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Beauty in Nature and Art in Comics

Jimmy Kimmel

I'm pretty impressed with Jimmy Kimmel and his monologue last night. While he usually takes on things that are happening in current news and makes fun of them, he did so pretty much without any joking around last night. He tackled the issue of the slaughter of Cecil the Lion. It's appalling that this dentist killed this beautiful lion and I am very glad that the entire world sees what an evil person this guy is. Apparently the dental practice of this guy is shut down for the “time being” because of the backlash. Here's Jimmy Kimmel talking about this atrocity.


As I'm getting into comic book reading and talking about it here on the gate, I see there is a big trend for giving art a more prominent place in reviews and comic criticism. I totally agree. Comic books are a visual medium and the art is definitely a significant part of each and every story and each and every book. I think the hard part about reviewing and critiquing the art is that there is so much that goes into it and I personally have never been trained in reviewing art or appreciating it for that matter. High school and college forced me to learn about understanding plot and storyline and I did take AP European history way back when and reviewed the European masters. But I don't know how that really relates to comic book art as it exists today. I do know I'm going to put more effort into understanding and thinking about the art that is in comic books though. The other side of art in comic books is that there are multiple people that are involved. You have the artist, you have the colorist, you have the letterer, and there could be others – pencilers, inkers, cover artists, a whole bunch of them. And I'm not sure exactly who does what, but I plan on finding out so I can talk about these things a lot better. There are a couple of good articles that I read today dealing with comic book art and how to properly appreciate the art of a comic book and here they are:

Tips for Properly Crediting Comics Creators

Never Just Say ‘That Sucks': A Guide to Discussing Comics Art

As I said I'm going to make more of an effort to think about and appreciate the art that I find within the comics realm. I'll let you know how it goes.

Morning Ramble #26

#JimmyKimmel #Comics #Art


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R.I.P. Cecil

This story upset me so much, I had to take time to mention it.

Photo by Brent Staplecamp

Here is Cecil in his sanctuary from 2012. You would think he was safe in a protected national park.

An Evil Act by an Evil Person

I'm not against hunting. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, I eat meat, chicken, and fish. I have nothing against most hunters just for the fact that they hunt – some people enjoy that type of thing, just like some people enjoy fishing. Hell, the fact they make video games about hunting or fishing or include them in MMOs like Warcraft shows there is a subset of gamers who like those activities – even virtually.

So when I see something like this appalling human being that killed a lion in Zimbabwe earlier this month I am really pissed off – Not because he is a hunter or because he gets off on slaughtering animals for sport so he can place their heads on a wall somewhere. No, hunting is legal, even hunting lions and many endangered species. No, I am mad because this evil person did what all evil people do – they justify their actions, at least to themselves, and expect everyone to agree that they were justified. Somehow he knew more or less than everyone else and that because of that, it was ok for him to perpetrate such a terrible act.

So this Walter J. Palmer claims he acted in what he believed was a legal manner to kill a protected lion – one that had a GPS collar and was being studied by scientists half a world away.

I wanted to look at his statement released to the Star Tribune and see how this upstanding dentist could possibly have engaged I such a dreadful act.

From StarTribune.com

He hired several professional guides – hmm – as far as I know, professional guides do not lure protected animals out of a protected sanctuary legally.

He claims he secured all proper permits – hmm – I don't think there are any proper permits to kill a protected animal, maybe there are permits that allow professional guides to entice a creature out of their sanctuary?

Then Mr. Palmer uses the caveat that all evil people use – “To my knowledge…” So this dentist did his full due diligence and to his knowledge these guides were not engaging in illegal activity and “everything about the trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.” So I suppose the legal way to dispose of a GPS collar once discovered on the lion you just killed is to try to destroy it? And of course, the discovery that you just killed an animal that was protected and being studied means that you should immediately behead it, skin it, and try to hide the fact that you were involved with the slaughter by trying to ship the head back to America to put on your wall.

How can this excuse for a person expect anyone to believe him? According to the Star Tribune, he's done things like this before. I guess to his knowledge, the best way to deal with a bear that you killed outside of legal hunting grounds is to carry it's dead carcass back to the legal area so you get credit for the kill.

So if he's such a great hunter, why does he resort to illegal activities to show off his prowess? Why does he kill creatures outside legal zones? Why does he resort to luring animals out of their protected sanctuaries to kill them? Does he need a barrel to shoot some fish? Why does he attempt to hide his involvement in illegal activity? The simple answer is that he is evil.

Is this the dentist you want? Is this the parent of the kids you want your children to interact with? Is this the hunter you want living down the street? Someone who has no problem engaging in illegal activities and then has no problem trying to hide those activities from authorities. He wasn't growing a pot plant for crying out loud!

