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in england...

Written: 22:59 on January 31, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
There are at least two manufacturers of gin and tonic in a can.

Why did none of you inform me of this?
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windows vista launched

Written: 14:34 on January 30, 2007  |  By: jon  |  MORE…
Windows Vista Logo
So, Microsoft finally get around to releasing their new operating system Windows Vista. I read a quick clip-out from the Metro on the train about the first guy to pick up a new laptop with a pre-installed copy of Windows Vista on it. "I really like the GUI" he remarks regarding Vista's new Aero interface, and obviously satisfied with himself that he managed to slip an acronym in. "Apple OS-X has had a nice GUI for ages, it's about time Windows followed suit". There was a small picture of him holding a generic looking laptop with a big, knowing grin on his face. Very. Irritating.

The problem for me with Vista, as a gamer, is the way Microsoft have gone about this release. People like myself that play the latest games on high-spec machines rely on new graphics cards and driver releases in order to keep our systems graphical capabilities up to speed. Traditionally there are two ways in which 3D graphics are rendered on computers. These are OpenGL, controlled by Silicon Graphics or DirectX, controlled by Microsoft (although they both do more than just 3D). Now, certain games run on both, but the majority will only run on DirectX (that's an oversight by game programmers in my opinion). The issue here is, Microsoft have turned around with this release of Windows Vista and said that DirectX 10 is only available for Vista, and not for Windows XP. This basically boils down to "if you want to play the latest games, you're forced to get a copy of Windows Vista". It'll be interesting to see how this pans out for Microsoft. In a way it's clever… but I hate being backed into making a decision I don't want to have to make.

On top of the whole DirectX issue, and we've known about this for a long, long time, Windows Vista no longer comes with WinFS. WinFS (Windows Filing System) was supposed to replace the ageing NTFS (the current standard within Windows XP) but was scrapped back when Windows Vista was still being referred to as Longhorn. I really, really liked the idea of WinFS, mainly because it was based on the idea of a huge relational database for storing files. Everybody who has worked with databases knows how quick they are… and can see the benefits. Abstraction, Polymorphism, Inheritance…it's like a Computer Scientists wet dream. With some good forethought and forward planning by Microsoft's GUI team, they could have made an absolutely revolutionary piece of software. I'm almost convinced that they've decided to exclude it so they can work on things like the Aero glass interface because of stupid bellends like the guy mentioned earlier, smiling away with his shitty Packard Bell laptop playing the new look Solitaire. As long as it "looks nice" most people don't give a shit how it works. There is something so frustrating about that.

So, yeah. Not too fussed about Vista at the moment — but if I want to play the new Halo (well, I know I'll want to play) or even stuff as forthcoming as the new Unreal Tournament (damn you, Epic) then I'm going to be forced into "finding" a copy. Otherwise, I'll be doing my best waiting for Windows "Vienna"
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digitiser? biffovision? ... the tv show?

Written: 04:47 on January 28, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
I doubt anyone under the age of 18 and anyone outside the UK has heard of Teletext when I was young it was the hip thing - like the internet except the only way to respond to it was by post or phoning a premium rate number. It was full of bright pixels of colour and information aplenty just by dialing a three digit number on your TV after locating the secret broadcast sent down the TV signal. It was what the reveal button was invented for and the reason kids it is on your TV remote - it's not for clearing censors on porn as I swear some kid had said on a forum recently.

OK I know Teletext still exists at a button press and I know people know it is there but I can't imagine that with the Internet existing and with Digital TV it's get the same traffic it used to when I was young - especially considering digital TV gives you subtitles at a button and now and next on command. Which must have been the most popular uses for Teletext. I'm so old I remember when Fasttext was introduced, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a TV that could do that imagine going to my favourite Teletext pages with only one push of a button - think of how much easier it made Bamboozle. My most fond memory of Teletext was Digitiser which I read every morning for about 10 years while eating Pop Tarts and watching Big Breakfast.

Digitiser or Digi as I will probably type a few times, for those who don't know, was a computer game "magazine" on Teletext which was updated daily. The presented computer game news in a hilarious, offbeat, satirical, surreal way that was so unique it's kind of hard to describe it to people who didn't read it. News stories were hosted by a range of characters, one such was a Zombie (Zombie Dave) that spoke in a code that once you decrypted it because obviously clear he was speaking some pretty crude things - which of course was hilarious. There would be cartoons scattered all over the pages, especially the letter pages, which were usually the highlight of the update. You can never forget the Snakes or the Man and I'm sure they pre-empted the Internet's love for Mr. T by a number of years. Actually they got in trouble quite regularly with the Channel 4 Directors and people in charge of Teletext for being too crude and pushing the limit too far and everyone loves a rebel.

It's pretty clear now that where now we have Internet Memes from 4chan, ytmnd, b3ta, fark, et al. Digitiser was doing the exactly same thing just in a more confined environment. I know at the time out of my friends the ones that read Digitiser would almost talk in a secret code to each other about the recent updates from "reversible sledgewicks", describing something as "huss" to "moc-moc-a-moc" or adding -uss, -O, -ston, -Oh! and -me-do to any word and then ending passages with just "And!" it would leave the rest of my friends in complete confusion. Their loss. And!

There is far too much stuff for me to ever go through and the good thing is I don't have too because the Internet has achieved it all for me:


The point is; it was awesome and played a big part in why I got into computer games and also made me feel part of an incredibly elite (read pathetic) club. If you got a letter printed it was amazing, hell me and friend got them to draw Yoda once and I remember trying to record it onto VHS and actually just got some of Brookside.

