Saturday, May 31, 2014

How long have I not noticed that...

I'm not a big superhero person. I don't have anything against comics or superhero movies, it's just that most of them don't interest me personally. Different strokes for different folks.
One of the few exceptions would be Spiderman, as I find the 94 cartoon series to be a real guilty pleasure. It's excellent turn your brain off entertainment, at least for me.

But I just now realized something, and I'm pretty embarrassed that I never picked it out before: Black Cat's mask sucks. It covers maybe two square inches of her face total. Spiderman's mask covers sodding everything, but her mask doesn't do jack squat. Mr. Incredible's mask was better!

Man, I've gotta stop blogging so late at night. My brain can't function at this time of night.
I eagerly await the bombardment of comic nerds to correct me. Come at me bro!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Simple Joys of Life

The number of ways one can be entertained today are without number, and my mind spins at all the options we have. And yet I feel that many of the best joys are those that are the most simple.

As I sit here I've just taken great joy at simply learning something I didn't know before. I fancy myself an decent expert on firearms through various portions of history. Not the best by any stretch, heck no, but somehow I just took great pleasure in finding out information on one of the older muzzle-loading rifles of the mid to late-1800's on the American frontier.

Reading never loses its charm. In spite of the amazing leaps we've taken with technology, the advents of movies, shows, video games and comics, books are still going strong and still perhaps the best way for the simple working man to convey new and fascinating ideas in fiction and in facts.

There are plenty of other simple things that I enjoy of course, shooting my rifle, feeling the keen edge of a blade, observing wildlife, telling stories, enjoying good company and good food, things that will never get old. The simple joys of life will never truly die, even with the insane progress and shifts in society and technology.

I find this to be a most comforting thought.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gotta love Kolchak: The Night Stalker

There are few openings that I enjoy more than one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Just check this out!

Starring Darren McGavin as the lead character, Carl Kolchak, he's a persistent reporter in Chicago where he delves into the weird and unusual violence that takes place, specifically those pertaining to the supernatural and monstrous. Although it only lasted one season and the costumes and effects were primitive even by 70's standards, this show was a gem for the time and was repeatedly referenced as being the primary influence for one of my other favorite shows, The X-Files. The creators loved Kolchak and even tried to get Darren McGavin on the show as his original character, Kolchak.

For reasons I haven't been able to find he declined, but did appear as someone darned similar, playing a retired FBI agent from the 50's known as Arthur Dales who originally started the X-Files that Mulder picks up on later. That show truly was a spiritual successor, and it's easy to see.

McGavin does a superb job of playing the annoying reporter who tricks his way into every place he can to get his story and is amazingly fun. Each episode revolves around genuinely interesting plots, some of which even had me guessing. Considering how fast I usually solve this sort of setup, that's saying a good bit!

There are plenty of supporting characters, mostly Kolchak's co-workers and boss. There's Tony Vincenzo, his superior who is constantly putting up with Kolchak's antics and problems. Although he often has a short temper and Kolchak often feels restrained or ignored, I find Tony quite sympathetic. He puts up with quite a lot and actually does care when things get rough. Although he never assists Kolchak in his endeavors, he does that by himself, Tony can always be counted on to bail him out of jail, which happens a lot.

Then there's Ron Updyke, Kolchak's office rival who always gouge and poke each other out of spite. Kolchak usually has the upper hand though, seemingly a troll before computers were even invented.
The only person immune to Kolchak's harassing behavior is Miss Emily, an elderly but sweet woman who truly gets along with him and is the only person he trusts, although he doesn't initially know it.

I can't describe how funny and suspenseful this show can be. The writing is awesome, and our lead just comes alive in his role. In spite of the sets being limited and the costumes costing less than a standard pair of shoes today, there are parts where I truly feel on edge. That is very uncommon for me, as I've watched plenty of "scary movies" without blinking.

If you're like me and are tired of the droll and dumb shows of today and desire something with some true charm, check it out! You can even find full episodes on Youtube or purchase it on DVD. Give it a look. I'm going to have some fun with it right now!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fallout 4: Theories and Deductions

Fallout is my favorite game series ever. It was my first exposure to the concept of RPGs in any genre and it took me right off of my feet when I first played Fallout 3. That game let me sink up to my gills into immersion I didn't know could even exist for games, and from that point on I pursued everything Fallout I could find. I love Fallout New Vegas, and have enjoyed the original games, Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics.

Suffice it to say, I kinda enjoy these things! Some people don't like them that much, but that's their problem.

However, after Fallout New Vegas was finished, many people began wondering: When will we see another Fallout game? Many supposed it would come out after Skyrim or Dishonored, but as of yet we've gotten almost no information of any kind on any new Fallout project from Bethesda, the current owners and developers of the games.

Obviously, the legions of fans have been on the verge of starting rioting for want of any information on anything at all Fallout related. Many questions are being asked: Will there be a Fallout 4? If there is, why isn't Bethesda revealing anything about it? When will they work on it?
I've been doing plenty of research, and there is precious little information at all, but I've also done quite a bit of speculation and analysis on what stuff we've got. Here I shall reveal some of my own theories, thoughts and ideas. All the information that we've actually got that isn't pure speculation can be found here and is to be used as a reference point for what I will base my theories on.

So, first thing is first: Will Bethesda actually make another Fallout game? My belief: Yes. They have no reason not to. Think about it. Bethesda basically owns the entire RPG market. The only competition they had for exploration and story was from Mass Effect, and since EA bought Bioware, Bethesda isn't exactly faced with a legion of rivals. And with the new generation of consoles the quality of games overall has taken a nose-dive. Games are shorter, have less plot, are more formulaic, more boring, and less thought provoking.
Bethesda on the other hand has been going strong during the drought that has been going on. Ever since Fallout 3 they've been bombarded with awards for games. They haven't yet made a game that is unprofitable since then, and I see little reason for them to slow down. They actually have good writers and let them do their jobs, so we consistently get intriguing storylines and immersive worlds. And I'm darned hard to please when it comes to stories in games!

Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas alone have made enough money to buy a small country or to fun a private military. Not to mention Fallout has tons of free room for innovation. It's so expansive that you could make another five games and still not run out of ideas to work with. Like I said, they have absolutely no reason to NOT make another Fallout game. It's a shoe in.
Another reason I believe this is that Bethesda broke their backs to own the rights to Fallout. The original developers, Interplay, came up with Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, but Bethesda rose up and, without doing a ton of research so fact check me on this, had rights or licenses extended to them so that they could produce Fallout games.

A few years ago Bethesda made a suit that Interplay was in trouble over an issue that I really don't care to recap, and tried to seize all rights to the franchise. Bethesda lost, but almost immediately afterwards offered Interplay two million dollars for them to fork over the rest of the rights, which Interplay instantly complied with. So Bethesda now owns the entire franchise, and they paid hard to get them. I encourage you to double check these facts just in case, as it was a while since I checked up on the legal proceedings, but as I know it Bethesda is now the sole owner of Fallout and can do whatever they heck they want.

