Monday, October 31, 2011

Ride With the Moon in the Dead of Night

Happy Halloween, one and all! Today I'm going to talk about another Neil Gaiman classic, "Coraline." 

Written in 2004, "Coraline" tells the story of a little girl who isn't quite neglected by her parents, but they aren't very attentive either. They pass her back and forth, give her busy work to do, but Coraline is bored, even after exploring her new home and meeting her colorful neighbors. One day while searching through the new home, she finds a small, locked door that piques her curiosity. She begs her mom to unlock the door with the key she found in the kitchen, and is sad to see there is nothing but a brick wall behind the door. 

However, that is not the end of the story. 

At night, the brick wall moves aside to create a tunnel to a fantastic world that Coraline is all too eager to be in. In this new world, her parents are attentive, they make food she actually enjoys, and there are plenty of things to do. 

But this utopia has a price...

In 2009, Coraline was adapted into a feature film by Henry Selick, the creative genius behind "Nightmare Before Christmas." Though there had to be minor changes to the story to make it work on screen, it stays very true to Gaiman's original work. The changes enhance the story rather than take away from it. The film is done in stop-motion animation and the voice cast is an incredibly talented mix of actors. I saw it i the theater in 3D, and bought the 3D edition on DVD.


Also in 2009, a graphic novel of "Coraline" was released. It is the same story as the book, and doesn't use the art style of the movie. It is wonderfully macabre, and is exactly the kind of book I loved as a child. Though the original book has some illustrations, I think "Coraline" plays out very well as a graphic novel.


"Coraline" is a great movie to curl up on the couch to watch on a cold, dark Halloween night, or a great book to snuggle in bed with. However the story finds you, you'll enjoy it. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blizzard Apologizes for Homophobic Tirade at Blizzcon

Blizzard president Mike Morhaime posted an apology for the homophobic tirade presented at this year's Blizzcon:
It was shortsighted and insensitive to use the video at all, even in censored form. The language used in the original version, including the slurs and use of sexual orientation as an insult, is not acceptable, period. We realize now that having even an edited version at the show was counter to the standards we try to maintain in our forums and in our games. Doing so was an error in judgment, and we regret it.
I like they part where they "realize now" that alienating their LGBT players and customers by promoting hateful homophobic comments is wrong. Better late than never I guess. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stop the Sexy Costume Insanity

There is only one thing about Halloween that bothers me and that is the trend that has cropped up in the last five years or so that states all women's costumes have be sexy. Sexy nurse, sexy vampire, sexy barbarian, etc. Last year the insanity of this reached critical mass when I saw a sexy bumblebee costume. That's right, bees can now be sexy. I don't have an issue with sexy costumes per se, but when the only options are these sexy variants of every day things there is a problem. Even worse is that the sexualization of costumes is now reaching down into girls' costumes, and some of the ones you find in stores now are quite inappropriate. 



But there is hope! The website Take Back Halloween is a website dedicated to women with an imagination. It's not a store, but a resource guide to creating fantastic costumes that move beyond the sexy trend. 
So while you're getting ready for Halloween parties this weekend, know that you have other options than being a sexy package of M&Ms

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stan Lee Reads "The Raven"

This is one of my absolute favorite Halloween videos, and I have shared it with friends and family every year since I first saw it in 2008. Sadly the original website that hosted it isn't around anymore, but someone put it up on You Tube. I'm disappointed that they broke it down into two parts, though. Nonetheless, it is a very enjoyable experience. Excelsior! 


Weekly Roundup

News of the Geek


Good Internet Reads


Neat Finds

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Lights

A Halloween time the outside of my house is pretty well decorated. We have a graveyard scene, some scary skulls in the bushes, and ghosts hanging from the porch. The best part are two giant eyes that flicker menacingly from an upstairs window. I have had children come to the house to sell things for school and comment "I love coming to your house to Trick or Treat!" It always puts a smile on my face. 


