Hard Love...

Friday, March 30, 2007

NISSAN : Pivo 05 Concept

The Nissan Pivo is a concept car that was created by Nissan. The Pivo was first introduced at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The Pivo is basically a revolving cabin that is electrically powered. Designed by: Takashi Murakami



How the Pivo Works
The Pivo really doesn't even have an engine. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The battery has a super motor that creates one of the lowest emissions yet in any vehicle. The design of the vehicle is very futuristic because of many features the Pivo has shown. The Pivo's cabin can revolve completely around (360 degrees) and is very easy to maneuver because of it. The Pivo sports very high-tech gadgets, as well. It features Nissan's Around View Monitor which reduces blind spots by displaying the outside surroundings on screens mounted on the inside of the car's A-pillars.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Motorola : RAZR maxx Ve

Blending cutting-edge design and the power of 3G high-speed connectivity, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve satisfies the appetite of even the most demanding consumer. An eye-catching, ultra-thin design with hi-end finishes, that include a futuristic blend of metal, glass and illuminated touch-sensitive music keys. Within its lean form lies revolutionary Evolution Data Only (EvDO) technology for unparalleled broadband-like speed, power and exceptional data capabilities. With advanced imaging features, music functionality and ample memory for storing your favorite files, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve truly comes to life in your hand. What’s more, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve delivers seamless connectivity via Bluetooth™ wireless technology¹, lengthy talk and standby times and multimedia messaging (MMS)². With the pure power and stunning design of the MOTORAZR maxx Ve in your hand, everyone will know you have arrived.


Broadband in your Hand The MOTORAZR maxx Ve re-defines high-speed. Whether you’re lunching with friends, heading to the gym or working on-the-go, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve puts blazing fast speed in your pocket via EvDO technology. With a few clicks of a button, experience the power of high-speed connectivity for fast access to Internet browsing and lightening quick over-the-air (OTA) music and video downloads for immediate access to the latest in entertainment and news². Plus, with location based service capabilities, the power of GPS and live driving directions will keep you on track.²

Made to Entertain
From the technophile to the fashion fanatic , discerning consumers will covet this multi-talented device. Packing enhanced entertainment features into a slim form factor, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve creates the ultimate imaging package with a 2.0 megapixel auto focus camera for high resolution, extended video capture and playback capabilities and video sharing. Experience mobile music like never before. The MOTORAZR maxx Ve features futuristic touch-sensitive music keys that illuminate so you can enjoy your favorite soundtrack via an integrated MP3 player and Bluetooth stereo audio capabilities¹. The MOTORAZR maxx Ve also provides ample memory with over 60 MB of memory³ and an optional 2GB expandable microSD memory card for storing your favorite music, content, games and more. Whatever your creative craving, just reach into your pocket.

Flawless Package The MOTORAZR maxx Ve is more than just a phone — it’s a statement of individual style. Following the infamous lineage of the MOTORAZR, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve weighs in at four ounces and measures a sheer .6 inches thick. Comprised of aluminium, magnesium and chemically hardened glass displays, the MOTORAZR maxx Ve does more than just reflect your sophisticated style.

SUMMARY OF FEATURES:
• Bands/Modes: CDMA 1X/EvDO 800/900
• Messaging: MMS, SMS²
• Enhanced audio features for premium music listening on-the-go including MP3, WMA
• Video capture/playback and video sharing using H.263 and MPEG 4
• 2.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with 4x digital zoom for outstanding still imaging
• Over 60 MB user available memory³ and 2GB of optional removable microSD memory
• Version 1.2 Bluetooth wireless technology with stereo headset profile
• EvDO for downloading data with extreme speed
• Futuristic touch sensitive music keys with elegant lighting
• Location based services capable.

The MOTORAZR maxx Ve is expected to be available in Q1 2007. For more information regarding pricing and product availability in your region, please check with your local Motorola representative.

MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office. The Bluetooth trademarks are owned by their proprietor and used by Motorola, Inc. under license. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. © Motorola, Inc. 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Portabello Estate

For sale: modern Corona del Mar beauty, featuring state-of-the art electronics, a water treatment system, three pools, two spas, eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

Oh, and a bowling alley, vintage movie theater, café, gymnasium, auto museum, wine cellar behind a bank-vault door and just under an acre of beachfront land.

Asking price?

$75 million.

That makes Portabello, as the mansion is known, one of the three most expensive residences currently for sale in America.

Donald Trump's Maison de L'Amitie in Palm Beach, Fla., is going for $125 million. Three Ponds Farm Estate in Bridgehampton, N.Y., has been on the market for more than a year at $75 million.

