Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cutest Game Ever

Have you guys seen the trailer for the new Sims coming out in Japan (and presumably America) on the Wii?!?! it is so adorable, I totally love it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Preacher coming to tv

Like most people, I stopped reading comic books during the mid 90s. I was at the perfect age to stop when I did; getting on to being a teenager, and understanding the intrinsic geekiness of comics, I decided that I'd rather at least try to get laid and just quit. Also, comics at that point sucked big time. Mainstream comics that is. My favorite hero Spider-Man was going through what everyone agrees is the absolute worst storyline ever The Clone Saga, prices were overinflated, the spec market had taken over with "collectors" everywhere, and it just stopped being fun. Oh I knew a little about the underground movement. Thanks to places like The Beguiling in Toronto I'd been introduced to a little bit of Love and Rockets, Eightball, Omaha, and my favorite of the Fantagraphic books Hate. Sure I'd heard rumblings of things like Sin City but frankly it was too little too late.

I didn't start reading comics again until 2000 or so, and the books that brought me back into it then was the start of Marvel's Ultimate line, that and the early Spider-Man movie buzz. After getting a taste of what I was missing and realizing that comics had really grown up a lot since I'd been gone it was an easy jump then to really have a look at the books I'd missed. Underground comic books were really starting to come into their own too, and in a way they never could've back in the 60s and 70s. The first book I turned to was Preacher.

A passing friend during my transient years had loaned me one of the Preacher trades back in the day, and I'd loved it. Never followed up on it then but it stuck with me. Preacher is the story of Jesse Custer, a Texas preacher who has lost his way. He drinks, smokes, and fights. He also posses a power called The Word. When he decides, Jesse can say anything and make people obey. So now, along with his rough and ready girlfriend Tulip and his best drinking buddy, an Irish vampire named Cassidy they travel America looking literally for God. On the way they are pursued by the government, crazed cannibals, and cultists, as well as quite literally both the hordes of Hell, and Angelic warriors. The book is smart, dark, violent, unnerving, and very very good.

I never finished reading the series, I only read the first 30 issues or so, but I do plan on it eventually. It's all been traded now and you can actually pick up the first volume for a very reasonable $9.74 over at In Stock Trades. At the time I had gotten really caught up in The Authority which was Warren Ellis' (Preacher creator) more recent endeavor, and I felt like my money was best spent there. Even still, Preacher is a special book to me. The writing is great and some of the stories that I read really stuck with me. At least I'll never look at John Wayne the same way again.

So with the success of Preacher it's no surprise that there has been a plan to bring it to screen for some time now. Its been long in development as a feature, even to the point of casting James Marsden (aka Cyclops from X-Men) in the role as Jesse. (pretty good choice if you ask me). But all thats behind us now, because as reported here, HBO has greenlit development of a Preacher tv series. This my friends is very good news. Mark Steven Johnson (of Daredevil infamy) is set to write the pilot which while not terrible news, is not the absolute best. At least we know the guy likes comics. Anyhow, overall this is fantastic news and I'm stocked about it. Especially to know that this will be on HBO is a really great sign. Imagine if Blade was on HBO, or maybe better, imagine if Spawn the animated series was live action. Now that should be a cool sight to see.

I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this series as it develops.

A Trip to Maui

Well I got back from Maui yesterday and what can I say but wow. Seriously this was a great trip. We left last Thursday morning, and returned on the redeye Monday night. Thankfully no work yesterday, so I had some recovery time. And I needed it, this was an action packed trip. Fun in the sun was had by all.

There were seven of us on the trip, myself, Erica, Jan, Cecile, Olivia, and Erica's brother John and his girlfriend Jacqueline who flew in from Toronto. All of us San Francisco people had a condo right on the beach in Kihei on the South Western side of Maui. A good place with thankfully a washer dryer, a kitchen, and a balcony. I have to say even the beach right by our place was really just beautiful. Crystal blue water, golden sand, and good waves. But we did so much more than just hang out on the beach.

I've only ever been to the big island of Hawaii before, which was fun, but really big and seemed a bit slower paced than Maui. This island seems just perfect for someone like me, who doesn't want to hang out at a resort but actually try to do some things. Yea I was still pretty damn touristy, but I feel good about actually getting out and doing activities, as opposed to just lying around. Sure there was good quality beach time. In fact the boogie boarding at Napili Beach in West Maui was some of the best in my life. But we really made an effort to use our time well and see as much as we could.

That started on Friday really. Thursday night after we got in, we mostly just chilled, got our car and condo sorted then spent sunset in the surf and had a really good dinner. On Friday though we went out early and drove the infamous road to Hana. Basically its a stretch of highway around 30 miles long from which there are like 50 different stops you can make. Mostly to beautiful waterfalls, and hikes, but also to tide pools, or beachfront. I saw at least 9 solid waterfalls, and went swimming in every one. Including the one where I accidentally took Erica's new digital camera in with me. That wasn't really so good for the camera :( But thankfully other people were around and most everyone had camera's so give it a week or two and I'll get the rest of the pics from the trip. The SD card was ok at least so I saved the pictures I'd already taken. Below is a pic of the waterfall in question. Very inviting...

Anyhow, The road to Hana was a great way to start the trip, even thought there was just too much to see so we couldn't stop everywhere we wanted. I actually felt that way about most of my vacation. There was too much to see and do and too little time. What I did get to was great, but I could definitely have spent another two or three weeks there just doing activities and seeing sights before I'd want to stop and rest on a beach full time...

Case in point on Saturday we went for a sunrise bike ride from the almost top of the Haleakala volcano. It was, as expected, beautiful. Even though we had to get up at 4 in the morning. After that we raced off to some special beach for the afternoon, and then back to Kihei for dinner and drinking. I'm not going to go on and describe everything we did here, because well... I'm just not, it'd be way too long; but rest assured I loved it all. Some of the highlights: we went for amazing hikes through the rainforest, ate fantastic food pretty much all the time (including spam musubi), went boogie boarding and swimming a lot, drank and ate like kings, and went snorkeling on the reef out by the Molokini crater.

