If we accept all the Star Wars films as the same canon, then a lot that happens in the original films has to be reinterpreted in the light of the prequels. As we now know, the rebel Alliance was founded by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa. What can readily be deduced is that their first recruit, who soon became their top field agent, was R2-D2. — A New Sith, or Revenge of the HopeIn college I was a huge fan of Star Trek the Next Generation, but was still unable to overlook many of the episodes’ convenient glossing over of details. “If Guinan is on board, why don’t they ask her if she’s ever heard of this ancient race?” “It’s a science/math/memorization problem; why don’t they ask Data?” “Why are they taking a shuttle down? Did someone say something about the transporters? Are the transporters not working this episode?” It became a fun game among the truly devoted to try and come up with a set of circumstances, within “canon” in which the oversight actually makes sense.
11th Hour Art for Firefly: fan-based guerilla marketing for the SciFi re-airing of Firefly, and its upcoming Serenity movie. I had to bookmark these during a "bad wifi day" and can't remember where I first saw them. Only recently did I manage to see the first episode of Firefly, and it knocked my socks off. You know how the first episode of any Star Trek series sucks rocks because the characters aren't yet really defined? Didn't happen a lick. Very, very cool; let's give a communal raspberry to whatever forces kept this series from making it.
Common Tunes: community directory of free and legal music and video. Many of these are BitTorrent links, so "yay!" and some are .asx streams, which is kinda sucky, but hey. (I think this through Waxy)
Grand Theft Auto III (GTA3) blew my mind. There were some game design issues, and the graphics were sub-average, but there was so much to do, and so few limitations how to do it, I really enjoyed trying to get through as near to 100% as I could manage. (The most memorable mission for me in GTA3 was killing the snitch in protective custody, after throwing a Molotov through his 2nd story window. The first time I tried it, he came jetting out of the garage and took off, and I lost him in the ensuing chase. The next attempt on the same mission, I lost him again. Finally I parked a semi in front of that garage, and when that door opened, they couldn’t get past the truck. I threw a bunch more grenades into that garage, and viola, mission cleared. I felt like all they’d have to do is release expansion packs for this game ad infinitum, and they’d have me permanently.)
GTA: Vice City came out not that long after its predecessor, but looks significantly better than GTA3. While Rockstar extolled …
Like French café musique? Like Rube Goldberg machinations? Like large, naked women in showers accidently killing cats when they deploy from said shower? You might like the animate (very) short film Le Building.
TOKYO — Classrooms in Japan wil be getting some Xboxes, but not for their typical purpose of playing games. Microsoft announced today that it will be donating Xbox consoles enabled with video chat capabilities to all elementary and junior high schools in Tokyo's Suginami ward for educational purposes, starting in late June.
A total of 80 Xbox units will be given out to 44 grade schools, 23 junior high schools, and eight other public facilities in Suginami. Microsoft hopes that its donations will help educate the children to become more IT literate. The consoles will allow Microsoft to teach the students how to use videoconferencing to take online classes and communicate with other Xbox Live-enabled schools. — News at GameSpot: Xbox schooling Japan80 Xboxes?! That is great news; in one pass MS will increase the number of Xboxen in use by 1600%!
Once, when Roger was a young boy, his father took him to an open day at Nellis AFB, out in the California desert. Sunlight glared brilliantly from the polished silverplate flanks of the big bombers, sitting in their concrete-lined dispersal bays behind barriers and blinking radiation monitors. The brightly coloured streamers flying from their pitot tubes lent them a strange, almost festive appearance. But they were sleeping nightmares: once awakened, nobody -- except the flight crew -- could come within a mile of the nuclear-powered bombers and live.
Looking at the gleaming, bulging pods slung under their wingtip pylons, Roger had a premature inkling of the fires that waited within, a frigid terror that echoed the siren wail of the air raid warnings. He'd sucked nervously on his ice cream and gripped his father's hand tightly while the band ripped through a cheerful Sousa march, and only forgot his fear when a flock of Thunderchiefs sliced by overhead and rattled the car window…
In the opening sequence of the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, two Jedi knights fight their way through an enemy starship to rescue a hostage. Ever since I saw the movie, I have been annoying friends with a trivia question: “Who is the enemy? What organization owns this vessel?”
We ought to know. In 1977, we all knew who owned the Death Star (the Empire) and who owned the Millennium Falcon (Han Solo). But when I ask my question about the new film, everyone reacts in the same way: with a sudden intake of breath and a sideways dart of the eyes, followed by lengthy cogitation. Some confess that they have no idea. Others think out loud for a while, developing and rejecting various theories. Only a few have come up with the right answer. — Neal Stephenson: Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out, New York Times (reg. req.)
