Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Halloween Breakdown

Pictured: The Azn Badger's MANLY Jack 'O Lantern.

So, I don’t know about you, but I actually tried to make something of Halloween this year.

When I was a kid I did the whole Trick or Treat-ing thing, but in the years since, I’ve kind of treated Halloween as just another lonely and awkward day on the calendar.

Deep down I really wanted to make an effort to have a Halloween this year, but I have a problem that one could describe as “lacking balls,” so I decided to tag along with my good friend Mencius (who had to twist my arm just to make me leave the house) on an aimless trek through the night.

That being said, here’s a bullet-ed breakdown of my Halloween, from start to finish:

  • Woke up.
  • Ate pig sandwich.
  • Browsed web while watching Batman Returns.
  • Went to Unemployment Office for mandatory meeting.
  • Got bored during meeting, drew Gamera on my pamphlet.
  • Went home, resumed watching Batman Returns.
  • Got call from Mencius around the time Batman Wilhelms that one dude and blows up the strong man.
  • Got to the part when Penguin is controlling the Batmobile, got call from friend, hopped on bus to card shop.
  • Played 2 rounds of Magic, went 1-1 against a vastly superior deck.
  • Missed bus back home, had to run 2.5 miles home in time to rendezvous with Mencius.
  • Headed down to Capitol Hill with Mencius, he dressed as “Alternative Medicine,” and me wearing a non-costume in the form of my official Azn Badger t-shirt.
  • Saw a Blondie from The Man with No Name movies that had Ennio Morricone music perpetually playing from his phone.  Brownie points for innovation.
  • Saw a decent Quail Man.

He looked only marginally better than this guy.

      • Encountered hobo asking for money to cure an itch he had in his crotch.  Brownie points for innovation and grossness.
      • Saw a Weird Al Yankovic from his “Fat” music video.  Handcrafted with an embarrassing degree of love.
      • Saw a Ruby Rhod AKA Chris Tucker from The Fifth Element.  Very unique and detailed.
      • Ate sushi and drank tea.
      • Encountered Conservative Jewish Batman.
      • Conservative Jewish Batman expressed sexual frustration regarding female Seattlites, as well as Liberals in general.
      • Many topics were discussed, ranging from comics, to videogames, to politics and economics, though for Conservative Jewish Batman, everything always came back to Reddit AKA “That One Place On The Internet I Never Go.”
      • Sighted an Asian man in the bar that was “living the dream.”

"Living the Dream": Being an Asian man dating an attractive white and/or blonde girl.

        • Decided to call it a night, had long and fruitful conversation with Mencius regarding frustration over white people utilizing random Japanese words in English conversation.
        • It was decided that “Toki Doki” was the most annoying of said Japanese-isms.
And that was my Halloween!
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“The Cat Came Back The Very Next Day”

You remember this cartoon, right?

The Cat Came Back is a cartoon that is very near and dear to my heart, not only because of the insanely catchy nature of the song played over it; but also because I watched it nearly every day of my early childhood.

The Cat Came Back was routinely played as commercial filler between programs during the early days of Nickelodeon.

I’m talking pre-Nick Toons Nickelodeon, back in the day when virtually every show featured on the network was imported from overseas, or in the case of this particular animated short; from the Great White North.

Anyway, this song came up in conversation with my brother this evening, so I figured I’d share with you all just in case you don’t remember/have never seen it before.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

5 Words That Sound Cooler Than Their Meaning

Ever notice how every once in awhile you run across a word that sounds really fuckin’ badass, only to discover later on that it’s actual meaning is equal parts pathetic and absurd?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this happened to me a whole helluva’ lot when I was little.

That being said, the following is a brief list of some words fitting the above description, most of which I first encountered as a young badger.

#1. Reticulated

This is what I think of when I think "reticulated." A big fuckin' snake killing the shit out of Owen Wilson.

Definition: Constructed, arranged, or marked like a net or network.

You know what the longest snake in the world is?

While it might be wrong, given that I read it almost 20 years ago; my Snakes issue of Zoobooks taught me that the world’s longest breed of snake, was the Reticulated Python.