The snorkeling was maybe my favorite thing because there was just so much to see. There were fish everywhere, and we had a good tour on the boat. We even saw some sea turtles, which was just great! But really mostly I enjoyed spending time with good friends just having some solid fun. I may have gotten myself a bit sunburnt too; but it was worth it.

Obviously I'd definitely recommend Maui as a great place to go. I also would really recommend the Maui Revealed guidebook. It was absolutely fantastic. We literally would look up the same listings for activities, or beaches, or whatever in the Fodors, and the Lonely Planet; and Maui Revealed was consistently the best.

So I guess that's about all on Maui for now. I'm sure I'll mention it a bit more in depth on my podcast tonight, if anyone's interested. For now I'd better go catch up on all the fun and excitement in the world of internet that I missed. later all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Prepare yourself

For nothing...

I'm heading off first thing tomorrow morning for sunny Hawaii with Erica and a bunch of friends. I'm going to Maui, it'll be my first time there, and I am very very excited. This might just be the best Thanksgiving ever!

Seriously, it's great. Don't expect any updates until I get back. That'll be next Tuesday at the earliest. I'm not back at work until Wednesday. If you're looking for someting to do in the meantime, why not go check out the latest episode of my podcast On Hold...

I have to remember to upload my pics to Flickr right away when I get back so I can use my monthly allotment, before December starts.

Anywho, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Eat well, live it up, and have some fun.


new Spider-Man 3 poster

Check out the awesome new Spider-Man 3 poster. I would love to get this for my place. I think that Erica might be cool with it if I put it in a frame and made it nice looking. Click on the image for a bigger view.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

yet another cool new Heroes castmember

Wow, so I've got even more super cool Heroes casting news for you now today. A few days ago I told you about how Christopher Eccleston, of Doctor Who fame was joining the cast, well it sure doesn't stop there. I'm just constantly impressed with this show. I thought last night's episode, Homecoming, was great. Everything is finally starting to come together in the story, and I'm digging the fact that the characters are going to move into deeper more uncharted territory now that their origin stories are starting to get told. Granted theres still a bit more backstory to tell, and thats where todays news comes in. Frankly I don't think things on the show will really be set up properly until the end of the season, but that's ok. With the number of viewers that the show has been getting, we're pretty much guaranteed at least one more season to figure out more to do with the storyline. To the end of revealing even more backstory, they have cast an actor to play Hiro's father on the show, and who else could it be but Captain Sulu himself, George Takai.

E! Online reports that Takai will join the cast on the Jan 29th episode where as a big shot Japanese corporate exec. He will come to the States, with his bodyguards in tow, to forcibly if necessary return his son Hiro back to his homeland. Sounds like a cool episode, but I have a feeling Hiro might just not want to go back ;)

My Wii impressions so far

So it's been a few days, and other than getting the Wii there hasn't been too much going on. That said, I thought I'd share some of my impressions of the Wii. I've been playing it a fair bit over the past 5 days and I have to say overall it is absolutely fantastic.

The real innovation of this system as you should know is the motion sensitive controller. It's more than just an upgrade or remodel. In my opinion it is a fundamentally new way to play games. More on that in a bit though. The motion control technology is really pretty good. I was worried that it wouldn't be sensitive enough, but thats just not the case at all. When you buy the system it comes with both parts of the controller that you can see in this picture. The main part (held in the right hand in the pic) is the Wiimote. As far as I can tell, a lot of the launch games, at least for the moment, only really use this. It has a good feel to the hand, there's an index finger trigger on the bottom, and one main button on top. I feel like the simplicity in this is good. And really thats a big part about the Wii overall, something they obviously are pushing hard, is simplicity, and intuitiveness. The Wiimote has a d-pad, and a few other buttons, functions, and a variety of ways to use it; but they are all very straightforward. For the most part they rely not on pushing a button, but on the movement of the controller, and those movements are mostly very obvious. This controller was actually designed around the movement, and that capability makes it actively very fun, and totally unique. The second (detachable) half of the controller in the picture is called the nunchuck and it just adds even more depth to the control scheme. Although I suspect it won't be used in most games, at least for now, it's a great add on.

Each Wii comes bundled with a game, Wii Sports. I'm not prepared to give a full review or anything; but basically I think the game is very fun especially with friends, say at a party. It's a bit simplistic and not really robust enough to last, still it's a great launch game and a good introduction to the controller. For a good full review go check out this link to The game is a collection of 5 sports games: baseball, boxing, bowling, golf, and tennis. None of them are really complete games (for example you can only play 3 holes of golf, and at that only the same 3 holes, or that while yes you can play 9 innings of baseball, you can only bat and pitch, nothing more) but they give you a good chance to use the controller in a lot of interesting ways, and get used to this new kind of gaming experience. They're really the kind of fun to just pick up and play for five minutes at a time games. And this is another of the big appeals of the Wii, it's so intuitive, that I think anyone could just pick it up and play it without much instruction, and that a number of the launch games promise speed and simplicity. As I said, this is a great system for a party, it's what the industry is really turning to also; they call it casual gaming. A few things that stick out though. The nunchuck controller is only used in one of the 5 games, boxing. I'm not totally sure if that indicates anything really, but it's noteworthy. Also, when the question was raised of how much gamers (who as we all know can be kind of sedentary) would have to move about, Nintendo claimed that you wouldn't have to change the way you game much at all; in fact though you really do. While in some of the games, like tennis you only have to perform a semblance of the motion, ie a flick of the wrist is as good as a full swing, in most of the games this isn't the case at all. In fact, I would say that you really need to stand for baseball, and both golf, and bowling are impossible if you aren't standing. And not just standing, but you really need to perform the full range of motion that is depicted in the game. While yes, this is really exciting and new, its also really tiring. And you WILL need a space cleared in front of your tv to play these games, so you're probably going to have to move the coffee table. And because its so involved I don't think honestly I could play for more than an hour or so at a time. Maybe that's part of the idea, get gamers up off their feet, and then make them too tired to keep playing so that they'll get back to their lives too. I don't know. But I do know that its fun. What I described is basically a hassle, but frankly I'm willing to go through it. This is just a totally new way to game, and I think that it really does have the potential to not just grab a different portion of the market, but actually change the way people play. This is simply the most fun I've had gaming in ages.

