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Showing posts from July, 2006

Another Frank Miller Movie coming

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Brace yourselves, boys and girls. I only heard about it for the first time this weekend but another Frank Miller graphic novel is coming to the big screen. And it’s set in Ancient Greece!

300 details the epic historical (not mythological) battle of Thermopylae that took place in 480BC. Spartan King Leonidas and his royal guard of 300 embarked on a suicide mission to hold back an invading Persian force of between 1 and 3 million soldiers (under Xerxes) in a narrow canyon while the Greek forces could prepare for the invasion.



It’s not a happy tale, but with today’s political climate I’m surprised it has taken so long to make a film adaptation of such a macho, blood-soaked story about Western courage facing up against Middle Eastern numerical domination. I’m betting it’s going to be an especially big hit in Israel ;)



300 isn’t a star-driven movie like Troy or Alexander both were. The only ‘name’ here is Gerard Butler from the Tomb Raider sequel and The Phantom of the Opera, as King Leonidas…

Plans for the Weekend

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Damn, I’m stiff today after Wednesday evening… I wonder why there is a 24 hour delay between exercise and irritating, burning pain in shoulders, biceps and thighs?

Anyway, the weekend is pretty wide open apart from our plan on Saturday to join Ashley, and Ian, for round 2 of Paul and my couples photo shoot. By the sounds of it we’ll be taking the pics up in the Hillcrest area, going for whole rustic railway effect. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure Paul will enjoy himself as well- he loves anything train related.

Otherwise, we’re seriously considering going to see The Narrow, probably South Africa’s top alternative band at Burn on Saturday evening- I suppose I better listen to their album/s one time properly before we go!



This weekend I’d also like a bit of retail therapy in the form of picking up the Fatboy Slim Greatest Hits CD, and buying myself some proper athletics shoes. I realised recently I don’t have anything I’d be happy being seen in, or happy scuffing while doing spo…

The Dark Crystal 2

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Ooooh, this just in... I can't believe it but they're making a sequel to The Dark Crystal. People tend to forget this but the 1980s was a glorious age for (often quite dark) fantasy: Conan, Excaliber, Krull, Neverending Story, Legend, Return to Oz, Ladyhawke, Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal. I think I saw Dark Crystal when I was 4 or so, and I was captivated by the imagery, especially the old crone with an eye in her forehead.



Now there's a sequel coming from the brains behind Samurai Jack and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, probably 2 of the most brilliant, artistically stunning cartoon series of recent years. I'm very excited...

Extracted from an Aint It Cool News on the San Diego Comic Con:

Jim Henson Company panel

- Power of the dark crystal directed by Genndy Tartakofsky.(creator of Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack, Star Wars:Clone war cartoons.) When asked to direct he had two questions. Is it going to be with puppets. And will Brian Froud be involved. When both were answered y…

The First Rule of Fight Club

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The more I think about it, the more I decide Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the closest you can get to Fight Club… in a safe environment with far less blood and bruises, of course.

Although physical and mental discipline is a part of it, it’s not about practicing kata’s to thin air. There’s the huge thrill of spending a portion of every class engaged in actually fighting (minus the kicking and striking) a resistant partner. It’s about regaining confidence in yourself through your ability to defend yourself, using your body in a way that we desk-jockey wage slaves have forgotten.

There’s a fantastic freeing physicality to it.

And it’s not about being agro either. Although some grappling sessions can get quite rough, you have to remain calm and focused. Before and after a roll you shake your partner’s hand.

I ended up staying for 2 classes last night (the second one focused on some fun sweeps and take downs), and I was utterly finished by the end of it. But I did get a compliment out of it. Mica…

Psychokinetic Road Rage

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After some careful deliberation I have decided on my choice of superhero (or villain) power- psychokinetic road rage!

After yet another morning of navigating the traffic to work (for those of you who don’t know, South Africa has the world’s most aggressive, road-rage prone drivers in the world), I’ve decided to sacrifice flight, super strength and invulnerability for something more practical in terms of dealing with assholes who cut people off, drive right up your bumper, or cannot wait in queues patiently.

