Sunday, December 22, 2013

Everyone's John!

Hey there! How's everything? In this post I'm gonna talk about a really fun roleplaying game, that can be played with just 3+ people, 1d6, and a little amount of time: Everyone's John!
The rules are really easy to learn and follow, so this game is especially good for narrators who want to introduce new people to the hobbie: you don't have to read any manual, or make any complicated mathematical equations to play it... in fact, after reading this post you'll already be able to play it!

This is a 'surreal' RPG about John, a really crazy man who has voices in his head. The narrator will, of course, play as John himself, acting out his every action and reaction, as he tells the story and describes the background, but each player will play as one of the voices in his head.
The game starts when John wakes up, in a room which will be described by the narrator, and since that point onward all the voices can start talking. The crazier and louder they are, the more fun the game is, and even more if random people see you play!

First, each voice must choose an Obsession, which will be their winning condition. Then two abilities, which can be almost anything (think FATE aspects if that helps you), but not too general ('I'm good at everything' is not a valid ability). And this is where the game becomes interesting: John is bad at doing ANYTHING at all, unless the voices specifically tell him how to. Even tying your sholaces can be an adventure if your fingers are so clumsy. So, each action John tries to do will be a 1d6 roll with difficulty 6, unless it relates to the current controlling voice's abilities, and the voice helps him do it, step by step, in a really clear manner, in which case it will be difficulty 3+.

After setting up, John finally wakes up. At this point each voice is given 10 willpoints and made to bet for John's control. everyone should have tokens of any kind (coins, sticks, even grassleaves) to bet, and extend their clenched fists with the tokens inside, then open their hands at the same time. The one who bets more, loses the tokens and gets to control John, so that he will do as that voice tells him (the other players get to keep their tokens). That doesn't mean the other voices can't talk! on the contrary, they are encouraged to talk so that John is even crazier... remember, he's highly suggestionable.
Each time the controlling voice fulfills his goal, or John gets hurt, the bet must take place again.
When no players have willpower points left, or if john dies, then the game is over, and the player with more victory points wins.
But how do I get victory points? you may be asking. Well, that's easy: each time John fulfils someone's obsession, that voice gets points equal to the level of the obsession. Even if the controlling voice isn't the one who fulfilled it, that is, so influencing John's thoughts out of your turn is advisable and fun.
An obsession level is proportional to its difficulty: a level one obsession is really easy (eating chocolate), a level two one is fairly easy (stealing chocolate from a baby) and a level three one is way harder (stealing chocolate from a baby without making him cry).
So, if I have a lvl2 obsession fulfilled twice before the game ends, I'll get 4 points, and so on.

I really recommend this game, and think it's really good for new players who don't want to read 500 pages of fluff and flavor, and just have some crazy fun instead. This games can easily end up in a GTA like thing, as much as in a psychological paranoia thriller.
Hope you like this article, and if you ever played EiJ or any other RPG please leave a comment telling me about your experience!

I'd like to use this space to remind everyone that esperanto is a living language, and I have a blog in it, where I wrote about this same game. If you want to see how easy esperanto is, read my post about this game here or learn esperanto at, a site which I profoundly recommend.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Houses of the Blooded

Hey there! I'm trying to get back to my blog, though I don't think if I'll be able to sustain it again. I haven't been able to properly connect to the internet for a couple months now and that made it really hard for me to post regularly.
That said, today I will talk about a Tabletop Roleplaying Game that I really like: Houses of the Blooded.
To those unfamiliar with the genre, tabletop roleplaying games (or 'pen and paper roleplaying') are, traditionally, games in which a narrator tells a story of any kind, and players take the role of characters in it, usually taking decisions for them and using dice to determine their outcome.
The most commonly played roleplaying games are Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) and maybe stuff from World of Darkness (WoD).
In D&D each player takes the role of an adventurer, who goes around the world killing monsters and collecting magical items, being a hero against some BBEG and doing some good ole' questin'. Pretty stereotypical if you ask me, and boring after a short while.
In WoD, depending on which game you play, you can be a vampire, a werewolf, a mage, or many other things, and basically see how much your life sucks, in a tragic and dark place. I really like WoD with all its fluff and all, but it's actually an 'indie' game that really caught me in the hobby: Houses of the Blooded.
In Houses of the Blooded, you don't play an adventurer who goes around the wild killing beasts. That's for peasants. In this game, you're a Nobleman, a Ven, who carries the noble blood of an old house and dynasty, and does noble stuff: you don't kill your enemies, you ally with them, then backstab them when they grow too confident. You don't explore new land, you just send your knights to do it as you put some pressure on the peasants of a particularly 'late on taxes' town. And if things actually get out of hand and violence is mandatory, you will have to send a letter to the Parliament saying why you feel truly insulted, so that they may contact a third party who may act as an intermediary between you and the offending party, to arrange as a last measure a Duel, the Ven's organized violence.

