Big Bird

December 9, 2019

Obviously, I am a huge Muppets fan and I wholeheartedly love everything they have ever done pre-Disney and post-Disney. The Muppets will always be a part of myself and definitely part of the font of creativity in my soul. I have spoken at length about how Jim Henson was a personal hero of mine. I know his personal life was not perfect but his creativity and willingness to collaborate have definitely carried me through difficult parts of my creative, personal, and professional lives. One of the early things that Henson created while he was struggling creatively and financially was Sesame Street. While I was more of a fan of The Muppets and Fraggle Rock, when I was little I definitely watched some Sesame Street. It, along with Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, definitely encouraged my little imagination.

I think my favorite back in the day was actually Bert. As an introvert, I definitely felt a kinship with a guy who wanted things just right and was always trying to counter his introvert roommate’s energy. He was intelligent and underappreciated. However, through my teen and college years, I identified most with was Oscar the Grouch. I definitely went through a cynical period where I struggled with my anger and I have only recently begun to come out from under that cloud. Still, even during those darker days, I had a lot of love for those who I was loyal to. Of course, Oscar the Grouch was voiced by the most iconic character of Sesame Street. Of course, I am talking about Big Bird, the one character who never really had a name of his own. He was a shining symbol of childlike wonder and often seemed to embody that awkwardness we all feel in our own bodies.

Most of you must know that I am talking about this because the man behind Oscar and Big Bird (and others), Carroll Spinney, has died. It is indeed very sad but we had so many years and three generations got to enjoy Big Bird and all of his friends. I have been thinking back to some of his best moments. One that was not very televised was Carroll’s appearance at Jim Henson’s funeral in character as Big Bird. It was a beautiful moment that felt more beautiful to me since Henson had parted ways with Sesame Street long before. They were still all friends. I remember when Big Bird finally proved the existence of Mr. Snuffleupagus. It was a moment that showed kids that they should be believed when they are telling adults the truth. The moment was intended to give power to kids suffering from sexual and physical abuse.

In a moment from the year of my birth (and in fact 37 years and two days ago) Mr. Hooper died and Sesame Street used that to teach kids about death through Big Bird. It was such an interesting and meaningful moment that they could have explained away or covered for but they wanted to use it to teach. They confronted the hard truth. That moment makes me wonder how they are going to proceed with Sesame Street. Will they mention or acknowledge Carroll’s death on screen. I think it is obvious that Big Bird will not die. Jim Henson died and Kermit did not follow suit. Muppets cannot die. Humans can and do. Mr. Hooper was a different case but I wonder if they might do something subtle or outside of the show to honor Spinney.

The beauty of all creative endeavors is that the show will go on because it must go on. Carroll’s spirit will not be forgotten just as everybody who ever contributed will not be forgotten. Big Bird will continue to be that childlike influence on the kids (and their parents). Oscar will still grumble and gripe from his trash can. They have been so good at casting in the past years that you can barely tell when a new performer takes over. All of the Muppets feel like living characters and, honestly, I feel that they really are in their own way. The muppeteers have often said as much. I am interested to see where the story goes next. I wish that Sesame Street could break free from the corporate paywall it is now behind but if people are still benefitting from it, it is what it is. Hopefully, they can continue to make Jim and Carroll and everyone proud and make us learn and laugh.

Mindcrash

December 7, 2019

It was the Mindcrash that started everything. In the year 2045, true virtual reality had taken hold and had gone mainstream. People used it for more than just video games. They used it to surf the internet, create virtual meeting places for business or social reasons, and so much more. Many people had had chips installed in the base of their cerebellum in order to accelerate data streaming from a computer to the human brain and back again. It was a fairly simple surgery so many people opted to have it done. Of course, that much hardware near the brain caused a vulnerability but it was an acceptable risk or so the public was assured.

Of course, nobody had expected the Wonderland Routine. It was not a virus in the traditional sense. That was how it did not get noticed by any of the virus or malware protection. It slipped past security protocols as innocuous third party programs. Once it was all through, it pulled itself apart and reassembled itself into a nasty yet subtle virus. On Christmas Day, its timer went off and it fried everybody’s chips at one. In the process, it stranded a hundred million people in the network. Their entire essence was set adrift on the Internet as their brains boiled in their skull and their nervous systems shut down.  Their bodies would never be of use to them again.

