Archive for January, 2018

Elorian Education Services

January 29, 2018

<A robed man enters frame and smooths his robes before realizing that the camera is already running>

Greenwood: Hello, my name is Hynan Greenwood and I am the minister for education here in the land of Eloria. I wanted to take a few moments of your time to highlight some of the specialty schools here in Eloria. Some children and young adults have aptitudes beyond basic schooling and trade apprenticeships. These children may have aspirations for highly specialized fields such as enchanting or becoming members of the Guard. Others may wish to become Adventurers, our land’s unofficial second line of defense. Whatever the reasons, Eloria has set up educational opportunities to help present a more educated workforce so we can all contribute to society in our own way. Let’s meet some of the teachers you might have.

<The shot cuts to a hunched-over tiefling woman in a stereotypical witch’s hat who looks like she has been dusted with soot. She speaks awkwardly as if she is not comfortable with attention>

Woodrow: Hello. My name is Cinna Woodrow and I am the Director of New Moon School of Wizardry. We are situated in Braddish in the District of Coppin, the north side of town. Oh! You’ve just caught me trying to create a new enchantment. <She dusts off her spectacles> I won’t go into detail but it should be a nasty exploding trap to ward off thieves. So far I have the exploding part down but I have yet to lock in the not exploding part. That is what you can expect here at New Moon. We will teach you the beginner and intermediate levels of magic and then we will encourage you to find your own path in high level magic. When you leave New Moon, you will be ready for whatever magical path that lies ahead of you. Our staff includes alumni includes Arcanist Gar Braddon and famous adventurer Cassandra Oakspring.

<The shot cuts to a scruffy-looking man with red hair in plate armor and leaning slightly on a longsword. He smiles broadly at the camera>

Harefoot: Hello! <He raises the sword straight up in the air in salute as he shouts> My name is Donovan Harefoot and I am an instructor at True Cross Swordfighting School where swords cross daily. We are situated outside of Hurlock in the District of Stull at the Battle Arts Academy. Here at True Cross we are dedicated to a lot of things but first and foremost is how to fight. You will leave True Cross knowing how to succeed in any combat situation and you will have mastered at least one weapon. Despite our name, we also have teachers on hand who can teach you all sorts of martial weaponry techniques. We also specialize in a variety of styles and I guarantee we can find one that fits your body and personality. Personally, I came here as a weakling and I left here as a fierce warrior in the last Great War. After some successful time in the Guard, I came back here to whip you young people into shape so we can keep this great land safe.

<The shot cuts to a blonde woman with a few sticks and leaves tangled in her hair but a beaming smile on her face>

Trickfoot: Hi! My name is Harria Trickfoot and you’re lucky enough to get this message about Sunny Valley Ranger School. I became the director of this school after my father passed away a few years ago. Sunny Valley doesn’t exactly have a fixed location. I’m sure you’ve heard what Rangers are like. Wherever we are currently camping is where the school is. This school is incredibly hands-on as we will teach you to excel in hunting and tracking. This is not like normal hunting. We will teach you how not to lose your quarry whether it is a stag, an owlbear, or even a nasty orc. When we set out after a target, we do not stop until we find it and neutralize the threat. We are at home in any kind of terrain and tracking any kind of creature or person. In fact, I always say that a ranger’s home is where they lay there head at night. When you come to Sunny Valley you will be assigned to a squad and we will teach you how to track and fight any target that you need to. Guaranteed.

<The shot cuts to a serious-looking man with a nose that looks like it was previously broken and did not quite set right. He talks with a quiet intensity>

Cole: My name is Harkan Arnell and I am an instructor here at the North Star Dojo. We are situated at the Battle Arts Academy in near Hurlock in Stull. We are solely dedicated to teaching students to center themselves, unlock the chi within, and use that ability to learn how to fight with honor and discipline. Do not apply to this dojo if you are just looking to go around beating people up. That is not what we do. Our students go on to happy, productive lives who only use combat as a last resort. We work to unlock an inner peace inside of our students so that they can use the skills we teach them responsibly. That means that if you come to this dojo, you will take it seriously or you will be gone. Probably off to a school that might tolerate that sort of behavior. While our work is serious, we are not emotionless creatures and we do know how to smile. Many of our students have gone on to successful careers in the Guard and some have even started their own small dojos across Eloria. Please consider North Star if you are serious about becoming a fist against injustice.

<The shot cuts back to Minister Greenwood>

Greenwood: Well, there you have only a few of our land’s brilliant instructors. Eloria supports any teacher of any level who seeks to educate and train each upcoming generation. As usual, any family that seeks beginner level educations will be accommodated at no charge. Trade Apprenticeships will still get young people to their chosen professions such as blacksmithing, ranching, or shopkeeping. These more specialized schools are necessary because what they do is either complicated, potentially dangerous, or both and we need to place those students in a safe, stable environment in order to learn. Most of these schools require applications so send them off as soon as you can. While some schools can be expensive, scholarships are offered every year so don’t be discouraged. Get out there and learn something today. Good luck!

