January 31, 2010

The world has to stop giving me ideas.

I just finished Mass Effect 2 and can't stop talking to The Boyfriend about it.  we have both finished the game and loved it.  Specifically we love the universe.  It's amazing and in depth.  And when I fall in love with a certain universe, I need to give it a story.

So... the answer that has come to me is a Mass Effect RPG. 

There are so many ways you can go with it.  It would be amazing! 

This has to happen.... along with all the other stuff the real world is delaying me from doing. 

January 30, 2010

A lot of love to go around in Mass Effect 2

I should've posted earlier that I am playing Mass Effect 2.  I'll let you know what I think when I finished that.  I know I said that for Dragon Age, and I will do that first, since I have enough time.  I think...

By the way, I have enough time to talk about Mass Effect 2 because I'm sick and have to rest up to go to my job because I'm in a situation where if I can't go in, there is NO ONE to replace me.  So my work better appreciate me, because I would've gone LARPing and compromised my health today if I wasn't such a nice person. 

Sorry, I try not to get that bitter in my posts.

Anyway, Mass Effect 2 is definitely darker and grittier than before.  I'm not going to get into why until I'm done with this game, but trust me, it really is.

However, there is always a silver lining to every space cloud, and that silver lining in ME2 is the incredible amount of space lovin' available.  In the last game a character of either gender had only 2 romance options.  I mean, that's more than enough for me but whatever.  But now, you have a plethora of options.

This video pretty much covers all of them.


January 27, 2010

The iPad: An experiment in super-sizing

Proptart and I just looked at this article about the iPad, and I do mean JUST looked at.  We had heard the rumors about an Apple tablet coming out.  We were a little excited about it.

Not so much anymore.

Well, first of all, take a look at it:

Does it look familiar?  Well it should, because it's essentially the bigger cousin of this:

That's right, the new iPad is a larger iPhone.  It comes with all the apps and interface of an iPhone or iPod touch, except it's BIGGER.

Okay, I'll give credit when credit is due, it also does some iWork stuff that is really useful... if you're in an office that uses iWork.  Which, I'm not.

Maybe it's just me, but when I heard rumor of a tablet, I thought of someting that would be more suseful for graphic design, which is something that Proptart would find very useful.  Being able to have a touch interface with Photoshop or possibly just being able to write down notes in class would be ridiculously useful for the average mac user.

This... is just a PDA that I can't fit in my pocket.

I know some of you that keep up with me know that a mac user without being a rabid Mac fan.  Anyone who follows a company blindly is waiting for disappointment in my opinion.  And this is one of those times.  This isn't revolutionary, this isn't an improvement on something that has a lot of potential, this isn't even that "fun" looking.  It's just a huge touch screen wannabe laptop.  It's not even a wannabe laptop. 

I can see this being useful in some settings where touch screens need to be accessible to the public, or firms where certain apps could be used internally.  But I think that use is kind of limited.  Me personally?  I'm sticking to the standard issue laptop.

January 21, 2010

PUMPED! Frog Sings Queen

I've been busy with back to back openings of shows at my job, but things have been going well.  If any of you are in the Chicago area in April, you may get a chance to see my show being WORKSHOPPED!

That's right, a play I wrote is getting workshopped by an awesome director at my theatre.  For someone who would like to become a writer, it's nice to know at age 23 someone thinks your work has the potential to be made into amazing.  That's the hope with this workshop--that I can find a good direction to go in with this specific piece of work.  I'm super excited.

Also career-wise things look like they'll have a bright future right now.

Also, in general my life hasn't been sucking too much.

In celebration of life in general, I am celebrating with this video: Frog sings Queen

How can you not love it? It has frogs, video game sprites, and Queen! Oh, and Kirby!

I hope all you readers out there have something awesome to celebrate.

January 15, 2010

Have found a muse!

I had mentioned earlier that I had been feeling a little uninspired as of late.  This is always disheartening for me to feel.  I hate not being able to the type the words I know are waiting to be written down somewhere.

However, it seems my writer's block is over.

On Pandora (which everyone should use!) I had been listening to a lot of A Perfect Circle, and couldn't get the songs from Mer de Noms out of my head.  So I broke down and bought.

I haven't really stopped listening it since I bought it.

