Monday, October 26, 2009

I Have The High Ground!

It doesn't take long to find a conversation about when the appropriate time to watch the Star Wars movie for kids is.  In fact, if you pop in the phrase "when should kids watch stars wars" into Google, you quickly come back with some results, and once you scroll past the Amazon and Walmart adds there is the question being asked by a Mommy Blog and a Dad-Blog (a perennial favorite entitled Geek Dad).

Now, I can admit that I held off the movies, despite my unending love for the things for my eldest child.  He was 4 or so before he really sat down and watch one of the movie and around 6 before he watched episode 3 for the first time (and that was an "edited-for-TV" version at that).

My youngest though, well my youngest got to see the movies by virtue of being there while my eldest watched.  There was no not letting him watch since Brother was there doing so.

Which leads me to responses to both of the blogs listed above:

GEEK DAD: Both of my boys are obsessed with Geek and Star Wars.  If you raise a child to love the Geek he'll love the geek. If you raise a child to love sports he'll love sports.  My boys, well, they get a geek dad and a sports-loving mom, as such they can be seen imagining a fight between Jimmy Johnson and Darth Vader. 

The Mommy Files:  Let your kid grow up. For centuries, children were raised with the specter of death and destruction. Classic fairy tales (not the Disney-fied wimp stuff seen today) featured scenes as gruesome (if not more so) than what is featured in the Star Wars series. 

Well, now that I've got that out of the way, you may be wondering why on earth I'm bringing this up now? And it relates back to the fact that my youngest son (who's like two-weeks from turning 3) has watched the entire series multiple times, including Revenge of the Sith.

So, he's very familiar with the scenes and the dialog (and his favorite character to play-act as is Palpatine), as it has long been a tradition in my wife's family to quote movies.

Well last night, after bath time, I dropped the youngest on the couch next to my Beloved while dealing with getting the elder through the ritual. After the elder was settled and soaking, I returned to the living room and found my youngest standing on the couch over his mother (who was watching the Florida/Miss. State game at the time), and then he announced:

I have the high ground.

Which of course means that he wins the battle; and he let us know that as well.

After I recovered from my laughter, I dropped onto the couch beside the Beloved Wife and she glared at me for a moment before saying, "You've ruined our children you know. Ruined."

I wisely refrained from reminding her that it was actually her that allowed the youngest to watch that particular movie for the first time.

But fundamentally, she's right.

I set out to raise children who had the same passions and drives as I do, and a big part of that desire to learn, and build the future is tied up into SFF and other geek culture. I firmly believe that it's the geek in me that forces me to question things to the level that I do.  Books such as Fahrenheit 451, Starship Troopers and Foundation formed a core of my intellectual development while things such as Star Wars and The Princess Bride and Tolkien's works built the framework upon which my imagination rides.

So I'm glad that my son has the high ground. 

Here's to hoping that he keeps it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

11 Eyes Episode 2

My Thoughts:

First off, I got to say I like the opening sequence. I'm not sure why, it's just a mixture of the visuals and the music, but I like it.  At the same time, the ending credits just don't do that much for me.  I think the ending is a bit more melancholy than the opening and I'm just not into the emo at the moment.

Look, my wife!But, I've got to admire at least one choice in character design here, blonde/light brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses—so reminiscent of my beloved. Which brings to mind something interesting, I tend to enjoy a series more if there's a character who reminds me of my wife. Think Noe from True Tears or Ayame from Asu no Yoichi.

With that digression out of the way, I enjoyed the episode, though I wished the exposition that the group managed to spout out had provided a bit more answers.  That said, I do understand the need for building suspense. I just wish they could build it a bit more…quickly?

What gets me is the way that the girls around here seem to… gravitate around the male lead.  They realize that they're in another episode of 11 Eyes...Yuka I can understand, she's obviously set up from the very beginning as a romantic interest, but then how the Shrine girl and the Exchange student girl react to him… well, it's odd to say the least.   If that's just a hang-over from the source material, I think they could have integrated the story a bit better.

Episode Synopsis:

The episode begins with our two heroes running from the turd-monsters, and then once again surrounded as the sky breaks.

After the opening, we find out that that shattering thing was just a fake oiut, and they're still in the red-night, and still surrounded by the turds.  Then a sword comes flying in, and Shrine-girl is there for the rescue. Small talk ensues, and the turd-call wails out, and then we see some girl stuck in a giant crystal.  Then some running and exposition about powers, and we find out that Shrine girl's name is Misuzu.

