I’m in San Francisco and almost forgot to do a video today!
My non-spoilery review of SPECTRE.
A report on yesterday’s tasting and brief thoughts on Jessica Jones.
Let me tell you many things about an excellent comic book miniseries called: “The Midas Flesh”
1) It is a completed 8-issue comic book with a weird title.
2) It is about a universe where the story of King Midas is real (Everything he touches turns to gold, and everything that is touching what he’s touching), and then his dead body is exploited as a planet-killing super-weapon by both rebel forces and the authoritarian government in a galaxy-spanning conflict.
3) It is a fascinating physics/engineering thought-experiment about all the different implications and effects of Midas’s power.
4) It is a thoughtful exploration of the ethics of weapons of mass destruction.
5) It has a talking, nerdy, feathered velociraptor who wears a tie and glasses. He is the ship’s engineer, and one of the three primary characters.
6) The nerdy dinosaur has a tragic backstory.
7) The character roster on both sides of the conflict is diverse in race, gender, and species.
8) It has dialogue like: “Aw man, turns out I hate getting lied to by machines created by long-dead jerks!”
9) The story keeps raising the stakes without losing sight of the characters.
10) It has lots of cool spaceship action.
11) I LOVED this comic!
12) Find out more about it at midasflesh.com
The Venture Brothers rewatch continues!
In this episode, the gang discusses “Trial of the Monarch” and “Return to Spider Skull Island”
Unfortunately, Mike and I couldn’t find a time to record this week, but we plan to get caught up for episode 3. Thanks for listening, and our apologies for the delay.
With episode 2, the story is officially underway.
In hindsight, it might have been better to go ahead and do these first two episodes together, since it really is only the combination of the two that really represents the series at large. Episode 1, though fun, is all wind-up and no pitch. Episode 2 gets to the action, but only works with the set-up established in the first episode. In fact, I believe the first two episodes were actually shown back-to-back when the show premiered.
No sense spending too much time lamenting the separation, however. Best to move forward!
The episode begins as Aang and Katara arrive back at camp, both fully aware how badly they’ve screwed up. To be sure, the specific trap was an accident, but of course, that’s exactly WHY exploring the ship was dangerous in the first place. Aang and Katara didn’t break some dishes. This is a potentially life-and-death mistake here.
Aang understands this, of course, which is why he doesn’t protest at all when Sokka and Gran-Gran decide to banish him. Katara, on the other hand, insists that Aang’s arrival has awakened something within the village that it was sorely lacking: Fun. (It’s important to consider, I think, that simply calling it “fun” is a bit of a childish term on Katara’s part. Though Aang has still not confirmed that he is the Avatar, I think we can guess that Katara is sensing some aspects of that, if only subconsciously, and that, in many ways, “Fun” is probably code for “Hope.”
Another interesting side-note is the exchange where Sokka insists “You can’t fight the Fire Nation with fun,” and Aang replies “You should try it sometime.” Though it is not apparent now, the idea of using “fun” as a weapon is returned to a few times, as a somewhat counter-intuitive tactic.
Katara, reluctant to lose Aang, initially decides to join him in exile. She doesn’t want Aang to have to go alone, and she wants to take him up on his offer to find her a water-bending master. It’s a noble instinct, but it’s also impulsive. Aang gently talks her out of it, not wanting to be responsible for her losing her home and her family.
So Aang leaves, but Prince Zuko’s ship is still coming. It’s very cool to see Sokka gearing up for battle, but kind of heart-breaking as well, because we know they haven’t got a chance of withstanding any kind of real attack. This is driven home by the giant steel ship literally crushing through the wall like it was nothing. Then, as Sokka attempts to attack Zuko, he is easily defeated. But it’s amazing, because Sokka does not give up. His bravery and determination are admirable, if ultimately ineffective, as he is repeatedly knocked aside by Zuko. (He does get in a good shot with the boomerang though!)
What might initially have been a straight-forward “He went that way” is complicated by the misunderstandings Zuko still carries about the Avatar. He assumes both that the village would have known they had the Avatar, and also that he would be a very old man. So the village is confused by Zuko’s demands, and Zuko is infuriated by what he sees as a refusal to cooperate. The situation begins to escalate, but then Aang returns to save the day, kinda. Sliding in on a penguin and temporarily humiliating Zuko.
