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And thud back down to earth we go….

i wonder who that mystery sender from Down Under was….

Its been a whirlwind week here for all of us. Monday was met with a visit from the Brantford Police @ Lansdowne. The boy was not quite sure with the six men in black standing in his therapy room..(though Mom was quite ok with it!!!) but perked up once we got outside and he was able to sit in the cruiser and then the van. The patient officers let him sit in both and even press the buttons. He even gave out a few high fives before we left!

Unfortunately it was pouring rain so a bit difficult to get some good pictures, but I did the best I could.


Tuesday was a school day, so off he went on the bus while I ran off to pick up his Angry Birds cake (which he wouldn’t try despite many attempts) that the rest of us ended up enjoying + the…

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m sure I’ve seen this plot before: A Halo 4 Review


What I liked:

  • Overall it is a very pretty game, a lot has happened in the last four years and you can see if with the quality of cinematics and the visual appearance of the maps. A number of times I forgot I had things to do and just started sightseeing.
  • I did particularly enjoy the fact that Halo 4 takes place exactly the distance between the release of Halo 3 and Halo 4, right down to the hour
  • The Infinity survived the game: it kinda became a plot point in itself that whatever hero ship the Chief was based on would at sometime have to sacrifice itself to defeat the enemy; the Pillar of Autumn, the In Amber Clad, the Forward Unto Dawn (and even the Spirit of Fire) have all had to pay the ultimate sacrifice to end the game. It was refreshing to see the Infinity survive at least to the next game.
  • Commander Shepard is Captain Palmer; the head of the Spartan 4’s is voiced (and kinda looks like) the Female version of Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard. I thought that was pretty cool; however despite of this she gets practically no screen time; though I suspect that may be because of the fact that to many comparisons would be made between Captain Palmer and Commander Shepard, considering the similarities between Spartan 4’s and the revived Shepard.
  • Cortana has curves Open-mouthed smile enough said, she now looks a lot more feminine than previous incarnations; so there is finally a version of Cortana my girlfriend can cosplay as XD

What I didn’t like:

  • Captain Del-Rio. What a major douche he was; sure he was a good character, but he kinda didn’t exist, it was obvious that Commander Lasky is supposed to be the new supporting character, considering he is the hero of Forward Unto Dawn and is featured in all of the Infinity trailers (while Del-Rio isn’t) but the question is what exactly is the point of Captain Del-Rio. Sure he is no Captain Keyes, Miranda or Jacob (and Miranda was kinda lacklustre to begin with but she warmed up to me in the end) or even a Captain John Cutter, but there is not a single redeeming quality to him. Unlike the other Captain’s he is abrasive, doesn’t really like input from his subordinates, uses Spartans as disposable weapons, so it doesn’t matter that the most decorated soldier in the UNSC tells you its a bad idea, simply because the Chief is a Spartan, his opinion doesn’t matter, considering how he was removed from the position as Captain of the Infinity but its never explained how that happened, the question remains, what was the point in even having the character? Lasky wouldn’t have been the first UNSC Captain who liked to get their hands dirty, in fact all things considered, Captain Cutter was the only previous captain who didn’t leave their ship to participate in the mission.
  • I’ve read this plot before: pretty much the plot of Halo 4 is drawn almost directly from the Forerunner and Kilo-5 trilogies; the issue with that is that the game relies almost too much on that fact and because of that there are massive plot and visual issues that are simply not explained in the game; they left all the heavy lifting to the books. Now this is different to the previous game trilogy where they expanded upon the plot of the games and filled in the little details that can’t be translated into gameplay; but the problem is most of the issues in this game just aren’t explained at all; for instance, Who is the Diadect or the Librarian? In the Forerunner Trilogy their existence is explained, the problem is that the Forerunner Trilogy is just so badly written (and is the least read trilogy in the Halo franchise). Five seconds of dialogue, or a cinematic at some point could have explained just who these people were; and pointed out that hey these people are Forerunners, its just all of a sudden the Chief knows the name of his enemy (And yet can no longer understand the Covenant Languages?) I mean they spent more time explained the Mammoth than they did the main antagonist.
  • Cortana’s rampancy the UNSC would have records of when AI’s were created, also I’m surprised that the UNSC Infinity didn’t have an AI (or several) of its own; These AI’s would have noticed that as soon as Cortana came aboard that she was rampant; this in itself makes little sense, as it was explained that Cortana went rampant in Halo 3, and transcended to the point of metastability in Halo 4, also it is unsure as to what effect being on Requiem would have had on Cortana.
  • The Diadect is Harbinger; like Commander Shepard, the Diadect has the same voice actor as the villain from Mass Effect, Harbinger; which is both ironic (and annoying) as both are the vanguard for humanities destruction, and both have a habit of regularly taunting the protagonist, the part that annoyed me is that whenever I heard the Diadect, all I could hear is Harbinger.
  • What they dont care anymore? Previously when the Chief died in the presence of other friendly UNSC (or even enemy forces) they would taunt or cry out that the Chief was dead, now there is nothing; it kinda separates the Chief from the other UNSC forces, who previously were happy to see the Chief, now their kinda blasé to the presence of the most decorated soldier in the UNSC