I’m not talking about a power as dramatic as Phoenix’s fiery disintegration death-bringing in X-Men 3: the Last Stand. You’ll cause traffic accidents if the death is instantaneous on the road. I’m thinking more about zapping the offender with the psychokinetic blast while they’re driving, and the effect only kicking in when they arrive at their destination. As they climb from their car ‘pop’ goes some vital in their brain or heart, and they keel over. For good. Driving to work in th…

Happy 1st birthday, blog

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Coincidence a very weird thing. Today is the second anniversary of Ashley's blog: A Life Worth Living. Dipping into my archives, I discovered that today also marks the first birthday of my blog.


So, Happy Birthday to Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass!

I'm a Capricorn and my blog is a Leo, and in terms of compatibility this translates as:

Capricorn's more emotionally detached, reserved, down-to-earth and somewhat cynical or sceptical attitude contrasts with Leo's warm enthusiasm and basically cheerful temperament. In your personal style and tastes, also, this difference is very apparent: Capricorn prefers the classics, simple elegance, and either a very conservative traditional style or an austere less-is-more, keep-it-simple style.
Leo has a generous, lavish hand and loves rich colour, warmth, and brilliance that borders on gaudiness. Sometimes, this translates into emotional terms also. Capricorn is more careful, cooler, less inclined to gamble, wants a sure thing. Le…

Stardust set visit

I'm feeling a bit uncreative in terms of blog posts this morning - I'm tentatively thinking about buying the fantasy role-playing boardgame Runebound as I type - so here are some Pfeiffer related extracts from Aint It Cool News's Moriarty, who visited the Stardust set in England. I am so keen to see the magical world of Neil Gaiman's novel realised onscreen. It sounds fantastic.

Minor Spoilers ahead...

From Part 1 of the Visit:

This first set is Lamia’s Inn. It’s not a real inn, though. It’s more like a magical mousetrap, created using an elaborate spell right along the path that Yvaine (Danes) is traveling. See... Yvaine’s not a normal girl. She’s actually a fallen star in human film, and Lamia is part of a trio of witches who need to get hold of the star’s heart so that they can eat it and replenish their magical power. Lamia creates this inn and the people working in it from whatever she’s got on hand. The serving wench and the barkeep are both actually goats who have …

Anniversaries and Weekends

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Yesterday, Monday, was my and Paul’s 2 year and 11 month anniversary- just 1 month short of 3 years together. We have the tendency of skimming over the unimportant month anniversaries but I/we don’t forget the year and 6 month dates. Plus, having it on the 24th means our anniversary coincides with other important dates like payday and Christmas Eve.

Anyway, we didn’t celebrate yesterday in the traditional sense. We grappled! While Paul is still rough, slamming his weight down on top of me, I managed to hold my own in yesterday’s Jiu-Jitsu class. Although he was in a superior position for most of the round, at no point could he apply any submission techniques. I just need to practice my escape from mount some more.

Plus, yesterday there were 2 other girls there in class, which was great- gym co-ordinator Chantel (who’s excellent) and Batman fanatic & animator Lauren (who is more at my level and a lot of fun to grapple with).

As for the past weekend:

Friday evening:

A quiet evening at P…

Stardust Reviewed

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I’ve made a few comments on this blog while reading this book- most of them to do with the fact that Michelle Pfeiffer is playing the role of the witch queen in the all-star film adaptation out in May next year.

Anyway, I finished the book last weekend, and it’s an entertaining, if stripped down, fairy tale for adults. Apparently the novel (by Neil Gaiman) was originally published as a graphic novel, with illustrations by reknowned artist Charles Vess, and that is apparent in the text, which is simple and script-like.

Although this simplicity reinforces the fairy tale like nature of the story- romantic young man enters the land of Faerie to find a fallen star in order to please his aloof dream girl- it may frustrate readers who crave more detail to become emotionally invested in the story and the fate of its characters. Certain intriguing plot elements are also left unexplained or unexplored.



