Monday, February 14, 2011

Random Trains of Thought 2/14/2011

- Welp, it's Valentines Day. I've seen a few of the usual "blah blah blah this holiday sucks it's a holiday based on consumerism" comments, either from friends or otherwise. It's interesting, actually, in that this is really a common slam against several of the chief holidays. But the argument frankly blows.

All holidays have an element of consumerism no matter what you do. It doesn't matter if you're buying chocolate for that special someone, getting a Christmas gift for a family member or buying groceries for a huge feast. You are consuming and it has to come from somewhere.

What seems lost these days is the fact that, despite the profit of corporations from them, holidays bring out some of the best traits of human beings. A vast majority of them are celebrations of concepts as great as giving to someone else for no other reason than to make them happy. Some inspire compassion. Hell, around Christmas time, being amongst other people is a far easier, more pleasant experience than any other time; everyone seems to be in the spirit, seem to be nicer to others and are more giving, even if the holiday itself is weeks away or already over.

These things are bad somehow? Why? Because a company makes money from an aspect of it? Who gives a god damn. They make money regardless all year 'round; and most of the year it isn't for good reasons. The only holiday I think you can make a case for is Thanksgiving - if you prescribe to the whole gluttony thing - but even that has higher reasoning behind it. If it means something to someone and makes people happy, it's a good holiday, to me.

- On that note, concerning Valentines Day, I don't currently have a girlfriend, but regardless of that, I like the holiday anyway. As far as I'm concerned any occasion to celebrate an emotion as awesome as love can't be all bad.

- I don't usually bring shipping stuff up on here, but since it's Valentines Day I'm going to make an exception for something. Did you ever notice that a fair amount of people ship a certain pairing chiefly because they had a crush on one of the characters as an adolescent or just really like them, even if the other character clearly doesn't return their feelings? I'm not going to name the two ships in general - or the game - but I've taken note over time that many people who stick with this one pairing - that I honestly think is flat out wrong, but when does that ever stop shippers - admit that they had a crush on the big breasted female in particular. So adding everything up, it becomes clear that such is a fair amount of why they ship her with the main character you play as, who very clearly loved someone else, even well after the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Doesn't that seem like an odd reason to ship something? No? It's just me? Oh.

- Actually, the above situation applies to the shipping wars of a certain manga about ninja's that are oddly unfamiliar with the concept of stealth. Shy, big breasted girl likes main character. Some male fans think she's hot. So of course, the main character has to end up with her, despite the fact that he doesn't even notice her and clearly has eyes for only one other girl. Same goes for females who relate to the shyness and want her to win out due to that reason.

That particular one is far less pressing, though, since I hate that manga to pieces now; used to like it a lot, but those days are long over since the quality went down the toilet.

- I think one of my greatest recent disappointments stems from Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Not because of the game itself, really. More that one of the featured dimensions, Marvel 2099, is woefully under represented outside of the game. Obviously the 616 Amazing universe is all over and it's really not hard to find material pertaining to either the Noir or Ultimate universes. Trying to find something from Spider-Man 2099, however, is akin to pulling teeth.

The comic, after all, ended over a decade ago. This is, I believe, the first major media outside of it to feature the character and his world in any fashion. But there's nothing to seek out. Spider-Man 2099 had some of my favorite levels from the game and I was immediately inspired to seek out the comic and whatever was related. To my utter dismay, there was nothing. No trades, no reprints, not a thing. There was a trade of the first ten issues, but that was issues back in early 2009. Said trade has been long out of print and I've never cared to back issue hunt if I don't have to.

Worse still, there doesn't seem to be a damn thing on the horizon for it, be it trades or new comics. Marvel is usually better about this kind of thing. I'm rather let down about it. This is probably the only taste of Spidey 2099 I'm likely to get for a long while, unless we get a sequel and the universe returns. Thanks Marvel. Way to cater.

- Speaking of the game, it feels short to me. Obviously there's a healthy amount of levels - twelve not counting the tutorial and the final boss - but that leaves a mere three stages a pop for each universe. For something like Noir and 2099, that doesn't feel like it's even remotely enough. I'm left wanting more; normally that's a good thing, but in this case it's more along the lines of simply not getting enough of each.

- Ever since I recently got a PS3, I've actually been playing online a fair bit. It is legitimately fun, but damn am I glad it's free on this system. Micrsoft can stick their Live Gold program up their ass; I did the trial and the actual multiplayer itself isn't any better than this, yet they charge for it.

- Actually, I've been switching over to the PS3 more lately in general. I'm finding I'm using it far more and making more game purchases for it over the 360. It's not surprising, honestly; I was really tired of Microsofts BS with the system itself and otherwise. I went through their customer service once. What a nightmare.

- On that note, I do have to give Sony some props. I recently had trouble with my PSP and simply did not want to do the customer service routine. I did it online and shockingly, it was quick and painless; I did a back and forth with a correspondent for a bit on what was wrong and then I had a box and instructions shipped to me on their dime. It was a very good experience, which is very nice.

I'm not just using Microsoft as a comparison here as it isn't even just them; in my experience, customer service for anything is frequently lousy. Navigating the computers is always a nightmare and even if you can get a correspondent on the phone it's no simpler. I really, really hate customer service.

