(8 comments, 39 posts)
Jackie is an artist, social misanthrope, decision-maker, jack(ie) of all trades, lover of cephalopods, and Batman enthusiast. She organizes a large horror-themed event in Asheville, NC, and spends her spare time obsessing over science, and getting involved in online communities. She loves to make things, and therefore creates a lot of DiY posts. If you have a suggestion/request for a DiY post, feel free to contact email@example.com
She also has a strong love for cartoons bordering on unhealthy, can roller skate better than anyone you know, and loves most anything sci-fi.
Connect with Jackie on Google+
Home page: http://uselessprogress.com
Posts by Jackie Bagwell
Recently, the fine people over at the NASA Kennedy Space Center invited me to attend a SpaceX launch as a Social Media attendee. This was pretty awesome news – they only extend this invitation to 50 people per launch.
Unfortunately, we got news the day before the launch that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launch had been postponed a few weeks due to issues encountered while testing the Falcon rocket. Getting that news was kind of a bummer, but we were promised a special surprise to make up for it, and NASA delivered.
After arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, we got our media badges, and then boarded a bus with a NASA Social sign in the front window. Some introductions were made, and some of these internet socialites already knew each other. One thing I can say for sure was that everyone who attended this event was amazingly friendly and welcoming.
We were driven around the KSC for a little while, hearing facts about the building of the KSC in the 60s. We heard about how the KSC is home to many species of wildlife, and saw evidence of this – including alligators in the canals lining the road, and an enormous eagle’s nest in a tree just off the road. We chatted with each other, exchanged stories and interests, and heard many anecdotes such as “Of course a bus full of NASA nerds are also Firefly fans!”
Our first destination of the day was a launchpad used for – you guessed it – launching large things into space! On our way, however, we saw a couple of Crawlers. Crawlers are what NASA uses to move large objects across the property. Objects such as spacecrafts, rockets, and mobile launch platforms. The crawlers are gyroscopically stable, meaning that no matter what bumps and turbulence they encounter, their cargo will not be affected.
Once we got to the launchpad, we were brought into the actual launchpad, right were shuttles are loaded, and where the launch fire comes out. The walls were scorched by decades of previous launches. The sound suppression system was enormous. You’ll see it in the pictures below – it’s used to make sure windows don’t get smashed all over Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach whenever there’s a launch.
Next, we were taken to check out a couple of mobile launch platforms. When a crawler is used to move this platform, it will be positioned underneath the mobile launch platform, and will then lift it off the pillars it stands on to move it. The scaffolding on the mobile platform to the left here is used to position a shuttle against. It’s ridiculously huge. The pictures don’t really do a great job of showing how huge it is. We also went underneath a mobile platform, and stood where hundreds of thousands of gallons of water would be flushed through to counteract the heat from a shuttle launching. It was pretty awesome.
Then came the really big surprise. We were told we’d be able to see the spacecraft, Orion, but not that we would get to participate in a full press conference for the return of Orion. This particular Orion spacecraft flew 66,000 miles out and around the Earth. It met 85 out of 87 flight objectives, which is extremely high. Orion’s mission was to collect data, and it was considered a success. Orion landed in the Pacific Ocean, and was then transported to the East Coast over about 8 days via roads and highways to get to the Kennedy Space Center. Coming up in February, Orion’s heat shield will be removed for further analysis. Various parts of the space craft will be removed for testing and data analysis, but for the most part, it will remain in tact for display and/or simulations because of how well it held up in space. And of course.. I took a couple selfies with Orion. Wouldn’t you?
I’d like to say that we, personally, came up with this crazy-awesome gift guide for the Harry Potter lover on your Christmas list, but sadly.. we did not. Luckily, someone out there loves you because WB did. And it sure is amazing.
Bringing together a collection of products from a host of renowned licensees, including The Noble Collection, MinaLima, Insight Editions, Rubie’s Costume Co., Bioworld, Elope, Hallmark, and more, the Harry Potter Gift Guide offers shoppers the chance to find the perfect gift for their favourite witches and wizards in one place. Harry Potter-inspired products ranging from wizard wear and accessories, to collectibles and home décor, are all available at the click of a mouse, with each product image functioning as an intuitive hyperlink that directs users to the purchase point.
