Friday, October 12, 2012

First Look at Silver Samurai on the set of 'The Wolverine'

A while back, Fox released this promo shot for 'The Wolverine', a sequel to the 2009 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine':

Just Hugh Jackman looking 80's-Stallone-level ripped for a reprisal of the title role.  Whether you liked 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' or not (count me in the latter), it's hard not to get excited when you see a photo like this.

The plot for the new Wolverine movie is based on the 1982 mini-series 'Wolverine' by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller which has Logan battling ninjas and the Tokyo criminal underworld for the heart of his ex-lover, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord.  It leads Logan to a clash with the Silver Samurai.  Created by Steve Gerber and Bob Brown, the Silver Samurai is the son of Yakuza Shingen Yashida, and possesses the mutant the ability to charge most anything, usually his katana, with an energy described as a tachyon field

Just recently a pic of the villain Silver Samurai has leaked from the set, check it out:

I know, it's not much, but it gives you an idea of how the character is going to be portrayed on the big screen.  And not too bad all things considered.  I've seen worse stabs at comic villains.  For comparison:

I'm a little skeptical of the Fox Marvel movies.  X3 was terrible and the first solo Wolverine movie was kind of a mess, but an 'R' rating and some scenes taken from Frank Miller art combined with distancing the Wolverine character from the X-Men has me cautiously optimistic for this one.  

I'm curious to see how the movie continues to develop as it nears its July 23, 2013 release date. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Amazing Screw-On Head

I enjoy reading comics.  Now, I'm more likely to pick up a couple of trades from an online retailer than to pick up floppies monthly.  That said, I will try to make it to my local comic shop (LCS) periodically to look through and pick up some back issues or some new stuff that catches my eye.  Because you need to patronize your LCS.

Anywho, I was perusing my local comic shop's bargain bin selection recently and was very excited to find a copy of The Amazing Screw-On Head, a one-shot story from Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy.  The story is set in 1860's America and follows the missions of Screw-On Head, a mechanical secret agent who takes orders from Abraham Lincoln on affairs regarding the arcane and paranormal (standard Mignola fare).  I should also mention Screw-On Head is just that, a screw-on head that uses different bodies to suit the mission.

Now, I like Mignola just fine.  He's got a unique art style and his writing carries a good sense of humor.  But I was overly excited to see this particular title, and at first I couldn't put my finger on why...  Then I remembered, the old Sci-Fi channel made an animated pilot of this back in 2006!  The cartoon featured the voices of Paul Giamatti, David Hyde-Pierce, and Patton Oswalt.  Check it out:

Fun Stuff.  It was never picked up, which is a shame, but we'll alwas have the pilot.  Maybe it's fitting... a one-off show for a one-off comic.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Breaking Bad Episode 'Dead Freight' Alternate Ending (Spoilers)

The Great Train Robbery.  A classic theme in film.  And wonderfully executed here by the Breaking Bad crew.  The show stays at the top of its game, delivering a tense hour of television in 'Dead Freight'.  And no show can deliver a gut-punch quite as effectively as Breaking Bad did at the end of their most recent episode.

Poor little Timmy Tarantula...

It's always nice to see "Friday Night Lights" alumni getting roles (Battleship and John Carter aside), and Jesse Plemons definitely makes his mark here as Todd.  Is his character as cold-hearted as Mike or even Gus?  Or is he just naively trying to show his worth to the crew?  Time will tell.

But did you know an alternate ending to this ep exists?  One where it ends on not such a sour note?  Well too bad, here it is anyway.

Prettayyy, Prettaay, Pretty, Pretty Good.

I found this to be hilarious.  I hope you do too.  But then again, you could plug the Curb music into just about any video and make me laugh.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What do Patrick Stewart, Simon Pegg, Arya Stark and Ryan Lochte Have in Common?

Why, this funny video of course.  From Funny or Die.

Sir Patrick Stewart plays a scurvy, Victorian ticket scalper at the Olympics.  Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Throne) plays his young accomplice.  Simon Pegg plays... Simon Pegg.  And Ryan Lochte is there as well with his USA-bling-teeth and own-name-imprinted-on-sole shoes, to remind us all why he became a swimmer instead of an actor.

But hey, Paul Wall grill aside, I can't bash Lochte too hard.  It seemed like he was a good sport and played along through the whole thing.  Maybe not the funniest video out there, but it's always nice to see Sir Patrick flash his acting chops.  