What are Ven, you may be asking at this point? Ven are just like humans, but still subtly different. Belonging to an old, quasi-hyperborean race, they are similar to men, except more passionate and easily carried away by emotions. The system of the game recreates this by making a 'compel system': each Ven has a few things that 'compel him' to act in a certain way, and can't do nothing but follow his passionate will to the end, which is almost always tragic (the manual calls it a game of 'tragedy and romance').

But being compelled has an upside: a compelled Ven may gain style, and Style is one of the most interesting mechanics in the game. Whereas most games make a sharp division between Narrator and players, Style allows for players to narrate a small scene, or add a small fact to the story. You can create a character as a Narrator, but any character can spend a stylepoint and make him the new villain. Or just turn him into a foot fetishist. Everything is allowed, as long as it fits the mood. And if it's tragic enough, it may get you even more style to spend.

Then there is the whole Romance/Revenge side of the game: Ven use the same word for both concepts, 'vrente', which roughly translates as 'uncontrollable desire', and think the only law is the one you make yourself, by taking revenge for every insult you recieve (where insult includes both killing someone's mother or just giving him the finger), so that the Senate, highest political authority in Ven community, may give you 'the right to vengeance', where you can do anything justifying it with revenge.

The game also includes mechanics for running a province, plotting and conspiring (in a Game of Thron-ish way), exploring ancient enchanted ruins for magical artifacts, creating art and even romance, which are aspects usually left aside by most systems (or reduced to 'yeah, just roll charisma and then keep bashing that goblin')

To those interested in playing the game, I'd recommend you download the manual and give it a try, especially if you already have some experience in roleplaying and want to try something different.
If you've played HOTB or any other tabletop roleplaying game, leave a comment talking about your experience!

P.s: I'd like to use this space to remind you all that Esperanto is still a living language, and you can practise it by visiting my esperanto blog and reading this entry in which I talk about a roleplaying game, of which I (SPOILER WARNING) will write about in my next english entry.
to learn esperanto, visit or search my entry on esperanto

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mind Palaces 2: I memorized 151 pokémons!

Hey there! I finally finished learning all 151 pokémons by heart, using my Mind Palace technique! I finished on a bus trip, and it required me to double the size of my palace, so overall it was a good mental excercise. Now I can say each pokemon's number, or tell you which pokémon a number is (which I will add to my long list of useless skills that I always brag about).
Now, I'd like to ask my readers to suggest me some other fun thing to memorize, so that I can make my Mind Palace grow. Or, if you want to ask me something about mind palaces, because you're having trouble or something, do it!
So please, tell me some fun things to memorize... so far I've thought of the Periodic Table of Elements, some mythologycal pantheon, or even more digits of Pi (of which I know 70).
Don't ask me to learn the next 100 pokemons, that would not be fun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Black Mirror: A Series, or a set of Short Movies?

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna write about a british tv show which I love: Black Mirror.
Black Mirror is a 6-episodes long series, in which each episode is autoconclusive, and can be watched isolated from the rest without affecting your experience. You could watch the last episode first and the first one last, and it wouldn't change anything, because each episode is like a short movie. There is no important connection between episodes, except that all of them treat the subject of technology, and fall into the cathegory of science fiction.

The first episode is about the kidnapping of a princess, which then has a weird perverted twist, thanks to the magic of memes and youtube. if you only watched the first 10 minutes, you may think it's a comedy, but then as the climax comes closer you see how dramatic everything can be, no matter how fun it sounds at first glance.

The second one is the one I liked the most, about a world in which the only available job is riding an excercise bike to generate electricity, they get credits instead of money, and everyone has a little avatar through which they live (and to whom they buy items with the credits) instead of going outside. The main character is a guy who wants to make a difference, but the system won't let him.

In the third one, we see a man struggling to save his marriage, in a world in which everyone can reproduce each memory YouTube-style via chips on their ears.

the 4th one is about a woman who, after her husband dies, uses an app which takes all info from all his social networks and uses it to construct a virtual persona, which will help her through the mourning process... but then the difference between virtual and real gets a little shady

The 5th one starts with a girl who has no memories, in a post apocalyptic world where everyone turned into zombies after seeing a weird  signal, which is now in all screens, and made them all become mindless people who only film things instead of doing them. As the plot goes forward, there is a crazy twist that you won't see coming.

The last one follows a political candidate who is really peculiar: he's an animated bear with a foul mouth!! (yeah, not as good as the one before, but anyway)

The author said it was called Black Mirror as a reference to the black, reflecting screens of monitors, cellphones and the like, since all this show is about "how our current techno-dependent world can go to hell in 10 minutes time".
So, I really think you should give it a chance. At least, watch a couple episodes, since it won't take you very long. If you do watch it, please leave a comment with your opinion, I'd really appreciate it!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In the Name of The King (2007) or The Worst Movie Ever

Hey there and welcome to my blog! today I'm going to talk about a movie I saw which was terribly bad: In The Name of the King, by Uwe Boll.
If you grew up in the last decade, and you liked RPG games, you probably played (or at least heard about) Dungeon Siege. The guy who did this movie, and based it on the game, probably didn't.
The first 10-15 minutes are a more or less accurate representation of the beginnings of the game, up to the part where the Bridge of Stonebrigde breaks. That's about all I can say on the bright side.