Calling it a crisis was an understatement. People were separated from their friends and loved ones. Several servers suffered cascade failures from the additional strain and a few thousand minds were completely lost or fractured. Technicians eventually patched together a solution. The minds were ushered into servers for their own safety. However, several ethical questions arose. Could they back up the servers? Could one back up a person without making an entirely new person? The servers were eventually hooked up to dedicated and redundant power supplies. Nobody wanted to use VR equipment for a long time. Was the Wonderland Routine gone? Could they ever safely experience virtual reality again? Entirely new equipment was designed in order for the first people to visit the Lost, as they began to be called.

The Lost found it hard to connect with reality without being able to really be out in it. People could summon their loved ones as holograms but it just wasn’t the same. After a while, most got dispirited and retreated deeper into their private Internet. For a while, people still came to visit but tourists were eventually regarded with derision and hostility. Tourism to the Lost Lands slowed to a crawl and then a trickle and then stopped. The servers were sealed off from the world and the Lost were left alone. Occasionally, some politician or group would propose shutting the servers down to save resources but they were always shouted down. The Lost Lands continued on. It mutated and became fairly alien from our world.

May stretched as she cycled out of sleep mode. The Lands’ technicians had figured out that minds could not run longer than twenty-four hours straight for very long. People had figured out to initiate a sleep cycle in order to preserve sanity. May cycled during daylight hours because she was on a night shift. She was a detective with the Net Knights and it was her job to help protect the Lost Lands. Her communicator beeped in her arm. She yawned and pressed the button.

“Go for May,” she mumbled.

“Detective May,” Captain Cable said in that lovably gruff and disinterested voice. “We have an incident. You need to meet Detective Dylan. There’s been a homicide.”

“Really?” May asked. “Was there enough to perform a reboot?” Minds that were murdered with the Lost Lands could sometimes be rebooted into children and raised back to adulthood.

“The meds are not sure about that yet,” Cable said. “It is apparently very messy.”

“Where did it go down?” May asked. She activated her gear and her clothes and armor formed around her.

“Vampire Town,” Cable said. Vampire Town was a place for those who had an affinity for the darker side of things. Back in reality, people might have called them goths but they had involved in the digital landscape.

“Great,” May said. “Those guys are weirdos. They set up shop in the area with the highest concentration of fractures. I think they remind the vampires of ghosts. Are we sure that a fracture didn’t do it?”

“Well, that’s your job to figure out,” Cable said. “but the early reports don’t indicate that to be the case. Get your ass in gear.”

“I’m going,” May said. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” She hung up and headed toward the garage. Technically, denizens of the Lost Lands could instantly transmit themselves any distance but, again, it did not make life worth living. Some behaviors were worth sticking to. Besides, May really liked her car. She had designed it herself.

Media Update 12/5/19

December 5, 2019


The Mandalorian

The Star Wars franchise has always had side projects, but it feels like they are getting better and better lately. Two of the most recent side projects are Solo and Rogue One. They successfully mixed Star Wars with a heist film and a war film respectively. The Mandalorian is a weekly television show that feels like it blends Star Wars with a western. The show is set post-Empire and the Mandalorians are scattered to the winds as a people. The show follows a Mandalorian bounty hunter who has a code of honor and is the best of the best. The show feels like something new in a familiar universe. There is plenty of humor but also that core of seriousness that most westerns have. Pedro Pascal does such a great job acting even though his face is always covered by a helmet Boba Fett-style. There are all sorts of enigmatic characters that I am interested to see what they are there for or who continues throughout the show. The only complaint I have is that there are no female main characters so far. I definitely recommend it.