“Tokyo has been my handiest prop shop for as long as I've been writing: sheer eye candy. You can see more chronological strata of futuristic design in a Tokyo streetscape than anywhere else in the world. Like successive layers of Tomorrowlands, older ones showing through when the newer ones start to peel.” — William Gibson, essay: My Own Private Tokyo(thanks, Timmeh!)
“Lucas missed the opportunity to tell a real story of a descent into evil. He could have created a Jedi order where the dark side was always present, always being played with by disobedient apprentices. The way normal teens are. Anakin could have had his own grand vision of how to make the galaxy better, not the muddled brief lines he says. Lucas could have studied better real men who became evil, or #2 evils, and their paths to it.
Instead he picks the plot that he does it for love. Problem is, due to poor acting and directing and dialogue, it’s a love the audience doesn’t believe in. Ditto for Padme dying of a broken heart, again it’s a broken heart we don’t believe in. Instead should should have died from complications from a crushed trachea. (I guess she couldn’t name the kids if she were on a respirator.)” — Brad Ideas: Gotta have a Revenge of the Sith Review
A pro-Iraq war US congressman who campaigned for French fries to be renamed 'freedom fries' is now calling for US troops to return home from Iraq. BBC NEWS: “Freedom fries” lawmaker’s U-turnI have been expecting a shift in the sensibilities of the non neo-con contingent for some time. I think that the real republicans still have a conscience, and are more interested in America as a country than in empire building and adventurist military campaigns.
The wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in China continues, more than a month since the first round of demonstrations against the Japanese government's approval of a controversial school textbook flared throughout the country. Diplomats and politicians on both sides have been trying to diffuse tensions in a flurry of meetings and shuttle diplomacy, but so far these methods have had only limited effect.
At this point, it might seem that a miracle is required to put bilateral relations fully back on track.
Saaya Irie, an 11-year-old Japanese girl, may not be that miracle, but she has clearly played a part in pacifying a certain segment of China’s population, according to Shukan Bunshun.
If anything about Saaya is miraculous, it’s her body -- she wears an F-cup bra, though she has yet to reach her teens. So when a photo of her in a bikini was posted on a Chinese Internet forum called “100,” she immediately caused a sensation. The Japan Times Online
...and if you can find them, maybe you can hire some Mercenaries.
While I’m tempted to wait until after writing my review of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, especially since the two games are so similar, I am having too much fun in the game right now to resist talking about it while it is still available on shelves. Admittedly, this is somewhat selfish; it is my fervent hope that Pandemic will be given a chance by Lucasarts to make a sequel to the game, and if there’s any way I can push a few extra sales of the game to happen, so much the better.
Mercenaries has been called “Grand Theft Auto: Pyonyang” and that’s pretty accurate. The basic gameplay mechanic of a 3rd-person, over-the-shoulder camera, while alternately running around on foot or driving/piloting any vehicle you can find your way into, is the same. However in this, its first iteration, Mercenaries offers numerous changes in the execution that make it an evolutionary improvement over what GTA has accomplished in three (or fiv…
But Lucas doesn't care about his script, under which gelid wodge of pork fat he immures the cast, especially Natalie Portman. They suffer like the damned frozen beneath Cocytus, mouthing clunking, mud-brick dialogue — “wooden” dialogue is several TLs above this stuff — that Nat Levine would have cut in a heartbeat from any serial on the Republic lot. (Lucas’ admitted fondness for Republic serials may be why he retains such power and skill in twenty-minute action sequences with no dialogue more complex than “Open all ports and drag fins!”) Only Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid, in the great tradition of British paycheck-cashing thespians, force their heads above the goo long enough to actually act, if one classifies McGregor’s by now blatant (and obviously intentional) Alec Guinness impression as acting.
At first, it seemed like he did. Lucas started the story with A New Hope in the middle of things -- in medias res, a time-honored literary device that served Homer and Vergil (among others) well. It just drops you into the action and expects you to keep up, a little exposition from Menelaus here, a little flashback action to the fall of Troy there, and everything eventually comes into focus. Lucas didn’t give us a whole lot of background on Vader, because he didn’t need to; Vader is the enemy, he’s all in black, and once we find out that he turned evil (versus being born that way), and that he’s Luke and Leia’s father, voila, depth. It could have stopped there, and probably should have.