And, I started to ramble on again. The reason I decided to write this was because even though Digi maybe dead the people who created it and ran the thing are not. Mr. Biffo and Mr. Hairs were the two people who started it however after a time it was just Mr. Biffo. Who after a while realised he was a good writer (with a tiny space for text he managed to fill it with humour and subject matter effectively - me being a history student means I do the opposite - I just keep writing on and on with no humour - so being concise is a talent) so he has moved onto TV writing in the past he contributed a lot to kids TV specifically My Parents are Aliens which was wonderful. He also writes a monthly column for Edge magazine.

He has a blog like most people in the world and what started all this is I was catching up on my bookmarked blogs that I haven't read for a while. I knew he was working on a sitcom "Now The Weather" for Channel 4 and I wanted to see where it was going. But I was hit upon with wonderful news. BBC3 have commissioned a pilot for a TV show written by Mr. Biffo and Mr. Hairs called "Biffovision" which is some sort of odd sketch show which sounds like it's more or less a live action version of Digitiser without Computer Games… which is just exactly what I want out of TV. So I'm very excited and I hope someone else is too. He has constantly updated his blog about this and I'm sure he will keep doing that so go over there keep checking it, also the pilot is scheduled for March. So woo!

He also has a book coming out about his conversations in chatrooms with men when he was pretending to be a woman called Confessions of a Chatroom Freak or you can get it from Amazon but it doesn't have a picture so I didn't want to link that one. I'll definitely buy it when it's released I also hope other people will and I hope everyone enjoys.

And so ends an impromptu ramble about Teletext, Digi and beyond.
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recipethan strikes again

Written: 22:35 on January 27, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Tonight we're making meatloaf. I generically stereotypically call this "Meatloaf Italia!" because it has Italian-esque flavours in it.

You'll need:
  • Two pounds of ground meat, your choice. I used turkey and buffalo, because I'm a weirdo, and they liked me at the time. Some meats need more mixing together than others, in order to make them a nice homogenous mix.
  • An egg
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves. Homegrown are much better, btw, because they have a nice sweetness that commercial varieties typically don't.
  • A couple of cloves of garlic. I used one monstrous deformed elephantitus clove, which was seriously huge, and two really tiny ones. A mutant bulb, it was.
  • 1/4 cup or 60ml (a measurement that Liam hates) or maybe half a handful of roasted red peppers. I took mine from a jar.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread crumbs. I used the Jap ones - panko.
  • Parmesan cheese for topping.

Okay, here's what you do.
  • Dump everything in a bowl except the parmesan, although you could certainly do that if you liked, and mix it up. If you are using two or more types of meat, make CERTAIN that are mixed well. This means your whole mix should be one colour, and you shouldn't be able to pick out what meat is where. If you don't do this, since different meats cook for different times, it could help the loaf fall apart.
  • Oh before you do that, you should probably mince the garlic, and chop up the basil and red peppers. Yeah go! Wooo!
  • Form all that into a loaf. You want it to be as moist as possible while still retaining its shape. Make it too dry and it'll fall apart. Make it too moist and it will just flatten and then fall apart. At this point you can do one of two things.
  • A: Put it on a flat tray or plate and put it in the icebox. This will allow the flavours to meld a bit more, or so I'm told. Some call this "yumming." Some meaning Liam and I.
  • B: Put it on a tray, or a foil-covered rack, and bake for an hour or until the juices are clear at 350 F, or 175 C, or gas mark 4.
  • Allow it to cool a little bit after you take it out, slice it up and eat.
I served mine (to myself :(((( ) with mashed potato and swede with parmesan. It was quite the filling meal. OH, this reminds me. If you really want to get fancy, make a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan, about a 1:1 ratio, and sprinkle it on the top of the loaf when it is nearly done. Then turn the heat up real high until they start to brown and bubble, and it will be yum.

Next weekend, I may actually get unlazy and make mushroom soup again, only this time remember to write down the recipe.

Cheers, all.
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i bring you creatures.

Written: 19:12 on January 25, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
A really rare shark called the Frilled Shark has been spotted off the shores of Japan as reported on Reuters.

sharky


I thought it was bizzare and interesting enough to post here also a Youtube video of the CNN report.



In a kind of related thing, well not related at all. Except it is weird and amusing. A dog that walks on two legs. Look at it go!



Dovka'd!
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dovka comic overview week :: 17-01-07

Written: 17:20 on January 22, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
I will not apologise for being late this week because I'm starting to think this will be the time each week when I post this so meh. Also seeing that I may not be able to do it every week but I'll keep hope up and try too. I kind of enjoy it actually. I want to put these reviews up earlier but I also want to read Bone and sit on my ass doing nothing so I can't seem to get a happy medium between the lot. I have also managed to break my chair which makes sitting at my computer less comfortable than it usually is I have a feeling after a week of sitting like this I will have the posture of a miner.

And I've just realised the cover of this apple juice carton looks like someone got a bit too excited over an apple, ewww. I can't drink anymore of that.

