Album Review: Two Suns

Two Suns by Bat for Lashes
9.0 of 10
Buy this album from Amazon
Download this album from Amazon

I forgot how I stumbled upon Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan). But her work in her 2006 debut, Fur and Gold, made me acknowledge her as an artist. She's a very talented songwriter, a storyteller and a singer all at the same time. Her style is an amalgam of all the great female artist like Tori Amos, PJ Harvey and even Bjork. Apparently, however, even though I enjoyed her debut album and it's modern fantasy themes, I stashed my copy of Fur and Gold away and have completely forgotten about it.

Three years after her debut, Natasha Khan returns with her follow up album, entitled Two Suns. Khan's latest album is a bit far-off from her debut as she tones down her alternative influences and turns up the 80's electropop. The whole album is riddled with beats, swirling synths and electronics, especially in songs like "Daniel" and "Pearl's Dream", that can get you up on your feet. Khan also sings beautifully in here. Her voice, the real gem in the album, as showcased in "Glass" and "Moon and Moon", is very ethereal and can paint wondrous atmospheres out of shredded cardboard.

Two Suns is a very beautiful album. I've been listening to it for more than a month now, and I can't stop. It's poppy electro-beats and Khan's mystical sounding voice got hold of me, right from the opening, and took me on a headtrip ever since. Although, I must admit, some songs are just too high concept and lyrically heavy for me. But the grandeur of the music outweighs lyrics, and that's a reason enough for me not to lose or misplace this album.

Similar Posts:

Bats and Deacons
Album Review: Crack The Skye
Album Review: Dark Was The Night
Album Review: Meriweather Post Pavilion
Album Review: Scars on Broadway


Space Jettisoned

Looks like PC gamers have been jettisoned by another PC game developer, once again, in favor of a much lucrative console gaming market. First, it was BioWare and now it's Relic Entertainment (developers of Homeworld, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War), who just recently announced they are developing Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, an action-RPG for Xbox 360 and PS3.

"Back to the gameplay, the action appears to be fast, brutal, and bloody. It's still pretty early on, so specifics weren't plentiful, but it seems as though as a single Space Marine you'll move through the story and engage in some large-scale conflicts against mobs of enemies. Using power swords, chain swords, hammers, bolters, heavy bolters, and more it appears your Space Marine will have quite a few deadly tools to wipe out the Ork hordes from range or up close in melee."--IGN
This really breaks my heart. I hope the game gets ported to the PC. If not, then I hope the game sucks sublimely.

Similar Posts:
Game Review: Dawn of War II
July 9, Dragon Age
Dragon Age
Mass Effect


Oh Schmap!!

These days, with the advent of digital photography, one can easily call themselves a "photographer". It's pretty much evident in the blogosphere, where you can find hundreds of picture blogs -most of which are pretty good- chronicling the blogger's collection or the places they've visited through photographs. You'd even see some bloggers out there aspiring to become photographers, saving money for a DSLR, and claiming that they can do better than the others.

For a time, I too did want to try my hand at photography. I was even lining up on the counter, ready to pay for a $600 Canon DSLR. But I changed my mind at the last minute. I don't need a good and expensive camera. Besides pointing and clicking, I have zero knowledge of photography. So investing $600 on a new hobby -that I know nothing about- was a bit of an overkill. Instead, I bought an amplifier, stuck with my guitar and completely forgot about photography.

But a month ago, I received this letter from Schmap:

Hi Skron1,

I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the seventh edition of our Schmap Chicago Guide, to be published early May 2009.
While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

Our submission deadline is Wednesday, April 22. If you happen to be reading this message after this date, please still click on the link above (our Schmap Guides are updated frequently - photos submitted after this deadline will be considered for later releases).

Best regards,

Emma Williams,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides
Looks like I have a bit of knack for photography after all. To learn that one of my photos in Flickr was selected to be published on a website is sort of flattering (you gotta love the internet), and also rekindled my desire to try photography again. But I'm not going to buy a camera though. Because money is tight and this gig might only be a one-hit wonder, a fluke. So I'm going to think this through.

Anyways, my picture was included on the guide and you can find it here.