I found a house, however, that puts mine to shame. Watch this:
This makes me squee heartily. It's cool, it's Halloweeny, and it's geeky as hell. It also displays quite a talent. According to the poster, he makes all of the light displays himself (and I'm happy to see he uses environmentally friendly LED lights). I imagine his neighbors aren't big fans of this display, but I'd happily live next to this family. 


There's also this one:
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some home decor to reconsider. And an engineering degree to obtain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nightmare Revisited

Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies, which should not come to great surprise to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. A few years ago, Jon gifted me a copy of a really wonderful CD (remember those?), Nightmare Revisited


Nightmare Revisited is a collection of covers of the songs from the movie done by popular artists, and is book ended by voice overs by Danny Elfman. Artists on the CD include Marilyn Manson, Amy Lee, and Plain White T's. My favorite track is "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" by Korn.

The Big Fat Truth about Sexism in the Diet Industry

Last month, a posted a link to the Facebook fan page to an article about Dr. Pepper's new drink which explicitly states "is not for women." I had read elsewhere that, due to public outcry (which probably sounded like "What the fuck?"), the Dr. Pepper folks had decided to axe the campaign. But then a week ago, I saw the commercial on TV:
On top of being enormously sexist, it's also incredibly stupid. "It's not for women?" Well ok then. Does that mean that men who drink other, sexually ambiguous diet sodas need to be ashamed? Why are we suddenly giving men permission to drink diet sodas when they've been on the market for as long as I can remember? 


And what the hell is so feminine about diet soda? 


It also assumes a LOT about women - that we hate action films (sadly this one is true for me; I get bored out of my skull when a movie is all explosions and no plot, no character development, and no interesting dialogue), and that we dig romantic comedies and so-called "chick flicks." I like some mind candy every now and then, but rom-coms are not my goto choice of film. 

If this isn't bad enough, Weight Watchers has started an all new program for men. The first time I saw the commercial for it, it kind of broke my brain. I never knew Weight Watchers was exclusively for women. All this time I thought men were already using their products and having success.  



I know that women have far more pressure on them to be beautiful and perfect than men do, and that a fat women would never be the lead in one of those romantic comedies that we apparently love so much, but I'm quite shocked that the diet industry is now being so bold and so blatant in their sexism. The more subtle and insidious things have been pointed out by feminists for years (and we usually get told to shut up and that we're making too much out of nothing), but this is obvious enough that no one can ignore it. Saying that Weight Watchers has a program for men is saying that for 40 years Weight Watchers has existed only for women. Saying that Dr. Pepper 10 is a drink for men says that all other diet drinks are for women. 


And the worst thing that a man can be called is a woman.


"You throw like a girl." 
"You run like a girl."
"Quit being a little bitch." 

"Man up."
"Stop being a sissy."
"Get the sand out of your vagina."
"You're a pussy."


Sound familiar? I'm sure it does. No one grows up in a vacuum. This kind of thing starts on the playground and slithers its way into adulthood, apparently to the point that men feel they can't diet like a woman lest they be compared to one. 


And how ridiculous is that?

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Bunch of Crock

What do you get when you cross vintage art and snarky (but accurate) political commentary? Why you get my favorite thing of the day, A Bunch of Crock.
Nearly one-in-five (18%) Americans say President Barack Obama is a Muslim. 


A Bunch of Crock is the creation of artist Safwat Saleem, who has this to say about it on his website:
A Bunch of Crock is an art exhibit about the absurdities of political campaigns and the unfortunate role of minorities. Filtering through various political messages in any election year, the common thread seems to be this: 1) politicians and pundits think the general population is too stupid to tell fact from fiction and 2) promoting fear of minorities is good politics.
Using satire and good old-fashioned profanity, this exhibit attempts to bypass the bullshit and tell the audience what the politicians and pundits actually mean, and how they portray minorities to promote fear and manufacture outrage.

Life's No Fun Without A Good Scare

Today marks the start of my favorite week of the year, the week that my birthday and Halloween both happen. To celebrate, I'm going to post awesome Halloween stuff all week long. So sit back and enjoy today's creepy delight, Neil Gaiman's Newbery Award winning book, The Graveyard Book.

