Get out of the pool, Croc Master. GET OUT OF THE POOL.

December 13th, 2017

Your dog bit Timmy, Croc Master.

A lot of my nerdery, as I have pointed out in the past, involves writing things on my nerdiest of nerd sites, Technohol 13. I've been working on this thing for over two decades, ostensibly in order to finish up the various projects I'd started in 1995 over there before I die of old age. Or meteors. Or, you know, whatever. And the content there is for use in role-playing games.

So when I'm crafting something over there, the idea is to transform the subject of my research from whatever media it exists in to usable in-game descriptions. And a lot of the time, this is relatively straight-forward, meaning enough of the work has already been done for me that vomiting out a block of statistics, powers, equipment, and back story is easy enough.

But then there's this guy. Croc Master is a villain from the GI Joe toy line, who you can probably guess has a thing for crocodiles. He wears their skin, he meditates in swamps with them, he uses them in a hare-brained business that provides security for eccentric (read: costumed villains) billionaires. He's silly, but he was amusing enough in his few comic book appearances.

But when researching a character like this, and attempting to write something that isn't completely ridiculous, I wind up tripping over art commissioned by the toy company of him playing with his pet croc in a swimming pool, all while everyone around him seems only mildly terrified at the prospect. And then I feel the need to throw my hands up and drink three bottles of rum.

Because come on.

Sticking it to Incels

November 19th, 2017

It's actually pretty fun.

As is my wont, for good or ill, I read the interent. In the process of doing so early this year, I discovered that someone was producing a remake of the She-Ra cartoon from the 1980s. I had seen a few episodes of it back in the day, but as my interests were shifting from the He-Man sphere of content to things like GI Joe and Transformers, well, it didn't really stick.

One could try and claim that this was because it was primarily aimed at girls, but the truth was that the cartoon stunk on ice, to coin a phrase. Feel free to judge for yourself! YouTube has numerous clips of this show up for your viewing displeasure. Despite this series being the partial brainchild of the mind behind Babylon 5, Sense8, and the Twelve, it was horrible.

Not to bag on Mr. Straczynski, of course, because he only had to work with what he had to work with, and what he had to work with was the insipid horror that was the Filmation animation studio, who was notoriously cheap in every aspect of its product. Again, go watch some She-Ra clips. Or some He-Man clips. Or anything by those hacks, for that matter. That'll set you straight.

So, not having any emotional attachment to this particular series, I wasn't really feeling the need to watch it. However. Further reading within the dumpster fire that is the internet revealed to me that there was some sort of resistance to this new series, from self-described 'fans' of the original one. And not because the show was being rebooted, but because the lead character wasn't 'sexy enough'.

To which I said 'Bwuh?'

So I looked into this further, and I can only come to the conclusion that this nontroversy is a bunch of poutrage from nerds who a) most likely had never watched an episode of the original show, b) are mad that they don't have yet another animated Barbie ™ doll fantasy to masturbate to, and c) have probably never actually touched a woman in their entire life.

Thus, in order to stick it to these incel turds, I've decided that I'm going to watch the whole series, now that it's live on Netflix. After all, that will make its metrics look better to the Netflix folks, and thus far what I've watched has been enjoyable. It's amusing and has a decent story, which, strangely enough, hews pretty close to the basic idea behind the original, crap series from thirty years ago.

Me and Brenda haven't watched the last two episodes yet, but that'll probably happen before too long. But we're defintely happy with it so far, and can't recommend it enough. So heave yourself over to the remote control and fire the new She-Ra up, already. As long as you like humorous action-adventure that borders on the ludicrous. But then, when you mix magic, technology and goofballs, how couldn't it be?

Also.

What Are You Tarkin About?

November 18th, 2018

Live, or Memorex ™?

Brenda was out of town for a week and a half very recently, which left me with not a whole lot to do. Having stopped trolling douchebags on Twitter, and my attempts to do so to douchebags on Facebook falling flat with the admins of a group or two caving in to their most racist members, I resorted to working on my nerd site and assorted television time to keep myself entertained.

One boob tube project I indulged in was a double header of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I did this for three reasons. The first was, well, because Star Wars. The second was that I wanted to see how well the two flowed together, since one was an immediate prequel to the other. And the third was, naturally, because of Tarkin.

The first time I watched Rogue One, I found the computer-generated Grand Moff Wilhulf Tarkin to be in the uncanny valley territory. His face just seemed too detailed, too wrought with discernible features that the rest of the cast lacked - unless, they too were generated by computer. Like the awesome Mon Calamari admiral featured here and there (no, not Ackbar, a different one).