And so the 22,000-square-foot Brighton Road home, which went on the market last week, is tied for the second-highest asking price in the nation – and is the most expensive in California.

"It's not surprising because (Orange County) is a world-class destination," said Rick Goodwin, publisher of Ultimate Homes magazine, which documents the 1,000 most-expensive homes for sale. Orange County, like Palm Beach and the Hamptons, is "where people with money want to be."

County records list the owner as Frank W. Pritt III, founder of Seattle software maker Attachmate Corp. and an avid car collector.

Pritt purchased three adjacent beachfront lots in the Cameo Shores area for less than $12.5 million, consolidated them into a single tract in 1998 and launched a three-year effort to build his "soft contemporary" mansion.

"It's the most exciting (house) I've done," said Brion Jeannette, the Newport Beach architect who designed the house in close consultation with Pritt.

Jeannette said he was surprised by the asking price, but noted that the home, ideal for a large family and for informal entertaining, "was not inexpensive to build."

County property assessors estimated that the house alone is worth at least $16 million and the land is worth more than $13 million, for a total assessed value of $29.6 million, highest residential assessment in the county. But because of Proposition 13, tax assessments usually are well below a home's market value.

John McMonigle, the real estate agent signed to market the home, said the price tag is based on the estate's replacement cost: Around $45 million for the land and about $33 million for the home, at $1,500 per square foot.

The neighborhood is home to some of Orange County's wealthiest residents, including Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli.

"I'm very confident we'll sell it, and I'm investing a significant amount of money in that belief," McMonigle said. "We're receiving quality interest already."

Interested buyers include local high-tech moguls and a European financier.

Jeannette said Pritt gave the home its name because its curving white roof resembles the portobello mushroom.

A pool on the upper deck includes a whirlpool spa in the center with a clear, plastic bubble on the bottom, so people below can see into it like an aquarium.

A 360-degree tunnel slide loops from the second level into the pool below.

"It's certainly a one-of-a-kind property," said Goodwin, the Ultimate Homes publisher.

Will the Portabello property fetch its asking price? If it does, it would be a record.

Goodwin said the highest price ever paid for a home in the United States was $70 million. The Associated Press reported a California record-topping $50 million. And county records show that at least $29 million was paid for a home in Laguna Beach.

"It's really like selling a piece of art," Goodwin said. "What makes it special, on top of all the bells and whistles, is its three oceanfront lots in one of the most expensive waterfront areas of the country."
By JEFF COLLINS The Orange County Register

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Montgomery Burns : State Of Mind

Burns' state of mind is the subject of frequent jokes on the show. He continually fails to recognize Homer Simpson or remember his name despite, as Smithers once put it, all the recent major events in Burns' life have revolved around him in some way. He is also generally unaware of the townspeople's general dislike of him.

Mr. Burns uses phrases and expressions that have fallen out of modern-day vernacular, including score (meaning 20), twain (two), post-haste (quickly), petroleum distillate (gasoline), gay (jolly), dean (principal), velocitator and deceleratrix (a car's accelerator and brake), aeromail (post by air), lollygagger (slacker), fourth form (fourth grade), ahoy-hoy (hello), jumping box and picto-cube (television), dictabelt (tape recorder), the New York Nine (New York Yankees), minstrels (rock musicians), horseless sleigh (snowmobile), crackleberries (peanuts), cafetorium (cafeteria), talkie (movies with sound) and mater (mother).

He also displays mannerisms which are considered outdated, such as practicing phrenology, writing with a quill pen, driving a Stutz Bearcat while wearing a Victorian motorists' outfit which includes hat, driving gloves, and goggles, carrying a mace for self defense, driving without regard to traffic laws in the manner of early 20th century motorists, and using an antique view camera to take photographs.

Burns appears unaware of 20th century political and social developments, such as Fidel Castro replacing Fulgencio Batista as the President of Cuba, Siam changing its name to Thailand, the Belgian Congo changing its name to the Congo-Kinshasa, Prussia being absorbed into the German Empire, India gaining its independence from the British Empire, New Mexico entering the United States, the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Idlewild Airport changing its name to JFK Airport, the disbanding of the Negro Leagues, the desegregation of the Major Leagues, Joe DiMaggio no longer being a rookie, the extinction of the dodo bird, the demolition of the Polo Grounds, the ceasing of publication of Collier's Weekly, believing tires need to be revulcanized, confusing The Ramones with The Rolling Stones, thinking cars are still operated by levers, believing mail may still be delivered by autogyro, and the occurrence of the 1939 World's Fair.

