Saturday, September 24, 2011

Word of the Day. 9/24/11

Word of the Day

tenacious [tuh-ney-shus]
adjective
1. characterized by keeping a firm grip
2. highly retentive
3. persistent, stubborn, obstinate 
4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous
5. tough; not easily pulled asunder

tenacity [tuh-nas-i-tee]
 noun
1. the quality or property of being tenacious. 

gargantuan [gahr-gan-choo-un]
adjective
1. gigantic; enormous; colossal. 


Ex.Gargantuan rhinos are tenacious until you kick them in the gonads while strumming your guitar in front of a mushroom cloud. It really saps their tenacity.

Now, what else is tenacious...hmmm....?

SCI-FI FANTASY FRIDAY! ACTION SOCIETY #3


Fantasy Friday


I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday. That is to say I run a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign every Friday set in the country of Beniro. As such I've decided to chronicle the hero's adventures from the perspective of different characters my friends play. Each week and each short chapter I will rotate the perspective so you can get a feel for all the characters. I will try my best to capture my friend's characters and the adventures they go on. I might change some elements but know I do it for the story.

A lot of the art I will be using is not credited, so if you know the artist, tell me and I'll label it appropriately.
THE ACTION SOCIETY
BOOK 1
Rise of the White Spider
CHAPTER 3
RYJAC
            A piece of wood fell from above and landed with a click clack as it rolled down the side of the roof. Ryjac followed its path from the darkness above to where it landed and slid down the top of the Temple of Kord. She knew it was a torch dropped by some weary traveler and was pleased it wasn’t a weary traveler that hit the black and white tile roof of the massive temple. It would have ruined her morning, and the morning was her favorite times.
 
            The city was all but dark and all but silent. Even the most ribald revelers had either stumbled off to bed or found one in the streets below. She always took the early morning shift, not because she was lazy or cowardly, but because she loved the city when it slept under her feet. She would sit on the rooftop and let her uncle’s Hands spy and scout for any signs of trouble. They allowed her most private of pleasures. The pleasure to just simply sit, alone, in the dark and watch the city as it slept. 

            During this time, the city no longer belonged to even the hardiest of dwarf, even though the Hands served the King and his kin. In the dark, the city belonged to her kind. Where the eyes of men, and dwarf alike, failed, they eyes of drow captured every detail. Where the eyes of men would fail to see, their eyes saw the city at night as it was during day. At night, it merely took on a different hue. The night belonged to the drow.

            The drow of Doktham were all refugees from fallen drow kingdoms. The King of the city welcomed the dark elves and their talents with welcome arms. Few positions were more appropriate the military minded drows as the city guard. Before she was old enough to speak, her uncle had already decided what she would become. And so, Ryjac had become a member of the elite drow night guards her uncle led, the Black Hands.

            Yet, despite her uncle being the head of the Black Hands, and being considered one of the best rangers the Black Hands had ever trained, Ryjac did not seek out the most dangerous jobs or compete for titles with the other guards. She could have been like Sherzat and become the city’s top spy in the City of Screams. She could have sought favor with the King and become one of the Honor Guard like Jerzaherazod. She could have taken the duty of seeking out new strains of precious metals for the dwarves to mine for the wealth and prosperity of Doktham like Gnaarmeus. Instead, she took the morning shift, and sat on roof top of the Temple of the Platinum Dragon. It was her duty to watch the city as it slept, to protect the people at their most defenseless and to watch as light turned to dark and then light again. Yet, not all was at peace and she was unable to enjoy the simple pleasures of her duty.

