Random Distractions: A Riftdrawal Treatment

RIFT: Planes of Telara will finally go live this coming Tuesday. But for me, and to those who also pre-ordered the game, it’s only two sleeps away. So, in preparation for the head start event, I took all the necessary steps to insure a clean install of the Live client. I uninstalled both my Beta and Alpha clients, cleaned my registry of everything RIFT, updated my drivers, defragged my hard drive, and even put up a new RIFT desktop wallpaper.

But soon after I did all of those things, symptoms of Riftdrawal started to show up. So, I did everything I could to distract myself from re-installing my alpha client or writing back stories for my will-be characters on RIFT. Here are some of the things that I did.

I read (but couldn’t finish) The Last Man by Mary Shelley.
I’ve always wanted to read The Last Man by Mary Shelley, it being one of the first post-apocalyptic stories ever written, but I just couldn’t spare the money to actually get a copy of the book. So, when I found out that its e-book is actually free on Amazon Kindle, I downloaded the thing right away. Sadly, since the book was written in 1826, I couldn’t understand a word that was written in here. In fact, I consulted the dictionary more than a hundred times before I could get through the first chapter. Reading the book only made me want to play RIFT even more.

I watched the Back to the Future Trilogy for the nth time.
After dropping The Last Man, I retreated to my meager DVD collection and found Back to the Future Trilogy. I haven’t seen the trilogy in just one go for sometime now. So, I decided to watch it. I still like the film but its “cool flying cars” factor isn’t as cool as it was back during the 80’s. It’s retro-futuristic now than futuristic. I mean, we’re already in 2011, four more years until 2015 (the year in Back to the Future II), and we still don’t have flying cars or Mr. Fusion. We’re still stuck on the ground and we’re still (to quote ex-President Bush) addicted to oil.

Got back into playing the Lord of the Rings Online, and ended up liking it.
LotRO is the first MMO that I’ve played. Though I only played the game for about 4 months and then I got burned by it. Now that it’s free-to-play, I decided to visit LotRO again. I have to say that I didn’t know how to play an MMO back then. All I did before was grind my way to level 50. That’s why I got burned so fast. A game as beautiful as LotRO, you need to play it slow and take in the sights to appreciate it really well. So, I’ve decided that LotRO will be my vacation away from RIFT, and I’m planning to play this game at least 2 hours a week.

Drooled over the models of SI Swimsuit 2011.
What more can distract you than pretty models in a bikini? This here, along with LotRO, squashed my Riftdrawal. Especially when I saw Kate Upton (Guess Model). This girl is a goddess. Although I feel kinda weird when I found out that her photo shoot was actually done in Boracay Island (Philippines), in Puka Beach specifically. That island was my backyard during the 90’s. That is where I had my “firsts”. Now, Kate Upton is walking on the same sand where I once puked. Genevieve Morton is also another goddess. A really buxom babe with a very sexy accent. Here’s some hot shots.

Kate Upton

Genevieve Morton

It’s really hard for me to decide which one is the hotter model.

Anyways, that’s that. Enough of distractions. RIFT will be here in two days, and I will be joining my guild (Gaiscioch) over at the Faeblight server. So, I’ll see you guys in the Warfronts.

10 Awesome Non-2010 Things I Discovered in 2010

One of my favorite things to do is to write a definitive list, a “Best of [insert year here]” list at the end of each year. I also only, strictly, include things that were released on that one year, and I find that a bit problematic because I can’t include awesome things I just recently found out. So, that’s why, I thought of making this list, a definitive list of things I found in a year but wasn’t released on that same year. Confusing much? I know. But, here we go.

Planetes (Animation)

Planetes is a must-see anime!

This is definitely the best anime I’ve seen in my entire life. Set in space and the near future (2075), the story of Planetes revolves around a group of space debris collectors. This show, unlike most anime, isn’t heavy on the action. But the story is very engaging since it explores a lot of political and moral matters about humans being on space –things that we’ll be knee-deep soon enough. Plus, this show is also a hard sci-fi (based on real science). So, if you haven’t seen this anime yet, go watch it now.

Perdido Street Station (Book)
I’ve long given up on Fantasy. But China Mieville grabbed me by the balls and told me to pay attention to the genre again. His Perdido Street Station is an astounding work of fantasy. It’s very inventive, extremely detailed and eschews the standard fantastical themes. You won’t find a trace of Tolkien in this book. No Elves nor Orcs, but it’s filled with exotic races. The plot is also a page turner, and has fair share of shocking and moving moments.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Film)

An enjoyable stop-motion film from start to finish.

I wasn’t expecting anything out of this film. I only rented it because I don’t know what else to rent at Netflix. So it really took me by surprise. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animation about wild animals acting like human and fighting against humans who act like animals, exacting vengeance on urbanization. It’s an excellent film with a lot of wit and humor. George Clooney and the rest of the cast did well on the voice acting too.

Guinness (Beer)
This beer came out 250 years ago. Although I’ve never tasted a drop of it until last May. I don’t like changing beers, you see. My transition from Red Horse to Corona wasn’t exactly smooth. So, once I settled with Corona, there was no way I was going to try another beer. But when I found out that my guild mates prefers Guinness, I got curious and tried it myself. Once I drank it, its richness exploded in my mouth. Now, my fridge is lined with no other beer except for Guinness Extra Stout.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Animation)

Avatar, the epic saga that M. Night ruined.

