Obscure Web Comics: Nerf This


Since starting university I’ve gotten Internet access in my room. This is pretty much THE SHIT, but it has had some negative side effects, namely I don’t ever sleep any more, I just surf the net all the time. In my wonderings I found a little known gem called Nerf This. And I really do mean little known, for some reason it has no Wikipedia, no Tv Tropes page and only one post on Reddit. It’s also extremely hard to find out anything about it on the because as soon as you type NERF into google it throws up a thousand websites about guns that shoot little foam bullets.

Nerf This is pretty classic webcomic stuff as far as the formula goes, it has a Scott Pilgrim-esque adorable idiot-jerk who is still adorable main character. It also includes the obligatory ‘cute’ thing in the form of Mooty (who is unbelievably cute). Where it got my attention initially was the amazing artwork. Great artworkThis guy puts out fantastic strips like this EVERYWEEKDAY. When compared to most other webcomics, such as Diesel Sweeties, xkcd or Dinosaur Comics which mostly focuses on dialogue it’s a nice change to read something where the pictures could almost stand as fine art by themselves. The creator of Questionable Content gets lots of praise for the constant improvments to art, but Nerf This really ups the ante, it has only been going for two years but the art has changed so dramatically that when I clicked the first button I thought I was reading a totally different comic to the one at the end (check out how it looked not all that long ago here).

The tone of the comic has also drastically changed since the beginning. Originally a lot of the humour came from the absurd shock factor, similar to Cyanide and Happiness. But as the comic departed from its cartoonish roots and took on a more realistic tone (I can’t really call anything about Nerf This serious). The jokes that were funny when the strip was more cartoonish would now be much less acceptable, although this now means that lesser shocks have a greater impact (like when Chase doesn’t realise what he’s using to do an impression of a walrus is actually.. well..).

Nerf This really walks the fine line between being strange enough to do insane things, yet it’s also real enough that you can relate to the characters and feel empathy for them. Most of the characters also enjoy pretending that they’re from the 1920’s which can only be described as awesome. The scenes with Monty and the talking animals are also some of the cutest things that I’ve seen on the Internet.

I reThis looks like a link to a porno site.ally don’t understand why Nerf This isn’t more popular than it is. It defiantly holds it’s own against Questionable Content in humour and annihilates it in the looks department. Perhaps it’s because it isn’t as grounded in reality people find it difficult to relate to the characters. Another draw back for it is the ads that it runs on other websites don’t really get across what kind of comic it is. Actually the ads set off all kinds of NSFW alarm bells.

In short, Nerf This is now my favourite webcomic as well as one of the most addictive things I’ve ever read. I went through the whole thing in one day and everybody that I’ve shown it to loves it. Although to be fair I’ve only shown it to people who I know love crazy over the top humour.

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Formspring, social media for closet perverts


Image representing Formspring as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Formspring is an interesting concept which, sadly, fails in real life because people are creepy.

The idea is that you set up an account and people ask you any questions, if the questions are too personal or offensive you just don’t answer them and they wont appear on your profile. Sounds fun? It actually isn’t.

I become sad whenever I log onto formspring, it seems that people put over emphasis on the ‘ask anonymously’ option, using it to play out their fantasies. People use the anonymous option to attack other people, calling them ugly, or stupid, or slutty. They could also use it to flirt with the other person, using it to ask sexual or very person questions which, sadly, get answered more then I would hope. It’s very rare to see a formspring that has been used properly, generally it only works with celebrities answering questions about themselves that people actually want to hear about. I would assume however, that it wouold be hard for them to find questions that they actually want to answer because of all the sex/hate spam that they would get.

If you DO have a Formspring and you get asked overly personal, sexual, mean and/or creepy questions DO NOT ANSWER THEM. If you don’t feed the trolls they will starve to death and DIE. And that’s the most important thing.

Summary: An interesting idea, made sad because everyone on The Internet is creepy. One and a half stars out of five.

Coincidently, if you want to ask me something, you can find me and Roomba on Formspring.



Cloverfield, so awesome it sucks


Some character deaths are revealed in this review, if you don’t want Cloverfield to be spoiled don’t read on and just imagine you read a really good review/analysis of it. Just read the summary at the bottom. But now that you’ve read that you’re curious as to why I said it, now you really want to read the review. WELL YOU CAN’T COS IT GIVES AWAY WHO DIES!!

