KABLAM!

Does anybody remember KaBlam!, the Nickelodeon cartoon short-show? I do. And I was reminded of it’s brilliance upon listening to The Toaster’s “2-Tone Army”, which is the song they sampled for their theme. Soooo good.

Come to think of it, I believe that KaBlam! was the only show I’ve ever seen that had a ska theme song…

That wikipedia article linked above has a lot of information about the show, such as this little tidbit:

A live-action Prometheus and Bob film was announced in 1998 to be directed by Harold Zwart and produced by Amy Heckerling, but apparentally fell through due to lack of interest.

Wow. Prometheus and Bob, about an alien who goes back in time to show a primitive caveman how to use futuristic technology… like tv’s and ray guns and the like. That one was probably my favorite…

NaPoWriMo

April is National Poetry Writing Month, or so I’ve been told. Well, I’m going to celebrate it by… sigh… writing a poem a day in April. Oh, gawd, lop off my head with a kitten. This is seriously going to cut into my Resident Evil 4 time.

But seriously, I’m pretty excited about this. In much the same way as this little blogging bet has me blogging more, I think this particular exercise will be good for my poetry. If it’s actually decent, I think I’ll post some.

Don’t ever say I didn’t do nothing for me.

Evil in Residence… 4

Last weekend I picked up Resident Evil 4 for the Gamecube, and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a game so visceral, especially because I don’t even exactly know what that means.

But whatever it means, trust me when I say it’s a thrill-ride so haunting, I’m not entirely certain I’m not still playing the game.

Hold on, let me dispatch this dude coming after me with a chainsaw.

Sorry about that… where was I?

The main draw for this game, for me, is that there is not a single zombie in this game. Just hoards after hoards of extremely pissed-off villagers (and some creepy crawlies, who are also pissed).

I mean, a Resident Evil game without zombies. I never even thought that possible before. If I had, I’m pretty sure the game would be about filing taxes.

Now, that would be evil.

Battlestar killed my inner child, spoiler-free

As it states in the title, this post will be as spoiler-free as humanly possible.

Thank heavens for last night. BSG ended it’s third season on quite a note, answering some questions but still leaving us mostly with a collective what the hell…? It’s like a normal BSG season-finale-cliffhanger, but completely different. They didn’t jump ahead a year. They didn’t shoot anybody important in the chest, leaving them to die on a table with everyone screaming and crying. But they did have a lot more fleshing-out of the mythology, which is why I adore the show.

Red has mentioned several times that he likes the show for different reasons than I do, which kinda makes sense because he found something in the latter half of season 2 that was worthwhile. Good for him, because I can’t possibly imagine what it was. In between clumsy assassination attempts and utterly useless deaths, there was nothing in those 10 episodes that drew me to the show in the first place… except that they were still in space. Which is still pretty awesome, when I think about it. Then again, even Andromeda was in space, and had Kevin Sorbo. Boy, I don’t know how they screwed that up, but somehow they did.

Back to topic. This season was amazing… It had all the stuff I liked and very little that I didn’t. For example:

  • Socio-economic problems. I can’t tell you how much I geeked out when I heard Tom Zarek in the first season talk about the fact that— in a post-apocalyptic future— people still need to be paid. They still need vacations. They basically still need reasons to work and go about their day-to-day lives. That means that these people are that much closer to being real. And this season’s Dirty Hands had that in spades. Real people, in horrible situations, trying to get by. That’s something Star Trek really never did (well, they touched upon it in DS9, with the Bajorans and the Maquis and all, especially in the first season, but the Dominion War chucked that out the window when they could have used the war to highlight this struggle). Also, seeing certain characters get new roles and jobs to pick up their lives in the wake of their second apocalypse (and the New Caprica incident was definitely a second apocalypse) was pretty awesome. Anders and Seelix as pilots-in-training is cool.
  • Mythos. Oh, the mythos. How I crave it! The struggle between the monotheistic “bad guys” and the polytheistic “good guys” is such a rich plot point for me, and the real question of “who are these deities?” is something they’re making me ponder more and more as time goes on. Season 2— after discovering the map to Earth— had no real mythology, and that saddens me. Now, I can’t believe they’re making us wait until January 2008 to deliver any kind of answers to how or why the events of last night’s episode happened… I believe that’s pretty much a crime against humanity. The last four episodes of the season gave me the same kind of excitement for the future of the story that I had after seeing Matrix: Reloaded oh-so-long-ago… I can’t wait to see what happens next, and to read every single theory online until that point.
  • The action! Yeah, there wasn’t as many space battles this season, but the special effects in Maelstrom and The Passage more than made up for it… and then there was the rescue in the beginning of the season. The shot of Galactica jumping away in atmosphere quenched my geekiness straight down to my very core.

