My Animal Crossing New Leaf Designs

My latest addiction is ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF for the Nintendo 3DS and one of the coolest parts of the game is that you can create your own designs for clothing, artwork, wallpaper/carpeting, and carnival-style cutouts. Here are some of the designs I’ve created. If you have the game and would like to import the designs into your game, you just have to visit Able Sisters clothing shop and use the sewing machine to scan the QR codes (you need to harass Sable for a while before she makes this ability available to you).

DOCTOR WHO: ELEVENTH DOCTOR CUT-OUT

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DOCTOR WHO: FLYING TARDIS

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND CHESHIRE CAT CUT-OUT

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COMMUNITY DREAMATORIUM

If you use this pattern for your wallpaper and carpeting, you can make a room look like the Dreamatorium from the TV show COMMUNITY.

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MARVEL’S IMMORTAL IRON FIST SYMBOL

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SWORD AND LASER BOOK CLUB

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VAGINAL FANTASY BOOK CLUB LOGO

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Ranking DCnU Week One

Last Wednesday, September 7th, marked the first official week of the reborn DC Comics Universe. 52 new titles will launch this month, and last week saw the release of the first 13 titles. Below I’ve ranked those 13 titles, plus I’ve thrown in the new JUSTICE LEAGUE which debuted the last Wednesday in August. I’ve broken the 14 titles into 5 different categories and keep in mind the dip in quality between the last title in one group and the first title in the next group is significant. Now here’s the best of the best:

MUST READ


1. ANIMAL MAN
: The DC model has often been plot over character, but Animal Man is unquestionably a character driven title. Where many of these DCnU comics start with the cliche first issue “hero in mid-battle” scene, Animal Man starts around a family’s kitchen table. At the same time, it’s not all talking, there’s plenty of action, and a trippy dream sequence revealing Animal Man’s villains. Animal Man balances the mundane with the fantastic brilliantly.


2. SWAMP THING:
While a little heavy on narration, Swamp Thing offers a very interesting lead character and some truly impressive and disturbing horror sequences.

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PROMISING


3. BATWING:
I have to be honest, before reading Batwing I thought it would be taking up residence at the bottom of this list. But Batwing is a pleasant surprise. Taking place in Africa, Batwing offers something new and is a welcome addition to the overcrowded Bat-corner of the DCnU.


4. STORMWATCH:
I had high hopes for Stormwatch given it was penned by Paul Cornell, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Nonetheless, Stormwatch #1 has a few moments of greatness. Here’s hoping the second issue can deliver them more consistently.


5.OMAC:
While I think Dan Didio had a fairly awful run as DC’s Executive Editor, I have enjoyed the couple books he’s written. His Metal Men story for WEDNESDAY COMICS was old school fun and the same can be said for OMAC. Didio isn’t reinventing the wheel here and OMAC feels a bit derivative of Marvel’s INCREDIBLE HULK, but still, OMAC is a light, campy ride and a needed departure from all the darker titles that were released in DCnU’s first week.


6. MEN OF WAR:
Another nice surprise, Men of War starts as a fairly standard war comic, but gets tipped on its head when super-powered beings enter the mix.

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DISAPPOINTING


7. JUSTICE LEAGUE:
The new Justice League feels like a relic from the 1990s. If you’re going to reboot your entire universe, shouldn’t the formation of the Justice League feel new and epic? Here it feels stale and unoriginal.



8. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL:
Remember all those 1980s cartoons where a character from another country would always be a one-note walking stereotype? Well, those days are back in the DCnU with the new JLI! I have a soft spot for Booster Gold, and his character is fairly enjoyable here, but the rest of this book is a mess.



9. ACTION COMICS:
Action Comics #1 may be the most boring comic Grant Morrison has ever written. Morrison-penned comic books almost always elicit a strong reaction (whether positive or negative), but they are rarely boring. Here though, the author of the outstanding ALL-STAR SUPERMAN delivers a truly yawn-worthy tale.


10. BATGIRL:
If you’re going to put Barbara Gordon back in the Batgirl costume and eliminate Oracle from the DCnU, you sure as hell better deliver a story that justifies such a drastic action. This issue fails to do that in any fashion. On the bright side, the events of THE KILLING JOKE haven’t been written out of continuity altogether.

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FORGETTABLE


11. DETECTIVE COMICS:
While this issue ends with one truly haunting page, the rest of Detective Comics #1 is otherwise just another generic Batman/Joker tale.


12. STATIC SHOCK: I was happy to see Static was getting his own book as part of “The New 52″ but, sadly, this book is a bore.