It's also like a super nerd-triumverate with Picard (Star Trek), Arya Stark (GoT), and Scotty (Star Trek again)

And it looks like Maisie grew about a foot since the last season of Game of Thrones aired.  Those Lannister troops better watch out!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mars Curiosity Watch

Excited for the Curiosity landing?

Use this simulation to check it's progress:

"Eyes on the Solar System" is a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data. Explore the cosmos from your computer. Hop on an asteroid. Fly with NASA's Voyager spacecraft. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It's up to you. You control space and time.

Also, keep tabs with NASA tv:

Estimated touch-down time is 1:31 am EST

Ragu Olympics Commercial - Kid's Worst Nightmare (Video)

So this commercial just debuted during the Olympics here in the States (NBC's commercial-laden coverage).  It's definitely funny, but at the moment I'm having trouble deciding if it's more funny or disturbing.


Nothing makes me want Ragu more than walking in on my parents.

Memorable, but I have no idea how it relates to Ragu.  Is a thick, red liquid going to get my mind off of seeing my parents so indelicately indisposed?

"Daddy, stop stabbing Mommy!  She's screaming, you're killing her!"

Operative lessons here:

1.  Always knock
2.  Ragu heals all emotional scars

The Problem with PC Gaming in the Summer

Doesn't help when the average temperature has been 95+ degrees.

And it's even more of a problem trying to run games on a Macbook.

I'm probably sterile now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Portal 2 Marriage Proposal

Gary Hudston wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a special way.  And the obvious choice was to contract a high-level designer to make him a custom Portal 2 level, where GLaDOS pops the question.  Developer's website

Once Valve heard about the project, they authorized GLaDOS voice actor, Ellen McLain, to produce the custom audio track for the level.

The result is pretty awesome.

It amazes me that people still question what the best game development company is.

... And for no other reason than I love this song, here's the video for 'Still Alive' from the end of Portal 1.

Well, I'm off to replay the Portal games... again.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Breaking of the Batman (A Brief Look at Knightfall and Bane in Batman Comics)

I've not yet seen 'The Dark Knight Rises'.  I'll probably end up waiting a week to avoid the crowds, the midnight opening ugliness notwithstanding.

That said, I've tried to avoid spoilers and really any info on the movie altogether.  Knowing the comics, I probably know where they are going to go with the plot, but I don't want to go into the theater certain of the outcome.  After all, Bane was only really features in one storyline in Batman.  The Knightfall storyline.  Bane was smarter and stronger than Batman, and held a major vendetta.  He was a force to be reckoned with.  I hope they capture this in the film.

Christopher Nolan can obviously do whatever he'd like with the story.  He's been amazing thus far.  However, I am hoping he keeps in the major end element of the Knightfall storyline... The Breaking of the Batman.

The culmination of the Knightfall storyline in the comics.  Batman #497.  Over the course of Knightfall, Bane orchestrated attacks from all of Batman's major adversaries to drain Batman both physically and mentally, culminating in Bane's ultimate defeat of Batman... breaking Batman's back and putting him out of commission.  It laid open Batman's vulnerabilities and self-doubts about being the Caped Crusader.  Made him a more human character once his mortality was exposed, and helped to shape the Batman of modern comics.

Growing up in the 90's when comics were a HUGE deal, this was a major event.  I still consider this as a key point in the Batman mythos.  And I consider this issue to be a classic cover in Batman comics.

I'd love to see at least an homage to this panel in the movie.

Anyone else out there read the comics?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Formally Announced: A look at Marvel vs DC Film strategy

This announcement really shouldn't surprise anyone who saw 'The Avengers'.  The snippet of Thanos at the end of that film signaled Marvel's intent to push into the "Cosmic Marvel" universe.

The choice of this team may be a little surprising however.  The Guardians have been in existence since 1969, but didn't get its own comic title until 1990.  And there have been many different members of the team since its inception.  The most recent of which (seen below) seems to be the lineup set to appear in the film.  I think it's funny Marvel didn't choose a more recognizable name by going with Captain Marvel, or Adam Warlock, or Nova, or Quasar.    

Official concept art for the film revealed at Comic Con

Those with keen eyes may notice a tree and a raccoon in that picture.  They would be correct.  Two members of the Guardians are Groot, a living tree, and Rocket Raccoon, a raccoon.  