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Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Raw 25

January 27, 2018

WILPW

As I have said repeatedly, I have been a fan of Pro-Wrestling/Sports Entertainment for about 22 years or so since I first watched WWF’s Mania, a Saturday morning recap show at my friend Farris’ house. The first match I can remember is Shawn Michaels vs. Salvatore Sincere (does anybody remember him?) for the World Heavyweight Title. Shawn made his opponent look like a sincere threat and showcased his legendary resilience in the ring. I remember the moment that I became a fan was when Shawn hit Sincere with his elbow off the top. When I saw Sweet Chin Music, I was already hooked. Not long after that, I was able to put an old television in my room so I could watch Monday Night Raw undisturbed. So, I basically started to watch right as the Attitude Era fully launched.

So, it was a no-brainer that I was going to watch the entirety of the 25th-anniversary episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw. Raw has a rich history and one that I have been mostly present for. When I heard there was a pre-show on the network, I figured I would watch that too. I fired up the network for the second time that day (after catching up on NXT and the first Mixed Match Challenge episode). I usually skip pre-shows because it is a lot of talking with few actual promos and maybe one match. There was Renee Young, David Otunga, and Joe Rosenberg (Who?). Otunga and Young shared a lot of their favorite Raw memories while Rosenberg fanboyed. It was kind of pleasant to watch a lot of the memories that I remembered. There were also short bits from Eric Bischoff, Bayley/Trish Stratus, and a few other brief moments.

After the preliminaries, Raw actually began and it started with Stephanie and Shane McMahon coming out together, apparently putting aside their feud temporarily. These two were a big part of Raw when I watched in my teen years. They acted gracious and thankful for all of the support of the fans. They were interrupted by Vince McMahon. His kids offered him a plaque funded by Gofundme (aren’t they millionaires in their own right?) and Vince cut an awesome heel promo on his kids and the fans. It was the classic villainous Vince. Which, of course, summoned his greatest foe Stone Cold Steve Austin who looked really in shape (although his jeans were a bit too tight). At this point, Stephanie McMahon knew what was up and seemed to evaporate between camera shots which made me laugh. Vince claimed to be a senior citizen now so Austin had to lay off. Instead, he offered up Shane as a sacrifice and then tried to appease Austin with beer (although it wasn’t Broken Skull IPA so he screwed up there). After a very surreal hug, Austin stunnered Vince and then gave a second one to Shane who really should have rolled out of the ring and retreated.

The pre-show had set up the return of the Acolyte Protection Agency card game this time with the APA, Rhyno, Heath Slater, and Ted Dibiase (who kept giving loans to Heath). As the night wore on, the game got bigger and bigger (which thankfully meant that JBL got fewer and fewer lines). MVP, Titus Worldwide, Natalya, Jeff Hardy, The Usos, and the New Day all joined the party eventually which made for some great trash talking. The joke here was that every time they cut to the game, Heath Slater was laying out crappy hands only to get beat and lose more money. This led to the so dumb it was funny line from Dana Brooke: “I crunched the numbers and you have lost a lot of money.” It’s nice to see Dana embrace the weird character she was given, I just wish she would wrestle in the spotlight again. She was on the cusp of winning the Raw Women’s title at one point. Finally, Heath won a hand by cheating which led to a match with Titus Worldwide and a 3D from the Dudley Boys. Rhyno also totally pushed Heath into the ring to sacrifice him to the Dudleys, probably as part of Rhyno’s ongoing mission to toughen up Heath. Come on, Rhyno, the guy’s got kids.

The matches were pretty good. We only got one women’s match with Alicia Fox and Nia Jax strangely teaming with Absolution against Asuka, Bayley, Sasha, and Mickie. It would have been nice to have at least two women’s matches during the course of the night since the division has become a big draw lately. Also, this is the go home show for their first Royal Rumble. There was the aforementioned Slayer/Rhyno vs. Titus/Apollo match which was really short but fun. Woken Matt Hardy faced off against Bray Wyatt and, although I love both characters, the match barely made an impression except that Bray finally won a match. There was a match between The Revival and Gallows and Anderson with DX and Finn Balor watching. The best match of the night was an Intercontinental title match between Roman Reigns and The Miz. Of course, The Miztourage was also at ringside. All four guys know each other pretty well by now and the match flowed really well. The Miz cheated every chance he got and won his 8th Intercontinental title.