Similar Posts:


Japan and Hell

My vacation's at its end. For what I thought was going to be a week of books, gaming and music was actually spent on errands, gardening and home improvement. Well, the latter three were also included on my "To-Do" list but I didn't know how tiring and time consuming they were. Nonetheless, I was still able to catch up on my gaming (I've advanced my character in Warhammer from Tier 3 to 4) and music.

There are a lot of good new music releases that are out now and, once again, they piled up on me. So I have to preview a lot of songs before buying some CDs. I was only planning on getting two (because that's the allotted amount of CDs I can get with my budget) but ended up with four. It's just hard for me not to get the new albums of Isis and Sunn O))), both of which are really epic. Then there are also cool new fun bands like Japandroids and Heaven & Hell.


Japandroids is a two-man garage rock band, kinda like The White Stripes, that hails from Canada. This band sounds like what a garage band should be: Raw and Energetic. But what really separates them from other garage band is that they fuzzed and buzzed the heck out of their guitar to drown all the empty spaces in their album, Post-Nothing, and that is a big accomplishment for a two-man band. Their music also reminds me of the 90's, mostly stoner rock bands like Fu Manchu and Unida, decked out with some new riffs from today's noise pop.

Heaven & Hell

This band is not new. They're only new in name. In fact, two of its members are so old that they were the ones who invented heavy metal. If you haven't guessed it yet, or too young to know them, Heaven & Hell is composed of Black Sabbath members during the Dio years (Iommi, Butler, Dio and Appice). So it's like a reunion album and its aptly named as The Devil You Know. However, unlike Guns & Roses and Metallica who made a very impressive comeback last year, Heaven & Hell never really brought anything new to the table. They just refreshed their old music, which is good fun. Kinda like an old bridal gown being washed so it can be re-used by a sentimental daughter.

I don't think a lot of people will like these two bands I just posted above. Japandroids, even though they have the 90's all over their music, they're too raw and too young for most people my age to dig. Heaven & Hell, on the other hand, is too old and too 80's for young kids to appreciate. But when you get past the generation gap, both albums are extremely fun to listen too.

Similar Posts:
Bats and Deacons
Silence and Deserts
Hop and Pop
Trucks and Animals
Top 8 Music of 2008


Film Review: Tell No One

Tell No One
8.8 of 10
Director: Guillaume Canet
Starring: Francois Cluzet, Marie-Josee Croze

One thing I like about foreign and indie films is that they have little to no marketing campaign. Which means no trailers and previews to ruin the plot for you. That's why I was so surprised when I saw Tell No One, a French film which was recommended by Netflix based on the movies I love. What I thought was going to be a love story turned out to be one of the best mystery/thriller film I have ever seen.

Tell No One opens up showing a group friends, gathered around an outdoor table and drinking, catching up with each others lives. Then it's followed by a scene of two couples, the protagonist Alex Beck (Francois Cluzet) and his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze), in a tree -where they had carved their initials during their childhood- beside a lake. Just when I thought the movie was going cheesy, tragedy ensues at the lake when Margot cries out for help in the dark while Alex, running to her rescue, was knocked out cold by an unknown assailant.

Eight years after the incident at the lake, and the death of Margot, a bat with Alex's blood was dug up at the site near the lake along with two dead bodies. Alex then became a primary suspect of the murders, and the murder of his wife. But, mysteriously, Alex receives a letter from his wife saying that she's alive and to tell no one about it. From there, the story goes downward spiral -but in a good way- as Alex, a white collar worker, runs from the law and associates himself with gangsters in order prove himself guilty and to uncover the truth behind his wife's death or disappearance.

Like I said earlier, this is probably one of the best mystery films I've seen. I especially like the conspiracy working in the story because it's not big, it's not "Illuminati" in its magnitude. It's a believable plot of how a Father would sacrifice everything in order to keep, or avenge, his child. The only thing I didn't like about the movie was that Marie-Josee Croze didn't have enough face time. She's a very captivating actress and I wish that she had a longer role on the film. But other than that, this is a magnificent movie.

Similar Posts:
Film Review: Wolverine
Comapre & Contrast: Watchmen
Film Review: Body of Lies
Film Review: The Dark Knight
Compare & Contrast: Wanted


Comics Bundle: 05.13.09 Pt. 2

This is part 2 of my comics bundle for this week. As always, this part is dedicated to all non-Marvel titles. Anyways, part 1 can be found here.

