Anya Stroud: The Cortana of Gears of War

The titular character of Gears of War, Anya.

So Gears of War 3 is about to hit the Xbox 360 and the other lesser platforms and I thought it would be rude to not do a focus piece on shall we say the titular character of the Gears series, Anya Stroud.

Who the heck is this Anya? you may well ask? Anya is the Communcations Manager for G.O.W. She's the lady who tells Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago that there is a courtyard free some place for them have a group huddle in to talk about their issues. Boom!

Lieutenant Anya Stroud was a Gears of War officer in the COG Army and the daughter of Major Helena Stroud. Our heroine Anya joined the COG army to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but unlike her mother, she did not serve as a frontline Gear soldier. Anya Stroud instead became a communications officer and served in her mother's unit during the Pendulum Wars. It was during that time met soldier Marcus Fenix and formed a love interest with him, and also became friends with Dominic Santiago. Friends being a keyword.

Stroud is proud...
The release of the demo for Gears of War 3 showed two things: 1: it looks awesome and 2: Anya looks set to break free from her communications role and break out into a combat role. Booya...


So why is this Anya character important? She's no Cortana right? Two words come to mind: Marcus Fenix. Despite his daddy issues, he's been through a shit storm. Why shouldn't he fall for one of the last remaining beauties? What's suggested in Gears 1, is intimated in in Gears 2. I'm fully expecting conception in the third adventure of Gears of War 3... unless of course Marcus makes a boob of himself!

Come hither....

My pick is somehow Marcus Fenix has to rescue her and in doing so declares his undying love to Anya. Something you'll never see the Master Chief do... and in that vein, Anya is just as popular a gaming heroine as the Chief's digital love, Cortana.
It's gettin' hot in here!
Gears of War has captured the minds and hearts of many gamers around the world. Some of them have even lost their virginity. This includes those fans who like to play dress up. Of course, people who like to dress up as characters from video games prefer to call it costume play:

Anya appears to be missing 28 GOG tags...
But it is not just the cosplay fans that want to keep abreast of all the Gears of War issues. Some artists just have too much spare time and are happy to come up with their own interpretations of the Anya character:

Come hither Part II......
Order your copy of Gears of War III here from Amazon. Or get the book!

Is it me or is Micheal Stipe beginning to look like Billy Joel?

Is it me or is Micheal beginning to look like Billy Joel?


Here's a sweet article from Rolling Stone Magazine in which Mike Mills has a wee chat about the up coming R.E.M. album, Collapse Into Now.

When R.E.M. began recording Collapse Into Now last year they decided to throw out the guidelines they imposed on their last album, 2008's Accelerate. "On the last one we tried to make everything focused, short, fast and sharp," Mike Mills tells Rolling Stone. "We took most of the rules off this time, picking the best songs regardless of whether they were fast, slow or mid-tempo."

The disc, which is due out early next year, reminds Mills of the band's 1992 classic Automatic For The People. "The songs go from one type into another really easily and it all seems to fit as a piece," Mills says. "It makes sense as a whole the same way that Automatic For The People did."

Produced by Jacknife Lee, the disc was recorded over the past year at studios in Portland, New Orleans, Nashville and at Berlin's legendary Hansa Tonstudio—where Mssrs David Bowie and Iggy Pop recorded The Idiot and later where U2 cut Achtung Baby. "There's so many, not exactly ghosts...but vibrations in there," says Mills. "It's as very, very vibey place."

While in the city of Berlin, REM met up with longtime friend Patti Smith, who contributed vocals to the track "Blue." "Patti totally changed the song and added a whole other dimension to it," says Mills. "It was a powerful thing to watch." Another track, "It Happened Today," featured vocal contributions from Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam

The songs are also less political than the material on the last album Accelerate. "It's more of a personal record than a political one," says Mills. "Current events do come into our mind when we write, but the themes here are more universal."

Other songs on the album include the piano driven ballad "Walk It Back," a rocker called "All The Best" that features Mills and Michael Stipe sharing lead vocals and "Everyday Is Yours To Win"—which Mills describes as a "slow, beautiful song built around a guitar riff."

Mills says the group didn't always see eye-to-eye while recording the album. "This one certainly has its share of difficulty—but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing," he says. "It just means you have creative tension, which is what happens when three strong-willed people manage to find a consensus."