These criticisms aside, the books balances its scenes of magical whimsy with some rather graph…

Snakes on a Plane

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LOL. I saw this over at Popped Culture, and it looks like a superb example of Hollywood creativity when studio execs surface out of a cocaine-induced haze and realise they have just spent millions on an utter piece of shit. Basically, they are deliberately shaping this turkey up as cult ‘this-is-so-bad-it’s-hilarious’ hit. I must say that I’m intrigued by the premise:

Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips), who are FBI agents, escort John Saunders (Mark Houghton), a former low-ranking member of the Mafia, to testify in a highly publicized case. In the course of a flight between Hawai'i and California, an assassin pays airport security to sneak a time-release crate of over 500 snakes of various sizes on board in the hope of killing the witness.

It sounds even dumber than Anaconda, Deep Blue Sea or Stealth.

More here on the Snakes on a Plane marketing phenomenon...

Thoughts for Friday

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It’s been a very long, very busy week so I think it anyone could be forgiven for stopping their thinking at the very obvious fact that today is Friday and the end of the week. Thank goodness. Picking up the writing workload and proofing (error checking) of 2 copywriters has not been pleasant these past 2 weeks.

Anyway, some other thoughts as we head into the weekend:

1) Knee to the groin:Whether you are male or female, being kneed in the groin hurts… a lot. I discovered this when it accidentally happened on Wednesday evening. I don't think it's quite as bad for girls though. The burning stops after a minute...

2) More Pfeiffer news: The Stardust website- just a teaser- is up. Man, is this movie going to be pretty…

And, oh, my, major rumour here but apparently Michelle is up for a lead role in a film adaptation of hit musical Mamma Mia (you know, the one with Abba music). Michelle would play Donna, “a single mother who has raised her daughter on a Greek paradise isle. As the dau…

The latest Pfandom Pfix

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What a horrible stressful day... everything is either an urgent job or due by tomorrow at the latest...



Anyway, Nathaniel over at The Film Experience has a nice collection of recent Pfeiffer news on his blog at the moment.

The big excitement of the moment, apart from the Hairspray casting mentioned earlier this week, is that Michelle is on and in the new InStyle magazine. You can access the scanned magazine pages as an exclusive at Bond's Gorgeous Pfeiffer website. She looks amazing!

Pixar's Cars reviewed

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What is perhaps most admirable about Pixar is the way that they are always pushing boundaries and challenging themselves. It’s one thing humanising monsters and insects, but in Cars, they’ve actually achieved the impossible and brought credible life and personality to the inanimate, blocky, limbless objects that are cars.



I know a lot of people have been put off by the idea of watching an animated film about motor vehicles, but Cars is well worth seeing. It’s superbly animated (there is one stunning scene where neon lighting reflects on the cars’ polished metal surfaces) and comes with 2 strong messages about A) leading a more holistic life and B) treasuring a simpler past. The film is very much orientated towards the message that ‘Life is a journey; not a destination. Enjoy the ride.’

And in case you think the film could become too preachy, it has an appealing voice cast that includes Owen Wilson as cocky rookie racing star Lightning McQueen, Bonnie Hunt as Porsche Sally and Paul Newma…

A CD to buy!

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I actually haven't bought a new CD since last year, getting my 'new' music fix via other channels. But the new Evanescence album The Open Door is out in October, and yesterday I heard a radio ad for the following greatest hits album, which is a must-buy:

Fatboy Slim - The Greatest Hits: Why Try Harder

DISC 1
Rockafeller Skank
Praise You
Brimful of Asha - Cornershop (Norman Cook Remix)
Weapon Of Choice
Gangster Trippin
I See You Baby - Groove Armada (Fatboy Slim Remix)
Wonderful Night
Right Here, Right Now
Going Out Of My Head
Sunset (Bird Of Prey)
Everybody Loves A Carnival
Don't let The Man Get You Down
Demons
Sho Nuff
Slash Dot Slash
Santa Cruz
Champion Sound
That Old Pair Of Jeans

BONUS DVD
1. Weapon Of Choice
2. Praise You
3. Ya Mama
4. Wonderful Night
5. Right Here Right Now
6. Joker
7. Rockafeller Skank
8. Going Out Of My Head
9. Gangster Trippin'
10. Santa Cruz



The Coca-cola Colab concert earlier this year gave me a new appreciation for Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim. I really regret not hav…

Tuesday Update

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Ugh, I’m mentally drained, having just spent the last 3 hours plus proofing (error checking) banking brochures. It demands permanent concentration, so I’m taking a breather and updating my blog right now.