The Walking Dead #61
9.0 of 10
Just when I thought that this title couldn't get any nastier and sicker (in a good way, of course), I was proven wrong again. Kirkman pulls another twists to the story, and it's a very twisted one alright. I wouldn't say it but it involves the kids in this story. It also explores the gray areas of life, and shows us that humans are also capable of monstrosities despite of age.

Justice League of America #32
7.4 of 10
DC events were supposed to clean up their universe. But, for some reason, Final Crisis just messed it up. Take JLA for example. The team is barely holding up. Two of the major founders left, one is dead and other members splintered from the main group to form their own JLA. So now, the main JLA consists of five heroes, almost all are B-list, and they're also leaderless. Nonetheless, this issue was filled with a lot of good and fun dialogues (especially the ones between Dr. Light and Firestorm) about how the team should proceed. Although, instead of pondering the direction of the team, they have to ruin it by brining Shadow Thief and Starbreaker into the fold. Although I'd love to see them develop this 5-man, B-list Justice League into something more.

Jack of Fables #33
8.5 of 10
If not for "The Great Fables Crossover" I would never pick up a copy of Jack of Fables. That is how much I hate Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame). But, anyways, as part of the crossover, this issue is excellent. Since most of the characters in the story arc are from this book, the issue did its job well in filling readers like me, who had never read an issue of Jack of Fables, with various information and character introductions -mainly the people who are known as the Literals and what they can do- in order to catch up with the story. But the best thing about this book is Bigby beating the living daylights out of Jack.

The Literals #1
7.9 of 10
This book is the third part of "The Great Fables Crossover". The issue was created in mind to expand the Fable universe for the crossover and accommodate the new beings known as the Literals, who are godly beings that can rewrite reality as they see fit. The first issue features Bigby, Snow and two Literals, Gary and Revise, in the hunt of Kevin Thorn, a powerful Literal that is planning to wipe and rewrite the whole universe. Thorn is a very interesting character and this issue shows just how powerful he is. Fortunately, however, he's suffering from writer's block. So, for now, he doesn't know what to do.

Fables #84
6.0 of 10
This is part four of "The Great Fables Crossover". Oddly enough Jack is here but Bigby and Snow aren't (because they're hunting down Kevin Thorn). So Jack made a mess of the Fables again, taking advantage of their ignorance about the Literals. Plus, I also learned that Jack knows he's a comic book character. That is a feat only reserved for Deadpool. Too bad Bigby's not here to beat him up. I do hope that Beast will though.

Similar Posts:
Comics Bundle: 04.15.09
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 2
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 1
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.2
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.1

Comics Bundle: 05.13.09 Pt. 1

I have to pick-up a month worth of comic books again. Plus, I have to pay 5 times more for the variant of Thor #601 (worth it though). So, right now, I'm pretty much broke.

Thor #601
10 of 10
Another excellent issue from J.M. Straczynski and the Thor team. There's not much action to be had within this book but it was full of humor. The conversation during the Asgardian's dinner at Doctor Doom's castle, especially, left me laughing. Just imagine Doctor Doom using Wikipedia to learn about Winkles. Volstagg too was funny as hell. But, being funny aside, there are some major plot works moving on in the book as well. Mainly, Loki finally revealed to Thor that her body is that of Lady Sif's and that Asgardians are moving to Latveria.

Secret Warriors #4
7.8 of 10
Remember when I said that this series won't buckle anytime soon? Well, I was wrong. Because the fourth issue is somewhat of a let down. I didn't like it because the kids were benched to focus on Old Nick and his Howling Commandos, getting ready to take on Hydra. Besides having a new recruit to the team, and Nick Fury taking a jab at whiny Enron employees, there's nothing big going on with this one. Although I hope that they're just recoiling the springs for a big push next issue.

Deadpool #10
8.4 of 10
I know I've mentioned this too many times but I didn't really like what X-Men Origins did to Deadpool. It's a good thing that I can always come back to his funnier, crazier and more violent comic book version. The saltest issue was tons of fun, and it did a good job in washing clean all the bad after thoughts I had from the movie. Deadpool, still strapped for cash after hitting Osborn's wallet, pimps himself as a gun for hire in Craiglist and, for $500, killed a pizza delivery boy. Then Osborn, after he knew that Deadpool's still alive, sends Dark Hawkeye (also known as Bullseye) to kill him. The action was short-lived in this issue though. But I'm pretty sure there will be more on the next.

