Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everquest Fans Give Back!

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and it's player base raised over $20,000 this week for the Child's Play charity. They sold virtual "Child's Play" items in Everquest and Everquest 2; each time one was sold SOE donated $10 to the cause. Child’s Play is dedicated to providing children with toys and age-appropriate games, toys, and movies; making their visit a little bit more tolerable.

Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade are the minds behind the creation of Child's Play and are doing a fantastic job! Originally Child's Play was created to give the the 190,000+ kids treated annually at the Seattle Children's Hospital a great Christmas back in 2003. They partnered with to deliver the opportunity for its fan base, 4.5 million strong at the time, to give back to the children, and it was an astounding success. Fast forward to 2008 and Child's Play is involved with over 60 Hospitals world wide and gamers donated over $1.4 million!

Head on over to the Child's Play website and read a little more about the non-profit organization that makes children's visits to hospitals wordwide just a bit more tolerable...and possibly even a little fun! You can purchase a very creative t-shirt to promote the cause as well! Give back!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Disney Star Wars 2009 Figures

Disney has announced that the final four Star Wars Disney character statues will be available this summer! Mickey Luke, Minnie Leia, Goofy Chewie, and Donald in Carbonite will be released with a limited edition of 600; 500 of which will be solely available at Hollywood Studios; 100 of each to Disneyland. They will be sold for a whopping $195; $5 cheaper than last year!

In 2008 we got to see Donald Duck as Darth Maul, Goofy as Jar Jar, Mickey as Anakin, and Minnie as Queen Amidala with the same limited edition run. I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at these figures, but have not had the pleasure to own them due to the steep price involved. I try to limit my action figures to $20 tops if possible! If you get a chance to visit Disneyland or Hollywood Studios during the Star Wars celebration have fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Star Wars: Infinities - Return of the Jedi

Don't adjust your eyes or your monitor...Darth Vader really is white, and this isn't some crazed fans action figure modification! I saw this Darth Vader in my local Target, did a lap around the store, came back to buy it, and it was GONE! I was not happy. Not sure why I didn't pick it up in the first place but I figured I would never see another one for sale (in a store) again. So, I went home to do a little research and found out this is part of the Star Wars Infinities series where alternate plots occur such as Leia joining the Dark Side and as you see here, Darth Vader joining the Light Side and dawning a bleached costume.

Here is a run down of what occurs courtesy of Wikipedia:
"On the Death Star, Palpatine orders Vader to kill Leia. Luke unleashes his lightsaber and duels with Vader himself. Leia attempts to intervene, but is subdued by Force Lightning from the Emperor, allowing Luke and Vader's duel to continue.

Han, despite his blindness, takes Chewbacca's place in the Falcon’s gunner turret after Chewbacca is injured. The Falcon flies down to Endor and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet in space to enter the half-completed Death Star. Lando takes the Falcon back to the Death Star to rescue Luke and Leia.

Luke continues to duel Vader, revealing to him that both he and Leia are his children. Vader is stunned by the revelation, but strikes down Luke at the cost of one of his arms. However, Vader is unable to kill his own children and surrenders, causing him to turn from the dark side of the Force.

During the duel, the Emperor escapes and Luke and Leia carry the wounded Vader to the Falcon waiting in the docking bay and escape before the Death Star explodes. Sometime later, on the Rebel flagship, Mon Mothma informs Luke that the Emperor is alive and still a threat. Anakin, now clad in a white variation of the suit he wore as Vader, agrees to help the Rebels track down Palpatine."

Quite interesting. I always wondered "what if"...and apparently I was not the only one. If you ever run into one and want to sell it at a decent price, not eBay sellers insane prices, please let me know! I will be forever in your debt! May the Force be with you! (I had to do it)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Robin Hood (BBC Version)

If you haven't had the chance to watch the BBC version of Robin Hood you are missing out! I came across this television series while adding some of the 450+ movies on my Netflix account that I will never watch. Luckily, this one made it to the top!

A short description from the Robin Hood BBC Homepage:
"Filmed in Budapest, Robin Hood is a unique blend of exhilarating action adventure, wit and romance. Robin Hood's striking new look (no tights), coupled with the sharp scripts, updates the popular legend for a sophisticated contemporary audience. Full of action, humour and romance, Robin Hood outwits and delights us as he fights the authority of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham with outrageous scams and incredible swordplay."

Season 2 ended December of 2007 and Season 3 will begin again sometime in 2009. The writing overall is great. There is some humor that I just don't get, but overall it is very enjoyable and not overdone as some shows do to try and make something funny that clearly is not.

This television series adds depth and detail into Robin Hood's life before he was an outlaw as a noble and afterward as he tries to stop the Sheriff of Nottingham. Jonas Armstrong plays Robin Hood and is amazing with his clever wit and charm.

Lucy Griffith, who plays Marian, perfectly portrays an "innocent" nobles daughter and still gives the believability that she truly could be a rebel with a similiar cause to Robin Hood's.

The rest of the cast is excellent as well. There are some characters that you want to slap, others you want to hug, if you are that type of person, and others you really relate too. As I said in the opening statement, if you haven't seen Robin Hood done the BBC way go find and watch it today! You won't be dissapointed!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Keith Parkinson - "Master of Fantasy Art"

I figured for my first blog post I would write a tribute to one of my favorite fantasy artists, Keith Parkinson. The man touched many lives and will be remembered in the hearts and minds of past and future generations.

From fantasy series such as Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms to authors such as Terry Goodkind and Margaret Weis; Keith Parkinson's book covers have captured the imaginations of millions and set new standards for the fantasy and science fiction genre.

Left you will see "North Watch". This was the first painting that introduced me to Keith Parkinson and I still adore it to this day. "North Watch" was the first painting I had to have in my dragon collection. It's really what invigorated my love for dragons. To this day I still do not have a print or giclee, and I just ran across the re-opened Keith Parkinson website and they are available! It's too bad I have no where to place such a fine piece of artwork.

Keith truly knew how to paint both in-depth landscapes and yet minimal landscapes at the same time. The original landscape and character painting Keith did for the MMORPG Everquest was the second painting I fell in love with. This one I do own but sadly it sits propped against a wall in its all too expensive frame and matting. There were 3 total in the Everquest series, one for each expansion up to that point ("Scars of Velious", "Planes of Power", and "Shadows of Luclin").

Left you will see "Druid Stone", one of Keith's paintings he did for the shear joy of painting...and it shows. This is an excellent testament to what a great artist can do with just a love for the genre. "He (Keith) wasn’t just a painter; he was a true artist, who found layers of depth in everything he did, who breathed life into canvas and emotions into paint." (R.A. Salvatore).

Here you will find Wizards of the Coasts' tribute to Keith Parkinson with quite a few farewell statements and sentiments about his artwork, the great person he was, and the great friendships and lasting impressions he made.

Thank you Donna, Mary, Nicolas and Zachary for sharing Keith with us. Your insight into our beloved fantasy worlds will never be forgotten Keith. You will be missed!
*All images in this post copyright Keith Parkinson.