Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain is a liar


I saw the following McCain advertisement on YouTube. I have embeded it below. The problem is that the ad implies that Obama made zinging and overwhelming criticisms of Obama and his policies and Barak, simply conceded the point as if he had no better ideas.



C-Span has posted the presidential debate that was held 09-26-08 I have posed it below. If you look at what was really said by Obama and McCain you will see that Obama only admitted when McCain spoke the truth and then expanded on the ideas and Obama did challenge McCain where they disagreed. The ad misrepresents what really happened and tries to make Obama look like a child compared to McCain. I am highly offended

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Appleseed Ex Machina


Okay, I know I'm late but I just saw Appleseed Ex Machina. IT came out in 2008 and the first film came out in 2004. They are computer generated and it amazes me how much difference in technology 4 years actually makes. In 2004 Appleseed was state-state-of-the-art but compared to Ex Machina it seems dated. The story on which the films are based is from Japanese Manga (comic books). It has almost every staple of good 21st Century science fiction motif you can think of: mecha (robot suits), bio-engineered humanity, cyborgs, and exploration of humanity and identity. I really liked it. The thing about the plot of Ex Machina that got me was that one of the principal characters, named Borias, is a cyborg. His cybernetics is the most advanced and he is the only human being that has been found capable of adjusting to that level of cybernetics. Because of his fighting skills and temperment he was chosen to be cloned and have the clone bioengineered to not be capable of hatred and killing out of anger to make the perfect peace keeper. One of the themes of the movie is how does Borias interact with his clone. One who is almost exactly like he was before his injuries making it necessary for him to become a cyborg. How about his friends and partner? Does that diminish Borias in some way? It was interesting watching it play out.

Borias, his partner Doulan, and his clone team up to save the world from being enslaved. I don't want to give too much away. But I have one more thing I'd like to gush over: the action. That is due in large part to John Woo. If you don't know who John Woo is then let me remind you of some films I'm sure you have seen that he directed: Face Off and Mission Impossible II. I know his name isn't famous in the western world like Spielberg or Lucas unless you are a fan of action movies. He is famous and popular in Asian films. He pioneered many stylized action sequences that we now see in many different films: the gun in both hands, use of slow motion, cameras spinning around the action, camera shots never used before, bullet casings falling like rain, and many other innovations. They never get old or boring. It's like a ballet with kung fu and bullets. Today, when we see some of these moments in films we call them "John Woo Moments"(see the picture on the right for an example). Ex Machina is full of moments like those because John Woo produced and collaborated in the film's production. I liked the movie a lot. Following is the trailer for Appleseed Ex Machina:
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"Dark Bailout"


I just came across this video in YouTube. It is a post originally from
overthinkingit.com by Matthew Blinkie
I can't think of a better title other than the one given to the posting on YouTube. It's a commentary on George Bush's speech earlier this week in which he proposes that the government use $700 billion dollars to buy up bad debts of corporations and banks to keep the economy from total collapse. The hope is that the government can take over those corporations, and when the economy recovers, the government will be able to make a profit because the assets purchase will be worth more than what was paid for them. The rational is that it worked before on a smaller scale I suppose. Besides that I'm not even sure I understand. The editor of the video point out the silliness of the situation using a scene from Dark Knight, edited together with Bush's speech. It's great. I'm afraid I agree with the Joker. How about you?

Here are Mr. Blinkie's comments:

Our society’s institutions are collapsing, and we have lost confidence in our leaders to save us. Wait, didn’t someone make a summer blockbuster about this?

Where do we turn in this time of crisis? Here’s what the Joker thinks about President Bush’s economic bailout.



Here is the video:
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Mobile Fighter G Gundam

I'm not sure if you have heard of the Japanese series of series containing the name Gundam or not but it is very popular among those who are fans of the genre. Each series is different. Some are related to one another and some of them are not. They have different plots, characters, scenarios, and different technologies. The one thing they all have in common is the use of giant robots (mechas) that are piloted by principal characters. Many times its in the context of war. Technically, I don't know about each series and I have not seen all of them but the one that I have enjoyed most and followed the most closely is called Mobile Fighter G Gundam. I found a great description and a place from which to download all the episodes from the following site: anime-ddl.blogspot.com/2008/03/mobile-fighter-g-gundam.html

Here is a description from this site:

Created to celebrate the franchise`s fifteenth anniversary, Mobile Fighter G Gundam was Gundam`s first foray into alternate universes.
In the year Future Century 60, most humans have left the polluted Earth behind and
moved into space. To prevent war, the colonies have agreed on a Gundam Fight to decide control of the colonies for four years at a time.
This
year, Neo Japan`s Domon Kasshu, the King of Hearts, hopes to win with
his Shining Gundam, but he hasn`
t come to Earth simply to win the
Gundam Fight. His concurrent mission is to track down and destroy the
Devil Gundam which has escaped from Neo Japan and threatens to destroy

the entire planet.


