Soundwave, War for Cybertron (video game) design, Transformers Generations wave 3.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Over the Hills and Far Away- Nightwish - 2000
In 2001 Nightwish released the EP Over the Hills and Far Away, consisting mainly of live tracks from the previous tour, but with a couple new pieces. According to wikipedia, after recording this album, the bassist left the band due to creative differences between himself and the composer/keyboard player. He was replaced by Marco Hielata who also took on the male vocalist role. Marco is still a member of the band.
The song I have chosen from this album is actually a remake of a song from the first album, Angels Fall First, mainly with new lyrics, but also signficantly, having a guest vocalist take the male parts, as Tuomas (the aforementioned keyboardist and composer) never liked how his voice sounded on the first albums.
Every few weeks my favorite Nightwish song changes, but this version of Astral Romance was for a very long time, and still might be, my favorite piece by the band. Well, except for the one from Once, which is probalby my most favoritest song of all time. But we'll get there in a few weeks.
A nocturnal concerto Candlelight whispers me where to go Hymn of gathering stars as my guide As I wander on this path of the night Embroidery of the stars Undress my feelings for this earth Send me your salva to heal my scars And let this nakedness me my birth Macrocosm poured its powers on me And the hopes of this world I now must leave The nightwish I sent you centuries ago Has been heard by those who dwelled in a woe The distance of our bridal bed Await for me to be dead Dust of the galaxies take my hand Lead me to my beloved's land "The constant longing for your touch This bitter ocean of hatred and pain This loneliness I need to be who I am" "The oceans are alone as I Somebody take away this gift of mine No charisma for the beast! But still I love you forevermore" "Come to me Deliver me from you And from all the days of the Earth" No last words to say Only memories remain A farewell then, my path goes forever on
Monday, October 25, 2010
Continuing BTAS Vol 1, disc 2, episode 9, Be A Clown, written by Ted Pedersen and Steve Hayes, neither of whom return to write other episodes, so far as I can determine. The director, Frank Paur, goes on to direct several other episodes, among which is the one that introduces the Mad Hatter to the show. As can be surmised by the title, Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime stars as the villain in this episode.
"Together we can make Gotham City a safe place for decent people to live and work and play."
But it doesn't start with the Joker, it starts with Mayor Hill, giving a little speech at the opening of a new housing complex about how he's promised to make Gotham City a safer place to live, cue criminals driving like madmen, tearing through the opening ceremony, chased by the police, smashing things up, nearly killing the Mayor. Of course, Batman comes and saves the day, and Mayor Hill doesn't look quite so good as he would like. He makes a statement about a few rotten apples making the entire city look bad, and further says, "Batman and criminals like The Joker are cut from the same cloth." Joker is not pleased.
"Decent people shouldn't live here. They'd be happier someplace else."
Mayor Hill continues and makes the foolhardy statement that he will make all of Gotham as safe as his mansion. "Oh really?" Joker says to himself, "we'll see just how safe your mansion is!" Cut to the next scene of Mayor Hill's son practising magic tricks, as the servants prepare for a huge birthday party in his honor. Mayor Hill is not pleased with his son's current choice of profession, and we see there's some conflict between the boy and his father (as is quite common, I'm sure). The party is ostentiably for the boy, but only people that are important to Mayor Hill's position as mayor have been invited (and their kids).
But Mayor hill has a surprise for his son Jordan and the kids, and a clown rides in on a unicycle, shakes the mayor's hand with a buzzer, does some magic tricks, and in general really impresses the kid, who asks him how he can become a famous magician. The clown says there are three steps: step one, run away from home; step two, find a magician with a great act; step three, steal it. Ha ha, oh how funny. Conveniently, Bruce Wayne arrives with a large box for Jordan, but the kid doesn't care, he wants to hang out with the clown. Hill yells at the boy, who yells back, and runs off.
"This last trick is pure dynamite!"
While Hill chases after his boy, the clown pulls out a large candle with a familiar face on it, and tells everyone this candle blows you out. He plants it in the cake, tells everyone it's time for Jordan to blow out the candles, and takes off laughing, but Bruce Wayne recognizes the laugh, sees the candle, is smart enough to realize what it is, so he goes barreling through the crowd towards the cake, and clumsily bumps into it, knocking into the pool. Mayor Hill is not pleased.
But Jordan is no where to be found. We find him hiding in the clown's truck, and he follows Joker into his hideout (an abandoned carnival), not realizing yet who he his. He pesters Joker to teach him to be a magician, Joker tries to find a way to exploit the accidental kidnapping, and Batman tries to figure out a way to rescue the child. Hilarity ensues.
Anyway, the Joker plays the kid for a sap, tries to kill Batman, endangers the kid, Jordan helps Batman escape from Joker's death trap, Batman saves the day, Mayor Hill apologizes for being a jerk to Jordan. And everybody lives happily ever after. Except The Joker, of course. And Batman too, really. And pretty much anyone that lives in Gotham.
This is why roller coasters have seatbelts...