Also from what I can tell, the longer more involved games like Zelda (rpg), Call of Duty (shooter), and Red Steel (shoot/hack/slash) have a lot more fine hand movements as opposed to the big body moves, and can be played comfortably sitting down. Also this is a new technology, and developers are still trying to find what sort of balance of movements big and small will work best. There's bound to be some extremes at first... and thank goodness these extremes are so fun. Actually, the one other game I've gotten for the Wii is Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz and that has very small movements and definitely can be played sitting comfortably.

For the other back end stuff, I'm really happy with the Wii so far. It connected to my wireless internet without incident, and promises a host of cool online functions. Unfortunately for a system that comes internet ready out of the box, there are zero online games yet, but that'll just take some time. For now, you can send basic email to (approved) friends and other Wiis. But of course, there's a bit more to it than that.

The system cannot be accessed as a storage device from your computer unfortunately (until someone hacks it I'm sure) so the only way to get files onto the Wii is by transferring with an SD card. And at the moment the only thing you can store on the Wii is photos. That said the Wii has a (very simple) but fun photo editor, and can make some fun slide shows. Also, you can get your slide shows, and even some games to play your own MP3s, assuming they are on an SD card currently in your Wii. The system doesn't come with an SD card, but I'm sure a lot of people have one from their camera, or the like. If not you can pick one up a 1Gb one for $35-$45 online. One of the nice things about being online all the time with the system is that we'll get updates regularly, so hopefully they'll work on the storage capabilities soon. Actually there are two USB ports on the back of the Wii, and while I haven't tried it, you could probably plug in an extra hard drive for music etc... I should see if that works.

The other service ("channel" is what they call it) up and running besides the email, and the photo channel so far is the online store, which is selling old games at a discount. This is great. I mean great! Basically this is the reason I wanted the system. Even though Nintendo has lowered the price of their new games to $50 a pop, I still don't plan on purchasing too many of them. Its the old games at $5-$10 a piece that really interest me. Check out this post I did for a list of the titles expected to be released by the end of the year. I haven't actually bought any of these games yet, but I plan on it soon.

On the system there is one more channel they have up and running. Not a service channel exactly; it is the Mii channel. Miis are basically little cartoony avatars that you create and customize (to an extent) . You are encouraged to create a number of these avatars (up to 100 per system). They can be used in an email to show who the mail is from, or as a marker beside your name on a high scores list. Reportedly, they will eventually actually be in some games, integrated into the gameplay itself . Perhaps being your rival in a racing game for example. Currently the Miis have a home just hanging out on the Wii though. Except when you save them onto your Wiimote (up to 8 at a time) and take them to another system (a friends Wii) then then can be shared. Also, through the magic of the interweb tubes, when you make friends with another Wii your Miis can be either emailed directly to them or they will wander onto a communal parade ground (think matrix-esque communal meeting place) and be shared by everyone there. I know that for now, they basically serve little purpose, but I have to admit, I really like the Miis. Its a cute concept that has so far been well executed.

There are a few other channels to come. You can read more over at the Wii Channel Wiki. A news service, as well as a weather forcast channel that looks a bit like Google Earth are both on the way in the next few months. Also, there will be a web browser built specially and offered by Opera with which you will be able to surf to your hearts content. I'm definitely looking forward to those things.

Despite any wait though, I'm thoroughly enjoying my Wii right now. The experience is so different, and I think has a lot of potential to break down the walls between gamers vs non-gamers. I've already invited my parents into the city in a few weeks to try it out, and I honestly think they'll enjoy it.

I still need to buy an extra Wiimote and nunchuck to get the full experience, which is unfortunately not too easy to do right now as they're hard to find sans system, but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough. The system seems designed to be played by groups more than alone, so I'm really looking forward to that. Even though a number of the older games can be played with a Gamecube controller (for which there are 4 ports), or Nintendo's new classic controller which I don't know if anyone even has yet. Oh, and one more good thing that I forgot to mention. The system is backwards compatible with the Gamecube! Which is very cool.. I mean I don't have too many GC games (only 7 or so), but it's pretty neat to finally have something like that from Nintendo. That said, I'd love it if Nintendo upgraded some of their older titles to add motion control capability, but I'm sure that'll be a while coming, if ever.

Anyhow, after all that talk; I'll wrap up. Yes the Wii is great. There are a few quirks (I won't call them flaws) that I think people will need to get used to. But there is something, or at least it feels like there is, something more fundamentally different about this system than the PS3 or the 360. I think this will appeal to a lot of people who would never really consider playing video games. At the least, I'm sure it'll be used for some great party entertainment. For me, I think the Wii is the right console. And given some more time to develop both online through the back end stuff, and through the games with developers getting more practice at it; it will only improve.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I GOT A Wii !@!!?!!

Erica brought me home a Wii last night! Hooray! it is absolutely awesome! OMG seriously it is super super fun. It was E's birthday so we had people over, and the party was great. At the end of the night we plugged in the Wii and had at it. WOW. it is seriously as great as I imagined. So much fun. This is awesome. What a great Christmas present. I'm so stoked. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Gears of War - Mad World

I know I'm so very predictable with this, but man I really love this commercial for Gears of War. Check it.

If you're interested, I read on Pop Candy this morning that the song in this video is Mad World by Gary Jules.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gateau of shame...

