Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Review: Avatar

12 years after giving us the highest grossing movie of all time with Titanic, James Cameron is back to push the envelope once again with Avatar!

Avatar is a rehashing of an old tale. A soldier without a home finds solace and a new lease on life in a new culture and new people. Of course it's not as simple as that little description, but that's the basic driving story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). Jake is an ex-marine who was paralyzed in the line of duty. However the death of his twin brother gives Jake a chance to join the Avatar program in his brother's place.

The Avatar program is a scientific expedition on a planet called Pandora near alpha centauri. A human settlement is there to mine "unobtainium", a rare substance that sells for a lot of money back on earth. The atmosphere, along with pretty much every other living creature on Pandora is lethal to human beings. . In this harsh environment, the Na'vi live in small tribes. The Na'vi are 12 feet tall, blue-skinned, worship a mother nature like deity called eywa, and are considered primitive by "Human" standards.
Any of this sounding familiar folks?

So the Avatar program is basically taking human scientists and having them control human/Na'Vi Avatars that look like the Na'vi and can breathe the Pandoran atmosphere. The theory is that if the humans look like the Na'vi, build them schools and roads, teach them english, then they'll be able to persuade them to relocated from their lands. The reason for the relocation is that they happen to be living directly on top of the biggest "unobtainum" deposit on the planet.

Jake's twin brother was in this program, and since his Avatar, which is insanely expensive, is linked to his genome, Jake can pilot it.

So now that I've set up the story for you, I'm going to stop right there. I don't want to ruin any of the storyline or experience of what is going to become a landmark film in special effects history. What do I mean by that?

The following films are landmark films in cinema to me:

Original Star Wars Trilogy: These films redefined how special effects were used in film.

Jurassic Park: First truly realistic CGI creatures

Toy Story: First Computer Animated film

Matrix: Redefined the action film genre

Titanic: First film to genuinely recreate inanimate objects authentically

Lord of the Rings/New Star Wars trilogy: Pushed the bounds of believable computer generated characters that interacted with real ones. Also pioneered massive CGI battle scenes

Transformers: Added so much complexity to the previously simple CGI constructs.

Avatar: The first truly realized computer generated film to put believable human like creatures on the screen.

The special effects of Avatar are truly astounding. James Cameron has given us not a film but an entire fully realized world for our imagination to play in. The environment shots rival the "Planet Earth" documentaries for sheer awe and beauty. You can see the Na'Vi's individual pores, their sweat glistening on there blue skin, there veins tense when they shoot an arrow. As i was watching the film I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing because it was "right" to my eyes.

The Na'vi aren't the only ones who get all the CG toys to play with. On the human side you get futuristic Mech-like military vehicles and heli-planes that will have the department of defense drooling.

One should go see this film for the eye candy alone, especially in 3D, however this film isn't just bells and whistles. Even though it's an old story, it is magically told, and you can't help but root for the Na'vi as the film's climax approaches.

I honestly cannot recommend this film enough, but the best thing is I won't have to. Your best friend will, you're co-worker will, even your parents will. Because Avatar isn't just a holiday film, it's an experience that everyone should see.

Rating: MUST-SEE!

WoW Update

Hello all you WoW geeks out there. It's time for another WoW update.

First up is what I'd consider the "Most Improved" category.

Behold: Level 63 AlphaPrimus

Those reindeer looking things on his back are his experience enhancing heirloom items...not exactly the best fashion statement, but 10% more exp is 10 % more exp. Leveling him with my wife's warrior was sometimes difficult. I went enhancement spec, and it's been a long hard grind, but after some research I finally got a good rotation down, and figured out what he needs for gear. He's actually alot of fun to play with now, and I hope to get him to 80 by march or april.

Also greatly improved is my hunter Glarion:

As you can see, he's gotten some much cooler gear (those are his heirloom shoulders.) Behind him you'll see his new pet. It's a worg (wolf) named Scoobysnacks. Once he got some decent gear and the right pet he worked out pretty good. He's on the back burner at the moment, but I'll have him to 80 by May I'm sure.

Soveiliss is level 60 now too:

I'm very happy with how my Shadow Priest has turned out. He's great fun to play and he never really dies anymore. With how hard I struggled to build him through the early levels, it really is satisfying to see him come into his own. I may switch him to the Horde side, but Shadow Priest damage got a huge boost last patch and our guild doesn't actually have one. His future is slightly uncertain, but come February he'll be in the 80 raids

The next character to hit 80 will be RhokkFallen, my Death knight. He'll be 80 before New Years!

The blood/perma Ghoul spec I chose for my DK is working VERY well, and I'm having great fun wacking the crap out of stuff. My DPS is tops in all the dungeons i'm run so far, so it looks like I"m doing pretty good. Only 9 more levels!