The Great Mouse Detective

I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and this movie is Disney’s take on the story through the filter of original characters who are all Holmes-adjacent. Barrie Ingham is such a delight as Basil of Baker Street, an absent-minded but brilliant mouse detective who loves the thrill of the hunt. Val Bettin plays Dawson, the Watson analog, who is smart but his real strength is his good heart. Susanne Pollatschek is the young girl who is the client and is inquisitive and adds a lot of energy to the movie. Alan Young uses his Scrooge McDuck voice as her father. Candy Candido plays a hilariously stupid thug. Finally, the wonderful Vincent Price plays the Moriarty analog and he is so delightfully wicked. He honestly steals so many scenes just like some of the greatest Disney villains. The movie is a good little mystery but its strength is the likable characters and the goodness at its heart. I recommend it.


The Emperor’s New Groove

This is one that I had heard was way better than it was given credit for. The movie follows an arrogant and selfish emperor played by David Spade who goes on a journey of self-discovery. The movie definitely draws from the same spirit as The Emperor’s New Clothes. Somebody must speak against power when power goes too far. The movie is basically two slapstick buddy comedies in one. First, you have David Spade who must journey with John Goodman in order to survive. Second, you have Eartha Kitt hanging out with Patrick Warburton and opposing our protagonists. Kitt especially steals every single scene she is in. There is a reason why she is considered a legend but she is obviously having a great time in her role as an evil sorceress. The movie felt like a version of the Road pictures starring Hope and Crosby back in the day. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Mcbaise – She’s a Big Boy

Tessa Violet – Crush

Poppy – Concrete

Te Quemaste – MTZ Manuel Turizo X Anuel AA

Bad Wolves – I’ll Be There

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Disney+” #NotSponsored
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Blindspot Season 2
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I watched more The Crown Season 3

A Familiar Nightmare

December 2, 2019

I had a nightmare recently. This, in itself, is not very surprising. I have nightmares all of the time like normal people do. Normal people have nightmares, right? I’m fairly normal. We’re all crazy. Anyway, this nightmare stuck with me instead of fading away with the sunrise. It was a dream about my old life, a life I left nearly a decade ago. It was definitely an anxiety dream. I have anxiety in my waking life, why should my dream life be different?

In the dream, I was visiting an old friend at a theater just before showtime. I was just planning to stop by and visit briefly but she was not there. That was concerning because my friend was a stage manager and was running the lighting board. (Of course, “she” was some vague stand-in for the multitudes of female stage managers I’ve known). The way stage management works anybody should be able to run the show based on what is called a “prompt book”. The show must go on so I volunteered to step into her shoes and run things for the night.

I was completely unfamiliar with the show but I tried to decipher the prompt book anyway. For those who do not know, a prompt book is the show’s script with an overlay of cues and notes needed to run the show and ‘prompt’ people to do their jobs. It is the show “bible” and should allow you any knowledge you need to put on the show. In the dream, the notes were not easy to understand or follow. I struggled to keep up with the show.

Meanwhile, I kept getting pulled away from the booth and the theater for multiple reasons. I was constantly trying to get back to my spot. When I got there, I struggled to figure out what I was doing. It should have been completely harrowing but it was kind of exhilarating. It was also flattering that I could still command respect in my own field. The dream had no resolution. Dreams rarely do. I woke with an uneasy feeling and went about my day.

(Sorry this was late)

Pokemon Dark and Light

November 30, 2019

(I had several ideas for the plots and design of Pokemon games that have banging around in my head.  Here is one of them)

The game would follow a former criminal thug who puts themself on the path of redemption by taking on the criminal enterprise he used to work for. He (or she) starts the game just before gang initiation. They get to choose between three starters but they are wild pokemon that lurk around the hideout. There is a Lilipup rummaging through the dumpsters out back, a grumpy Sandile living under the back porch, a Zubat fluttering around the hideout’s attic. You get a period of time to bully kids around the hideout and then you confront the boss of your local chapter as a gang initiation, Caleb.

Flash forward a couple of years with the gang on a job that goes wrong. You have earned the nickname of The Ace and are highly regarded in the Organization. You fight through some guards on a pokemon storage center heist. In the middle of the final battle, there is an explosion and people get hurt. Your character gets arrested and sent to jail. You flash forward to being released from prison. You’re approached by a contact at the cemetery while visiting the graves of those hurt in the explosion. They want to see how willing you are to atone. They have a plan to take down your old gang but to do that, you have to challenge Underground Gyms and defeat their leaders. After you have finished your mission, you are given permission to do the regular gym challenge.