“The Harry Potter Gift Guide brings fans the perfect tool to click their way through the items on their wizarding wish list,” said Karen McTier, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “From discerning collectors to new fans waiting for their Hogwarts acceptance letter, the gift guide makes buying presents easy.”
This year’s catalogue offers a host of new items, including the Harry Potter Remote Control Wand from The Noble Collection, which allows the user to magically control any IR device with the flick of the wrist. Also newly available is the United States Postal Service Harry Potter Limited-Edition Forever stamp collection – perfect for stocking stuffers and for all those looking to send their holiday cards the Muggle way. Leggings from boutique fashion label Black Milk, fresh Hot Topic-exclusive apparel from Bioworld, a limited-edition Hogwarts castle ornament from Hallmark and more can also be found within the guide.
The Harry Potter Gift Guide was designed by MinaLima, the creative team behind the graphic design aesthetics of the Harry Potter films, including the Marauder’s Map, the Daily Prophet, and The Quibbler. MinaLima, now also a licensee of Warner Bros. Consumer Products as The Printorium, is also featured in the catalogue with their fine art print of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
——– Now to the Fun Stuff ———
THIS CONTEST HAS CLOSED – Please check your email to see if you’ve won!
To celebrate this release, Warner Bros. is giving us a reeeaallly cool gift basket (valued >$60) to give to one of you!! This is seriously one of those times where all of us here at NiB are incredibly jealous that we can’t enter our own contests. If you or someone on your gift list is a Harry Potter fan, you WANT to enter this.
This is what they just might be sending you:
Harry Potter Collectible Wand
2014 Harry Potter Wall Calendar
Horcrux Bookmark Collection
Here’s how you enter:
Post a comment below telling us who your favorite HP character is and why. That’s it.
Get a bonus entry:
Link this post on twitter and include the hashtag #hpgiftguide13 as well as mention @NerdsinBabeland, and you’ll get a second entry into the drawing. (note: you have to be following us on twitter for this, otherwise we won’t be able to DM you).
How long you have to enter:
About four days. This contest is now open, and will close Thursday, Dec. 12th at 6pm, EST.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at jackie(at)nerdsinbabeland.com, or on twitter at @jackietherobot.
Have you picked up your copy of Man of Steel yet? As we mentioned in a press release back in August, Man of Steel was released on DVD (Bluray, DVD, and Ultra Violet) by WB this past week. We had a chance to check it out, and were not disappointed.
I feel I should mention – I am not a Superman fan. I have never been all that into the boy wonder – his whole deus ex machina schtick has always annoyed me. There’s even a site dedicated to his egotistical and often misogynistic nature in older comics called SuperDickery. However, I figured if any line-up could make me like the character and his story, it might be a director like Zack Snyder, and writers such as Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Well, I’m glad I kept an open mind going into the film, because it did turn out to be pretty interesting.
The main reasons I’ve always been bothered by Superman as a character were his invulnerability and my inability to find any way to connect with his struggles. In Man of Steel, they make this latter connection a little easier to find. Clark is portrayed as a very lonely boy with very little to connect to, himself. He has wonderful adoptive parents in Martha and Jonathan Kent, but knows they aren’t his family, and that his abilities aren’t something he can share with other people. He struggles to adjust to his new-found powers, and feels lonelier because of it. Even as an adult, Clark is jumping from job to job, never really finding a friend, and constantly having to hide his traits from coworkers and acquaintances. On an emotional level, there’s something about this incarnation of Clark Kent that I feel almost anyone can relate to in one way or another.
Before we even met Clark, though, I was already entranced by the positively gorgeous depiction of the planet Krypton. While previous Superman stories have always touched on the Planet under the Red Sun, I’ve never seen Krypton be visually displayed in such detail before. Not only were the graphics just absolutely stunning, the amount of work that went into building Krypton is staggering. The technology, architecture, government, history, and culture of Krypton just in the opening sequence really paints a portrait of a very rich civilization. Later on, when Clark finds an abandoned Kryptonian ship, and speaks to an AI projection of his father, we hear more about Krypton’s history, and get to see more of the “geo-liquid” technology that seems to have been used quite a bit in Krypton, as well as learn more about the rich culture that the writers obviously put a lot of heart into building. From WB’s special features, here’s a little bit about that geo-liquid technology:
The only thing that did annoy me about that is.. why is it that any time there’s some kind of alien/extraterrestrial race involved, there are always sharp, metallic tentacles coming from somewhere (see also: Pacific Rim, Alien, Predator)? Surely we can get a little more creative with alien weapons these days. That’s a very small complaint, though, considering the intense detail put into the Kryptonian race in this movie.
