Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Official(?) Legend of Zelda Timetree

Last week it was announced that an official Nintendo-approved timeline for The Legend of Zelda series was going to be released in the special 25th anniversary Hyrule Historia book. The book, which is being edited by Zelda developer Eiji Aonuma, will feature the timeline (more of a time tree in its current condition) mapping out the history of the franchise and linear(ish) order of the games.

Many a fanboy/girl has wiled away hours of their life to the maddening quest of unraveling Link's enigmatic story. It is common canon that there is more than one Link, as the Hero of Time reincarnates- a fact that makes it all the more challenging to construct timeline for the games. It is not especially clear how many Links there are, but at the very least the Wind Waker version is mentioned in the game as being a descendant/reincarnation of the Hero.

Here is the timetree as it stands now:

It's not a finalized version but particularly interesting is the fact that some of the games branch off in a universe where Link doesn't beat Gannon in Ocarina of Time. Here's a link to the full-sized version, in case you can't read the above: Click

My primary question for Nintendo is this: What in the HELL am I supposed to make my life's work now?

NOTE: For the next post I'd like to do a write-up on video game tattoo culture, so if you have a video game tat please send me a photo: strayxdogxstrut@gmail.com
I could easily Google some up but I'd rather use ones that haven't been passed around the internet like a cheap digital whore. I'd be much obliged.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skyward Sword: First Impressions

On Sunday evening I, along with millions of others the world over, picked up my copy (limited edition bundle pictured below) of the latest installment in the Legend of Zelda franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I didn't get a chance to play until yesterday evening, and only for about 2 1/2 hours or so, but thus far I have to say I am most pleasantly surprised.

Limited Edition Bundle w/Soundtrack and Gold Wiimote

Now when I say "pleasantly surprised", I remind you that I have been a huge fan of the series for over a decade; but I've said it once and I'll say it again, I did not care for Twilight Princess. It was lacking something, I still can't say quite what, but it just didn't feel like I was playing a Legend of Zelda game. It can't have been the darker tone of the game, because Majora's Mask was honestly one of my absolute favorites.

I digress, back to the game at hand. As I mentioned I got in about 2, maybe 2 1/2 hours of playtime, enough to get past the first hump of the game- just before entering the very first dungeon.

The overall feel of the game, the world of Skyloft, it's inhabitants, and the music are all very fresh; new, yet still familiar. The music for the game is perfect, it's the same songs as in the iconic Ocarina of Time, but re-done to sound just different enough. The character's dialogue is also reminiscent of its predecessors, while the character models are unique to this game.

The graphics were not what I was expecting, being comparable to PS2 graphics, although I haven't played my Wii since moving and may just need to re-adjust my graphics settings.

My brief introduction to Link's newest companion, Fi, was also very positive... what can I say I like cold, analyzing characters that talk like robots.

The main thing to take away from this, I'm excited to continue playing it and would much rather be doing that than working right now.

Also where the Hell is my fucking Loftwing?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Artist Feature: Yang Young-Soon

Yang Young-Soon
Yang Young-Soon is a Korean comic artist with whom I am completely fascinated. Unfortunately, there isn't too much info on him I was able to find online.  As a matter of fact, about the only thing I could find on the guy outside of actual comics, was that evidently one of his comics (I couldn't find a link to it) was turned into a series of softcore Korean sex cartoons. Cool?

And I'm not sure if it's just the cultural gap, but I find the level of awkward he's able to conjure up with his comics absolutely brilliant, and oh-so-funny to boot. His facial expressions remind me of watching late-night "odd" anime and gives me the warm-and-fuzzies, which as it turns out is a confusing feeling when faced with something as baffling as say, this:

What I don't even

I was able to find a site that appears to have a large collection of his translated works:

There are also some translations available here, although it's not quite as easy to navigate. At any rate, I hope you take a few minutes to check out these awesome (y/n?) comics.