I like this series because of the premise. Instead of fighting wars and costing many lives, the colonies decide who is going to rule by who can produce the best mech and train the best pilot. In the series it's the 12 Gundam fight. Each colony was based on a present-day country, usually named with "Neo-" and the name of the country. Some of the Gundam designs were very interesting - ok downright wierd. Domon grows throughout the series becoming more powerful and a better man. All the principle characters evolve and grow to become more than they were when they are first introduced. The truth is they all have reasons and motivations beyond winning the fight for their colonies and the main characters all meet up and start to work together. George from Neo-France. Argo from Neo-Russia. Jimmini from Neo-America. I don't remember the name of the fighter from Neo-China, but he was important. I enjoyed watching the series. The earth is the battleground. What happened was during the year, they all go around fighting each other and then the battles take on an arena-style, tournament-based scenario among all the Gundams that survived the battles during the year until one Gundam wins it all. The colony he/she represents becomes the lead colony over the earth and all colonized space.

There is a technology common to all the Gundams in the series. It is called the "Mobile-Trace System". It's a compartment in the torso/head of each Gundam - the cockpit - where the pilot stands, and is free to move. He/she wears a suit that synchs the pilots movements to the Gundam movements. If the pilot throws a punch, the Gundam throws a punch. If the pilot kicks, the Gundam kicks. I like the concept so much. The pilot's skills are directly being used by the Gundam. His/her skills and intellect are directly brought to bear. For example, Domon is an expert martial artist, this means that his Gundam fights like he does. Further the pilot is under a lot of physical stress to use the system. This is why most of the pilots are young and skilled martial artists and athletes.The pilot's movements, thoughts, and physical vitals are used to control his/her Gundam. The only real drawback is that any damage to the Gundam is felt by the pilot for real. Sure it is dangerous but it sure must be better than sitting in a chair and manipulating hand controls like a joystick.

The Gundam fight only has rules (Articles):
1. A Gundam whos head is destroyed is disqualified.
1a. Accidental harm inflicted on a Gundam Fighter during a match is acceptable.
2. A figher must never aim at the cockpit of an opponent's Gundam.
3. Damage to any part other than the head may be repaired and does not result in elimination from the tournament.
4. Gundam Fighters are responsible for the protection of their own Gundams
5. All matches shall only be held on a one-on-one basis.
6. Gundam Fighters shall not taint the honor and dignity of the nations they represent.
7. The Earth is the ring.
7a. Destruction of property on Earth due to the Gundam Fight is not considered a crime.

Final Tournament rules
1. Unlimited repairs, improvements, and substitutions are acceptable during the final tournament.
2. Victory may be obtained through any means (including targeting the cockpit).
3. The final winner of the Battle Royal will be rewarded with the title "Gundam of Gundams".

There is a Gundam mugen game. It includes Gundams from several series including G Gundam. Bolt Gundam from Neo-Russia was the hardest to find but it does exist. I have attached a demo of Domon Kasshu's Burning Gundam fighting Bolt Gundam. If you want the mugen material, I'd start here.



Here is a great website for information on G Gundam

And here are clips from the show. It was tough to pick one definitive clip because YouTube had so many. So I picked two. I think that if you "dig" giant robots kicking the integrated circuits out of each other combined with real humor and human emotion, you should check out his series.



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More Making Fun of Christians in the Name of Politics

In 2004, one of the then members of our church brought the following video (minus the annotations) to our Bible Study. It chronicles the ministry of Pastor Muthee and his wife in Kenya and fighting witchcraft and sin. That video is here.