Eh, I wasn't really fond of this episode when I first watched it. There's just something off about the Joker episodes early on in the series, but it's not bad by any means, and I like it more than the previous Joker episodes. Mark Hamill is, of course, great as the Joker. His mannerism is great, he's wacky, and an emotional pendulum, swinging back and forth from being happy and funny, to being seriously pissed off at the kid for showing up unexpectedly. And of course, I love his voice, and the many, crazy laughs he can do.
Remember kids: Where's Batman? He's at home, washing his tights! - Joker
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Wishmaster - Nightwish - 2000
Nightwish's third album, Wishmaster was released in 2000, and is, of course, quite good. It doesn't have quite as many good songs as Oceanborn, but it's definitely a solid album. In fact, it is such a solid album, that I'll bend my one-song-per-cd rule and let you listen to two songs, to show that Nightwish can do meaningful slower songs as well.
Master! Apprentice! Heartborne, 7th Seeker Warrior! Disciple! In me the Wishmaster Elbereth Lorien A dreamy-eyed child staring into night On a journey to storyteller`s mind Whispers a wish speaks with the stars the words are silent in him Distant sigh from a lonely heart "I`ll be with you soon, my Shalafi" Grey Havens my destiny Master! Apprentice! Heartborne, 7th Seeker Warrior! Disciple! In me the Wishmaster Silvara Starbreeze Sla-Mori the one known only by Him To august realms, the sorcery within If you hear the call of arcane lore, Your world shall rest on Earth no more A maiden elf calling with her cunning song "Meet me at the Inn of Last Home" Heartborne will find the way! Master! Apprentice! Heartborne, 7th Seeker Warrior! Disciple! In me the Wishmaster Wishmaster Crusade for Your will A child, dreamfinder The Apprentice becoming... Master! Apprentice! Heartborne, 7th Seeker Warrior! Disciple! In me the Wishmaster
Born from silence, silence full of it A perfect concert my best friend So much to live for, so much to die for If only my heart had a home Sing what you can't say Forget what you can't play Hasten to drown into beautiful eyes Walk within my poetry, this dying music - My loveletter to nobody Never sigh for better world It's already composed, played and told Every thought the music I write Everything a wish for the night Wrote for the eclipse, wrote for the virgin Died for the beauty the one in the garden Created a kingdom, reached for the wisdom Failed in becoming a god Never sigh for better world It's already composed, played and told Every thought the music I write Everything a wish for the night "If you read this line, remember not the hand that wrote it Remember only the verse, songmaker's cry, the one without tears For I've given this its strength and it has become my only strength. Comforting home, mother's lap, chance for immortality Where being wanted became a thrill I never knew The sweet piano writing down my life" "Teach me passion for I fear it's gone Show me love, hold the lorn So much more I wanted to give to the ones who love me I'm sorry Time will tell (this bitter farewell) I live no more to shame nor me nor you And you... I wish I didn't feel for you anymore..." A lonely soul... An ocean soul...
Saturday, October 16, 2010
And so, at long last, the Batman: Animated Series feature returns. It only took my two years to review this episode. And that episode is, The Forgotten, BTAS Vol 1, disc 2. Written by Jules Dennis, Richard Mueller and Sean Catherine Derek, and directed by Boyd Kirkland, all of whose names we've either seen before, or will see again later in the series.
The episode starts with Bruce Wayne peeling potatoes at a soup kitchen, the guy who runs the place is telling him that he thinks people are disappearing, transients, regulars he hasn't seen it a while, even volunteers. Of course, being the Great Detective, he investigates, in a different disguise, that of an older homeless guy, Gaff Morgan. He wanders around town, visiting areas frequented by homeless people, until he is assaulted by a couple of guys, after they offer him a job. Of course, being Batman, he makes short work of the two, but a third guy jumps him from the shadows and it's lights out for Gaff Morgan.
This looks just like where I grew up
He awakes in a shoddily built shack in a desert area, filled with bunk beds, several of which have occupants. Two introduce themselves, and of course one turns out to be the missing volunteer from the homeless shelter. They explain he's been shanghaied to work in a gold mine for the fastest character I've ever seen animated, up until I saw the Wonder Woman animated film that came out last year. This guy is massive, and a slob, eating all the time, spilling on himself, and according to the credits, his name is Boss Biggs. But, he's got a gold mine and cheap labor, which he, or rather, his overseers work to death. Disobedience, slacking and causing trouble are punished by a day in The Box, a steel box with a small barred window left out in the sun to cook all day.
That's not chicken he's eating...
It falls to Batman to free himself and the other slaves, without the use of his regular persona or gadgets, and without getting anyone else in trouble. It was a decent episode, not my favorite upon first viewing, but still a good episode, and knowing that I have 16 DVDs of episodes, it's nice to see some that don't revolve around the regular type of escapades.
Some of the highlights that occur are, Amnesia! When his two cell-mates introduce themselves, Bruce says he can't remember his name. Bruce Wayne does an honest day's work for the first time in his life (probably), slaving away mining gold. We start seeing that there's more to Alfred than just an old butler, he's smart and a detective on his own. Bruce has a creepy dream that helps him start to remember who he is.
