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Fine, I’ll talk about Transformers, then. Yes, I have a sizable collection of Gen1 Transformers and a smattering of toys from more recent lines, not to mention the comic books, so I think I should have my say.
I’m not happy with the art direction for the robots. They look nothing like any Transformer I’ve eve seen. They’re all pointy and spiky and menacy, as if Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were iron transforming demonoids from the Hellrazor universe.
I’ll provide a brief explanation as to why that irks me so much. The Transformers characters, throughout their various incarnations have always been identifiable by their fans. Imagine if they made a blond-haired Clark Kent with perfect vision – the Superman fanboys would be rioting in the streets. An example:
That’s a good friend from my childhood up there. His name is Wheeljack, and my brother got the toy (his first Transformer) for Christmas 1984 (I got Starscream). He was originally a G1 Autobot who transformed into a Lancia Stratos; in the third photo above we have Wheeljack’s Alternator release from 2005 (21 years since the G1 toy was released!) and even though he’s now a Ford Mustang, he shares facial features with his previous models. There are photos of the toy as well as shots from Wheeljack in the TV cartoon and in the comic book – in all of them the character is still recognizably (to a raving fanboy; ie me) still Wheeljack.
And if the art department kicking my childhood in the groceries wasn’t enough, the studio comes along and delivers a swift boot to the junk by hiring Michael Bay, a director who admits he wasn’t a fan of Transformers. Bay is all about building a rapport with the fans with statements like “I think I was 20 years old when the toys came out, so I just discovered girls then” (What exactly is he implying there? Optimus Prime not as cool as girls? Up yours, sir.). They had to send him to a special school at Hasbro for a crash course on what the Transformers were. Tell me I’m not the only one thinking Bay’s going to do anything other than yet another chase movie, except this time W1TH GIANTZ R0B()TZZ!!1!1ONE!!ONEONE!!
I’m not saying the movie won’t be a mind-blowing display of CGI, but there’s no way it’s going to be Transformers. Remember kids, that the god-awful Final Fantasy movie was chock-fulla mind-blowing CGI – when’s the last time someone mentioned that film? Bay’s Transformers will have giant transforming robots, and yes they sure will blow all sorts of things up, but for those of us who have grown up with the stories of The Transformers (of which there are quite a few) this movie will be way off the mark.
Here are some Transformers things that don’t suck.
Transformers music remixes by Tony Bacala. I’m not really sure who this guy is. I just stumbled onto some of his songs on the internet once, and I’ve collected a few half-decent ones. I couldn’t find any trace of this music online any more, so I don’t feel so bad putting them online so someone can get their hands them. Download here.
Neill Blomkamp is the guy they should have hired to direct this movie. He’s perhaps best-known for the transforming Citroën ads, but it’s his short films which make me think the guy really knows his robots. Here are a couple:
Transformers icons (all freeware):
This is easily the coolest post I’ll ever get to write. I did a bit of harmless Viper Pilot egosurfing, and while the rewards were meager, I did find one gem. A DJ who goes by the handle Stab does a weekly mashup podcast/radio mix show, and my very own Do the Busta Stop was in his March 31st episode! w00t!
Hot diggity DAMN. I pwnz, b1tch3$!
You can download the full show from Stab’s site here (at the bottom of the track list, you’ll find both an embedded player as well as a link to download the set).
Viper Pilot release #3! Mark this day down in the history books – today we helped turn the tide against the Alliance. Certainly, it’s only a small battle, but we have to keep soldiering on, and we shall never stand down.
The Prodigy – Mindfields
The Prodigy – Their Law
The Prodigy – 3 Kilos
Maestro Fresh-Wes – Let Your Backbone Slide
A bit of history for those of you unfamiliar with Maestro: he’s the godfather of Canadian hip-hop. Let Your Backbone Slide was the first Canadian top 40 single for a rap artist, and his debut album is the top selling Canadian hip-hop album of all time.
(follow that link, click ‘watch this movie’)
Now that that’s cleared up, we can move on to the important bits.
Justice released their first full-length album last week, and now they’ve put the whole thing up on Myspace. Some of you (those not living in low-bandwidth caves) will likely have heard Simian vs Justice – We Are Your Friends at some point during the last twelve months.
These guys know how to pimp a synth HARD. Justice have squeezed some truly superb sounds out of their gear to create this album. There is nothing for you to do but go listen. Listen now.
Edit 14.06.2007: Too late, kids. Justice have taken the album off Myspace. There are a couple tracks still there, of course. Clever marketing ploy…
Edit 15.06.2007: The whole album is back up on Myspace now.
So I’ve finally managed to score some time to put together a few photos from the first leg of the trans-global reconnaissance mission I was assigned to starting back in April. Our first waypoint was New Zealand, where we would meet up with Task Force Chad for a force recon of the North Island before Chad and Michelle would be inserted into deep cover on the South Island for a geological expedition for Michelle’s earth sciences studies.