Yesterday I finally installed Explorer 6.0 on the work PC, so I finally have a lot more functionality back in terms of posting. Yay! No more fiddling with html code!

In news for the moment, remind me not to promise long features on top of my monthly column for GEAR. It’s exhausting working on it late into the night, and during all my breaks at work. At least the new editor seems quite accommodating in terms of article length so I don’t think I’ll have to spend ages slashing the feature down to its proposed length.

There may also be a surprise for my ‘fans’ in the October issue… Watch this space!

Otherwise Jiu-Jitsu was good last night. I grappled and held my own against (an admittedly exhausted) Paul. Another guy Clint and I used our grapple session to try out some of the techniques we…

Michelle sings again!

There had been rumours about this for a while, but now it looks like it's finally been confirmed. After playing the witch queen in Stardust (currently filming in the United Kingdom), Michelle will play another villain, in a film musical based on a Tony winning musical play based on a film.

I know some pfans have been concerned about Michelle's association with this film, but it has a great cast, and the best news of all is that we'll be hearing Michelle sing again onscreen! Her brief vocal work in The Prince of Egypt's Oscar-winning song When You Believe proved that all the training she did for Evita (she backed out of the film at the last minute) really paid off. Now, hopefully, we'll be able to hear the results properly.

Pfeiffer is the Hairspray Villain
Source: Variety July 17, 2006

New Line has found its Hairspray villain, setting Michelle Pfeiffer to play Velma von Tussel, the former Miss Baltimore Crabs beauty queen-turned-bitter Baltimore TV station owner.

Varie…

The Weekend Just Past

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Ugh, schools are back today, so that means an end to quiet drives to work in the morning. Although, this said, SUV driving mothers and fathers weren’t to blame for the horrific, stressful traffic this morning. That honour goes to a truck that had broken down on the main road into Pinetown. Travelling a distance that normally doesn’t even take 5 minutes, this morning took what felt like a quarter of an hour.

Anyway, as for the weekend just past…

Friday

On Friday evening Warren and Robin came around to play Carcassonne, which has proven to be a very strategic game with lots of potential for malicious plan-ruining (as usual, Paul showed no mercy as we competed for points on one side of the board).



I can’t say I was in the best mood that evening as it was, having been wound up earlier about another territorial conflict… namely the Israel-Lebanon crisis in the Middle East. Nothing disgusts me more than the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure on both sides simply to teach your o…

The Weekend Past and Present

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I’ll start with the upcoming one. I’m hoping it’s going to be a relaxing one; well, as much as possible. Next week midweek is the September GEAR deadline and while I’m currently tweaking my column (God, that sounds so wrong), I also am writing a feature article for the mag of a similar length. I’ll have to make some hefty progress with that this weekend.

Otherwise my only set plans are planning boardgames tonight with Warren and Robin, Paul and myself’s usual gaming gang. I’m thinking of buying Runebound, the rival single player fantasy boardgame to World of Warcraft, but since I’ve already made my ‘luxury’ purchase for the month (Kalahari.net is having a booksale), it’ll have to wait for payday, and become my August luxury item.



On Sunday evening Paul and I are going to a kind of mini orchestral Pops at the city hall with Paul’s parents- it’s two hours of the KZN philharmonic orchestra interpreting popular rock music. It should be great.

If the weather is as warm, sunny and breezeless a…

Yourself as a South Park character

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We've been having a lot of fun at the office with this South Park character creator, the South Park Studio. We've even been considering putting together a Christmas card using characters for everyone in the office. Anyway, here's me:



I'm hoping other bloggers will do the same. When you've made 'you', put the pic on your blog, and then link to it in the comments section of this post.

Middle-aged Male Merc Drivers...

...are the scum of the earth. The same applies to middle-aged male Audi and BMW drivers. I don't know what it is about older men and having a big, expensive car, but it turns them into arrogant bullies!

