Thursday, March 27, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Some fans with superhero costumes and zombie make-up put out a video on the web: it's YouTube quality but it's got alot of spirit.
More on Marvel Zombies from wikipedia:
The Marvel Zombies concept first appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23 (2005) by writer Mark Millar and artist Greg Land. The overriding plot premise is that almost all superpowered beings on Earth have become flesh-eating zombies. Although encountered by a character from the Ultimate universe, the zombies originated in the alternate universe of (Earth-2149). The zombies later appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four #30 - 32 (2006).
In 2006, an issue of Wizard Magazine (October) featured a one-page Marvel Zombies comic by artist Sean Phillips called "Eat the Neighbors." It parodied Hostess Fruit Pie advertisements featured in Marvel titles in the 1970's which showcased Marvel superheroes defeating villains by offering them snacks. In this instance, Spider-Man, Colonel America (this world's version of Captain America), and Iron Man serve two children as "Hostess Meat Pies" after the children mistake them for legitimate superheroes.
In 2007 an intercompany crossover between Marvel and Dynamite Entertainment provided information as to the source of the zombie infection in the 5-part limited series titled Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness (Marvel) and Army of Darkness (Dynamite). A one-shot titled Marvel Zombies: Dead Days (May) continues the story. The zombies also appear in a four-part storyline in Black Panther vol. 3, #27 - 31, and encounter the Earth-616 Fantastic Four.
In the same year a humorous one-shot comic book featuring the alternate universe animal hero Spider-Ham and titled Ultimate Civil War Spider-Ham Crisis was published. Spider-Ham accidentally crosses over into Earth-2149 and becomes, as J. Michael Straczynski puts it, "Undead Ham".
The exact cause of the infection is unknown, although anti-hero Ash Williams initially believes the zombies are deadites, it is later revealed that the plague is extraterrestrial in origin. The mutants Magneto and his aide Fabian Cortez apparently negotiate with an unknown force to bring the infection to Earth-2149 and so reduce the human population, although this backfires when mutants also prove susceptible. The infection spreads via contact with the blood of the victim, usually through a bite by an infected individual. The zombified superbeings largely retain their intellect and personality, although they are constantly driven by the hunger for fresh meat.
Ultimate Mister Fantastic is tricked by an older version of himself into teleporting to Earth-2149 - now inhabited by zombie versions of Earth's superheroes. Reed is saved by Magneto, one of the few uninfected survivors. Magneto explains that the infection was brought by a version of the hero Sentry from yet another dimension. Once Sentry began consuming humans, the infection quickly spread.  At the onset of the infection Magneto instructs Fabian Cortez to take all uninfected mutants to Asteroid M for safety. Nick Fury of the organization S.H.I.E.L.D has a similar plan, and summons all uninfected superhumans to the Helicarrier. Unfortunately, Reed Richards, having become deranged after the death of his children at the hands of a zombified She-Hulk, purposely infects the Fantastic Four with an injection of the Zombie virus, believing their zombified form to be the next stage in human evolution. They storm the Helicarrier and all aboard were zombified. Fury orders Thor to destroy a device that would allow travel across the dimensions - thereby preventing the infection from spreading - but is killed by the Fantastic Four.
Having picked the planet clean of their human food, the zombified Reed Richards contacts his Ultimate Universe counterpart and tricks him into visiting the zombie dimension. Ultimate Mister Fantastic is horrified to discover a ruined world when he arrives and is almost consumed until rescued by Magneto. After explaining how he arrived from his alternate universe, Magneto realizes that it may prove to be their only hope for escape from their destroyed world. Magneto teleports Mister Fantastic and a small group of human survivors to the Ultimate universe, but stays behind to destroy the teleporter and help ensure the zombies do not follow and infect other dimensions. However, zombie versions of the Fantastic Four had already teleported to the Ultimate universe but are incarcerated in the Baxter Building upon their arrival.
Magneto then learns that the Acolytes and Forge have survived on Asteroid M, but is later killed and devoured by the zombies. The Silver Surfer then arrives on Earth and informs the zombies that his master Galactus is en route to devour the planet. The zombies attack the Surfer, who is eventually overpowered and devoured by several of the former heroes: Colonel America, Iron Man, Giant Man, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, the Hulk and Wolverine. They in turn acquire a portion of the Power Cosmic, and then slaughter the remaining zombies.
