MS Paint: Hardcore as Fuck.

When I was a young boy, there were only three things I could do on my computer; play a shareware version of Hexen, a shareware version of Mortal Kombat III, and dick around in MS Paint. I sucked at it of course, but it taught me an important life lesson - MS Paint is the fucking shit!!! Eventually I grew up and was exposed to better image editing software, but there was always a soft spot in my heart for the little program that could. At some point I realized that using the right tool for the right job was what pussies did, so I cracked it open again and started using it wholsesale for shitty shoop afters shitty shoop. Some of you have already seen some of the (horrible) work that I've done, but I've decided that I needed to inflict it on more people. Recently, I've been doing a lot of Mass Effect 2 shoops, because that game swallowed a week of my life whole. 
So, without delaying any further, I present the fruits of my labor:


(I modified the CSI Miami template to turn him into TIM) 
Now that the Mass Effect bug is out of my system...
(My entry into a forum comp here)
Anyway, now that I've rubbed my balls in your faces for a while, you people should share your own MS Paint works here. Go go go.

adam_grif's Watchmen review

So I just got home from the screening of Watchmen that played at my Local cinema. I bought my tickets weeks ago in anticipation, for the gold class cinema complex (big chairs, spaced out, service at the press of a button etc), and, to make a long story short, I wasn't disappointed.

First, some background. I had never heard about Watchmen until the first trailers started leaking out, but it intrigued me enough to pick up a copy of the graphic novel, and I fell in love instantly. Before I saw the film, I had read it twice, so I was not unfamiliar with the source material.

For the uninitiated, Watchmen is a deconstruction (for those of you who don't know what that term means, tough luck) of the "Superhero genre". It was a 12 issue "graphic novel" (which is what artists call their comic books if they don't want people to associate it with "Those things that nerdy children read"), released in the 1980's, taking place in that same decade, with an alternate history wherein Nixon is still president (after having a certain amendment repealed so he could serve 3+ terms), the Vietnam War was a glorious victory for the United States, and most strangely of all, donning a costume and beating up on bad guys became a real fad. Compared to other Superhero movies, the only one that holds a candle to the kind of themes Watchmen touches on is last year's excellent The Dark Knight, although they are still very different beasts.

Although it might be easy to initially dismiss Watchmen as a collection of cheap superhero knockoffs, it really couldn't be further from the truth. The vigilantes, much like their real life equivalents, are not necessarily heroic, and are without exception flawed in many ways. You won't find anybody approaching the moral righteousness of Superman or Batman, save one, who ends up playing the fool for most of the film anyway, and who's failure to achieve his goals ends up being his biggest triumph in retrospect. Of note is that there is only a single individual who has anything that could be described as a superpower, and he himself is something of a demi-god, finding himself increasingly detached from humankind.

But on to the movie!

First of all, let it be said that this film is visually stunning. The special effects really out-do themselves, and the soundtrack is top-notch to boot. You'll recognize tunes such as 99 Luftballoons (that's 99 Red Balloons to those of you outside of Germany), The Sound of Silence, The Times They Are A-Changin'  and a few less prominent ones. The only one that felt particularly out of place was Halleluja. It was the absolutely terrible original version. It spoils what otherwise could have been a very touching moment, but as it stands, I burst out laughing in the cinema, because the horrid rendition was coupled with a sex scene.

Yeah, there's three of those. Nothing particularly over the top, and it is nice to see a universe where both superheros and sex exist simultaneously and in harmony, but they weren't executed flawlessly. Two come off as award, and the third is a little weird. These, along with one or two scattered lines (that worked on paper, but fell flat on the screen), were the worst things you could say about the movie.

The acting is strong for the most part, and kudos must be awarded to Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffery Dean Morgan, who absolutely stole the show as the mysterious, moralistic and hyper-violent "Rorschach" and the borderline villain protagonist "Comedian". I also give a nod to Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan, who while not as strong as the other two mentioned, managed to pull the character off believably.

Oh, and the fight scenes! Director Zack Snyder copped a bit of flak for his excessive use of slow-motion in 300, but he's definably toned it down for Watchmen. It serves to enhance the brutality of the scenes (which is sometimes unnecessary, but still manages to be hella fuckin' balls-to-the-wall awesome). Bones shatter, about six thousand fingers are broken, a woman almost gets raped, and a Vietnamese people get gibbed with so much gore that it would make Unreal Tournament blush. So not for the kiddies.

A visual tour-de-force, Watchmen is something everybody should see at least once. It will not be to everybody's taste, but it's not something you'll easily forget.

Four stars.


Project Orion: Hardcore as fuck.

You just know something is going to be awesome when it's referred to as Nuclear Pulse Propulsion. First of all, let it be said that something instantly becomes cooler when it's recycled IN SPACE. Just like pirates IN SPACE and pigs IN SPACE before it, nukes IN SPACE become exactly 67% more awesome than their non-IN SPACE based counterparts.

More awesome than nukes? I know, that's what I thought at first too. But somebody in that department that the US government has that decides to spend all of their money on awesome things, instead of just practical things, realized that, hey, if you can use nuclear explosions to kill people AND to power your house, why the hell can't you use them as a propulsion system?!

Thus, Project Orion was born. Oh, and what a glorious project it was. It had a team of super-nerds working on it for years, and the only reasons the project failed were:

a) They planned to launch it from the ground. With a nuclear pulsed propulsion system. That's just an OHS disaster waiting to happen.
b) The outer space ban treaty prevents the use of nuclear devices (that other people know about) in space, and this was going to be about 6000 tonnes on the small side so it wasn't exactly the kind of thing you can slip into space without anybody noticing. Being driven by a series of nuclear explosions and all.

So, how does it work? It works by having a humongous fucking shock absorber, called a pusher plate, then letting some Nukes go, and detonating them a few dozen meters behind you. Then you ride the plasma wave caused by it.

Holy shit that is awesome. My fingers are bleeding just typing about it. It has a kind of elegant simplicity to it, which means that it definitely wasn't made by Microsoft.

Alas, it is no more. Goodnight, sweet prince!