Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace On Earth

I remember whatching this when I was a kid, during Satruday Morning cartoons.  I rememebr the imagery because it scared me.  It really is kind of disturbing, when you consider the inteneded audience... (or maybe kids were not the intended audience, but it was show anyways becuase it was a cartoon)



Driving home tomorrow night after work (yay, another 6 hour drive!) and will be coming back the day after Christmas.  When I was home for Thanksgiving, I was home for too long, and it got kind of tedious.  So I am not staying as long this time... and I gotta work on Saturday. Anyway, Merry Chrsitsmas!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Interesting...


THE HUNT FOR GOLLUM - FULL Trailer 1 from Chris Bouchard on Vimeo.


quick science/politics post

"Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create twenty-first century jobs—today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation.

Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States—" - Barrack Obama

Its gonna be sooo nice to have an intelligent president.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This blog...

...is no longer a lie...I do indeed own a light saber... 

in other news...

Wil Wheaton, besides writing an excellent blog, writes an article at Suicide Girls dot Com called "Geek in Review".. and this week's article is all about DnD 4th Edition.  Really great read.
(be warned, that site is known for naked girls, if you don't like naked girls... don't go (NSFW).. though that particular area is usually OK)


some of my favorite bits from the article below...

"This is a game that is fun. It helps you imagine."

"(Speaking of WoW, I wonder if WoW is, for some gamers, "the other woman," threatening to split the party with a siren's call that's taking potential players out of our world and never giving them back...could that be why so many hobby gamers hate it so much? And if so, wouldn't it make more sense to hate on CCGs, which sucked away RPG players ten years before anyone knew what Warcraft was? Hey, as long as I'm kicking over anthills today, I'm going to make sure I stomp on as many as I can.)"

Gonna be sweet...

Read the book first.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting caught up... (long post.. get a snack)

Lots of things have happened since I was away from the internet... Xbox Live got grown up, babies were born, quasits were encountered, games were played, holidays went by, and holidays approach... lets get caught up!

Basically things haven't really changed all that much.  Still living in one half of a partially remodelled house.  It took forever to get an internet connection, I was on the phone with ComCast many times.. but eventually just gave up.   So no cable TV, but I got a DSL line from the phone company, and so far its a pretty fast connection (I have only ever used cable modems before and wasn't sure if this was equal to it or not, seems to be though).  It was also really easy to setup.  I think I can even get an upgrade to the speed as well...

Was finally able to upgrade my Xbox to the New Xbox Experience (NXE) and I have to say I am impressed.  They really cleaned up the interface.  The avatars are kinda silly, but cool.  I was actually able to get mine to look like me, as did some of my friends... though Chaosturtle looks like a Mexican...   Some other features I really like are the "Install to Hard Drive" feature which lets you load a game onto the HD of the 360 instead of running it from the disc.  I speeds up load times, and keeps the 360 from making so much noise when it spins the disc.  A really nice feature.  And one of the best features is Netflix.  Being able to watch TV and movies from the Netflix library, streamed instantly to the 360 is awesome.  between the 360/Netflix and iTunes/Hulu.com on my computer.. I really have no need to cable TV.  Instead of paying money for a crapton of channels that I never watch, I can pay (or stream for free at times) only the shows I want to watch.   I have been playing a couple new XBLA games as well, mainly Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (long title) and its pretty awesome.. but I have to say.. Akuma is a fraking bitch.  I cannot fraking beat him... I spent (literally) an hour trying to defeat him today (mainly to get the achievement) and could not do it.. and this is on the EASY difficulty people.   I salute those of you who may be able to do it.  I also went online to play a few ranked matches... it plays soo much nicer online that the other Street Fighter did over Xbox Live... this one played buttery smooth.  Though I did not exactly play quite as smoothly... I went 4-4 for the day.. and I think I am ranked somewhere in the 28,000s... but there were some great matches.  I had an awesome match with Chun-li vs. Ken (in which I came back from a two round disadvantage, the ranked matches are all best of five rounds), and a real tough fight against M. Bison using E. Honda... good fun.  This should tide me over until Street Fighter 4 comes out.  Speaking of which... the special collector's edition of the game was announced...  I gave up buying these limited editions of games because after a while I realized that most of the stuff in the box/tin I never use.  That being said... Street Fighter 4 is all together different... and I already pre-ordered the Collector's edition. :)  (it comes with anime and action figures!)
 
I also bought Castle Crashers... which is a ton of fun.  Basically a re-done gauntlet.. hack-n-slasher... its very funny and has some awesome music.  Can't wait to try it co-op sometime...  I am still playing Fable 2 , which is simply fantastic.  I beat the game with my good aligned character, and have started again as an evil character.. though after you beat the game it doesn't stop, it just keeps going, there are still loads of things to do in the world... so I am playing both my characters at the moment... and I also bought one of the most original games I have played in a long time.. a game called Mirror's Edge.  Its hard to describe... its like an FPS, but without the guns.  And it is awesome.

Beyond getting caught up on my gaming.. I have been watching the Clone Wars episodes I was behind on... and man, there were some awesome episodes in there... one in particular called Cloak of Darkness, was just awesome.  It featured one of my favorite characters, Assaj Ventress, as well as, Luminara Unduli, a pretty cool jedi who had been featured (albeit very briefly) in Episode 2 (and in the original Clone Wars cartoon).  This exploration of only glimpsed at charcters (maoinly jedi) was one of the things I was most looking forward to.. hopefully more jedi are on the horizon.  I am still hoping Shaak Ti will make an appearance sometime in the series.  She was in the original Clone Wars cartoon, and is one of my favorite jedi.  I have always liked the design of her character.  