And of course my Main character, Rhokk:

He's now the premier Druid tank of the Hour of Chaos guild. I also now hold the rank of Captain, which is one rank below a guild running first officer. I've run literally hundreds of dungeons with him gearing him up since I've hit 80, and I have him at a pretty good level. He holds threat like nobody's business, and I'm impressing the people I run with left and right. I'm not the best tank in the guild yet, but I'm among the best.

Add a little geek to your life: The Hat

So my aunt's got me a gift card to for my birthday. I've ordered a few things from them, and have thoroughly enjoy most of my purchases. However, what I recently bought is by far my favorite. I am now the proud owner of the Indiana Jones Hat!
I love the first three Indiana Jones movies. The fourth we shall not speak of, but the first three were masterpieces as far as I'm concerned. This is an exact replica of the "Hero Hat", or the hat that they used for close ups. The profile of Indiana Jones is the stuff of legends and seeing my own profile while in the hat gave me just a little "yay" moment, and those little moments are what life is all about right.

As for the hat itself, it fits really well. As I wear it more and more, it seems to be molding itself to my head. I've never really had a "nice" hat before so feeling this happen was quite a pleasant surprise. At first I was going to get the hat for display only purposes, but after wearing it into work one day just for a hoot I decided to wear it out all the time. I got genuine comments that the hat looked good, and not one jeer or taunt. I've worn it to a bunch of different venues since, and while it does get noticed sometimes, no one has mocked it at all. I just think it looks so cool, and surprisingly according to most it flatters me. Heck, it even makes playing World of Warcraft look cool.

So that's how I added a little geek to my life this holiday season. What did you guys do?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where I'll be in 40 years

Apparently, this guy walks to Panera Bread with his iMac (Not macbook, iMac), orders a Coffee and Muffin, and then proceeds to use the Panera Bread's Wifi to play World of Warcraft. You see, this is just a retired geek just solving a problem.

He thinks "I really like the coffee at Panera bread, but I like to drink coffee while playing WoW."

Solution: "I'll just being my whole darn computer down to Panera Bread. I'll drink my coffee, play WoW, and satisfy my Doctor's annoying "Get out of the house and exercise" speech all at the same time.

I salute you retired Geek!

Pic via Gizmodo

Iron Man 2 Trailer is Live

Go to to see the first trailer for Iron man 2.

Just from this short teaser trailer I am already brimming with excitement for May.

pic via Gizmodo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weekend of WoW

This was originally posted on "The World through my eyes", my personal blog on november 2nd of this past year. I've included it here because I intend to document my World of Warcraft progress on this blog.

So, this weekend I finally achieve lvl 80 after 7 weeks of playing WoW. The above pic is the screenshot that I took at the exact moment I hit 80. It's been a long journey, and the last 20 levels were very long. I learned a lot about the game though, and I'm ready to enjoy my new post-80 endgame content for a while.

Before I do that though, I'd like to introduce all my blog readers to my WoW characters. Each one is based off of a Dungeons and Dragons character that i made at some point, and I'd like to share them with you. The first is the char that I just got to 80...Rhokk.

This was Rhokk at about lvl 10, notice his mostly pajama clad self. As you see, he didn't start life named Rhokk. At this point he was named Tankkor. I figured it would be a fun name for a Tanking (Boss distracting player position in Raids) druid. However when I joined my guild, the word Tank kept being use in chat. Stuff like "Who's Tanking, you're tanking, I'm tanking, That tank was horrible" etc etc. This became very confusing for me as you can imagine, so I renamed the char to Rhokk, cause as a tank he'd be "Like a Rock"...yeah it's corny, but I like corn. So why did I choose a druid as my main character? Well, I've always been drawn towards the shapeshifting aspect of the supernatural. Werewolves and such have always been my favorite over vampires and demons. Plus, having not known the game, a Druid is a hybrid class that is viable in all three roles that you can be in the game.

Tank: You draw the enemy to you, and can take alot of dmg
DPS or Damage per second: Whether Melee or Ranged, these types of chars assault the enemies that the tank attracts. They actually do the killing, but if the tank wasn't there they wouldn't survive.
Heals: These characters (mostly priests and restoration druids) heal the rest of the raid party, generally focusing on the tank. Also they bring people back to life should someone die.
Since I didn't know what I wanted to be, I figured picking a class that could do anything was a good idea. Eventually I decided to be a duel spec Tank/Heals. This means that with a quick change of gear, and a switching of my abilities I can go from a tanking bear form:

To a tree of life healer (looks like a weird little ent), and heal a raid. These are the two most requested specs cause there are literally dozens of different DPS combinations across all the classes. So DPS are easy to find, but every group needs a good Tank or a good healer.
This is Rhokk at lvl 80

Slightly more impressive...wouldn't you say.

