These are the best toys of samurais and knights wearing fruit armor I have ever come across. They're so good. They look so good. I need like ten more. They are too fantastic.
I really, really hope I'll be able to keep this little bit of momentum going and get Chapter 8 done before too long. I guess we'll have to see, though, eheheh...
I’m still reading a bunch and my current book, Extra Lives, is essentially critical theory on video games as literature. This divide between what makes something ‘art’ is something I’m kinda big on, so it’s a fascinating read. There’s one thing that Tom Bissell says which struck me: that because video games must be, by nature, fun, they’re seen as being less artistic or literary than other mediums.
Which, well, kinda has a point. When was the last time you went to an art museum and had fun? And not the sorta fun you get from the unintentional humor of some paintings, but actual ‘fun’ (which is really hard to describe, has few cross-lingual analogues, and was explored heavily by Huizinga, but bear with me). Chances are slim that unless you’ve seen a particular statue of a man punching a horse in Vienna, you haven’t, and even that monument to equine assault was probably intended as serious. See, ‘high’ art is meant to inspire ponderings, not for you to have plebeian fun. You stand there, think, say a couple ‘mmhmm’s for good measure, and move on to the next one.
But that’s art, like art art; what about, say, books? The divide is even more stark there. No one’s gonna argue against Ulysses as a literary masterpiece, but at the same time it’s hard to describe it as being truly ‘fun.’ Enjoyable, maybe, but much of that pleasure probably stems from a mixture of latent masochism and the sunk cost fallacy. That and, y’know, trying to sound intelligent. But besides Ulysses (which I legitimately love), there are other Great Works by, say, Hemingway or Melville that you’d be hard pressed to describe as being legitimately enjoyable in and of themselves, especially when compared to ‘lesser’ genres like science fiction and fantasy. Point is, the Great Works can’t bother with the frivolities of fun-ness.
You even see this in comics, arguably already a ‘lesser’ form. Watchmen is heralded as one of the best comics ever and is all doom and gloom. Compare it to Sex Criminals, which is much brighter, much funnier, and much cruder, but takes its story no less seriously. Though Criminals is held in some esteem (TIME named it comic of 2013), it’s seen as being nowhere near as literary or iconic as Watchmen, perhaps due to its adult subject matter and relative newness, but probably also because it’s so goofy. Never mind that it deals with depression, intimacy, and a host of other things, it’s too silly and too fun to be considered serious art.
Which brings me to games. If a game’s not fun, you’re not gonna play it; plain and simple. Games have to be enjoyable on some level to maintain player involvement. Thus gaming becomes a very visceral experience, whether it’s your curiosity that’s been piqued by Gone Home, the sheer beauty of Journey, or the exhilaration that comes from fighting Covenant in Halo. It’s experiential on a level that no other medium is, and thus has to make the audience want to experience it for the sake of the experience (as opposed to, say, the story or visuals).
And here is where video games run up against the brick wall of literary merit. Games are, like Sex Criminals, seen as being simply too fun to be real literature. No matter how serious they are, by virtue of being leisurely they can’t be art. The Last of Us is a gripping story about fatherhood, loss, survival, and so much more that the player is forced to experience rather than just observe. Even when it’s at its darkest and bleakest, it remains ‘fun’ to play in the sense that the game works. No, the violence of the game mayn’t be enjoyable per se, but it holds your attention and makes you want to keep going. But because The Last of Us is ultimately a piece of software that’s developed and patched rather than born out of pure artistry like, say, a book; it’s relegated to being mere diversion. And because of that, it can’t really be art.
Which is a bummer. Because I think art should be enjoyable on at least some level. That much of what makes comics, well, comics is that it’s illustrated shouldn’t be a detractor, just as in order for a video game to work it has to be on some level fun. Writing off games because of that would be like lambasting books because you’ve gotta turn the page, or disliking Aaron Sorkin’s work because you insist on watching it with the sound off. Let’s get off our high horses and be willing to afford fun mediums their due; games can have all the mindless glee of Michael Bay (Army of Two: Devil’s Cartel) and the melancholic tenderness of The Fault in Our Stars (The Last of Us: Left’Behind*).