 She had broken up a fight at the Dirty Rag not even an hour before with the help of two other Hands. It had been a while since there was a brawl that sunk to bloodshed. She burst into the front door without pulling her blades from the midnight leather sheaths on her belt. Instead, she opted for a more diplomatic approach. Her eyes searched the room until she came upon the biggest brute still standing. A bugbear?  The beastly creature was swinging a gnarly club at the heads of any who got close enough. She ducked past the club, leapt between his arms, over his head and behind the hairy cretin. Then she simple grabbed an arrow from its quiver and set the head into his shoulder blade so as to just break the skin of his thick hide. She let out a violent hiss in Commontongue, “Drop it.” The club hit the ground with a thud and the beasty was just smart enough to put his hands up. By this point, the other two Hands had either knocked out several of the bar folk or restrained them with bolos. A few minutes of sobering up the patrons with harsh threats of time in the dungeons or banishment, and everything was under control. She left the other two guards to deal with the rest and left for her time in the Temple District. She had to step over the covered bodies of the unfortunate victims of the bar brawl as she made her way toward a ladder.

A couple of hours later, she squeezed her knees but it was not the axed half-orc or choked hobgoblin that worried her. It was the city. To say nothing was happening in the streets below would be a lie. There had been a drop in recent crimes committed by citizens but not in crimes committed by the gods. The city was not silent and the chorus of breath in the town was interrupted by hacking coughs and wheezing.

            Ryjac leapt down through the air in a haphazard tumble but landed on her feet, as gently as a cat, in the alley below. She stood up straight and irritably pushed her long crimson bangs out of her face, tucking them behind her ebony ears and pulling her black hood over her head. Her scarlet eyes caught the light of some unfortunate figures sitting by a makeshift campfire in the street. They coughed and hacked, shivering, but one of them sat still as stone. Her eyes itched with heartache and she turned her gaze back to the street and made her way to the Great Hall of the King.

DAILY ROUND-UP! 9/23/11


Oof, I feel a little lousy right now but today was pretty awesome with big (though silly) D & D action. I swear I will have to recount one moment from tonight as one of the funniest moments in our game where a character almost broke everthing.


10 SUPERHEROES YOU DIDN'T KNOW HAD SUPER POWERS!

This article is pretty hilarious and covers some of the wackier unintended super powers in comic book history but maybe misses a few special ones I can't think of off the top of my head. Maybe Lois Lane's power to end up in dangerous situations. Then again, I guess that is really her own fault with her being a nosy reporter and being obsessed with marrying Superman (what an annoying twit she was.)

DARK KNIGHT KILLS CHRISTMAS!




My Dad actually passed this one down to me.

Most of my friends know about my obsession with my self-meme Bat-D*** but the real Richard in the world of comics is not found in Detective Comics. He is found in Action Comics! In the Silver Age, a common way to sell a Superman comic was to have him doing something d***ish on the cover and then explain it on the inside.









Link above? Kinda funny. 
Link below? INCREDIBLE!





Awesome for Kotaku to take such an incredibly fascinating Japanese videogame show and then make it more pallatable for a Western audience (a little too much, perhaps?). The Kacho is the man.







THAT'S ALL FOLKS!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Word of the Day. 9/23/11

Word of the Day

changeling [cheynj-ling]
1. a child intentionally or unintentionally substituted for another.
2. (folklore) an ugly, stupid and/or strange child left by fairies in place of a pretty, smart child.

My Fine Fellow.

I finish my week of Labyrinth articles with a link to the manga, Return to Labyrinth, which takes place around 13 years after the events of the film and centers around Toby as a teenager being forced to return to the Labyrinth.



DAILY ROUND-UP! 9/22/11

Today was okay but pretty non-committal. Tomorrow I will be 20% more committal.


FLASHBACK: DC UNIVERSE ONLINE CINEMATIC TRAILER

This awesome cinematic nearly made me consider picking up a copy of DC Universe. The only trailers more capable of this manner of devilry are those for Star Wars: The Old Republic but that's a subject for another day. For now, rediscover this awesome trailer or watch it for the first time.



FLASHBACK: YU YU HAKUSHO ABRIDGED EP. 1

I'm probably gonna start doing lots of "flashbacks" on off-days. Lanipator is one of the biggest voices in DBZ Abridged, as the voice of Vegeta and Krillin, and his abridged series that preceded his roles in Team Four Star is one of my favorite abridged series. FUN FACT: Kuwabara is probably not gay.