The Acolytes return to Earth to find Magneto but instead discover a still-living Black Panther. The Panther has escaped from the lab of the zombie Giant-Man, who has been keeping him alive as a food source. As a result of several feedings, the Panther is now missing an arm and a foot. The Panther is aided in his escape by the head of the zombie Wasp, who lost her body in a fight with her husband Giant-Man. Fabian Cortez takes them to Asteroid M in order to study Wasp and find a cure. The mutant Forge tells the Black Panther that he can replace the Panther's lost limbs with cybernetic replacements. The Panther also guesses as to the true nature of the zombie addiction. Observing the Wasp's head begging for flesh, even though unable to feed, he reasons the hunger is more psychological than physical.
Galactus then arrives on Earth and although attacked by the zombies, easily repels them. Giant-Man, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner create a device that will amplify the powers they gained from the Silver Surfer, and together they are able to injure Galactus. The cosmic-powered zombies once again fight off the other zombies, and then proceed to devour Galactus. Colonel America, Giant Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man and Wolverine are then infused with Galactus' power cosmic. The cosmic-powered zombies then ascend into space and leave the Earth, deciding to find new worlds for nourishment.  While this is occurring, the Ultimate universe version of Mr. Fantastic seeks a cure to the zombie plague for the captive versions of the Fantastic Four. The zombies, however, escape, and are eventually defeated by Mr. Fantastic, who at the time was trapped in the body of Dr. Doom. Doom regains control of his body at the last instant, and crosses over into Earth-2149 just as the cosmic zombies are finishing off Galactus and prepares to battle them. 
Five years later, Forge, the Black Panther and the Wasp return to Earth. The Panther and the Wasp are now equipped with new cybernetic limbs and the Wasp is also lucid once more and cured of her addiction. On Earth they find nothing but plant life, with the zombies having long since departed.
Sometime after this, a new version of the Earth-616 Fantastic Four — consisting of the Panther, his wife Storm, the Human Torch and the Thing — find themselves on a Skrull planet in the Earth-2149 universe, and encounter the cosmic-powered zombies. After an extensive battle, the Fantastic Four escape, with the cosmic zombies intrigued by the fact that there's a reality where uninfected versions of themselves exist.
Marvel Zombies 2
Forty years after leaving Earth, the cosmic powered-zombies have systematically devoured all other life in the universe, as well as infecting the Titan Thanos (who is killed shortly thereafter by the Hulk after squabbling over food), the mutant Phoenix, Shi'ar warrior Gladiator and former Herald of Galactus Firelord with the zombie plague. They then decide to return to Earth and rebuild the interdimensional portal that Magneto destroyed forty years ago. En route to Earth, they feast on Ego the Living Planet to ease their hunger.
On Earth, an elderly Black Panther rules the surviving humans in the enclave of New Wakanda (in the ruins of New York), but is at war with the Acolytes, led by Fabian Cortez's son, Malcolm. The Panther's grandson accidentally discovers the severed head of Hawkeye, who has gone mad and amnesiac from decades of being alone and unable to move. One of Cortez's assassins attacks the Panther in his sleep and fatally wounds him, but the Panther is saved from death by the Wasp when she infects him, leaving him a zombie. After devouring the assassin, the two struggle with how to manage their raging hunger, while the cosmic zombies continue their approach to Earth.
Cortez decides to have the Panther executed after he has Wasp and Hawkeye exterminated, but the execution is delayed by the arrival of the returning cosmic zombies. Giant Man wishes to start a "breeding program" to create more human food, but a battle then ensues in which Spider-Man and Luke Cage switch sides, knowing what they have done is wrong now that their hunger has subsided enough to allow them to think rationally. The Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner and is captured. 
After killing Gladiator, the human resistance drives off the remaining zombies and restore Luke Cage and Spider-Man's lost limbs with cybernetics. Spider-Man then reveals that the other zombies seek the dimensional teleporter, which Forge reveals he has stored in their base. Knowing that the zombies will not depart without the device, the heroes prepare for the next battle. It is then revealed that the Black Panther's deceased son T'Channa has been revived with a portion of Colonel America's brain inside of him. During the next battle, Iron Man breaches the compound and battles Forge, T'Chana and several Acolytes. Just as the cosmic zombies gain the upper hand and prepare to feast on the remaining humans, Giant Man is surprised to realize that he has lost his hunger. 