We get our first taste of actual battle here, with Aang using his staff to spin away Zuko’s fire. Zuko recognizes that Aang must be the Avatar right away, and so reveals it to everyone else. I love the exchange: “You’re just a child!” “Yeah, well, you’re just a teenager.”
Aang is holding his own against Zuko, but after a close call with some of the village children, he recognizes that the battle is too dangerous for him to let it take place there in the village, and he surrenders himself to spare the village.
A noble gesture, though as we see later, not quite as dire a sacrifice as it initially appeared. Aang is not planning to stay locked up in a cell. (He even says: “Take care of Appa for me until I get back!”) Still, it already shows that, beneath his playful exterior, he does have some true wisdom. Sure, he MIGHT be able to take on Zuko individually, but probably not the entire ship, and certainly the battle would incur significant casualties in the Water Tribe village. To simply escape captivity, on the other hand, allows him to take on all the risk himself, rather than being responsible for any additional damage to the village. And escaping simply requires getting away, not having to defeat every person on the ship.
Aang is led away and the ship leaves, while the village is left to try and rebuild, but Katara has a speech. She has a lot to say about why Aang is important, and why she has to go after him, and if we didn’t like Sokka already, we finally do when he says: “Are you going to talk all day, or are you coming with me?” Then Gran-Gran blesses the mission as well, saying that their destinies are now intertwined with the Avatar’s. Then, just as they are discussing how they can never catch the ship in their canoe, it’s Appa! Happy feelings all around.
Though of course, Sokka can never abandon his sarcasm for long. “You just love taking me out of my comfort zone, don’t you?” Still, it’s Sokka who remembers the proper phrase: “Yip-yip!” and it’s such fun to see him overjoyed by the miracle of flight. Even if he must once again resume his veneer of teenage apathy.
Back on board the Fire Nation ship, Aang seems awfully relaxed as his staff is confiscated and he’s been led to the cell. Then, we see why. “You guys have never fought an air-bender before, have you?’ Kid’s got skills! Of course, he can’t leave without his staff, so the search is on. We get a nice gag with Uncle Iroh sleeping through the whole thing, but Zuko is ready. He traps Aang in the chamber and it’s time for another duel. We see that both of these characters have significant skill, but ultimately, it’s a TKO by mattress, and Aang escapes to the main deck with his staff.
Getting on deck is not the same as escaping, unfortunately, as Zuko manages to leap onto Aang’s glider, and send them both crashing to the deck. Then, more fighting, but Aang is ultimately forced over the side, and we can’t help but be reminded of his dream, when he escaped the storm by freezing himself in the ice. As before, Aang’s eyes glow, but instead of freezing himself again, he rises out of the water, and defeats Zuko with a so-far unprecedented skill of water-bending. This is significant, because recall that he told Katara he could not teach her, because he was an air-bender, not a water-bender. He apparently has incredible power, but is, perhaps, not fully in control of himself when he exercises it, and it leaves him drained when he finishes.
Thankfully, Katara and Sokka have arrived on Appa. Sokka gets a nice moment when he’s recovering the staff, only to receive a horror-movie jump scare from Zuko. And yet, in payback for the earlier defeats, Sokka knocks Zuko back over the side and retains the staff. Katara, in her moment of need, discovers additional water-bending skill, freezing the fire nation soldiers (and Sokka) in ice. Katara, Sokka, and Aang escape on Appa and the day is saved.
We get one last moment with Zuko and Iroh, as they appraise the damage to their ship. Iroh says “Good news for the Fire Lord. The greatest threat to the Fire Nation is just a little kid.” (Yet, his tone is reserved, as though this is a test for Zuko, rather than his actual opinion.) If it was a test, Zuko passes. “That little kid did THIS,” he says. “I won’t underestimate him again.”
The last scene of the episode is pretty much: “Hey audience, here’s what the show is going to be about! Aang has to learn, in order, water bending, earth bending, and fire bending, so he can defeat the Fire Nation and save the world, but there will still be time for fun and riding exotic animals. “They don’t like people riding them, but that’s what makes it fun!” So with the conclusion of the two-parter, our story is officially under way. Hooray!
* Zuko intends to give Aang’s staff to his father, commenting to Aang: “You probably do not know of fathers, being raised by monks.” This is just a peek at the thoughtful Zuko, rather than the single-minded “I will catch the AVATAR!” Zuko. Also, his father issues are deep and plentiful.
