Archive for November, 2017

Media Update 11/30/17

November 30, 2017


Fate/Apocrypha

I am a huge history nerd, especially when it comes to myths and legends. I know a lot about the various heroes and heroines who have allegedly walked the Earth and left the world a better place. So when I started watching this new show, I was immediately jazzed. It is set in a world where magic and technology coexist. There is a magical, wish-granting MacGuffin which is basically the Holy Grail of legend. Whenever the grail is sighted, a special war breaks down called a Grail War. In that war, each side summons seven heroic souls from the past to fight the war as proxies. In this show, one side is comprised of Siegfried, Vlad Tepes III, Chiron, Astolfo, Frankenstein’s Monster, Solomon ibn Gabirol, and Jack the Ripper. The other side has Mordred, William Shakespeare, Spartacus, Semiramis, Achilles, Atalanta, and Karna. Joan of Arc acts as the arbiter of the contest. I am still freaking out over how good this show is and how they anime-fied all these great characters (including gender-bending several of the males). Gods, monsters, and heroes mingle and compete against each other and some of their stories are altered or ‘clarified’ so that they are in a more heroic light. I definitely recommend it if you are a fellow myth enthusiast or if you just like solid anime action with a bit of comedy thrown in.


Blue Exorcist

I have seen quite a few things where a character is the son (or daughter) of Satan before but this one really takes the cake. What happens when a demon is raised as a man and instilled with all the values of a good person. What happens when you are raised by your family’s enemies? What happens when you discover this in your teenage years? These are all questions posed by this show. The show, as the title suggests, is about John Constantine style exorcists who are just as likely to use magic weapons as they are to use magic spells (prayers). I really love the characters in this one as they really resonated and felt like people I know or might know in my life. There were slight twists to the story that I did not see coming and the whole show is grounded in a tough but real reality. Even the jerkier characters are people I would love to meet and talk to. I am just getting started on this show and I am intensely interested in where it goes next. I especially love that Sam Riegel voices a character on the show who I have seen in two episodes so far. I definitely recommend it.


K

Speaking of Sam Riegel, he is the star of this show and does such a good job of playing a slightly weird but mostly normal high school kid. The kid in question is caught up in a war between two rival gangs who both use magical powers to combat each other. The forces of the Red King and the Blue King freely fight on the streets and Shiro is clueless as to how he ended up in the middle of it. Throw a magical catgirl into the mix and this show is pretty crazy. So far I love the quirky sense of humor the show has and the devil-may-care attitude most of the characters have. I really have no idea where this one is heading and I am not a hundred percent sure what has actually happened so far. I just know that I have enjoyed the ride so far and I will eventually finish watching this series. The show is holding its cards close to its chest and has yet to really explain much which is both frustrating and enticing. I will be watching the rest of this with interest. I recommend this one as well.

Music of the Week:
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – I’ll Cut You Down

Kim Tillman & Silent Films – Evelyn

Duran Duran – Come Undone

Ghost Mice – Critical Hit

Awkwafina – NYC Bitche$

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Anime Youths in Battle”
– I watched more Punisher Season 1
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I rewatched Sing Street with my mom
– Thanksgiving weekend was not filled with watching

 

 

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It Suits You

November 27, 2017

The Jack of Hearts leaned back in his chair and tilted a mug of beer down his throat. He maintained that position until the Queen of Cups walked over and pushed his feet off of the table. She had always resented the laziness of the Hearts. Though, if she were to be honest, she resented the Diamonds more for the wealth they lorded over the town. But there was nothing to be done about that. She could not very well bankrupt the Diamonds or hope to steal their wealth for her own. She earned her coin by doing honest work helping her family tend the bar. Which brought her back around to the laziness of the Hearts and how infuriating it was. Especially when it left scuff marks on a fine table.

“Sit like a normal lad,” she said. “And do not drink so greedily especially if you cannot afford the next glassful.”

“Generous lady,” Jack started, his silver tongue immediately sounding syrupy sweet. “Surely you would still give me one more to warm me on my way home.”

Jack was not unhandsome.  His long chestnut locks were the envy of many in the town, even some of the ladies would have raided the Coins’ bank or made a deal with the Wands to get such fine hair and a fine smile to boot.  Still, the laziness was a major turn off.  It was an obstacle that the Queen felt was insurmountable.

“You would be wrong,” The Queen of Hearts said. “And if you tarry too long then I will call the Ace of Clubs to haul you off. Hopefully to beat you.”

“You are heartless, madam,” Jack said.

“Would that it were true,” The Queen said. “Then you’d no longer be sitting there.”

“You wound me,” Jack said. “What could make a woman so cruel?”

“If you’re looking for a wound, I think one of the Swords left a fine blade here as payment once. I could run you through.”

“I’m going, I’m going!” Jack said, bounding to his feet. “But remember that a Heart is always ready to repay kindness for kindness.” And with that, he put on his hat, adjusted his coat and walked out the front door into the night.  The cold air whipped through the place as soon as the door was open and it was a little difficult to shut. The Queen quickly locked it behind him to make sure that she could close the place in peace. A warm bed was calling and it was impossible to sleep late in the town. The Spades’ rooster was so damned loud.

She turned and was astonished to find a young girl sitting on the counter. She had a rapier strapped across her back.  She had long copper red hair tied into a loose braid and, although she had the bearing of a soldier, there was a humble beauty to her as well.  The Queen could not help but smile to see such a nice, familiar face at the end of a long night.

“Closing up already?” The girl asked, a sly smile on her lips.

“The Page of Swords as I live and breathe,” The Queen said. “Back from the academy, at last, I see.”