Mr. Burns' investment portfolio is made up of long-defunct shares in "Confederated Slaveholdings, Transatlantic Zeppelin, Amalgamated Spats, Congreve's Inflammable Powder, U.S. Hay", and an "up-and-coming Baltimore Opera Hat Company".

Burns commonly refers to deceased persons as if they were alive, including Sir Donald Bradman, Stewie Dempster, Vic Richardson, Al Jolson, Tallulah Bankhead, Louise Brooks, Honus Wagner, Cap Anson, and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown. He believes some social institutions and inventions are novel or nonexistent, such as musicals about "the common cat" and "the King of Siam", the Packard automobile, the Fire Department, ice cream, vending machines, recycling, strip clubs, the DuMont, the stereopticon, the Crimean War, the word "into", silent films like the 1929 Lulu, and the synonymity of ketchup and catsup.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Montgomery Burns

Charles Montgomery Burns (a.k.a. Mr. Burns, C. Montgomery Burns, C. M. Burns, Monty Burns, and Burnsie). He is the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (SNPP) and Homer Simpson's boss. He is attended to at almost all times by Waylon Smithers, his loyal aide, advisor, confidant and secret admirer.

Mr. Burns is Springfield's richest and most powerful citizen, with an estimated net worth of $16.8 billion. He uses his power and wealth to do routinely what he wants without thinking of consequences or interference from the authorities.

Although originally designed as a one-dimensional recurring villain who might occasionally enter the Simpsons' lives and wreak some sort of havoc, Burns' popularity has led to his repeated inclusion on the show. He embodies a number of stereotypes about Corporate America. He has an unquenchable desire to increase his own wealth and power. Mr. Burns also embodies the stereotypes of a manager. He forgets his employees' names and is unconcerned for their safety and well-being. His favorite expression is the word "Excellent", muttered slowly in a low, sinister voice while tenting his fingertips.

Mr. Burns was born on September 15, but the year of his birth is uncertain. It has fluctuated during the course of the show, being explicitly stated as young as 81 in Simpson and Delilah and as old as 104 in Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part I and A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love. In the episode Fraudcast News, originally aired in 2004, Burns states that he was born in 1889. He is occasionally referred to as "Springfield's oldest resident".

Frequent allusions to Burns' age place his date of birth in the late 19th century. He had a drivers' license which expired in 1909, he graduated from Yale University in 1914, and was depicted in a 19th century Woodcut as terrorizing children. Once, he forgot his password, and when he asked Smithers, he was answered by "your age." You hear four beeps when he enters his code. Also, Burns was enemies with General Tso, who lived in the 19th century.
Although The Simpsons has a floating timeline in which the characters do not age, and the show is set in the current year, certain dates have been given. According to one source, Homer Simpson was born c. May 12, 1955 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which makes him a Taurus, and was raised on a farm with his parents, Mona and Abraham Simpson. In the mid-1960s, while Homer was between nine and twelve years of age, Mona went into hiding following a run-in with the law. Homer attended Springfield High School and fell in love with Marge Bouvier in 1974. Marge became pregnant with Bart in 1980, while Homer was working at a miniature golf course, turning the crank that spins the windmill (sometimes too quickly).
The two were wed in a small wedding chapel across the state line, spent their wedding reception alone at a truck stop, and the rest of their wedding night at Marge's parents' house. After failing to get a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer left Marge to find a job by which he could support his family. He briefly worked at a taco restaurant called the Gulp n' Blow, until Marge found him, and convinced him to return. As a result, Homer confronted Mr. Burns and secured a job at the Plant. Homer's salary is only $6,000 a year. Marge became pregnant with Lisa in 1983, shortly before the new couple bought their new house.
In 1985 and 1986, Homer saw brief success as the lead singer and songwriter for the barbershop quartet the Be Sharps, even winning a Grammy. During his time with the group, Homer was frequently absent from home, which put stress on his marriage. After the group broke up due to creative differences, Homer went back to Springfield to continue his old life. Some time in the late 1980s, Homer and Marge carefully budgeted so Homer could work at his dream job, pin monkey in a bowling alley. Unfortunately for Homer, Marge became pregnant shortly after he started his new job, and not being able to support his family, he went back to the Nuclear Plant.

According to comments made on The Simpsons DVDs by the writers and producers, Homer's age was initially 34, but as the writers aged, they found that he seemed a bit older too, so they changed his age to 38. Some episodes have different ages. In "The Homer They Fall", he is 38 years old; in "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace", he is 39; and in "Springfield Up", he is 40.

Homer's baldness is often the subject of small jokes. Homer will sometimes lose the two strands of hair from the top of his head and exclaim "I'm bald!". Homer's baldness is not normal male pattern baldness, but is due to his children. Every time Marge informed him she was pregnant, he screamed, tore out some more hair, and ran upstairs to his room.