Giant Man then convinces the zombies that their hunger is in fact gone, and while he is successful, they are interrupted by an enraged and starving Hulk. The Hulk destroys several of the zombies (Phoenix, Firelord, Hawkeye and Iron Man) as they attempt to stop him from eating the remaining humans. Robert Reynolds, having fallen in love with Wasp and believing her to be dead, offers himself to be devoured by the Hulk to stop the Hulk's rampage. The Hulk consumes Reynolds and then reverts back to Banner, who requests to be killed by the survivors to prevent the Hulk ever returning. New Wakanda is rebuilt, and Cortez then uses the teleporter to transport away the last of the zombies, intending to seize power for himself. 
Major zombified characters
Added on in Marvel Zombies 2
Thursday, March 20, 2008
And then there is Buzz-- er, Ace's nemesis: Emperor Black Zurg or something...
Monday, March 17, 2008
The Hillary Clinton camp has tried every avenue to delay reporting on the delegates from the Texas primary. They tried to intimidate the Texas Democratic Party prior to the primary. That failed. On election night, they threw up a duststorm of objections about irregularities. Now, the Clinton camp us urging the state party to delay the March 29 county and senate conventions, where details of how 67 delegates picked in the county caucuses will be announced. @Mad Milly and the Monster by Wayne Slater
Why are they doing this? Because they are losing.
CNN projects that Barack Obama won the Texas caucuses with 38 convention delegates, compared to 29 for Clinton. The Texas primary is a complicated, two-step process. Clinton won more delegates than Obama in the popular-vote portion, 65 to 61. With his likely caucus-delegate haul, looks like Obama won the overall statewide delegate lead, 99 to 94 -- or once superdelegate endorsements are factored in, 109 to 106.
Hillary Clinton declared victory in Texas and moved on. As for these pesky details, like delegates, that's the last thing the Clinton campaign wants to talk about.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
* Above left: phonecam snapshots of protests in Amdo, Tibet, over the weekend; at right, phonecam video of the same.
* According to Shanghaiist (and now, mainstream news outlets), YouTube was blocked in China over the weekend, likely because of content related to the flood of pro-Tibetan-sovereignty protests in Tibet and elsewhere:
International news channels such as CNN and BBC are also getting routinely blacked out. While we think this is a really poor way to deal with all the shit that's going on, we have been there many, many times, and survived. Time to turn on your VPN again, people! An* John Kennedy at Global Voices confirms the YouTube block:
As Tibet transitioned into total lockdown and videos of the violent situation proliferated on YouTube, people began noticing Saturday afternoon in China that the video-sharing website could not be accessed. Tech blogger Rick Martin on the CNET Asia Little Red Blog has done some tests which confirm what many have assumed:
* Rebecca McKinnon at Global Voices has an excellent roundup of reactions in the Chinese blogosphere:
For those living in the West who didn't realize that there's little sympathy for Tibet independence among ethnic Chinese in the PRC, this blog post on Global Voices will be a shocker. John Kennedy has translated chatter from Chinese blogs and chatrooms that generally runs along the lines of: those ungrateful minorities, we give them modern conveniences and look how they thank us... where have we heard this before? Reuters has a roundup on the Washington Post that begins: "a look at Chinese blogs reveals a vitriolic outpouring of anger and nationalism directed against Tibetans and the West." (...)* On Friday, protest in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, erupted into violence when police, army troops, and ethnic Tibetan demonstrators clashed. Some accounts place the death toll at 30, some at 100, some at 300. It's hard to separate rumor from truthful first-hand account, and hard to know exactly how many have been killed or injured, because communication in the region is so difficult. Foreign journalists are not allowed in, unaccompanied by official escorts. Internet and phone communications are routinely blocked by Chinese authorities when unrest occurs; some blogging tourists in Lhasa wanting to upload photos of what they witnessed have reported the presence of authorities inside 'net cafes. Pro-Tibetan-sovereignty sites like TCHRD, SFT, and Phayul are posting first-person accounts online. Some of those reports are difficult to independently confirm, given the circumstances. The website of the Central Tibetan Administration (part of the government in exile, led by the Dalai Lama, based in India) posts this update.