WISH I HAD A PORTAL GUN RAP

We all wish we could have a portal gun? OK?! We want them now. Now build me a portal gun so I can use it to create a mirror paradox that will drive my dog mad. Is it too much to ask you to break the laws of quantum mechanics?




 FLASHBACK: MARIK- OUT THERE

Another flashback to a classic video from Little Kuriboh. If you don't already know, Little Kuriboh is basically the reason that we have all abridged shows as we have them today. He has been making Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged episodes for..well...in internet years? FOREVER! This music video is a re-imagining of a Hunchback of Notre Dame song. The internet really wants me to enjoy that movie.

BONJOUR, GIRL!

The sassiest version of the opening song of Beauty and the Beast I have ever heard. This is my favorite Disney film, most likely, so I just love mocking it...(like all things I love.)




DISNEY WIN!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

STUFF I THINK ABOUT! CARTOONS 1


Inadvertently, my parents created a monster. A monster who craved the neon glow of the boob tube as it softly hummed a song of secular idolization. A monster fed on the box's fantasy and plastic morality that guided it to the pestilent fields of adulthood. A monster who could not be turned off, though his most comforting companion could be. The monster was me.

I bet you're wondering what I am getting at here, right? Sure, lots of us hip youths raised in a consumer culture spent their childhood watching cartoons. They even make the comment that they were raised by television. I make no such wild claims as to call video my father and audio my mother. I do, however, contend that my relationship is stronger than the average bear. Cartoons weren't a tool to babysit me nor were they an escape from the abuses of an adult world; for I required neither from the 4:3 screen that adorned every room I spent more than an hour at a whack in. Cartoons were my friends.

Not imagined friends. They were very real to the innocent mind of a little boy in desperate need of someone that was familiar. A military brat carted from country to country I paid my dues. The only friends I could see every day, and every where, were those of the 2D variety and they never changed on me (at least when I was young enough to still care). Cartoons were something I could depend on. 

Cartoons don't ask anything of you. They're simple and beautiful things that came in three varieties when I was growing up. At first I just needed the family friendly adventures of a Disney Afternoon but I wanted more. Then came Nicktoons and I bled orange. Finally, came the Cartoon Network, the only true Cartoon Network. Some cartoons taught me how to live and others kept me living.

They fed into my reality and affected the way I looked at everything. I didn't dream about real people that often. I dreamed of eating contests with super powered monsters and being the 4th Ed and playing chess for the fates of world alongside the Jetsons. Reality had a very tenuous grip on me and dreams called to me all the time. I walked along a razor. One slip and I would slide into the valley of talking animals and super powers to never return.

Cartoons taught me who I was but not who I am.

END RANT?

MIXED BAG. WELCOME NEWCOMERS. AGAIN.

 BLOG CARD


I'll be handing out these babies this week to all those people out there that have heard about my blog but haven't checked it out.

If you're new and just got one of these cards feel free to check out the past pages of my blog. Here is a link to my schedule that gives you an idea of what I will post on a daily/weekly basis:

CLICK HERE FOR MY BLOG PLANS!

Also, because I known one of the main draws is The Book of Pokemon. Follow the link below:

BOOK OF POKEMON PT.1            BOOK OF POKEMON PT.2


 This blog is all about entertainment, so I promise I don't go into silly political rants or talk about religion or how my day sucked (unless the latter happened to be interesting). And now for something completely different.




Word of the Day. 9/22/11

Word of the Day

gallant [adj. gal-uhnt for 1, 2, 3; guh-lant, -lahnt, gal-uhnt for 4.]  
adjective 
1. brave, spirited, noble, or chivalrous.
2. grand, stately.
3. colorful or stylish; magnificent
4.exceptionally polite and attentive to women; courtly.

[n. guh-lant, -lahnt, gal-uhnt]
noun
5. a brave, chivalrous or noble person, especially a man.
6. a man especially attentive to women
7. a dashing man; a paramour

[v. guh-lant, -lahnt]
verb
8. to court or act as a lover
9. to escort a woman 

chivalry [shiv-uhl-ree]
noun
1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a night, including the seven virtues, ex. bravery and generosity, as well as martial skill.
2. the rules and customs of a medieval knighthood.
3. courteous behavior, especially by men toward women.