Now to the Dark Side: we start off with a main character with no name, addressed as "farmer" whose son with whom we still haven't bonded much because he'd had no screen time is killed by a cheap copy of Orcs, in a less than emotive scene, as his wife is taken captive.
He then runs through the forest after blaming the king with a wanna-be-epic speech on the rights of serfs with his two friends whose personalities are not explored in the whole movie up to the very end.
Some stuff goes down, dryads appear and go, and we also see the king's Mage is looking for Farmer for some misterious reason, as we discover in a non surprising twist that the king's spoiled, bad tempered nephew is part of a conspirancy with the bad guy who controls the orcs, to overthrow the King.
As a war between orcs and king-serving men breaks, we discover that Farmer always was the son of the King, and that he was living in the farms all this time because the mage thought it would be safer.
The Nephew thinks he killed the king and so he tells everyone he's finally won, and starts to give ANOTHER speech on how he's now going to be a tyrant king, until he's stopped by Farmer, who reveals himself as heir. You can almost hear the villain cursing "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids".

At last, the king's magus loses an epic fight against the evil wizard, in which they both telekinetically control 5 swords each as they discuss politics (they should've been playing chess at the same time to add some style, but I didn't write this)... and then when Farmer (who's not a farmer anymore) appears, he decides to fight him... sword on sword, with no magic!
He's about to lose when he remembers he can cast spells (or maybe he just drank a mana potion) and telekinetically smashes the crap out of Farmer against the ceiling... and then gets distracted, stops the spell, and is backstabbed by Farmer's wife, as she cries "I AM A MOTHER!" because feminism.

The End.

After watching this movie, if using such word is not an insult to the cinema industry as a whole, I googled it, and found out it cost about 50 million dollars than it gained, and won many "worst movie", "worst actor" and similar prizes.

As a Dungeon Siege player, I found it both horrificly bad... and stupidly hilarious --And then I found out there's a second one, with time travels on the plot. 
I'm totally watching it next, just to complain a little more.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zurker - A Different Social Network

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna talk a bout a social network which I got into last year, when it still was on its beta testing phase: Zurker.

Zurker is a social network site which tries to be different from the others. It claims to be the "democratic social network", run by the people and for the people, and so it allows for many interesting features, like voting which updates you want to have and which ones you don't, or suggesting changes for the design or interface of the site.

Besides letting you vote, it even has a constitution-drafting body which is right now discussing some basic principles and rules for the whole site, in which all users may agree (and which can of course be ammended in the future if enough people were in disagreement with a fragment).

Also, after you register, you're allowed to invest some small money to buy vShares for the site, each one of which is worth a millionth of the site. It sounds like little, until you realize facebook is worth 200,000 million dollars, so only one share of this size equals $200k on facebook. I'm not saying zurker is going to replace facebook, I'm just saying it's worth the effort of spending one dollar.

On the con side, Zurker is still a starting network (it ended its beta phase this last week) so it doesn't have a large community yet, which would anyway allow you to be a pioneer if you invite more users; Another thing I think the site should start changing is its "cult-like" attitude, in which most zurker posts are zurker-related.
Still, I think it's a really good idea, and the more things they add to the site the more I like it, even if it's kind of deserted so far.

So, try the network out and see for yourself whether you like it or not... Have a nice Zurk!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Valyrian Steel and Nanotubes: A Song of Old and New

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Lately I've been reading a lot on nanotechnology, because I joined a state-sponsored contest in which I'll have to write about that subject. One thing led to another, and I ended up reading about Damascus Steel (wikipedia works in misterious ways), an old kind of steel made in India and Southeast Asia, which was said to be able to cut through any other steel as if it were butter, and has ripples through it which form crazy patterns. Any resemblance between it and Valyrian Steel is probably no coincidence, though it has not been stated that this is what G. R. R. Martin based it on.

The method for making Damascus Steel hasn't been rediscovered yet, though many people claim to have found it, but the thing that struck me is that some analysis on the nanoscale revealed Carbon nanotubes in it.

Carbon nanotubes are cilinders formed with hexagonal patterns (much like the ones in a beehive) made of carbon atoms, resembling a "net",  which can be a hundred million times longer than they're wide. they have applications in nanotechnology, architecture, and material designing. Among many properties, they are Light, Strong, Hard (please don't make a "Tht's what she said" joke out of this), heat conductive, and electrically-semi-conductive.
They can be used to make Waterproof fabrics (even clothes that clean themselves!), concrete that is more resistance to cracks because it's more ellastic, and they're theorized to be able to be used for synthetic muscles!
So simple, and yet so powerful...