What was basically the end of the show was a Degeneration X reunion with some funny bits between Shawn Michaels and Triple H who always had great comic timing. They brought out X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws and paid tribute to the fallen Rick Rude and Chyna. Then, for some reason, Scott Hall came out as Razor Ramon which was probably the most awkward thing of the night. Then Finn Balor came out with Gallows and Anderson and the former Kliq did the “too suite” gesture with them. It was kind of an approval of that splinter faction of The Bullet Club using the gesture that the Kliq first came up with. It was a weird moment but it sort of made sense. Then the Revival came out and got beat by Gallows and Anderson before getting finishing moves from most of DX. WWE needs to give the top guys a break and let them stretch their legs now that they are uninjured.

There was also a brief confrontation between Brock Lesnar, Kane, and Braun Strowman which was far too rushed. That was kind of a theme of the night. Anything having to do with the current roster felt rushed and too short. This was the go-home Raw for the Royal Rumble, one of the biggest shows of the year. It was also a celebration of the last 25 years. They absolutely nailed the showcasing of legends and characters from the last 25 years with skits and promos. It should have been the other way around. They should have used the opportunity to showcase the best of their roster while they probably had additional eyes. They should have sprinkled little bits of nostalgia in between longer matches. There was a missed opportunity when they did not have a match with Goldust in it, a character that was born 22 years ago. They could have shifted a lot of the skits and promos to the pre-show instead of basically making it a cross between The Chris Farley Show and a clip show. Only one champion wrestled throughout the night and that is a bit weird.

Overall, it was an enjoyable night. It was nice to see a lot of the performers of the past alive and well. It would have been nice if they had done more with the women of the past but the night already felt cramped. The show was just about exactly what I thought it would be. I knew it was going to be a nostalgic love letter mostly to the Attitude Era. It was also a reminder of why I am glad we eventually left the Attitude Era and why I am glad we are not going back. The night awakened memories of sitting on my floor and watching Raw is War which made me tired at school the next day. The Royal Rumble is shaping up to be really fun and will be a return to the WWE’s present and it will hopefully shake up the landscape a bit.

Media Update 1/25/18

January 25, 2018


Baywatch

I never really watched Baywatch when it first aired or since. I was aware of the show, though, and all of its quirks and weirdness. It was an odd show that only got odder as the seasons went by. I know all about the slow-mo, lifeguards pursuing criminals, Hollywood good looks, and cheesy lines and plots. This movie knew exactly what it was. It was part-parody, part-tribute to a show from the nineties. I would compare it to The Brady Bunch Movie. There were a lot of callbacks to the show but there was a lot of self-referential/meta-humor. The movie had its cake and ate it too by pointing out the flaws in the show and then embracing them. The Rock was great as usual. He has a magnetic charisma that is impossible to ignore. Zac Efron is funny as the douchebag who learns some humility and redeems himself. Alexandria Daddario ends up being the smartest character in the movie which is not saying much but still. Ilfenesh Hadera was just as badass as the Rock, basically a highly-capable, female version of his character. Finally, Priyanka Chopra was a great card-carrying villain who had Hanibal Burress as her henchman. I understand why people dismissed this movie or did not like it but if you saw the trailers, you knew exactly what you were getting. It is a strange movie. However, I still recommend it if you can go in with few expectations and a good mood.


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I was a big fan of the original Jumanji film. It was during the heyday of Robin Williams and it had a great big budget for both CGI and practical effects. Also, the concept of a board game coming to life and threatening the players was a fun idea. The movie had comedy and adventure. This movie was an attempt at an update with a sort of sequel. Instead of a board game, the four kids find a video game that transports them into Jumanji, a setting previously unexplored. Not only does it transport them into the game, it transports their minds into video game avatars. The Rock (yep again) is a nerdy scaredy cat who transforms into a musclebound hero. Kevin Hart is a football star who transforms into a short sidekick. Karen Gillan is a brainy geek who transforms into a brutal fighter. Jack Black is a self-obsessed teen girl who transforms into a bookish professor. The point of the movie is to watch these actors play against type and slowly try to adjust to their new roles. The movie is not a reboot but an unconnected sequel. It was oddly charming to me. Sure, there were some bits that were a little overdone to me but overall it was a fun movie. I recommend it if you like a fun actiony movie with cute humor and a very fluffy plot.