New Avengers #52
8.7 of 10
I didn't like #51 mainly because it was over hyped, and that the whole team were swept under the rug by Dr. Strange. But on hindsight, and looking at the whole "Who's the next Sorcerer Supreme?" story arc, I think I may have judged the issue too rashly. In most cases, this issue is the same as the previous one. The New Avengers are basically supporting characters, tagging along Strange's quest. But that's okay because Dr. Strange never gets a spotlight he deserves. Another big plus is that The Hood's character is being developed here. Which is appropriate because a lot of people don't know anything about this new A-list villain. Oh, and the one liners here are also hilarious.

Wolverine #73
8.0 of 10
I was expecting Mark Millar's Old Man Logan arc continuing on this issue but I was surprised that it wasn't. I wasn't disappointed though because this is probably the funniest Wolverine issue I've read. The book has two parts but I don't really care about the second part. The first part of the book, however, shows us the daily life of Wolverine from panel to panel. And Marvel's working him really hard. He's going solo on day one, running with the New Avengers the next, leading X-Force on the third, helping the X-Men on the fourth and teaming up with someone on the fifth. I just couldn't stop laughing reading this issue.

Similar Posts:
Comics Bundle: 04.15.09
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 2
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 1
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.2
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.1


First Impressions: Killing Floor

Let the bodies hit the floor.

I've been on a shooting spree these past few weeks ever since I bought Left 4 Dead. As a big The Walking Dead fan and all things post-apocalyptic, I bought this game and I've been loving it. Now I got this new game called Killing Floor. It's pretty much like L4D on paper, a co-op horror survival game where a squad -your squad- must stand against infected mindless abominations. But, gameplay wise, it's not L4D because you're fighting in smaller areas against waves of zombies. It's more like a FPS with a bit of tower defense. You also have perks -skills that can improve either your weapon damage or healing capabilities- adding a little bit of RPG element.

Like I said earlier, Killing Floor isn't Left 4 Dead. It's a smaller game but has a little more complexity to it. I'm not sure if non-shooter L4D fans will like it. So I suggest they should read more reviews if they want to buy this one. But if you're a shooter fan, especially the one that loves co-op, I'm pretty sure you guys will love this game.

Similar Posts
First Impressions: Empire
First Impressions: Dawn of War II
First Impressions: Mirror's Edge
First Impressions: King's Bounty
First Impressions: Storm of Zehir


Pages of Summer

Time's so fast. I remember myself being bundled inside a huge winter jacket -which feels almost like a sleeping bag- just a few weeks ago. But when I got out today I was baked, on my black Fender t-shirt, underneath a blazing sun. Honestly, except seeing sweat-drenched girls on short shorts and tight tank tops, I don't really care about summer. It's hot and I've live 2/3rds of my life on a place where it's always hot (and no, it's not hell). I like autumn much better. It's cold but not that cold. It doesn't rain all the time too. Plus, you don't have to use heating or cooling.

But, before I stray off the topic, I have a remedy to stay off under the hot sun this summer: Reading. I just received all the books I've ordered from Amazon (using the certificate I got as an award from work) for my summer reading. Just in time too because I'm about to be done with The Book of Dead Philosophers. Anyways, here are the books that I got:

It's the first book with a dystopian setting I've heard of this year. Plus, it's being compared to the works of great dystopian fiction writers like Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

When Skateboards Will Be Free

The book's title prompted me to check it out. Because, at first, I thought it was about the skater culture. But it's even better than that when I read its synopsis. It's a memoir of a kid who's into politics and revolution.

Lowboy: A Novel
This book is about a mentally-ill 16 year old boy who's off his meds, thinks that the world will end and he's the only one who can save it. That, and also the author being compared to writers like Junot Diaz and J.D. Salinger, made me by the book.

I'll probably be able to start with these books earlier than I had hoped. I think I'll start with Genesis and end it with When Skateboards Will Be Free, or vice versa.

