29 December 2007

Geek Quiz

65% Geek

Looking for payday loan?

21 December 2007

Unholy Night: Christmas Horror Movie

Christmas is around corner and everyone's going through the horrors of the holiday crowds - in the malls, on the roads, in your fridge .... So I figured it would be fitting to feature a horror movie based on Christmas. It's an Iceland horror film called Unholy Night and it sounds intriguing - set on the eve of Christmas, a group of people in a rehab clinic comes across Santa Claus. Except it was more like the big red giant from Futurama. Basically, these poor folk discover that the Icelandic fables about Yule Man were spot on and now these creepy "Santas" with terrifying names like Meathook are unleashed. Oh Boy! I found the trailer for it on youtube but it's not in English, so just use your imagination.

20 December 2007

Why PR handles Clients


I just had to put this one in. It's an old User Friendly webcomic ( I've been browsing their archive and found some really classic ones ). Sigh, I don't think anyone can read comic at this size and am still trying to fix that. So just click image to view larger comic on the User Friendly site.

Stargate Atlantis Links



Here are some cool websites about Stargate Atlantis.

Atlantica
This is a fanlisting about everything Atlantis. Among other stuff, it's got some awesome images, funny quotes from the series, screen caps ( somedays you want a different wraith on your screen, you know) and, my favorite bit, the cultural reference list. These two references were too good to pass:

"Oh my God, he is Kirk." - McKay
These two quotes reference James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the starship Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. Kirk had the habit of romancing (or being romanced by) an attractive woman in practically every episode.

"Romancing the alien princess? Very 1967 of you." - McKay
The 1950s and 1960s was a time when science fiction movies and television series where strapping young handsome heroes have to save the world or explore the universe, and along the way, meet and romance beautiful women, was quite popular. 1967 would seem to be a time when this type of entertainment peaked in popularity.

Shiny Pretty Things
There's not too much on this site cos it is still under construction. But it's absolutely worth a mention! It's got some truly fabulous banners and icons. Looking forward to more artwork on that site. The banner for this SGA blog is taken from the site. Good job, er. Jacksrubberduck.

LoTR Road Sign

Funny picture about good old Gandalf. What next, Slow Zone, Hobbits Crossing?


Source:
Ryankg on Flickr

19 December 2007

Sending and Searching for Interstellar Messages

Got a link from Alexander Zaitsev about his earlier work called Sending and Searching for Interstellar Messages. (Thanks to Alexander Zaitsev for the link.)

"There is a close interrelation between Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI). For example, the answers to the questions "Where to search" and "Where to send" are equivalent, in that both require an identical selection from the same target star lists. Similar considerations lead to a strategy of time synchronization between sending and searching. Both SETI and METI use large reflectors. The concept of "magic frequencies" may be applicable to both SETI and METI. Efforts to understand an alien civilization's Interstellar Messages (IMs), and efforts to compose our own IMs so they will be easily understood by unfamiliar Extraterrestrials, are mutually complementary. Furthermore, the METI-question: "How can we benefit from sending IMs, if a response may come only thousands of years later?" begs an equivalent SETI-question: "How can we benefit from searching, if it is impossible now to perceive the motivations and feelings of those who may have sent messages in the distant past?" A joint consideration of the theoretical and the practical aspects of both sending and searching for IMs, in the framework of a unified, disciplined scientific approach, can be quite fruitful. We seek to resolve the cultural disconnect between those who advocate sending interstellar messages, and others who anathematize those who would transmit."

The comment ... a joint consideration of the theoretical and the practical aspects of both sending and searching for IMs, in the framework of a unified, disciplined scientific approach, can be quite fruitful... sounds interesting. Good point there. If a set of scientific ground rules exist, you don't have to worry about rogue transmitters. Think of it as a mellow version of uploading material on youtube - communication is open to all and you know what you can and cannot upload.

Any work done in this regard contributes to progress for SETI & METI in the future and scientific advancement in general. What was that famous phrase ... from the shoulders of giants?

Lost Season 4 Trailer

Found this trailer on Youtube. Only thing that caught my eye was that skull.

14 December 2007

If you were an alien, would you live here?



There's been
controversy brewing within the SETI community as is evident from this SEED article. The issue at hand? Should we send out signals to contact possible alien civilizations out there? And of course the constant worry about the responsibility surrounding first contact.

I'm going to keep an open mind here and not say anything about life in other planets. What I was interested in was the main arguments about "responsible contact" with aliens.

Amidst SETI members, the major disagreement is actually over how soon we can expect powerful transmission tools to become widely available to those who would signal at whim. Does this translate as governments and organizations should be in charge as opposed to the public, us mere whimsical human beings? I hear you; these organizations have diplomats with degrees, historians with out of print books and scientists with super telescopes. And let's face it, you don't want first contact to be initiated by your neighbor who also tapes episodes of Judge Judy.

Guess my question is, how much faith do you have in gov't or such orgs that you want to happily hand over responsibility to them? Most of us don't vote; we complain about our gov't, we say they don't do enough or the system is a joke. The nations in our world don't even get along; everyone's bickering over trade or oil and, in what can only be called the greatest irony in the history of the world, one of the most powerful nations in this world recently brought the pioneer of human civilization to its knees. Yes, the country that was the cradle of human civilization, the first area million years ago to start cultivation, one of the first to use alphabet - this country's infrastructure, historical artifacts, precious writings and so many other treasures were lost or damaged beyond repair when a giant amongst nations felt it had to teach the little deviant guy a lesson, irrespective of the consequences for human historical and cultural research. Seriously, you want the governments and organizations in charge? For what? The greater goodness of humanity? That's another irony then.