CHIPS

I really do not know much about CHIPS beyond seeing it parodied and listening to an episode of TV Crimes about it. It seemed like a weird show that I would not like. This is, of course, from the perspective of somebody on the outside looking in. Anyway, the movie tried to do the same thing that Baywatch did. It was both a parody and a tribute. However, it did not quite work for me. Dax Shepard plays Jon, an ex-stunt biker who wants to be a cop to impress his wife (Kristen Bell! What a waste!). Michael Pena plays Ponch, his partner who is trying to investigate a crime covertly. Vincent D’Onofrio plays the villain and he is usually a great villain but he had very few scenes to strut his stuff in. Most of the movie is spent on the interplay between Pena and Shepard who are an odd couple. Shepard’s character is touchy-feely and psychoanalyzes everything and Pena is crass and rude. In the end, I guess I just did not really like their characters. Also, I feel like the movie was oddly sexual with at least half of the jokes being about sex or nudity in some way. That was not really necessary or desired. The movie ended up being alright but not the fun romp that I wanted it to be. I do not recommend it but use your own judgment since it is not that bad.

Music of the Week:
Miike Snow – Genghis Khan

Von Iva – Not Hot To Trot

J Balvin – Safari

She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart

Big Data – Get Some Freedom

 

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Action Comedies from the Past”
– I finished watching Longmire
– I finished Season 2 of The Magicians
– I started watching Glitter Force Doki Doki
– I continued watching Gurren Lagann
– I continued watching Little Witch Academia Season 2
– I continued watching DuckTales
– I am almost done Schitt’s Creek Season 2
– I finished Puella Magi Madoka Magica
– I have been hitting the gym lately and watching anime there

Interview Questions 11

January 22, 2018

If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?

My first inclination is that I would write a book but honestly I could do that bit by bit every day currently and not lose too much time. I might be finished with the book in months or years but I would finish it. However, I would really like to learn to fight. Don’t get me wrong, I have no targets in mind and I do not actually want to fight anybody. I would like to learn a few fighting disciplines to gain more control of my body and more mental and physical prowess. I would go back to practicing my archery on a regular basis. I would take up sword fighting, probably with a Claymore or a dagger/rapier combo because it would just feel so cool. I am not sure what unarmed martial art I would want to try and learn. I am a big fan of the aesthetic of boxing but something a little more versatile would probably be better. Krav Maga is a grab bag of martial arts that sounds right up my alley. Of course, a movie nerd like me would love to study something like Wing Chun just like Jackie Chan and Brue Lee (to name just two). Going to the gym is currently time-consuming enough without having to expend mental energy and even more time learning techniques. Also, the way things are going, if society breaks down I might need those fighting skills.

If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?

Yes, the name of this blog is Wolf of Words and that is also my gamer tag in various games. The noble wolf is an image that inspires me and that ideal is something I strive for. As I have discussed previously, it also a reference to my family’s old tradition of literally howling at the moon for a healthy bit of chaotic behavior. No, I would not pick the wolf to answer this question. I would actually pick a dog instead. Dogs are domesticated animals who are very loyal. Loyalty is one of the positive qualities that I know I have. I love my family and friends and I stick by them through thick and thin. I also tend to go for a walk any time that I start to feel anxious or depressed. A good workout (usually walking or biking lately) makes me happier. I am a curious person and I like to sniff out the reasons why things are happening around me and the truth of the matter. Just like every dog I have met, I do not really like strange dogs. When I see a dog out on the street, I tend to shy away from it just in case. Just last week I actually got chased by an aggressive dog on my street. Oh and while I am not a big talker, like most dogs, once you get me started I find it hard to shut up even if what I am saying is of little consequence.

Image result for facebook venting

Would you post about work on Facebook?

This earns a big “Hell No” because this is bush league behavior to me. When I see people complaining about an aspect of their job on Facebook, I want to say “look for a new job”. I know that they are just venting but Facebook and Twitter are not the places for that. I have read so many stories about how posting on social media got somebody fired or disciplined in general at their job. First, you have to use the adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all” at least when it comes to work. You do not want to offend or embarrass your boss. Also, complaining about co-workers is a risky endeavor because what happens when they stumble upon that post accidentally? Nothing good will happen. I also just think that sort of complaining or venting just reflects badly on the person doing it. You may be asking “What about posting positive work things?” I am of the firm belief that work time and personal time should remain separate. I do not want to broadcast the inner workings of my office to people who have no business reading it. Also, I work in the legal field and that sort of thing could possibly get me fired and/or a lawyer disciplined. No thank you. As one of my law professors said: “If you need to vent, get a dog.”

When It All Ended Pt. 5

January 20, 2018

“Who are you?” Princess Cora asked, her voice still shaky. She was now sitting on the floor in a sort of daze as the dragon sat on her father’s throne. The dragon had taken the sword that the Princess had been wielding and had stabbed it into the seat of the queen’s throne. It definitely sent the message that the dragon was now in charge.

“You mean besides being a dragon? My name is Khandara,” The dragon said. “It’s so nice of you to ask. Most people either attack or run away screaming. Just a note: If you do either of those things then I will kill you.”

Cora swallowed hard and nodded. “I guess I’ll just sit here then.”

“Good girl,” Khandara said with a smirk. “And they say that royals are dumb.”

