Archive for January, 2015

I’m sick, so here’s a photo of the sky.

January 27, 2015 Leave a comment


Categories: Misc.

GoPro LCD Touch BacPac

January 7, 2015 Leave a comment

I got a GoPro Hero 3 White a few months back, and I still haven’t decided exactly what I want to use it for, but I knew that unless I am doing any kind of mounted footage on a helmet or whatever, I wanted a screen so I could see what I’m looking at. So Santa brought me an LCD Touch BacPac, and I finally made some time to fiddle with it some today. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed by the whole package.

The unit itself is small and mounts perfectly on the back of the camera, with a little molding to hook it on, then it plugs into the port on the back of the Hero 3 itself. It makes the entire unit larger as a result, and only slightly so, but people looking to carry around the smallest unit possible may not like that. I think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff, because even with the BacPac added to the size of the package, it’s still quite compact in its design.

There were no instructions, just a fact sheet with warning information about where to use electronics and safety with batteries, but really, there are no instructions needed. Once you have it attached and the unit is on, the menus are easy to navigate with numbers and symbols, and don’t deviate from the menus on the camera itself. These can be navigated with the touchscreen, which is responsive and works as well as I had hoped it might.

Also included are multiple backdoors, to account for the added size of the BacPac. There’s a skeleton one which is open for direct screen touching, a windowed one that will still allow for touching while being waterproof, and then a third which I didn’t try, but I believe it’s a solid backdoor that covers the entire unit and makes it waterproof as well. Nintendo doesn’t even ship their handhelds with charger cables in some regions, so seeing these doors as part of the package with no additional cost is a nice gesture, as they easily could have sold them separately only, but chose not to. Even if you did want to buy them separately, the pack of three is ten dollars, which is a good price.

All in all, this package is about eighty dollars, and for someone who prefers having the large viewing area, it’s quite a nice thing to have. The camera by itself is already a cool piece of technology, but seeing that there’s a high number of add-ons and that they’re all priced very reasonably is making me a fan of this company’s approach, for sure.

Only question now is: what should I record with it?

Categories: Misc.

Transformers Regeneration One

January 6, 2015 Leave a comment

I finished reading the original Marvel run of Transformers the other day, issues 1-80. It left me with questions that I mentioned in my post about the series. I’d heard of something called Regeneration One, so I looked it up and came upon a wiki with a synopsis for each issue. It ran from issue 80.5 until issue 100, and it sounds like an incredible nod to fans of that original series. Simon Furman wrote the issues and tied together damn near every plot question from the old series, and apparently even touched on things he was planning on covering in the original run but didn’t get page space to do so. Original artists returned and worked on the books, and every issue had multiple covers with different characters featured in each. Really cool stuff. They also did things like, in the event of a flashback, the colors or designs would be in line with how they appeared in the Marvel run. So for example, Soundwave is purple in flashbacks, and in flashbacks they use the older coloring style instead of the newer methods that provide richer color. Nods are made to many different parts of the Transformers franchise, and it sounds like the story wraps up with a final bit that ends Generation One, but ties it to the Beast Wars/Machines bit of the timeline.

I’m not the most diehard Transformers fan, but I liked that old show and the old toys were neat. I know that younger fans are more familiar with the movie designs, or the various animated shows that have come since. But to see Generation One not just given a proper ending, but to do it in such a way that shows the people working on the book were actually invested in making sure it was done right, is a cool thing and they should be applauded. I’m sure they were, when these issues initially shipped. But when I got done, it made me think how jealous I am of people who’d followed the original run, probably reread it multiple times over the years, and then received more content to tie the story up, over two decades later. To have been in the middle of that probably would’ve been awesome. Even as a casual fan, I think this is an awesome thing. It gives me hope for the new Twin Peaks content that’s supposed to be coming, and makes me wonder which other properties could be given their proper endings. Cool stuff to think about, for sure.

