Saturday, September 24, 2011

iHate my Phone

Can we talk a little about my stupid phone? I hate it. Like I realize that this tiny little brick of advanced South Korean technology allows me to contact anyone anywhere at any time and that's great and all, but how come it sucks so hard?

What's the deal Martin?

Of course I could also sell rides on my time
 machine, you know, as a side thing.
Sure, if I ever get my hands on a time machine, the first thing I'm going to do is go back to the 1970's, patent my cell and make billions. I mean those pre-internet savages will have never seen such an amazing piece of high-tech sorcery. Hell, they'll probably make me their king. To make some extra cash, I'll start placing bets on historical events. One million dollars each on Jesse 'The Body' Ventura being elected Governor and the Star Wars prequels totally sucking. What? Don't judge me, the economy sucks. What else am I going to do with a time machine?

Anyway, back to my phone. Observe this fatal design flaw:

Observe it!
Do you see the problem here? What the hell LG?

The Druidians had better
security on the air-shield.
Almost every flat surface on my phone is covered in buttons making accidental button-presses inevitable. But it's locked! You say, totally and more than a little rudely interrupting my rant. Yes. Yes it is locked, but to unlock it you just press the 'OK' button. You don't have to hit a sequence of keys, there's no code, just this big, raised button on the face of the phone. That's it. It's not so much a lock as it is a broken screen door.

Did it never occur to LG R&D that I might sit on my phone someday? Don't people in South Korea ever put their phones in their pockets? Could it be that in 3000 years of Korean history there's never been a single butt-dial? There. I said what I needed to say. I feel better, don't you?

Maybe South Korea should stick to what it does best: replacing us with robots.

"We are gathered here today to celebrate this human emotion you call 'love.'"
-Father X2-01

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stop...Judah Hammer Time.

but what do I know?
Hey, did you see that Mel Gibson is making a movie about Judah Maccabee? I know, right? Who? Yeah, I had no idea but, in a scholarly examination of this wikipedia page, I discovered that he (Maccabee, not Mel Gibson) was an ancient Jewish hero who led a revolt against the Seleucid Empire and later went on to invent Hanukkah (the Jewish festival of lights made famous by Adam Sandler). Oh, and also his name means 'Hammer' in ancient Hebrew. Judah Hammer. Rad, huh? Although I guess it does sound a little like a porn name. Anyway, I know what you're thinking: just what the hell is a Seleucid Empire? Who cares? (But if you must know, here) It was an empire and Judah 'the Hammer' Maccabee took it on in the 160's BC which means he did it with like knives and slingshots. Bad ass.

In Star Wars terms, Judah Maccabee falls somewhere between
Mon Mothma and Admiral Akbar.

Ah the good 'ole days, right Mel?
So a member of a persecuted underclass stands up to a powerful, imperialistic foe with greater numbers and military superiority? Sounds pretty Gibsonian. But doesn't Mel kinda hate people who believe differently from or who are not, him? What's the deal? Did he get over his anti-Semitism? Or is he just Semitic-neutral now? Doubt it. He's a member of this super orthodox Catholic sect that thinks the Vatican II reforms were too liberal and that everyone else (including his own wife) is going to hell.

Could it be that he's just trying to restore his public image after so many public homophobic, sexist, anti-Semitic, racist ravings? Am I being cynical? Like, more so than usual? Maybe, but what else could explain his recent mega-flop The Beaver? And before you get all excited it's just a movie where he plays a depressed guy with a beaver puppet. I think it was supposed to endear him to us again, but I think it just pissed people off with its misleading title.

"Remember back when Mel did Lethal Weapon? And Thunderdome?
Those were fun right? Anyone up for Payback 2? He's available!"
-Beavey McBeaverton
Mel Gibson's Stuffed Beaver and Agent

Friday, September 16, 2011

Holy Crap!

