Category Archives: Entertainment

Hello Kitty Online

I love Hello Kitty and all her friends over at Sanrio. So, what better way to live out my dream of a world filled with fluffy clouds and super-deformed animals than becoming a resident of Hello Kitty Online. This new MMO allows players to interact with their favorite Sanrio characters while completing quests, honing trade skills, collecting a variety of costumes, and falling in love with the ever addicting flash minigames.

The big question: Why does the happy world of Sanrioland need adventurers? It turns out that Kitty is missing and all of her friends have been forced into a deep sleep. Players are summoned to the land in order to find keys to wake up Kitty’s friends. The opening sequence features storybook illustrations and a cute rhyme reminiscent of “‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house/ Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” After the opening,  players find themselves listening to the soothing cadences of a very male voice as he explains what to do with your interface.

“This is a chatbox,” he says. “You can choose different channels for map, trade, and even send IMs.”

“Really?” I say. “I never would have guessed.”

Malvina: Just Another Agent Smith

The initial character customization screen was lackluster at best. Players are able to choose from a handful of hairstyles, skin colors, and eyes. I logged in to find that just about every player looked just like me. It was a bit like that scene in The Matrix Reloaded where Neo kicks the shit out of millions of Agent Smiths. According to the website, players are able to complete many different quests and visit shopping malls in order to further customize their avatars’ appearances. I only got as far as exchanging  my skimpy white undershirt and shorts for a set of the same outfit in green and a pair of funky sunglasses.

Overall, the game comes across as a combination of Webkinz, GaiaOnline, and various stylus controlled DS games. Quests, at least at the beginning stages of the game, are painfully repetitive. Malvina, once bloodthirsty World of Warcraft rogue, was reduced to point at various resources to gather them for quest givers. That isn’t to say the game is completely without its share of fighting. Players use unconventional weapons–in my case, a wand– to bludgeon adorable, starry-eyed monsters into a state of dizziness. Did I go after the same helpless starfish a dozen times until he gave me the slime I needed? Maybe. Unfortunately, abusing these super cute monsters does not give any sort of experience.

What does it come down to? Well, if you like to kill things Hello Kitty Online is not that game. On the other hand, HKO is perfect if you are looking for a free to play game that allows you to build houses, hone skills like cooking and farming, and collect costumes. I have yet to uninstall the game, so that must say something about it.

So, if you have an hour or two to spend some leisurely time playing games get off Facebook and send me a message. =^-^=

Warning: Playing this game causes insatiable urges to head to the local Sanrio store and drop loads of money of various articles of Sanrio loot.

Hi-Fructose Magazine

hifructoseRecently, I find myself drawn to the world of magazines. These pint-sized purveyors of words are ideal for sliding under paperwork and perusing between phone calls. As it is, a beautifully crafted, thousand word article can often be more powerful than a 50,000 word novel. My search for bite-friendly literature lead me to the magazine section at my local Barnes & Noble.

Dazzled by the selection– should I read about dolls, games, anime, fashion?– my eyes settled on the haunting portrait that decorated the latest issue of Hi-Fructose. I picked it up, thumbed through to find myself assaulted by stunningly crafted layouts and mind-numbingly gorgeous artwork. My penny-counting shoulder fairy carefully replaced the volume and opted for a less expensive underground and alternative art magazine. Still, this volume beckoned to me from the shelf throughout my daily visits to the cafe.

When I finally did break down and purchase the magazine, I was not disappointed. In fact, I was absolutely shell-shocked. Not only does this magazine showcase phenomenal artists, but the articles themselves feature high-calibre writing. . The crisp, clean layouts and top-quality professional writing make this magazine stand above the others sitting next to it on the shelf. So, if you like art or if you’re just looking for some beautifully written, inspiring articles pick this up.

Hi-Fructose is published quarterly and can be found in many major bookstores as well as online at their website http://www.hifructose.com/.

Being Human: Would you like some bread with your angst?

The Protagonists.

The Protagonists.

I had hoped to round out this week with a look of the latest Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead. Unfortunately, some real life things came up and I was not able to catch it. So instead I want to write about the first episode of Being Human, which also made it’s BBC America premier this week.

When I first heard the premise of this series I was skeptical. Actually, I was more than skeptical, I was convinced that the show would be utter, complete trash. A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost sharing a home and trying to live normal lives? No thanks. It smelled too much like a show trying to latch on to the current vampire and other supernatural creature craze started by Twilight. I was not particularly interested.

These misgivings did not stop me from watching the first episode, however, and now my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I was right to think that this show would be a gimmicky, angst ridden soap opera. (Apparently, angst and vampires go hand in hand in this modern age, it’s a bit like bread and butter.) On the other hand, I did find myself somewhat intrigued by the way this was carried out. The first episode had some particularly well-written scenes and enough hint at a “plot” to make me think about tuning in for another episode or two.