The two of them hugged as Page came down off of the bar. Both of them smiled brightly.

“All hail the Queen,” Page said. “Mistress of her domain at last.”

“Foolish girl,” The Queen said. “I was 10 when my mother died and made me Queen like her mother before.”

“I don’t start fights,” Page said. “I finish them. I am assigned to defend the town.”

“Fighting for truth and justice,” Queen said.

“And helping out the Clubs where I can,” Page said. “Law-keeping and hunting.”

“And what are you hunting for tonight?” Queen asked.

“Just you,” Page said. “My oldest, dearest, and loveliest friend.”

“Well, shall we go back to my room and see how friendly we can get?” Queen asked.

“I thought you would never ask.” Page said.

The two of them reached the stairs and soon were taking them two at a time, eager to reconnect after a long time apart.

Redcross Pt. 11

November 25, 2017

Redcross

Sarah got up early the next day even if she wished she could at least sleep in until noon. She put some breakfast on the griddle and she got a lecture from Doctor Marion about how unhealthy the breakfast was. Even with the lecture, the thick cut bacon, eggs, and black coffee felt good and she began to feel like herself again. After that, she asked Marion to stay put for her own safety and got an argument there as well but it was just for show. Sarah strapped on her gun and grabbed her coat and hat and walked out the door, locking it carefully behind her.

She moved over to Chip Hendley’s door and pounded her fist on it until the door unlocked and Chip was blinking at her through bleary eyes. The man was huge so Sarah had to look up to talk to him and Sarah was fairly tall herself.

“Good morning, Sheriff,” Chip said and the smell of beer and whiskey drifted from his sweat and breath.

“Been drinking, Chip?” Sarah asked.

“I have, Sheriff Redcross,” Chip said. “Last night was the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. After those things left last night, I took one drink and just didn’t stop.”

“I don’t blame you, Chip,” Sarah said. “I don’t blame you at all. You said ‘things’, Chip. Do you not think they were wildcats of some kind?”

“Do you, Sheriff?” Chip asked. “I saw you shoot one of them take six bullets and it was still moving. No wildcat on Earth does that, to my knowledge.”

“On Earth? Where do you think these things came from?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t really know,” Chip said. “But I don’t think they’re from here. Just a feeling I have.” He shrugged. Chip was smarter than he looked and Sarah did not discount anybody’s ideas out of hand.

“I don’t either,” Sarah said. “But you may be right. I plan to get to the bottom of it either way. For right now, I need your help.”

“Me?” Chip asked. “I don’t know what I can do but I’m happy to help out where I can.”

“You’re the best carpenter in town,” Sarah said. “I need you to go and replace Doctor Schaefer’s door. One of those ‘things’ broke it down and I would like her to have a good sturdy door to protect her again.”

“For sure I can do that,” Chip said. “I’ll get some coffee and eggs down and go right over there. I’ll try to have it done well before sundown.”

“Great, Chip,” Sarah said. “I’ll have somebody bring by some lunch and water to you later. When you’re done there, please replace the back door of my office as well.”

“I’ll build both of them stronger than before,” Chip said. “I’ll get right on it.” Chip seemed to come to life as soon as he had a purpose for the day. His eyes looked clearer and he smoothed his hair out of his face and smiled.

“Thanks, Chip,” Sarah said. “I’ll check in with you later.”

Sarah moved on to her next destination, walking across the dusty main thoroughfare of Essex. There were spots of black here and there where bullets had spilled blood from the creatures. She wondered if they had red blood that merely dried black or if the blood was black in the first place. Too many mysteries and Sarah felt more lost than she ever had. She had a feeling that, had this happened in her father’s time as Sheriff, her father would have been just as lost. This thought was not exactly comforting but it did bring up a resolve to fix this problem from deep inside of her.

Sarah found Holly Dawson peeking through the window of her family’s house and waved at her. The sound of a heavy deadbolt being unlatched preceded Holly slowly, cautiously stepping out into the sunlight.

“Sheriff,” She said softly. “I’m glad to see you survived. I saw you standing out in the middle of it all before mom and I hid under her bed.”

“Thank you, Holly,” Sarah said. “I’m not gonna sugar coat it. That was bad. But I could use your help today if you can muster up some courage for me.”

“Anything for you, Sheriff,” Holly said and her face hardened and her chin tilted up, summoning courage from somewhere.

“I don’t need you fight a battle or anything,” Sarah said. “Although I should teach you how to shoot at some point the way things are going lately. Today I just need you and your momma to cook some lunch and dinner for Chip who will be at Doctor Marion’s place and for Doctor Marion who is at my place.”

Holly just grinned.

“Did I say something funny?” Sarah asked but could not help but smile even as she put on her best confused face.

“You’ve never asked me to cook for you before,” Holly said. “You always just give in when I bring you food.” Her face was so sunny at having this victory. It was a small victory in Sarah’s eyes but apparently not for young Holly.

“I’ve never wanted to trouble you or your family, Holly,” Sarah said.

“You’ve never been trouble, Sheriff,” Holly said. “I don’t think you could be if you tried.”

“Thanks, Molly,” Sarah said. “And thanks to your mother as well. You have good souls.”

“And where should I deliver your lunch and dinner, Sheriff?” Holly asked.

Sarah smiled, at last realizing what this would mean to the girl. “Hopefully, my office but I might be all over the place today.”

“Alright,” Holly said. “I’ll see you later.” She smiled and slipped back into her house, the deadbolt sliding back into place. Better safe than sorry. In fact, the street was mostly empty and, although it was hot, the place should have had at least a little activity. It was not the worse thing for people to hide inside of their houses and shops for the moment.