Did you know that there's a War in Heaven? And that it's today?! I had no idea so it's a good thing this postcard/flyer thing showed up in the mail:

In other startling junk mail: there's an anniversary sale at Kohl's.
Take an additional 30% off everything!

Yeah, Satan still has better cover art.

It's an invitation to 'an amazing journey with Presenter Otavio McKenzie.' I don't really know who this person is (a google search turned up surprisingly little useful info) or what his amazing journey is all about but the topics of discussion (God on Trial, Jesus: Legend or Legacy, The Anatomy of Sin) leads me to suspect that this is not, as the postcard art might imply, a kick-ass metal concert. In fact, it smells pretty churchy. Also, judging by Otavio's title of 'Presenter' I think we can be pretty sure the dude is packing some serious PowerPoint. Out of morbid curiosity, I investigated further.

Maybe it doesn't violate copyright
if you frame it with a tiny TV?
I went to the website, but most of it is 'under construction' which is kind of disappointing because the war is like, today. You'd think they'd be more on top of what is surely one of the most important imaginary events ever. One thing that is up and running* (not anymore, see below) is this little trailer for the apocalypse which seems to be stitched together from '2012,' 'The Day After Tomorrow' and the Tom Cruise version of 'War of the Worlds.' So either we need to be on the lookout for an end-times trifecta of sudden ice ages, earthquakes and Martian Tripods or armageddon is going to be a clip show.

And then there's this newsletter thing, which I've tried to read a couple of times now, but can't seem to make it through. It's got something to do with dragons and the Ark of the Covenant, which according to that documentary, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is a golden box with the power to melt any Nazi foolish enough to crack it open.

"Ach! Mein Gott! I vas hoping for einen nice surprise or maybe some chocolate, 
but instead mine face ist melting. Vat a disappointment."
-Some Nazi who opened the wrong magic box

Now there's a lunatic you can get behind.
His bullshit ruined lives.
So a broken website, intellectual copyright infringement and some murky biblical fanfic? I love a good crazy doomsday prediction as much as the next guy, but this War in Heaven thing is pretty disappointing. Remember Harold Camping and the 5-21-11 people? Billboards, ads on the sides of buses, a functional website. They had people selling their homes and giving away their savings, and Camping had already incorrectly predicted the end like twice already. That's dedication. What's Otavio got? A slide show and some folding chairs?

Maybe next time think about using dry erase markers?

*Update! It looks like the awesome trailer has been removed. If you click on the video section you just get a message saying: 'Under Construction.' Bummer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Those spoony bards!

So Final Fantasy X is getting an HD remake and I have an issue with this which I'll explain, but first a warning for people with lives: I'm about to get a little (ok, a lot) nerdy here so if you need to, bail out now. Anyway, seriously? Final Fantasy X?

If this reference is lost on you, congratulations. Chances are you didn't waste your childhood sitting
indoors playing poorly translated JRPG's, or your young adulthood trying to get them to work on emulators.

Psscht...What is this, Colecovison?
If you know what I'm talking about you're probably joining me in saying 'remake?' in that sort of rising tone we geeks use to express incredulity. The game only came out 10 years ago and the graphics have held up pretty damn well. Maybe in another ten or twenty years they can do a holodeck version or something, but in the meantime why not give us the Final Fantasy VII remake they totally teased us with a few years back? Sure, when it came out it looked amazing, but time has not been kind to FFVII.

Holy crap, realistic FFVII cosplay
is the stuff of nightmares.

In fact, the earlier games have held up much better if only for their quaint retro-look. Back in the NES and SNES days they weren't really going for accuracy, just consistency. The characters in Final Fantasy IV for example were kind of short, squat anime kids. They didn't really look especially realistic but neither did the 2D 16-bit world in which they lived, so it worked. FFVII on the other hand used almost photo realistic pre-rendered backgrounds and then dropped these creepy, mouth-less, polygonal Popeye dolls into them. The result, to our sophisticated HD-spoiled minds, is unnerving at best (see right).