‘cuz hey, let’s enjoy it.
*Writer’s note: The Last of Us: Left Behind is
But that’s a
Well, here are winners:
- Vox of Vinheim
- Lord Oblivion
- Lady Kopaka
(As you probably noticed, there are seven winners rather than four winners. That's because I added three extra books to giveaway since I feel like it would make results more fair since there was so many entries.)
Alright, if you are one of those winners, you should expected a PM from me asking for which version of the book you want (and for your address information, if you choose the physical book), so be on the lookout for that.
Well, that's all I have to say really. Actually since I have you all here, thank you to everyone that decided to take part in this.
I really appreciate that since I'll admit when I first posted this, I wasn't expecting 67 people to enter in it. XD I imagine that article on front page definitely help this, so thank you to BZP staff for getting word out about it.
But anyway, do you folks have any thoughts or criticism on how I handle this giveaway? I would appreciate any tips on improving how I handle these things, so don't be afraid to share them here. Thanks in advance to those that do.
Alright, that's enough from me. I hope you all have a great day and thank you for taking the time to read this. Talk to you later, BZPers.
- JMJ 2015
So I guess they felt they were too generous with their promotion earlier, so they had to reaaaaaally cut down the timeframe for it. (I guess losing 10% to crazy AFOLs who spend like crazy all month must've hurt their sales too much?) Plus, now it doesn't coinside with any of their other October promotions. But I guess they are doing the double VIP point deal at other times of the year more often now, so it might seem natural that october loses it for the full month.
Luckily, those four days fall on BrickCon, so we won't be skipping our regular trips to the Lynnwood or Bellevue Lego Stores. I hope they still have the Ninjago temple set by then...
Ekimu is, as everyone knows, a protector with a gearbox. Specifically, a gold and trans-blue Protector of Fire with a gearbox. Except with lower arms this time. And infinitely nicer to look at. Colours are so nice. Nice shoulder pieces. Shame they seem to be so rare. Would like to see them more, but between the skull armour attachment, the piston attachment, the round HF attachment, the square HF attachment, and that round attachment the SW figures are introducing, it seems like we have a fairly wide variety of attachments now. Have to wonder how Ekimu'd fire that gun-hammer though. Rotating the back half doesn't seem that practical. My guess it's for using the hammer at long ranges and allows for precision shooting of nails.
Skull Slicer. Four arms are nice. Gearbox seems lower than other sets to accommodate the four arms. Gear function is fun. Only negative I find is the gunmetal shell on the upper left arm with the spike - seems out of place to me. Everything else fits but I think a smaller gunmetal shell without a spike would work better. Or maybe mirroring the upper right arm's armour - maybe that would add too much transparent orange though.
I've really grown to appreciate transparent orange. It's so attention-grabbing and really shines even without much light. Actually, apply that to any set with a large amount of one transparent colour - it would seem transparent colours work best when there's quite a large amount of one transparent colour, as seen on the Skull Skeletons. Otherwise, IMO, they don't really get to shine - the non-transparent colours... 'drown' them out, maybe? I notice that I barely notice Tahu's trans-orange, but on Skull Grinder it's so much more noticeable. Same with Skull Warrior- transparent blue more noticeable than on Kopaka.
Really glad the Skeletons don't have 'regular colours'. Hope we see more transparent colours in the future of BIONICLE - I see why the designers have used them in increasing frequency over the past few years.Maybe one day we'll get transparent shell attachments? ...Thinking about it, maybe not. Opaque attachments work on transparent shells, but I doubt it would look quite as good the other way around.
One last gripe: the chest armour attachment on all of the skulls (on Warrior, Slicer, and Grinder at least) are way too detailed compared to other pieces, even the chest attachments of the Toa. They 'contradict' the other shells.
