Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hype Day - TV: Lost

It's not everyday where you find a tv show that you can't stop watching. A show that has you so hooked, you can watch 20 episodes straight without even a bathroom break.

Lost, created by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, is one of theses shows.
The synopsis, in brief, is about a plane-crash. Flight 815 of Oceanic Airlines, flying from Sydney to Los Angeles, crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The few survivors of the crash find themselves on a deserted jungle island. It is now up to them to survive on the island, finding food, shelter, and protection from the elements.

But unlike a certain reality show, the Island is not exactly what seems. At night strage noises come from the heart of the jungle, as if huge monsters roam across it. And if giant, tree-moving beasts weren't enough, the surviovrs have to endure each-other. No one is who he seems to be, and each and every one of them is a deep and layered character with many secrets beneath their surface.

Lost is brilliantly written. Each episode, while telling the story of the island and the survivors, centers around one character in particular, showing how they lived before the crash through flashback of the characters. In each episode you add another layer of intrigue as you learn something new about one of the key players. Now while there are over 40 survivors, the show concentrates on roughly 14 main characters, while the others are often extras.

The survivors slowly invetigate the Island's mysteries, each in their own way. Some explore the vast jungles, some try to get off the Island, and others are content to just make a living, and wait for someone to come rescue them.

Lost in now begginging its second season, which is shaping up to be just as good as the first. If you have not seen it yet, then check it out. You will not be dissappointed.

Monday, October 10, 2005


"The fear of death must be dreaded more than death itself."

Since the dawn of time man has been driven forward by two base instincts: Survival and Fear.
The first drove him towards discoveries such as fire, the wheel, electricity, and all major inventions of out time. The latter is what kept him alive.
Some may argue that the need to survive is what kept men alive throughout the ages, but the survival need only kept us going through the years. If man was not afraid of the world around him he would leap into an inferno the first time he encountered it. He would walk off a cliff; he would go investigate when he would hear a pack of unknown beasts snarling in the distance. It is fear of these things, the fear of dying, the fear of the "monster" that stopped him from doing these things, and thus preserving his own life.

Fear was not put in our emotional spectrum to keep us from doing things that we would otherwise enjoy doing, it is there to control us. It is our mind's way of saying "I don't think that's such a good idea". Fear is a barrier put up by our inner-selves in order to keep us alive and maintain a healthy, productive life style. It is a means of self-control.

So should we just give in to our fears, lay awake at night, shaking and petrified?
No. Fear does need to be conquered. Just like any other means pf control, it must have its limit. For control without limits is oppression, which is worse than no control at all. So the little 3 year old, lying in his bed, afraid of the monster in closet must know that there is no such thing. But at the same time he must know that there are things in this world which can hurt him. Monsters-in-a-closet that he must always be wary of, whether they be dangerous predators out in the Australian outback, or people which are stronger than him, and will crush him like a bug if he tries to face them.

People should stand up to their fears, challenge themselves in new ways, and "live on the wild side". But at the same time they must remember that they are not immortal, not invulnerable, and they, like everybody else, have their limits. Those limits are the physical manifestations of our fears, the things that we simply cannot do, no matter how hard we try. We must embrace our fears; learn to listen and heed their warnings, and occasionally, act alongside those warnings, and not always to fight them, hoping to beat the monster that lives in our closet.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hype Day - Comic: Ultimate Spider-Man

Well this is the very first hype day, so welcome. Many Happy Returns!

How this will work is every week I will hype something that's got me excited, wether it be a comic-book, video game, movie, song... whatever. So let's get going.

We all know Spider-Man (it is hyphenated, just so you know, it's not SpiderMan). He does a whatever a spider can. But those who never read a single comic book in their lives, and want to start, have a problem. They pick up a Spider-Man book, like Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man or even the new Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and they feel lost. There are almost 45 years of contineuty to keep track of, and frankly not everyone needs to know who Gabriel Stacy is (and he first appeared roughly a year ago...).
Secondly, Peter Parker first appeared in 1962. Times have changed since, and our little Peter grew up and married a super-model. But would he still be married to said red-head if he would grow up in the year 2000, would he still be the same wall-crawler we all know and love?