She was killed in one of the deleted scenes from Episode 3, but since it was a deleted scene it is not considered canon.  And then she turns up in The Force Unleashed videogame (which is canon) and she dies in there too... you actually kill her when you play, she is one of the bosses...  but these all happen after the Clone Wars.. so she can still show up in the cartoon... I hope. :)  (in an interesting aside.. Shaak Ti's name comes from the Hindu word shakti which means "sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that move through the entire universe. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as The Great Divine Mother" --  from wikipedia).  Back on topic, the Clone Wars cartoon is good, very enjoyable, especially if you are an un-jaded Star Wars fan.  

The other show I have been downloading and watching is Legend of the Seeker.  Which really surprised me... because it is really good.  Very rarely do these fantasy 1-hour dramas ever turn out good on TV... but this one, so far, is excellent.  They, of course, mess with the plot from the book quite a bit... but once you get over that fact, you realize that the characters are very true to the way they were in the books.  I was very pleased with the actress playing Kahlan.. besides being gorgeous, she fits the role very well.  I was; however, not pleased with the gar.  Gars are one of the signature creatures of the Sword of Truth series... but man, it looked crappy in the show...  There are of course some staple issues that turn up in all these fanatsy shows that you just have to get used to... there always seems to be a snarky/goofy character that shows up in a bit part every once in a while, and there are alot of flat character actors filling in the villains... oh, and all the women in this world have perfect breasts (and all of their dresses are cut low in the front) unless they are playing an old woman.


On top of those two shows.. the only other things I watch with any regularit/importance are Mythbusters and BSG.  Holy frak BSG!!!  The final episodes of the show start next month... there are webisodes playing now at SciFi's website, prepping for the final epiodes... man I can't wait... easily the best show I have ever seen, I just love it.  The sci fi show to end them all.  (if the upcoming Star Wars live action show is even half as good as this... I will be happy)  SciFi Channel also just announced that they finally gave the green light to the BSG prequel series, called Caprica, which woll be cool.  I am not expecting it to be as good, but interesting none the less.  Who is the final cylon???  Starbuck? Roslin? Seelix? Gaeta? Who knows... I gave up trying to figure it out....

And if things go well.. the future holds some amazing TV... HBO has bought the rights and is making a pilot episode of A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.  One of the best series of books I have ever read, one of my top favorites.. and a perfect show to be on HBO.. its gritty, dark, sexy, and at times quite brutal.  You couldn't do it on any other network...  seen Rome? seen Band of Brothers?  HBO makes damn good TV.  This is good news indeed.

Lets see... what else is going on...  played another game of DnD a few weeks ago.  We ended up stopping in the middle of a big fight (we were losing too), folks needed to go home, and we were already running late.  So our next session will pick up in the middle of that battle... we were fighting a particularly nasty quasit...   I am starting to get the hang of this cleric thing... kind of...  Coming up early next month my core gaming group will finally be able to get together to continue our Iron Kingdoms 4e campaign.. its been a while since we played it.. but I am looking forward to continuing the story.. of course that means I need to finish writing the adventure...  Did a bit of miniature gaming as well...  played some more Infinity and Warmachine (had a great first battle with my pirate army!).  And Infinity, I am finding, is awesome... a really intricate and stylized game... and amazing models (I can't wait to start painting mine, if only my painting list wasn't so gosh darn long!)...  couple of the guys in our group are building a space ship board for us to play on... it will be sweet.  And check out the Akira inspired bikes! (and they belong to my army!  yay!)

I will be going home for christmas , but only for a few days.  I went home for a almost a week over Thanksgiving, and it was simply too long.  I love my family dearly...  but I can only take them in short bursts...it would be nice if I could see them more often, but with a 6 hour drive home.. its just not possible.  I am glad I have close friends who live near by...  gives me someone to hang out with every once in a while...  (though when all my friends have families and I don't, it can , at times be difficult)  instead of just hiding away in my room...  it seems so much of the contact I have with other people is digital... don't get me wrong.. I am grateful for it.. communication has never been easier than it is in our age...  but I miss having lots of friend and interesting people around (college), and I miss regular gaming with friends (Columbus), and having family nearby (when I lived with my sis)... this is certainly the most stable my life has been since I left college... but its also the most solitary.  What does that say about me?

Lets see... musically I haven't done much.  I just bought the new album from I Am Robot and Proud.  An amazing peice of work... beuatiful music.  That guy does awesome stuff... one of my new favorites...  and I am in no way a "fan" of techno... I am a fan however, of good music.  If you heed anyones musical advice this year or next year.. HEED MINE.  Go and listen to I Am Robot and Proud!   Beyond that... I haven't gotten much music... Amanda Palmer's new album was great.  And I'd like to hear the new Ben Folds album, but haven't gotten it yet...

Chrsitmas also means my Chrsitmas bonus at work!  :)  I already have plans for it... lets just say I am tired of playing games in standard definiton... and 32 inches of HD gaming are on the horizon...  my pal Mike is searching the interwebs for me to find the best deals (he's the audio/video guru of our group)...

whew... I think that gets me caught up for now.... I can now return to regular sporadic posts, and short posts with trailers or YouTube videos in them...  :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Juice is Flowing!

So after several months with unreliable and slow internet, and a month or so of NO internet... I finally have a dedicated line to this archaic house and the cave of darkness I was dwelling in can be blasted away by the power of the interwebs...  I got a lot of stuff to get caught up on, and many blog posts should happen this weekend... I have lots of things on my computer to watch and listen to now at least, 4-5 episodes of Clone Wars, 6 episodes of Legend of the Seeker, and no less than 29 podcasts (anything from G4 videos, to radio shows -Car Talk and Wait Wait, The D6 Generation and D&D podcast, and my favorite 1up.com podcasts) and 4 credits to spend at audible.com on some audiobooks... sheesh...my computer will be downloading for days!  :)

Lots of posts (or maybe just one big one) to come shortly... but for now I leave you with these... after all, thats what the internet is for.. sharing weird and funny videos!