... Also, if you speak/read Korean, and are willing to translate some information on this guy, let me know.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Joss Whedon Loves Sailor Moon

... That, or he saw it once and it was locked away into his psyche. I'm convinced, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that Joss Whedon had to have been at least influenced by Sailor Moon. And if not, we have one kooky coincidence on our hands here kids. Allow me to break this down for you, nice and clean starting with the name similarity:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • Buffy
  • Blonde, popular, pretty
  • Cheerleader
  • Raised by her mother
  • "Chosen"/ "The One"
  • Starts out spoiled and bratty, eventually growing into a strong, mature leader
  • Battles demons/monsters
  • Elder English mentor- Giles
  • Awkward nerdy friend- Xander
  • Lesbian couple friends- Willow & Tara
  • Handsome, dark-haired love interest who fights for good- Angel
  • Family member (younger female) from an alternate reality/future- Dawn (sister)
  • Rival turned ally- Faith
  • Large ensemble cast
Sailor Moon:
  • Bunny
  • Blonde, popular*, pretty
  • Tried out for cheerleading squad
  • Raised by her mother
  • "Chosen"/ "The One"
  • Starts out spoiled and bratty, eventually growing into a strong, mature leader
  • Battles demons/monsters
  • Elder English* mentor- Luna
  • Awkward nerd friend- Ami/Mercury
  • Lesbian couple friends-  Haruka/Uranus & Michiru/Neptune
  • Handsome, dark-haired love interest who fights for good- Darien/Tuxedo Mask
  • Family member (younger female) from an alternate reality/future- Rini/Mini Moon (daughter)
  • Rival turned ally- Minako/Sailor Venus
  • Large ensemble cast

        And here's even one more little bonus for you... The ship in Firefly, as you likely know is called the Serenity, the same name as Sailor Moon takes on when she takes on her alter-ego the Moon Princess, Princess Serenity.

Bunny as Princess Serenity



       Note, Serena/Bunny/Usagi: In the original Japanese, Sailor Moon's name is Usagi, which is Japanese for "rabbit". This is a play on an old Japanese myth that a rabbit lives on/in the moon and in the US Manga, she is called "Bunny" to try and maintain that reference. Why her name was changed to Serena for the US dub of the anime I have no idea but "Bunny" is the most common name used by English-speaking fandom.

*in some versions she's more spazzy but overall she was the preppy/popular sort.

*in US dub

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'll Lorem YOUR Ipsum!

       A technology post! Huzzah.

       Most web designers- as well as a handful of misguided small business owners- have probably at one time or another downloaded an HTML or CSS website template. If you have, you may have noticed the odd text in the template. It may just look like gibberish, but it's actually a chunk of Latin text commonly referred to as Lorem Ipsum.
       Lorem Ipsum has been used as placeholder text in design, layout, and graphic industries since the 1500's. It's roots are in fact in a Latin text (de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, or The Extremes of Good and Evil by Cicero) from 45BCE.

But What Can Lorem Ipsum Do for Me?
       There are a couple of advantages to using "dummy text" or "Greek text" in your design, whether it be for a webpage, a magazine layout, or any other visual presentation. In some instances one may not receive content until after an actual layout has to be completed or approved. Yet a more valuable aspect with Lorem Ipsum, one is able to show the graphic elements of a design without distracting your audience with comprehendible text. Yep, if people can read the text on your layout they're less likely to pay attention to the design as a whole.

If you'd like to make your own (read: let a generator make for you) lorem ipsum, there is a link at the bottom of the post.

Now go forth, and Lorem Ipsum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Avengers Trailer

       A proper theatrical trailer for The Avengers was released yesterday, and it looks AMAZING. Kind of shitty that they just sort of tacked the Hulk on as an afterthought at the end, but then again his wasn't the face that appeared in the most recent incarnation of his character. I'm just glad they left out fucking Ant-Man. Although if Nathan Fillion got signed, I might be inclined to retract that statement. At any rate, here's the theatrical trailer for The Avengers, in all it's high-def glory:

NOTE: You may need to view on YouTube (just click the YouTube logo on the video) in order to see the 1080p option.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghostbusters Limited Re-Release

       Since you're probably already aware of how awesome Ghostbusters is, I'll keep this one short and sweet. Beginning this Thursday, October 13, a digitally remastered version of the original Ghostbusters will be back in theaters. The film will run once a night, October 13, 20, and 27 only.

       There is a facebook app you can use to get showtimes, found here.