You would have two rivals. The first, Detective Holloway, is a cop trying to bring you in and you face off as they try to apprehend you.

Her Pokemon:
Staraptor
Swanna
Fearow
Fletchinder
Trumbeak
Farfetch’d

The second is Caleb, the man who brought you into the gang, he constantly tests you as he wants to steal your reputation and take your spot. He is more of a traditional rival.

His Pokemon:
Weezing
Sizzlipede
Sharpedo
Pidegeotto
Vileplume
Machamp

 

Underground Gym Leaders:

The Chiller – Ice Type
Denton is the storage expert for the organization. His family has been part of the group going back many generations and he has absolutely no reservations about what they are doing. A blue-collar sort of criminal, he is at home in the secret warehouses where he flash freezes pokemon in order to store them for black market buyers.

His Pokemon:
Alolan Sandslash
Abomasnow
Sealeo
Beartic
Cryogonal
Sneasel

The Poisoner – Poison Type
Kira is a former student of Koga in the Hoenn region and was friends with Janine at some point. However, she eventually turned from the straight and narrow path and the example Koga set. She used the ways of the ninja to eliminate threats to the organization. She set up her own shadowy dojo where she trains others to strike others efficiently for profit.

Her Pokemon:
Seviper
Alolan Grimer
Skorupi
Salazzle
Croagunk
Dustox

The Darkness – Dark Type
Nora is the person that the Organization calls on when it needs a place for secret meetings or hideouts. As the daughter of a real estate mogul, she is an expert at finding excellent hideaways for performing criminal acts in safety. She operates out of a huge penthouse and controls several of the floors below her. She is accustomed to the finer things and is often seen indulging in the high life.

Her Pokemon:
Umbreon
Absol
Liepard
Bisharp
Morgrem
Mandibuzz

The Ghost – Ghost Type
Nobody is sure of the real name of The Ghost nor are they sure their appearance at all. They wear a costume that covers their face with bandages and a large hood. They are the expert at getting in and out of places that nobody wants them to go. They are also the member of the Organization they sometimes call to scare somebody into compliance.

Their Pokemon:
Spiritomb
Gengar
Cofagrigus
Mismagius
Chandelure
Banette

The Heavy – Ground Type
Doro is the go-to enforcer for the Organization. He likes to throw his weight around and it shows with the pokemon types he prefers. He likes to hit hard and can take a lot of damage before going down. He also happens to be the son of the leader of the Organization. He resides in a hideout below his favorite bar.

His Pokemon:
Donphan
Sandslash
Excadrill
Hippowdon
Golem
Onix

The Programmer – Steel Type
Roderick is the computer and technology expert of the Organization. He runs a computer data center under his own high tech casino which he is obsessed with. He is highly intelligent but suffers from overconfidence.

His Pokemon:
Klang
Aggron
Metagross
Magnezone
Magneton
Skarmory

The Thinker – Psychic
Angelica is the chief intelligence officer of the Organization. She prides herself on “know everything”. She monitors the authorities, the Pokemon league, and various informant sources to keep track of possible threats or opportunities for the Organization. She operates out of an abandoned library that she has filled with disorienting illusions.

Her Pokemon:
Alakazam
Hypno
Espeon
Gothorita
Reuniclus
Mr. Mime

The Beast – Dragon Type
Marc is the leader of the Organization and a fearsome person that nobody ever wants to cross. He used dragon pokemon to forcefully conduct the raids that funded the creation of the Organization. Eventually, he retired from fieldwork but rules everything from his castle. As the player approaches him, he becomes more interested in hiring the player as his new right hand. Little does he know that his time is short.

His Pokemon:
Haxorus
Dragonite
Dragonair
Salamence
Garchomp
Noivern

Regional Gyms

Fire Type Gym
Charli is a celebrity chef, loving to feed people and the heat of the kitchens. She works with both humans and Pokemon to prepare feasts for both rich and poor. Her gym doubles as a restaurant.

Her Pokemon:
Magmar
Torkoal
Litten
Talonflame
Oricorio (Baile Style)
Fennekin

Water Type Gym
Kylie loves all sorts of aquatic Pokemon and runs an aquarium and water park near the sea. She is happiest while in the water. She runs an aquatic battlefield gym and has little love for drylanders.