Sarah made her way further down the street and found herself at the old, ragged church. She paused at the door and then she pounded on the door with her fist. After a long moment, Reverend Simmons opened the door. He looked just as fresh and ready as he usually did. He smiled when he saw who was at the door, those blue eyes twinkled.

“Sheriff,” the Reverend said. “What can I do for you? Come for spiritual guidance?”

“I came to ask you some questions,” Sarah said.

“Questions?” The Reverend asked. Sarah was not sure but she thought he might have looked nervous for a small moment.

“Like, what are you?” Sarah asked.

Media Update 11/23/17

November 23, 2017


The Punisher

This show has been getting some press lately but for a lot of negative reasons. We have reached a critical mass when it comes to spree and mass shootings in the United States. So, a show about an anti-hero who famously uses firearms really has no good release date. This iteration of the character was introduced in Season 2 of Daredevil. The character is way more nuanced and deep than my experience with the character in comic books. An ex-marine, he is not just a goon with a gun. He would probably be the first person to admit that he’s just not sane, though. During the first season, Frank Castle tries to uncover corruption in the military while avenging his slaughtered family. The character feels a lot more focused on this show. The show does a great job of bringing up how we deal with our veterans, which should be a non-partisan issue. Mental health, the difficulty of finding a vocation, and the soldier mentality are all addressed with a great deal of compassion. The show is dark but the good writing and great acting carry it through for me. I read a comment somewhere that the show does not really give a coherent thought on gun control. I agree but do you really want that answer to come from a television show? The show depicts several different facets of the issue and lets the viewer decide for themselves. I definitely recommend it but it might be a little too dark for some.


Batman and Harley Quinn

I was a huge fan of the old Bruce Timm Batman animated series that came out in the nineties. It was a very successful form of the character and the world because it was a great mix of the dark and the light. This movie is a step back into that world, a step away from the darker, grittier Batman seen in the live action DC movies and a few of the animated movies. In this, Batman is the ultimate funny straight man. He gets more laughs from a stoic expression or the squint of his eyes than any bit of dialogue. When he does let slip a joke, it is both surprising and funny. He is accompanied by Nightwing who is a little bit looser than his old mentor and more into cracking a joke. The two get Harley Quinn to act as their criminal informant and she is as zany and crazy as you would expect. I loved how self-aware she was. This is a Harley who has finally realized how bad Joker is for her and how important her friends (like Poison Ivy) are. She also loudly corrects anybody who can hear that she is not a psychopath but is instead a sociopath. Get it right. With so little, the cartoon showed that these characters are part of a bigger world with a history. I ended up smiling from ear to ear through most of it and it was good to take another spin around the block with some old, familiar friends in new situations. I wholeheartedly recommend this as DC Animated is killing it.


Justice League

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I went to the theaters and saw this movie. After skipping Batman v. Superman, I did not think I wanted to see Justice League either but my friends lured me in with promises of Joss Whedon. Wonder Woman was also a truly great movie. Well, the movie had a lot of problems but that is to be expected. The movie introduced Cyborg to the big screen and missed much of the point of him in previous iterations. He used to be a happy, friendly guy who covered up his sadness at becoming more machine than man by being the best person he could be. In this movie, he was a mostly quiet grump. The Flash was that annoying guy at a party who will not shut up and thinks his jokes are just hilarious. Apparently, The Flash is one of the most polarizing performances in the movie. Henry Cavill still does not feel like Superman and instead just comes off as awkward. The villain, Steppenwolf, was basically a video game character and his performance was forgotten by me every time he left the screen.

So was there anything good? Wonder Woman was great again, although they keep sabotaging her character. Batfleck is alright though he seems to mope and get his butt kicked a lot. Affleck’s sense of humor came out here and there and that was definitely welcome. Aquaman was fun, coming off as a loveable asshole. There were moments where the movie showed glimmers of hope that it might dig its way into the light. Overall, I feel like you can build the best house you know how but if the foundations are bad then you will still fail. Man of Steel and BvS are bad foundations. I could see where Joss made it better but Warner Brothers still has a long way to go and that starts by firing Zack Snyder and banning Frank Miller from the set. I definitely do not recommend this. There are tons of superhero movies out there actually worth your time and money.

Music of the Week:
Marmozets – Why Do You Hate Me?

Man With A Mission – Raise Your Flag

Ratatat – Loud Pipes

Wowaka – Rolling Girl

Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Comic Book Team-Ups”
– I finished Blacklist Season 4
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I finished Santa Clarita Diet
– I watched more Sleep Hollow Season 2
– I watched more Van Helsing Season 1

– Happy Thanksgiving!

From The Desk of a Random Court Reporter

November 20, 2017

<INTERIOR: A well-adorned Courtroom in the middle of a busy city. The prosecution is sitting at their table on house right, facing the judge’s bench. The defense and the defendant sit at the other table on the left. A court reporter sits near the judge’s bench. The bailiff, a tall redheaded woman, strides into the room confidently.>

BAILIFF: All rise! Court is now in session. Presenting his honor, Judge Gallows.

<Both sides stand as does those seated in the packed gallery. Judge Eugene Gallows walks in wearing his long black robes. He takes a moment to look over his notes, looks at the prosecution, defense, and defendant. He then looks at the bailiff.>

JUDGE: Before we let the jury in, I have a number of motions that were submitted since yesterday and I thought we would take some time to review those so I can make some decisions. Is that fair?