And so, last night I couldn’t sleep. I think I probably got a good three hours. And it’s all because I couldn’t get the last five minutes out of my head… All Along the Watchtower… The song that will haunt me till January.

BIG Images: The Color Issue

And so, the third issue of our newsletter was released today, and I can finally show everybody what I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. We decided to keep up with illustrations, and I wanted to up the ante a little bit.

This time, I had some major trouble thinking of imagery for my own article, about mastering contrast for maximum legibility. I had this idea of a bunch of green apples surrounding one red apple in a bucket. You know, like diving for apples. Well, the illustration I made of apples seemed to fit Jon’s article on color illusions better, so there it went. Something to note: I had never tried using gradient meshes in Illustrator before this, and I was inspired by these photorealistic illustrations. So, I wanted to do an entire issue’s worth of illustrations using gradient meshes and a lot of grayscale with a little splash of color… I guess it was my personal goal. Oh, and bitchin’ typography. Yeah, gotta have that.

Next was Christine’s article, and I was trying to convey this sort of sterile environment, something that is both labratorial and biological at the same time. Eyeball in a cup? No… too creepifying. So, this won out.

When Ken first told me what he wanted as the illustration for his article, it was almost exactly as it turned out above. But I spent so many times desperately almost fighting against this image, and I just couldn’t come up with anything better. So, when I finally embraced it, I really tried to get this atmosphere that was very film noir. I just love grayscale gradient meshes!

Well, it was finally time. I couldn’t run away from it anymore. And so, for my article I went super abstract, yet kept the idea of the apples in the bucket. I spent a bit of time on it, trying to lend it a bit of depth, something a bit more contrast-y, and making the dark sphere have a bit of internal reflection just did it.

VC on the Wii Wishlist: Handhelds

Okay, okay. This is a long shot, I know it. But there’s something in me, something that is slowly dying every single day Nintendo doesn’t utilize the Virtual Console’s full power. So far, the VC has delivered some pretty decent content from consoles of old, and it’s great, but why should it stop there?

Seriously, they should let us fork over some serious Wii points for some of the games that were exclusively on handhelds. Make it something akin to the functionality of the Super Game Boy for the SNES or the Game Boy Player for the GameCube. Heck, I don’t suppose it’s possible, but give us the ability to play games from the Virtual Boy or the DS, and I’d be in utter nirvana.

So, here’s my list:

  1. The Wario Ware series. What a great bunch of games, and even though there’s already a Wario Ware game for the Wii, I still wish I could play the other games in this crazy ADD-afflicted series without plopping down money for a handheld I’ll seldom play. Even the tilt functionality added in Wario Ware: Twisted would be easily emulated with the motion sensor in the Wiimote. This is my ultimate wish, and the real reason that I’d want any handheld VC titles…
  2. The Mario series. For the sake of having a complete Mario collection on one console, getting all the Mario Land games on this console would be awesome, as well as New Super Mario Bros. from the DS… man, that’d be cool… Geez, I still have dreams about the submarine levels in Super Mario Land 1.
  3. Metroid II: Return of Samus. Because it was probably the title on my original Game Boy I spent the most time on. And that’s saying something!
  4. GTA2/Driver. Yeah, the Game Boy Color was the only Nintendo system to see either of these franchises. I own Driver on the Game Boy Color, and it’s a whole lotta fun. I’ve heard that the GTA series on it suffers from low framerates in some places, but with the Wii emulation, that shouldn’t be a problem.

