31/July/2009

One last entry before this inevitably becomes unseen because of the new August entries? Sure, why not!

Scary-Crayon's Wes has made a wishlist of toy-related whatnots he's looking forward to, and admittedly it's the first reminder I got of San Diego Comic-Con and all its toy goodness. His interests are clearly much more broader than mine; I'd almost like a few superhero figures, but it's just the fact there's a million billion variations on each character that turns me off; the Marvel Universe figures look cute and dinky, but bloody hell, they cost more than the Marvel Legends over here, which are twice the size! Of course, we're still glutting in really old stock in the likes of TK Maxx and whatnot, so I guess it's wrong to compare a new product to something that's years old. I was also never too enamoured with the Doctor Who figures (though I suppose it didn't help that I lost interest in the show. You wouldn't believe how much I wanted to complain about the two alien dudes dying in the last special!), and since I'm a total fag for articulation, I never quite got into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures (though I really need to check out more of the media). And although Wes is more excited over the Street Fighter IV Chun-Li figure, his mention of the Revoltech version made me want it so much. I just like small things, see.

So that only leaves me to lovegush over the Transformers. My life never changes.

Bludgeon! I'd heard he was getting a new figure, but I wasn't expecting to see it so soon - and it looks awesome! I've a soft spot for the Pretenders, and I've been interested in seeing how they could be turned into 'real' Transformers (as in, mixing the organic shell parts with the robotic transformer itself), and the result there looks awesome. The tank looks strangely adorable. Hopefully it'll top the last attempt at a tank with Universe Galvatron who was... pretty blegh.

Mindwipe! I seriously, seriously wasn't expecting this guy at all. Bludgeon still remains popular in the comics and whatnot, but... Mindwipe? I only remember him for his silly chanting in the English Headmasters dub. Admittedly he looks pretty ugly, and the jet that looks nigh-identical to Cybertron Soundwave or Sideways bores me, but, hey, nice to see an old Headmaster get a bit of recognition.

Dirge! He looks interesting, certainly nicer than the horrible Voyager Starscream, but I can't say I'm too fond of the kibble, it looks pretty intrusive. Plus those arms don't look fun - they look like deluxe Bumblebee's, and his arms were hideous. I love his jet mode, though.

Blackout looks pretty bad! Can't say I was expecting much, though. I'd have much preferred to have seen one of the Constructicons.

And some small scout figures, Skystalker and Scattorshot, and being tiny figures, I automatically love them. Heck, Scattorshot is the closest we've got to a size-accurate Huffer these days (Fast Action Battlers Optimus looked the part but was way too big). Give him a new friendlier noggin and blammo.

And while I'm blabbering on without anyone caring about a word I say, here's a mention of Papo, a company that make some awesome figurines of various genres. I picked up a crocodile man a few weeks ago. He's too well-dressed to be the Crocodile Man, though.

 


30/July/2009

I barely posted anything this month; not because of being fantastically busy or anything, but mostly just through being a lazy asshole and taking it easy after the few times I did do something exciting. Regardless of that, it's been pretty good. I've hung out with good folk, gone to good places and, uh, my productivity has been absolutely shit, but, yeah, hopefully I can change that in August. Still, I managed to borrow a DVD recorder and thus preserve some antique VHS tapes, and got to be an asshole in the name of education, so things are looking up.

I totally walked on the beach barefoot yesterday. I lost a sock. That didn't make it any less enjoyable, though. Also, I saw a girl who had a Chocobo's squawk as the 'message received' sound on her mobile phone. It was pretty awesome.

 

A pouch of dog food exploded in my face. Smell-sploded, to be precise.

It didn't necessarily explode in the guts-everywhere-smouldering-wreckage way, but the pouch was bulging and once I got the slightest gap in it there was a loud "pow" sound. The meat was still in one piece, but juices were dribbling out and JESUS CHRIST THE SMELL

AAUGGHH

I'd like to say it's the worst smell I've ever smelt, but I don't really remember smells very well. Definitely the worst in recent history, though. Took a shit load of effort to remove, too. That dog better be satisfied.

 


22/July/2009

So I took part in the Belfast music scene again, this time to see The Last Minutes at a place called The Holy Pictures. At least, I think that's what it was called. Drawing from my zero experience with music 'scenes,' I'd probably have to say it was pretty punk. Arty graffiti, wacky wall decorations, and women wearing ties. Alien concepts to my fickle mind!