It's obvious that this isn't the fanciest place to buy stuff. Really it's just a way for me to make a quick buck by hopefully selling my Carosuel, but I went ahead and parted out a few sets. (Including the Cars Duplo set I won at Brickfair 2014, if you're interested in some history.)
Anyway, there are a lot more parts I'd probably be willing to part with. So I figured I would ask what you guys are interested in. If I have it, I'll probably list it. Suggest away in the comments!
Alright, let's get to it. I'm going to make this blog entry, followed by one for the Turaga, one for the Nuva, the Metru, Hordika, ect.
Vahi: This is certainly an interesting mask. I've always liked how it covers up only the bottom portion of the character's face so that you can get a glimpse at what's on top (to be honest, I find the Mata and Metru faces to be a lot more interesting to look at than most masks). The nose guard design is something that I've always been partial to, simply because of how practical it would be. If I could choose a mask to wear for practicality only and no powers included, it would probably be the Vahi. No obstructions around the eye area to obscure your vision, but it covers your mouth, nose, and some of your cheeks, which is where a lot of vital arteries are. I'm serious, this thing bleeds practicality. At first I wasn't a big fan of the bubble designs on the sides of it, but they've begun to grow on me over the years. It sort of gives it a wibbly wobbly timey wimey feel to it, something that makes it unique in its own right.
Hau: Here we go, Bionicle's very own great Kanohi Hau. When I came back to examine it for this blog entry I didn't really like it at first, mostly because of how empty the forehead part of it was. But after staring at it for 10 minutes, I've learned to respect it (and not just because it was slapped on every bit of promotional artwork, may I add). The Hau really gives off an emotion of sorts. While masks like the Avsa sort of scream "Look at me, I'm menacing", the Hau manages to bring a tone to its face that combines seriousness with good will. Bravery is what it conveys, and is a trait that is often associated with its most renowned bearer, Tahu.
Miru: This is one that I've always had mixed feelings about, but a design that I have great respect for nonetheless. We've all heard it somewhere, the Miru looks like it's got a big smile on its face. However that doesn't necessarily have to have a bad connotation with it, rather the smile could be a good thing. Its proportions are wonky and bizarre, the eye slits go all the way to the sides of the head, and the smile stretches equally as far. But is that really such a bad aspect? This is a mask that represents outlandish ideas and thinking outside of the box. While the Hau shows bravery and fortitude through narrowed eyes and slits along its cheek, this one is a disproportionate nutcase that stares at your with freakish, almost horrifying emotions. And that just adds to its personality. Masks are used to give personality to a face that doesn't have one, or a face that needs a new one. Think about how boring it would be if all the masks on a Toa team were bold, courageous, and fearsome. There always needs to be that one guy that livens things up a bit. And in the case of the Kanohi roster for 2001, that's the Miru.
Kaukau: This is another mask that stands out from the crowd, the biggest feature being that it's translucent. Now, I like the uniqueness of it all, but I've never seen a need for the entire mask to be trans. If I was in charge of designing these things, I would have made the mask's frame solid colored, and the visor translucent. Because that's how things are supposed to work, right?
Anyway, the mask itself has a rather memorable look to it, drawing from its visor and triangular design around the mouth. There really isn't much else to say about it, other than it is probably one of Bionicle's most memorable masks for having been one of the few to incorporate a visor that's built in to the mask (rather than using a separate piece, like the Mahri and Phantoka).
Akaku: Probably this Kanohi's biggest claim for fame is its telescopic scope (interesting how people like asymmetry on this mask but not on the Suletu). But it's also one of the few Kanohi that has a roundish-shape, rather than more oval-like ones that are more frequently used. However the thing that I like about this mask best is that it almost looks like it had a hood drawn over it. If you look at it, disregarding the slits on the forehead, there are no details on the top however there are on the bottom. I find this to be very appropriate for Kopaka, the mask's user, hence the cold climate and whatnot. In fact, I like most masks that resemble hoods in general (I even wrote an epic that featured a cult society where everybody wore great Komau's (Dallior will remember this)). So, yeah. Pretty good mask.