“But why are you here?” Cora asked.

“I heard that the King and Queen were away at war,” Khandara said. “They’ll probably die there what with all the demons and undead on the march. I thought I would upgrade from my old home. A palace is definitely an upgrade.”

“My mother and father will return with an army,” Cora said. “What will you do then?”

Khandara smiled and her form shifted into a mirror image of the Princess’ form except with green hair and green eyes. “I’ll welcome them home with open arms just after I pick bits of your guts out of my teeth. When their guard is down, I’ll eat them too. By then, this place will be quite inhospitable to any army. So many magical traps. Besides that, I brought my own fighting force.”

Cora just looked down and wished she was powerful enough to do something. Talk of being eaten by a dragon made her feel powerless and desperate and she was now spending most of her brain power on finding a way to protect herself from the dragon. Once she was protected, she could formulate a plan on what to do next. There had to be something. Ther Royal Family never gave up. They just figured out another way around a problem after defeat.

* * *

Morgan was in the lead as they reached the gates of the Capital at a fast trot on their horses. There seemed to be a small makeshift village at the gates and Morgan lept off of her horse and tied it to a post. A member of the Guard ran up to her.

“Miss,” the guard said, “The city is dangerous. There is a dragon present. I’m afraid whatever business you have in the city will be delayed. I would fall back to a safer position as well.”

Morgan held up a makeshift badge that all of her crew carried. It was modeled after her old Ranger badge as a sign of how she ran her group of adventurers. “My name is Morgan Moonglow and this is my crew, Moonglow’s Raiders. I’m afraid that the dragon is our business in the city. With everybody at war, this falls to us.”

The guard’s mouth hung open for a few moments. “Are you sure?”

“We’ve made up our minds,” Morgan said. “We have to at least try.”

“I’ve heard of your adventures and your victories,” the guard said. “If anyone can accomplish this right now, it is you.”

“Thank you,” Morgan said. She motioned for the Raiders to gather closer. “Now, please tell us what the situation is inside the walls.”

The guard took a deep breath. “The reports say that the dragon has disappeared from view. We believe that the only possibility is that it has somehow entered the castle. Outside of the castle, there are still lizard men and wyverns patrolling. If you are to reach the dragon, you’ll have to get past them somehow.”

“Will your forces be able to assist when we attack the dragon?” William asked.

“We can probably commit some forces,” the guard said. “I’ll have to send the message up the chain of command. Some of us have to remain at the perimeter to keep this contained as best we can.”

“Is the Royal Family inside the castle as well?” Cassandra asked.

“Only Princess Cora was in residence as of yesterday,” the guard answered. “We don’t know what her status is. We hold out hope that she’s alive.”

Cassandra turned to Morgan. “I know her, Morgan. She might be able to help her if she’s alright. We have to save her.”

“I know,” Morgan said. “I want to do that too but we can’t just charge in there.” She turned to the guard. “Thank you, please let whoever is in charge know that we’re here to help.” The guard nodded and walked off with purpose, leaving their compatriots to guard the gate. Moonglow’s Raiders walked off a ways to talk in private.

“So, what’s the plan?” Galath asked.

“Our obstacles seem too much for just us and a few Guard to handle,” Percival said. “I suggest we call in some favors owed to us.”

“For a dragon?” Garth asked. “We might need to call in all of them.”

“And use all of our assets,” Morgan said. “Percival, could you open your doors to us so we can eat and start planning?”

“Anytime you ask, my love,” He said with a wink that made Morgan smile but roll her eyes. He pulled out a small ivory door, a silver spoon, and a piece of polished marble. “Welcome to my mansion!” The items swirled a bit in the air and then the ivory door planted itself in the ground and grew to full-size as the other items dissipated. The doors opened and everybody walked inside. It was always a little overwhelming to step into Percy’s mansion no matter how many times the Raiders had done it. The style was reminiscent of the Grand Library in Silverlight where Morgan had first met Percival. In fact, there were shelves of books and scrolls scattered in most of the rooms. “The servants are already finishing up a feast for us.”

“Fantastic,” Morgan said. The mansion had begun to feel like the closest thing to a home over the years. Sure, it disappeared but it always reappeared looking the same and always welcoming. “We’ll eat and then we’ll start figuring out who and what we can count on.”

