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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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TED | Talks | Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo (video) Click through. Now. Read the rest of this when you get back. Just don't forget to come back. (FYI:Video: Photosynth demo - awakening to the true power of the web

Hicks Picks 9 - Slice of Scifi AUGH! This is annoying. “Stargate” movies delayed The direct-to-home-theater “Stargate” movies are coming–but it’s going to take a bit longer than expected. 20th Century Fox toldStargate SG-1 DVD movies delayed

The main "event" around here lately is that this website was down for two days while we switched servers. Apparently there were issues with the process. I'm not convinced everythingThe Event

So I've been on Google+ (Google Plus) for a little while now. For those who don't know, it's another social media platform, like Facebook. You make a profile, then youGoogle+ is open - is it a better Facebook?

I don't know a whole lot about Wolverine's origins other than what is in the X-Men movies. For some reason I never read the comics versions. I'm pretty excited toWolverine movie trailer

I've fallen really behind on posting lately. Given the upcoming holiday there probably won't be much for the next few days either. But I wanted to quickly throw a fewQuick Notes on Entertainment News

We've all wanted to take part in a big-budget movie, right? Sure we have. And now you have the opportunity to do just that! Sort of. The movie is Star Wars.Grab your 15 seconds of fame!

My wife's opinion differed a bit from mine (as usual... ;) ). Like me, she wanted to know more about what he was like after beating the addiction. The textReview: Ray (another perspective)

Movies.com: Industry buzz and movie information on the most talked-about upcoming movies Here's a movie rumor. 24 Bewitching Prediction Here's a TV spinoff that should actually make a decent movie. Of course, I24: the movie?

In light of my most recent post, and the fact that I'm putting the Polls back in the right sidebar, I thought I'd open up a new poll question... [poll id="10"] I'mBest X-Men movie?

You never know what's going to make an impact on your kids. I don't mean an immediate "wow!" impact, I'm talking about the long term stuff. It may not even2 voices + 4 spices = 1 big impact

Pixar has an amazing track record with its movies. The quality of animation is superb and their attention to story is a cut (or two) above most studios. Their worstReview: Brave

[caption id="attachment_747" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Cruisin' to the pit"][/caption] Traffic got you down? Neighborhood bully getting on your nerves? Terrorist cell in your back yard? Need something to get you to theThe JL241 Badonkadonk Land Crusier/Tank - Order yours today!

I subscribe to news alerts from both CNN and the New York Times. I find the differences in their content interesting at times. The New York Times alerts pretty consistentlyBias in News Alerts?

Alex & Emma is a thoroughly predictable love story with half-realized characters and little to no tension. Luke Wilson was boring and a bit unnatural in his acting (his brotherReview: Alex & Emma

The Colors of Control: Ex Machina

Ex Machina coverAn extremely long time after I started it, I just finished Ex Machina‘s 50 issue run. Brian K. Vaughn puts on a heck of a story.

This is one of those stories that I think would work well as a TV series. It would be a bit different than most series, in that it covers two time periods at once, but that’s part of what makes it compelling. The basic structure of an issue is that it starts in the past, and then moves into the present.

The story in the past covers the origin and selected high points of Mitchell Hundred’s career as “The Great Machine” – a flawed superhero with the ability to listen to and command machinery. For example, he can command a gun not to fire, a truck to drive away, or a bomb to not explode (for a while). He can have a cell phone tell him where it’s been… or tell it to shut-up. We see the “accident” that gives him this power, and watch as he learns to fight crimes, petty and large. We meet his nemesis, Pherson, who has the ability to command animals (excluding humans), and uses this power to cause destruction and death. And we see him in his final act as The Great Machine: stopping one of the planes on 9/11.

Each story in the past, however, quickly gives way to (and informs the plot of) the present. Mitchell has parlayed the popularity of his time as The Great Machine into a run as the mayor of New York City. Here we see him dealing with many social and political issues, intertwined with resurfacing issues from his super-heroic past. He’s vowed to put his past behind him, but can he ignore the ramifications of what he’s learning about himself and the true source of his power?

The government is watching him. His police commissioner is watching him. One of his ex-partners wants him back on the job as a super-hero, even if that means destroying his political career. The other will protect him with his life. He’s having dreams of his future – and visions of pain.

Can he single-handedly stop the destruction of the world, or is he fated to be the architect of its demise? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between?

It’s pretty cool stuff!

Excerpt from issue #1 - and more foreshadowing than I realized, despite its bluntness

Color plays an important role in the books. Those gifted with powers are scarred by lines on their faces that look like wire leads. Mitchell’s scars glow green. Pherson’s glow purple. White plays an important role later. Each color is part of the spectrum of control. Green for control over machines, purple for animals, white for … well, that’s a spoiler.

Even the final word in the entire series is a color: black. And it’s layered with self-reference, not to mention a kind of breach of the “fourth wall.”

Really well done. I recommend it as one of the better comics I’ve read. It’s for adults, though – graphic language, themes, violence, and visuals do appear. This one isn’t for kids. The themes explored about the nature of corruption and man’s motivations, hero worship and disappointment are pretty seriously tackled. (For more, with spoilers, about that, check out the view “from the gutter.”)

If you want to see Issue #1, DC Comics has made it available online.

Have you read it? Any thoughts?

(Btw… just because I avoid spoilers in the post doesn’t mean they aren’t in the comments.)

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