So, a material made around 200 b.C., naturally formed things that we learnt to do about 10 years ago when the nano-revolution came. (if I say "nano" again, you have the legal right to punch me in the face).

As I said, Damascus Steel resembles valyrian Steel in that both of them have crazy patterns, and are said to cut through anything ("drop a hair on the edge and it'll be cut in half" and all that). I haven't heard of anyone trying to slay an Other with it yet, but my guess is it would probably work.

Here are a couple pictures:
Crazy, huh?

Anyway, that's all for today... I hope you've learnt something from this post, like "reality can beat fiction" or something.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Magic: The Gathering - combos that you MUST have seen

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm going to post about MTG (again), this time to talk about a special (and pretty interesting) subject: combos!
For those who don't play MTG, a combo is a "combination" of cards which act really well together.
On this post, I'm going to show you a few example, but I want YOU my readers to post your favourite combos in the comments, from where I'll add them.

This is a really nice combo if you get to play it, but the mana cost is so bad I wouldn't use it. A man can dream, though

A personal favourite since I usually play Vampires. Add a blade of Bloodchief to spice it up and you're done.

Two Illusion "lords" and no downsides? What could possibly go wrong?!
Infinite lifegain and lifeloss until you drain the last point of your oponent... of course you're still subject to problems like removal and counters, to name a few, but infinite combos are always alluring.

Well, that's enough about me. Tell me about YOUR favourite combos in the comments! Post the cardnames, and I'll add them as a players suggestion! 

User Suggestions:
Mill a whole deck in two moves, by Thepeopleseason

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Download I Kill Giants for free

Hey there and welcome to my blog! I've already talked about this amazingly drawn comic --Now you can download it for free from this same site!
I've uploaded it, so here are the links:

volume 1

volume 2

volume 3

volume 4

volume 5

volume 6

volume 7

You're Welcome!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Alice in Wonderland: Czech-slovakian version

Hey there and welcome to my blog. To those who follow me, you'll be happy to know I've already memorized 110 pokémon using my Mind Palace.
 Today I'm going to show you something crazy I've just watched: A stop-motion version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"... filmed in 1988 in Czechoslovakia! If you can, please take the time to watch it, because after you've got accostumed to the almost mute scenes and the creepy voices and dolls, it's a really good, watch-worthy film! if anything, at least enjoy the nicely made, creepy-eyed dolls!

The director, Jan Svankmajer, is known for his surreal movies, and I'm totally going to check what other things he's worked on later, but right now I'm going to insist on you watching this movie.

Tell me what you think of it in the coments! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why "HunterxHunter: Phantom Rouge" Sucked

Hey there and welcome to my blog! As a good hunterxHunter fan who read all the manga and watched the whole series (the first one only, mind you) I was really excited when I heard a HxH movie was coming out. I got a little less excited when I heard Togashi didn't play a major role in doing or writing it... and really pissed when I saw it.

But let's not start with the wrong foot: the movie has a couple upsides...

  • The first scene, showing Killua's past, and his conversation with Illumi
  • The flashbacks showing Kurapica's youth, and how he left the Kuruta tribe, which was massacred shortly after for their eyes, by the Genei Ryodan (or phantom troupe or whatever you english-speaking people call it) 
  • ...fight scenes? meh, not even that good compared with the anime or manga ones... they lacked some of the essence. But let's go through that later...

Now, about the many things I didn't like... here are a few:
  • Back to the fight scenes: do you remember how in Kurapica vs Ubogin, we thought Ubogin could win, up to the moment we knew Kurapica could use "in"? or when Killua fought a chimaera ant and developed his Kanmuru, out of pure necessity? those were the kind of interesting twists and abilities we (or at the very least I) liked to see. not just "HURR DURR I PUNCH YOU YOU PUNCH ME". If I wanted that, I'd just watch Bleach or something.
  • Incoherences, lots of them: We won't talk about time; for the sake of defending the movie, we'll just accept that it happens in some magical timeline between two no-time-between moments. Now, taking that out of the table... did the scriptwriters at least read how nen worked?
    "oh, your "en" can't hurt me!!" of course, En doesn't hurt, it's just used for perception.
    "I'm gonna use "ren" in my arms!!" nope, you use gyo for that, ren is for the whole body unless you learnt "ryu", but that means you jumped through time like 50 manga episodes.
  • Psychological backgrounds, something that I really liked about the anime and manga... what the hell happened to them? The whole killua conflict is resolved out of nowhere? not to mention many of the related dialogues were just copied and pasted from the manga/tv show? and Omokage, the main antagonist... why is he "evil"? when  asked he just says "I dont have to explain it to you" and then they pull out some random "I killed my sister" card out of nowhere, and we get a little flashback. Because really, you started using your sister as a guinea pig and ACCIDENTALLY pulled her eyeballs out, and then BECAME AN EVIL SERIAL EYE STEALER BECAUSE OF IT?!
  • and speaking of Omokage... how did that guy even get into the Phantom Troupe? "guise, I can copy people but they're weak unless I pull their eyes out". Yeah, no, thanks, we got Kurotopi. At least she's not just crazy with no reason and won't use her sister (and probably anybody else) as a guinea pig.

