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Team J.A.F.



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Watching Anime

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Aug 06 2012 · 150 views

Wow, I haven't blogged in a week. It's not that I've been busy; kinda the opposite really, haven't had much to do. Besides being jealous of everybody who went to BrickFair, but that's really not something fun to blog about. :P

But yeah, I guess I have been spending a lot of time sampling random Animes on the web. It started when I looked up some of the Marvel Animes, because I've been trying to watch Marvel stuff and decided to see what Japan did with them. The Iron Man and X Men versions were okay, but I really liked the Wolverine one they did. They did change up his character quite a bit, but I'm not a big Wolverine fan so I didn't mind. That whole show was just non-stop action, it seemed.

So I've been taking a look at some other animes. Some I only watched a few episodes of, and the only ones I've finished were only a season long. I started by watching some of the more comedic ones, then moved onto some sci-fi and fantasy ones. Some of them do capture the emotion of the characters very well, and some of them seem to just drone on endlessly. (Hint, those are the ones I didn't continue watching. :P )

As for names, well... Umisho was a funny and cute one, and it helped that I was watching it at the same time as the Olympics because it's about a swim team. I also liked High School of the Dead because, despite not being a fan of zombie themes, it did a really good job with the characters and the action. Even tho it seemed to have a hope theme with it, some of the other themes explored really creep me out because of how realistic they are. :lookaround: And I started following updates of a new one called Sword Art Online, which involves people getting trapped inside a virtual reality game, which is crazy cause I wrote a similiar story years ago! (Granted, I think I borrowed that idea from another show...) The first few eps were good, but since it's ongoing, I'm not yet sure if I like where it's going or not.

So yeah just a few of my thoughts based on the mindless web video viewing I've done lately. Oh, and BTW, this is not an invite to say what animes I should watch. :P

Also done some story writing still. Might go on a backpacking trip next week, even tho I'm horribly out of shape. Oh yeah and school starts in two weeks, y'know, right when summer weather starts back up. The three months of unemployment went fast!

:music:


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Speculation on Future Spider-Man Sets

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jul 23 2012 · 107 views

Okay, so I was looking at the selection of Spider Man figs showed at ComicCon, and I was thinking about the kinds of sets they could make out of them. As far as I could tell, there were only two villains: Dr. Doom and Venom, and a Spidey set would need to have a good set of villains in addition to Spider and allies. Perhaps some of them are repeated thru the sets, like Loki was for the Avengers sets. But since there don't appear to be other Marvel character sets (No X-Men :( ) it looks like Spidey should get a wave all to himself. (Unless they combine the Marvel and DC waves next year, in which case it will be Batman and Spidey... but I'm assuming not.)

So, assuming Marvel had a line of spidey sets, I was wondering what they would be like. Specifically, what would a cheaper $11 set include? Both Venom and Dr. Doom seem likely to be in the expensive sets, but maybe there could see a small scene with Spider-Man vs Venom, set on a rooftop or sewer or something. Have simple bust useful scenery pieces.

But then I realized that they're probably just going to give Spider-Man his Spidey-Bike from the TV show, so the cheaper set will yet again be that stupid, overly large bike mold, with a handful of lame street-side pieces to bulk up the piece count.

That's my prediction. They did it with Catwoman's cycle and Captain America. They're going to do it for Spidey. I can just tell.

Oh well, I'm sure next year's wave of sets will be shown in the upcoming months, and then we'll know for sure. Just putting out my prediction.

Also, I wanted to point this out. The Spidey sets are based off the new Spider-Man cartoon, which I'm still kind meh about. But anyway, he had a super hero team he works with, and I noticed that Lego produced the two of the four who have white skin: Nova and Iron Fist. Can we not get more characters with other flesh tones? (Especially female ones?) Still waiting on a Storm minifig and a X-Men Blackbird model. (Hey, they made Phoenix, so there's still potential for more X-Men stuff.)

:music:


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It's a Mystery

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Stories Jul 16 2012 · 133 views

It's always great to read a mystery. You know that portions aren't going to get solved until the end, and I know I always have to keep reading on to see just what happens.

