Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap Extravaganza, Episode 3: Tortuna

Well, two down...sixty-three to go. I've decided that I kind of want to see if I have the stamina to last the whole series. I have my doubts, honestly, but you never know. :-)

The third episode of the series is titled "Tortuna", which as we've learned in the second episode, is the name of a planet. I'm going to hazard a guess that this episode will heavily feature that planet.

Since there's a planet involved, I'm thinking robot horses! Yay!

I have the distinct feeling that in a few weeks, I'll be reciting the opening monologue in my sleep. On the plus side, I know what to sing next karaoke night. Heh.

Wherein, a giant gopher gets punched in the face...

Niko actually gets an opening voice-over, explaining that she always gets "a bad feeling" going to this "outlaw planet." I'm not trying to diss the psychic chick here, but I suspect that it may have to do with the fact that you're on an outlaw planet with a name that sounds suspiciously like torture. Just a thought.

Ranger One (the main ranger spaceship) is setting down on the planet. There is no sign of Goose's Interceptor, but maybe it's inside, if it fits. I'm not real good with the relative sizes of the crafts yet, so I don't know.

We get to see an indistinct image of lines on the view screen (I love 80s depictions of "futuristic" computers. It reminds me of the monitors in the Five Doctors. Apparently Gallifreyans have technology advanced enough to travel time, but still have CGA graphics. Heh) while Zach's voice-over explains that "Tortuna City" is past a place called "Dead Man's Desert." I don't remember this episode, so I'm guessing blind, but I'm thinking at some point there is going to be racing through this desert. Possibly with fighting and shooting at people. God willing.

Maybe there'll be a caravan. Can't have a sci-fi western without a caravan.

Zach is wearing some weird over-coat-and-caftan ensemble with a big, face covering blue scarf, and his cowboy hat on top. On the chest for some bizarre reason is what looks like a pink bullseye. He exposits the mission: they have to meet up with a "pendalent" named "Geezy" and get out with a "memory bird" before the Queen discovers it's stolen.

Wow. That explains absolutely nothing. Thanks, Cyborg Jerry Orbach. The camera pans out to reveal the others, also in the coat-caftan ensemble, but sans hat. Goose appears bored with the exposition and is fiddling with a gun, while Doc helpfully provides us with a bit more information by asking why the heck the Queen doesn't just use computers like a sane person.

Niko explains that she does, but she stores her priceless data in those birds. I wonder if you can use the mallet on it and it will reveal sextant coordinates to a secret pirate hideout of treasure.

Sorry. I just had an Ultima VII flashback. Don't mind me. But still 1) how does Niko know this, and 2) what if by "priceless information" we get something like "Dear Diary, today I met the most DREAMY living weapon..."

Niko for some reason is winding purple bandage like cloth around her arms beneath the caftan. Closer looks at the others reveal they have them too. What purpose they have, god knows. But it does add a nice fourth color to the hideous blue, pink, and brown ensemble.

I suppose I should just be grateful that they're attempting some sort of disguise. Ick. That almost makes Shane's coat look sane. Almost.

JV the rolling ball of 3PO promises to "maintain all systems" which pretty much establishes Zozo and Waldo from the previous episode as useless. On the other hand, at least the Rangers aren't dragging important ambassadors on their trips anymore.

YAY! Robot horses!

Anyway, Doc doesn't share my disdain for the costume and admires it in the reflection of his robot horse's ass. This time, he's riding the reddish one and Niko's on Voyager, who is blue. I wonder if they switch normally, or if this means the glitches are fixed. As to the admiring one's self in a horse's ass...well some jokes are too silly even for me. Well played, show.

Niko tells us that "Zanguil peddlers like to create an effect." So now we know that the characters are disguised as some other group I've never heard of, and that the hideous outfit is intentional. I still think they could do without the pink target though. Anyway, because the Queen has quite the garrison in Tortuna City, they can't just walk in.

Doc is skeptical about the whole deal. He also has a very amusing way of saying psycho-crystal. Though we can't see his hands at the moment, I suspect he is wiggling his fingers dramatically. Goose and Doc trade mild quips about wardrobes and/or being stuffed and mounted, and off they go.

Doc makes a good point though: with the bounty on humans, why wouldn't "Geezy" just turn them over. Goose sounds utterly bored as he agrees "he might."

The desert actually looks pretty nifty, with weird, oddly artificial looking rock formations. Niko exposits that the desert was originally suburbs. Doc wants to know what happened, and Goose chimes in with the obvious explanation "The Queen came."

The queen apparently hates anywhere she can't get good Szechuan food delivered at 3 in the morning, I guess.

Doc has a nifty device that looks kind of like the kind of radio my dad pulled out when we had that really huge three day long blackout some eight-ten years ago and detects lifeforms. Niko warns of "savages" and I'm irrationally disappointed in her. You'd think the PSYCHIC wouldn't be so judgmental. Goose merely points out that, going by the flashes of laser gun fire, they're very well-armed.

Fight scene?

Awesome! A bunch of soldier-type people are chasing what looks like a stage coach pulled by robot horses. It's not a caravan, but close enough in my book. Zach's horse does the bucking thing (really he ought to get that looked at) and away they go!

Things that are awesome about the stagecoach robbery: The stagecoach is made of metal and has laser guns mountain on top of what look like little turrets, while the robbers appear to be riding what looks like giant gophers that walk upright.

Things that are not awesome about this stagecoach robbery: absolutely nothing.

The robbers appear to be fairly large and green with long pink or blue hair carrying spears. The stagecoach people look like small humanoids with rat ears and elephant trunks.

Have I mentioned yet that I love this show?

The Galaxy Rangers of course ride to the rescue. Niko notes the stagecoach is out of control, as she shoots a robber off of his gopher. Meanwhile, our man Goose prefers a more direct approach and just shoots his opponent's gopher in the head. That seems kind of mean to the gopher actually and for the first time in this show I'm kind of disappointed in Goose.

Oh well, I'm sure he'll do something crazy awesome and violent soon enough and win back my love. I'm easy.

And there we go! Riding past a demented looking stagecoach horse, he plucks a robber off the gopher thing and leaps on its back instead.

There we go. Welcome back to my good graces, Shane Gooseman.

Not satisfied with just winning back my good graces, our man Goose goes one step further and PUNCHES THE GOPHER IN THE HEAD WHILE RIDING IT. It goes down and he leaps to one of the freaky looking horses.

Well played, show. Shane, if you weren't fictional, too young for me, and two-dimensional to boot, I would possibly spontaneously propose marriage for that one. <3

We'd have to talk about your wardrobe of course.

So he brings the stagecoach horses to a stop, leaps off. On close look, something is off about the freaky-horses's feet, which appear more bird like than hooved. I don't know how that would work, but it looks cool, so I'll buy it. I'm easy.

Goose pretty much runs across the horses and over the nifty tank-like stage coach and takes his place in one of the turrets and starts shooting the bad guys off of the gophers.

Bad guys dead, Zach climbs aboard the stagecoach and opens the top hatch. Inside are the weird pink blobby aliens called "Gherkins" that we saw in the last episode. Apparently they are not as extinct as the Queen thought, or they're a mass of blobby pink zombies. But as they aren't trying to eat Zach's brain, I think we can rule that out.

Zach reassures the understandably scared Gherkin that he is not a Zanguil...apparently the hideous disguises are indeed effective! Yay! He opens the side door where the other Rangers wait. One of the Gherkin panics and says "Oh no! Zanguil slavers have captured us!"

He clearly hasn't been keeping up. But by extension we learn a bit about the type of folk that our boys (and girl) are disguised as, and that's pretty useful. Yay, world building!

Another Gherkin reveals that they shouldn't have trusted the pendulents. Ah! One of the many mysterious words from that briefing now makes sense. This Geezy fellow must be an elephant-thing! With a very irritating screechy voice, I realize, as the elephant driver yells something and pulls out a weapon, which Goose promptly shoots out of his hand.

Hey man, the Gherkin have the right to be afraid, but you were watching them save your ass, so STFU.

Besides, I wouldn't be aiming a gun at a guy I just saw jump ONTO A GIANT GOPHER AND PUNCH IT IN THE HEAD. I'm just sayin'. Though I suppose I can't judge too harshly. The elephant thing IS trying to save the pink blobby things.

Goose is less nice than I am and softly drawls something about hearing how the Queen tortures pendulent smugglers by "wringing their noses"

On closer look, the elephant things have what looks like a pig snout at the end of their trunk.

Zach sounds annoyed as he explains, again, that they're not Zanguil, and tells them they're looking for Geezy. The vocal pendulent (pedulent? Whatever. Elephant-thing) is a great admirer of Geezy. They tell the rangers where Geezy can be found, practically down to the street address.

Niko sees (or senses) company coming, and the stagecoach leaves, the Rangers following on horseback. Aw. I wanted more gratuitous violence.

Tortuna city, from the outside at least, breaks away from the whole Western motif. It's encased in domes on rock formations with long walkways across what looks like a chasm. There are also landing platforms. Swanky! The Rangers ride up to a station manned by "crown agents" which look like fairly standard evil law enforcement robots. The lead crown agent sounds like an old school Cylon with a pronounced Southern accent, and demands to see their entry permit. Zach bluffs that they were forced to make a crash landing out in the badlands.