Media Update 1/18/18

January 18, 2018


Coco

I have loved Mexican culture for a long time and, as I stated when reviewing The Book of Life, I love Day of the Dead most of all. I do not love it because I love Halloween because I have studied it enough to know how different the customs are. Both have magical origins but The Day of the Dead is primarily about remembering loved ones who passed away. The traditions are both touching and inspiring and I kind of wish we did more of it in the United States. It is akin to Japan’s culture of respect for their ancestors. The movie is about the balance between living your life and your family. The central message is Family Above All Else but also that your family should reciprocate that sentiment and support your dreams. The movie is also about music and is thus a musical film but not a Musical, more in the style of Oh Brother Where Art Thou? and Sing! than a traditional Disney musical. The Day of the Dead is a respectful but jubilant holiday and, from what I can see as an outsider, is about being happy about the memories you have of your departed family members. So, there is plenty of good food, candy, games, and music. That is what this movie feels like. There is the usual Disney/Pixar sweet sadness but there is also an air of celebration and togetherness that just feels really warm. I cannot recommend this movie enough.


Get Out

I had heard so many good things about this movie. I was such a fan of Jordan Peele on Key & Peele that I was intrigued by any horror movie he might have written. Comedians are all about timing and timing is also a huge element in horror as well. Also, I knew from the trailers that the plot had something to do with the black experience. The only reason that I have waited this long to watch the movie is that hypnosis is a large part of the movie. Hypnosis terrifies me and it really did a number on me while watching this movie. I was also more than correct about the movie confronting racial and cultural issues. It does so in such a new and horrific way that I think it is important for people to watch. The plot points of the movie took me by surprise as they unfolded but each of them made so much sense. There is a mystery in this movie and I will not ruin the suspense by revealing any of it here. The acting was so great but most of all I have to shout out Daniel Kaluuya who is rightfully getting nominated for his starring role. He was a fantastic character to follow around. I definitely recommend this one as it is scary but important.


The Disaster Artist

First, yes James Franco is definitely at best a problematic person. I felt that I had to push past that to watch this movie because I have been on a journey ever since I first caught The Room on Adult Swim. I clued into the Internet buzz and I was excited when Greg Sestero published a book on his experiences surrounding the movie. By the way, the movie actually cuts out some crazy bits from the book so I recommend that you pick up the book. It is not often that a truly horrible movie inspires people quite as much as The Room did. This movie goes to painstaking lengths to capture the insanity from the book and The Room itself. It recreates the look of the actors and the weird culture that Tommy Wiseau created. The Franco brothers play Wiseau and Sestero and they really do capture their weird friendship. They detail the arduous, torturous, and nonsensical path that they dragged other human beings down in order to put out a mediocre movie. The movie was interesting to me because I had only read or imagined excerpts from the book but seeing it in motion was fun. The movie is at the same time funny and horrifying as everything goes wrong. The movie celebrates Wiseau and probably lets him off the hook too much but at this point, he has probably been tortured enough. I also recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:
Jan Terri – Journey To Mars

Marlon Craft – Workin’

That Poppy – Lowlife

Bad Seed Rising – Hey Kid

Red Warszawa – Technoparty

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is Award Season 2018
– I started watching Season 6 of Longmire
– I continued watching Season 2 of The Magicians
– I continued watching Season 1 of Gurren Lagann
– I continued watching Season 1 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica
– I continued watching Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek
– I continued watching Season 2 of Little Witch Academia
– I continued watching Season 1 of DuckTales
– As usual, I watched Game Grumps, GTLive and Critical Role

Awards

January 15, 2018

Awards are a funny thing. I am (barely) a millennial so I grew up in a generation that received participation awards. I received several of these awards for soccer and baseball leagues. They all had flimsy plastic tops and heavy marble bases. These awards are much derided these days as having made millennials weak as the opinion is that they celebrate mediocrity. Awards should be for winners, not for also-rans or so they say. I can only speak for myself but I am completely aware what those trophies meant. They were meant “thank you for not quitting and going off to do something else” because for me that was not only a possibility but it was a desire of mine. I knew I was never going to win an actual trophy for those sports because I did not want to. I did not want to play but I appreciate my parents guiding me into it because I felt the achievement when a season was over.

I never had any delusions of grandeur caused by getting a little plastic trophy. I do not think that any of my friends did either. I knew when I had performed well at something back then and I still do. I knew when I whiffed another at-bat that I was not an athlete. When I actually caught a ball at third base, I knew that I had achieved a miracle. I have humility when it comes to life. I know my limitations and I know when I am not interested in something enough to even try to excel at it. Sports was never part of the plan like it was for some of the friends that I grew apart from over the years in school. I was a nerd and an artist and I lived the life of the mind not the body. Still, I admired the people who did well in sports because they were truly succeeding at something. Of course, that did not stop me from deriding people who were so interested in sportsball.

In Middle School and High School, I wrestled. It was the first sport (other than archery) that I remember really enjoying. It was a solo sport where it is just you against your opponent like a high impact game of chess. I also liked it because with a little bit of practice, I was actually winning quite a few of my matches. Winning at sports without being carried made me feel good but, as with most sports, I eventually lost interest. When I eventually started losing more and more, I lost interest. I was facing guys who probably got up in the morning and trained before school while I could barely be bothered to attend practice after school.

