Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Reboot 45% Complete

Well, I haven't posted on here over the summer, and I aim to restart this blog now that I am at college. I will be starting in November, by posting a serial of my NaNoWriMo, which I hope you enjoy. After and during that, I will be restarting my weekly posts, such as Science Friday and Tales of a Minecraft Tourist. I'll sign off now, and see you again next month!

Friday, June 10, 2011

'Spolsions and Stuff: A Movie Review of I Am Number Four (Plus How I Learned to Forgive Micheal Bay A Little.)

I watched I Am Number Four the other day almost against my will. I had heard it described as "Twilight with aliens," so you could probably understand my leeriness. However, I did enjoy the movie, especially since it was not corrupting yet another brilliant fiction character, the alien.

My friend gave me the disc to put in the player, and I hesitated and gave him a skeptical glance. The name MICHEAL BAY was written across it. I have not forgiven Micheal Bay for the atrocity that was Transformers II. (I do realize that was because of the writers' strike, but he still made a mediocre movie from that script.) I almost didn't watch it at that point. I could see it being a vessel for Micheal Bay's explosion fetish. My friend, undeterred, put the disc in and made me watch it. Arms folded and a frown, I sulked on the couch as it began.

My negativity did not last long. It quickly became apparent that this was not a Twilight-clone, and there wasn't an explosion in the first ten minutes. There was hope for this movie still. The movie progressed, and I really enjoyed it. It was quite a well-written story, and was cast very well. Sure, it did focus quite a bit on the love interests of the movie. But the story came first. The aliens, if unoriginal and uncannily humanoid, had a neat back story, and the conflict between the two groups was fascinating and very well choreographed. Also, explosions.

I was surprised at the lack of explosions. There was maybe three big ones, tops, and very few and sporadic smaller ones. Micheal Bay really held back on this movie, and I respect that he can make a good movie without relying on that endless box of TNT he has.

Overall, I give the movie an 8 out of 10, and I almost forgave Micheal Bay for Transformers II. Everybody goes home happy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mutants, Cuba, and... Kevin Bacon? A Movie Review of X-Men: First Class

Sorry for the lack of posts, I'm stuck in a bit of a lull between high school and college, and it's taking it's toll.

I went to go see X-Men: First Class this past Saturday. I have not seen X-2, The Final Stand, or Origins: Wolverine. I have always liked mutant movies such as these, I just don't get to watch them enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and it's excellent acting.

Many were leery of recasting roles that were played by greats such as Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and feared that would have a negative impact on this movie. McAvoy and Fassbender brilliantly depicted the friendship, rivalry, and disagreement between Prof. X and Magneto. The acting was astounding, and well-cast.

The storyline was interesting, with a bizarre(for me) twist: the main antagonist was played by Kevin Bacon. He did a brilliant job, but I had never seen this side of Bacon's acting, and I was pleasantly surprised by his role. I hold only one thing against him: He used the power that I had come up with for an upcoming Mutants & Masterminds game, which was both amusing and annoying. The visual effects weren't game-changing, but were very aesthetic and not terribly over-used.

I had no particular qualms against this movie, but is wasn't life-changing. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Movie Review: Pirates 4: On Stranger Tides

(I apologize for the lack of posts; after graduating, I became a leading source for unpaid labor. I'm back now. Sorry again!)

I went to see the Pirates movie with two things on my mind: excitement, for I deeply enjoy the PotC movies, especially Johnny Depp's acting, and apprehensiveness, because anything that is a 4th sequel has a tremendous possibility of being very, very bad. Thankfully, and surprisingly, the latter was absolved not 10 minutes into the film, when I realized this was not just a quest for more money. This was a movie worthy of the series.

First of all, I count this movie as Johnny Depp's second best appearance as Jack Sparrow, the first being the first movie. He flawlessly pulls of the madness and genius that embodies Sparrow, and has more than his fair share of lines that personify Jack Sparrow.

The storyline itself eclipses "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End". It is imaginative, original, humorous, and tells a great pirate story. In my opinion, World's End dragged a bit, sullied down by all of the relations between characters and was simply made to finish the story. Stranger Tides, however, begins a whole new story, based around Jack Sparrow's adventures. It feels fresh and rejuvenated, ready for more films (two more of which are planned, I have heard).