Similar Posts:
Book Review: The Next 100 Years
The Next Three Books
Book Review: 2666
Q1 Book List
Top 8 Books of 2008


Comics-to-Animation Wishlist

A couple months ago, I wrote down a list of comic books that I wished to be adapted into films. However, because not all comic books will work on the silver screen, a lot of my favorite titles were left out on that list. So, as a follow up, and since most comic books are suitable to be adapted into animation, I've decided to list down all the titles that I want to see as cartoons. There isn't much difference between the two formats. So, basically, comics will work well as cartoons. That is, of course, if the producers won't mess it up. But, anyways, my wishlist:

5. Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

This book is probably my guiltiest pleasures of all time. I bought an issue of this for my goddaughter when she came along to pick up my comics. I didn't know anything about it except it looked appropriate enough for a girl of 8. Surprisingly, after I read it myself, I enjoyed it. The story mainly focuses on the love life of Mary Jane Watson. Spider-Man is only a supporting character in here. The reason why I loved it is because it married teen drama and the superhero genre together. So, I think, this will be a great cartoon series that will appeal towards kids on their early teens (or even adults).

4. Deadpool

X-Men Origins: Wolverine murdered Deadpool as a character, and now he's beyond Hollywood redemption. So the only option left for the "Merc with the Mouth" is to have his own animiation series. Not the kind of cartoons that they'll show on Saturday mornings though. But the one that will run on either late night HBO or Adult Swim, right along with cartoons like Metalocalypse and Beavis and Butthead. Yes, with his guns, violence and slapstick humor, a cartoon show is just perfect for Deadpool. It'll be like Aeon Flux meets the Looney Tunes.

3. Top 10

This title was written by Alan Moore, also the writer of Watchmen and V for Vendetta. That alone speaks volumes. But this comic book is a very unique superhero title. In my opinion, it's probably the most unique comics created by Moore. The main focus in the story is the squad of super-powered cops in a world where everyone have powers and wears colorful costumes, from hot dog vendors to politicians. So, basically, superheroes are a mundane thing in Top 10's setting. It's a pretty fun comic book. While it'll be too campy to be on film, I think, it'll be great to watch as an animation series.

2. Bone

I haven't heard a lot of people talking about this comics. Which is a shame because this is a great book. Time Magazine even compared it to the Lord of the Rings but only funnier. That's a big compliment, and I agree with them. It's an epic fantasy that revolves around three cousins, that looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost, and their journey to a different land (a land of Humans). If Dreamworks or Pixar makes a full feature animation of this book I'm sure it'll be a big hit.

1. Maus

The characters of this comic book are mice. But I assure you, if its adapted into an animation, it won't be the same as other "talking mouse" cartoons like Tales of Despereaux or other Walt Disney films. Maus is written by Art Spiegelman and it tells the tale of his father, a Polish Jew, during his interment in Auschwitz conecentration camp back in World War II. It's pretty similar to other holocaust stories, like The Pianist or Diary of Anne Frank, except that all the characters here as anthromorphic animals. I actually thought this won't work if its adapted into other formats. But after seeing the success of serious full feature cartoons that also deals with war and revolution, like Waltz With Bashir and Persepolis, I think Maus will do great as well.

Similar Posts:

Animation Pile Up
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt. 2
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt.1
Upcoming Comics-to-Films That I Want To See

Of Mice and Ghosts


Ame-Comi Wonder Woman

Ame-Comi Wonder Woman, much more barbaric and warlike with that loin cloth. (click to enlarge)

It's been almost a year since I got myself an action figure. So, since I had the extra cash, I decided to buy one. At first, I tried looking for those cool vinyl toys on the net. However, since they're really cool and really rare, most of them are very expensive. So my search ended up with this awesome Wonder Woman toy from DC Direct.

The action figure is part of the Ame-Comi series, which are heavily influenced by anime or manga. I really like the toy. The design is still pretty much Wonder Woman. Except that the loin cloth makes her even more warrior-like. I like this one much better than the Ame-Comi Catwoman that I have.

