Best friends with Optimus Prime. Sucks to be you, Starscream fan....

Do you remember Commander Keen?

commander keen good bye galaxy

Do you remember Commander Keen ?

Gears of Halo has been talking about Mass Effect lately but before there was the Normandy, before Eden Prime and the Geth, before Miranda Lawson and before the Reapers, and before there was Commander Sheppard there was the ultimate Commander, Commander Keen.

Billy Blaze would jump around on a pogo stick avoiding green aliens and shooting robots with his laser gun and it was the coolest thing around at the time for my thirteen / 15 year old year old self.

Except maybe Lemmings.... and X-Wing....

Commander Keen taught me about looking for hints and tricks in games. A secret message there, a subtle joke there.

It was very original in many facets of its workings.

tom hall commander keen
Classic Tom Hall pose
A bit of history of the game's birth tells that three men made it possible.

Tom Hall, John Romero and John Carmack banded together in their 'off time' at a company called Softdisk but they eventually left to form the company ID.

I recall the first episode was shareware which was a pretty cool idea back in the day.

Indeed the 3DRealms site says "The entire first episode of Keen was released to the world as shareware. The idea was that you got a good sense of what it looks like and feels like, and if you liked it, you paid for it - and obtained the remaining parts of the game"

The game was released in December 1990 "Gamers who wanted the next two levels had to pay for them - and pay they did. In January, the ID guys got their first royalty check, for approximately $10,000."

They didn't look back after that.

commander keen billy blaze cosplay
Billy Blaze cosplay
John and Tom went on to become involved in the classic games Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake.

Those three games became genuine gaming phenomenons in their own right.

I think a lot of modern games such as Halo and the like have a wee duty of debt to such games.

I see that Commander Keen is available for download on the Steam service - I'd buy the game if there was an ipad version!

Can someone make that happen?

Cosplay: It's a Super Girl kinda day

Sometimes I think the only time people go to Comic Con type events and other Gaming Conventions is to have a decent perv at all the hot babes that like to wear skimpy out fits - Cosplay gives those hotties the chance to flaunt their breasts and legs in public and get away with it.

And you know what?

We're not complaining and neither should you.

So for your viewing pleasure, Gears of Halo has done the hard yards for you and found the top ten sexiest cos players ever. Feel free to agree or disagree but I'm sure can all see from these pictures, the world owes sexy cos play players a big thank you.

Let's start with the super heroine from next door, Super Girl. This babe is a totally perfect match for the sweetness that is the super costumed cosplayer.

super girl man cosplay

Bayonetta - the video game character is simply sex on a stick and this rather perfect cosplayer proves it!

Next up on our top ten list of sexy cos players is Wonder Woman. A feminist icon and a Justice League hero at that, Wonder Woman is one of the most beloved comic characters of all time. We love her cosplay action too!

wonder woman cosplay legs split

Here's Mass Effect Two's spot on cosplay of Miranda. Need we say more. Oh? You want more Mass Effect Cosplay? Or were you just looking for the nude mass effect girl?

miranda mass effect cosplay

You can't really have a top ten list like this without including that other super girl, Power Girl. Big Breasts and a skimpy white outfit.

What more could you ask for? Nice legs? Alright, Gears of Halo has you covered:

Power girl costume oufit
Take that Aqua Bitch! 
While everyone tended to go nuts for the Silk Spectre II in the movie version of the Watchmen, simply because Malin Akerman got her breasts out, the real class act of that film was the original Silk Spectre...

Silk Spectre sexy cosplay costume
Silk Specture, Sally Jupiter
Adding perhaps a further touch of class in this suggestive couch photo is Selvaria Bles from the Vampire Chronicles. An evil bitch at the best of times, we'll forgive her for inspiring this sexy cosplay shot.

'Come hither,' said Ms Bles
I've thrown in this Bumble Bee cosplayer as she's just too damn cute to not make the cut!

Sometimes you just have to go large. And that's what happens when you decide to dress up like Ivy Valentine from Soul Calibur. The results are real and they are spectacular!

