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i'm not a playa, i just crush a lot.

Written: 23:48 on February 23, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
I've been thinking for the past week now, "Wow Ethan, you haven't dovka'd in ages now. What is UP with THAT??" Yes, it was punctuated and capitalised just like that. The thing is, I have been busy. I'm busier than ever with my job, and actually have been working on a design for the past few hours, off and on. We've got a new accounting and estimating package being installed, and I'm in charge of the estimating portion. Yay. So I've got about 20 projects on the fly, said software, and I'm still supposed to be doing up my RCDD about now.

When I haven't been working, I've been playing Final Fantasy VI Advance, and enjoying it immensely. There aren't many games that are on its level, in my book, and the updates to this one, and the pure fact that I can play it on the toilet, make it exceptional in my book. What makes this game so great, though? I've been trying to put my finger on it the whole time I've been playing it. To be honest, the characters are not amazing. They are mostly cool, but some I find absolutely grating. Kefka, for instance. I've never had a thing for him like everyone else playing this game has seemed to. He's annoying. His motivation is basically just the fact that he's zany. That is not a good character. So what is good?

Firstly, I say the pacing. It moves along at a nice pace through the first half of the game, and much of what you can spend tedious hours pursuing in the second half is optional. That is the beauty of it. The semi-linearity means I can attack the plot when I want to, and the rest of the time can be spent wandering the Veldt or killing brontosaurs for economizers (with any luck, that is).

Second, the options available to you. The selection of espers you equip on each character determines what stats increase, and what spells they learn. And of course each of them have their own unique skill. That's a great compromise between total customization and having characters set on their own singular track.

Thirdly, why am I talking about this game? Everyone knows it is good. If you don't, you are crazy. Unless you just don't enjoy RPGs, in which case I won't attempt to convert you, lest you try to convert me to playing Madden 2018.

Hopefully I will get some things done well enough that I can actually put some thought into this next time. Oh, I bought a bottle of vodka and a 2004 Riesling tonight, as well. Anyone wanting to see me drunk should contact me tomorrow at this time, because I fully intend to finish that wine tomorrow evening, and make a dent in some liquor. Does anyone have a frittata recipe that works? I'd really like to make one, though I'm not sure I have the pans I need for it. Recipes, anyhoo.

Word up.
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dovka comic overview week :: 07-02-07

Written: 16:09 on February 12, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
Birmingham was hit by rather one hell of a lot of snow which kind of snowed me in for a few days, when I eventually got to the comic shop, I bought rather a lot of comics; 52 #40, Action Comics Annual #10, Detective Comics #828, Fell #7, Irredeemable Ant-Man #5, Jonah Hex #16, Mystery in Space #6, Shazam: Monster Society of Evil #1 and Spider-Man Reign #3. All were good especially Reign which had a great Fanboy moment when Peter put on the Red and Blues singing his theme from the cartoon show. However, I chose to focus my reviews on two vastly different comics.

As it is kind of comic related, I would like to point out for anyone that didn't know PBF is back and I'm very much looking forward to his hardback with Dark Horse comics.

Cover Spotlight of the Week::

Action Comics Annual #10
Cover by Adam Kubert and Joe Kubert


Action Comics Annual 10 I may not enjoy what Johns and co are doing in Action Comics at the moment and yes it pretty much goes in the complete opposite to what I like in Superman. But this isn't a review of the insides and gladly this Annual doesn't touch too much on the Donnerification of Superman (not surprisingly the story I liked the least in the annual was the one about the "three Kryptonian villains" - not sure if it me blinded by bias or not) so all added up I really love this cover it just screams fun. Also to add that Joe Kubert despite being 80 years old is still a phenomenal artist and could actually still teach his sons Andy and Adam something about comic art it's a joy to look at. The cover is just so haughtily comic book which now and again is just excellent and exactly what you want out of a comic and it's not trying to be cool and or trying hard to express it's just fun. This is where I think quite a few artists fall down especially in the 90s - creators were just so bothered about trying to be cool. Not to constantly pick on him (he's a nice guy) but people like Rob Leifeld and even Jim Lee can come across like a geek at high school trying to impress the "cool kids" with his drawings of women with huge tits. This cover to me represents the complete opposite it's just geeks enjoying childhood memories; I get annoyed at how the Silver Age is being forced on modern comics but I can accept a fair share of it and this I like.

