Tomb Raider: Anniversary Website Goes Live

The official website for Tomb Raider: Anniversary is up and running. There are currently two trailers available as well as a few wallpapers. Certainly more stuff will be made available as we get closer to the May 2007 release. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Tomb Raider series, I was absolutely blown away by Legend, hands down the best game since TR2. This re-imagining of the first adventure should be interesting. And I know I’m not the only one anxious to see how they present the infamous T-Rex encounter.

Press Release:

The adventure begins when Lara is hired by a powerful syndicate to retrieve a mythical object called the Scion. As Lara searches ancient tombs and isolated worlds that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years, she discovers that she is not alone. Not only has she awoken their fearsome guardians but there are others desperate to learn the Scion’s dark secrets.

Celebrate and commemorate ten years of Tomb Raider and Lara Croft with Tomb Raider: Anniversary, a new action adventure inspired by the original Tomb Raider video game, one of the greatest action adventure games of all time.

I’m rather stoked to see what improvements have been made to the beautiful Legend engine. there is also promise of a directors commentary. Should be interesting.

I’ll post more when information presents itself.

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Episode 1 Anticipated Sales

PublishersWeekly.com posted this on their website.

The upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics, written by Joss Whedon, is poised to be a huge seller. Initial orders for the first issue are 80,000, and sales should easily go above the 100,000 mark. The series is being promoted on MySpace with a contest where fans get a chance to be an extra in the series. Dark Horse is also planning another Serenity series by Whedon.

Buffy Season 8 will continue with an arc by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Georges Jeanty. The story focuses on Faith and Giles.

Faith and Giles, intriguing. One wonders if her and Robin Wood (The Principal of former Sunnydale High) are still an item.

Punch it Chewie!

I am pleased to announce that PunchItChewie.com is now live. Hum what? Punch it Chewie? Wasn’t that? Yup. So that means… You betcha. Oh shit.

Or at least that is the general consensus.

Punch It Chewie will be a unique and vividly entertaining addition to the world of podcasting. Hosts Jym, Zane, Ryan and Kurt promise to deliver the most exciting and hilarious discussion you can find online in one place. Launching in March, expect to see weekly shows covering a range of topics as well as working hand in hand with its fan base to keep you tuned in weekly.

More soon!

You think you know what’s to come?

Update (2/25) – Henceforth, I’m going to post most of my Season 8 rumblings and speculations on my other blog After The Hellmouth 

Hopefully the last bit help establish the setting, now on to the new stuff. Here’s what we know about Season 8 of Buffy so far.

The Story (SPOILER WARNING)

  • Whedon has stated that Season 8 takes place roughly a year later.
  • The giant arc has to do with the ramifications of everything that happened in Season 7.
  • Buffy leads 500 slayers that are divided into 10 groups. They also have several witches at their disposal.
  • For her protection, Buffy has two slayer look-alikes. One is stationed in Italy and one is underground, literally.
  • The US government views Buffy and her cohorts as a terrorist threat after the destruction of Sunnydale.
  • Xander leads Slayer Central Command, which is located in Scotland in what appears to be an old castle.
  • The Big Bad for the season is reported to be a returning cast member.
  • Angel and Spike WILL appear but they will be used sparingly.
  • Dawn is attending Berkley for college.
  • Dawn loses her virginity after sleeping with a boy who is some type of demon or being known as a thricewise. As a result she grows to 60 feet.
  • Anya is still dead, but dead in the Buffy universe is a term that should be taken lightly. Whedon has indicated she may turn up at some point, in some form or another.
  • We learn that Buffy is not dating The Immortal, that was a scheme concocted by Andrew to throw Angel and Spike off her trail.
  • It is likely that Riley Finn will return, possibly with his wife.
  • Faith will also return in the second story arc for the comic.
  • Readers can expect to see the demon and vampire communities’ reaction to the dramatic increase in the number of Slayers later in the series.

The technical aspects of Season 8:

  • The season will run somewhere between 20-30 issues.
  • Joss Whedon is writing the first four and the last four issues, but expect him to contribute more.
  • For issue #1: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), Dave Stewart (Colors), and Richard Starkings (Letters)
  • Brian K. Vaughn is writing the second story arc.
  • Jo Chen has done covers 1-3 and is currently working on 4.
  • Expect to see several Mutant Enemy alums contributing to the writing of the series:
    • Steven S. DeKnight
    • Jane Espenson
    • Drew Goddard
    • Doug Petrie
    • Drew Greenberg
    • Jeph loeb (previously involved in producing the Buffy animated Series)
    • Whedon also promised some comic book heavies to be making significant contributions to the series.

