Archive for March, 2011

Upon The Oddities Of Action Figures…

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Now, as my friends know, I am a bit of a nerd about books and action figures (a name given to them to avoid the connotations of the word ‘doll’ on a toy marketed at young boys), but even I would draw the line at this. For those of you who don’t want to click the link unless you know what it is (I generally have the same attitude), this is a figure of Dr Constantine (sold by Forbidden Planet), a character from Series 1 of the new Doctor Who, who gets briefly claimed by the alien menace of the week.

Call me weird, but I cannot for the life of me work out what child would see him meet his fate and then rush to the store to buy his likeness in 6″ form. I can understand buying action figures of the Doctor (I have some on my shelf, along with a disused money box TARDIS), or the Daleks and the companions at a stretch, but what child would go out and buy an action figure based on a (at the time) 69-year-old actor with an extremely posh diction and manner of speaking, who then gets zombified?!

To my mind, one of the main points of action figures (apart from being collectible, which only works if they’re long out of production and sought-after) is that children can play with them. What kind of boring child (other than possibly me) would bring out Dr Constantine for the conversation with the Doctor, rather than the Daleks and the Cybermen? Reminds me of the Prune Face sketch from Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, which ends with titles saying “PRUNE FACE GOT AN ACTION FIGURE ANYWAY!”

Then again, maybe I’m coming at this from the wrong angle. According to one Robert Litton, the only one to review it, “This [is] a great character and the likeness is amazing. Also has a head with gas mask. Great addition to my 9th Dr. figures.” Guess we know who’s buying them then. Some guy in his basement with an internet connection, since I doubt a 9-year-old wrote that review.



Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

As some of you may be aware, I was celebrating the fact that my first piece was syndicated on the Blogcritics section of the online newspaper the Seattle Post Intelligencer. However, a google search of my writer name, combined with ‘seattle post intelligencer’ revealed that quite a few more articles have been syndicated there. About ten more, in fact, dating back to August 2010. So here they all are.

My review of Ultimate Regeneration, a review to which the author himself replied on this very blog.

This is a review of a collection of three short stories from one of the founding fathers of time travel fiction, H.G. Wells.

This is my review of Curt Stager’s Deep Future, a work which is accurate but quite boring to read.

The Emperor’s Tomb, a book by a man who looks so American it hurts.

A pretty damn good book, considering it’s self published.

Pretty damn good book as well, but can get a bit up its own arse at times.

Feisengrad is a pretty interesting book, in a funnier style than 1984.


I examine Twilight. And am okay with it, on some levels.


This one drew quite a lot of criticism, but that was more at the feature rather than my piece. I hope.

One of my first attempts at describing music.

Hardly A Level Complaint To Aim At The Game…

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

So I despise the last level of Mario Galaxy 2, Grandmaster Galaxy. Filled with enemies, electric barriers and long drops, it has gained a reputation as one of the most difficult levels of the game, and for good reason. But say you pass it. Say you dodge, duck, dip, dive and…dodge your way through the obstacle course to defeat the last three enemies you need to get the star. You’ve done it, right? You’ve mastered Galaxy 2!

Alas, t’was not to be. The very last star (the 242nd!) needs you to do the same thing, except this time without getting hit! You get hit once and you have to start again at the very beginning of the level. This is especially annoying as there are six sections to the level, and four of them are quite easy to get past (dying on the first or second section is like, to borrow a simile from Retsupurae, you showing up to compete in the Special Olympics and them saying “no, you have to leave”). The fourth section is the most annoying, as at least with the last one you felt that you got somewhere, but the fact is that most of the time you won’t ever see it.

There are some handy shortcuts that you can use to get by (I also recommend popping by the casino first) but overall the star itself is very frustrating. I suspect I should stop playing it, lest this become my white whale, but you know the old story. Just one more star…