It's a little harder to write a mystery. When I do, I usually know the big reveal early on, and try to subtly hint towards it without giving it away.

But writing a mystery while also not knowing what it is... that's tough.

The LSO Round Robin Epics are fun, but both my Bionicle and COT stories have some pretty decent mysteries going on. All the authors are setting them up, but I really want to know what their intentions are for the stories. Hopefully we can pull it off and make it a fun, compelling read even as we try to figure out what's going on too along the way.

Also in other news, I've been spending my unemployed nights to work on one of my other personal stories. The story about this story: I wrote the original almost a decade ago and worked on it for years, but then lost about half of it when my computer was stolen and I didn't have a full copy on backup. As such, I started rewriting it again three years ago, and I've only been making slow progress on it. But last month I got past one of my writing blocks, and now I've been cranking out the story; I've written nearly 30,000 words of it in the last month. Woot! Sure, I'm just at the halfway point of where I had it last time, but I've had years to work my ideas in my head, and now it's mostly just a process of getting it typed out. (At least, until I hit another spot where I get stuck on how to continue... and as a writer, I tend to avoid jumping over troubled spots, because I like to build my current writing on what I've already said and such.)

But yeah, not having to wake up in the morning and go to work really frees up a lot of evening time to write. Too bad I like having money more, or else I would do this all the time. :D

:music:


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Thoughts on Series 8

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jul 16 2012 · 126 views

Yeah, I'm clearly one of those people who're addicted to collecting figs. So many people seem to be disappointed about Series 8, mostly because it has a bunch of rehashes of figs that have already been released: skier, cowgirl, cheerleader, robot, alien, man-bat. I mean, they're not exclusive or as exciting as the Spartan, Elf, Hazmat Suit Guy, or Roman. But I know at BrickCon there were all the guys demanding more rehashes so they could make opposing teams and such, and I find some of the rehashes to be cleaver and unique enough to be worth it. So I'm excited for this series.

And to follow basic protocol, I'll give you my initial opinions on the figs. Granted, I'll probably buy they all up anyway when they hit store shelves... but some will be a priority buy. :P

Alien Queen: Okay, this one did kind of catch me off guard. Very similiar to AC, but it would be great for army builders wanting to make a lime green civilization. Plus, lovely purple!

Cowgirl: Interesting design, although I'm not a big fan of single hat + hair molds.

Santa: Well, we've seen dozens of Lego Santas before, but he looks to have a lot more detail to him.

Spanish Conquistador: A well designed historical fig, and I'm sure he'll be popular like the Gladiator and Roman. But still, you do know what Conquistadors did? Not necessarily a profession I would like to honor in Lego form.

Bulgarian: Luv the pretzel!

Red Cheerleader: Like I said, it's great to have an opposing team uniform, so I approve of the concept. And the hairpiece will be new in black, but it still looks kind of off on this fig.

Diver: Epic. So much better than that crazy guy from Series 1.

Football Player: HAH, he's supposed to represent America Football! Helmet looks like a reuse of the Hockey players, and although he doesn't have a real football, he looks cool. Now I wonder if future sports figs will get the new trophy in silver and bronze colors. (I believe that's a new mold... smaller than the ones that appeared in World Racers.)

Pirate: Okay, nice, but doesn't Lego do Pirates quite often?

Fairy: Nice. Love the wings. Still don't like that hairpiece, even in a new color.

Businessman: Kinda meh towards him personally. We get plenty of businessmen in Lego City.

Shakespeare Guy: Very nice detailing, not a theme I would've expected, but it looks nice.

Evil Robot: My least favorite. Doesn't feel like he brings anything new to the table. I'm sure he'll be great if you missed out on the first one tho.

DJ: I want that hair piece, if just to recreate a character representing my sign-off emote.

Man-bat: Dude, I totally wanted one of the brown ones in the Monster Fighter sets, but they only came in the expensive castle set. Now I have a chance to get the black one for cheap... super excited!

Skier: Probably my favorite fig. I love the pastel coloring, plus a skier is always cool to have. Looks more extreme than the first one.

Other thoughts? Now I have to figure out how to feel for each of them... some of them look like they might be tough to identify.