Well, I guess it's only a matter of time before they crank out a FFVII re-make. I mean it's not like Square-Enix has ever missed a chance to sell us some nostalgia-laden piece of our childhood. They're the Hot Topic of gaming. They've done ports, re-releases and re-makes for every game in the series, sometimes several times over. I think I have like 4 versions of FFIV alone.

Final Fantasy VII: Special Chronicles Hyper Turbo Anniversary Edition
This time, Aerith shoots first!

And another thing...

Behold Vaan, the Yoko of Final Fantasy.

On a side note, I'd like to mention that I'm a little biased against the latter day Finals Fantasy (Final Fantasies?). Maybe it's just me, but the series kinda feels like a band that went all experimental and left its older fans behind. Most of the games past part VII lost me. It wasn't the emo-heavy character rosters, confusing story lines or complicated card-games although these things really didn't help. For me it was the the level-ups.

No, for real, what the hell Square?
Crap like Junctioning, Sphere Grids and the License Board ruined Final Fantasy forever. What the hell is wrong with a straightforward leveling system? Do they really have to dress it up with bizarro flow-charts full of crystals and orbs and shit? What ever happened to 'Level Up! Learned Lit2"? I'm all for trying new things, but why does each new game in the series require us to learn some crazy skill-set Ouija-board thing every time we hit a new level?

"Every time you win a fight, you'll receive XP, AP, JP and Gil. You can then Junction AP and JP to your GF thereby allowing you to...Squall? Squall are you listening to me? Are...are your ears bleeding?"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahomophobia!

Apologies to Doctor Doom.
So there's regular, everyday real life homophobia and then there's out there, 'did they really just say that?' homophobia. It's the difference between the guy that breaks in and steals your TV and the super villain who extorts trillions from the U.N. with a weather control device. Well, Oklahoma State Legislator Sally Kern is the Doctor Doom of Homophobia. Check out this cartoonishly hateful crap she spewed into the atmosphere:

She's kind of a hate-filled Republican
Sea-Hag. What? She said far worse.
"In the last twenty years...we've had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one's the biggest threat? And you know, every day our young people, adults too, but especially our young people are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines, they're bombarded with 'homosexuality is normal and natural.'"

-Sally Kern, Oklahoma State Legislator 
and terrible person.

To sum up: gay people=AIDS and are 120 (math!) times worse than terrorism. Can you believe that? This is coming from a woman who lives in Oklahoma, which, if I know my history, is a state named after a musical. What could possibly be gayer than that?

The answer is nothing. Nothing is gayer than Oklahoma.
Oh, and for the record, chaps, by definition, are ass-less. 

This line of rabid-foam nut-jobery was in defense of a 2008 rant in which she suggested that recognizing that gay people existed and should be treated equally would lead to the end of our civilization:

"If only we'd been shittier to gays
none of this would've happened..."
-Bleak Future Guy
"Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades. So it's the death knell of this country."
-Sally Kern. 
And yes, she still has a job. 

Surely she was censured for this by the Republican party, right? Yeah, no. The Oklahoma State Legislature did smack her down for railing against blacks and women and that's something, but I guess it's open season on gays. Also, by 'studies' I assume she means the voices.

It's a shame the people of Atlantis didn't have access to "studies."
We could have learned much from the Mer-folk.
How's it feel Sally?

How in the 21st century can anyone this crazy/stupid/hateful get voted into any office anywhere? Everyone is entitled to their opinions, I know, but is her bullshit even an opinion or is it just ignorant ravings? Do we really have to pretend hate-speech is a valid point of view? You know, I can have a conversation with someone who disagrees with me about gun control or taxes or which Star Wars prequel sucked the most, but people like Sally Kern are on a whole 'nother planet. How are we supposed to get over our differences and get along when people like Sally compare equal rights to the apocalypse (or gaypocalypse as it were)?