Humans seem to be territorial and violent; read a history book if you don't believe me. So keeping this in mind, do we really want us to influence or wipe out aliens for fear of attack of WMD? Rudimentary weapons or not, chances are, we are the ones who will feel threatened or eliminate any sign of life out there. What's funny is the reason behind this search - humans have sized each other up in this world and assessed their danger levels; now the paranoid human mind needs to know if there is a threat out there.

11 December 2007

Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams

Enough about Stargate - more on that tomorrow! I've neglected science fiction and fantasy books in the blog for a while so, to make up for it in this Merry Month, here's a little bit about two of my favorite science fiction authors. Alright sci fi / fantasy then!

Terry Pratchett
Not only are his books the most shoplifted in England, but his creative mind gave that witty, heavy metal edge to Death. After the satirical portrayal of police, tinged with social commentary of ethics and proper human conduct of course, there's just no going back to the gun toting American Cop Shows. Check out his official site at Transworld here. Computer savvy - one of the first authors to interact with fans using the internet and a bit of a game player (more along the lines or Half Life and Dance Dance Revolution). Check out his interview on this site - commenting on the dark tone in his children's novels, he points out that he's no Enid Blyton ... and that was a "good thing". Hmmm......

Douglas Adams
Legendary source of satire. Who can forget Marvin from Hitchhiker's Guide? Or that strange reincarnated bug that kept getting killed by Arthur Dent. One of the awesome traits of Adams' writing was also his use of clever wit in a sort of probing analysis of society's strange and mundane ways. Also fond of technology and avid fan of Macs. According to Wiki, he was rumored to be one of the first to buy Apple in UK. Check out his .Mac page for more on the comp hobby. Anyone interested in his official website, click here. Also found an audio interview of Adams on this site, for those who just can't get enough of the Q&A. For a bit of fun, read the Slashdot interview, a quirky and insightful session. For the record, I've also wondered about the connections between Pratchett & Adams.


Jason Momoa



Oh Shoot! Jason Momoa has cut off his funky, alienish dreads for a, who knows, the backstreet boy look? Anyway, he still keeps the look for the Stargate Atlantis series (big relief there). Check out his interview at Gateworld. From the sound of it, the team might be considering regrouping, having Momoa aka Ronon go off on a tangent like Ford did. Interesting ....

Microsoft's FAQ on removing Linux



How silly can you get? I found this on Digg - Microsoft's online support page actually dedicates a page explaining how to remove Linux and install Windows! Well, once you tasted the Open Source fruit, you don't go back to DRM nonsense, so I wonder what they are going on about. I do wonder if it is a PR stunt. See, having such a page makes unassuming users think - hey, this page must exist due to a demand ... means people must be moving from Linux to Windows ... why else would they have it there? At least I can check this page when I need a good laugh.

10 December 2007

Stargate Atlantis: Season 4 Spoilers

Watch out, spoilers ahead for Stargate Atlantis. Gateworld has some interesting news about the upcoming mid-season episode - Be All My Sins Remebered. Read on for the full details but all I can say is, there are some awesome developments - alliance with a Wraith scientist, fight to death against replicators, possible eradication of humans on various planets - everything that epic stories are made of. I always wondered when team Atlantis would get a Wraith on their side; you must admit they have played around with the idea for a while.

07 December 2007

Fun stuff for Futurama

Looking for some Futurama icons, desktop art, fan art or wallpapers? Check out these fun sites.

What Else? Futurama
Really cool site which points out weird or out of ordinary facts founds in Futurama. You know, instances that don't make sense, a shadow were it ain't supposed to be, wristwatches switching hands in different scenes, etc. Well spotted, guys.

Futurama Icons
Super Punch pointed out this particular site. It's got interesting desktop icons, mainly those freaky heads in jars - all who meddle with our PC, be warned!

The Futurama Point
Oooooh nice! This site has some interesting wallpapers, buddy icons, font and everything else your alien futuristic soul is looking for. Need more Zoidberg!

06 December 2007

Forget Dark Knight, Watch Astropia



Has anyone heard of Astropia, an Icelandic fantasy movie (aka the rather morbid Dorks and Damsels). It's this absolutely awesome movie on the net; when I checked the synopsis of Astropia from IMDB, my WOW sensors started to go tingly. Now this sounds like the kinda fantasy Hordes and Alliance Players would rant about.


Summary of Astropia story that I scavenged from the net:

A snobbish girl, Hildur, has to ditch her pretentious lifestyle and get a life - also known as going through the classifieds for a job. She ends up in this fantasy bookshop with super cool work colleagues - Dagur a translator of romantic fiction, Scat a rapper who makes his nerdlyness look cool, the comic and video clerks Floki and Pesi, the violent tomboy Beta and an eight year old whizkid Snorri (Imdb.com)

Not entirely sure what happens next BUT there's mention of battles with Orcs, swish swash and gory evilness! When I say epic battles think something more creative, perhaps anime, as opposed to the more traditional American skimpy babe rubbish. Yea, from what I read, the ditzy gal ends up building character instead of her ultimate goal being movie-defined-love through some pretty boy.