Pakari: You know, I've never given that much thought to this mask. When I look at it, it always seems to portray a sort of "standard" feel to it. Like it's sort of a basic mask that the others were built off of (that's probably not the case, but whatever). I would even go as far as to say that it looks borderline boring. But is that a bad thing? Heavens no, here in Le Café de Roches Sédimentaires, we do not discriminate based on how interesting your mask is. Some of the features that it does have are those little notches on the sides of the mask almost make it look like it's wearing goggles of sorts, which is a neat little factor in it. But aside from that, there really isn't much else to say about it. Like I said, it's good that the Pakari is mundane. Instead of having a facial expression like the Hau or Miru, or having gadgets like the Akaku or translucent material like the Kaukau, the Pakari is simple. Nothing fancy, just bread and butter 'ol Pakari. And I like it like that.
Kakama: Of all the Toa Mata Kanohi, the Kakama is probably my favorite. I've always found something interesting about the elongated cheek parts, they seem to be an interesting aesthetic choice. The Kakama also has a very appropriate design for its power, featuring a bullet shaped face, ideal for aerodynamics. And the long and skinny eye holes sort of give it a serpentine vibe. It almost gets me imagining a desert cobra when I look at it. Truly an interesting sight to behold.
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW.
I have a deep, shameless love for books of all kinds. I have been seriously considering starting my own library, operating out of my room. Could work, I think.
Something I've always wanted to do was post reviews of books, and this blog seems like a great place to do it! Review books, and get books recommendations.
So, BZPower, any books that you've adored that you care to share with the Titan upstairs?
Anyway, I'll start with the good news. I'm still alive. Sometimes I do wonder how, there have still been so many ups and downs since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
I did manage to pick up all of the new Toa. i only paid full price for Kopaka and that was near the start of the year. The others... I got lucky with at Sears. They kept giving me points so I managed to get them all for very cheap. As in around $20 cheap. I haven't picked up any other Lego besides Bionicle... and to be honest Lego just doesn't seem like a good value to me anymore... although I don't really have disposable income anymore.
Splatoon is a lot of fun. Have some decepticon propaganda.
So, now for the bad news.
We still are not back home. We are still dealing with New York Rising and suing the insurance company. Things are going good with the litigation as the insurance company is one of the ones that sent unlicensed engineers, such as the one they sent to us. One of the thing we are trying to get them to pay for is attorney fees, otherwise we loose a huge amount of money to our lawyers. Money that we need to build the house. In the meantime we are continuing to pay for a place we can't live and for the rent here. The rent prices are crazy and we have a cheaper place.
As for this past week, we've been there mowing and weed wacking for 4 days. It isn't as easy as you would think as we have to maneuver around a condemned house that is off of its foundation. The town gave us a notice about them and has been super picky. honestly though it feels kinda shady with how picky he is being, but we have to do it. It was also my first time ever using a lawnmower... it was terrifying. And it sucks doing it to make it so freaking perfect. Not only did we have to rent a lawnmower (keep in mind our original one is still under a house) we had to buy a new weed wacker plus the plastic string they use to cut and that all set us back over $100 so far. ;_;
Hopefully things will look up soon though... I don't think I can take much more of this... especially as we are coming up on the three year anniversary of the storm and we still aren't home. :/
Anyway... I'll try to pop in a little bit more... I've wanted to make a post for ages here but I just haven't really had the time.
Yes, they all looked super-cool at BrickFair (my second convention of the year, but that double might turn into a triple in October), so I checked eBay again and found a great deal on two! (I'll be selling one off eventually.) Doubles, hurrah!
I also got double Ultimate Spider-Man sets for a Superior Spider-Man:
Admittedly, in the comics his chest webbing is black on a red background, but that's purism for you. And the Doctor Octopus lookalike legs need to be dark red, but those tiny details are forgotten about between comic book readings (plus LEGO doesn't make them). I guess TT Games did it better. (Oh, and the sets come with two 2x2 rotor stickers each, and I can use all four!)