When this guy is saner than you, you're probably not sane at all.

So yeah, don't watch this movie unless you REALLY think you must do it for the fandom... and even so, you'll regret it. Watch it ironically or something.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hotel by Boichi

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna talk about a really good manga (japanese comic book / graphic novel), which I think is the perfect choice if you're already into manga but not sure on what to read --and you don't wanna read one of those mainstream, boring shonen out there, but some mature, original story.
Hotel is a oneshot manga, so it doesn't take much time to read it. It's divided into 5 stories, the first 3 of which are really good, and the other two just some short fillers.

The first story, after which the whole book is named (Hotel) is the futuristic tale of an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) left by humans as they abandoned planet earth, which had become uninhabitable. Its purpose is to look after DNA samples of each species, like a sci-fi-Noah's Arc. It goes on for 27 million years, and shows how its "mind" evolves as it updates itself in a way which may remind some readers of "The final Question" by Isaac Asimov.

The second story, "Present" is about a woman who wakes up after being in a comma for years, and how her family deals with it --by making her son pretend to be his father, so that she doesn't know how hard it's been for everyone. It's really emotive, and charged with drama.

The third and, in my opinion, best story, is called "I Did It For The Tuna". It starts with a boy eating sushi, and wondering why his father won't have a bite, and why he cries. It's later revealed that the tuna the boy was eating was the last of his species, in the whole earth. Throughout the story, the main character, now an adult, tries to find tuna (or make it, in a frankeinstein-like way) by all possible means, leading to the discovery of alien life, the stop of some terrorist threat, and the cure for global warming.

The other two are too short and bad to deserve any mention at all rather than this one. Don't even read them.

So, I'd really recommend this manga if you're looking for some indie stuff. Just read the first three episodes.
If you do, tell me how it went in the comments below! Hope you enjoy them... just in case you have a hard time finding it, it's been uploaded here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How To Move One Eyebrow

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna post another tutorial, since I see most people liked the last one on mind palaces. This one, though, is about a way simpler trick: moving an eyebrow.
I know you want it...

Many people may think that, since some guys can do it from birth, moving eyebrows separately is an innate skill, embedded in genes which imply millions of years of evolution... but they're wrong! Moving your eyebrows is just about practice --I couldn't do it at first, but now I can move both separately, and I even use them to talk in binary with friends (it's fun, try it).

Things you're gonna need:
  • A mirror to see your pretty face
  • Two eyebrows, preferably yours
  • Time --a LOT of time
How to do it:
  1.  Look at yourself on the mirror. Move both eyebrows up at the same time. You should have no trouble doing this. To do it, you use a muscle in the middle of your eyebrows, which wrinkles your forehead. 
  2. That was just a test. Now put your hand over one eyebrow so as to hold it, and try to lift both of them again, as you hold one down with your hand, firmly so that it can't move.
  3. You should now "artificially" be moving one of your eyebrows alone.
  4. Do this MANY MANY MANY (I can't emphathize how many) times, over and over, in front of a mirror, until you start to feel a muscle just above the eyebrow you're moving. It should be farther from the middle of your forehead than your eyebrow is.

  5. I made it on paint, am I not a great painter? each oval is a muscle's approximate place

  6. Once you feel tired in that zone of your face, you've finally found the muscle. Start tensing it.
  7. First it will only get tired and hurt, but if you excersice it enough (yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but it works like that) it will eventually be strong enough to create movement.
  8. Keep practising and you'll eventually move all your eyebrow with that muscle.
  9. Do the same with your other eyebrow.
And that's how you do it! I can assure you 100% that I learned this way, though the tutorial I used was a little less detailed... I hope you'll excuse the badly drawn picture, and you'll make your effort to be one of the many people in my future Army of One-Eyebrow-Movers... TOGETHER WE WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!

Sorry, I got carried away again... Bye, and good luck with this! if you want me to write a tutorial for any silly skill, just ask me! I can whistle with my hands, move my scalp, play the kazoo, and many many other useless funny things!
P.S.: bear in mind learning this skill takes about a month or two of hard practice, and will at first cause you small pains in your eyebrows, a place you've probably never felt any kind of pain before.