Moving forward, we meet Lois Lane. Now, I’m sure the first thing people tend to complain about with this character is that she’s a redhead, when Lois Lane, traditionally, has always had a signature look of stark black hair. However, while this is very different for the character, I think taking risks with a long-standing character can be a virtue. Lois’ interest and determination when it came to finding out about Clark Kent was on point, butf I had my way, she would have had a lot more of her trademark sass and wit. This portrayal of Lois, while determined, was also a little timid, and not nearly as interesting as she could have been.
Then comes Zod. Technically, Zod was in the opening Krypton sequence, but when he comes into the story line with full force, things get interesting. We were given Zod’s backstory in a very satisfying way, and got to see him face off with Superman, culminating in some killer action scenes. Zod becomes a very strong lead villain with a fiery intensity. All villains believe they’re the heroes in their own stories, and that’s definitely something you can see in abundance with Zod. Even if he does need to do something about that hair.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Man of Steel, and was impressed by the acting, writing, and special effects. The packaging options aren’t half bad, either.
There are portions of the story and characters that can definitely be improved upon, but hopefully that’s something we’ll get to see more of in the upcoming sequel, for which we are already seeing a ton of hype for. In fact, recently, Zack Snyder commissioned paintings of Batman versus Superman from three modern, stylistic artists. You can see more about the story here from io9. My favorite is definitely Alex Pardee’s contribution:
The commissions and the cause they’re being auctioned for definitely make the upcoming sequel a little more exciting – to me, at least.
If they won’t say it, though, I will…
BOW BEFORE ZOD.
A few hours ago, The BBC announced who the 12th Doctor will be in the hit series, Doctor Who. So that means at this point that the entire internet knows. In case you’re new to the ‘Who, however, here’s a little info to clue you in. The 50th anniversary episode is coming up around Christmas time (that’s not 50 episodes, just for clarity, that’s 50 years since the series started), and current front-runner, Matt Smith, announced about two months ago that he was leaving the show at that time. If you listened carefully in that moment, you would have heard the thud of millions of Whovian hearts breaking a little bit, in unison.
However, that is the nature of the story: Timelords regenerate, and the story goes on. Today, we are welcoming Peter Capaldi as the twelfth Doctor to grace the series. Capaldi has had a long, celebrated career, and is welcomed with open arms by many fans. Just in case you need a little convincing, or are having trouble placing him, here are a just a couple roles you’re likely to remember him from.
John Frobisher was the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office and Torchwood Three’s liaison to the British government. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two) He was later appointed informal ambassador to the 456. Passionate and driven, his job became increasingly difficult when all around him began to shirk any responsibility for the disaster that was unfolding.
This TV mini-series, based on the beautiful and brilliant novel by Neil Gaiman, aired in 1996, and also starred Gary Bakewell, Laura Fraser, and Clive Russell.
The band starred a young Peter Capaldi on vocals with an equally young Libby McArthur guesting on backing vocals (who was singer in, the pre His Latest Flame, Sophisticated Boom Boom with Jaqeuline Bradley). Temple Clark on Bass Guitar & Robert Livsey on Drums completed the line up. Trivia fact-Comedian Craig Ferguson had also played drums with The Dreamboys.
This little bit of trivia is just plain fun.
And, of course, like seemingly most British television actors at this point, Capaldi has already been in an episode of Doctor Who. Funny enough, it’s the same episode in which Karen Gillan first made her appearance on the show (as a cultist / soothsayer), long before she took on the role of Amy Pond.
Lucius Caecilius Iucundus was a man who lived in Pompeii before Vesuvius erupted in 79. Husband of Metella and father to Evelina and Quintus, Caecilius was a marble trader with political ambitions.