The first time I watched this movie I was dissapointed. More than dissapointed actually. Dissapointed is to how I felt about Cloverfield as a nerf gun is to a assult rifle, possibly a rocket launcher. I came in expecting an exciting action movie, and I got… well, it wasn’t that. Instead it was a movie taken from the perspective of a handicam in the spirit of The Blair Witch Project. In the cinima all the camera shacking gave me a headache.

Cover of "Cloverfield"

Cover of Cloverfield

But I watched it again on DVD a few nights ago and I think I get what the director was trying to do now. You should watch this movie like I did the second time. That is, alone, at night, in bed on your laptop (perferably the laptop is on you lap). By taking the movie from the perspective of a handycam held at roughly head height you can get inside the character more and feel what he’s feeling. It was probably a very consious decision to make sure that the same character had the camera for the mojority of the movie and to make sure that this character only get a few moments on film. Everything else aside, you assume that the person actually holding the camera is safe and you get a genuine shock when he dies (I had actually forgotten that happens the second time I watched it). You also feel what the character feels most more strongly, you get a real sense of panic when the monster is reaching towards YOU, not just some helicopter.

Kinda dumb guy: Wait. You know who Superman is? *sounds impressed/excited*

Girl he’s been hitting on ALL NIGHT: Oh, my God. You know who Superman is? I’m, like, feeling something. Are you aware of Garfield?

However, if you watch it in a movie theater, with a bunch of other people you’re too preocupied by their presence to properly connect to the characters. It’s also harder to suspend your sense of disbelief when you watch this kind of movie with other people. Cloverfield can either be a great movie, or a terribly B-grade heading-inducing waste of a time that could have been better spend clipping your toenails.

Summary: Watch it by yourself or not at all.

Last.fm: How to stalk my music tastes


Image representing Last.fm as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

When my older siblings were young, if they wanted a song they would have to go out to the store, find it on a cd and buy it (and probably another 19 songs that they didn’t want). But with the advent of the Internet, you can go on iTunes the moment you hear a song you like and buy it, or if you’re more of a wild child you might ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD MUSIC. This has had an unexpected side-effect on me, and I’m sure countless others, I’ve got all the music that I want.

I sit down on the computer and want to go looking for music, but I can’t think of anything I want but don’t have. Enter Last.fm. This website lets you enter artists or songs that you like and it will tell you what other people who like those those bands also like. It also lets you set up a profile and link it to the music player on your computer. Then, whenever you listen to that songs, it adds it to your profile, building up an image of what your favourite songs and bands are, and from that recommend other music that you like.

What’s this got to do with stalking my music tastes? If you don’t change your privacy settings, everyone can see what songs you like the most. I’ve only had last.fm since October last year, right before I went through a major Crystal Castles phase, I also don’t think that the automatic uploading works all the time so this may not be completly accurate. But if you want to see a rough guide of my music tastes since a few months ago click here: http://www.last.fm/user/AofANLA

I highly recommend anybody who loves music to get their own profile, last.fm has many other feature that I still haven’t got my head around yet. It also lets you find gigs for bands you like, as well as free music downloads and it tells you when your favourite bands are releasing new material.

2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 68 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 32 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 42mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 22nd with 187 views. The most popular post that day was Things I look for in a girl.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, crusade-against-boredom.tk, mail.live.com, digg.com, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for how i survived the zombie apocalypse, crusade against boredom, 4chan thread, 4chn threads, and jadusable anagram.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Things I look for in a girl March 2010
12 comments

2

How I survived a Zombie Apocalypse (part one) February 2010
4 comments

3

Guest writer, Crystal Rasmus: Demonic Seagulls (AND Sisters!) and What To Do In A Car Breakdown March 2010

4

Roomba Gets a house! March 2010
6 comments

5

Guest Writer: Chloe French March 2010
12 comments

Review of Song of the Dragon by Tracy Hickman.


Have you ever wanted to read a book where everything was EXTREME?? Do you want every event in the book TO BE TURNED UPTO ELEVEN???

Then this is the book for you.

It’s as if Hickman watched 300 and wanted to turn the “THIS IS SPARTAAAAA” line into an entire book.

It starts with the elven nation and their slaves sieging a dwarven fortress, and in turn Dwarf Fortress style, it is underground. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hickman was a fan of DF

Reasons for believing that Hickman likes playing Dwarf Fortress:

  1. The elves are evil.
  2. The Dwarf Fortress is an underground labyrinth.
  3. When the dwarven fortress is sieged one of the dorfs pulls a lever and spills magma over the attacking elves.

That’s right, magma starts falling out of the underground sky and spills all over the attacking army.

“THIS IS THE MOST REFRESHING DRINK I’VE EVER HAD.”