- Why does Marvel seem intent on reminding us that the 90's in their comics are a thing that happened? Do we really need to see Onslaught again? No, we really don't, but damn, are they going to give it to us anyways. And that's with the insistence on bringing up the Clone Saga lately? A few scattered die-hard Ben Reilly fans aside, I think most of us were perfectly happy forgetting that mess was a thing that exists. It's quite possibly the lowest quality Spider-Man has ever reached, even within the confines of the Marriage Era. Cut that shit out, please.

- No, seriously; why the **** are we getting a Scarlet Spider action figure, complete with 90's ankle pouches? Seriously, what is the market for this stuff? That's even more shocking than the fact that Darkhawk's getting a figure in the same series.

- Possible reaction if anyone read this site: "then don't buy it troll STFU lolololol"

- Yes, I realize Spider-Man 2099 was a 90's thing. There were the occasional diamonds amidst the proverbial turds.

- I realize slamming the Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark musical is a popular thing these days but it's for good reason and I can't help commenting on it. As much as I like a good trainwreck, I'm genuinely concerned this musical is going to get someone killed. It's about as troubled a production as I've heard about in a long time, but stuff like how long it's been in previews, the savage reviews and large quantities of WTF-ery means little compared to the real danger of critical injury. You can bet your ass that if someone is crippled or died during this show, that 65 million will look like a pittance compared to the lawsuit.

- Being a bit of a pro wrestling fan - mostly the old stuff; I drift in and out of paying attention to it lately - the falling from a high flying cable stunt business with that musical never fails to remind me of Owen Hart, who, as you may recall, died from a malfunction during one of those stunts, falling a long way down to the ring. That was one stunt, too; not the constant use of such stunts a musical like this is going to require. I doubt the people involved even know of the incident - can't imagine there's much crossover with musical theater folk or their fans and pro wrestling - but it serves a lesson. All it takes is one screw-up.

- You know, the more I think on it, the more it makes sense that I'm enjoying the Spider-Man 2099 sections of Shattered Dimensions so much. I'm pretty much a total whore for cyberpunk and this is basically cyberpunk Spider-Man. It literally fits the majority of the classic criterion.

- I've been listening to grunge lately, which of course means that I'm listening to some awesome music. But, you know, I've come to a conclusion. I like Nirvana. Really, I do. But I honestly think Alice in Chains was the better band of the grunge movement. They lasted about the same amount of time - actually, Alice never really broke up for the longest time, but at some point the releases just stopped - and I think, judging by the body of work - which for both was about three albums and a couple EP's - AiC was simply the better band.

Alice in Chains is actually back together, I hear, with a new album. Haven't heard it yet. But I'm willing to go in with an open mind. This past decade was very kind to older bands, to the point where it was a decade of comebacks for the 80's and 90's best. So, you know, assuming trends hold it should be pretty awesome. Though, you know what they say about assumptions, so who knows.

- Actually, Bush is apparently back together as well. Ugly Kid Joe too. All we need are the Circle Jerks to get back together from their latest spat and most of the greats from the past will be back.

- Big events are back in comics. Sigh. To be fair, I'm looking forward to DC's Flashpoint, but unless it's absolutely fantastic, I'm not sure whether I'm going to even touch Marvel's Fear Itself. I like the creative team a lot, but I've been burnt enough by their events. I'm not liking how it's beginning to sound like all the tie-ins are going to be in the ongoings either, which is the method of tie-ins I hate. I said it once before, but occasionally that method leads to situations like with Incredible Hercules, where every other arc is an event tie-in, which kind of pisses me off and tells me I should look at other books.

- Really, I can't say I blame them for going back to events anymore. Marvel tried a year without the huge events. Sales seemed to plummet across the line and people actually started to say comics felt less exciting without them. So basically, my fellow fans blew it. Thanks guys.

- Called it on one of Dini's two Bat related ongoings getting canned. It was my second choice, though; I'd honestly thought Gotham City Sirens was going to be the one to go and I'm kind of shocked it's still alive. Dini hasn't been writing it for a long while though. The situation changed since I made that prediction, though; at the time I was still assuming he'd return to GCS and then there were some odd goings on with Streets of Gotham. A couple issues only alloted ten pages to the much hyped "House of Hush" storyline, with the Two-Face back-up taking most of the page space. In one issue, the Two-Face story took up the whole thing. Even DC didn't seem to know just what the hell was going to occupy a given issue until it was too late; their solicits were all kinds of messed up for a while there.

- Actually, I wonder if Dini really had his heart into the Dick Grayson Batman status quo following RIP. A lot of people seem to indicate the quality slipped when he went to Streets and that's around when his absences from the title went from occasional to frequent. Either way, I'm getting the feeling we won't be seeing him on a Batman comic for a while; Zatanna seems to be his main ongoing moving forward and he's got new TV commitments now. It's a bit sad; hopefully he comes back for another stint when he has enough time to devote to it.

- This has been bugging me for a while now, but I've never really said much about it. Exactly why the hell do we not have a comprehensive collection of the O'Neil/Adams years on Batman in trade? Seriously, it's one of the pivotal runs of the character - one of the definitive runs, actually - and the only thing we have is a collection of the Ra's Al Ghul issues. Anything else is scattered across a bunch of different "best of" collections. It's one of those things that I can't believe doesn't exist. What the hell gives?

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