First, I want to thank my friend Prism Elf for convincing me to start playing Mass Effect.  I freely admit that I shied away from the franchise because A) the title didn’t grab me, B) I tend to favor fantasy settings over sci-fi techno-babble, and C) it’s super-popular which always makes me wary of its quality.

Boy, was I wrong.

After playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, Bioware was in my good graces.  I love those games, the interactions, complex storylines, beautifully rendered locales, awesome battle sequences, and generally cinemagraphic feel that makes it more like participating in a movie than a shoot-em-up video game.  I actually didn’t realize that the Mass Effect Trilogy was created by Bioware until recently.  And after hearing Prism Elf rave about both Mass Effect and Dragon Age for at least two years (at least), I finally caved, went to GameStop, and parted with $40 in return for the trilogy package.  Alas, it came with no instruction manual, so I decided to wing it on Casual as a Soldier rather than messing around with a biotic character.  Biotics reminded me of Force users, but I wasn’t willing to over-complicate my first play-through.  I’m much better at just meleeing shit.

Thus, Kate Shepard was born:

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- Anonymous Spam Mail (source unknown)

– Anonymous Spam Mail (source unknown) Image created by Water-Pixie on Deviantart (click for link)

These are the words that greet you when you open A Madness of Angels, the first book in the Matthew Swift/Urban Magic series by Kate Griffin.  So far there are four books in the series:  A Madness of Angels, The Midnight Mayor, The Neon Court, and The Minority Council.  I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my time, and I really enjoy urban fantasy.  However, like any over-used popular genre, it can get a little repetitive.  A lone-wolf wizard-detective must protect his or her city from the evil forces of the night, wearing a leather cape and wielding mystical forces (and often getting the crap beaten out of them along the way), etc., etc.  Yes, Matthew Swift is a sorcerer.  Yes, he can use magic, gets his ass whooped a lot, and has to protect his city (in this case, London.)

But the similarities end there.

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This is so awful, and yet so hilarious at the same time.  I am torn between hilarity and horror.

And in case that made you feel down, here’s one to cheer you up:

Thank you, Foxglove Zayuri for sharing these with me.


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I couldn’t think of anything to write this week (and I’m late . . . Happy Thorsday! ^_^;;) . . .

. . . so here’s a picture of Loki reading a book.

If we had this as a mural in our library, business would be booming.

I swear…if we had this as a mural in our library, we would attract more patrons.

And in case that wasn’t enough….listen to this.

Yeah.  Damn.  Damn.




Marvel Cinematic Universe from


In order to maintain some semblance of sanity during the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo, I bribed myself with anime.  Every 500 words, I could watch an episode.  But which anime to watch?  I decided on Black Jack, an anime based on the Black Jack manga series by Osamu Tezuka.  I was bumbling around on the internet and stumbled across a site that had a very nice fansub by #Frostii @ Rizon and thought, “You know, Charles Dunbar showed us the opening of this at a con ages ago and it looked really cool.  I should watch this now that I have the chance!”

So I did.  And I loved it.

Black Jack is a medical drama mixed with horror with a pinch of sci-fi revolving around the title character, an unlicensed black-market surgeon for hire who charges exorbitant fees for his services.  However, if you have a nigh-incurable ailment or injury, Black Jack is the man you want working on you.  He might look like the offspring of Frankenstein and Cruella de Vil who made off with Count Dracula’s wardrobe, but he’s a freaking genius in surgery.  And despite his often cold, abrasive manner, there are times and situations when his good heart shines through.

Osamu Tezuka wrote Black Jack from 1973 to 1983, but the anime wasn’t made until 2004 (and can only be found subbed at this point) and the 17-volume manga didn’t arrive in English until 2008, courtesy of Vertical Inc.  (There are also 12 OVA episodes, a movie, and a second 17-episode series called Black Jack 21, none of which I’ve watched yet.) The anime does make some changes, although they are not so egregious that one wants to toss it across the room.  It update a few things, such as some of the characters having cell phones and adds in a few characters or give some side characters more prominence, which I actually liked.  The only place where both adaptations show their age a bit is in the depiction of some female characters, notably “the Black Queen,” as being rather frail and too overly emotional to handle certain situations.  (That was the only episode I didn’t like at all.)

In the manga, Black Jack is pretty much a lone wolf, except for Pinoko, a small girl he saved and cares for, while in the anime Pinoko is not only present in more of the stories, but Black Jack himself seems to have a more steady support network of friends.  Also, the manga is a lot darker than the anime.  There is more death in the manga and while it isn’t gratuitous, it shows that Black Jack’s medical prowess can only go so far.  He can’t always heal people, and even when he does, sometimes it isn’t enough.  Sometimes those he heals do stupid things, or he makes an error in judgement and it has a price.  For that reason, I’m glad I watched the 62-episode anime first because it eases you into the world and can be enjoyed by itself if you so chose.  So far, I’ve enjoyed both the anime adaptation and the manga source material.

So, if you’re looking for some awesome old-school manga with an interesting premise and great characters, I highly recommend Black Jack!  (Also, the opening theme music for the Black Jack anime is awesome!  I wish I could find better videos of them on Youtube…)



Black Jack title image via

Two weeks ago, I finished playing HALO 2. (Yay! Aww, it’s over…)  Last week I started HALO 3. (Yay!)  Slightly wonky control changes aside, there was one massive difference that leapt out at me: the graphics.