Landing off field is apparently a major crime, which seems unfair considering they supposedly crashed. But what does one expect from evil law enforcement robots? Other guards come up to admire the robot steeds, which are "the best looking horses [they'd] ever seen."

Niko asks if there's SOMETHING they can do, which the southern cylon robot takes as a bribe. Dick. That totally wouldn't hold up in court.

Oh, wait. When the robot snarls that attempting to bribe an officer is punishable by death, carried out immediately, Doc chimes in that it "sounds fair". The southern cylon robot is amused and tells them that for 600 crowns, they'll forget they saw them.

Since 1000 crowns was the bounty that the Queen initially placed on the Galaxy Rangers' heads last episode, 600 seems like a lot indeed. But more information is needed to be sure. Zach is certainly aghast, but as they're surrounded by robot guards, Doc strongly urges him to give the sergeant what he asked for.

Sadly this doesn't involve shooting it in the face (though I suspect, had Doc been talking to Gooseman, it might well have.) Zach reluctantly pays up.

Tortuna is indeed swanky. With tall coruscant-ish sky scrapers and walkway/skyroad type things in the air, above more rundown Western style buildings at ground level. The Rangers however are more interested in watching a red Queen-ship land.

At least until the oddly dressed valets (who are somewhat human looking, if lipless and eyelid of whom is wearing a pink bowler hat, pink turtleneck and beige jacket. The other is dressed sanely) come up declaring that they've NEVER seen "robosteeds" like these. Goose loads his gun.

Tiny little robots, "spy droids" float around the valets' heads as they shout "Thanks be to the Queen".

We then get a walking montage with lots of Vegas-esque neon signs. Even more swanky. Goose is first to find their destination which he pronounces to be his "kind of place."

God willing, there will be a bar fight. <3

This version of a Mos Eisley Cantina has a couple of weird looking guys playing high tech harmonicas while lots of other aliens litter the tables. Among them are a fellow that looks a lot less elephant-y than the caravan folk, though he still has an elongated nose and the weird rat-like ears. His nose seems more canine than pig-like, but he's carrying something in a jar, covered by a sheet and looks paranoid. I'm calling that to be Geezy.

The robot barmaid recognizes him and grouses about his lack of tip. Geezy wants to know why he ought to tip a robot (which is a fair question) and the robot barmaid (who's wearing pink cat's eye glasses and what looks like a baby bonnet...I love this show) points out that robots have to make a living too. Fair enough. She's also working her way through drama school.

The calm atmosphere is broken up by crown agents. Geezy hisses to his canister to "Keep Quiet, stupid bird." While a slightly nasal voice retorts "The Queen is going to tweak you good, you hoser." Geezy seems very enthusiastic about the Galaxy Rangers taking it away.

The crown agents go up to Geezy and demand the bird. Geezy runs for it. The Galaxy Rangers lend Geezy a hand and they flee.

Niko proves her worth as a psychic by pointing at a door, "That way out." This door, by the way, has a neon green exit sign. I'd judge, but stating the obvious is a time-honored psychic art, so well...

The Rangers lose their robot pursuers through the time honored technique of turning right when they leave the building, while the robots all run left. The robots kind of suck.

Niko takes the canister from Geezy, who at first thinks he's being robbed, before Zach identifies them. Geezy immediately scolds Zach not to say such "dreadful words" as "Galaxy Rangers" as this is Tortuna City and you never know what might be listening to you. Around this time a flying crown ship thingy shines a spotlight on them. There is running. Geezy calls them scrawny, because he hasn't seen Goose punch a gopher in the head. I'm just sayin'. That doesn't exactly establish strength, sure, but it does effectively establish insanity.

Geezy calls them "Hummings" and mentions that the Queen is offering big rewards for them. Zach retorts, asking about the reward the Queen would give for a memory bird. Geezy shuts his pie hole, because he's not a complete moron. Zach offers 500 crowns for the bird.

The bird is unveiled. It's tiny and purple, and wearing a collared purple dress shirt and striped tie. It also appears to be a lunatic. It's good with insults though. Doc wants to study it. He opens the canister to scan it, but they are interrupted by crown agents. One of whom tears a patch off of Doc's uniform, revealing his ranger badge. The crown agents decide to take them in for "routine torture."

Goose doesn't like this idea and shoots from the hip, while Niko pulls out a double barreled shot-gun type thing from her skirt. I knew there was a reason I liked her. Zach just punches a robot. When they're free, they look around, but Geezy is gone!

Doc, for his part, picks up the canister where the memory bird is doing a headstand. He suspects there's something funny about it. The bird reveals that he's one of many birds, and Doc realizes that they've been had. The bird is also christened "Bubblehead."

The bird reveals that Geezy has the other, working, memory bird and begs them to take him with them.

The bird apparently leads them to an empty house, with stairs leading ominously downward. There are more Gherkin hidden below. The Gherkins explain that they are the last survivors of their race. One of the Gherkins had been on the stagecoach and recognizes them. Goose identifies the team this time, and unlike when Zach does it, it actually seems to convince them. I suppose when a seven foot tall blond who's willing to PUNCH THE GOPHER HE'S RIDING IN THE HEAD tells you something like that, you have to listen.

No, I'm not letting that go for a long time.

The Gherkins, pleased at meeting fellow fugitives from the Queen, invite the Rangers to take shelter with them. Zach wants to find Geezy, though the Gherkins plead not to harm him, since he's their only way out.

Zach assures that they *probably* would not do him any harm, and the Gherkin points to a curtained off section that we, the audience, weren't privy to before, but anyone who has ever watched Wizard of Oz would have checked first. Zach opens the curtain to a room where Geezy is holding ANOTHER memory bird canister.

Unlike the generally amiable Bubblehead, this bird is metal and evil and apt to threatening people with pestulence and death. Even Bubblehead looks mildly bemused, as he tells "Bagel-Beak" that the Queen always liked him best.

Geezy tries to bluff that he knew they'd follow him, the Rangers are skeptical, but Geezy reminds them that there is no time and that they need to get the Gherkins out of there. The memory bird continues to rail threats at them with sadistic glee. Goose wants to know how "Q-Ball" will get anything out of it. Doc tells him to leave it to the tech guys, "Mr. Muscle Master."

Ah, Doc begins his slew of many nicknames. I suppose the fact that Shane has yet to actually kill him is probably an indicator of their growing friendship. :-)

The bird continues to threaten slightly comedic, though unpleasant sounding, torture methods, while Doc pulls it out to start tinkering. Unfortunately, this bird is a wily chap, and heats himself up real good, forcing Doc to drop him. They are about to chase it, but Geezy is adamant about getting the Gherkins to his ship at once.

Geezy leads them down a tunnel, explaining that the elephant people built them and have saved many refugees. Unfortunately, with the memory bird free, the Queen will know about it soon.

And indeed, as they reach the end of the tunnel, they are met by a Slaver Lord and a bunch of crown robots.

Fight scene! Yay!

The Queen, through the Slaver Lord, orders them to seize them. Goose takes umbrage to this and shoots while the others charge through like a football team. They race along the walk way, the crown agents right behind.

Zach, who's caftan is ALSO ripped at the badge (though god knows how? Maybe their clothes are linked symbiotically?) doesn't need to be reminded he's got a cannon for a left arm this time. And he blasts a nice path through their pursuers.

More follow soon though, riding creepy tusked robot horses. Goose charges, but takes what looks like a laser to the chest. Oh no! If only he had super healing! Fortunately, Niko gets over to him and taps his badge. Yay superhealing!

Actually, on retrospect, I think he was shot in both arms. Either way, it doesn't look like just superhealing, as both arms are now glowing with nifty gold energy. Deus ex Machina powers activate! (Err. Not in the literal sense like Doc's. But... Hell, you know what I mean. :-P) Punching things has suddenly gotten a lot more efficient for our young Mr. Gooseman. Not that he really needed the boost.

He and Doc intend to create a diversion. They charge a watch tower and ride up to the control room, where they aptly and admirably wreak havoc. Doc sends Pathfinder to take over the defense programs, and unlock the weapon controls. Of course Goose gets to play with those. Let's face it, if you're stuck with an opera singer, it's probably best to let her sing the aria. Mass destruction is totally Goose's aria. Doc leaves the artiste to his craft and goes to hack/blow up a fuel thingy.

Doc is very pleased by this turn of events and remarks that it's always a pleasure doing business with Goose, who he calls "my Gooseman" for the first time. Aw. <3

Geezy's ship takes off, while the Rangers flee to their horses and the spaceports start exploding around them. The city itself seems okay though, which is good, since it's hard to cheer for mass murderers.

The Rangers get back to the ship and speak to Geezy on the commlink thingy, who promises to spread word of their courage far and wide as he takes the Gherkins to somewhere safe. Doc starts tinkering with Bubblehead, who tells him that he knows the secret of the universe... but can't tell him because it's a secret. Heh.

So at the end of episode three, we get to see more of what life is like for fairly normal people under the Queen's rule, saw a bit more of Goose's abilities, met a few new alien races, and Gophers were punched in the process.

Something I find fairly interesting in retrospect is that the Rangers didn't completely WIN during this episode. Well, they did in that they got to free a bunch of innocent aliens and lived through the process. But they never got what they came for. The memory bird they DID obtain is glitchy and useless. They did get to cause a lot of property damage (always a plus) but with very little to show for it in the end.