I am not happy. I just made honestly one of the ugliest cakes ever created. I mean look at that thing! I had three colors of food coloring, and I not enough frosting to risk mixing them. So what do i end up with? bright yellow, neon pink, and boring blue. That weird little yellow man... That's supposed to be a monkey, yes a monkey! I have little artistic talent I know, but man. A monkey?! WTF did i draw? I mean that look like some sort of twisted little yellow happy man. He's no monkey. What's that weird thing he's holding you ask? why its a balloon. isn't it obvious? Look at the writing. Seriously I must be drinking stupid juice. Happy in cursive, B- Day because I couldn't fit birthday, and then ERICA all in caps. What happened to my 8th grade English grammar skills? And I know you can't see it that well, but up in the top left corner is a big yellow blob. That was supposed to be a nice yellow rose corner decoration, but it put it too close to the edge and it started to fall off, so i grabbed it with a knife and pushed it back on. Of course in doing so i ruined the rose design, so i ended up just flattening it out into a circle(ish) sort of shape. I was thinking that hey it could just be the sun. But then I had already used up all the yellow so i didn't have any more for suns rays... You should click on the picture to see it up close, its such a tragedy. The one good decoration is the Tollhouse semi-sweet, and white chocolate chips i put around, I also put a bunch of those into the cake mix, which incidentally is chocolate fudge. I honestly don't know how I'm going to face the party tomorrow with this as my great homemade cake for my girlfriend... so depressing.

let the showers be golden

This is just too funny... according to this story, in Electronic Arts' upcoming new action shooter game Army of Two you will actually be able to realistically pee in game! That's right, its what we've all been waiting for, in game hyper real urination! And we're not talking cut scenes here, we're talking actual controllable peeing. I'm so excited. Really this is something that's like custom made for play on the Wii.

The game actually looks pretty great, so the peeing is really just a bonus.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

super cool Heroes news

So guess who is going to be joining the cast of Heroes this January?

That's right, the good Doctor will become a Hero!

This is flat out awesome. even if he doesn't have powers, it'll still be awesome. The word now is that he will actually be joining the cast... We'll see how this plays out in the days ahead though.

This scoop care of Michael Ausiello at TV Guide.

FNL rings true

I like to talk about Heroes a fair bit on this site, and in real life. It's a great show, with some interesting characters and really cool action. I like the way the story is developing, and I really have a lot of high hopes for the show. I'm also excited to see that its being embraced by the masses, considering how much of a genre piece it is. But all of that said, no matter how much fun I think the show is, its ultimately still a fantasy. It has that comic book appeal that I know very well. I love that, I really do, but there's something to be said for realism too.

The absolute best, 'realistic' show on television right now is Friday Night Lights. It's got a visceral, emotionally powerful, and very true feeling story. The characters just feel so real, so true to life of high school kids that I'm always engrossed by them. The stories are small and believable, and their lives and problems are not easily solved. The stories are grey, confused, and absolutely engaging. The show is really top notch and I want to encourage you, if you haven't seen it, please watch. Personally, I don't know anything about, or really even really like, football; and I'm loving this show. It's got me truly hooked, and I hope you get a chance to check it out.

The latest episode can be watched for free over on, and its a great one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Castlevania poster

I'm a bit worried that the Castlevania movie will be just about as good as Bloodrayne, which although was recently announced as set for a sequel, was just God awful. Thankfully at least this film is being written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson as opposed to Uwe Boll who has brought so many other video game gems to the masses. Anderson is the mastermind director behind such guilty pleasure films of mine as Alien vs Predator, for which a sequel in also in the works, Resident Evil, and Soldier.

I just hope they make Simon like he was in the old Captain N series, now that would be an awesome film ;)

The film will take place mostly in 15th Century Transylvania, and if you cant read it, there is subtitle "Dracula Reigns". Apparently they've got a budget of around $50 mil, and even though there were reportedly some problems with Dimension over the script supposedly locations are being scouted right now for this surefire hit.

It's kind of a cool poster. Very goth. At least that's a start right.

I read about this on Dark Horizons.

casting Sylar, redux

So, I wouldn't be even talking about this if I hadn't put my foot in my mouth a few weeks ago, but I already apologized for that. Frankly, I don't think you can blame me for getting excited. Heroes is a great show, and I'm really digging most everything about it. I love how all the characters are starting to finally come together, and that there are so many more people with special powers out there that we haven't even met yet. If you're not watching I'd encourage you to, it might be a bit convoluted at first, but you'll get it all down quick enough. And you can really ask anyone who is watching; fans of Heroes seem to definitely like talking about it.

That said I have heard from a number of different sources (here, here, here) now that the actor I had mentioned before as playing the part of Peter Sylar in upcoming episodes of Heroes is categorically NOT going to be playing the part. In fact they have cast another actor in the role. This is not official yet, so take it with a grain of salt, but if you'd like to know the actor now reported to be playing the role of Sylar just click onto his IMBD page here.

Sounds good to me. Even though he looks vaguely familiar I don't know him, and I think that's probably good.

the circle of life in my sink

I know that if E was awake she wouldn't have actually wanted me to get up and do the dishes last night at 3:30am but I did, and why you may ask? Because we've got ants! If you live or have lived anywhere in Northern California, you know about the ants. Everyone gets them at one point or another. They are tiny and black and there is almost nothing that can be done about them. Sure you can get rid of them for a while but they'll be back, there are always more of them.

So last night I accidentally fell asleep before cleaning the dishes, which I usually do every night because we don't have a real dishwasher, just me. But I knew, I just knew that if I left those dishes in the sink overnight, and then through the day today we'd be swarming in ants. These aren't the absolute worse kind of ants you can get I suppose. They don't bite, and they're easy to kill, but man there are a lot of them. These are the ants that you'll see 300 of at a time, all swarming after an apple core. Yes, yes... it's all part of the circle of life and all that crap. still, its totally disgusting.

I'm tired now.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Even newer Spider-Man 3 trailer

I saw this on AICN a few mins ago. This is the really "new" trailer for Spider-Man. It will almost definitely be taken offline soon so watch it now if you can. Its basically an extended version of the trailer that launched last week, and can be seen in the post below. This is supposedly the trailer that will be attached to Ghost Rider next February 16th. A lot of the VFX are rough in this trailer, but some of the scenes are totally new and very cool. Finally right at the end we get the goods though. The reason this trailer has been taken down all over the place for the past few hours. We get one quick very clear and awesome shot of Venom. Screaming into the camera. Its the tag right at the end so stick with it. Check it out.

I've heard a theory that says that possibly Venom will really only be in the film for a very small amount. And even that perhaps he is just really right at the end. As a set up for the fourth film. While I would definitely be disappointed by this in a way, I could honestly see it working too. Venom is a big story unto himself, and if you cloud these comic films with too many villains you run the risk of turning into another Batman & Robin. Anyhow, I'm sure however they do it, Spidey will totally rule.