Then the trio get into another fight with the turd monsters, and Pigpen-girl is shown beating folks up with the chains.  And the Trio are running again, and Kakeru wants to go "save her" even though none of them know who "her" is. Then Kakeru's eye starts hurting  making him collapse. When he stands up, they see this chick with swords fro hands and bunches of red eyes who tells them that they can't go any further.

Look, it's Edward Scissorhands little sister. Scissor hands girl fights Misuzu, and is whooping up on the shrine girl, until shrine girl pulls out her magic.

The trio makes it to the giant crystal girl who begs them to save her because she's been captured.   Misuzu—wisely if you ask me—wonders why on earth they should be doing so, but Kakeru is all like "Misuzu has the right idea," but Yuka speaks up and says that they should save her. 

About this time, the other talking demons (for lack of a better term) show up, and we find out that shrine girl's magic doesn't work around the crystal.

And then the main bad guy tells us all that Kakeru is all important as he signals Kakeru for death via Scissor Hands

Then we see the school nurse and some grey-haired kid comes in and drops onto a bed, and they flirt with one another.

Then we switch back tot he Trio and find that they've been deposited back into the real world, in the middle of a shopping mall.

So of course they go and get a burger, as that's what teens do whenever they're in a mall.

Because whenver teens are at the mall, they have to eat a Big Mac... While they're eating, they chat about special powers and things and others from their school also get dragged into the Red Night.  

Then Misuzu asks Kakeru to take off his eye patch, and when she sees his yellow eye, she gets a special feeling in her special place.  And I wish I was making that up. As Kakeru put his eye away, Misuzu asks Yuka if she "felt that too." Again, I wish I was making that up.

So Yuka and Misuzu are walking home, and they have a moment, and Yuka hugs him, and he gets that special feeling.  Though this one is more of the murderous intent of the bad guy. 

Then the comic relief shows up and tackles Kakeru.  Once he's back on his feet, Kakeru looks up and things he sees Pigpen—or his sister, but it turned out to be Shiori (the exchange student from the previous episode). Then Yuka notices that Shiori and Kakeru are giving each other their… well it's not "angry eyes."

And we get another scene change, with Kakeru going into where he works to tell his boss that he won't be in that night, and he finds a girl in a maid/waitress outfit who is apparently a new hire.  Kakeru notices that she has a cut on her hand. Maid girl quickly shoves her hand behind her back, and introduces herself as Hirohara Yukiko—and quite forwardly instructs these two whom she had just met to call her by her first name, and kind of forces them to allow her to use their first names.

Maid girl then makes and serves them coffee, and as she does so, we see her wound bubble away to flawless skin.

And another scene change, and it's Kakeru dropping Yuka off at her house, and she tells Kakeru that pigpen/sister they had seen at the park before the red night was an hallucination. then they hug and he tells her again that he's going to protect her.

And look, another scene change! This time it's blue flames, and a first person perspective as someone is walking to a chair. Then hands are touching and there's heavy breathing, and Kakeru wakes up.

Then Kakeru is in the school library and finds a book titled "The Maiden of Crystal Palace." Then Yuka shows up and they talk about researching it, and one hopes they're talking about the Red night. Well Kakeru pulls down the book, and sees pigpen/his big sister on the other side of the stacks.

he rushes around, and finds a note that states that he was the one who woke up the demons, and he collapses in pain from his golden eye.

And then there's the ending credits.

Finally, we see Yuka trying to comfort the still in pain Kakeru, and then gets all freaky. Kakeru notices that, and turns to look outside and there is the black/red moon, even though they're not in the red-night world.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Caves of Steel

In June, 1954, the master of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov, wrote the Caves of Steel. Fundamentally, it was a mystery novel with science fiction elements.  One of those elements, is the "caves of steel" which are huge city-complexes covered by metal domes and supporting tens of millions of people.

Now, why would I be writing about this?

Well, that's because a team of engineers have plans on how to protect the city of Houston, which involves a giant dome.houston  I read the the little bit of text associated with it and I'm in awe. 

While it's not STEEL (rather it's a type of plastic) the thought of a city encased in a giant dome, and housing literally millions of people just utterly appeals to the SF geek in me. 

I mean, if they do it, it'd be worth going to see, just to say that I was in one of Asimov's Caves of Steel.

What a Fun-Filled Weekend

Well, the eldest offspring and I went on a Cub-Scout camping trip. In the middle of the country.

In what was effectively 40 degree weather.

That felt like 20.

All in all, despite the fact that it was evilly cold, the eldest had quite a good time. In fact, he absolutely adored it. He spent hours running around with his pack mates, shot an bow and arrow and a BB rifle.