Now, a game developer doesn't lead a legal assault like that and sacrifice two million solid dollars, a considerable sum, for one of the most profitable game franchises out there and then just set it up on a shelf. Obviously they wanted Fallout badly, and they have the creative power and facilities to keep this thing going for years without getting stale. Heck, even one of the head people of Bethesda said that they went into this so that they could keep making Fallout games, not just one and done.

So, that brings us to the next point. If Bethesda has so many reasons to make a new Fallout game, why haven't they done it yet and released no information about it?

I believe there are many reasons for this. The most obvious is that they had their hands full with Dishonored, Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online. Each of these was a big project and MMOs in particular are pretty finicky and require a lot of time to work with. Heck, I'm not even a programmer and my head would spin trying to work on a project like that!

The second is one of my own deductions, that being that they haven't started on it until quite recently. I consider it no coincidence that they haven't just come out and said they're making a new game for the next generation of consoles. My theory is that they've been watching the sales and opinions of the new systems to see how they do and how they operate. I believe they are wondering if they want to go to the trouble of making an entirely new interface for a Fallout game that takes advantage of the powerful but clunky new consoles if there won't be enough units in circulation to generate a sturdy profit.

It's no secret that many people, myself included, have ignored the new consoles and stuck with our reliable older systems. I know some people were irked when Fallout New Vegas came out and it used almost the exact same interface as Fallout 3. I didn't mind this, using the reasoning of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
So, if Bethesda did a big overhaul on the interface adapted to the new consoles, it almost certainly wouldn't work on the less powerful but reliable systems like the Xbox 360 and PS3. Such a project would be a monumental undertaking on top of making a new story, coding items, quests, characters, creatures, and all that other good stuff. RPGs are big projects, and you can't afford to screw around.

So, if you were watching the new consoles sell sluggishly, would you go to the trouble of reconfiguring things that will sell to only a fraction of the owners of the last generation? My theory is that they are wondering if they should make a new interface, or just stick with the old one which will not only work on the old systems, but the new ones as well, giving them a far wider base to launch from. Rather than three, Xbox One, PS4, and PC, they'd have five, including the Xbox 360 and PS3.
This is speculation on my part so don't take it as fact. This is only one of my theories based on the information I have available.

Another reason they might not have revealed anything is that there may be some sort of legal kink in the rope that is slowing things up. As I mentioned above, there was a big movement to acquire Fallout from Interplay. It is possible that something might still be creating problems and Bethesda is holding its resources in check.
This is also pure theory, and it is entirely possible, even likely, that I am incorrect here. I encourage any readers to do their own research on this and come to their own conclusions.

It is also possible that there may be another form of legal problem in another capacity that hasn't been revealed. What it might be, if it is an issue at all, I have no idea. Bethesda has been keeping everyone associated with the franchise clammed up. I've seen military secrets that weren't guarded this closely. If you've done any research on this thing, Bethesda has revealed virtually nothing about their next project and answered no questions about an upcoming Fallout game. They have been extraordinarily cryptic, yet have neither confirmed or denied its development. The fact that they haven't said "We're not making Fallout 4 right now, shut up." might be an indicator, but it would be irresponsible to speculate too deeply on such tiny details.

One hint that was given we received from the voice actor of 3 Dog, a major character in Fallout 3. See the link above for the reference, which is somewhat promising, as it was made in 2013.

But with all the resources they have on hand and considering they just wrapped up Elder Scrolls Online, they've got to be working on something! If it is Fallout 4, and I hope it is, it will still be a good while before we hear anything on it, as right now it would be in its infant stages.

Some people have accused Bethesda of being cruel and uncaring to its customer base by keeping us in the dark, but I don't get that impression. Just from my own perspective, it seems more like they are being responsible and not revealing anything that might not come to pass and result in rage from an offended fan base. Bethesda isn't a company to rush things out half finished and rushed. They seem to release things only when they are ironed out properly, with the exception of the New Vegas DLC Lonely Road.

I believe that they only recently started working on Fallout 4, but are so early in development that they can't release anything on it. After all, each of these games is gigantic! It requires thousands of hours of man hours to churn these things out, and the level of detail each one has is staggering. I've racked up over three hundred hours on Fallout 3 and New Vegas each across multiple profiles and I'm still finding new stuff! That's amazing!
So I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't until late 2014 or even until 2015 that we get any news about it. It might also be a marketing tactic to get the customer base riled up to remain so quiet about it. If it is, it's certainly working! The less they say, the more questions we ask and the more we wonder. So if they do confirm it, we'll be over that thing in seconds.

It makes sense, doesn't it?

Now, if they are making Fallout 4, what will it be about? The space for what they can do is almost unlimited here. The creative license has virtually no boundaries. After all, only two games in and we've already been into outer space fighting aliens, underground fighting subterranean monsters, waging war against genetic mutations of all kinds, what can they NOT do that would be within the realm of reasonability?
Heck, I'd vote for a DLC where some genetic wackos make a lab have recreated dinosaurs to fight, but I don't think that they'll do that. Although, if you are watching Bethesda, please consider that idea! Genetically mutated dinosaurs in Fallout! You can SO pull that off and you know it!

Ahem, anyway, the leading theory about the next location is that it will take place in Boston. In Fallout 3 many distant locations are mentioned and some are visited, such as The Pitt. In one quest we meet a scientist named Dr. Zimmerman from a place called The Commonwealth, a location with all sorts of technology and scientists who have even succeeded in making fully functional androids that can look, behave and for all intents and purposes, be human beings. There is even a faction called The Railroad trying to liberate androids, giving a very realistic and deep concept that we've only barely touched on, yet rings with all sorts of philosophical and ethical questions.

There have also been hints that Bethesda has even been scouting Boston, presumably to research the place for the upcoming game. This might be false, but it is an interesting thing to look to. It does make plenty of sense though. Fallout setting with lots of weird scientists and technology? What's not to like?

So overall, there is plenty of speculation and theories everywhere, and we really won't know anything for sure until Bethesda actually says something, which probably isn't happening anytime soon
I believe Fallout 4 is in development, but it is entirely possible I'm wrong.

I hope this article has been of interest, and lets hope harder that we'll see Fallout 4 soon!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Title pretty much says it all, don't it? For those of you who serve, know that I appreciate your service and support you brave men and women.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gin traps and fools

I feel no shame of any kind in admitting that I love my dad dearly and I always will. He's a wonderful guy with a magnetic personality and one of the greatest senses of humor I've ever seen. I can't begin listing all the things he's done for me, my family and our friends. I just love him to pieces.