In true Gaiman fashion, The Graveyard Book is a wildly imaginative tale full of twists and turns that take you to magical and fantastical places. The story focuses on Bod, who starts the story as a baby. His family has been murdered, and he alone escaped the knife of the man Jack. Bod wanders into a graveyard where he is taken in by the ghostly and otherworldly inhabitants who vow to raise Bod as their own. 


This book is funny, macabre, thrilling, painful, but above all terribly beautiful. And though it was written for a younger audience, there is no reason adults won't enjoy it as well. In fact, the layers of complexity that Gaiman weaves together ensure that they will. 
Sleep my little babby-oh

Sleep until you waken
When you're grown you'll see the world
If I'm not mistaken.
Kiss a lover,
Dance a measure
Find your name
and buried treasure...
To say I like this book is simply inadequate. I devoured this book in an afternoon. At 312 pages (included the acknowledgments) it's not that big a feat, but it's not something I usually do. And after I devoured it, I read it again, slowly, spreading it out over a week. The second read was every bit as wonderful as the first. 

Right now, Neil Gaiman has videos of himself on his website reading The Graveyard Book to an audience. I've had them playing in the background all day while I write, helping set the mood and tone for the week. His voice makes a haunting and wickedly entertaining book all the better. 

Enjoy! 

Sweaters for Penguins

In case you haven't heard, there was a terrible oil spill in New Zealand in early October and it has caused what is probably the worst environmental tragedy the country has ever seen. The penguin population of New Zealand has been hit quite hard by it:
The fallout from the incident, which saw Rena run aground on a reef last Wednesday, is already being felt, with seven little blue penguins and two cormorants recovered and treated today at a centre in Tauranga.
If you are a knitter, there is a way you can help. New Zealand yarn company Skeinz has put out a call to action to get people to knit sweaters for the rescued penguins. This may sound crazy, but I can assure you they are vital accessories and not tragicrafting. The sweaters keep the penguins from preening themselves and ingesting the oil, which can be a serious problem. Of course it also has the added bonus of being totally adorable.
Cutest Call To Action Ever of the Day

Directions on knitting the sweaters and information on where to send them are on the Skeinz website. If you knit, please take time to help out a penguin. And if you don't, do what I did and help spread the word. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Google Doodle Celebrates Artist Mary Blair

You may not know Mary Blair, the artist celebrated on Friday's Google Doodle, by name but you more than likely know her work. Mary was the creative force behind Disney World's It's a Small World Ride and had a substantial impact on early Disney animated movies. This is the Doodle that was up Friday, which would have been her 100th birthday:
Mary Blair's 100th Birthday

Mary and her husband started working for Disney in 1940, at a time when it was difficult (and in some places impossible) for women to work outside the home, particularly if she was married. Mary's work in the early days of the studio laid the groundwork for how Disney movies even today are styled.
"She influenced the tone of the picture with her use of color and design," Michael Giaimo told the Los Angeles Times' King. The art director on Disney's 1995 "Pocahontas" and visual development artist on 2004's "Home on the Range" said: "So many design elements that were more finessed by the time the stories reached the screen, all had a genesis in her designs."
My original intent in highlighting Mary has three parts. For one, the Google Doodle is very cool. It capture's Mary's art style perfectly. For two, I am an unapologetic lover of all things Disney. And for three, Mary was an incredibly talented and accomplished woman who had amazing success at a time when most women couldn't even work. 

But then my partner John got me the game Epic Mickey for my birthday (yes this birthday; I know I'm a little late to the party), and I played it with my mouth hanging open when I saw how much of the art was inspired by Mary's legacy.