In my view, all hunters should despise this excuse for a human being. This is the scum that encourages people to be against hunting. This is the type of evil person who thinks its ok to act however he wants – he can always regret it later, apologize, and claim he was entirely within his legal rights to the best of his knowledge. This is the current representative for all hunters – he's not getting you any positive PR.

In my view, all dentists should hate this excuse for a human being. This pathetic creature thinks there are 2 things a dentist can do in their off hours – golf or illegally kill protected animals – since according his statement in the New York Times, he doesn't have a golf game. People already hate going to the dentist – do you want this guy representing you?

In my view, this sad person deserves any and all grief he is receiving from the internet masses. He deserves the public shaming. He deserves people abandoning and boycotting his dental practice.

I just hope he gets the prison time he truly deserves. What happens to poachers in Zimbabwe? Don't some countries cut off hands or something like that?

Morning Ramble #25

#Cecil #Evil #MorningRamble


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Console Wars

I'm finally starting to consider where I stand in the current generation of console wars.

Console Wars

My buddy just texted me last week indicating he was interested in the PlayStation 4. This is a big departure for him since he and I were both pretty strongly on the Xbox 360 bandwagon last generation. We pretty much had 360's from the day they came out and really enjoyed their online system. While he did not get a PS3, I was able to find one when Circuit City went out of business for 50 bucks. So I ended up with both major consoles of the last generation and I still play them on and off today.

This latest generation of consoles has been less than inspiring for me. Sure they've got better graphics and blah blah blah but that's never been the driving force behind me purchasing anything video game wise. I've never been solely for the graphics of a game. More often I go for story. One thing that made me lean towards the PS4 was the fact that I could get Bloodborne for the Playstation while they were not selling that even for the PC. But other than that, there really was no driving impetus to grab a next gen console until my friends started getting them and so far they are primarily Playstation fans.

For me though, my disdain for Sony goes back to PDAs. I used to consider anything Sony put out as the best in it's class. Their Vaio computers and Clié PDAs were some of the best electronics of their time. Sony made the best TVs, the best stereos, and hell, they created the portable music market with the Walkman. And I used to buy their stuff when I could afford it – I always wanted the best. Their NZ90 Clié was a beautiful thing to behold. Before phones had cameras, this PDA had a 2 megapixel camera, it had a keyboard that would put a blackberry to shame, it had a high-def rotating screen that let you use it in keyboard or touchscreen mode, it had expandable storage, Bluetooth, and you could plug in a wifi antenna kit – it was great! I loved it! It did everything I could want before the iPhone came out, and the only thing the iPhone did better was marketing to the masses (oh and it was a phone).

If Sony had kept working on their Clié line, they would be the dominant player in the cell phone market rather than Samsung. But they didn't. They cancelled their best product and shut down their entire PDA line due to competition from…Microsoft – gee they seem to be doing real well in the handheld market now too. Actually, none of the main players from back then are still making a dent in the market – Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm are all minor players now. I still hear about HTC every once in a while, but they are all pretty much surpassed by the Googles, Apples, and Samsungs.

To get back to MY story, Sony cancelled the NZ90 and broke my heart. Since then, I have watched the once mighty Sony start making crappy mass market items that never seemed to live up to the venerable Sony name. They were made with lesser parts and didn't have the features to make them top of the line. So I stopped buying there products. This extended to the PS3. Particularly when the Xbox had such a better online system than Sony. It also helped that all my friends bought the Xbox.

I expected to eventually get onboard with the new generation of consoles, but I thought like last time I'd be getting an Xbox, but all my friends are buying the PS4 this time around.

I haven't made any commitment at this point, but all indications are I'll be joining the Sony crew soon. If anyone has a reason I should stay away from the PS4, speak up or forever hold your peace.

Morning Ramble #24

#Playstation4 #Xbox #PS4


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Starting The Martian

I just started reading The Martian by Andy Weir and am pretty impressed.

The Martian – the book

“I'm pretty much fucked.”

It's an interesting first line of a novel, but I think Andy Weir captures the feel for The Martian with this first sentence.

I just started reading chapter 1, but that line and the rest of the “Log Entry” for Sol 6 sets the stage for what I think is going to be an interesting read.

So far, we find out that Mark Watney is indeed “fucked” because he is stranded alone on Mars. Through an unfortunate series of events, the rest of his 6 man crew are on their way back to Earth thinking he died during their evacuation. Since the crew took the only vehicle that could leave Mars when they took off, Mark has no way of getting home. To make matters worse, all communication equipment was either on the vehicle that is ferrying the crew home, or was destroyed as part of the events that resulted in Mark's stranding.

With a solid introductory chapter like that, I am exicted to see what happens – Does he find Martians? Does he find a way to generate oxygen? What about food and water? Did he bring his towel? Does he ever get home?