But I thought, why not see how he looked in both, to make a proper judgment? So I paid close attention to the appearance of Tarkin in the film made decades before he died, and the one made decades after. And, what I found was that Tarkin looks just as distressing in both. His face is full of horrifying detail in each film, which everyone else around him simply does not possess.

Maybe my vision isn't 20/10 any longer, but I have to say the Rogue One people simply captured what was already there. The visage of an incredibly creepy, haunting villain. Sure, you can still tell that CGI Tarkin was artificial, but only just. I don't think the technology to seamlessly, digitally recreate actors for live-action films is quite there yet, but it's close. Very, very close.

The solution to this would be to either finish that job, thus making all video ultimately unreliable, or to simply animate entire films with that level of character accuracy. Both would work, I s'pose.

Villainous Distractions

November 16th, 2018

Last week, I provided a few capsule descriptions of some second stringer heroes I used to protect City while it was live. As a counterpart to that effort, and as my final word on the countless characters I played with in that series of games, I thought I'd do the same for my also-ran and third tier villains. Well, they weren't all that bad, but I'm running out of descriptive words.

The first of these is Mister Really Long Name, a guy whose name was, as you can guess, as long as you could give a character. He was a guy with the power to poison others, and had a small following of thugs he'd addicted to various drugs his body concocted. The leader of this band, Mister Really Long Name was another mastermind, like Three Dollar Bill, though his minions were a bit... fleshier.

A close second for my favorite mastermind, Mister Really Long Name was an odd character, because his poison power set was built to be a sort of single-target debuff. He couldn't quite produce the mayhem that my other masterminds did, but instead of bedlam, he could efficiently dismantle just about any one foe at at time. Unless he called for a Gang War, at which point all bets were off.

Uncle Samhain was my main, and possibly only, brute within the City of Villains. They were like scrappers, save for the fact that their damage output spiked the more they attacked - or were attacked. So, if you could find a way to keep your endurance up, you could just start a pain train with brutes that didn't end until the structure you were in was completely devoid of anything else living.

Save for your allies. Assuming you let them live. Uncle Samhain was a fire brute, using the fire melee and fire armor sets, which fit in with his demonic aspect quite nicely. And he was the best for irking butthurt pagans, who felt the need to educate him about the origins of 'Samhain', which was hilarious because a) I know them, and b) I know their entire religion is made-up hogwash.

Last but not least on this trinity of villainous capsule descriptions is the Apostlypse. This kook was a hobo who got into... something toxic in the outskirts of the Rogue Islands, and wound up developing smite-worthy powers of mind control and fire generation. This unlikely combo twisted his already-skewered mind into a religious fervor, and he turned into one of those obnoxious street preacher types.

Who could, you know, back up his words with convincing brainwashing - and a bit of third degree burns to those who were resistant to his brain taint. Like the other two villains described here, Apostlypse managed to hit the game's maximum level mostly by happenstance, namely by beating up heroes and other villains while he wasn't being an insufferable pest in the chat channel provided for his current location.

As was the case with my minor heroes, I could really go on about my more obscure villains for a really, really long time. But I won't, because I've already done this for what, thirteen jerks already? So I'll spare you any more about these particular kooks, and quit nerding it up about the City of Heroes / City of Villains / City of Evil Goatees now. Thanks for reading, and catch you later!

The twelfth installment in this series.

Book Much Less

November 10th, 2018

Minimal Facebook Zone.

Just over two months ago, I made my exit from Twitter. While I'm slow and it generally takes a while for things to finally sink in for me, I eventually noticed what was happening within that site. You know, bending over for fascists and racists, all while disproportionally penalizing those who took them to task. I retain my account, but I don't participate in Twitter conversations anymore.

On the other hand, I've seen Facebook's problems worsening for a long time. It has developed into what I can only describe as a rogue corporation. Whether through sheer ineptitude or sinister intent, it has aided and abetted the spread of fasicsm around the world. Not to mention actual, physical murders in some countries, on a scale that is actually hard to comprehend.

Thus, I am mostly withdrawing from Facebook, as well. I still have a bunch of friends and family on the site, as well as a promotional page for my nerd site (LIKE IT), so I'm not leaving altogether. However, I have mostly sanitized and burned down what I had there, and anything I add henceforth will only remain there for a fleeting week or two before I ultimately delete it, as well.

