Gaming and Comics and Tech, Oh My!

Ranting and Raving about everything from Entertainment to Gadgetry. Official blog of Vinny "Gamings Nirvana" Parisi

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random Ramblings: Who needs dogs?

 Writing is an important aspect of my life.  From one perspective, others seem to greatly appreciate it when I take the time to write them a personalized letter (for example, a birthday card.)  On the other hand, writing is a useful tool for me personally because it helps to expand on the millions of creative ideas constantly rushing through my mind at breakneck speeds.  There’s a common saying that “Everyone has at least one good story to tell,” and writing helps to discover what that story is.

Creative writing has always come naturally to me.  Specifically, I’m most interested in science-fiction and fantasy writing.  The sci-fi novel I’m currently working on began as a simple process of writing down everything I was thinking, and later organizing it into a cohesive story.  Now, after living with these characters for a number of years, working on the novel has become a 24/7 endeavor.  Ideas can spring up at any moment so I have to keep a notepad with me at all times and, as character personalities have become second nature, perceptions of how to incorporate those ideas have changed (perhaps matured is a better word.)

Another aspect of creative writing that is important is the sentimental value people intrinsically attach to the written word, possible due to it’s timelessness.  I write personalized notes whenever giving out cards for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays and the recipient always seems to cherish the words on paper more this way.  In this example, and countless others, people feel more attached to an issue when the idea is expressed in a more personal or relatable way.  This kind of appreciation can only be found in the written word, making writing one of the most important forms of communication.

A question to ask when thinking about the importance of writing is, how do we know what we know? This pertains to anything from history, to anatomy, to the universe.  The answer is, because it’s written down somewhere.  People have used writing as an instrument to record events and pass down knowledge through generations.  From important decisions about politics, religion and war, to keeping records of sports results, technological accomplishments and inventions.  Writing helps the world stay organized, and provides an essential component to growing as humans.  It is the building block people use to cement the foundation for living and expand onward and upward to greater glory. 

If it weren’t for writing, it would be impossible to share the ideas I have with the world.  In terms of science-fiction writing, it is the best way to share an entire universe with others who share a similar passion.  On a more personal level, writing helps to better convey emotion when giving someone a letter or note.  From a worldly perspective, people need writing to keep a record of everything that’s happened so they can improve upon what’s been done before.  Writing is life’s best friend, the most reliable of companions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Short Stories: Color is in the eye of the beholder

 Color is something most people take for granted.  Everyone has a favorite color and color plays an important role in branding ideas about society.  It has become a useful tool for artists and storytellers alike.  It’s also something I personally find little value in.  Perhaps my disinterest in the importance of color is due to the fact that I see the inherent racial tensions color-branding can lead to.  Or perhaps it’s because I’m colorblind… Yeah, that’s probably the reason.

    Being colorblind is a hereditary trait, so it’s something I picked up from my grandfather.  Specifically, I’m red-green colorblind, but that’s really just a term and doesn’t begin to describe the way I actually see the world.  While it’s not a major handicap, it still leads to a number of frustrations most people would never consider.  My biggest problem with being colorblind is that I need to have someone with me whenever I go clothes shopping.  Had it not been for my mother telling me to, “Go pick something else out,” I’d have spent my young adulthood wearing purple and pink instead of blue and red.  While, admittedly, some guys can pull it off, it’s not exactly the look I’m going for.  Clothes aren’t the only shopping problem though, gift shopping for friends/family can become a decidedly awkward affair if handled improperly.  It’s one thing to get something in the wrong size, but people don’t usually expect their presents to be the wrong color.
    Again, my condition is nothing too severe, but it still has plenty of instances where it’s more than a nuisance.  While I can see the difference between shifting traffic lights, thankfully, it is nearly impossible for me to play a majority of board games and some video games.  One of my favorite board games is a strategic-war game called Risk.  It’s meant to be played with up to six players, but unfortunately I can only play with two other friends, otherwise the pieces blend together and look alike.  It’s hard to plan out your merciless takeover of the entire world when you can’t tell where your own soldiers are.  Video games can be equally frustrating, because for some reason the majority of game developers decided that character vitality-bars/special mini-games should be based on a red-green system; meaning I can’t always tell when my character is about to die or participate in a majority of mini-games within each game.  Whether this is intentionally done to spite me or not is an ongoing investigation.          

    In particular, another problem I have with being colorblind is having to explain to other people that I’m colorblind.  Not because I feel it’s anything to be ashamed of, I know better than that, but because people always seem to respond the same way about it.  Throughout middle school and high school, every single classmate asked me the same questions.  “You’re colorblind?  So… what color is this notebook?”  “What color is this desk?” “What color is my shirt?”  People, if I knew what color it was, I wouldn’t be freaking colorblind.  Now that I’m in college, this doesn’t happen as often, yet it still occurs more often than I’d like it to.  I understand that it’s interesting to other people, and that being colorblind is just something most can’t comprehend, but I’m not a circus animal.  I don’t exactly revel in my colorblindness, so as strange as it might seem I’m not chomping at the bit to show off just how little of the world I can visually appreciate.  Fortunately, since my condition isn’t a visual one (from the perspective of other people anyway) they often forget about it and I can get on with my life. 