The music is simply divine. It extrapolates on the themes of the earlier movies, but gives it a new feel, just like the storyline. Spanish influences are relied upon, with a mandolin and Spanish guitar playing the main theme many times. It feels like new music.

The special effects were subtle, not over the top as in World's End. It was mostly background images that were computer generated, and a few effects of Blackbeard that I won't reveal. It shows that a good movie can still be made with out heavily relying on green screen and digital models.

All in all, I give this movie a 9.5 out of 10. It was a great tribute to the series, and was surprisingly good for a 4th sequel. I highly recommend this movie to any Pirates fan.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Science Friday (Two Days Late!): Exoskeleton! Do Want!



Woah. This is the coolest project I have ever seen. Some Japanese students have built a light-weight exoskeleton that extends the ability of the human body, using only aluminum tubing, plastic, and aluminum plates. The level of want that I feel inside right now is unimaginable. Start watching the video about 2 minutes in to see the practical tests; otherwise, begin at the beginning to watch the build process.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie Review: Thor

(Sorry about Minecraft and Science Friday; I've been trying to finish up school, and these past few days have been hectic. Things will start to become semi-regular next week)

I went to go see Thor tonight, as a treat to myself for getting my school work done and completing the last day of my high school career. While I thought it was a good movie, I saw a few things that disappointed or irritated me:

  1. The makers of this film took the stereotype of someone suddenly finding themselves in our society and misbehaving in it (a la Enchanted or Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). This led to some funny lines and situations, but this type of film makes me uneasy and I don't enjoy the as much as other films.
  2. The heavy reliance on comedy. Don't get me wrong, I love a few funny lines in my comic book movies, but this one is a little over the top. Even the action sequences came across as comical at times. 
  3. The lack of depth in the villain. Loki is supposed to be mysterious and chaotic, but he never seems to have a definite goal in mind and feels one-dimensional.
  4. Anti-climatic. I won't go into detail, but many of the big climatic moments seem to deflate rapidly, as if wanting to move the movie along.
While I did have grievances, this movie was great. The parts were cast perfectly, and it did a good job as a precursor to The Avengers, which I think was the main reason for this movie. The special effects were good, and the comedy, though overused, was of good quality. I give this movie a 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tales of a Minecraft Tourist: Intro

On Thursdays, I'm going to post screenshots of a world that I created for Minecraft specifically for this blog. I will simply be exploring and posting screenshots and thoughts on what I see. Hope you enjoy it!

(as an added note, the world seed I am using for this is the word "Glacier")

Just as a teaser for tomorrow, here's the first thing I saw:
I think I'm in love.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Concerning the Death of bin Laden, or Now What?

As reported by many sources, including the President, Osama bin Laden is dead. 9 years, 8 months, and 21 days, 2 ongoing conflicts, and $1,188,285,670,000 later, the leader of the world's most threatening and deadly terrorist group is dead. Question is: now what?
Unfortunately, we won't be pulling out of Afghanistan/Iraq this instant, this month, or even this year. We are too involved right now to just lay our guns down and come home. I have never been one for war, but, since we're there, we might as well fix the problems we set out to fix and the problems we caused. Also, this does not mean the end of Al Qaeda. Most likely, this will launch a wave of revenge, orchestrated by bin Laden's No. 2's. The Middle East has been the powder keg of my generation, and it's been oh-so-slowly emptying as time has passed since 9/11. This might be the spark that makes the rest of it explode.
Am I glad he's dead? Sort of. I don't wish death on anyone, but I do believe this is the best justice he could be served. Am I confident this is a significant blow to our opponents? Not at all. This may not be the best thing for us and our forces abroad. 
But let's not worry about that right now. Take a moment. Feel some of that unity we had after the attacks. Take a small comfort in knowing that one of the truly evil men on the planet has ceased to exist. Give some sympathy to the men, women, and children who lost someone on that fateful day, and let them know they have had their vengeance.
Try to hold on to that sense of unity. That is the cure to our society's stagnation. Know that no matter how screwed up politics get, this truly is the Land of the Free, Home to the Brave. Even I, as a very neutral non-patriot/non-dissident person, feel good and proud to be an American this day.  While we still have a problem on our hands, this is still a victory. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Science Friday: Lasers More Powerful than The World's Power Output