Bart Simpson

Bartholomew Jo-Jo "Bart" Simpson He is the oldest child and only son of Homer and Marge Simpson, and is the brother of Lisa and Maggie. According to The Bart Book he was born on 1st April. He is left handed. Along with his father, Bart is arguably the most well-known character on the long running animated series.

Personality

"Hm, if I didn't know better, I'd swear he was trying to moon us".

He is a self-proclaimed underachiever who begins each show in school detention writing lines on the blackboard, which are known as the Chalkboard Gags. He is easily distracted by almost anything, even, strangely enough, algebraic equations. He is considerably under motivated and takes great joy in disrupting the routine at Springfield Elementary. His pranks are often elaborately complex, while his actions and speech frequently show considerable mental agility, street-smarts and understanding; so he cannot be called "stupid" per se. His best friend is Milhouse Van Houten. His antics terrify everyone, including Springfield's powerful citizen Charles Montgomery Burns.

Bart's interests include Krusty the Klown, skateboarding, reading comic books (especially Radioactive Man), terrorizing Lisa, playing video games/computer games, helping Lisa solve various problems (e.g. reuniting Krusty with his estranged father), and pulling off various pranks (such as mooning unsuspecting people and prank calling Moe Szyslak at his tavern).

It had been also suspected for a long time by viewers that Bart had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) even before the revealing of the Simpson gene, as Bart exhibited many of the traits of a child afflicted with ADD. His extreme mental quickness coupled with his inability to be able to keep his attention set on mediocre work at school such as in the episode "Bart Gets an F" are big hints. It was later confirmed in the episode "Brother's Little Helper" that Bart is indeed afflicted with ADD.

Whenever Homer finds out that Bart has said or done something stupid or bad, he yells out: "Why you little–!", and strangles him in anger.

Bart is allergic to butterscotch, imitation butterscotch, glow-in-the-dark monster makeup, cauilflower, and shrimp.

Marge Simpson

Marjorie "Marge" Simpson (née Bouvier, approximately age 38), She is the well-meaning and patient wife of Homer. Her most notable physical feature is her blue hair, styled into an improbably high beehive (kept in place by Johnson's Water Seal); she is proud to have never met anyone with taller hair outside Graceland. Homer once mentioned that she actually dyes her hair blue, being "gray as a mule since she was seventeen".

Marge spends most of her time doing housework, minding Maggie, being supportive of Lisa, and either disciplining Bart or protecting him from Homer's wrath. She was named after, and loosely based on, Margaret "Marge" Groening, mother of series creator Matt Groening. In many ways, Marge Simpson is modeled on the stereotypical 1950s suburban housewife, by using stereotypes such as her faux pearl necklace.

Lisa Simpson

Lisa Marie Simpson is an extremely intelligent girl, one of the brightest characters on the show, with an I.Q. of 159 or so. She plays the saxophone. Lisa is also a Buddhist and often serves as a mouthpiece for the show's writers, many of whom are postgraduates, to voice their knowledge of philosophy, science and history.

Age
Lisa is 8 years old (despite the fact that there have been 3 separate episodes which focused on her 8th birthday), two years younger than her brother Bart. Lisa's mother Marge insisted on choosing her name because her father Homer wanted to call her "Bartzina" (due to his already having a son named "Bart" and being too inept to think of anything else).

Future
It should be noted that specific dates should be treated as very loose canon, given the general "timelessness" of the series.

Intelligence
Lisa is an extremely bright girl, with an I.Q. of 159 (in Smart and Smarter) and is a member of Mensa Springfield. Lisa demonstrates an early intelligence by changing her own diaper as an infant. Her other precocious achievements include constructing an elaborate Lego castle, spelling the word "star" on her letter blocks, and completing a Taj Mahal jigsaw puzzle. When unable to attend school due to a teachers' strike, she suffered a sort of "school withdrawal" and invents a perpetual motion machine, for which Homer chastises her, saying, "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" She also organized a student strike upon learning that Principal Skinner was exploiting her, when she was the student body president.
Wikipedia

Maggie Simpson

Margaret "Maggie" Simpson she is the youngest and least-seen of the five main family members. She first appeared in the Tracey Ullman short "Good Night" and was quite prominent during the Ullman days, often being featured alongside Bart and Lisa.

Personality and Intelligence

Like average babies, Maggie is impressionable and easily influenced by what she sees around her. She once hit Homer on the head with a mallet, shot a suction dart at his picture, and brandished a pencil in imitation of Itchy and Scratchy. See Itchy and Scratchy and Marge. Her talent for handling weapons is seen in Who shot Mr. Burns? and Papa's Got a Brand New Badge, where she is able to shoot a whole mob of gangsters with a rifle. Also, in The Monkey Suit, she holds up Marge for candy with a retractable knife.