Ivy Valentine
Perhaps it's fair that the last picture of the top ten sexiest cosplayers falls to someone wearing the ultimate cosplay costume - the classic Princess Leia in a bikini from Return of the Jedi. Some things never go out of style and neither do metal slave bikinis at cos play conventions:

How to restore an old manrobe

preparations for the chest restoration

Three cheers for electric sandpaper or how I restored this chest of drawers aka The Manrobe

So the wife spied this manrobe on Trade Me and I thought, hell yeah, that'll do me. The bed in the spare room doesn't need to have ALL my clothes on it any more.... and after I restored this desk last year, how hard could it be?

So what's up first, what's the trick to making these drawers worthy of being a home to my Transformers T Shirt collection?

The first tip is too look for any loose joins or cracks and glue them up.

PVA was the glue of choice for wood working when I was at school so that's what I'll use know.

You'll note at the left of the picture a clamp to hold everything in place as the wood dries. A handy hint is to use a soft rubber mallet to knock the joins back in together (if it's apt). I find it's best to leave any glued bits to dry for 24 hours to give the glue enough time to dry. Which I did. Kind of, when it suited.

I then removed the door of the manrobe and the top of it too which revealed a hidden space for money, drugs and multi tool knives....

The next step in restoring this set of drawers was the longest and tough part. Sanding off the stain. So three cheers for electric sand paper. Start the process with a very course grit sandpaper. I used 60 and it ripped the stain off in no time. When using the sander, be deliberate with your strokes, don't put too much downwards pressure on the sander and keep the strokes in the same direction, going with the grain.

Did you hear me cowboy?

Go with the grain!!!

Next up is cleaning off the sand dust. Get a hearth brush and wipe it off. You could even think about using a damp towel to get the last of it off.

Then you have to repeat the above with a more fine sandpaper grit. I used 150.

I then dragged the heavy fucker out of the man shed and washed it all off with the hose and gave the drawers a damn good clean while I was at it. You know, to get rid of the old man smell....

Then you have to repeat the above with a more fine sandpaper grit. I used 180.

manrobe restoration sanded chest

All that took me an age to do. But to paraphrase Jim Steinman, it rung out beautifully.

Now for the staining.

This can be some tricky shit.

What colour to you want? Dark or light?

Do you want all the marks and everything to be covered up? Do you want all the different bits of wood to match?

Do you want a variegated cacophony of wood to be on display? These punk, are the questions you gotta ask yourself. Well do ya punk, do you want the dark mahogany stain like I went for?

 Well do ya?

Remember that secret lid I talked about where your cocaine and knives can go?

This manrobe had a nice, light stain on the inside - I had some Kauri stain left over from another project so I gave it a nice spruce up. You can see from the picture to the left that it came up a pretty sweet shade.

If it's one thing I have learnt while staining wooden furniture it's this and I believe it's bloody good advice:

Check your work! 

Check that you haven't put too much stain on.

 \Gravity is a bitch and the stain can run down the side of your piece and make a right mess. Make sure you get the excess off with the brush - some brands of stain recommend using a cloth but I reckon that risks getting cotton or what not stuck in the finish.

After you've done the staining, give it half an hour and then check your work for runs, messes and misses.

In this particular case I did just that and caught a few drips here and there. I used a sharp cardboard knife cutter to scrape or cut the stain drips or 'clumps' off. I carefully then re-stained those areas. It's a pain in the ass but totally worth it.

Indeed, I was pretty risk adverse about the stain running so the door of the manrobe was placed on the work bench, all nice an flat so there was no chance of it getting messed up:

Once the first coat had dried for 24 hours, it was time for a second coat of dark mahogany stain. When that was all done, I was on the home stretch of this restoration project. I put the door on, and the flip up top, put the drawers all back in and I was done. Mission accomplished with a restored manrobe to be proud of:

restored manrobe dresser with stain

manrobe dresser restoration stain

Charges over Batman incident, as reported by Senior Constable Adam West of Victoria Police, Australia

This is one of those awesome life imitates art moments that deserve to be shared with the world:

adam west senior constable
For those not up with the play, The 1960s TV series Batman was played by actor Adam West. Pretty sure this Senior Constable Adam West is a real person as they feature in other police reports.

