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Not underwear.  No.

Amy wanted me to let you know that she would "never keep something uncovered in the fridge" so I figured I should pass that along first.  I would hope that wasn't your first concern being that there's a dog in there too but some people are more willing to accept animals opening appliances and having their way more than they are uncovered objects surrounded by cold temperatures.  

For the "big news" of the day, I picked up the CE of Final Fantasy XIV despite my reservations.  It just...called to me.  I won't go into too much detail here as that should be saved for a post all its own, but I'm enjoying myself more than I'm not.  This does seem to be the type of game you should come into later as opposed to being an early adopter, but the rough spots aren't quite rough enough to keep me away.  Crafting is actually interesting if not frustrating.  You gain recipes when doing quests however there's no place in-game that tells you which recipes you have...I suppose Square expects you to just write them down?  Combine that with the fact that a bulk of the rewards I get for quests appear to be repeats and it makes it even more difficult to track what I can/cannot make.  I have a Rank 9 Marauder and a Rank 8 Blacksmith so you'd think I could at least make some decent gear for my Marauder class, but not so.  Still running around in my starter gear as NPCs don't sell equipment really and the player-crafting is still hard to navigate.  No Auction Houses (though those are rumored to be coming) so it's just a bit of a cluster trying to find something to purchase so, well, I don't.  A message board I frequent is beginning a linkshell (guild) and we're all on the same server so hopefully we'll be able to pull our resources when things get moving.

I said I wouldn't talk at length and I'm already taking up your time.  It sounds like I dislike it and that's not the case, I think we're just looking at a time-sink currently and while things are more laid out than they were during the beta, there's still a large separation between "this is what I'm capable of" and "wait, what?".  Give me a month and that gap should be smaller.  I hope.

Blood and Feathers


This weekend I took the leap (and judging by some of the trailers, I considered it a leap) and went and saw Legend of the Guardians: The Guardians of Ga'Hoole in eye-popping 3D. Most of you probably know it as 'the owl movie.'

Side note: I'm not a fan of 3D for 3D's sake, but the movie was produced in 3D and was intended that way from the beginning. This wasn't some post conversion thing - which makes it much better. For those of you that think I'm just some giant film nerd to point out the difference - you just have to trust me that I'm a big enough nerd to know that there is a difference. If you've ever said, '3D gives me a headache' odds are you were watching something converted in post.

If you know what you're getting going in - the movie is pretty amazing. This is 100% a balls-to-the-wall fantasy story. Boy from the fringe grows up and becomes a great man. From Frodo to Luke to almost ever RPG every made - this is not a new story. It's archetypical. Would you surprised that he meets some crazy characters along the way? And maybe even a rag-tag band of heroes?

The nice thing about working under such an archetypical story is that any variation on the theme stands out as fun. And there are a few twists along the way. I can't believe I'm saying this about a Zack Snyder movie, but there's a real emotional core to the film - which is really where some of the joy comes from. That and the vocal performances by many top-tier actors.

All of it really hinges on 2 things. The first is the strength of the animation. I remember when Blue and I first went and saw Monsters, Inc. in the theater - the blizzard scene was hands down the most incredible thing I had seen in a cartoon. And that feeling of 'my god look what they can do' has really stayed with me. Since then we've seen loads of beautiful animation - but I can honestly say this is probably the best looking animated movie of the modern age. And I am a die-hard Pixar fan. The performances that they're able to pull out of the Owl's faces, with very little 'animated' styling, is amazing.

I also give a lot of credit to a strong choice made early on in the movie - these aren't cartoon owls in that their wings are really just replacements for hands. You've all seen it in cartoon after cartoon, the long feathers at the end just become fingers and they look like little people. The fact that the only hands they have are their talons makes for some incredible inginuity (namely, the blacksmith) and some amazing combat.

The final tip of the hat goes to Zack Snyder. His directorial style is all over this movie, and not just in the ramping speeds and slow motion. He gives the entire world a sense of scale and wonder. Even the weather is a very visceral experience, and when the time comes for the final battle - whoo boy. In contrast to 300, Dawn of the Dead, and even Watchmen, this is his most emotional movie to date. He lets it breathe, and sit when it needs to - and it pays off in dividends. I hope he brings this newfound sensability to his live action projects in the future.

The movie has its flaws. It gets slow at some points, some of the humor falls pretty flat, and there are a couple of 'scientific / magical' elements that really aren't fleshed out enough. The story is so archetypical that you know where it's going before the opening credits are over.

But if you're in the mood for an all-out fantasy flick, this easily scratches that itch and does it with power and style.

Enjoy the show.