I'll keep you updated as I find out…

The Martian – the movie

The book was so well received they decided to make a movie out of it. And it's gonna star Matt Damon. Here's the trailer…

Morning Ramble #23

#TheMartian #Book #Movies


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Big Crazy Final Fanrasy

Watched another wonderful episode of Big Crazy Family Adventure and started thinking about getting started in Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

I decided I wanted to give Final Fantasy a real try. I played for about a month when the game first came out but other things took priority and I put it aside. I've kept an eye on it though since people like Belghast are always talking about how great it is. The main thing that held me back was the cost. It is one of the few surviving subscription games but I bit the bullet, bought a sub, and set up my account to see what all the buzz is about.

I think I am going to roll a Conjurer since I usually like to heal and healers tend to do well in joining dungeon parties in most games. A Bard also sounds nice but I'll try to focus that class second. I am pretty sure with FFXIV that one character can play as any of the classes so I'll have to get used to that idea rather than running alts. I suppose it is kinda similar to Rift and their soul system where you can play as any type of mage or priest based on which souls you slot. But in Final Fantasy it is like being able to change from mage to priest or warrior whenever you want. The concept sounds cool but I am worried it may be a bit complicated trying to figure out what the best class/job is for different situations. We'll see.

Big Crazy Family Adventure

Once again this was a wonderful show this week. Though I was a bit nervous watching Bruce interact with the the snake charmer. Being that close to venomous snakes with the kids was nerve-wracking for me to watch. The kids seemed to love it though so that was fun to see. And everyone seemed to love pillow fighting on the boat floating down the Ganges.

I'd have to say that I really enjoy watching the Kirkby's traveling all over during their adventure, but I'm not sure I could deal with all the travel they've been doing myself. I like to try new foods, but for the most part, I am pretty picky. I don't like dealing with large crowds, and from what they've shown of India and previously China, there can be lots of people in the same place you want to be. I'm glad they can show me what their travels are like because I'm not sure I'll be doing that myself anytime soon or at all.

This episode did take a turn to the serious side of things this week as they went to the burning ghats. I thought they handled things respectably and even the kids seemed to understand the reality of the cycle of life that was right there in front of them.

A serious episode, but it was still fun. Taj and Bodi always make this a fun hour of television, and getting to see Taj get so excited to see the Taj Mahal was great. Still one of my favorite shows on television.

Morning Ramble #22

#FFXIV #BigCrazyFamilyAdventure #TV


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Robot and Elves

I think there have been quite a few very good shows airing on TV lately. Mr. Robot is currently one of the best and I think The Shannara Chronicles may be one to look forward to next year.

Mr. Robot EPS1.4_3XPL0ITS.WMV

Oh man, Elliot sure destroyed poor Bill. Ok, so last episode was mostly a drug/withdrawal induced hallucination. I'm glad and I basically expected it (I didn't want Elliot to be shot), but this episode was pretty brutal to the common folk. I mean Elliot crushed Bill's spirit then they made Trudy think her husband was in the hospital. I guess it moved the plot along and showed the lack of scruples FSociety has. In an case, those NPCs really were just curtain dressing In the episode – ripe for exploitation.

I think the best part was when they put one of their fake Evil corp commercials right before a Honda ad – it really looked like Evil corp and Honda were one and the same.

This show is truly worth watching and has been one of the highlights of my tv watching each week this summer.

The Shannara Chronicles

MTV will be airing a new series coming in January 2016 based on the Terry Brooks novels. Set millennia after a Great War, the Shannara Chronicles looks pretty cool from its first trailer. Take a look and I'm sure you'll be as interested in watching the show as I am. I haven't read the books…yet, but I might pick them up on my iPad and try to get through one or more before the series airs.

Morning Ramble #21

#MrRobot #TheShannaraChronicles #TV



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League of Frustration

I think I'm going to have to put league of legends on the shelf for at least a week. After my post yesterday about dying too much as Xin, I decided to play more of a support role. So I decided to work with Janna. She's a pretty good support champ and I thought I knew her fairly well. I guess I really don't know whether I know her or can play her or not. Here's what happened… My first game I had someone leave after five minutes. Rage quitting happens all the time but it is really frustrating when there are nine other players in the game and somebody quits. I think this is one of the largest problems with league of legends – so many people quitting after five or 10 minutes.

My second game was another great one (sarcasm). I had a Fizz who decided he didn't want to play midlane after calling it. So he called midlane, picked his midlane champ – Fizz – and let everybody else pick and since I had last pick I went support with Janna. Little did I know I should've gone with one of my normal supports such as Morgana or Zyra since I can always to go midlane with them if I need to. Fizz said I had to go mid with a character I have barely played since he was countered. While Janna can play mid, I can't play it well with her at my current skill level. It was a disaster and I got 2 kills to 8 deaths. It was not a fun game and once again resulted in a loss.