05 December 2007

Warner Bros Shuts Down Flickr Account for Blogging about Batman




/Film had this horrid story of Warner Bros bullies shutting down someone's Flickr account just cos they had used promo pics for Dark Knight. This after the blogger had gone through "the cease and desist" and taken all the pics from Uruloki blog etc. Sheesh man! It's not like they were selling it for profit and taking credit way from you; it's good publicity and everyone gets to hear the updates about Batman.

And isn't the point of having a viral account with Joker clues an effort to get more publicity and fans through the net? Someone should tell them one of the first rules of advertising on the web - don't pick on the fans who pay for your movie anyway.

C'mon that's just nasty - it sounds like the person had other legal pics in that account which is probably lost now! Well, suddenly I'm not so eager to see the Bat-eared Latex Man anymore - I will take my movie going money elsewhere!

IEBS.net sums it up nicely when they say:

Is there a lesson here? Yes, don’t use Flickr to host any of your images and also Warner Bros. Legal are a bunch of assholes . I hope that the production team wasn’t behind this because if they were they are also a bunch of assholes.

Felipe took down the images so WB had no reason to get his Flickr account shut down. Five years worth images down the drain, that’s just messed up.

Advice to all of our online/blogger friends out there, don’t let yourself be treated this way and learn what things the studios have no control over.

04 December 2007

100 Books = Meme

I found this cool meme on Imagine's blog. Very cool. Here's how it goes:

100 Books Meme

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you want to read. Don't alter the ones that you aren't interested in.


1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee).
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch 22 - Heller
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) -
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Mario on the Piano

03 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Here is a bit of fan art I did for an SG-1 poster - added the Christmas spirit to the wacky team.


29 November 2007

The Last Unicorn




I have forgotten that men cannot see Unicorns. If men no longer know what they're looking at, there may be other unicorns in the world yet, unknown, and glad of it.
The Last Unicorn


In this sad day and age, when J.K. Rowling's interesting yet somewhat cliche
Harry Potter series is carried on everyone's shoulders as the epitome of good fantasy writing, all the true classics are being huddled into dusty closets and buried under unwanted shoes. This blog is dedicated to a great fantasy story from my kiddie days. It's a fantastic story for little children as well as mundane adults who pish-posh all the magical creatures. Count of the usual suspects for a true classic - dabbles in satire, explores morality, tickles your imagination and nostalgically reminds you of that phase of delightful discovery in your childhood when everything was a mystery to be uncovered. The book is none other than The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Articulate, funny and with enough sad bits to make the most macho man sniffle. I'm not going to spoil the story for potential readers so here is a summary of the story! A carefree unicorn finds out that she is the last of its kind in the whole world and so she sets off on a quest to discover the fate of the rest of her kind. It's a meandering journey where travelers she meet are very human in their make-up - self-absorbed, cynical, hopeful, self-enterprising, among other colorful human traits. The unicorn may seem uncaring but she is matter-of-fact in her views; albeit clinical but reasonable, choosing moral high ground but not apologetic about it. Two companions join her to aid in the quest. The unicorn might find the answers she is looking for; she has to defeat a magical creature that might just take her life or imprison her forever. If you think the summary is a bit vague, let me tell you that was on purpose. For any eager newbies, I am not going to spoil the adventure. Let's talk about the reasons why The Last Unicorn differs in quality from the Harry Potter bonanza.

Here are some noteworthy points from this classic novel:

Icing can make it pretty, only eggs can fix a base


Ahh the content, the egg that binds the cake! It may be a quest to fight evil but a far cry from the ordinary tales of a group of diverse beings banding together for the greater good. Far from it. This was a quest for self discovery for everyone involved; people wanting to know who they are, someone trying to be what they are not or people who destroys what they can never be. The amount of social comment is delightful - for example, the carnival owner has to give the unicorn a fake horn so spectators don't mistake her for a house i.e. people will only see what they want to see.


No need to leave your brain at home anymore


Not only is the content rich and thought provoking but the descriptions are almost poetic. The play on words, the riddles, the humor - every aspect acknowledges and appeals to the reader's intelligence. It is a relief to see a writer who doesn't treat his readers like empty vessels.


And for all of you Neanderthals out there, yes, there is an animated movie so you "don't have" to read to partake in this magical experience ... *mutter* philistines, the whole lot of you *mutter*... For the sake of all that is good in the world, please choose the latter remastered version as opposed to the original release. Repeat do not buy the animated version from amazon or wherever!

Explanations are in order and it is of great significance. True, the Last Unicorn animated movie released in 1982 was remarkable; it stayed true to the book, it's character and content. Why?
Not only was in based on the book, author Peter Beagle wrote the screenplay for it. Here's where it gets ugly. Granada Media has been distributing the animated versions, in all its glorious forms, and they haven't paid a cent of the sales to Peter S. Beagle. Scummy I know. However, Conlan Press now handles book sales for Beagle and they have just released a 25th Anniversary DVD for The Last Unicorn, where due proceeds ( more than half of each sale ) are handed over to Peter Beagle. If you want to buy The Last Unicorn DVD, I mean the Beagle friendly version, please click here.

To end the blog, how about a few quotes from the Last Unicorn book? Someone can play some uplifting music in the background - given the talk about Peter Beagle's rights, Eye of the Tiger should set the mood.

Quotes:

Amalthea: Who am I? Why am I here? What is it that I'm searching for in this strange place, day after day?

The Butterfly: "Death takes what man would keep and leaves what man would lose"

Schmendrick the Magician: "We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream."