Comics Spotlight of the Week::

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1
Written and Drawn by: Jeff Smith


ShazamMSOE 1 I'm going to mention it now and not come back to it again during this review. Whatever the hell DC are doing with the Captain Marvel legacy in "Trials of Shazam" is so wrong and so backwards to the character that I can't wait for it to be over just to be retconed. It's ill-conceived and stinks of what I was on about earlier "people trying to hard to be cool" (tattoos, piercings, guns, modern hair/clothes, language - Freddy might as well go sit in his room cutting himself to My Chemical Romance) and they are cutting and blunting Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. into a very bad comic. The series shows nothing of why people love Captain Marvel it shows no love of it's past and I can't imagine why they would try to do this - when all what Captain Marvel needs to be is this comic - Monster Society of Evil.
Written and drawn by Jeff Smith who if the name is unfamiliar to you seriously go out and buy "Bone One Volume Edition". Bone was fantastic a book that transcends genres and speaks directly to the heart of everyone. It was arguably the only independent comic that really ran with the mainstream - apart from maybe Cerebus or Usagi Yojimbo. Bone is simply one of the best stories of our time because of this Jeff Smith didn't really need to work again but thank God he is.
After working on Bone for eleven years in 2002 Jeff Smith was read to move on and DC approached him to relaunch their Captain Marvel property, Bone ended up taking two years longer to finished. So in 2004 Jeff Smith finally sat down to work on Captain Marvel. His inspiration went straight back to the Golden Age - where Captain Marvel dominated the sales he easily outsold Superman and Batman. The idea of a down and out child who was able the transform into an all powerful adult by saying a magic word was amazingly whimsical and spoke to the public and most importantly it spoke to children. Jeff's main influence is to go back to what is considered the first long running story in comics "Captain Marvel and the Monster Society of Evil" Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 (March 1943 to May 1945). About Captain Marvel battling his main villains who have all banded together under the control of Mr. Mind - the mind controlling worm.
There is a lot in this issue; introduction, an origin, explanation of powers, dive quickly into back story for Captain Marvel, some action, then crocodile men and a search for family to continue the story. All drawn beautifully by Jeff Smith and coloured by Steve Hamaker who just seem to capture again the emotions and the feeling of the comics. I've not read a comic in a long time which was just felt so special and so loved.
Jeff does take some liberty with the ideas of Captain Marvel. Him and Billy are truly separate beings like Billy Batson is more of a host for Captain Marvel, something which in my time has never been an issue apparently this was more clear in Golden Age (and I also have a feeling we'll see the separate beings grow together and combine as they stay together longer - example Captain Marvel already says "Holy Moley" which is obviously more Billy than the Captain). He has also chosen to make people much younger than the have previously been shown, he harks back to the Golden Age by killing the Wizard Shazam and even decided to use the original names of the 7 Deadly Sins of Man. This feels odd just because it's never been the Captain Marvel I've read but it doesn't feel wrong.
Problems? Price at $5.99 it's rather expensive especially when considering DC should be trying to get children to read this. Although, prestige format, no adds and 48 pages. It nearly makes up for it. I find the idea of Billy being a host to Captain Marvel a little creepy but I can't help feeling I'm nitpicking to find criticism. This was exactly what I wanted to read out of Captain Marvel and I don't see how if DC ran with this idea of the Captain they couldn't have a bonafied success on their hands. It saddens me that people reading Captain Marvel for the first time and wanting to read more about the Captain will have to make do with Trials of Shazam.
We often forget that comics should be for kids and I really think it takes a master of his art like Jeff Smith to remind us that you can write something adults enjoy but kids will also love. His managed to capture the essence of Captain Marvel while not patronising anyone who is reading. This is what Captain Marvel should be not shoehorned into depressing comics and I'm glad everyone has been reminded of this.

