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Bullet Sunday 245

Posted on August 14th, 2011

Dave!I threw my back out. Again. This is profoundly disappointing given that I just went through this four months ago. Hope you like your bullets pain-killer-induced.

   
• Shower? And so the Perseid Meteor Shower peaked this weekend. Despite fairly clear skies, I saw none of it. Needless to say, I'm disappointed. But it's not like an insomniac such as myself has a better way to spend their time than looking for it, so I guess that's how it goes. My failure was somewhat offset by this amazing shot of what it looked like from space...

Meteor FROM SPACE!

That shot was tweeted by astronaut Ron Garan from the International Space Station. If you're on Twitter, you must follow this guy, because he's always posting cool stuff like this. If you're not on Twitter, he makes it worth checking out.

Also tweeting from space? Astronaut Clayton Anderson. And that's just the tip of the Twitter iceberg. Goddard Space Flight Center... plus dozens more cool NASA-related tweeters are waiting for you.

   
• Race? Few discussions can become polarizing and nasty quicker than talking about race relations in America. And yet it's a discussion that must be had. Lucky for us Kelly is willing to lead the charge, again, and this time it starts off (oddly enough) with a cake. Essential reading for the human race.

   
• Really? Yesterday I blogged about the blatant homophobic insanity that seems to be dominating Republican politics, and how a growing majority of Americans are sick and tired of anti-gay policy attacking our friends, family, and neighbors. The worst offender is Rick Santorum, who can't seem to open his mouth without spouting some kind of stupid homophobic crap. Second runner-up on the homophobia bandwagon is Michele Bachmann, who doesn't necessarily want to destroy the gays... she just wants to strip these "barbarians" of all their rights until they have no choice but to enroll in one of her husband's Christian counseling clinics to "pray the gay away."

And now we learn that she won the Ames Straw Pole in Iowa.

If she wins her party's nomination... if she somehow ends up as President of the United States... I can't fathom the ramification for human rights in this country. Hell, I can't fathom the continued existence of our country under her reign of batshit crazy...

At this rate, it looks like I'll be voting for Spongebob Squarepants for president.

   
• Dead? One of the bigger television surprises for me last season was The Walking Dead. As a loose adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series, it was almost too good to be true. A part of this was because they got the original creator, Robert Kirkman, to be a producer... but the lion's share of the credit could undoubtedly be dropped on the doorstep of Frank Darabont. He was the genius who developed the series for television and became executive producer for the series. Which went on to become a massive hit... with viewers and critics alike. So what does AMC Television do with their new-found pot of gold? Cut the budget and fire Darabont. Which just goes to show... television executives can be enormous douchebag dumbfucks regardless of which network they helm. How this will affect the quality of the second season is anybody's guess.

Walking Dead Zombies
Photo by Greg Nicotero for AMCtv.com © 2011 TWD Productions, LLC

   
• Eureka? In more sad geek news, the SyFy Channel has cancelled EUReKA! This bizarre turn of events signals an end to original sci-fi programming on a network created for sci-fi programming. The best originals they have to offer now is supernatural drama like the Being Human remake or paranormal fantasy like Warehouse 13. "SyFy" is mostly reality television and pro wrestling now. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... MTV Music Television rarely plays music any more, why should this be any different?

   
And that's all the bullets for this week. Be sure to tune in next Bullet Sunday for more drug-indiced ramblings.

   

Zombification

Posted on November 22nd, 2010

Dave!I am staying all alone. In a huge house. On a dark street. In rural Georgia.

What's the worst thing I could do right before bedtime? Watch the latest creepy episode of The Walking Dead... which is taking place just 15 minutes from my bedroom, that's what!

Now, I am not one to scare easily. I could sit through a marathon of horror flicks before bedtime and not give it another thought. But tonight every creak in the floorboards... every leaf scuttering down the roof... every branch tapping on the window... every noise in the night... it all added up to make me, well, not scared really... but uneasy.

Needless to say, last night was rough going in the sleep department.

There may not be any real undead wandering around Georgia, but I certainly feel like a zombie today...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Zombie Head!

   
In other news, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) for iPhone is pretty sweet. And I don't even like Harry Potter! But I do like the LEGO games (LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Indiana Jones are awesome!). In the game you can play Harry and dozens of other characters you unlock, then run around solving puzzles and collecting LEGO studs to buy stuff. Just like all the other LEGO titles, you can play through each level multiple times as different characters to unlock even more secrets with their special abilities.

The game looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g, taking full advantage of the Retina Display resolution of my iPhone 4. The cut-scenes are all extremely detailed and well-thought out...

LEGO Harry Potter for iPhone: Load Screen
Get used to this load-screen, you'll be seeing it a lot.

LEGO Harry Potter for iPhone: London Cut Scene
A lot of work went into this London cut-scene!

LEGO Harry Potter for iPhone: Hagrid has the keys at Gringot's Bank!
LEGO humor in full force: note the Harry Potter mini-fig on his keychain!

The game screens are no less detailed, but you're viewing them from rather far away, so you're not seeing game elements at their fullest. Still, an impressive picture...

LEGO Harry Potter for iPhone: Game Play Screen

Zooming in, you can see the clarity of the hi-res Retina Screen graphics (I'll bet the game looks incredible on the iPad!)...

LEGO Harry Potter for iPhone: Screen Zoom

Despite the fun I'm having with it, there are some problems, however. First of all, the load screen comes up A LOT, and scenes take a while to transfer. This results in a lot of staring at the load screen over and over again. It gets old in a hurry. But the biggest (and only major) offense is the control system. You control characters and interact with objects by dragging your finger across the screen... effectively covering up what you're supposed to be looking at! It's tough to solve puzzles when your finger is obliterating them. It's hard to control Harry when your finger covers him up. It's a heinous oversight that I don't understand. I can only hope that they eventually update and give you the option of controlling things with an on-screen D-pad. It would improve the game 200%.