It was pretty rockin'. The Last Minutes are definitely a very heavy band, and, thus, everything they produced was kind of just noise. They could very well have written some awe-inspiring lyrics or some badass rock operas, but... it's live, so all those speakers are going to generate is noise. Great noise, mind you, but my ears are totally deaded. I was invited to a conversation with some ladies but couldn't stick around because I couldn't hear a thing. Amusing anecdote!

There was a band on before them, I didn't catch their names, but they were all about propaganda and making statements and whatnot. One song was about the BBFC and complaining about them cutting and censoring stuff, even though we live in a pretty free society nowadays. Another just seemed to be complaining about anything and everything, and had a chant of "fuck religion" somewhere near the end. I thought it was just going to be chanted four times, but it went on, and on, and on. Get off the damn fence and state your fucking opinion, guys!

All in all, good show. Meanwhile, I have done no writing whatsoever. I'm conflicted between being jolly and needlessly frustrated!

 

Also.

"The century's longest total solar eclipse"

THAT'S BECAUSE WE'RE ONLY NINE YEARS INTO THIS CENTURY YOU NUMBSKULLS

HURRRRRRRR

 


21/July/2009

"U.N. report pinpoints cancer risk from radon in homes"
"
New studies have found direct evidence of a lung cancer risk from the presence of colorless, odorless radon gas in many homes."
"'Radon is everywhere. So you need to develop strategies to avoid the influx of radon into houses ... It's very simple to seal basements, for example with plastic foil. Radon is a hard-to-detect radioactive, noble gas that comes from natural decay of uranium. It can accumulate in buildings, seeping in from the ground through cracks in cellars, and may also be emitted by spring waters and hot springs.'"

... you know what this means, right?

WE ARE DAYS AWAY FROM ENCOUNTERING THE FOG THAT TURNS PEOPLE INSIDE OUT

 


20/July/2009

It's kinda funny how I said "screw updating, I'll just hit the Belfast music scene" a while ago, yet that was probably the most productive I've been all month. The rest of the time has been, quite literally, mooching around and being a worthless unproductive bum.

Well, okay, I've been trying to work on the Bomberman thing, but it's hard to be enthusiastic when I'm unhappy with the design and so far it's really just what I've already made except with a couple of tweaks, and as much as I'd love to make it into something big, I think I do just fear that I've gotten myself into something too big to handle. Of course, why I'm worrying about minor things like page design when I really want to focus on content is beyond me. I think I just like to faff around and be useless, really. Story of my life.

 

So, what have I been up to in terms of entertainment and not fooling around with a very niche shrine plan that probably won't even work out? Why, playing PlayStation games and watching anime, of course!

I finally finished Mega Man Legends recently. It's a very fun game. Why they bothered calling it a Mega Man game when it wasn't until like six years later that they tried connecting the rest of the series to it is beyond me. There's no stage selecting of any kind going on, and you don't get weapons from bosses, so... yeah. Still, the game's very entertaining, and I'm totally in love with the voice acting, especially Teisel. Oh, Rob Smith, where are you? You did such an awesome job of voicing a flamboyant, easily frustrated sky pirate.

I think the main problem I had with the game was that sometimes it just wasn't clear where to go. For instance, when I first got the game I was stuck at the part where you fit the refractor shard into the boat because I didn't know I was meant to do that. I think I had a hint it was meant to take place, but apparently I couldn't find the right doorway in Wily's boat shop. Yeah. Embarrassing. I played the game last year and must have gotten stuck as obviously I didn't finish it then, but this time things were going swimmingly until I reached near the end. See, you find the Main Gate, but you can't properly enter it without three keys, found in three Sub-Gates in various parts of the world. They stick out like sore thumbs so it's no issue, but the last key, in Old Town, is not found in the same style of entrance as the other two. The only entrance I could find was the one that took you there in the first place so I was all GRR HOW I FIND KEY, but it turns out I'd done things out of sequence and I was meant to have a boss fight there earlier, which would've destroyed a warehouse and revealed the Sub-Gate. Of course, how I was supposed to know about the boss fight in the first place is beyond me, as it's activated by opening a shutter, despite the fact not only do none of the other building doors work in that area, but no shutter has ever opened for me in the game before. It really didn't help every walkthrough was oh so obnoxiously vague about it and the one forum post on GameFAQs asking about it quickly got hijacked by two assholes talking about music, and the guy who asked the question in the first place said he finally figured out what to do, but didn't say what the answer was. Seethe!