Her Pokemon:
Polywrath
Seadra
Clauncher
Arrokuda
Azumarill
Whiscash

Grass Type Gym
Henry is a professional partier and people often invite him to their parties in the hopes that he will arrive and make it more fun. He often throws his own parties at his gym when he is not training or facing challengers. He enjoys being out in the open as a celebrity and uses an open-air public fields and gardens. He also supports several farms and orchards.

His Pokemon:
Ludicolo
Cacnea
Carnavine
Liligant
Tsareena
Bellosom

Normal Type Gym
Arthur is a gym leader in more than one sense of the word. He runs an athletic gym for both humans and Pokemon. He encourages people to get fit and get competitive. He loves strength, speed, and agility.

His Pokemon:
Slaking
Exploud
Snorlax
Bouffalant
Diggersby
Bewear

Fairy Type Gym
Marnie is the last princess of a fading dynasty and the youngest gym leader. She loves inner beauty and sparkles. She loves sharing her royalty and her privilege with the world.

Her Pokemon:
Wigglytuff
Clefable
Granbull
Galarian Rapidash
Gardevoir
Gallade

Bug Type Gym
Cody runs a gym that is constantly moving within the bounds of the forest of his hometown. He loves bug pokemon and the forests and the fields so much. He really just loves nature and lives simply in a treehouse.

His Pokemon:
Pinsir
Kricketune
Beedrill
Scyther
Heracross
Masquerain

Electric Type Gym
Fantana is a theater and performance enthusiast. She prizes putting on a show most of all. Her gym doubles as a theater for pokemon and people. She is a dancer and is constantly moving.

Her Pokemon:
Raichu
Electabuzz
Ampharos
Pikachu
Rotom
Oricorio (Pom Pom)

Fighting Type Gym
Dumo is a real superhero. He loves jetting around the world, fighting the Organization and any threats to the populace. He is somewhat mysterious and wears a mask. The player can catch sight of him during the regular game during several close calls.

His Pokemon:
Hawlucha
Primeape
Hitmonlee
Hitmonchan
Mienshao
Hariyama

Media Update 11/28/19

November 28, 2019


The Runaways

I am a huge fan of this comic book since it was the first new thing Marvel attempted in a long, long time. The comic is about a group of kids who find out that their parents are supervillains and go on the run to try and stop them. It was the first thing in Marvel that I had read that did not really stem from previous continuity. It introduced brand new characters that had virtually nothing to do with the rest of the Marvel Universe. It made the series a very self-contained, standalone sort of story at first. However, they were gradually sewn into the fabric of the universe in a natural way. The show is similar but provides enough differences to really keep things interested. There are strong performances from both the adults and the children. Out of the adults, I really enjoyed Ryan Sands, Brittany Ishibashi, Angel Parker, James Marsters, and Annie Wersching. Of the kids, I really liked Greg Sulkin, Ariela Barer, Rhenzy Feliz, and Virginia Gardner. However, everybody is awesome. I definitely recommend the show for mystery and drama.


The Gifted

I was not sure what to expect when I started watching this show but I knew that it was adjacent to the X-Universe. The show takes place in a sort of dystopian future after the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have disappeared. What is left is a human populace who are incredibly scared of mutants and a mutant populace constantly on the run. The show follows both mutant and human characters as they try to navigate an increasingly dangerous world. I have already seen interesting (and less used) mutant characters like Polaris, Blink, the Strucker children, Sunspot, and Thunderbird. There is also a really cool take on the Sentinels. One of my favorites (Amy Acker) also has a great role as a human caught up in everything and so far is the character most driving the plot. I love where the show is going so far. For one, as a law nerd, I definitely like how they are trying to dip their toes into civil rights, confinement, and probable cause. The show is grim without being completely dispiriting. I recommend the show, especially for X-Fans.