The Skull: "When I was alive, I believed--as you do--that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said 'one o'clock' as though I could see it, and 'Monday' as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year's Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls."

Mabruk the Wizard: "I always say perserverance is nine-tenths of any art--not that it's much help to be nine-tenths an artist, of course."


Sources:
Peter Beagle Official Site
Last Unicorn the book
Last Unicorn 25th anniversary DVD
Conlan Press


Cool Stargate Atlantis quiz - I got Zelenka.

Which Stargate Atlantis character are you most like?
Your Result: Dr. Radek Zelenka
 

Zelenka is smart, and can figure just about anything out if he wanted to, but unfortunately, sometimes lets people get the better of him. You need to stand up for yourself sometimes, but it's alright. Deep down inside you care for the people around you, and you can overcome your fears to help your friends.

Col. John Sheppard
 
Dr. Elizabeth Weir
 
Dr. Rodney McKay
 
Dr. Carson Beckett
 
Teyla Emmagen
 
Ronan Dex
 
Which Stargate Atlantis character are you most like?
Take More Quizzes

27 November 2007

The world in 20 years ... in the past

Found this awesome collection of illustrations on Dark Roasted Blend - it has some fantastic visions of the future. Check out one sample.


26 November 2007

Webcomics are so much better than over rated print media

DC and Marvel have recently joined the intellectual property rights bandwagon; DC and Marvel are considering legal action about ZCult.fm, an online company that was uploading their comic material for file sharing. It's like these big comic honchos are shooting themselves in the foot. Firstly, a lotta fans have support for s network like ZCult - if not for the net, they would not have access to comics that they love. But apparently, the fan population outside US doesn't count (note: am not suggesting all file sharers are from outside the star spangled boundaries but I can understand the dilemma of overseas fans who have nil access). Secondly, isn't file sharing just awesome publicity? Meaning more people will dig Marvel comics etc, etc. You get hung up on the money, you alienate a large percentage of your fans. Well, you know what? I'm supporting the great webcomics out there, who're there to express creative ideas and are in it for the love of the drawing comics. From now on, lemme just stick to webcomics until Marvel and DC get their heads out of the DRM Scheme, also known as Metallica's Fav Lullaby.

Click on the comics to check it out on
website.


A List of My Favorite Webcomics

1. User Friendly




They are funny, they keep up with trends in the computer field and make very subtle comments about DRM etc.


2. Married to the Sea

Married To The Sea

marriedtothesea.com

Talk about a wonderfully weird sense of humor. I always did wonder about those strange sketches from th
e olden days.

3. Wulfmorgenthaler

These guys are the best - quirky humor and they make good comment about society. Good Intelligent humor, if you may.




4. Basic Instructions

This is classic! It's a bit like my fav stand-up comedians; putting a spin on those annoying little things that bug your at work.




25 November 2007

Star Wars Galaxy Map


/Film has done it again. They made an awesome find - A map of the Star Wars galaxy! And they are right, all these creative people out there contributing to the legacy of Star Wars and Lucas is totally unaware. Sadly, I don't think he'd be too happy with it considering DRM and intellectucal property. Sad!

23 November 2007

Why is Heroes such a Lame Show



Is there no one else who is a critic of Heroes, the NBC show? It maybe have been better than a home cooked meal when it came out but as the time goes by, I can't watch it without cringing. It's got so much potential and Kring just wants to flush it down the drain!

What is my latest complaint about Heroes?

It started the other day when I watched X-men animated series from 1992. Ahh the 90's, with funny hair and eccentric costumes. And I don't mean the mutants! Anyway, few episodes later, this nagging feeling of de ja vu started lurking in my mind. Why does this seem so familiar? Then it hit me - Henry Gyrich ... those glasses, his role as a mutant stalker of sorts for a 'Company' that attacks, kidnaps and tests mutants - he looked like the long lost brother of Noah Bennett (aka Horn Rimmed Guy) from Heroes!


Wait, it gets better! If you think about other X-men characters, just how startlingly similar are they to Heroes super-human gang?

Wolverine - Claire Bennett - Heals wounds
Mimic - Peter Petrelli - duplicate powers of other humans
Storm - Nathan Petrelli - she can fly whilst controlling the weather
Jubilee - Elle - energy globule power
Jean Grey? Prof Xavier? - Matt Parkman - reads minds
Prof Xavier - Molly - Locate other mutants

You'd think they would brainstorm about this before production wouldn't you? Instead, this is the path that Heroes TV show is following.


Shortcomings of NBC Heroes


Think Big Picture


Seriously, none of the writers seem to have thought of the overall plot line. Looks like they only had a vague idea how to fit some mutant guys into this world and give them awesome powers and make sure everyone looks pretty! Period! For those skeptics who cry "Lies, lies, save the cheerleader, save the world", think of season 2. Given the recent episodes, what do you think is their slogan - Get the Vaccine, heck with the Bird Flu? Is Season 3 going to be averting a natural disaster like a super quake? Beef up your sub plots and come up with something creative for the over-all plot. And, while you are at it, please set some rules for what the heroes can and cannot do. I for one am still not sure about Nikki's power.


No one says Eureka anymore!