As an extra, here's a comicpage written and drawn by my friend Nikko, from Argentina too, which I translated to english...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

El Eternauta

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna post about one of the most important Argentinian (that is, from my country) comic-books: "El Eternauta".
Written by H. G. Oesterheld and drawn by Solano López, this character's story takes place in Buenos Aires, and it starts when he's playing cards with his friends in the attic of his house, which has been adapted to function as a "club house" and at the same time a workshop, because they all have hobbies related to engineering or science. They all are really surprised when they realize it's started snowing, since it doesn't snow here (except once in about 50 years, but that's just an exception), but that surprise rapidly changes into fear when they realize that is no common snow: each person touched by a snowflake dies in an instant, as they can confirm by looking out of the window. Luckily all their windows are closed, so they survive the "nevada mortal" (lethal snowing), and since their workshop is well equipped they can make a couple hazard suits to be able to walk out of the house.
After that, a post-apocaliptycal story unfolds, showing how this group of survivors manages to get food and weapons, competing with the other men of the city, as they try to discover what caused the snowing, and if there is any safe place.
Fastforward some pages, and the real conflict starts: after most men have united in a militia, an army of beetle-shaped aliens attack us, and it takes many days of fighting to hold them back... just to discover they're just mind-slaved by the Manos: aliens with many-fingered hands who control the beetles with giant computers that have many keys.

When they finally kill one of the Manos and think they're starting to win, he tells them, with his last breath, that they, too, are but slaves of a bigger alien species, who put sensors on them that detect when they feel fear, and shoot poison in their veins: thus they can't revolt, because just thinking of it makes them die of poisoning.
And that's one of the most interesting things in this story: you never get to see the real enemy, at least at the beginning.
I'm not gonna spoil the rest to you, but the story ends up becoming a time travel one.
Unfortunately, Oesterheld was "disappeared" by our last de facto government before he could finish writing it, but now the characters have become a symbol in the country and every once in a while more episodes of this comic-book are published by new writers, much like a super-hero.
If you want to read some south-american comics, I'd recommend you read this one.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Irredeemable: superheroes gone mad

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! to those who have been following my recent posts, I'd gladly like to anounce that I've memorized the first 44 pokemons using my mind palace and I'm not stopping until I get to 151.
Today I'll talk about my favourite superhero comic, which doesn't belong to either the marvel universe or the DC one: Irredeemable.
Imagine what would happen if a superhero like superman, who is untouchable and has all the world depending on him, suddenly couldn't cope with the pressure anymore, or just got tired of all those useless humans who depend on him, then went insane and started playing GTA with all of them -That's what Irredeemable is about.

The main character, Plutonian, is your stereotypical superman-like hero: he is always happy to save everyone, fight aliens and cure cancer. But one day he just gets tired and destroys a whole city. The plot centers in all the other heroes of earth, who are really weak compared to him, as they struggle to see what made him change, and bring the old plutonian back, as they lead with alien invasions, all the obligatory comic villains, and many more things, but also it revolves around the mind of a superhero who lost his head, and the point of view of the common people, who have no superpowers and no idea what to do but observe.

This graphic novel shows some impressive design of characters, who evolve through the story to the point of becoming (all of them) completely unrecognizable (one even gets out of the closet, and other reveals his true nature to be utterly different from what everybody thought).
Take, for instance, Scylla & Charibdis: these two are twin heroes who share their power, but when one of them gets killed, the other one takes all that power for himself and starts using it to save people... yet, as time goes by, all that power goes up to his head and he ends up trying to gather all heroes and supervillains and  be their leader, to guide them in the quest for a better world, as he himself becomes more and more corrupted.

That's why I think this comic deserves to be read, at least for its originality and the way its characters have human minds, even being super-human.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mind Palaces or the Method of Loci

Hey there, and welcome to my blog! Today's post will be a tutorial and explanation about Mind Palaces, a mnemonic technique, whose first documented use dates back to ancient Rome.

If you've seen the british TV series Sherlock, you've probably seen the bit about his "mind palace" and thought "woah, that sounds like something a genius would do" or something like that. Well, I'm here to prove you that's totally not true, because even I can use a mind palace!

The method of Loci, as it was called in Rome (plural of Locus = place), uses spatial memory to remember things. Quick! think of your kitchen. Do you know where you keep the cookies? even in which part of the drawer you have your cutlery? and where do you have all your matches or a lighter? Well, to answer all that, chances are you used spacial memory. And I bet you knew all the answers. Now if I say "quick, name the first 5 presidents of your country!" then you'd have a harder time answering. Why? because that doesn't have to do with space... and a HUGE part of our brain is devoted to that (think of it: when we were hunter/gatherers we needed to know where the mamooths were way more than how many people we could feed with each part).