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Street Fighter 4 Coming February 17

Hooray!

 
 

Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:

 
 

via 1UP NEWS RSS feed by Steve Watts on 11/14/08

Street Fighter 4

After months of waiting, the Capcom-Unity blog has finally revealed the North American and European release dates for Street Fighter 4. The game will be hitting North America on February 17, and follow shortly after in Europe on February 20. This comes right on the heels of hearing that the game will be coming to home consoles in February for Japan, so it looks like the game will release very close in all three regions. The news also brings word that the game will release simultaneously on both platforms, so neither brand of console-owner will be left out in the proverbial cold. Be sure to check out our latest preview as you save up your pennies for the winter release.

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

quick political post

Just a quick post from work. (still no internet at home) I don't discuss politics much but I understand its importance... and I voted. I hope you did too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Real Life Update

So... not too much has happened that I would classify as "exciting" lately... 

Work has stayed consistently busy.. not overly so, but enough that my days are always occupied.  Had my three year review this past week and got a decent raise. (yay for monies!)  My boss is the best boss to work for.  He is very respectful and considerate toward his employees, and he takes care of them.  (afterall, he did buy me an Xbox 360 a couple years ago for my Christmas bonus...)  We extended our hours on Saturday which means my schedule got tweaked slightly.. Saturdays are still "short" days (done at 2 PM) but now I have to get up early to open at 8AM... mornings and me don't really get along.

My friend Jason has been working as a Press Ganger for awhile now... running tournaments and events for Warmachine/Hordes.  He runs that at a store over in New Jersey (he lives in Philly) and has been trying to get me to go over there for one of the tournaments (there was one today but I stayed home).  I'd love to get to play Warmachine more often, but I am not really keen on playing with folks whom I don't know and I also don't care to play it competitively... I play more for the cool models, the story, and the game itself...  and for me its all about playing with my friends... and yes, Jason would be there, but I also dislike driving into strange places.  This would be about 1.5 hour drive (one way) and it'd be through the city.  (and whats stranger than New Jersey?)  I have a hard time motivating myself for such a trip.  I am hoping my other local friend (Mike) would be able to go as well, so we'd could drive up together... that I could more easily get behind...  I feel bad missing Jason's events though.  Too bad he can't Press Gang for a store that is more local...

I spent today playing some Fable 2.  This game is really great.  The world (called Albion) is equal parts Harry Potter, Charles Dickens, and Legend of Zelda... sprinkle in some dry British wit... and you have yerself a grand world to explore.  The overall story is classic.. a young boy(or girl if you choose) with a troubled past who must rise up and become a hero and save the land... but the interesting part is how you do it.  I have spent hours not doing anything related to the main quest...(but the main quest is very cool) there are just so many things to occupy your time.  You can buy a shop and run a business, buy property and rent it out, or live in it and get married, have a kid.. you can work as a blacksmith, wood cutter, bounty hunter, archaeologist, and others... you can have bard sing tales of your adventures to raiser you renown... make the ladies in town swoon over you (and sometimes the men) and basically.. live the life of an adventurer in a beautiful fairy tale land.  You can be good and help the people, or be selfish, or despicably evil... Right now I am playing a good character... (I always start on the good side).. everything you do effects your character and how people in the game view you.. eat a lot of meat and pies?  You get fat... fall in combat often?  you get scars... do evil deeds?  the people hear about it and their opinion of you changes...  You also have a dog who follows you throughout the game.. and he is awesome. (I named mine Chewbacca)  he finds treasures for you, helps you fight in combat, and warns you of danger...you really grow attached to him after a while.  Overall the game is a great experience all around... the controls are solid and easy to use.. and its just plain fun.  I give it a 333 on the Karl scale. (that's a high score btw).  I think when I finish with this I will try to play through as an evil character, and will probably try the female character.. (i always seem to play the female characters as evil... wonder what that says about me...?  I did the same thing in KOTOR and Mass Effect)  With the huge deluge of games coming out this fall, choosing has been difficult... many will have to wait...  But I am glad I got Fable..  One of my favorite people on the internet, Miyuki Jane Pinckard, wrote a great post about her own Fable 2 experience... from a woman's perspective... its worth reading.

So for the rest of the day I will listen to some audio.. maybe a book, maybe a podcast or something.. and start packing up my stuff... I will moving into the other side of the house later this week.  I mentioned this house situation here and here... but now it will get more inconvenient... at least I will be in the permanent address.. and can hopefully get ComCast over here to hook up the cable/Internet... apparently the mailing address we have is not the address they have in their database.. but we think we figured out the proper address, so when I get moved over there I will call them again.  Cripes.. I am sick of moving.  (even if this time it's only next door)  If the house was going to be finished.. I'd be more excited,  however; pretty much the upstairs is all that will be done... so the downstairs will be a work zone for a few months.   By the end of this coming summer I am hoping to have enough money saved up to move into my own place...

Great episode of Clone Wars this past Friday (I'll put my review up later in the week, need to watch the episode again).... If I was still 10 years old there would nothing greater in this world than that show.  Even at 32 I find it highly enjoyable.  If you are a Star Wars fan, you should be watching.

Reconnecting with old friends is a great thing.  I recommend it.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Star Wars Cantina

I heard the song before.. but its made better with the cheesy animation.  :)

Return to Rapture...

One of the 10 best games I have ever played... gets a sequel...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Star Wars : The Old Republic (MMO)

The announcement of the game I have been waiting sooooo long for was made today.


BioWare Reveals Star Wars: The Old Republic

Rumors finally come true as BioWare outlines ambitious project.

By Steve Watts, 10/21/2008
 
(Check out more screens for Star Wars: The Old Republic in our screenshot gallery.)