This week I bought: Aquaman #48, 52 #37, Green Lantern #16, JLA Classified #32, Spider-Man Reign #2, Spirit #2, Star Trek The Next Generation: The Space Between #1. Nothing at all was bad; I found Green Lantern a bit flat but it was one of the best issues in this volume. Aquaman introduces a new twist to an old villain and also has a double splash page of a map of the seascape which I know I'll be coming back to again and again. I really enjoyed reading Slott's Justice League which has sat in a draw for about 2 years - but reminds you why Slott is so loved by fanboys around the globe. I bought IDL's new Star Trek TNG comic just because I am a slight Trekky and I was very surprised of how much it felt like the TV series. I would suggest any fan of the TV series to at least give it a try.

Two Covers of the Week ::

52 #37
Cover by J.G. Jones


52 #37 I honestly think J.G. has outdone himself this week. I think the biggest challenge in this cover would have been doing the curved reflective surfaces. Having Supernova reflect off the golden body of Skeets, and then off the "legs" of the evil little robot. Then having Booster Gold reflect off the insides of the "eyes" of Skeets - almost like Skeets is seeing the truth I suppose. Then having Booster holding the bottled city of Kandor which is another reflective surface. I think to put all them together takes such skill and talent I must also mention Alex Sinclair's colours on the cover. A lot of times he really makes the cover pop with the colours he adds and this week especially works well. All the different colours and tones must have been hard to do - reflecting Gold and Blue. They both pull it off fantastically though. And not to mention that the cover spoils or a better word reveals one of the biggest mysteries through 52 - OK many people had called it but there was still a lot of doubt. It was fun to see people walk into the comic shop and see the cover and just exclaim "whoa!" "oh shit" "oh snap" "hey!". Everyone was really excited by it and it worked a treat. However looking at J.G. Jones' Blog I can't help thinking I would have loved his concept cover. It looked like a great idea.

Y: The Last Man #53
Cover by Massimo Carnevale


Y: The Last Man #53 I think this cover really jars your senses. You have a barely dressed supermodel woman on the front which first catches your attention. Then when you've stopped to stare for a while you see she is actually working as a trash collector. However, she isn't just any kind of trash collector - she is collecting the rotting remains of Men who were killed off in a mysterious plague. Bearing in mind the plague was well over a year ago - these bodies are pretty rotten now. It's not the most pleasant of jobs. But yes since you've stood there at the stand looking at this cover absorbing it all in, you want to read the comic. Adding that I'm sure we haven't seen this character in Y since the first volume (she was the first woman to find out Yorick was a man) I think it checks all boxes for an awesome cover.

Two Comics of the Week ::

Written by: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
Break Downs: Keith Giffen
Art by: Pat Olliffe & Drew Geraci


52 #37 Before I read this issue and just from the cover I knew it was going to be fanboy joy for me. I've been a huge fan of Booster Gold for many, many years. Since reading JLI stuff and then Giffen/DeMatteis' Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can't Believe it is Not the Justice League. Where obviously played for laughs but you could see the sentiment behind it and it plays out really well. I have to applaud DC for using Booster in a much more serious role in recent years since Countdown to Infinite Crisis - which annoyingly was the best Blue & Gold story ever written and obviously the last.
So yes Booster Gold is Supernova (and it seems Rip Hunter is Daniel Carter too - but against we will see). He learnt about Skeets' true intentions in Rip's lab and after a meeting with the Time Master he faked his own death to go undercover to stop Skeets, using a lot of stolen technology and using a Phantom Zone projector to have his teleporting powers. A fight between Skeets and Booster in the abandoned Fortress of Solitude ends up with Skeets somehow managing to absorb the Phantom Zone and hints at the fact that Skeets may be being controlled by some outside force. Rip and Booster then escape using the missing 52 seconds… I love Time Travel stories I have to say - they aren't for everyone at all and paradoxes and lost time can confuse and just annoy people. But I revel in it actually - maybe it's watching too much Star Trek or Quantum Leap but they are my favourite types of stories and 52 is working just fine with Rip Hunter and time travel. I think after reading most of JSA that Geoff Johns is writing the majority of Booster Gold stuff. It just seems more like his style, along with probably Mark Waid too. Whoever is writing it they are giving me fanboy pleasure of seeing a favourite character kick ass. Now keep him alive for the remaining weeks!
The last part of the issue catches up with the funeral of another favourite character of mine, Animal Man. A nicely written funeral that is lead by Minister Lobo. However after everyone leaves Buddy wakes up shouting "DON'T LEAVE ME!!!". I think I let out one huge "YES!!!" after reading it. It's a pure fanboy moment which really made this week a fantastic comic for me. On top of that you turn the next page and two characters and standing there that haven't been seen in maybe 15 years. The two yellow aliens that gave Buddy his powers and also have shown they have the ability to rewrite continuity at their whim. When they "And so it begins." you know something major is going down.
The origin story is of the newest Firestorm Jason Rusch beautifully drawn by Jamal Igle. It's a shame that they do this origin story the same week that they announce his solo series is cancelled.
Just an issue full of fanboy moments for me which makes me just want to keep reading.