       However, I did go ahead and get the showtimes for the Jacksonville area, so if you're in my neck of the woods, here is an easy quick-ref for you:

Thursday, October 13 

AMC Regency 24
9451 Regency Square Blvd. Jacksonville FL


Cinemark Tinseltown and XD
4535 Southside Blvd Jacksonville FL


Thursday, October 20

AMC Regency 24
9451 Regency Square Blvd. Jacksonville FL


 Thursday, October 27

AMC Regency 24
9451 Regency Square Blvd. Jacksonville FL


So, it looks like I might miss class one night this month. Hopefully my professor is a fan of timeless humor that spans generations and touches the hearts of millions.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Post the 13th: In Which a Mysterious Object is Found

       This one really does contain adult content, although I'll try and present it somewhat politely, since I don't want to classify my whole blog as having "mature content". You've been warned.

       I debated over whether or not I wanted to post this, since I've been trying to stay on topic with my posts. It hasn't got anything to do with popular culture, but it sure is entertaining, and I can't resist weaving a colorful narrative, so here we go.

       Based on several different accounts, I've assembled a timeline for the events which transpired yesterday evening at my place of employment.

       Two co-workers were walking by the restrooms as a janitor was in the ladies room, door ajar (since it was a male). They saw him pull something out of the trash, they couldn't tell what it was because it was wrapped in some kind of plastic bag or paper, but they heard him react to it.

       "What the f-"

       Later on, he took the object he found to the poor, poor front desk attendant, a very nice woman who's reaction I'm kind of sorry I missed.

       The object, ladies and gentlemen, was in fact a woman's "pleasure device".

       In the trash can. Of this office building.

       There are a number of questions that I don't think anyone wants the answers to, not the least of which being "Why the f^ck was there a d^ldo in the ladies room, and who did this?"

       Why did she cast it aside? Was she ditching evidence? Why would she be ashamed to have it? Did she break it?

       I'll no longer be able to look most of my third floor co-workers in the eye now. Is this not the craziest shit you've heard of happening in an office building?

       Please, let me know if you've had something nuttier *snicker* happen at your workplace. My productivity is more or less f^cked for the day anyhow.

       And in case you're feeling like there's grime in your brain, here's something cute:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mameshiba the Bean Dog

       I discovered Mameshiba yesterday while reading Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, and over the past two days, I've watched every episode.

       Mameshiba (豆しば), if you're not familiar, is a Japanese character that is part bean ("mame") and part dog ("shiba inu" is a Japanese dog breed). The name "mameshiba" is also a pun of the Japanese word for trivia (mamechishiki), since the characters say a trivial fact in every episode.

       Basically, in each episode as someone is attempting to enjoy some manner of bean-based food, one of the mameshiba (there are twenty different varieties) will pop out and terrorize, disgust, or otherwise disturb the unsuspecting individual with a piece of useless trivia. One of my favorite things about the shorts is the completely reasonable reaction people have to the mameshiba. Despite the happy and upbeat music and overall tone of the videos, for the most part people are shocked, question their sanity, and have their appetites ruined. Additionally, the trivia is often relevant to what the person is doing, such as the man who has his date ruined when the peanut mameshiba informs him that "when you kiss, 200 million germs per second are exchanged between mouths".

       So these little beans spend their time popping out of your food and fucking up your day. Assholes.

Screen from the upcoming Mameshiba game
       As I mentioned, there are 20 different mameshiba, each a different type of bean with a different "personality". Although you don't really see any variations in personality in the videos, the website assures us each one is an individual. Except for the jelly beans, which are a cluster of 7 beans. Oh, also the one that's not really a real bean and is candy, is "American". Harumph.

       Now it seems they are making a Mameshiba video game. And why not? The franchise, whose source material is literally 20 short animated films, has grossed over $100 million worldwide since it's conception in 2008. The game is essentially a Nintendogs style game, where you raise and train your pet, except that you also talk to your mameshiba and unlock bits of trivia along the way. The game is set to release in Japan in Fall 2011. No word on a US release as of yet, but here's the weird-ass trailer anyway:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tattoo Culture, 2011

