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Ivan last won the day on July 5 2013

Ivan had the most liked content!

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About Ivan

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    Canon Fodder

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  • Favorite Fiction Character
    Granny Weatherwax
  • Favorite Non-fiction character?
    Václav Havel

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  1. Head over to Redux to check the thread: https://redux.justicewebsolutions.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2
  2. I was thinking about the kind of stories we used to write here. I wrote a piece of one today. There is nothing more dangerous than The Right Idea. Some folks- not very many, but some- are born believing they can kill god with a sword. It is a stupid idea, but they don’t particularly care. They put a lot of energy into finding the right sword, learning how to swing it, perfecting the stroke, and practicing pithy murder quips. Invariably, they die before they ever find him. They look everywhere, but he is very good at hiding. So they die, and sooner or later another dummy comes along to pick up that sword. Like I said, it’s a stupid idea; they’ll never find him. Thing is, he’s not hiding from them. He’s hiding because some folks- not very many, but some- are born believing they can kill god with a song, and he knows they’re right. It’s easy to assume that when you kill god things go to shit, but every god I know sets things up to run in their absence. What’s the point of being god if you have to micromanage every little raindrop and volcano? There are systems in place for the day-to-day, decade-to-decade business. Some of them are so well-designed it’s a difficult for even their creators to disrupt them. Such complicated systems aren’t efficient when fully automated. Rather, most are overseen by a set of... let’s call them empyrean middle-managers. These are folks who are terrifyingly powerful and prototypically incapable of thinking or feeling much beyond the scope of their duties. You can think of them as angels and archangels, if you find that personally appealing. You can also think of them as gears and springs set in place by a skilled-yet-easily-distractible clockmaker. Of course, even in this highly reductive cliche, someone’s got to wind the damned thing from time to time. That’s me. I suppose I am, to mix metaphors, the celestial checksum. I monitor the rest of the systems, so the creator can make repairs and replacements if something goes wrong. No, this doesn’t mean I know where he’s hiding, but I do have his email. Most of the folks I observe- if they assign a name to me at all- call me The Audience. It’s fine. Most everyone else calls me Dex. Lucas calls me “Oreo,” which is only funny if you’re bad at Latin. Lucas Pastor is far too complicated to think of as a mere cog in the celestial machine. He’s no angel, either, but that’s not really his fault: his species of eleven-dimensional… cog… always exhibits a tendency toward catechismic neuroses. He’s a friend, and he has an important function: to follow the songwriters, and keep tabs on the ones born with The Right Idea. It should be obvious this task requires a degree of nuance orders of magnitude greater than a task like overseeing the tides. Not many cogs need to be eleven-dimensional, and only one has an existential mandate to parse the lyrics to Hallelujah. The resulting hot mess is the only good friend I’ve got, and he’s been missing for 72 hours. He left me a note: Oreo- I’ve got an idea.
  3. The bit-scroll resolution is limited to about 8K tripixels per inch, but if you turn off the interferometry you can get a bit more with good content fillers. You lose the 3D, obviously, so no Academy trained res-modeler would think to do it, but down in The Belly we learn to make do. While the nix are wringing their hands over density readings don't make a lick of sense, Nell and I have one clear picture, half a name, and a ninety minute lead before the hardsuits think to ask why the floor is sticky. There's a bloody fine line between futility and art. The gheist they pulled out of there looked like he came out of a warzone, not a basement. There's a whisper of a chance that we get to him before they wrap him in red tape and seal his file, but I'm feeling Irish and Nell is good at hospitals. Her current host body was originally a surgeon I think, good organic hands, soft and cruel, with the kind of porcelain features which suggest the quality of the work is on display, somewhere in the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" tax bracket. It's hard to tell if this guy was agency or a rover, but between Nell's perfect tits and her savage hands, we'll probably get more out of him than the hardsuits ever do, and in half the time. The light finally changes, and the on-ramp hums beneath the wheels of the Jeep. I have to close my eyes when we're driving, else I process too fast. I have a stretch of the 91 burned into my memory from when I was six years old; fractal mountains, diminishing