Spider-Man: Reign #2
Written and Art by: Kaare Andrews


 Spider-Man Reign #2 I had just about decided which two were the best of the week and then I realised I hadn't read Spider-Man Reign #2 and whoa I was shocked by how much I loved it. So sorry Spirit #2 - you were a fantastic read but I'm afraid you were knocked out by fanboy loving of 52 and now a pure shock surprise for me - I enjoyed a Spider-Man comic.
I haven't enjoyed a Spider-Man story (in comics the movies are great) since I read Todd MacFarlane's stuff in trade when I was first getting into comics around 7 or 8 years old. Bearing in mind these stories were written before I was born it's been one hell of a long time since I think there has been a Spider-Man story. I know people say Ultimate Spider-Man was good when it started but I know the same people are now saying it's "trash with staples" so I'm happy I never bothered with any of the Ultimate stuff.
The shame is, this Spider-Man story isn't in continuity. But it's also a good thing, most people are fed up with the doom and depression that Marvel has to inject into everyone one of their comics. They kind of seem to have forgotten how to write heroes (which for me is a stark contrast between what is happening in DC especially 52) and yes this story has a dystopian future with depression being the main focus. But maybe it's about the light out of this darkness which will make this story one of heroes. What I do love about this future is that I can see this happening in the Marvel universe. They have never been a universe which loves their superheroes - I think the main difference between the DCU and the Marvel Universe is that the citizens of the DCU on the whole celebrate their heroes, they have Superman Day, and they cheer and look up into the skies when the superheroes are about. In the Marvel Universe you get "Spider-Man is a Menace" on the front of the Bugle. If he ever disappeared for a while I bet the papers would read "Finally Spider-Man has Left" where as in the DC is Superman leaves you get "Where is Superman?". So leading out from this difference you get a future that has banned masks, where there are no superheroes and only a government maintained police force in every city. This is not far off from where Civil War the Initiative is going (a registered Superhero force in every state) take off the masks and you have this future. So I appreciate however accidentally it might be that Kaare Andrews has made this feel like the Marvel Universe.
Obviously the other thing is that this does feel like the Dark Knight Returns. The style, the newscasters, and old hero coming out of a retirement to give hope to people once more. But it does play out differently which to me makes it not just a copy.
J. Jonah Jameson is the break out in this issue. Calling out for his old adversary Peter Parker to put on the mask once more and lead the civilians to freedom. In the first issue he comes across as a quack and old man who has completely lost it all looking to maybe tie up the bad blood he had with Peter when they were younger. In this issue you realise he needs Spider-Man, the knows the city does. He has become the voice of liberty and freedom with a group of kids following his lead and a voice that they have never heard.
Peter is a man crushed, he was always the poor guy who was down on everything, late, no rent, unable to have a good relationship. Whose only escape was Spider-Ma. Now he is a crushed old man who doesn't accept the death of his wife, who is just stumbling through life. It plays out beautifully to the moment when Peter "unknowingly" straps on the costume and accepts his place again the police force "the Reign". He is witty again “There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who can count … and those that can’t.” You accept the old man under the mask is Peter and you cheer for the fact he is back.
You see the inspiration that the world needs, the Hypno Hustler nearly makes his most triumphant return - but forgets fresh batteries. The people start fighting back against the Reign.
However Peter is beaten to a pulp and then pulled away by the arms of Otto Octavius after being beaten by a government sponsored Sinister Six (which is also not too far away from what we are seeing in Civil War).
I want this story to be in canon because I think it has played out so well. Seriously if you love the character or have ever enjoyed Spider-Man buy this mini. It's beautifully written.
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farewells from asbury park

Written: 17:00 on January 19, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
bam bam
Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow
September 1, 1961 - January 19, 2007


A guy I remember watching fondly from my youth dying at only 45 years of age.
A few links of people talking about his life and career;
  1. Wiki biography
  2. Current WWE Superstars
  3. Lance Storm on his blog
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dovka comic overview week :: 11-01-07

Written: 23:45 on January 17, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
Very, very much late this week. Between Zelda, loosing my job at Music Zone (can go fuck themselves), a fake chest infection and being generally lazy not managed to get to comic shop or read them. Anywho comics.

Two Covers of the Week ::

Runaways #23
Cover by Jo Chen


Runaways #23 Runaways, even though I resigned to collect the series in trade, has constantly been a fantastic book from Brian K. Vaughan (who also kicks ass with Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Dr. Strange: Oath. Amongst other things) which is now a shame as he is leaving the book hopefully Joss Whedon can continue the good work. One constantly good thing about the book is the covers from Jo Chen (and it's great that she is continuing on with Joss). I just love the composition on this piece how Jo uses the loop on the staff to completely draw your eye to make eye contact with Nico. Honestly, it grabs you from the other side of the shop not to mention how flawless the pencil and colour work is. Great cover.

52 #36
Cover by J. G. Jones


52 #36 I've got a feeling that up to the end of this run this comic will make regular appearances here because the covers are constantly amazing by J. G. Jones. We have here Lobo, after weeks and weeks of pacifism finally breaking loose and beating the holy crap out of Lady Styx's zombie army. It's just a kick-ass Lobo cover which really does feel like a good 90's Lobo cover. Here we see the moment just before impact which according to J. G. Jones is from Frazetta. One of the things he would always say about cover drawing is "never show the moment of impact, say of a sword or axe cleaving a body. Rather, depicts the moment just before or the moment just after the action. This lets the mind's eye fill in the moment of impact." and we see this in action here, just before the arm swings down onto the zombie warriors. The red of Lobo's eyes set off by the smallest bit of blood running out of Lobo's mouth makes it so eye catching too.

