April 25, 2006


Correction to the set design metaphor!

Wes Anderson, not the other one. The other Anderson is the Boogie Nights guy. I don't know why I got those confused. Then there's Paul W.S. Anderson, who's the Mortal Kombat, Soldier, etc. guy. W.S. could be pronounced Wes, so maybe that's the source of the memory misfire.

Hell, I don't know. I only pretend to understand how my brain references things.

posted by Gar @ 3:23 PM

Survive Style 5+ review

During the first half or so of the film, I was pretty sure that my review was going to echo a two-word review I once wrote about "Shaolin Soccer." That review was, and I quote: "Holy. Shit." Among other things, it featured a breakfast scene between one of the main characters and his wife (the one he'd killed in the opening scene, by the way) that's one of the funniest things I've seen in quite awhile.

The entire thing's exceptionally visually busy. Primary colors everywhere, all very bright, and just packed full of an enormous amount of bric-a-brac and just plain stuff. It's sort of like Paul Thomas Anderson's (dude behind Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, etc.) set design ran headlong into a Fisher-Price paint factory and exploded and then was reconstructed from the colorful debris by schizotypal interior decorators. It's glorious.

The latter half of the movie gets more mellow overall, even bittersweet in places; not in a way that really damaged the flick in my view, but changed the initial review from two words to many. Good stuff.

posted by Gar @ 3:13 PM

April 23, 2006


Supercar videos

Wonderword is a wacky Japanese answer to the animated bit in Pink Floyd's The Wall with the flowers committing Biblical knowledge of each other, until the pistil suddenly gets all floral dentata and chews up the stamen. Or maybe it's vice versa. I'm no botanist. But the overall theme's a miror--oddly sweet at first, in the way that exchanging mouth-launched ping pong balls can be, then getting sort of creepy at the end. Empathy breaking down into projection until the relationship explodes.

Be is on the one hand sort of like the flick "Series 7: the Contenders" (worth a rental, by the way). Whereas the latter is an extrapolation of American "reality tv" to the frankly logical next level, the video's sort of the same thing done to those wacky Japanese game shows where contestants go through goofy tortures for, I don't know, a month's supply of ramen or something. It's also a reductio ad bang-bang about why most performance anxiety and stage fright is rather silly, since most of the time a yakuza gangster isn't getting all gat-gat and bustin' caps in everyone you know (and your pet turtle) when you mess up. It's multilayered! (The comments also have a translated list of the captions identifying who everyone is.)

Then there's Aoharu Youth. (Babelfish informs me that "aoharu" translates to "aoharu," which is helpful.) Behold the disaffection of deeply creepy mannequin youth, lashing out against the system with eyebeams! But even rebellion is part of the system, man, it's everywhere, it's all around us. As demonstrated that those creepy ass mannequin people you think are your friends just because they're also creepy only want to suck you into their little suicide cult. There's a lesson in there for us all.

Oh yeah, and White Surf Style 5. I'm informed it's a shout-out to something called Tranzor Z, so your guess is as good as mine, and quite possibly better. It's a good study of what domestic violence situations will be like in a world where everyone has anime powers. Chilling.

I'm also told that the director of the videos apparently made a movie name of Survive Style 5+. The trailers confirm that it sure is the same director. I'm expecting someone to have to fight the bear. I'll have to see if I can track it down via some form of...oh, let's say import.

posted by Gar @ 10:27 AM

April 22, 2006


Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006

Yes. Just yes.

Also, Google video link if the direct download link goes bye-bye.

posted by Gar @ 8:50 AM

April 14, 2006


Luckily I have enough energy drink!

These recordings are well worth listening to.

To translate from the crazy moonspeak both engaged in and implicitly assumed: there's this multiplayer game called World of Warcraft. It's your standard computer rpg model--you have characters that you gain levels with, getting little numbers representing power to climb upwards by killing everything in sight and taking their stuff to use if it's better than the stuff you've already taken, or sell in order to buy new powers, etc. Like all crpgs, you can only level so far, eventually you hit a level cap.

World addresses this by shifting the game's gears to a different kind of leveling-up, namely, the pursuit of more and more uber equipment; the process of getting said uber equipment moves from the solo-to-small-group adventuring (i.e., murdering and thieving) to what's called "raids", which are parties of twenty-to-forty people. Raid content takes those kinds of numbers in order to bring enough firepower and general character oomph to bear to best the challenges. Each character class generally has their own task to do in such things, and crisis points in the dungeons take some coordination to get through, lest a "wipe" result--namely, every last one of the characters getting killed. The coordination needed is apparently high enough on the upper-end stuff that it doesn't take much for a wipe to happen here and there.

MMOs live and die by player retention, and WoW is living very well. Part of their retention design for all the folks at level cap is that getting those more and more uber raid items involves running lots of raids--item drops are probabilistic rather than guaranteed. And any item that may drop may have quite a few people within the group who would really like it. Guilds--organizations of players that group up together and help each other out--often use a system called "dkp" to fairly distribute loot; it's based on some arcane factors involving numbers of raids attended and phases of the moon combined with astrological houses for all I know. (While I do play World of Warcraft, I've never actually raided. It's one of those things I think I'd like to give a shot at some point, but expect to get bored with very quickly and then quit. I'm not the kind of person that MMO retention designs are really targetted at--they're targetted at people who don't quit even when they're bored.) But the more DKP someone may have, the better shot they have at getting one of those pieces of nice gear is the upshot.

To maintain a level of coordination, groups that raid usually set up a teamspeak or similar server that allows voice chat while the game's running, and the raid leader acts as officer to keep people on task and working well.

And THAT is where that link way up there ties into.

"Luckily I have enough energy drink to keep me very fucking hyperactive and screaming at your lazy fucking asses for fucking it up!"

posted by Gar @ 3:20 PM

Another short observation

Tissue engineering is very neat. In coming years, I expect it to get even neater. Give it a few decades, and I fully expect it to blow my freaking mind--and then print me a new one.

posted by Gar @ 2:48 PM

April 12, 2006


Covert Operatives

Yeah, pretty much. Covert Operatives.

posted by Gar @ 12:03 AM

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