To me, this illustrates the wide gap between the Marvel/Disney partnership and the DC/Warner Brothers partnership.  We will see a movie featuring tree and raccoon superheroes no one has ever heard of before we see a big-sceen Flash or Wonder Woman.  I could go up to nearly anyone on the street and they would be able to recognize Flash and Wonder Woman, and probably be able to give me a basic idea of their powers.  Yet the only characters DC seems willing to adapt for the big screen are Batman and Superman (currently filming another reboot).  And so far their other attempt at a major hero (Green Lantern) was a failure as a comic adaptation and movie both.  I can't stand the amorphous space blob villain idea.  It never works story-wise and looks lame on film.  (I'm looking at you Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Note: not a Marvel Studios film)

And Marvel to this point has had several successful character franchises (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) where DC/Warner Bros has only had one (The Goddam Batman).  

It's disappointing.  It seems like Warner Bros. is afraid that any characters outside of Batman and Superman won't have a market.  Meanwhile, Marvel/Disney is willing to roll the dice with a C-list team and will probably find success.  Doubly disappointing since 7 times out of 10 when I go to read a superhero comic (trade paperbacks because I'm cheap and impatient), it's DC.

Marvel also announced dates and titles for Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Ant-Man.  All but Iron Man 3 are years away, but Marvel clearly has a plan.  It is rumored that DC will be making a Lobo adaptation with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  But, the project has been stuck in development hell since 2009... Lobo.  Now I like Lobo just fine, I just cant figure out why they would go with Lobo over a more well known character.

 But hey, I still have high hopes for Superman: Man of Steel.

Thomas Jane Reprises his Role as The Punisher in Fan Film

Whose fan film?  Why, Tom Jane's own, of course.

Tom Jane played The Punisher in the eponymous 2004 film.  The film was not well received, but mostly for the writing, not Tom Jane's performance.  That and it's hard to take John Travolta seriously as a villain.  But there were some good scenes.

Jane was not asked back to the role in the follow-up film 'Punisher: War Zone'.  It should be noted that the first film was not a Marvel Studios film, while the second was.  That probably payed a role in the casting choices.

Regardless, Tom Jane seemed to genuinely like the character.  He showed this recently by releasing a short 'fan-made' film called 'Dirty Laundry'.  I put that in quotes simply because the short is very high quality (except for the special effects) and stars both Tom Jane and Ron MFing Perlman!

Jane on the film:
"I wanted to make a fan film for a character I've always loved and believed in - a love letter to Frank Castle & his fans. It was an incredible experience with everyone on the project throwing in their time just for the fun of it. It's been a blast to be a part of from start to finish -- we hope the friends of Frank enjoy watching it as much as we did making it."
Check it out:

Maybe he can convince Marvel Studios to give him another crack at the role.  

I'm on board.

After all, he just wants his kids back

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Game of Thrones Season 3 Casting Choices Announced

Emilia Clarke and Rose Leslie at the Game of Thrones Comic Con Panel

Several new casting choices for HBO's Games of Thrones were announced at Comic Con on Friday.  These choices will appear in season 3 of the show, which is currently shooting, and will begin on March 13, 2013.  Some of the bigger characters cast were The Queen of Thorns, The Blackfish, Meera and Jojen Reed, and Beric Dondarrion.

The biggest name out of the new cast is Diana Rigg, who will be playing Olenna Redwyne, the Queen of Thorns and matriarch of the House Tyrell.  Rigg is best known for playing Emma Peel in the British 60's TV series 'The Avengers' (not to be confused with the Marvel comic).  She seems a good choice for the role, which will require the portrayal of sharp wit and cunning.

Rigg today

Rigg in her 'Avengers' days. Yowza

Another recognizable name is Mackenzie Crook, who will be playing the role of Orell, the eagle-skinchanging wildling.  You probably know him better as Gareth from the UK 'The Office'.  He also played in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  Seems a good choice for the wildling look.

What are you looking at?

Clive Russell will The Blackfish, Bryndon Tully, well-known knight and loving uncle of Cat Stark.  Russell is an experienced actor who has recently played in the Sherlock Holmes films.  He was also in the Antonio Banderas movie 'The 13th Warrior', which I loved.  That always seemed like an underrated gem.  He should wear the role well.

a gruff, scruff Clive Russell

Thoros of Myr, the red priest, will be played by Paul Kaye.  Flaming sword and all.  Think a less serious, male version of Melissandre.
Paul Kaye

Going along with Thoros, is Beric Dondarrion, the Lightning Lord.  Like the energizer bunny he keeps going, and going, and going... He will be played by Richard Dormer (No relation to Natalie Dormer, who currently plays Margery Tyrell).  Always likes this character.
Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion

The Reed siblings will play a large role in Bran's development, so their casting choices are key.  Meera Reed will be played by Ellie Kendrick.  She has played in 'Upstairs Downstairs' and the BBC miniseries 'The Diary of Anne Frank'.  I like this choice.  My only real gripe is that she doesn't have green eyes, one of the key features of the Reeds.