<Both sides nod>

JUDGE: Of course it is. I’m the judge. <He takes his glasses out and pulls out a sheaf of papers which he squints at.>

JUDGE: I’m looking at a whole lot of motions here. I am going to begin with a few from the defense. Let’s see here. I have a Motion to Just Let the Defendant Go This One Time. That is denied because that is just not how we do things anymore. I have a Motion to Blindfold the Prosecution which I am still considering because it could be funny. Finally, I have a Motion to Alter Reality and Erase the Crime from Existence which I have to dismiss because They stripped that power from us in the recent legislative session.

<The defense nods, the defendant bows their head. The Prosecutor for the STATE raises her hand and the Judge points at her>

STATE: Thank you, your honor.

JUDGE: No need for that. Just doing my job. Now onto the State’s motions. I see a Motion to Read the Defendant’s Mind. Good luck with that, I can’t even read my own mind. There is a Motion to Shoot the Defendant in the Head but those pesky metal detectors made sure none of us have fun. I just have a pocketful of bullets myself.

<JUDGE starts lining those bullets up on his bench idly after an uncomfortable amount of time he seems to get startled looking at everyone staring at him and goes back to his papers>

JUDGE: Next we have a Motion to Let The Media Poke And Prod the Defendant and the Defense for 60 Minutes And Attorney’s Fees. I will dismiss this because I hate the media. They’re always finding things out about me. Finally, there was a Motion of the Ocean which I agree with and I have forwarded it to my ex-wife.

<The STATE nods. The defense lightly applauds. The Defendant remains silent>

JUDGE: OK. Please let the jury in and then we can begin.

<The BAILIFF goes and opens a door at the side of the room and there is a whoosh of air as she opens it. The jury stumbles into the room gasping for air, their skin a little blue. They all lie down on the floor for a few moments before getting up and slowly filing into the jury box.>

JUDGE: Please be seated. <Everybody sits> Bailiff, please make a note to provide the jury room with oxygen. Not the good stuff, though, we’re on a budget. Prosecution, call your first witness.

<The BAILIFF nods and makes a note on a small notepad>

STATE: The Prosecution calls to the stand Bernice Clevinger. I summon you forth!

<BERNICE walks into the room, escorted by a police officer to the stand. She flounces into the seat. She looks nervously at the JUDGE’s nametag>

JUDGE: Don’t be nervous. We don’t even do that anymore. We use needles.

<The BAILIFF holds out a bible to BERNICE>

BAILIFF: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth or else?

<BERNICE places her hand on the bible and it starts to sizzle and smoke but she does not pull her hand away>

BERNICE: I so swear.

<The BAILIFF pulls the bible away with some difficulty as it sticks a little to BERNICE’s skin>

STATE: Please state for the record your name and age.

BERNICE: Bernice Clevinger of the Dark Abyss. I’m 99 years old.

STATE: Permission to treat this witness as hostile?

JUDGE: Not until she takes a swing at you.

STATE: Please tell us your relationship to the Defendant.

BERNICE: We live together.

STATE: Please clarify.

BERNICE: We both pay rent on the same apartment. Our agreement is that she gets the rooms and I live in the walls. We share the kitchen.

<The STATE walks over toward the jury box>

STATE: You. Share. The. Kitchen.

<The STATE hands juror number 6 a twenty, gets a box of girl scout cookies in return, and then pats her on the head before walking back toward the witness stand>

STATE: Permission to turn into a fox and bark at the witness?

JUDGE: I’ll allow it but watch yourself.

<STATE’s skin ripples and she slowly turns into a red fox which shakes itself and starts to yip at BERNICE who looks displeased but does not respond. This goes on for quite some time.>

DEFENSE: Objection!

JUDGE: Yes, yes. I think the State has made its point here. Why don’t we take a recess?

<The STATE returns to human form and walks back to her table. The Bailiff starts prodding the JURY back into the jury room. The JUDGE returns to his chambers>

<The names and situations in this teleplay are not intended to represent anybody in real life. If you feel that any fictional situations contained herein apply to you, please seek the help of a qualified professional or return to the alternate reality you come from.>

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: The Death of Kayfabe

November 18, 2017

WILPW


Al Snow gives his opinion.

In an earlier post, I described the magic of Kayfabe. For those who forgot and do not want to click back: Kayfabe is the old carny term which basically means the story or false reality that sports entertainment companies weave around their product. Of course, the term was created when everybody was using the term “wrestling” instead of “sports entertainment”. This is the agreed upon device which creates babyfaces and heels (good guys and bad guys) so that there is enough friction to continue fighting. It is also the thing that turns an American named Nelson Simpson into “The Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff. It is a necessary part of the business and it has been a big part of how most businesses do things.


They fought over a shampoo commercial.

I was driving around with my brother recently and I was saying something about the business of pro-wrestling. He turned to me and asked me why the performers compete against each other. He understood, as most people do, that there are a championship belt and a contender for that title. He was wondering why people lower on the card would fight each other. The short answer is that they are paid to do so both in real life and in kayfabe. However, that is not exactly what he meant because that simple motivation is something everybody can understand. There are a lot of reasons for these people to fight for. The main reason people compete so hard is that they feud. A feud can start as simply as one performer states that they are the best and another performer tries to prove them wrong. It can be as complicated as one man stalks another man’s girlfriend. It can be something obscure like two men fighting over who gets to be in a shampoo commercial or who has the right to use the letter T in their name. Whatever it is, as long as it is a compelling story or it is told in an entertaining way, the crowd will buy it.


Jim Cornette gives some excellent analysis on Cactus Jack.

