Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Wolverine

This morning I went to IMDb to scope out some trailers, and while snooping around the info page for the next installment of Die Hard, I came across a link to the next Wolverine movie. Having no clue there was one in the works, especially one to be released in July 2013 (tentatively), I started doing some research.

What I've seen of the set images looks promising, as well as the teaser poster (see below).


After the first Wolverine movie, I'm going to try and reserve judgement until the end credits; it really left a bad taste in my mouth the way they handled Gambit. However, I can't help getting a little excited about Wolverine facing off against ninjas in Japan and the Silver Samurai, a mutant who charges a kitana with energy and can cut through anything--except adamantium. Plus, Hugh Jackman plays the role perfectly; I wish they'd give him better scripts.

It's been reported that the movie will be based solely off Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 miniseries, but as a fellow blogger pointed out, Silver Samurai did not make an appearance in the original. Also, along with rumors of a Jean Grey appearance, there are pictures of Svetlana Khodchenkova on set as the Viper, meaning this film is probably going to be a combination of the original series and its sequel. One thing that's up in the air is how faithful the character will be to the comics (will she even be named Viper?). Viper was originally portrayed as a Captain America villain and HYDRA operative, but the rights to Captain America are owned by Marvel Entertainment while 20th Century Fox maintains the rights to the X-Men.

Let's all hope the next installment of Wolverine is more like X-Men: First Class and less like Last Stand.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Post From Facebook

I'm not going to make a habit of posting about politics. In fact, this might be the only post I ever make. What I really want to do is share the Facebook post I received this morning from a guy I went to college with, because it relates to my "Social Network Failure" post. Without further ado, here it is:

"Steve the truth is marriage does not discriminate on gender or race, the true reason it has nothing to do with gays is because it is at its core a institution which involves procreation, sorry but true, and also true is some dude floating around on pixie dust is not the same as a mother, and some chick in a flannel with a crew cut is not the same as a father. Sorry but its reality. Also on a side note remember if murderers, rapists and pedophiles were allowed to vote, they would support the same guy as you. On a side note if the voting age was 35 no democrat would ever be president, people get smarter as they get older. So enjoy standing with idiot kids that don't know any better, the scum of society, the moochers, and the old moonbat libs. I'll stand with the majority of troops, working Americans, and noncriminals. I'm a Republican because someone has to work, and I'm not owed anything but life, liberty, and the pursuit of happyness."


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Iron Man 3 Trailer Released

Here is the trailer that popped up on my Facabook this morning. I've watched it quite a few times, excited by all the quick peeks, darker tone, and hearing, "Ladies...children...sheep."

There are rumors of who and what the man in the Iron Patriot costume is, because Sony holds the rights to that character. Osborn designed the suit, but he is a Spider-Man villain. Pictures show James Badge Dale in the suit, who plays Eric Savin. What I wasn't aware of until reading the linked article (Thank you Superherohype) is that Savin eventually becomes the cyborg villain known as Coldblood; it's possible the Iron Patriot and Coldblood have been merged to avoid infringement. I don't believe the suit is acting on its own when it grabs Pepper Potts out of Stark's bed; I also don't believe Rhodey would do that unless mind-controlled or something...

My current conclusion is either something Mandarin-involved is going to happen to Rhodey, it's Stark's nightmare, or we're going to see Coldblood/Iron Patriot. It's not 100% clear. One thing to keep in mind is that eventually there are going to be tie-ins within the movie to the upcoming Avengers sequel.

Also of note is Ben Kingsley looking a lot better than I expected as the Mandarin, complete with a snippet of his rings, and a Tony Stark troubled by the events in the Avengers, worrying incessantly about Potts' safety.

So far so good.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Social Network Failure

Today I had a mishap on Facebook. A new acquaintance posted something I misread. I thought she said she was being made fun of by a girl in nerdy glasses and a guy in tight jeans, so in her defense, I thought I'd make fun of the girl in nerdy glasses and guy in tight jeans. Turns out she was the girl in nerdy glasses and her boyfriend was the guy in tight jeans. The hicks she addressed was everyone else at the bar--in other words, I made fun of the wrong group and came off as an ass. The number of people that hate me rose by at least two today, as I tried to do right and did wrong.

