Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bioware & Funimation Announce Dragon Age Anime

Bioware and Funimation have announced they will be adapting the hit Dragon Age RPG franchise into an anime movie, due for DVD release in 2011.
EA furnishes the usual glib press release peppered with vapid quotes – Bioware begins:
“Anime is a great medium for us to continue the robust Dragon Age story. Partnering with FUNimation ensures that we are delivering the exceptional quality and entertainment value that our Dragon Age fans expect.”
Funimation continues:
“We are thrilled to be working with EA and BioWare on the production of the Dragon Age anime feature. We are going to be bringing the classic visual and storytelling techniques found in anime to create a film that will extend the narrative of the world BioWare has created.”
Bioware’s decision to abandon the (presumably expensive) use of Dungeons & Dragons in favour of its own painfully generic “dark fantasy” setting was generally expected to result in a minor mixed media franchise with novels and similar, but an anime adaptation is quite unexpected – although perhaps logical, given the overlap in fanbases.
Funimation for its part is said to be set on creating a variety of original anime-style productions of its own in future – given the rather dismal history of western produced movie adaptations of games, they may have picked a challenging area in which to start.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miyazaki: iPad Users “Nothing But Chronic Masturbators”

Hayao Miyazaki, of Studio Ghibli fame, has launched into one of his trademark rambling tirades against the ills of technology, likening “iWhatever” users to “chronic onanists.”
The remarks came in the context of an interview with Miyazaki published in “Neppu,” an in-house Ghibli rag, which had been covering the iPad.
Upon being confronted by an interviewer fiddling with his iPad, Miyazaki let loose:
“That thing that looks like a gaming device in your hand, along with that strange stroking movement you make with your hands is by no means attractive to me, nor am I at all impressed by it. I feel a sense of revulsion for it, in fact.
I’m sure in short time there will be an increase in people on trains making those strange masturbatory strokes. It was the same when everyone started reading manga on trains, and when it became cellphones – I’m fed up with it.”
That was merely his initial statement.
The interviewer went on the defensive, describing how he thought the iPad a good tool for research, and something to buy books on and look up information with.
This only aggravated Miyazaki further however:
“It may seem like I am ignoring your human rights to say this, but you can’t research any of that. Why? Because you have no way of knowing what it’s like to be on an old trireme, or having empathy with the men on board, covered in sweat as they labour at their oars.
You go out into the world without enriching your imagination. You are merely grasping the iWhatever as a skimming tool you use to stroke yourself.
I’m sure there are many people who want to become omnipotent by getting their hands on this iWhatever. I’ll tell you sir, there were once a bunch of people who wore radio cassette players (those bulky things) wherever they went in the sixties. They wore it like a priceless emblem.
They’re mostly probably living off of pension funds now, but you and them are the same. You jump at the newest gadgets, and all you do is relish the pride in owning one as some consumer.
You must not becomes a consumer. You must become someone that creates.”

via sankakucomplex 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pallet into Snack Table

     So I was talking to the my bud and facilities manager at work one day and freaked out on him when somehow he mentioned that the company just threw away pallets from incoming shipments. I was like, "What the hell? That's mostly good lumber!" So I immediately claimed the next quarter pallet, not even thinking about what I was going to do with it.

As soon as I got home I started deconstruction. It's a lot easier than said however, due to the nails used that are DESIGNED NOT TO COME OUT! And damn, there were a crap load which I had to smack out with a hammer. The entire process took me just under an hour and a half.

After chugging a bottle of gatorade I went back and started sorting and lining up the good pieces. Look at the image below. I bet you would have thought the exact same thing as me. Me: "That would make a good table top". In the end I had myself 10 short planks and figured 6 for the top, 4 for the legs. 3 were less than perfect.

After figuring out each board's best face I clamped the first few together. The boards were not necessarily the same thickness though, so I used my level as a straight edge to make sure the top was as flush as possible.

To keep it easy and quick I decided to fasten the boards together by using an improvised pocket screw method. I drilled into the end grain about 1/4" in straight and then angled my drill about 45 degrees with a 1/4" bit just to create the pocket. Then, following the angle of the pocket, I used a long 3/16" bit to drill the pilot hole. I just used 1 and 3/4" screws to finish the job. Yeah it the end grain and that IS a crack in that second pic but the pilot holes prevented complete failure of the wood's integrity. Good enough in my book. Besides, there will be more reinforcement later. Repeat on the other side.

Different clamping method for boards with different thicknesses:

Here's that extra reinforcement I was talking about. I took one of the not-so-premium boards and drilled each plank in though the bottom. I used 3/4" screws so they wouldn't protrude through the top. Obviously it was too long so I used my fine japanese pull saw to carefully trim the overhang in place. Flip it back over and we have our rough table top.

The next step was to make a set of simple legs. Again, the quick and dirty works for me so I chose to make X shaped legs like you see on a picnic table. First make sure all 4 pieces for the legs are the same length. Next measure one edge of the top where the legs will be attached. This is how wide you'll spread the legs apart. Take a plank, measure to exactly the center, horizontaly and verticaly, and drill a hole. Line up a second plank under that one and drive a 1 and 3/4" screw into that hole. Not you can use that as the pivot point for the leg spreadage. 

Spread that first set of legs to the same width as the table top edge you measured earlier. Make sure you go from outside edge to outside edge. After you get it exactly right just drive another screw near the pivot to lock it in place. I used a chalk line to snap a cutting line. This creates edges that will be even with the floor and bottom side of the top. (forgot to take a pic of the cut legs)

Do that again for the other side and this is what you get - a very wobbly table.

Take another less than optimal plank and make a leg reinforcement. Super quick and dirty. Measure the width of the top, cut your plank, drive into the outside legs like so. I used 1 screw at first just to hold it in place. Square the legs up using a... square, and drive 2 more screws to lock it up. Same on the other side.

There it is, a table! But wait, it's spintered, full of holes and looks like crap... First get the top nice and smooth using a random orbital sander with 100 grit paper. Now here's the part that's really really fricken important that almost everyone forgets or doesn't know about(and forgets to take pictures of). Use a brush to paint on regular old tap water. Get it nice and wet but not waterlogged. When its dry you'll find that the grain has raised significantly and is no longer smooth. There's a bunch of sciency stuff to explain - expansion, blah but I don't want to explain it. Just do it and run your fingers over it and you'll see. Hit it with the 100 grit until the surface is even and then 300 grit to finish. Smoother than a baby's ass.

Now for those holes. Self explanatory stuff here. Get some STAINABLE wood putty and putty away.

Can you guess what's next? Yep. 100, 300. If you're using elbow grease I feel for you. I've been there. But seriously, get a 5" orbital sander for less than 30 bucks(18 clearance at osh. Sweet.). From here you can sand everything else in the same manner. I didn't bother puttying places where people won't see anyway. Using a rubber sanding block and 100 grit I rounded the top edges and under the legs to avoid scratching my deck and my arms. Hmm.. missed a spot - putty putty putty...

With this some people would be satisfied and just slap on a clear coat. Not me! I want stain! And would you have guessed, I have some left over "gun stock" colored stain from a previous project. NOOooOooo, it wasn't for an actual gunstock. It's just the color name, ok? Only one coat in my case, let dry, 300 grit light sand. Boom! Color.

Double clear coat polycrylic or spar(that's what I used), sand 100 grit just till smooth, another coat. For the 4th and final coat I sanded the surface with 100 until I just felt the texture smooth out using very little pressure,   and brushed on a very light finish coat.

And here it is. I call it Snack Table. I dig the single coat distressed look.