She is however keenly aware of her surroundings, and can usually be seen imitating the flow of action around her. Like Bart, Lisa and Homer, she is not fond of spending time with her aunts Patty and Selma, attempting escape from the family car when Selma claims to want a baby.

Maggie appears to potentially be the real genius of the family. The episode Smart and Smarter suggests the possibility that she may have a higher IQ than Lisa (at least, she appears as extremely clever during the episode, even though her real IQ was unknown due to Lisa 'helping' her during the test as revealed at the end of the episode).

At age one, Maggie could spell EMCSQU (E=MC²) with her toy building blocks- as shown in the season one episode Bart The Genius- whereas Lisa at age three could merely spell "STAR" with hers. She's able to answer complicated questions putting cubes together (Smart and Smarter), and solve complex IQ problems. She's also able to count. In "Treehouse of Horror V", Maggie managed to spell REDRUM without anyone noticing.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Simpsons : BIO

The Simpsons is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Network. It is a satirical parody of the "Middle American" lifestyle epitomized by its title family, consisting of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Set in the fictional town of Springfield, the show lampoons many aspects of the human condition, as well as American culture, society as a whole and even television itself.

The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with James L. Brooks. He sketched out his version of a dysfunctional family, and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show.

The Simpsons was an early hit for Fox, and has won several major awards. In its 1998 issue celebrating the greatest achievements in arts and entertainment of the 20th century, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series. On January 14, 2000 the Simpsons was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is the longest-running American sitcom, as well as the longest-running American animated program. The Simpsons has been influential on popular culture. Its catchphrases have been adopted into the English lexicon. The annoyed grunt "D'oh!" has entered the English dictionary. It was cited as an influence on many adult-oriented animated sitcoms of the late 1990s.

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 393 episodes have aired over 18 seasons. As of March 20, 2006, the show has been renewed for a 19th season, due to be aired in 2007–2008. The 18th season finale will be the 400th episode, and the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons franchise will be celebrated in 2007. A feature-length movie is currently being produced, to be released on July 27, 2007.

Broadcasting
Original episodes of The Simpsons are shown on the Fox network in the United States, and are widely distributed internationally. Past seasons have been widely syndicated since 1994. In foreign countries, it is sometimes necessary to adjust the material to suit local culture or humor. Arabic-speaking countries are an example of this, in which they cut out or modify references to alcohol, pork and non-Muslim religions. The animation in The Simpsons makes the show more frequently dubbed in foreign countries rather than subtitled.

Characters
The Simpson family lives a "Middle American" lifestyle and is a one-income, working class family. Homer Simpson is a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and a generally well-meaning buffoon. Marge Simpson is for the most part a stereotypical American housewife and mother. Bart Simpson is a ten-year-old troublemaker who thinks of himself as a rebel. Lisa Simpson is an extremely intelligent eight-year old middle child who is often involved in left-wing activism and loves playing the saxophone. Maggie Simpson is a baby who sucks on a pacifier, falls down a lot and does not speak. The family has a dog (Santa's Little Helper), a cat (Snowball II), as well as several other one-shot pets. Despite the fact that numerous yearly milestones (such as holidays or birthdays) clearly pass, the Simpsons do not physically age.

The show has a vast array of quirky supporting characters, including co-workers, teachers, family friends, extended relatives, and local celebrities. Originally, many of these characters were planned as one-shot jokes, or to fill a function in the town; a number of them gained expanded roles, and some have subsequently been the subject of their own episodes. Matt Groening stated that the idea for the many different recurring characters of The Simpsons "was very much inspired by the sketch comedy show SCTV, with all the SCTV characters in Melonville interacting" and that this made the town seem like its own little universe.

Opening sequence
The Simpsons opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. Almost every episode opens with the camera zooming through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. Then we follow the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, they settle down on their couch to watch television. The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a "retro" style piece. This piece, which took two days to create, has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.


One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that there are several segments that are changed from episode to episode. Bart writes something different on the blackboard. Lisa sometimes plays a different solo on her saxophone and something different happens when the family enters the living room to sit on the couch. This last segment is often the only one of the three gags to survive the process of shortening the opening for some syndicated episodes and for later episodes which needed extra time. This concept of rotating elements has been subsequently used both by Groening in Futurama, and by others, such as a newspaper headline in American Dad!.

