Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh, The Things I Could Theoritcally Build...

As has been mentioned, I am prone to browsing in hardware stores. I usually have just one specific thing to purchase or nothing at all, but my manly instincts draw me to them. The particular location of choice for me at the moment is a massive Menards.

Recently, I found the section with PVC pipes, which immediately got me thinking about a certain video by Linkara about a prop he had made which used PVC pipe. This got me thinking: what could I make with this stuff?

I'm seriously considering trying my hand at making a sci-fi prop gun. It would be an obvious fake (I don't want to make anything that looks like a real gun, nor do I think I could pull it off), and I can tell already that it's easier said than done, but I like the idea of having one. I also like the idea of potentially designing a character around it and cosplaying as said character at conventions. Extremely nerdy, I know, but it sounds like fun.

I know some people are likely to suggest creating the TF Gun from EGS, but I'd rather design something new for this. Besides which, the basis I want to use is PVC pipe, and the TF gun is really blocky. I'm likely to upgrade the design in the comic to make it look more streamlined, but I'm really just interested in making a generic sci-fi blaster.

This could easily just remain an idea in my head. I don't know if I actually want to spend the time and money on it given that I don't know enough yet to be able to know how much time and money it would require, but it's something I want to look into. If anyone knows of any good tutorials on this sort of thing, I would definitely be interested.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Unwanted Courtroom Drama

I'm writing part of this blog post before watching the latest episode of Bones on hulu, and will write the second part afterward. What has prompted me to do this is the fact that the episode I missed on Thursday was a court episode, and frankly, court episodes of non-Law & Order crime shows and me have a tendency to not get along. Like the odd meal that makes me sick at a restaurant I normally enjoy, court episodes of crime shows generally leave a bad taste in my mouth.

One of the reasons court episodes rub me the wrong way is that it brings up the courts at all, and along with them the possibility of the bad guy not getting convicted. That's obviously how the system works, but part of the fun of these shows is the satisfaction of them getting the bad guys. "They got them and now they're going to jail" is more satisfying than "they've arrested them and hopefully this will all hold up in court and maybe they'll get convicted assuming the prosecutor is competent and the defense attorney doesn't have an ace up their sleeve."

This is more true of some shows than others. Suspension of disbelief is often very demanding with shows like Psych and Monk, particularly when it comes to what would actually hold up in court. In theory, court episodes of Bones should be less of an issue due to cases generally ending with slam-dunk evidence or confessions, but they've got a 50/50 record with me so far.

The first court episode of Bones was essentially a "let's see what happens when these guys are in court" scenario. That sort of episode feels like a cookie-cutter plot to me regardless of the mystery, and it feels to me like taking exotic fish out of water. Yeah, it's a change of pace, but it's not really fun to see them flopping around.

The second court episode was more like taking the exotic fish out of one tank and putting them into another. Not only did it feel like there was good reason for the court episode, but there was more to it than seeing fish out of water. It had been built up to the entire season and didn't feel formulaic. It was also more suspenseful, because either verdict would have been believable, interesting and I could easily have seen the writers going either way on it.

Which brings us to the third court episode, the one I'm on the verge of watching. It is not only the third court episode, but the third episode with a recurring villain. This villain is now defending themselves in court, and it's up to our gang of meddling adults to make sure there's a guilty verdict. Not only is it a court case about cases from previous episodes, but the entire premise of the episode feels unnecessary. I felt the previous episode with this villain was enough, and I don't have much enthusiasm for their return.

The show's creator, Hart Hanson, had been talking about the possibility of this episode for a while, which I'm hoping means there's more to it than I'm feeling prior to seeing it. The guy did create one of my favorite TV shows of all time, so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I'd be lying if I said I was optimistic.

In any case, enough ranting. Time to watch!

The episode turned out to be pretty good. It had a lot of what I don't like about court episodes, but I can see why it exists and it managed to have a lot of suspense and character development in it. I get why Hart Hanson was excited about it.

It did, however, remind me of one of the other reasons I generally dislike court episodes, which is the defense attorneys. They know they're full of it, the good guys know they're full of it, the audience knows they're full of it, but the jury? They've gotta be convinced. It's pretty standard for me to find that scenario more frustrating than fun to watch, but compound it by having the criminal act as their own attorney? It's successful at making me hate them, sure, and it's the sort of thing I like in small doses, but the doses are extra large in a court episode.

To clarify, this episode was definitely effective, suspenseful, and I'm sure a lot of people enjoyed it. Ignoring my personal pet peeves, I think it was solid. From a personal preference standpoint, however, it wasn't my cup of tea. I am looking forward to seeing the fallout (aka the season finale), however.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bloggery Schemes And Princesses

The image posted here was originally drawn with the intent of being used in my Princess Bride review. My scheme involved a video review full of still images similar to the one posted. I have since revised this plan on account of how many centuries that would take to do (three) and the fact that I plan to review other movies.

(1920x1080 version of image is available at my DA account. Click image for 728x410 version)

I now scheme to go more the route of my previous blog post, which is basically just a regular blog post, but illustrated. That's much more doable, could be converted into a video later if I felt like it, and hey, people can read it when they're not supposed to because it's all quiet and stuff.

Not that I endorse that sort of thing.

But blog posts about what I'm going to blog about are boring, so yeah, about the image. I don't want to say how it would have fit in the review because I still might do a similar joke, but it's Princess Jasmine from Aladdin proposing to Tiana from The Princess And The Frog.

Not to sound too girly or anything (being the manly man that I am), but these are my two favorite Disney princesses. I was a big fan of Aladdin as a kid, which shouldn't come as a surprise. It was a good movie with a magic genie. Of course I liked it. I even liked the second straight to video movie, because the genie came back to do more magic and that bird I liked became a good guy instead of being stuck in some lamp. I suspect I wouldn't like the sequel as much now, but maybe I would. It's not like I'm expecting much from it.

As for Jasmine, she was an attractive woman with long hair, a cool outfit, a strong personality, a pet tiger, and was in that movie I liked with that genie who was awesome because he could do magic and junk. She was cooler to me than any other Disney Princess one could choose from. I also liked her more than Aladdin. That guy used a wish to be a phony and turn his monkey buddy into an elephant. Jackass.

Tiana, however, usurped Jasmine as my favorite princess. Her humble beginnings, determination, strong work ethic, cooking talents... I could go on, but there's just a lot to like about her as a character. Jasmine's a good character too, and I still like her, but a lot of what I like about her is superficial and due to her environment and friends (GENIE!) more than her directly.

Tiana stands on her own. You could remove Tiana from her environment and I don't think my like of her would be diminished. Take away the magic and Agrabah, however, and my like of Jasmine would be. She'd still be cool and likable, but I don't think she stands as tall on her own as Tiana does.

Who do you think are the best princesses, Disney or otherwise? Don't worry about your manliness status. There are tools and video games in the previous post, so you should be fine.