Animal kingdom factoids like this was really important to me as a kid, but apparently learning the meaning of words like reticulated wasn’t; ’cause it took more than a few years for me to discover it’s definition.

I remember thinking the word reticulated meant something along the lines of “really fuckin’ big,” or “seriously fuckin’ savage.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Reticulated Python’s name simply referred to the characteristics of the pattern drawn across it’s scales.

#2. Hyperbole

That's a hyperbole if I've ever seen one...

Definition: An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

Do you know what what the term “hyper” means to child raised in the era of super saiyans and hyper combos?

It refers to something crazy fuckin’ awesome (and destructive) that most likely requires a super combo meter to perform, that’s what!

When I first heard the word hyperbole, my young mind immediately thought it was some sort of secret Street Fighter move, or failing that; some sort of secret X-Men vs. Street Fighter move.

At some point in my struggle to define the word hyperbole; I came to the conclusion that:

“Hey, Magneto has his Hyper-Grab; maybe there’s some sort of super combo version of it I haven’t seen called Hyper-Bow-Lee!”

Pictured: Magneto, warming up his "hyper-bow-lee."

Yeah, I played a lot of fighting games back in the day…

Actually, I’m pretty sure the first time I ran across the word was in written form; whereupon I most likely pronounced it as “hyper-bowl.”

I consider myself a pretty good speller nowadays; but back in the day I was a shithead just like everyone else.

#3. Isosceles

"Man, that guy's so isosceles; it's just plain unfair!"

Definition: Having two sides equal.

“Isosceles Kramer…”

That’s all I needed to hear to start thinking isosceles was the coolest fuckin’ word ever.

Sure, I learned it’s meaning at some point in math class; but that doesn’t mean I ever made any attempt to retain that knowledge.

You see, numbers and I have feuding like an Irishman and, well… Another Irishman, for as long as I can remember.

That is to say, despite my Azn-ness; math has always been one of my weaknesses.

Despite this, thanks to Seinfeld; I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with the word isosceles.

Unlike most of the other words on this list, I never came up with my own interpretation of it’s meaning.

In all honesty, from the time I first heard it up until the present, there really hasn’t been a time when I was unfamiliar with it’s meaning; but even so, for such a slick-ass sounding word, isosceles has a pretty pathetic meaning.

#4. Abdicate

Above: “Abdication” at it’s finest….

Definition: To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

Did you ever see that episode of Hey Arnold! where Eugene was obsessed with the Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired movie character, “The Abdicator”?

Well, I did; more than a few times at that, and it was this episode of the show that first introduced me to the word abdicate.

Just like I’d imagine the character Eugene felt, for whatever reason; the name abdicator sounded like a believable superhero to me.

Then again, I’m pretty sure any word that ends with an “-or” has the appropriate amount of manly “oomph” to it to work as a a superhero name.

Anyway, I remember that the actor that plays the abdicator actually learns the meaning of the word abdicate at some point during the episode; leading to me first hearing the word and learning it’s definition in the space of 20 minutes or so.

While I know the definition well now, thanks to Hey Arnold!; to this day I still get a kick out of thinking back to the brief time in my life when the word abdicate referred to “beasting on someone mightily in a Schwarzennegger-ian fashion.”

#5. Dodecahedron

Let's see, it's one part Destoroyah, two parts Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, and a billion parts retarded...

Definition: A polyhedron with 12 faces.

The above image represents what I thought dodecahedron meant before my math teacher had to go ahead an’ spoil it for me.

Yeah, I was a pretty fucked up/retarded kid.

... And apparently I was a very imaginative speller as well.

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“I Don’t Do Wonder Woman”

I’ve never read a Wonder Woman comic in my life.

I watched the Lynda Carter TV show on Nick at Nite when I was a kid, and I  her recent DC animated movie to be the cream of the animated crop; but for the most part, Wonder Woman is an unknown property to me.