Halloween episodes

An annual tradition is a special Halloween episode. "Treehouse of Horror" (1990) started a tradition of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode. These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres. They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, in recent years new installments have premiered after Halloween. This is due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Super Mario Bros. : BIO

This article is about the first, 1985, Super Mario Bros. game. For other Super Mario Bros. games, see Super Mario Bros.

Mario Burazāzu) is a video game released by Nintendo in late 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Considered a classic of the medium and making a huge impact in entertainment at the time, Super Mario Bros. featured bright, expansive worlds that changed the way video games were created. Although often wrongly credited as the first scrolling platform game (there are at least a half dozen earlier), it is the first console original in this genre to feature smooth-scrolling levels, which made it a landmark in home video-gaming.

Super Mario Bros. is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling video game of all time, and was largely responsible for the initial success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as ending the two year slump of video game sales in the United States after the video game crash of 1983. It has inspired countless imitators and was one of Shigeru Miyamoto's most influential early successes. The game starred the Italian plumber Mario and his slightly younger brother Luigi, the former eventually becoming Nintendo's most well known mascot. The theme music, by Koji Kondo, is recognized world wide, even by those who have not played the game.

The game was succeeded by a direct sequel in Japan (later retitled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in North America), and by Super Mario Bros. 2, a Mario-themed port of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, elsewhere in the world.

Gameplay

The player takes the role of Mario, or in the case of a second player, Mario's brother Luigi. The ultimate object is to race through the Mushroom Kingdom, evade or eliminate Bowser's forces, and save Princess Toadstool.

The Mario Brothers' primary attack is simply jumping on top of their enemies, which kills the mushroom traitors, known as Goombas, and sends the turtle soldiers known as Koopa Troopas into their shells. Mario and Luigi can then kick these shells into other enemies, which will conveniently dispatch them; but conversely, kicked shells can bounce back off walls or other vertical obstructions and hit them. Some enemies can be killed only by fireballs or shell impact; stomping them will hurt the Mario Bros. Jumping on enough enemies in succession or kicking a shell into enough enemies in succession (combos) results in double points earned with each enemy killed, eventually earning Mario or Luigi a 1-up - an extra life - another chance to pass the level. Mario and Luigi can also obtain 1-ups through finding 1-up mushrooms and by collecting 100 coins.

Aiding them in their quest are several powers. Mario or Luigi can be hurt if the brother touches an enemy. If he takes a hit from an enemy as Super Mario or Luigi or Fire Mario or Luigi, he simply reverts to regular Mario or Luigi and the game continues. However, if he takes a hit as regular Mario, falls down a pit (regardless of status), or if the time clock runs out, he loses a life and starts again. The point where Mario continues depends on how far he ran through the level before dying: either from the very beginning or at an invisible "checkpoint" partway through the level. There are no checkpoints in castles or in world 8, the final world. Mario can also collect a Starman and become invincible. Invincible Mario is impervious to the touch of enemy characters and most obstacles, although he will still die if he falls in a pit, falls into lava, or if time runs out.

The game consists of eight worlds with four levels in each world. Though each world is substantially different, there are basic similarities: typically the first sub-world is a generic above-ground (overworld) level, the second is in an underground dungeon on Worlds 1 and 4 or underwater on Worlds 2 and 7 (or in the overworld with a unique challenge), the third is a series of platforms suspended high in the sky, and the fourth is always a fortress or castle. The third and sixth worlds take place at night, and all other worlds take place during the day. At the end of each castle level, Mario fights "King Koopa" (who, until the final level, is actually a lesser enemy disguised as King Koopa) across a bridge over a pool of lava. In the later worlds (worlds 6-8), King Koopa throws hammers as well as occasional jets of fire breath. King Koopa may be defeated in one of two ways: either by touching the ax at the edge of the bridge (thereby dropping King Koopa into the lava) or, as Fiery Mario, throwing fireballs at him to defeat him directly, revealing what enemy is in disguise. At the end of each world save the last, Mario is greeted with the words, "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!", spoken by a Toad retainer, which became a popular quotation among gamers.

After beating the game, the player is given the option to start the game again in "'Hard' Mode", where all Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles (Koopa Troopa-like enemies who cannot be killed by fireballs), and all enemies walk faster. In addition, the elevator-style lifts are about 60% their original size throughout. There are also some hazards in the earlier worlds that only appear in "Hard Mode". For example, in World 1-3 random Bullet Bills fly across the screen, a danger that normally only appears in certain later levels.

Players may get to the beginning of any world with a relatively small amount of effort by using hidden warp zones in a number of levels. One is in level 1-2 and is reached by walking on the blocks at the top of the level passing the exit pipe. This zone allows jumping to worlds 2, 3 and 4. The other two are in 4-2; one is in the same place as the one in 1-2 but this only allows access to world 5. The other is reached through a beanstalk that grows from a hidden block and takes the player into a surface area that leads to worlds 6, 7, and 8.