In other news, I only sneezed twice today, so I think I might be done being sick. Best news all day.

Categories: Misc.

I helped someone.

January 4, 2015 Leave a comment

On the way home from work yesterday, my car told me it needs a quart of oil. I didn’t feel up to the task then, so I went to the store this morning instead. I get to the line, and there’s a lady in front of me. She has four kids with her, all small. Don’t know if they were hers or what. The cashier is waiting to complete her transaction, but the lady is digging in this little pocketbook in search of change. Finally she gives up and says she’ll have to put the item back. It’s diapers. I happened to have one dollar cash on me, so I handed it to the cashier. She added my dollar to the lady’s money, some of which was about 80 billion pennies.

You’d have thought I cured cancer or something. The lady said thank you about twenty times and I said it was no big deal. I mean, I would eventually need that dollar for something, sure. But not before one of those kids needs to fill a diaper, I’m sure. Plus, it’s all she was buying, at like 8 am on a Sunday. If it was some thing where she was putting back the diapers so she could instead get beer or something, then I wouldn’t feel inclined to offer. But even out in the parking lot, she’s yelling “god bless” from far away. I guess sometimes small gestures can help people in a pinch. That’s easy to forget.

In other news, I’m still sick and feeling like hell, but I’m just taking my medicine and trying to rest. I thought about buying some allergy medicine to see if it helps with the sneezing, but that stuff is expensive. I’m not dropping $20+ on some pills unless I know it’s going to work. For now, we’re going to see if a hot shower and assuming the form of a human burrito will help this stuff shake out of me.

Categories: Misc.

Marvel’s Transformers (1984-1991)

January 4, 2015 Leave a comment

Today finds me still sick, with the added problem of endless sneezing. I don’t know if it’s allergies, as the only thing I know I’m allergic to is penicillin, which makes me swell up instead of sneeze. I’ve decided that I’m allergic to this new year, which means I’m in for a doozy if this keeps up. The sneezing is keeping me from sleeping, so I’m hoping it goes away quickly.

But since I’ve been up, I decided to read through Marvel’s 80-issue Transformers comic. I remember buying issue #10 at a Target back when it was new, and finding it interesting since the story was different from the show, but also disappointed at that fact. I guess younger me wanted comic issues of the episodes, that silly kid. I think the Marvel run is interesting for a few different reasons, some good and some bad. I should note that I haven’t read through the UK run, so this is solely thoughts on the US run:

– I’m not sure of the dates, but the artwork in the first few issues leads me to believe that they were completed prior to the cartoon’s debut. Megatron looks slightly different from issue to issue, as well as characters like the seekers and even Prime himself. But the most obvious ones are Ratchet and Ironhide, who resemble their toy’s robot mode, which is nothing like the show’s robot mode. I believe a third-party line exists that features a show-accurate transformation and there’s also the Heroes of Cybertron PVC line, but that was all far after the end of both the show and the comic.

– I like that the comic’s story was willing to not mirror the show. It would’ve been easy to just fit episode plot into 23 pages and call it an issue, but they didn’t do that. Though, there are a good handful of issues that feel like they’re filler issues, but with a few panels or pages of plot pertaining to the overall story arc. The car wash issue and the concert issue are two that almost feel like throwaways, along with the majority of pages in the issues with the cannibal robots, for example.

– One constant that I disliked, though I know it’s a necessary evil in dealing with a toy property, is the need to include every toy in the line at some point. Sometimes there would be a tagline for the next issue that was like, “because you demanded it: Superion vs. Bruticus!” or whatever, and I was a kid then who enjoyed Transformers. Nobody liked either of those weenies, nor their teams. I also sort of dislike the panels where characters are introduced, because of the thing where 10 guys are in a conversation and they all have to refer to each other by their code name to introduce them to the reader. “I’m ready for action!” “Well you should relax, Hosebeast!” “Speak for yourself, Buttmonkey!” and so on. Maybe there wasn’t panel space for little boxes with their names instead, or maybe that came down from Hasbro? Also, and this is more a dig at the toys than the comic, because the artists were basing their art on toy designs, but I feel like, at least with G1 as a whole, it gets difficult to differentiate between characters in robot mode after about the second wave. There are specific ones that stand out, but for someone who isn’t a black belt in Transformers knowledge, there were many panels of a guy’s face where I would’ve had no idea who it was if they didn’t always say each other’s names. Maybe that’s why they did that. Maybe design more robot faces.