He can however, make mistakes from time to time. This brings me to one of the many of his escapades that are just too juicy to not report. About a year back he was in the office and overheard some of his coworkers speaking about gin traps and incorrectly believing that they were instruments of torture.

For those of you who don't know, gin traps or leg traps, most often incorrectly called bear traps, are metal traps used to grab and hold various furred animals most often in North America. Very old models from over a hundred years ago can be harmful to animal limbs, but that's from... well... traps made over a hundred years ago. Modern models aren't very bad at all and only keep a solid grip on whatever steps into them. They don't cut, break the skin, break bone or cause any lasting damage. In fact, some trappers even modify their traps so that they won't pinch too hard and many are sold with rubber lips around the edges so that there is very little pain inflicted while still keeping a solid grip.

Your average trap looks like this:

Fear me!
They do not look like this
I've seen some crappy scrap models made by poachers out in Africa and other places with rusty teeth, but those are rare and by no means widely used by your average trapper. Contrary to popular belief, trapping really isn't all that damaging or painful.

So my dad got a bit irked when he heard his coworkers agreeing with some of the propaganda that the anti-hunting and anti-trapping yuppies were spewing. Never mind that most animal rights groups don't help animals at all and mostly just scream and whine while ignoring any facts. Blah.

Anyway, my dad opined that traps and being caught in them are in fact not torture. They asked him to provide counter evidence and he promptly complied. Upon his return home I hear a knock at my door and my dad asks if he can borrow some of my gin traps. For the record, I own several different traps of different types, although I have not yet actually gone trapping. My territory isn't exactly prime territory for fur-bearing mammals and transport is limited. I hope to participate in trapping in the near future.

So, my dad asks for these and I kindly ask "Why the devil do you want them?" He informed me of his situation and explained how he wanted to prove first hand that gin traps were in fact not unbearably agonizing torture devices used only by sadists. So I get out my small traps meant for things like raccoons, rabbits and things like that.

Thus we began an evening of setting the traps while I watched my dear dad shove his hands into the traps to prove a point. It isn't pleasant having your hand caught, but it is certainly bearable. It's just a dull ache that you can lose track of if you get distracted but it leaves no lasting damage. It was only when my dad asked for my biggest one that I actually got worried. The largest one I purchased on an impulse, being meant for sodding mountain lions. This thing is a beast! It took our combined bodyweight to get the flat springs all the way down.

He wished to use this one on the logic that since most trapped animals face traps very large in comparison to their size, this one would be just dandy for him to try.
I must take a moment here to say that my dad has in fact been an amazing life story and helped foster my faith in that we do indeed have a loving, caring God watching over us. There isn't a whole lot of other reason to explain why he's lived so long. Gosh I love my dad!

Anywho, next day he trundles into work and starts showing all these traps off to his coworkers. I often find that people change their tune when they simply watch a video on the internet and then actually start messing with something with their own two hands. Turns out that when you actually see gin traps in person people have a heck of a lot of fun!

My dad then puts on a display of him pinching the crap out of himself with these various traps as his coworkers ooh and ahh at his show of manliness. Then things started going South. Y'see, my dad isn't the most responsible man in the world. We've mutually agreed that he is a 53 year old child who is almost as ADD as I am and doesn't think things through very often. So when he's the most mature and responsible person in the room... You have problems...

It wasn't just limited to the people inserting their own hands into the traps for fun. They started setting the things up and hiding them across the office space. In one case they hid one of the smaller gin traps behind one fellow's keyboard and put a Fruit Rollup on the trigger pan. This gent apparently had quite a penchant for Fruit Rollups, cuz he walked right into the thing. Snap! I think he was okay with it though.

Some idiot stuck his arm into a sodding trap sideways! Okay, for you folks in the peanut gallery who haven't had a lot of experience in getting your appendages pinched and caught in stuff, if you're gonna get caught, make sure it's on a good sized chunk of skin. You see, when you only have a tiny piece of skin and no bone structure pinched between something hard, all the force is being exerted on something that is in no way meant to resist pressures. This results in mega ouchness and pain. True, it also sucks when your skin is pinched between metal and then ground against bone, but wow does it suck when it's just a tiny flap of skin!

Needless to say for those who know what I'm talking about, this didn't work out as well as this guy had planned. My dad then realized that things were getting out of hand when they started hiding the darned things underneath peoples' desks where their feet went! And given the temperatures people deal with in our territory, I'm willing to bet a few were wearing sandals! So my dad's parental instincts kicked in and promptly confiscated the new toys before anyone in management came down and wondered why half of the staff had bruises on their hands, arms and feet. I've noticed that they tend to frown on such activities that result in the employees getting hurt.

Alas, my dad's point was made, fun was had, and everyone walked away with fresh knowledge and a new perspective on life. Win win situation!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Prometheus Part 2

Back for more are we? Well, you asked for it! As amazingly dumb as things were before, they somehow continue even though two of the biggest tards got burned, broken and deep throated. While Weird Hair Guy and Toady Glasses Idiot were getting annihilated in the Death Goo Chamber there was other kinds of idiocy taking place back on the ship.

Liz, Charlie and David don't seem to care in the least that two of their crew mates are missing, but I certainly can't blame them. I wouldn't care either. Without any sort of decontamination procedures or safety precautions Liz heads to one of the lab areas with the head she took in tow. Nameless European Doctor and her begin doing preliminary tests to get some info from the elephant faced thing while Charlie is watching from nearby.

Hey, remember in the first Alien movie when Kane was brought onto the Nostromo, and they took him to a sealed medical room while wearing masks, gloves and taking other sorts of caution and being extremely careful in their investigation of what was going on? Yeah, none of that happens here. They aren't wearing protective gear of any kind as they poke and prod the weird head. Sigh. Y'know, I shouldn't even be complaining about the lack of quarantine procedures here, because what follows next is so much more monumentally dumb.

After running a scan over the thing, the first sodding one the make in this darned movie, they discover that the elephant face is just a helmet and they cut that crap off, revealing a very albino human looking head. Fascinated, they then take pictures, video feed, scrape samples off, run more scans and the like because they are responsible scientists.

Ha! Hahahahaha! Whew, that's a good one! Nah, they don't do any of that. They find this weird black crap bubbling on the Engineer's scalp and Liz thinks "Hey, maybe if we electrocute the base of the brain we can trick it into thinking that it's still alive." No, I'm not kidding. This is utter bullcrap. I'd cut her some slack here if the body was fresh, but the thing is several thousand years old. The brain should be nothing more than a pile of mush by now! This is like if Indiana Jones tried talking to a mummy by hooking jumper cables up to its nipples and hitting it with a full powered blast.

So they literally stick this electric cattle prod spike thing into the head's spinal column and start shocking the heck out of it. The face then begins to have a silent spaz attack as its dead cells are shocked but the weird black goo begins oozing out at an unnerving rate. Realizing that this doesn't look good, they turn the spike off and pull it out. The head keeps making a face like its having diarrhea however, so they shove it underneath a transparent glass box.