On top of being a hell of a lot of fun, Epic Mickey is just one of the latest Disney creations to pay homage to an amazing woman. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Roundup

News of the Geek

  • Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebel insurgents in Libya yesterday.
    • The final hunt for Gadhafi began around 8 a.m. Thursday in Sirte, which is the former leader's hometown and was one of the final loyalist strongholds of his regime. The rebels who took control of Libya in February began what they hoped would be their final offensive to conquer the town.
  • And Carlos Santana remains very much alive.
    • We're not sure how this happened, but somehow in the crush of news that hit the Web on Thursday, Oct. 20, photos of dead, ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi somehow got confused with Carlos Santana -- who, to our eyes, resembles the dictator about as much as he resembles George W. Bush, which is to say, not much.
  • Jon Bon Jovi opened up a charity restaurant in New Jersey.
    • Opened by the musician and his wife, the JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey takes both cash and volunteer hours for payment. The concept is to provide a dine-in experience to the hungry while enabling them to volunteer on projects in return.
  • Couple married 72 years dies holding hands. This is a beautifully tragic story. 
    • Gordon died at 3:38 p.m. holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them....At 4:38 p.m., exactly one hour after Gordon died, Norma passed too.
  • Astronomer in Hawaii captures image of forming planet
    • Adam Kraus, of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, said the planet is being formed out of dust and gas circling a 2-milion-year-old star about 450 light years from Earth.
    • AP Photo
  • Google+ is going to start allowing users to use pseudonyms
    • Apparently the issue is technology, resources and the atmosphere the company wanted to set with Google+. The company wanted to create a community focused on real names, but now it realizes that some people have legitimate reasons to use pseudonyms.
Good Internet Reads
  • Amanda Fucking Palmer wrote a great piece on blogging as an art form.
    • but why? artists - or writers - take time to put their thoughts into words. it could be a tweet (140 characters), a poem (1-1,000,000,000,000 characters), a two-thousand word short story, or a multi-volume epic novel. why does one get precedence over the other? is it because tweets and blogs aren’t published on paper, and we still refuse to accept internet-content as valuable? has that changed now that people have kindles and are downloading shakespeare and reading heavy, hardcore journalism on their iPhones on the subway to work?? there’s some serious medium vs message shit playing out as i fucking type this. helllllllll yeah.
  • This piece, Notes from a Dragon Mom, discuss what you do as a parent when you know your child is going to die. It's heart-breaking, but enlightening. 
    • How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit? Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.
  • A funny but smart look at why CGI humans are creepy, and what's being done to fix it
    • But as the robots' humanism approaches that of actual humans, our empathy for them — and the line on the graph — suddenly plummets. The resemblance between human and robot goes from remarkable to repulsive, and this precipitous drop became known as the "uncanny valley."
    • The uncanny valley as envisioned by the roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. Credit: Creative Commons | Smurrayinchester
  • I have not yet played Arkham City, but it's apparently super-duper sexist. Interesting article, despite being written in capslock. 
    • TO REITERATE: IN THE FIRST HOUR OF ARKHAM CITY WE HAVE A SCANTILLY CLAD HIGH-HEAL-NINJA-ING CATWOMAN GETTING BEATEN BY TWO-FACE AS HE CALLS HER A BITCH. WE HAVE A GROUP OF MUSCLE-BOUND HOODLUMS ALL STANDING AROUND EXCITED TO DUMP HER INTO A VAT OF ACID. BATMAN COMES TO THE RESCUE AS CATWOMAN ESCAPES. SHE FLIRTS WITH HIM MERCILESSLY AND MAKES NOT JUST DUMB, BUT NOT-FUN SEXY PUNS. BATMAN THEN GOES OUTSIDE AND YOU OVERHEAR A BUNCH OF GUYS TALKING ABOUT HOW CATWOMAN AND AGAIN THE WORD BITCH POPS IN. THEY ALL THINK SHE SWINGS BOTH WAYS (CAUSE THAT’S THE KIND OF THING ANY SEXY GIRL MUST BE UP FOR). AND THEN THEY’RE BASICALLY TALKING ABOUT THEIR MASTURBATORY FANTASIES OF HER… YOU KNOW, ABOUT THE SAME ONE THEY WERE CALLING A BITCH. BATMAN THEN GOES OVER TOWARD THE JOKER’S TOWER AND YOU HOPE ALL THIS SHIT IS OVER BUT THEN YOU OVERHEAR A BUNCH OF THUGS TALKING ABOUT HOW HARLEY QUINN IS A DUMB BITCH.
Neat Finds

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Spooky Interlude

This is my absolute favorite month of the year. The weather is great. It's not too warm, not too cool. The air is crisp, but the Sun is out. The days are still pretty long, there are still some flowers, and everything feels downright cozy. Not to mention that my birthday is in October.

