Archive for May, 2010

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Banksy Vs Robbo – It’s war

May 27, 2010

I like Banksy’s work – but it’s still graffiti, isn’t it? Not “real” Art, right?

Not according to this guy…

http://www.babelgum.com/4023670/banksy-robbo-its-war.html

I guess all outsider art eventually becomes elevated into High Art eventually (complete with critics – see the hilarious bit in the video where Dj talks about Banksy’s poor stenciling technique in one instance and being influenced by another graffiti artist).

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Draw a Picture of Mohammad Day!

May 20, 2010

If you hadn’t heard – an artist in a cartoon called for this day to be a day of depicting Muhammad (PBUH), then pulled out when the meme started getting popular…

http://www.mollynorris.com/

(sorry – direct links are a hit-or-miss proposition for WordPress.)

So in a spirit of fun – here’s mine…

While I’m no Picasso, I thought I’d make an image of the Prophet (PBUH) that depicted him as a nice guy – someone who would share his figs with you at the local caravanserai, or offer you some meat and bread while discussing Scripture.  A “Religion of Peace” kind of guy.

The symbol of Islam on his chest is there for the same reason Batman has a bat on his chest – a little reinforcement of the idea never hurts, even if you got it on the first look.

I think I did a pretty good job.  He’s got a nice beard, he’s smiling, he’s got…

Oh, God…

Oh, God, no…

I drew him with blue eyes…

I’m a dead man…

EDIT: the funniest one I’ve found so far…

EDIT 2 – and the most brilliant one (n my opinion)

http://reason-contest.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html

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Frank Frazetta RIP

May 10, 2010

Sad to hear – the man was a legend…

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/frank-frazetta-fantasy-illustrator-dies-at-82/?src=mv

EDIT – Robert Rodriguez wants to remake the Frazetta-concepted animated film Fire & Ice. That would be something to see – maybe he could rewrite it so Dark Wolf has a bigger part…

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Hopefully a fat civil lawsuit is in the offing

May 9, 2010

http://www.salon.com/wires/us/2010/05/08/D9FJ15LG0_us_chino_pizzeria_shootout/index.html

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Review – Shatter (1974)

May 3, 2010

An exploitation film from the 70s, made by Hammer Films? I guess all things are possible…

Shatter (Stuart Whitman) is a man with a mission.  It’s alluded to that he works as a Washington operative, and we see him carrying out a hit on an African dictator in the most interesting of disguises…

…a paparazzi wearing a mask made of car soundproofing material.

Shatter’s assassination weapon is cleverly disguised as the flash unit of his camera…

Oh for the halcyon days of pre-TSA flight

Once the job is done, Shatter flies back to Hong Kong to collect his fee, where he finds his contacts don’t want to pay him, and Peter Cushing (probably thrilled to be working at the time) telling him to get out of Hong Kong.

He also makes the acquaintance of a friendly martial arts expert (Lung Ti) who reminds us just how feeble Whitman was as an action star and to add a little Kung Fu to make the film more bankable in the states.

In between ducking attempts on  his life (including an RPG being launched off of an Uzi(! – no screen grab for that unfortunately – the audio commentary  on the DVD says this was a troubled production, and this particular plot point  was probably made up on the fly), Shatter finds out that he had really been employed by a drug syndicate rather than the US, and the Africans, the US, and the syndicate want him dead.   Will he survive, I asked myself. I replied myself I didn’t care.

While I was watching this, I kept thinking how familiar this was, but I couldn’t place where it was familiar from.  Then, when Shatter was ordering his trademark drink – white Bacardi rum –

I pegged it: this felt just like a Roger Moore James Bond film! It had the “action” scenes with the male lead that weren’t so action-filled, long digressions with the co-stars where nothing much happens to push the plot along, but we get a good chunk of filler to make the contractual run time – yowza!

Makes me wonder what Peter Cushing would have been like if he had gotten a part as a Bond villain – well, I guess he got into Star Wars, so that’s some consolation.

Recommendation – don’t bother.

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The “World of Warcraft” post

May 3, 2010


My avatar on Azeroth rapid-transit…

Named such because I don’t anticipate ever doing another…

Wonder why I haven’t been posting anything much, anonymous reader? It’s ’cause somebody bribed me into playing this game, that’s why.  See, there’s an exclusive mount you can only get for a limited time, and even then, you have to bring a new member into the cult fold in order to get it. I had resisted for four years, and my friend basically tells me, “I’m going to bankroll you for 3 months so I can get this mount.” And since I was going to spend some of my free time playing a game this summer anyway…

So, here’s my critiques about the game as of right now:*

1) The time it takes

…to get anywhere!  Part of Blizzard’s evil genius is how long it takes simply to traverse stretches of land in the game.  My hunter (for which I thank my friend for helping me set up) finally reached a point in the game where she (yes, I’ll get to that) can run about as fast as a mount.  With that, it only takes a boring amount of time to get to one of the scattered quests you have to do to get experience in the game, rather than an obscene amount of time.

2) Cross-dressing within the game

Another addicting element is the eye candy – the graphics of the game in genneral, and the character graphics in particular.  Blizzard knows sex sells, and that men outnumber women in gaming in general.  Here’s an older study that says about half of men playing WoW are playing with a female avatar…

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1506905/20070131/index.jhtml

Me? I don’t deny that I picked a female as one of the two characters I play (and you can have up to fifty on one account) because they are smoking hot.  I suspect that’s why other males playing chose them too.  Giving credit where credit’s due though – the graphics in the environment are jaw-dropping in spots.  I try (while running back and forth through far-flung reaches of Blizzard’s servers) to stop once in a while and just look around at all the stuff around me.

3) Required assistance in the game

I think, of everything that annoys me in the game, this point gets me the most.  See, there are certain quests one has to do in the game that are impossible to do on your own.  When this was first explained to me, I was OK with it, but as I thought about the implications, I started resenting it more and more.

Think about it – you are required to have assistance in places. Not because you’re playing the game inefficiently, or you made the wrong choices in setting up your avatar.  No – simply to play in that area and finish what you have to do, you must have another with you, either to act as a punching bag while you act as sidekick, or to keep the heat off each other. And further, keep in mind the game itself sends you out to do these things in the first place.  The whole setup stinks – either it’s poor game design: the game ought to be smarter than to send me out to do things I probably statistically should not be able to do, or more likely, it’s a plan on Blizzard’s part: I get someone in my friend/family circle to join up and pony up their fees as well.

4) Lack of customization of armor/clothing

This is one that’s pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it still grates – built into the game there are several customizable options for your avatar – mail characters stuff/money and get charged. Spend money changing your skills, or your haircut.  But no customization of the armor or clothing? Not even the chance to pay to change the color of the stuff you’re wearing?  Even a kid with a coloring book doesn’t have somebody telling them how to color their bumblebee…

And finally – the ancillary industries surrounding this game put me off.  You can Google for yourself just how many how-to manuals exist in order to win back some control over money/strategy for this game.  Call me retrograde, but I shouldn’t have to study to play a freaking game.

* much of this is (probably) mirrored on WoW suggestion sites – I sincerely don’t have the time to find out – but, just skimming over one such site, I found under “travel & miscellaneous” the suggestion that you should be able to make flight connections between points in Azeroth – so, in essence, your flight on your hippogryph can be routed to the shortest available path to get to your destination.  If art must reflect life (and since you pay virtual money to fly anyway) it should reflect it in as many ways, both mundane and fantastic, as possible.

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Remembering the victims of Communism

May 2, 2010

A simply beautiful idea…

http://volokh.com/2010/05/01/victims-of-communism-day-2/