Then it explodes.

Um, why did it explode? And why didn't you try taking samples or sodding pictures before hooking a car battery up to it? What the heck did you idiots expect to accomplish? I think they wanted it to talk or something, but I imagine that even if the Frankenstein therapy worked, talking would be difficult since it's just a head without any lungs attached! Good grief! Where did these idiots get their degrees from? Everyone kinda putters around for a few minutes after that, feeling really stupid for having blown up the alien had by accident, as they darned well should. I mean, the thing was half fossilized. How the heck did you make it blow up ten minutes after you got it? It was kind of frigging hilarious though.

In all seriousness, are we sure this isn't a scifi comedy? If it is then Ridley Scott is a genius, cuz he pulled the wool over everyone's eyes!

Charlie gets upset and runs off like a five year old to sulk while nursing a refrigerator full of vodka. Surprisingly not completely depressed by what's happened, Liz and European Doctor scrape some of the glowing green crap off of the sides of the glass like bugs off of a windshield and run a DNA scan over it.

Meanwhile, David presumably concludes that humanity is too idiotic to survive and decides to help the process of inevitable extinction along. He goes to a secluded area and takes out that metal canister he stashed. Popping it apart he dips his hand into the monster ooze and pulls out a weird green glowing crystal thing. What does he do then? Breaks the thing open and looks at some even more evil looking ooze inside and a close-up reveals that there are tiny things moving around inside. To be fair, since he's an android he is in no danger of infection himself, so he has no reason to fear. However, he runs the risk of infecting every other thing onboard the sodding ship.
Although just before this he was utilizing the dream reading thing again with some mysterious person still in a cryo tube. Told David to do something or other.

David then gets a tiny sample of the ooze on his finger and some alcohol, then finds Charlie moping in the corner and playing with billiard balls which for some reason are all chrome. The two have a conversation in which Charlie continues to be a complete jerk to poor David. Apparently Charlie is depressed because the alien head exploded and he didn't get to have a chat with it. Never mind that his entire thesis about alien life was entirely correct, they found an entire base that undeniably confirms the existence of aliens along with all kinds of cool evidence. But nah, he's all depressed and seems to be under the impression that they are all gone.

Okay, first off, you've explored less than ten square miles of this planet. How the heck do you know there aren't a hundred other bases with live specimens skulking around? And what's more, this was a space-faring species. This might not even be their homeworld. It's quite possible and even likely you'll find them elsewhere and that you just need to keep looking you moron. This would be like if aliens came to Earth, found an abandoned shack out in the desert and then lamented that they were too late to save the human race which is now extinct. Unless they sodding looking somewhere else.

So, David asks Charlie "What would you do to find out the answers you're looking for?" And Charlie replies "Anything and everything." Okay, this is just me, and although I engage in hyperbolic exaggerations all the time, when asked something like that I'm careful about my response. That is a very vague and somewhat frightening statement that could easily be taken to illogical extremes in addition to logical ones. In one of the very few scenes that has any sort of intelligence and subtlety David arcs an eyebrow ever so slightly at this response, pours Charlie a glass of vodka and dips his infected finger into the drink as he hands it to Charlie, who proceeds to down the whole thing. It's almost as if David were asking permission to infect the jerk which I can sorta give props to for being subtle. And I'd have done the same thing.

Now, hardcore Aliens fans like myself will wonder about the behavioral inhibitors that are in place to prevent androids from harming humans. This is one thing I will give a pass to, because David is a very early model it's entirely possible and actually quite likely that he doesn't have these. Given how this company works the inhibitors would have been programmed only much later on. Surprisingly one of the few things that I wasn't upset over.

Then again, this action could easily result in the next Black Plague or something since they have no idea what it is and no guinea pigs on hand to test it on. Aw screw it, chances are it can't be all that bad.
At the same time Liz and European Doctor scrape some of the crap off of the walls so they can run a DNA test which concludes that humans and Engineers have the same DNA, and are thus the same species.

Bull. Crap.
If the DNA matched up identically then they would be humans, yes? Not ten foot tall albinos? I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they just got two human samples by accident. Ya'll wanna rerun that test just in case? I mean, it might be smart to double check in the event someone screwed up the testing. But no, they run that one test and accept it as gospel. Nothing but the finest for Project Prometheus.

Then Liz and Charlie have intercourse over some stupid contrived reason cuz she can't have kids and thus can't create life, blah blah blah, and we cut to the next morning. Charlie feels like crap, probably because he drank a quarter of his own bodyweight in alcohol, and then looking in the mirror sees some sort of worm crawling across the surface of his frigging eye! That crap would freak me out and I'd find a doctor ASAP. Ah, but Charlie is too clever for that! He decides to just keep the knowledge that he has, at the very least, a parasitic infection in his system that could very well spread and mess with his health. Or, worse yet, he caught some kind of xenomorph infection by taking off his frigging helmet inside an alien structure!

So, with these scenarios in mind, he makes the brilliant choice to NOT TELL ANYONE. He is literally surrounded by doctors, medicine and a super duper medical suite and at no point does he even hint that he might not be feeling great. We get no line or even speculation as to why he keeps clammed up about this. What, is he frigging embarrassed to have worms in his system? My gosh this is stupid. Sigh. Well, worry not my friends, he shan't be a problem much longer. The Engineer bio-weapon is about to do the galaxy a big favor.

So half of the crew suits up to go into the structure to go scrape up what's left of Weird Hair Guy and Glasses Toady Idiot into a plastic bucket, although they adorably assume that the two are still alive. Just before they leave David asks Janek why a life sign keeps popping up periodically on the holomap, and Janek says it must be a glitch, as the life sign comes up every few minutes and then fades away. David thinks otherwise and when they drive off to the structure again he takes off by himself and turns of his camera so Vickers can't peek on what he's doing.

The rest head off into the vase chamber from before where Weird Hair Guy is nowhere to be seen and the albino xeno-cobra leaps out of Glasses's mouth, freaking everyone out. Huh, apparently none of them thought it was beautiful! At that point Charlie then begins breaking down and starts turning into some abomination from the stars. His skin, voice and eyes are all changing horribly and Liz only now realizes that things aren't going great for him. So they begin booking it back to the ship and Vickers sees what's happening, suits up and gets a flamethrower prepped. The convoy arrives without David who is still screwing around, and the idiots try to convince Vickers to let Charlie onboard. However, in a rare example of intelligence and prudence she says screw that. Charlie, who is three steps away from looking like that guy who got doused with toxins in Robo Cop, decides that it's time to cash in his chips and gets set on fire by Vickers.