It's an interesting contrast to most 80s cartoons, where the characters tend to be more straightforwardly victorious.

Still, it's hard to be too disappointed at helping to save a bunch of innocent people from mass slaughter.

This is also the second episode in a row where a character that initially comes across as obnoxious and self-interested turns out to be better than we first assume. Though Captain Kidd at least did partially cause all the chaos to begin with, he did come through at the end of New Frontier, and despite whining, stuck through with the Rangers until the end, with his own ship serving as the cavalry.

In this case, Geezy, who comes across as greedy, untrustworthy, and deceitful, and tries to con the Rangers with the wrong bird, turns out to be part of the group sheltering the Gherkin refugees. Heck, the entire Pendulent/Pedulent/whatever race has a very unsavory reputation as smugglers, but instead had apparently been rescuing folk in their nifty underground tunnels for ages.

Granted, I'm only three episodes in, but it's nice to see a series that started a trend of having characters turn out to be BETTER people than we originally expect, rather than worse. I'll take that kind of moral anytime over the stupid preachy "In this episode, you see..." segments at the end of He-Man, She-Ra, Bravestarr, GI Joe and so on and so forth.

I also like that characters don't have to be human, or attractive, to be good people either. It doesn't seem like that should be an issue, but it really is.

As for the characters, well Tortuna isn't really as informative as New Frontier was. They do seem a lot more comfortable with each other though. Zach, in particular, seems to be a lot more settled in his own skin. His temper however does seem to get the better of him. Things could have gotten messy at the checkpoint if Doc hadn't stepped in.

Shane Gooseman and Doc Hartford seem to have the best rapport with one another so far. This episode contains the first use of "My Gooseman" as well. So far, Goose seems to be tolerant of Doc's quirks, likely because Doc's expertise allows Shane to cause even greater levels of mass destruction. They make a good, complimentary team.

We see more of Shane's bio-defenses this time: while they're clearly reactive, they're definitely not limited to self-healing. Which is good, because we also get to witness for the first, but not last time, exactly how little regard Goose has for his own personal safety. Finally, we also learn that Niko has the biggest gun on the team. Yay.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Recap/Review: "New Frontier"

Well, since no one seemed to hate my experiment yesterday, I guess I'm going to continue with my recap/review of Galaxy Rangers. Blame plok. :-P

Where we last left off: Cyborg Jerry Orbach lost his wife (aw) but gained a team (yay!) who we know pretty much nothing about yet, but seem pretty neat.

As a conceit, as I write the recap, I like to pretend I haven't watched any future episodes. Unless I feel like indicating otherwise, of course.

This Recap Is Very Long, Be Warned

Anyway, this is the team so far:

Doc Hartford, the techno wizard -


Niko, the team psychic -


Shane Gooseman, the...guy who shoots stuff, I guess -


(I stole the doc picture from this German site, and the Niko and Gooseman pictures from here.)

By the way, this episode is "New Frontier." As usual, we begin with the annoying intro. Having watched the first episode, we can now realize that the two impossibly cute mascot-y ambassadors are actually the same guys that approached Earth in 2086 to begin with. This gives us something of a timeframe. Unless Waldo and Zozo are extremely long lived, we can probably assume that the events of the series take place not too long later. This fits somewhat with the idea that the Queen has heard of humans but hasn't caught one yet.

Clearly Zach's mission in the first episode then was fairly important, if he was escorting these guys. God knows why he brought the kids along, but there ya go.

Yay, robot horses! I hope they're in this episode!

Okay, as the episode starts, we're introduced to BETA (or the Bureau of Extra Terrestrial Affairs for long) and Dr. Owen Nagata who is the "tactical commander for the World Federation Board of Leaders." This is something of a mouthful. The important thing to notice is that Owen a brain in a BOX.

Seriously, he's a little floating metal rectangle thing with green goo visible beneath a slightly clear dome thing. Ew. And kind of awesome. It's a touch I like in my sci-fi: when we get to see technological advances that are really useful and cool, but also kind of creepifying and disgusting too.

The obscenely cute ambassadors are also mildly befuddled by the whole brain-in-a-box thing. Though Waldo (the andorian who looks kind of like an old guy with weird eyes) explains to Zozo (cute big eared thing) and us, that Nagata's actual body died ages ago.

Nagata drifts past the Galaxy Rangers as he talks, which is not particularly notable except that Doc's wearing an entertainingly "o_O" expression as Nagata goes by.

Nagata explains that a Captain Kidd of the outlaw planet Tortuna (that name isn't ominous at all!) wants to exchange information. We also learn the name of the awesome mustached commander (Commander Walsh) who happens to be standing next to a robot that appears to be wearing sunglasses and a pharoah-beard.

I love this show.

Anyway, now that the Galaxy Rangers "are go" as Walsh grumbles it (he's the sort of commander that's always grumbling), the team charge up on their nifty platforms with the themesong playing in the background. Apparently that thing has verses. Neat.

And as is compulsory for 80s sci-fi, they're borrowing the Star Trek: The Motion Picture slow, so the audience can fully appreciate it, ship-boarding thing. This is much less interesting animated than it is live action, as I'm sure you can imagine. On the minus side, there is no Persis Khambatta, but on the plus side, if this crew encountered V'ger, I suspect Shane Gooseman would have blown it the fuck up already.

And of course, Zach and Niko buckle their seat belts as they settle in. Heh, gotta be good role models for kids and all. Joking aside though, I've always thought people on the Enterprise would really benefit from seat-belts.

We also discover that the unfortunately named Shane Gooseman has the even more unfortunate nickname of "Goose". He doesn't seem to mind though. He doesn't get to ride in the big ship and instead gets one of the compulsory Star Wars/Galactica rip-off fighters (which is called an Interceptor, in this show). Fitting with his vaguely Clint Eastwood theme, his AI is named Alma, and has a kind of sultry female voice.

Zach's personal AI "JV" is apparently the AI for the big ship now. I suppose that's a privilege of rank. He still sounds like C-3PO. Also, interestingly, the AI's vaguely eye-like graphics are different shapes too. Zach's JV is a rolling sphere whose eye part reminds me a bit of Mogo's lantern. Goose's Alma is pink and and more elongated. Neat!

It makes sense to have a fighter, sorry, "Interceptor" flying separately from the main ship in case of attack, but I can't help think that, as they enter warp, that its only a matter of time before we get a "oh no! Goose is lost!" episode. God willing, it will involve a black hole. (I may be being a bit tongue in cheek here. :-P)

They go to a nifty planet with really large rock formations and a red sky, that might actually be a moon, if the giant planet in the sky is any indication. Once there, we see that the unbearably cute ambassadors have actually accompanied them (why? I have no idea) but they're going to wait in the ship. I guess it's good to have back-up, but wouldn't it be better to just recruit a few more expendable team members to wait behind rather than two fairly important ambassadors?

Fortunately, the show has decided to distract me from my ponderings by introducing the robot horses! Yay! Well played, show! I'm suitably distracted.

I was misremembering in my last review. For some reason I thought the AI for the ships and the horses were the same. They're not. They're still cool though.

Doc helpfully informs us that one of the horses, "Voyager" has a few kinks in her system, so he'll be riding her. I anticipate that this is set up for some comedic robot horse hijinx. But it also tells us a bit, fairly subtly, about Doc's character too. He might seem a bit flighty, but he'll gladly assume the risk of a glitchy robot horse. (Granted, he's also the one most likely to be able to fix her on the fly.)

Goose, who is wearing a ghastly ankle length blue coat with a white cowboy hat for some incomprehensible reason, activates his own robot horse, Triton, who is very pleased to see him.

The blue robot horse, Voyager, seems friendly enough, but her glitches are already apparent, as when Doc introduces himself as "Walter" (a first name! Yay!), she starts calling him "Wilbur." Ah, a combined glitchy robot joke and a Mr. Ed reference. Very droll, show. Neither Niko's reddish robot horse, nor Zach's tan robot horse say much, though Zach's horse does do that charging up on its hind legs thing as they ride off. Which makes me think that Voyager shouldn't be Doc's first priority, because I really don't think a robot horse needs to buck like that.

By the way, to make Goose's coat even weirder, Niko's dressed normally, while Doc and Zach both are dressed normally with cowboy hats.

Our intrepid heroes arrive at the town of "Sorry End." It is the appropriate mix of Western and futuristic influences, including buildings apparently made of rotting wood, with neon signs, and guys in cowboy hats with jet packs on their back. Doc gets the "It's quiet, too quiet" line, just as fighting aliens burst through the window of one of the nifty high tech taverns.

Voyager volunteers "Wilbur" to stay behind with the horses while the other rangers go inside. I'm hoping for a shoot out, personally. :-)

Goose is the first through the door, and his outfit is even more bizarre from the front, as it has lapels like a coat, but appears to be one piece like a dress below that. He's also wearing a neck scarf. I really don't understand this, but the sheer cognitive dissonance of the outfit may mean that he is my favorite character. It's a masochism thing.

The bar scene goes pretty much as expected. The bartender recognizes them as Galaxy Rangers. A bar occupant gets offended by their presence and pulls out a weapon, and Goose shoots a chandelier down onto his head. Because Goose likes doing things like that. Soon everyone is pulling out guns. Yay! Bar fight!

Unfortunately the fight is broken up by Captain Kidd, who is the antlered bird pirate thing from the first episode. This does not bode well. Also, he interrupted the bar fight. Jerk.