Example of tribal tattoos
       During the early 1990's there was an influx in the popularity of tattooing in the US. Specific designs became canon, and people would just go to the parlor, pick something out of a book, and get it permanently etched onto their bodies. Tribal tattoos, images of cartoon characters, and tattoos on the small of a woman's back (unfortunately dubbed "tramp stamps") were hugely popular at the onset of the 90's.
       Nowadays, however, it's more about the individual. As made clear by sites such as Fuck Yeah, Tattoos!, the more personal and artistic the tattoo, the better. Tattoo artists are now actual, proper artists, who can create the designs they transfer onto their clients, rather than just copying the same pre-made image over and over.
       There are still trends that come and go, for a while everyone wanted tattoos of Koi fish, cherry blossom trees, and other Asian-inspired pieces. Recently, meaningful song lyrics or poems have become popular as tattoos, as well as 3D tattoos.
Gorgeous gypsy from "Fuck Yeah, Tattoos!"
       But why the change? There are a number of different factors that one can attribute to any society-wide change. In this case, I think one of the largest contributors is the Internet. Compared to one or two decades ago, our culture as a whole is changing at break-neck speed, and I for one believe it is because we are also sharing, growing, and changing as a society so much faster thanks the ever more available access to the Internet. Now any small idea can spread and become a trend within hours, and everyone has a voice they can have heard by a seemingly infinite audience.
       Personally, I'm glad for the change. I love spending time looking at all the aesthetically appealing and emotionally moving works of art that others are designing and getting as tattoos. I believe it is a great way to express one's individuality, and show an appreciation for fantastic artwork.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Watch Thundercats. Watch it NOW.

Hahaha, oh Snarf you suck so hard!

       Being born in 1987, I didn't watch the original Thundercats cartoon when it ran from 1985 to 1989. The boyfriend, however, did watch the original series as a kid. So together, as a fan of the original and someone with no prior knowledge of the series, we sat down to watch the first few episodes.
       As a Thundercats n00b, I gotta say I'm pretty taken with the series so far. The artwork is beautiful, and the character archetypes are distinct and recognizable, without feeling tired. The story arch thus far has remained intriguing, and the pacing has been pretty ideal. Things progress at a good clip, but not so fast as to rush the plot, just enough to keep things interesting. Also, Snarf is no longer the second worst character ever (Towelie still wins). Instead of this horrible thing that just loafs around and calls out it's own name like a goddamn PokeMon:

Get a job, Snarf!
       We get this charming little guy, who makes cute cat noises, only occasionally making anything close to a "snarf" sound:

You so cute now Snarf.
       The most recent episode in particular had an excellent plot that incorporated themes from old samurai movies, and almost had a Kurasawa feel to it. Lion-O enters a town full of swordsmen to obtain supplies and is challenged to duel by a "sword collector" type (a recurring character in Japanese tales) and loses the Sword of Omens. A literal drifter comes along to teach him to cool his fevered way of approaching battles and be more flexible. It reminded me of Bruce Lee's "flow like water" ideology.
       I can't get too into the differences between the original and the new incarnations, not having seen the first series. The boyfriend seems just as into the new one as myself though, if not more so. All I can say is I can't recommend this show enough, if you haven't been watching it so far I highly suggest you start watching this week. Additionally, if there's anyone that's seen the original and has any comparative feedback, please comment. Or even if you've seen the show, I'd love to hear what you think.

Thundercats airs on Cartoon Network, Fridays at 8:30pm EST.

Yeah, I had to create a Thundercat. It happens.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Snooze Fest at Shark Night

       As any one of the friends I bugged about going will tell you, I was pretty stoked for the arrival of Shark Night 3D this past Friday. The visuals of the trailer promised a shark-loaded gorefest, complete with unnecessary explosions and co-ed nudity.
       The trailer lied.
       Directed by David R. Ellis of the Final Destination franchise, Shark Night 3D somehow wound up with a rating of PG-13. This was puzzling given the amount of gore implied by the trailer. It was puzzling, that is, until I saw the movie on Sunday.
       The lack of plot was not surprising given the genre. In fact, it was expected (how could you not?). Unfortunately, the film itself, while holding to the anticipated poor plot and lack of character development, also lacked in the gore department. There were only 5 types of shark in the film, at least two of which are not considered dangerous to humans. There was also not actual human violence shown, just implied. You'd see a shark leap out of the water and the film would cut just as it was about to rip some poor college kid in half.
       With nor off-the-wall gore or nudity to redeem the films lack of mediocre plot, Shark Night 3D is a pretty useless movie. It's dull, predictable, and I would advise renting this one, if bothering to watch it at all. Especially at the steep $14.00 most theaters charge for a ticket.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Contains Strong Language and Graphic Violence

       It began in the morning.

