December 16, 2007

Lego Maniac

When I was a kid I would play with Lego all the time. I probably owe a lot of my present creativity to playing with Lego. I had built up a pretty solid collection for myself, mostly from the Space and Pirates range, as well as Knights and City. Unfortunately, there were no Ninja Lego sets at the time when my interest in Lego was at its peek. And now they’d got some really cool stuff like Star Wars, Batman, and Indiana Jones. I enjoyed what I had though, and I’d have to say that it was a defining part of my upbringing. It was a lot of fun, but most of my Lego stuff was passed on to some of my cousins years ago.

However, I did have a few things stashed away, and since I’m in need of money I figured it was good eBay fodder, so I dug out a container full of Lego figures. I had to take some pictures for the auction, and as I was setting the figures up to be photographed, that old sense of fun came back. Everything was still in great condition and I wanted to play! Kinda made me wish I was a kid again.

Lego Figures

Here’s the Space guys.

Lego Figures

And the Soldiers.

Lego Figures

There were some Lego sharks and a monkey in the set, so I set up an amusing shot.

Lego Figures

I’m going to miss these guys, but I hope they go to a good home. You can see the Lego Figure auction right here and another Lego auction comprised of specialty pieces right here. They end in a few hours.


November 28, 2007

Shonen Knife Concert!

Shonen Knife!

Shonen Knife Rocks! Yeah!

The numbness in my ears has subsided enough now that I can talk about the awesome time I had last night when I saw Shonen Knife in concert!

The venue didn’t officially open its doors until after the start time that was printed on the tickets, which I thought was pretty lame. In the meantime I hung out in the cold and waited as something of a line formed behind me. I got to talking to some totally cool cats who I hung out with the rest of the night. At one point I took a little peek through the front door window and I could swear that I saw all 3 members of Shonen Knife right there, bundled up in their winter jackets. They walked outside, I assume to take a break before the show, and I said “Konbanwa!” They turned around and said “Konbanwa” back to me. So I had my little fanboy moment with Shonen Knife, and it was cool.

By the time the show had actually stared, it was an hour after the projected time. There were two opening bands, both American. I didn’t know anything about either of them. I expected that they would each play maybe 3-4 songs each, but both bands pretty much played an entire 45 minute set. The volume was set at an uncomfortable level too, and I can’t say I enjoyed having my eardrums pummeled like that before the band I paid to see had actually started performing. After the second band had finished, it was around the time that I was expecting the whole show would have been over with by. I was kind of disappointed that it took so long, so I was hoping that Shonen Knife was going to really rock hard to make all of that worthwhile.

Shonen Knife Rocks!

And did they ever ROCK!

The crowd was looking pretty small earlier in the evening, but by the time Shonen Knife took the stage, the place was full. And it’s a good thing too, because these ladies were just incredible. They performed an excellent mix of new songs and earlier work, including some of my favorites like “Concrete Animals“, “Fruits and Vegetables“, “Explosion“, “Anime Phenomenon“, and the “Sushi Bar Song“. As far as I could remember, all of their songs were in English. Their encore was a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction“. All told they played for about an hour and twenty minutes. I wanted more! The other bands were ok, but I came to see Shonen Knife. I didn’t mind listening to the earsplitting volume when it was cool songs that I knew. So, not to say anything bad about the other bands, but I wanted to hear less of them and more of Knife.

I would definitely like to see them again next time they are in Toronto, even if there’s a change in the band’s lineup. It was really amazing to see these short, funny, Japanese girls jam like the rock legends they are.

Message to my new friends I met at the show who are hopefully reading this at some point: It was great chatting with you two. Shoot me a line when you get a chance!


November 22, 2007

Hot Links Gone Cold.

Besides what I’ve mentioned previously, there’s another reason why I switched webhosts recently. I was really getting sick and tired of people using the images here on their own sites/blogs/message boards/whatever, effectively stealing my bandwidth without giving me anything in return. On the old server, there was no way to stop it, and every time I’d bring the issue up with the tech staff, they would act all dumbfounded, like they didn’t know what I was talking about.

That’s all over with now. I have just set it up so that anyone who is looking at an image that is hosted on but being viewed on another site will be getting a face-full of this:


No more hotlinking from SykoGrafix! Beautiful, isn’t it?