The reason why I started writing this post is actually good ol’ Jim Cornette, a man who I respect a lot. You see, Cornette has been involved in the business for a long time. Most notably, he has been the booker (writer) or booking committee for several prominent companies including TNA, WCW, WWF, ROH, and various NWA territories. He has also been an onscreen manager mostly of tag teams in the NWA, WCW, and WWF. He founded Smoky Mountain Wrestling in the nineties and he was the main driving force behind the rise of Ohio Valley Wrestling as the first official talent development territory for the WWE. He has had huge success in the business. So, going forward, please remember that I have enormous respect for both Jim Cornette and the old school side of wrestling that he represents. I have only seen a little of pre-nineties wrestling because I was not exposed to it when I was younger and I only have so much time in the day now. Still, I respect the old-timers for what they contributed, most of which survives in some form in the present day.


He really, really hates Joey Ryan… who isn’t a dick from all other accounts.

Jim Cornette and the old school contingent have claimed that kayfabe is a device that is dying a horrible death. The most recent example of the supposed ‘death of kayfabe’ is the rise in popularity of Joey Ryan. This is really where I sat up and take notice as I am a pretty big fan of Joey Ryan both in and out of the ring. Joey Ryan was simply a great independent wrestler who got brief stays on television in both Wrestling Society X and TNA. His gimmick was as a sleazy wrestler who was sponsored by the YouPorn website and chose The Pina Colada Song (a song about cheating on your spouse) as his entrance music. The old school’s problem is that Joey Ryan is a comedy wrestler. In Cornette’s words, “Funny Don’t Earn Money” because people want to see something they believe is a real fight. He really lost his mind when Ryan adopted a move called the YouPorn Plex (also known as the Dick Flip). In this move (as shown below), Ryan literally uses only his penis to flip his opponent. Cornette screamed that this pushed the limits of suspension of disbelief and that it effectively killed kayfabe (yet again).


Now that’s sleazy.

Obviously, I disagree. Back in the day, promoters and performers somehow convinced audiences that professional wrestling was real. Babyfaces and heels never talked or hung out in public so that fans would believe that they really hated each other. Dusty Rhodes ‘broke’ his leg in a match against Ric Flair and then wore an actual cast in public. He even wore that cast around his house where only his two young sons could see him. The point is that they went to enormous lengths to keep up the illusion that it was all real as part of a grand tradition. Unfortunately, as technology improved and the Internet was born, us fans all started to talk to each other. We started to figure things out and we peeked behind the curtain and now the cat is out of the bag. We know it’s all a show. There is no way we can go back to where we were and I am not sure many people actually want to go back. I definitely do not want to go back there. I love the way things are now.


Joe Hendry proves that funny can equal money.

This is the new kayfabe. Back in the day, we got a bunch of tough guy characters to boo or look up to. Now, kayfabe is so much more varied. One of the things I love about pro-wrestling is the three-ring circus element of it. If you do not like the clowns (like Joey Ryan, Colt Cabana, Enzo Amore, Joe Hendry) in ring one, you can look over at ring two and see the strongman (Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Brian Cage). If you do not like that you can look over at ring three and see the acrobats (Ricochet, Ospreay, Neville). However, the business has really grown and we all now have access to hundreds of rings. If you do not like something, there is a good chance that if you turn your head, you will see something you love.


If I can believe the storylines in Lucha Underground, I can believe anything.

Besides, the new kayfabe is not all that different from the kayfabe we have gotten for decades. As long as the internal rules are mostly consistent, I think kayfabe remains intact. Every wrestler responds to Joey Ryan’s genitals in exactly the same way which makes their legendary powers a canon fact. We were told back in the day that Undertaker was dead and we believed it because we wanted to believe it and the announcers and other wrestlers never contradicted it. I choose to believe what they tell me to believe because it is way more fun to play make-believe than pick at it because it does not make sense. We all know that the Upside Down is not real but we choose to believe it when we see that dryer lint floating around. My rule is that if something is fun and nobody is getting hurt, then I support it. Joey Ryan and guys and gals like him is a lot of fun to watch and I am all about having fun. Of course, Cornette is very welcome to earn advertising dollars nitpicking the hell out of it.

Media Update 11/16/17

November 16, 2017


The Big Sick

On any given day, Kumail Nanjiani ranks as either my favorite or second favorite stand-up comedian. He tells both relatable and fantastic stories and operates on a similar nerdy wavelength as I do. I regularly listened to his podcast that he co-hosted with his wife Emily Gordon so I knew how well they clicked and how smart and funny they both are. When I found out that they had made a movie together I really had to see it. When I found out that it would be directed by Michael Showalter (of Wet Hot American Summer fame) I was over the moon. The movie is a slightly fictionalized account of Emily and Kumail’s courtship which also covers the health scare that hit Emily and how that affected their relationship. The movie is dotted with scenes of Kumail working on routines that would later show up in his specials. The movie is mostly about how people deal with each other and what we are willing to go through for and with the people we love. It also features the culture clash between the family of a man born in Pakistan and the family of a woman born in the United States. It is very funny but I was also basically crying by the end of it but smiling through my tears. I recommend it as it is a very touching movie that never gets too sappy.


Do The Right Thing

This is one of those movies that I have been meaning to watch but I knew it would be a difficult, uncomfortable movie to get through. I was right and I was wrong. I knew some stuff from the movie, having a little of it spoiled but this was my first full viewing. Right away we are welcomed by the voice of Samuel L. Jackson who operates as the movie’s narrator. The movie takes place on one street in the famous Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. It is the depths of summer and temperatures are skyrocketing in an area too poor for air conditioning. The heat is driving everybody into being especially on edge. Spike Lee is the writer, director and also plays the lead role of Mookie, a young pizza delivery boy known in the neighborhood. He works for the local Italian family headed by Danny Aiello and a hothead John Turturro. There are all sorts of characters including the local rabble-rousers, the elders, the old drunk, the grandmother, the Korean grocery, the police, and Mookie’s family. There is comedy, there is conflict, there is drama. Basically, the movie goes through a single day in the summer and shows the mounting tensions as they build towards a conclusion. It was a lot of fun to watch but then it did get uncomfortable in places but in the best ways. It shows the bad decisions we make based on our prejudices and the inborn prejudice of the system we live in. I recommend it as it is a very important movie.