Sadly, the youngest apparently spent the entire time me an the elder were gone hunting around the house for me and the eldest child.

Well, after the campout ended, me and the eldest spent a bit of time fishing (read: losing lures on rocks/limbs/etc)—so of course the boy was interested in fish and what not.

On the way home from dinner my eldest once again asked what happened to his goldfish on the move from Pensacola to the frozen wastes of Mississippi. This is a question that's been brought up a few dozen times over the past two years, and the Beloved Wife soundly informed him that we had already answered said question and he knew what had been done with the thing.

To which he instantly responded "So, we ate it?"

How could we not laugh about such.

Anyways, what with my weekend involving woods, mud, and cold weather as opposed to the more traditional cartoons, geekery and the internets, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking/doing/watching GEEK stuff. BUT on Sunday night me and the Beloved Wife did watch The Haunting of Sorority Row. A perfectly amusing Lifetime "horror" movie. 

Which of course is keyword for a standard Lifetime movie plot plus ghosts.  It's the type of thing which makes one long for Mansquito.

Anyways, expect to see my review for 11Eyes episode 2 sometime soon, as well as me getting the new Star Wars novel Death Troopers.

Well, that's enough for this week, for now, it's time to get to work…

Monday, October 12, 2009

11 Eyes--Episode 1

My Thoughts:

There's been a lot of comments out amongst the anime blogs about how this show feels like a rip-off of Persona, and fundamentally, I can see it.. I can see it, much the same way that I can see how Gundam is a rip off of Macross or Battlestar Galactica is a rip-off of Star Wars. Which is to basically say that just because something uses simliar tropes, and has a similar conceit, doesn't mean that it doesn't have it's own story to tell.

In fact, I personally think that this was the strongest of all the openings from the Fall Season (but I've not seen EVERY thing that's coming out this season yet). I'm interested in the character, and think that this particular set of leads is much better than that the pair that we get in say Sacred Blacksmith.

Additionally, I like the character designs here, at least for our erstwhile protagonists. The antagonists appear to leave a lot to be desired--but that's more of my own personal preference as opposed to any inherent problems with the design.

In the end, there's not a whole lot that goes on here, as it's primarily introducing the main characters and gives us a hint of the primary concept of what's going to happen.

Hopefully, the rest of the episodes here will continue to live up to my expectations.

Episode Summary:

The episode begins with a flashback, showing some odd things happening between a brother and sister, and the boy's friend, where the boy is seriously hurt and the sister falls down dead. Then we get the opening credits.

After the Opening, we get this shrine maiden who is playing with fire, in order to see visions... or something. Then we find the hero of the show (Kakeru) sitting on top of the school's roof staring at the moon. He's joined momentarily by one of the females of the show, Yuka. Then we find out that Kakeru's older sister is the girl from the flashback at the start, but he way it's shown there isn't exactly how she appeared to die in the original flashback.

Then we're shown another girl.

Then it's back to Kakeru and Yuka as they meet up with two (Tadashi and Kaori) of their friends from school and have random talking designed to show the tsundere elements of Kaori and the idiocy of Tadashi--but hey, Kakeru likes talking to them.

Then it's a talk about sales.

And then there is some ramblings on why Yuka doesn't live at the orphanage any more. Oddly, I got the feeling that Kakeru does not live at the orphanage anymore either, but that's never actually touched upon.

Then they decide that yes, they'll go to the sale. Which, makes Yuka extremely happy.

So, they're on this bridge and well.... flashy lights happen. and the sky turns red, and the rivers run with blood, and a third of the people are stirken.... no, wait that's the Revelation of Saint John. But the skies do turn red and suddenly all the other people have disappeared.

Which is when Yuka realizes that it's probably affected her parents as well. So they backtrack to Yuka's house, and as Yuka is crying because her parents are gone, Kakeru sees something moving around, and they take off at a run.

The stop for a moment and one of the things appears, and screams bringing more of them.

Well, Yuka screams and the world shatters and suddenly the people are back and the sky isn't red any more.

Then you get the scene where everyone is staring at Kakeru as he's holding the now unconscious Yuka.

Then Rome is on fire which wakes up Kakeru. Or maybe it was Yuka, but a girl and a destructive cataclysm are much the same thing at times.

The two then talk, and discuss things like being scared and how cute Kakeru is while sleeping. And yes, it is as... disjointed as that.

Then we get to see some other guy. Just walking to school and ignoring some girl.