And to anyone who thinks this is unfair, or that I shouldn’t get upset over the issue, to you I say: GET REAL. The issue here is bandwidth theft. The key word in that phrase is “theft“. Theft means stealing, and as you should know from watching Sesame Street, stealing is wrong. Not only is it stealing the bandwidth that I pay for, but it’s also stealing the content that I worked hard to put together to make my website a unique and entertaining web experience. I didn’t put in that work just so some loser could add a decoration to a myspace page or something like that. I put in the work because I want people to come to my site, to read what I have to say, to look at the images in the context that I put them in, and to (hopefully) enjoy it. There’s no reason for any of it to be used for any other purpose, so I’ve put a stop to it, and rightly so. End of story.


October 10, 2007

Blue Streak.

So, it’s now confirmed.


Sonic the Hedgehog is going to be a playable character on the upcoming Super Smash Bros Brawl for Nintendo Wii.

I guess, with the events of the past few years, including Sega withdrawing from the console market and publishing software on Nintendo platforms, this really shouldn’t come as a huge shock. In fact, since Sega is developing an Olympic themed game with Sonic and Mario together, and Nintendo has opened up the possibility of 3rd party characters appearing in Smash Bros by way of Solid Snake, it seems like having Sonic in the next Super Smash Bros is a forgone conclusion. And yet, despite how inevitable this is, it’s still a huge deal.

Back in the 16bit era, it was all about Nintendo vs Sega. Super NES vs Genesis. Mario vs Sonic. I was, and still am, a Nintendo supporter, and so back then it meant that I HATED Sonic. He was the enemy. I never liked the little bit of the Sonic games that I had played, and I resented the way he was marketed as a “hedgehog with attitude“. I was very anti-Sonic, to say the least. I would even draw pictures of Mario shooting Sonic or beating him up! My stance on the character has, of course, softened over the years, but I’ve never really been able to warm up to the Sonic franchise.

It seems now that the quality of Sonic’s games over the past few years has been diluted to such a point that I really don’t understand why there is such a loyal fanbase to this character. But clearly it does exist and it must be pretty exciting for them to see Sonic appear in this game. As for me, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I don’t care about this character at all, and his appearance was not going to be a deal breaker, considering that this game is pretty much a guaranteed purchase from me with or without him. I would probably rather not have Sonic in my Smash Bros. if I had the choice. On the other hand, something about this is really interesting. I lived through an era where a game starring both Mario and Sonic together would be preposterous! If someone had told me about this 15 years ago, I would have thought that the world was going to crack in half first! But here it is, and it’s real. I guess it just goes to show how times can change and how what was once unfathomable can eventually become true. Though I doubt that other members from the cast of the infamous pirate game “World Heroes 2” will be appearing!

So, in the spirit of competition, I welcome Sonic and his fans to the realm of Smash. I’m willing to give him a chance and let bygones be bygones. But… I have a feeling that at some point, my early-teenaged Nintendo fanboy self will resurface and take a measure of joy in having Mario beat the bloody blue hell out of that overly caffinated weasel. Oops… did I just say that?

Anyway, I still don’t have a Wii yet. That sucks.


September 22, 2007

Even Gods Must Die.

So, I’ve seen Superman Doomsday. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if I tell you what happens, considering that it’s based on the Death of Superman comic books, but here’s my mostly non-spoilery review.

This movie is BRUTAL.

The fighting in this movie is probably the most intense I’ve ever seen in animation. It definitely pulls no punches! There’s a little bit of blood, and no real visible gore, but there would be no way for any of this to ever be on a regular TV show like Justice League. There are 2 major fight scenes in the movie and they are both intense! There’s lots of bone crushing and civilian deaths too, so keep the younger ones away. It’s pretty dark and violent.

That all said, the story here really isn’t about Superman or Doomsday. It’s more a story about Lois Lane than anything else, and I thought it was really well done. Everything unfolds from her perspective, and it’s interesting to see a Superman story being told like that. Lex Luthor also has a part to play in all this, and he’s a really evil sick bastard here.

It has nothing to do with any of the other Superman animations, so all of the character designs and voice actors are different. Some of these differences may take some getting used to. Superman’s face looks kinda wrinkly, and I think that was done just for the sake of making it different from the previous animated design. It’s also a bit jarring to hear different voices coming out of these characters, but the voices fit the roles for this particular film, and I eventually warmed up to them.

Oh, and there’s a little in-joke for fans of “An Evening with Kevin Smith” that got a big laugh out of me!

All in all it’s a decent movie, and a good start for this new line of DC Comics Animated films. I’ve read some negative reviews for it, and I just don’t get that. It’s not a perfect film, but I think anyone who hates this movie clearly fails at life. I don’t have the DVD yet, but I’ll get it eventually. I hear there’s some great extras on it.

Superman Doomsday is recommended for fans of Superman, fans of animation that’s not for kids, and fans of… um, punching, I guess.