Whatever happened to the age of great ideas? What's with this cheesy peopl focus on the show? Seriously, the basis of Heroes is providing a
diluted sci-fi show tinged with a soapie and reality show element. Maybe they are banking on trends that show that viewers are more interested in shows, news anything, that are about people. Yea, heck with dazzling, new, out of this world ideas. At this rate, 20 years down the line, viewers are gonna sit at home and oogle at the very mundane activity of a blue collar worker dashing off to catch the bus. That certainly explains public obsession with reality shows, paparazzi, social networks like Facebook. How many times have you heard someone complain about a show saying it's too dragging and slow cos of a boring (read well scripted, indepth story) plot while they would happily watch a live vid of a tornado tearing up some poor guy's house? It is no wonder that Heroes is copying these viewing trends and trying to make money off it. Heroes lunch box anyone?


Know your audience

It seems to be unthinkable to aim for a target audience. So here's the manual for Heroes!
You take a sci-fi theme, focus on the most mundane bits of a super hero's life ( preferably sex, drugs and politics - Nathan, Nikki, that artist dude ) and for god's sake make sure all of them look like models. Now mix in the cheap thrills - cliff hanging moments, near deaths, car chases ... don't worry everyone will love it, we can string it along with little story input for a while! This way you reel in as many segments of the population as possible?

Wrong! Instant gratification only lasts for a few minutes before majority of population wanders aimlessly for the next fix. And then you get the big C called the cancellation! Why not aim for a target audience and stick to a certain voice, a particular method of storytelling. You want to see real sci-fi? Check out Battlestar Gallactica!



My point is not to claim that Heroes is a watered down X-men. Far from it. The idea of humans with super powers has been around for generations i.e. X-men, Superman, Justice League, the exceptionally lousy Dark Angel, Mutant X. My argument is that a show like Heroes, which is regurgitating an age old theme, must make a name for themselves by:

a - Focusing on a strong plot line
b - An in depth story
c- Explore characters where you also define the boundaries of their power


22 November 2007

Stargate Continuum



First Futurama and now Stargate SG-1. According to latest info from Gateworld.net, the super cool Stargate Continuum is set to release for July 2008. Storyline of movie goes along these lines:

In the movie, enemies of the Goa'uld are celebrating. The last standing System Lord, Baal, is scheduled to be executed. But before he can be eliminated, Teal'c and Vala vanish. It is soon revealed that the timeline has been altered, the Stargate program no longer exists, and SG-1's missing personnel are now serving the enemy.

Must admit the time travel thing is a bit old in most movies and series. Not really, considering Back to the Future never gets old. Blame it on the Trousers of Time mishaps from Heroes. Anyway, Stargate Continuum will have good old Gen. O Neill ) i.e. MacGuyver chappie, Baal and Nirriti. Remember her? She did all those horrid experiments, had the whole hindi kali god thing going on?

21 November 2007

Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Good news everyone. Futurama: Bender's Big Score is coming out on Nov 27 2007.
This is one of those series they should release online - you know, you pay and download to your PC sorta thing. None of this Die Hard:Live Free nonsense.

Check out the awesome trailer

20 November 2007

The Maths behind Futurama


Another cool website. I always thought Futurama was absolutely awesome. Check out these Mathematical info scattered throughout the series.

- Bender 's number is 1729 i.e. the smallest nontrivial taxicab number
- In one episode Prof. Farnsworth refers to Witten's Dog ( real example of diagram elementary particles)
- The serial numbers of Bender and Flexo = sum of two cubes?
- Bender's Dating service is also a clever comment about discrete maths

Find out about all this, in technicolor detail from this site.

18 November 2007

Star Trek: Pepsi Generation


I must admit I have not heard of this movie. But am definitely going to check it out now.
Get this - Star Trek: Pepsi Generation was a fan film made in 1988 and it parodies Star Trek: Next Generation ( also taking time out of Trek Universe to joke about Dr Who, William Shatner and few others ). Storyline? "Ferrari" steals Pepsi from Starbase Seven-Up and Enterprise must save the day.

Ratings For Cool Factor?

Talk about super creative!

Made by fans, on a smallish budget, they did it for the sheer genius of it and not to reel in big bucks at the box office. Sure a worldwide hit would have been nice, but at least they were thinking of the story before they salivated about the moolah i.e. last Star Wars trilogy also known as Lucas with a Shylock Fix.
Check out this quote taken from wiki for example :

Having to shoot bridge scenes in a nor
mal apartment living room was creatively explained as due to a "malfunction of the ship's interior decorating computer."

This is what Writing is all about
This is one of the reasons why I prefer sm
all budget films - it's minus the red tape, hassles and propaganda of big budget Hollywood movies. You know what I mean - those awkward romantic scenes in a movie entirely based on survival to death against blood sucking goats. Laugh all you want but how many big budget action movies have got 5 seconds of an inappropriate genre squeezed into it? And since it is a parody, at least they will be making fun of cliches and not generating them. None of this awful catch phrases in an effort to look macho - Die now *expletive*, Take this *expletive*, How about that *expletive*, Welcome to Earth *expletive* - you get the drift.


And to continue their story of success, according to Wiki:

The film premiered at the Norwescon science fiction convention in March 1988, and won the convention's film festival, and when the film was played on the hotel's in-house channel, bootleg copies started circulating immediately, and the film has been a hit with fans ever since.


Plus BBC featured Star Trek:Pepsi Generation amongst its featured films for a piece they did on Star Trek parodies.

Check out the director's site here.


Source:
Wiki & Ryan K. Johnson's site ( he was writer & director).