Fell #7
Written by: Warren Ellis
Art by: Ben Templesmith


Fell 7 I'm not sure I could pick a complete opposite to Shazam: Monster Society of Evil as my other favourite this week but Fell is an amazing book. While Shazam: Monster Society of Evil reminds us that comics should be for children. Fell reminds us that thank God they all aren't geared towards them and it's great that we can go into a comic shop and enjoy two titles it shows to me such diversity towards comic books. Comic books are really dominated in the market by Superheroes and I would say the huge majority of stuff I read is superheroes but again thank God there are alternatives and out of the mainstream comic book market Fell is one of the best non-superhero books on the market and behind Invincible the best book Image is publishing. In another direct opposite to Shazam: Monster Society of Evil this book costs only $1.99. Warren Ellis went into the title wanting to write a comic that people could walk into a comic shop and spend pocket change on and actually have a good interesting read. He achieved his brief, it works very, very well.
Fell is a comic about a detective Richard Fell who in the first issue was moved to Snowtown - it's the place where no-one wants to live (endless violence, poverty of a third world country, urban decay on a grand scale) and for a Detective it's a no hoper. But Richard Fell is out there with endless hope that he can save this town and really make a name for himself as a detective. It saves space by using 9 panel pages which just could not be achieved without Ben Templesmith's pencils. Who draws an almost hallucinatory hell when he is depicting the action. He manages to make absolutely nothing feels safe or innocent. Everyone has a motive, everyone is evil in some way and it works very, very well.
Fell's issues stands alone and is designed to be read alone. But as each issues runs through you learn more about Richard Fell and learn more about the world he is in. In this issue Fell has captured a man who is guilty about killing a woman - actually much worse but I'll save you the details. He is presenting the case to the defendant, his lawyer and an optimistic young D.A who has been provided by the city. Fell presents the whole story to the room but gets carried away with trying to see the guy burn for his misdeeds that it all goes horribly wrong he gives the case away. It's not a happy ending and you don't feel good at the end of the comic.
It may sound clichéd but it never plays out like that because you end up thinking about subjects like drugs, the criminal system, law enforcement, the processes involved and the grey line with right and wrong. The comic stories may stand alone but you drag these issues and feelings to comic and comic it all builds up a very satisfying and interesting read.
Usually the issues end with a some sort of extended letter column by Warren Ellis where he talks about why he chose the particular story or answers questions. It's a great thing to read after the comic and I wish more people would actually do that but this one had a preview of Cassanova a new series by Image, which I have to say looks very interesting. Fell is a great book and #7 showcases it. If you have the pocket change go pick it up next time you pass a shop.
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green card lottery? wtf?

Written: 05:47 on February 10, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
greencard


interrobang


This is real? I just don't understand.
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i geeked the fuck out...

Written: 05:18 on February 06, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
I haven't had chance to sit down and write about comics the last two weeks. The week before I was ill and didn't manage to pick up comics to read them and then this week after picking up 16 comics, I still have about 10 to read. It was my birthday weekend so I didn't have a lot of time to sit down and read through.

Except for one thing. Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters has been a constantly awesome miniseries from DC written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and art by Daniel Acuña. #7 was an insanely great issue for a lot a different reasons but stand out for me because it herald the return of Ray Terrill. Which allowed me to geek the hell out. Fanboy moment of the year for me.

ray terrill returns


This week will see the release of the eagerly awaited Jeff's Smith's Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil to say I'm excited is a huge understatement. It should be a stunning book.

You even have a decoder with the book to read certain parts in a secret code.

Mld sld xllo rh gszg?
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soup sunday

Written: 17:14 on February 04, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Afternoon, people. This is becoming quite a pattern, but hey, cooking and eating are fun. I promised Liam ages ago that I'd write this down. He had a hand in creating the recipe the first time I made it, and this is basically the same.

