donderdag 24 april 2014

Book review: Doctor Who: Earthworld - Jacqueline Rayner

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection.
Eleven Classic Adventures.
Eleven brilliant writers.  One incredible Doctor.

Anji has just had the worst week of her life.  She should be back at her desk, not travelling through time and space in a police box.  The Eight Doctor is supposed to be taking her home, so why are there dinosaurs outside?  The Doctor doesn`t seem to know either, or else he surely would have mentioned the homicidal princesses, teen terrorists and mad robots?  One thing is certain: Anji is never going to complain about Monday mornings in the office again.

With the 50th anniversary of the franchise, the BBC had a whole series of novels released, each detailing an adventure with a Doctor so far (this was between the `insertion` of the "War Doctor" aka John Hurt into the timeline), and this novel details a story of the Eight Doctor, who was prtrayed by the excellent Paul McGann in the not-so excellent TV movie when they did a first attempt to launch Doctor Who in the States.

Travelling with asian decended office drone Anji and the not so famous 60s crooner Fitz Fortune, they find themselves stranded on New Jupiter, in an amusement exhibition parc called Earthworld, which hommages their legacy to earth by recreating attractions from different timezones.  Though the fact those got filtered through into the future mainly due to popular current day entertainment like television shows and comics, there are a lot of (funny) mistakes and inconsistencies.

The Doctor, suffering from amnesia, and his companions soon get wound up in a series of accidents that kill visitors to the parc, and they learn that there is a struggle between those that want to re-attach to Earth, and those that want New Jupiter to develop it`s own cultural identity.  When the murderers turn out to be the three daughters of the reigning president Hoover, emotionally unstable and in anger due to having been locked up almost all their young lives for killing their mother, the chase is on to put a stop to the whole history parc gone rampage.

The story itself has a lot of intrigue and leads you on a wrong track more then once, as between the humans, there are also the very humanlike androids that occupy the parc.  You will get ideas of how it all fitted together, only to have it revoked a few chapters later, with a conclusion that was rather unsuspected.  Like in the earlier series, and especcially with the 5th Doctor and the stories on television back then, this Doctor (who had only 90 minutes of fame after all, petty considering what a great actor McGann is) tends to rely more on his companions then others, definitly more then the current day generation so far.

It is an enjoyable read, but not the best book I`ve been reading the last months, but it suited well as lightly digestive reading on the bus and the likes.  Is it worth getting?  Yes if you`re a Doctor Who fan, but if your `just` a general fantasy / sci-fi and the likes reader, I think there are many more books out there that might be more intresting to pick up first.

Overal rating: 5 out of 10

woensdag 23 april 2014

150.000+ views, thank you all!

It must have happened somewhere between yesterday afternoon and today while I was over at the school, that my humble internet corner reached the 150.000 marks of being viewed.

In this voyage of being around for about 4 years, people have followed me from the small scale beginnings when it was founded as a platform for our Pulp games at the wargames club, along tournaments and convention reports, and so through the shift of the last two years more towards those other intrests of mine, like anime and Lego.

People kept visiting when it was a `score board` for the Playstation Challenge with Andy, and still seem to visit my ramblings to this day as I turn left and right through the lives of geekdom, even through my recent F1 reviews.

A BIG thanks to all of you, wether your a Follower or someone dropping by through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or by accident.

And I will promise to make sure to polute the airways with my highly subjective opinions and takes on things!

And remember

People seem to associate adulthood with being serious and "putting away such childish things", but really, adulthood is about being who you are and having a spirit, a creative one at that while still being responsible.
Being and adult doesn't mean "reject what you once loved because it is perceived as childish", being an adult means maturing and working independently within this world, taking responsibility and things like that.

dinsdag 22 april 2014

AoM Tower Phase 3

"Finally some rest!" the old wizard grumbled.

He had retired to a cave only to have villagers climb the cliffs for all their petty issues.  He build a cabin, but to no avail as they came boinking on his door.  Now he hadfinally constructed a menacing black tower, and hired some cyclopean muscle to keep unwanted guests away.

He gazed down the edge and saw his muscle burn the last parts of the wooden stairs.  They might be more muscle then brains, their leader barely able to count to potato, but at least they understood simple commands, albeit often to the letter.