       I was preparing for work, the fog of slumber still in my brain, as I went to transfer my laundry from the washer to the dryer. I moved the hamper, opened the washing machine, then the door to the dryer. No sooner did I get the door open than a hideous fiend leapt from the underside of the machine and into the lint trap. A wretched cockroach, one and a half, perhaps two mighty inches in length!

       Time stopped. My breathing stopped, and my heart stopped, and all was still. I'm pretty sure I went blind out of terror. What to do? It was clearly visible within the lint of the dryer trap, but I certainly couldn't get at it with a shoe. I daren't come so close with a wad of paper towels, and I had no poison. As the seconds ticked by I realized my options were few and my time even less; I had to get to work.

       In the evening, I returned home to get ready for class. I had mercifully forgotten my plight until I walked in and glanced toward the kitchen. Reluctantly, I entered the laundry room and reached for the door. Upon opening, I discovered the thing had been in the lint trap all day, and it proceeded to retreat into the drum of the dryer.
       Well, shit.
       I doused the inside with disinfectant spray, shut the door again and left, unwilling to deal with the thing just then.
       After class, I returned once again, and waited for the boyfriend. I had peeked inside the dryer and had not seen it, but was unwilling to reach my hand in blindly and wind up losing it. When he arrived, I informed him of the situation and handed him a wad of paper towels.

       He reached in and felt around, nothing. He stuck his head in (heart of a lion!) and looked, but could not find it.
       "I don't know where it is, but it isn't in here. Must've gotten out somehow."
       Then, in a single low breath, he leaned in and said:
       "It'll probably come for you now."

        The next workday came and went and I decided to disinfect the inside of the dryer and finally get my laundry done. I inspected the inside thoroughly, rotated the drum, and felt around with paper towels as I disinfected it. The last thing I wanted was to pull a garment out of the dryer and have the horrid monstrosity come flying out at me, or to find a bit of it in a shirt I'm wearing. Once it was satisfactorily clean, I loaded the now re-washed clothes and went about the rest of my evening.

       I awoke with a deep grogginess, as though induced by a dose of cold medicine. When I was finally able to get myself out of bed and moving, I realized I had been working on the same load of laundry for almost a week and was running low. I opened the dryer. A rag fell out onto the floor. I reached in and grabbed a black summer dress. As I pulled it out of the dryer my greatest nightmares were all realized at once. The heinous thing came flying out of the dress and hit the floor with a sickening crunch, it's body dry and hot.
       After I stopped sobbing I dropped the dress to the floor and retreated. There it still sits, dead at last, and waiting for me to come home and suck it into it's dusty vacuum grave. I may burn it's remains before I do, just to be safe.

Fucking thing is like the Jason Voorhees of cockroaches.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

Irene gonna mess you up
       With Irene lurking off the coast like so many ghastly Nosferatu incarnates, it's important to have a solid plan. You have to prioritize and get everything set well before the hurricane is to hit. My plan at this point consists mostly of making sure I have a stock of red wine (you're supposed to drink it warm!), some manner of food stuff (Doritos) and a pile of fully-charged electronics devices, to be used ONE AT A TIME. Oh, and some candles. A SH*T TON of candles. Also a palette of anti-bacterial wipes.
       Basically I'm going to hide, alternatively watching Home Movies and playing Ocarina of Time 3D until I pass out from either wine or terror.

I feel like it's a pretty solid plan, but I'm interested to hear what everyone else is doing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Internet Memes: Why Little Pony?

       There have thus far been four incarnations of Hasbro's My Little Pony franchise, the original series from the 80's, a low-key release in 1997 (it's primary claim to fame was a computer game), a re-vamp done in 2003, and the most current version Lauren Faust's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You may know Lauren Faust from her work on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends- if not you ought to check them both out.
Art © Sarah Hendricks, Character © Hasbro
       Although it was originally targeted at young girls, the latest version of My Little Pony has taken on a life all it's own, spawning countless internet memes and even gaining it's own section of memebase and 4chan.This isn't surprising, given Ms. Faust's status as an occasional 4chan'r.
       In fact, the most steadfast demographic enjoying the show seems to be men in their 20's and 30's known as "bronies"- bro + pony, get it? Although the term "brony" now tends to refer to any fan outside the key age range the show was intended for (yo).
       But what has made the show such a success among the older crowd? Visually, the show is stunning, the artwork is crisp and bright, and basically just fun to look at. The show's moral sensibility and solid writing are also attributed to it's success among young adults, and there also seem to be a handful of moments aimed more at an adult sense of humor (read: Derpy Hooves). Those factors, combined with the show's huge ensemble cast, seem to all play into it's booming popularity.