Yaaaaaaay! Confetti time! Break out the non-alcoholic beverages and raise a toast to Survival of the Not Completely Idiotic! Wait, why are they playing sad, dramatic music during this scene? Why does everyone look horrified at Charlie's mutated corpse being incinerated in flame? Come on screenwriters, you have to know how to set the tone. This is supposed to be a scene that relieves tension, right? A horrible plague carrier who was nothing but a monumental problem the entire time he was sucking wind was just stopped from completely botching anything else and infecting the entire crew.

Weirdly enough, I think the director wanted this scene to carry some sort emotional weight besides joy. In fact, he may have actually intended for us to feel sadness that Charlie wasn't allowed back on the ship and died. Ha! Ahahahaha! Whew, yeah, nice job screwing that up. Yeah, that didn't work at all. You have to find a character likable, or at the very least, sympathetic in order to feel sadness at their passing. For me I took sadistic pleasure in seeing him roast and give Vickers a thumbs up for doing something intelligent. I mean, what else were they supposed to do? Let the freak show onboard the ship? Screw that. I'd have done the same thing in her position, and I'm a pretty nice guy.

Back at the base, David is screwing around in another part of the place and he manages to open up another door which leads to a curious room with obvious Engineer cryotubes and a strange desk. In a set of instructions that leave me absolutely baffled he engages another hologram, uses a flute to give some sort of command, presses a few buttons that look like baby chew toys and gets a galactic holomap all over the room. Folks, I have NO clue why the system worked like that. Why would an alien flute be used to help access a program? Why do the holograms seem to just come to life out of nowhere? I don't know! I mean, crap, I've analyzed Predator tech pretty intensively and have it pretty well figured out. This leaves me totally baffled.

David discovers that one of the cryopods has a living Engineer inside, and that the life sign they picked up came from his periodic heartbeat. Sort of interesting. I'm just wondering why the darned thing is letting him have a heartbeat when he's supposed to be a preserved popsicle dangit! I need some sugar...

David comes back to the ship to sorta tell the cryo figure about what he found but also helps in checking everyone out for signs of infection. Yay, something smart! They don't know how Charlie got infected, so they are for once being prudent and checking out everyone to make sure they aren't carrying any black oil. Liz however is found to have a very unexpected passenger. Ohhhhhh yeah. Guess who has a little biological horror growing inside her?

Liz is understandably horrified that there is a biological, parasitic monster growing inside of her womb, but David does a decent job of telling her that things can work out alright. He says that they'll just knock her out on eight syringes of pain killers and sedatives and put her into cryosleep, where they will remove the thing surgically when they get back to Earth. This... is actually one of the best case scenarios that she could possibly hope for. I mean, cryopods ready so she can get treatment later? And she's literally surrounded by medical personnel. This is actually a darned good situation for her all things considered.

She flips her lid however and hysterically demands that they remove the thing from her at that very instant. I myself would wait a bit to do some more research before pulling some alien abomination out of her, but I can understand her panic. But still, you've got a fool-proof plan here with the cryopods and crap. What's the problem lady? What in the world is wrong with this plan? Why do you have to remove the thing at this very moment? For the life of me I can't think of any reason why she absolutely has to have it taken out immediately.

Before she can harm herself David knocks her out with some meds and shortly thereafter that Euro doctor and another doctor come up, make sure she's out by asking her. Right. She doesn't answer and they assume she's down, who then somehow whups their tails and bolts from the med bay entirely and goes running through the ship. Dude! Stay with the sodding surgeons! Y'know, your best chances of staying alive? They don't even chase after her. She is also running a huge risk of again infecting everyone else in the ship. I don't believe she thought this plan through.

So she runs into Vickers's life boat and hops into that medical pod mentioned earlier and demands that it give her a C-section.
Oh boy, this is where it gets fun! The thing tells her that it is programmed to operate only on male patients. This is skipping ahead a little bit, but I don't care. Weyland is actually still alive and is on the ship, and this supposedly belongs to him along with the life boat. Bullcrap. He says he has about like 24 hours of life left. If that's the case, then that life pod ain't gonna help him too much and he won't have much use for that life boat. That's kinda like buying a new engine for a sinking raft. Best move onto one that's working y'know?

I must also examine the fact that inside his cryotube and the ability to communicate via the dream reading thing, he is in fact effectively immortal. Okay, true, it'd suck to be stuck in there for eternity, but this guy already blew a trillion of the company's money on this whole event. I think he'd be willing to pay that price. He could still be able to control his company and not have to worry about going to the bathroom, eat, or any other irritating stuff. But surely no one could effectively control anything while contained in cryosleep, right?

I love this game more than life itself.

Well, on with the stupid. Liz starts shoving needles into her leg and pumping some sort of painkillers into her system. What kind they are I have no idea, and jamming them into your thighs is kind of a bad idea cuz you might tag an artery. That would be kinda bad. Anyway, since the machine won't accept a C-section as an operation, she just babbles about manually extracting a foreign body which the machine accepts. Okay, so this advanced piece of hardware can't tell if she's a guy or not. Huh. Y'know Weyland, you should really ask for a refund.

Blah. So she hops into the machine and it whips her open with a laser scalpel without knocking her out or administering any sort of anesthetic. Sure, she punched some pain killers into her system, but does the machine know that? It can't tell if she's a girl or not, so my guess is it doesn't know. So yeah, she gets a front row seat to this thing with about eight tools total open her up like gutting a fish, reach in with a pair of tongs and pull out this nasty sack with her monster spawn inside. She then detaches herself from the thing by ripping her umbilical cord like a piece of wet licorice.

Good grief, I've seen more sound surgical techniques back in the mountain man days! Jedediah smith got better treatment when his scalp was pulled over his face by a grizzly. I can only imagine the internal damage she's received from this surgery and the machine just hilariously leaves the horror sack dangling above her as it literally staples her abdomen shut without patching up anything else inside. I'm sure she's fine. But wow, you'd think this expensive thing would have some kind of basket or tray to put that little monster inside. But no, it's just left up there and of course it decides at that point to wake up, thrashing out of its thin membrane and splashing Liz with xeno-placenta, right on her still gushing wound I might add, squirming around and squealing.

It looks like a crappy squid missing a few arms and has a weird head. Actually, now that I think about it...
It looks a little something like this. Being a Kaiju geek comes in handy on occasion.
Yeah, things don't look to good and Liz opens the pod, hops out, closes it again and hits a button that is apparently there to sterilize the interior with some kind of death spray. Why on earth would a surgical unit have a function to paste its occupant? Is that a common feature in the future? Good grief. Liz then just assumes that it dies and she runs around the ship without any apparent direction or guidance and purely by accident crashes into a room where Weyland is. He got busted out of his cryotube and is now getting ready to do the same to the Engineer that was discovered in hopes of extending his life. Also, apparently Liz was the only person on board who didn't know that Weyland was with them.