I had one asshole this morning driving right up my backside on the way to work. With cars in the slow lane, I couldn't pull over to let the prat pass. Then he glares at me as he finally drives past. I'm still fuming!

If only they would all pop their Viagra and collapse at the foot of their 25 year old mistress's bed. The world would be a better place!

Brand new Girlz 'N' Games: Why Superman REALLY left

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Phew, I haven't done one of these in a while... If you like it, spread it around...

A WARNING though: It contains spoilers for those of you who haven't yet seen Superman Returns.

Superdickery in Superman Returns

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Although Batman is my favourite superhero, I will always have a soft spot for Superman. As a child of the 1980’s, the Christopher Reeve movies, Supergirl and assorted cartoon and TV spin-offs, as well as the comics, ensured him a spot as the first ever superhero to enter my consciousness.

I still go all giddy when I hear the first few notes of John Williams’s theme. I have visions of running around, arms outstretched, with a cape tied around my shoulders.

With his bright outfit, strict code of ethics, and bullet-proof hide though, Superman has become terminally uncool over the last few decades of cynicism (Even though I’m sure if most people could choose to have a superhero’s powers, they’d pick Supes’s- not Brandon Routh’s- full package).



Anyway, the point is that I like Superman. He’s the superhero I’d be happy my non-existent kids adored. Of course I can also see the funny side of Superman. My perceptions of the Man of Steel have forever been affected by the brilliant website Superd…

Superman Returns Reviewed

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I saw Superman Returns on Saturday evening, and the one word that sums the film up is generic. Superman Returns is far from a bad film- it’s biggest problem is that it runs a bit long at 2 and half hours- but it ultimately is a bit bland, adding nothing new to the Superman mythos. It probably also didn’t help that the film was entirely bloodless (no doubt to make it more kiddie friendly). Characters get thrown around and stabbed and there’s not a drop of blood in sight…



Figuratively, the film is pretty bloodless as well. The promised ‘emotional’ impact is missing. This said, I didn’t find anything seriously wrong with the performances. Although his character actually seems to fade as a focal point in the last 3rd of the film, Routh is a great Superman (and a hottie in his tights), and a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve, and I would have loved to see more of him as shy alter ego Clark Kent, particularly in interactions with Lois Lane.

Kate Bosworth is a passable Lois Lane but she’s…

Stardust Set Pics

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It's kind of a redux of her black cloaked look in Ladyhawke, but here's the first official on-set pic of Michelle Pfeiffer as the witch queen in Stardust, the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's best-selling and award-winning fantasy novel. By the looks of it, she's casting one of her mind-control or transformation spells (Don't recognise the scene from the book though).



For lovers of film or Pfeiffer trivia, this will be the 7th time Michelle dabbles with the supernatural and magical onscreen. She already has Ladyhawke, The Witches of Eastwick, Batman Returns, Wolf, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Sinbad on her filmography.

Anyway, the pic accompanies a set report from Quint over at Aint It Cool News.

Italy wins Football World Cup

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On Friday a the office we placed bets. My first choice, which I put money on, was a 1-0 win to France. Although I wanted Italy to win, the way France seemed to suddenly come together during the tournament suggested they could actually pull off another World Cup Win.

My second consideration was a 1-1 draw, forcing a penalty shoot out, which I presumed Italy would win because veteran French goalie Barthez seemed a bit past it. Although Barthez had nothing to do with bringing about the Italian win, my second theory was spot on. Italy won! So I've missed out on R200 winnings...



Anyway, it was hardly one of my favourite finals. Once again, both the French and Italians were up to their 'acting' tricks, diving on the ground and pretending to be injured, tripping over their own feet to get penalty shots on goal etc. etc. That really is the off-putting side of soccer, which is otherwise such a smooth flowing game.

And then Zidane head butting an Italian in the chest, ending his illus…

Weeks and Weekends

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Ugh, it’s been one of those write-off weeks where I haven’t really been able to do anything I wanted to… at least in the evenings. The days have been long, mentally tiring and very busy, filled with the writing and proofing of website copy for some exceptionally boring websites (Tyres and carpets anyone?). So normally when I get home, after Jiu-Jitsu on a Monday and Wednesday especially, all I want to do is curl up in front on the TV or in bed with a book.