Ellie Kendrick

Jojen Reed, the character who teaches Bran about greenseeing, will be played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster.  You probably know him as the little boy in the movies 'Love Actually' and 'Nanny McPhee'.  He's a bit older now, and should play off of Bran well in the mentor role.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

All in all a good job casting the roles.  The production staff hasn't really let me down yet as most of the actors chosen for their respective roles so far have been fantastic.

Now all I have to do is wait 8 months for some new episodes :(

Friday, July 13, 2012

Neil Gaiman to Return to 'The Sandman', Vertigo Comics

The Cure's Robert Smith, er... I mean The Sandman aka Dream aka Morpheus

Announced at Vertigo's Comic Con panel, Neil Gaiman will be returning to pen a new Sandman prequel, chronicling the events that led up to Morpheus (the titular character) being captured in Preludes and Nocturnes.  From Gaiman:
“When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold: The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war ...It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary… but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.”

Gaiman's address from the con

Gaiman wrote 'The Sandman' for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996, and it remains one of his defining works.  'The Sandman' follows Morpheus, the anthropomorphic personification of dreams, as he sets about to restore his kingdom and realm.  It's basically a dark fantasy/horror story with Morpheus serving as the tragic hero who must change his ways and make up for his past sins, or die.  

Since his run on Sandman, Gaiman has become a hot commodity across all entertainment media; from penning well received novels (American Gods), to having his works adapted for film (Coraline) to writing an episode for Doctor Who.  But his work on 'The Sandman' may still be his best.

I actually heard this news today from my local comic shop.  I had just read Preludes and Nocturnes, the first graphic novel of the series two weeks ago and coincidentally was there to buy book two, The Doll's House.  The cashier let me know as I was at the register.  Suppose it helps to keep up on news from the Comic Con if you deal in comics.  It's been a very enjoyable read so far and I hear it only gets better.  So I'm pretty pumped for this announcement.

The new mini series is scheduled for 2013.

I better get reading so I can catch up.

But seriously

Heck I'll throw Edward Scissorhands in there too for completeness

Bonus fun fact: Neil Gaiman is currently married to Amanda Palmer, formerly of the Dresden Dolls and currently just an awesome musician and performer

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Everybody Loves Hypnotoad: 2012 Comic Con Hypnotoad Exclusive Revealed

Shrouded in mystery until preview night, Kid Robot's Hypnotoad figure was finally revealed!

The description from the Kidrobot blog:

All Glory to the Hypnotoad! Meet Hypnotoad, beloved hypnotizing amphibian from Matt Groening’s celebrated television series, Futurama, now stylized in 4.5 inches of vinyl. Now, you too can win a pet contest. Don’t have sheep? Herd your cats, because his eyes really pulsate with changing colors. How? Toy magic. So it’s like having the real Hypnotoad? Nope, it’s a toy! Hypnotoad pre-releases at Kidrobot Booth #4529 at San Diego Comic Con, retailing for $39.95 US, and at Kidrobot stores,, and select retailers worldwide beginning August 2. Droning hum not included.

I want some of that toy magic.

If there were only one con exclusive I could get my hands on, it'd probably be this one.  Luckily it's only a pre-release, not a true con-exclusive, so I might be able to find one on it's August 2nd wide-release.  

All Glory to Hypnotoad

Never, Never has this meme been more applicable:

Sneak Peek of Michonne in Action from Upcoming Season 3 of The Walking Dead

After her badass, samurai sword-wielding entrance at the end of season 2's finale of The Walking Dead, what can we expect from Michonne in season 3?

More samurai sword-wielding badassery, for one.

The popular character from the comics will be played by actress Danai Gurari, from HBO's Treme.  Season 3 of TWD comes back with 16 new episodes in October.  Expect a new setting (the prison) and new characters.

Danai Gurari as Michonne

Here's a sneak peek of Michonne in action from season 3 of The Walking Dead.  It also features a little behind the scenes on set with actor Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn.  The set stuff was nice to see.  Seems like maybe they got back a little of that slashed budget that hurt the production last season.