Of course, Capaldi has been in many, many other things throughout the course of his career, and even played the W.H.O. Doctor in the recent zombie flick, World War Z. I’m sure he will, no doubt, be a wonderful addition to the show. Still, it would have been nice to see a new face on the show, especially a less traditional one (I think we all considered Idris Elba at one point or another, right?).
Although, while I anxiously await Capaldi’s Doctor portrayal, personally, I really would have like to have seen Damien Molony take on the role.
I guess we’ll just have to see how things go with the Christmas Special on November 23rd.
Happy Sunday, everyone.
Recently, Forbes.com published an article about what to wear to E3. This article was was only aimed toward women, and was amazingly offensive. Now, if you click that link you’ll see that there’s a disclaimer at the top of the article. Hilariously, after the backlash they received, they removed the offending points. While I have to applaud them for listening to the feedback, I also find it appalling that they clearly didn’t do any research on the demographic they were trying to reach with that article to begin with – and the fact that they don’t stand by their opinions. Let’s see a quote from that original article before the edit:
If you’ve been to E3 before, you know the challenge. How do you convey credibility in promoting your game, your studio and yourself at the convention in a room full of guys gawking at larger-than-life, theme-park-like attractions and scantily clad ‘booth babes’?
Many women prefer to keep a low profile with “non booth babe” wear – like a baggy t-shirt and jeans. But in an industry trying to attract more female gamers, its worthwhile to spend some time thinking about how what you wear can help you stand out as the savvy gaming industry expert that you are.
Looks like someone just learned the term “booth babe.”
E3 may have come and gone, but there are still plenty of conventions planned for the rest of the year, and the fact that a company as prominent as Forbes would post something like this at all is important.
Women: your credibility is not defined by your wardrobe. Your credibility should be dependent on your merits, not your appearance. Of course specific situations will require a specific dress-code; in general, if you are good at what you do, it doesn’t matter if you have green hair and cleavage. People will listen when you speak. Do not allow anyone to treat you differently based purely on what you’re wearing. Especially at a convention.
Men (and woman, in fact): you should be treating people you encounter with equal respect, no matter what they’re wearing. All people. If you judge her by her t-shirt, you could be missing out on your new favorite artist. If you judge him by his facial piercings, who knows, you may lose the chance to meet to best programmer in the room. You do not get to slut-shame women or men for their bare skin or for cosplaying. Making snap judgments about someone based on their appearance will only make you lose out on that person’s best qualities.
On “Booth Babes”: it’s true that the gaming industry has a history of employing attractive women, dressing them scantily, and using them to bait young men into visiting their booths at cons. However, this is 2013, and these companies aren’t stupid. You will see a dramatic shift in the coming years of these companies hiring knowledgeable, personable people to represent their products. Do not assume that just because you see an attractive woman is at a booth at a convention means she’s only there to look pretty, and knows nothing about the brand she’s representing. After all, you wouldn’t see Jamie Dillion from Child’s Play or Barbara Dunkelman from RoosterTeeth at a convention, and assume they’re know-nothing booth babes, would you? No. They’re professional women who are integral parts of the companies they represent, and obtained their positions by being the best at what they do. Don’t let an antiquated gender idea sully your idea of how you want to present yourself, and certainly don’t let any silly slut-shaming prevent you from cosplaying your favorite character.
I think it’s time we start thinking more about having a good time at the conventions we attend, and worry less about being mistaken for booth babes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some tips that might actually help you while you attend a convention. Don’t worry, fashion geeks, I’ll still include a couple of outfits for inspiration.
Tips for Attending a Con:
- Wear Comfy Shoes. Throughout any convention, you will be on your feet for hours a day, usually multiple days in a row. Bring a pair of shoes that you won’t worry about getting scuffed up, stepped on by other people, or getting dirty. It’s also a good idea to carry a back-up just in case.
- Drink Plenty of Water and Don’t Forget to Eat. There is a ton of excitement involved in going to a con, and sticking to panel and presentation schedules can make for very little free time. Plan ahead, and take a look at what food options will be near you, set alarm reminders for mealtimes on your cell phone, and carry a bottle of water with you everywhere. You don’t want to wind up dizzy and tired by 4pm just because you forgot to eat lunch.
