fat and tendons tearing, various internal organs exploding....

I'm finally getting the hang of it, though, to the point where I can achieve a comfortable equilibrium of food and booze for the dwarven population and a rather stable economy with traders -- only to be thrown off that equilibrium by a goblin siege or, more likely, simple immigration. Great, twenty new mouths to feed, twenty new beds to hammer out, twenty new coffins to chisel.

Adventure mode is a fun change of pace, until I realize that the monster my party is charging is just one of a pack of five and everything goes pear-shaped in a splatter of red alphabet soup. Or my adventurer gets his left foot hacked off and has to crawl back to the city with his contingent of fourteen able-bodied warriors looking on in detached disbelief. Karma, perhaps, for those twenty or so poor civilian fools (peasants, glazers, farmers and the like) I recruited and sent directly into harm's way solely for the purpose of meat shielding, and whose belongings I looted after they were rent limb-from-limb. One part Conan, one part John Constantine. But full of life lessons, and that's before we get to the magma floods and catapult accidents....
If you never hear from me again, it's because I've discovered Dwarf Fortress, easily the most intricate and detailed game -- from the crafting to the geography to the combat system -- I've ever encountered. Even though it's as user-friendly as a pickaxe to the face and rendered simply in ASCII art, it's insane, texty fun for the sort of geeks people who love Unix terminals and spreadsheets; odds are if you're the type of person who'd like it, you know about it already.

I haven't even encountered combat outside the arena yet and I've discovered that (a) stabbing enemies with a crossbow bolt is a sound strategy (b) you can't wield crossbows when you're a duck and (c) ducks don't stand much of a chance against two enraged alpacas. Oh, and (d) losing a fight to a goblin only to dump a thousand gallons of magma on their head is utterly satisfying.

For a worst-case DF scenario, check out Boatmurdered, the aptly-named settlement that disintegrated into madness, flaming puppies, and cheese.

Must run. One of my settlements is busy being haunted by a dwarf who became enchanted by waterfall mist only to fall in and drown. We had to wait 'til winter came and froze the lake to chip through the side of the lake and dig his stuff out. Then it thawed and the flooding started....
Bite-size edition today. Am ill in a picturesque way. As a special bonus, one of the pictures below is a picspam exclusive. No points for figuring out which, though. 37 pics below.... )
"What I hope is that people take from it the unlikelihood that a piece of paper, with little ink drawings of figures, with little written words, can make you cry, can make your heart soar, can make you scared, sad, or thrilled. How mental is that? That piece of paper is inert material, the corpse of some tree, pulped and poured, then given new meaning and new life when the real hours and real emotions that the writer and the artist, the colourist, the letter the editor translated onto the physical page, meet with the real hours and emotions of a reader, of all readers at once, across time, generations and distance."

I've never really liked Superman as a character. Always had a hard time relating to him, especially contrasted against...well, pretty much anyone, particularly Batman, probably his most common foil. Where Bruce Wayne's alter ego is a product of fantastic wealth, Olympic-level training, peerless deductive skills and deep-seeded childhood trauma, Kal-El is...just an alien, gifted by his inhuman biology to be almost invincible, unless you happen to have a specific green radioactive crystal lying around. He's an easy character to write poorly (as JMS proved pretty handily with his "Grounded" arc, the success of which would fit neatly on a microscope slide), but so damn hard to write in a manner that's true to his nature and still dramatically resonant. By my count, three relatively modern stories have done it well -- Alan Moore hit it twice with "For the Man Who Has Everything" (the animated adaption of which being possibly the only adaptation of his work Moore has ever enjoyed) and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" which would've served as the perfect end of the Silver-Age Superman.

In the tone of the latter tale came Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman. Given that Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin gave us a laughably outrageous take on the Caped Crusader that the [ahem] iconic "I'm the goddamn Batman" bit is pretty much the only aspect of that series salvageable, that Frank Quitely's art is an acquired taste at best ("Oh God, it's the potato-faced people again"), and that Grant Morrison's approach to his subjects can be charitably described as "eccentric" (and not-so-charitably as "insane" or "deranged" or "utterly incomprehensible"), I was expecting the title to flicker into obscurity and be entirely avoidable.

It is the complete opposite. It is indispensable. No one who is the slightest fan of the character should be without it. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of the medium should at the very least read it, and if that leads to eventually buying a copy, I wouldn't be surprised.