After months of rumors and leaks, BioWare has revealed its anticipated MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe, titled Star Wars: The Old Republicreports GameSpot. The company has set up an official site, and we're watching the BioWare presentation for more details, but here's what we have so far.

So far, BioWare has been vague on a possible launch date, and the game is announced for PC only. They aren't ruling out the possibility of a console port, though, with EA vice president Greg Zeschuk commenting that "the PC version is all we've talked about so far." There will be an open beta "at some point."

The new game takes place 300 years after the other two Knights of the Old Republic games. The Jedi and Sith are still at war, and players can choose which side of the conflict to ally themselves with: the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. But the story is leaving open for some moral ambiguity on both sides. "There's a lot more people than Sith and Jedi in the Empire and Republic, so one of the things that became important to us is that we separate the idea of faction and good and evil," said head writer Daniel Erickson. In this game, being a member of one faction doesn't mean you're restricted to only doing good or evil things. IGN also reports that the story will be enhanced by companion characters, who will follow your main hero to help in battle and comment on your decisions.

Erickson also wants to make the Sith a more sympathetic villain in this game, explaining that they're an entire culture banished by the Jedi. "These are actual people. They have to have a legitimate point of view. You have to believe when you're playing that the things you're doing make sense and be proud of where you are." He promises that this will give each mission a special context, rather than the standard grinding found particularly in the early stages of most other MMORPGs.

The two factions will consist of various classes, each of which will have its own branching storyline based on the ethical choices BioWare is famous for. We know of Jedi and Sith classes so far, but others such as Elite Troopers or Assassin Droids are said to be possibilities as well. In this game, though, BioWare wants to make players responsible for their choices rather than letting them turn back the clock with a save point.

As for settings, the game promises "dozens" of worlds well-known by the Star Wars fans, like Coruscant, Tython, and Korriban. Some planets will be strongholds of the Sith Empire or Galactic Republic, while others will be battlegrounds.

Finally, the new title won't be replacing Star Wars Galaxies, which is promised to see continued support.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more on this hotly anticipated game. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Star Wars : The Clone Wars Episodes 02, 03, 04

02 - Rising Malevolence
"Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction."

03 - Shadow of Malevolence
"Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by themselves"

04 - Destroy Malevolence
"A plan is only as good as those who see it through."

I am reviewing these three episodes all together mainly because I am behind and this is an easy way to get caught up on my reviews :)  and these three episodes form a really cool 3-part story arc... so they go together anyways...

Thus far, each episode after the next has gotten better.  Mainly because they have established themselves in my head, meaning I now know what to expect... so nothing really strikes me as jarring or unexpected.   I am used to the character designs, the voice actors, the music. and the way these stories are going to be told... so now its all about enjoying the ride.

A brief synopsis of the story and thoughts on these three episodes...


02 - General Grievous' new battleship shows up, called the Malevolence, and it hold his "mystery weapon" which turns out to be an Ion Cannon of great size.. the ship (which is HUGE) blasts its Ion Cannon disabling all enemy ships, then rips them to pieces with its multitude of weapons.. the episode starts with Jedi Master Plo Koon's ship suffering this fate.  Master Plo and a a few clones are stranded in an escape pod.  Anakin and Asohka head off to rescue them.  This episode was pretty cool... I enjoyed seeing Plo Koon in action, and there is more "clones are people too" morality.. which I find interesting.  At one point the clones say "No one is coming to rescue us, we're just clones. we're meant to be expendable."  A couple darker moments.. dead clones floating in space, others being vented into space.. the show at these moments really skirts its role as a "kid's show." There several references to the Star Wars movies.. the Ion Cannon fires very similarly to the Death Star, and the clones directly mimic Han and Chewie while repairing the escape pod.  "No, this one goes there, that one goes there..."  These references continue exponentially throughout the next two episodes.


03- This episode focuses on Anakin leading an assault on the Malevolence to shut it down.  He leads a battalion of clones called Shadow Squadron, and they use the prototype Y-Wing Bombers.  These are brand new Y-wings, not the old used up ones you see in the movies. :)  They have to fly through a nebula to catch up with their target.. but find it to be a nest for giant Neebray Mantas, huge space leviathans.... they dodge them and then arrive at their destination.  The Malevolence  is after a Med Station currently housing 60,000 wounded clones.. and pretty brutal target... the med station is run by a Kaminoan (the race that created the clones, makes sense) which is cool.  Anakin leads his squadron, and ends up disabling the Ion Cannon.  Just in time for Obi-Wan and his fleet to arrive.  Some cool space battles in this one... the mantas were cool, as were the Y-Wings... and the introduction of the 4-legged Power Droid.. the Plunk Droid!
Tons of references and quotes from original trilogy.. "I have a bad feeling about this", "Cut the chatter...".. "From a certain point of view..."  I don't mind the references... but they are getting close to the point of having too many references..  More darker moments.. a clone, named Matchstick who you are introduced to, crashes and dies... several ships full of escaping clones are taken out by Greivous' ship...


04 - This is the first episode featuring Padme and C-3PO.  They are captured and held hostage by General Grievous so the Republic ships have to cease fire on attacking the Malevolence until she can be rescued.  Obi-Wan and Anankin head off to save her.  They eventually meet up, and are able to disable the Malevolence's hyperdrive, or more accurately, rig it to crash into a moon.  This was a good episode... the most satisfying so far.  There was a high speed train battle, we get to see the romance of Anakin and Padme some (an important part of the fall of Anakin Skywalker), and General Grievous finally gets off the bridge of a ship and starts swinging some lightsabers!  I think the reason I liked this one so much was the fact that Anakin and Obi-Wan were together again... and C-3PO and R2-D2 were together again.. the gang was all there!  It definitely had a much more George Lucas-y and Star Wars-y vibe than the previous episodes.  Excited to see where the series goes from here...