There has been another video on YouTube showing Sarah Palin being prayed for Pastor Muthee. I see no problem with the prayer. It would be prayed by any pentecostal preacher who has daily come against witchcraft. However, the comments on the video really through me. They made fun of him and her. They scoffed at the reality of witchcraft. In the west, the devil is a little more subtle than in other less "developed" countries. The devil is more apt to do supernatural acts in Kenya than he does here. It carries more weight in Kenya than it does in the United States because America thinks that we are above all of that. In Kenya and the "third world" they are smarter than that. He keeps a low profile in America, allowing us to believe that neither he nor witchcraft exist. They do. The Bible says they do. I don't think Palin is good Presidential material, but I take offense at born-again, Bible-believing Christians being perceived as deluded, ignorant at best and plain stupid at best! Here is the video I am referring to:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Iron Man DVD News


Marvel has just made announcement that answers the question: "Where should I buy my Iron Man DVD on September 30th: Walmart or Target? The answer: Walmart because they will be offering a 3rd disk full of exclusive content. Marvel.com reports the following:

The Walmart Family Pack boasts the digital version of the comic as well select cuts from the movie soundtrack and a sneak peek at a full episode of the upcoming animated series, "Iron Man Armored Adventures!"

The Walmart Fan Pack includes a paper version of the comic and behind-the-scenes photos and interviews!
They have even produced a trailer to promote it. Yeah, I know it's a stunt to get me buy the DVD at Walmart instead of somewhere else. Yeah, I know it's nothing but manipulation. But it worked.

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Rurouni Kenshin

A few years ago I saw an Anime series on Cartoon Network. I know by now you all know I love Japanese Anime, but this series was different. First, it is not set in the future. It is set in the past, Japan in the 1870s to be exact. That period of history is rich with drama, angst, and action-packed. The series is called Rurouni Kenshin. I think of it as historical fiction. It was a time when Japan was desiring to become an international player on the world stage. Japan became rapidly westernized after a brutal and bloody civil war. Up to that point Japan was feudal society. The ruling class were Samurais and if you know any thing about feudalism
when a nation industrializes the peasants and serfs tend to "boss up". The civil war, simplistically was between people who wanted to see Japan modernize and take a place in the international community and people who wanted Japan to remain close to the rest of the World and keep their culture as it had been for centuries. Rurouni Kenshin is the story of a wandering Samurai named Kenshin Himura. He is fictional but his story has a real historical backdrop. He had fought 10 years earlier during that civil war serving the emperor, who wanted to westernize, with distinction because he thought he was doing the right thing. He thought that if the imperialist won poor farmers and peasants would have better lives and more freedom. Unfortunately, after the war he became disillusioned and guilt-ridden over all the people he killed, and started wandering. The series is about Kenshin finding redemption. He feels like he took so many lives that he himself does not deserve happiness - that he brings death to anyone close to him. We see him throughout the series protecting people from new and old foes and constantly being challenged by people who want to prove themselves the best by killing the best. A major theme of the series is asking questions such as: Are there something for which there is no forgiveness no matter how much "good" you do?

Kenshin is a powerful swordsman. During his battles he killed a lot of people. He picked up a nickname in those days "Hitokiri Battōsai" which means in English "The Man-Slayer". We see that Kenshin has taken an oath to never kill again. He still uses his skills to protect people and carries a sword. His Katana is very different. It's a sakabatō ("reverse-blade") sword. The cutting edge is on the slightly curved inside edge so it is almost impossible to kill anyone with it. However in the hands of such a skilled warrior, its nonetheless effective. Along the way Kenshin meets friends and builds healthy loving relationships, inspiring others by his example. The show has comedy and action because sometimes Kenshin seems too much of a country-bumpkin to be the threat he actually is. The show has real-world and fictional martial arts, weapons, and techniques. The animation is beautiful and epic. The action can be very stylized and over-the-top. Sometimes it's so out there, Kenshin has to explain what he did.

Kenshin training and skills grant him almost superhuman speed and strength. He appears so fast because he can read his opponents and figure out they are going to next and instinctually knows how to counter his opponents. The fictional sword technique he uses is called Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryū style meaning "Flying Heaven Honorable Sword Style" or sometimes referred to "Ultrasonic Sword Style". Kenshin's skills and knowledge grow throughout the series. He learns the ultimate technique called Kuzu-ryūsen and Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki which involve hitting your opponent 9-12 times with powerful strikes that are almost totally impossible to block or dodge.

The cool thing is that Kenshin was inspired by a real-life historical person. His name was Gensai Kawakami. He was born in 1834 and died in 1871. If Kenshin was a real-life samurai he and Kawakami would have been on the same side. Kawakami supported the samurai who wanted to keep Japan as it was and was loyal to the emperor not the shogunate. He died relatively young because the govenment excuted him because he did not agree with the decison not to close Japan to foreigners. Intersting how in 4 short years he went from being a hero to an executed crimninal. He was a master of Shiranui-ryu sword style and was said to be almost unbeatable. His picture is on the right.