The clip is from the aftershow 'The Talking Dead' hosted by The Nerdist's Chris Hardwick.  You should check out that show.  It usually features interviews with showrunners and celeb fans of the comic/show and gives a nice little perspective on the recent episodes.

The clip:

Can't wait, the whole prison saga is my favorite plotline from the comics.

And expect more news about The Walking Dead to break from Comic Con in the coming days.

You guys getting a little excited yet?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012 Bundles Leaked

Each of the last two years Steam has started its massive summer sale the last weekend in June.  This year it is late in coming, but Valve have confirmed that the sale will still be happening.

Here's a list of the confirmed bundles that will be available.

  • Day 1: Anomaly Warzone Earth, The Baconing, Cave Story+, EDGE, Lone Survivor.
  • Day 2: Botanicula, E.Y.E, Oil Rush, Splice, Universe Sandbox,
  • Day 3: Bit Trip Beat, Braid, Bunch of Heroes, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Runespell Overture,
  • Day 4: A Valley Without Wind, Atom Zombie Smasher, Blocks that Matter, Sanctum, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP,
  • Day 5: Audio Surf, Gemini Rue, Greed Corp, Tiny Bang Story, Ys: The Oath in Felghana
  • Day 6: Awesome, Defcon, Space Chem, Ticket to Ride, Trauma
  • Day 7: Avadon, Dungeons of Dredmor, Qube, Vessel, Zombie Driver
  • Day 8: Demolition Inc, Hoard, Sol Exodus, Swords and Soldiers HD, Wings of Prey,
  • Day 9: Capsized, Jamestown, Revenge of the Titans, VVVVVV, Zeno Clash
  • Day 10: All Zombies Must Die, Beat Hazard, Bit trip Runner, Eufloria, Machinarium
  • Day 11: Hydrophobia, Orion: Dino Beatdown, Star Ruler, Waveform, World of Goo
Other confirmed bundles:
  • 1C Collection Pack
  • Adam's Venture Complete Bundle Retail
  • Anno 2070 Pack
  • Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman Arkham City and Batman Gotham City Imposters Bundle
  • Bethesda Collection (BRINK, Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, Hunted)
  • Bioshock Franchise Pack
  • BIT.TRIP.BEAT Bundle
  • Carpe Fulger Bundle (Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, Chantelise, Fortune Summoners)
  • Civilization Collection
  • Command and Conquer Franchise
  • Dawn of War Franchise Pack
  • Dead Island Complete
  • Duke Nukem Bundle
  • Foreign Legion Bundle
  • Kalypso Collection (Tropico, Jagged Alliance, Airline Tycoon, etc)
  • Majesty Franchise
  • Paradox Collection (Magicka + dlcs, Mount and Blade, etc)
  • Pendulo Adventure Pack
  • Railworks 3 - Summer Sale Collection
  • Red Orchestra Franchise Pack (ROW)
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Bundle
  • Saints Row: The Third Franchise Pack
  • Sniper Elite Franchise Pack
  • Square Hit Collection (Hitman, Tomb Raider, Just Cause 2, Deus Ex, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Quantum Conundrum, Thief)
  • Stardock Collection Pack
  • Strategy First Complete Pack
  • Sword of the Stars Franchise
  • THQ Collection (Dawn of War, Warhammer, Stalker, Nexuiz, Darksiders, Metro 2033, etc)
  • Total War: Shogun 2 Pack
  • Victoria Franchise
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Pack
  • Wings of Prey
So get ready, and save up.  Keep in mind these won't be the only bundles or games available... just the ones that leaked.

I'm still working through the Indie Humble Bundle games myself, but it never hurts to shelve a couple of good titles for a hot price.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Two Biggest Suspension of Disbelief Issues in Amazing Spider-Man (Spoiler Free)

Just saw 'Amazing Spider-Man'.  A perfectly cromulent summer popcorn flick.  I'm not going to get into a big comparison between this and Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie.  All I'll say on that front is that CGI action scenes have come a long way in 10 short years.  Those fight scenes were great.  I also wanted to say that Emma Stone has never looked hotter.  Something about the fact that Gwen Stacy was always wearing knee-high socks/boots in every scene just did it for me... but I digress...