I'm off now. Later.

UPDATE - obviously the trailer is now gone... oh well, fun while it lasted eh? sorry if you missed it but no worries, it'll be back next year with Ghost Rider.

UPDATED UPDATE - Like pee in a swimming pool. Check here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

New Spider-Man 3 trailer

I declare this to be totally badass.

I love the part where he punches through Sandman, and where he rubs Sandman's face against the train, oh and the part in the bell tower where he's desperately trying to rip the symbiote off, and also the line where Harry says "you knew this was coming Pete..." really I just love it all. Even the LOTR rip off shot where Peter is reaching for the ring. It all looks great to me. What do you guys think?

Keep your eyes on the official site and blog for more wall crawling goodness as it becomes available.

Space Cadet Geoff

I feel like a total space cadet this morning... It's just one of those days where I don't really have my head together at all. Last night I was podcasting with Devon, it was a really good episode I think (ep033), check it out if you get a chance. But so anyhow, as always when we podcast I was drinking. And I accidentally got a bit drunk. but it really wasn't my fault. I was at the store with Devon and I decided that I wanted something other than just beer, so I was looking for one of those pre-mixed cocktails. You know, like a Jack and coke in a can or whatnot, but they didn't have any at the Safeway. Instead, all I had to choose from was the cooler section :( So I figured on a compromise and got one of those big bottles of Mike's Hard Lemonade, which is probably the most manly of girly drinks so at least I can live with myself.

Cut to like 45 minutes later and I'm about 2/3s of the way through the bottle. Oh the bottle is 1 pint, like 9.5 fluid ounces in size. So I'm like 2/3s through and I realize wow, this is kind of really hitting me, seems a bit much. And I finally actually read what the bottle says. It was a CONCENTRATE! D'oh! It was supposed to make 8 drinks! and I'd just tossed back most of it over the course of 10 minutes. So as you might imagine I had an interesting podcast after that...

Good times... good time... so this morning I haven't really got much together yet. Just trying to keep my head straight. Oh, but some awesome news. Yesterday I got my Threadless shirts in the mail. Remember I mentioned them back a few posts ago. They are a great store. So I'm wearing my Strangers with Candy shirt today, even though its probably not dressy enough for work. That's ok, it's Friday. Woot for the weekend. :)

Back in a bit with my thoughts on the new Spidey trailer.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Not to backpedel but...

Well I might've been a bit too easily excitable when I was telling you last week about the awesome news that I heard about Heroes, and who would be playing the shadowy character of Syler in upcoming episodes. Because while nothing has been confirmed or denied as of yet, I'm worried I might've jumped the gun on the casting news, and I don't want to be that guy who is feeding you bad information.

I'd rather not say which actor I announced as playing the part again, because at least one friend complained that I'd given a spoiler without warning. Check out my blog here for all the spoilery details. The actor in question is definitely still a possibility, however the character WIKI lists the actors involvement as a "highly disputed" "persistent rumor". The IMDB page for the actor reports quite differently, although I don't usually trust IMDB very far, as it's far to easy for anyone to change the listed info. This time though I relied on a report based off of that data and re-reported it. For that I apologize. However, despite all of the conflicting reports, know that there still is a definite possibility for this actor in this role.

Ok, enough cryptic nonsense. In this week's issue Entertainment Weekly, they have a fantastic cover story on Heroes. The article is very solidly written, as is par for EW, with interviews from many of the creative people involved in the show including (series creator) Tim Kring, Damon Lindelof, Jeph Leob, and more. One of the most interesting things for me was to read the relationship of Kring has to the comic book Rising Stars; as the two seem so similar and yet so different in a number of ways. The article also has some minor spoilery details, being written while they were filming episode 14 (I believe). Without going into any real spoilers I will say that they mention in the article that as far as right now, the letters in the actors name that they currently have in mind for Syler has a scrabble score of more than 10 points. If this is true then the actor I reported earlier cannot be Syler.

For those of you that are interested here are some of the very minor things we can garner from the article...


The Save the Cheerleader storyline will apparently be wrapped up with by the Christmas break, so pretty much going through sweeps which start in what? a week I think. This story will culminate in, at the least, Claire deciding to leave school and Odessa, TX permanently as her secret is out for good. The second half of the season starting in January will focus mainly on the hunt for Syler and Nathan Petrelli's election. Kring said he wants to really populate the world with lots of these specials, all sorts of people with all sorts of powers. He also said that he has definite plans to kills off main characters; he wants death to be a part of the series and a real possibility. Although as he wasn't expecting the series to be so popular he's a bit worried now that he'll end up killing off characters and will have a fan uproar on his hands. :) I think he probably will...


So that's about all. Like I said, nothing too spoilery there. But just thought I should warn. Considering this came from the horses mouth himself don't blame me if it changes. Anyhow, it wouldn't really matter if it does, I'm really loving the show and I expect to keep loving it no matter what. Better head now. Later.

What happened to Jericho?

Ok, so this morning on the way into work I watched Wednesday night's episode of Jericho entitled "Rogue River" and I just want to say: what the hell happened to this show?! It was doing so well, or at least it looked like it could potentially do so well, and then it all just fell apart. The writing is terrible, the characters seem to have no motivation for their actions, and most importantly NOTHING is believable. The way a show like this works, and I know I've seen the producers saying this in their short interview on the show over at Innertube, that the way a show like this works is that it's based on the idea of what would the world really be like after a nuclear holocaust. Well, with stellar writing like this I don't think we'll ever know. Jericho is really disappointing me. The last three episodes have each been worse than the last.

It had so much potential, and it's just wasting away.

Conversely, I also watched Friday Night Lights and it is just getting better and better each episode. So me, the uber sci fi geek is going for the high school football show over the post apocalyptic survival story. I never would've imagined it.