This will allow me to keep in touch with those people on Facebook that I actually want to keep in touch with, and will prevent Facebook from indefinitely profiting from anything I happen to have shared on it. Sure, they may get transient benefit from me griping about something or other that I hadn't had time to expand upon in Jerk form, here, but that will dry up in time, along with everything else.

That's about as happy a medium as I can come up with for the time being, without becoming a complete digital recluse. Which you'd think is precisely my goal, since search engine placement for the 13 has utterly tanked, and people still tell me they've just discovered that thing. Even though it's literally been online for what, 20.5 years, now? Ugh! But, as is my wont, I have digressed.

So yeah, getting back to the point, minimizing Facebook usage, negating Twitter participation. I read a few things on each, from either friends and family I care for or strangers whose opinions I appreciate, but that's it. I think that's the smallest amount of antisocial media I have made use of since 2008. And, despite a likely period of withdrawal from it, I'm sure I'll thank myself for this in the long run.

That's what I keep telling myself, at any rate.

Heroic Distractions

November 9th, 2018

To start wrapping up my seemingly ceaseless pontification about the City, and the seemingly countless heroes I'd taken out for a test drive within, I thought I would go over a few of my second, third, and fourth string folks. People that I enjoyed playing in some capacity or another, but never really got into whole hog. Not like, you know, Crystalline or Hacks.

The first of these is Boo-Getty: Redneck Zombie! Someone who would have totally been a villain had the City of Villains been live when I first created him, Boo-Getty is another scrapper, like Dash Apostrophe. He was different, though, in that while Dash chopped people up and never ran out of gas, Boo punched people to death, and every waking moment he spent dispensing two-fisted justice was spent wheezing.

This is because, instead of having regeneration and a sharp implement of law and order, Boo-Getty had the dark melee and dark armor power sets. Both of which were notoriously hoggy on the endurance - that thing which lets you use your powers. But I had fun with him, and even got him up to level 50 over eight years on the Pinnacle servers. Yeah, he was a money-maker there for Banker Bob.

The next fellow on this list is Jingo Man, a neolithic conservative who received nuclear powers as a result of his tinkering with the radioactive innards of a smoke detector. Unlike Psychophant, Jingo is a defender whose atomic abilities were staggeringly offensive, so much so that villains came for him first when fights broke out. That's why you see him laid out there - 'defeated' was Jingo Man's default state.

I liked the ridiculous character, though, so I kept on with Jingo Man, playing him haphazardly while the game was live until he, too, managed to hit level 50 by sheer happenstance. This wouldn't have occurred if they hadn't fixed things so that you weren't penalized in experience quite so harshly each time you were beaten down by criminals. Maxing your Spandex ™ folks out got much easier over time, you see.

The last of these goofball folks was yet another scrapper, though I never managed to get all that far with her. Charlie Chicanery is one of the last heroes I built, in the 'Going Rogue' expansion of the game. She came from an alternate earth where all the heroes in the City were villains, all the villains in the City were heroes, and the adventures you had were a lot more morally ambiguous than before.

I probably would have gone far with Charlie had the plug not been unceremoniously pulled on the game. Thus, I never got past the awkward stage of low level head-cracking with this character. As it was, she tended to get beaten down as often as not, primarily because that particular powerset was big on flashy moves - which seemed like the time that the NPC opponents chose to hit you with knockback attacks.

Poor Charlie. Anyhow, I have a bunch more folks like this, naturally, which I could gibber about without stopping for months and months. But I don't have the best screenshots of them to reference, so I'd have to get a lot more descriptive about them to do so. And I'm nothing if not lazy, or at the very least, trying to flex those muscles elsewhere. But I hope you enjoyed a look at my heroes from the City.

Bonus nerdery: Charlie Chicanery written up for the nerd game I support on my nerd site. Complete with links to a four part story I wrote for him/her!

The eleventh installment in this series, and the thirteenth.

The Goatpocalypse is Now!

November 3rd, 2018

There's something seriously wrong going on here.

One Wonders How One Becomes A Cross-Time Banker

November 2nd, 2018

At this point in my nerdy series about the City of Heroes / City of Villain / Going Rogue game, I've gone on at length about all of my major characters, whether they were heroes, villains, or just a showboating loudmouth of a hooligan. All except for one, that is. The trick, though, is that this last major character wasn't really just one guy - he was, in fact, eleven different characters!