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BURN IT


13. HAWK AND DOVE: Honestly, I could bash Rob Liefeld’s art here, but if you buy a Liefeld book, you know what you’re getting. The story, however, is a bigger mess than the art. I criticized JLI for having one-note characters earlier, but JLI at least has a large cast of characters that each need to be given time. Hawk and Dove has two and both are about as three-dimensional as the paper this comic’s printed on.


14. GREEN ARROW: The emerald archer battles a group of baddies who post videos of their crimes on the internet. The subject feels so forced, you’d think writer J.T. Krul had never been on the web.  Meanwhile, Green Arrow’s weird new beard looks less like facial hair and more like Oreo crumbs or ants crawling over his chin.

So what are your thoughts on DCnU’s first week? Post your comments below!

Santa Claus is a Time Lord

How does Santa Claus travel across the entire world in a single night? How has he lived for this long? How can he carry all those toys on his sleigh? These are the questions non-believers use to try and convince believers that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. The good news for all those that want to believe in Santa is there’s one answer to all those questions: Santa Claus is a Time Lord.

Santa Claus: Time Lord

As a Doctor Who addict, this revelation, surprisingly, only struck me the other day. I quickly googled “santa claus, time lord” and discovered (sadly) I wasn’t the first Whovian to make this connection. On the bright side, it made it much easier to compile all the evidence for why Santa Claus is a Time Lord.

1. He travels the entire globe in one night: Even if Santa’s sleigh traveled at light speed, the act of delivering the presents to each house would take too much time to do in a single night. However, if Santa could travel through both time and space, this becomes an entirely plausible task. Santa could literally be in 2 (or 2,000) places at once. His sleigh is clearly a TARDIS with a functioning chameleon circuit.

2. He can carry all those gifts on a single sleigh in a single sack: If Santa’s sleigh is a TARDIS, it’s obviously bigger on the inside. The entrance to the TARDIS might even be the opening of his sack of toys (assuming in this scenario the sack and sleigh are connected). This would explain its seemingly bottomless nature. The TARDIS could also transform from the sleigh into the sack of toys when Santa entered a home.

3. Santa can enter anyone’s home: The idea that a man as rotund as Santa Claus could enter a family’s house through their chimney is ridiculous. This is likely propaganda spread by Santa himself to hide the truth (after all, breaking and entering seems much more acceptable if it’s done through a chimney). In actuality, Santa just uses his sonic screwdriver to unlock the door. He could also just materialize the TARDIS within a home, but that might lead to an unfortunate accident at some point.

4. Santa is really really old and has taken many forms: Saint Nicholas was born in 272 AD and died in 343 AD. Over the centuries, the story of Saint Nicholas transformed into the story of Santa Claus. Perhaps the story changed because Saint Nicholas himself changed. The reason for the constant evolving of Santa’s appearance could be because it changes with every Time Lord regeneration. And the only way Saint Nicholas could still be alive 1740 years after his birth is if he was a Time Lord.

Can you think of any other reasons why Santa Claus has to be a Time Lord? Share them in the comments section.

One Week with my Nintendo 3DS

Last Wednesday I took advantage of the early price drop (offered at Wal-mart and Target) on the Nintendo 3DS handheld system. It was most definitely a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ situation. By purchasing the 3DS on Wednesday at Wal-mart for $169.99, before the official Nintendo price drop that Friday, I get both the system and the twenty free games the “3DS Ambassadors” (who paid $249.99 for the system) will receive from Nintendo for their early adoption of the new handheld system. One week with the Nintendo 3DS these are my thoughts:

It hurts my eyes! No matter where I place the 3D slider (minus the off position), my eyes are screaming, “stop looking at that!” It feels like I’m going cross-eyed while playing.

I love the Nintendo eShop! On the Wii, I think Nintendo tries to bleed their fans dry with the cost of virtual console games. In the Nintendo eShop, 3rd party Gameboy titles are available for only $2.99 (first party titles are $3.99). Before this week, I had never heard of “Avenging Spirit”, but I plunked down the $2.99 to try it out (because it was so very inexpensive) and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Nintendo eShop also features 3D video of both downloadable games and upcoming retail releases. The 3D videos are mostly limited to 1st party titles at this point, but I assume the 3D format for game trailers will become the norm in the eShop.

Both AR Games and Face Raiders are fun pack-in titles, but neither is ideal for 3D gaming. If Nintendo’s goal was to show off the 3D capabilities with these two mini-game titles, the company failed. There’s a specific “sweet-spot” you must view the 3D screen from or the 3D effect doesn’t work. Both games required much too much movement for a player to effectively remain in the position where the 3D display works correctly.

