Hurple Hoopla

Monday, January 30, 2006

Captain Aeon

I enjoy playing City of Heroes. Why? The main reason is that when I have a bad day it's fun to bash the bad guys. Another is that I've always loved reading comics. I love the characters, I love the situations, and I just love the history of the various comic universes. So, therefore, I love being able to immerse myself into that "life," to play my 'toons and live vicariously through my PC monitor. I've always wanted to play a good superhero role-playing game, and City of Heroes the best of the bunch that I've tried... especially because you can see the fancy costumes, the maniacal villains, and the hapless victims.

I am very much a "concept" player. My heroes are all born out of a concept. I envision what I want them to be and pick costumes, powers and everything else about them around the initial concept. And this guy is a great example

I based this character on the Flash, initially. That may seem silly in a game where most characters have super-speed, but there is a difference betwen that and the characters that choose speed as a foundation powerset. However, since the game does not have just general "punches" in the methods of attacks available, I had to do a little more initial concept design. I created an origin which explains this character's super-speed through some gobbledygook about him being able to harness the static electricity inherent in shadows to allow himself to pass through air frictionless. This explains his super-speed, plus allowed me to pick the "shadow" attack set. Basically, while he can harness the energy of shadows, he can also manipulate them on a miniscule level and make them warp around his fists (and harden somewhat) for use as weapons.

For his secondary powerset, I chose "Super Reflexes" which gives him a few more speed-based abilities. I'll also be choosing "Whirlwind," "Invisibility," "Phase Shift" and a few other special powers which simulate classic comic book speed-based hero powers.

The costume also combines the shadow and speed "looks." See, the flames on his pants are there because he runs so fast his feet have caught fire. The goggles, too, serve a purpose. They keep the bugs out of his eyes when he runs super fast. Okay, so those are silly. But, it all makes some odd sense, in a goofy way.

The name is the only thing about this guy that I'm not that fond of. I wanted to dall him simply "Infinity," but it was taken. So was "Captain Infinity" and most everything else I could come up with. For a brief second, I even considered naming him "Really Fast Guy." But, a quick trip to and a look at their Thesaurus and I finally settled on "Captain Aeon." Now that I think about it, I should have tried "Shadowfist" or "Shadowspeed" or some such. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Excuse For Lack of Updates...

Mama always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Who Official Trade Site

It's amazing to me how progressive Pete Townshend can be sometimes. In a move that really surprises me, The Who opened an official Who bit torrent bootleg trading site. How cool is that?

find it here:

So far there's very little up for grabs there, but that probably won't last long.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

DC Comics: Infinite Crisis #4

WOW! Just WOW!

What? More details?

Well, it's a long story...

Back in 1985 DC Comics decided their "Universe" had gotten too convoluted and confusing. It was made up of many, varied, multiple universes each with it's own history and characters. For example, the "modern" heroes, starting with the Martian Manhunter and the "Barry Allen" Flash lived on "Earth 1" while the original "Golden Age" heroes, created prior, and during WWII, lived on "Earth 2." Then there was "Earth S," "Earth X," "Earth 5," and so on. Plus, to make matters more confusing, various characters existed on multiple Earths, like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, The Flash, and so on.

Anyway, to sum it up as quickly as I can, the company launched a massive year-long company-wide publishing event in which ALL the multi-verses were destroyed and merged into one. The entire company re-started all the characters circa 1986. ONE Superman, ONE Batman, ONE Wonder Woman, etc.

The story ended with the ORIGINAL Superman, of Earth 2, and the classic Superboy, of Earth Prime, defeating the villian and slipping into a "pocket Universe" created by the hero Alexander Luthor (Lex's son) from one of the other universes to live out the rest of their days in peace and solitude.

Or so we thought...

It's been 20 years since that story, and in that time we've DC has re-imangined Superboy (he's now a 'clone' of Superman) and many others. The DC "universe" has grown darker and much more edgy.

