I’m Back, And I’ve Got More Cool Things!

Howdy all. I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I had an internship over the summer that took up all of my time. But never fear, I’m back and ready to give out things that will hopefully catch your interest. I’ll be giving some movie reviews over the next few weeks, but for right now I want to talk about my internship. I worked at a cool place called Newsy, and I think you all should check them out.

Newsy is a very neat, semi new online news source that launched in 2008. It has sincethen consistently been on the top fifty list of free downloadable mobile apps. The reason? They really help you get a feel for the news they’re presenting. Have you ever watched a news program and wondered “Is there more to this story? What am I missing?” Newsy is the answer to that question. They gather up clips and text from various different agencies, like CNN, FOX or MSNBC, and weave them together to tell a news story from multiple perspectives. Not only that, but they will also often provide comment on how various agencies report on the news. They also link to the original source, so if you want more than just the gist of the story you can find it without having to look all around the Internet to find out what everyone is saying on a particular news story.

Here are two videos I scripted and edited as examples of Newsy stories:

 

As you can see from the videos, Newsy covers a wide range of topics. So give Newsy.com a go. I’m sure you’ll find something that catches your interest.

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Game Review: “Portal 2”

A possible thing of interest for you all. I just got done playing an incredibly good game. I’m sure many of you know about “Portal.” Well, the sequal came out recently and I gave it a try. I have to say, this is definitely one of the top games for 2011.

As always, spoilers ahead.

The game begins with the protagonist of the first game, Chell, being put into a stasis. Naturally, because Aperture Science Labs are weird, the stasis chamber looks like a motel room. She then wakes up to find the room in ruins. It has obviously been a long time since Chell was put to sleep. A voice calls from the door, and a robotic sphere names Wheatley says the facility is falling apart and he wants to help her escape. They make their way through the dilapidated facility, passing through GLaDOS’s room in the process. Thankfully, the psychotic computer is still dead from Chell’s efforts in the first game. This, however, doesn’t last long, as in the process of escaping they accidentally wake GLaDOS up! Bitter over her death at Chell’s hands, the insane program tosses Chell back into her hellish testing, and the good times continue from there.

Developed by Valve, Portal 2 is even better than its predecessor. And that’s high praise, because “Portal” was amazing. It’s still a puzzle solving adventure utilizing the portal gun, but this time it’s obvious Valve saw the plot potential from the great dialogue in the first game. There’s character advancement for everyone, but especially GLaDOS, which surprised the hell out of me. Pleasantly so. Not only this, but Valve added a co-op campaign! You can play with your friends as Atlas and P-body, robots GLaDOS created to aid in testing. It’s a bunch of fun, and it can lead to a number of hilarious moments as the robots die and come back good as new going through the various tests GLaDOS puts them through.

I highly recommend this game. Not only is the plot clever and the gameplay challenging, the graphics are gorgeous! And thanks to to co-op feature, there’s great replayability! Seriously, it makes for a fun couple of hours going through it with friends. The only complaint I have is that the game is kinda short, but I can overlook that here. There’s too much good about it to let the length drag it down. So get some drinks and turn on your game platforms. Portal 2 is definitely something to check out.

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Book Review: “Saving Max”

“What would you do if your son was accused of murder?” I’m not sure how often y’all hear that question asked, but it’s the central theme in the book “Saving Max.” Written by Antoinette van Heugten, it’s a thrilling tale of suspense and conspiracy, with just a touch of horror thrown in for good measure. So, without further ado, let’s get into this book.

Meet Danielle Parkman, a skilled and dedicated attorney. But despite her success as a lawyer, Danielle’s life is not without hardship. Her son, Max, has become increasingly erratic and violent. Struggling with what to do, she manages to get a diagnosis from one of the top psychiatric facilities in the country, Maitland Psychiatric Asylum. For a little while, it looks like things are going to be all right, until the doctors tell her that Max will devolve into greater fits of violence and will, eventually, lose complete control of himself. Danielle doesn’t want to believe it, but then she finds her son unconscious next to another patient who had been stabbed to death. Now Danielle has to struggle to help her son, but is she losing touch with reality as well?