Transformers Dark of the Moon Teaser Trailer

The Optimus Prime Experiment happily spied that the internet is full of joy about the new teaser trailer for the new documentary about the history of the Transformers. This doc, the third in a series put together by renowned historian Micheal Bay tells of a major cover up about what actually happened when Mr Neil Armstrong went to the moon...



Optimus Prime said to me over a meal of dead cat that he thought Mr Bay's footage looked to be bang on and appeared to be a faithful reconstruction of the actual events.

When I was a child I caught a fever

Here's three young dudes doing a sweet cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb - in their front yard!



And for kicks, here's the guitarist doing a work though of Eddie Van Halen's game changer solo, Eruption:


U2 Brisbane Set List

December 09, 2010 at Brisbane, Australia

U2 played the second of two shows at Suncorp Stadium - fans got to hear the unreleased song, Mercy.

Set List: Return of the Stingray Guitar, Beautiful Day, New Year's Day, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Elevation, Until the End of the World, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Mercy, Bad, In A Little While, Miss Sarajevo, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I'll Go Crazy (remix) - Relax, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On

Encore: One, Amazing Grace - Where the Streets Have No Name, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With or Without You

Selling Sex: The Lovely Pair Story

Lovely pears
So there's one law of marketing that every student doing a 101 course learns while doing their Bachelor of Bull Shit and that's sex sells baby. Especially on the internet.

And that's why NZ Girl asked the girls of New Zealand to get their kit off in their "I've got a lovely pair" promotion. It featured readers sending in pictures of their boobs. And that's because everyone loves boobs. Just ask a baby how much they love boobs. And like the hungry baby, NZ Girl is sucking at the tit of humanity's desire to see boobs.

Ostensibly it was all for a good cause, you understand. NZ Girl is making a donation to a Breast Cancer Charity of their readers choice but we really know that sex sells and boobs are what get the online page views.

Lance Wiggs got a bit huffy about the issue. Maybe he wasn't breastfeed ;). He did raise some good points actually about internet safety - and indeed some of the breast images posted to NZ Girl apparently ended up on a porn site because those sites know more than anyone, that on the internet, sex sells.

NZ Girl responded to the controversy by going on the telly to front foot the media scrum that unfolded and stated on their site "We stand by our campaign to create awareness and get nzgirls talking about issues so close to many of us – this is our nzgirl way of doing things a bit differently – and we reiterate that if we can get even one nzgirl to be more aware of their own breasts and know how to check them then we’d qualify this as a #win"

So that was the storm in a D or B cup last week, this week it's the all female rugby team from Old Boys University Club selling their 2011 calendars to make a quick buck. And how are they doing it? Selling sex:

naked-female-rugby-player
The Sonny Bill Williams offload technique has made it to grass roots rugby.
The rugby players even had an open training session in the nude so concerned Joe Public could make sure the team's scrum was up to muster. FYI you can buy the calendars on Trade Me.

Doing a nude calender is nothing new.  They've even made a movie about how a bunch of GILFs did their own calender. Except their skin was a lot more wrinkled that the girls from the Old Boys University Club!

So if it was the NZ Herald outing Alison Mau ealier in the year, NZ Girl last week, the nude Rugby Team this week, what will sex be selling next week? Who will be New Zealand's next Lisa Lewis? Or will it be a world wide star drumming up some business? Will Lady Gaga let it all hang out ? Will Janet Jackson show us her other boob? Will there be a new Womans Lingerie Football League be foisted upon the world or will Janet and Brad finally get back together?

Time will tell, but you can guarantee, the pictures will be all over the net.

Weekend that Was: Part Bad Medicine

So like another awesome weekend in the lead up to Christmas. Here's what Jimmy Jangles got up to.

  • Went and saw Bon Jovi at the Cake Tin. Jon himself appeared to have a great time take the very happy crowd through a series of big hits and sing-a-long moments.
  • Caffeine Fix at Felix with the cousin who actually introduced me to Bon Jovi in the Slippery When Wet era . Far out that was a long time ago!
  • Did some Christmas shopping. I love kids toys. Why I wasn't allowed to buy some for myself was totally tantrum worthy.
  • Movies watched: Confessions of a Shopaholic (her choice) and Armagheddon (my choice).
  • Downloaded the new Halo Noble Map Packs. Soooo well designed, shame they didn't ship with the original disk, I kinda hate having to increase the cost of the original game if you know what I mean.
  • Updated the Bacon and Egg Pie Recipe, Optimus Prime's Letter, The Cortana Pictures and blogged the U2 Melbourne Set List.
  • Mused about the fairness of using ratepayer dollars to promote the privately run Crowded House gig.
  • Laughed at how badly Australia is doing in the Ashes series. After all, the Black Caps are nothing to write home about at the moment. 