And then I couldn't stop writing.  Now I haven't gotten RPG ideas like I complained before, but I've been able to go back to my story and start writing again.  And I'm getting a lot of writing ideas.  Helping the Boyfriend with his story made me want to write it in my own style.  I'm thinking about writing more things for my LARP characters.  I think that the trilogy is the most important though, because it's something that's been stuck in my head for quite some time.  Mer de Noms is making think of certain characters in different ways, looking at them in different angles.  And I've gotten a scene or two from this album that has helped fleshed out everything for me.

For me, music unlocks a lot of things in my head.  But not in such a long time has an album inspired projects I was already in the middle of tinkering with.  Hooray!

Now if only something could give me the kick in the pants I need to get inspired for half of my other projects.

January 13, 2010

Disappointed with Avatar.

I hate to start out this blog post with this title, but that is how I feel after just coming back from seeing Avatar in 3D.  I may rant on for ages about this, but I don't want to.  Because I did want to like this movie.

I'm all for something original being told.  I know that only so many stories can be told, after a certain point, most stories are the same.  That's fine.  As a writer I know that and battle with this inevitability.  You can't always blatantly say something's not original enough.  But for me, it was that there were not enough original things.

To hopefully move along my banter in a smooth way, I'm going to divide this post into the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Like that hasn't be done before.


The Good

You can not knock how beautiful this movie is.  You can not deny that every damn detail on the silver screen was captivating the audience.  Even if I didn't see it in 3D, I would've appreciated everything I saw.  It was awesome.  And I loved looking at it.

The CGI acting at some points was better than the real acting.  Facial expressions and subtle movements were great.  I might just have noticed it because of all my theatre experience, but it was great to see CGI finally capture that so perfectly.  Not at every moment, but a good number of them.  For once, it didn't feel like I was watching a fancy cartoon.

The pacing of the story, although predictable, was good.

The one thing that I thought was surprisingly thoughtful was the idea that the plant life and animals were on a neural network that connected the entire plant.  It was a very empathic network, and allowed the native flora and fauna to communicate with each other.  It was easy to see why the Na'vi respected the land they lived on.  They had literally felt it.

The Bad

Yes, it was Dances with Wolves with aliens.  Yeah, it is the white hero fantasy.  I'm a jaded educated minority who has realized it's going to take a long time for people to stop caring about that story.  Luckily I don't feel I'm a minority in my opinion here.  History will run its guilt-ridden course. This issue doesn't irk me much.

It was a fantasy movie trying not to be a fantasy movie.  For me, sci-fi is about humanity's complex questions and ethical choices that possibly have no precedent.  Star Trek does that really well, so do great writers like William Gibson and Isaac Asimov.  And it's not to say that sci-fi must be trying to answer a question, but it tends to.  Fantasy tends to be about epic adventures, destiny, fantastic heroics that are necessary to save the world.  Avatar is a fantasy movie in that sense.  Sure, there were no elves, but there were goddamn archers and old gods that lived in trees.

The animal life on that plant, to my standards, were ridiculous unoriginal.  This is how it went: "Let's make a horse, but give it SIX LEGS!  Or how about a pteradatctyl with FOUR WINGS!  What about a GLOWING weeping  willow?  Shit, aren't we creative!"  No, you fucking aren't, nor ever were you actually creative.  You decided to take something that actually exists in the real world and give it a new paint job.  Congratulations, you paint well.

The Ugly

As I mentioned before, I can get over the "racist" tones of the white hero story.  To a lot of people, and to many of them subconsciously, becoming white is the way to redemption.  That's our culture.  I live with it every day.  It's easy to ignore it.

My problem is when every single damn tribal culture needs to have braids, feathers, and beads, or else you can't understand that the culture is a "live on the land" type of culture.  Seriously, guys?  You invent a whole new planet with a whole new slew of natural resources, and you've decided to base the Na'vi costuming on things you grew up reading about in National Geographic?  We can't have tribes who, I don't know, actually have clothing made from the animals in their damn ecosystem?  That's right, the Na'vi feathers don't appear on any animal in their ecosystem.  I don't know what they made their beads from, but I didn't see anything that could become clay in that movie.

I might be a bit sensitive about that particular lack of creativity, but it's because I'm tired of every tribe having the same traits.  Even if you look around the world you will see there are groups of nomadic or nature-bound people who have *gasp* ACTUAL CLOTHES with NO FEATHERS OR BEADS!  Sometimes they make tapestries or sew together animal skins that don't look like leopard print.  It just points out to me that the designers of this project went out of their way to make the Na'vi look "ethnic" rather than "alien".  I know I can be sensitive to things that elude to racial stereotypes, but that was definitely what first struck me when I saw the Na'vi in their hometree.