Despite that setback, the game was very enjoyable, and I look forward to playing the sequel, which I made zero progress on during the near-decade I've owned it. If I may complain, though, I don't like the weapon system. On one hand, it's quite fitting - you venture into these old ruins, armed with only a crappy gun and a special weapon; the special weapon can't be recharged without leaving, and you can't change the special weapon for another one (unless being able to kick counts as special), so after it's gone, it's back to the crappy gun. It adds an interesting sensation to each dungeon; you can't just go gung-ho with your special weapon or else you can't use it for more fitting situations, and although they usually kill enemies quicker, using the crappy gun allows you to figure out a good pattern to take care of them easily.

It does, however, mean I'm not in the mood to experiment with weaponry. Sure, I got a sword, landmines, a gattling gun and more, but it required me to leave the dungeon, slog all the way back to Roll, change the weapon, enhance it with the power of money, go back to the dungeon and then try it out, where if it sucked then I'd have to repeat the process to get something good again. Everybody loves a melee weapon, and the fact you can get a sword is pretty neat, but... why would I want to use it when I've got a fuckin' missile launcher on my arm that kills everything in two or three shots? Likewise, there are walls in the dungeons that are said to be able to be destroyed with a certain item - I, of course, believed this meant anything that caused an explosion would destroy them, but no, apparently only the drill arm can take them down. Sadly, this isn't an anime-style drill arm that's about the size of a cottage and can drill through the fabric of space itself - this is a tiny, weedy drill that is entirely useless in combat situations since you quite literally need to be an inch away from receiving collision damage from the enemy, and even if you do kill it then the enemy exploding is going to hurt you anyway. Apparently that is the only tool that can take down walls. So you sacrifice all your badass weaponry for a tiny, dinky drill. Needless to say, I never bothered destroying any of those walls during the game. The traditional Mega Man games are always going to have weapons that are useless duds, but the fact remains that it takes no time at all to select and use them, so it's hardly a hassle to experiment.

But, yeah, Legends was pretty rad! It's a pity they didn't do more of the series (especially in comparison to Battle Network and its fifty million friggin' instalments), but I guess it's not exactly hard to mimic.

 

I also watched Alien Nine. I've downloaded a whole crapload of anime, but it really wasn't until I got the Xbox homebrew set up that I attempted to watch it (hence my complaint about Grenadier a while back). Some of it I'm not even sure how or why I picked it up, or what caused me to get it in the first place. Alien Nine... I think I just heard that it was a show that appeared cutesy, but was actually pretty dark and all the character suffered in horrible ways. And that immediately appealed to me. No regrets!

As always when it comes to describing shows or movies, I wouldn't deem myself capable of accurately summarising it or providing adequate explanations on why I enjoyed it. Basically, Alien Nine is about three schoolgirls who are tasked with capturing aliens that frequently land at their school, one of them happens to be a whiny so-and-so who isn't cut out for the task and never manages to adapt to it, while there's also some conspiracy going on amongst the school staff, or something. And the whole thing is portrayed like a coming-of-age thing. Except with alien hats. Also, prepubescent girls being frequently covered in alien blood. Just a head's up to any peculiar fetishists out there.

(I really wish my site tracker didn't just record the most popular search queries, because I'm really curious to see what crazies come to this place because of the inappropriate things I say!)

The show is like mood whiplash incarnate. The art style is very, very simplistic, practically mo to the eleventh degree (even the adults are rendered as generically adorable as the children!), and the backgrounds are drawn in very soft pastel colours. It's very warm and fuzzy and soft. It's like the animation equivalent of a house-sized teddy bear. Then, of course, you've got characters enduring some terrible trauma, aliens of grotesque appearances being unintentionally slaughtered, and horrible, horrible things happening. The second episode, for instance, ends with Otani nearly being killed by three alien-controlled kids, but her alien hat gives up the ghosts and neutralises all the threats in the area, killing and maiming every single captive alien in the facility. Otani, in serious despair, can do nothing as what's left of her alien hat bond-partner forces her around the building killing every alien it finds, even the alien hats of her comrades, crying and weeping in severe shock and grief the entire time. Then it cuts to their supervisor, casually talking about it to her boss that night, claiming she's distressed over what happened but only shows concerned when she's threatened with losing her job. It's hard to properly describe without me just telling you to watch it yourself, but I thought it was excellently done.

