Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sometimes Sharing Helps

I apologize for not posting every week like I was doing up until the end of last year.  Between the Feed-The-Beast Minecraft modpack (specifically the Mindcrack pack) and work, I've been pretty busy!  Although I think my life will get much busier now that the 'Insanity' update for Don't Starve was released.  It makes the game much harder and much more...interesting.  And freaky.  Also, Diablo III released a patch that looks super interesting.

There goes my free time.

That aside, I had a rather interesting experience related to my current singles ward.  For those of you who aren't members, a ward is a congregation of members who live in an area.  A singles ward is specifically for singles only.  I tend to be a pretty introverted and shy person in new social situations.  I'm either not inclined to participate all that much or I tend to make jokes and hide my true thoughts and feelings.  One particularly rough weekend, I decided to post on the ward's Facebook group, explaining my feelings and how a large part of it was due to my perception.

The reaction was quick and very positive.  Many other members also expressed trouble with feeling like the 'fit in'.  Apparently during this last Sunday meeting, the bishop actually spoke about how we should act toward other members of the congregation (at least he did according to my friend, Joe.  I was probably falling asleep at that time).  It shows me that even if I am afraid of sharing how things are going, sometimes the response can be really positive.

I could argue that this post is geeky because it mentions Facebook.  To further add to the geekiness, I'll share a song.  It's from an anime called .hack//sign which is about a video game.  I don't think I could get any geekier than that.

That being said, I need to go figure out how to keep from going completely insane in "Dont' Starve".

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Joe's top ten best Geek romances

Hay, guess what tomorrow is? Valentine’s day! And while you’re either getting ready to take your sweetheart out on the town or stay home, eat a carton of Ben and Jerry’s and cry, this list ought to put you in the right mood to do either on this fake holiday invented by girlfriends in order to get chocolate. So here it is, Joe’s top ten romances in geekdom. Enjoy!

10: Mario, Peach, Link, and Zelda from Nintendo
This is just on the list so I don’t have to hear about it later. I put both couples in the same place because it’s the same relationship. Every year or so Link and Mario trek across an increasingly visually appealing landscape to save their respective princesses from the bad guys. It says something to devotion when these characters are willing to go through the same thing over and over again for the women they love, though it could just be a sign of insanity.

9: Wash and Zoey from Firefly
I know some people are going to be disappointed that Mal and Inara aren’t on this list, but unfortunately the brevity of Firefly made it so that they’re attraction never really developed past a spark. Wash and Zoey on the other hand got some time to develop their love for each other. Like Roger and Jessica, they seem completely mismatched, but also like the cartoons they’re completely devoted to each other at the end of the day, even to the point of risking their lives with each other. In my saddest deaths post I discussed where there relationship end up, and to me it only cements them in my heart as one of the cutest, and saddest, couples.

8: Batman and Catwoman
The Batman story has too many writers and too many interpretations, putting Catwoman on any given day as a villain, a friendly ally, flirtatious tease, to true love for the Caped Crusader. Generally though, they have a certain bad-girl-good-guy chemistry that’s just irresistible  They've rescued each other more than they've battled at this point, and you always know whenever Batman and Catwoman team up the furs going to fly.

7: Homer and Marge Simpson
Say what you will about the Simpsons, at the end of the day they showed how a marriage can endure anything. These high school sweethearts married after Marge got pregnant with Bart, but they've shown that these two would've ended up together no matter what. No matter what ridiculous situation Homer gets into, his biggest concern is always to try and make Marge happy, and when she isn't he’ll move heaven and earth to put a smile on her face again. Marge has defended her husband dozens of times to her cynical sisters, saying that despite his flaws he really is a good man, and Homer would give Marge the world if he could. Although the show has gone through controversy and arguably isn't currently working with its best material, at least you can say it showed us a beautiful example of true love.