My other characters are still in the works, but they will all be 80 before I'm finished with this game.

Soveiliss is my priest. While I was waiting to play Rhokk with my cousin, I started a second character. Now I didn't know it at the time, but the priest is the hardest class in the game to level solo. Mainly because the only protection they have from monsters is the shield that he's casting in the picture. It absorbs a certain amount of damage. When it falls, your enemy better be dead or the shield recast within 2 seconds or your cloth (lowest grade of armor) only wearing priest is toast (died so many times with him). Sov is a shadow priest just like he was in DnD. Somehow it tickles me to see a character that is suppose to be all holy and good using "evil" shadow spells. While Sov may be a Holy (heal specced) priest one day, shadow is really the only way to lvl a priest solo, since the Discipline and Holy trees don't provide enough damage to lvl effectively. Sov is currently lvl 44, and will be lvl 60 by the end of this month.

This is AgnosticPally or AP for short casting Consecrate on the ground around him(looks neat huh). It's a name I used in Diablo2 a while back, and it always got a reaction from people. I just love the contradiction of a paladin getting his power from an entity he's not sure of. Just funny to me I guess, :). AP is a Retribution paladin, currently the strongest DPS spec in the game. Paladin's in general are the strongest class in the game right now. They are great tanks, strongest DPS, and can heal too. Everybody is waiting for Blizzard to nerf (weaken) them a bit to bring the other classes back into balance with the pallys, but in the meantime pallys rule! i only level AP with my best friend Darque. So he's leveling slower then my other Chars. He's currently 35, and I predict 60 by feb, and 80 sometime next summer perhaps.

This is Glarion my Hunter. A hunter is a Ranged DPS class, and the only class in the game that uses a Bow or Gun. Another cool aspect of the class is that you can tame pets. In the pic is my pet bear "Smoky" (Honestly, what else would you name a bear). Since I'm a ranged class, I don't want the enemies to come close to me, and Smoky fulfills the "Tank" role to distract the enemies while I mow them down with my bow. I plan on getting a Cat or a Wolf to switch out to while I'm questing with my Pally friend from work to up my damage while the paladin tanks. I plan to level him to 60 by December, and probably 80 in Jan or Feb. He is a very fun class to play, and will be my ranged DPS lvl 80 for sure.

This is my lvl 1 Warlock SkeletorOmega. The name stems from the He-man villian skeletor which is the first thing that comes to mind when I think evil spellcaster. He will be leveling with my wife's priest when she makes her in December.

This is my Shaman AlphaPrimus. He's a lvl 1 right now, and will be healing my wife's warrior in december. I chose a Shaman, because it is the secondary hybrid class in the game and could adapt to compliment whatever class my wife picked. He'll be leveling quickly through December, and be 80 probably by the end of Feb. very very quiet. if you look closely you can see Scosh, my gnome Rogue. He's currently lvl 9, and is teamed up with my friend from work's Warlock. Rogue's are good dmg dealers cause they can Stealth (the transparent ability you see in the photo) behind the enemies and backstab them. Scosh got his name because when I created him in Dungeons and Dragons he grew up in the circus. he always wanted to be the strongman, but his mom always said that he was just a scosh too small. The nickname stuck. So when I made a gnome Rogue in WoW, I couldn't think of a better name then to let Scosh live again, :)

Finally we come to my next Solo project. When I'm not running with my friends, my wife, or gearing up my 80, I'll be leveling my Death Knight RhokkFallen. He's basically a what if scenario of what if Rhokk wasn't a noble druid and instead turned evil and served the Lich King. Death Knights were really overpowered when they first arrived on the scene with the "Wrath of the Lich King" expansion, but have been nerfed back into balance in recent patches to the game. Their rune enchants (the glowing aura around my sword) look awesome onscreen, and so do the acrobatic moves they pull off. I thing the class if just fun to play, and he'll be my next lvl 80 project. He's lvl 57 now, and I hope to have him to 60 by the end of the week.

I'm sure the appeal of the class has nothing to do with the fact that mounted he looks like a Dark Rider from Lord of the rings, lol

So while I reached my goal of getting to lvl 80 you'd think I's want to pull one of these:

But I have a lot more work(fun) to do in WoW, and I'm sure it'll be a blast.

Till next time!


Welcome my fellow geeks!

Yes welcome to "The Daily Dose of Geek". A blog celebrating geek culture in all it's glory. So join me as we blast off with the trekkers, role-play with the D&Ders, log on with the WoWheads, and make our lives just a little more tolerable by adding a dose of geek!

Pic via