42

I do not remember my first baseball game but I have seen photos of me in an Orioles hat when I was still an infant. I have a handful of friends/distant family members who are super into baseball to an impressive level. This movie was powerful because it depicted how people were caught between their love of the game and their prejudices. Jackie Robinson was the first black man to be hired onto the roster of a previously all-white major league team when he made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers. We look back at that moment with joy and pride but this movie does a good job of detailing how hard it was to get to that point and beyond it. Chadwick Boseman does a great job at playing a reserved and defiant Robinson who is achieving something from his wildest dreams. They put in a good deal of effort to show that he landed a spot on the Dodgers because of merit and not as a publicity stunt. Harrison Ford is incredibly charming as the wily and scrappy owner of the Dodgers who championed Robinson. Robinson’s supportive and highly intelligent wife is expertly performed by Nicole Beharie. John C. McGinley played legendary sports announcer Red Barber, a man who at first did not accept Robinson but later became a huge fan. Alan Tudyk was scarily good at playing racist Phillies manager Ben Chapman. There are plenty of other great actors who play Robinson’s teammates as they struggle to accept the hand they were given and try to figure out which side of history they want to be on. I definitely recommend this for people who are baseball fans and people who are not.

Music of the Week:

Estelle – American Boy

X Ambassadors – Renegades

DJ Khaled ft Drake – For Free

Allegaeon – A Path Disclosed

Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

 

Weekly Update:
– I watched more Blacklist Season 4
– I finished Glitter Force Season 2
– I finished Little Witch Academia Season 1
– I watched more Van Helsing
– I watched more Sleepy Hollow Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet

Eloria

November 13, 2017

(This is an early draft of the basic description of the 5e D&D campaign setting I am working on)

Eloria Rough

Sitting on a huge peninsula at the base of the so-called Emerald Continent of Taldontei, Eloria is a jewel nearly surrounded by the Calm Sea. For centuries, it has been ruled by the Royal Family in an unbroken chain since Galen I led the armies in the First Great War, defeating the devil, Vistra, and his Orc/Fiend alliance. At that point, the borders of the kingdom were re-established with neighboring Shera and the castle was rebuilt. The people crowned Galen and he laid down his sword in order to lead and protect his people. The crown was passed down the line from King to Queen to King and so on. Now it adorns the head of the current King, Liam III. He is supported by his wife Gianna, his heir Ariana, and twin princes Galen and Bram.

The Kingdom of Eloria is divided into six districts that surround the capital where the royal residence is. The land was divided into districts by land type and each is locally managed by a noble house, supported by lesser noble houses. The King has full say but cannot micromanage and a lot of trust is placed on the nobles and the people to maintain both efficiency and harmony. To that end, the Crown took two major actions to make sure the kingdom was safe. Galen I established The Guard, a police force that is stationed in every municipality. These armored law keepers work with the noble houses and magistrates to mete out justice as fairly as possible.

Five years ago, Liam III established a new tradition with every intention for it to carry on into the future forever. Nine years ago, the Kingdom of Eloria fought in a war against the bordering kingdom of Shera to stop an invasion. Partway through that war, both sides were assaulted by an undead army lead by the returning devil, Vistra. Both armies, although weakened, campaigned to combat the horde and eventually defeated the threat. A truce was signed between Liam III and the new king of Shera.

Meanwhile, a large Chromatic Green Dragon took the opportunity to try and make the royal castle its new lair. A band of adventurers sprang to the castle’s defense in the king’s absence and slaughtered the dragon after a lengthy, difficult battle. As a reward, Liam III named that band of adventurers as an official royal fighting force. He called them the Royal Arsenal. Each of them was given a commission in a district of their choosing. Officially, they are officers in the military and can be called upon to face threats to the kingdom. In everyday life, they are in command of the Guard of the biggest city in their district.

And now, the Kingdom of Eloria thrives. It is still healing the wounds caused by the war with Shera but relations have normalized. Vistra has been sent back to the Nine Realms of Hell again and no signs of him or any new armies (undead or otherwise) have been spotted. Since the Kingdom is once again at peace after a long war, it is once again a great time for adventuring as the armies recover and the wilderness remains unguarded. Also, the current king has a very favorable opinion of adventuring parties. So, go forth adventurers and face the challenges of Eloria!

Points of Interest:

The Battle Arts Academy

A sprawling academy located in the district of Stull outside of the city of Hurlock. This is where The Guard and the King’s Army are trained. One of the Royal Arsenal, Sir Havelock is a part-time instructor at the academy and several former Army officers, Guard, and adventurers make up the rest of the faculty. There are other fighting schools in the kingdom but this is the most famous and elite.

The District of Orden

Orden is the tip of the peninsula. Its coasts are heavily fished in seasons and they are home to many ports of call for trading ships. Chief among those ports is Whitecrest, the de facto capital of Orden. The Arsenal member Gareth Whispernight is in charge of law and order in Whitecrest. The noble house of Whitecrest, from whom the city gets its name, is in charge of day to day operations and command their own fleet of ships.

The District of Stull.