The shift from the original Xbox graphics to the hyper-realism of the Xbox 360 graphics was astonishing to me.  I’m not much of a gamer, and since I only just got an Xbox 360 this year, I’ve spent most of my gamer life in the shadowy zone between classic console games and the graphics heavy modern consoles.

I’m not sure if I like the change.

Evolution of Halo character designs

Evolution of Halo character designs

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Long ago in a distant land, I, Kat, the connoisseur of the odd and unusual, unleashed an unspeakable awesome into my life.  A kick-ass samurai warrior wielding a magic sword, stood forth and enchanted me.

Sound familiar?  Okay, maybe I took some liberties with the iconic opening, but I’m sure some of you watched Samurai Jack on Cartoon Network when you were younger.  Or maybe, like me, you discovered it later in life and wondered how you managed to miss it.  For those of you who might not know, Samurai Jack is the tale of a young samurai warrior who is sent into the distant future by an evil shape-shifting demon named Aku who destroyed his home.  Now Jack (the name he was given by the locals) must battle through an unfamiliar, alien-infested futuristic Earth in search of a portal back to the past so he can destroy Aku and undo this evil future.  Along the way Jack defeats many foes and makes some friends.  I never saw it on television, but I did rent the first season from the library ages ago. But, since they only had the first season and I still lived in the age of dial-up, I never got to see the second, third, and fourth seasons.

Until now.  I just finished the last episode on Monday.

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Didn’t know that?  Neither did I until my friend Foxglove Zayuri told me about it.  Radio plays are almost unheard of in the U.S. but that’s probably because we don’t have kick-ass accents.

The thing that really made me sit up and pay attention was the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is in this production of Neverwhere.  Yes.  You heard me right.  Benedict Cumberbatch is in Neverwhere voicing the Angel Islington.

How appropriate is that?

How appropriate is that?

You can look at a bunch of cool stuff surrounding the radio play here, but since the streaming ended in March 2013, you can’t listen to the play on BBC 4’s site.  Nor can you download it from that site.

However, you can get it from the Pirate Bay (haven’t done that because I have no idea how to use torrents and don’t like to risk virues), or listen to it here on SoundCloud.  Or at least the first installment.  There’s a total of six, and no, I haven’t gotten the chance to listen to any of it yet.

But you can listen to Benedict Cumberbatch singing.  Yes.  Singing.  *melts*  Goddamn, I love his voice.  And face.  And acting.  *melts again*  I know what I’m doing this weekend…

UPDATE (June 20):
Actually, I couldn’t wait for the weekend.  I managed to download the show from SoundCloud and put it on my MP3 player.  Got the first two episodes knocked out on the work commute and just listened to the third episode “The Angel Islington” while lying back on the couch with my eyes closed.  Bliss.  Pure bliss.  I need to get me more of these radio plays!


“The Angel Islington” by Doodleholic via DeviantART

I’ve been hearing a lot of (mostly negative) talk lately about the Disney Princesses and Princess Merida’s elevation to join their exalted ranks.  There’s also been a lot of backlash at Disney’s changes to her appearance to make her more sparkly and traditionally princess-like.

Merida Disneyfied

I have no special rancor against the Disney princesses.  However, I don’t think they are necessarily good role models, and the older I get (thanks to Cracked) the more I realize how messed up the messages in those classic films actually are.  But I digress.  That doesn’t make me hate the princesses, merely the people who designed such vapid stories.  But I digress again.  I want to focus on the movie Brave.

Yes, I did watch it.  Yes, I was excited for another Pixar movie, one that had a Celtic fairy-tale air to it.  But watching the movie left me feeling…unmoved.  The visuals were gorgeous, there are some funny moments and occasional drama, but overall, the effort felt muddled.  Like Brave couldn’t decide what story it wanted to tell or where it’s focus should be.  (it didn’t help that they changed directors halfway through the film.)

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I wanted to reblog this post from the YJ Fan Repository on Tumblr in the hopes of spreading the word.  For those of you who don’t know, the start-up company (my Show Must Go On!) has begun a fan campaign to show support for bringing back Young Justice for a third season.  We have 90 days to raise $10 million, or as close to that as we can get.  The point of this effort to is show Warner Brothers that there is interest in this show and that there are enough fans out there to justify bringing it back.

To be clear, I myself have not watched Young Justice.  However, I have been following SMGO, read what they and others have had to say about the campaign, participated in their recent Q&A, and have pledged money to the cause of saving Young Justice.  Why?  because this will pave the way to save other shows, such as my much beloved Green Lantern: The Animated Series.

This weekend, we are trying to urge people from many different fandoms to help support one another with votes and pledges.  Please note that a pledge is like an I.O.U.  No money changes hands until A) we reach the goal of $10 million and B) Warner Brothers agrees to continue Young Justice.  If both conditions are not met, your account is not charged.  Also, SMGO is only trying to raise support; they don’t touch a penny of the funds we raise.

So please, even if you decide not to pledge, I urge you to spread the word to support these shows, Young Justice in particular.  Together, we can do this.

Weekend of Action


“Weekend of Action” image via YJ Fan Videos Repository Tumblr