What Made No Sense:

  • Why are the Covenant fighting the UNSC again? At not point aside from the Chief at the beginning of the game is surprised that the Covenant (albeit just Elites leading some Halo 1 era enemies, and sans any noticeable combat harnesses) are attacking the Infinity or the Forward Unto Dawn, sure the plot of the Kilo-5 trilogy is to keep the Elites off balance to allow the UNSC the chance to remobilise and prepare for additional conflicts, but even in the books it hasn’t gotten to the point where the Covenant would be returning, or that the Elites would turn on their Earth Allies. And yet everyone seems to just accept that a) its the Covenant, not the Sang’heli State, and b) that they are attacking the UNSC.
  • We have communications issues; for the last two Halo Games (2 and 3) the we have been able to understand the Covenant languages they would bark orders, issue insults and generally speak in rough English translations, in Reach we didn’t because it was set before Cortana and the invention of the translation matrix, hell even in the re-release of Halo Combat Evolved, we could begin to understand the Covenant, and yet, four years after 3, their back to grunts and snarls? The worst part about this is the fact that no one comments on it. a simple exchange between the Chief and Cortana could have explained it or set up the reason; with the possible reasons being
    1. Damage to the translation matrix due to being stuck for four years on a broken ship
    2. Cortana’s rampancy taking resources from the Chiefs suit causing the translation matrix to be shut down
    3. Regional dialects previously not encountered before
    4. Simply put “You don’t want to know what they are saying”
  • So how did the Chief’s suit get upgraded? The Chief emerges from cryo in a set of Phase 2 Mijolnir armour, and just accepts it, he entered in Mark 6 armour and emerges in a completely different set, considering there really is only the one cinematic before the Chief arrives on Infinity, they could have visually left the Chief in his old armour and have him wear the upgraded gear when he arrives on Infinity, another one of those five seconds of dialogue things that 343 seems to have overlooked (again). Sure Cortana points out that she upgraded the firmware of his suit (which explains why his HUD is different), but doesn’t explain how the suit got the upgrade. Sure in Kilo-5 (see a trend here) they explain that the phase two suits have nanites on them that upgrade the suit when the Spartan is in cryo, the issue is that THE CHIEF WASN’T IN A PHASE TWO SUIT PRIOR TO ENTERING. Every Halo game at one point has the period where the Chief gets the new armour (except 3 there they just scuff it up because the Chief didn’t have the time to get the upgrades) it became the point where they did the control calibration (another thing missing from 4); they could have had the cinematic featured at the end of the game somewhere in the middle of the game where the Chief dons the new armour, with Captain Palmer giving him a rundown of the suits new systems, because lets face it Captain Palmer has only a minute and a half of total dialogue in five hours of Campaign Gameplay, and absolutely no in game appearance; it would have been good for the start of mission two to have that interaction.
    This is similar to the question of how did the equipment on the Forward Unto Dawn become upgraded when no one was around to do it? Sure there might be a gameplay mechanics reason for doing it, but overall it just didn’t look right; also the Warthog sounds like its stuck in third gear.
  • Did they mutate or what? The Covenant all look visually different, almost to the point where they look nothing like they previously did; Grunts now look like Turtles, Jackals just look like mini-Elites and something happened to the head of the Elites, because now its more triangular than previously. Sure I know that changes in visual engines allows you to upgrade the appearance because you have more pixels to play with, but there seemed to be very little difference between the Covenant races; for instance they are all wearing the same helmet now.
  • How does he know how to use that? Chief has never seen the Railgun before, or just about any of the Covenant/Forerunner weapons in this game, and yet instinctively knows how to use them.

What I hated

They killed off Cortana

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Star Trek SRU Carbine Build, part deux

14082011556I know its taken a while since I have updated this, but I have made considerable progress on my SRU Rifle, so much so that I finished. The first obstacle that I had to deal with was the previously mentioned muzzle problems, as well as if I was going to have a foregrip on the weapon. The next question that I had to deal with is the colour scheme I wanted to use. As you can tell from progress photos the end design is a lot darker than the one I worked with, primarily due to the nature of the Nemesis era Star Trek, when compared to my other props that I have, which are more from the TNG period.