The show's only four episodes long, being an OVA after all, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I was disappointed that the third episode occupied itself with filler for the most part - sure, there were a few moments that told you more about the characters, but you know me, I want more proper content happening. The ending is great. A total cop-out and completely, utterly cheatsy, but even as a low blow it left me with an expression of =0 which is probably a milestone for animation, actually garnering an emotion from me! I've actually ordered the DVD I enjoyed it so much, though I've got a feeling if I read the manga all the answers it provides will spoil things for me. I'll see what happens. Still, very entertaining.

 

I also watched the first two episodes of Narutaru, hearing it had the same bait-and-switch theme as Alien Nine with a cutesy theme but shocking content. Naturally with thirteen episodes to fill it doesn't go anywhere fast, and I guess I was hoping for a quick thrill. I skipped through the last three episodes to see the deaths. That was all I wanted, I'm afraid. The content didn't really grip me and for some reason the art style really bugged me. I don't know... I think it just felt like the faces were never as expressive as they could've been. Like, even when trying to convey true shock or something, it just screamed to me "dull surprise!"

The intro music is pretty rad, though.

 


15/July/2009

While walking home there were at least three couples making out on the streets. Different streets, of course, but all the same activity. And not even behind alleyways or anywhere private like that, but in the middle of the road.

You know things are really unexciting when that's what I blog about. I'd like to say "I swear I'll write something soon, I promise!" but that would imply I'm actually in the mood to write. I'm afraid not. It's one of those mooch-around-and-be-a-worthless-bum months, to be honest. I don't like it any more than you do.

 


14/July/2009

Yeah, not very productive lately. Lots of ideas, but not much productivity going on. Just so you don't get excited, that big idea I mentioned a while back? A proper Bomberman site. Hopefully it'll go somewhere this time, if I'm aiming to co-operate with the guys at the Bomberman Board on it.

I can't believe the month is halfway over already =(

 


09/July/2009

A demonstration of how I'm physically incapable of writing poetry: Someone tells me to write rhyming couplets and I come back with this.

Shit! Poetry! Shiiiiiiit!! Shit! Bubble, SHIT! (growl and moan, life)

I suppose it didn't help that I mistook rhyming couplets for limericks.

 


06/July/2009

Today's observation: The only way to make the Where's Your Head At? song even worse is to have it sung by two eight-year-olds on bicycles.

 


05/July/2009

I've really been trying to get something done for the site - something new and big. I've got lots of ideas of stuff to do, but it all just relies on having the motivation to do it, and I can't say I've got that now. I mean, I'd like to be motivated, and I was planning to really work hard and get some stuff done. I'm trying to work on something I'm passionate about, and with the help of others it could really develop into something huge and comprehensive. It's also probably going to appeal to, like, five people, tops. I had plans to really get the groundwork set for it and spend all night working if I had to.

Then I was offered to go to The Roost Bar where there would be live music, free food, good drink and a few friends, all in a wonderful establishment. Guess which of those options was more appealing!

 

I'm a terrible man for multi-tasking, as I brought my notebook along so I could jot out some plans and ideas or whatever for work to do, but my pen died so I was given no choice but to actually watch the stuff. I could hardly complain, though, because it was all pretty great! I always find it hard to provide positive feedback on acts I've seen in person since, well, being there in person always enhances the atmosphere. I mean, the microphones alternated between too quiet and too loud, which meant The New Sheriffs duet with Orla rendered her almost inaudible and the singer louder than all the instruments, and a few acts could possibly have been rearranged, but, seriously, I got five hours of genuine entertainment for only the cost of a bottle of apple juice. I don't think there's any way I could complain about that.

The New Sheriffs are a fantastic duo; my dad probably described it best as country/folk music with a rock-jazz twist. It sounds really good. As I just said, they were the loudest act in the lot, probably due to tinkering with the speakers, which unfortunately meant the electric fiddle wasn't quite as recognisable as sound as it was meant to be, but as always, seeing it live always makes up for everything.