And, DC decided to do something to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

So, Alexander Luthor, the original Superman, and the Superboy of Earth Prime have escaped their "heaven" on a mission to replace the current DC universe with the "original," more light-hearted one.

The results have so far not been pretty, to say the least.

Here's what happens when the original Superboy confronts the current version:

And it just gets worse from there. The modern version of Superboy calls in The Teen Titans, The Justice Society of America and The Doom Patrol to help with disasterous results.

A few pages later, he's stopped, but it looks like the Flash sacrificed himself to get the job done.

The finale of the issue is Alexander Luthor managing to actually split reality and recreate Earth 2. But, to me, that pales in comparison to the lunatic rampage that the original Superboy goes on throughout the majority of the book.

WOW! Just WOW!

I have not read comics regularly for a decade, at least, but for this story DC has me back, enthralled.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Clash: The Essential Clash

Yes, this collection is exactly as described by it's title.

Oh, but how dare they leave off "Death or Glory"!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ryan Adams: 29

I think the title of this CD is a reference to the ranking this set deserves amongst the albums Ryan Adams has put out over the past year. Or am I underestimating the total?

Okay, jokes about the man's prolicifity are getting old. How about a few about how similar his name is to a certain 80's pop sensation from Canada? Nah, I'd rather not have a pissed off musician tracking me down and wiping out me and my family. Sounds like it would make a cool movie, though.

If Ryan Adams has been attempting, over the past few years, to see just how prolific he would have to be in order to completely run out of fresh, original ideas, he's reached his goal with the release of this CD. Every song in this set sounds like an inferior re-write of something from one of his earlier albums. There's a few that sound like they should have been on Rock 'n' Roll, some that should have been on Cold Roses or Jacksonville City Nights, and a few that sound like they belong on Love Is Hell.

Maybe this guy should slow down, take a break, and recharge his batteries. Meanwhile, everyone should avoid this album, and, instead, buy Rock 'n' Roll, Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, and Love Is Hell.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

David Tennant IS The Doctor

Just wanted to chime in with a few thoughts concerning the recently aired Doctor Who Christmas Special "The Christmas Invasion." After thinking about it for a week or two, after seeing it, I have to admit... I loved every second of it! And, so far, I LOVE David Tennant as The Doctor. His portrayal mixes just enough whimsy and eccentricity with just enough darkness and mystery to make him a wonderful Doctor. The perfect example occurred as he was facing down the invading alien horde and he stopped in the middle to declare, "oh look! A great big threatening button that should not be pressed under any circumstances…"

Oh, and, of course, he followed up by pressing it.

I can't wait for the full season, later in 2006.

And, this just in:

SCI FI Channel announced Jan. 12 that it will air the first season of the BBC's hit SF series Doctor Who, starting in March. The 13 episodes, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, will air as part of SCI FI Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The series, from head writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies, ran originally in the United Kingdom last year and was one of the network's biggest hits ever. An update of the classic Doctor Who show, the series continues in the U.K. with an upcoming second season that will star David Tennant as the Doctor.

"The Doctor's made all sorts of journeys in time and space, but this is one of his most exciting yet!" Davies said in a statement. "I'm a huge fan of the SCI FI Channel, and I'm delighted that Doctor Who is appearing on a channel that supports and enhances the entire genre."

"With its rich history of imaginative storytelling, Doctor Who is a true sci-fi classic," Thomas P. Vitale, SCI FI's senior vice president, programming and original movies, said in a separate statement. "We're excited to add the show to our lineup."

Meanwhile, BBC Video announced that it has moved the proposed U.S. release date of the Doctor Who first-season DVD set to July 4 from its originally planned February launch.

My thoughts? YES! YES!! YES!!! and NO! NO!! NO!!!

It's your job to deduce which announcement receives which reaction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I Love the V-Roys

So, a few years back, I believe it was in 1998, I received the latest issue of Stereo Review, and as usual I immediately flipped to the back to look at the month's reviews. At the time, on the Review Section opening page they reviewed the "Best of the Month" as decided by the editors. That particular month they awarded the "Best of the Month" award to a 1st album by a band out of Knoxville, TN, Just Add Ice by the V-Roys.