(Probably the poorest example from the film, but the only photo example I could find)

There were only two things in the movie that really took me out of the experience and ruined my suspension of disbelief:

1.  Peter Parker uses 'Bing' as his search engine.

Never in a million years will I accept the fact that anyone under the age of 35, much less a science nerd, would use Bing as a search engine.  I know it's a minor thing, and they probably got a lot of money for the product placement, but it was just totally unrealistic.  And I know how ridiculous that sounds for a super hero movie.

2.  Peter talks to Gwen on his cell phone whilst in a sewer with perfect reception.

There are some rooms in my own house where I can't get decent cell phone reception.  Yet I'm supposed to believe that Ol' Web Head can get 5 bars in an underground concrete tunnel?  Ridiculous.  

Other random thoughts:

-  Lizard looked fine on film, not cartoony or anything.  But he did look waaaaaaay more like Killer Croc from DC comics than Lizard from Marvel. 
- I liked that they eschewed the organic web-shooters in favor of the mechanical versions.  More true to the comics.  But, I kept waiting for a mid-swing empty web cartridge that never came.
- I'd love to see high schoolers portrayed by actors under the age of 25 sometime. 
 - Sally Field was fine as Aunt May.  But it bugged me way more than it should have that she didn't have white/gray hair.

Overall I suppose I mostly had a bit of deja vu watching this movie.  It was understandably similar to the first Raimi Spider-Man, but had enough differences to make it seem fresh.  Less campy than the earlier takes, although the Stan Lee cameo was in there.  Definitely had some major plot holes in the sense of dropped plot points. I guess I want to say it felt like I had just seen this movie.  10 years was probably too soon to reboot.  But hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do to hang onto those valuable character rights.

What did you guys think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What is a Higgs Boson?

Heady times in science.  Probably the biggest scientific discovery of the last 65 years, the discovery of a particle at 125.3 +/- .6 GeV, very likely the elusive Higgs Boson, confirming the Higgs Mechanism of the Standard Model of particle physics.

Which is great, but I was having a hard time trying to explain it to my parents... up/down quarks, W and Z bosons... to them it sounded like gibberish.   And quite honestly I'm not well-versed enough in particle physics to really do any kind of explanation justice.

But this video from PhD Comics seemed a good jumping-off point for anyone interested in what a Higgs Boson is, and furthermore what CERN does.

Note: this video was made over a year ago, before the confirmation of the Higgs Boson

So if you have kids, try to steer them towards theoretical (for the time being) physics... that's where all the exciting breakthroughs will be occurring for the foreseeable future...  Chemistry is so derivative.  

Also I couldn't help but pass along this joke:

"God particle?  It should be called a priest particle, since you can't have mass without it!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Short Film "Spoiler": A Post-Zombie Apocalypse Cop Drama

Came across a short film this week, Spoiler.  I usually stay away from the indie-sci-fi shorts, but this one had a decent pedigree.  The director is Daniel Thron, who has done FX work for movies like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The A-Team among others.

The short itself is set in a world, post-zombie apocalypse, where the main outbreak has been isolated and civilization is back in order.  But there are still occasional small outbreaks.  The short follows a coroner (the job has changed drastically since the outbreak) to an infection where he must determine the strain and virility of the infection.  And it's ultimately up to him to pronounce the victims dead... or help them get there.

Honestly, I've seen feature-length films that were a lot less engrossing than this short.  Maybe the production team will get funding for a full-length film someday.  It's a cool premise.

Definitely worth a 20 min watch.  It's not a zombie horror gore-fest; just a tense, drama-filled story set around an isolated zombie infection.  


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Toonami is Officially Coming Back

It has been officially announced on the Adult Swim website that Toonami is coming back on May 26th.  They had done a special night of programming back on April 1st, complete with new bumps from Tom (voiced by Steve Blum).  Apparently there was such a positive response and outpouring of support from fans that Adult Swim is bringing it back full time!  Steve Blum also led a large portion of the campaign via his twitter page.

I can't wait to see what content they licensed.  I'm sure it will have a lot of the old favorites, but hopefully they get some new blood in there too.  If you just can't wait until May 26th, check out Toonami Aftermath for some good ol' nostalgia action.

I'd personally love if they were able to get a third season of Big O going.  And I'd like to see Rurouni Kenshin brought back as well.

What do you guys think?  Which shows would you like to see come back?

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I haven't posted in a few weeks now.  I really haven't felt up to it.