But he makes up for it by causing evil robot soldiers to suddenly crash the place! Yay! Fight scene! The bartender wisely hides. And Goose ditches his hideous coat pretty quickly. Which does not answer any of my questions at all, but hey, it did seem to make a good projectile. Anyway, Niko earns my love for the first time by picking up a pipe-type thing and bashing one of the soldiers with it.

Soon robots that strongly resemble the evil queen and speak in her voice show up, and the Galaxy Rangers are surrounded. But at Goose's whistle, his horse leaps through the window, followed by the others and Doc as well! Yay for robot horses!

Doc bluffs that the city is surrounded by rangers and quickly asides to the others to hurry up. As they flee, Kidd runs after them insisting that the Queen forced him to lure them there and begging them to take him with them, promising that he knows where the humans are. Goose permits him on, but looks like he'd rather just shoot him. We also get the first real hint of his ability when he gets a blaster bolt to the leg. Super-healing! That promises many insane physical stunts in the future! Hooray!

One of the robots suddenly wears the Wicked Queen's face and promises "1000 crowns for their capture." Yay, currency! We're learning more about the universe!

Waldo and Zozo make useful cavalry again and they lift off. Zach hands Zozo a gun and tells him to watch Kidd. Kidd thinks it's funny that he's being guarded by a Kiwi. But my money's on Zozo. That little guy is scrappy!

Kidd reveals that the Queen took "the humans" to an asteroid belt called "the Queen's Graveyard." We learn also that there are no planets there. Oooo.

On the plus side, figuring out which of a thousand asteroids houses a secret hideout is much easier with a psychic on the team. In a kind of neat effect, Niko's eyes actually change color when she's using her powers. In a less neat effect, she keels over after having a vision of Eliza turning into a robot with a transparent overlay of the Queen's face.

I am so tired of the keeling over psychic thing. But on the plus side, she did whack someone with a lead pipe, so Niko's still breaking even for me right now. She recovers quickly though and pinpoints the right asteroid. It actually looks like a fortress made of rock, which really makes a girl wonder why the psychic thing was necessary at all.

"Let's see, rock, rock, chunk of rock, rock shaped like a castle...oh wait..."

I'll grant though that the vision was nicely done. Creepy.

As they get close, they realize the rock is hollow and contains a massive power source. There are a lot of "Crown Destroyers" around, but fortunately, they haven't been noticed. (Crown Destroyers are red, and look suspiciously like other sci-fi crafts. But who am I to judge. :-P)

The crew suit up in spacesuits and drag Captain Kidd along for the ride. Meanwhile the crown ships leave. We also get an amusing glimpse of the main Ranger ship from the back, and I notice there's a section on the top that suspiciously looks like a place to stick batteries. Merchandizing, anyone? :-)

Doc pretends to be the Imperial phone company sufficiently distracting the bad guys in time for Goose to shoot them. I have no idea how Goose is there, or in a space suit, considering that the fighter doesn't really have changing room but I'm sure there's a sufficient explanation if I think about it long enough. Maybe he's a contortionist.

Doc uses his badge to conjure/summon "Pathfinder" which is a little ball of light that opens the mechanical lock. Doc really does have the best powers, I think. :-) The falsetto might get annoying though.

Doc then takes off his helmet, takes a breath and says "How convenient! Air!" Which seems like the sort of thing you want to find out BEFORE you take off your helmet. Especially if you're the tech genius of the group and actually need your braincells. Hell, if you ARE going to test the atmosphere that way, why not get the guy with super-healing to do it?

Anyway, the crew stumbles across a bunch of aliens in stasis tubes. Creepy. And probably not a good sign. Meanwhile, the Queen enters, looking even MORE like she ought to be querying a talking mirror. We find out that the alien that the Rangers found is a "Gherkin" and the "last of its kind" and that "humans are so much stronger." Probably not a good sign.

The Gherkin is put into a tube where it looks like it's screaming in agony, but there's no sound (a nice touch) while a weird crystal glows. One of those veiled faceless Queen-resembling robots appears. It's called a Slaver Lord.

Suddenly the ground opens beneath Doc first, then the other three Rangers, who manage to fall about forty feet and still land on their feet. Heh. The Queen greets them and monologues. A lot. Also, they are in uniform, as apparently they'd ditched the space suits in the stasis room.

Yeah, that's what I'd want if I were a weird pink alien in stasis, a bunch of people disrobing right next to me.

Eventually she reveals something significant: she knows Zach's name. And indicates a particular Slaver Lord, whose crystal, lodged in its chest, bears Eliza's image. Don't you hate when your wife gets turned into a zombie robot?

Eliza's body is in some sort of stasis tube, wearing another crystal, and Zach is PISSED. The Queen, in true villain "Let me explain how to defeat me" style, reveals that her life can be fully restored by joining the crystals.

For the record, Eliza does NOT look old enough to be the mother of a teenaged boy and a pre-teen girl.

Another significant reveal is Doc, now standing in a tube himself, sweating nervously.

For the second time in the episode, Zach uses his implant. (The first was to throw a table Captain America style in a bar fight.) This time however, he's not throwing any table. Instead, his arm starts glowing, and he blasts the crap out of the machine holding Doc. This is called the "Thunderbolt" and it is awesome. I would totally get a cyborg arm if I could cause mass destruction with it. Goose does what he does best: shoots robots and/or people, and passes the now free Doc a weapon, while Niko frees the human prisoners.

(In typical badguy fashion, the Queen decided to hold her confrontation RIGHT NEXT to where she kept the humans prisoner. She totally deserves to be overthrown, sheesh. The proper thing to do is keep the prisoners FAR AWAY. That way, if the good guys do escape, as they are wont to do, you have time to make more badass robots!)

The prisoners, awesomely, start tackling robots. And Zach extracts Eliza's body from its stasis tube. The Queen adds insult to injury though, by having the zombie robot appear right behind him, only to disappear, with its crystal flying straight into her hand. That's just petty.

I want her ass overthrown soon. Hmph.

Of course, then there's a space battle. Yay! Wherein Goose gets to shoot bad guys, because that's his job on the team. It occurs to me that they must have left the space suits behind. That just seems wasteful. Those things must be expensive!

Anyway, there's a "road block" which doesn't seem as though it should work in three-dimensional space, but I suppose they have lasers, and getting shot would still suck. However, cavalry arrives in the form of Captain Kidd's awesome umbrella-making underling and spaceship!

Back on Earth, awesome mustached commander speechifies that Eliza has to go into stasis until her "psycho-crystal" is found. Congratulations, Eliza, you've just been literally fridged.

There is much crying and sadness, and Zach vowing to find it if it takes his whole life. There is more speechifying about the Rangers "bringing justice" and all that as they all board fighters and fly off.

And thus ends what I guess is part II of the origin story, though both parts stand alone pretty well. A lot more happened in this episode, I think. It was a fitting introduction to the main characters as well.

I do feel a little cheated out of a "first meeting" type scene though. The dynamic in the episode is fairly tentative (as compared to later episodes, where they settle in nicely) and it gives the impression that they're fairly new to one another. Though they've clearly been briefed on one another's abilities.

There's a bit that I almost harped on in the recap, which is when Zach uses his Thunderbolt. What actually happens is that Goose leans over, whispers about it, and asks if Zach "can tap." Zach promptly taps his badge, does his thing, and frees Doc. I was going to mock him for it, since it has some similarities to the Family Guy episode where Stewie holds the family hostage and ties them up. They spend hours trying to pass time until rescue, then say something funny and Chris starts clapping, revealing that he'd been free and could have let them out the whole time.

But thinking about it, I think it's a nice character touch. Zach isn't actually stupid (usually), but he is VERY new to his powers. He wasn't bionic an episode ago, after all, and thus he needed the reminder.

(In a nice bit, Doc also seemed to recognize what happened, as he thanks GOOSE for the rescue when he's handed the weapon, even though Zach did the blasting.)

Actually, the way each character uses their abilities reveals bits about their character that hint at aspects that will become significant in later episodes. (The fun of a series that doesn't reveal all of each character's backstory right away is trying to piece the clues together as you go, or retroactively fitting them together after the fact.)

Doc and Niko use their powers like tools. When Doc calls up the program Pathfinder, it's with the same expression and attitude, as when he was manually tinkering with Voyager earlier in the episode. He's essentially doing the same thing, but switching tools to suit his needs at the time. Niko, for all that I bitch about the fainting psychic stereotype, is very deliberate in the way she uses her power. She uses it in the same manner as a Star Trek character would pull out a tricorder or run a sensor sweep.

Goose's use of his power is also revealing. When he does so, it's absent and automatic. Like it's been trained to the point that he doesn't even think about it: shot in the leg -> tap badge -> shoot badguy -> go. It's a level of ease beyond Doc's and Niko's, because his powers have, to him, become completely unremarkable. Heck, he doesn't even use them in the opening credits! It's also probably notable that I had to rewind a little to figure out why he used his power at all, as that was his ONLY reaction to getting shot in the leg.

The way Goose reminds Zach of the Thunderbolt reinforces the implications. He asks if Zach is able to get to his badge. It's a subtle encouragement, not a reminder. Essentially, he's assuming that Zach is being restrained somehow from using his power. (He's also standing a bit behind Zach, so he can't actually see the badge himself.) It doesn't occur to him that with the shock/rage of finding Eliza, Zach had simply forgotten.