I cannot review The Midnight King in any manner that isn't completely biased, because I'm familiar with everyone on the team; the back-up singers, Lindsay and Orla, are great people and beautiful singers, and if I might be so bold to say so, Lindsay is a grand master at saucy posing. The Midnight King himself... well, he's a great friend! I mean, he's the same guy I have lengthy nerdy Transformers discussions with and he painted up my Skywarp, and he's also a tremendous actor and singer! He's got a wonderful Elvis voice, he can pull a mean strut, and he looks mighty dapper in a red suit. He looks great with a beard and clean-shaven. He's everything I'm not!

Jitterbug Jackson is quite a character. I really like his coat! I'd ramble a bit more but I'm cranky because I was The Midnight King's personal camcorder guy and Jitterbug's noggin was in the shot for the whole half-hour. Of every head in the world, it's his that gets in my way. Damn you, Jitterbug! There was also a magician guy, I can't remember his name, but I definitely remember that he stuffed a spoon up his nose. That's not something you forget in a hurry.

I didn't get to see much of Katie and the Carnival's act since I'd been on my feet for an hour and my hands in the air with a camera so I really needed a good ol' fashioned sit-down, but I truly loved the sound. I'm no professional on music so I always suffer when it comes to describing it, but "pizzazz" immediately springs to mind. Any band that uses a kazoo is great in my books.

There was another band that I can't find on any of the online advertisements... the name was pronounced sorta like "Afresh," but given how they were playing chilled-out African beats with even a matepe among their instruments, there was probably a spelling pun in there. I was initially worried they wouldn't get properly warmed up since the crowd were talking a lot over the start of their first song, but I think they might have been the true roof-raisers since the applause they got was fantastic. It was very mellow, laid-back stuff with beautiful African lyrics and great saxophone intermissions, so I'm surprised such loud applause was given; I'm hardly complaining, it was definitely my favourite act. I just thought the more lively groups would've raised the roof a bit more. I look forward to hearing more of their stuff, for certain.

Thoroughly unproductive on my part, but immeasurably entertaining. Screw updating, I'll just hit the Belfast music scene and use that as an excuse for procrastinating.

 


03/July/2009

Not once in my life have I ever stepped in dog crap. Not once. All my years of being on this Earth, having dogs urinate on my lap and mice poop in my hand, I have never had my shoes stained with canine excrement.

Today, I stepped in dog crap. Twice.

Life can only go downhill from here.

 

So the Metal Slug Database actually had some news that wasn't erotic artwork of the characters or fan-made stuff I don't care about: the first screenshot of Metal Slug Zero!

I don't know what's the true deal with the game, I think it's some online thing, but I really haven't been paying attention. All I know is that it's had the best artwork in the series since Metal Slug 3, mostly because, shock-horror, it doesn't stick to one art style! There's some serious-looking and some cutesy and some cartoony. It's great. The set style used for 4 through 6 was okay for being serious, but for the most part it felt lifeless and had none of the pizzazz the original games' concept art had. Personally.

Of course, it's a pity that after having such lovely artwork the game itself is going to be in 3D. It's nice that it's more colourful than the PS2 instalment, which was all greys and muted shades and lifeless movements, but they'd have to be trying very hard to match the immeasurably beautiful animation of the 2D games. Of course, 2D animation is expensive, especially the truly fabulous quality of SNK's games, so to make it in 3D's just going to be cheaper, I presume, but I think changing the graphic style at all is going to generate scorn. The arcade sprites were small enough that they could be interpreted differently; they were a halfway point between realism and cartoony. The NeoGeo Pocket games obviously went straight for cutesy due to the tiny screen, but otherwise the artwork has been so variable that there's no true style to the series. To solidify it like this probably won't please everyone, though I like the chibi style; the models are pretty meh. They might look better in motion, but the artwork is definitely fantastic.

I applaud the 4-player, though. Seriously, how many instalments have they had - twelve? And they've never gone beyond 2-player? Seriously, it'd be great. Completely ludicrous and hectic, but great.

Naturally, the internet hive mind is all saying "a part of my soul died when I saw this!" and "why did they go 3D?" and "this looks like crap" and blub blub blub blub blub. You could say they're valid points, but it'd really be nice for a different opinion to pop up or at least notice the good parts. Though I guess I'm looking at the situation realistically and not through the eyes of someone who expects game developers to be masterpiece-generating magical men. I mean, no matter what, it's definitely a better screenshot to premiere the game with than Metal Slug 7.

Why anyone thought horrible skewered screenshots of sprites pasted onto hideously boring 3D-rendered environments was a good way to showcase the game is beyond me.