I ended up going with the Nemesis Type 3 phaser muzzle assembly, simply for matters of consistency. The photos below also point out that I was able to finish the Optics Suite and work on the mould lines, though as a prototype it looks pretty good. Overall I am happy with the design, and I plan on building another simply to rectify a lot of the initial mistakes I made when I built the first one, if it works I might start mass producing them as a hobby. Because I had the time, I went and built a Pistol to go along with the Carbine, which turned out a lot better than the Carbine did


Also I finally got a Star Trek Uniform…100_2410


Costume Project: Nemesis Era MACO Carbine

Initial design concept

For a while now I’ve want to do something different and one night while looking over my ever increasing collection of toy weapons I discovered that I didn’t have any Star Trek weapons, an odd occurrence considering I had so many Star Trek costumes planned. Another reason was I’ve recently joined Starfleet International, the Star Trek fan club as a ‘MACO’ a fictitious posting within the chapter I’m apart of. As the club promotes the franchise and encourages Star Trek costuming I felt that an addition to my list was a costume that mirrored my position within the chapter.

The issue I discovered that while looking at the MACO, is that they were a new incarnation, developed for Enterprise, and never seen in any of the older franchises. Considering my dislike of Enterprise, I decided against adopting that era uniform, and as most of my other uniforms are from the TNG/DS9 era, I felt a design based on that era was more prevalent. However, that meant that I was designing the costume from scratch.

While the uniform itself is going to be a long term issue, one aspect I was able to look at is the rifle.

Considering that I had commissioned a Type 3c Phaser Rifle, I felt that something smaller to supplement the roles of MACO’s was more appropriate. which was started the MACO Project that I have been working on.

The Mark 36-G is a Personal Defence Weapon utilised by Starfleet MACO and Marine forces as a supplement to the larger, more popular Type III-F Compression Rifle.
It is designed following tactical encounters with both the Borg and Reman Remanent Ground forces aboard Starfleet Vessels to be used in conditions where the larger rifle has been found to be unwieldy, namely in counter boarding operations where the possibility of MACO and Marine response teams have to move between decks via a starships Jefferies Tube System; a method of travel made almost impossible when using a Type-III.
Designed to utilise the same Sarium Krellide Powercells of standard phasers and rifles, the Mk 36-G is also designed to mount additional combat packages, to increase its usefulness. The downside to the smaller frame of the Mk 36-G is that it is useless as an improvised melee weapon as the Type 3 has been used in the past. However its size far smaller than most ‘assault’ weapons of races marked by Starfleet Intelligence as ‘potential threats’ means that Starfleet MACO and Marine personnel are less likely to tire from extended operations of having to carry a larger, heavier rifle

Its based on the G36K Submachine gun, namely because the one I had broke at the stock at Supanova Brisbane, and its fate was in limbo, and because the weapon has a futuristic look to it. I have seen Phaser rifles built off the XM8 rifle, but I felt that all that would have done would have just built a new long rifle.

The first issue was how to take a 21st century submachine gun and turn it into a 24th century carbine, the main glaring point was the fact that Star Trek weapons don’t have visible magazines and iron sights.

I also initially toyed with the idea of following the design of the Enterprise MACO rifle, in that having a fore grip, but at the same time keeping with the design aesthetic of the TNG Movie era rifles. The issue with having a fore grip on this weapon was the painful similarity the MACO rifle had with the early TNG Phaser Rifle, and alternatively the initial design I had for the Carbine. 

The design I came up with (above) was a simple mock up I made, before realising the still unresolved issue of the muzzle. Removing the forward iron site leaves the front of the weapon looking blocky and counter to the rest of the design. I’ve looked at a number of different concepts that I’m not entirely happy with so for the time being the muzzle stands. I also planned on adding the bracket connecting the rear of the stock to the handgrip, but all attempts to get it to sit properly and have it able to be carried countered each other. By appearances there isn’t enough space to allow it without major modifications to the grip and stock. 

At this point I am still attempting to build the Optics suite that is on the First Contact Type 3 Rifle, the one that is pictured above. But at this point its not easy, alternatively I have a spare scope setup that I have lying around that I might use as well. Aside from that I’m in the process of cleaning up a lot of the break lines, as well as the speaker port.





Costume Progress: Legend of the Seeker: Richard Cypher Season 2 costume


This is probably going to be the first one I complete this year namely due to the simplicity of it. However since I lack most sewing skills I thought I would start with the one thing I actually know about, I will be building the Sword of Truth for starters




I picked up a Link Sword last year at Supanova, for a grand total of $10, and since the two share similarities I’m going to see if I can convert one to look like the other, before at least I start fabricating it from scratch