Furthermore, I got two of the Ant-Man ants! My manager wanted just the figs, so we worked out a deal on the set and now I have two ants (plus the rest of a full set), which means two pairs of those sweet, sweet bug wings. I've already got some things in mind.
We'll see if anything else catches my eye, twice, the rest of this year.
I don't think anyone is going to ever read this, which doesn't really matter. I just want a place to write out some of the things in my head that 1. aren't too incriminating and 2. so maybe one day I can read old stuff and rofl over how dumb I am. I am literally standing at a counter at work typing this on my bosses laptop. I had my own but it was rendered useless like 2 years ago. I got it when I started college in 2009; it was a requirement that you purchased a macbook. It was actually part of the first semester tuition. During orientation week, everyone went and got their laptop, and it came preloaded with all the appropriate programs and junk we would need for our adventure at music school. I went to Berklee College of Music, and I dropped out after three semesters. I started in January 2009 and I bailed by May 2010. That place succckkkedddd. I completely hated it, and hated myself the entire time I was there. I dropped out mainly to hang out with my friends and play in bands, which is ironic since I was at music school to theoretically learn to play in a band better, and then I just left to actually go play in bands with my friends. Weirdness.
That was weird. Back on track.....
I've been living with my girlfriend for the past year, and now we are moving back in to my parents house. We are going to take over the basement, and rule our lego kingdom from it. I have to be out of the apartment I'm currently in by the 31st, so it's crunch time. The whole thing is putting insane stress on me and my lady, which is to be expected I suppose. It still sucks. I wish moving was easier. I have all of my lego stuff moved in already, to my parents, and I have already started setting up my bonkles where I want them. Im going to be limited to pretty just my G2 figs and my favorites from G1. I had literally every lego set I own on display at my apartment, but there is not nearly as much room in my parents basement. That is honestly the biggest downside of this move to me. I loved having an army of bionicle stuff all over my place, along with star wars and ninjago and lego movie sets all over the place as well. Im going to try and keep some ninjago sets from this year built and on display, but we'll see how much room I really have after we're fully moved in.
This is dumb. To the zero people that read this, thanks? I guess?
I, the illustrious Ghidora131, will be writing an epic much like Voltex's "By The Numbers", featuring our very own BZPeeps!
Just comment below1 with your username and gender to enter. And Kanohi Force members, don't bother. You're included by default.
And now... cheeseburgers.
That's it. Join my epic. Yayyyyyy...
Well, you heard the psychopath. Comment below and have funs!
1Down here is where comments go.
Edit: First comment merged into entry; please don't double comment!
Today I don't really have the luxury of the serendipity of discovery like I did then. I knew Island of Lost Masks was coming long before it did, and I knew that I would be reading it the same day. I did make the attempt to stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up a physical copy, but they haven't got their shipment in yet. That's just how it goes, I guess.
After 5 solid years of Farshtey its exciting to have a new author. If I'm being honest than Windham's writing history hasn't exactly inspired much confidence in me, but I've tried to go into this with as much of an open mind as I can.
The first and probably most important thing that I want to bring up: I really, cannot thank Windham enough for maintaining consistency with the online episodes. I realize that for a lot of people that's probably a disappointment; a repeat of the same story content instead of something new. But I can't tell you enough how much I prefer that to the alternative that Greg (and Hapka)'s books opted with: making their own narrative at the expense of a coherent continuity. For example, Greg's depiction of this short differs fundamentally from the source material on enough points that he may as well have not referenced it at all. I get that he wants to do his own thing, but him doing his own thing at the expense of story coherence was really frustrating for me. Windham does not do this. He keeps true to what we've seen. And I deeply appreciate that.