* Aang confesses that he lied about being the Avatar because he “never wanted to be.” We’ll be seeing a lot more about that as well.
A youTube video of Luna chasing her favorite prey.
- RT @AnitaKingWrites: Aaand finished Space Casey by @christianaellis. Very funny, very enjoyable. — Yay! Thank you for listening! #
- .@Mainframe Well, wrapped up with a bow and arrow seems more likely. 😉 #
- Must not give in To grumpy mood! I will summon my cheer through sheer force of will! GRRRGGGAAARGH!!! *smiles* Ah, that's better. #
- .@nlowell I'll admit it, the My Little Pony avatar helps. #
- .@odin1eye @nlowell O_o #
- .@Nobilis That's good to know. I know I enjoyed the extra scenes. I was a little surprised to hear that anyone didn't! #
- .@AnitaKingWrites As it turns out, friendship really IS magic! #
- .@edgizmo Could happen! The denizens of Equestria, after all, are not immune to grumpy moods. It is just that they are comparatively mild. #
- .@edgizmo Their sunny dispositions help to soften the lows & enhance the highs. Add a pinch of 'Biology is Destiny' and there you are! #
- .@Nobilis I agree that that is the dynamic, but one could ask why he's so sure they would never talk. Esp w/Roz since she's new. #
- .@edgizmo Only if they drink hot sauce. I'm at work or I'd find you the picture. 🙂 #
- .@Nobilis Agreed, and also, he doesn't really give them any names. He doesn't join, because explaining how smart he is, is how he gets off. #
- .@edgizmo Honestly, I never really liked the Smurfs much either. But my love of the new My Little Pony show is the real deal. #
- .@edgizmo Don't judge by the 80's cartoon, The new one is the good one. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Little_Pony_Friendship_is_Magic #
- .@HillaryDePiano @edgizmo True. The 80's movie was one of the first I saw in the theater. But the new one transcends its marketing origins. #
- .@madpoet You are now, like, 20% cooler. (In-joke, keep watching.) #
- .@madpoet @WickedGood All of the current My Little Pony (I think) is on YouTube. They don't take it down because they make $ from toys. #
- .@vforvoice My avatar was made for me by @planetx for a panel at Balticon. Let me see if I can find the link. #
- .@vforvoice MLP generator: http://bit.ly/jutRMd Here's one of @planetx (http://flic.kr/p/9PicNe) & @Cmaaarrr (http://flic.kr/p/9Pm3wY) #
- .@Mainframe First ep is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJ6-gN0eB4&feature=youtube_gdata_playerRest should be easy to find from there. #
- @Mainframe You can also just google My little pony: friendship as magic to find many resources such as episode guides, etc. #
- .@dsobkowiak Come on! Everypony's doing it! #
- .@jrblackwell All the best stuff is over the top. Like the cookie jar on top of the fridge, or pole-vaulting. #
- RT @sonicsociety: The new Headquarters of the Sonic Society! http://fb.me/AYBAkzlN – Looks great! #
- .@spiritualtramp IS everything okay? Because I know a lot of people who would be very relieved. 😉 #
- .@spiritualtramp Ah, well. He'd know, I guess. #
- I go to bed early and wake up feeling MORE tired than usual. The mysteries of the human body are rich, beautiful and sometimes annoying. #
- I feel strangely… competent this morning. Be afraid. #
- .@madpoet I know, right? #
- Ate bananas last week & had no problems with my back. This week, none & some. Coincidence? Quite possibly. Still eating a banana for lunch. #
- .@HillaryDePiano Now that you mention it, it HAS been a while since the last tiger attack. #
- .@jramboz I would like to Pre-order a ticket to Prophylactic Banana's first concert, please. #
- .@daniinnc Anecdotal evidence FTW! #
- .@Roue0824 You know, I actually typed "strangle-ly" before going back to correct it… Creepy! #
- @Cthukie Have your interview today yet? Glad yesterday's went well. #
- This was just delivered to my house: http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/retro-gaming/e762/ … I should not be allowed near money. #
- @Cthukie Be strong! Be strong! We're all here for you! You can do it! (This applies to both the job search and the grocery shopping) #
- @Mainframe A video's not a bad idea, though obviously I can't shoot it with the iPad camera! #
- @edgizmo I Pre-ordered a couple of weeks ago when I saw it on Kotaku. #