"Everything I know I learned from you." - Anakin
"Oh, if only that were true." - Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Ever since I've known you you've been playing with droids." - Padme
"I used to put them together. Now I only take them apart." - Anakin

Friday, October 17, 2008

Memories Hoooooooo!

I'll see your He-Man commercial lokipan, and raise you this...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Reading List

I have really fallen behind in my reading of late... at one point I promised myself I would dedicate more time to reading.. but I have failed at it. So I thought I'd make this list of books that are on "the pile" to be read soon.  Then I saw this post on Wil Wheaton's blog today.. and he had the perfect quote from Neal Stephenson:

"If you choose to read a book today, it's not like a hundred years ago, when that was your only option. Today, when you read a book, you're making a conscious decision not to play a video game, not to surf the web, not to watch a movie, not to turn on the TV. It does require a certain discipline to make that decision.…"

I also spend a good amount of time listening to audiobooks, so I will include them as well.  Mostly for me, audiobooks are a way to re-live a book I have already read, so they are not as much of a priority as reading new stuff.  These are in no particular order...

Star Wars : Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
I have been slowly working my way into the Expanded Universe... Zahn is easily the best of the authors writing in there...(he is also pretty much responisble for starting it all...)


This would be the second best Expanded Universe author...gritty war stories from the Clone Wars told from the point of view of the Clone Troopers.  Very respected and recommened books in the Star Wars Community.

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Everything this man writes is worth reading... and I have a signed copy of this book just waiting to be read. 


Never been a King fan... but a friend of mine recoommnded this series heavily.. so I am gonna give it a try.




Armegeddon's Children by Terry Brooks
The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks
The Gypsy Morph by Terry Brooks
Brook's new series The Genesis of Shanarra, which links two of his previous series together.. I have always enjoyed Brook's work.. just haven't dove into these yet..


Still working on learning this game... and this version of the rules just came out...  Its a really cool game.. with awesome miniatures... here is one of those very miniatures painted by the master of miniature painting, Mike McVey.  The fluff behind the miniatures and armies is one of my favorite parts of miniature games.. so I am looking forward to reading this.


Listening to.......

The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks
I love the Landover series, and hadn't read it in ages.. next fall is a new book in thsi series, so I am gonna get caught up via audio..

Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
Ever since I started reading about the upcoming TV show I have wanted to go back and read the books.. but audio seems like a good way to go about it... then I can paint miniatures at the same time. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Movie Poster for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

from 1up.com today...

via 1UP NEWS RSS feed by Kyle Stallock on 10/15/08

The Legend of Chun-Li

There's been so little word on Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li that many have probably been wondering if it became another victim of development hell. Based on the track-record of game-to-film adaptations, especially of the last live-action Street Fighter movie, the same people were probably hoping that was the case.

Now, according to a report from First Showing, the Japanese website for the film has just launched and a poster for the movie has been released with it.

As always, I'll save my ultimate judgment until I actually see the film, but right now my hopes aren't very high. Please, Kristin Kreuk, prove me wrong.

The Legend of Chun-Li

Monday, October 13, 2008

MEMORIES!

Ahhh.. its all coming back!   I thought I purged it loooong ago.... noooo...


Street Fighter Cosplay

From the Tokyo Game Show.. lots more cool cosplay pics over at 1up


and in related news...more Street Fighter 4 characters!

Sakura = CONFIRMED
Dan = CONFIRMED
Fei Long = CONFIRMED

looks like we're gonna have a pretty full list of characters!  :)

and I don't know who this woman is, or what character she is dressed as.. but holy frak she is hot...

Clerical adventures

So adapting to a first level cleric took some time... only three 1st level spells?  really?  That's it?  I also am playing my character as a budding swordsman, so I spent a feat on the Scimitar prof., though he seemed to miss a lot... gotta love level one characters!

our group consists of a Rogue (kind of a jerk personality wise, and very much a thief), a Barbarian (very direct and straightforward), a Gnome Sorcerer (an interesting fellow) and me (cleric). We have another joining us next time (probably a fighter).

The story started with us arriving in the town of Sandpoint.  A big festival was underway to celebrate the building of  anew cathedral (the old one burned down 5 years ago)... the festivities were underway, leading up to the consecration of the cathedral at sundown.  But before that happened... goblins! Goblins are exceedingly cool in Pathfinder, they chant and sing while they attack, and are at times quite amusing.  :)  (and they are drawn by Wayne Reynolds)
We fought off one wave of goblins, but heard more singing further into town... we headed off to find the rest of the goblins.. these goblins were lighting things on fire.. and after another battle, we were then directed by some townsfolk toward another band of the little fiends... it was cool because they were each individual encounters, with slightly different situations, and strung one after the other, no time for rest in between.. which really added to the urgency of the situation... the last group had a goblin riding a "goblin dog," a nasty critter, and they had an aristocratic gentleman trapped..  our Gnome cast Sleep, sending a couple Goblins and the aristocrat to slumber land.. and we fought off the rest.. however the goblin dog took a bite out of me and dropping me to -4 hit points... I made my stabilize check (first try!) and after the goblins were subdued they drug me to the cathedral.  Long story short -- it turns out the goblins were only a distraction, and while we were running around the town feeding the chaos.. another group of goblins were digging up a grave from the cemetery.. they unearthed a priest who had died in the old cathedral fire.. why?  we don't know.  In the middle of meeting with the head cleric of the new cathedral, investigating the grave robbing, meeting the aristocrat for lunch (he wanted to thank us for saving him, and invite us to go hunting with him) we later ran into someone who asked us to investigate the disappearance of her employer, a local tavern owner.. this led us into the local glass works (run by the missing woman's family... in which we encountered another group of goblins, this time led by a half-elf.. who manged to pick at us from across the room with his bow...(and if it wasn't for my expert healing our gnome would have bit it) but we managed to subdue him, and our Barbarian almost cut him in half.. luckily we stabilized him for questioning... and this is where we called it quits for the evening.