- Carry Business Cards. If you’re in the industry, or hoping to network in any way, bring plenty of business cards. Don’t be pushy about giving them out, but do be creative. Conventions can be the absolutely best place to hob-knob with fellow industry workers, and make some helpful friends. Make sure you have something to give them, and make it impressive.
- Bring A Bag. Hitting the booths, you’ll encounter a ton of fliers, cards, posters, and prints. This doesn’t even include the various memorabilia and items you may purchase while you’re there, or the personal items you may need to bring with you. Be smart, and bring something to carry those things in. A tote bag is a cheap, easy way to address this issue, but a messenger bag might be more durable and have more handy pockets.
- Things to Carry in That Bag: band-aids, snacks, water, cell phone, charger/extra battery, extra pair of shoes, light jacket, camera, deodorant, mini sewing kit. You’d be surprised how often these items might come in handy. It’s possible you’ll never need any of them, but when you do, you’ll be glad you have them. Sidenote about the camera: not all venues will let you bring in a camera, so check the rules of the event before attending (this actually goes for all items), but you never know when you might run into a photo op – either an amazing cosplay of your favorite video game character, or maybe your favorite actor. Come prepared, you may never get that opportunity again!
- Plan and Check in with Your Buddy. The buddy system isn’t just for elementary school. It’s easy to lose your group in a large crowd, and people can easily go missing. If you’re with a friend or a group of friends, plan ahead to meet at certain places at certain times. Make sure everyone gets where they’re going safely, and be sure everyone has everyone else’s phone numbers in case of emergencies.
- Plot Your Course. There’s a lot to see at a convention, and you don’t want to miss out on some key opportunities. Figure out what panels you want to attend, and buy any applicable tickets early. Plot out which booths you absolutely want to visit, and find them on the floor map. Allow for plenty of time in line – it could very well be hours. You don’t need to be militant about your planning, but if you have a general plan in place, you’ll be more likely to see everything that you want to.
- Bring a Book. You may have to sit in line for a very long time at a busy con. Bring something to keep yourself occupied – whether it’s a good novel, a thick graphic novel, or a Sudoku book, make sure you won’t be bored. Or, you could always make new friends around you!
- Shower and Deodorant are Your Best Friends! Personal hygiene should be common sense, but you’d be surprised. If you’ve ever been to a packed convention, you truly know the stink of body odor. Try to be considerate of those around you, and boost your own confidence by showering every day, and wearing deodorant and clean clothes.
Tips for Dressing at a Con:
Now, we’re not going to tell you that you shouldn’t show skin, dress provocatively, or really dress any way beyond how you want to in public. That’s nobody’s place but yours. However, we can give you some words of wisdom about being prepared for an event in how you dress. This tips go for both men and women.
- Check the Weather. Look at the forecast for the days and locations that you’ll be out at a con. Even if it’s an indoor convention, keep travel and after-events in mind. If it’s going to rain, bring a small umbrella just in case. If it’s going to be cold later in the evening, bring a light jacket to be on the safe side.
- Wear Layers. A packed convention hall can get gross and sweaty in an instant. If you wear a couple thin layers, you can add or remove them to adjust to your comfort level at any moment.
- Flexible Clothing is Key. You’ll be moving around a lot, and don’t want your clothes to be restrictive. Wear something you’ll be comfortable in either sitting in a convention hall for a couple hours, or running to catch a bus.
- Keep Your Items Close. Just like tips for visiting new cities, keep your personal belonging close to your body. While we hope everyone we come in contact with will be honest, you still need to account for the possibility that you might drop or lose something. If you have a bag that closes, or pockets that zip, use them.
- Plan Ahead with Costumes. If you’re wearing a costume, make sure it’s something you’re not going to get hot, sweaty, or uncomfortable after a few hours. Also make sure you build yourselves some pockets or a clever carrying case (for example: if you’re cosplaying Chell from Portal, maybe make yourself a purse in the shape of a companion cube). Also, make sure any items you intend to bring to enhance your costume don’t go against the convention rules. If you’re cosplaying Gordon Freeman, it’s probably best not to bring a crowbar. You may also want to bring a change of clothes in case of emergency or if you want to change for after parties.