My third game also involved a midlaner who didn't really want to play midlane. This time I had a person call mid who decided he was going to play Garen. Now I don't know about anyone else but I've been playing league of legends for probably around three years now and have never in all my thousands of games, played and watched, seen a Garen play midlane. Not only was he playing an unconventional midlane champ, this guy had one ranked game as Garen this season. He told us to trust him and OK I guess we had to. I'm sure you can imagine how my game went with him. He went 1-8, we lost the game, and I still don't know how I play Janna midlane, support, or Janna at all.

Guess I needed to rant today.

Morning Ramble #20

#LoL #LeagueOfLegends


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Surviving and Learning

Surviving as Xin is hard, learning WoW mechanics is easy and Spectre looks great.

Staying alive as Xin Zhao

I really need to work on how to survive as Xin Zhao. In most of the games I've been playing lately, I have had at least 10 deaths – and usually close to the same number of deaths as I get kills. My KDA is usually pretty good but I die way too much. I think part of it is itemization. I go with the sated devour and that seems to work well for killing the enemy. My problem I think might be in my second item which tends to be BotRK. Perhaps I should focus more on a defensive item as my second selection. My other big problem is selection of fights. I have a tendency of trying to jump through the enemy's frontline to attack their ADC or midlane champ. This usually gets me at least one kill as I destroy the squishes. The problem comes when I get cc'd and melted by their frontline and the few hits that their squishes do before they die. I think I need to select my battles much better than I currently do. I think by building a little bit more defensively starting with my second item and selecting my battles better I will become a much better Xin player and be able to start moving up in the rankings.

18 kills is great but if I get 17 deaths that just is not going to work out. At least unless my teammates start pulling their weight as well. I found that with Xin I can really carry a game as long as one other teammate is relatively decent. I find I have a harder time carrying when I play my standard mid laners such as Morgana and Zyra because while they can control the battlefield and get some kills they don't have the burst and destruction power that Xin has.

More farming in WoW

Gee, once that I started getting missions that would send me to attack things, I got another quest that sends me off to go farming. Picking cactus apples is not a very demanding quest but I guess it's something that once again shows early players what type of movement and mechanics are needed in the long term for the game. Having picked up my apples and killed the scouts from the previous mission, I turn them in and jump up to the level 3.

With that I get a new skill – Steady Shot – and the ability to take on my next quest, which is target practice. So far I'm finding the early questS are less than exciting and simply a means to try to show new players to the MMO experience how the mechanics of movement and attacking work in WoW.




Just saw the latest trailer for the next James Bond film, and I am excited for it. I am a die hard James Bond fan having seen all the movies and read several of the books, and I think this movie could be a good one. Based on the trailer, there is tons of action. Mountainous snow scenes, car chases, flying acrobatics, and explosions from Mexico to Rome and London, the trailer lays down some interesting tidbits from the past movies and looks to build upon the talents of Daniel Craig. I am really looking forward to it.

Morning Ramble #19

#LeagueOfLegends #WoW #JamesBond


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Is There Intelligent Life Anywhere?

SETI gets $100M

I'm pretty impressed with the funding that the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence has received lately. I guess Steven Hawking and some rich guy from Russia are contributing $100 million to the cause over the next 10 years. Let's hope more people continue to fund the initiative and we find signs of life out in the wild universe.

Beautiful Blue Marble

In other science news, NASA published a neat picture of the Earth from a million miles away. It shows how truly beautiful our planet is. Check out the teal seas in the Caribean.


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Don’t throw away your old game consoles

New Horizons, Evil Dead, and more Shark attacks

New Horizons probe uses Playstation 1 processor

Don't throw away you old game consoles, NASA may need them to get people to Mars. Current Geek episode 60 turned me on to this item today…apparently the New Horizons spacecraft that just flew by Pluto way out in the solar system is powered by a MIPS R3000 CPU that powered the original Playstation. I knew our phones had more processing power than the space shuttle, but that was neat to find out. I think I may still might have a Playstation around here somewhere should I try to send it to Pluto?

Ashe vs. Evil Dead on Starz

One of the panels I wanted to see at Comic-Con was the Ashe vs. Evil Dead, but for whatever reason, I didn't make it at the time. Fortunately, they recorded it and I was able to find it on YouTube today. The trailer looks great, and if you're a Evil Dead fan like myself, you'll be looking forward to Halloween when the show starts airing on Starz. If you've only seen the remake, you owe it to yourself to go and watch the original with Bruce Campbell and see why he became the cult favorite that he is. I found it on Hulu, but Netflix currently doesn't have it.

Incredible footage

Unbelievable footage of a surfing competition…one of the two finalists was attacked by and fought off a shark while waiting for a wave during the competition. I can't believe this was caught on live TV! Thank God he survived and was not injured.

Morning Ramble #18

#Playstation #SDCC


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