The District of Stull borders Shera and the rest of the continent. It is known for its rougher terrain and hardy citizenry. The Cascius Mountains are a major feature of the district. Nestled at their base is the town of Hurlock and the famous Battle Arts Academy. The Arsenal member that lives there is Sir William Havelock who is also an instructor at the academy.

The District of Channon

This district lies near the heart of the kingdom, but a little to the east. Its most dominant feature is the vast Fangleth Forest, a small percentage of which has actually been explored. On the northern border of the forest is the city of Woodright, the de facto capital of the district. The Arsenal member who lives there is Morgan Moonglow who eagerly tracks criminals and monsters in the region.

The District of Hasse

At the center of the kingdom is Hasse which is mostly full of vast plains. Its most dominant feature is, of course, the walled city of Flameheart which is where the Royal Castle resides. Herds of wild horses roam the district which is a major source of horses for the kingdom outside of domesticated birth. Hasse itself is managed from Callida. The Arsenal member there is Galath Wyndham.

The District of Etting

Etting is nestled just south of Hasse and north of Orden. It is small but densely wealthy. It is the main home of Eloria’s alcohol production facilities, most of which are controlled by famous noble houses. The city of Silverlight has somehow maneuvered itself to be the second wealthiest city in the Kingdom but also the center of fashion and entertainment. The arsenal member is Percival Stardane.

The District of Coppin

On the northwestern coast of the kingdom is Coppin. It is most notable for a collection of magic schools as it has cultivated the trade of magical knowledge and the training of innate skill. The main town is Braddish. Cassandra Oakspring is the Arsenal member installed there.

Magical Earth Defenders 11

November 11, 2017

Magical Earth Defenders

Lennon rolled her wheelchair through the crowd in front of the school. She could not really see through the sea of fellow students but she knew the general direction of the school so she headed that way. Her mom had dropped her off and helped her out of the car and into her chair. Lennon had practically had to beg her to go to work and let Lennon roll in on her own. As much as she loved her mother, she wanted to feel as independent as possible. That is why she was rolling the chair manually instead of engaging the motorized system. She had especially rigged it so she could turn off that system to conserve the battery. The doctors approved as it gave her more exercise.

She suddenly realized that her mind was wandering and stopped just short of colliding with somebody’s shins. She found herself blushing.

“Excuse me,” She said gently. “I need to get by.” Lennon was trying to be more patient. It was not everybody else’s fault that she was in this bulky wheelchair.

“Lennon, it’s me,” A voice said and Lennon looked up and saw a smiling Kelsey. Kelsey was dressed in a casual button up shirt and corduroy pants. Lennon could not help but smile back. The day before had felt like such a dream and Lennon almost could not believe it had happened. The thought of being upright as the Red Defender was as bright in her mind as the flames she had wielded.

“Oh!” Lennon said and adjusted her glasses. “Sorry, Kelsey!”

Kelsey shook her head. “You don’t need to apologize. Just say good morning already.” She smiled and stuck her fist out toward Lennon.

Lennon smiled and banged her fist gently against Kelsey’s. “Good morning.”

Natia seemingly came from nowhere and bumped her hip into Kelsey’s to get her to move over. She had the hood of her sweatshirt up and it covered up the bulky headphones tucked in. She was wearing jeans which was a borderline violation of the dress code. “Move over, girl scout!” She said with a sleepy smile. “Mornin’ Glasses.”

“Good Morning, Natia,” Lennon said. The lively girl was amusing to Lennon, especially since Lennon herself had almost always been in her shell. Shy and smart often went hand in hand.

“There’s nothing good about morning, Lennon,” Natia said with a yawn. “But she dragged me here and I’m here and we’re a team and junk.”

“It’s nice to see you both,” Lennon said. “I don’t have a lot of…” She trailed off, not sure if she wanted to or even could talk about drifting away from her old friends.

“You do now,” Kelsey said. “We’re in this together.” Kelsey’s smile was kind and not a bit condescending. Natia treated everybody pretty much the same no matter what. Lennon had not realized how much she really needed that. She felt so much like a freak adjusting to her relatively new condition. It was nice to see two people who genuinely seemed to see her for what she was instead of who she had been.

There was a murmuring from the crowd and the whole feel of the area changed. The three girls looked confused and started to look around for the source of the crowd’s new excitement. Moving through the usual crowd of students were two familiar faces. Margaret walked as if she owned the place which was impossible since it was a public school. Maya was a bit more wary, her eyes trying to decide whether she should be looking all around or looking at the ground. She seemed grateful to lay her eyes on Lennon, Kelsey, and Natia.

Maya was dressed in a long black dress with little white accents, a little formal for school but pretty. Her rune tattoos were seemingly gone. Margaret was dressed in pricier clothes than anyone in the vicinity, possibly anybody in a two-mile radius. Her leather half-jacket was particularly expensive looking but all of her clothing was in a fairly conservative style.

“Whoa,” Natia said. “I wasn’t expecting you two. Looking sharp.”

“It is nothing special,” Maya said. “I like dresses but they’re not as easy to maintain on the run.” She reached down and smoothed her unwrinkled dress a little nervously.

“Where’d you get such a pretty one on short notice?” Kelsey asked.

“I pulled something from my own wardrobe last night and delivered it to the castle this morning,” Margaret said. “We’ll go shopping after school.” Maya made an embarrassed face as if they had already argued about that, an argument she had lost. “You deserve it, Maya, you lost so much.”

“Thank you, Margaret,” Maya said and smiled, shaking off the bad feeling.

“Can any of us come on this shopping trip, Mar?” Natia asked.

“Sure,” Margaret said. “We leave directly after school.”