It's instances like this that I miss the good old days prior to Facebook and Myspace. I miss the days when I could go off the grid and be alone. I miss when I could vanish for an entire summer, when I didn't have a cellphone. Being antisocial a decade ago, even five years ago, was actually possible.

When I lived in Denver I would go weeks without any sort of social interaction, excluding my boss at work who I had no choice but to talk to if I wanted to keep my job, and it was perfect. I never got in trouble. I never put my foot in my mouth. I had zero drama, because I never posted something on my page, then had to take the post down or apologize because one of my online friends found it offensive.

I never had to argue with someone about politics because I shared a Daily Show clip or be sure to "like" their away messages about going to the grocery store. I was never forced to be witty or feel pressured to tell a joke. I never had to alter my opinions or practice keeping my opinions to myself. I never had to guess the mood of the person living in Florida that I haven't seen in a decade when they leave cryptic messages like, "If there were only words..." and I respond, "Those are words," only to be rebuked with, "You're an asshole."

Social networks are drama machines, when not used for bragging. When I left Myspace, I thought I was out. Then I was told to get on Facebook. When I tried leaving Facebook, all I heard was, "You have to get back on. You're missing so much." The guilt-trips were endless.

What does an antisocial introvert like myself, someone that just wants to be left alone, get from a social network other than grief and problems? Do I really need to see photographs of someone I used to talk to fifteen years ago standing on top of a mountain? Must I really be subjected to an onslaught of baby/child/pet/family/wedding photos from people I'll probably never see again? Must I really be forced to view everyone's version of reality TV? While I adore seeing pics of kids and whatnot that I actually see and interact with in real life, it's a bit surreal when I'm bombarded by people that are strangers yet I'm too polite to unfriend.

Personally, Myspace and Facebook have ended more friendships than developed them. Then there's always that awkward moment at the bar when I bump into someone I deleted because I was sick and tired of their comments/spam/constant fights. Seriously, when will the social networks go out of style?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ghosts

If someone had asked me ten years ago whether or not I believed in ghosts my answer would have been a resounding, "Hell yes!" but these days I'm far more skeptical when it comes to the notion of supernatural beings, visitors from outer space (I believe in life on other planets but don't think they'd cross the universe and not make themselves known), and cryptids like Bigfoot or Nessie.

Part of what has fueled my doubt in recent years, ironically, is the wave of television shows that follow ghost hunters; I find it hard to swallow that most of what they give me isn't staged. The ghosts or moving objects are generally off-camera. The noises are feint or unrecognizable. Rather than canvassing a haunted structure top to bottom, the hunters throw a few immobile cameras up and ask silly questions for a single night. If the place is truly haunted like the hosts of these shows believe, why squander the opportunity for more evidence?

That's not to say I dismiss ghost theories at all or deny the possibility that ghosts could be real. I'm back and forth on the topic, cautious not to choose a definitive stance that they exist or don't exist. On one hand, I find it difficult to refute electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), yet I often wonder if EVPs are truly evidence of a deceased spirit that lingers in our world or something else entirely. How do we know an EVP is a dead person and not an ultraterrestrial (being from another dimension) or something we've never even considered--ripple in time/space. What if a person today thinks they see a ghost and sixty years prior another person believes the same, but in reality it's two people separated by sixty years somehow viewing each other briefly?

And when I hear someone give me their account of an experience I can't help wondering if they truly saw and heard what they think they did or if their mind was playing tricks on them. I feel my doubt is valid as most people with ghost stories do zero research on their houses; they don't try to get to the bottom of the area's history or who/what that ghost might be. They simply accept that they saw/heard a ghost and conclude ghosts are real.