Any way you go, let your geek flag fly. As promised, here are a couple con-inspired outfits that might help you build your own ensemble.
Batman Inspired Con Outfit (note the tennis shoes for running around, the bag for collecting items, and the simple accessories):
The three films – Mad Max (1979), Mad Max Road Warrior (1982) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – are all set in the near-future in Australia. From the very first film, Oscar® winner George Miller (Happy Feet, 2006) proved a master at creating the gritty, bleak dystopian world and staging the incredible car stunts and crashes in the era when stuntmen, not computers, achieved the effects. All three movies starred Mel Gibson, virtually unknown until after the second film, as Max Rockatansky, a highway cop traveling through the Outback in a society descending into chaos. The films started Gibson on his road to international superstardom, led to his signature Lethal Weapon series, and later two Academy Awards® for his roles as producer and director of Braveheart (1995).
The Mad Max Trilogy is well known for its incredible action sequences, despite the obviously low budgets. The plot line of the series is very reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns, but spawned the iconic idea of the Thunderdome. I think we all have to hand it to stunt director, Grant Page (who performed stunts, himself, in both the first and third installments). After all, the “Saw” scene from the first movie was widely considered one of the more nail-bitingly tense scenes of decade when it was released. Check out the scene leading up to the gore (no gore directly included here, I promise):
If you’ve never seen the trilogy, and enjoy action, you’re severely missing out. If you have seen it, and want to again, now’s your chance. You can now own it on Blu-Ray (and it happens to be on sale at this very moment – just sayin’). It even comes in a really nifty metal case. Definitely a great item for a collector.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… Dyin’ time’s here.
Planning on hitting up Stan Lee’s Comikaze this year? You should be. This year looks like it’s going to be spectacular. Just the comic, scifi, gaming, fantasy, anime, and horror expo you’d expect to see from Stan Lee. Take a look into what’s in store for this year:
I love that Dot Com will be there. I hope he gets plenty of “No one can hear you, Dot Com!” jokes.
All in all, it looks like a fantastic lineup, and tickets are now on sale. Beyond that, we have some insider info that they’re having a 72-hour sale on tickets right now. So if you’re planning on going, now’s the time to check out your options – weekend passes, in particular, are a great deal today.
Everything is connected.
Or so they would have you believe. Cloud Atlas is the newest installation brought to us by the Wachowski siblings. Now, we all know the Wachowskis from the Matrix series, and chances are most of us loved at least, or only, the first one. Here in the comic fan world, we also know them from producing the V for Vendetta movie which, to most lovers of the brilliant Alan Moore comic, left much to be desired. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this movie. I had asked a few friends what they thought of it, without revealing any details, and got very mixed reviews from them. However, it seemed to have a great cast behind it, and has had many compliments on the graphics and stylistic choices, so I tried to keep an open mind. If you haven’t seen this film yet, don’t worry, I won’t give anything away for you. We’ll try to keep this as spoiler-friendly as possible.
I’d like to tell you this movie is phenomenal. That it’s mind-blowing, life-changing.. all that gooey stuff. It’s simply not. It’s true that the cast was fantastic – well, most of them. To be honest, the two main leads – Tom Hanks and Halle Berry – really weren’t anything to write home about. A lot of their characters’ personalities seemed a bit forced and unimagined. To be fair, though, they each played several characters throughout the movie (six, to be precise). Mostly main characters, at that, which can’t be easy to do. However, the supporting cast was quite wonderful. By the ending credits, I was astonished to find that there were a few characters portrayed by Hugh Grant that I truly would not have guessed to be him. Another notable appearance was made by Hugo Weaving. Of course, I’m pretty sure we all have just come to expect wonderful things from Weaving, his portrayal of Old Georgie in this was disturbing in all the right ways. Not only that, he also shows up as a comically rough-handed female nurse in a mental institution. All things considered, the casting for Cloud Atlas did lend a lot to the movie as a whole, that would have been greatly soured by a lesser cast.