Similar Posts:
DC Direct: Toy Fair 2009
Toy Fair 2009
Mighty Mugg Wolverine
Vinyl Art Toys
Ame-Comi Catwoman


Champions Release Date

So I've been snooping around the net all day long and found out that Champions Online have already set its release date on July 14. That's like two months from now. As a comic book enthusiast and as a gamer, I've been looking forward to play this game since it was announced last year. So now I'm really excited. Especially after I saw videos of its gameplay. I'm so excited that I've already started some concepts for the characters that I'll be playing -their personality, costume color and skill sets. I'm not sure if I'll stick around and play this game though. I'm just going to stay for a month to see if its better than Warhammer Online.

Similar Posts:
The Fourth War
Champions Online
The Guild
The Art of Warcraft
Elona/Middle-Earth Conflict


Film Review: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
3.0 of 10
Director: Gavin Wood
Starring: Hugh Jackman

I was never interested with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not because I don't like the character. But because I don't like spin-offs. A few months before it was released, however, I gained some interest on it. Mainly because I saw a scene on the trailer where they've shown a young Logan crying beside his dead father. That scene was lifted from the pages of Wolverine: Origin, a book that I loved. So I thought the movie, coupled with some Weapon X story arcs, will stay true to Logan's history. That, and the appearance of Deadpool, made me watch the film. Well, after watching the movie, I wish I listened to what my mother told me: "Always trust your first instinct".

The movie was a disaster. It doesn't have a strong plot and failed to properly tell Wolverine's history. The film did feature the significant chapters in Logan's life, the wars he had fought and his days with Weapon X, but it wasn't stretched enough. In fact, they were really short that they have to fill the gaps with a lot of unmemorable scenes. The action scenes weren't too impressive either. If it's not overly done, then it's just Hugh Jackman posturing and roaring at the audiences.

The portrayal of the characters are really bad as well. Both Sabertooth and Wolverine weren't beastly enough. William Stryker lacks the fanaticism he exhibited in the books and in X2. Gambit wasn't smooth enough and doesn't have the Cajun accent. But, worst of all, Deadpool wasn't loud and goofy enough. In fact, Ryan Reynolds sounded much more of a Deadpool in his other movies. If there was anything I wanted to succeed in this movie, it was Deadpool hitting mainstream. But this film murdered him, ruining his chance of popular spotlight. They even had the gall to literally shut him up, "The Merc with the Mouth", by sewing his lips together. Atrocious.

I really thought that Wolverine will be the film that will open up the "blockbuster" season, just like Iron Man did last year. That's why I tried so hard not to grab the workprint that's been floating around the net. I didn't want to ruin the experience of watching it on the big screen. But the film was a let down. Not because I had high expectations but because it simply sucked hard. It's as bad as Daredevil and Elektra. Which is a shame because Wolverine (and Deadpool) is one of my favorite characters. So if you haven't seen this movie, Wolverine fan or not, skip this one. You won't miss anything.

Similar Posts:
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt.1
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt.2
Comapre & Contrast: Watchmen
Compare & Contrast: Wanted
Film Review: The Dark Knight


Defense Grid Giveaway

Meet the awesome power of my tower, alien scums!

Tower defense is definitely one of the most easiest and most addicting type of game. I've seen many gamers, both casual and hardcore, have fallen ill to the "one more stage syndrome" by playing these type of games. Most tower defense games are free and can be played anywhere online. However, since they're free, the production value of these games are quite low. Meaning, their graphics are not that great and there's not much strategical depth in the gameplay.

There are premier tower defense games that you can buy such as Defense Grid. I've always wanted to play this game ever since I've read IGN's review of it. But the price of the game was too steep for me. So I didn't buy it. I mean why should I pay for a tower defense game with few improvements when I can play a lesser version for free?

That's why I'm so glad that Steam slashed 75% off the original price, lowering it down to $5. That's a deal that I can hardly resist. It's just so cheap. It's so cheap in fact that I'm giving one digital copy for free. That's right, one lucky reader of this blog will get a digtal copy of Defense Grid for FREE.

Joining the contest is quite simple. All you have to do is answer the questions below and e-mail it to skron@ymail.com before May 12.
1. Who is Miyamoto Musashi?
2. What is my favorite album that was released during the 90's?
3. What is my favorite PC game of all time?
4. Back in 2006, I wrote an album review for Black Holes and Revelations, by Muse. How much score did I give it?
5. Who's the "Merc with the Mouth"?
All the questions are fairly easy and most of the answers can be found in this blog. You don't have to get all the answers right. But each answer equates to one entry in the raffle (example: 2 correct answers means 2 raffle entries). So the more correct answers you have the more chances you'll win. Plus, all participants who sumbit their answers by May 9th gets their raffle entry doubled.