The siege kind of sets the stage for the rest of the book. That feeling of extremely continues throughout the novel. When there is a fighting scene it is a crazed battle for survival, when there’s an unhappy scene it’s the saddest catastrophe that has ever happened, when the heroes of the book find a place to rest, it’s a haven of all that is good and true.

After reading this book for a while you feel… tired.

Highlights of the book include when everyone (and I do mean everyone) that the hero of the book knows either goes crazy or dies. When I say that this is a highlight, I mean that it is very interesting, it’s not a fun thing to read exactly, but it is very engrossing and you won’t ever forget it. I suppose that’s strength of the novel.

I’ve always loved books by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman, namely the Dragonlance Series and the Deathgate Cycle, they are some of my favourite books. When I read Angel Warrior by Margret Weis and her daughter I was blown away by how good it was (I borrowed it from the library at recess and pretty much read it straight through my lessons until I finished it at five pm), however when I read The Immortals by Tracy Hickman I was… less than impressed, I didn’t actually finish it. In fact I didn’t believe that it was the same Tracy… I was wrong. So when I borrowed Song of the Dragon from the library I was dubious about how good it would be. I’ve decided that I like it. I’ve learnt that Margret Weis does very good personal stories, with copious levels of character development and growth, you really care about the characters and their relationships. Tracy Hickman on the other hand, can create a vast world filled with complex political relationships and mythos. Clearly they are at their best when they work together, but they do ok apart.

Good things about Song of the Dragon:

  • Makes you feel like you’re reading a book about Dwarf Fortress
  • Engrossing, you can’t put it down

Bad things about Song of the Dragon:

  • Makes you want to cry
  • Will give you trouble sleeping
  • Could do with more likable characters

Why I like Dragonball Z


Dragon Ball Z: Music Collection Vol. 1

Image via Wikipedia

After writing such a negative post on Home and Away I thought that I might writing something nice, so here I am talking about one of my very favourite time sinks: Dragonball Z

Why do I like Dragonball Z? Well, there are many reasons, I think I might start with the less embarrassing ones first. You’ll see there are a lot of videos here. That’s because I believe the best way to show off Dragonball Z is just to show it.

MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fights are Freaking Sweet
The title really says it all. The fights are amazing.

Epic Scale
And not just in terms of fights. Dragonball Z alone spans from Goku‘s father until his eldest son is having children. There is a real sense of time, if you want to know just how grand the scale is look at this web-page. But back to the fights, by the end of the first season both Vegeta and Goku have the power to destroy planets. By the end of the third season all main characters can destroy planets with ease. At one point Freiza fires a medium powered (for him) energy ball at Goku who deflects it. The camara mega-zooms out and you see the ball fly until it hits a planet and destroys it.

Lincon Park
Wrote the theme song for it before they released their first album. Awesome.

Amazing Character Development
That’s right, I went there. I said a shonen has good character development. When Piccilo first appears he wants nothing more then to kill Goku (which he does) yet by the end of the series he is one of the most trusted of all the Z fighters and like a father to Gohan. Which is lucky in a way because Goku spends a lot of time being dead. The most remarkable story of character development is my favourite character’s Vegeta. He enters the story as the main villain with selfish desires, wishing only to cause pain. And he stays like that. Until he dies. In his dying breath he realises that the way of life he’s been leading was useless. During the series from then on much character development goes on until he reaches this point, his finest hour.

Elegant Simplisity
This struck me in the Buu saga. The real reason why I liked Dragonball Z so much. These people live a simple life I wish I could have. They don’t live an easy life (far from it) but they live a simple life. They always know who their enemy is and if they can’t defeat it they need to try more and train harder so that they can. The relationships are simple and honest and if anybody dies they can just come back to life again (as did happen many times). At some point I discovered that there was a want inside of me, to live a life like they do, where it’s all so… simple.

Unfogettable
This needs no introduction.

It’s Coming Back
For those of you who don’t know Dragonball Kai is being redoing Dragonball Z, keeping all t

hat is good, letting go of that which is not, and increasing the frame rate while it’s at it. Check out the link below.

Everyone loves it!
I feel I may have some blame in this. A bunch of guys in my class love it now because I got obsessed and started talking about it all the time. This and Pokemon. It’s strange that as we’ve gotten older we start watching more cartoons.

Vegeta

Image via Wikipedia

While in almost all of my blog posts I promise myself not to edit them after release apart from arbitrary changes (one of the main purposes of this blog is keeping a record of who I am for my own reference) I feel that I may have to go back and change this one a bit. Generally every time I think of some new reason why I love it so much.