Star Trek Home System


How's this for the ultimate surround sound experience? A Trekkie fan in Florida has adopted the Star Trek: Next Generation them for his home theater system. Now, he no longer has to wish he was there with Capt. Jean Luc Picard; he can really feel like he was there fighting the good fight!



Source:
Slashfilm
electronichouse

16 November 2007

Great Anime Tours!



Now I'm kicking myself - wrong place, wrong time and of course the teensy bit about not having the cash.
What am I talking about? Cartoon Brew talks about this absolutely awesome deal going on with Pop Japan Travel. Guess what the tour includes?

a visit to Studio Pierrot (which animates Naruto, Bleach, pretty much every third action anime ever seen on Toonami), and a meeting with Hideyuki Kikuchi, a great Japanese horror writer whose best-known works are Wicked City and Vampire Hunter D

Sniff, sniff! All those you can, pack up your Soul Slayers now.
Read more

15 November 2007

Stargate Figurines!


Good News Everyone! Stargate fever has struck Diamond Select Toys and they decided to expand their selection of on SG-1 & Stargate Atlantis characters! Well, it's about time! Supposed to be out by December, although I don't think they mean this year. Whatever the case, buying gifts for a Gate Fan is going to be super easy next year!

What is wrong with Lost?



Seriously, what is wrong with Lost? How come everyone is complaining about Lost? Everyone compares it to Heroes followed by the ominous warning - don't do what Lost did. Here's what I think:

1. Contrary to popular belief, there are explanations:
Everyone seems to say Lost doesn't explain stuff. I would say that Lost weaves in answers, putting it all together slowly. This also depends on what answer you are looking for doesn't it?
What do we know about Lost so far?
- How John Locke ended up in wheel chair
- The fact that Ben was not originally from the island
- Dharma Initiative seemed to be run over by some guys who lived there and hence Dharma group might not have been the big baddies.
- Who Sawyer's real dad is
And lots more details...

Other explanations will come forth but it's not fair to say there are no answers. I wonder if this complaint comes from the group that always reads the last page of a book first.

2. How about plot development?
No, rather a lot of people seem to prefer instant gratification. Like Heroes having a super explosion at end of Season one. So what if the storyline for Lost unfolds slowly?

Firstly, shouldn't we be watching to see how writers unfold the story as opposed to them catering for a mass? Technically it should be listening to the creativity of a story teller - liking or disliking is up to the audience. Don't we kill creativity just a teeny bit when the spectators dictate the way a story is told?

Secondly, while people may complain about gradual build up of a story, a show based on adrenaline and little substance can be boring. Lost is nothing like that; they are talking their time to join all the loose ends but in the meantime they have thrown some interesting ideas into the arena. How entertained will you be, in a few years time, with a mutant super humans who's basic mission in every series is to save the world? Gets kinda lame after a while. For the real deal with the drama, watch Justice League - the animated version.

3. No in depth characters ... are you kidding me?
Lost has the strangest groups of individuals in a group that you can think of. And it's not the kill-bang-kill riff raff of a flashy show, noooo! There is a human element to the show where the flashbacks explain why the characters do what they do. Give them credit for not stereotyping anyone.

On this note, fans of Lost are quite taken with the colorful characters, some of whom are named after real life people.
Jack Shepard - also the name of a famous outlaw in England
John Locke- The philosopher guy who believed in liberal governance, life and liberty?
Sawyer - funny how it is also name of famous friend of Finn
Hume - another philosopher guy; the how much do we really know guy.
Kate Austen - 19th C anarchist, feminist

4. Losing audience appeal, yells the ratings master!
All good shows will appeal to sections of population, instead of the entire mass of people. Same with Lost. Ditto for Heroes. Why do you think, despite people ranting on about Twin Peaks, it has a strong fan following years after it aired? It's hard to put a story together that will blow everyone's mind away and keep you glued to the very end. Lost has found it's niche and those who like it's brand will stick to it. Struggling to appease everyone might ruin the series as a whole.

Lost is doing well, let's see how they choose to tell us their story.

Maybe this is why shows should be released for the net. Those who like it can pay to download or watch it online or whatever your connection allows. And you don't have to worry about your being canceled; shelving something that so-so % of people is no longer jiggy with while a considerable % is still out there who is crazy about the show, that's just sad. Shouldn't be about the ratings, it should be about creativity and expressing new ideas.

08 November 2007

Must Have Star Wars Knick Knack

/Film has an awesome poster which integrates the Star Wars trilogy - by that I mean the Anakin Bio trilogy as well as the cult classic trilogy that started it all. Click on the image for a larger version. Creative artwork, I'll grant you that, with most of the unforgettable Star Wars characters edited in. You can see the human Anakin with an overlay of his cyborgish, Darth Vader helmet and further down comic relief fellas, R2D2 and his pal plus the latest rather lame addition, Jar Jar Binks.


Five Reasons Why Smallville is Super Bad



1. Clark is not the brightest bulb in the world; I mean I don't know what Jor-El what's-his-face was smoking in his youth to pass on the Duh gene to his son but his first born certainly not the smartest one around. Or it was the toxic air in Smallville iteself, the brand of cereal you ate on the farm? Scary, when you think the fate of the world is in his hands. Think about this - how many times has he barged into Lex's mansion and accused the rather evil young Luthor of heinous crimes. Yea, might be better idea to clarify and not badger the accused. It's so cliche that you can use this sentence as an entire plot line for an episode:

Clark will barge in and say "Did you ____ (insert any of these verbs: kill / kidnap /
experiment on / blackmail) my mom / dad / Chloe / some random guy who ran
away from lab? Oh Yea? Well, Luthorcorp is behind it."
Most of the time Lex is behind it or his dad is or worse yet, he has no clue about it but the greedy man that he is, now that he knows about it, he wants control of it. Good job alerting the most nasty power crazy man in town about potential power enhancing experiments!