Though she supposedly stands as an integral pillar to the “Trinity” of DC’s superhero pantheon, in all honesty I’ve always kind of viewed her as being a tier below Batman, and even Superman; in terms of prestige.

In my book, the triangle of power between the Big Three is definitely scalene. In Batman's favor mind you...

That’s not to say the character doesn’t have an incredible breadth of history behind it, or that the character seems lacking in terms of ability next to the aforementioned pair of ass-kickers; rather I’m just saying that Batman and Superman are like the good old fashioned American combo of ketchup and mustard, while Wonder Woman is more like hummus or some shit.

Translation:
Batman and Superman are household names, whose most significant exploits are often known to those that have no interest in comic books, whereas Wonder Woman is known; but very likely an enigma to most.

Pictured: A big 'ole plate of Wonder Woman...

*Whew!* That was one helluva’ simile!

I suppose if any value were to be extracted from the above mess of similes and bullshit, I’d say it’d have to be that:

I don’t do Wonder Woman.

I know the extent of her powers.

I have a rough understanding of her origins.

For the life of me though, I don’t know of a single significant event in her entire 70 year history.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve read review after glowing review praising Wonder Woman’s stories, due in no small part to Gail Simone’s impeccable writing talents.

Any author with the chops to write a scenario involving Bane riding a dinosaur gets a nod from me...

Hell, I remember reading a Wonder Woman trade review over at Collected Editions that started things off by saying “BUY THIS COMIC. NOW.”

Based on that statement, as well as numerous other complementary reviews I’ve read; clearly there’s quality entertainment to be found in some of Wonder Woman’s stories

Despite this, as well as my love for Gail Simone’s Secret Six series, I’ve yet to flip open a Wonder Woman trade.

I think part of the problem for me with Wonder Woman, is the inherent “ooginess” that comes from being a young man facing the prospect of reading a comic wherein a scantly clad woman runs around and beats the piss out of people.

...And then there's shit like this.

I’m not a prude.

I have a cock just like every other boy down the block.

It’s just that when it comes to the idea of reading comics like this, no matter how well written or lavishly illustrated; I can’t help but feel just a little bit dirty.

I’d like to read a Wonder Woman trade at some point, as I’ve been largely impressed by Wonder Woman’s guest appearances in some of other DC trades I’ve read; but for now my bookshelf shall remain Wonder-less.

I know it’s silly, but for the most part; this “oogie” issue is the only thing holding me back from giving Wonder Woman a shot.

Well, that and the horrifying prospect of being made to look like a pervert as I purchase a Wonder Woman trade for the inevitably female register clerk at the bookstore.

Anyway, this whole post came about as a result of the recent announcement of the new Wonder Woman TV series.

I definitely won’t be watching the show, but tomorrow I think I’ll give my thoughts on the new Wonder Woman costume.

See yah’ tomorrow!

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Best Boss Music #10: Ikaruga

I loves me some space shooters.

Foh’ real man, if a game is vertical scrolling, and involves a great deal of shooting, chances are I’ve either played it, or would very much like to play it.

Ikaruga stands as a game that is at or near the apex of quality and ingenuity for the vertical scrolling shoot ’em up subgenre.

Right next to this beast...

Developed by legendary team over at Treasure, Ikaruga is an intensely complex and difficult game, that while actually quite short, even by shoot ’em up standards, is very difficult to complete, even for the most seasoned of veterans.

I myself have never managed to beat Ikaruga, only getting far enough to get to the first step of the final boss’ stoop.

"Haha! Stoop Kid's afraid to leave his stoop!"

Set somewhere amid the same mythology as the one conceived in Treasure’s earlier Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga is one of the rare shoot ’em ups that actually has a legitimate backstory, albeit one that is completely omitted from the actual gameplay.

Similar to many of the older generation games, Ikaruga’s storyline was told, in detail; within the game’s instruction manual, as well as in cryptic messages that would flash on-screen briefly between each of the games 5 stages.

Yeah, 'cause I can read that...

While not nearly as deep as say, Konami’s Gradius series’, Ikaruga’s story is actually fairly intriguing.