Having gone to college in Knoxville, I was interested in the release and read the review. It was so glowing, I decided to look for the CD and give it a quick preview. That weekend, I travelled to a local record store in Champaign, IL, and noticed that they not only had the CD, but had it amongst their "in-store play" selections. I asked if they'd throw it on for me to hear a little and they agreed. Not 30 seconds into the first song, I had a copy of the CD in my hands and was heading to the counter to purchase it.

And that started my fanaticism with the little band from Knoxville.

That 1st album was perfect. The songwriting was superb. The production, by Steve Earle, was impeccable. The music was exilirating. The only way to really describe this album is to say it sounds like the Replacements if they were from East Tennessee. They consisted of a solid, powerful rhythm section fronted by two singer-songwriters (Mic Harrison and Scott Miller*), one a little more country and one a little more rocjk 'n roll. Egads, it sounds like I am describing Donnie and Marie Osmond, now. Plus, there was one more minor, but I feel important aspect that made these guys sound amazing. Both the frontmen played guitar, however, one played a Gibson Les Paul while the other weilded a Fender Stratocaster. So, the band had both the nice full, rich guitar sound the Les Paul is famous for, as well as the more ballsy, punchy sound that marks the Stratocaster. I have always wondered why more bands haven't tried that mix 'n' match guitar sound, and after hearing these guys do it, I know it works just as well as I always thought it would.

Unfortunately, the band only released one more album, All About Town, but, it too, is a great collection.

However, it is much more a mish-mash than the first. It's apparent that the two songwriters were already growing apart in their styles, with Mic Harrison's material sporting a much harder edge than Scott Miller's. The songs on this CD are more pigeon-holed being definite rock 'n' roll or definite country, without much of the blending of styles that marked the previous effort. In addition, Steve Earle's production seemed more restrictive and confining rather than the airy, breezy production of the 1st. All that said, the material is still wonderful, and it is an overall entertaining collection.

The band released one, final, live album (Are You Through Yet?) via it's website and then quietly split up, mainly because Scott Miller wanted out from under the proverbial thumb of Steve Earle (or so he tells it).

So why do I love these guys? Well, they had all the rock 'n' roll swagger and attitude of the Rolling Stones at their very best when they wanted to. Or, they could turn it around and play a barnstorming, pure country number. Sometimes, they'd even hit both styles in the same song ("Wind Down"). Plus, the songwriting was always top-notch, whether teh song was written by Harrison or Miller. And, each guy had their own distinctive, wonderful voice. What more do you need in a band?

I'll cover the subsequent solo careers of Mic Harrison and Scott Miller in a future post.

* Yes, the same Scott Miller of Scott Miller & The Commonwealth that is the 'house band' on Blue Collar TV

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh Happy Day

Red Dwarf Series 7 was released on DVD today!

Happy happy joy joy!

True, this may not be the BEST series of Red Dwarf ever, but I guarantee that it's better than anything you'll be watching on TV tonight. Well, unless, like me, you bought the DVD set and plan to watch it all in one grand marathon session tonight.

Plus, to make today even better, the entire series of The Flash was also released today.

That one is a bit tougher to call. I remember the series extremely fondly. But, that was 15 years ago, and the memory can sometimes play tricks on you (anybody watch Sigmund The Sea Monster or Banana Splits recently? Yeesh, we were some screwed up kids, us children of the 70's), so I'm not to sure I want to sully my fond recollections of the entertainment value of the series by actually, y'know, watching it again. Maybe I can just leave those DVDs sitting on the shelf and tell myself, "I'll get around to it eventually," until I am ancient and senile, and I will think it's great again.


So, now I face a major, life altering decision... Which do I watch first, Red Dwarf or The Flash?

Whichever, I have to be done with both by Sunday, because that's when the 5th season of 24 starts.