CHIVALRY IS DEAD? 

My friends like to tease me for the simple fact that I live my life with a simple philosophy. Do no harm to others, unless they are doing harm to you. I an a reactionist and, when I can help it, a pacifist. Lawful good, paladin, paragon, are all sci-fi fantasy terms thrown my way to describe my actions in relations to other people. I suppose that if I had been born in another time or in a more fantastic world, I would be inclined to take the life of a knight. I won't lie and say I don't like my role as the nice guy but I don't think it is wrong to be proud of being courteous and sensitive about my words and actions (when I can help it).  Even in videogames like Mass Effect and Fable, I generally preferred to take the righteous path. Furthermore, my dungeons dragons characters that I can most get into are either over the top gallants or knights/clerics who live with a certain level of chivalry and adhere to a strict personal code (as a I do in real life). Yet, I feel that I am often in the minority. In fact, the concept of chivalry seems lost on most of colleagues.

A few semesters ago, in a British Literature course I took with one of my favorite English professors (I am an English-Creative Writing/ History double major), we read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In the story, there is a scene where a married Lady entreats Sir Gawain to bed with her while her husband is away. Gawain is opposed to this fact because it would be a foul deed to sleep with another man's bride and, in fact, Sir Gawain had forsworn laying with a lady until he was married (despite being quite the paramour and gallant in his own right). His chivalry would not allow him to help commit this act of adultery. When my professor asked the class what they thought, I was flabbergasted to hear more than one student accuse Gawain of being an idiot or "gay" simply because he had an ounce of not only respect for others but his own code. In the glib and disgusting use of the term "gay" by the vacuous young people of the 21st century, "Sir Gawain is gay". He is not gay because he likes men (which would be perfectly okay by me and would be a more incredible story for the period it was written) but because he is a chivalrous knight.

Furthermore, I hear the words, "chivalry is dead" more often than I would like to hear those words said, yet, more often hear them ironically in the full phrase, "and who said chivalry was dead," in reaction to a man taking a chivalrous act. Yet, times have changed and some would argue that the supposed death of chivalry is part of the death of misogyny.  Chivalry, as I see it, is not exclusive to men being courteous. Chivalry is about the strong helping the weak, the young showing respect for the old and for two people to have respect for each other. Women are just as capable of my version of chivalry as men. In an age where women are encouraged to be strong, as strong as men have been encouraged in the past, the axe cuts both ways.

As the axe falls and the sword flies, chivalry is, at its roots, not about courting a woman or becoming a knight, but showing respect to others. I end by asking you to raise your sword not in anger and to shield the weak and innocent from the arrows of anger. Everybody needs a hero. Be that hero.

 Be a Sir Didymus, not an Ambrosius.




DAILY ROUND-UP! 9/21/11

Today was meh with a side of meh.


I honestly can't tell you how silly the Fortress of Solitude is as a secret hideout. With global mapping you think someone would spot the massive mountain of crystals or just the odd energy sources. I always thought the Ninja Turtles were smart to hide out in the sewers because of how complex the New York sewer system is and how people go missing and are never found down there all the time.



I look at Batman differently than most people do, I think. Frank Miller is torn between envisioning him as a grim old bastard or a richboy pedophile. Most people see him as a Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney (BAT CREDIT CARD?!), Christian Bale, Kevin Conroy (my favorite), or even Deidrich Bader. I usually think of him as BAT-D**K.



I really love Pokemon. Yet, one of my major griefs are how some Pokemon, usually ones that are cool or nostalgic, kind of suck competitive wise. This crazy way to make a useful Flareon is quite obviously one of the most bizarre exploits I've seen of Pokemon in recent years. For all you pokefans, check it out and go...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!


Word of the Day. 9/21/11

Word of the Day

Sometimes I define terms. Sue me.

non-violent [non-vahy-uh-luhnt] 
adjective 
1. not violent, free of violence
2. peacefully resistant
ex. Pacifists perform non-violent protest through sit-ins and boycott.
 
gentle giant [jen-tl jahy-uhnt]
noun
1. a large animal or person known for its harmlessness or gentleness
ex. Whales are the gentle giants of the sea.