If you have never seen this series, or seen its prequel series (shows how Kenshin got that cross-shaped scar on his face), or the movie called SamuraiX, I strongly recommend them. Tom Cruise's movie The Last Samurai is also set in the same time period and Cruise's character goes through much the same journey as Kenshin does. Kenshin is a very popular character in Japan and around the world among fans of Manga and Anime. There has been 2 or 3 video games based in his world and I have found MUGEN characters based on the series. I have found 4 distinct version of Kenshin characters for MUGEN. What follows is a video of the best of those Kenshins verses the "Big Bad" of the Anime series named Shishio. I was in control of Shishio and Keshin was controlled by the MUGEN's AI.






Here are some reference links
Gensai Kawakami - Inspiration for Kenshin Himura
Himura Kenshin
The Gallery of Antiheroes and Villians: Keshin Himura
Kawakami Gensai


And Here is clip from the show:
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another cool Iron Man Widget

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2 Review


Well the wait was about nine long months....almost like for a child to be born....but it finally ended last night, Monday September 22, 2008, in a 3 hour event. Did it live up to the hype? In my opinion: Yes! Questions were answered and more questions posed to viewers. One thing for sure is that the world again hangs in the balance and "saving the cheerleader" will not fix things this time. I am interested in what other people thought about the episodes The Second Coming and The Butterfly Effect. What was your favorite parts? What questions do you have? I don't want to spoil things for those who have not seen them yet so I will list my specific remarks at the bottom of the post so you can stop reading if you want.

But first I just want to make general comments concerning some of the theological issues brought up in Heroes. There are themes that permeate the whole series. These themes revolve around relationship: Father - Son; Father - Daughter; Mother - Son, Brothers, Husband - Wife; Friend to Friend; Individual - Community. The characters constantly make choices and wonder how their actions affect others and sometimes wonder if they should care. I love watching the characters wrestling with those questions. I don't always agree with the conclusions they reach, but I enjoy watching them do it. I believe that these questions are things that God expects us all to consider. Other questions being wrestled with are Who am I?; What are my talents?; What am I supposed to do? The Bible has answers to those questions. In season one, we saw Peter, Sylar, Hiro, and all the other characters struggle to find the answer. Same thing in Season 2, and continues in Season 3. It makes people think about and discuss what makes one a hero. What makes one a villain.

The story basically says that their powers are a product of evolution, yet many of the characters seem to believe in God and look for direction from God. I think the show is a metaphor for America's schizophrenic theology. We can't make up our mind as a nation. When something horrible happens like a terrorist attack or natural disaster we quickly turn to God. Otherwise we ignore Him and teach each other and our children that there is no God and you can do and be what ever you want - accountable to no one - as long as you don't harm other people ( and even that part is changing).

SPOILERS - Do not read this if you don't want to know what happened on the show
1. How come Nathan did not die? It's hinted at that Linderman (who died at the end of Season 1) healed him. That and is it conclusive that no one can see Linderman but Nathan
2. What happened to Micah? Neither he or Monica have appeared yet
3. Is Nikki dead? If she is, then how is Tracy Strauss connected to her? They look identical and her powers are different - she can freeze people (that was a cool effect by the way)
4. Mohinder took the serum to give himself super powers (kinda like Spider-man) but there seemed to be icky side-effects. What are they? He seemed to be in pain.
5. In the future Peter still has that scar....I wonder how he gets it? He has it in two different timelines....does that mean he can't avoid it?
6. We finally know what Bob's power is: turning metal into gold
7. Sylar to Elle: "Look at what your daddy used to could do!" (after Sylar killed him and took his power)
8. We finally know what Angela Petrelli's power is "clairvoyance" in dreams. How do they work?
9. How did future Peter put our Peterinto Jessie's body?
10. What about Kaitlin from season 2? the timeline reset when Peter stopped the Shanti Virus mutation from getting out, what did that do to her? Why hasn't Peter thought about her. He did love her right?
11. Is the formula future Peter was talking about, that his mom and her friends were trying to keep under wraps, the same formula stolen from Hiro and Ando by the speedster (liked her by the way)? Is it related to the same breakthrough Mohinder injected himself with?
12. How does this formula destroy the world? It sure made a mess in Tokyo. It was funny how when Hiro went to take a peek we don't know how far he went, but future Peter is from 4 years in the future. Maybe they are 2 separate timelines?
13. Nathan had a near-death experience. What exactly did he experience.
14. When Sylar took Claire's power, did he mess her up so she no longer feels pain, or is it a natural progression for her power? How is she going to adjust to it? Is it even possible for a human being not to become twisted under those circumstances? It may explain why she was behaving and dressing like she was 4 years in the future.
15. Could Peter be causing the future he is trying to avoid?
16. The real kicker for me was that Sylar tried to kill Elle but ended up releasing the supervillians instead and ended up getting captured.
17. With Bob dead, Angela really stepped up. How much of the Company's activities was she and Kaito privy to?
18. Angela told Sylar that she is his mother!!!!! what????!!!! I was speechless.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