Two Comics of the Week

Justice Society of America #2
Written by: Geoff Johns
Artist by: Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose


Justice Society of America #2 I've said some unfavourable things about Geoff Johns since Infinite Crisis. I think Green Lantern is committing all the sins that previous Hal Jordan series have done showing none of the personal flair that Geoff has shown in the Flash before, I think he is writing a Superman in Action Comics that is so out of touch to what Superman should be in comics, I think Teen Titans has been long winded and ultimately dull. Causing accusations of overwork and burnt out. Apparently he was just saving it all for JSA because this title already is showing the flair, the history, the love for the JSA and for comics in general that made the previous volume of it so popular and one of the best on goings. This added to the wonderful pencils of Dale Eaglesham (I've been a fan since his Green Lantern stuff and he is so much improved that he was then too) just makes this title a must have for comic book fans. It's a shame Alex Ross has resigned himself to drawing "character on black background" for every cover - Dale's alternative covers are so much better.
This issues continues on to introduce the death of the newest Mr. America, an introduction to I'm sure who will be a new Commander Steel (the grandson of the original and the cousin of the JL Detroit Steel), continues on to Wildcat talking to his newly discovered son, a quite stunning return of Hawkman, Maxine gets shown how a superhero gets a costume, a discovered plot killing off Golden Age bloodlines, and a shocking and continuity-woven revelation of the newest and craziest Starman. Which all makes one hell of a good issue.
I love Grant having a son, I love how similar but yet completely different the two are. Grant is always portrayed as the most hardest man on the planet but yet time and time again it is awesome to see times like this when cracks appear and the old man shows he is human after all. I'm hoping Commander Steel doesn't fall into the same trap of "I feel pain in my Steel bones" which made the others such fodder for death but I do trust Geoff not to string out the character to that point. I'm not the biggest fan of Hawkman ever - except under Geoff's pen so I'm happy he is in this book and his entrance was just awesome.
Then the last page "all blown to Kingdom Come" this crazy Starman seem to be the grown up Starman from the Kingdom Come universe - who is the original Thom Kallor from the Legion of Super Heroes. Now explaining why Dawnstar was shown in last issue's previews. Incredibly interesting and just want to read more.
Of course this all drawn by Dale is making the plot figularily pop off the page.

52 #36
Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
Break Downs: Keith Giffen
Artist by: Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne


52 #36 You know if I had started posting these on dovka before the last few weeks then 52 wouldn't be in the top comics every week, but my God at the moment as they are finishing the third part of this story heading into the final part of the series they have really, really risen to the task and 52 has just been awesome. I'm really hoping they can maintain this gear until the end now because if they do it will be maintaining a best comic position in many lists and reviews.
This issue focused on three of the stories this week. Opening is the seemingly culmination of the space opera. Lobo takes Starfire and Animal Man to see Lady Styx and to collect his "bounty". After she insults his manhood and his religion Lobo cuts loose and does what he does best and attacks everything in sight. This has actually been a great story for Lobo - someone I have to say never cared for (even though Lobo vs. The Mask is great fun) but this has given Lobo drive and characterisation that I have never seen from the Main Man. I have to say the Space Opera story has been very strong all the way through 52 where as other stories may have drifted off course. Lady Styx then takes a ride into a Suneater on the Head of Necron (we know this isn't the last of her though because she is showing up in Mystery in Space) I enjoyed Buddy clutching a tattered picture of his family during the fight too really showing his character. This battle all culminates in Buddy "Animal-Man" Baker getting hit by a Necro-Toxin dart and collapses in Starfire's arms. I think his death was written very well - first telling Starfire that she doesn't need to tell his family he loves then - they know. Then telling her that the universe is cheering them all on - that they do love him (Buddy breaking the fourth wall all the way to the end) then he dies asking Starfire to make sure he doesn't come back as a zombie. Though I can't help thinking this isn't the end for Buddy - it would be a waste of a very unique character (the family man side and his powers) and he's far too loved by fans and creators alike. Despite the fact that Buddy has died before - even in his origin he died when he met the yellow aliens.
The other stories is Montoya decides to take "Charlie" Question to Nanda Parbat to try and cure his cancer. Then we meet up with Supernova and Rip Hunter. Who have been hiding out in Kandor. Rip is trying to build a weapon to combat Skeets… who we see at the end is hovering right outside Kandor. I just know that Supernova is Booster Gold now - he faked his own death after learning of Skeet's evilness from Rip Hunters lab (all the way back in week 6) and went undercover to help Rip combat him. But I'll guess we'll see on Wednesday.
Jamal Igle has been one of my favourite artist on 52 and his artwork looks beautiful throughout the issue. Same with the two page backup of the origin of Power Girl drawn by Adam Hughes is wonderful perfect to look at.
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corporate viral marketing is retarded

Written: 11:45 on January 16, 2007  |  By: jon  |  MORE…
Before I begin, a small bit of background. I've been working for a web development company for approaching three months now. The company was originally involved with print work but has since "defected" into web and new media, as the demand for print has dried up. The offices sit inside the building of an advertising agency on the top floor - we don't have much to do with them anymore but at one time, we were sort of "in-house" graphic designers for them. Times have since changed; they are struggling to make ends meat whilst our company has gone from strength to strength (presumably), cumulating in the fact we are moving out and into new premises in about six months time (they're still being built).

Everybody knows what viral marketing is - perhaps not by name, but no doubt you experience it several times daily. This is especially true if you're an avid user of the internet. The Sun (a trashy tabloid in the United Kingdom for those outside Europe) even prints viral e-mails, pictures and jokes within it's pages. More often than not the images have originated at 4chan, Fark, SomethingAwful, GenMay, Youtube, Albinoblacksheep (etc… etc…); if it's genuinely funny, people will pass it around, link it, and it will become a global phenomenon. Who can forget that epic video that accidentally catapulted Ghyslain Raza, aka the Star Wars Kid into international stardom? I can still remember the part where he steps on a bit of the cloth he has used to produce a "green screen", slipping over and whacking his makeshift Bo on the floor - and it still commands a smirk. The problem now, in the past six months, concerns the number of new media agencies attempting to "tap" into viral messaging on the internet, be it via e-mail, IM, or on community websites (the amount of YouTube spam is becoming ridiculous).