The Nintendo Video Channel is a great idea, but it should really offer some Nintendo themed videos. There are four video slots in the channel, and every week new videos replace the old ones. Right now the four videos are a Jason Derulo music video, a College Humor short film, the Glee 3D trailer, and a Nintendo Video trailer explaining the channel. How about some old Nintendo cartoons converted to 3D? Maybe break down some old CAPTAIN N: THE GAME MASTER into 3 or 4 minutes segments? I would eagerly tune in weekly for some classic Captain N.

I’ve yet to Streetpass a single person!  Seriously, the Streetpass function is cool idea, but I’ve lugged this thing around with me for a week and no one else apparently has a 3DS! I work at a library, often in the children’s section, so I brought my 3DS to work everyday this past week: no Streetpassing occurring! I walked my local mall, stopping in Gamestop and Target (both of which even have 3DS systems on display to try out), no Streetpassing! I do know I took around 5000 steps walking said mall thanks to the handy 3DS pedometer!

I like the Mii Maker. I was very thankful I could import the Miis from my Wii. I also think the camera function is neat, though, it’s not always that accurate in interpreting a person’s features.

The battery life is a joke. Nintendo encourages the 3DS owner to keep the system in sleep mode whenever it’s not in use, but this leads to the system’s battery needing a recharge once a day or once every other day. I kept the screen brightness set at 2 (out of 5), turned “power saving mode” on, and kept the 3D turned off most of the time, yet I still drained the battery pretty quick. I haven’t even played a retail release yet, so I’m really concerned how quickly this battery will drain when I try to play Ocarina of Time in 3D for an extended period of time.

I’ll admit my initial assessment may seem a bit negative, but I really am enjoying the system. The faults, however, are quite glaring. I’m sure down the road Nintendo will release a stronger battery for the system (there are even instructions on battery removal/installation in the 3DS Owner’s Manual), but right now the battery life is definitely my biggest concern. I also think developer’s really need to think about how to effectively use the systems resources. There are gyroscopic controls, but if you use those controls, the 3D effect is lost because of all that movement.

If you’re a 3DS user, what are your thoughts on the system so far? Feel free to share your friend codes in the comments section.

What’s the Deal with Risotto?

I’ve never made risotto. I’ve never even eaten risotto. But I know what risotto is supposed to look like. Why? Because seemingly on every season of every cooking competition show, someone screws up risotto. At this point I have to ask, what’s the deal with risotto? Or more specifically, why do none of these chefs know how to make it correctly? Do none of these chefs watch the show they’re planning to compete on? Anyone who has watched a single season of TOP CHEF knows risotto is supposed to spread out when you put it on the plate. Yet there’s always someone who gets it wrong.

Jyll Evermann: "Today I'm going to teach you how not to make risotto."

The latest risotto reject was crafted by FOOD NETWORK STAR contestant Jyll Evermann of Glendora, California. According to her FoodNetwork.com bio, Jyll “attended the Epicurean School of Culinary Arts and has worked in several high-end restaurants”.  Apparently, nowhere throughout that schooling or her experience working in high-end restaurants was she taught how to correctly make risotto. And now she teaches classes to others trying to achieve their culinary dreams. So her horrible risotto technique has most likely extended out through society in the manner an actual risotto would spread out across a diner’s plate.

I’m hopeful the sheer embarrassment Jyll was forced to endure on this week’s episode of Food Network Star will finally lead all cooking reality show contestants to learn how to make risotto. Upon being served Evermann’s dry risotto, Wolfgang Puck actually got up, brought the contestant back into the kitchen, and taught her what risotto is supposed to look like. The scene was truly cringe-worthy and later drove Jyll to tears. So future Top Chef and Food Network Star contestants, do you want Wolfgang Puck to make you cry? No? Then please learn how to correctly make risotto before going on the show. I’m tired of watching these spectacular failures.

Also, you might want to have a dessert recipe or two at the ready… but that’s another rant for another time.