To use this method, first you have to choose a place. Most people use a real place to which they're acquainted, at least at first. Personally I use my bedroom, where I know every single thing and its position.
the next step is to write down or just memorize each spot of it that you can remember. Some do a schematic drawing or something like that. Once you've decided all the spots (pegs), you can start using the place as a mind palace... as long as you choose a route. The route will be important if you want to remember things in a specific order, since all you'll have to do is picture yourself mentally going through each peg in a predefined order. For instance: I choose my bedroom.
I use  my bed, my pc, an armchair and a shelf as pegs (that's a start, though: you want to have more or less 20 pegs per room, and you'll end up being able to use your whole house). Then I see myself going from peg to peg, and as I do I asociate each one with a concept or a name... for instance, if I want to learn all the pokemons in order, I may go: bulbasaur on my bed, Ivysaur on the screen, Venasaur on my armchair, and a charmander on the shelf. Of course that would not be enough to remember them all, so I should add more pegs. one approach is to add more same-sized items: another chair, the drawer or a closet. The next step, though, is dividing each item into  a "mini-palace": the shelf has 5 books? each book is now a peg! the closet has 10 shirts? see if you can make each into a peg! with practice, your room can have as much as 50 pegs, turning into a literal PALACE of pegs. Then, as you go through the mental picture of it that you made, you can start remembering things in the order you put it.

So, try this technique out, and see if you can use it, at first, to memorize small things like a shopping list... I myself started by memorizing the first digits of Pi, to get accostumed to abstract concepts.

Now I'll leave... writing this article made me feel like memorizing all 151 pokémon!

If you try this tutorial out, please tell me in the comments so that I can help you, or ask me if something isn't clear enough. 
If you wish to continue on with your memory training, check out this link to learn how to easily memorize numbers.

I'd like to use this space to remind my dear readers that Esperanto is still a living language, really useful and easy to learn, which you can start learning right here... just check it, it'll be fun!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog. Today I'll talk about a graphic novel written by the great Alan Moore: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This book, with only two tomes (and a third, bad one no one likes because it came later and we won't discuss it), revived the steampunk genre as we know it (causing it to "explode" in a way whose consecuences we have yet to see) and also the nostalgic longing for reading old, victorian novels.
how many victorian pop culture references can you spot? if you answered "many" then you're right!

The Series started as a homage to victorian literature, and all its characters are frmo those times: a plot which involves Mina Harker -now Murray- (Dracula), Dr. Jekyll (same), tons of Jules Verne characters, and even Oliver Twist, who are all gathered by a misterious "M" guy who all think to be Mycroft Holmes himself (though M may stand for many other things).
They all seek to complete a mission assigned by this M, thinking they work for the queen's men, but that's not exactly the case...
In here you can see mr. Hyde as a Hulk-like monster, Quatermain as a romantic novel character, Nemo like a pirate, and SteamPunk technology in every single panel, attached to all the Victorian-era-London buildings. there is also a movie but it's really really bad and it just makes the comic look less good by existing. And there are also rumors of a new, not that bad LOEG TV series coming out, which have to be confirmed yet, and dont guarantee it's gonna be better than that shitty movie (Alan Moore isn't involved in it either).
So, if you like steampunk and want to know where it started, or like Alan Moore, or like victorian era novels... or you just like graphic novels in general, then read LOEG!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Magic: the Gathering --Flavor Texts

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog! today I'm gonna show you something I find quite interesting: Magic: The Gathering flavor texts.
Most MTG cards have a couple lines at the end, which tell a little story, make a small joke, or just add to the overall sentiment of the card. These are called Flavor Texts.
I will now upload a few images of cards whose flavor texts are just great (keep in mind, this is a serious card game, and most flavors just add backgrounds to the card, so finding some with jokes on them...):
you may like puns or not, but this one is gold 

some jokes are just so simple they beg be told

red decks in a nutshell

So indifferent

This one is like an old proverb

these two came out at the same time, and they're exact opposites.

you can almost hear the man saying it
and finally, a new favourite of all:
goblins in a nutshell
I hope you've enjoyed the post, and if you remember some other cards with epic flavors you may post them in the comments section!

Reader's suggestions:
short but directly to the point... suggested by Oscar Mintegui
I'm happy to see more suggestions are coming up, even now!

Suggested by doneunder44

suggested by Tavi Beadenkopf

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Perfect Blue

Hey there, and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna talk about a movie filmed by Satoshi Kon (based on a book): Perfect Blue.

Perfect Blue is the story of a pop idol who one day decides to become an actress. As she starts acting in a TV series, she goes through a rather traumatizing experience, and starts hallucinating, seeing her own "Idol Version" walking on the streets and calling her. Added to this, there's the conflict of a stalker, who follows her since the time she was an idol, and posts every single thing she does on a website in first person (bear in mind, this movie is from a time when having a website and posting on it was not at all that common), a thing the main character can barely understand: she visits the internet for the first time just to check that website.
As the movie goes forward, the real-life scenes in which she is an actress and the scenes in which she is acting start to get superimposed, as we also see stalker-related-scenes, and scenes in which she is her other, idol-like, personality. All that would make for a pretty complicated movie, but -wait for it- the character she acts as in the series, also has a double personality!