As a fan of horror fiction and movies, as well as fringe science and cryptology, the notion of ghosts fascinates me. Sometimes, I think life is mundane and uneventful, void of all the magic I believed in as a child. Other times, I hope the supernatural is real; I hope to have an encounter, but until that day comes, I'm obliged to say seeing is believing and I have yet to witness a thing out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Walking Dead's Season 3 Premiere Review

My biggest complaint about season 2 of The Walking Dead was the lack of zombie killing, which made the series drag on and seem to go nowhere (I wouldn't be surprised if that was intentional with all the characters stuck on the farm), until the last few episodes where an enormous herd of walkers passed through. After Sunday's premiere, I don't think season 3 is going to be slowly paced. I think season 3 is going to be one hit after another.

The first episode was filled with zombie slaying, including an interesting battle with correction officers in riot gear. With Rick's son, Carl, getting in on the action with a pistol, a change in the characters is evident; they have been hardened by the events on the farm. Rick, when he takes a can of dog food from his son, demonstrates his role has expanded. Not only is he trying to keep the group safe, he is keeping their humanity intact.

I actually wondered if Shane's death in last year's finale would hamper the series, but his absence was barely noticeable. In fact, I'd forgotten about the entire ordeal until Rick's wife, Lori, said, "He blames me...I put that knife in his hand," after they cleared the prison yard of walkers.

And I have to wonder are the zombies getting smarter? One went as far as playing possum. Until that scene walkers generally...walked. They went at things mindlessly, drawn by sound and movement. Either the writers were inconsistent in an attempt at a horrifying scene or deliberate in stretching what a walker is capable of. A thinking zombie, even on a basic, predatory level, could be fearsome.

With Shane dead and his cohort Andrea split from the group (it'll be interesting to see how her story with Michonne ties into the overall arch), the show is in search of new villains. That might sound weird in reference to a show filled with zombies, but just like Night of the Living Dead, the biggest threat in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the risen dead is still humanity. The last scene when Rick's group was discovered hints that there's not going to be a lack of antagonists.

If The Walking Dead keeps pace with the premiere, killing zombies and pitting characters against each other, I think we might be in store for the best season yet.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mists of Pandaria: Rep Grind Review

Of all the additions to World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I have to say I'm least excited for the reputation grinds. Ghost Crawler had said the developers took out the required grinds for head and shoulder enchants, because they didn't feel it was good for players to be forced into them, yet they gated Justice and Valor gear along with profession recipes within reputation grinds. On top of that, they gated factions behind factions.

I loathe dailies; they are my least favorite thing in a MMO. I didn't like the Isle of Quel'Danas in Burning Crusade, the Argent Tourney in Wotlk, and I didn't like Molten Front in Cataclysm (I did them anyway). Averaging 25 to 50 dailies a day is not fun for me, and I've read that with patch 5.1 Blizzard is going to be adding new factions that require more dailies. As it is, by the time I do just one faction's worth of dailies and farming a day, I'm already considering logging off.

So far I have played two to six hours a day since launch and have only reached exalted with Lorewalkers, solely because it requires finding things in the world; it is the only non-gated faction and the easiest. I'm close to exalted with two other factions, Cloud Serpents and Tillers, revered with Anglers, and struggling through Klaxxi and Golden Lotus. (*Update: Shado-pan and August Celestials, while having 1, maybe 2 annoying dailies each, have been suprisingly enjoyable and twice as fast to both complete each day and raise rep.)

As honored with Golden Lotus, I receive three sets of dailies per day. They average about 183 rep per completion. I won't be revered for a week or two, which means it will be that long just to unlock the Shado-pan/August Celestials, and I won't be exalted with Golden Lotus for weeks. Once done with that, I might have it in me to devote myself to Klaxxi for a scorpion mount...depends on how burned out I am between grinding dailies and grinding alts to level 90.

It would seem Ghost Crawler has not only gone against his own philosophy on forced grinds, he's taken it to the next level. I'm not pleased, and I won't be grinding these ridiculously gated factions on more than just my Druid, my main. Neither do I have the time, nor the desire to spend every second I'm logged in running dailies.