The basic setup is that of a powerful empire discovering the power of God, only to wield it against it’s own people in an attempt to create absolute peace.

So, the evil empire discovers The Force...

This of course leads to a rebel faction taking up arms, only to be nearly completely annihilated in the process.

... And obviously the Rebels are fucking incompetent.

One pilot though, whom the player assumes control of, crash lands in village called Ikaruga (Mottled Finch).

... Said pilot crashes on a planet to acquire The Force...

The old people there, living in exile from the empire grant this pilot a ship imbued with a power similar to the power of God discovered earlier, though broken down into 2 separate polarities, black and white, or Yin and Yang.

Humor me and pretend you're interested.

With this power at your command, you the player dash headlong into the maw of the enemy forces on a suicide mission to turn the tide of the war.

The Yin and Yang concept mentioned above serves as the very core of Ikaruga’s unique gameplay.

Basically, every enemy and bullet in Ikaruga belongs to one of the 2 polarities of black or white.

With the touch of a button, the player is able to change their ship’s polarity back and forth between black or white alignment.

Pictured: The White and Black forms of the ship as rendered in pixel-format by Metaru.

When in either color state, the player’s ship becomes immune to all enemy bullets sharing it’s color.

Not only that, but purposely absorbing bullets of the same polarity slowly charges one’s special attack meter, which can be unleashed in the form of a massive homing laser attack that serves as Ikaruga’s equivalent to the classic shoot ’em up bomb attack.

Yup, that's a bomb.

At the same time, the player also has to take into consideration the fact that enemies take twice as much damage when struck by a laser of the opposite polarity.

This leads to occasional mental overload on the part of the player due to the constant possibility to trade the security of fighting an enemy of the same polarity, in favor of potentially destroying them faster by switching to the opposite polarity.

Now imagine this when you're EXPECTED to purposely run into half of this.

As mentioned earlier, Ikaruga is a very short game, at only 5 stages in length, however it’s difficulty stems from the intense level of strategic thinking necessary to maneuver each stage.

A huge element of the difficulty in Ikaruga springs from the fact that, in order to played correctly, one must effectively reprogram their most basic shoot ’em up instincts.

The one basic rule that is a constant in the vast majority of scrolling shooters, (well, except maybe Giga Wing) is that bullets are bad, and should never be touched due to the distinct potentiality that they might, I don’t know, KILL YOU.

Sadly, Takeshi Kitano forgot to un-learn the lessons taught to him by Ikaruga.

Ikaruga takes this most basic of concepts and throws it out the 3rd story window.

I think it goes without saying, I’m not very good at Ikaruga.

The game makes no attempt to cover-up the fact that it’s a shoot ’em up made exclusively for seasoned players of the genre with big hairy stones.

... Or failing that, one that can make fire from box-office success.

Hell, the game goes so far as to include a tiny animation for when you skim bullets with your ship, serving as a visual indicator as to exactly where the ship’s hit box is located.

Not only that, the game also grants the player special point bonuses for defeating enemies of the same polarity consecutively, as well as a particularly difficult to obtain bonus called “Dot Eater” that can only be obtained by beating a stage without shooting down a single enemy.

How is this possible?

Well, the stage bosses of Ikaruga all come with time limits attached, resulting in epic battles that can end in stalemate due to the retreat of the enemy unit.

Speaking of bosses, Ikaruga’s got some pretty neat ones.

Hey look it's a... Uh... Yeah, I got nothin'.

They lack personality for sure, but from a gameplay standpoint they are expertly crafted masterpieces of the genre.

The real star of the show during the boss fights though, is of course; the music!

That being said, let’s get down to our best boss track in Ikaruga:
Stage 1 Boss Theme: Butsutekkai

Though Butsutekkai gets the gold in terms of overall energy, I honestly feel that this next track is on par with it in terms of musical quality while adopting more of a sweeping dramatic sound.
Stage 2 Boss Theme: Recapture

Anyway, those are my 2 picks for the Best Boss Music in Ikaruga.

Tune in next time!

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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