Once Bruce remembers who he is he escapes the mines, to be found by Alfred, whose having a rough time in the Batwing (on autopilot). Guess who returns to the mining camp later that night? Batman lures the slavers into the mines, kicks the crap out of them one by one, leaving only fatty and one guard. Fatty accidentally blows up the mine, and Batman drags him off to prison.
"Hey, where'd everybody go?"
The episode ends with Bruce's two slave buddies finding out he remembered who he is, and he's freaking loaded, he says good by to them and drives off in a Rolls Royce. "Hit me Riley," one says, "maybe I'll loose my memory and wake up a millionaire, too!"
So, it wasn't an awesome episode, but it was good, and was pretty amusing, and different from the usual super villain fare. Well, that's it for this review. A little shorter than my previous attempts, but one reason I took a break from doing thees is because those reviews would take hours. Hopefully I'll be back next week with the next episode, Be A Clown, featuring everybody's favorite homicidal circus character, the Joker.
Remember kids: Only vampires loath sunlight more than Batman. - Alfred
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Oceanborn - Nightwish - 1998
Nightwish follow up their debut album the next year with Oceanborn. While Angels Fall First is very good, Oceanborn has more songs that I like, so I guess I'd say it's a better album. It was much harder to choose one piece to feature for the album. I highly recommend listening to this album in full, in particular, my favorites are Stargazers, Gethsemane, Devil And the Deep Dark Ocean (with haunting melodies and pipe organ lines that make me thing of Phantom of the Opera), Sacrament of Wilderness (this is one of my ring tones), The Pharaoh Sails to Orion, Sleeping Sun, and A Return to the Sea.
However, for all Nightwish albums going forward I'll be listing all but a song or two as my favorites from the album, so I'd better get used to making myself stick to my one-song-per-album rule now, or I'll end up posting 10 songs an album for most of this feature.
Toll no bell for me Father But let this cup of suffering pass from me Send me no shepherd to heal my world But the Angel - the dream foretold Prayed more than thrice for You to see The wolf of loneliness in me ...not my own will but Yours be done... You wake up where's the tomb? Will Easter come, enter my room? The Lord weeps with me But my tears fall for you Another Beauty Loved by a Beast Another tale of infinite dreams Your eyes they were my paradise Your smile made my sun rise Forgive me for I don't know what I gain Alone in this garden of pain Enchantment has but one truth: I weep to have what I fear to lose You wake up where's the tomb... "I knew you never before I see you never more But the love the pain the hope O beautiful one Have made you mine 'till all my years are done" Without you The poetry within me is dead
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Angels Fall First - Nightwish - 1997
Since I've been extra pre-occupied with music lately, I thought it would be fun to try another feature here. I was never able to post a picture every day, but let's see if I can post something at least once a week. Seeing as I have around 360-ish CDs, I thought it would be fun to post one track from each record I have. Let's see how consistent I can be.
To celebrate my new favorite band (along with Depeche Mode), here is Beauty and the Beast from Angels Fall First by Nightwish. Nightwish is a Finnish band, this was their debut album, 1997.
Remember the first dance we shared? Recall the night you melted my ugliness away? The night you left with a kiss so kind Only a scent of beauty left behind Ah, dear friend I remember the night The moon and the dreams we shared Your trembling paw in my hand Dreaming of that northern land Touching me with a kiss of a beast I know my dreams are made of you Of you and only for you Your ocean pulls me under Your voice tears me asunder Love me before the last petal falls As a world without a glance Of the ocean's fair expanse Such the world would be If no love did flow in thee But as my heart is occupied Your love to me now has to die Forgive me, I need more than you can offer me Didn't you read the tale Where happily ever after was to kiss a frog? Don't you know this tale In which all I ever wanted I'll never have For who could ever learn to love a beast? However cold the wind and rain I'll be there to ease up your pain However cruel the mirrors of sin Remember, beauty is found within Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
Munitioner (aka Not-Swindle) by FansProject.
Specifically, this is Crossfire-02B, a third party designed and fabricated robot/vehicle that can combine with the Hasbro Combaticon figures (from the Energon or Revenge of the Fallen lines), taking the place of one of the existing appendages to provide a more G1-esque look to the combined Bruticus figure.
It is awesome.
Also, my picture didn't turn out too bad either. I've been experimenting with the light box my wife got me, learning a little bit about white balance and focus, and other photo related stuff. Really, all I've learned is to keep messing with the different meaningless numbers until the picture looks the way I want it to.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Batman, from the Ame-Comi line of DC Statues.
The Ame-Comi line is a series of highly stylized, anime-styled, statues, based on women from the DC Universe, up until this figure.
I finally picked one of these up, I've been watching this line since it began, and had the opportunity to pick up two of the early figures for $18. But I didn't, and now it's going to cost me 2 or 3 times that to get them. There are a few that are particularly excellent, that I really want, but others also think they're excellent, and are therefore expensive on eBay.
If anyone can help me get the first Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Power Girl, or really any of the others, for good, low prices, let me know. Especially the first Wonder Woman, that one is awesome, and I can't wait for the Artemis repaint.