Thursday, April 30, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers - Episode 9: Spider-Man Is Missing!

It's been leading up to this, folks.  Ever since the beginning, our heroes have been divided, torn apart by Loki's machinations.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is frozen, unable to act to help anybody.  Nick Fury himself is in prison.  Heroes and villains were scattered across the globe, trapped in DISKs.  Spider-Man's been getting smacked around as if he was Frog-Man (there's a shout-out for you hardcore Marvel fans).

Finally, just finally last episode, our core five Avengers were finally reunited to face off against Loki's forces.  However, Loki's nowhere around, which means he must be up to something...

Enough chit-chat, let's get into it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Home Free

On December 9, 2013, a group of five men walked onto the stage for season 4 of The Sing-Off.  The show was previously recorded, so it didn't have the same "gotta watch NOW" drama of your usual musical performances, and while I love a capella music, I've always felt it had some inherent weaknesses to traditional bands.  This, I'll point out, means the truly outstanding bands really are amazing, because when a group can make you not miss guitars, drums, and any other number of instruments, they're doing something few people can do.

So anyway, this group of five guys were talking about their origin, about how they were the only a capella group doing country music (something I'm usually rather "bleh" about), and doing dumb jokes involving corn.  I was...not really impressed.  Then they were back on the screen, sitting on stools, and they busted out a song that blew my mind.

Immediately, I knew who was going to win this season.

I was right.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Weekend In Vermont - Part Three

So I missed yesterday, but I have a good excuse.  I was at a concert.  I got to see Home Free live!

You know them.  They're the guys who won The Sing-Off that one year and do that absolutely amazing cover of that one classic song.

What?  No, I- never mind.  Anyway, a full review of the show next week.  But for now, back to Vermont, and I'm just going to itemize a list of a few points I thought about during my drive.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Weekend In Vermont - Part Two

Continuing my week's theme of looking at two days spent in the Green Mountain State, we're going to actually take a closer look at the program Says You! and my experience seeing the two shows.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Weekend In Vermont

After the untimely death of Richard Sher, I wasn't sure my favorite radio program Says You! would be doing any more new episodes.  Would one of the panelists take over his duties?  Would it be a rotating position?  Would anybody be able to match his ability to make terrible puns and draw the most obscure guesses from the panelists?  

Glancing through their website a few weeks ago, I noticed two shows were announced.  One was a "memorial" show in Bennington, Vermont, and the other was happening the next day down in Dorset.   The second was simply being advertised as a standard show.

For weeks I mulled over whether or not I should attend.  As a fan, I wasn't sure I'd ever get another chance to see the show again.  I also wanted to be there to show solidarity for the program, and show that I, like many others, would miss Richard.

On the other hand, it wasn't going to be cheap.  There were tickets to buy, a hotel room to book, gas for the car, dinner to get, and other, unknown expenses.  I pondered this a lot up until I glanced online two weekends ago and saw that the tickets to the first performance were sold out.  Well, I decided, that settled that.

...or did it?  On a whim, I sent an email to the show asking if any more tickets might be released.  I said I'd be willing to sit anywhere, be it in a balcony, off to the side, or in a folding chair just outside the auditorium so I can listen.  The next day I received notice that there were two tickets available.  I sought out anybody interested in going with me, but since it was such short notice for a radio program most of my friends have never listened to (thanks, MPBN), I soon found myself replying that I would love one ticket if they still had it.

I purchased a ticket for the second show, booked a hotel room, and planned out what to pack.

On Friday, I left work early, climbed into my car, and headed off into the wild green yonder.  I went to somewhere that still has patches where I can best describe the quality of my cell phone signal as "Ha-ha, no."

For the remainder of this week, I'm going to be doing some observations from my trip, starting with something a bit more personal than the others.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode 8: The Avengers Assemble!

Voices are a funny thing in cartoons.  I've talked before about what a huge fan I am of voice actors before, and I even- wait a minute.

...I was going to have another link there, but I can't find that I ever did a review of the movie I Know That Voice.

Okay, scratch that, this opening about some of the stranger voices I've heard so far in this series will wait until next week, because I need that post to link to.

Let's just get into the action!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Well, that's it, now I want a comic book about golf.

I like golf.  I can't say for sure whether the sport likes me, but I'm willing to bet that all the problems I have with my short game and long game can be summed up with "doesn't play enough."  I learned when I was young and immediately picked up a fondness for the sport.  Riding in golf carts, trying to size up power and angles into arcs and rolling distances.  Eyeing trees that I suspected would suddenly lean in to deflect my ball into some deep grass, or bring their branches into the way to stop me in my tracks.  I went to golf camp when I was young, took private lessons, even learned from a former pro in some "one on one" lessons, where I was told that "if I could get a few things straightened out, I'd have a swing frame most golfers would kill for."