All-in-all, you can't beat the mind-boggling price of just $4.99. It's a fraction of what you'd pay on the Nintendo DS, Wii, XBox, or Playstation versions! If you have a supported device to play it, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) is well-worth the download.

I just wish I had the time to actually play it. :-(

   
And lastly...

These "It Gets Better" videos just keep flooring me. The crushing despair, fear, and pain that people go through every day just for being "different" is almost impossible to believe. If we weren't seeing the tragic consequences of the bullying in the news, it would be impossible to believe. I just can't fathom how somebody could intentionally make another human being feel as though their life was worth so little that death is the only option left. It's sickening on a level that makes my heart ache just to listen to it. But we must listen to it, because things have to get better. For all of us.

This video from people at Disney/Pixar is pretty amazing and hopeful...

I wish I wouldn't have to keep wishing that all the bigoted assholes who make this world such a horrible place would hurry up and die so we can have a world I'm not ashamed to live in.

Because, in truth, it makes me no better.

But I'm somehow okay with that.

   

Bullet Sunday 207

Posted on November 21st, 2010

Dave!Welcome to a very special The Walking Dead edition of Bullet Sunday!

As I mentioned yesterday, when I travel for work I have to go a day early to be sure I arrive on-time. What I didn't mention is that I also stay an extra day later just in case my work time has to be moved. Like it did today. Instead of starting on the job this morning, I'm instead starting tomorrow morning... leaving me with a free day to do whatever. So after getting caught up on some other work, I decided to explore the beautiful rural Georgia countryside... which just so happens to be filled with locations from The Walking Dead comic book! I've been meaning to do this for a while, but work always comes first and I've never had the time.

   
• Map! Luckily for me (and every other fan of The Walking Dead comic), somebody has created a very cool Google Map overlay with updated information of location from the series (WARNING: MAP CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!). This makes it easy to plan a trip to see some of the sights. I decided to focus on those around the Thomaston area where I'm staying...

The Walking Dead Google Map

I could have gone a bit further north, but many of those locations are private residences and the like, so I restrained myself to the more public locations.

   
• Woodbury! Introduced in issue 27 of The Walking Dead, Woodbury is a critical location where a lot of stuff goes down (for those watching the television series, this is a ways off). While the town in the comic book is quite a bit different than real-life Woodbury, it's still worth a visit. Seeing the actual place makes the comic come to life. Like many places I've seen in the area, the Woodbury Police Dept. was decked out for the holidays, which is kind of nice...

Woodbury Police Dept.

But the most interesting thing about Woodbury to me was to be found in front of the Woodbury Pharmacy...

Soda machines lined up in front of the Woodbury Pharmacy!

Soda pop machines! (in the Pacific Northwest we say "pop" but I'm originally from California where it's "soda" so I usually merge the two... here in Georgia, everybody says "Coke" for most every soda pop type beverage). And it wasn't just any kind of soda pop they were selling... there was a lot of really cool flavors, some of which I have never heard of before, including "Grapico" and "Sunkist Peach"...

Grapico and Sunkist Peach soda pop cans!

But the best part? The sodas were cheap! Fanta cans were 40¢! Pepsi product cans were 50¢! Bottles were just $1! I haven't seen it this inexpensive in a very long time. Interestingly enough, there was a steady stream of cars stopping at the pharmacy to use the soda pop vending machines... even though the pharmacy itself is closed on weekends. As I sat there drinking my peach and grape fizzy drinks, I saw some pretty interesting people show up for their non-Coke Coke fix.

Woodbury has a rather sad number of empty (abandoned?) buildings, some of which were very cool to photograph...

Abandoned Chunn's General Store in Woodbury

Abandoned Pretty Blue Building in Woodbury

   
• Gay! As I headed to my next location, I stopped off in Gay, Georgia, home of the Cotton Pickin' Fair twice each year...

Cotton Pickin' Fair Sign

The city of Gay has a very small population, but they still have a Town Hall building...

Gay Town Hall

   
• Concord. I had no intent of stopping along the way to my next destination, but as I passed through the small city of Concord, I saw something that changed my mind...

Baptist Church facing Methodist Church at High Noon!

It's the Concord United Methodist Church facing off with the Concord Baptist Church at high noon! It was a bit strange how they were built not facing the main road... but instead facing each other. I'm sure there's a story there, but I can't guess what it might be...

Concord Methodist Church

   
• Zebulon! I remarked on Twitter that "Zebulon" sounds like a town that has been taken over by space aliens. Because, seriously, doesn't "Zebulon" sound like an alien overlord right out of Planetfall or something? Despite the rather odd name, the town itself is quite nice, with the beautiful Pike Co. Courthouse Square and charming shops. But I was not here for Zebulon, I was here for "The Prison"... AKA "West Central Prison"... AKA "West Central Pre-Release Center of the Georgia Department of Corrections"...

Gowalla Link

Introduced at the end of issue 12, "The Prison" is arguably one of the most important locations in the entire run of The Walking Dead so far (and is probably going to be introduced in the second season of the television show). The sheer volume of story that happens here dominates the first 50 issues of the comic, and to see it in person... even just from the outside... is kind of chill-inducing...

The Walking Dead cover showing

I drove next door to a sports park so I could see the location from the vantage point of "Hershel's Garden." Again, it's quite different from the prison in the comic, but seeing the location still adds atmosphere to the story...

West Central Prison

   
That's it for The Walking Dead Bullets... but I've got more in an extended entry!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

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