As he thought over that, he suddenly realised he had ordered them to burn `all` stairs... and then saw that the stair leading to his rooftop experiment terrace was gone.

As he shouted a loud NOOOOOOO in frustration, a reply came back from below...


The fire burning down the last steps of the stairs

Chase off ALL intruders

I completed my third and final phase of the Age of Mitgardia `Defenses - Tower` phase, and continued on the track of a wizard`s tower.  Now to wait the verdict to be allowed to add that Watchmen title to the profile ;-)

maandag 21 april 2014

10.000 Achievement Points Achieved

An achievement popped that I didn`t have my eye on... Collector: Thunder King Insignias.

Nothing fancy about that one, just your run of the mill archeology 10 pointer... but also one that marked the 10.000th Achievement Point obtained in World of Warcraft, putting me officially in the 5 digit club now, and the first geeky goal of this year obtained.

Hyoga EX line Myth Cloth announced

What a great Easter morning for a Saint Seiya fan like me, as this morning Tamashii Nations has announced their next arrival in the EX line: Hyoga in his `v2` bronze cloth.


With the EX line, the very bad original Myth cloths are being replaced one by one, and this one comes like the others with the `normal` and the `broken` versions, which technically means you could make for example the armour mode and the broken mode worn versions from a single kit, though I`ll be getting down the road of assembling the cool Siberian in his normal armour.  And use my old Myth range version to be re-assembled in the object mode.

He comes with a couple of different face options, inlcuding a version with one closed eye (for the Isaac fight onwards), and the one I`ll be probably using, screaming while doing the Aurora Thunder Attack.

Standing 17.5 cm`s tall, he is expected to be released in August this summer, and considering the fact that merchandise wise Hyoga is by far the least popular of all (his God Cloth version for example costs half of the rest), he probably won`t be to hard to find, nor be to expensive.

Count down and Archonia watching for pre-orders has begin ;-)

zondag 20 april 2014

F1 2014 GP China - Review

The fourth grand prix again of the season, and once more the money is on the Mercedes cars, specifically on Lewis Hamilton, once more on pole.  

And now the british driver with the most pole positions ever.  

Rosberg is only 4th due to the both Red Bulls going strong in yesterdays wet qualifiers, with Ricciardo outqualifying reigning world champion Vettel.  The Williamses did good times as well, since earlier in Malaysia rain had spelled disaster for their lay out, while Perez and both McLaren`s put in disappointing results.  Maldonado, with his 5 grid penalty from torpedoing Guttierez is at the last spot, and didn`t even manage to set a time, starting at the stewards discretion.

Furthermore, Magnussen is the only one to start on the medium compound, while estimations are most teams will be on a 2 stop strategy on this track that seems almost drawn for the Mercedes cars.

And so we are off on this easter weekend for hopefully some nice racing like a fortnight ago in the deserts of Bahrain.  Right at the start, both Williamses of Massa and Bottas have minor shunts with respectively Alonso and Rosberg, but to no serious harm bar all but the spaniard losing a few positions.  Alonso on the other hand shoots off as a rocket to third position, under the watchfull eye of new Ferrari team principal Matiacci.

Lap 4: Lotus seems to have improved, as Grosjean, who had qualified an excellent 10th, manages to keep up the pace and drives around in 8th position.

Lap 6: Rosberg doesn`t seem to be able to send telemetry to the pitwall and the team confirms they cannot fix this problem, making him having to drive `blind` on fuel consumption.  At the same time, Sutil is forced to retire due to technical issues.

Lap 10: As the first round of pitstops commences, Hamilton already has a 10 second lead...

Lap 11: Massa comes in for a set of fresh tyres, but serious issues with the tyregun and wheel connection make it happen he is standing still for almost half a minute and ruining his race, putting all potential points gains for Williams now with Bottas.

Lap 17: Hamilton comes in for his first of 2 stops, and keeps a large lead upon rejoining the track.

Lap 18: Classic formula one, as Rosberg has to read pitboards for information on fuel consumption and all, as he has no data for himself.  But with the Red Bull and the Ferrari before him and at a better pace then before, it might happen Mercedes won`t score their third sequential 1-2.