The way the City of Heroes series of games were set up, which is like how most of these massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMO RPG) are, was that there were multiple servers to handle the vast amount of people who might be playing at any given time. Each one had further 'instances' within each, which made the whole thing seem kind of redundant to me, but whatever.

The probm was that you couldn't transfer materials from one server to another, even if you had characters on both. Sure, you could do trades with other players, which were ludicrously limited at first, so moving things from one of your own characters to another required an intermediary. But even then, this was just within a given server. Other servers were, for all intents and purposes, variant earths.

With me indulging in hundreds of character experiments, most of which didn't get far since they, to me, sucked, I played on almost all of the servers in the game - European ones notwithstanding. Annoyed with starting over every time I moved to yet another server, I got the idea of providing a service of sorts, taking resources from one player on one server and giving them back to them on another.

Thus, the Cross-Time Banking Service was born! Banker Bob was built on all eleven of the starting game servers, and I would use him to generate influence, the currency of the game, on each. Then, whenever someone wanted to start a character on a server where I had the funds available, they could pass them over to me on their starting server, and then I could return them to their new characters on the next one.

In time, others stole my idea and tried to run with it, to varying degrees of success, but I helped countless folks spread out across the game. In time, the powers that be made it so you could just transfer your characters from one server to another directly, as I did with Firebomb, so Banker Bob was no longer necessary, and alas, his business model crumbled. As did my use of all eleven variations on him. Heh.

But still! Good times, good times.

The tenth installment in this series, and the twelfth .

That Didn't Last Long

October 29th, 2018

Expression: Applicable.

Over the last month, I have been making use of the black light room here at work to take my last break of the day. It's been nice and quiet for one thing, and it's been nice and dark for another. I didn't have to listen to tea party turds or maga heads or whatever else you want to call proto-fascists these days, for at least one of my brief moments of respite from the inanity of my job.

However, this all ended last Friday. You see, either someone here has it out for me at work, or my boss does. Every single time I had to utilize the black light room for my job, she was all up in my business about it, and when she followed me from my desk to the room when it was time for break, she melted down on me about how I'm not supposed to be taking my breaks in there.

Which is inexplicable. After all, she was the one who told me to take my breaks on my old bench if I didn't want to listen to the bigoted rants the turds I work with regularly vomit out in the break room - bigoted rants she refuses to do anything about, I might add. So, since both are production areas, I'm not sure why one is okay to take a break in, while the other is not.

Unless the idea is to be able to more easily keep an eye on me.

But, you know, whatever.

Crazy Hate!

October 26th, 2018

While Firebomb may have been my original and most flashy blaster in the City of Heroes game, Crazy Hate was the one I utilized the most, by far. His story was that he was a random man on the street who lost his hands in the alien invasion that was the impetus for the plot of the game at its very beginning. An inventor of sorts, he worked out how to build robotic replacements for those bits, and had them installed.

Once he was a fully functional adult again, the Hate then went further, actualizing numerous other high tech implements that he'd dreamed up while he spent months and months in the hospital. Having constructed numerous oddball devices with which to combat others, he then built his Frankengun ™, a singular firearm that was, in fact, about eight different weapons in one!

He then applied for his hero license, and began gunning down criminals - for justice! Crazy Hate was the second character I managed to work up to level 50, the maximum that players of the game could attain, after Dash Apostrophe, of course. But why did I run with Crazy Hate, when I had a perfectly good blaster in the form of Firebomb / Captain Char, you ask? Well, there's a story there.

You see, back in the day, a lot of one's time in the game was spent sweeping the streets in 'hazard zones'. These were areas devastated during the aforementioned alien invasion, and hadn't quite been rehabilitated for human habitation yet. Knowing this, various criminal organizations had infested the areas, and as such, heroes were asked to go in and dispense some Justice all up in their business.

On one of these trips, I encountered a band of players running around and wreaking havoc, one of which was using the assault rifle / devices power set combination. Liking the early powers those sets provided, as opposed to those granted by using fire blast / fire manipulation, I shelved Captain Char and built me my own gun-toting hero. Once Crazy Hate got rolling, I simply couldn't stop with the bullety fun.

Of course, as it turns out, the combo worked so well because of a highly bugged power in the devices set: the smoke grenade. Apparently, it was only supposed to make it a bit harder for enemies to hit you, not virtually impossible. Thus, you could easily trounce just about anything in your path if you had that power, even though your character was supposed to be a glass cannon, like all blasters.

Naturally, they fixed that, but by then I'd hit level 32, so I had my major powers by then. Heh.

The ninth installment in this series, and the eleventh.