- @WintyrBourne Not yet. Got delivery confirmation, but I'm still at work. :p #
- @edgizmo Alas, no Pac-man on it (yet), though it does have asteroids. I think first though will be Centipede! 🙂 #
- @hatchingphoenix Yes! Though, of stuff from the 3DS store, I've actually been playing more of Link's Awakening and Cave Story. #
- @WintyrBourne I am an engineering consultant for pharmaceutical companies. #
- @hatchingphoenix Not in 3D, but it is the Game Boy Color version and a great game regardless. #
- @edgizmo Well, the Centipede I learned on actually had a joystick, but true, it was a bit of a bastard child. #
- @WintyrBourne Nothing wrong with that. 🙂 Stuff needs to get places, right? #
- @edgizmo Did trackballs Pre-date joysticks? I assumed they were contemporaries, or even that the joysticks came first? #
- @choochus I use Tweetdeck for iPad, though it does crash a lot. Still I like the interface. Also good: TWC Max+ (weather), Comixology, NASA #
- @choochus And of course, Kindle, Netflix, IMDB, Discovery. Also, Office2 HD is pricey but powerful. #
- @WintyrBourne Working on it! I've got scenes done and bits planned and everything! #
- @edgizmo @spiritualtramp Two men enter… (the arcade)… No quarters leave! #
- @sinspired @DDog I liked it too. Groovy, man. #XMenFirstClass #
- @pcharing Good music, loud. Rock. #
- I haven't thought about postage stamps in over 2 years. As only things that I am aware of exist, I am sorry if that made them hard to find. #
- @annacreech I've got a lot of other stuff on my mind already, (the universe, Earth, Pez, etc.) but I'll add your request to the list. 🙂 #
- @chrisbachmann Cork-boards! I hadn't thought of them in a while either! 0o0 #
- @TeeMonster @nlowell Yeah, I just recently listened through #ownersshare myself. Painful, but well-handled. #
- Only just this morning figured this out. Lucy-Sky-Diamonds -> LSD. #slowontheuptake #
- @odin1eye My condolences. It is good that he will be remembered. #
- @TeeMonster Oh no! I almost missed it myself, wish I could have reminded you. :/ #
- .@Froosh Wow, Snopes agrees, it was a coincidence! http://www.snopes.com/music/hidden/lucysky.asp But still, a hell of a coincidence! #
- This just in! Turns out that Puff the Magic Dragon is actually about a magic dragon!!! #
- .@trreed My avatar was made for me by @planetx using this My Little Pony generator: http://bit.ly/jutRMd #
- @suzannehartwick You're welcome! It is my life's mission to bestow ear-worms on the whole universe… Kinda like Kahn. #
- Overheard at lunch: "I'm going to buy a bar of chocolate and smuggle it back to my desk in my pants. … Pocket, I mean pants pocket." #
- @Cthukie Excelsior! #
- Time for a MEETING! #
- Hey, we just had this great idea for a last-minute change that requires several extra hours of work FOR YOU. … By tomorrow, please. #
- "There's a bucket where you weren't expecting there to be a bucket." #HorrorMoviesForDogs #
- Slowly, but surely, I am puzzling out the events of Space Casey season 2. The logistics of comedy time-travel are surprisingly squirrelly. #
- @VividMuse If you're still upset, probably best not to send it. I've learned that lesson the hard way. #
- Oh hey, you know all that extra work we asked you to do at the last minute? The people who were supposed to help you weren't told about it. #
- Ah, but for almost every frustration at work, there are the good people who step up and pitch in. 🙂 #
- So all these high-profile hackers cropping up lately… They're basically supervillains, right? #
- Do a lot of damage? Act with dramatic flair? Secret Identities? Bizarre rationalizations for their actions? Check. #HackersAreSupervillains #
- .@comedy4cast Whenever I did it, it was always a sincere attempt to express my affection and loyalty. #
- .@jchutchins Red-rum… If that's what you've got, but I prefer silver rum mixed with Diet Coke. #
- Work done! Going home to see my puppy! #
- Hanging out at the NC Maker Faire, selling books at the Pendragon Variety table. #
- @trreed But everypony's doing it! #
- Mike and I are recording Watching 100 Movies for "Modern Times" and "All the President's Men" Have comments? Let me know, we'll read them! #
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