:music:


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Fun With Vector Art

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Jul 02 2012 · 115 views

So bothersome!!

Okay, so background story: I'm working on a Flash project and I wanted a bunch of background people. (I'm using Flash CS5 for this.) But I have this other program that I've used before to make vector art: Corel Printshop 97. Yes, it's that old, but it has this awesome section of clipart and I've gotten pretty good at working with vectors in it. So it should be an easy thing to do; copy vector art from Corel to Flash.

But no, Flash will only accept a crummy picture file. But from experience, I know that Flash will accept copied vectors from Illustrator. BUT when I tried copying the Corel vectors to Illustrator, they got all screwed up. (Instead of straight lines, they turned all wavy... I have no idea why.) BUT I know that vector art that I've drawn in PowerPoint can easily get converted in Illustrator (because I've done the PowerPoint to Illustrator to Flash transition before with some of my art.) Plus, I know that Corel vectors copy fairly well into PowerPoint. But I have to run a command in PowerPoint to turn Corel vectors into PowerPoint Vectors. (Basically, ungroup command.)

So here's my process:

Customize clipart vectors in Corel
Copy to Powerpoint, ungroup
Copy to Illustrator
Copy to Flash (where I have to ungroup it again)

Needlessly complex, yes, but it lets me design the vectors in an older 97 program and then manipulate them in an animation in a 2011 program. :D

As for the people vector art I was working on; Corel has lots of clipart features to create your own people, including various hairstyles, facial features, and clothing. And where the official stuff ends, I can go in an tweak the vectors to make more customized stuff.

An example of this is when I got bored and made Korra and Lin BeiFong.

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Not perfect, but I think they're cool. I custom designed the hairs and then altered various clothing designs to match up with their on screen presence. Yayz.

So that's enough blabbering for now... I need to come up with more stuff to blog about.

:music:


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Spell Check Is Back!

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, News Jun 25 2012 · 103 views

My Google Toolbar (on IE) spellcheck option is finally working on BZP again. This last month, I've been getting an error every time it tries to check spelling on the forum. I'm not sure what the issue was, since it worked elsewhere on IE, and auto spelling didn't work on FireFox on BZP either. (But it did on Chrome... but I don't really use Chrome too much.)

Basically, for the last month I've been flying blind on BZP. AKA I've just been typing and spelling to my best ability, and when I type out longer, complicated words like antidiestablishmentarianism, I would likely miss out on a few letters somewhere that a quick spellcheck would catch, but since I didn't have a spellcheck, I just left them as they were.

Now, spellcheck is working again, so now I can see that "antidiestablishmentarianism" is actually spelled "antidisestablishmentarianism"!!!! Yay for me!

(Still don't have a grammar check or logic check option, but even if I did, I'd probably just ignore them out of principal.)

(Also of note, with the exception of the long example word, I had 3 other minor misspellings in this entry... but not any more. :P )

I get excited over random stuff, don't I?

:music:


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Game Plan

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Lego Conventions May 25 2012 · 112 views

Dude, I know what I'll do next weekend!!

I'll pull out my "Bionicle: Quest for the Masks" board game and we can all play as the Toa and fight Nui Rama, Nui Jaga, and Muaka, and then fight Makuta and save the day, while building up the island as we go!

:music:


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Aw Man

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts May 07 2012 · 71 views

Lego Cuusoo killed the Serenity Project before it even got to the review stage. :(

I still feel this partially has to do with all the older AFOLs frowning upon the idea of licenced themes. Or more specifically, they're jealousy that licenced themes have achieved support so much faster than their favorite entries. Like seriously, the amount of hate I was reading was staggering.

Granted, Serenity did have it shortcomings, in that it did have more adult themes than most traditional Lego licenced themes. It wasn't nearly as bad a Shaun of the Dead, and I thought they could've just gone with the whole space-ship thing and stuck with them, but they have to observe all the details, and frankly it's been pretty clear that some themes that AFOLs would love to see just won't happen because they're not fitting with Lego's ideals... which is fine, if a tad bit disappointing in this case.