All 8 episodes of Jericho are available to watch in full over at CBS - Innertube, and you can check the latest full episode of FNL over at

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I don't think I mentioned this specifically the last time we talked about The Terminator, but there are some very interesting things afoot for our favorite futuristic robotic killing machine franchise; namely television. That's right, television. Currently Filming is the pilot to The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It will tell the story of Sarah and her son John between the films T2 and T3. Reportedly there will be some lead ins and connections to the proposed upcoming Terminator 4 as well.

This is only at the pilot stage so it might not actually ever hit the airwaves, but I for one would welcome it. They've just announced the casting of Lena Headey as Sarah Connor. I'm not particularly familiar with her, but a fresh face is fine by me. The show is being made for FOX, which I'm not sure is a good thing, but at least the pilot is being directed by the absolute best tv director out there David Nutter. I'm excited to see this on the small screen. I think it could be extremely cool. But a lot of that will also depend on who they get to play John Connor; as ultimately while the show may be driven by his mother, the really interesting thing to watch will be the transformation of John and how he grows into being a reluctant leader.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

form over function

Do any of you guys use evite? I've just spent the last hour making an invitation that was far more complicated than it should've been. I haven't been there in a few months and wow, they've revamped the entire system. It's annoyingnow; all flash, and no substance. I just want to make a simple online invitation. And I'm not saying that before their system was perfect, but now it's just plain aggravating. I felt like I was fighting the system the whole time, just to get a really basic page thrown together. Lame.

This same thing happened with Frappr a month or two ago. I just don't understand how some websites can do these big cosmetic redesigns and not realize that they are giving up their functionality.

some election thoughts

Overall yes, I'd say I'm happy with the way the election went yesterday. I did vote, as an absentee (which is very common in California). Although I'm a Canadian born and raised, I'm also a US citizen as well with both my parents being American. This is how I've been able to live and work in the states without any problems. Being a Canadian though, especially an urbanite, I'm pretty far left of what many American would consider reasonable. In fact I quite happily would call myself a progressive socialist. I enjoy living here in the States, and I like being able to participate in the political process. Despite the occasional frustrations. Thankfully for me San Francisco is a fairly liberal city overall, and I'm happy about that.

While I personally skew closest to Green party, I went for the Democrats this time, and I'm glad to see that they did well overall winning the House back. As of this writing the Senate is still being decided, with the results for Virginia and Montana still too close to call. I'm sure that'll all sort itself out soon though... I hope.

What interested me perhaps more though was the state and local measures. If you're not from California you probably wont know or care about this, but it's interesting to me. SFGate has a nice concise results page that I've been checking. It's the state ballot measures that are the most frustrating to me. Prop 1A-1E all passed - that's $40 Billion in new bonds for public works funding. $40 billion is a lot, and I'm not sure it's being doled out properly, but I voted for most of those (not the highway one though). I thank God that prop 85 failed. Very scary stuff that. but the two measures that I find the most frustrating are the failures of prop 86 and 87. That's the cigarette tax, and the oil tax respectively. I hate the fact that the big business can just throw money at these kind of propositions and make them go away. It's made me crazy these past weeks to see commercials, especially for 87 where people are standing there telling me that the cost for an oil tax will be felt at the pump, when it quite literally in the law says that the companies cannot pass the cost onto the consumer. I mean, don't people read the fine print on their political commercials?! If I see a commercial, that is actually paid for by Chevron going against an oil company tax, you'd think that I'd realize hey maybe its just the oil companies trying to save their own ass. arrgh.... anyhow. I shouldn't be mad, it is what it is. That's just big business and politics. Lame.

I would really like to see a third political party emerge in the United States. I know Nader screwed things up for the Dems a few years ago, but one of the ideas of the Green party that year was to just to get enough votes to become a "national party". And that plan had merit. If we could really break out of this two party mold I think everyone would be better off. Unfortunately 2008 does not look like the year for that. Ah well... I can still dream.

It'll definitely be interesting to see how Bush deals with this turn of events.

update - Looks like Montana went Democrat, just Virginia to decide. That shouldn't take too long, right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spidey 3 pics - Venom, Green Goblin II

These are the pics that we're up on Ain't It Cool News this morning and were then taken down.

The Green Goblin design looks to be from pretty early on, but the Venom one is great. He looks all super veiny and scary. I really recommend you click on the images for a full sized view. Pretty cool eh? Well, Venom at least; I'm not totally sold on the GG outfit. Although I'm sure once we get a higher rez, more real, less concept pic, it'll look better. There was also a Sandman image but it was so fantastically uninteresting I'm not going to bother posting it. You've already seen cooler Sandman pics in the trailer. Anyhow, these are still pretty damn sweet if you ask me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Top Toys for X-Mas - a buyer's guide

With Halloween over it's finally time when we can start looking forward to Christmas. Hooray for Christmas! Ok, I know that there's Thanksgiving first, but that doesn't get commercialized in anywhere near as fun a way as Christmas does. Also aside from any religious connotations, that I'm not prepared to get into at the moment, the thing I always loved most about Christmas is something you just don't get for Thanksgiving; presents. So maybe I'm not really saying hooray Christmas, maybe what I'm really saying is hooray presents!

This past weekend, I received a flyer in the mail which was unfortunately recycled before I had a chance to read it, The Toys R Us Big Toy Book Christmas catalog. I loved toy catalogs. When I was a kid, they we're the kind of thing I could pour over for hours. Sears had a good one, as did Simpsons, and of course The Bay both of which are Canadian department stores. As you might have guessed, I always went for the action figures first, but I really tried not to be discriminatory on the whole. I liked all the toys and would spend time looking through the entire catalog: baby, to toddler, to girls, to boys, to family and games, to sports equipment. Weird how toy catalogs have basically the same set up all the time. Anyhow, it was the action figures I think I liked best because especially back in the day the product shots often had tons of different figures in a single 'scene'. Nowadays its odd, toy companies only seem to advertise the two or three hottest and newest toys of a given line and then leave the rest of the line, or older toys, for you to find when you go to the store. I always loved it when they would show all of the toys of any given line together, and best when they were interacting. I think it had something to do with my collectors mentality, and a small level of obsessive compulsiveness. I just really like the idea of having everything together. Heck it really didn't have to be action figures, If I had a good product shot of ten different My Little Ponies hanging out at The Dream Castle, I would totally love that too.