What is more, Windham does put forth the effort to make sure the characters are depicted consistent to their characterization in the episodes. We have a fumbling Kopaka too proud to admit his mistakes, a joke-cracking Lewa, an objective-driven Gali, and so forth. I didn't always feel his writing was quite up to the mark (Onua fumbling about Korgot being a girl got to be a little too verbose for him in my opinion), the effort is clearly there and, really, that's all that I expect of him as someone newly inducted into the BIONICLE mythos.
The writing style is simple and straightforward, which is more or less to be expected from someone coming off of writing tens of Star Wars readers. It does the job well enough. I liked that some of the Protector's speech came across as more formal without being detached, echoing the style that MNOG often followed. Windham's got a nice sense of humor too, Greg's jokes never really hit me the right way but a few of Windham's original passages have genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.
In general, I think it is a good start that has potential. The book doesn't strike nearly as hard as the online episodes, but then, it is an adaption - Windham is taking something that wasn't made for the novel medium and trying to get it to fit. I think the true test will come this winter with Revenge of the Skull Spiders, which, if the alignment of the stars hold true, will be an original story and Windham's first real chance to dig into the world and do things his own way.
Before that though, he's got another BIONICLE writing debut coming up in the form of the first graphic novel - which is looking to be another retelling of the episodes. It will be interesting to see how Windham goes about attempting to breathe a unique life into them for a second time. He's certainly got his work set out for him.
This is just something I've been thinking about lately. When #70751 Temple of Airjitzu was announced, a question that seemed to be on a lot of people's minds is "how many AFOLs will be interested in buying a Ninjago set?" (or conversely, "how many Ninjago fans are even old enough for a set this size?") This is something that I see a lot of in the AFOL community — themes like Ninjago being perceived as "too childish" for most adults to take a serious interest in.
And yet at the same time, that seems to fly in the face of the actual target audience for these themes. Many AFOLs are perfectly fine with buying LEGO City sets, and yet even the largest LEGO City sets such as #60097 City Square (1683 pieces, $190) and #60098 Heavy-Haul Train (984 pieces, $200) are recommended for ages 6–12. By comparison, the smallest Ninjago sets like #70752 Jungle Trap and #70739 Airjitzu Kai Flyer are aimed at ages 6–14, while the largest non-exclusive sets like #70732 City of Stiix and #70738 Final Flight of Destiny's Bounty are aimed at ages 9–14. The Temple of Airjitzu itself is aimed at ages 14+.
Some might point to the "silliness" of the story as evidence of the Ninjago theme's childishness, what with the colorful ninja piloting sci-fi vehicles and fighting robots, ghosts, and fantasy monsters. And yet there are plenty of AFOLs who have no trouble enjoying LEGO Super Heroes sets (and the corresponding Marvel Cinematic Universe movies) that portray fights between Norse gods, robots, aliens, mutants, mech pilots, and B-movie monsters. I've also heard plenty of AFOL excitement for the Scooby-Doo theme, based on a series in which a bunch of teenagers and their talking dog solve formulaic cartoon mysteries perpetrated by middle-aged men and women in goofy monster costumes. Are these things honestly any less silly, or is it just the veneer of nostalgia that makes AFOLs less afraid to enjoy these "old-school" cartoon and comic book adventures?
For what it's worth, the LEGO Ninjago TV series can be quite cerebral compared to what you might expect from a merchandise-driven cartoon, with plenty of character development, complex storylines, and moral ambiguity. The LEGO Ninjago sets are intricate and full of creative part use, elaborate action features, and intricate details. So why is it that so many AFOLs who casually enjoy themes aimed at an even younger audience have a hard time seeing Ninjago as anything other than a "kiddy theme"?
The only explanation I've been able to come up with is that character-driven, genre-blending themes like Ninjago are so different than the themes many older AFOLs grew up with like Town or Castle. Because so many kids, teens, and young adults like these themes in a way they can't begin to understand, these older AFOLs assume that themes like Ninjago are simply more childish than the LEGO themes and movie brands that they continue to enjoy from their own childhoods.
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