I cannot fathom why he kept this a secret from her and Charlie only. Really. Not one single thing comes to mind as to why this would help him. No one else at all seems surprised, so they must have known too. Your guess is as good as mine, man. Maybe he just wanted to screw around with her for giggles. Anyway, he informs her that an Engineer is still alive and he's going to go pay it a visit. Liz tells him that this is a pretty bad idea as the place is kinda nutso, but he doesn't seem to care and invites her along. Not even bothering to mention that she just had the very first xeno-abortion ever and that they should maybe check up on the thing to make sure it's dead she decides to join them, wanting to know why the Engineers created humanity and now why they want to wipe them out. I also find it hilarious how she's covered in yellowish-brown gunk, blood, has a wicked laser scar across her abdomen while in her underwear and nobody even blinks in surprise. No one goes "Holy crap! What the heck happened to you? I mean jeez! You there, check her blood pressure!" Nope. David gives her a blanket, but it astounds me at how casually everyone reacts to her when she looks like she just had a knife fight with Jason.

Janek comes to the conclusion that this is a bio-weapon development facility put there specifically so that if the biological agent got loose it wouldn't mess up the entire race. Now, he doesn't know this for sure but... I agree with him. All the facts they have available point to this conclusion and it makes sense, being one of the few things that doesn't bother me. And Liz has the desire to know why the Engineers want to kill humanity, which is a legit question that isn't immediately obvious. Now, we don't know if this facility was endorsed by the entire species or if it was a rogue group. We have no clue. I still debate the idea that the Engineers created humans, but this is the only point where I actually felt my brain cells getting some sort of workout.

So Weyland is getting prepped with a strange prosthetic suit along with David, Liz and a few other guys and head out for the facility and the cryotube. Before they leave though Vickers addresses Weyland as her father. This feels so tacked on. What does this serve? You could have cut that out entirely and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference. Really. You could have saved us thirty seconds and we wouldn't have missed a thing.

The Scooby Gang putters off in the Monster Machine towards the structure while everyone else sits on the ship to watch the gore fest from the safety of their impregnable ship. Well, until they get a signal from Weird Hair Guy's helmet, showing that he's right in front of the ship. What do they do? They lower the ramp instead of going out of one of the side doors with weapons prepped and some guy walks right up to Weird Hair Guy, who's face-plate is broken, his face is a mask of mutated horror and his body is twisted and contorted so that his heels are on either side of his sodding head.

Anyone with any sense would have walked right back into the ship and closed the door. But no, the guy walks up, nudges the semi-corpse with his foot and turns his back to it to say something to his friend. This is a VERY easy thing to fix. Instead of having the body twisted over like a contortionist, have him laying face down with his arms and legs splayed a little bit. That way the guy coming out doesn't see the broken helmet or messed up face and can easily come to the conclusion that he crawled out of the structure and is in desperate need of medical attention, prompting him to turn and tell his compatriot that it's their pal and that he requires immediate help.

But no, had to make it painfully obvious that Weird Hair Guy is now a rabid mutation in such a way that no rational human being would approach him without an AA-12 loaded with buckshot handy and ready to go. So as soon as the guy turns his back Weird Hair Guy rises up and proceeds to lay waste to what little of the crew is still intact, murdering maybe six guys inside the hangar bay. Their pistols are pretty much useless, either not penetrating the armor plate or they just don't have the moxie to put him down. Man, it'd sure be nifty if they had some shotguns for this sorta situation! Who could have predicted some sort of need for weapons?

In fact, the guys in the bay are getting ripped apart with such efficiency that Janek and one of his co-pilots have to suit up, grab flamethrowers and run down there to try and put an end to the monster. Two of the guys still alive have the smarts to hide in one of the huge vehicles and run the monster over like a rabbit beneath a semi truck and Janek gets to finish it off. Holy crap these guys suck at their jobs. The sodding captain and one of the pilots had to go directly into harm's way to take care of business! What would have happened if those two guys got killed too? The ship is kinda boned, cuz everyone else with authority is over in the facility.

So they all tromp into the room with the Engineer and wake him up. Liz tries to have David ask him why they wanted to kill humanity while Weyland tries asking if it can give him more life. David asks Weyland's question and the Engineer responds by ripping his head off, killing the guards and smacking Weyland aside like a punching bag as Liz runs away. By the way, considering that she just injected a fistful of painkillers into her body and had about six pounds of alien torn out of her, shouldn't she be laying in a bed and doped to the gills on morphine? I consider myself a bit of a trooper, but I'd take five after an incident like that. The Engineer doesn't bother with her and activates a piloting system, revealing that part of the facility is actually a space ship identical to the one from Alien.

Liz bails from the U ship and tells Janek that the thing most likely plans to ace Earth by dropping those bio-weapons on it and turning everyone into monsters. While she technically doesn't know that for a fact, I'm inclined to agree with her given the very short exposure to this place and its occupants. So Janek decides that he's had enough of all this crap and prepares to kamikaze the Prometheus into the Engineer ship. Vickers doesn't like this idea and decides to bail.

Now, this is a part where I get confused. The Prometheus is going to launch itself at the Engineer ship in 40 seconds I think. Very little time. But she spends all of this time putting on a space suit and getting into a life pod which spurts from the Prometheus at the last moment. My question is why she didn't go to the life boat. Was it too far away and it would've taken more than 40 seconds to get there? Did she not think about it? I really don't know, and this just confuses me more than angers me. I just don't get it. They could have easily justified why she couldn't jump into the boat from the start, but they didn't. So I have no choice but to just throw up my hands and give up. Nothing makes sense for this part. It's not like she knew the squid monster was in there. Liz never mentioned it to anyone. I just... I don't... Oi, someone help me...

And this movie still isn't frikking over... So Janek and his two co-pilots go out in a blaze of glory and knock that Engineer ship right out of the sky, and we lose one of the very few cool characters that was actually enjoyable in this whole debacle. The life boat also is detached just before they rocket away. Vickers gets out of the pod just as the Engineer ship comes crashing down like a meteor. Liz and Vickers make a run for it as the thing rolls towards them like a wheel of doom. Even when I first saw this movie I wondered why they didn't just angle away slightly so that they could evade the falling ship. Literally fifteen feet in either direction and they're in the clear!

True, it's difficult to think clearly in such situations of mortal peril, I admit this. But there are also examples of these occasions where the human brain speeds up and goes into Super Mode, where you can analyze things at an extraordinary pace and come up with solutions in the blink of an eye. I've had this happen to myself on several occasions. It happens almost on instinct yet with the intelligent precision that you usually don't have when focusing on a crossword puzzle. This is common in fights. If you read about shooting incidents you can find cases of shooters identifying miniscule details or coming up with quick efficient plans before they can blink.