My Hero Academia

I had been hearing really great things about this anime but I am kind of a dub guy (especially since I am a fan of a lot of American voice actors through Critical Role). Finally, I have access to the dub through Hulu and this is the perfect week to catch it. The show is about a school for superheroes, in a world where people have “quirks” which is kind of another name for superpowers. Superpowers are normalized with about 80% of the population being super in some way. Superheroes save the day as a career path and obviously schools sprung up to teach people how to be better and more successful heroes. The show has some deep drama and definitely does a good job covering anxiety, ambition, and the cost of following one’s dreams. However, they also manage to keep things light and fun with all of the heroics. Like many anime series, there is a good degree of slapstick although albeit with a dark edge sometimes. I really like the world they built even though it is similar to other comic book and television series. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Kesha – My Own Dance

The 1975 – Girls

Halflives – Mayday

Young Thug – Hot ft. Gunna & Travis Scott

Baby Shark (Trap Remix)

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Young Heroes”
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Blindspot Season 2
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I started watching Justice League Action
– I started watching The Crown Season 3

Thanksgiving 2019

November 25, 2019

Here in the United States of America, it is Thanksgiving weekend so work should be pretty fun for the next few days. That was sarcasm. Getting a hold of anybody should be incredibly difficult and people have time off to use to blow up my phone at work. However, it is also a three-day workweek. It is a time to reflect and be thankful. So I will be focusing on the positive instead of the negative. I have a lot to be thankful for. My health is good. I am uninjured. In January, I finally landed the job I went back to school for and became an official paralegal. My boss and I get along really well and I am learning new things every day and we have fun. I have good friends both in real life and through The Bloggess community. My writing is still fulfilling and I love creating new worlds.

I watched a lot of good movies and started watching a lot of good television shows. I finally got my crap together and got a library card so I can download audiobooks for my commute. This year I was the last one to the party and became a fan of The Elite and then the pro-wrestling fandom was blessed with All Elite Wrestling. Hopefully, that leads to a new renaissance and elevates the product of all companies. We shall see. I also got access to both Hulu and Disney+ which greatly opens up the possibilities for entertainment. If paralysis of choice of movies and television is one of my biggest current problems, I am in a good place. I will probably be in Christmas mode soon and there are so many choices for new Christmas entertainment, something I did not care about previously.

Finally, I get to see my family this week and Christmas is looking like it will way calmer than usual (and possibly in NYC?). I will hopefully use plenty of time this week writing and relaxing.

PS. I am also thankful for all of you readers!

Pantheon Addendum

November 23, 2019

The following are more minor deities of the realms.   These are mostly neutral parties that did not take sides in the conflict that broke the world.

Ogun, God of the Forge

Ogun was a lonely and solitary god, who did not speak to most of the other gods. The only exception was his rare talks with Ioun and her entourage as they engaged Ogun’s intellect. He used them to inspire new ideas. He was mostly preoccupied with his creations. He loved to create, spending every day at the forge to create for the sake of creating. However, when the other gods learned of him, they sought him out. They tasked him with creating magical weapons and tools for them. He decided to take neither side and created many magical items for the various deities and their followers. He also discovered the secret of making sentient weapons and items, a skill that has rarely been replicated. He used a lot of the same techniques to give birth to living constructs. Many of them guarded his forge against both sides and assisted their master at the forge. He is not a very skillful fighter and he lost his arms and face while guarding his forge in the final conflict. He was able to construct new arms, even better-suited for his tasks. He replaced his face with a mask of metal and stone. After the Final Conflict, he was locked deep under the world at its very center. He was content to build and destroy his own creations and never see the world again. Ogun’s worshippers are makers, happy to get their hands dirty in order to make things nobody has ever seen before.

Nami, The Iron Maiden

Nami was Ogun’s greatest creation, a perfect living construct that he meticulously created over years of careful creation. Left to her own devices (as all constructs were) she made the choice on her own to assist Ogun with his projects. She quickly proved herself to be the most capable of his assistants and in return, he infused her with greater god energy, a spark from his own being. She became the mother of all constructs, from that date onward having a hand in the creation of every construct created. She became a true love and companion of Ogun after spending a few years on her own, as suggested by Ogun to make sure that she was not merely subservient to his will. She eventually had a few of her own projects. She organized the defense in the final conflict and she was the one who personally crafted the replacement parts of her true love. She gladly went into exile with Ogun after the conflict so that they could both create together. Nami’s worshippers often crossover with Ogun’s. If the world’s remaining constructs could talk, they might reveal that they worship Nami.