The Czech Republic just became every laser enthusiast's dream. You know why? The European Commission has just cleared a plan to build three lasers that, for a fraction of a second, are 100 times more powerful than the entire world's power usage.
This laser array, made up of three lasers with room for a fourth, will each generate 10 petawatts of power for 1.5x10^14 seconds. That means that for an extremely short amount of time, these lasers will be able to actually rip the fabric of space, possibly generating virtual particles theorized in quantum theory. The fourth, to be possibly built later, will combine TEN of the lasers like the ones in the first three, generating a whopping 200 petawatts, or 2*10e18 watts. Thats 1176 nuclear bombs. In under one picosecond. That is a lot of power.

Next stop, Death Star!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'd Like to File a Bug Report on Humanity

Bill Nye, while giving a talk in Waco, Texas, was boo'd and walked out on by several people during his presentation. Why, you may ask? He said the moon reflected the light of the Sun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This Has Got to Happen.

This.
Bill Posey, a Floridian Republican Representative, has announced a bill that will get us back on the moon, permanently, in 11 years. Support this. We need this to happen. We, as a race, must promote and enable extraterrestrial exploration and colonization if we are to survive. Talk to your Congressmen and women. We, the cognitive surplus of America (aka the Geeks/Nerds), must push this bill, and any other like it.

That is all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Science Friday: Cannonballs and Mercury.

Okay. In order to get myself to post more; every Friday I will post about an interesting science article/video I have seen and write about it. So here's the Inaugural Science Friday Post!



This very interesting video show exactly how strange a material mercury is. It's a metal, yet is liquid at room temperature and is denser than gold. With these properties, it would be so much fun to experiment with it, if it wasn't one of the most toxic elements ever discovered.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Indie Video Game Review: Trine (by Frozenbyte)

(Sorry about lack of posting: still figuring out what exactly to write on here)

The other day, I happened upon the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle (located here). While excited to have a chance to donate some money and get some free indie games, the first two games I tried in the bundle were not terribly exciting and slightly buggy. Then, I hit the mother-lode: TRINE.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Back in the Boondocks, or Something Like That....

Well, I'm back from the West Coast, and let me tell you; it's a neat place. Wouldn't want to live there, or anything, but neat nonetheless. Pics after the jump:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Going on a Trip

Sorry I didn't post yesterday; still trying to get this to become a habit.

Tomorrow I leave for Los Angeles for a jazz festival my band is competing in. We're taking a  few days to see the city, namely Old Hollywood, Rodando Beach, and Knott's Berry Farm. I'll post pictures and maybe a video, depending on if I can take a camera.

In other news, I am announcing today that in June I will be running/participating in a game-a-thon for the Japanese relief funds. Why in June, you ask? Well, I have school and work to attend to at the moment, but I will have lots of free time in June. Watch my blog and the Twitter feed for more details.

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ragequit, or The Reworking of the Blog and It's Content

Earlier this week, I found out about MIT. If you tried to access the site after Monday night, you probably can guess the outcome.
I ragequit this blog, but now it's back, and I now will show you all what I will offer through this blog.
Throughout the week, I will post if something catches my fancy and I must share it.
Mondays will be the Big Update days. This is where I will post important things and video logs (once I get around to them)
Sundays will be D&D and RPG related posts. I run a local D&D 3.5 game and will post about their escapades every other Sunday. On the other Sundays, I will post what I have learned as a DM or interesting articles pertaining to the roleplaying community.

That's all from me right now. Catch you next week! (No more ragequits, I promise)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Preliminary Post, or What Pushed Me Over the Edge to Begin Blogging

Hello, as-of-yet nonexistent readers. I'm a little new to this blogging thing, so bear with me as I learn the ropes.

I begin this blog on March 7th, 2011. Why is this date special, you ask? In one week, I will learn of either my acceptance or rejection from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am beginning this blog not only to catalog what happens on and after this date, but to build a literary hobby and to voice my unashamedly geeky opinions.

So, that sums up the intro. More will be posted next week after the decision is reached. Wish me luck, o Internet!

Edit: Wow. Posting on MIT sure drives a lot of people to blogs. This is the most I've ever seen visit a page on it's first day of creation. Thanks everyone. Spread the word; this will be a god-awesome blog, complete with correct spellings and grammar!