2. Oh lest I forget, Clark also loves to barge into the mansion expecting Lex to dish out oodles of money to help out someone in need. I mean just how many times does Clark walk into Lex's home and expect Lex to help out with his millions (u know when Chloe or someone was being blackmailed or hostage or a truck fell into Metropolis or a scarecrow comes to life in Smallville).

3. Did u ever notice that when people go temporarily bad due to kryptonite, ppl like Lana get all weird. Like Clark uses his powers for evil, Chloe pursues Clark under such powers and Lana
becomes a promiscuous snob. Hmmm. Is there an inner skank in Lana? Maybe she swallowed one of those Bindeez beads?

4. Has anyone counted how many trucks owned by the Kents have been blasted or blown away? Do they have insurance and if so, this is a very tolerant company. Smallville goes easy on credit and loans.

5. The number of times that Clark does one of his super power moves in public and no one seems to have noticed ... except Choloe ... I believe all the rest got locked up!

I'm Sorry for Heroes - Part 2 That is...




In an
interview given to Entertainment Weekly, Heroes creator Tim Kring, well, cringes at Heroes TV show storyline. Yea, that's right, he is kicking himself about new additions to the Heroes season 2 plot. Here are some of his pet peeves about second season of Heroes: - 1. Slow pace - and I quote:

''We assumed the audience wanted season 1 — a buildup of intrigue about these characters and the discovery of their powers. We taught [them] to expect a certain kind of storytelling. They wanted adrenaline. We made a mistake.''
I wonder about that! I liked the slow build-up - there has to be some tardy moments to introduce new plot lines and people ... C'mon, Heroes season one wasn't a cliff hanger from the very first episode. We were just blown away by the thought of super heroes with awesome abilities, where every episode uncovered just a little bit more about a new ability. I thought the initial Mohinder scenes and the dual person powers of Ali Larter (if you can even call it a super power - incredible strength, now that I can vote for) were a bit dragging but hey, let's give this a bit more time. Sure, now we know them and we want more stuff to happen. But you gotta give some leeway for Heroes season 2 - give it 100% thrill and everyone would complain about cheesy chase scenes and lack of substantial plot.
2. Hiro's extra long adventure spree in ancient Japan

I wouldn't complain about the length of his stay, I found the whole feudal time walk bit of Heroes season 2 a bit predictable. It's the oldest tale in the book - go back in time, don't end up being your own grandfather and yet you are your own grandfather's mentor or something along those lines. Look at Stargate SG1 and the whole traveling back in time episodes.

3. Puppy Love - i.e. Claire and Tom Welling look-alike and Hiro's strange mixed identity romance.

Ok, I'll agree with him there. Not only does Claire's twinkle-toes guy look like Clark Kent, he's just as lame as Tom Welling. This is like the horrid love-angle in Matrix; painful to watch and so not realistic. Really who goes for that cheesiness? Seriously, it's ok to tone down the love stories, there's no need use cliche angles that spoil a good story.

Let's see how he's gonna change the series now.

05 November 2007

The Golden Compass




What is it with fantasy movies and controversy? First the Potter series and now the Golden Compass. Honestly!

Explanations first. The Golden Compass is the movie adaptation of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. Based on the first book, Northern Lights, it's somewhat in the Potter genre. Except with better plot and eloquent narration. Here is the gist of the storyline for The Golden Compass:

* The main protagonist is a child, fiery little brat called Lyra
* Children have a familiar of sorts called Daemon
* Basic Good vs. Evil struggle
* Forces of evil are adults, all strong advocates of a tyrannical religious group
* Magic wielders = good, religious ones= bad

Can you see where the controversy begins to unfold?

To be fair, it is just a creative articulation of a compelling story; it's not propaganda, it's not hidden conspiracy plot to lead children astray. Or mislead adults into liking a "devious" story - although I would be insulted if authorities thought they had to think for me, decide for me and protect me from what might potentially scar my brain. I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much And for that matter, let the other parents decide on their own. If they watch it and like it, their choice. Anyone who's sensibilities are offended by movie can simply walk out of the cinema.

It is quite sad that the Golden Compass movie has received such negative press. It's one of the best stories I have read in a long time. Anyone who is an avid fan of fantasy RPG games will appreciate this story; familiars that are linked to your inner self, presence of inert magic within you, forces of evil, traveling through exotic lands, battles, traversing the wild seas, flying, soaring, swooping away in the icy wind - you name it! What I also find interesting is the concept of empowerment of an inner self; deciding between right or wrong on your own and making conscious decisions to recognize evil. Furthermore, and this might be what makes most people cringe, the plot revolves around socialization norms, more precisely the ritualistic nature of some religions dealing with sexuality. More precisely, it portrays how of a child's initiation into adulthood is a traumatic severing of their inner self (bye bye familiar and hello 9-5 jobs). His Dark Materials books make great social comment, question norms and are intelligently written. And you know what? As with the movie, if you don't like it, you can always close the book.