Top 10 songs to Reminisce about Glory Days to!

dolly parton playboy magazine
Dolly on the cover of Playboy magazine

Top 10 Songs to Reminisce About good (or bad) times too!

Sometimes a song comes along that is upbeat and full of life. Musically they are killer diller, dressed to the hilt with riffs and hooks to die for.

Lyrically they focus on times of the past, reflecting on past glories, happy days and better times. They might be of bitter sweet memories. They are often sung from the singer's perspective of looking back, fondly reminiscing.

Or, it may simply be a song that causes the listener to think about times from the past.

These are the Top 10 songs to Reminisce to!

10. Summer of '69 By Bryan Adams

Supposedly about the sexual position the song is about various individuals buying guitars, joining bands and getting the girl. The singing is soaring and it's backed by one of rock's most memorable rock riffs. It's a shame Adams later released, Everything I do (I do it for you) and thus ruining his cred. Here's the vid on Youtube.

9. Hot Summer Night by Meat Loaf

Marion, I bet you say that to all the boys

This song is about reminiscing the hot summer night you got some sweet poon tang. And it has cool hand clapping. Nuff said. Meat Loaf rules, hang cool teddy bear!

8. Sweet Child 'O Mine, Guns 'N Roses

GNR's only number one hit, this song looks back on a happy time of childhood memories. Supposedly it was inspired by Axl Rose's wife. One of rock's greatest efforts, this song is popular in so many situations, especially in bars on a Saturday night sing-a-long. Here's the vid.

7. The Living Years, Mike and The Mechanics

"Every generation, blames the one before". I think everyone knows that line. The Living Years combined features of both members of the band's relationships with their fathers; it dealt with Mike Rutherford's (Genesis) strained relationship with his late father and the birth of co writer Robertson's son three months after his father's death. Heavy subject matter, but comes with a slight touch of looking back with fondness about dad. Here's a live version.

6. I will always love you, Dolly Parton.

You're an idiot Jimmy Jangles, Whitney Houston sang this song! Um no. Dolly Parton wrote it in 1974 herself and released it first. Whitney only made it mega famous. It's not completely a reminiscing song if you take the lyrics in a straight forward sense as its about an immediate relationship break up. The reminiscing occurs when people are remind of their own past relation ships and feel a kinship to the song. If you click one link today, you better make it this one.

Legend has it that Dolly also wrote her classic song Jolene on the same day she wrote this one.

5. We built this City  by Starship

Admit it, you know the song and you love it. Why? You love rock and roll and any rock and roll song about rock and roll rules. The key is why? Though it's 80's rock, it's good AM radio rock and everyone knows AM radio rock rules! The lyrics were written by Elton John's better half, Bernie Taupin and are a nostalgic nod to American radio stations of the 1970s. Le video.

4. Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis

Who really knows what this song is about? All I know is that when I hear Don't look Back In Anger I feel happy about my life. It's one of those inspirational songs that say nothing and everything at the same time. Here's the vid.

3. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

The ultimate song, in thinking about people how have did and fondly reflecting on their life. Not that you'd get this from the lyrics, they are kinda depressing. Here's a vid.

2. Don't Cry by GNR

That's right,two entries for GNR, cos they rock. Every person that feels sad about a relationship can listen to this song and feel sadder and happier at the same time. It's the same trick again, sad lyrics mixed with happy, epic music.  Where's Izzy?

1. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

The number one song about glory days can only be called Glory days! The song is a 'seriocomic' tale of former 'all American' star high school athlete who now ruefully looks back on his so-called glory days. It's not a happy song but the trick with it is that the music is so happy! Sung with a knowing phrasing, Springsteen also pulled this trick with Born in the USA which was about a soldier's problems on returning from a tour or two in the Vietnam war - except it was one of the most up beat, anthemic songs of the 80s. Heck many Springsteen songs could be about Darth Vader and you wouldn't know it.  Here's a live vid.

What are your favourite songs to reminisce to?