I vividly remember what I call my retirement match. I went to a tournament (the name of which I forget) where there were only three people in my weight class. Because of this, I was guaranteed a third-place medal. I could practically feel my interest fading away as I was guaranteed an award. When it came time for my first round match, I walked out to the middle of the ring and faced somebody obviously in better shape. The guy looked at me and actually growled, an obvious intimidation tactic. Instead of being intimidated, I literally laughed in his face with glee. The match began and he and I struggled against each other. I did not just throw the match but the guy was obviously better than me and, in the end, he handed me my ass. He earned it and he deserved it because he was taking it seriously. Maybe too seriously but it is not my place to judge that.

In High School, I spent most of my time working in theater. I joined the Stage Crew in my Freshman year and I had a lot of fun and I worked my butt off. I volunteered to run the lights and then I started to learn how to actually hang and design lights. I started working in community theater in the Fells Point area, an experience which taught me a lot about theater design and production. I brought that knowledge back with me when I eventually became the co-head and then the head of Stage Crew at school. I started to design lights and I eventually volunteered to set up the audio for events in the auditorium. I spent a lot of time building sets and making sure that everything came together for various productions. When I received an award at graduation, I knew that I deserved it for all of the sacrifices behind the scenes. I worked hard but I still tried to say that the award was no big deal even though I was privately thrilled.

The same thing happened early in 2017 when I graduated from CCBC with a paralegal certificate. I had dabbled in paralegal work and it was clear that it was both fun and it came easily to me. I had found something that I was good at and enjoyed so it was back to school to learn about my newly chosen field. I worked my butt off at school. I took classes seriously and I turned everything in on time or early. I attended every class and I absorbed everything thrown at me. So, when I graduated with a high GPA, I felt satisfied and excited to get out in the field I am currently enjoying. When I received an e-mail that the school wanted to give me a Lamda Epsilon Chi award, I initially dismissed it. I thought that it was something everybody got like a participation trophy. When I arrived at the ceremony, there were only five or six people there getting the award. I was honored because I know when an award is sincere.

When It All Ended Pt. 4

January 13, 2018

Princess Cora stood in the throne room with several members of the Royal Guard beside her. She knew that everything outside must have been chaotic outside. She had been consulting with her parent’s advisors hours ago but it now seemed like ages ago. When the impact had shaken the castle, everybody had rushed off to gather information on what must have been a new threat. Anything that could shake the castle like that this far from the front lines of the war was nothing to take lightly, of course. So, Cora had been shuttled off to the throne room by the Royal Guard. The Throne room was the most secure place in the castle aside from the undercroft. She looked at her hands and they were shaking.

It was not even the first time that her parents had left her in charge but nothing had happened on those previous occasions. Both of her brothers were off at Battle Arts and Cora had felt alone that morning but now she felt helpless too. She had to be strong. She swallowed and took a deep breath and tried to think about her parents’ strength. They had both always been so strong, a shining example to Cora and her brothers. She kept taking deep breaths and looked at the members of the Guard, members who had been chosen to protect her royal family. They were trusted and some of the best in the land. The absolute best were fighting in the war but these men and women were dedicated to Cora’s safety.

“Have you heard what’s happened?” Cora asked the nearest guard. He was carrying a huge two-handed sword which he had out and ready.

“We have no idea, your royal highness,” The man said, his voice rough and a little raspy. “I won’t lie. It can’t be good.”

“Only too true,” Cora said. “I’ve never felt the castle shake like that. I’ve never felt it shake at all.”

The guard nodded. “I can definitely tell you that I have been here since your father was a young boy and the castle has not shaken in all of that time.”

“Have you been here that long?” Cora asked. She could see that the man was an elf which wasn’t very common for members of the Guard but it made sense that it might have landed him in the Royal Guard. Rarities made it into the Elite Guard. There was nothing ceremonial about any of the palace guards.

“Yes,” the man said. “Your grandfather helped save several members of my family so it was only natural for me to come here to pledge my sword. Don’t worry, your royal highness, I have faced many threats before in defense of your father.”

Cora smiled. “That does make me feel a little better. I’m sorry but I don’t know your name.”

“My name is Severn,” the guard said with a crooked smile.

“Just Severn?” Cora asked.

“Yes, your Royal Highness,” he answered with a slight shrug as if he had already explained everything.

Cora’s attention was suddenly drawn to one the other guards whose eyes suddenly widened as her body went rigid for just a moment. The guard turned and nervously brushed the hair from her face even though it was not in the way.

“Excuse me, princess,” the guard said with urgency. Cora knew that the Guard were drilled to use the correct address so she knew that something was up.

