Friday, June 28, 2013


It's been a busy week, so I don't have anything really nice prepared today. The Supreme Court did overturn DOMA this week, so I had to change my twitter avatar. I wanted something uniquely mine, so I took a few minutes to fool around in paint.

I'm also planning on starting Saturday posts, but it'll likely be just some time management stuff cataloging my efforts to surmount my giant pile of projects. But at least it'll let you know why I'm not getting anything done.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inane Battles of the Internet: Man of Steel

Like being a snot chef or romantic masturbater, there's little acclaim to be won in winning a fight on the internet. Maybe that attitude is a bit like ridiculing a jogger for spending an hour a day running in a circle though. If they were trying to get somewhere, they'd be driving; joggers do it for the exercise. Maybe the united trolls and comment warriors aren't attempting to delineate their dominance over fictional characters so much as to simply sharpen their rhetorical claws, feel the rush of conflict, or spit out some excess bile over discovering another one of life's infinite, sucking orifices.

As most of you know, I didn't like Man of Steel. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie. A reviled film can be perfectly good. A cinematic disaster can be loved. We could journey down the rabbit hole of just what exactly makes a movie good or bad, but it would be a waste of time.

That Man of Steel squanders the promise of a Superman movie makes it bad. You can't cite sources on a movie being awful, but if I could, I'd mention Chris Sims' "On My Planet, The 'S' Is For Sucks," Andrew Wheeler's "Choice And The Moral Universe Of 'Man Of Steel,'" and Tom Scioli's "I Teach You The Superman."

There's also Rude's bit, RDGStout's words on it, Dave Willis' Shortpacked!, Bully Says a few words about parallels with 9/11 and a thousand other nerds talking about it, so go where you want with it.

This puppy is over 6,000 words. In addition, though I don't think I need to say it, after the jump...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Man of Steel Kris Notes

io9's Rob Bricken did a great job of talking about the most memorable parts of Man of Steel. Like him, I saw MOS and didn't particularly like it. I also took eight pages of notes as I watched it. I'd scan and post them, but I wrote them in the dark. In my own handwriting. And I called Jor-El "Luthor" a couple of times, which probably says a bit too much about my psychology. 

Anyway, in the tradition of The Hulk and Iron Man, enjoy Man of Steel Kris Notes

FYI: the notes are made during the movie. Italics are used to denote something that I penned in after seeing the whole film.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Denver 5 Comics: Description Interlude, Pt 01

Last week I mentioned I'd be taking a few weeks off to work on the next storyline. While I was doing that, I wanted to put up some new descriptions of supporting characters and places that would be appearing in various parts of the comic. Next week is more character description, but this week is about the U.N.I.T.Y. Headquarters at 0° - 0° .

U.N.I.T.Y. headquarters is located at 0° Latitude by 0° Longitude, in the Gulf of Guinea, about 600 km (334 nm) away from Ghana. It's considered a world heritage site and is technically administered by the United Nations. Water depth: 5 km.

It is an island centered around a geologically active depression with steam coming out of it. A low, wide semicircular building reaches just over halfway around that depression and spreads from that area to just a few dozen meters from the beach. The building is divided into three regular parts by piping and boilers which are part of the geothermal power system. The three parts of the building each have three more regular breaks, a higher central area with helicopter pads and lower areas that are designed for metas to fly to an from the buildings directly. The walls of those buildings are windowless and flat black, with white struts that run along the inside of the sections which support helicopter pads. Painted in UN powder blue along the exterior of each building is “U.N.I.T.Y.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shoot The Doctor, Then Throw Batman Into the Sun

There's a trope, whether it's on TV Tropes or not, called "Just Shoot The Doctor." You see, in Doctor Who, the titular character causes all manner of trouble for the variety of militaristic aliens (The Doctor's an alien too, so they're not all bad). It would be far easier for the Daleks, Sontarans, and Cybermen of the universe to just shoot the insufferable Doctor the moment he emerges from his little blue box.

But they don't. Why? Because the universe of Doctor Who does not work that way. There are in fact, quite a few writers who work very hard to make sure that universe expands according to a set of rules which start with and sit below that one. As with every other piece of entertainment, the creative team are a pantheon of gods, defining the hero's method of triumph by crafting every atom of the conflict from the ground up.

So, like Captain Picard staring down Armus on Vagra II, we find our selves face-to-face with the skin of evil that is Man of Steel. (Spoilers after this point)

Monday, June 17, 2013

404 Blog Not Found

Despite what I think was a pretty great idea, I don't have a blog today. I just got some part-time employment and it's gotten me working on other projects and not focusing on the old PIFbyC the way I should (and also Command and Conquer and also True Blood).

Anyway, I am working on a series on NSA's Prism, but between the other blog, the other other blog, and the other other other blog, I'm not sure when or where that's going to land. I'm trying to narrow the focus of my general things down to the Linkstorms, videos that strike my fancy, Denver 5 stuff, programming, wrapping up some roleplaying stuff, and occasionally spending time with my roommates, but that still leaves an extensive to-do list.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Denver 5 Comics, 56-60

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 056
1. In the police station office from strip 28. OLDER OFFICER is looking up from a report he was reading. OFFICER 56-1 (Female) is standing in the doorway. She's carrying a folder.