The whole set-up is fairly elegant. I enjoy when writers use tiny little touches to say a lot.

This also starts up an interesting set of parallels between Zachary Foxx and Shane Gooseman. Both have names associated with animals. Both are more combat/militarily inclined than the other two. They're set as opposites in the group dynamic. The oldest member, but least experienced with his powers versus the youngest member, but most experienced with his. Zach is fairly straightlaced and restrained in personality, though he tends to shout. Goose never speaks above a soft-spoken drawl, but shoots chandeliers on people's heads.

I really do feel cheated out of a "characters meet for the first time" segment. But I guess this way preserves the mystery of the other members at least for a few more episodes.

That aside though, I think it's a fairly decent second episode. A lot more happens than in the first. The other three characters get more established. We see more of the depths of the Queen's evil, as well as the origins of the Slaver Lords.

And as much as I gripe, I really do adore the notion of the Queen as a villain. She's not hunting humans out of vengeance or greed. Hell, we're not even food to her. All humans are are a particularly efficient fuel source for her evil robots. That's it. This is someone who's committed genocide just because it's convenient. That's pretty scary.

Finally, I love that after the initial trap, Captain Kidd actually did not even attempt to turn them back over to the Queen. It's been a very long time since I'd seen this episode, so I was honestly expecting him to do so. That he didn't makes him a more interesting character, and I wonder (genuinely, because I haven't seen many episodes in order) what side he'll be on next time.

By the way, if anyone actually decides to get interested in the show based on my reviews or just wants to see what the hell I'm babbling about, I do have an amazon thingy over in my sidebar. :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers - Episode 1 Recap/Review

Well, I haven't had the chance to go to the comic book shop, so I thought I'd try doing something a little different.

Earlier on, I floated the idea of doing reviews of episodes of bad 90s shows. I'd still kind of like to do that, but let's be honest, I'm kind of lazy, so I thought I'd start a little smaller and go with 80s cartoons!

This time, I'm reviewing the first episode of "The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers." I've actually blogged about it before, but I'd never done an in depth review before, so I figure this is an experiment. Feel free to let me know if it sucks or entertains you. Or not. :-) I'll likely do it sporadically until I get bored.

It's probably important to note that, being one of those 80s shows, it's constantly shown out of order, even on some DVD sets (which is annoying because this show actually does have continuity). Fortunately I found me a fan made episode guide, so I figured I'd work off that.

Okay, so if you don't know the premise, it's a kind of sci-fi western amalgamation (think Firefly with more absurd abilities, less random interjections in Chinese, and to be honest, a somewhat more coherent setting... also, robot horses) starring four space cops with weird abilities who are possibly crazy and like to blow shit up.

Since this review is pretty much a recap with commentary, I'll cut it. :-)

Caution, Many Spoilers Within
The episode starts with the usual spiel: hideously cute aliens come to Earth for help and trade a faster-than-light drive to them in exchange. Earth thinks this is awesome, as would you, and starts exploring. This monologue is in every episode, in the ridiculously dramatic narrator voice that I'm pretty sure is compulsory for every silly 80s cartoon.

It does a decent job of explaining the premise in a short amount of time though, and it leads into the impossibly catchy, really annoying 80s-esque themesong. (Which always brings to mind the Battle of the Bands episode. Of course a show about space cops will lead to an episode in which they have to pretend to be a rock band. It's the eighties.)

Anyway, as 80s cartoon themesongs that echo in your head for hours after the fact go, it's not that bad. I think it falls somewhere below She-Ra's theme, and somewhere above G.I. Joe in terms of annoyingness.

(Youtube has the intro here. See? Robot horses.)

The first episode doesn't actually feature three of the four main characters. However, so it'll be a little while before the we, the viewer, would have any idea who the hot black guy, the long haired psychic chick (the chick is always psychic in 80s cartoons), or the young Clint Eastwood wanna-be is.

We do get introduced to the guy with the bionic arm who looks a teensy bit like Jerry Orbach. I'm not sure you can see the resemblance in the intro clip. But I swiped some pictures for reference:

This is Zachary Foxx:


(stolen shamelessly from this fan page.)

This is Jerry Orbach:


(taken respectfully but without permission from this memorial site.)

See? Granted it's mostly the eyebrows but still.

Anyway, by serendipity or design, probably the latter, Captain Zachary Foxx is also voiced by Mr. Orbach. So there you go. This series is basically about Jerry Orbach in space riding a robot horse. In a cowboy hat. Also with a cyborg arm.

This is an awesome show.

The episode I'm watching, by the way is called "Phoenix". And I've determined it to be the first episode if only because this is the episode in which Zach is not yet a cyborg, nor is he a Galaxy Ranger. And since the other characters are pretty much "Sir not appearing in this episode" either this is the origin episode, or the series is a LIE.

Actually, my mistake, he IS a Galaxy Ranger already (I'm watching this real time, by the way, with excessive use of the pause button.) However, he isn't a cyborg and apparently belongs to the Reed Richards school of "Ooo, I'm in space, escorting two important, if slightly overly mascotish ambassadors to the headquarters of the League of Planets. Let me bring my combat-untrained wife and two pre-teen kids along!"

If you think this will end well, you've either never watched a cartoon or read a comic, or you're a spitting moron. You pick.

Anyway, we're quickly introduced to a few concepts. The Kiwi, an impossibly cute race with big ears that likes to grow stuff. The Andorians, who are kind of like slightly sanctimonious old people, but with black, pupilless eyes. (The two ambassadors, Waldo and Zozo are Andorian and Kiwi respectively.) Kirowan, a planet very important to the "League of Planets" which is protected by a shield, and is where the Kiwi are growing "enough food to feed the entire League of Planets." Also, Zach's hot redhaired wife, Eliza, his cute blonde daughter Jessica, and his teenage son Zach Jr.

Tangentially, I have some issues with people who name their kid ___, Jr. It's got to foster an inadequacy complex. On the other hand, if your dad is a cyborg Jerry Orbach...

Of course, because it's that kind of show, the evil villainess, who is something like the Wicked Queen from Snow White, if you couldn't see her face and she was a bit sparklier, decides to blow that shit up. She wants to steal the "life-force" of humans to power her evil zombie robot slave army.

Because it's that kind of show.

Also, one of the robots just said "Bah Humbug." Heh.

The Queen doesn't actually blow the planet up, just breaks the shield and delivers an ultimatum. Gosh, I hope she doesn't come across Jerry Orbach's little spaceship!

I mock only because I love.

Also, I love the way they use AI in this cartoon. The characters actually download them into different things as needed. From spaceships to robot horses. Also they have entertaining personalities, and I think the one in Zach's ship just called his kid a loser. Or "Little sir." But my version's funnier. also calls the daughter "toots". Heh.

Anyway, the ship gets blown off course and is picked up by a pirate that looks like a bird with antlers. In a nice bit of parallel, he has a long eared monkey thing on his shoulder. It appeals to my sense of humor.

Anyway. The pirate wants to sell the humans to the Wicked Queen.

To give the show credit, as much as I think it's idiotic to bring the kids on a mission to begin with, they ARE actually useful aboard ship and don't whine that much.

Jerry Orbach's AI kind of sounds like C3-PO. Also, I think it just got molested by the pirate ship.

Zach is actually fairly badass. When the ship is caught by some sort of clamps, he actually goes out in a spaceship to shoot the wires holding it with a hand-gun. Of course, then he's ambushed by a lizard man with a lightsaber, who he manages to kick off the spaceship. Then he gets his ass kidnapped.

There is taunting and explaining, and trying to bodily throw oneself against a forcefield (why do people ALWAYS do that? It never works!)

Anyway, the cute alien ambassadors tell the wife and kids to blast out of there while they go to rescue the idiot. But they need more "life cans". I don't know what those are, but they're important enough that Eliza (Zach's hot wife, in case you weren't paying attention) decides to go get them. This seems like a bad idea.

I am proven right when a moment later, the doors close and Eliza is face to face with a lizardman. She tells the kids to leave, and then gets surprisingly badass on the lizardman. Apparently, I was wrong about her l33t combat skillz, because Eliza's actually doing a pretty damn good job, until she reaches too far for a blaster and gets her ass pinned.

Then the AI proves its worth by popping up with a cartoon image that plays the saxaphone and then blasts the lizardman.

I love this series.

Eliza finishes the lizardman up but then keels her ass over.

Meanwhile, the antler-bird-pirate is drinking from a wine glass. I'm sure if it ever comes up, he's drinking "lemonade" Sailor Moon, but still, I'm amused. He speaks to the Queen, who pretty much insists on confiscating everything.

The Captain is distressed and expresses this by whining "I want my booty" and squeezing his hands in a matter that is rather suggestive. I could comment, but that's probably better left alone.

Meanwhile, the unbearably cute Ambassadors have proven themselves the anti-Snarfs, and manage to extract Zach from the forcefield by clever use of judo and electric zappage. Yay!

Hehehe. In an awesome visual sight-gag, when the Pirate is informed that the humans have escaped, he spits out wine onto his obscenely cheerful underling, who's antenna opens into a very cute umbrella. Hee!

Unfortunately, while escaping (hijacking one of the pirate's tiny ships), Zach takes a laser shot to the side. Oh well. I'm sure that won't lead to awesome cyborg-y tendancies later.