I was sorely disappointed by the way the series portrays vampires. When I was younger, I wanted to grow up to be a “vampire scholar” and so I am always on the lookout for new and refreshing interpretations of this king of otherworldly creatures. Being Human‘s vampires are tiresome at best, and downright disappointing the rest of the time. A part of me expected to see them start glittering in the sunlight and driving Volvos. Then again, the werewolf character was not much better. I did, however, like that he had a very shy, mild personality as opposed to the aggressive werewolf types I generally come across in the media.

What really drew me to this show was the ghost, Annie. I found the way that they dealt with her as a character to be very well done. At the beginning of this episode, she is starting to become more “real” in the sense that non-supernatural creatures are beginning to be able to see her. By the end of the episode, however, she has reverted to not being able to be seen at all. I would like to see the way her character develops throughout the rest of the series.

All in all, I was not terribly impressed with the show. It was a bit too full of angst and lacking originality to keep me interested. If, however, you’re looking for an overabundance of trite themes and underdeveloped plots, this is the show for you!

Children of Earth: Day 5 “We feel good. The chemicals are good.”

Gwen, fighting to the very end.

Gwen, fighting to the very end.

I am having a hard time writing about this episode, not because I have nothing to say but because I am not sure where to begin. Day 5 houses within it the culmination of all the unanswered questions and with it the darkest hour in Torchwood history. If you were looking for a happy ending, you won’t find it here.

A Sad Farewell.

A Sad Farewell.

This is my largest complaint about Children of Earth, that it is all darkness and despair. As beautifully filmed as the series is, I did not turn on my TV to come away feeling worse than when I sat down. Sure, Torchwood is known for its darker, more mature themes, but this is a step too far for me to feel the urge to ever tune in to a fourth series.

I think what disappointed me most was Jack. At the end of the ordeal, he runs away. He blames himself for all of the deaths that have occured and, perhaps, he is right to think this way. Yet, when it is all said and done he abandons everything. Captain Jack Harkness beams off to some passing ship and dishonors the memory of all those who died fighting. Only Gwen is left to continue on, alone.

The 456 are defeated and the children are saved, but it does nothing whatsoever to lighten the heavy darkness that has fallen over the Torchwood universe. One of the things I always liked about this show was that despite the darkness there was always a little something to lighten the mood. Even at the end of the second series, with Tosh and Owen dead, I walked away feeling that there was hope for the future, that these two characters gave their lives for a greater cause. I did not get that coming away from Children of Earth.

So concludes the third season of Torchwood. Will I watch the series again if it was continued? I might, but it would be with a heavy, skeptical heart. A series that started out as a potentially great moment in TV spiraled into an utter disaster– but, like a train wreck, I could not look away.

Children of Earth: Day 4 “It was good, yeah?”

The just are punished, while the unjust... well... give your children to aliens.

The just are punished, while the unjust... well... give your children to aliens.

So, as the week progresses, I find myself wondering if I would have been better off waiting until the end of Children of Earth to offer my thoughts on the series. It is a little late for that now, isn’t it? In Day 4, the action really starts to unravel as the 456 make their demands, Torchwood gets back on its feet, and the politicians making all the decisions prove that the human race really isn’t worth saving.

Th 456 are revealed

Th 456 are revealed

The greater part of this episode centers around the actions of the government and how they plan on dealing with the demands of the 456. Personally, I thought that these sessions were rather long, drawn out, and might have been better shortened. Yes, right away I was left with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as children were reduced to “units” and the “people in charge” frantically come up with ways they can find unwanted children and sell this to the public. When I sat down to watch Children of Earth, I was not prepared for this. In fact, I was a little annoyed that these obviously satyrical scenes appeared at all. If I wanted to sit down and watch a bunch of politicians prove to me once again that humanity is not worth fighting for, I would turn on the news.

Meanwhile, Torchwood records all of these proceedings thanks to the efforts of Lois. In the first few episodes, I did not like her character. Yet, seeing her efforts to aid the Torchwood team and seeing her stand up in a room full of politicians to set them straight changed my mind. If ever they make another series, I hope she makes an appearance as a new member of the team. Jack and Gwen are able to use these recordings to blackmail their way into Thames House– where everything goes to hell.

Ianto always looks so sad, it breaks my little heart!

Ianto always looks so sad, it breaks my little heart!

The scene in Thames House, where Jack and Ianto finally confront the 456, is beautifully done. If Torchwood is good at anything, it is good at killing people. Ianto dies in Jack’s arms and it just so happens to be the saddest, darkest point in Torchwood history. Admittedly, I fell in love with Ianto the first time I sat down to watch Torchwood, so I guess it’s not a surprise to say I am devastated by his death. I think that it is tragic that the moment Jack, Ianto, and the rest of the Torchwood team set out to confront the 456 and stand against them they are brutally struck down. Meanwhile, the government figures, safe in their little room, survive and condemn the Earth’s children to a terrible fate. This is at once horrible and terrifying, almost as terrifying as the way the 456 are revealed and viewers get to see exactly what happens to those children.