A good time was had by all.. I can see it will take us some time to really "gel" as a group, but it looks like it will be a fun campaign.  :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back into the fold once more...

So tomorrow is our first DnD game.  Set in the world of Golarion (Pathfinder RPG, 3.5 DnD).  We should have 5 players, though one guy may miss this first game... I believe right now the character break down is Barbarian, Fighter(archer type), Rogue, Bard, and Cleric.  I am playing the Cleric.  This will be my first major foray into this class.. and I am looking forward to it... it should be different.  So here's some world history and some background for my character.

(italicized text is taken right from the campaign setting.  Which you can find here at Paizo.)

There are several distinct human "races" in Golarion; the one I chose is Varisian.  The easiest way to describe them is... gypsies.  They are nomadic, artistic, and carry a bad reputation.  Wanderers and nomads, Varisians travel the land in caravans, stopping only to put on their shows.  Show Varisians use their gregarious natures and dark good looks to swindle unfortunate marks; it is these few scalawags who give the Varisian people a bad name. Most other people respect the Varisians for their ancient traditions and vast knowledge, but distrust their motives. They often dress in colorful clothes, wear lots of jewelry, and are adorned by intricate tattoos.  They often follow the god Desna, the god of the stars, but pay homage to many of the realms gods often seeing them as angels who serve Desna.  They are at times (rare) born with "birth tattoos", birth marks but not in the normal sense. These birth tattoos bear little resemblance to conventional birthmarks. Most are extremely elaborate and multicolored...Varisians believe that birth tattoos indicate a profound destiny awaiting the marked child.
  
Jal Chavali.  My character is a cleric of Sarenrae, The Dawnflower, the Healing Flame, the Everlight.  She is a Neutral Good god, and the ancient enemy of Rovagug, The Rough Beast, God of wrath and distaster.  Her Domains and spheres of influence are: Fire, Sun, Good, Healing, Glory - goddess of the sun, redemption, honesty, healing.  Her clergy are known for being very gentle and kind, but such kindness vanishes when the church is stirred to action against evil that cannot be redeemed-- at such times, Sarenrae's clerics become dervishes, dancing among foes whilst allowing their scimitars to give their opponents final redemption." ... Swordplay, particularly with the scimitar, is held to be a form of art with her followers...  Religious art depicts the sun goddess as a strong woman with bronze skin and a mane of dancing flame.  While one hand holds the light of the sun, the other grasps a scimitar, so that she might smite those who do not change their ways.  The book has pictures of her clerics and they remind me a lot of  high level Blue Mages in FFXI (with all their gear on)(in appearance only, though not wearing blue, more whites/golds).  Anyway, I started out with Martial Weapon Prof: Scimitar as one of my feats.. to eventually build on the swordsmanship side of my clerical duties...  I took the Sun and Glory domains. Glory is new in Pathfinder, makes you better at Turn Undead and, holy crap, Holy Sword (from the paladin spell list) as 5th level domain spell... that will certainly help my scimitar skills...

Here is my write up on his background.

Jal was born into a varied and elaborate caravan of Varisians.  The Chavali clan was known for being widley travelled, and encompassing a wide array of professions and ideals.  Most deities were paid homage by the caravan, Desna for guidance in the evenings, Sarenrae for guidance during the day, and others when it was convenient or appropriate.  It was startling when Jal was born with a prominent "Birth Tattoo" of a sun, directly over his heart.  The elders of the caravan were never quite sure how to fully interpret its meaning, and left it up to his immediate family.  Jal's father, a very well travelled man, felt it was a sign of his purpose, that the Dawnflower had chosen him.  His mother, was less sure, feeling Desna was always meant to guide her and her family.  As time passed Jal learned what he could of all the gods, paying close attention to the stories of Sarenrae (at his father's urging). During his early teenage years the Chavali caravan, joined up with some other clans/caravans for a great festival, an exchange of stories/ideas/goods/people/bodily fluids among the caravans and this is where Jal's purpose was revealed to him.  The festival included a great many dances, elaborate and complex affairs that often held great prophetic wisdom to the families and ran from sunrise to sunset, and often into the night.  It was in this dance that he saw his fate revealed to him...  Many female dancers encircled a lone male dancer, and swirling scarves of yellow and crimson spiraled and danced in the air...Upon completion of the festival he departed the caravan to seek out a temple where he could truly understand his purpose.  The priests attending the small temple saw the his coming as a sign, and welcomed him in.. teaching him the ways of the Dawnflower, and instructing his in the ways of the sword.  He returned to his family when he deemed himself ready, and informed them of his new path... his mother remained distant and upset, feeling he had forsaken his bloodline and Desna.. but his father gave him his blessing.  Jal choose to then head out on his own once again to seek out the deeds Sarenrae had selected him to do... he chose to travel west as the sun travels across the sky.. eventually hitting the coast and having to change direction, he encountered many other travelers, all heading to Sandpoint for the upcoming festival.  He felt starting yet another journey with a festival was a good omen...

I am kind of playing him as conflicted somewhat.. culturally, he is veering from the societal worship of the Varisian people... following a different god than the norm, which has created a rift in his family.  But he feels his fate is to serve Sarenrae so he holds nothing back...

I will update after the game, maybe Monday night..

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Clone Wars : Episdoe One : Ambush

Episode One : Ambush
"Great leaders inspire greatness in others."

Episode Brief: Jedi Master Yoda and three clone troopers -- Jek, Thire, and Rys -- must face off against Count Dooku's dreaded assassin Ventress and her massive droid army to prove the Jedi are strong enough to protect a strategic planet and forge a treaty for the Republic.