So, I really recommend this movie, because it shows how not all anime is for children, and how animated movies can be as complex and psychologically deep as any other. Also, this movie is the one they based on to make The Black Swan.

Bye, I hope you've enjoyed the post! if you comment on it, you'll make my day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Marvel: Civil War

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog again! today I'm gonna talk about "Civil War" the series that got me into the marvel universe and showed me it wasn't as shallow and onomatopoeia-infested as I thought.
It's still pun-infested, for all I know.
The series, under the catchy slogan "whose side are you on?" starts when a young hero, who just happens to be near the side of a primary school, literally explodes, killing hundreds of innocent children. This leads to the drafting of a new bill in the congress: the Superhuman Registration Act, which says all people with superpowers, whether they're mutants, aliens or just the common superhero, must register officially to the USA, so that the government can hire them as soldiers, with a salary and stuff, but also train them and judge their actions.

As the bill gets passed, superheroes rally on two sides: the ones who support it, lead by Iron Man (who had already said he was Iron Man openly a couple times, anyway) and the ones who oppose it, lead by Captain America. 
Thus begins the greatest war in the marvel universe: not "good vs evil" but hero against hero, each one defending their own interests, as villains are left in a second place (from where they can pull strings and manipulate other characters to cause mischief and... sorry, I got carried away) and the common people who are not superpowered start forming thier opinions.
And that's what I like this about this series: it's not your typical "heroes fight evil guys and save random citizens" --Citizens take the main role in multiple times, as we are showed the state of fear some of them live in knowing the whole earth can easily be destroyed (Galactus, anyone?), the hard life of a reporter who gets accidentally involved, and many other points of view.
Of course, that doesn't move aside all your favourite heroes: Spider-man and his always complex, always changing, ever-teen mind; Reed Richards and the Invisible Woman, who have different opinions on the bill and have to deal with a troublesome marriage; The Thing, who meets the french superheroes... and many, many more.

that's why I think if you're gonna start reading comics from the Marvel Multiverse, Civil War is a really good start

Bye, I hope you've enjoyed this post!

P.S.: There are rumours this series may be adapted to a disney movie, which would be Avengers 3. They haven't been confirmed or discarded as of yet, though an adaptation of such a long and complicated series would be, at the very least, hard and costly to make (and there would always be the typical angry fans complaining it didn't come out as they expected)

I kill Giants

Hey everyone, and welcome to my blog again.
It's freezing here and my fingers are having a hard time hitting the right keys, so dont hate on me if I make a typo, please.
Today I'm going to talk to you about a graphic novel which combines beautiful drawings and a compelling (and short) plot.
I kill giants is the story of a young, kind of delusional girl, who likes tabletop roleplaying (as does this humble writer here) and takes it a little bit too far: she's convinced she is the only person able to kill giants.

Written by Joe Kelly, the plot starts by introducing us to this rather odd main character (who you can see in the front cover). She is a young girl, constantly talking about giants, and how to beat them. As the story goes forward, we see she doesn't have many friends, and she does have some problems at her home, with her family, which she starts to talk about with the school's psychologist. 
Finally, she mentions the existence of Titans: "giants so big and ugly, the sun doesn't want to shine on them", which of course end up being a metaphor for the real "elephant in the room" (or should I say Giant in the room), the cause to her being an outcast freak...

This novel, exquisitely drawn by J. M. Ken Niimura, is completely worth a read, and with only 7 short episodes it can be read in a day or two... What are you waiting for? go read it now! 

Bye, and I hope you like it. If you have any obscure comicbook or movie you want me to talk about, or some other topic, just tell me and I will.

Maus: a mature comicbook

Hey everyone, and welcome once again to my blog. Today I'm gonna talk to you about "Maus", a graphic novel (a term which I really prefer rather than "comic", since comic implies they're funny and kinda silly) about the holocaust.
Told by little mice

 Who are actually jews running from the nazis, that are, of course, cats.
Maus starts by showing us the author, Art Spiegelman, as he visits his father, a holocaust survivor, looking for ideas for a comicbook he's writing.
As his father starts telling him his story, Art starts writing it down and making it into a book... except he also tells the story of how he was told the story in the first place.
Thus, we end up having two stories: in one of them, we see Art's father as he survives through the second world war in Poland, being chased after by many "cats" and hiding "like a rat".
In the other one, we see Art struggling to better his bond with his father, who is short tempered, terribly ill, and obssessive about the tiniest details. Art even jokes about this in a strip, in which he says people may think he's just using a jewish stereotype instead of his actual dad.

By being so complete, and having so deep character designs, Maus became the first graphic novel to actually win a Pulitzer!

So, if you're looking for something to read, I'd totally recommend you to read Maus, and don't think its for children just because there are drawings in it.