The DCnU Dead Pool: Picking the 10 Titles Most Likely to be Canceled

Unless you’re not a comic book fan or you’ve been living under a rock without wireless internet access, you’ve likely heard about the DC Comics relaunch. DC will be rebooting their entire super hero universe and launching/relaunching 52 comic book series (you can see the full list here). Taking a cue from Charles Darwin, DC is clearly utilizing a “survival of the fittest” method to decide which series will live and which will suffer a quick death. Titles featuring Superman and Batman are obviously destined to survive the initial bloodbath of cancellations, titles like BLACKHAWKS and ANIMAL MAN might not be as lucky. These are my picks for the first ten DCnU titles to be canceled:

10. Resurrection Man: Resurrection Man squeaks in at number 10 because the book features a virtually unknown character (a commonality between most of the comics on this list). What spares Resurrection Man from a higher spot in the DCnU Dead Pool is the writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (who created the title character back in 1997). Abnett and Lanning have a bit of a following from their work on the cosmic titles over at Marvel. Whether that audience will follow them over to Resurrection Man is anyone’s guess.

9. Deathstroke: DC is launching it’s own mercenary book, but the likelihood Deathstroke will come close to the popularity of Marvel’s myriad of Deadpool titles is highly unlikely. Having a villain as the title character does give Deathstroke a very small chance at standing out in the DCnU crowd.

8. Blackhawks: Military books are a tough sell even with a top notch creator on board. Writer Mike Costa is a virtual unknown. Blackhawks’ place on the list would be higher, but I’m betting DC will hold the non-super hero titles in the relaunch to a slightly different standard.

7. Hawk and Dove: Is anyone out there clamoring for a new Hawk and Dove series? No? I didn’t think so. With Rob Liefeld on art, the series may just die from an inability to keep on a monthly schedule.

6. Men of War: See all of my reasons for Blackhawks and add a generic title and a generic cover for the first issue.

5. DC Universe Presents: This sort of spotlight series never lasts. Some Deadman fanatics may stick through the first 5-issue arc, but when the second arc starts with a new character, readership will drop. Heck, even Deadman fans might not pick up this book given he’s featured in Justice League Dark as well.

4. Blue Beetle: DC has tried to shove this new Blue Beetle down readers throats multiple times and each time DC has failed. There’s no reason to believe a new Blue Beetle series will survive this time around… unless in this universe Jaime Reyes dies and Ted Kord takes up the mantle of Blue Beetle.

3. Voodoo: Directly from the solicitation info: “Who is Voodoo? Is she hero, villain – or both?” Does anyone care? There are a few Wildstorm characters who could carry their own book, Voodoo is not one of them.

2. Mister Terrific: I was a huge fan of Greg Rucka’s series Checkmate, in which Mister Terrific was a major player, but that book was constantly on life support from a sales standpoint. If the inclusion of Mister Terrific couldn’t bring readers to a team book with a top tier writer, what makes DC think he can survive in a solo title?

1. Captain Atom: I’ve not read a single comic book written by J.T. Krul, but even the most ardent DC supporters seem to hate him with every fiber of their being. A loathed creator writing a character few readers care about would appear to be the perfect storm of likely cancellation and puts Captain Atom at the top of the DCnU Dead Pool.

The scariest part of making this list, for the DC fan in me anyway, is how difficult it was to narrow it down to ten books. I could have easily expanded this to a top 15 or top 20 list. There are so many titles that seem destined to get the axe. Demon Knights, Frankenstein and Animal Man escaped the top ten because I’m excited by their creative teams and hope the likely good reviews will keep them alive a bit longer than other titles. Batwing didn’t make the list only because it has the word ‘bat’ in the title. And OMAC wasn’t included because Dan Didio’s writing it and I have doubts the co-publisher would cancel his own book so quickly.

Feel free to share your picks for the DCnU Dead Pool in the comments section below.

American Whovians, Double Check Your DVRs!

As every Whovian in America knows, the latest new episode of DOCTOR WHO (“The Almost People”) did not air here in the states over the Memorial Day weekend because BBC America thought the show’s ratings would be hurt by the holiday. To add insult to injury, upon searching through my scheduled DVR recordings on AT&T U-Verse, I noticed DOCTOR WHO was not scheduled to record this Saturday. Now I imagine many people have viewed “The Almost People” online through slightly less than legal means, but I think those that haven’t would be incredibly peeved, after waiting an extra week for this new episode, if it did not record.

Don't miss out on The Doctor and Amy's next adventure

I’ve had this problem with U-Verse before when trying to record first-run episodes of a show on BBC America. Often, U-Verse will list the British air-date as the original air-date of BBC America programs and, as a result, I missed more than one airing of LAW & ORDER: UK.  Currently the original air-date of “The Almost People” is listed as 5-28-11 (the date it aired in the UK) and so if you have your U-Verse DVR set to record only “first-run” episodes of DOCTOR WHO, the show will not record this Saturday!

I don’t know if this phenomenon carries over to any other cable or satellite providers’ DVR systems, but please spread the word. No Whovian should be further punished just for living in America.

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