Official Episode Previews:

Episode 8.01: The Long Way Home Part 1
Since the destruction of the Hellmouth the Slayers — newly legion — have gotten organized and are kicking some serious undead butt. But not everything’s fun and firearms, as an old enemy reappears and Dawn experiences some serious growing pains . . .

Episode 8.02: The Long Way Home Part 2
The destruction of Buffy’s hometown, plus covert and powerful slayer “cells” around the world, add up to a new label for the Scoobies: Terrorist threat. Speaking of Sunnydale, the crater formerly known as, has opened to reveal the witch Amy, and boy is she pissed. Now: Giles, smoochies, a knife to the heart, and a big sleep. Season Eight continues.

Episode 8.03: Title Unknown
With Buffy incapacitated, Amy the witch has taken the opportunity to—get this—lay siege with an army of the undead. Willow takes her on in a witches’ battle royal as hundreds of Slayers defend their Scottish citadel, but without the kiss of true love, Buffy will be out of commission indefinitely—with an unwelcome familiar face, and an image you won’t soon forget.

A Crash Course in Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In order to keep myself busy and prepare the world for the release of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic on March 7, I’ve taken the time to compile this handy guide explaining where the television series left off and where its going under this new format. I’ll try not to go off on too many tangents and provide the necessary one may need if they wanted to pick up this comic and have never seen the show.

Mind you, I’m not a comic geek. I don’t own 1000 comics, hell I don’t own 100. I like comics. I’m intelligent enough to know the stories and the characters that have been transformed into blockbuster movies over the past seven years, but they never influenced me as a child. The closest thing to a childhood influence, outside side the world of George Lucas, for me was Buffy. I started watching in 1997 and never stopped. I fell in love from the first episode I saw. I felt a connection with the characters, I was immersed in the story and I knew right from the get go that this was no ordinary show. Ten years later I’m still enthralled by it, so to have it continue in comic book form is going to be not only a continuation of what I love, but an immersion into a completely new medium. I’m rather excited.

It’s About The Mission

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its seven season run on May 20, 2003 after five successful seasons on the WB and two on competitor and now partner UPN. The series chronicled Buffy Summers and her time spent living in Sunnydale, California a town built on a mystical gateway to hell (also known as a Hellmouth). Buffy’s success as the slayer was rooted firmly in the fact that she did not act alone as slayers before her had almost always done. With the aid of her two friends Willow and Xander, her Watcher and high school Librarian, Rupert Giles, and a hand full of other allies, Buffy fought the good fight every Tuesday night keeping evil at bay and showing us what the world is like through the eyes of a teenage girl with superpowers.

Over the course of seven years Buffy faced many real world and mystical hurdles. Her first love, a vampire with a soul named Angel, turned evil after their first sexual experience and began killing her friends. At graduation, the mayor turned into a giant demon and was hellbent on devouring the class of 1999. Buffy went to off to college and learned how much the world can change your first year on your own. She faced hell-gods, a mystical addition to her family, singing demons, possessed beer (let’s forget that), the loss of her mother, zombies, demons, pretty much anything you can think of. Hell, she even died for a summer. And through it all, she grew. Buffy isn’t a story about a girl, it’s a story about a girl becoming a woman. It’s about growing up. It’s about facing demons and monsters, some of them internal. And it’s a story everyone can understand and appreciate.

Season 7 – Placed Ever So Gently In A Nutshell or Summarized on a Whiteboard (Highly Suggested Viewing)

The last season of Buffy, pitted said Slayer against a being known as the First Evil.

What is the First Evil?

The First Evil is unlike any foe in the history of the series. It is said to be the embodiment of everything that is evil. It has existed since the beginning of time and unlike all past foes, lacks corporeal form. That makes kicking its ass next to impossible. The First Evil is unable to harm or be harmed. Its striking feature rests in its ability to appear as any deceased individual, which it uses to influence others into doing it’s bidding. But, the First Evil doesn’t act completely alone. The First’s minions, known as Bringers are robed, monk-like individuals with their eyes carved out and as one character points out “are quite mobile for blind people.” Later in the series, it operates with the assistance of a defunct preacher named Caleb who crimes are so atrocious that he can temporarily merge with the First Evil.

So what is this First Evil’s big plan?

To erase the Slayer line and unleash an army of demons on the world.

The Slayer Line?

As Giles once put it…

“Into every generation a Slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will have the strength and skills to hunt the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”

Slayers come and go and when you see what they’ve got to face, who can blame them? When a Slayer dies, a new Slayer is chosen and the power passes on to her. Buffy died once, she drowned, and a girl named Faith Lehane was called. Since Buffy didn’t stay dead (she was resuscitatedby her friend Xander) there were now two active Slayers. One rung beneath the Slayer are Potentials, girls with slightly heightened skills and senses who have the ‘potential’ for becoming the next Slayer. The First Evil’s plan is based around this lineage. It seizes on the opportunity to erase the Slayer line from history by first killing all the Potentials and then doing away with Faith and finally Buffy. Without Potentials to receive the Slayer’s powers, the line stops. Ergo, no more Slayers.