So without further ado here are my top picks from the '06 Toys R Us christmas catalog for the best toys of the season. Follow along in The Big Toy Book online if you like. This is my Buyer's Guide.

Fisher-Price Kidtronics Digital Camera - $59.99

I know this may be in the preschool section but seriously, what kid doesn't want a digital camera! this is super sweet. I want this. This is one of those 'toys' that's so great because it's so versatile. It includes 8MB built in memory, has an SD slot, USB connection, and fun editing software. It also comes in blue and pink! The only negatives I can see are that the picture quality is apparently pretty bad, and there are a few reports of buggy systems. I think kids will really love this though. I know I would've loved it when I was a kid.

Snugglers - $19.99

Snugglers are basically pillowcases with heads and limbs attached. This is seriously a fun idea. I'm actually tempted to get one myself, so simple and so cool. When I was a kid I definitely would've wanted a huge Spider-man pillow buddy. Also it comes in like 17 different variations, from Power Ranger, to Superman, to cows, and pigs, cats and dogs, to a host of the Disney Princesses. very snuggly cool. and cheap.

Leapster Portable Learning System bundle - $74.99
I really love the toys Leapfrog makes. They're a great company and make (on the whole) very solid learning products. This is their ever popular portable gaming/learning system, I think they try to skew it a bit older than it really plays for but thats ok, kids 4 and up seem to love these. things. They've got a game catalog that is good for preschoolers up to I believe grade 3. And additional games range from $19.99 - $24.99. This is the portable system bundled with their hot new title, Cars, at a pretty decent price. Also, while Leapfrog does make a home console system to play the games, the portable version is the far superior product, and can also be plugged into your television.

Marvel Heroes Ani-Movie Studio - $49.99

This is one of the coolest toys out this Xmas in my opinion. Yes I know that technically its just a mounted digital camera, with some simple software, and cheesy Marvel themed background cells, but I would be all over this as a kid. Basically this is a cartoon making studio, and I don't think you really need to explain much more. Creative and fun, it only requires a bit of patience, but honestly for the sake of my own personalized spider-man cartoon, I would do just about anything.

Play-Doh Creativity Center - $24.99

Play-Doh is always in fashion. This is a pretty good set containing 48 different accessories, including cutters, shapers and extruders. Its also got good storage area inside it, and comes with a full 10 cans of Play-Doh. What pushes this set over the edge from the Mountain of Colors set, or the Big Barrel set, is that it comes with a bonus case of 10 more cans of Play-Doh for free. now that's a good deal.

LEGO Batman: Arkham Asylum - $59.99

Woah! LEGO Batman. This is sweet! I can't decide what's awesomer, the fact that this amazingly cool playset actually exists, or that toy's r us is selling you an exclusive playset of a MENTAL ASYLUM FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE as a toy for children. The set comes comes complete with fairly horrific conditions for it's inmates (The Scarcrow, The Riddler, and Poison Ivy) as well as Lego versions of Batman and Nightwing! Actually, I'm not sure if this is really cooler than their other new Batman playset for The Batcave, but Arkham is a TRU exclusive and on sale for $30 cheaper than the other one, so I'd go for this. Definitely for the older kid on this one though.

Dora the Explorer plush - $19.99

Ok so technically this plush Dora isn't in the '06 Christmas catalog, but Dora is so crazy huge I felt I'd be remiss if I didn't mention her. Toys R Us lists a whopping 177 products branded after her. Unfortunately a lot of those products are overpriced garbage. There are a number of battery operated talking and singing versions of Dora dolls for this Xmas and from what I can tell they are all pretty bad. I'm talking worse than Teddy Ruxpin bad... actually now that i think about it Teddy Ruxpin was pretty awesome. Anyhow, why not go for this simple cheap Dora plush instead. She's cute, and this doll would totally hold up to the rigors of childhood. now if only there was a Boots plush.

Disney Fairies Sparkling Tinkerbell Dress -$24.99

Normally I'm definitely not down with little girls dressing up as princesses. Firstly it seems a bit too precious, but also I think it promotes some bad ideas in kids, and bad images for girls. Not as overtly manipulative as something like Bratz or Barbie, I think that the whole 'disney princess' concept can make girls at the worst bratty and self-involved, and at best an avid consumer. I don't really think Disney is evil, I just think they are exceptionally good business people, and if you let them get a toehold on your child it could very well be all over. That said, this Tinkerbell fairy costume is pretty darn nice, as long as you explain that fairies really aren't the same as princesses. Then again little girls probably know this better than you already. This would also apply to this cool Little Mermaid costume. Neither of these are too bad, and I think girls would have a lot of make believe fun with them.

Lifestyle Dream Kitchen - $139.99

Ok, so not only does this play kitchen come with a whopping 27 piece set of accessories, plenty of storage space for play food and other sundries, and real lights and sounds for the appliances, not only all that, but it is just fantastically stylish. I mean come on. I wish my real kitchen was as nice as this. Honestly the only downside I see to this toy is the price tag, which I admit is a bit steep. But hey, some kids are really really into playing like they're in the kitchen. I think this is a very cool playset.

Slurpee Machine - $24.99

I don't think this needs any explanation. It's a slurpee machine. Everyone wants one of these.

Cranium (various games) - $16.99

Cranium is one of the few companies really bringing family fun back into board games. Sure there's a lot of great complex new games for adults coming out of Europe, but in terms of something that can appeal to the young and old, these guys know where it's at. Their games for the most part require only one thing, that you be willing to be a little goofy... and as soon as you do, you'll have no end of fun. These specific games are their ones specifically geared towards parent and child play, but their entire lineup is definitely worth a look.

X-Games 20" Moto-bike, Flybox Ramp - $149.99, $49.99

This is just plain awesome, and any kid would thank you for the coolness points associated with this sweet bike and ramp set. Admittedly once you get this stuff for your kid they'll probably get a bit crazytown on you, and possibly start wanting 'real' and expensive gear. Until then though, I think this is a great starter set into the world of extreme sports. Which of course is where I know I plan to push my children.