But I also love all the spookiness that comes with October. My house is full of skulls, and bats, and ghosts and all manner of creepy cuteness. I mean, more than usual. 
Late last night I found two things that made me squee, and knew I had to share them here. 


First up, Cake Wrecks featured Tim Burton inspired cakes yesterday in their Sunday Sweets feature. These are my favorites, though I love them all:

 

Then I found this blog post about spirit photography from the late 1800sThe low tech shenanigans of these pictures crack me up. But kudos to them for being the forerunners for Photoshop trolls!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spock is Gay

No, not that Spock. The new one. From the reboot all Trekkers wanted to hate but couldn't help but love. Spock actor Zachary Quinto has announced he is gay:
"At the same time," he adds, "as a gay man, it made me feel like there's still so much work to be done, and there's still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed."
Zachary Quinto: I'm a Gay Man | Zachary Quinto
It's always the hot ones *sigh*

It wasn't a huge announcement, with a press conference or a parade, just an honest interview with People magazine. 

While reading the article, I broke my own self-imposed rule and read the comments. It always amazes me to read things like this:

Who cares if he's gay? What one does in one's personal life is their business. It would be a more relevant article if it were about what his next projects are going to be acting-wise; I'm not interested in what he does in his private life.
No one ever talks about someone's heterosexuality as being "one's personal life" that should be kept private. When pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their children are splashed all over magazines, people don't get all up in arms about them flaunting their heterosexual relationship and their ability to breed. I mean, can you imagine?
"Oh my god, just look at them! Who cares if they're together? Their personal life is their business. And look at all those kids! Disgusting. Why are we glorifying this? I'm not interested in what they do in their private life."
Who someone loves and wants to spend their life with is not private business. The intimate details of their life together is, sure, but not the fact that they're together (unless they want it private). Simply announcing you are queer doesn't give any intimate details into your life. Why do so many people jump right to sex when they hear the word gay? 

It is important for people to come out because of assumed heterosexuality. We live in a heteronormative/heterosexist society, as witnessed by the comments people make whenever famous people come out. Or the comments people make about National Coming Out Day. Or, you know, every day life. It is not ok to tell people they have to keep their relationships private. 


So rock on, Mr. Quinto. Live Long, and Prosper. 


Update: Zachary Quinto made this touching blog post about why he decided to come out:
but in light of jamey's death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.
Big thanks to Mary who posted the link over on our Facebook group! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekly Roundup

This is a bit late but will get back to being posted on Wednesdays next week. Thanks!