– Where are the girls? The movie had Arcee, the show had Elita-One, but I think the only female transformer shown was Wreck-Gar’s ladyfriend in the issue with a battle on Junkion. I guess there were human ladies, but does that count in a book about robots?

– Seeing different people in charge was a definite plus over the show. I like Ratbat having a large role for a period there, and seeing how both sides react to whomever is in charge makes the conversations less predictable. The only one I wasn’t too big on was Scorponok, but I think that’s more of me not digging on anything from Headmasters and beyond, than a problem with the writing. I could see the Autobots eventually being okay with the inclusion of a non-machine in their team, but the Decepticons being that accepting just never added up to me.

– I like that they took chances with the plot in this book. The animated movie made kids mad when they killed a bunch of characters, and you could argue that the show suffered for it and I’d agree. But in the comic, they have no problem taking a character out of commission for awhile, or permanently. Sunstreaker got worked only a few issues in, and I believe he isn’t shown until much later in the run, and even then it’s just in a non-speaking group shot. I realize part of this is giving attention to the newer characters, but old hands like Prowl managed to stick around in some capacity throughout the series, so it wasn’t a total push for these new toys. But to see several characters wiped at once, like in the first Shockwave attack or when Starscream gets the power of the Underbase, definitely something that never would’ve happened in the cartoon. Though, they did tend to give some characters multiple returns from the grave, but they’re the bigger fan favorite characters and they somehow managed to have them make sense in the context of the story, so it didn’t seem too goofy.

– I’m not sure I understand the ending. The Last Autobot reformats Hi-Q into Optimus Prime, but he’s not the bigger form any more. The Ark went to earth with Galvatron, Shockwave, Megatron, Ratchet, and Starscream all on board. Spike hops into Fortress Maximus and appears to beat Galvatron. So is Earth saved? Where did the other guys go? Are we just assuming they died in the blast Ratchet set up? This is the same series where Megatron appeared to die, Shockwave appeared to die, and Starscream did die. So a simple explosion killed them? Also, during the last moments when they think Cybertron is going to explode, it says “population: six.” Even if you assume everyone else died in the fight with Unicron, what about those robot-eating guys that were fighting the Dinobots? They would still count as part of the population, right? The Decepticons on the last planet surrender, but then it says there’s peace and the end, but would they just quit fighting like that, or surrender for now and fight more later?

– Why did Jazz play Madonna music with lyrics, but the guy in the concert issue isn’t just Bruce Springsteen? Likeness issues?

– More of a behind the scenes question, but I wonder why they decided to randomly wedge that two-issue arc of the UK run in there? It was interesting to get a look at how the property is treated slightly differently there, but if you were a Marvel reader back then and you enjoyed those issues, where would you go to get UK issues? I don’t remember ever seeing them on the old carousels, though I suppose a comic shop could’ve special ordered them? I’m also curious why the one issue has half-issue credits for two different guys. Was it some creative thing where the first guy bailed out and so someone had to finish the issue?

– Aside from the first 15ish issues or so, which I like purely for nostalgic reasons, the Simon Furman stuff is definitely the best. It’s a good run that takes into account for events that happened before he was writing, and made them work in the context of what he was doing. All in all, a cool series to read through.

Apparently there’s a continuation to this series called Regeneration One. I may have to look this up, just to see where it goes. But for now, I must go take medicine and attempt to sleep.

Categories: Misc.