6: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts from the Marvel Universe films
Okay, I admit it, I don’t know a whole ton about Marvel. I’d do something from the X-Men, but honestly even Scott and Jean’s relationship seems a bit weird, and I can’t really say anything about Rogue and Gambit since theirs is problematic at best, but I love what Robert Downy Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow have done with the characters. These two aren't the cheesy super hero one-rescues-another model. Pepper is more than capable of staying out of trouble, and serves as a voice of reason to the millionaire playboy. I like how their romance has room to bloom in the films, and how in the Avengers Pepper is the one Tony calls when he’s not sure he’ll make it. Marvel has worked hard at making their super hero films great, and this relationship is proof.

5: Snow and Charming from Once Upon a Time
I've talked about this one before too, but I just had to mention them. These two go through one nightmare after another for each other, and they always end up together. This is another relationship that’s nice to see develop, especially when they start out enemies. I also love that no matter how hard the evil queen Regina tries, she can never keep these two lovebirds separated for long, proving that love truly is the greatest magic of all.

4: Rick and Lori Grimes from The Walking Dead
Before the first walker ate somebody, their relationship admittedly had problems. But considering what Rick goes through just to find his wife and child, I’d say there’s definitely devotion going on here. Weather in the comic books or the TV show, their reunion brings tears to my eyes, as they are both so relieved that the other isn’t dead. Rick is even able to forgive Lori of her indiscretions, and does everything he can to keep her safe throughout the zombie apocalypse.

3: Roger and Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Say what you will about this saucy redhead and her silly rabbit of a husband, but this relationship was probably one of the best parts of the movie. Both Roger and Jessica go to any lengths to protect the other from harm, including posing for “dirty” pictures and holding a judge at gunpoint. One of my favorite lines is when Jessica is asked what she sees in that guy, referring to the wanna-be Looney Tune, only to answer “he makes me laugh”. Let’s face it, sometimes that’s all you need.

2: Han Solo and Princess Leja from Star Wars
I love these two! They start off hating each other, in fact Han didn't even want to rescue her at first, and they end up together. First off, I love how that annoying Luke Skywalker didn't get the girl, and second, I love how this relationship doesn't even develop into romance until halfway through the second film. These days in movies it’s enough time to fall in love, get married, and have an obnoxious kid get kidnapped. The now famous “I love you” “I know” line is epic, and shows their relationship to a tee, with Han knowing flat out that it was just a matter of time before they got together. I also love how, like Batman and Catwoman, they take turns rescuing each other, showing that there is now weak link in this chain.

1: Severus Snape and Lily Potter from Harry Potter
An unusual pick I know, but let me explain: I've mentioned several times that I like it when the relationship has time to develop, and this thing had seven books (or 8 movies) to develop, completely unknown until almost the very end of the story, where every one of Snape’s wicked and hurtful actions are all explained in one concept: he’s heartbroken. It’s not the romance that happened; it’s the fact that it didn't that makes me love this one the most. Snape is a good guy, just as good as Dumbledore or Harry, but being the happy good guy isn't his thing. He’s bitter and angry at the world for letting the love of his life go with his worst enemy, and then forcing him to teach and prepare their son to fight the man that took his beloved’s life away. Then he dies, so he can save Lily’s son, the son of the man he hates and the woman he loves, and fulfills his destiny. Now that’s romantic! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Fall of DC

Last week I talked about how DC Comic’s latest decision to cancel Young Justice was the latest in a long line of mistakes that’s making me want to switch to Marvel. I also said that this week I would air my grievances with the world famous comic book company and give it the full psychotic rant it deserves. Let’s do this by medium.