First course of action? Some R&R in Auckland. We spent a couple days there to catch up things and reminisce about old times (like once, when Chad and I fought robot polar bears in a wacky misfortune-filled field trip way back when we were in space academy together (soon to be made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt)). We drank beer from Fiji, we laughed and we ate Korean food. Nice.
In addition to stopping at the Auckland museum to visit some of Chad’s homeys (above; apologies for blurry photo), we stopped at the planetarium to check their astronav charts against the ones stored in my Viper MkVII’s navicomp. There, Kate discovered that Zubenelgenubi is her favourite star. And with a name like that, why not?
The latter half of the holiday was spent in the area around Rotorua, which is pockmarked with all sorts of kooky geological wonders. We saw the Lady Knox Geyser (which goes off on command, as long as you’re willing to feed it some organic laundry powder), some bubbling mud pits, some volcanic craters and lots of multicoloured hot springs. New Zealand straddles a fault line, and it certainly shows it off wherever you look. There are volcanic craters everywhere, and Auckland itself has some fifty-odd volcanoes ready and waiting to go off some time in the next hundred thousand years.
That is not data from the orbital probe I fired at Io last week, I promise.
And that is definitely not an image from the surface of Venus. Both of the above photos were taken from the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park. Despite the sometimes-overpowering stench of sulfuric gases bubbling up from the deep and dank beneathy bits of the planet, it was an absolutely astounding place to visit.
And, of course, we went to a Maori village for a hāngi (traditional feast). Unfortunately, I stuffed up all of the photos of the warriors performing the haka as we approached the village, so all you get is a dark photo of some creepy carving that awaited us inside the gates. I learned all sorts of nifty things like: the Maori never invented ranged weapons (hunting and killing is something a real man does with a pointy stick or axe, and you do it nice and close to prove how macho you are), traditional Maori children’s games were training for hitting things with axes or pointy sticks when you grew up, and they have some pretty gay traditional songs.
Definitely another successful sortie. The locals were some of the friendliest and most awesome folks I’ve ever run into (and that’s saying a bit, given my Canadian heritage). Kiwis get the Viper Pilot stamp of approval.
I didn’t pick up any music while I was in New Zealand – about the only time we might have listened to music we were either babbling too much to bother with tunes, or we had Chad’s iPod plugged into the car’s extreme-o-weak stereo system. I’ll try to keep it antipodean, at least: The New Sound of Trash. The New Sound of Trash is a weekly podcast by three DJs from Sydney who play pretty much anything as long as it’s dirty, bangin’ and crunchy. The track selection is fantastically ecclectic, and more than makes up for the odd occasion when they get off topic.
If you see this guy, give him a hand, will you? He’s not bent on our destruction any more these days, and it’s only human of us to help. Shout out to Cenobyte for the photo. Another big shout out to her for uncountable hours spent deciphering and translating the ancient Caledonian text An Abridged History of Viper Pilot, which you can now find in my bio. Without her vast array of linguistic skills, the fleet would probably still be scratching its ass somewhere around Kashyyyk, trying to translate poorly-written Wookiee maps.
Other news from the fleet: since we’ve had to keep things mostly low-tech to stave off neo-Cylon attack virii, these steampunk record players have come in handy at the disco in concourse B of the HMS Rising Sun.
For those of you hunting for some new tunes for your library, I recommend giving Dean Grey’s American Edit a look. It is a whole mashup album, built using every track from the Green Day (Green Day -> Dean Gray … hah hah hah!) album American Idiot. Dean Gray is actually a collaboration between prominent bootleg producers Party Ben and Team9. Team9 is currently based out of Perth in Western Australia, so I’m happy to see I’m not alone on the continent.
Damn. 45+ hours in transit from Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) to Brisbane. I’m quite certain I have a full understanding of how cheese must feel, based on the condition of my spine during the Auckland-Brisbane leg. That is the last time I plan any travel that requires more than twenty hours travel without a rest. More stopovers in Asia for Mrs. Viper Pilot and myself from now on!
After six weeks away from home, there’s an awful lot I should be doing rather than blog posts right now. There are debriefings to be held, flight charts to review, forms to fill out for every round of ammunition fired, etc etc. Be assured that I’ll post reconnaissance images from the trip in the next few days.
In the meantime, go keep yourself amused with the stupid amount of goods at KLF.de. The audio downloads contain some quite good remixes, bootlegs, mix sets and the like. I always liked the KLF, but recently I’ve rediscovered them, and I’m more in love with them now than ever. The beats sound as good now as they did back in the day, a feat which is very difficult to accomplish when it comes to electronic music. Living outside the UK, I think we must have missed a lot of their antics: check out the article about them at Wikipedia and read about the media stunts they pulled, all in the name of Discordianism.
Above: The Rites of Mu, a short film by the KLF.