But that's not the case is it? So far, religious groups have been rallying against the trilogy and booked meetings in advance to protest against the Golden Compass movie as well. Latest news is that the Catholic League is urging parents to boycott the flick. Check this out:


"Parents might be inclined to say, `Hey, our kid really enjoyed the movie, why don't we buy him His Dark Materials for Christmas?' ...“(It) introduces the kid to atheism. (It's) a stealth campaign.”

I must ask at this point - and please feel free to imagine the Dr. Phil voice - Just how negligent are these parents? I mean think about it -

1. Surely you don't drop off kids at the movies and hope there is nothing dodgy being shown? Doesn't anyone check out the movies for themselves before showing it to their kids? Read a synopsis if you don't have time, google it, type controversy + Golden Compass, anything, do some research!

2. Don't you talk to your kids about values and religion, so that if they watch / hear something that contradicts it, they'll ask you about it? The answer isn't to ban anything that seems to potentially question your faith - you should be able to sit down with the kids and explain it to them.

3. And out of curiosity... what would you do if there is a kid in school who is brought up by Wiccans? Atheist parents? Petition to expel the kid so that you don't have to provide an explanation for questions of faith? Whatever happened to tolerance?

And honestly what are they worried about atheists for? It always amazes me how jubilant the religious groups are when someone converts to their side. Note the euphoria surrounding the discovery of faith by ex-atheist Antony Flew. How sad is it that your own faith needs constant reaffirmation by counting your group numbers. If he found faith, good for him, that's his choice in life. It's not about being right or wrong - it's being able to live life as you choose.

Watch movie, read the book, it's truly a masterpiece. And make up your own mind, dammit! If in case, someone does have a conflict of faith, toss and turn and can't sleep at night, call the latest poster child; I'm sure Antony Flew will straighten out the hazy details for you.

02 November 2007

Swapping actors

Ever have that Deja Vu moment when you are watching your favorite series? There you are, engrossed in tale about laser beams and alien invasions and on a slow news day, perhaps a love story between the Trekkie Captain and a hologram. And zap! Suddenly, dashing across the screen is the main bad guy, mean, glaring and surprisingly familiar! Now you're no longer wonder if Beckett is gonna live or die, but racking your brain trying to remember where you saw that oaf. If you're fussy like I am, chances are you're probably also noticing the background cameo guy who's 5 second of fame involves opening a door. I've checked IMDB number of times after watching a show, just to place that familiar face. So in my obsessive quest I uncovered a few haunting faces from Stargate Atlantis and traced them to their other moment of glory. Keep checking in for new updates, believe it or not, there's more!

Stargate Atlantis Actors in other famous series


1. Paul McGillion




We all know him as lovable and somewhat dead Dr. Carson Beckett. Turns out, he was Lex Luthor's lackey Smallville season 2, the episode where Lex hires some bums to snoop around / tap his dad
's office. And some hostage situation came out of that whole evil mess.


2. Jewel Stait
e





Once Beckett died the bomb blast de
ath from hell, Dr. Jennifer Keller stepped in as doc for the base. Ever notice how SG1 and Atlantis lost both their doctors and they keep trying to kill of Dr. Daniel Jackson in almost all their episodes. Hmmm...

Here's something interesting - S
taite was also the super cool and shy engineer from Firefly - Kayle Frye!


3. Ben Cotton




Remember that annoying scientist who wouldn't stop nagging about Weir's leadership? Everyone thought he was a spy was eager to beat him up? Was almost tortured for a confession? Yea, Dr. Kavanagh! Guess what? Look for Paul Hendrix in Hug, first season of Smallville. That environmentalist who jumps out the window to escape pollution? Look familiar?


4. Christopher Heyerdahl


This was one of those recurring incidents. Not only was he Pallan in Stargate SG1 ( that planet where everyone had their brains linked to a super computer), he was also the lanky Athosian in Stargate Atlantis - you know him ... Halling? Tall and somewhat indignant at times? Offers spiritual advice when least expected? Turns out he had a bit of interplanetary fun in go-green fashion else where - he was none other than Clark's uncle, Zor-El. Check him out in Smallville, season 7.

5.Reece Thompson



Jinto - Halling's son in Stargate Atlantis. You've seen him in Krypton related matters as well. Try Reunion, season 6 of Smallville - that episode where Lex's buds start dying off and something about bullying in the past and lots of flashbacks. Look for young Geoffrey in these tender black and white moments.


6. Ryan Robbins




Think back to the nuking of annoying Genii leader Cowen. Keep in mind Ladon Radim - the whole dance and chase of leaving Genii but not really betraying but in the end truly did blow a bomb .... Had a sister suffering from radiation poisoning? Yea well hold onto that image. Anyone recall that LOST style episode in Smallville season 3 where Lex has a psycho buddy on a desert island, some carefree guy called Louis Leery? Look again. BSG fans will remember him as Charlie Connor - resistance fighter and part of the tribunal that execute judgment over collaborators.


7. Garwin Sanford



He's one of those ones - Narim in SG1 and Dr. Elizabeth Weir's partner in Atlantis. Go figure. Well he's also part of the Smallville team - Season 2 of Smallville where Mr. Brooks (i.e. Sanford) and his daughter are in the witness protection program and Clark Kent has gone trigger happy, power crazy rampage due to a red kryptonite ring. Blame it on the jewelery.


There's more to the list but that's it for now. Good to know that the casting crew of Smallville watches Stargate Atlantis regularly. Who knew they had a fan base in the most unlikely place.