You know, this and reading about some small teams in F1 since I started following the sport in 1991, makes me miss the days of back then, with the small `micro teams` like AGS (here shown in their 1992 entry with Grouillard), pay driver circus artists, pre-qualifications... you couldn`t be feeling something else then sympathy and even adoration for those chanceless competitors.  Heck, even the farce called Andrea Moda brought something to the sport.  For all the wrong reasons perhaps, but they had soul to say the least.  Even Caterham and Marussia are ultra professional outfits compared to some of those teams from days gone long by.

Lap 21: Fastest man on the track bar both Mercedes is Ricciardo, clocking better times then Alonso but especially Vettel. In the meantime, 16th started Perez has hauled himself back into a point scoring position.

Lap 23: Rosberg shoots past Vettel in 3rd with his DRS, as Ricciardo also gains on his team mate.  Is aother in-team battle coming?

Lap 24: YES!  Ricciardo attacks Vettel, and puts him on the defensive.  Vettel is clearly not used to having a lieutenant who attacks his general without second thought, and then the harsh words come from the pitwall that Vettel needs to let Ricciardo pass, the aussie being much faster than him.  Faces at the pitwall of Horner and Marko clearly show this is a situation they didn`t expect during the season after the Webber years... as now another aussie is here to challenge their posterboy, and this one is far more competitive over the whole weekend then `duel bulldog` Mark was.

Lap 26: Vettel refuses the team order (he, what else is new?), but Ricciardo muscles his way past him none the less and races immediatly out of his DRS area.

Lap 28:  At the halfway mark, it seems most reliability isues at the teams have been solved, as we only have one retirement so far, though Grosjean is also strugling, having lost his 4th gear.

Lap 32: The inevitable happens and Romain has to retire with a gearbox failure.

Lap 34: As Alonso pits, Rosberg gets to second and pits 4 laps later together with Ricciardo.  Hamilton comes in one round after that, and then the top 4 and only podium contenders are Hamilton before Alonso, Rosberg and Ricciardo.

Lap 41: With 15 laps to go, Mercedes unleashes their potential and Rosberg starts catching Alonso by 1.5 seconds a lap, and cruises past him on lap 42.

Lap 46: As Ricciardo started to catch up to the Ferrari, Alonso reacts and seems to be able to keep the gap between 3 to 5 seconds, but with tyres 4 rounds older then the Red Bull, can he hold it to the end?

Finish: Hamilton scores a pure hatrick,and Rosberg completes the third sequential 1-2 for Mercedes.  Behind him Alonso keeps off Ricciardo smoothly, but all in all this was a very meek, call it `easter lamb` race.  Nearly no duels bar some halfway around 8th place, not a single `investigation`, and only 2 retirements, this definitly was nowhere near the level of Bahrain last round.

The results:

1. Hamilton - Mercedes
2. Rosberg - Mercedes
3. Alonso - Ferrari

4. Ricciardo - Red Bull Renault
5. Vettel - Red Bull Renault
6. Hulkenberg - Force India Mercedes
7. Bottas - Williams Mercedes
8. Raikonnen - Ferrari
9. Perez - Force India Mercedes
10. Kvyat - Toro Rosso Renault

11. Button - McLaren Mercedes
12. Vergne - Toro Rosso Renault
13. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
14. Maldonado - Lotus Renault
15. Massa - Williams Mercedes
16. Gutteriez - Sauber Ferrari
17. Bianchi - Marussia Ferrari
18. Kobayashi - Caterham Renault
19. Chilton - Marussia Ferrari
20. Ericsson - Caterham Renault

Mercedes stays the dominant force, but if we look more to the back of the field, it seems Ferrari is taking steps towards closing the gap with Renault, both engines now about level.

Of more notice, for the second race in a row, McLaren failed to score points, while Kvyat takes his third points finish out of 4 races, and that 4th one he was 11th and only missed it by a zipper, but he is outclassing Vergne for sure.

In the battle of the little guys, Bianchi takes the `win` this time for Marussia, and the team, which I must admit with pain in the heart, is better atm then Caterham, who might indeed begin fearing folding by CEO Tony Fernandes at the end of the season.

Driver of the Race

Alonso!  Sure, Ferrari has taken some steps forward, but he outclasses Raikonnen more then expected at the moment, and brought home the first podium of 2014 for the legendary team today.

Team of the Race:

Okay, it might get boring, but `der total conzept` is rather complete.  Now that we return to Europe, mayor updates are to be expected at the competition, but rest assured so while they!