Wow, that’s impressive! What else can you tell me?

Whilst deciding how to do battle with a foe that can’t be fought, Buffy deals with a newly ensouled Spike, the reopening of Sunnydale High School (conveniently located atop the Hellmouth), and the discovery of a fantastic satanic manhole cover in the schools basement that leads down into the Hellmouth itself.

What is down there?

A horde of unsightly and horrific creatures known as Turok-Han who are like the Neanderthal version of Vampires.

Sounds like Buffy has a lot on her plate. Please, continue.

As the series draws to a close, the Slayer and her allies hatch a plan to meet the First Evil and its army head on by descending down into the Hellmouth. Utilizing the power of a mystical slayer weapon known as the Scythe, Willow performs the ultimate spell and disperses the Slayers power amongst all the the Potentials, thus activating all of them and providing Buffy with an army to fight with. Spike also fulfills his destiny by filling the chamber with sunlight, thus vanquishing the army, as well as himself, and initiating a chain reaction that turns the Hellmouth into the world’s largest sinkhole. Buffy and the others escape with only a few soldiers down.

How does it all end?

The final shot in the series is of our heroes standing above the crater that was formerly Sunnydale and wondering, “What are we going to do now?”

So what are they going to do now?

That’s where Season 8 picks up. While Buffy ended in 2003, its spin-off series Angel continued for another season. Through Angel we got clues as to what the Sunnydale crew was up to. Spike was brought back from the dead and joined forces with Angel, Willow and her girlfriend Kennedy were all over the globe; Brazil, the Himalayas and even another astral plane, Buffy and Dawn were residing in Rome where Buffy was dating an individual called The Immortal, and Xander was in Africa. Andrew had become a Watcher-in-training and apparently one of Rupert Giles ‘top guys’. We also later learned that Angel and the others were no longer considered allies of the Slayer due to their affiliation with the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart.

Wow, that is a lot to digest.

It is and that’s all you get for now. This weekend I’ll compile everything that’s known about Season 8 and maybe talk to some people in the know. Till then, thanks for reading.

Quarterly Fiscal Figures

The title of this post has absolutely nothing to do with any financial figures for this website whatsoever. I just thought the title sounded very Fortune 500 and since I’m here with this short post to talk business, well, it fits. How do I explain my absence?  Easy, this semester has been severely tiring. I enjoy my classes, but the work demanded of me is both complex and time consuming. Lots of research, lots of writing, but this is the end. The final battle.  So,I’ve got to stay focused on the important things.

Over the next few weeks I plan to introduce some exciting new features to the website I hope someone out there will enjoy.  As planned they include:

Backed up Veronica mars reviews from February sweeps. My reviews are completed with the end of each episode, but translating the chicken scratch to silicon takes about 45 minutes and I’m a few episodes behind. Next week brings us the last episode of February sweeps and the start of an eight week hiatus for the new Pussycat Dolls reality show (precisely what television needs). In the in-between time I plan to catch up on the the things I’ve let pile up. I’ll post any research papers and essays I’m assigned to give you a sample of the research I’m doing. I’m also going to begin posting reviews/comments/spoilers and speculation on Season 8 of Buffy which hits comic book stores March 7. There are also plans for a podcast with some of the gang from school and possibly a couple members of the old Widget crew. Bandwidth and web hosting is an issue, butI’ll worry about that problem when I get there.

So that’s the master plan as it stands.  Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!

Indiana Jones Tenure Letter

BACK FROM YET ANOTHER GLOBETROTTING ADVENTURE, INDIANA JONES CHECKS HIS MAIL AND DISCOVERS THAT HIS BID FOR TENURE HAS BEEN DENIED.

BY ANDY F. BRYAN

January 22, 1939

Assistant Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Chapman Hall 227B
Marshall College

Dr. Jones:

As chairman of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, I regret to inform you that your recent application for tenure has been denied by a vote of 6 to 1. Following past policies and procedures, proceedings from the committee’s deliberations that were pertinent to our decision have been summarized below according to the assessment criteria.

Demonstrates suitable experience and expertise in chosen field:

The committee concurred that Dr. Jones does seem to possess a nearly superhuman breadth of linguistic knowledge and an uncanny familiarity with the history and material culture of the occult. However, his understanding and practice of archaeology gave the committee the greatest cause for alarm. Criticisms of Dr. Jones ranged from “possessing a perceptible methodological deficiency” to “practicing archaeology with a complete lack of, disregard for, and colossal ignorance of current methodology, theory, and ethics” to “unabashed grave-robbing.” Given such appraisals, perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that several Central and South American countries recently assembled to enact legislation aimed at permanently prohibiting his entry. Moreover, no one on the committee can identify who or what instilled Dr. Jones with the belief that an archaeologist’s tool kit should consist solely of a bullwhip and a revolver.