A lot of family issues going on. Mainly, my grandpa has terminal cancer, and it's going to be a slow and steady decline.  At the time of my last post, he was in such pain from a tumor pressing on his spine that he could barely move and couldn't sleep.  It was truly awful.  Lots of tears all around.  Thankfully a round of radiation to treat those tumors has relieved some of the pain and given him back some of his mobility.

It has just been very tough.  On my whole family.  My grandpa is a guy who, at 83, was playing golf 4 days a week this past summer.  He was very active.  It's tough to see someone so lively be beaten down to such a degree.  And it all happened so quickly.

I worry now about my grandma.  She and my grandpa have been married for over 60 years.  They do everything together.  I worry how she will adjust after he's gone.  In her mind, she is still thinking that he is going to get better.  At least it seems after the last bad episode with the immense pain, they're both starting to realize they need to start preparing.

The recent activity has been a move to sell my grandpa's old car.  My grandpa was an electrician by trade who worked or Ford Motor Company for many years.  He has always been a car guy.  He bought a 1958 Mercedes 190SL in 1968, and has been working on it on and off ever since.  It was his big hobby piece.  He'd take a part of two and work on fixing it up or cleaning it up.  He's never really had the space or resources to do a full restoration on the car, but it's always been something he's enjoyed working on.  It's a difficult thing to watch him give up something he's worked so hard on for so long, especially when you know deep down he doesn't want to let it go.  But such is the reality of the situation.

The other difficult thing has been the pain management.  Which we know will be the main medical concern from here on.  The tricky thing is finding a balance between minimizing pain and minimizing the mental effects of powerful pain relievers.  For a while when the back pain was so bad, he was either in intense pain, or in such a haze from the drugs that he couldn't think clearly.  It's better right now, but I wonder how many good days will be left.

I went to a wedding out of town a few weeks back and saw a bunch of my friends from college who have had similar situations in their families.  It helped a lot to talk things out with them.  Cathartic even.  It's one of those things that happens late in life, and unfortunately I don't think this kind of situation is all that uncommon.  I empathize with anyone who's ever had a similar experience with a loved one.

I want to get back to posting regularly, and the usual posts, not this depressing stuff.  I just needed a break for a while to do other things and get my thoughts straight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Simpsons Clips - Food in Bar Form, Helper Monkeys, Paddlin', and Apes

Here are 4 unrelated, short Simpsons clips that always make me crack a smile.

After being inspired by Powersauce.  "I only eat food in bar form. When you concentrate food, you unleash its awesome power, I'm told. That's why I'm compressing 5 pounds of spaghetti into a handy mouth-sized bar."  Season 9 always gets a little hate for being the "start of the decline", but it has some of my favorite episodes (mainly this one "King of the Hill" and "the city of New York vs. Homer Simpson")

Good ol' Jasper Beardly takes over teaching at Springfield Elementary.  You better believe that's a paddlin'

Mojo the helper monkey after being assigned to Homer.  Pray for Mojo.

Simpsons Planet of the Apes featuring Troy McClure.  (Bonus: not a clip of the Dr. Zaius song)  The line that always gets me from that sequence is the "chimpan-a to chimpan-z" line.

I'm sure I'll think of another good one right after I publish this post.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 2 "The Night Lands" Power Rankings (Spoilers)

Lots going on in the land of Westeros these days.  The game of thrones is heating up with so many contenders for the crown that it's getting hard to keep track.  But it's making for a compelling watch.

I've read up to book 4, so I'm able to keep track of all the characters on the show.  I'd imagine for someone who hasn't read the books it can get a little confusing.  The main contenders for the crown at this moment:

Joffrey Baratheon
Currently sits the Iron Throne.  A Baratheon by name although he is the incestuous child of twins Cersei and Jamie Lannister.  Wields the might of House Lannister.  He's a ruthless, arrogant little shit bastard and basically everyone hates him.  His mother Cersei pretty much calls his shots, although the Robert Baratheon's bastard-baby murdering spree was his idea done without his mother's consent.  


Tyrion Lannister
The dwarf, wise-cracking (he gets the best lines on the show), acting hand of the king.  He's extremely clever and quick-witted, and openly hates his nephew Joffrey and his sister Cersei.  He also shows his balls by calling out Varys' subtle threat against him, and by replacing Cersei's appointment Janos Sylnt, head of the gold cloaks, with his hired-sword Bronn.  He's not actually a true contender for the throne at this moment, but he's such an awesomely badass character he deserved his own little write-up.