So either way you come down on it these people were just plain stupid. Vickers gets crushed, Liz gets lucky, and crawls back to the life boat with only a few seconds of air left to spare. Oh, remember that aborted alien? Apparently it has the morphing speed of that blue liquid in the movie Evolution if put beneath a heating lamp. The thing went from being the size of a rabbit to that of a deflated elephant! Liz grabs a futuristic fireaxe and prepares to rumble. While I don't think it would have any real function given how it's shaped, it does look kinda cool so I'll give it a pass and her a single thumbs up for having the presence of mind to actually grab a weapon before trying to explore her spawn.

Luckily the huge monstrosity seems unable to open the door. David is still alive, although I wouldn't give him much time to live, he informs Liz that the Engineer is still alive, a smidge peeved and on his way to get her. Well, it can't know that she's in there but personally I just rationalized that its own ship was screwed and that it needed to get into the nearest shelter it could find, that being the life boat where there is oxygen and an intact engine system. Makes sense to me.

So it busts in and tries to beat Liz's head against the wall but she hits the button to open the door and her kid pounces on the Engineer like a predatory starfish. Liz grabs her helmet, somehow gets her oxygen tanks refilled and gets the crap out of there. So, Engineer is having trouble fending off Viras, which grows tentacles, grabs his head and then... it... um...

Gamera movies can be strangely prophetic...
So yeah, Engineer gets infected and the 2,000 pound facehugger feels that it's job has been done. Thank Odin this movie is almost over... Liz sobs for a bit and David tells her that he's still alive and can help her get off of the planet since there are other ships hidden on the planet. How he knows this escapes me, but Liz takes his word for it and informs him that she's going to find more Engineers and find out why they planned to screw humans over, hinting at a sequel. Shortly thereafter the Engineer body twitches and writhes as a primitive xenomorph bursts from his chest and screeches in primal rage.

Then credits.

Finally. It's over. It's over! Sigh... This was a pretty painful movie. I'm honestly astounded when people actually try to say that it's thought provoking. It is not. It is a pretentious movie that thinks it is far smarter and thought out than it actually is. This is NOT on par with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Honestly, after awhile of thinking about it Prometheus is far more akin to a scifi comedy. Or a parody of the original Alien movie. The attempts at religious symbolism and theme in here are handled with the same grace and finesse as a three year old with a chainsaw. It really feels like this was a rough draft and that they hadn't ironed out the kinks.

I'm not saying that you can't have a movie where religion grates against science. That is actually interesting. But this isn't how you do it. It's just confusing, poorly executed and messy. I mean, there are a few good things. Fassbender as David is actually darned good. He nails the part wonderfully and is one of the few characters that I didn't want to beat with a piece of pipe. The effects are actually pretty good and the cinematography, which is not my forte, is admittedly excellent.

But for me that's like having a few intact planks on the bottom of a boat. Sure, you have a few good ones, but if you don't have the those other planks in place the entire thing will sink. The story, majority of the characters and themes are all so wretched and poorly handled that I am left in absolute awe that it was in fact made into a movie. Like I said before, this feels like a rough draft. Had this been handled better this could have been a pretty awesome movie.

Ironically, the only thing that really doesn't irritate me or seem completely stupid is the stuff involving the actual aliens. Before this movie came out I read almost every book, looked at every comic and played almost every game even relating to the Aliens franchise. I've examined them more than any person with any interest in a social life should. With that in mind we were never really shown for sure where the Xenos came from. There were two basic theories amongst the Aliens fanbase. One was that they were natural creatures that came from an extremely hostile and remote environment, and the other was that they were biologically engineered weapons for bio-warfare.

I always fell into the second camp. It just plain looked to me like they were designed to be weapons, to kill and spread in any and all environments they were exposed to. This movie supports this theory in a way that I can actually get behind. The monster goo itself honestly doesn't bother me. It actually makes sense. Shocking, considering how I just beat this movie to death with a cudgel with rusty nails rammed through it.

The idea of the goo being spread and infecting people in different ways with different horrific results is actually interesting and has potential for good horror. It's just that it was handled so poorly. I never thought I'd see the day where Kane in Alien seemed intelligent and cautious, but here it is. Now, I'm not trying to imply that this movie fits in perfectly with the pre-established Aliens material. Holy crap, reading almost every comic for Aliens in existence along with the cross-overs is enough to try anyone's sanity. Continuity is all over the place. There are so many leaps of logic, contradictions and the like in the comics that you get jaded pretty darned quickly.

Books can be messed up too. One of them has the unique honor of being the ONLY book that I have ever hated with such raw intensity that upon finishing it I mutilated it and threw it in the trash. I'm so not the type to throw books out, so this was quite unusual.

This movie wasn't quite the worst Aliens story I've ever seen. But if you've been as dedicated a fan as myself and read as much extended universe as I have you'll see what I mean. Even so, this movie is an amazing failure. The characters are what I'd expect from a Syfy Original Movie in terms of intelligence and the use of themes such as religion versus science is just insulting. It's so awfully delivered that I'm speechless and have difficulty conveying just how stupid it is.

In conclusion, this movie sucks. It is not an intellectual movie that explores deep and interesting ideas. It is a crappy, brainless horror movie that failed to even incite emotions remotely relating to fear or tension. It's pretentious head is stuck so far up its own backside that it can't tell how ridiculous the image of a head inserted into its own sphincter actually is. Those of you who think this movie is smart, you are wrong. You are just wrong.

Sigh. I'm going to go watch or read something more intellectually stimulating and interesting than this movie. Like Street Sharks. Or Spaceballs. 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Stomping Land part 1

Alright folks, at the end of the month of May we'll finally get to see the very first version of the online game The Stomping Land!

I'm stoked to see how this game handles. Heck, maybe playing this I can get some inspiration for future stories!
When it comes out you can be sure I'll be giving it a try, and I'll see how it plays and give a little review on it. Hopefully it's as awesome as it looks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Primal Frontier: My upcoming series begins!

Alright ladies and gentlemen, behold the upcoming series! Primal Frontier!
This is the brainchild that I've been gestating for almost three years now and finally getting rolling.

Primal Frontier is a Weird West alternate history setting in the 1860's and 1870's on a massive continent that is populated by all sorts of exotic creatures from our past, the most prominent being dinosaurs. It is a primitive and savage land, bristling with dangerous animals and hostile natives. This land of mystery and peril has been only scarcely explored. But brave men and women will venture into the unknown and encounter all manner of adventures.

Magna Terra is a monster continent occupying the space that North and South America used to take up, and even with all of the dangers that are present, the allure of adventure or starting a new life brings all sorts of people from the lands of Europe and Asia to explore its depths.

Enterprising hunters glide through the woods for dangerous prey in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Prospectors probe the hills and mountains for precious gold and opals. Miners dig into the earth for iron and copper. Railroads begin snaking across the countryside with their puffing locomotives. Bounty hunters and lawmen try to find deadly criminals. Militia try to fend off hostile tribals who thirst for blood. Daring sailors and river boatmen brave the murky waters that are alive with fierce water beasts and pirates. There are criminals hoping to escape organized law in the scattered lands while governments vie for control and expansion.