Well, that's that. I will announce the winner on May 13th. So be on the lookout and good luck.

Similar Posts:
A Steamy Affair
OnLive: Future of Gaming
Steaming Snow
A Flash of Armor



Life's full of unexpected things. Just when I thought I've hit my own personal recession -at least, for buying games and books to entertain myself- I was surprised when I found three letters in my mail box that'll help me get through with my entertainment crisis.

1. Reward Zone: Premier Silver Card
I don't get stuff from Best Buy as much as I did two years ago. But, what I can't digitally purchase from the net, I still buy from them. Last year, I did a lot major purchases from their stores. A washing machine, a new PC and a camera. So they decided to upgrade my Reward Zone membership to a Premier Silver status. That means I can get rewards much faster. Plus, they also sent me a $75 gift card as a bonus. Nice.

2. Hallmark Insights Certificate
We have an awards program at work that you get a star pin every time somebody writes you a positive letter. If you get enough stars (5 stars, I think), the administrative team will send you a $25 certificate that you can redeem for any gift card on the merchant list. The merchant list is impressive and includes a lot of choices from restaurants (Applebee's, Red Lobster) to stores (Buckle, Barnes & Nobles). They even have Amazon. So I think I'm gonna use this to order some books online.

3. State Tax Refund
I got my Tax Refund earlier than I expected. It's not much ($60) but this will amount to 4-5 books and/or graphic novels.

Well I'm pretty stoked. Now I have to decide which books and games I have to buy for my summer entertainment.


G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra Trailer

Finally, a trailer for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra have been released. I've been waiting for its official trailer for a while now. But now that it's here, I don't know what to make of it. It looks visually pleasing but, as a G.I. Joe fan, I think the whole movie will terribly suck. I mean, accelerator armors? What's up with that? Now the Joes looks like they're bunch of Cobra Vipers. Don't get me started with the cast either.

I'm still gonna watch it though. Just because I'm a loyal G.I. Joe fan and all the female characters here are stunningly pretty.

Similar Posts:
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt.1
Comics-to-Film Wishlist Pt.2
Comapre & Contrast: Watchmen
Upcoming Comics-to-Films That I Want To See
Top 8 Films of 2008


Demo Monday: Zeno Clash

When Zeno Clash was announced on Steam, almost two months ago, I was immediately blown away by the originality of its artistic design. The setting is just so punk, so psychedelic. It's like Conan the Barbarian meets Mad Max but only high on ganja. I was intrigued and wanted to pre-order the game. But since it's an action game, and I'm not very good with action games, I decided to hold off and wait for the demo.

When Steam made the demo available for download, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try it. The demo features the prologue part of the game, which includes a tutorial and a boss fight. In terms of gameplay, Zeno Clash is really fun. It's like first-person beat 'em up. Kinda like Street Fighter except the view is in first person. You're pitted with multiple enemies (3 the most) in melee combat and you can do a lot of combination moves. Weapons are also available but they're not as effective, or as satisfying, as kicking your opponents while they're on the ground.

For $20, Zeno Clash is worth it. It's fun and the setting is original as well as visually pleasing. I, however, will skip this game. Not because I don't like it but because I can't get through the first boss. But if you like beat 'em up or action games, I think you'll enjoy this game.

Similar Posts
A Steamy Affair
First Impressions: Empire
Demo Monday: Empire
First Impressions: Dawn of War II
First Impressions: Mirror's Edge


Animation Pile Up

Last week, I had time to spare and watched three comics-to-animation flicks that I rented from Netflix. I tried to write a review for all three of them but, due to time constraints, I never got the chance to get past the rough draft. So, instead of writing individual reviews for all animations, I decided to write three quick reviews in just one post.

Wonder Woman
8.5 of 10
This full length animation features Princess Diana's origins. I'm not pretty sure if it's "by the book" but I'm certain all the basics are here. How she came to life, and how the Amazons came out from isolation and re-established their communication with the rest of the world. It's a pretty fun story and -true to the nature of Wonder Woman during her first inception- there are some sexual undertones that'll keep you chuckling. The animation is also superb and sexy. I actually fell in love with Wonder Woman and some of the Amazons in here.