Stannis Baratheon
Probably has the surest claim to the throne in the light of Joffrey's bastardness.  Has yet to really flex his muscle.  He knows his younger brother Renly has more men, and the men he needs to make a run at King's Landing and the Lannisters.  The major wildcard here is the mysterious red witch, Melisandre, servant to the lord of light.  What kind of power can she provide for Stannis?


Renly Baratheon
He's Stannis and Robert's little brother.  A popular, charismatic figure among the inhabitants of Westeros.  He has gathered an army of over 100,000 troops, many the bannermen of Stannis.  He has not yet been shown in season 2, only referenced by others.  He is a smart guy, as he realized the implications of Robert's death immediately and tried to warm Ned Stark to act.  Sadly Ned didn't listen and, like always, Sean Bean's character was killed off.  Look for Renly to have a big impact in the coming episodes.

Robb Stark

Robb Stark
Leads the armies of the North.  Brilliant so far on the battlefield, winning each battle he's had with the Lannister forces.  Captured Jamie Lannister, the kingslayer.  Robb has proved himself to be a clever commander, and so far has outwitted the more experienced Tywin Lannister.  Is currently looking to join forces with Renly and Balon Greyjoy to give him the man advantage he needs to crush the Lannisters, unseat Joffrey, and avenge his father's death.  Is he stretching himself too thin?

Wildcards and New Characters


Daenerys Targaryen 
The mother of dragons.  She is in rough shape right now.  Over the sea in the Dothraki lands.  She and her few followers are wandering through the desert, with little hope.  Her only asset right now is her dragons.  How can she use them?

Theon Greyjoy

Theon Greyjoy
Robb Stark's "brother".  Taken from his home and fostered with the Starks as punishment for his father's role in Robert Baratheon's ascension to the throne.  He now returns to the Iron Islands for the first time since his childhood.  Clearly trying to impress his father, Balon Greyjoy, and prove that he is now a man.  Seems like he is willing to turn on Robb to regain a place with his family.  Also led to this super awkward exchange with his (unknown at the time) sister, Yara (Asha in the books):
Sure is a lot of incestuous behavior on this show

(Bonus fun fact:  The actor who portrays Theon is Alfie Allen, brother of British singer Lily Allen and subject of the song "Alfie" on her debut album.)

We also get introduced to a new power player here, Theon's father Balon, who commands a large fleet of ships, and was once a king of his own right of the Iron Islands. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Balon Greyjoy


Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish
A man of low birth with a mind to make coin and sky-high aspirations.  He's clever and dangerous.  Valuable to the Lannisters because of his skill with money.  Wields no real power, but remains a shadowy player.  Put in his place by Cersei in episode 1, but shows his ruthless ambition in his brothel in episode 2.  Will make whatever moves necessary to get ahead.

Arya (Arry)

Arya Stark & Gendry
Both on their way to the Night's Watch.  Both sought by the Lannisters.  Arya as a bargaining chip with the Starks, and Gendry because he has a claim to the throne as Robert's bastard son.  Will they escape the Lannister's reach?

Jon Snow

Jon Snow
Raised as Ned Stark's bastard son at Winterfell.  Was never told the true story of his birth before Ned's death.  Vague who his real parents are.  Hasn't done much so far this season, but he is being groomed to take over as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.  Still learning his place in the world.  Looks sufficiently badass and has a Valyrian steel sword and a red-eyed, albino direwolf, Ghost.  Sees Craster handing a baby (boy, presumably) over to a White Walker.


Gilly, Craster's Daughter
Daughter/wife of that creepy old pervert, Craster.  She's pregnant and is concerned for the welfare of her unborn child, especially if it's a boy.  She befriends that lovable oaf Sam, and clearly wants Sam and Jon to help her escape Craster's pervy grasp.


Stannis' ace in the hole.  The red priestess of R'hllor.  Remains my favorite new cast member so far ( I really feel like they absolutely nailed this casting).  Mysterious.  We don't know much about her past or her true motivations.  We do know that she is powerful (magic?) and believes in Stannis.  She definitely has a role to play.

I'll stop here.  You can see how grand the scope of this show is.  I didn't even list all of the interesting characters. (I'm looking at you, Jaqen H'ghar)

There are plenty more.  And more yet to be introduced.  It's crazy.  But I don't feel like writing all day.  If you're new to the show, this should at least give you a little idea as to what's in store for the second season. If you haven't watched the first season yet, do.  Otherwise you'll be lost and all the explaining in the world probably won't help.  

Who's your favorite character?