IRON MAN DVD

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Irony of Ironies

When I was a child, I loved Knight Rider. I admit it was probably one of my influences for becoming an engineer. I can't really say anything good or bad about the new series because I have not seen a single episode. What I can say is that every attempt to resurrect the series failed miserably. I don't know if it is a portent or not, but I just saw a video on YouTube of one of the cars used in the new series being stolen!! I don't know if its a publicity stunt or not, but I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Take a look


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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heroes Season 3 - Twice A Week!


Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that Heroes Season 3 episodes will begin airing next Monday, September 22! I've only waited 9 months for this! G4 will be airing each episode the day after it premieres. I can't wait to see what happens!
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New Catch Phrase for 2008?


I have noticed that this year most political messages have said "I am _____. And I approve this message." I can't say that this is new but it is sticking out to me now. I came across this image on the Internet today. It made me think. When we talk as Christians, the Bible is saying that we need remember that we are ambassadors for Christ. Would Jesus really approve of the things we say and do?
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Judgement on America

I realize that I'm probably going to catch a lot of flack for saying this...of course there is also a chance that no one will read this...but I will say it anyway. I've got to say that in a lot of ways Americans are hurting. I don't know anyone who isn't struggling more financially than they were 8 years ago. Like everyone, I know people who are losing or lost their homes due to foreclosure or a lost of job. What Hillary Clinton said during the Democratic National Convention is true: People are working harder and not gaining ground but loosing it. I don't know why Senator McCain and Governor Palin can't see it. Many of us are living it. A lot of people, even Christians, are unhappy with the way their lives are going and are saying that the economy and the war are more important issues than Same-Sex marriage unions and abortion. They are saying that the economy is more important than protecting marriage and ending abortions. The problem is what does God say is most important. God says that we must purge sin from our lives. We must repent. I hate the high gas prices and the home foreclosures. It makes my life more inconvenient but what is more important...our convenience, standard of living, or obeying God.

I'm sure you have heard of the stock market issues...and large companies going bankrupt. CNN was reporting on Lehmann Brothers' bankruptcy and in the background two men were making out. Think of the picture that shows. We want God to bless us and give us prosperity, yet Howard Stern pulls a prank two have two men kissing and making out on television at the same time we get the news that the economy is sliding further into the toilet. Ironic isn't it? Why would we think that God would bail us out of these problem if we refuse to obey him. Look at the video below to see what I mean.



Here is the antidote. Those who belong to God must pray.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Casting Rumor - "Wasp" in Avengers


I read a rumor on the net that Eva Longoria (on the left) was seen in New York at the offices of Marvel Comics. It has been said that she has been cast in the Avengers movie as the Wasp (on the Right). She is an excellent actress and I think she will do well! I'm looking forward to seeing her in that role.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Generation Gap

It seems kind of weird sometimes to realize that at 33 years old I can
remember much of the last 31 years. In all that time I have seen things
cycle through American culture. Somethings I never thought would come
back have in about 10 years. When I was 9 years old in 1984 I loved to
play with Transformers. Like most of my generation I played with the
toys, read the books, and watched the television show. But back then,
I could not imagine me past 30 or that children today would still be
playing with them. I did not even conceive that there could be a
live-action movie combined with CGI as there was last year. I mean when
I was 11 there was an animated film in theaters but nothing like the
2007 film. Truth is that the Transformers have been seen in many
permutations and versions. I always considered myself a purist, so when
I heard that the film-makers changed the looks of Optimus Prime and all
the Transformers in the film I didn't know what to think. I was
pleasantly surprised. I found an animated gif on the Internet that
shows the difference in the intervening years in how Optimus Prime was
shown in 1984 (on the left) versus how he was shown in 2007 (on the right).
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Second Animated GIF

Here is my second attempt at making an animated GIF. It's the same except I made the background transparent. I plan to make more of them in the future. Especially when I get my Black Panther mugen character working.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Heroes Season 2 - Review


Disclaimer: I'm going to write as if the reader knows exactly what I am talking about. If you have questions please ask in the comments and please watch the shows themselves.