“Cool,” Natia said and then noticed that Kelsey was giving her a curious look. “What? It’s not like I want something. I’m allowed to like clothes. I’m not that much of a tomboy!”

Kelsey smirked. “I didn’t say a thing.”

“So, Margaret,” Lennon said. “Were you just dropping off Maya?” It was a little odd to see Maya the magical refugee at school but somehow it was even stranger to see a private school student within spitting distance of Charrot High School.

“I’m here to attend school,” Margaret said. Her words were deliberate and accompanied by a gentle, proud smile.

“You’re what?!” Natia asked loudly, nearly yelling the question. Kelsey instinctively covered her mouth with her hand, used to dealing with her younger sister. A series of muffled sounds issued from Natia’s mouth and Kelsey withdrew her hand and wiped it off with a tissue.

“What about the Academy?” Lennon asked. She knew the Academy’s reputation for rigorous education. In fact, her mother had applied for a scholarship there when it became clear that their daughter was exceptionally brilliant. In the end, she had been happy to stay at Charrot where the teachers had allowed her to design her own curriculum to challenge herself.

“Yesterday was such a life-changing experience,” Margaret said. “I assume it was for you ladies as well.” They all nodded and agreed. “We fit together so quickly yesterday, there is no way that I could hold you all at arm’s length. I would rather explore it. As it so happens, I have a good use for the tuition my parents were paying the Academy. It can do more good elsewhere and I am sure this school will do right by me.”

“Wow,” Kelsey and Lennon both said, almost in unison.

“School never did right by anyone but I guess it has its uses,” Natia said. “Welcome to Charrot, Mar.”

“Yeah,” Kelsey said with a smile. “Well, team, it looks like we have two new students to introduce to the office and our truant Natia has to throw herself on the mercy of the court. Follow me.” She started to walk and then turned to look at Lennon. “Are you coming too, Lennon?”

“Yeah,” Lennon said. “But I can push myself.”

“Of course you can,” Kelsey said with a smile before leading the way.

Media Update 11/9/17

November 9, 2017


Thor: Ragnarok

I never read too many Thor comics when I was growing up but I read enough to know his basic set up. I actually more fondly remember reading the shortlived Thunderstrike comics instead. I read so many Hulk comics (once Hulk was smart). I look forward to each and every Marvel movie because each has so much potential and they have such a good track record as a whole. When I found out that this one would be directed by Taika Waititi (from What We Do In the Shadows and Moana), I was even more excited. I liked the first Thor movie because it mixed a lot of the Shakespeare I grew up reading with the comedy I saw in Iron Man. The second movie was great because we saw Thor and Loki actually team up. The third movie is the best one yet as it gave everyone a lot more room to grow and expand their roles. Thor had an opportunity to be even funnier. Loki became a more rounded character. Both Hulk and Banner got opportunities to talk. We were introduced to Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and she was so cool and imposing. Cate Blanchett was deadly and formidable as Hela, the first female Marvel villain and one of the best villains so far. Idris Elba’s role was expanded as well and he was allowed to slip out of his armor. Apparently, a high percentage of the dialogue was allowed to be improvised which gave it a lighter feel. Add in some great cameos and excellent special effects and I cannot recommend this one enough.


The Dark Tower

I am a pretty big fan of Stephen King. He is a writer I looked up to as a kid and the worlds he created inspired me to create my own worlds. He also was one of the main writers who scared me as a kid. Most of the books I read as a kid were horror and fantasy books so when I found out that King had a fantasy series, I was onboard immediately. I really do need to read more of it but I loved the first four books of The Dark Tower series which is also connected to such varied books as Hearts in Atlantis, The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon. When it comes down to it, most of his books are connected with each other. I went into this movie with low expectations based on its reputation and I actually thought it was pretty good. We only got a small percentage of the mountains of lore from the books but I think that worked in its favor. If they chose to proceed through more movies or the more likely television show, there is so much more source material to draw from. As usual, Idris Elba really sold this movie to me as I love Elba when he plays a cool customer who is full of simmering rage beneath the surface. Matthew McConaughey continues his McConaughsaince and basically plays a demon, clearly not the Devil but ranking in that region. I recommend the movie but I knew most of the easter eggs and references as they happened so I might be biased.


RockNRolla

I have seen most of Guy Ritchie’s movies at this point. I have made a point of going back and watching them movie by movie after watching his first Sherlock Holmes movie. Ritchie loves scrappy street criminals and each movie he makes is a love letter to those who love to bend and break the rules. The start of the movie moves at breakneck speed as we rapidly introduce the characters and set up the basic thrust of the movie. Like his earlier movie, Snatch, there is a large ensemble of solid, mostly British actors to introduce and mix up in a blender. The main heroes are played by Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, and Tom Hardy who have been a street gang for years. It really felt like they were best friends who have been through a lot together. They are opposed by Karel Roden, Tom Wilkinson, and Mark Strong who are such charming ‘villains’. Thrown into the mix is Thandie Newton who is a lot of fun in her subdued and playful performance. As usual, the movie has Ritchie’s breakneck editing style which he has mastered and few can do it without being completely annoying. While this was not a home run, it was a fun little movie and I was totally engaged by the end of it. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
the GazettE – Ibitsu

Har Mar Superstar – Lady, You Shot Me

The Posies – Unlikely Places

Tyler, The Creator – Who Dat Boy

Dead Kennedys -Nazi Punks Fuck Off

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Idris Elba Week”
– I started Blacklist Season 4
– I finished Stranger Things Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I am really digging the new Dragons in Places DnD podcast
– I started listening to Harmontown again
– I started watching Sleepy Hollow Season 2


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