After all, I have eleven alts that are lvl 85 or higher hanging around from Cataclysm. Unlike Mists of Pandaria's predecessor, I don't think this is going to be an alt-friendly expansion. In fact, I believe most if not all of my alts are going to be taking a backseat due to the gated content. It's bad enough running dailies on one character, let alone two or eleven.

Even with the upcoming changes to double reputation gains once a single character hits revered, the time required to gear up multiple characters will still be daunting. Perhaps as the expansion gets older I might be able to do more with my alts than level them to 90. (*Update: With the implementation of new LFRs, it is entirely possible to gear an alt via heroics and LFR. My Hunter is hovering around the same item lvl as my Druid, who raids and does dailies, simply because my Hunter has been lucky with drops.)

Personally, I hope Blizzard puts in boa tabards that can be purchased once a character reaches exalted and sent to alts to wear and gain rep in heroics; it would make the grind on alts so much easier.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two Shows I Already Hate

There are two shows I thought might be surprise hits or something I would enjoy, but unlike Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue that grew on me by the end of their premieres and have me looking forward to this week's episodes, Elementary and Revolution have been scratched off my list of shows to watch.

Somehow, Elementary manages to make Sherlock Holmes dull. I found myself flipping through magazines halfway through its premiere. The second episode I zoned in and out of daydreams, then played on my phone. I found nothing new and interesting in this rehash of the British version, Sherlock (I highly recommend that adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman if you have Netflix). In Elementary Johnny Lee Miller's Holmes is a flat character. A recovering addict, he's not even that mean or disinterested in other people; he's simply a know-it-all that spouts off thing after thing that inept officers around him missed. It's annoying rather than endearing. Apparently, CBS thought they could just throw any British actor into the role and it would succeed...

Elementary is also the same formula as Castle and The Mentalist, which both tout better casts, especially in terms of leads, and writers. Castle has turned into my favorite crime-solving show on TV. In fact, it's the only one I can sit through and one I never miss.

Though I believed Lucy Liu as a female Watson might be a clever change of pace, she brings nothing to the table. She might be the most boring Watson ever put on screen--zero personality. If you suffer from insomnia, check the show out.

And then there's Revolution. The lights go out. Civilization crumbles, and militias take over. We get doses of the fall of civilization in flashbacks similar to Lost, except, in this case, I could not care less about the characters, and the things that come out of their mouths are terrible, as if the writers are trying too hard to be hip and funny. If NBC wanted to punch up the scripts with wit or humor, they should have paid a few people from Parks and Rec for one-liners.

Revolution is a post-apocalyptic story where every cast member is spotless. Literally. They're all living without electricity yet they appear to be clean enough to host award shows. They're farming with plows, cattle, and hoes, yet there isn't a speck of dirt on them. Even the sets are off; buildings are covered in moss yet pristine beneath; the bars are filled with criminals and dark yet everything seems to be in the right place. There's too much order in what should be a chaotic, disheveled world. Again, it seems to be another case of trying too hard.

Did I mention there's a group of people that have had a way to bring the power on for twelve years? And they waited twelve years to do anything about it, carrying little devices around with them, building machines...sitting back on their haunches as they're hunted down?

J.J. Abrams has had some great ideas, written wonderful, creative stories, and been involved in some outstanding projects; unfortunately, Revolution is not one of them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Wild Things"


Here is my complete final project from Animal Drawing, as much as my camera would allow. It's been a lot of years since I drew this (almost a decade?), yet it's still one of my favorites, and I have the drawing on my wall.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Gorilla and Wildebeest"



For a reason I'm not quite sure about I decided to put this gorilla in a top hat, button down, neck tie, and a mask that resembles the one in the movie Scream. The wildebeest I found in a National Geographic and found its form interesting, especially since it was running from the photographer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Woman and Wild Dog"



In searching for pictures of animals in National Geographic magazines I remember I found a photo of a woman covered in blood after butchering a pig for a religious ceremony; I couldn't not include her in my final project. It helped that I had finished Figure Drawing the semester before.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Dolphin"


Another piece to the puzzle for my final project in Animal Drawing. Dolphins just happen to be one of my favorite, yet I think I made this one look a bit more evil than I intended.