You can't bottle and sell what is funny. More often than not, you'll have ten stuffy workers sitting around a square conference table trying to thing up ideas. "Oh! A bear! A bear that eats a sandwich and then explodes!" announces one. The others look up from their papers. One worker, frowning, taps a pen against a clipboard with a blank sheet of paper. Another, next to him, coughs. The room is smoky and warm. "Nah. We can't do that." he replies dryly. "We'll have the RSPCA on our backs."


The "marketing" part of "viral marketing" is retarded. It just won't work. For something to be viral, it has to be offensive - and business has too much to lose by being offensive. Above is a video which I consider borderline viral. It isn't hilarious, but as a fan of Deal or No Deal, it's entertaining. And cringe-worthy. Poor Noel, man - I bet he bricked it. It makes you want to bite your fist. And that's viral! I want my mates to feel that awful feeling too, to experience that which you cannot bottle and sell. If it's funny, disgusting, offensive (especially if it's offensive AND topical), sexy (sex sells, more now than ever), scary (those fucking scream flash videos) or entertaining (an addictive flash game, for example) then you can bet your bottom dollar it'll be passed about. More often than not, it's made by John Doe in his spare time, with a video camera or with a pirated copy of Flash, or Photoshop. One guy behind a computer can get away with producing offensive material since the internet has no disclaimer, and they can stay relatively anonymous. As advertising agencies are companies, and companies can be held liable, they have to either brave it, make something offensive and be successful (and hope the backlash isn't too great) or just produce weak, lame, uninteresting (but unoffensive) wank. No surprises what next door came out with. An oozing bucket of wank: A guy, cross-eyed with five syringes stuck in his head isn't funny. It's fucking lame. It did make me cringe, but in a bad way; more because they seem hell-bent on committing commercial suicide. Wouldn't it be better to hire a solicitor and do something wild, rather than pussy-foot around and just fail? I think so.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but it's common sense. I still find it amusing that the director of said company came up to me as I was making coffee, and started picking my brain for ideas. Yep, I'm 23 and you're 60-odd. Why not hire a young person? I don't work for you mate. Rant over.
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what i ate for dinner tonight

Written: 00:08 on January 14, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Ethan's Tomato-Bean Tortellini Especial

This was created after I said "I need to see what's in the freezer and pantry needing some using-up!" So I did, and after digging down to the bottom of our big chest freezer, past the MEAT, and frozen dinners, lo and behold, there it was: a one-pound bag of tortellini. It looked like it had been forgotten about, and made me sad, just looking at it, but I knew I had found my meal. In the pantry, I found a can of diced tomatoes, and poked around until I found a can of cut green beans, which seemed like a decent combo. It wouldn't be the first time I've had something like that. So, without further ado, here is what I did, to make a meal out of a whole bunch of THERE IS NOTHING TO EAT HERE BOOHOO.

You'll need:
  • 1 - One pound of tortellini, fresh, frozen, dry, whatever
  • 1 - Can of diced tomatoes — crushed would also work, if you want more chunks. My can had diced peppers and celery in with the maters.
  • 1 - Can green beans, string beans, whatever you call them. Mine were the normal cut, not French cut. Though, that would probably be nice, too.
  • Basil, to taste. I like a lot, and the sweeter the better. Fresh is always better, too.
  • Thyme, to taste. Again, I like a lot. It's not traditionally "Italian" I suppose, but neither am I, and I'm the one cooking this. Generally, if I'm cooking a savory dish, and it is more or less Western, I add thyme. It's my favourite aroma.
  • A splash of oil.
  • A medium saucepan.
  • Though, I didn't use them, a small onion and a couple of cloves of garlic would be nice. I am out of garlic, and my onions have ummmm, sprouted. Not that that is a problem, I could just cut it off, but I couldn't be arsed.

Now that that's out of the way, here's how you make it. It's reeeeeeeeeal easy.
  1. Boil water. Add a splash of oil and a bit of salt. Cook pasta in it until it's just done. Al dente, as it were.
  2. Drain pasta and set aside for a moment. Remember to fluff it around a bit, so it doesn't all just congeal together.
  3. If you're going to use garlic and onion, drop them in the pan with a little oil at this point. Soften them up a bit, and then reduce heat to low or simmer, if there's a difference for you. (Also referred to as the "yum" setting.)
  4. Drain the tomatoes and beans, and dump them into the pot.
  5. Add the herbs.
  6. Allow the mix to cook for just a few brief minutes. Salt and pepper it to taste at this point.
  7. Drop the drained pasta in there, and toss it all about. Then allow to yum (that means simmer, if you didn't remember) for a couple of minutes, so the flavours of all of that leeches into your pasta. Add a splash more liquid if it becomes too dry. (Mine did, don't feel bad.)
  8. Eat.
  9. Wash your dishes, Mr. Dirt.

Serve it up with garlic bread or something. I would, if I had anyone to impress. A few other options I think would be a nice touch: some crushed red pepper to add a little !ZING to your pot; cauliflower would soak up some of that flavour nicely, and add good white colour; parmesan, as always, will be a nice finish (but I'm a fatty, so I don't add it where I don't need it); pork or chicken would be a nice adder if you want some meatyness.