Also, poor ass-kicking Eliza gets left behind. I'm sure she won't end up in the hands of the Queen and turned into a zombie robot!

On the plus side, two minutes left of the episode, we finally get to meet the other Galaxy Rangers and get the rest of the show's background. Each character is implanted with a nifty experimental microchip in their brains that lets them use special powers when they touch their badges.

Zach, who indeed failed his dodge roll earlier, has had his left side replaced with bionics which can become a nifty blaster weapon when he touches his badge.

The aforementioned hot black guy is introduced as "Doc Hartford" and he is a computer wizard who can literally conjure AI programs and viruses when he wants.

The psychic chick is Niko. She doesn't get a last name. Her implant will "strengthen her psychic senses", which isn't very enlightening but from the way she starts glowing Dark Phoenix, we can assume its very impressive.

The baby!Clint-Eastwood is Shane Gooseman, whose surname makes Niko suddenly look very lucky. He has "internal bio-defenses" that make him "nearly invincible." Which is even less useful an explanation of his powers than Niko had. We can infer from this that his powers probably consist of "whatever-the-fuck-we-need-to-save-the-characters-asses'-this week". And from the way he twirls his guns, we can probably assume that this also involves blowing shit up.

As each character is introduced, they each get a line of dialogue which is designed to give us a base idea of each character's base personality. Zach determinedly insists that he will save his wife. Doc enthusiastically asserts that he's ready. Niko ponderously pronounces the dangers to the human race (if I weren't aware of future episodes and Niko's tendancy to kick people in the face, I would find her very annoying, I suspect.) While "Gooseman" languidly drawls something about standing by for action, which is more of a clue that this is the character that blows shit up.

Their commanding officer by the way has a giant bushy mustache. So you know by default that he is awesome. It's an 80s cartoon law.

Now officially set up, the episode ends. What we've learned: Zach's kind of dumb and his life sucks. The Queen is evil. Don't trust birds with antlers. Mascot-like ambassadors can apparently kick ass. And never take your family into space. Sadly there were no robot horses in this episode, but they are in the theme, so hopefully they will show up soon.

All things considered, it's a fairly decent set-up. We won't get a very good idea of the other main characters' personalities for another episode or so, but it does a good job of introducing the important concepts of the series: Zach, his goal, the Queen, the Implants and the formation of the team. All in one half hour. Which if you compare to series like She-Ra or the Thundercats, whose origin stories stretched over four or five episodes, is pretty freakin' impressive.

Anyway, there we go. I have written a review. I don't know if I'll write another. But it at least filled a post for the day so I feel accomplished. Good night!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


You know, I was all set to snicker a little about this poor fellow claiming to have been ripped off by a bad Adam Sandler movie. Not that it doesn't suck for the fellow if that really happened, but I do think that people often come up with parallel ideas and that an assassin turned hair dresser is one of those ideas that I suspect everyone comes up with sometimes.

It's the turning around of expectations really. A hair dresser, particularly a male hair dresser, is such an innocuous seeming profession (and well, there's the stereotype of sexual orientation involved too) that it's really fun to imagine a hair dresser also kicking ass. It's probably the same appeal as the supermodel-turned-assassin character.

Personally I always liked the accountant or engineer as ex-assassin notion better. Mostly because I'm a geek myself and it appeals to my power fantasies. And also it's less easy to resort to cheap sexual/homophobic stereotypes for a laugh. Besides, who didn't like seeing the Rock staple that guy's head in Get Smart?

That said, I don't know the details, so maybe there is enough to base a case on. I do know...the comic actually looks kind of entertaining. I might have to check it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Urge

Damnit. This is one of those days where I can't think of anything to blog. I'd just not post anything, but then that's what happened to my livejournal. :-)

I have a very strange urge to hunt down my disks with the King's Quest games on them. Because I love those sorts of games. Really any sort of adventure game of that ilk. I call them "MacGyver games" because it's the sort of thing where you end up using a fishing pole, rubber duck and a drugged pigeon* to get some key off a subway rail.

... I'm not making up the drugged pigeon thing. It was from a demo of some game I played about ten, fifteen years ago with a kid who went to spy camp or something like that. It was funny, because whenever he'd take anything that wasn't nailed down, he'd put it in his pockets. But these were crappy VGA graphics at the time, so it really looked like he just shoved them down his pants.

And there's a point in the game, where you use sedatives mixed with bread to drug a pigeon and pick it up. And he SHOVES IT IN HIS PANTS.

I always wished I'd convinced my dad to get that game.

I also suspect I like the games because they're a safe way to indulge closet kleptomaniacal tendancies. TAKE IT ALL!!! :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I don't actually have the attention span to watch Academy Awards, but I have heard that Heath Ledger won an Oscar, and that's pretty cool.

I don't understand the group of fans that apparently want to "retire" the Joker from the movies now. Granted, I'd like to see the series focus on other villains, Hugo Strange for example, but I don't really think it's a compliment to Heath Ledger to want to retire the role just because he was really good at it and now he's dead.

His performance was brilliant, no question, and it will remain a brilliant performance no matter if they end up using the Joker again later. The new guy would have a very unenviable task of either being a poor mimic or finding his own version that may or may not succeed with the fans.

That said, even if Ledger were still alive, I'm not sure they'd really be able to effectively use the Joker again. Just because so much of the character works off of shock value, if they use him again, there'd be the irresistible urge to try to top what came before.

I suppose what you can really get out of this is that I'm an indecisive twit. :-) But fairly glad about the Oscar win anyway. :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Link to Read, if You Haven't Already

You know, Empowered does absolutely nothing for me, but this post by David Brothers something that you should read if you haven't yet.

The linked video clip in particular is incredibly sad. :-(

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Silly Thought

I was watching NCIS again (well, I like my tv very comic booky, as I mentioned) and a weird thought occurred to me. The NCIS team has weird parallels to the batclan.

I mean, well, first there's the father figure who's pretty much badass.

Then the prodigal son/protege/heir apparent who's something of a smartass and tends to date a lot, while being the subject of many a slash fic, and gets in danger a LOT.

The middle child is named Todd and is mostly famous for being the dead one.

The youngest is very intelligent, computer savvy, and stuck in the hapless "growing up before our eyes" role AND has the first name of Tim.

And eventually they pick up a hot ex-assassin chick with language problems.


It does make the original JAG pilot where Gibbs interrogates Harmon Rabb even funnier. Batman interrogating Hal Jordan, poor fellow never had a prayer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Basic Business Practices Hate Us All

Okay, normally I don't post things just to mock them. A little because I'd like to think I'm nicer than that. Mostly because, well, I don't really have a leg to stand on when it comes to saying silly things. But I spent the entire night in a panic after leaving my purse in my Business Enterprise class and had to wait until this morning to collect it from the Lost and Found (the janitorial staff is awesome) and thus I'm irrationally pissy and venting my irritation over that on something completely unrelated!

Anyway, this seems like a really dumb complaint.

WTF, DC? I’ve been supporting Trinity every week from the very beginning, and there are tens of thousands of other fans who have as well. Fifty-two issues at $2.99 each works out to a $155.48 commitment over a twelve month period to collect the entire series in pamphlet form. But apparently, had I just waited for the trades, I would only need to spend $89.97 to read the entire series in three volumes and saved myself $65.51.

Does that seem fair? It’s too late for me to switch formats from single issues to the trades. Marvel has been getting a lot of heat from fans about the number of $3.99 books they’ve been pushing lately. As annoying as the four-dollar price tag can be, it’s not nearly as annoying as the way DC is screwing me over with Trinity. basically, Mr. Henson is complaining that the compilation of the series you've already read is a LOWER price.

Because, you know, compilations are usually more expensive than the individual products separately...right? A boxed set of an anime series is much more expensive than buying the individual tapes/DVDs. An extra value meal costs more than the Big Mac, fries and coke separate...

Oh wait.

Look, I get being frustrated at the total cost of comic expenditure. I wince when I think about mine and I've cut my list back a lot. But the fact is, it's simple salesmanship. When you buy a collection, provided it isn't one of those fancy ones with the novelty box or whatnot, you're trading immediacy for convenience and value. It's the same logic behind combination meals or bulk supplies. Companies realize that the consumer, upon seeing the total price of a mass purchase, may well balk. So they drop the price a bit.

Does it suck for the person who buys individually? Well, yes. But that's the trade off. Trinity's a weekly comic, and it'll be on 49-52 when the first TP comes back. That means you got to read the beginning of the story almost a FULL YEAR before those people waiting for the TPB. Moreover, some of the folks buying the TPB may well have been reading regularly all along and just want it in a more durable/collectable format. (Especially if you're like me and inadvertently destructive enough to make serious collectors cry.) Considering that they're purchasing something that they've ALREADY bought and read, it seems like a fair trade-off to make it a little cheaper.

This doesn't even get into the fact that the flimsy monthly/weekly comics and TPBs are produced by different parts of the company. It may well be that the TPB bureaucrats would want to sell the individual issues cheaper, or that the single-issue folks would want to sell the compilations more expensively.

Really though, what's bringing out the cattiness in me is the level of fan-entitlement in the post. Yes, Mr. Henson, and me, and many other people are regular and loyal customers who faithfully spend way too much money on our hobbies. But you know what? They don't owe us anything.