So, who's your favorite pony?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (SPOILERS?)

This poster is horrible.
       So let me preface this by saying I wasn't really planning on seeing this film, not in the theater at least. But a group of us were going and the options became The Change-Up (for some goddamn reason) and this, so there you are. To be fair though I think putting James Franco next to anything will make it look like a genius. HOWEVER, Andy Serkis did the motion capture for Caesar so there's that.
       Which is not to suggest that I went in determined to hate this movie. I think after that Mark Wahlberg mess one can only improve. There seemed to be some unnecessary plot holes, for example the increased intelligence of most of the apes was explained but there was one scene where they storm the zoo and the zoo chimps, with whom this is first contact by the lab chimps, inexplicably gain an understanding of spear usage and military formation tactics. It was such a pointless plot hole, and seemed to only exist out of laziness. I also wondered about the speech that started happening about an hour in. I get that the increased cognitive abilities could lead to an understanding of complex language, but would the vocal chords still be able to form words as perfectly as Caesar does by the end of the movie? I don't think so, but I may actually be incorrect. I'd be interested to find out if anyone has any clue.
       The film also had a lot of nods to the originals, some good, like the newspaper articles about the space crew that would return some 2000 years later. There were a lot of lines from the first one used which, while initially mildly clever, eventually became tired and annoying.

So, here's the break down:
Good Things:
  • Andy Serkis
  • The first 30 minutes of the film.
  • Someone is maimed by a gorilla as the helicopter they're in crashes.
Bad Things:
  • Pointless plot holes
  • Tom Felton's horrendous American accent
  • Use of the line "Get your paws off me you damn dirty apes!" (yes, yes you CAN make a PotA movie without that line)
  • Everything else
NOTE: To be fair, we probably do a great deal more bad British accents than they do American ones. But still, Malfoy is a dick.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I've Learned From Video Games, Part 1

       I did a persuasive essay a while back as a final for an English class, about why video games are beneficial to kids. To an extent at least- as with most things gaming is best enjoyed in moderation. Obviously it's important to get out and actually get in some physical activity on a regular basis, but I want to go ahead and highlight some of the things that I, personally, have learned from being a lifelong gamer.

Cover Art for Kirby's Dream Land
I started gaming as a kid, having been given my cousin's old brick-sized original GameBoy. My mom took me to a yard sale where I picked up the Kirby's Dream Land. I spent hours at this game, and because it didn't have a save feature and I had no way of plugging my GameBoy into a power outlet, I restarted the game on a regular basis. So, what did I learn from my first gaming experience? Patience, and hand-eye coordination. Okay, so the jury's still out on the whole hand-eye coordination thing, but multiple studies* have shown that playing video games does improve hand-eye coordination. So really, one can just think how much more clumsy I would be were it not for darling Kirby.

See what I did there?

Screenshot from Sid Meier's Pirates!
Alright, patience; probably would've picked that up at some other point along the line, right? How about history? I went through a phase as a teenager where I was really into pirates (no, it was not sparked by Pirates of the Caribbean, it was because I got into reading One Piece in Shonen Jump) and although there were plenty of books and documentaries on them, it wasn't until I picked up a copy of Sid Meier's Pirates! that everything began to come to life for me. Like many "creative types" I'm not a strong learner when I have to sit still and read or listen to information being given to me, but with this immersive and (aside from the protagonists mission to save his family) historically accurate world playing out before me, I was able to gain a strong grasp of port locations, the challenges of sea life, the difference between a pirate and privateer, and what the controlling powers were during that time.
I'll have *much* more in this series later on, but for now I'll leave you with just these two tidbits.