Karl's Review: The first episode takes place on the moon of Rugosa, a moon with giant coral formations all over it.  Yoda is sent to negotiate with the King of Toydaria (the race that Watto belongs to).. but his ship is attacked and he is forced to land in an escape pod.  Assaj Ventress meets with the King first to try and sway his allegiance to the Separatists.  A challenge is issued.. if Yoda can fight his way through Ventress' battle droid army and reach the King by nightfall he will prove is worth to the Toydarian King.

This episode has lots of Yoda-on-droid action, as he fights his way to the king.  The interesting part is that he fights along with 3 clone troopers.  We really get to see the interactions of these clones, and how they try and differentiate themselves from their identical brothers.  These clones wear red marking signifying them as Senate Security forces, an action figure with these markings was released as an exclusive by Hasbro at ComicCon this year.  At one point they stop to rest, and the clones feel doubtful that they will be able to prevail against the odds facing them.  It is interesting how the clones, throughout the show, have to figure out how to deal with this Jedi, whom they know nothing about.  At times Yoda simply sits and meditates, and the clones are left confused.. they also refer to him consistently as "General" no doubt due to their military training... Yoda is portrayed quite well in this episode, even reverting to his playful nature as he laughs and leaps from battle droid to battle droid.  This is a side of Yoda not seen since Empire Strikes Back.  He also exhibits his wise persona, as he rallies his clones when they are feeling overwhelmed.  "Clones you may be, but the Force resides in all life forms.  Use it you can, to quiet your mind."  Yoda sees them differently through the Force, and convinces them to see themselves that way as well.  I enjoy seeing how the clones choose to differentiate themselves, some with different hairstyles, some with scars and tattoos... It is perhaps one of the more interesting themes to permeate the series, and a good choice to put in the first episode.  Assaj Ventress (am I the only one who finds sith chicks sexy?) doesn't do much in this episode but boss around her droids, but she is an awesome character, and her voice and visual depiction is perfect.  I look forward to seeing her expanded upon throughout the series. 

An enjoyable episode...good depictiongs os Yoda and the Clone Troopers and some cool action sequences, but it lacked the grandure of a war supposed to be engulfing an entire galaxy. I give it 3 astromech droids out of 5.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stuff and some junk...and some trailers...

So it has been overall.. a pretty crappy week. have not been in a real good mood of late and haven't been in a blogging mood. Sunday I went down to Philly with my pal Mike to visit our friends Jason and Josh. Stayed most of the day... went out to eat some Indian food, played a couple fun games of Warmachine/Hordes (won one and lost one) and when we went to leave we found that Mike's car had been broken into... window smashed, his GPS unit stolen.. it sucked. A crappy end to a good day. And the rest of this week has just been.. blah. I am still planning on writing up my reviews on the Clone Wars episodes.. I will end up being a week behind, since I have to wait for episodes to appear online from now on. (the show is good, I will say that much right now.. it also had the biggest ratings for any Cartoon Network show ever, so its target audience -kids - also really liked it).. anyways... the Tokyo Game Show is currently underway.. and lots of info is spilling forth on lots of upcoming games.. these two trailers made very very happy... the Street Fighter one is just a really cool trailer.. not really any new footage.. and the second.. well its a a new foray into a universe I love to play videogames in... Hurrah for Video Games! They make real life bearable! I am going to be putting together my character for our upcoming D&D game tonight/tomorrow.. so expect a post on that soon as well.



Friday, October 03, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Premieres Tonight!  9 PM  Cartoon Network!

TWO episodes tonight to start things off! ("Ambush" and "Rising Malevolence")  Normally there will only be one new episode per week, but this week they start it off with two.  You can also watch it streaming online starting next week (at starwars.com or , though the streaming episodes will be one week behind the others.  Or you can buy the Season Pass at iTunes and get the new episodes automatically downloaded to your computer the day after they air on TV (that's what I plan on doing)  Anyway, tonight I am heading over to my friend Mike's to watch the premiere on his 108" screen (he built a home theatre).  I will have my review of the first two episodes later on tomorrow if I have time, but I plan on reviewing each episode of the series as they are aired. These reviews will be full of spoilers, so if you didn't see the episode, you may not want to read the reviews.  :)  That's all for now, and may the Force be with you!



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Legend of the Seeker

So.. there is a very successful series of books called "The Sword of Truth" by an author named Terry Goodkind.  I read the first book in the series, Wizard's First Rule, and really enjoyed.  It was a great story and was set in a world that had a very interesting mythos/magic system.  The second book was also good, but less so than the first, and I would say the same when comparing the thrid book to the second.  Anyways.. I didn't read the fourth.  Though, I believe there are now like.. 10 books in the series?  I would like to one day go back and read them... for as I said, the world is pretty cool.  The first book in the series is certainly worth ready, for it is quite good.  But, you don't like reading?  Is that what I hear you saying?  Well you are in luck my friend!  For the infamous Sam Raimi (the director of Spiderman) is turning the series of books into an hour long fantasy/drama on your television.  Much in the same vein as Xena:Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Beastmaster, and to a lesser extent Cleopatra 2525 (for those wishing a sci-fi comparison)... this show will more than likely be aired at weird times, on less than big networks.  But I am oddly excited to see it.  I guess its more along the lines of me wanting a fantasy TV series to actually work, and actually be good.
Anyway.. here are some trailers for the show, which airs November 1st (Check your local listings!)