I dismissed Avatar for a Naruto rip-off made for kids. So, I never watched it until after I saw the movie –and heard complaints of how awful it was. It was only then, after I saw all seasons, that I knew I missed out. Avatar is epic. I love its Asian-inspired world especially. I never thought that bundling Asian themes could be so cool. It’s also a well-packaged series, complete with romance, elemental magic and martial arts action, and comedy. Like I said earlier, it’s epic. Too bad that M. Night ruined the movie.

Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Vol.1 (Comics)
Honestly, Wasteland was on my pull list two years ago. But I only got one issue, which I never bothered to read, and then I canceled it due to lack of money. So, instead, I just waited for the trade collection. I have to say, this is one of the best post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve read, heard or seen. I’m really impressed with it. It’s world, especially, which was destroyed by an enigmatic cataclysm known only as the Big Wet, is gorgeous. It’s part Mad Max, part Star Wars but still feels fresh and unique.

Moon (Film)

Moon is directed by Zowie Bowe, David Bowie's son.

Moon came out the same time Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did. So, it got lost in the box office, overshadowed by Megan Fox’s physical attractiveness. But, even though it doesn’t have big giant robots or a million dollar budget, Moon is still a superb film in every way. I won’t spoil the story here, but I’ll leave by saying that this movie was awesome because tackled bio-ethical questions and explored space psychology –psychological effects of living in space. It’s a must see for hard sci-fi fans.

Red Record by Baroness (Music)
I’ve only heard of the band Baroness last year, and their Blue Album made on my Top 9 Music of 2009.  They really impressed me with their brand of progressive metal. So much that I started looking for their other works. That’s when I found out about their debut album, Red Record. If Blue Album was great, this is even better. The guitar riffs in here, especially in songs like “Isak” and “Teeth of a Cogwheel”, are very eargasmic.

The Spectacular Spider-Man (Animation)

Spidey, with all his love interests.

Like Avatar, I also dismissed The Spectacular Spider-Man for being kid friendly. But that’s only because I didn’t know it’s the most faithful adaptation of the comics. It’s even better than Spider-Man: The Animated Series that aired during the 90’s, and that’s saying much. Each episode is spectacularly packed with a good story, action and the usual struggles of Peter Parker that Spidey fans will enjoy, both old and new. Also, it’s the only adaptation where Peter’s love interest is Gwen Stacey. So, for that, it gets a point.

11:11 by Rodrigo Y Gabriela (Music)
If I heard of this album last year, It would’ve made it on my Best Music of 2009 list. Although it’s better late than never. So, I’m putting it in here to make amends. Not a lot of people will like this one though. But to guitarists and people who appreciates guitar, this album is a gem full of amazing string work. The guitar play between the duo is just awe-inspiring. While the album offers variety, it’s often Contemporary Latin married with other genres. “Buster Voodoo”, for example, clearly sports metal licks hiding behind a Latin guitar.

So, that concludes my list. What about you? What’s your favorite thing in 2010 that wasn’t released in 2010?

Princess of Alamut

Gemma Arterton as the Princess of Alamut.

So my sister is finally done with college. In order to celebrate her achievement we, as family, went out for a movie and dinner. Since I’m too cheap to pay for dinner, and before they could make me responsible for the dinner bill, I offered to pay for the movies instead. While I really wanted to see Robin Hood, the rest of them agreed to watch Prince of Persia. At first, I thought of going to Robin Hood alone. But my odds of wiggling away from the clan were pretty thin. So I conceded and went with them.

As many of you may already know, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is based on a game with the same title. I was a pretty big fan of the game. In fact, it’s one of the few action games that I really love. Fan or no, however, I always avoid games-to-film like a plague because they always turn out to be so crappy (Super Mario, Hitman. Anyone?). Prince of Persia, especially. Being an action game that focuses more on dodging traps and climbing broken walls rather than the story, it had a huge potential of becoming a bad movie.

Fortunately, since the game is all about dexterity, Prince of Persia managed to dodge the cracks that makes a games-to-film go bad. Instead of turning the whole game into a movie, Bruckheimer and crew only took the core elements from the game: the acrobatic prince and the dagger that turns back time. That’s it. From there, they just re-tooled the story. A story which some of its parts was probably based on the Bush Administration’s War in Iraq -you know, invading a sovereignty due to forged reports of hidden weapons.

But what I like most about Prince of Persia is its main cast. I’m not talking about the quality of their acting, however, but their superficial qualities. Jake Gyllenhaal did great as the prince. He really looked the part and even got himself a well-formed abs that I’m sure the ladies will really love. For the male audiences, there’s Gemma Arterton who played as the Princess of Alamut. I’d watch the film again for the sake of seeing her, even with her fake tan. Their British accents bothered me a lot though -as much as it bothered me when Anthony Quinn played as the grandson of Andres Bonifacio in Back to Bataan. It’s Prince of Persia, not Prince of Wales.

Overall, however, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was an enjoyable adventure movie. It’s not as fun as the first Pirates of the Caribbean but it has the same vibe. It’s also the only games-to-film that didn’t suck in my book. With that said, now I think it’s time for [insert awesome director here] to take a look at The Longest Journey or Planescape: Torment for possible games-to-film in the future. And here’s to hoping that Mass Effect and World of Warcraft will become epic movies.

Score: C