If anyone actually cooks this up (come on, it ain't hard), please leave me a comment. This is only the first in what will hopefully be a long line of recipes from at least Liam and I, the resident chefs. It was his suggestion to put it here, after all.

With that, I bid you adieu, and I will return to watching Clerks.
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let the people speeeeeak

Written: 21:21 on January 12, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Ok, it is time for you all to decide my fate. I need some greenery in my life. On one hand, I would like to take up bonsai. It seems quite relaxing, and though I die inside just a little as I say this, it is very "zen." I am into that.

On the other hand, I have had an interest in orchids ever since I saw Adaptation forever ago. Though I'm not quite as much of a nutter as that guy was. They are fascinating things, though.

Both of these things would improve my environs, both are long-lived, and tbh, I will probably get into them both at some point. BUT, I am not Mister Moneybags at the moment, so I will pick one. Rather, you will help me pick one. Comment away, and give me your opinions.

Ace.
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dovka comic overview week :: 04-01-07

Written: 16:09 on January 09, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
Slightly later than I would have wanted to post this but oh well. I plan to do quick reviews of comics each week because it's a blog and I have to post something and maybe I might make someone pick up something. We'll see how many I can do before failing.

Two Covers of the Week ::

Ant-Man #4
Cover by: Phil Hester


ant-man #4 I just love this cover, it's got something so crazy 60s horror about it or maybe that's 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' this image is just what comic books should look like. You have the newly crowed Ant-Man getting attacked by one huge ant. In this case it seems the ant has the upper hand which is just excellent, the ants finally get back at Eric for burning them with a magnifying glass when he was young (knowing Eric you know he did that). I just see the cover and have to know what happens next. It's eye catching it's fun and Phil Hester draws stuff perfectly. The shame is this comic is not selling well and will probably end by issue 10.

52 #35
Cover by: J. G. Jones


52 #35 This cover is beyond cool really. Luthor watches from his office window as thousands of Superheroes, that he created, fall from the sky and at the stroke of midnight on New Years Day. He just watches like it is a party. That's cool, that menacing, that's Luthor. The foreground tells you everything you need to know about him too; carved Ivory Horn, desk made out of a Giant Red Wood (both of these showing his ego and his contempt for nature), his laptop with Lexcorp logo - Lex ever the business man and the folder which is why he is so pissed. Plus, J.G. Jones could make a poo look gorgeous I don't think there has been a bad 52 cover and this is certainly one of the better.

Two Comics of the Week ::

52 #35
Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
Artists: Various


52 #3552 even when it is at it's worse has kept you wanting next week, at it's best it is stuff like this week just out and out shit hitting the fan exploits. Lex's everyman project story comes to a peak when this week he decides to remove the powers of all of them (apart from Infinity Inc.) which is bad news for anyone currently flying or lifting a mountain above them. Most of the comic is pure panic on the streets of Metropolis while loads of superheroes rain from the sky and innocent bystanders die, Supernova dashes about trying to save all he can, unnamed Everyman heroes trying to understand why they can't do anything "Gravity Null Gravity Null Gravity Null it's not working…! RUN RUNNNN!".
The best thing is Lex, he casually watches all the destruction while on the phone to his scientists claiming no knowledge at one point he casually steps out of the way of a falling hero. Lex is best when he is the guilty person but no-one can prove it and he is best when he is completely cold hearted about it all. Just excellent. The end we catch up with the space heroes who are about to go see Lady Styx… we'll see next week.

P.S. Don't kill Animal-Man.

Superman #658
Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art by: Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino


Superman #658 I just love Busiek on this title. He seems to know Superman better than any other person in the world. In this story Arion (an ancient Atlantian sorcerer) is shows Superman the future - possible future scenario 404?. Where Humanity is left in small groups after major disaster after disaster and eventually are left extinct with Jimmy Olsen actually playing a Kamandi role as last Human on Earth. Catching up with the future Humans is the most interesting part the team of Humans is led by Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor with members like a Wonder Woman, a Green Lantern and a Flash, Parasite is there after absorbing so much of Clark's powers he actually believes himself to be Clark Kent. It continues on after last month where Khyber - the supreme lord of the future Earth seemingly kills Superman. The full effect of the story is that Superman needs to stop protecting us otherwise humanity will be wiped out. Arion explains that Civilizations have to fall (like Camelot, like Atlantis) and Superman has to allow this to happen for humanity to be strong enough to survive the aftermath.
In this, in almost direct opposition to 52, Lex plays the hero of Humanity he is at his strongest when he is forced to save and protect humanity. He is actually the ultimate humanitarian and seeing that play out here is just excellent. Which makes it more annoying when you see what a bastardization of his character is portrayed in movie outgoings.
Busiek is at his best his, like Astro City he has a real grasp of characters, makes stuff epic but relatable and annoying because you can't wait to read more. Carlos Pacheco joins up with some beautiful artwork to compliment the book and I can't wait to see where this is going to go in volume two of Camelot Falls. And how can this story not play on the mind of Superman – every time he acts is he dooming Humanity?
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my noodles will never taste the same

Written: 09:59 on January 06, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
mr. noodle
Momofuku Ando (安藤百福)
March 5, 1910 - January 5, 2007
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in review...

Written: 21:05 on January 04, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Everything.