Minus World

By passing through a solid wall due to a glitch, it is possible to travel to "World -1", also known as the "Minus World" or "World Negative One" and considered by the game to be world 36. This stage is identical to world 2-2 but upon entering the warp pipe at the end, the player is taken back to the start of the level. Exploiting the same glitch in the Japanese Famicom Disk System is considerably different and has three levels, after which the player is returned to the title screen as though he or she completed the game. This glitch has been fixed in the Super Mario All-Stars remake as well as in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Super Mario All-Stars changes the default pipe layout to remove the Minus World pipe. Interestingly enough, in the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console version of Super Mario Brothers, the glitch still remains from the original. If you go to the pipes on either end of the warp room you will go to the Minus World; however, if you go to the middle pipe it takes you to world 5. Interestingly, the area cannot be reached in the arcade cabinet version of Super Mario Bros, as the two bricks that allow the player to access the Minus World are not present.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Takashi Murakami : BIO

Takashi Murakami (村上隆 Murakami Takashi?, born 1 February 1962 in Tokyo) is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist. Murakami works in both fine arts media, such as painting; as well as digital and commercial media. He attempts to blur the boundaries between high and low art. He appropriates popular themes from mass media and pop culture, then turns them into thirty-foot sculptures, "Superflat" paintings, or marketable commercial goods such as figurines or phone caddies.



Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, where he attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Murakami started as a student of more traditionalist Japanese art. He pursued a doctorate in Nihonga, a mixture of Western and Eastern styles dating back to the late 19th century. However, due to the mass popularity of anime and manga, Japanese styles of animation and comic graphic stories, Murakami became disillusioned with Nihonga, and became fixated on otaku culture. Otaku culture is most often an unfavorable reference to a “nerd” society, consisting of boys and girls that take an obsessive interest in either manga or anime. He felt that otaku culture was more representative of modern day Japanese life.