"Spider caught Jesse Childs."

"St. Lukes?"

"St. Lukes."

2. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER still in the office, but Older Officer is getting his coat on. She's reading the folder to him.

"They say Childs flipped his car through The Spider."

"Fucking Spider."

3. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER walking through the police station towards the exit. She's still reading the folder. He's grabbing a coffee from a small table with coffee supplies.

"Units were already in the area because of a building collapse."

"Fucking Spider."

4. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER outside of the police station, just past the awning from comic 37 (This was incorrectly described as an eave when it is in fact an awning.). The older officer has his keys pulled out is unlocking the key to his car. His other hand is still holding the coffee.

"There was a second vehicle involved in the crash. We don't think it's related."

"Fucking Spider."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises Review (Part 4 of 4)

Over the past few weeks, I've been tearing down Batman, discussing major foibles built into the character by the different creators and times in which he has existed. It's not because I don't like Batman; I've found that a good rule of thumb when encountering things I don't like is to just walk away and get on with my life. If I truly thought Batman was as fundamentally flawed a concept as these last few posts might imply, I wouldn't care enough to talk about it.

This series isn't even a critique of these variations of the concept; I'm painting with some pretty broad brushes here. Most of the time, these issues are part of the general, grating background noise of an imperfect universe that I alone haven't learned to tune out in an effort to go along and get along. If life experiences are a pile of burritos with mud in the middle, Batman's foibles are the ones where the mud's been replaced with onions; still awful, but better than most.

Which is why Nolan's version of the Batman concept—the concept being the sum total of the characters, the setting, and the central conflict—is the best that has ever been created[1].

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wraith of Loss

So, I read Goblin Artisans pretty regularly and they have a weekend design contest based on a piece of art. This week it was Pavel Lagutin's "Day Watch" game poster. It's a pretty cool picture.

Anyway, the prompt was to build something post-apocalyptic, so I wanted something that would survive and apocalypse. My first run through of Wraith of Loss was this:

I really wanted to see if the timing triggers for get-a-second-combat-phase cards like Act of Aggression would look okay with another ability. While it wouldn't be a good idea to have "blink" effects--exile and return immediately, exile and return at end of turn, and exile not immediately, but before the end of turn--it's a headspace that entertains me.

Friday, June 07, 2013


When I was younger, I was in love with Bruce Coville books. I bought the second book in the My Teacher is an Alien series, and was immediately hooked. A few years after I started reading, he put out Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters. It featured short stories by Coville and several other young adult authors. He released a few others with different themes: aliens, nightmares, magic, etc.

They found that elusive, perfect balance between familiarity and novelty. The sort of fantastic stories I already loved with the addition of refreshing, new authorial voices made them amazing books. They taught me to appreciate authors and creators outside of those I was already familiar with.

The most memorable volume was Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers. It had a story called "Past Sunset" that reached right in and pulled my heart out. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying it was any better than the other stories in the series, but it was the one that stuck with me.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Denver 5 Comics, 51-55

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 051
1. THE SPIDER is still in the loft from Strip 50. He's holding a shotgun casually while looking at a crumpled girl (50-1) on the floor.

"Tell me she's new."

2. FRANKLIN and SAMANTHA are standing on the right and left side of the loft window. Samantha is obviously angry, but carries her rifle in a very casual left shoulder arms. Franklin looks obviously worried, and holding one hand as if to halt THE SPIDER while grabbing a slip of paper from his pocket with the other.

"She's new! She's new!"

3. THE SPIDER moves past FRANKLIN AND SAMANTHA to the window. Franklin is looking to his right (towards Cohort 50-1) and lifting the hand as if he's still holding the paper even though he isn't.

"Thank you."

4. FRANKLIN moving to the left while SAMANTHA is leaning out the window.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Review: The Year's Best Movie to Hate

So back on the 12th, I saw Iron—well Genius Playboy Billionaire Philanthropist 3: This All Could've Been Avoided with Therapy. I thought it was going to be really bad. I thought it was going to be the first part of the Marvel movie franchise ship to hit the ground. I expected a catastrophic crash as the massive inertia thrust seven more movies inevitably out, only to be driven immediately into the earth. I imagined a sky filled with tons of cultural dust and debris, a column rising like so many false hopes. After all, everything good is only good until it sucks.

What I saw was worse than having my pessimistic predictions met. Genius Playboy Billionaire Philanthropist 3 was not a fiscal failure. That's not a surprise though; we live in a world where everyone just accepts that Michael Bay lives in a mansion. There was a lot of positive critical talk about it, which was surprising, but not bad. I started worrying whenever trusted sources and friends began calling it "good" and "the best one yet."

This was compounded when I actually went to see Genius Playboy Billionaire Philanthropist 3. It is a move that I will hate with a burning passion forever. It's a BINGO card of awful movie decisions. It's a movie that has everything in common with The Phantom Menace, Transformers, Superman III, an awful crossover comic, a mediocre comic book, and a bunch of other shitty things. Most infuriatingly, it never, ever started sucking like I expected it to.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013