Well, I finally finished re-watching the Heroes Season 2 DVDs. I am still blown away. I really like the entire series. I am also amazed that people have expressed disappointment concerning plot threads I actually liked. I thought the Feudal Japan subplot was great. First, Hiro is one of my favorite characters in the series and I think that what should be further explored is whether or not Hiro changed history and then put it back on course, or did he just fulfill it. I mean when he got to 1671 Kensei (Adam Monroe) was a helpless drunk with no idea of his true potential. It was Hiro who saved Japan and actually did most of the exploits Kensei was remembered for. Also had Hiro, not gone back and affected the man who would become Adam Monroe, would he have founded the company and brought the previous generation of characters together? I don't think so. Therefore it was necessary for Hiro to go back there 400 years earlier.

I also like the New Orleans storyline because I like Micah's cousin Monica. Her power to mimic exactly any physical movement or skill she sees is an awesome power with lots of potential. I don't know why people don't like her. I hear that in season 3 she is going to be written out of the show. What a waste.

I like story arcs for Matt Parkman too. His powers are growing and he's struggling to come to grips with them. I also like the Petreli brothers, Nathan and Peter. They didn't see much of each other during season 2 but when they did meet up it was a big deal. There are some serious questions about them that I hope they answer in season 3. What power do their parents have and how far have they manipulated their lives. These brothers really love each other. They are far from Cain and Able. They are more like the Hardy boys, except they can fly and have many more powers. I'm wondering what powers do Nathan's boys have and when did Angela Petreli know her sons have powers. She said she knew before they did. Lots of questions. I'm really looking forward to season 3.
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My First Animated GIF

I have been practicing making animated gifs. The hard part is most definitely getting the images. I found a great little program for generating these called GIF Construction Set. This particular gif was generated using sprites I downloaded from the internet for making a mugen character. The sprite set I found is not a complete set, but the introduction sprites worked great. My one worry is that I'm not much of an artist, but I would like to get better at using the computer to make great 3D and 2D images
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Take a lesson from Iron Man


I edited together clips from Iron Man to illustrate the Biblical truths found in Ephesians 6:10-18. Make no mistake we are in a war and if you are not prepared you will be a casualty. Before we look at the clips here are the relevant scriptures I think need to be brought to mind.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18
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Sci-Fi / Journalist: Battlestar Galactica Republican Look-a-likes

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Iron Man DVD Special Features


Well again the DVD Iron Man is being released September 22, 2008 and if you are having problems like I am waiting for it, we have been treated to some clips from the special features that will be on the DVD. Three clips are released from Reelcomix.com and my favorite so far is a clip that discusses the director's vision of flight for the movie. I really liked his take on it. I think they achieved the idea of making the audience feel what it would be like to fly alongside a man in a suit.
In general, the movie itself is the story of a man's redemption. Let's face it...Tony Stark was a self-centered, narcissistic jerk at the beginning of the movie who never considered how the weapons he built affected others. He was a genius, yet still a jerk. By the end of the movie, he was a hero. It was great to see the change...the growth. As his technology developed so did he.
I'm looking forward to owning this movie because I have always loved the character and enjoyed his adventures.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

An Opinion on John McCain

I found this video on YouTube. This is the testimony of a man who has a lot in common with John McCain. He too graduated from the Naval Academy (except he was in the top 25 % of his graduating class and McCain was 5th from the bottom), highly decorated Naval aviator, served in Vietnam, also was shot down, and also spent several years as a prisoner of war also enduring its horrors. Look at what he has to say about John McCain.



The one thing that bothers me the most is that this man said that when he knew McCain during the war, McCain was agnostic and now McCain says he is deeply religious. I'd like to know more about McCain's faith journey. It's possible that his wartime experiences drove him to Christ but it does not explain how he came to leave his first wife. Oh well.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saddleback Showdown - John McCain


A couple of weeks ago, Barak Obama and John McCain went on national television and allowed themselves to be individually examined by Pastor Rick Warren. He asked them questions about their world view, what its means to be a "born again" Christian, abortion, taxes, gay marriage, and several other great questions. I'm going to do 2 posts - one for Obama and the other for McCain. This will not comprehensively cover every important thing they talked about. I will choose just four. This post is about McCain's responses.