That's right. Everything. I am in a reviewing mood, so let's do this.

First up: this Caffeine Free Diet Coke® I just finished. I've been drinking Diet Coke® for most of my life, since my mother is diabetic. I've grown to like it, and now I typically find regular sugared-up soft drinks to be too sweet. That being said, the caffeine free variety leaves something to be desired. Namely: caffeine. Oh, and good flavour. I give it a 2.5/5, for at least making me unthirsty, and not containing empty calories.

Next, let's move onto this [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AGK8NI/102-3614741-2750511USB notebook cooling pad[/url] that I just unboxed. Coincidentally, my laptop shut itself down not long before this, becuase I left it running all day, and it overheated. Since plugging this thing in however, the notebook is running much cooler, and the fan noise of the computer and pad combined is less than the pc fan running on high ALL THE TIME. For not making me feel like my months-old laptop is going to explode, you score a 4.5 out of 5. It would be perfect if it had a built-in usb hub, but alas.

Third, let's review my brother. He owes me 50 bucks, which he said he'd pay me back on December 15 "when we get paid." "We" being him and my sister-in-law. It is currently the 4th of January, and no word or sign of this. Essentially, I paid for my own xmas gift. For this, he scores a 0.1/17. The 0.1 is simply because it really is a pretty nice rice cooker.

Moving on, we come to the Carbon County Commissioners' plan to demolish the old Packerton Yards building. The only remaining structure which belonged to the now-defunct Lehigh Valley Railroad left in the region. Despite multiple developers coming forth with plans to use private money to clean it up and repair it for use as retail space, and preserve the building as a historical site, they still insist it needs to be demolished for "industry" which would pay less in taxes to the local government, and create fewer jobs than retail would. You can read about it hereherehere. Sign the petition while you're at it, if you don't disagree. For this completely illogical act of historical demolition, you score a -2/2859.

Time for the speed round…

  • Death: The High Cost of Living (Vertigo, TPB): 4.8/5!
  • Sandman: The Dream Hunters (Vertigo, TPB): 4/5
  • Peeling a Clementine this morning only to realise it was kind of moldy: shit-all/5
  • Not being able to find the length of tube I was using to siphon water out of my fish tank, causing my fish to live in filth: :(/5
  • The fact that it is January 4th and we've accumulated only about a quarter-inch of snow: depressing/5.
  • Properly html-ing an unorganised list to keep this list looking fancy, and realising it breaks the css and looks shit: jonfixit/5. (fixed now -Jons)


In the coming days, I will actually probably maybe possibly review some things for serious. But, this will do for now.
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what exactly is professional gaming?

Written: 17:28 on January 01, 2007  |  By: jon  |  MORE…
It may (or may not, these days) come as a surprise that you can be considered a professional at a video-game. Several countries have even been fighting to get some of these competitive video-games listed as sports (under the moniker ‘e-sports’). Akin to the Olympic Games, the World Cyber Games or WCG for short is held every year and has the full backing of corporate sponsors Samsung. These competitions (from which competitors fly from all over the globe) aren’t just about pride – there is some serious money up for grabs: $462,000 passed through in 2006, and it’s looking set to surpass $500,000 this year. Several smaller contests all over the world take place during each year in each country, at LAN events such as i-series in the United Kingdom and dreamhack in Sweden.

Support for these tournaments is strongest at current in the East, with the United States fast in pursuit. In Europe, many nations are warming to the idea (particularly Scandinavian countries) but here in the United Kingdom, uptake has been slow – but why? And how can sitting in front of a computer be considered a sport, and how can you be professional at playing a video-game?

To answer these two questions, you need to consider what the definition of professional is. A professional, according to the dictionary, is a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs; for example, golf professionals. With the purses at some of the larger events reaching and in some cases surpassing yearly salaries for traditional jobs, it isn’t difficult to see why people can live off the money and become professional. At these events, the way in which tournaments take place mimic classic sporting events such as the World Cup – so many parallels can be drawn between ‘classic’ sport and e-sports that it seems almost obvious to group them together. Obviously, this angers some people. I for one have definitely seen heat rise about the subject, usually because of the lack of physical training involved in playing a video-game. However, the mental training, practice and obedience required to make it to the top of the e-sports world is staggering.

I've been playing counter-strike source practically every day since before it came out, and its predecessor sporadically before that still. I have been playing games on and off since the age of 6, and I can quite openly say that at times, I’ve been completely addicted to them. However, I am far from the level of skill seen within some of the top players today, and I can barely class myself as a strong player in the amateur circuit. Occasionally whilst playing, I’ll run into players in the United Kingdom that are teetering on the edge. They have the skill, but nobody is there to push them, elevate them into a position of fame, money, competitions. I still wonder why the United Kingdom has been slow to pick up on the competitive scene, and companies so slow to nourish its growth. Only this year has a company seemingly taken notice (the company being eBuyer). They have organised a LAN event where the prize is a year contract, with PC equipment, travel, expenses, clothing and accommodation all being taken care for. To win, all you must to is prove your team the best in the entire country. The scene has been buzzing about this for several months already, but the sign-ups are closed and the competition is due to start soon.

With approximately £40,000 at stake, this is an important and much needed step forward for our “competitive scene”. Perhaps 2007 will be the year when competitions of this nature become more accepted by the general public, perhaps not as a sport (I can’t see that ever happening), but as a viable industry, and something to be encouraged… especially when you can be earning close to $1,000,000 per year at the top.
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