When I'd heard that there would be an animated adaptation, I was...excited, if a mite worried. It didn't strike me as a good choice for adaptation, if only in that a lot of Quitely's art was powerful in its invocation of motion and continuity while being static images -- some of the majesty is lost in moving it from the printed page. And there's simply no way to compress twelve issues of concentrated awesome (well, okay, ten if you discount the Bizarro issues, but that's my personal preference) into a coherent DVD, and slavishly trying to do so gets you Watchmen, and let's not do that again, okay? I knew that Dwayne McDuffie -- who'd brought us the better moments of the DC animated universe -- was a talented storyteller, but he had a hell of a lot on his plate this time.

Like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, I had one must-have deal-breaker scene that had to be in the adaptation. Unlike those two, my scene didn't make it in this time (yes, it's Regan; what, was it too dark?), and that colored my impression of it greatly. Part of why the adaptation didn't gel for me as a whole is that necessary omission that ran against my personal grain -- lose the Bizarros, fine, I'm all aboard that, but why do we get the two pompous Kryptonians and we lose the Chronovore in Smallville? We miss the Jonathan Kent scene? Thank God the prison break bit stayed in, at least, or else I'd have been no end of pissed off. Adaptation decay's to be expected, I know, but I question the judgment of anyone who'd keep the Kryptonians -- or five additional minutes of punching, really -- and lose the most emotionally effective parts that made the original so brilliant. On whichever level those choices were made, I think they were made poorly, and the whole product suffers as a result.

Which is not to say I didn't like it -- the Sun-Eater, the aforementioned jail break, Ed Goddamned Asner, Alexis Denisof, Luthor's super-powered realizations -- I just didn't like it as much as I think I could have. The animation for Solaris in particular (and some of his fight scenes) was awful, the new Luthor/Quintum ending rang hollow, and I don't blame anyone for being disturbed by Jimmy Olsen's perplexing peripheral inclusion in this little endeavor. Maybe I'm just too close to the original work to be entirely objective -- if it leads more people to hunt down the original comics, it's a worthwhile endeavor, but I see this movie as a seriously flubbed opportunity, and that's kind of crushing.

"In the one Mythic moment we’re all united, kissing our Lover for the First time, the Last time the Only time, honouring our dear Dad under a blood red sky, against a darkening backdrop, with Mum telling us it’ll all be okay in the end. If we were able to capture even a hint of that place and share it with our readers, that would be good enough for me."
sigma7: Sims (dammit)
( Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:31 pm)
I was looking forward to watching Dwayne McDuffie's adaptation of Grant Morrison's simply exemplary All-Star Superman for video when it came out today. But now word reaches me that McDuffie died today.

He made his biggest splash primarily in animation, but his comic work would stand on its own impressively in its own right.

I'm just...damn. I don't know.
sigma7: Sims (Insanity wolf)
( Dec. 24th, 2010 12:40 pm)
In lieu of genuine holiday-based content, please navigate to the Aperture Science website for seasonal festivity. And cake.
sigma7: Sims (Deadshot)
( Nov. 15th, 2010 10:22 am)
Finished Fallout: New Vegas. Torn. Loved the new locales. Hated the arbitrarily-placed invisible clipping planes. Loved the weapons mod system. Hated that they ganked the idea from a popular F3 mod. Loved the idea of Caesar's Legion. Hated that the option to play the bad guy was critically watered down. Loved the new companions (Felicia Day!). Hated that your level of interaction with them was superficial at best. Pretty much everything that's awesome about FNV is inertia from the old code, with only two things added: weapons mods and a nest of bugs so formidable as to give even the vicious cazadores pause. VATS values go to zero, even with a brand-new character. NPCs and enemies are spawned inside architecture and landscape. Rotisserie necks (Now playing: The Exorcist, starring Colonel Saul Tigh). But it's nice to know that we've moved beyond the point where you had to have social connections or luck to be a beta tester -- now anyone can be a beta tester for Obsidian Entertainment, provided you're willing to pay for the privilege.

In other news, Sherlock's video card is arriving today. (Expecting the mobo to handle Blu-Ray all by its lonesome was a bit too ambitious, in retrospect.) The tricky part will be getting it in and unscrewing everything...I'm really not looking forward to that.

In other news...there is other news. Later.
She gets ventricular arrhythmia right. Also she reminded me that I needed to get my Flecainide refilled.


sigma7: Sims (Default)


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