DC wouldn’t be anything if it wasn’t for their comics, so it seems like the logical place to start. About seven years ago DC pulled off their masterpiece Infinite Crisis, a gripping tale that set to clean up parts of the DC universe continuity and set the seeds for amazing storylines later on. Then the economy crashed. Unfortunately when people don’t have a lot of money the first thing to go are luxury items, so DC and Marvel both started to hurt. Their solution? One giant psychotic event after another, forcing readers to pick up stacks of comics just to follow the storyline from month to month. Where Marvel kept things relatively grounded with Civil War and World War Hulk, DC decided to go snooky bananas with more world shattering, reality altering nonsense. The entire universe ended up convoluted and confusing with little hope of recovery, so DC then just gave up and restarted the entire thing with the New 52. Supposedly the idea was to restart the entire universe from square one, and tell all the classic stories through a new modern lens, much like what Marvel did in 2000 with the Ultimate line. Unfortunately when they hit “restart” it didn’t quite restart everything. Events line Blackest Night and Killing Joke had apparently still happened, even though the characters were much younger and events like No Man’s Land and Death of Superman hadn’t happened. This turned what was already a jumbled mess into an even more jumbled mess only with even less answers. Needless to say, fans are not pleased.

Okay I’m just going to say this to get it out of the way, yes the Dark Knight series is awesome and yes we’ll get to the few things DC has done right in a bit, but I want to talk about the other movies. I wish I could say DC has been hit or miss with its films lately but it’s easier to say they’ve been Batman or miss. It started with Superman Returns, which while pretty good if you know the Christopher Reeve Superman storyline was confusing to audiences who didn’t catch a movie franchise that had ended 25 years beforehand. I’m sorry Superman, but especially near the end you’re just not Star Wars, and you can’t expect audiences to pick up where you left off. Next we get a few titles which would’ve been awesome if implemented correctly, namely Watchmen, which was needlessly turned into a gory pornography, Jonah Hex which had the same advertising and film budget as one uses to sell a bike, and Green Lantern, which was just out and out bad. DC has also been releasing straight to DVD and Netflix a bunch of animated films based on some of their most popular comics, which actually has more hits than misses, but let’s face it, comics translate best to animation anyway so this wasn’t a hard feat to pull off. Which brings me to…
DC did the same thing that Fox did to Firefly when they messed up then cancelled Justice League Unlimited a while back. The Justice League cartoon was a tight, no-nonsense show about a team of heroes protecting the earth, and while I did like the fact that two of my favorites, namely Zatanna and Captain Marvel made appearances, I felt opening up the cast for Unlimited hurt the show more than it helped. Then when they were leading up to this big old war between the villains and heroes, they cancel the show and end with this stupid fight where they team up to take out Darkseid. A massive letdown for sure. Next DC tried to recapture the magic of Batman the Animated Series with The Batman, a show about Batman in high school of all places, and Brave and the Bold, which to me felt like DC Muppet Babies. Then we got a star, a glimmer of hope on an already bleak world in the form of Young Justice, and I already told you what they did to that. I could mention Smallville, and I will by saying take Dawson’s Creek and mix it with Twilight and there you go, except again, shout out to Zatanna who was totally awesome in her parts. DC’s been hinting at a show called Arrow, supposedly about Green Arrow and yesterday I heard rumor of Amazon which will follow Wonder Woman, but as I said, comics best translate to animation so live action is problematic at best.
As I said earlier, yes, DC has done a couple things right, which basically means just writing Batman on a big piece of paper and circling it a bunch of times. The Dark Knight series was excellent, some of the Batman titles in the comic books are actually okay, as long as he doesn’t deal with any of the other heroes in that world, and even some of the animated films are decent, I highly recommend Batman: Gotham Knight for the Anime buffs out there. The problem is that Batman alone cannot save DC Comics, and he shouldn’t have to. I know a lot of people give grief to DC heroes for being overpowered, but they still have some really great stories to tell, and they don’t always need to involve an emotionally bankrupt rich man running around in his undies. I have high hopes for the new Man of Steel movie coming soon, but if DC is really going to get back on track with its fans and the rest of the world, they need to stop playing catch-up with the Avengers and go back to what made them great in the first place: Great stories with heroes we loved.
And more Zatanna.