Monday, March 19, 2012

Favorite things around the net: The Demented Cartoon Movie

Spreading the word about random things on the net.

The Demented Cartoon Movie

By internet standards, this is old. But anything I can remember (and quote!) ten years after I saw it has got to be worth mentioning again!

Below is a youtube version, just to have something to show on my blog, but it sucks because the sound is out of synch and the quality isn't as good. If you wanna see the whole thing click the link above to go to the homepage, the original source.

Yeap, the movie is half an hour long, and is nothing but stick figures blowing up, nuclear explosions, earth getting blown up, people throwing bombs at each other, stepping on random buttons and getting blown up, and a special word that causes nuclear explosions.

It should be dismissed as cheap and lowbrow, but somehow it's kinda brilliant. It starts off random, but then it coalesces into self-contained themes and tropes. It creates its own logic, its own methods, its own philosophy, and in so doing the movie becomes clever, genuinely funny and original. It's a wonderful, unique achievement! So go ahead. Waste half an hour of your life watching this. You'll be quoting it for years. I promise!

Zeeky boogy doog!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A few thoughts on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Beat the main quest in Skyrim after sinking 80 hours into the game. There’s still so much more to do and I’m glad I bought the game and got my money’s worth out of it. The hints of the world are fascinating, especially a book I found that gives an account of a man’s journey through Oblivion, the realm of the Daedra. (I found it during the Black Star quest.) That actually held my interest. Even though I haven’t played any of the previous games, that one book put the whole world into perspective and suddenly I understood just what I was dealing with.

I admit I like the sci-fi theme of the Fallout games more, but I still liked the ability to use magic instead of guns all the time. Sci-fi themes just resonate with me more, probably because they're extensions of logical ideas instead of just romanticizing the middle ages (something I absolutely can't get into).

The stories and characters behind the quests in Fallout 3 and New Vegas made more sense and drew me in more than the ones in Skyrim. Fallout 3 especially. I was more invested in the characters, got to know them better, and felt compelled to help them. That’s what motivated me to do those quests in the first place. The main quest in Novac in Fallout: New Vegas, for example, blew me away and made me cry a little because it surprised me.

I tend to think quantity is not helping these games. More quests and more locations is cheapening them, making them into fetch this, kill that. It started in New Vegas with so many locations and quests I began doing the quests because they were quests and I had to do them, instead of getting to know the characters and their stories and having a desire to help them.

It wasn’t too big a deal in NV, but in Skyrim it’s a huge issue. There’s so much to do and so many people to talk to there's no room for personal connection with the characters, or to care about who they are and why they want you to do something for them. That hurt the game. Fetch this, kill that, it’s a quest so it must be done...

It’s still a wonderful world to explore and I enjoyed every minute of it except for the bug that kept the “A Caged Rat” quest from appearing. Had to use a console command to skip it so I could move on with the main story. That was jarring, but once it was over I got back into it.

I enjoyed the game, but there's absolutely no depth to any of the characters or quests. You don't get to know anybody, so the quests are meaningless. You get so many quests you'll likely be afraid to talk to anybody for fear they'll give you something else to do!

The people have nothing interesting to say, no personality, barely any history, they just give you fetch-this-kill-that quests, so they are also meaningless. I didn't care about anyone in Skyrim except Arniel, who is researching the Dwarf civilization. I shared his fascination with the dwarves so I actually wanted to help him, but that's it! That's the only character I got attached to!

The main story is also disappointing. The final battle is just another dragon battle. That's it? By now the player has already done 30 of these battles, and this dragon battle is even easier because you have companions. The dragon goes after them first, leaving me to cast spells from afar. Some final battle... Dovahkiin doesn't even have to make the stand alone to save the world. Why couldn't those other people defeat the dragon before? Dragon Rend wasn't that useful.

I did enjoy the game, but I'd much rather have just a few quests and more character attachment than a ton of quests, characters and locations with no attachment to anyone. Fallout 3 succeeded in this respect. It drew me into the world, made me care about the people in it, made me want to do these quests and help them. Skyrim failed to do this, opting for quantity over quality. Maybe it's because I'm mostly a sci-fi guy, but I don't think I'm alone in this opinion.

Monday, March 12, 2012

45,000 words

Bam! First draft of a new novel complete!

45,000 words! I was shooting for 50-55,000, but I'm sure it'll stretch out in the next draft.

Oh, man, this book gave me a lot of trouble, but I think it will come together very well.

What's it about? This is another bizarro novel, nothing like Felix's story. No horse dildos, no extreme sexual puns. hints. Not yet. Not until I run this through another draft. Hell, I don't even have a title yet!

Glad it's over. I need a break after that marathon, and to forget about what it will take to draft this mess!

So, seven short stories pending acceptance/rejection. Two novels in progress. I think I feel alive. Yes, I'm pretty sure this is what alive feels like!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Aging Status Report

Changes I notice as I grow older:

I can't kneel on my knees as long as I used to. My knees ache when I do it too long. They never used to.

I can't handle the cold like I could before. My hands and feet start to hurt after just a few minutes. It's very painful. As a kid I used to be able to play in the snow for hours and hours. Now I can't even go 20 minutes in cold weather without my hands and feet giving me pain.

The hearing loss in my left ear is becoming noticeable.

Cuts don't heal as fast as they used to. Once upon a time if I got a cut or an open scratch, I'd just douse it in alcohol and leave it alone. It would heal in a few hours. Can't do that anymore--open cuts tend to stay open for days now. If I don't want it to become infected, I have to cover it with a bandage. This was a great shock to me when I realized it. I didn't think this would start happening until I passed 40. It's happening now...

The skin on my hands is incredibly dry in the winter. It turns red and if I don't use lotion it will crack and split open. This surprised me. I never had this "special need" when I was younger and I resent I need to do this at all.

Time is moving faster and faster. In my school years, summer vacation was a lifetime and the school year was three lifetimes. it took so long to get through a year, and at the end of the year it FELT like an entire year had gone by. Then between the ages of 18 and 25, the years went a little faster, but they still felt like lifetimes. Now... Years 25 through 29 have gone by like nothing. This is what I dread most of all. Time going by faster and faster, slipping away, and I can't stop it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Favorite things around the net: Sonic for Hire

Spreading the word about random things on the net.

Sonic For Hire

Just recently discovered this series. It's not very often i find an indie series on the net that actually makes me laugh. Most of it seems to take its cues from the crap on Adult Swim in that the people making it seem to think they don't have to bother coming up with anything original or funny. It just has to be awkward. Yeah... awkward is always funny. Bullshit.

But here's a series in which the creators actually took the time to come up with something. Sonic the hedgehog is out of work and is now doing odd jobs for other games to pay the rent. Here's the first episode

Real ideas, real jokes, clever mashups and reinterpretations of old games I remember. That's what makes this whole idea work. Someone actually put thought and creativity into this, instead of just making everything awkward and hoping people think it's funny. Here's another one, drawing attention to something about Kirby I never considered before.

I never noticed that Kirby's evil enemies are vanilla compared to what everyone else has to fight. Very dark, but very clever, too!

You can watch the entire series on youtube in less than an hour. It's worth the time for those of you who get a kick out of video game humor!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

100 horrors now available!

The 100 Horrors collection is available now as an e-book!

My story, Sharp Rain, is part of it!

Remember you don't need a Kindle to read it, you can read it right here on your computer or phone! There will be a printed edition coming soon if you prefer to stare at something real instead of pixels on a me...