Then it's a back to Yuka and Kakeru and a cloud scares Yuka... which is understandable when the last time she saw clouds covering the sky it was because they were turning red and stuff. They talk some more and Yuka cries.

Then the bell rings, and the camera pans over to see Pigpen from Charlie Brown... but it's a girl.

Then the class is being introduced to a new exchange student who gives Kakeru the freaky eyes. Something pointless involving Tadashi happens and the new girl walks over to Kakeru just in time to make Yuka faint. So, Kakeru carries her to the infirmary.

Where they run into the guy from earlier, who's a bit rude. Then the school nurse shows up, and asks Kakeru about his eye, and Yuka if she's dating Kakeru.

Then we get to see the red headed shrine maiden again... and oh look, she goes to the same school of course.

Then it's after school and our two heroes are walking home, and Kakeru asks Yuka if she wants to go shopping. Then we see Pigpen again.

And Kakeru turns down a free meal and talks about stuffed penguins with Yuka.

Then they're at the bridge from earlier, and decide to take the long way around due to the freakishness from earlier. Then it's a shopping montage and we see Pigpen and transfer girl.

Then they're in a park, and the girl who was terrified/embarrassed to discuss the CONCEPT of Kakeru being her boyfriend with the school nurse, somewhat brazenly asks said boy to lay his head on her lap.

Then they're all happy, and roses--which of course means that they see Pigpen again and then the world shatters and does that whole red skies thing with the turd monsters.

Then, once they're surrounded we get a screen shot of something even odder than the turd monsters, but these things can talk.

Once that is over, the turd-monster attacks and then it's time for the ending credits.

Wait, after the ending credits, there's a scene were Kakeru is futilely beating a turd monster and Yuka is getting restrained by a tentacle. At which time I smack my forehead and am incredibly glad that this thing doesn't air a few hours later in the night. Then it's the preview for next week's episode.

Monday Ramblings for 10/12/09

And it is yet again, a Monday morning. My sons are home today (as it's Columbus Day here in America) and by the time that I had left for work, were already half way through (what I'm sure will be one of many) their first viewing of Monster's Inc. Fantasy rocks.

Well, the main geek things I did this weekend were watching the episodes of Stargate: Universe and Sanctuary. I've got to say that this latest crop of SciFi (or SyFy for the politically correct) shows is utterly awesome.

Then of course, I've been watching the first episodes of the fall season of anime, and folks can expect my review for the first episode of 11Eyes fairly soon.

But for now, it's time for me to run off to work.... Bills to pay and all that...

Friday, October 9, 2009


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Giveaway

Jacob Parker of The Yodeling Dwarf left a comment on a post earlier about a book giveaway which his blog is performing. It's a hard-cover copy of Curse of the Spider King, and you can enter here by signing up for Mr. Parker's (who apparently has his own book in the works/about to be published) newsletter.

Amazon describes Curse of the Spider King thus:

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies at Create your own tribe. Connect with fans through the forum. Win pre-release chapters and the opportunity to have Wayne and Christopher at your very own book party!

Stargate: Universe - Pilot

Well, we (the Beloved Wife and I) watched Stargate: Universe last night, and I have to say that I truly enjoyed it. Which is great, as I was worried that SGU was just going to be the next season of Star Trek: Voyager.

There were a few parts where the story seemed to lag, and the editing and where they chose to stick commercials just flat out sucked, but those were relatively minor issues.

So, it appears I have a new show to watch, and with the second season of Sanctuary starting up on Friday, I seem to have even more TV watching to do.

Which is both awesome (SF on tv!) and sad (it's TV!) at the same time....

Monday, October 5, 2009

I need to go to the Mothership....

As I reported on Twitter a few days ago, my youngest fully announced that he needed to go to the Mothership.

I'm n0t entirely certain where he got Mothership from, as I don't remember there being one in Star Wars or the other SF movies/tv shows that he's seen. Of course this is the same kid that fairly regularly says "You've got to be kidding me," to the most random and odd things. Such as the fact that the chicken on his chicken.

Ah, I've got to love my children.

Especially when they're off somewhere for a few hours so me and the Beloved Wife can go see a movie. Which happened to be Pandorum. And I must say that I really enjoyed it. Despite (or maybe due to, I'm not sure yet) the overt "Video game" feel to the movie.

The other geek thing is that the fall season for anime has started up. I've caught the first episode of Kampfer and don't think that one will be sticking around, though if nothing more promising shows up then I may have to revisit that particular decision. Then I've also downloaded The Sacred Blacksmith and Nyan Koi! though I've not watched them.

Well, that's the state of this geek for the week....

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