Ah! The life of a couch potato.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sufjan Stevens: Come on Feel the Illinois

Singer-Songwriter, Sufjan Stevens, has undertaken quite a monumental task. He's announced plans to release 50 albums, each based on the history / landmarks of one of the 50 US states. (Well, that would be a monumental task for any musical artist other than Ryan Adams who can somehow churn out 15,456 albums a year... or does it just seem that way? All I know is every time I went into my local CD shop, there was another, new, Adams' CD on the shelf... YEESH!*) Stevens' second release as part of that series is Come on Feel the Illinoise. Guess which state it represents. (hint: it is NOT Idaho)

Up front, I will say the concept behind the music is overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. And, just like the concept, the music (and lyrics) is overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. Every second of it is wonderful, precisely because it's completely overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. Take a look at this song title: "The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight..." How can you not love a song with that title, or this one: "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"

Odd instrumentations, odd lyrics, odd performances... It all adds up to one of the wildest, weirdest musical journeys I've ever had the pleasure to take. I know I'm now on board for his journey through the other 48 states.

(Note: The first CD in the series was Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State)

* Ryan Adams actually released only 3 CDs in 2005, and just as many the previous year. Yeah, he's a dickhead, but he's an undeniably talented and prolific dickhead. Elton John is a dickhead too, but he's nowhere near as prolific nor does he have as much talent, but, he does have a truckload more "hits."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Elvis Costello - Favorites

Time for another tracklist for one of my homemade Favorites collections. This time it's for Elvis Costello

Disc 1

1. Allison

2. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes

3. Less Than Zero

4. Mystery Dance

5. Watching The Detectives

6. No Action

7. Pump It Up

8. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea

9. Radio Radio

10. Accidents Will Happen

11. Oliver's Army

12. (What's So Funny About) Peace, Love And Understanding

13. The Imposter

14. New Amsterdam

15. High Fidelty

16. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

17. Black And White World

18. 5ive Gears In Reverse

19. Lover's Walk

20. You'll Never Be A Man

21. Luxembourg

22. Brilliant Mistake

23. Lovable

24. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

25. Uncomplicated

26. Tokyo Storm Warning

27. Blue Chair (single version)

Disc 2

1. ...This Town...

2. Deep, Dark, Truthful Mirror

3. Veronica

4. Chewing Gum

5. The Other Side of Summer

6. Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)

7. All Grown Up

8. How To Be Dumb

9. So Like Candy

10. Playboy To A Man

11. Ship of Fools (from Deadicated)

12. That's How You Got Killed Before

13. Leave My Kitten Alone

14. London's Brilliant Parade

15. Kinder Murder

16. Rocking Horse Road

17. Dust 2...

18. Daddy Can I Turn This

19. Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution)

20. Monkey To Man

21. Needle Time


The Neil Young album title Rust Never Sleeps was given to him by the members of Devo while they collaborated on a film project.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Things You Should Never Say to a Cop, Part 1

When pulled over for speeding

"Hello, officer, there's nothing in the trunk."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Like Peerflix

Taking the model of Netflix one step further, Peerflix users actually exchange discs they don't want for ones they do. It works like this, you go through your owned DVD collection and pick titles to list on the Peerflix website. Then, other users, around the country look at the site and see all the titles available from all the other users. If they pick one of your titles, you receive an email asking you to drop it in the mail, using labels printed from the website. If you find some you like, the owner of that title gets an email and drops it in the mail to you. Each time you receive a title, it does cost 99 cents, but that seems a decent price to pay to get the good stuff.

So far, I've used the site to get rid of 6 or 7 titles that I wound up with that I'll never watch again and in return have received the 1st seasons of Night Gallery and Kolchak and the 2-disc special edition set of Glory. 99 cents for the 3-disc Night Gallery makes me a happy boy.

SO, check it out sometime, here, and, if you like it, send me an email and I'll invite you to my Peerflix friends list. Or, if you're already a member, feel free to send me an invite to your friends list. Why? Because friends get to exchange titles without incurring a 99 cent fee.