But I never really enjoyed watching golf.  Whether it was being there, watching others play, or watching players on TV or even watching golf in movies, having the emotional investment taken away just took away a lot of the fun.

Playing golf, when done right, is like communing with nature, if you take into account that nature has been plowed, flattened, grassed, and maintained with the same determination as a lot of botanical gardens.  But there's just something about the fresh air, the rush of oxygen coming off all the grass and trees, the sounds of frogs diving into water hazards to avoid stray balls, and following the wide, winding pathways to the next flag that just really feels tranquil and peaceful.

So when I found that artist Nathan Fox did some artwork for Golf Digest at the Masters, I was slightly intrigued.  Then I looked at the artwork, and I was blown away.

Honestly, if someone told me "Nathan Fox is the artist for a graphic novel about a really great game of golf," at this point I'd have my money slapped down on the counter before I even knew if it was in stock.

These images are absolutely gorgeous and seem to carry the serenity and tranquility that a good game of golf provides (or even a bad game of golf, once you accept how you're playing and look around you).  They were also all pulled from this site, so go there to read the article, see more of his work, and see some of the original sketches he worked from.

More of his artwork after the cut.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Team Ninja Needs To Be Stopped

At one point in my life, I actually had an interest in the Dead or Alive games.  Back when it was originally just a fighting game franchise (and I was a lot more immature than I am now, reviews of cartoons featuring ponies notwithstanding), I thought it was pretty fun.  Dead or Alive 2 and Soulcalibur were my two favorite fighting games for quite a while, because even a "button masher" like me could manage to win sometimes.

Then the volleyball games came out, and when I tried the first one, I grudgingly admitted that the volleyball side of things wasn't bad, and sure, if you were lonely and desperate, the other side of it would be a diverting time waster.  Then the sequel to that came out, and....well, I've already expressed my opinion of THAT.

Now, I don't really like just deciding that an entire game franchise is bad because of one bad game.  If I did that, I would have never played any of the really great Assassin's Creed games.  So I decided I'd download a demo of the most recent one on the PS Vita, because it's the only place I could find a demo of it.

So what did I think?

Playing that game was just opening the door into a world of madness and corruption, revealing a company who simply wants to pry every penny it can from gamers with the most blatant, exploitative bait for their money that I've ever seen.

Needless to say, I'm not a fan.

Um, parents, you might not want to let your kids look past the break...some stuff might be...questionable.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Partial Review: Grand Theft Auto V

I've always had a heavy bias against the Grand Theft Auto games.  I'll admit that going in to this review because if anybody were to comment on this, I'm sure I'd be told the following things:

1)  "You didn't spend enough time playing it to really get into it."

2) "You went into the game expecting to hate it, so of course you hate it."

3) "Meh."

With that in mind, let me describe my experience playing the latest from Rockstar Games and you can tell me if you'd reach any different conclusions with how it all went down.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Well, at least you tried.

This is the animated gif that has consumed my life lately.

That is all.

(That's not all.  It's the peering up at the end that gets me every time and makes me want to hug that bunny.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode 7: Hulk VS. Captain!

Man, it's been a while since I've done one of these.  That cold I had (possible pneumonia, I'm not sure, really) really laid me out and made it hurt to breathe, much less type.  But hey, I swore to get through this series, and I last left off at a pretty great moment...I think.  Let's get a brief refresher.

Our five heroes (no, not the Avengers) were in pretty dire straights.  Akira and Hikaru (hey, I remembered!) had control over summoning D-Smashing Iron Man and Thor, respectively.  Chris, the slacker with no real goals in life besides "figure out what his goals in life are" is tagging along but for the most part refusing to get involved in anything.  Over on a tanker, Jessica and Edward are being held prisoner by Loki's forces, as is a captive Spider-Man.

The Hulk, meanwhile, is tearing up a military base of some kind, under the influence of Diablo's "alchemy" which I call "easy way of explaining something hard to explain."  Hulk has already defeated Iron Man and Thor in combat and is about to move into a residential area when Chris finally steps up (literally, standing in Hulk's path) and summoning D-Smashing Captain America into freedom to face off against something that's taken down an actual god.

I already know what happens, but I'm still excited!

Let's get into the episode!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

7 Days To Die: A Video Game Diary

In the apocalypse, there are three groups of people.  There are those who are natural survivors, fully prepared to face the harsh new reality head-on and not only stay alive but thrive.  There are those who succumb to the ruination of mankind, either becoming savages, the living dead, or simply dying.  Then there are those who fumble their way around and frequently have to start over because they keep screwing up.

This is my story.  You can figure out which group I belong in.