Rinse and repeat: The companies DON'T OWE US ANYTHING.

We didn't sign any contract. They didn't promise us the comic book equivalent of frequent flyer miles. We're not long term partners and barring subscriptions (which are a whole other issue, pun unintended) we're not bound by any legal agreement or otherwise forcing us to continue to buy the product.

The depth of our relationship to the companies is this: we give money. We get comic.

Hell, they don't even have to give us a GOOD comic. Sure, we can bitch, but it's not like we have grounds for a lawsuit. The most we can do if we're unsatisfied is stop buying the damn comic.

Yes, it does suck to have spent that much money on anything to turn around and have it available for cheaper after the fact. But there's no point in acting all wounded and betrayed about it. It's life. Wait for the TPB next time. Or don't buy it at all.

Sheesh. :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Here be solicits! Here are some disjointed thoughts/reactions:

It's weird to think of Barry Allen having a "dark secret" in his past.

JSA looks interesting, but Liberty Belle just looks odd on the cover.

Sheesh, how the fuck long is the Jericho fight supposed to go on. I know the length of the Gog storyline bothered some in JSA, but at least it was GOG. Seriously, JERICHO?!

Also, Final Crisis: Escape looks pretty cool. I like Nemesis and giving him stuff to do beyond being Diana's boyfriend makes me happy. (Not that I mind that though. :-)). Besides, I missed seeing the words "superhero intelligence" since Checkmate fizzled.

I still have no interest in Battle for the Cowl. My vote's still that it should go to Man-Bat.

Finally, I never realized it before, but damn is Superwoman's costume hideous. Egads.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Commercials and Trailers

Okay, I saw a commercial for Wolverine: Origins. Is it just me or does that movie look more and more awful the more we hear about it? It's such a shame, because I do think that the casting is very good. On the other hand, I didn't much care for the James Howlett origin story in the comics, and I don't much imagine I'll like it better here. Granted, I think pretty much any origin story is difficult since Wolverine's mystery has been so long established, but that one...did not much appeal to me.

The Watchmen commercials look awesome, but I really hope the whole "The World Needs Its Heroes" thing is meant ironically. :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Non-Comic Again

You know what's interesting to do around the holidays? (and by "interesting" I mean "boring to anyone who isn't me") It's watching the commercials to see which ones really seem to evoke the spirit of the holiday.

I thought about that this past Valentine's Day. And it occurred to me that for all the Vermont Teddy Bear or Candy commercials that I saw, the commercial that I thought really felt most like a Valentine's commercial was a cell phone commercial.

It's not really a Valentine commercial, but it makes me laugh every time. It's either Verizon or T-Mobile. One of those types, anyway. And it's got the old guy and his wife sitting in armchairs. And he keeps insisting he's afraid of commitment, and she gives him a look and says they'd been married for 40 years. He corrects her: "Thirty-eight" and then insists he needs variety. She points out that he's had eleven bull-dogs all named Steve. And so on.

Every time, it makes me go "Aw." Cranky old people are cute. Especially when they're tolerating one another's foibles with eye-rolling exasperation. That just seems so much more "romantic" than some stupid teddy bear or admittedly tasty candy. Hmph.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You know what would be funny?

A book of love poetry as written by various comic book characters. Imagine it. You'd have Nightwing's deep soliloquies, Cyclops's will be confused ("An Ode to my Beloved Jean Madeline Jean Emma!"), no one will be sure as to whether Guy's talking about Tora or the cool frosty beer in his hand (probably the beer), and Hal's love is as implacable as the yellow ceiling tile plummeting toward his head right this very moment.

Oh and of course, as a bonus, there would be the completely incomprehensible love missives between Gambit and Rogue. In dialect, of course.

And of course, poor Spider-Man's poem stops halfway through. Aw.

I'd buy that book. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

D&D Ate My Post

I have no blog post today. I have no excuse, except for the fact that I was up late playing D&D with friends and my character may have* ended up molested by gnomes.

I still don't understand 4th Edition D&D rules entirely, but it's good to know that somethings never change.**

(* "may have" in this case can be read as "totally".)

(** Sadly, even with this little encounter, I am probably one of the luckier players in the group if you look at the awkward and/or appalling mishaps which end up happening to our characters.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Since it's Valentine's Day, it seems like a good idea to talk about romance! Well, really, I just want to talk about why I love Superman and Lois Lane.

I think everyone's heard of the Moonlighting curse. It's based on that tv show with Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd. There's lots of sexual tension and eventually the characters get together and the show fizzles.

TV shows, ever since, have been endlessly terrified that this will happen to their tv shows. Of course, this invariably leads to something worse. The anti-Moonlighting curse. Which is when the tv shows (or comics, or book series) go overboard thinking of incredibly stupid reasons why their leads should not get together.

You know, things like viruses that will kill one of them if they touch. Or deals with the devil. Amnesia. Fake deaths. Things like that.

Because god forbid writers take an organic storyline development and USE it. Anyone whose been married knows deep down that the tension and conflict doesn't end with "I do" and good writers know how to use that. Marriage doesn't have to be the end of the story. It doesn't have to be relegated to alternate universes or secondary futuristic dimensions.

That's why I love Clark and Lois. By all rights, their marriage shouldn't have worked. They spent what, half a century, as an on-again-off-again, will-they-won't-they couple. Marriage should have ruined everything.

But it didn't.

Clark Kent and Lois Lane got married. And they didn't stop being them. Lois is still bossy, hen-pecking and prone to trouble. Clark still keeps secrets for really bizarre reasons (as much as Decisions bored me, I can imagine Clark amusing himself by never telling Lois his voting inclinations just because she wants to know so much).

Clark and Lois have been married for 13 years. That's pretty impressive for a real life couple nowadays. And for comics, where certain writers couldn't possibly conceive of stories involving a *gasp* married Spider-Man without resorting to wiping the slate clean, it's even more impressive. I'm sure there are advocates arguing that Clark and Lois should not be married out there. And maybe some day they'll win. But right now, the writers have embraced this massive change in status quo and worked with it. And neither Superman, Lois, or our precious childhood memories have suffered in the process.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Whims Are Annoying

Every so often I get masochistic whims to do things that I know would be a bad idea. For example. Recently, I had an urge to go out and read/reread the Drizzt Do'Urden Forgotten Realms books. (I haven't read all of them, but a good many were out around the time I was an angsty teenager, so...well...)

Now, for the record, I don't actually HATE the books or even the character. They're kind of like most of Mercedes Lackey Valdemar books for me, in that they're so incredibly good at channelling the angst and wish-fulfillment that tends to attract pre-teen and teenaged fantasy readers and even now can be a nice guilty pleasure when I want to recapture my youth.

Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of reading series in close succession, so I usually come out of it wanting to hit Drizzt with a shovel. (The problem with wallowing in teenaged angst as an adult is that pretty quickly you start to remember why you like being a goddamn adult, thank you very much.)

This time, I decided to try something different and thought: hey, I'm a comic book fan. There are Drizzt comic books. Maybe I'll try those! So I got ahold of the Homeland trilogy and read them and...honestly...they're not that bad.

Unlike, say, the Anita Blake comic which highlighted everything I found irritating about those books, I actually thought the comic version of the Dark Elf Trilogy worked very well.

I didn't actually want to hit Drizzt with a shovel!

Part of it is probably the space constraints. Also, the lack of those really fucking annoying journal entries at the beginning of the chapters. God, I hated those. Fortunately, there's no room for that in the comic! Also, as per the angst, it's actually fairly well handled too.

Of course Drizzt DOES get angsty, to be fair, he does have some reason to have angst. But where, in the books, said angst seems to encompass a whole chapter, in the comic, he's angsty for maybe a panel. Then it's more killing things with pointy swords!!

I have no quarrel with the killing things part. :-)

It doesn't hurt that I like the art. Drizzt is cute, his sisters are pretty (though I'm not sure what to make of Vierna's braids. I didn't quite imagine even the slightly less evil drow priestess looking like Pippi Longstocking, but oh well), Roddy McDowell looks a bit too much like a giant dwarf instead of a human, but for the most part I can't really complain.

I was kind of disappointed in Zaknafein's initial appearance actually, as he was probably my favorite character as a kid, (I like people who channel their depression and alignment malfunction into stoic homicide?) but somehow, around the time he got killed off and zombified he got hotter. Alive-Zak, not that hot. Zombie-Zak? HOT.

...I'm not sure what that says about my taste in men, but there you go.

But yeah, it's remarkable what a change that a lack of annoying inner monologue can make in my appreciation of a character. :-)

(I still think Artemis Entreri is more fun though, heh)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


OMG, OMG, if this existed I would want it so bad.

The world really needs Godzilla comics. Yes. Yes it does.

Though I would hope they wouldn't get too distracted with things like plot. In the end, the best part is just the property destruction and fighting of other monsters. <3

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This Post is Probably Not For Small Children.

Please see the title. Of course, considering how often I make immature off-color jokes and use the word "fuck" in various conjugations, I'm not sure what kids would be reading this blog anyway. But just in case, you are warned.


What is not commonly known about me is that I have a fairly erratic sleep schedule and sometimes find myself watching very, very late night television. This is not incredibly noteworthy in and of itself, but I've come to realize that the commercials are hilarious.

I mean there's the standard stuff: phone sex, girls gone wild, guys gone wild, cialis, extenze, and so on.