It's a close call but the answer is Episode II. Why? Well:

1) They should have known better after the first one.
2) At least Episode III was the last one.
3) Darth Vader spends 10 minutes complaining about how sand chafes him.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not everything needs to be a thing.

Finally, a toothbrush that combines the fun of brushing 
with tinny pop songs about abstinence!
See that thing on the right? Yeah, that's a Justin Bieber singing toothbrush. I discovered it next to Chap-Aid in the impulse item bin whilst waiting in line at the drugstore and just had to share. I took a picture with my cell, but it's somehow worse at being a camera than it is at being a phone, so here's a shot from the official website. Why is it? I don't know. Is there some connection I'm missing? Beiber + Toothbrush = $9.99 at Walgreen's. Really? I mean, what about the helmet headed Canadian tween's (what? I do my research) career made someone think: toothbrush?

Proof of a cold, godless
universe that hates fun. 
The answer, I'm sorry to say, is synergy. No, not Jem's holographic computer thing, but that murky corporate term that people use when they take two unrelated things and combine them in lieu of having an original thought. It's like Battleship the movie. Was Battleship a successful board game? Yes. Will they make a few bucks if we take a generic action sci-fi script and stick the name Battleship on it? Probably. Yeah, sure, they could've adapted something that better lends itself to a narrative than a board game but here we are. Clue worked, but it was about people and not, you know, battleships. Anyway, something tells me that with cross-promotional schlock like this, story is a distant third behind: 1) will we make money? and 2) how much money will we make? Battleship is a recognizable brand that had yet to be exploited in this way so there you go. 

This is not a new thing, nor are Beiber-Brushes or Battleship the worst examples ever. I mean Disney did manage to squeeze four movies out of a ride proving that we, as a nation, will buy anything. Oh, and remember when Capcom made a video game based on a movie based on the videogame Street Fighter II? No? Well, it happened and I'm pretty sure it opened up a wormhole or something.

Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game. 
Not even light can escape the gravity well of this game's synergy.

With just a hint of patronizing 
sanctimony...or possibly cinnamon.
For me the winner is definitely a cross-promotional cluster I found at Starbucks a fine independently owned fair trade coffee know, the kind that displays local artists' work on the walls. It's Starbuck's MSNBC Morning Joe coffee. That's right, there is now an official coffee of Joe Scarborough's morning talk show. What makes this coffee Scarborough-y? Does it taste like smug asshole? No. It's just that some Alchemist of Suck noticed that the show was called Morning Joe and that no one had slapped the logo on a bag of beans yet. Showtime synergy!

It's like Starbucks is giving MSNBC a reach around.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why yes, I did enjoy Burmingham.

Thanks to a free bike, borrowed tent and a ticket purchased way back before I went so deeply broke (thanks economy!), I managed to make the trek into the desert for Burning Man this year. It was a blast and I met some truly rad people. I also took a ton of photos but most came out blurry. This is because after three years I still haven't bothered to figure out all of my camera's settings.

If pirates enjoyed house music and operated miles from the sea,
it would look something like Burning Man.
This year the Man was positioned sort of mid-stride, kind of like 'Walk'
on a Walk/Don't Walk sign.
This is a life-sized Trojan Horse being burned.
Why the people of Troy never thought of this, I will never know.
Here are the smoldering remains of the horse. They're hard to make out but
there're plenty of jackasses like me going in for a closer look. 
Wakka wakka wakka...there be nerds here!
The Sandworms were pretty brutal this year.*
These are some of the delightful people I camped with.
Incidentally, the entire event suffered from a crippling couch shortage.
This is either dawn or dusk, I had no idea then and I have no idea now.
Truer words were never scrawled on the side of a porta-potty.
I did the math and figured that I averaged about 1 to 2 hours of sleep per night.

*may not have actually happened.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There's not nearly enough Star Trek on television.