This series will have everything from men fighting man-eating dinosaurs to train robberies, miners fighting off bandits to sea reptiles attacking pirates, natives riding domesticated dinosaurs to archeologists discovering lost civilizations. Folks, I've thrown everything but the kitchen sink into building up this world and I hope it will be as immersive as I find it to be.

For the moment the stories will be in the form of short stories or novellas very much like the Robert E. Howard stories. Short but dense and fast paced. This will also allow me to write stories quickly, keep them compact and do a lot of them over a great many adventures.
I've got a handful of characters lined up already, and each will have their escapades with their own goals and tones.

My very first story, which will be uploaded onto the Amazon Kindle system, will be free so that everyone can get a feel for the world, my primary character and the style. Future stories will be in anthologies, although I am not yet sure just how many stories of what length will go into each anthology. Let me know what you think would be good in the comments!

For the dinosaur nuts, I've done a crap load of research so that the animals will be fairly accurate, but I've found that it will be impossible to get them down 100% due to the fact that paleontology is always changing as new discoveries are made. With that said I hope you won't flip your lid if I get some physical features incorrect or if some species behaviors seem out of place. I've actually worked to create an organic environment where wildlife realistically interacts with the things around them, so in order to streamline the setting I've had to cheat here and there. This isn't to imply that I haven't done research and I'm lazy, heavens no! I've actually spent a few pretty pennies to get access to excellent sources so that I could get some of the best information possible given my limited resources.

The premise of alternate history gives me a bit of leeway in the regard of animals of different continents and epochs interacting, which I know is a huge pet peeve of paleontologists both professional and for fun. For this setting, just try to use Dinotopia logic.
Also don't go ape if the characters get things wrong either. In this period of time paleontology didn't really exist in any organized form, and most of the people who come to this continent are unscientific rubes who will fall back on more primitive ideas to explain the dinosaur stuff. I know darned well they aren't reptiles, but that's how guys back then would describe them.

If you're a gun nut, you will love some of the stuff in here. Being a hopeless addict of firearms from that era and having read reams of information about 1800's guns from European muzzle-loading elephant guns to American frontier lever action rifles you'll find yourself looking at things both familiar and different, but all accurate to the period. Those of you who haven't read about the transitions from black powder to smokeless powder or muzzle loaders to cartridges will have little care, but those who do will see parallels or interesting divergences from firearm evolution that we know. Finally, all that reading is going to pay off! :D

There will even be different cultures already on Magna Terra consisting mostly of primitive tribes with various religious beliefs and behaviors. And don't worry, they won't all be nameless, faceless savages who attack everything on sight. Their behavior towards visitors will depend on many things, just like in real life. Heck, a few of them will end up being main characters! I'm hoping that they will come across as believable and understandable.

I've even put a good chunk of effort into economics and political interactions. But don't worry, you are under little threat of being bored by mundane political analysis in this series. It is only a means to sow the seeds of adventure for our heroes. Political strife and economic strain make for good adventure prompts. ;)

All in all, this is a detailed world I've developed and will continue to flesh out as the series continues across many stories. We'll explore lost civilizations, fight fierce beasts, meet strange peoples, fight in great battles and almost anything else you could want.

Just a recap: Dinosaurs, cowboys, explorers, hunters, pirates, locomotives, bandits, gunslingers, bounty hunters, gold miners, jungle huntresses, dinosaur riders, treasure hunters, archeologists, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits- Wait, no, those last four are for something else. You get the idea!
Stay tuned for the upcoming awesome!

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Austen Michael Confer
Artwork done by the fantastic Irulana


Primal Frontier is now published and up! Please take a look, buy and leave a review, and most of all enjoy! :)
Here is the first installment and introductory story, Hunter from the Red Hills
Here is another, Stalkers in the Storm

Monday, May 5, 2014

Music parody at its finest

When it comes to monster movies John Carpenter's The Thing is one of my all time favorites. I've only seen one other movie that can approach the level of paranoia that this move puts forward and I never find myself getting bored of it. It is a brilliant movie that represents the genre's finest.

That being said, I absolutely love this parody song for it. If you haven't seen the movie already, go watch it immediately. It's like five dollars on Amazon, and if you appreciate good horror it will provide you with countless hours of entertainment and cost you weeks of lost sleep.

But yeah, give this song a listening to. It's brilliant! Behold, The Thing The Musical!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Very cool rifle! Farquharson double barrel falling block

The double barrel rifle has always been a darned impressive weapon with an inseparable attachment to Africa. Looking upon a beefy double rifle frame conjures ideas of ivory hunters in the bush, brave men facing down fierce man eating lions or charging buffalo. The frames can take a royal beating and remain functional while packing some astounding firepower. They can fire anything between the potent 375 Holland and Holland up to the overcompensating 700 Nitro Express, although I've seen even bigger pill pushers.

Now, most of the older models have exposed hammers with a swinging lever on the top of the frame, although I've seen other models with the lever beneath the frame, tucked below the trigger guard. Then there are the hammerless models, which are almost exclusive today. Very nifty hunting tools, but I came across a variant not long ago during my many searches that really caught my interest.
Check this out!

This is a double barrel falling block rifle descended straight from the Farquharson design, a predecessor to the reputed Ruger No.1 Single Shot. It is a very strong and reliable frame and is mighty quick with reloading. One of the difficulties with traditional double guns is that when the action is opened you run a good risk of getting gunk stuck between the parts, making it difficult to close. Walter Bell stated that this was one of the primary reasons he stuck with bolt actions, as any bit of grit or twig that got hung up in the action made it impossible to close and required cleaning.

Well, this takes care of that pesky problem! No more worrying about getting anything caught in the gears, which might include your hand which would be most unpleasant. Nope, here you work a lever that snuggles nicely beneath the trigger guard which can spit the spent shells out the back quickly and is instantly ready to accept fresh ones.
Pretty cool!

Now, don't mistake this as meaning that I don't like traditional hinged double guns. Those things are so cool and I am a hopeless nostalgic. At the same time I'm an unashamed eccentric and I love innovation. I can't help myself!
I've actually seen two or three other double barrel falling block rifles from the older days which fascinate me, but those are basically collectors items these days. This however is something that you can purchase and use today in genuine hunting situations. Although I'm a lever gun man myself, I'd love to take this piece out for a spin. I reckon that it has wonderful balance and handling characteristics.

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be able the Cowboy can take this on the trail!

I recommend you take a look at the maker of this rifle and see what else you can discover.

Although this has nothing to do with lever action double guns, I find this article to be most fascinating regarding double gun accuracy. There's a lot of very informative and fascinating articles on this place anyway, so take a poke and see what you can find!