I find it funny what the commercials will and will not talk about even at four in the fucking morning. :-)

For example. Cialis is pretty frank about being a viagra-alternative, but the Extenze commercials are very very coy. To be honest, it was a few weeks before I actually realized what they were advertizing as a "Penis-Enlarger" actually was.

I'm a very literal person sometimes, so well, my first thought was well, the Austin Powers Penis-Enlarging pump. I mean, I realized that it wasn't a pump. But it was a while before I realized that by "extending" they weren't talking Reed Richards.

Guys Gone Wild is hilarious because they really try to pretend the target audience is women. This may be sexist, but I seriously have my doubts that very many women are paying money to see college boys flash a ball. But I may be wrong about that.

Phone sex commercials are great, just to watch the girls try very hard not to SAY they're offering phone sex. Nope. You're just calling for "conversation". Which, in the literal sense is true. But I really don't understand why they don't just come out and say it.

Finally, those finger massager commercials are probably the funniest of all. They go so far out of their way to NOT say what these women are going to use this massager for, to the point where they make no suggestion about its use at all. If I were not a dirty minded pervert, I would honestly not be able to make heads or tails of it. I would know it's battery powered and fits in the purse though.

(Why on EARTH would anyone be carrying that in their purse? A suitcase is too far away? Or you really just need to get away from the office for a while? Honestly.)

(It'd be funny to see someone try to explain it to airport or courthouse security)

They're so vague, that I honestly don't understand why they don't just advertise during afternoon soaps. If you don't know what it means already, you probably won't by watching the commercial. If it's on at four in the morning, why not be explicit? The only people watching are insomniacs, perverts, and/or people like me who'll be too busy snickering like twelve year olds to pay much attention anyway. :-)

Ultimately, though, I think the fact that I think so often about this kind of thing probably indicates that I shouldn't be watching tv so late at night anyway. Heh.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Okay, I know I've been mocking Marvel lately, but this looks awesome.

I can think of nothing awesomer than Brubaker doing Golden Age "true origins" except maybe Brubaker writing a WWII-set Invaders series. :-) This looks very cool!

...I could also go for more Sgt Fury and the Howling Commandos, too, for that matter. <3

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another Post Secret Invasion Question

Okay, as I said in my last post, I'm really behind on any non-Cap Marvel. So I have one...well, technically two questions.

Actually, it might be three. But it's all kind of subheadingy of one question. (I made up a word!)

1a) Does the general Marvel Universe (meaning the idiot public) believe that Osborn's team are good guys?
1b) Are Wolverine Jr. and Spidey-sized Venom ACTUALLY referred to as "Dark Wolverine" and "Dark Spider-Man"?
1c) Even granted, that for my sanity, I'm assuming that the answer to 1b is "No" I still have to ask: how stupid are the general people of the Marvel Universe?

You know, I'd never say this in real life, but I'm kind of cheering for Doctor Doom now. These people are possibly too stupid to run themselves.


Oh and on a tangential note: this news by way of Mike Sterling is both horrifying and mildly apropos I think. I mean, that IS the guy who managed to utterly obliterate the X-Men movie awesomeness in one fell swoop.

In a weird sort of way it's like the Wolverine movie to me. In the same way that the combination of my three least favorite/most hated Marvel Characters being perfectly cast makes the Wolverine movie something I will never want to watch but can still appreciate the idea for, this combination of two similarly horrific concepts may well synthesize to something genius.

But probably not. It might be intensely amusing though.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I admit, I don't tend to follow a lot of Marvel books that don't have Nick Fury or Captain America on the cover, and I particularly fell behind during all the Secret Invasion stuff...

So Um...

Wolverine has a son now? I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that the relationship is full of resentment, murderous intent, and probably teenaged emo angst. I'm not sure if I would be more amused to be right or wrong.

Does the kid have emo hair? Please tell me he has emo hair!

In all seriousness though, I like long-lost kid plots. And it DOES make sense for Wolverine. Given the long life and general inability to keep a memory in his head that doesn't involve massive trauma, I'm kind of surprised he doesn't have more kids running around.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Birthday Lack of Post

By the way.

I am 26 now. Yay me!

Out of celebration, I am going to sleep. :-)

Friday, February 06, 2009

An Award!

Look! Rob gave me an award! So now it's my turn to pass it on!

The PREMIO DARDO is designed to recognize unique voices and visions on the Web as well as to promote fraternization amongst bloggers of all sorts. The rules as they were passed on to me are:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
2) Pass the award to another 5 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

Okay, well, here we go!

1. Brainfreeze! Brainfreeze is neat. And also, it's really interesting to read comic reviews that take kids into account as well. I don't have kids, and to be honest, I tend to see them as little creepy aliens. But it's interesting to read about them and what they like too!

2. Title Undetermined! Because any blog hosting Azrael AND Doctor Polaris deserves an award.

3. Pai! Saranga and I don't always agree, but she usually has fun and interesting things to say!

4. Seeking Avalon! Because Willow's essays are awesome and make me think.

5. Green Lantern Butt's Forever! SallyP writes the best and most thorough Green Lantern reviews around! And also loves Hal getting cranial damage and Green Lanterns' asses. Yay!

So there we go! That was fun!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Damned with Faint Praise?

You know, as someone who's never read the book and isn't really a big fan of Gaiman, I do think Coraline looks like a really cute movie. But I really wish they'd stop repeating that one critic quote: "Best 3D Movie I've ever seen!"

Because while intellectually I know there've been GOOD 3D, like Nightmare Before Christmas and what-not, that's not what comes to mind when I think "3D Movie"

I hear 3D and think of My Bloody Valentine 3D, or Sharkboy and Lava Girl, 3D! Pretty much anything KNOWN specifically for being 3D...meaning simultaneously being crap.

If anything it makes me want to see the movie much less. It's the epitome of reverse-advertising.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Non-Comic: A Comedically Incoherent Forgotten Realms Geek Rant

This rant is non-comic related, but there are enough RPG geeks here that might appreciate it. If not, well, at least it's incoherent. :-)

I've been reading the Forgotten Realms wiki and man, Corellon Larethian? Is a total dick.

I mean, really, leaving aside the very biased treatment of the dark elves "Yeah, I know MY guys started the war, but you're worse AND you worship my psycho ex-wife, so I'm banishing you. Even you people of the same race who have nothing to do with it, leaving my daughter, who really the fuck annoys Kalinara on general principle, to traipse down to the Underdark with you to try to save your souls or something" which I suppose makes sense from a game perspective. If nothing else, it allows players to play umpteen million good drow that are the unintentional side effect of R.A. Salvatore inflicting Drizzt on us.

But the thing that really struck me as dickish is this:

Araushnee was defeated and cast into the Abyss along with both of her children (despite the fact that Corellon knew Eilistraee had been tricked). Araushnee's banishment also involved Corellon turning her into a bloated spider demon so that he could not be persuaded to reconsider his decision due to her beauty.

Emphasis mine.

See, okay, I get that the former pre-Lolth was a bitch. And tried to kill him. A couple of times. But she's ALREADY getting punished for that. She's getting shoved into the DAMN ABYSS. But he turns her into a spider thing BECAUSE SHE IS PRETTY.

That's adding insult to injury. Not to mention, way to blame the wife for your own flaws, dude. The fact that YOU can't keep it in your pants long enough to punish the woman who tried to kill you, is not HER fault. No wonder she comes back to steal a chunk of your people and try to kill your ass again. Hmph.

Even though, I'm aware that 4th Edition decided to mess with the Pantheon, I still maintain that the whole reason behind the threefold goddess-wife thing was because none of those goddesses individually wanted to deal with Corellon Larethian any more than is necessary.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Hmph, out of solidarity with SallyP, I have some disclosures to make.

While I am certain that Paradise is pretty I am not certain how it can be both pretty and fizzy. Possibly, there is soda involved. But I never really thought about it. And I'm pretty sure that comma is not supposed to be there.

Also, my grammar is atrocious, my spelling only moderately better, and every single post on this site is completely written stream of consciousness.

Feel free to complain but I don't care. Because I am awesome. And so is SallyP. And I would totally have her come up with a title for a blog of mine while toasted, if she'd be willing to do so. :-)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Non-Comic. My First Superbowl Party

I went to my very first Super Bowl (is that supposed to be one word or two?) party today. It was fun. Even though I still don't understand football.

Apparently I was to cheer for the people in red. I understand that they lost, I am dutifully disappointed. :-)

I didn't quite understand all the rules, and I was VERY confused when initially the teams were making touchdowns by running into the part of the lawn that was painted their color, and then suddenly they were making touchdowns by running into the part of the lawn that was painted the opposite color. But I enjoy fisticuffs and watching attractive men knock each other over while wearing weird armor is more entertaining than I thought it would be.

I wished they wouldn't keep playing that one fellow (Harrison?) running all the way across the field and getting tackled in the endzone like that though. I mean, I get that it was a fairly historic thing and all, but I swear, the way his head snapped back, it was like watching someone's neck snap over and over. That's a guy who probably will need to see his chiropractor in the morning. Ow.

But yeah, I had fun! Now I'm going to sleep!

Sunday, February 01, 2009


A friend on AIM linked me to this.

I know I said Marvel Zombies were overdone. But AWESOME. I kind of want to get it for my Austen-fan mother as a Christmas gag gift. <3