Thursday, January 31, 2013

Link roundup

1.  "This Is How Much Facebook Made Per User Last Month: 2 Pennies"

2.  The USA came in 7th in the Bocuse d'Or cooking contest.  France (gold), Denmark (silver), Japan (bronze) were the winners.

3.  From Bill Barnwell's end of the season NFL awards:

Bruce Arians is probably going to win this award because he filled in for his stricken colleague, Chuck Pagano, and went 11-5 after the Colts were 2-14 a year ago. I don't think Arians did a bad job, by any means, but the change in Indianapolis's record drastically overstates their actual level of improvement. They're a team that rode a hot stretch of close wins against mostly terrible teams into the playoffs. 
You know who was the last guy to make a similar sort of leap with a similar sort of lucky run against an easy schedule? Tony Sparano with the Dolphins in 2008, when he took a 1-15 team to 11-5 by getting a massive upgrade at quarterback and going 7-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less against one of the five easiest schedules in football. Does anybody look back on the Tony Sparano era in Miami and think that he was a great coach? I think we'll look back on Arians's season at the helm in Indianapolis the same way in a few years, even as he has moved on to Arizona.
4.  Big new update available for Double Fine's excellent and free Middle Manager of Justice.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Art roundup


Kali Ciesemier's contribution to an upcoming show at Light Grey Art Lab.



Zach Montoya.



Masters of the Universe via.



Storm by John Romita via.

Elseworlds Vampire Batman action figure



Elseworlds Vampire Batman action figure coming soon for $14. (Amazon has the previously released version of the figure.) Via.

Mystery Team is unwatchable, repulsive



I'm only bothering to mention this as a public service since I made the mistake of renting it.  In Mystery Team, three moronic high school seniors incompetently try to solve a crime. Kind of like Ace Ventura, if it had been rated R and not even briefly funny.

Plastic Skateboarders Giveaway

UPDATE: Stephen won and has been contacted.



I'm a little amazed that there aren't a lot more plastic figurines for sale - - action figures have been priced out of impulse buy territory, and meanwhile every wargaming miniature kickstarter seems to raise tons of money.  Simple plastic minis based on God of Blades would have sold like gangbusters.

Anyway, Toy Boarders are very cool - - $6 plus shipping for a bag of 24, featuring 8 different poses.

I also have one bag to give away.  To win, simply comment on this post, and leave your email so I can contact you if you win.  USA only, one comment per person.

First commenter wins Byliner's Nate in Venice

UPDATE: Fae wins.



New fiction from Byliner: Nate in Venice by Richard Russo:

In this warm, bighearted novella, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo ("Nobody’s Fool," "Straight Man," "Empire Falls") transports his characters from the working-class East Coast of his novels to one of Europe’s most romantic cities. In classic Russo fashion, however, he packs along their foibles and frailties. His latest foray into the messy beauty of the human heart, "Nate in Venice" is written with the same wry humor and ready generosity for which he’s been so richly praised.

After a tragic incident with a student, Nate, a professor at a small New England college, retires from teaching and from life. He ends his self-imposed exile with a tour-group trip to Venice in the company of his overbearing, mostly estranged brother. Nate is unsure he’s equipped for the challenges of human contact, especially the fraternal kind. He tries to play along, keep up, mixing his antidepressants with expensive Chianti, but while navigating the labyrinthine streets of the ancient, sinking city, the past greets him around every corner, even in his dreams: There’s the stricken face of the young woman whose life he may have ruined, and there’s Julian, the older brother who has always derided and discounted him. Is Nate sunk? Is the trip, the chance to fall in love—in fact, his whole existence—merely water under the ponte?

Maybe or maybe not. In Russo’s world, the distance between disaster and salvation is razor thin, and a mensch can be a fool (and vice versa). Nate’s Venetian high-wire act proves as surprising as a potboiler and as full of reversals as a romantic comedy. It’s an emphatic tribute to all the pleasures and possibilities of the novella.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo is the author of seven novels and two short-story collections. "Empire Falls" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002. His most recent book is the memoir "Elsewhere." He lives with his wife in Portland, Maine.
Available at Amazon.

I have one copy to give away.  First commenter to include their email wins it.

Art roundup


Dead Space meets The Thing in this poster by Ron Guyatt.



German movie poster for The Abyss available at Amazon.  Via.



Pokemon from memory by Laura Bifano.



Lois Lane by John Byrne.  Via.



Lava Golem by MS Corley.  Original art for this and other D&D characters is on sale here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunshine: If 2001 became a slasher film halfway through



In the not so distant future, the sun is dying and the Earth is freezing.  A group of sexy astronauts sets off on a desperate mission to reignite the sun.

Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle, came out in 2007, and has been high on my watchlist ever since.  It's entertaining and the cast is excellent, but Sunshine is too similar to 2001, Alien, and the other science fiction classics that inspired it.  Indeed, watching the movie is a bit like watching an episode of The Simpsons and spotting references.  Sunshine's also off-putting in that the first half seems like a cerebral thriller, but the second half turns into a sort of psychedelic slasher film that takes itself too seriously in light of the nature of the many grisly deaths.

The best part of the movie was definitely the all gold spacesuits with their viewport slits:




Wikipedia says of the design:

Boyle designed the gold-coloured space suits along these lines despite persistent encouragement to model them after the NASA template. The helmets were designed to have cameras mounted in them. This further enhanced a sense of claustrophobia useful to the actors in delivering more heartfelt performances. The helmets were also limited to a horizontal slit for visibility instead of a full-face visor as further consideration toward protecting the characters from the ambient radiation of outer space. According to Boyle, the funnel shape of the helmet was influenced by the character Kenny from South Park.
You can rent the movie for $3 at Amazon.  (Despite its shortcomings, it's lightyears better than Prometheus.)

Presidential Monsters


Richard Nixon is the Monster from the Watergate Lagoon




Werewolf Bill Clinton



Barack Obama as Baracula




JFK as The Phantom of the Opera

Some of the Presidential Monsters on sale here.  Via.

Deluxe Star Wars Black action figures



USA Today:

Premiering this year, Hasbro's 6-inch "Star Wars" Black Series line of action figures features characters from the original trilogy of films. 
... 
"Our focus here is the adult collector, the dad," DePriest says. "We know they have their own generation of youngsters they like to share the adventure with. It can be something for dad, and the 3¾ world can be something for the kids to share."

Link roundup

1.  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle book cover contest ($100 Amazon gift card prize).

2.  Deeply disturbing allegation.  Via.

3.  Don't read about this creature.

4.  Fun theory found while going through my archives - - the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Episodes 4-6 is a clone.

Nike Purple

A whole lot of purple from Nike this month:



Sanfrecce Hiroshima



Boca Juniors



Mercurial Vapor IX




Nike's The Chance



Serena Williams at the Australian Open

2012 Best Movies illustrated by Jonathan Burton



Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, Argo, and Lincoln by Jonathan Burton for The British Academy of Film and Television Arts.