This resulted in Superflat, the style that Murakami is credited with starting. Superflat is a style developed from Poku,(Pop+otaku). Murakami has written that he aims to represent Poku culture because he expects that animation and otaku might create a new culture. This new culture being a rejuvenation of the contemporary Japanese art scene. This is what it is all about to Murakami; he has expressed in several interviews in the last five or six years the frustration that his art has risen from. It is a frustration rooted in the lack of a reliable and sustainable art market in post-war Japan, and the general view of Japanese art in and outside the country as having a low art status. He is quoted as saying that the market is nothing but " a shallow appropriation of Western trends". His first reaction was to make art in non-fine arts media, but decided instead to focus on the market sustainability of art and promote himself first overseas. This marks the birth of KaiKai Kiki, LLC.
KaiKai Kiki LLC
In 1996, Murakami founded the Hiropon factory. The factory was originally just a group of assistants that helped him to produce his sculptures and paintings. However, as new projects came in and the need for a dramatic increase in the volume of his work arose, the Hiropon factory gradually grew to a point in 2001, at the same time as his solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, into a professional art production and artist management organization. That same year he registered it as Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Today it is an internationally recognized, large-scale art production and artist management corporation, employing over 100 people in the US and Japan. Kaikai Kiki LLC has two main objectives. The first is the successful marketing of Murakami’s work, and the second a supportive environment for the teaching and fostering of new young Japanese artists.
Murakami has been quoted many times as saying Bill Gates is one of his greatest influences. He has said that some of KaiKai Kiki’s success and efficiency can be attributed to ideas and practices Murakami gained after reading Gates’ Speed of Thought. “I set out to investigate the secret of market survivability- the universitality of characters such as Mickey Mouse, Sonic the Hedgehog, . . .” this is the thriving notion behind what has made Murakami so successful. Kaikai Kiki is not only involved with how can we best make a piece of art with high quality and concept, but with a system of checks and balances, supply and demand.
Art production at Kaikai Kiki, generally goes something like this. Murakami formulates an idea or sketch in any one of hundreds of pocket sized sketchbooks, then it is resketched in a larger notebook, from where it is scanned into Adobe Illustrator and this is the last phase that Murakami is directly involved with, his assistants then print out the full scale image, then silkscreen it onto canvas, and his assistants paint the canvas. In this fashion Murakami is able to produce a considerable oeuvre.
The second aim of Kaikai Kiki is artist management and nurturing of a large-scale rejuvenation of Japanese art. All of Murakami’s production assistants are artists that are taught by Murakami through the production process, but they are also provided with a forum and physical space, in which they can share their ideas and produce artwork. Many of these artists are currently exhibiting within Japan and internationally at recognized galleries. Most important in this endeavor, however, is the art fair that Kaikai Kiki puts on twice a year, GEISAI.
GEISAI is an open-application event, where artists or galleries rent booths to display their work. This is a one-day event where about 1,000 artists and a few galleries participate, and it draws professionals and enthusiasts alike from all over the world. GEISAI attracts television networks, magazines and other media to scout the emerging talent. While appealing to a progressive audience, GEISAI remains rooted in rich Japanese artistic tradition, and produces a unique art festival that while open to all remains strictly Japanese and hopes to renew and influence the next generation of Japanese artists.
Artwork
As mentioned before Murakami’s style is called Superflat, a post-modern style characterized by flat planes of color and graphic images involving a character style derived from anime and manga. Superflat is an artistic style that comments on otaku lifestyle and subculture , as well as consumerism and sexual fetishism at large. Social commentary is nothing new, nor is appropriation of mass media or popular culture.
So what makes Takashi Murakami different from his predecessors, like Andy Warhol? Unlike Warhol who took low culture and repackaged it, selling it to the highest bidder in the “high-art” avant-garde of his day; Murakami takes low culture, repackages it, and makes it available to all in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mouse pads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags. This is a comparable idea to Claes Oldenburg, who sold his own low art, high art pieces in his own store front in the 1960’s, but what makes Murakami different is his methods of production, and his work is not in one store front, but many ranging from toy stores, candy aisles, comic book stores, and the French design powerhouse of Louis Vuitton. Murakami’s style is truly an amalgam of his Western predecessors, looking back to Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and his Japanese predecessors and contemporaries, masters of anime and manga. He has successfully marketed himself to Western culture and he is bringing this success back to Japan in the form of Kaikai Kiki and GEISAI.
His signature and most infamous works are "Hiropon" and "My Lonesome Cowboy". "Hiropon" is a fiberglass sculpture of an anime-style female, taller than average, with gigantic breasts and wearing an undersized bikini top, which fails to cover her adequately. A stream of milk, which she is squeezing from her right nipple, wraps behind her to her left nipple being squeezed by her other hand, resembling a jump-rope. "My Lonesome Cowboy" is a similar sculpture of a nude male holding his penis as he ejaculates a stream of semen, which he guides with his other hand to swirl upward, resembling a lasso. "Hiropon" prompted Gainax producer Toshio Okada to dub Murakami the "Ota-king" after the character in his own Otaku no Video. Both pieces of work are comments on the immense rate of overly sexed anime, and are critiques on westernization.
Smooth Nightmare is an excellent example of a popular Murakami painting. The Superflat style is really obvious here. In this painting, there is one of Murakami’s reoccurring themes, the mushroom. The mushroom repetition is a good example of Murakami’s work’s connection with themes of the underground and alternative cultures. Murakami’s work is quoted as being among some of the most desired work in the world by ArtNews in November 2003. Chicago collector, Stefan Edis reportedly paid a record $567,500 for Murakami’s 1996 Miss ko2 , a life-size fiberglass cartoon figure, at Christie's last May. Christie’s owner, Francois Pinault, reportedly paid around $1.5 million in June to acquire Tongarikun (2003), a 30-foot tall fiberglass sculpture, and four accompanying fiberglass mushroom figures, that were part of an installation at Rockefeller Center.
However, Murakami is most recognized for his work with Marc Jacobs for the luxury fashion house, Louis Vuitton. He is the mastermind behind Louis Vuitton's Monogram Multicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories. Utilizing the monograms of the standard Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas, but in 33 different colors, on a white or a black background, instead of gold monograms on a brown background. He also inspired the "cherry blossom" logo in 2005; which can be found as smiling faces in pink and yellow flowers sporadically placed atop selected pieces, in Monogram Canvas by Louis Vuitton.

Saint Patrick's Day : March 17

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá 'le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially Paddy's Day or St. Patty's Day, is the feast day which annually celebrates Saint Patrick (373-493), the patron saint of Ireland, on March 17.


It is the Irish national holiday and one of the public holidays in the Republic of Ireland (a bank holiday in Northern Ireland); the overseas territory of Montserrat; and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the United States, Australia, and rest of Canada it is widely celebrated, although not an official holiday.


It became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary in the early part of the 17th century.

A common practice among gardeners is to plant at least one potato, no matter how cold the weather, on St. Patrick's Day. This is done in order to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Some speculate that this may have arisen from the Irish Potato Famine.

Monday, March 05, 2007

THE ROYALTY

THE ROYALTY
Royalty... Oh la, la!

Magazine by Dolce & Gabbana

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