Friday, March 25, 2011

The good and the bad: Dragon Age and the Akira movie

The two Hawkes
First, the good news: Dragon Age II is out on a variety of platforms, and the RPG game is flying off the shelves. While the game's main plot is mostly pre-determined, following a whole lot of destiny hoo-ha, the player's choices can greatly affect their character's appearance, actions, and even their sexual orientation.

The game's creative team at Bioware have not only made it an option for the main character to be male or female,  as pictured to the right, but they've also made it possible for male Hawkes to flirt with male team members, and female to flirt with female, leading to in-game romances.

It's a first for mainstream gaming: while the Mass Effect series allowed players to choose the gender of their main character and had female-female romances, male-male options were noticeably verboten, which is unsurprising given the historical stereotype of gamers as being single young white men punching at buttons in the half-light of basements, munching on Cheetos. But times have changed. 40% of gamers are now women, and the average age of a gamer has risen to 35.

One could cynically brush off the move as Bioware's effort to capitalize on this new market and that's definitely part of it; but more than that, it seems to be based on a genuine desire to make the game more inclusive. When a player predictably complained on the Bioware forums with an eye-crossingly privileged post, lead writer David Gaider brought the smackdown in a truly enlightened way:

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as "political correctness" if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They're so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don't see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what's everyone's fuss all about? That's the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.
Freaking awesome.
On the less-awesome side, the script for a live-action version of the classic Akira has apparently been finished and been sent out to several actors for the parts of Kaneda and Tetsuo. Wanna guess what all of these actors have in common?
First person that steps in this joint saying that "it's about finding the best actor for the part, regardless of race" gets punched in the mouth.

Racebending's got a campaign up. Go check it out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NFL player is fluent in Netspeech.

For those of you who don't follow American football, the NFL is facing a lockout due to stalled negotiations between the players union and the NFL administrators over salary caps. Now, I don't care much about it either way--it's a bit like watching two high-end divorce lawyers squabble over who has to pick up the dinner check while the minimum-wage staff wait in vain for the table to open up--but I do have to comment on this bit of amazingness: Chris Cluwe, the punter for the Minnesota Vikings, has drawn helpful and humorous images to explain the situation from the players' perspectives.

The pictures are enough to get me on the players' side for the sake of comedy alone, but check out the top-right corner of the second picture!

*laughs forever*

When a player in the NFL is using it in common speech, that's when you know an Internet phrase has achieved cultural saturation and significance. Oxford Dictionary, get on this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I believe I'll have the ponytail....

Highly accurate if incomplete depictions of lesbian haircuts to the left, here. How they've overlooked dreads and/or the buzz cut is beyond me. Should read:

"the buzz cut"
Favored by Marines and dykes in on-the-go and fast-paced careers like mechanics and Jello wrestlers. Minimal effort required.

For the discerning feminist-bookstore dyke. The dreads can also double as scarves, and food storage containers. Minimal effort required.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Smashing your brains out with a wedge of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

Alert, Douglas Adams fans: I am on a quest. I grew up reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- or, well, listening avidly to the BBC recordings. At work I am prone to shrieking, "ALRIGHT YOU SCUM, YOU VERMIN. WHADDYA WANT TO DRINK?" at bar customers. I'm lucky I live in Portland and this kind of behavior is thought of as a local quirk; if I tried that in Texas I'd probably get shot.

But I digress. The point is, I'm currently searching for a good Earth-variant cocktail recipe for a Pangalactic Gargleblaster, i.e. the drink invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the effects of which are described in the subject line of this post.

This is how Douglas Adams describes a PG in the book:
1. Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
2. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
3. Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
4. Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it.
5. Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qalactin Hypermint extract.
6. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger.
7. Sprinkle Zamphuor.
8. Add an olive.
9. Drink . . . but . . . very carefully . . .
I've found several recipes online, but thus far they are either unsatisfactory or out of my reach. Many of them call for Everclear (in place of the Ol' Janx Spirit) but I don't have access to that; I was thinking that 151 would suffice, and that means I'd get to set it on fire, too. I feel like that could be a very important step.

The seawater, I was thinking of a mix of pineapple and sweet/sour mix. The mega-gin could be just plain gin, while Sprite or soda water could provide the bubbles of Fallian marsh gas. A float of Qalactin hypermint? I saw one recipe that called for creme de menthe, but given the other ingredients that sounds repulsive. Probably substitute a float of either Midori or Blue Curacao. The sprinkle of Zamphour could be grenadine.

I don't have any thoughts for the tooth of a Suntiger, other than to maybe soak an orange wedge in 151, light it on fire, too, and drop it in the drink.

So, my recipe would look like:

1 shot 151
1/2 shot gin
Float of Blue Curacao
Splash sprite
Splash pineapple juice
Splash sour mix
Pinch of grenadine
Orange wedge
Olive (?? I wouldn't, given that the rest of the recipe is pretty sweet-flavored, but the original from the book explicitly calls for it. Bleah. I hate olives.)

Pour 3/4 the shot of 151 into a cosmopolitan or a martini glass. Swirl it around. Light it on fire. Put the rest of the 151 in a small glass, drop the orange wedge in, and set it aside to soak.

Fill a mixer glass with ice. Pour in 1/2 shot of gin, sprite, pineapple juice, and sour. Shake well. Strain (carefully) into still-flaming 151. Pour 1/2 shot Blue Curacao over back of spoon. Garnish with the orange wedge, which will hopefully catch on fire when lit and (carefully) placed on rim. Olive???

Basically there's a lot of fire involved, which appeals to the pyro in my soul. I can't wait to try it out.

If anybody's got any suggestions, lemme know. Mixologists! Give me your mixers!

I wonder if anyone's ever done potty-training comic books...

By bluejeanus on livejournal.