Of course, you know the Back to the Future set's going to show up eventually. That trilogy is just as iconic as Star Wars or Indiana Jones, and it's a lot more kid friendly than Serenity or Shaun of the Dead. And with the anniversary coming up, the timing will be just right. Marty McFly will travel into the future and see a Lego set of himself already in production. :D

I have no opinion on the two video game project, since I haven't played either. Eve looks okay for a ship, but not enough for me to wanted, The Zelda figures look great but the set idea is kinda meh. They could've done better. And of course, two non-licenced themes that I'm full behind are the Modular Western Town (which I prolly wouldn't buy) and the Space Marines (which I would totally buy.) I'm sure they'll get some support now that the main licenced themes have risen to 10,000.

I have two ideas myself that could potentially be made into projects, although I lask the time / motivation to really turn them into projects. One would be a Bionicle Game set, like how they've done the Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Ninjago games. They'd have the license, and I would really like to see micro-figs painted as the original Toa. :D But there are so many things against that; Why would they use 01 characters that are now super old?

Second one is more simple: release a brown minifigure head with a female face printed on it! It's not a set idea, but gosh darn it Lego why won't you do it? Then we could make a Zoe figure of our own from Firefly, as well as other classic characters. I'm holding out that they continue to make Super Hero sets and include an X-Men set with Storm in it... then there's be no way around producing the right head. And this could be in either a BlackBird set or an Xavior Mansion set... iconic pieces from the X-Men universe that would look great in Lego form and could include all sorts of great figures (besides just Wolverine.) C'mon, Lego make it happen!

In other news, water pipe sprung a leak this afternoon, so we fixed it but need to wait until morning for the pipe cement stuff to dry so no water for tonight. (And I got all muddy fixing it. :( )

:music:


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Obligatory Avengers Entry

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts May 07 2012 · 58 views

So saw the Avengers tonight. I agree, it was totally awesome! (Granted, 3D didn't seem worth it, but 3D never is.) I gotta say, there were some twists and turns in here that I wasn't quite expecting, and some good bits of comedy. And while all the characters got decent screentime, I do have to say that I liked Iron Man the most. :D

Anyway, for some spoilers, and I really mean it this time, I'm going to spoil the movie, so if you haven't seen it don't open this, and if you have and you respond make sure to include spoiler tags too!

Spoiler


Also, the Amazing Spiderman Preview at the beginning was also totally awesome, and IMO is looking much better than the previous movies. Hopefully less Peter feeling sorry for himself and more wittiness. (Although the whole self esteem issues Peter has does make him a much more relatable character and one of the reasons I prefer Spiderman over many other heroes... but still, it felt like some of the other movies took it to extremes.) Also, great line. "Oh no, you found my weakness, really small knives!"

:music:


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Ninjago Season 2

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Apr 16 2012 · 68 views

So I've finally caught up on Ninjago Season 2 with the snakes and everything. Okay, so I was a little iffy after the first season, which was kind of Kia-centric. But this second season has had character development all around. And some of the action scenes in the last two episodes were really great. Thus I must admit that I am now a big fan of the series.

Worst of all, this is tempting me to want to buy more sets, especially ones that contain cool minifigs. Last year, I managed to get all 4 ninjas in their standard garb. (Zane was the hardest one to find, eventually paid for a polybag with him in it at BrickCon.) Now I want to get a full collection of the ZX Ninjas, and the only one I need now is Cole, but I think he comes in a cheaperish set in the summer, so I'm waiting until then. (And I'm not interested in getting him in the $20 spinner set.)

However, the hardest idea to pull off is to get the ninjas... without their hoods on. The show gave them all some cool hair, which really adds to their personalities. But none of the sets come with these hairpieces! Jay's was easy to find... I had some spares in the right color. Zane's was easy to order, and I stole Kai's hair from the sleepy kid collectible fig. But it turns out Cole's black swooshy hair is hard to find for a good price. :( Oh well, something to keep an eye out for.

Now I just need a Sensei Wu to really complete my collection. (And I already have Nya, bought her spinner pack, really good fig!)

But yeah... Ninjago TV show. Really great. Lego's done an awesome job with this theme!

:music:






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Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5

Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit

Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
~ Tove Styrke

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