July 31, 2008

Origami Flash Game

Since I cannot draw worth anything, one way I express myself artistically is origami. In the back of my mind, I've had a dream about doing an origami fumetti (comic made with photographs) or origami "puppet" video . . .

Also, in the very very forefront of my mind I've got the dream to have some Flash games made for the TimeFlyz website I'll be bringing out in the next few months (you've seen the results of the beginning of my quest here and here, but unfortunately with those games you have to link back to a web 2.0 site that, frankly, has some pretty awful content that I don't want my kid, parent, and teacher friendly TimeFlyz website to link to, so the search goes on for either a simple game creator that even someone like me could use or some people who have the necessary skill set) . . .

So, here I've found a Flash game using origami!

O-RI-GA-MI is a "trapped in a room" style game, where you must point and click to find the clues necessary to escape. Even though it's all in Japanese (although you can find a translation here, at the JayIsGames blog, if you scroll down to the comments), it's easy enough to do without knowing what the words say.

I find it quite fascinating.

~ Ben

July 28, 2008

July 20, 2008

Nano Film Review #14 -- The Dark Knight


I'm behind on my "reviews". Wall*E, Hellboy II, and a couple others just have to wait. Last night I saw The Dark Knight in Imax.

It. Was. Amazing.

I have to go again and see it. This is a movie that bears repeat viewings. This is a movie that Says Something. And I want to see it again.

First, the Imax stuff: it was beautiful. The last Imax movie I saw was something about the Wright Brothers at Disney or something. Just gorgeous. I'd like to see it again in Imax, but it was just happy circumstance that I found myself 20 minutes away from an Imax theater on this particular weekend. I'll not be seeing it in Imax again. But I think I want to see it on the big screen again.

This movie is a dark movie. Very dark. I'm surprised it did not get an "R" rating. I found myself squirming whenever Joker came on screen, because you never knew what he was going to do.

This movie mines the ideas of good and evil, heroes and antiheroes. And it does it well. It was a very dense movie, with a lot packed into the 2 hour 30 minute running time. And there were some cuts where you could just see they had to trim another second here or there to get it under the studio's desired running time. That's my only complaint: the movie needed some breathing space. Time not for US to breath, but for the story to breath.

Heath Ledger will not, and should not, be nominated for an Oscar. He was awesome, but it wasn't that kind of awesome.

They didn't really dig into my idea of the Two Face character: that Two Face is essentially half Batman and half Joker. I expected to see more of a tug of war between Batman and Joker over Harvey Dent. But the story that DID develop made sense for the theme they were running with.

It was a powerful film, exploring ideas in a mature way, but because of the capes and costumes, it was able to explore it in a more powerful way than had it been a "real world" action drama.

If you can see it in Imax . . . do it.

~ Ben

July 18, 2008

Cloverfield UPDATE!


I haven't bought the Cloverfield DVD yet. I'm sure I will sometime in the future, when it's $5 or something. I enjoyed the movie. A lot.

But I'm more excited about this:

In an earlier posting, I mentioned the end credits music (by composer Michael Giacchino) and how awesome it was. And now, it's available from iTunes for $0.99. Yes, the entire 12 minute 16 second masterpiece of awesome can be found right here.

Sweetness. Pure, bombastic sweetness. This will be playing in my iPod. A lot. Probably too much.

~ Ben

The Dark Knight

Not sure when I'll get to see this. I have tons of work to do today and this weekend (compounded because I'm completely rewriting the majority of the project), a signing tomorrow afternoon, and I'll be visiting my parents tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.

I'm excited to see the movie, though. My parents live near an IMAX theater . . . maybe after the kids are in bed. :)

I hope this movie is the story I want it to be. To me, Two Face is the composite of Batman and Joker. One side, seeking justice. The other side, seeking anarchy. I haven't heard much about the Two Face elements of the story, but I truly hope that's the direction they go in.

~ Ben

NEWSFLASH: Man sues Christian publisher for violating his consitutional rights by publishing the Bible (UPDATED)

From WFRN.com's news section:

A well-known Christian publisher in Grand Rapids, Michigan is facing a 60-million dollar lawsuit. 39-year-old homosexual activist Bradley Fowler is suing Zondervan, claiming the Bible has given him emotional stress and violating his constitutional rights. Fowler says Zondervan Bibles linked homosexuals with being unrighteous in 1st Corinthians 6:9, and he says that's made him an outcast in his family. Zondervan spokeswoman Terra Powers responds, by saying "Zondervan relies on the scholarly judgment of the highly-respected translation committees behind each translation and never altered the text of the translations they're licensed to publish." Powers says Zondervan only publishes credible translations produced by credible Biblical scholars. Fowler has also filed a ten-million dollar lawsuit against Tennessee-based Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Wow. Think of the possibilities. I wonder if this guy has though through all the ramifications if this goes to court . . . or if he knows it's going to get tossed out and is just trying to get attention.

I used to have this daydream that I would be able to sue the parents of the bullies who picked on my in Jr. High, which contributed to my low self-esteem issues that I was dealing with through college.

Hm, between Bradley and me, I just wrote an episode of Boston Legal!

Seriously, I feel for him. If he's an outcast in his own family because they believe the Bible, then they're reading it wrong.