Antoinette has created a dark and gripping tale of a mother’s struggle with a horrific tragedy. In my opinion, the writing is very well done and the pacing is excellent. This isn’t a genre I normally read, but this really stuck with me. You get a real sense of tension from this book, and I honestly cared about what the characters were going through. There are some things I would have liked to have seen liked to have seen, like more interaction with Max. He’s the crux of the issue, but he gets so little screen time that he almost seems like he’s more of a plot device than a person. I also would have liked to have seen a little more action from the side characters, but that’s just me. I can understand the reasoning, though. In the end, this is Danielle’s story. She’s the star of the show.

This is the book to get if you love mystery, thriller and horror fiction. Don’t go into it with any preconceptions, because I can assure you it will throw you for a loop. So in the end, I have to say “Saving Max” is an excellent read. As Antoinette’s break through novel, I have to say I’m impressed with both the skill put in to it and the success its garnered. Over 200,000 copies have sold in the few months the book has been out, which is amazing for a first time novelist. Give it a try, I’m sure it’ll entertain.

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American Comics, As Done By Another Country

I’ve recently finished two graphic novels, Batman: Death Mask and Batman: Child of Dreams. The thing that really made these interesting to me was that they were written and drawn by Japanese artists. It really got me thinking about how one cultural icon, like Batman, would be interpreted in a different country. I don’t know if it’s a thing of interest for you all, but it certainly got my attention.

A series of gruesome murders have been taking place in Gotham City. Men are found with their faces sliced off and taken, their bodies left behind to rot. Batman investigates these murders at night while he does business as Bruce Wayne during the day, making a deal with a Japanese businessman, who has set up a cultural masks exhibit. As the case goes on, Bruce is reminded of his time training in Japan, and of the nature of the masks he wears. In the end, is he Bruce Wayne wearing the mask of the Batman, or is he the Batman wearing the mask of Bruce Wayne? Past and present collide as identities blur, and old grudges are brought to light.

 

 

Times have been strange in Gotham City. Criminals like Two Face, The Riddler and the Joker have been running rampant in a spree of terror and destruction. But they don’t appear to be acting like themselves, seeming to perform crimes just for the sheer thrill of it instead of any real purpose. Even more odd, all these criminals are still locked up! Who, then are these villains, and what are their motivations? When the first criminal turns up as a mummified corpse after his arrest, it becomes obvious that these people are impostors. Who is behind these fakes? And what is their connection to the new, deadly drug Fanatic?

I greatly enjoyed both these series. For one, the art was very cool. It was interesting to see Batman done in a manga style. Even more than that, however, the stories gripped me. Naturally, identity has always been a core aspect of the Batman character, but it was brought forth in interesting ways. In Child of Dreams Batman had to confront copies of villains who were as real as the originals, bringing forth the question of whether a man could be copied down to his very soul. In Death Mask it delves into the nature of masks, both real and metaphorical. If you wear a mask long enough, does it become real? And if so, does what you used to be become merely a mask itself? If you’re looking for American comics done from a non-American perspective, or just a Batman fan, I recommend reading these books.

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Why Are We Still Talking About Charlie Sheen?

For the past few weeks I’ve been seeing Charlie Sheen everywhere. I’ve seen him on Fox, I’ve seen him on ABC and I’ve seen him on CNN. Hell, at this point it would be easier to list the news programs he hasn’t been on. And the question I have to ask is, why? Why do they continue to report on this man? I’m not sure if this is a thing of interest for you all, but it certainly is for me.

The media is constantly keeping track of him, detailing each and every little facet of his self destructive rants and actions. But what does this ultimately amount to? All it’s doing is giving him an outlet for his, quite frankly, embarrassing behavior. The constant attention is feeding his problems and making them worse. Is it really that compelling watching Sheen’s descent into madness? So he insulted his bosses on radio? So he demands a ludicrous pay raise for his show? Big deal. Show it once and move on. The media is saturated with him acting the fool and I’m tired of it. The whole thing is just ridiculous.