8.8 of 10
I always wanted to buy the graphic novel of Persepolis. But, for some reason, I forgot about it and found out that it was adapted into an animation. So I just rented the movie instead. The story of the film is based on the early life of Marjane Satrapi (also the writer of the graphic novel) when she was growing up in Iran, after the Iranian Revolution. Even though with its political underpinnings, the animation was a lot of fun due to the rebellious nature of Marji. If you're looking for a serious animation, I highly recommend Persepolis.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter
7.9 of 10
Tales of the Black Freighter was a sub story in the graphic novel version of Watchmen. It tells the tale of a shipwrecked captain trying to sail back to his village -on a makeshift raft that uses bloated bodies of his dead men- and save it from the Black Freighter. While director Zack Snyder included this animated adaptation in his original script, it was cut from the movie and released as direct-to-video instead. Like Watchmen, Tales of the Black Freighter was also faithfully lifted from the pages of the graphic novel. All the morbid details from the book comes to life in here. But, as wonderful as it is, just skip this one. The film's a lackluster for being too short.

Similar Posts:
Compare & Contrast: Watchmen
Wolverine and the X-Men Premiere
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Wonder Woman: The Animated Movie
Batman: Gotham Knight


Book Review: The Next 100 Years

The Next 100 Years
8.6 of 10
Writer: George Friedman
Buy book (hardcover) from Amazon
Buy book (Kindle Edition) from Amazon

The future is a terrible thing. Blame it on the apocalyptic predictions written in the Book of Revelations, Nostradamus' Prophecies and the Mayan Calendar. It's impossible to gaze into tomorrow without any trepidations because these aforementioned cryptic writings have clouded it with the Rapture, cosmic bodies colliding with Earth, countless wars and other "End of the World" scenarios. Most of these predictions, however, are pessimistic and aren't backed with real data. Like I said, they're cryptic. Perhaps the only book I've read that predicts, or rather forecasts, the future using real data is The Next 100 Years.

The Next 100 Years is written by George Friedman who is the founder of Strategic Forecasting (StratFor), a private intelligence agency that deals with forecasting using data collected around the globe. They forecast various topics including economy, energy, politics, military and terrorism. Stratfor has been dubbed as "The Shadow CIA" and the intelligence they provide are being used by Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Government. They've been instrumental in predicting the actions of al-Qaeda, after the 911 attacks, and the movements in Kosovo. So the material that can be found in this book is pretty much solid, if not reliable.

The book is a great read. It contains a lot of political and geopolitical insights, from the rise of Russia and their conflict with a US-backed Poland to the Turkey-Japan Coalition dominating Eurasia and their cold war against the United States. The most interesting part for me, however, are the technological advancements that were forecasted in this book. Especially the military technologies like unmanned hypersonic jets and missiles that can fly from California to Istanbul in under 30 minutes, armored infantrymen that can control a squad of robots and space based command centers that can monitor any movement on the ground.

I also like how this book was written. It didn't use vague details and, even though it riddled the future with wars, it doesn't have an ominous tone. It's forecasting based on real data. Just like predicting who's going to win a boxing match between Pacquiao and Hatton. You can come up with an idea of who might win based on their past performances. But you won't know who'll definitely win. Such is also the case with this book. For every forecast the author made he supports it with data like historical trends and current events. Although there are parts of the book that feels like it's science fiction due to the author stretching the data with his imagination.

The Next 100 Years is definitely one of the best books I've read this year. It's pretty refreshing, and also entertaining, to get a glimpse of the future using real data and not through a man's diary about his fevered dreams or a calendar of an ancient civilization. While the future still looks grim in this book, at least we're not going to meet our end with either Apophis or Nibiru hitting the Earth. Plus, we also get an idea of what technology will look like 40 to 60 years from now. So if you're looking for a good non-fiction book, and don't mind it being American-centric, grab this one. While I'm not sure if you'll buy its forecasting, I'm pretty sure you'll find it entertaining.

Similar Posts:

The Next Three Books
Book Review: 2666
Q1 Book List
Top 8 Books of 2008
Book Review: Liberation