What about Jesus?

McCain claimed that he is a follower of Christ. He said that he is "saved and forgiven". What? I wish he had elaborated. Saved from what? Forgiven for what? How? Who? I realized that he may have assumed that everyone understood his "Christianeeze" - the jargon of Christianity. However, it doesn't take much to realize that some people mean entirely different things in using these words than what Christians have historically and Biblically meant. Mormons use those terms too, but if you study what they believe it doesn't line up the same. Instead of fully examining the question, McCain gave an emotional and heart-wrenching story of how his Christian faith connected him with a North Vietnamese prison camp guard. Grant it he was also trying to get people to connect with him not Jesus. He really wants to be elected. I think that is a problem.

Abortion?

I was amazed how direct he was about what he thinks about abortion. I agree with him, all people are entitled to human rights at the moment of conception.

Taxes?

It sounds good doesn't it. He said he wants everyone to be rich. I agree with his definition of "rich" - having what you need to be happy. I think that he's naive in thinking that there is no need for re-distribution of wealth and that there is no class warfare. The gap between people who have wealth and those who don't is growing. The middle class is disappearing. I think that he and Obama agree in trying to better the lives of people. They just disagree on how to do it. I think he's right the government has been overspending. I would have liked to hear the year and administration that allowed the money to be spent on the study of Bear DNA, but it was an effective joke. I disagree with the thought that the government should be scaled down because people cannot be trusted to love their neighbor as themselves when money is involved.

Gay Marriage?

I really liked his response to the question on the definition of what marriage is. Changing the definition of marriage is a bad idea. I did notice that he was very carefully politically. He did not openly challenge the morality of same-sex marriage so he would not alienate people, but he said that the issue should be decided by states themselves and not the federal government. It fits with his ideas of smaller, less-controlling government. The problem is that unless this country makes a decision as to whether or not we will follow God or not on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage we are going to continue to see division and failure, if not a civil war, as a nation just like slavery divided the nation 140 years ago.

Is there Evil?

I thought the question was vague. I'm not sure what Rick Warren meant by the question...."evil" in what sense? Did he mean the evil in each one of us that can only be destroyed by the power of God? To McCain, evil equates to the Radical Islamic Fundamentalism. He blames it for producing Osama Bin Laden and the horror of September 11, 2001 and the wars on terrorism taking place today. I agree that Bin Laden must be found and brought to justice and I believe that Islamic Fundamentalism is antithetical to Christianity. It cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be ignored. It can't be reconciled. They really want to kill us. They must be stopped. The problem is that as near as I can tell our government made the terrorism possible when we supported and trained Bin Laden against the Russian in Afghanistan and then pulled out and did not fulfill promises made to the rebels. It's blow back from bad foreign policy that we are paying for now. Of course what the terrorists are doing are evil and must be stopped, but are we really any better? Ask the South American and Caribbean countries we have invaded. Ask the people in Africa and other parts of the world who were exterminated and we did nothing because they did not have oil. Ask the black folks that were lynched, oppressed, disenfranchised. Ask the Native Americans, those that survived the genocide. As a nation we are called by God to do better by people. If we don't do better how can expect the rest of the nations to do good to us?
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Democratic National Convention 2008 part 1 - Into Post


The last week of August 2008, the Democratic National Convention was held in Denver, Colorado. I viewed all the major speeches and will probably post about each speech that I thought was noteworthy. In this introductory post, I want to just make general comments. I've go to admit that the goal was to make Obama and Biden look as electable as possible. I heard more saber-rattling than substance. By this I mean that I heard more about Bush and the Republicans have messed up our economy and our Foreign Standing among the nations of the world rather than how we are going to fix it. I also found out that for the first time at the DNC, a church service was held the Sunday of that week to officially kick off the convention. I posted a video earlier that shows the whole hour service. I call it a church service but in order to make sure not to alienate or offend anyone it was called an "Interfaith Gathering". They had clergy from all the major religions to speak and honor their view of God. Selections from the Torah, Bible, Koran, and other holy texts were read before each speaker. Each speaker was able to say what ever they wanted to say.