No more Firefox for me, for a while

Now, before I go into this, I just want to say that most people don’t have the problems I do. And most people, if they’re using Windows, would do much better to use Firefox 2 than IE7, or even *shudder* IE6.

Now, with that out of the way… I did something that I never thought I would do. I mean, it’s unheard of, I can barely get the words out now, and everywhere I go I feel disapproving eyes follow me… I… it’s almost too terrible to bear…

You see, I uninstalled Firefox on both my PC and my Mac.

There, I said it. I feel like Chandler going “I want to quit the gym! I hate it here, everything you have is very heavy!” </end obscure Friends reference>

The problem was that, for some reason, every time I was typing out an e-mail or a blog post or anything on my PC, I had major slowdown issues. You know, like, it would pause for five seconds every half a minute. Annoying. I was talking with a couple other people who have had similar issues recently (and I believe that the recent 2.x releases of Firefox are to blame… who knows?). Then my Mac’s install of Firefox was being slow too… not to the extreme extent that the PC was, but enough for me to notice.

And so, in it’s place, I’m using Camino on my Mac and trying to decide between Flock and Opera on my PC. So far, Flock is winning.

Camino is a great little web browser that is built on the same engine as Firefox, but is actually a native Cocoa app, so it runs real smooth and integrates really nicely with the entire Mac environment. So, it’s fast, and it’s pretty. I do have a couple of gripes, however… Well, you can’t open a bookmark in a folder in your bookmark toolbar with the middle-click. You have to Shift-Cmd-Click it. Minor annoyance. Oh, and when you get too many tabs open in a window, it’s not very easy to navigate beyond the first 8 tabs or so. Then there’s the lack of Cmd-Shift-T, you know, the “Undo Closing Your Last Tab” command, and then utter drought of Camino add-ons (except for PimpMyCamino.com, thank heavens for that site)… These are all power-user gripes, and many other people are probably not too concerned with it. I’m just hopeful it gets resolved in the next release.

Flock is also built on the same engine as Firefox. It’s meant to be a “social” browser. That means it has tools to completely integrate your browsing experience with many social uses of browsing. So, it integrates with my del.icio.us bookmarks (in fact, forgoing the usual local bookmarks for it), allows me to click and drag photos to and from my Flickr account, and lets me post to my blog with a single click. There isn’t much to like, except for when it comes to using my bookmarks toolbar. Every time I put a link on my bookmarks toolbar, it adds it to my del.icio.us account, even though it’s a link I always use and I don’t find that I want to necessarily share it. Also, I can’t add a folder with links to the toolbar.

So, I guess I got too used to Firefox… I’m sure I’ll go back in a couple releases, but until then… c’est la vie.

Using OOo2

It’s been over a year since I bought my PC. I can’t believe that. It seems like yesterday that I was scrambling around trying to frantically get work done after the last computer I was using was *cough* needlessly ripped out from under me. But I’m not bitter.

What this post is about, though, is that it’s also been over a year since I’ve used Microsoft Office. When I got the laptop, I decided I would try out OpenOffice, and as a free alternative to something I used to pirate, I’m super pleased. In fact, for what I do, heavy word processing and light spreadsheet management, I don’t ever miss Microsoft Office. And heck, I don’t ever put together Powerpoint presentations (opting instead to use PDF’s at full screen for the same functionality, but always presented cleaner) but I’ve opened many Powerpoint files in OpenOffice’s Impress program, and it works like a charm.

I think that’s a great selling point for the program. You can seamlessly open and save files in Microsoft Office’s extremely restricting and bloated file formats. And it just works.

So, I remember last year, trying to persuade my friends who were wanting to borrow my copy of Office that they should just go with OOo, but I didn’t have any personal experience to back up my suggestion. Well, now I do. Just wanted to let you know that.