Esho, the Goddess of Time

Nobody is quite sure how she does it but Esho maintains the flow of time and keeps it moving forward. An enigmatic figure, she was rarely ever seen by the other gods and never by mortals. Still, scraps of her story have filtered down through the years. She was most likely the first deity to form into being and was alone in the void before creation. She is self-sufficient, a total loner who never needed any companionship. She did not take part in the Final Conflict as she needed to be completely focused on her job. She also had no attachments to the others and did not want to take sides anyway. After the conflict, she disappeared and nobody could ever find her. She passed beyond the planes but still obviously maintains the flow of time. She has a few odd worshippers but she pays them no mind. She gets annoyed when magic users cast time-based spells like Slow or Haste.

Fear

A truly sadistic force of nature, Fear never took a proper name and never allied itself with any of the other gods. A true shapechanger, nobody knows what Fear’s base form is. Fear delighted in invoking its namesake in all mortal beings, keeping them all beneath its heel. It absorbed the world’s fears and grew very powerful. Before the Final Conflict, the good gods banished Fear to the Dream Realm where it bides its time creating nightmares. Any worshippers are absolutely insane.

Uzas, the Goddess of Trickery

The Goddess of Trickery is a more innocent version of the Cyric (Corruption) and a more stable version of Akanay (Chaos). She is also the twin sister of Laverna (Luck). She is the patron of those who rejects society’s rules and often society itself. She believes that the world is more interesting if you sew a little confusion and surprise to spice things up. Uzas enjoys playing pranks on people and drawing a reaction from the world around her and therefore prizes those individuals who feel the same. She also prizes individuality. During the Final Battle, she fled in fear along with her sister (although Laverna came back) and she regretted it. Nobody is quite sure where she went after the conflict but there are reports of pranks being played in the various heavens.

Lady of Pain

The mysterious Lady who presides over the equally mysterious City of Sigil. Nobody is quite sure what the Lady looks like as most look down or away when they sense her approach. She is surrounded by chains and strips of cloth that seem to have a mind of their own and swirl around her, hiding her from view. Also, people can kind of feel when she is around. Nobody is quite sure what she is or where she came from either. What little that is known about her or her wishes are communicated by six lieutenants that see to the day to day operation of Sigil. She is not a deity, or at least she does not wish to be worshipped as one. Anybody heard worshipping her is usually gruesomely murdered by the Lady herself. She is known to defend Sigil from any major threat. In fact, there is a rumor that the Lady easily defeated and vivisected a Tarrasque sent to dominate Sigil. It is best to just avoid the Lady when possible, get in and out of Sigil quickly, and make sure you follow her rules.

Media Update 11/21/19

November 21, 2019


The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

I have been a Jim Henson fan since I can remember but it was only in the last year that I finally watched The Dark Crystal. The movie is dark but funny and fantastical. It has so much heart and the production design is so wonderful and beautiful, even the ugly bits. Unlike the Muppets and even Fraggle Rock, the movie world never felt like it was all puppets. I was excited to see that world again even though I was wary about what a prequel would be. I did have faith that whatever they came up with, it would be good and I was right. The series is an ensemble piece, following various characters as they try to navigate a mystery plaguing their world. The series keeps things light but there is some true darkness in the story, just like the original movie. With a bigger budget, the production design is even better. They spent the additional budget remaking a lot of what made the original good and then expanding it. The cast is full of brilliant voice actors/puppeteers both famous and new and praise definitely goes all around. I definitely recommend it.


Mission Impossible: Fallout

I have been a fan of the Mission Impossible franchise for a long time. The movies have always been action-packed with Tom Cruise at his best with a fun supporting cast. Tom Cruise may be problematic in real-life, but his Ethan Hunt is always an interesting character. Part of that is his dry wit but a lot of it is the crazy plans he always comes up with to save the day and his stunts are mind-blowing. Ving Rhames returns, charming and funny. Simon Pegg is always fantastic as well. Rebecca Ferguson returns and is basically allowed to be the female Ethan Hunt. Angela Bassett is a hard but interesting woman. Alec Baldwin is always entertaining and funny. The interesting new addition is Henry Cavill. I had seen him in Man of Steel and Justice League and he was not very impressive. However, this role was more like his excellent work in The Man from UNCLE. He gets to be a smarmy badass. The mystery has some neat twists and turns and, like most Mission Impossible movies, it really ramps up in the third act and gets really fun. I definitely recommend it.