Then again, I could sue the publishers of the Bible as well. It says, pretty explicitly, "No one is righteous." That would include me. And his family. Seems to me the guy should be suing his family. They're the ones who forgot that they're just as unrighteous as him, jumped on their high horse, and instead of, you know, loving him like they're commanded to, made him into a pariah.

(Really? You want to debate with me that they should treat him with love? You think they should treat him like an outcast? Hmmm, you might be on to something. Maybe they SHOULD treat him like an outcast . . . considering the way Jesus treated outcasts. You know, spending time with them and loving them. I went round and round with a guy about this, who was ina situation where someone had wronged him. He believed he had every right to "treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector", which is what Jesus said to do. But, the one problem with that argument was if you examined the way Jesus treated tax collectors and pagans: eating with them and spending time with them.)

(Full disclosure: I am published by Zondervan.)

UPDATE: Zondervan has not been served any papers. Thomas Nelson's lawsuit has already been thrown out of court by a judge who warned that, had a lawyer brought the case to him, said lawyer would be fined for a frivolous lawsuit. 

~ Ben

July 16, 2008

Nano Film Review #13 -- The Incredible Hulk


The Incredible Hulk would've been a much better film if I hadn't seen Iron Man first. But I did. So here we are.

Overall, it was a fun movie. Lots of smashing. Lots of running. Lots of blowing stuff up. Lots of references to the original television series. Cool stuff.

Stan Lee's cameo was good . . . but I wish we could've seen more. Lou Ferrigno's cameo was fun. And Bill Bixby's cameo was cool to see.

And the ending? Well, the climax was cliche. And the epilogue was done MUCH better in Iron Man. (Not so spoilerish spoiler: Just like Iron Man, there's a quick zoom to a smile as Bruce Banner accepts who he is. Iron Man did the same thing, but it had been set up throughout the movie. In Hulk, the denouement here sort of -- to me -- canceled out the theme of the movie!) And the "crossover" that you already know about (Tony Stark/Iron Man showing up) was okay.

Other than the ending -- which wasn't bad, it just wasn't great -- it I enjoyed this movie. It didn't have the raw emotion of the first Hulk movie. But that's okay.

~ Ben

July 14, 2008

From an athiest website . . .

I found this article just a few moments ago:

COPERNICUS, GALILEO AND DARWIN
THREE MEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD


I just found it ironic that two of those men who are spoken of in glowing words such as this --

"Atheists are indebted to them for their courage and wonderful discoveries. Three men though, stand out as truly world changing."

-- were also devout Christians who considered their exploration into science and exploration into God.

This is something that most people don't realize. The scientific method comes from a long tradition of Christians (and, to be honest, people of other religions) compiling data about the world to learn about God!

Ah well. It's much easier to ignore the truth in seeking facts, if the truth doesn't support the facts you want to see.

~ Ben

July 10, 2008

To Rev. Jesse Jackson -- an open letter

Dear Rev. Jackson,

"Character is what you do when you think no one else is watching."

Sincerely,

Ben Avery

July 5, 2008

InConjunction

I'm sitting here behind a table, looking out at some wizards, Vulcans, a dude with horns, a little fairy girl, and lots of people with lab coats.

I'm at InConjunction, an Indianapolis based sci-fi/fantasy convention. It's easily the best convention I've been to (I was her last year, and really wanted to come back).

I just finished a panel discussion about the "Art of Adaptation", where I was the only person on the panel (the other guy didn't show up) and we talked mostly about my experience adapting stories into comics, which became a pretty fun discussion about movie adaptations we liked and don't like.

In an hour, I'll be going to a panel discussion about Time Travel (is it possible and why do we like those stories? . . . answer, Yes: in one direction, though; and, because we love to think about "What if?", especially as it regards choices and decisions - but I hope the panel discussion is a little longer than that). I'll be able to talk about TimePiece (the comic), TimePiece (the radio drama), TimeFlyz (the manga), and my love love love of time travel stories.

Last night I took part in a panel discussion about "Science and Religion: Can the Two Eve Be at Peace" (short answer: sure, why not?) which was fun, and an opportunity to share and listen to people's different spiritual journeys. Very interesting, considering the setting brought in a hugely diverse group of people.

~ Ben

July 3, 2008

Hedge Knight II: The Sword Sword review

Well, Hedge Knight II: The Sworn Sword is out. Came out a little bit ago. I wrote the script, based on George R.R. Martin's novella. I worked very hard to script it so that when you were reading Hedge Knight or Sworn Sword, you were reading George R.R. Martin's Hedge Knight . . . not Ben Avery's. Although, that said, it's impossible to work on something like this and not have a bit of "you" leak in.

Anyway, I'll be at a convention in Indianapolis this weekend, mostly promoting Sworn Sword and TimeFlyz and Oz/Wonderland. Sworn Sword is in hardcover, and it looks awesome if I do say so myself. Last year at this convention, InConjunction, I got to actually meet George R.R. Martin there! (He was the guest of honor.)

Anyway, all that to get to what I really intended this post to be: a link to Todd Klein's blog, where he reviews Sword Sword. If you're into comics and you think Todd Klein's name sounds familiar, that's because he's been lettering comics since the 70's, so you've probably read a comic he's worked on at one time or another. A friend of mine forwarded me a link to his blog, where he talks about Sworn Sword:

And Then I Read: HEDGE KNIGHT II Sworn Sword

Thanks, Todd.

~ Ben