Nationally recognized for an effectual program of scholarship or research supported by publications of high quality:

Though Dr. Jones conducts “field research” far more often than anyone else in the department, he has consistently failed to report the results of his excavations, provide any credible evidence of attending the archaeological conferences he claims to attend, or produce a single published article in any peer-reviewed journal. Someone might tell Dr. Jones that in academia “publish or perish” is the rule. Shockingly, there is little evidence to date that Dr. Jones has successfully excavated even one object since he arrived at Marshall College. Marcus Brody, curator of our natural-history museum, assured me this was not so and graciously pointed out several pieces in the collection that he claimed were procured through Dr. Jones’s efforts, but, quite frankly, we have not one shred of documentation that can demonstrate the provenance or legal ownership of these objects.

Meets professional standards of conduct in research and professional activities of the discipline:

The committee was particularly generous (and vociferous) in offering their opinions regarding this criterion. Permit me to list just a few of the more troubling accounts I was privy to during the committee’s meeting. Far more times that I would care to mention, the name “Indiana Jones” (the adopted title Dr. Jones insists on being called) has appeared in governmental reports linking him to the Nazi Party, black-market antiquities dealers, underground cults, human sacrifice, Indian child slave labor, and the Chinese mafia. There are a plethora of international criminal charges against Dr. Jones, which include but are not limited to: bringing unregistered weapons into and out of the country; property damage; desecration of national and historical landmarks; impersonating officials; arson; grand theft (automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, and watercraft in just a one week span last year); excavating without a permit; countless antiquities violations; public endangerment; voluntary and involuntary manslaughter; and, allegedly, murder.

Dr. Jones’s interpersonal skills and relationships are no better. By Dr. Jones’ own admission, he has repeatedly employed an underage Asian boy as a driver and “personal assistant” during his Far East travels. I will refrain from making any insinuations as to the nature of this relationship, but my intuition insists that it is not a healthy one, nor one to be encouraged. Though the committee may have overstepped the boundaries of its evaluation, I find it pertinent to note that Dr. Jones has been romantically linked to countless women of questionable character, an attribute very unbecoming of a Marshall College professor. One of these women was identified as a notorious nightclub singer whose heart he attempted to extract with his hands, and whom he then tried, and failed, to lower into a lake of magma. Another was a Nazi scholar he was seen courting just last year who, I’m told, plummeted into a fathomless abyss at Dr. Jones’s hand. And, of course, no one can forget the slow decline and eventual death of Professor Abner Ravenwood after Dr. Jones’s affair with Abner’s underage daughter was made public, forcing her to emigrate to Nepal to escape the debacle.

Demonstrates successful record in undergraduate and graduate teaching:

In his nine years with the department, Dr. Jones has failed to complete even one uninterrupted semester of instruction. In fact, he hasn’t been in attendance for more than four consecutive weeks since he was hired. Departmental records indicate Dr. Jones has taken more sabbaticals, sick time, personal days, conference allotments, and temporary leaves than all the other members of the department combined.

The lone student representative on the committee wished to convey that, besides being an exceptional instructor, a compassionate mentor, and an unparalleled gentleman, Dr. Jones was extraordinarily receptive to the female student body during and after the transition to a coeducational system at the college. However, his timeliness in grading and returning assignments was a concern. Establishment of an appropriate record of departmental and campus service: Dr. Jones’s behavior on campus has led not only to disciplinary action but also to concerns as to the state of his mental health. In addition to multiple instances of public drunkenness, Dr. Jones, on three separate occasions, has attempted to set fire to the herpetology wing of the biology department.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the statements that come directly from Dr. Jones’s mouth. Several faculty members maintain that Dr. Jones informed them on multiple occasions of having discovered the Ark of the Covenant, magic diamond rocks, and the Holy Grail! When asked to provide evidence for such claims, he purportedly replied that he was “kind of immortal” and/or muttered derogatory statements about the “bureaucratic fools” running the U.S. government. Given his history with the Nazi Party, I fear where his loyalty lies.

To summarize, the committee fails to recognize any indication that Dr. Jones is even remotely proficient when it comes to archaeological scholarship and practice. His aptitude as an instructor is questionable at best, his conduct while abroad is positively deplorable, and his behavior on campus is minimally better. Marshall College has a reputation to uphold. I need not say more.

My apologies,
Prof. G.L. Stevens