Perhaps the most interesting character in the series is the female lead, Kahlan.  Digging deep into my memory banks here (so some details may be fuzzy)... but she was
 known as a "Confessor."  All the confessor's were women, and they had this unique power.  They needed to touch their "victims" and then they would release their power and those affected would be completely controlled/enthralled/enraptured/in-love/dedicated to/by/with the Confessor, forever, no questions asked, forever.  So they were called confessors, because their power would be unleashed on a potential criminal at court, and since he was then completely dedicated to the confessor, there is no way he would lie to her... thus his confession 
was always truthful.. of course, then he didn't really have much of a life if he was innocent, since he was now pretty much a slave to the confessor.  The confessor had complete power over the people they controlled, they could command them to do anything, and their victims would not waver.. they were completely consumed by the magically induced love for the Confessor that touched them.  Its an interesting power... and I am curious as to how they depict it in the TV show...  I should try to read that book again before the show starts, but my reading list is already too long (soon to be discussed in an upcoming blog post).. perhaps I can snag the audio book off of Audible.com...





And of course, as you can see in the still frame above, the women have to ride around showing lots of cleavage... or else it can't be classified as "fantasy"... 

And a fun fact for you here... if you look at the poster image above.. and look closely at the guy with the bow and arrow.. you will none other than JayLag'aia known by geeks everywhere for his role as Jango Fett (and all subsequent clones of him in Episodes II and III)

You can view additional trailers/media/information/etc at the official website.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Force Leashed... then Unleashed again...

So... as you know, I have been playing and enjoying The Force Unleashed...  but a couple days ago I logged out of the game to take a break from it.  Later that same day I popped the disc into the 360 to play some more... and something weird happened. The game started up, I could hear the disc drive whirring away... but the screen was solid black.  No sound, no video, no nothing.  I could not even return the 360 Dashboard, the system just locked up.  Try as I might, I couldn't get it to work.. I had to power off my 360 just to get back to the Dashboard... I could play other games, I could play XBLA games, I could play DVDs... I just couldn't play Force Unleashed.  So... I went to Yoda's Helpdesk at the LucasArts website to ask for help.  And I must say... I wasn't expecting much.. I filled out the contact by email form on friday, and it said I would get a response in 48 hours.  So, I resigned myself to a weekend without slaughtering Stormtroopers (though it allowed me to make some more porgress through Lost Odyssey).  But much to my surprise.. I did hear from them, rather quickly, and on a weekend.  I was very impressed.. surely I though I'd have to wait till after the weekend was over... but no.  Those LucasArts employees are dedicated!  They sent me a solution and it wokred perfectly the first time.  The only problem... I had to erase all my save data for the game... so I am starting over. (I was about 90% of the way through the game)  I decided since I have some experience with the game now, I'd play through on the harder difficulty and earn a few extra achievements while I'm at it.  So kudos to you LucasArts!  If anyone else has this problem.. hear is the solution I got.. to save anyone else the trouble of having to contact them:
Make sure you don't have the game disk in the console and you do everything in the right order.
1. First, go to the Dashboard and access the "system" blade and select memory.
2. Next, go to the hard drive tab and open it.
If you have downloaded a copy of the TFU Demo delete it.
Then, delete any previous saves from TFU
3. Restart the Xbox.
4. Go back to the system tab and select memory again, but do not 'open' the hard drive.
5. Hit "Y", it should open another options window for the HD.
6. On the controller hit X X LB RB X X and select ok.
7. You should get a message about maintenance to the 360.
8. Restart the console again and insert the disk and enjoy.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blog changes forthcoming...

So... I have been having troubles getting things to "fit" in my blog, and I may be changing the template I am using.  So, don't be surprised when you pop in here soon and it looks completely different.  :)  Variety is the spice of life afterall...

Update:  Gonna try this for a while...  maybe adjust the colors some..  thoughts?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yay! The 1-Up Show!

So glad the 1-Up Show is back on the air.  I have been watching this for a couple years now, and it has become one of my favorite shows.  These are the same guys from 1up.com and Electronic Gaming Monthly [EGM] magazine (which I have been reading for 10+ years) so I feel like I know a lot of these guys after reading so many of their articles, listening to so many of their podcasts, and watching this show for so long... (though a lot of the original guys have departed the company). Game journalism has become somewhat of a hobby of mine, so I read a lot of different websites/magazines and such.  I definitely feel 1up is the "cream of the crop" when it comes to video game journalism.   This is the second episode of Season 10... they do some great coverage of Mirror's Edge (game looks awesome) and Mega Man 9!   :)  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Street Fighter 4 footage!

So, the word on the street (by street, I mean, Internet) is that is you want to be a real street fighter... ya gotta go the Korea.  And more specifically, you go to an arcade called the Jungin Arcade.  The have Street Fighter 4 running there all the time, and they even stream the battles live on the Internet.  These Koreans are crazy about their video games... just don't get them started on StarCraft...  Anyways.. this piece below is  from one of those streams.. and it gives you a cool view of the game in action... it looks awesome.  You can scope a cool video of game play footage at Capcom's official Street Fighter web page as well.  Also... Akuma is in the game.  So that brings the current character count up to 14.  The 8 original World Warriors (including the 4 original bosses), the 4 new characters (Abel, Rufus, Crimson Viper, and El Fuerte) and now Akuma and Sheng Long.  All we need now are the 4 characters from Super Street Fighter II: The New Challenger/Champion Edition (T. Hawk, DeeJay, Fei-Long, and Cammy) and we'll be set!  (still no word on those last four...)  Personally there are some other characters I wouldn't mind seeing included from the Alpha games...  maybe Sakura? Gen?  and Dan was always fun... There's also Street Fighter 3, which had interesting characters, like Ingrid, Ibuki, and Necro... there is a definite shortage of female characters (Crimson Viper is kinda lame)... so it seems like that would influence their decision some... but who knows what those Japanese are thinking.



In other non-4 related news... there is still no release date for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
it has been in development for ages...though Capcom has stated it will release in 2008. Lets hope that's true.