Under a Cork Tree

One of my favorite stories from childhood tells the tale of Ferdinand the Bull. Ferdinand is not like the other bulls because, despite being one of the biggest, he isn't aggressive. In fact, Ferdinand loves to sit under a cork tree and smell flowers. The tree was his favorite spot and all he cared for was the simple pleasure of life. Yet, when he is stung by a bee on one of the flowers, he stampedes about. Next thing we know, poor Ferdinand is taken to a bull-fighting arena and is headlined as Ferdinand the Fierce.They tried to get Ferdinand to fight but, the moment the senioritas threw flowers down to the matador, he wouldn't budge. In the end, they take him home where he can peacefully sit under his cork tree. It's a tale of pacifism overcoming through patience and of a beast denying the beast with-in. I love the simplicity of the story and I think it is why one of the few characters I have played in D & D in the last couple of years was a Minotaur named Ferdinand (corny, I know). Ferdinand is a gentle giant and so is Ludo.


Ludo is a rather important archetypal character and, unlike Hoggle, Sarah and Jareth, needs no transformation. He is already a good person and needs now growth. If doesn't grow, in a story about characters growing, why do we need Ludo in the story at all?


Ludo is a character that is, in fact, more than meets the eye. Initially, when Sarah and Hoggle hear him roaring and howling in pain, they're nervous. Hoggle chooses this moment to ditch Sarah. As Sarah gets closer, she watches a bunch of smaller goblins picking on Ludo, who they've tied upside down to a tree. Sarah manages to help Ludo free himself and in that moment reveals his own extraordinary powers.


Besides being an eight foot tall hulking beast with the strength to pull a wall off a building as we would open a window, Ludo also has the ability to call the rocks. When he sings, rocks come to his aid. This connects Ludo to nature and makes him even more powerful, yet, in a naturalist point of view, explains some of his gentleness.


In fact, Ludo is only aroused to violence when Sarah and Didymus (who had become brothers through melee) are threatened. Even then, Ludo doesn't use his full strength and he doesn't seem to take any pleasure in exerting his power over others. He is a simple creatures who just to mind his own business and help his friends.

Ludo is good friend to Sarah because he is brave, honest and loyal.

Who doesn't want to give Ludo a hug?

TGTBTKIWF 2. Memento *SPOILERS*


This review is not my normal kooky style and is more of an essay based on my first impressions of the film. Enjoy and feel free to give some advice, opinions and more. Thanks.

Quick note on my rating system?
*/5. So Bad Its Good- If I give a movie a "*," that means a special little turd. Its a movie that is so bad that its hilarious (even if the directors didn't mean to make it that way). These movies are great for sharing with friends and tearing it apart. Ex. The Room, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, Mac and Me.

 1/5 Kill It With Fire, If I give a film a rating of "1" it means the movie isn't just bad. It is barely a movie or so offensive that to even uses a single sensory organ to witness it would be an insult to the heavens. If I give a movie a 1, avoid it at all costs. The film is pure garbage. Kill it with fire. Ex.  Shrek The Third, Punisher: Warzone, 10,000 B.C. 

2/5. Bad, A movie that lands itself in the bad category means that, while a failure, is not a complete failure. The movie might have some entertainment value, like a good character/scene, but as a whole it fails or is offensive. Ex. Wolverine Origins, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Hancock.

3/5. Okay, The movie was neither bad nor great. Its probably worth at least once viewing and maybe more if it really catches your fancy. This is probably the easiest rating to give a movie. ex. Night at the Museum, Simpsons Movie, Prince of Persia.

4/5. Great, These are the movie I recommend you check out at least once before you die or it you're just bored. These are the movies that really deserve attention and help elevate film as art and entertainment. ex. Iron Man, How to Train Your Dragon, The 40-Year Old Virgin.