Don't buy the helmet or pads; that's for chumps...

Action Figures - Really whatever strikes your fancy. It's weird with the action figures this year. I mean action figures are really all about the licenses. The big ones this year are the obvious one: Justice League, Batman, Ben 10, Avatar the Last Airbender, Ninja Turtles, and Spider-Man. Despite the moderate success of Cybertron, Transformers have a pretty weak showing this year, Not that they don't have toys, just crappy toys. Next year after the movie comes out I'm sure they'll be on top of the world as will Spider-Man probably once again. Some of the standby classics like Star Wars seem a bit flat to me this year. Really for my money I'd say skip the figures this year. But that's just me.

Matchbox - Mega Snow Rig Monster Mission - $34.99

Matchbox still makes some lame-o toys, just look at their "pop-up" series. But I think, or at least hope, that maybe they're finally going to stop trying so hard to be Hot Wheels. Seriously guys, face it, you'll never be Hot Wheels. So when I see something like this Mega Adventure set start to show up I think its a very good sign. It's kind of like a cross between the Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes series, and 80s G.I. Joe. I just think this looks super fun to play with. And for added bonus, the vehicle all comes apart and can be reassembled differently. Fun.

Hot Wheel's Radar Gun - $24.99

It's a Radar gun... it reads speed up to 100 MPH. What wouldn't you do with this...

Nintendo Wii - $249.99

I honestly think the Wii is the toy of the season. Granted I don't think you'll be able to get one. EB Games, Wal-Mart, Target, everyone has sold out of pre-orders. Be careful if you are actually pre-ordering it, cause you might not (ie probably won't) get it by XMas. The Wii, along with the PS3 WILL be sold out everywhere. I'm personally not even going to bother trying to get this until Februrary-March. For a whole slew of reasons including the price, the virtual console, the motion sensitive controllers, the overall fun factor, the degree of 'casual games' that are going to be offered for the Wii, and much more, I think it will be the most fun new console to play with. I'm very excited to get my hands on it and I think you should be too. I don't know if this really is the game system to break that wall between children and adult gamers that industry people have been trying to tear down but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Check out more information on the Wii here, and here. When you buy it you'll want an extra, Wii-Mote ($40), extra nun-chuck ($20), possibly the classic controller($20), at least one new game ($50), and probably a virtual title or two ($5-$10), so try out this handy online Wii calculator to see how much you'll be set back. For me, it's less than $500 for everything, and that's a heck of a great deal considering how much fun I'm expecting to have.

So yeah, maybe it's not technically a Xmas deal, as you almost assuredly won't be able to get one, its still part of my holiday picks for '06.

Nintendo DS Lite - $129.99

The DS has, to me at least, proven itself to be an incredibly robust and innovative game system. I sometimes get to play my girlfriends DS, and I always have fun. There are some great games out for it now like Animal Crossing, Nintendogs and Mario. But if that's too much there's always the Gameboy Advance SP (now with a brighter screen) which is running at a very reasonable price of $79. Anyhow, I'd go for the DS if you are thinking about the Wii, but not sure you want to spend the cash until a few more hands on reviews are in.

This will make a super great gift for any kid.

MiJam Drumsticks - $22.49

Ok, admittedly I have no clue whether these work well or not, but they definitely look like they'd be fun... sadly I suspect they're utter garbage. Ah well, at least they're pretty ipod white. And frankly if they did work really well, you'd be driven crazy by some kid playing them ALL the time. Let's be thankful that they probably will break in a week.

Ok, so there you go. Finally at the end of the Toy's R Us Big Toy Book catalog. Note that the prices I mentioned are pretty much all the TRU Sale price valid until Nov 22nd. I'm not trying to make this a big TRU advert either. Obviously go around a check out other stores for prices or sales, I just found their Xmas catalog pretty handy, and they really are a one stop shop. So all done, and I only ended up with what? like 17, or so recommendations. Hmm, well that's just my take on the toys of the season. Obviously this isn't necessarily the predicted best sellers of the season. No where on this list did I mention TMX Tickle Me Elmo.. ok, no where unitl right there. Also things like Power Wheels, while always super sweet, aren't really realistic toys, no kid really ever gets a Power Wheels for Christmas. Well, no kid except that one down the street who you all secretly envy and hate. Honestly if you're a parent, don't make you're kid into that one spoiled kid on the block. I'm fine with a degree of consumerism, but avoid Power Wheels. There's more to say of course, always so much more, but this is where I stop.

This post is getting dangerously past feature article length and into ridiculous territory so I'll stop. I hope everyone enjoyed my '06 Holiday Buyers Guide. Maybe I'll do it again next year. Later Gators.

Friday, November 03, 2006

morality at play

This morning I was surfing around looking over the day's news, and I came across this sweet human interest piece on Yahoo News, about a man in New Jersey who found a bag of some 300 letters, many unopened, in a plastic bag washed up on the Jersey shore. The letters were addressed to God, mostly care of a one time assistant pastor at a local baptist church. This pastor died in 2004, and the thought is that he had collected these letters in order to pray for, and pass the messages along to God. The reporter who wrote the article seems to have done due diligence in trying to get to the bottom of the story, calling the church where the minister once worked, trying to locate the deceased minister's wife, and even visiting the couple's former residence and speaking to their neighbors. But he didn't seem to get anywhere with it. No one knows where to find the minister's remaining family, and the church had no comment. Weird eh? I mean I would assume that the church would want to take back the letters and actually do something with them, even just read them and pray. It' s really a very tragic story to find all these desperate prayers. I can understand that perhaps the person who threw the letters out to sea saw it as a romantic and reasonable thing to do. Trust the fate of the letters to the will of God and nature. But the story is also pretty sad, they quote a number of the letters in the article, and it's some heart wrenching stuff.

The story is sad and sweet, and while I'm not expecting a Dear God situation, I did expect something of a happy ending. The letters should get back in the hands of the church, or at least someone who really cares and has a plan for them. Unfortunately though, the man who found the bag, Bill Lacovara, is actually planning on selling the letters on eBay.

What!? eBay! are you serious! That's unconscionable.

Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised; it's really just sad.