Antisin curves, and seventy seven license plate numbers which haunt my dreams, all because I risked sneaking a split-second peak at 200 kph. Even with my eyes closed, even with headphones on, with the ionic air filters on full, I record things. My nose tells me the man Nell shook hands with was a smoker. My vestibular sense records eight lane changes. My proprioception tries to calculate our precise altitude using cell phone tower triangulation, but I do have SOME self control. The hospital is a massive affair, glass and stainless steel facade with a beaded hologram waterfall, sort of Frank Lloyd Wright meets Pale Horse, and we're headed underground. Nell hates labyrinths and mazes, getting lost scares her I think, but I have no idea what it's like to not know precisely where I am. Nell talks us past security, I'm never sure if it's her silver tongue or her cleavage doing the work, but I suspect the former, when we were eighteen she tried a male body for about a month, and it didn't slow her down. I spend a few moments with a pen and crank out a rough copy of the bit-scroll image, detail accurate to about a 4x zoom, which should be enough for this guy. Just in case, we've got badges too, a nice bit of digital forgery which, when scanned, calls up an obscure error message which suggests, without outright saying, that we're above the paygrade of whoever scanned us. Like I said, futility and art.
  4. Late 1999. I did an internet search for "Thanos vs Darkseid." Wound up reading through the comments of the classic "Apocalypse vs Darkseid" CBUB match. (You CBUBers have to remember this was the late 90s- Apocalypse had tons of Street Cred, there was no such thing as The Sentry, and demanding "feats" for anything would still get you laughed off the internet. It was a better time.) I wound up intrigued by the idea of a "create your own superhero" site and clicked over to the FPL. It was possibly the single most influential link I've ever clicked on. I lurked on the site for a few weeks, reading message board posts which lamented the loss of The Simulator (a very old program which would predict the results of a match between any two FPL characters based solely on powers, an idea which is laughable today.) There were discussions about piercing, and reinforced defenses, and a whole thread of math to try and quantify Standard vs Superior vs Supreme vs Ultimate power levels. I decided to register and vote just as Stella Aurorae was just starting her Main Event run, and create my own character. Oh god, my first character was a mess. He was a port from a fantasy RPG, and he had an amulet which shot magic beams at people. The character was straight-up rejected for lack of content. I got over it, rewrote him and resubmitted. The new version was 10 times better, which meant he was still pretty terrible, and I had the luck to enter the FPL during a period when everyone was congratulating themselves on how great the writing was. I did my best to step up, and my next major effort was part of a group project called The New Management. At the time the FPL was flooded by group projects where creators got together to create related characters, and for a while the voting trends heavily favored being part of a group. Writing quality grew by leaps and bounds, and nostalgia for this period still exists today, (even though every single one of those characters straight-up sucked by today's standards.)
  5. I think you can collectively take the EF community with you to those sites- I followed some friends from the FPL to a now-defunct creative writing based social networking site called Consummating.com, and we had our close-knit group and made new friends (one guy even met his wife there!) I understand the social aspect of the site. The FPL has had conventions in Vegas, I've attended two of them. I've- at the very least- had dinner with a dozen or so people from this website. Many of them have moved on from the FPL but we've stayed in touch- one electricferret alumnus even got his novel published and nominated for a John W. Campbell award. The basic functionality of this place exists elsewhere. You can take the family with you when you move.
  6. Dear CBUB: CBR, Comic Vine, KillerMovies, Screw Attack... all these sites are virtually identical to what you do on this site, with the possible exception that one or two people on those sites have actually read the comics about which they're arguing. You might try signing up for one or all of those.
  7. Might want to choose a new name, as "Who Is More Powerful" doesn't lend itself to a particularly flattering acronym...
  8. Treach got that video from WalMart, apparently.
  9. I'd be interested to see methos vs sirmethos on this one. http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/lucifer-morningstar-vs-saint-of-killers/26121/