"Davesgonechina" at the Tenement Palm blog has been translating the chatter coming from Chinese netizens on Fanfou and Jiwai - Chinese versions of Twitter. Click here, here, and here, specifically. Dave has done more than translate: he points out that this Tibet situation is a real challenge to all people who believe that the Internet can help foster free speech and bring about better global understanding. Here is his challenge to all of us...
* The unrest spread this weekend to regions outside Lhasa: police and protesters also clashed in China's Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, and Gansu province, all of which have large ethnic Tibetan populations. On Saturday...
Demonstrations erupted for the second consecutive day in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, where an estimated 4,000 Tibetans gathered near the Labrang Monastery. Local monks had held a smaller protest on Friday, but the confrontation escalated Saturday afternoon, according to witnesses and Tibetans in India who spoke with protesters by telephone.* China's government has declared a "people's war" against the Tibetan independence movement, in "propaganda and security" measures, and has implemented what amounts to martial law in Lhasa.
Residents in Xiahe, reached by telephone, heard loud noises similar to gunshots or explosions. A waitress described the scene as “chaos” and said many injured people had been sent to a local hospital.
"Fight a people's war to oppose separatism and protect stability ... expose and condemn the malicious actions of these forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai clique to broad daylight," senior regional and security officials announced after a meeting, according to the official Tibet Daily on Sunday.* China's governor in Tibet promises harsh consequences for protest participants who do not turn themselves in by Tuesday.
''Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place,'' said the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. He was referring to China's policy of encouraging the ethnic Han majority to migrate to Tibet, restrictions on Buddhist temples and re-education programs for monks.* George Bush removed China from a human rights blacklist just three days before the bloodshed in Lhasa.
UPDATE: Boing Boing reader Adam writes,
I am visiting Beijing on business, and staying at a hotel that caters to Westerners. There have been reports that China was loosening controls on the media ahead of the Olympic games, in order to give visitors the impression that the media is unrestricted, but that is not the case in the last day.* Reports estimate that 20,000 Chinese troops have now been deployed to Lhasa (thanks, Christal).
While watching CNN in my hotel room, the station goes dark during the top-of-the-hour news flash on the riots, then returns when the synopsis of "what's to come" is given about other stories, and then goes dark again while the coverage switches to Lhasa.
Coverage returns with the anchor asking users to send in their first-hand reports to ireport.com, after all mention of the incident is over. Same results for BBC as well.
The China Daily newspaper I grabbed from the lounge has a small article on the bottom of the front page, titled "Dalai Lama behind sabotage", and states that his "clique" has "organized, premeditated, and masterminded" the beatings, looting, and arson, which "has aroused the indignation of, and is strongly condemned by, the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet."
After all, this is a country that wants to ban Bjork. Further proof that they are evil.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
They gave us a 1-3PM window to show up. At 4PM we called as asked where they were. They said they would send their emergency guy but they wouldn't charge us extra. They suggested that we call back after 5PM. Good idea: they close at 5PM. Thanks for the advice.
The next day, one of their plumbers showed up. Out goes the tank. In comes the new tank. So far, it's still working.
We got the bill. Because there were stairs, they tacked on the labour on top of the quoted price. Because of stairs. Stairs in the parking lot. In other words: the price they quote will only hold if your hot water tank is sitting in the parking lot beside where their truck would park. If you have steps to your front door: you're going to pay. If you have steps down to your hot water tank, you're going to pay.
Here are the highlights of our bill: what they billed us for and what we the real cost is:
Hot Water Tank ..... $299 (real price) ..... $599.00 (Miles price)
Copper couplings .... $0.30 (real price) ......... $5.18 (Miles price)
Shop Fee .................. Shop Fee? Why is it I'm paying $300 to have this installed; $108 for the labour; and $5.00?-- how many times do I pay for the same moment of work?
When you're phoning around for quotes, remember: there's the price that Miles will quote you and the price that Miles will charge you. The quote we got from other plumbers was within $20 of the price we were charged by Miles Plumbing