Our only hope, at this point, is that Day 5 sees a return of the Captain Jack Harkness that is always there to save the day. What will happen tomorrow? What, exactly, are the 456 using the children for?

Children of Earth: Day 3 “Criminals. Thieves. Us.”

We are here!

We are here!

Children of Earth, Day 3. Things are finally starting to fall into place throughout this episode. The Torchwood team is reunited and the 456 beam down to Earth to habitat their specially built fish tank. What do they want? A gift. What is that gift? 10% of the Earth’s children. I bet the British government is ready to crawl under a rock and die at this point. I mean, honestly, who gives in to a bunch of aliens over a radio?

I eat babies, for breakfast.

I eat babies, for breakfast.

Many of the questions raised in the first two episodes are slowly starting to be revealed. Why did the government want to kill Jack and the other three people on the list? Well, it turns out that in 1965 the 456 demanded children– Jack just happened to be one of the individuals commissioned to deliver these children. If Children of Earth does anything well, it shows us a great deal about Captain Jack Harkness that does not appear earlier in the series. To be quite honest, Jack is starting to turn into quite an unlikeable guy. He sneaks into Frobisher’s house, steals his wife’s phone, and calls to threaten him. In 1965, he gave up a dozen children to a group of aliens not knowing what would be done with them. This does not bode well for what will come in later episodes.

Meanwhile, the reunited Torchwood struggles to catch up to the government and deal with this newest threat. Forced to set up base in an abandoned warehouse (which Rhys lovingly dubs “Hub 2”), Jack and the others resort to petty theft to gather the necessities. This is probably my favorite section of this episode. I particularly like the way Gwen swoops in to steal a laptop while Ianto and Rhys stage a fight. Shortly after, Ianto comes to the rescue with coffee and fresh clothing for the very stinky, grumpy team.

P.S. Ianto looks pretty damned good in this suit.

P.S. Ianto looks pretty damned good in this suit.

Overall, I do not think that this is the strongest episode of the series. Viewers are subjected, like in Day 2, to a great deal of outside information to fill in gaps left in the first two episodes. At the same time, the Torchwood team spends this episode playing catch up to what the government, and the aliens, are up to. By the end of the episode, however, things really pick up as both the government and the Torchwood team are left holding their breath as the 456 make their demands.

Will they give in and gather up the required children? And what exactly do the 456 need all of these helpless kids for? I guess we will just have to tune in tomorrow for Day 4.

Children of Earth: Day 2 “We want a pony.”

Torchwood: Closed for Renovations.

Torchwood: Closed for Renovations.

The Torchwood team is under attack! Gwen and Ianto run for their lives as they become the latest victims of government conspiracy. Meanwhile, Frobisher and his gang continue to deal with the 456. How do they deal? Give into their demands, of course!

With Jack reduced to little more than bits of head, shoulder, and an arm, the rest of the Torchwood team is forced to resort to their super spy skills to figure out why they’re being hunted and rescue their regenerated captain. Needless to say, this puts the alien hunting on hold.

Ianto, down and dirty.

Ianto, down and dirty.

My observations this episode:

Gwen does a lot of shooting. She never hits anything. Sure, she looks pretty badass jumping out of the back of ambulances and hiding behind steel doors, but the fact that she never hits anything sort of kills the “cool” factor.

Jack regenerates. I think this is fascinating. In fact, if I could teleport myself into the Torchwood universe I would blow him up just so I could watch him regenerate.

PC Andy returns to bring comic relief to what is quick becoming the darkest series in Torchwood history. Honestly, it doesn’t really help. By the end of the episode a growing sense of dread has already settled into the pit of my stomach.

This is the construction episode. The government is building a large box in which to contain the aliens. Ianto dons the garb of a construction worker in order to rescue Jack from a very large concrete block. The Torchwood hub is demolished. You’ll need to pull out ye olde hardhat for this one.

Ianto Jones: Jack of all Trades

Ianto Jones: Jack of all Trades

Rhys appears in this episode. I really like Rhys. He puts up with a lot of nonsense when it comes to the Torchwood team and their escapades. In this episode, he poses as a funeral director and looks pretty damned good all dressed up.

Finally, we get to see Captain Jack Harkness naked. Yes, that’s right, NAKED. He has a very nice ass and looks very dazed and ‘daaww’ worthy.

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?

Okay, so really this episode spends more time filling in information that was left out in the first episode and setting things up for what will come in the final episodes. Once the team reunites and the aliens arrive, the real story can start to unfold.