The answer, at least the short one is yes. And no. And this is exactly what Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man tries to do. In general Marvel's Ultimate line of comics is taking Marvel's classic characters and reimagining them in today's world. From the beggining. So while the "normal" Spider-Man has battled the Scorpion time and again, Ultimate Spider-Man (you get used to the cheesy name after a while... trust me) doesn't even know that there is such a thing. In fact Scorpion has yet to appear in an Ultimate book (well, aside from a joke which Brian Michael Bendis, the book's writer, threw in a recent issue).
In Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker goes back to his roots, he is once again in high school, facing the problems of everyday adolecents. Zits, girls, crazed super-villains, and who will get picked for class president (Tandy Bowen seems to be the leading candidate at the moment...).

The book, as I mentioned, is being written solely by Bendis. The art is by Mark Bagely, who is one of Marvel's go-to guy's for Spider-Man related material. The two have been collobarating on the book since issue #1 and are planning to break the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby record for longest running run on a book (103 issue on Fantastic Four).

Overall the book is excellent and is a great read, even for a casual reader. The first few arcs are excellent and will be truly hard to put down. The first four arcs (Power and Responsibility, Learning Curve, Double Trouble, and Legacy) are an absolute must read. They deal with Spider-Man's first forrays into the world of super-heroism, they tell his origin, naturally, and his first clashes with real super-villains, including Green Goblin (in Power and Responsibility and Legacy) and a combined attack by both Dr. Octupus and Kraven the Hunter (in Double Trouble). Peter learns that sometimes his mind is his most powerful weapons when he is faced with New York's Kingpin of Crime and his lackies Electro and the Enforcers (in Learning Curve). The next arc that is an absolute must read is the Venom arc, which introduces Spidey's deadliest foe.
The next few arcs come and go when it comes to being compelling reading, although none have reached the superiority of the first few arcs. Some were down right horrible (Hollywood, which features the return of Dr. Octupus, which just happened to coincide with the release of the second Spider-Man movie...) while some showed some of the glamour of the first arcs (Hobgoblin and the just-released Ultimate Spider-Man Annual).

As for what the future holds, it is promising. Marvel is currently running an arc entitiled Warriors which like the arcs Learning Curves and Cats & Kings deal with the criminal underworld of New York and features and onslaught of guest appearances (Black Cat, Elektra, Moon Knight, Kingpin, Shang-Chi, Ironfist, Hammerhead, to name a few). After this arc there are plans to publish and arc that ties into the recently released Ultimate Spider-Man video-game. And after that the countdown to issue #100 truly begins. There are many rumors floating around but names like Deadpool and Clone Saga have been cropping up in many places around the 'net.

In conclusion, Ultimate Spider-Man is deffinetly worth picking up. You can buy paperback editions of all the arcs. Or there are hardcovers which usually cover roughly 2 arcs, but contain several extras such as sketches, scripts, or reprints of old comic books.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


And so... it shall begin.

Another day, another Blog. It's all meaningless, isn't it?
No, no it isn't. Everyhthing has meaning. Its all there for a reson. What reason? That is to be seen, but there is one, of that I can assure you.

Welcome to the Mind's Forge, here, ideas are made. But we don't stop there. Ideas are made, and then they are worked, hammered, bent, and twisted until they are good for use. Because writing, just like war, is a delicate craft, a tiresome one. And this is what we will achieve here in the Forge. We will write, we will write until our fingers fall off.

We won't write for the people to read, that is a side-effect, an added bonus. We will write purely for the sake of writing. No more, no less. We will write to hone our craft, until our mind is sharp, responsive, and filled with ideas. Both good and bad. Because sometimes the bad ideas, they're the ones who work out at the end, they're the ones that do most damage. A rusty sword may not pierce the skin easily, but once it does, it deals more damage to the body than the sharpest, stainless blade ever will.

And so we will write, of course we will hope to be read. For what use is writing if it is not read, and criticized. It is the criticism that makes us better, more diverse, more capable as a writers. So we welcome the critics, and wish for their words, wethere they are kind or harsh does not matter to us. We must learn to take the good and the bad, they both shall make us better at what we do.

So what will we write about?
We will write about many things. Whatever comes to mind. Grand essays, small tidbits of information. War, love, crime, fear, horses, movies, games, music, speech, languages... anything.

Mondays is when it will happen. We will attempt to publish a written piece every monday. With hopes that we won't fail in this task. It will take discipline, but we will endure.

Thursdays shall be dubbed hype day, in which we will hype about something. A new movie, game, comic-book. Share our interests with the world.

This will further us as writers. Help us improve.

Welcome to the Forge.