* Articles: MSNBC and National Geographic.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 90's Won't Leave Me Alone

       When driving, I tend to listen either to my iPod (phone), Pandora, or National Public Radio. Since it is the only actual radio station I ever listen to, my radio stays tuned to NPR pretty much exclusively. So this morning while en route to work, I decided I wanted to change albums I was playing on my iPod, which for me involves unplugging it momentarilly so that I can navigate through the menus (otherwise it's locked and just reads "iPod in Use"). The instant I unplugged my device, I heard something to the effect of this:
The makers of Transformers are set to begin work on another project, this time involving that blue-skinned, green-haired defender of nature, Captain Planet.
They then proceeded to play a soundclip of the theme from the old tv show- which is stuck in my head now, thank you very much NPR. There wasn't too much information on it, they only spoke for about 3 minutes or so, basically just saying that the franchise is going to be given an updated look and story.
       Producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford of Transformers fame will be working in conjunction with Cartoon Network to develop the film, which as of yet has no release date, although in one press release Murphy did make note of the development of a "series of films", indicating that, like Transformers, they plan to milk this thing to the bitter end.
       Given the state of the environment, and the Green movement which is gaining increasing popularity, I guess it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Hopefully children will take to the idea of being friendlier to Mother Nature, although personally I never got into the show much as a kid (luckilly I was naturally a tiny bleeding-heart, animal-lover anyway). I kind of feel like this will wind up appealing more to young adults who grew up watching the show than to actual youths of today, but I've been wrong before.

I wonder if they'll let him keep the mullet?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Star Trekkery

     I find the juxtaposition of Kirk v. Picard really amusing. Picard is all diplomatic, and resorts to violence as a last-ditch effort, whereas Kirk's go-to response is almost always "punch" or "shoot". One of my favorite moments is in The Gamesters of Triskelion when he decides Shanna, the love interest in that episode, needs to be unconscious for a while. So, with all his fighting skills and military training, what method does he use for knocking her out? Well, he clocks her in the face like she was a man, of course.
     Picard is probably the ideal leader humanity could hope for, but Kirk is probably more realistic- for now, at least. We'll probably either end up in a TNG Federation-type scenario, or more of an everyone-is-dead-because-we've-killed-ourselves-off situation, but probably nothing in between. I'm leaning toward us blowing ourselves to bits, myself. Not that that's what I'd prefer, it just seems to be more the direction we're headed in. But I digress. And oh! I just noticed there's a Google + option on blogger now, how nifty.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Internet Memes: An Inside Joke Everyone Shares

     We've all had jokes shared by only two or three other individuals, and usually those are the most amusing. Most have also liked something really obscure, and felt the blind, unadulterated, bliss of stumbling across someone else who "gets it". There is something about the human psyche that values things that feel secret or special. If you have the impression that you're aware of something incredible that few people know about, there's a sense of excitement at getting to let others in on it. Internet memes are a lot like that, except that almost everyone is in on the secret. By simply visiting a site such as Reddit, 4chan, or Memebase daily, you can stay up-to-date with trending memes, and be the one to expose those who may not be online daily to the magic that is the internets. 

(Rage Guy)
But what exactly is an internet meme? The technical definition is:
an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture
So, an internet meme is an idea that spreads from person to person rapidly via the internet, often reproduced over and over in different way, but always holding with the same central base material. Take Rage Guy (left), for example. Rage Guy is one of the earlier internet memes, and many hold to the general guidelines it set forth. Essentially, most memes use a basic formula. Rage Guy memes, and similar ones like Everything Went Better Than Expected and F*ck Yea usually go something like "Panel 1, set up. Panel 2, lead in. Panel 3, conclusion. Panel 4, meme reaction." Many, though, are simple an image that is recaptioned with a similar theme, such as Insanity Wolf (below).

(Insanity Wolf)
 Additionally, internet meme source material can be virtually anything. Take The Most Interesting Man in the World meme for instance. It is based on a commercial for Dos Equis beer. Rickrolling was a popular meme that found it's way out of the internet an into "real life". Basically, if you can trick someone else into clicking on a link, reading the lyrics for, or listening to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, you've just rickrolled them.

There are countless kinds of internet memes out there, as new ones are being posted and going viral daily. I'll likely be doing several more posts in this series to give some basic introductory information to the different categories of internet meme, along with the other technology, entertainment, and pop culture news I'll be addressing.