News of the Geek

  • The House passed the controversial "Let Women Die" bill this week. 
    • As predicted, the US House of Representatives has passed HR 358, otherwise known as the "Protect Life Act," otherwise known as the bill that would allow hospitals to let women to die rather than perform a life-saving abortion. Every single Republican in the House supported the measure, and 11 Democrats crossed the aisle to join their life-protecting brethren. USA! USA! USA!
  • A Time-Warner Cable employee died at her desk after her coworker was told to stop administering CPR and get back to work. Good gods. I know their products suck, but I had no idea they were cold and heartless to boot. 
    • Last month, a Time Warner Cable customer service rep died at her desk. After any unexpected death, people searched for answers, explanations, someone to blame. But in this case, there may have actually been something foul afoot. A local news station reports that after a co-worker began giving CPR to 67-year-old Julia Nelson, a supervisor allegedly told her to stop and "get back on the phone and take care of customers."
  • Herman Cain's 999 tax plan comes right out of SimCity 4.
    • When SimCity's core said "Hey, that sounds familiar," the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel went digging for answers. The provenance of Cain's proposal is unknown; it's said to come from Rich Lowrie, an economic advisor to Cain. He didn't comment, and his receptionist said he's not much of a gamer.
  • Final Fantasy XIV subscriptions coming soon. PS3 version coming next year.
    • "In the ten months since the FINAL FANTASY XIV team's restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game's existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game's new direction," Wada stated. "Today, I am pleased to announce we can confidently present that plan to our customers. We fully realize this is but a single step towards our ultimate goal, and that to meet the high standards set in the plan, more time is required. In the meantime, however, we will not waver in our commitment to bringing players exciting and engaging content, even as the game moves through its evolution."
Good Internet Reads
  • A Sci Fi explanation about why gay people should be allowed to marry.
    • Yesterday, US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker helped us move the rights needle a little further toward that future. In a heavily disputed decision, Walker overturned the barbarous Proposition 8 on the grounds it was unconstitutional under California law. His ruling was unequivocal and exhaustive: same-sex marriage is and should be equal to opposite-sex marriage. No doubt the case will move to the Supreme Court, where Obama and Congress’ collective feet-dragging on DOMA and DADT will finally be confronted. Until then, same-sex marriage is forbidden in most states in the USA and, regardless of the Supreme Court decision, will remain so in most countries in the world.
    • 800px-George_Takei_Chicago_Gay_&_Lesbian_Pride_2006
  • Great article on what it means to be bisexual. This article touched on a lot of things I have had to deal with since coming out as bisexual in my 20s. Like I tell people, "I'm not straight, not gay, not confused." 
    • Bisexuals who end up in opposite-gender relationships, of course, can blend in with the straight community fairly easily. However, that ability to easily blend in comes at a price: Those individuals can feel like they've lost some of their "queerness" and their ties to the LGBT community.
  • This article, about remembering a relationship through saved electronic data, made me cry. I, too, am an e-hoarder (and Gmail makes it way too easy with all the space they give you). 
    • I have also gone through and reread conversations with loved ones when I miss them. Nearly four years later, I sometimes type his email address in the search box in my Gmail. Hundreds of results pop up, and I’ll pick a few at random to read. The ease of our everyday interactions is what kills me. The way we spoke to each other about what I’d bring home for dinner or whether it was a PBR or a Grolsch kind of night. In nearly every conversation, there is something that releases the pressure from my chest by forcing a giant laugh.

Neat Finds

An Obnoxious Response to Occupy Wall Street

If you are on Facebook, chances are good that you have seen this:
This kid has no idea what he's talking about (and I say "he" in the generic; I have no idea who wrote this). He makes "barely above minimum wage," which is well below the $350,000.00 annual salary needed to not be in the 99%. The 99% is an economic indicator, not a reflection on your state in life. 

Also, this kid is still in college. He has no idea what life is like once you leave the safety and security of college. He has no idea how many people had the world on a string at age 22, but had all their good plans and security crushed because of an injury, illness, or some other catastrophe. As the old saying goes, shit happens. Also, he spelled "ass" wrong. If you're going to be an adult, use your grown up words. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marvel's The Avengers Movie Has a Trailer

Good news for geeks and those who love comic-inspired movies - The Avengers trailer is now out! 
I've always preferred DC to Marvel, but I do like The Avengers. I have also liked all of the recent Avengers movies that I have seen, and have been pleased at the post-credits teasers leading up to this film. I'm also a rarity among geeks in that I don't worship the ground Joss Whedon walks on, so my anticipation for this film is not about him. Sure I liked Dr. Horrible, but I've only been "meh" on his other work (and no, I haven't seen Firefly or Serenity; stop asking). Still, this is a great cast of people and the source material is an excellent starting point, so I have confidence that Mr. Whedon 


When news that Ed Norton wouldn't be back as Bruce Banner, I was a little apprehensive about this movie. Ok, a lot apprehensive. I really enjoyed his take on Dr. Banner. My fears were assuaged, however, by the casting of Mark Ruffalo. I have always enjoyed Mr. Ruffalo's work, particularly his role in one of my favorite films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He has a conflicted aire about him anyway, and so I think playing the tormented Dr. Banner is right up his alley. I think he's going to be great. 