After all, we Trekkies are known for
our well-thought-out ideas.
So get this, some dude who is not me is pitching a new Star Trek series to Paramount. I didn't know that was a thing you could just do, but David Foster of 1947 Entertainment (the pitcher in question) sure did. It sounds pretty rad even though he didn't call me to ask me what I thought. I guess I should try not to take this too personally since he has no idea who I am, but still, you'd think he'd want to check in with the geek community (specifically me) and get some fan input.

According to the interview on Trekweb, Foster's series would be a continuation of the original continuity (so the next-next generation) as opposed to a part of the J.J. Abrams universe in which Kirk is kind of a douche and Vulcan 'esploded. Confused? That's because you have better things to do than obsess over the vagaries of fictional multiverses. All this means is that things that happen on TV Star Trek would have no bearing on Movie Star Trek.

To clarify, the movie universe is also the one where Spock and Uhura get it on. Oh yeah...

It's been like six years since Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air. That might not seem like a big deal to people with lives, but for nerds like me it was the first time in 18 years there wasn't at least one Star Trek series on TV. Where are we supposed to get our geek fix? Grimm? Alphas? Screw you.

As you can see my math checks out.

I'll be waiting by the phone.

This TV nerd-dearth is unacceptable. The line must be drawn here. Even more unacceptable is that unless someone like Foster gets a new Star Trek series on the air I may never fulfill my lifelong (and kind of sad) dream of playing a Vulcan. Hey, I've got an idea: David, if you're reading this, I'll throw my considerable weight behind your new project if you'll agree to cast me as the bad-ass Vulcan science officer/sassy bar tender, Commander Smonk. Deal?

p.s. Hey, today's post marks one full year of complaining about nerd stuff and ragging on homophobes! Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have I mentioned that I don't like this guy?

Sorry kid, It might as well have been
Uncle Sam himself who you knocked you up.
Hey conservative voters, Rick Perry is everything GOP pollsters have determined you want in a Presidential candidate! He's religious, he loves guns and he's one of America's whitest men. Where does he stand on the issues? Let's see: Abortion? Perry is a firm believer that the government should stay the hell out of our lives unless you're pregnant, in which case your uterus becomes U.S. Government Property. Evolution? That's just a bunch of librul horseshit. Climate change? What are you, some kind of queer?

Ah, the holy tradition of game
show matrimony...

Oh, speaking of which it's official: he's also anti-gay! Before, he just sort frowned on gayness from a position of leathery-faced moral superiority and said marriage equality was a 'states' rights' thing like choosing a state bird or succeeding from the Union. But now he's signed a pledge to protect not only the sanctity of traditional marriage but also to protect gay people from the burdens of equal rights and protections under the law. What a guy.

Did I mention that he's also super-Christian? I did? Well he is and not in that 'I have my beliefs and respect yours' live-and-let-live kind of way. No, he's more of a 'United States of Jesus: love it or leave it' guy. In fact, in a giant middle-finger to atheists, agnostics and really anyone who supports the separation of church and state, he once ordered the entire State of Texas to pray for rain. P.S. It didn't work.

Dear God, 

Please send us rain to end this terrible drought you 
inflicted upon us out of your infinite love.

The State of Texas.

While scholars have long debated
the authenticity of the pool number,
this scene is fairly accurate overall.

The Founding Fathers weren't being dicks when they wrote the First Amendment, it's just that they understood how shit like the Inquisition gets started. This is basic stuff man. I mean, I know this is Texas we're talking about, but still, should this guy have really gotten as far as he has? Sometimes I wonder if he isn't some kind of focus-group created caricature of a right-wing nut-job designed to make less crazy town Republican candidates seem less raging.

Anyway, I realize that right now Texas is in the middle of some epic wildfires that are completely not under control and I get that Governor Perry has left the campaign trail to squint heroically at the conflagration, but I can still think he's full of shit, right? I mean, it doesn't make me a bad person, does it?

Probably the worst President since Buchanan,
but at least he had a better plan than 'pray for rain.'