    While colorblindness wasn’t exactly my superpower of choice, those were the cards I was dealt so I just live with it.  Luckily, emerging technologies have taken an interest in the relatively small number of people who suffer from the condition, and so applications are being developed to help me better distinguish between colors.  There’s a saying among tech-junkies such as myself that goes, “There’s an app for that.” It means there is at least one application that can do just about anything the mind can imagine.  Recently, an app was invented for Smartphone users that allows them to point the phone’s camera lens toward an object, and using some special techno-magic, adjusts the color on the phone’s screen so colorblind people can see what the object actually looks like.  Now if they could just find a way to implement that technology into eye glasses, the world would be a much more beautiful place to live.  Literally.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Random Ramblings: It's Finale Time! So Goodbye, Good Luck(!) and Good Riddance

Ahh the Spring Finale.  A both wonderful yet heartbreaking couple of weeks for any devoted series fan.  On one hand, audiences are treated to the final resolve of an entire seasons worth of drama and mystery.  On the other, for shows that are being renewed, it is a withdrawal-inducing "Farewell, until we meet again."  Within these next two weeks, we will see finales for a show that's only just begun, a show that's survived thanks to it's dedicated fans, and a show that's lingered for far too long.  Specifically, I'm talking about Traffic Light, Chuck, and Smallville (in that order.)

Farewell, Traffic Light, you will be missed
Traffic Light is (was, as Fox confirmed it's cancellation) a fantastic comedy starring "That guy who was pretty funny in Scott Pilgrim"  (Nelson Franklin.)  While the series managed to finish strong with some absolutely hysterical final episodes, the poor ratings were just too much to bear and Fox had already planned on canning the show halfway through its airing.  This is one I'm going to miss just because of the great cast, consistently witty dialogue, and Seinfeld-esque situational humor that made for some very entertaining television.  Goodbye, Traffic Light, I hardly knew ye.

Now on to what has most definitely become my favorite series over the past few years, Chuck.  I apologize to Bones, while I love you equally as much, you're the child I never have to worry about, your renewal is always a shoe-in.  Chuck is the child that's always in my thoughts because of the constant need to worry about its livelihood.  While the series should never have made it past the second season, according to ratings, the fans have pulled together for the past two years and made enough noise to force NBC to reconsider.  Now, as Chuck finishes its fourth season with a Finale on Monday, the fans are anxiously awaiting to hear NBC's announcement pertaining to the Lovable Intersect's fate.  Coincidentally, NBC will make said announcement on Monday, meaning we will have to wait until the day the episode airs to find out whether we're watching the Season or the Series Finale.  Chuck, I've loved you since the pilot, and you haven't disappointed me since.  I, along with what seems to be the entire world (Seriously, how is this show always in danger?) wish you Good Luck.  Hopefully, we will see you back next season, with your stunning new bride!

C'mon, Team Bartowski! We need a Season Five.  Here's to hoping.
Lastly, and those who know me knew I'd have something to say about this one, it is finally time for Smallville to end.  No extensions, no exceptions.  The 2-Hour finale airs tomorrow, Friday the 13th, at 8:00 PM EST.  In case you were wondering: Yeah, Tom Welling is finally putting on the suit, he's finally going to fly, and we're finally going to hear that classic music as we hear him announce to the world he is Superman.  I'm honestly not sure how to describe my relationship with Smallville. 

The most apt way to describe it would be to call the show a cruel mistress in a toxic relationship.  For a while everything was going great, it felt like we were happy and in love.  We could take on the world and nobody could take away our sunshine.  Then one day, tragedy struck.  What should have been a fatal accident, Smallville's planned ending after 7 seasons, ended in what at first felt like a miracle.  The show lived again and would continue for a few more years.  But I'll be honest, Smallville, after the accident you were never the same.  You just didn't feel right, it's like you crept back into my life after I'd already made peace with your death.  The continuity had to take a beating, the plots were hollow and joyless, and characters that shouldn't exist had to be written in for the sake of keeping things fresh.  To make matters worse, after awhile you just stopped caring, letting cameo appearances from other DC heroes take the spotlight while your overall story arc faded into obscurity. 

In short, this goodbye was a long time coming, and I'm finally ready to let our relationship end.  You hurt me more times than I'll ever admit, and it stings even more to know that even after extending your life far past what was intended, you're still only going to give me five minutes of "Up, up, and away" while you begin your fight for "Truth, Justice, and the American way."  I know this is what you planned all along, and after seven seasons that would have felt right.  But Smallville, you should have become Metropolis a long time ago, and Superman should have been a part of the last three seasons.  Plans change, but your crappy idea for a finale has stayed the same.  So, Smallville, to you I say Good Riddance.  I won't regret our time together, because you've become too big a part of my life, but I will regret not saying this sooner.  It's over.  It's finally over.     

Caption This: X-Men First Class, could it actually be good?

You guys know the drill, this picture is just begging to become a Gif.  But while interwebbers everywhere are deciding on how to best optimize this future meme, it's up to us to provide a clever caption.  Here's what I came up with off the top of my head:

Caption 1:
Charles Xavier:  Stop looking at me.  I can't go if you're both watching.

Caption 2:
Banshee: Umm, Charles? Is everything okay?

Charles: Quiet Sean! I'm trying to listen.

Mystique: What do you hear, Charlie?

Charles: It's tough to say.  I'm only getting bits and pieces but one thing is for sure, Raven, this baby doesn't like staying in one place.  His telepathic energy is fading in and out.

Banshee: Then what's with that look on your face?

Charles: Oh, Nothing.  I just finally know what a real girl feels like...

Mystique and Banshee:  *slowly turn toward Charles.* C'mon Charles, not in the new uniform.

On a related side-note: The film is actually shaping up to be quite good.  With a supposed running time of 140 minutes, we might actually get a well thought out and carefully crafted X-film that's worth watching.  And if all else fails, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender will totally own the roles of Professor X and Magneto.  In short, I may have to eat my words because I initially wrote this off as total garbage but the trailers have managed to convince me this is worth a view in theaters before passing judgement.  June 3rd can't come fast enough.  Hehe, see what I did there?  I apologize... that was a terrible pun, even by my Spider-Man standards.