If Charlie Sheen absolutely must be reported on, and it appears he has to because everyone keeps watching him, then can’t he be used as a hook to talk about something more substantive than his temper tantrums? Why don’t we talk about his several past abusive relationships and tie that into the issue of domestic violence in America? Why don’t we talk about his extensive history of drug abuse and tie that into the continuing problem of harmful drugs being sold on the streets every day and the lives they ruin? If by some miracle someone from a major news organization reads this, please channel Charlie Sheen into a force for good instead of continuing to allow him to wallow in his neuroses in a public manner.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter. This will be the one post I ever make on Charlie Sheen. I don’t know if any of you agree with my opinions, but I’d like to think I’m not alone in this.

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Graphic Novel Review: “New Spring”

Howdy y’all. As you probably know, I am a huge fan of The Wheel of Time series. New Spring was a prequel story that originally was published in an anthology back in 1999. It was released on its own in 2004. I had heard that a comic series was being done on it, but I recently got a nice surprise. All the issues have been compiled into a single bound compilation. I read it to compare it to the novel format. I hope it’s a thing of interest for you all.

King Laman of Carhien wanted to create a throne unlike any in the world. To do this, he has cut down the gift the Aiel granted his people centuries ago, a sapling from the Tree of Life. Enraged, the Aiel spill across the Spine of the World, burning their way across the Westlands as they search for Laman. The nations of the world unite against them, finally stopping their charge at the shining walls of Tar Valon. Blood and death mix with the cold of winter, and the fields outside the city are filled with the carnage of war. But all is not well inside those walls, either. In the White Tower, sanctuary of the Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche bear witness to a fortelling. Gitaro Moroso sees the rebirth of the Dragon on the slopes of Dragonmount before she falls over dead. Sworn to secrecy, the two of them vow they will search for the boy foretold to save the world from the Dark One while also breaking it asunder. But they are not the only ones searching. What dark figures move in the shadows, seeking to kill the world’s one hope?

I have to say, I enjoyed reading this. It was great to see characters I grew up with in a graphic novel format. The artwork is superb, and for the most part they told the story to the letter. I say for the most part because it does feel rushed. I think it probably should have been extended a little further to properly tell the story, which is why I still rank the novella higher. If they had spent about two or three more full chapters I think it would have improved the pacing. But I still enjoyed it, and I really hope the rest of the books can get adapted into graphic novel format. All eight issues are now in one combined issue, so if you’ve got some free time I say give it a try.

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Great Deals on Great Art

Howdy y’all. I’ve got a possible thing of interest here for you. Do you want your own personal piece of art? Well, I have a great friend who is a fantastic artist. She’s currently taking commissions, and I thought that one of y’all might be interested in giving her a look. I’ll let her give the rest, along with examples of her wonderful artwork.

Hey folks, I am now opening commissions. Only art and shirt commissions though props and other things will come later.

Sketches $2 each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Character lineart $5


 

 

 

 

 

 

Character lineart with background $10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digitally or Traditionally Coloured Character $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digitally or Traditionally Coloured Character with background $20


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Extra characters $2 each
*Payments via Paypal
*Fanart or Original character, if you want them done in a certain style let me know. I can copy styles such as Dave Gibbons(Watchmen) and Jamie Hewlett’s(Gorillaz) and more. If not, I will just use my style.

Open Art Slots:

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*Shirts start at $15. If the shirt is from a anime/cartoon character I’ll need reference pictures.

*If it is just a design(original or not) I will need reference pictures(at least one) and if there is a style or color of shirt you want it on.

*If the shirt style is long sleeves and they are a different color, I do sew.

*I will need your shirt size.

*Shipping cost will depend on where the shirt is being sent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Shirt Slots:

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Only taking three for now.

You can contact her at light_sora@yahoo.com.

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