I also like the look of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye here. In fact, he looks just like my partner John, which made me smile. 


So, is it next Summer yet? 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Is Dangerous To Go Alone - 25 Years of Sibling Bonding

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the US release of The Legend of Zelda. From the moment Jon and I saw the now famous commercial for it we knew we had to have it. 

So we saved up our Christmas money and bought it in December 1987. It was so exciting, and I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Jon and I eagerly asked our parents to take us to the only store in town where we could buy video games back then. We practically ran to the toy department and stood in front of the large, locked glass case of video games. We stood and looked over the case, our eyes wide with excitement, until it landed on the object of our obsession. 

Not seeing a clerk nearby, we rang the bell for service and impatiently waited the five excruciating minutes it took for one to come to the desk. 

"We want The Legend of Zelda please!" I practically yelled at her. She smiled and handed me a slip of paper. 

"Take this to the register and your game will be waiting for you up there." 

We didn't have to be told twice. We practically ran to the registers with our parents following saying "Slow down. There's no need to run." But there was a need! We were just minutes from owning what promised to be the best game we had ever played. 

When we got it home we discovered we couldn't play it two player style in the traditional sense like Mario Bros. But that was ok. One of us would play while the other watched, and then switch every so often. We would continue this tradition with every RPG we played until Secret of Mana came out and we could play at the same time. 

We'd give each other hints ("Try blowing up the bottom wall") and laughed the first time we saw a skeleton failing at hiding a key. We got really excited the first time we found the raft ("We can cross the water now!"), and we hugged each other when we beat the first dungeon. 

We played that game until the battery for the internal memory died and it could only be played with a Game Genie. And oddly enough, neither of us have ever beaten it. 

But that never mattered. What mattered is that The Legend of Zelda set off a love of RPGs in both of us that exists to this day. In large part I credit video games for the closeness that he and I share, and I will always fondly remember the hours and hours we spent playing games as kids. In fact we still spend hours and hours playing games together

Twenty-five years is quite a significant chunk of time, and when I think about it, I feel very old. But I also feel very lucky. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weekly Roundup

News of the Geek

  • I got word of Steve Jobs' death while I was writing this last night, and I just couldn't finish it. I'm not normally a person who gets that upset about the passing of a famous person I've never met, but something about the loss of Jobs has bothered me a lot. I think it is because he's so young (my mother's age) and he struggled with such a horrible illness. On top of that, he contributed to the world of technology in ways that touch us all, even if we're not huge Apple fangirls/boys. His slick, sleek and innovative designs kept the world of technology competitive and always striving to be better. Though he was late to the game on the smartphone, the presence of the iPhone on the market forced all smartphone producers to be better. The same can be said for all of Apple's creations. Because words are failing me on this (the best I could come up with is "Thank you for the iPod" and that seemed trite), I have collected some of the more touching tributes I found to share with you all:
  • There was another significant loss last night; civil rights icon Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth also died. 
    • The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a blunt-talking preacher who braved beatings, bombings and fire-hosings to push Birmingham, Ala., to the forefront of the civil rights movement and advanced the historic fight with a confrontational strategy that often put him at odds with its most charismatic leader, died Wednesday. He was 89.
  • And because these things usually go in threes, Star Trek actor Charles Napier also passed away.
  • New York town clerks are refusing to give same sex couples marriage licenses on "religious" grounds.
    • In a new video, Rose Marie Belforti, the Ledyard, New York town clerk who is breaking the law by refusing to process marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, whines about the injustices being done to her as a Christian by having to do her job.
  • October is American Cheese Month. Celebrate by buying American made or locally made cheese. I did this very thing by purchasing goat cheese from a local dairy.
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