Need:
  • 1.5 Pounds Mushrooms (I use three kinds: white button, crimini aka baby portobello, and shiitake)
  • 4 Cups, about a litre, of broth (I used half chicken and half beef, because it's what I had)
  • 1-2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 Pinches of thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of parsley

Do this:
  • Make sure your shrooms are clean, but don't wash them in too much water. They soak up a lot. Chop them roughly into bite-sized piecez.
  • Mince up that garlic, and throw it in a large saucepan with the butter on mediumish heat. Don't let it burn, or it'll get bitter and gross, and you'll have to chuck it.
  • After the garlic is smelling nicely, add the mushrooms — as much as will fit — to the pan. If they don't all fit, just let the others cook down a little, and then add them. My experience is that the mushrooms will shrink about 50%, so don't worry. They'll fit.
  • Add a wee splash of broth as this is all cooking, to keep things moist. This will also nicely meld the shroom and broth flavours, to create a SUPERMORPHORATED SHROOMBROTHY flavour.
  • At this point, do your seasoning. You should be able to pick a mushroom out and have it be perfectly tasty. If it isn't, add what you think it needs. I like mine very peppery, and with a pinch of thyme. Feel free to add other savory herbs.
  • Optionally, right here, you can add a wee bit of flour or corn starch to thicken things up, so you will have just a bit less of a brothyness to the final product.
  • When things are sufficiently tasty, add that broth, brotha. Oh, and the parsley.
  • Allow to yum for 45 minutes over low heat.
  • Eat.

I like mine with crackers, of course, who doesn't? Also, I think a dollop of sour cream and some fresh chives cut on top would be SEX. Too bad I don't have any sour cream.

I also made leek and potato soup yesterday, but I wasn't too happy with it. OH, that reminds me. A nice addition to this soup: a handful of onions or leeks, thrown in with the garlic to soften up and just add extra yum. I had leftover leeks, so I did.

I am out of ideas for things I want to cook! I think I will have to consult a cookbook or something for ideas. I don't even know what I want, really. Maybe Mexican?
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im in ur browser needin ur suggestions

Written: 22:00 on February 01, 2007  |  By: ethan  |  MORE…
Good evening folks. I just finished Dragon Quest VIII after about four months of extremely-solid-followed-by-not-at-all-ohshitthat'srightineedtofinishthatgame play. It is probably my favourite game at the moment, and destined to remain there for some time, as I've always been a Dragon Quest fanboy, ever since Dragon Quest II came out here in the states (the first one hardly counted). I'm not totally done with it, to be honest, as there is a very large optional part that I'm left with, in order to get the true ending. Which is quite a thought, as the first ending was probably half an hour long. But, I promised a certain girl I would finish this game, so I could send it to her, and we could trade. She'll be sending me FFXII. Not to be confused with FFX2. That would also be acceptable, however.

So, until that arrives, which probably won't be for weeks, since I won't be shipping this off til the weekend, I am in need of a new PS2 game. Bear in mind that I only got my PS2 in October, so I missed an asshatful of games in the past few years. The PS2 games I have played are…. just about nothing, really. Final Fantasy X and X-2, Dragon Quest VIII, and…. Leisure Suit Larry. I think that's about it, actually.

I am looking at Shadow of the Colossus, because I think the design is brillyunt, but I am wondering if it won't frustrate me. Mayhaps not, as it gets really good reviews, so it can't be too bad in any area. Rogue Galaxy is also another possibility. That's done by the same team as DQ8, even, but I think it would require more huge time commitment, and I'm not very good at that. The Katamari games I must pick up at some point. Uh, aside from that, I have no clue. Bully looked kinda good? I think?

So, dovkafans, help a brotha out. Give me good suggestions for something to pass the time in the meantime until my darling sends me some love in the shape of a Final Fantasy. I'd even be up for a driving game or something. No sports games, though, please. RPGs are a help, but I may not get to them til later.

Thanks in advance. Also, Final Fantasy VI Advance on Monday in North America wooooo.
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