What I had previously heard about the aesthetics of the film did not seem to be exaggerated either. Taking place in six different time lines, Cloud Atlas had to adapt to very different settings very quickly. The futuristic, dystopian feel of Neo Seoul was particularly interesting. In fact, let’s take a look at a scene from that time line:
However, casting and looks can only take you so far. There needs to be a great story line behind a movie like this, and that’s where it really fell short. The tagline of Everything is Connected is pushed very hard from the second you even look at a movie poster for Cloud Atlas. In fact, it’s pushed so hard that it’s quite a let down when you come to see that things.. really aren’t that connected. You’d expect the six stories to be very intertwined; you’d expect the core characters in each respective timeline to suffer the same general pitfalls, and learn the same overall lessons as they may relate to them, personally. I’m just going to rip that band-aid off right now – they don’t. There are certain aspects that are passed down through timelines, but they just aren’t enough to connect the characters together as much as you want them to. If you take a look at the infographic here (click to enlarge), it explains individual items that are passed between characters, but these items, with the notable exception of Sonmi-451 and 2346 Hawaii, really don’t mean very much in the grand scheme of the story. The way you’re built up to believe that everything will connect on a profound level ends up being a huge let down. This entire story seemed like it spent two and a half hours driving and driving to a point, and it just never got there. Frankly, it was disappointing.
Cloud Atlas has a fair amount of well-delivered humor, and a good portion of fun action sequences. The cast obviously had a lot of fun with this one, and their efforts definitely show. Six different timelines are very beautifully portrayed, often with unique and interesting styles. However, the soundtrack was unremarkable, and the story was infuriating. This is the kind of movie that would be fun to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you have nothing better to do, but it’s absolutely not something I’ll be revisiting anytime soon.
I would, however, like to mention something I found particularly wonderful. This isn’t even about the movie, though, it’s about the packaging. One of the ways you can get this DVD is in a combo-pack. This comes with a DVD, Blu-Ray Disc, and an optional digital download. I really have to hand it to WB and the movie industry on this one. Giving consumers options for how they want to view a product they own is a long-awaited idea that we’ve all been hoping for.
That said, Cloud Atlas available NOW on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download. I’d love to hear what you guys thought of it.
How many games do you have sitting your shelf that you’ve already played through, and barely even look at anymore? And how many games are there that you’ve been wanting to play – maybe even for years – but you just can’t justify the purchase of them, perhaps even because of the collection you already have? Of course you can trade in old games to corporate companies like GameStop or Best Buy, and even purchase used games. But let’s be honest.. that’s kind of a rip. They don’t give you much for your trade-in, and turn around and sell it as used for more than twice as much.
This is exactly the conundrum a group of gamers was discussing over at Reddit a while back, and developed it into a solution. Now, you can head over to 99gamers.com to trade your games one-on-one with other gamers, and receive and pay amounts much closer to the game’s value. Personally, I love this idea. It’s a process that’s been much-needed in the gaming community for quite a while, and it’s finally here. To hear more about the service, we recently contacted Brandon Kruzeniski of 99Gamers for some questions.
NiB- What is 99gamers.com?
BK- 99Gamers is a video game trading community. Members use 99Gamers as a platform to trade directly with each other. Members add their unwanted video games and sell them to other members for a virtual currency called ‘coins’ which are valued at $1 per coin. Members can then spend their earned coins on other games.
BK- I’m one of the founders of 99Gamers with the other being my brother Jon.
BK- I originally got the idea for a video game trading site when I came across a post on Reddit about how someone would shoot darts at their game collection to choose which game they would play next. I realized that this random person had a bunch of games that I would love to play but just haven’t had the chance to. I turned to my game collection and thought that this person would probably feel the same way about my game collection.
I was also tired of getting ripped off by GameStop, knowing they would turn around and sell the game for double the next day. I knew other video game trading sites existed, but none of them were what I wanted them to be.
I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in something like this so I decided to post it to Reddit and see what the response was like. I was thinking maybe a few hundred people would see it and I’d be able to get some feedback on the idea, but within a few hours the post was at the top of r/gaming and even hit the front page for a while, resulting in thousands of signups. I then knew enough people felt the same way I did so I went forward with the site.