Hawke's Bay welcomes Croweded House and your tourism dollar

So like I was adding U2's Melbourne song list to The Spaghetti Incident, when I spied that the adsense advertising unit was for the Crowded House gig and I was amused by the misspelling of the word Crowded in the title:


Clicking on the adsense advertising takes you to the general events page for http://www.hawkesbaynz.com. A smarter operator should probably have made the adsense unit refer the user directly to the actual Crowded House info page, so as to get a better chance at the conversion.

At the very least shouldn't the add take the clicker to a page where they can directly buy the tickets for the Crowded House show and not require the user to make another two clicks? But then, won't Crowded House fans be going anyway?

The add got me thinking further. Why would someone other than the concert promoter be promoting the Crowded House concert? Surely it wasn't to encourage the purchase of the New Best of Album?

The conversion is to get people offline and into Hawke's Bay to spread their tourism dollars around.  Having come from Hawke's Bay I can tell you it is full of good food and wine and fun things to do, especially in summer. I'd recommend to any one to visit.

The Hawke's Bay NZ  website is run by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council - is it their job to be spending rate payer money to get people to buy tickets to a privately run event? Is it fair to spend rate payer dollars on such an activity where the only benefit to the rate payer is the so called promotion of tourism in the region? Is it fair to spend rate payer money on an event where the promoters should be the one's doing the promoting at their  own expense?

I've held the view for a long time that local government should make roads and clean up the dog shit and that's about it. Funding tourism programmes are often cited as a role of local government but when the direct benefits go to the promoters, hoteliers and other associated parties, the mum and dad ratepayer who gets no direct benefit should not have to pay.

But then, maybe the Hawke's Bay economy is just going through a bad spell and just needs a helping hand?

The Cortana Pictures


cortana from the original Halo CE game
"Fancy a look?"
Everyone's favourite purple A.I., Cortana doesn't appear in Halo 3:ODST, instead we got a guy that liked to Keep it Clean and talked a little weird.
This doesn't mean Cortana is gone forever from the Halo series, she'll be back in all her nude glory when Microsoft surely does a sequel to Halo 3. Her very brief but significant cameo in Halo: Reach hardly counted I reckon...
This doesn't mean we can't relive the past with some pictures of Cortana. She's a sex pot to all the 13 year old Halo players didn't ya know? And then some. There's a reason Cortana's body appeared to be more naked and her boobs got hotter and bigger with the release of the Halo games. It wasn't because of the improvements in coding technology... or was it? Compare the picture at the top of this post to the next and note the distinct change in breast size.
cortana halo 3
The mind boggles at what this Halo 3 cut scene was all about.
cortana concept art
cortana witht the key halo
Contrast is key.....
cortana halo flood capture
No sex tonight dear, I have a head ache...
Cosplay is a really popular past time with all the Conventions that happen across America and the ROTW, so it's no surprise Cortana is a popular cosplay costume choice. Only second to the infamous Princess Leia. bikini outfits...

cortana blue costume cosplay
Cosplay at its finest

Here's another popular Cortana costume play outfit:
cosplay cortana halo

halo cosplay

What's the appeal of Cortana? Why the big deal? Let's face it, she's the real Hero of the Halo series, if it wasn't for her, the Master Chief would accidentally have unleashed the might of the first Halo Ring on the universe, destroying everyone. He'd have been a real boob eh?

The next image of Cortana is taken from the Halo Legends DVD:

cortana from halo legends

Halo artwork is very popular. I think the artist of the below sketch may have got Cortana's breast proportions all wrong. What do you think?

cortana drawing big breasts
Shed a tear, cause I'm missing you. 
Sometimes the owners of the Halo IP call in the big guns, and for the Halo Graphic Novel, this artwork was included. You can almost smell the sexual tension between the Chief and Mrs Cortana in the picture below. Is is me or is one breast slightly bigger than the other?

cortana concept art breasts

cortana covering her boobs
What are you looking at? Stop staring at my breasts!

Here's some Cortana concept are by Issac Hannaford who did some design work for Bungie:



As you can see, Cortana comes in all shapes and sizes. A guiding light for the Master Chief in the first three Halo games, she's come to represent the archetype woman in a video game, intelligent, fearless and with a goddess like body!

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