Speaking of which, WHY IS THERE ALWAYS A DAMN TREE?  Why can't it be a peat moss or a brain coral, why always a tree?  Again, super uncreative.

Finally, I hear the Cameron is trying to mold Avatar into the same kind of hit franchise that Star Wars and Star Trek is.  In the sense of getting it so big people will have Avatar conventions.  You shitting me?  Nothing in this movie touched me enough that I have to go and talk to other people about how much I love the Na'vi way of life.  I'm going back to the petrol-using urban ways right after this.  Star Trek showed an idealistic universe where unifying different minds was a goal, not an impossibility.  Star Wars tells an epic story of a young man who finds a strength he never thought he had, and how he must save an entire universe from his own father.  Avatar doesn't approach the same kind of connection that either of these franchises did when they started.  People wrote in to change the name of a space-faring ship from NASA to Enterprise.  No one is going to care about Avatar that much.  It's not original enough, expansive enough, or captivating enough to do what Star Wars and Star Trek did without trying in the first place.

As much as I am complaining, I don't think Avatar is a bad movie.  The story is well told, and it is beautiful.  But don't expect it to change the movie industry.  Don't expect a whole bunch of Avatar geeks to be talking about as much as Twilight fans debate Edward versus Jason.  Just expect people to enjoy it and then move on.  It just isn't that special.

January 11, 2010

An Injustice to great literature

There are so many things I have listed in my head to talk about, but I was so outraged by this discovery that I had to share it with you guys.

The cover for Dante's Inferno the novel come later this month:

Just look at that monstrosity!  The video game is nothing like the book, has nothing to do with the plot of the book, and still we're going to do this?  REALLY?

This EA/Randomhouse deal will include game art in a 16 page insert and an intro from the executive producer of the game.

How unnecessary can something be?  Apparently not much more than this.

I don't necessarily have a problem with EA making the game in the first place.  The mythos created by Dante's Inferno has been affecting the Christian world for a long time, and still captivating us.  But putting the main character of the game on the cover of the epic poem that deals with no pwnage?  It's horrible false advertising that probably won't work anyway.

As much as they say don't judge a book by its cover, it's inevitably something that an avid reader will do.  And judging this cover, I am NOT reading this.  Too bad I would be missing out on some fantastic literature otherwise.

January 5, 2010


I realize that I haven't been posting enough about RPGs, or specifically running them. I don't know what's wrong, but I recently haven't been as inspired as I usually am to run a game.  Maybe it's because I haven't bought myself a new RPG or maybe it's because I've been focusing on my trilogy when it comes to my creative outlet.  But it feels like there's something lacking.

On my other blog I've mentioned that I would like to do some experiments involving running games.  But I can't find myself thinking of a story for other people to become a part of.

There was a time last year where every week you could see me DMing at school.  I do miss that.  Gaming in person is so much fun.  Seeing the reaction on people's faces is FANTASTIC.  But I don't have a story that I think has the same engaging qualities that my previous campaign did.

I hope that campaign isn't a once in a lifetime thing.  Maybe it is.  I really hope not.  I hope I haven't already acheived GMing gold by age 23.  That would be kind of sad.

Well, I'm working on thinking of something to run on Google Wave, so I can do that experiment.  Just the question is... what the heck is it going to be?

January 2, 2010

Just Finished Dragon Age

I don't want to go into detail about everything right now, because it literally just happened.  I literally just finished watching the credits.  And now, I am feeling slightly emotional about it.

I easily sympathize with characters in stories, which is something that happens in great intensity with a well written story.  Once the game was over, I realized I wasn't going to play Thia, my Grey Warden, anytime soon.  And I almost got teary-eyed.

I invested so much time into creating a character that I loved playing, and that was the kind of character I wanted to play.  Thia became friends with all the people she brought along the way, and she was hilarious.  She was an awesome mage that kicked serious butt.  And a lot of the choices I had to make in the game were seriously hard.  I put in a lot emotionally, partly because I'm sensitive like that, but partly because the game encourages you too.

And now it's over, and the thing I looked forward to every night after work is gone for a short time.  It's like saying goodbye to a friend you only see once a year or something like that.  It's bittersweet.

I think I will do a more in-depth post later about my choices that is somewhat spoiler-rific, but for now I'm going to look back and enjoy what I just did... beat my first PC game on my new computer Adonis.  Sweet.