Anyway, I’m hoping to have a pretty chilled weekend, with none of the manic missions and errand running of last weekend.

Fans of my Girlz ‘N’ Games comic strip will be pleased to know that I sketched a new strip last night. The theme is Superman (you know I can’t resist drawing muscled men)… so brace yourselves! I’m wanting to ink and colour it this weekend, and have it online early next week.

Otherwise, I’ll be seeing Superman Returns on Saturday evening at the Pavillion (after a week of premieres and previews it opens officially in…

Stardust Set Report

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Oh, happy day!

Author Neil Gaiman is on the set of Stardust, the all-star film adaptation of his novel and it sounds like things are going well. I am so looking forward to seeing Michelle Pfeiffer in all her glorious and sinister beauty as the all-powerful Witch Queen.

I'm about 100 pages from the end of the novel, and you'll get a full review then, but I highly recommend Gaiman's novel as a fairy tale for adults- stylistically simple, full of whimsy, quirkiness and with dashes of sex and violence. Ashley, I think you'll like Stardust especially, which deals with young Tristran's journey into the land of Faerie to find a fallen star (which takes the form of a young woman) which he has promised to his lady love.

Best of all: Stardust is not set in that tedious, pseudo-Medieval period that every inky fingered, basement-dwelling, 20 year old 'fantasy writer' opts for. Stardust largely takes place in the rural English countryside of the 1850s, the very early Victo…

The Vacation Loot

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I'm still going to write a post about my weekend's activities (which include the Vodacom July, the biggest annual horse racing event in South Africa). But instead of making it an monster post that takes forever to read, I think I'll spit out some disposable chunks of info.

For example, here are the goodies that Paul brought back from the UK for me- a combination of presents and things I'm paying him for:

Jewellery

There WAS a reason Paul wanted me to pierce my ears. He bought me silver earrings inset with topaz stones, as well as a silver necklace with a Cubic Zirconia. This was my anniversary present 2 months in advance.



A Genuine 200AD Roman Coin

I'm a huge fan of Ancient Mythology and History, and Paul found a genuine Roman coin in York. Apparently the fields there are filled with them (the area was populated by Roman legionaires for ages), and they're worthless except to collectors. Although the back of my coin is largely worn away, the front closely resembles …

What Superhero are you?

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Tis the season for superheroes, so why not take the following quiz and discover who your super alter ego is. As it turns out I'm the Green Lantern... one of the first ever 'selfish' heroes in that, although heroic, he was not too virtuous to use his powers for personal gain.

That's according to Wikipedia: Green Lantern... although the Green Lantern has my favourite ever superhero costume, I can't say I've ever been a fan of his intergalactic and interdimensional adventures. It's bit too sci-fi and far-fetched for a fan of earth-bound heroes like Batman.



Your results:You are Green Lantern 65%
You are Hot-headed. You have strong will power and a good imagination.

Superman 60%
Catwoman 60%
Hulk 55%
Batman 50%
Iron Man 50%
Spider-Man 45%
Supergirl 43%
Wonder Woman 43%
Robin 30%
The Flash 25%



Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

The Reality of Gamer Relationships

July is here and that means it's time to put my July GEAR column on my blog... for those of you out there who don't buy the magazine. Anyway, this is one of my favourite columns, and was probably the fastest and easist to write.

I was especially fond of the fact that this is probably the first time the issue has been explored in SA gaming journalism (probably because of my 'normal' woman status, instead of being a diehard male geek).

I've also finally been paid for my May and June columns. I now have to invoice for my July work and backtrack to April. Remind me never to embrace journalism full time unless I'm an in-demand name who can demand my own salary. The money is pretty bad... Thank God my GEAR writing is for published experience and I'm not reliant on the income.


The Reality of Gamer Relationships

Desired by many, achieved by few, it’s a fantasy clutched to the hearts of countless gamers. I’m not talking about a next generation console or a brand new, …