The Cult of Chilton

23 Starts, 23 Finishes.  Max keeps going at it!  I don`t know if people realize it, but the headlines in Bahrain where all about Jenson having to be forced to end a 25 GP streak without a single DNF.  Well, 3 more GP`s at this rate, and little, often disrespected in the media Max is breaking that streak!  In a bloody Marussia!!!  Show Max some love!!!!!

NOTE: The next GP, Spain, on the 11th of May I won`t be reviewing, as I have flea market treasure hunting that day

zaterdag 19 april 2014

Movie Review: Riddick - The Director`s Cut

I finally started to work through my immense backlog of material I still have to watch (we`re talking 1100+ hours here of movies, series, anime, documentaries... dating back years in some cases) and yesterday it was the turn for Riddick.

I`m also going to try a new style of review `lay out` starting from this review onwards, to make it all a bit more clearer and overseeable.  Maybe I`ll stick to it, maybe I don`t, but I figured what the heck, it`s worth to try...


Going back to it`s roots of dark sci-fi horror like the cult movie Pitch Black was over a decade ago, Riddick finds himself betrayed and abandoned on a ferocious planet inhabited by all kinds of dark and deadly animals.  When he wants to get off of the planet as he sees a huge rainstorm, and accompanying Mud Devil beasties, approach, he turns on the emergency beacon at a mercenery post to attract a `taxi service`.

First to arrive is a group of your run of the mill backyard redneck mercenaries, led by a nutjob called Santana, soon followed by a professional outfit led by `Big Johns`, the father of the drug addicted mercenary from Pitch Black.

Soon Riddick starts to take out some of the mercenaries in order to get his hands on one of the ships, but when the storm closes in, he lets himself be caught and tries to strike a deal before all hell breaks lose, but is betrayed and his pet jackhal that he caught and trained on the planet killed by Santana.  He vows that whenever he gets freed, he`d kill him within 5 seconds, and does so indeed in a highly spectacular way.

Mud devils open the attacks then, and the movie turns more from an Alien into an Aliens style of flick, but has some entertaining moments, before in the end Big Johns decides Riddick is worth saving and they manage to leave the planet, Riddick returning to the Necromongers to settle a score.

In the theatrical version, the movie ends when the ships take off, but in the DC version, which is 8 minutes longer, we find Riddick back in the Necromonger fleet to settle the score with the commander that betrayed him, and learn that the new Lord Commander apparently has reached Transcendance, leaving our `hero` to stare over a portal to the Underverse and open ending the movie for a possible 4th instalment, though with this ending I fear it might be more of a Chronicles of Riddick style movie... which was bad as in `within the franchise`.  Dark and gloomy, that`s the way these movies need to be...

Why should you watch this movie?

* Because Vin Diesel is his own cool self again as the murdering Furyan criminal Riddick.
Did you know, as a this is a bit of his own project, he agreed to make his cameo appearance in The Fast and The Furious 3: Tokyo Drift in exchange for the rights of the character and franchise of Riddick.

* Because there is that certain shower scene where every drooling geek sees Battlestar`s Galactica Starbuck`s errrm, 'blasters'...

* The CGI rendered pet dog and the surroundings are gorgeous.  Make sure though you get the BluRay version over the DVD version, like with Pacific Rim, the clearer screens make it all a bit more cohesive then the often darker colours of the poorer DVD quality.

Why shouldn`t you watch the movie?

* If you saw Pitch Black, the sequence of events is rather predictable.

* This is not a cuddly cosey together with your girlfriend kind of movie unless she is of course a die hard sci-fi fan.

* Don`t go looking here for Shakespearian dialogues.  Heck, at times, you might wish they just shut up...

My totally personal verdict:

The movie is definintly better then the Chronicles of Riddick, which for me was a nightmarishly bad movie, but suffers from a feel of `having done before`.  Now with that, I don`t mean the genre in itself of lots of monsters vs desperate people trying to escape, but even within the franchise with Pitch Black.

It is though an enjoyable flick for 2 hours of no thinking entertainement, and after all, a late night movie is just about blowing of steam and don`t think or worry to much, so on that part the movie delivered for me.


I`m going to be harsh here, and rate it at 3.5 out of 10.