Each speaker spoke about our "Sacred Responsibility" in a different context. For example Bishop Blake, the Presiding Prelate of the Church of God in Christ, spoke of "Our Sacred Responsibility to our Children". He spoke about prioritizing Children all over the world and protecting them. In addition he brought up the contradiction of loving and caring children but supporting abortion. He said that children are a gift of God. He said he disagreed with the Democratic Party's Pro-Choice stance, but agreed with Obama's plan to cut down on abortion by giving women more choices.

Another example was Sister Helen Prejean. She is a Roman Catholic Nun and Anti-Death Penalty Activist. She spoke of "Our Sacred Responsibility to Our Nation". She focused on her pet-issue. Her contention was that abolishing the death penalty is part of our responsibility to the nation. I thought that she appealed to emotion and the guilt of misapplying the death penalty. She pointed out how only poor people who murder white people actually end up on death row. I think she's right about that, but then she went to a very troubling place theologically. She said that our opinion on the death penalty brings up our view of God. I agree. Unfortunately she said that the Bible conflicts itself on God's character. Either He is forgiving and merciful or He is vengeful and harsh, is what she put forth and that we must pick which view we want to base our lives on. She then said that some Christians believe that God sacrificed his son to pay for our sins and that in the death penalty criminals pay for their sins to go to heaven. This is not what the Gospel is, but it is something you can get out of Roman Catholicism. To hear the Gospel mangled like that really offended me. She rejected that view and seemed to me to suggest Jesus' death on the cross had no redeeming value for anyone - all to disparage the death penalty which has nothing to do with saving anyone from hell.

There was a lot of good and bad said during the meeting. The CEO of the convention is a Pastor out of Washington DC named Leah Daughtry. The goal of this meeting was to show the world that you can be religious and still be a Democrat. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, on August 19, 2008, says the there is a "God Gap" between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans are often depicted as being "people of faith" more so than Democrats. The problem I have is with trying to be all things to all People. Orthodox Judaism Islam, and all the other religions represented contradicts Christianity. They say Jesus is not the only way to God that their way is just as valid. Christians say Jesus is the only Way. We can't all be right. Holding hands and singing "Kum Bah Ya" is not going to erase this division and all depends on what you think about Jesus. Is it what Jesus said about himself or not? Everyone who spoke was very careful in all they said not to offend anyone. Pastor Daughtry even referred to God as he/she - what ever you believe God to be. In effect this is allowing people to make up their own God instead of how God truly revealed himself in the Scriptures. Not good.

The last point that I would raise is how many Muslim women spoke on behalf of Islam while in a Muslim country this would have been the case at all. Islam was depicted as a religion of peace and enlightenment on par and equal to Christianity while it does not take any time to show that there are very many discrepancies between the Koran and the Bible and in faith and practices.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Save the Cheerleader, Save The World


If you have been reading my blog then you know I like the television show Heroes. In preparation for season 3's premier on September 22, 2008 on NBC, I re-watched season 1 on DVD and about to start re-watching season 2 on DVD. I thought I'd do a couple of posts discussing each season. As for Season 1, the show seemed to come out of no where during the TV season 2006-2007. I didn't even see every episode until I saw it on DVD. The show appealed to so many different kinds of people. I mean even people who do not like comic books like this show. To be honest I have seen every single superpower on the show before. In the history of X-men there has been at least one character who had the same powers. What is different is the characters themselves. They seem so human and normal. It's taken from the viewpoint of what happens to ordinary people wake up one day and fine themselves in very extraordinary circumstances. I admit that in real life few people would put on spandex (or leather), go out, and fight crime, saving the world on a daily basis. It would take real people time to adjust. Some people would just be as afraid of what they can do as those who have no powers.

I also loved the time travel and how characters' lives would intersect and affect one another without everyone in the show realizing in it. We, the audience, learn about the characters as they learn about themselves. Season 1 was very hard to predict, that is why I liked it. Also I loved how the characters' relationships were center stage. Friendships, Partners, Marriages, Parents and Children, and brothers are all explored. Of all the parent-children relationships depicted it's funny how the least dysfunctional relationship was between Claire and her father, and it was based on him protecting her from the company he worked so they did not know that she had powers. Sylar and his mother were very dysfunctional and went a long way in explaining why he was the villain of the season. Peter and Nathan relationship as brothers and friends were evident and loving despite their dysfunctional relationship with parents who played favorites and one against the other. The stories were awesome and good special effects. There was clever use of sciences that also earns the show respect as good science fiction.
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Ever Feel Like this?



The thing that is missing is the sounds to truly capture the experience!!!
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