5/5. Favorite, These movies are instant classics....or at least in my book. I reserve 5/5s for movies that I HAVE to own and watch and share with everyone. At some point this year, I'll probably make a list for my top 100 films. Wink. ex. Big Trouble in Little China, Brazil, The Royal Tenenbaums.

MEMENTO


Truth is in the Eye of the Beholder. 
Memory is a complex thing. We use pneumonic devices, notes and records to help us remember events, facts and information. We use photographs to remember moments in time and film to remember entire events. As we move into a digital age where information is a search engine away and we can hold entire tomes, histories and cultures in our pockets, it is easy to see how why we take memory for granted. Leonard in Memento does not have the luxury of being able to create new memories. Leonard is a confused and disabled man. He cannot create any new memories and the last thing he remembers from before he is snapped into the present, and forgets what he was just doing, is the brutal rape and murder of his wife. Memento is about his quest to unravel the identity of the murderer to avenge his wife and memory loss. When Memento opens, Leonard believes that that he has all the fact, but, without going back and looking all the instances that led to the “supposed facts”, we can’t trust these facts. 

The film does a fantastic job with dragging the audience kicking and screaming through each scene leading to the conclusion, which is revealed but not explained, in the film’s opening scene. Leonard shoots a man in the head. They use several tricks to clue the audience into where they are in the narrative. First, they use lighting to establish setting and time. In the scenes involving Leonard in the hotel and trying to find J.G. the lighting is dismal and depressive. The soft-lighting gives everything an overcast look and shows us that a storm is brewing. Leonard is of course distraught and this overcast just makes it hit harder. In contrast, when he relives the murder of his wife, the lighting is hard and high, giving us sharp detail and showing how everything besides that moment lacks the same emotional weight. The other dramatic change in time through lighting is the choice of showing the scenes involving his time as a claims agent and Sammy Jankis in black and white. This should be a clue to the audience that these memories are not quite as they seem. In fact, it is revealed that the only things that are exactly remembered correctly are those in the overcast. Memory isn’t so sharp and it isn’t black and white.

As each scene cuts, usually with a straight cut, giving us the feel of being jerk from scene to scene, just as Leonard is, from black to the next scene, we discover the truth. At first, very little is obvious. Not until we discover that Sammy Jankis isn’t real, Leonard killed his wife with insulin, Teddy is an ex-cop who has been using Leonard to kill people for money (telling him each victim is JG, allowing him to get his revenge), Natalie is also using him (abusing his memory to trick him into attacking Dodd), and that Leonard cannot even trust himself. We discover that although the narrator is somewhat reliable that, because he is a detective much like the audience trying to unravel the past events based on information given, Leonard set everything in motion that led to Teddy’s death. It was a way to end the cycle of unnecessary revenge but forced himself, or at least a version of himself, to use a future version of him down the line. This challenges the idea of identity.

Early on in the film we are not sure what to think of Leonard. We seem him murder Teddy and, despite the fact we don’t trust him, we can’t even be sure what to think of his involvement with Leonard. Leonard is a sympathetic character. He is, essentially, crippled as a person. As Teddy argues that he doesn’t even know what he has become because he only remembers who/what he was and the lies he has taught himself to survive. Leonard challenges that his actions are not futile because they leave their mark. He compares it to the fact that just because you close your eyes doesn’t mean you, and the world around you, doesn’t exist. In order to function, Leonard has to trust himself. This is, in some respects, his weakness and, because we relate and want to trust Leonard, our weakness as well. We can trust Leonard to give us the facts of any given moment but have to consider he is only working with what he can observe, his memories before the accident (which he has already tricked himself into changing) and his remaining intuition. The best way to watch the film a second time would be to do so by looking at each Leonard, in each scene, as a different person because, he is instantly defined and warped by his immediate reality.

In the end, the story all comes together for the observer because, unlike Leonard, we can connect all the dots and play detective. If there is anything to be taken away from Memento it is that the observer can only trust what he has observed and what he can remember. Yet, even Leonard says that “Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts.” Memory is not a photograph. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

      Final Score? 
             4/5