  10. Here are a couple bosses I really enjoyed. I'm an extremely casual gamer, so this list makes no claims to being definitive or even containing choices I will agree with tomorrow. GLaDOS from Portal deserves a spot. She's with you the whole game, and more importantly she's the only voice you hear. The sense of betrayal when you cross the threshold from the "training" part of the game to the backstage area is something that stayed with me. Elaine, the final Boss from a pretty obscure SNK/Sacnoth RPG, Koudelka, is on my list. (It's a prequel to Shadow Hearts.) James, the priest, rounds out your party of 3 early on in the game, but he's a total dick to both Koudelka and Edward even onto the third disc. Finding out who Elaine is and why James is at the Monastery is a big part of the final act, and caps off an emotionally resonant story, but the main reason she makes the list is that if you kill her, you get the bad ending, and if you let her beat you, you get the good ending. That's really counterintuitive for an RPG final boss, and is one of the only times in any game I've played where the morality of the character's choices actually felt like it was in my hands (To be fair, I always beat her to within an inch of her life before letting her win.) Galamoth from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I have fond memories of this game, but the first time I faced Galamoth I almost quit playing. That dude is far and away the most difficult boss in the game (at least until you find the Beryl Circlet,) and I got far more satisfaction slaying him than I did Dracula. Also, beating Galamoth the second time, as Richter is an unrivaled exercise in precision and patience. Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid. I loved this fight. I bought and played this game in high school, before anyone had ever dreamed of relying on a walkthrough for a first play-through, and the first time this boss read the contents of my memory card out loud and started messing with my controller, I flipped out. There was a perfect balance of puzzle element to this fight, while maintaining the sense of urgency that a boss battle needs. Of course, it's not nearly as much fun after you know all his tricks, but the first experience was exactly what the game makers intended me to have, and I'm glad I didn't have any spoilers. Death Adder/Death Bringer from Golden Axe. After dumping over $20.00 in quarters into the Golden Axe machine at Skate World, my buddy and I finally killed Death Adder, and were treated to a clever (and long for an era when games usually just ended with "Thanks for Playing") cinematic. After beating him in the console port, a door opened and I KEPT PLAYING which totally blew my adolescent mind. It's sad the console version didn't come with the same ending as the arcade version. Bowser. Beating Bowser was a badge of honor in the 3rd grade, something that set you apart from the other kids on the playground. Some people like to make the boast that games have gotten better since the 8-bit era. They've gotten longer, certainly, and improved the graphics and sound, but the entire point of playing video games has also changed significantly. Modern games, like the aforementioned Fallout 3 and Arkham City, require the player to follow a storyline, those games are (admittedly awesome) interactive movies. In the distant past, the point of playing a video game was not to make the character accomplish storyline goals, it was simply to solve the little puzzle in front of you without dying. This is why there is such an explosion in the casual games market, and why Temple Run and Bejeweled attract more players than Skyrim. Comparing Mario to Master Chief is like comparing pizza to a full-course Italian meal. Sure, the meal is preferable in the right setting, but pizza is more popular for a reason.
  11. Ahem. I HATE that people pretend like these are defined categories that make sense. Cartoons, but ONLY CARTOONS MADE IN JAPAN, vs Superhero comics FROM ONLY TWO SPECIFIC COMPANIES vs AN ENTIRE MEDIUM OF DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT That's like saying Sri Lankan Cage Fighters vs British Boxers vs American Boxers vs Film Characters. The four things DON'T MAKE SENSE TOGETHER. Also, ignoring that many people are going to give the DC characters the victory based solely on Superman, even if you leveled the playing field (John Byrne Superman, Kingdom Come Martian Manhunter, Flash without Speed Force, etc) the DC team still takes it because they're the only group that's an actual team. The Marvel folks may hang out, but they haven't worked and trained together, and the cartoon and video game characters are meeting for the first time. Meanwhile the DC team has a history, they trust one-another implicitly, and they've prepared to work together. The rest won't be pulling even simple team tactics like "switch dance partners" meanwhile the JLA folks are going Attack Pattern Delta or whatever.
  12. I love original Gru Crossbones. Not thrilled about head-on-fire-shoots-flames Crossbones. Never liked Domino.
  13. Phoenix Wright vs a team of She Hulk and Daredevil
  14. I'm way over people complaining about bad comics on the internet, without actually saying anything of value, but man that guy mispronounced "tryst" which just erases all nerd credibility. He also just mispronounced "brazen."
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