BK- First, we save people a lot of money. Trading on the site is completely free so you’ll really start to see the savings add up quickly. 99Gamers is built by gamers for gamers with the sole intention of getting more value out of your game collection. We are a platform for gamers to trade directly with each other so the middle man can be cut out. Many people feel like they get ripped off when using trade-in services so 99Gamers can be used as that alternative.
I’ve also found that because you have access to such a large game library you are more inclined to try out games you may have not given a chance before. You are then more likely to purchase the sequel when it comes out. For example I hadn’t played the Dead Space series yet but after getting the games through 99Gamers I ended up buying Dead Space 3 new.
BK- We haven’t received any backlash at all. We’re still fairly new and have been mostly underground so it’s doubtful they know about us yet.
BK- We came out of beta about two months ago and we’re starting to pick up momentum. Just last week, it was nine months since I originally posted about the idea on Reddit so I did a follow up post about our progress so far. We ended up hitting the front page again which resulted in us more than doubling our user base within 24 hours. We went from having 2,300 members to now almost 6,000.
BK- Yes, I believe it has been received quite well. Both Reddit posts reached the front page which shows many people share the same feelings of not wanting to get ripped off by trade-in offers. When members trade directly with one another games can be offered at a lower value and people tend to appreciate knowing that their games will be going to a good home.
BK- Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 have been popular over the last few months. Now that the new Tomb Raider is out it usually gets picked up quite quickly. Pokémon games are of course always popular as everyone loves playing them. I’ve found people will often buy every game in a series together. The Mass Effect series has been very popular in the past.
BK- I actually had a list of games I had wanted when I came up with the idea and wouldn’t allow myself to get them through anywhere but 99Gamers. A few I’ve gotten are Kingdom Hearts, Max Payne 3, Pokémon SoulSilver and Assassin’s Creed II. One that I hadn’t yet received was Just Cause 2 but after the Reddit post last week I managed to grab it and it’s now on its way!
BK- Up next we’ll be adding PC games and digital codes. The search, browse and profile pages are getting a much improved new look. These will help members discover new and interesting games faster.
Down the road we plan on adding consoles and gaming accessories into the mix as well as some more exciting features. Our main goal continues to make buying and selling games as easy as possible so our members can spend more time playing games.
You can visit 99Gamers here: http://99gamers.com – Hopefully you’ll find something you’ve been wanting. Let us know how it goes!
Picking up five years after where season 1 left off, season 2 of Young Justice starts off with some new heroes, as well as the old team stepping up to new roles. Right off the bat, though, I was left wondering why, if it’s five years later, would they still be focusing on the same issue of a missing 16 hours that happened years ago. This has yet to be addressed, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it.. it’s a little bit infuriating. That consistency blackhole aside, there are a lot of really fun and interesting developments in this latest edition.
The previous members: Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis, have all gone through some changes since we last saw them. To give you the skinny without the spoilers: Robin (Dick Grayson) has stepped up to become Nightwing, while Tim Drake has taken his place as Robin. Miss Martian and Superboy has split up, and Miss Martian has a new love interest. Aqualad, in the last season, watched his beloved die, and was driven to the dark side because of this. Lastly, Kid Flash and Artemis aren’t even present at Mount Justice. We also get to meet a new pack of superheroes: Blue Beetle, Batgirl, Beast Boy, Wondergirl, and Impulse.
These two teams learn the ropes of their new roles while investigating the Justice League’s missing 16 hours from the previous season, and while trying to track down and extinguish a secret alien invasion. During this saga, they also develop a tangled web of good versus evil while facing down Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm) while he’s establishing himself as Black Manta’s right-hand man. This brings up a lot of fluctuating feelings with the team, who are now forced to defend themselves and the Earth against someone who was previously a friend and teammate.
caution: video contains mild spoilers
While I was hoping to see more story line regarding Batgirl, the new Robin, and Nightwing, that’s just me playing favorites. So far, we haven’t seen very many background details regarding the new characters in this volume. To be fair, though, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up with this lineup change, and you can only do so much at a time. We do get to see what happened with Miss Martian and Superboy, what happened with Kid Flash and Artemis, as well as news on where the original Speedy disappeared to. The biggest plot development that we get to discover, though, is Kaldur’am’s new path in life.
The DVD was released on January 22nd. You can get your hands on it here. When you do, let us know what you think!