The Commuter

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty good. Ever since Taken, Liam Neeson has regained a badass reputation as an action star. However, this movie is more like Nonstop or Unknown (in fact it has the same director as the latter). It is a train-based mystery that turns into a thriller/action movie. I really liked the pacing of the movie as it steadily built up steam and then went all out near the end. Liam Neeson is the perfect person for a detective-like role as he is friendly but also believable as a tough guy. He is surrounded by a huge ensemble cast of interesting characters played by people like Vera Farmiga, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Florence Pugh, Andy Lyman, Patrick Wilson, and many more. The movie is kind of a combo of Nonstop and Murder on the Orient Express. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol – The Cincinnati Tilt

Sean – Ataraxia

Doja Cat – Bottom Bitch

Calpurnia – City Boy

Joywave – Like a Kennedy

– This week’s theme is “Questioning Allegiances”
– I finished Veronica Mars Season 4
– I started watching Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I started watching Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Blindspot Season 2
– I watched more Stargate Atlantis Season 1
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Scream Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Blue Bloods Season 9

The Bloggess Family

November 18, 2019

It felt like ages ago but it was only about ten or eleven years since I found a blog called The Bloggess. It was created by author Jenny Lawson before she was a published author and long before she was a New York Times Best Seller. At the time, she was telling funny stories about her interactions with the people around her and her interesting thoughts. She was transitioning from being pigeonholed as a “mommy blogger” and was just writing whatever she wanted. She had already amassed quite a following. Her words had flow and had me constantly laughing as I read back through her archives and then impatiently waited for each update.

She was the main inspiration for me starting this blog that has gone through various iterations before the most recent branding (years ago). She made me want to get my own words out there and make my own mark on the words. It helped me in my fight against depression and anxiety and, although I was just shouting into the void, I felt better doing it. Writing has always been a compulsion of mine, something I must do or the words and thoughts will build up and then I will explode or burn out.

I was a fan for years before Jenny (as I and her other fans call her) published her first book, a memoir of her early years called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. It was such an interesting dive into who she was as a person and I learned so much about her and found more in common with Jenny than before. I was so jealous of her flowing style and worked harder on my own style.  I also wanted to be more open and less fake with my potential audience. I buckled down on my blog, working hard against my own depression to try and keep posts coming. People started to read them. I was astonished. People started to like them. I felt like I had a sliver of what Jenny has.

Years later, I started to pay more attention to what Jenny at the time called her Bloggess Tribe. (A side note: some people are iffy about using that term as they feel it is potentially offensive while others don’t feel it is. The jury is still out.) I identified heavily with Jenny but I also found a lot of kindred spirits among her fans. It is probably the only fandom I have experienced where I have yet to find a bad egg. Jenny preaches positivity and it spreads through the people who like her work. The group also tends to be incredibly creative, the kind of friends that I always attracted. While it is true that the fandom is primarily female, I have never felt unwelcome as a male. I am so thankful for that. I have especially enjoyed interacting with people on twitter and learning and supporting each other.

Most recently, I finally read Jenny’s second book Furiously Happy which had been in my To Be Read pile for far too long. I actually listened to the audiobook even though I have a hard copy because I wanted to hear the book in the author’s own words. It is delightfully insane in the best ways. It is a book full of essays written by Jenny with the theme of it being about battling her anxiety and depression. I myself had undiagnosed depression and anxiety for a long time before finally getting diagnosed and starting on Xanax. Jenny’s is much worse (as she has a multitude of additional disorders) but she is an inspiration. The book is her mission statement in being “furiously happy” instead of succumbing to depression and anxiety. I would almost call it “spitefully happy”. If you have a chance, I would check the book out maybe search for our group online.


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