“Yes, Abigail,” Cora said. “Please speak.”

“I have just received word that a dragon has landed on the castle,” Abigail said. Cora gasped and she could feel the Guard tense around her.

“A dragon!?” Cora asked. “Are they sure?”

“A green dragon and there have been several sightings,” Abigail said. “The town is in a panic. The dragon gassed the central square. There are dozens dead.” Cora’s heart was both filled with fear and sorrow for her people. It was her family’s obligation to protect and lead the people

“Sightings?” Cora asked. “Are there eyes on it now?”

“It seems to have disappeared,” Abigail said.

“How does a whole dragon disappear?” Cora asked. “Do you think it has moved on?”

The doors of the throne room burst open, the strong hinges of one side actually warped a little bit with the force. “She did not move on,” a female voice called out. “She is just making herself at home.” A tall, lithe woman with green hair and green eyes and a flowing green dress practically glided into the room. She had a very mean-looking smile on her face.

“You!” Cora shouted. “You’re the dragon?” The guard around her had been tense but now they sprung forward as their training had drilled into them. They would not let the dragon take another step forward. “No, wait!” Cora called out. She knew something must be wrong if the dragon was so confident.

The dragon posing as a woman took a deep breath and then blew poison gas from her lungs and it enveloped all of the guards. They dropped like flies as Cora watched but Cora did not stay seated on the throne. She grabbed one of her mother’s swords off of the wall and wheeled around to face the dragon. Her family never gave up. However, when she turned, she could see that somehow Severn was getting up from the floor and he was lifting his great sword. The dragon’s hand transformed into a green clawed hand and she stabbed it through Severn’s neck and the man slumped to the ground. A pool of blood started to form in the middle of the throne room, soaking a carpet that had been there for decades.

“Now, now, your Royal Highness,” The dragon said. “Why don’t you put down that weapon? I promise that I want you alive.” The dragon was strikingly beautiful now that she was moving closer and Cora found the tip of the sword was slowly sinking toward the floor of its own accord. It was foolish to fight such a creature. Right?

“Alive?” Cora asked. “Why?”

“Well,” the dragon said. “I don’t want to break all of my toys just yet.”

Media Update 1/11/18

January 11, 2018


Ducktales (2017)

As an old-school Disney nerd, I loved the first series of Ducktales which featured Uncle Scrooge having to deal with nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The adventures were fun as the show had a curmudgeonly yet lovable hero with a great supporting cast. Of course, it also had one of the catchiest theme songs in the history of children’s television. Last year (still weird to refer to 2017 that way), Disney decided to resurrect this show. I was a little skeptical until they announced that David Tennant would be playing Scrooge McDuck and then I was sold. I was right. This show was able to capture the charm of the original show and they even improved on a few things. The new series has more dynamic animation and each character has more detail. The three nephews actually look different from one another and have different voices. Webby is both not annoying and is actually allowed to be a cool, interesting character. They added Donald Duck to the cast instead of just being MIA. The show is funny and exciting and it still has that awesome theme song. Best of all, it feels like they have added some central lore that will tie all of the episodes together as it is slowly revealed. I will be digging up all of the episodes so far of this as soon as possible and I recommend it.


The Magic School Bus Rides Again

As a kid, I had a couple of sources for science beyond school. I was a big fan of Beakman’s World and I also occasionally watched Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye The Science Guy. However, few things got me as excited about science as The Magic School Bus. I read all the books as they were released (and even met the author) and when the television show premiered I was very into it. The books and show were somewhat formulaic but the characters were excited about science and the writing was clever. This new show is basically a continuation of the original series, picking up as the kids start a new school year. The show adds two new characters in new teacher Fiona Frizzle, the original Friz’ sister and new student Jyoti Kaur. The new additions help the new viewer but also make the new show a little fresher for those who absorbed the original show. Basically, the show has the same formula as the old one. Ms. Frizzle goes on a field trip with her students to show them something new about science and often a lesson about dealing with life as well. The original Friz (voiced by Lily Tomlin) is still on the show and she finishes each episode by explaining a few further things about the episode. Finally, the show’s great theme song is actually sung by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I definitely recommend this especially if you have a child in your life who is excited about science.


Danger Mouse (2015)

Danger Mouse is a British cartoon which is basically a 007 parody starring a mouse with a hamster sidekick trying to save the world. I watched the original show when it was rebroadcast on Nickelodeon not long after it premiered in England. The creators made a great choice to give the show a license to get silly and therefore puns and absurdity ruled the original show. More than that, the show was also fairly meta and the narrator was constantly accidentally breaking the fourth wall. The new show is really just more of the same with leaner, more exciting animation. The new show also has an expanded budget which is lampshaded in the very first episode. The original was forced to cut whole sequences (literally plunging scenes into total darkness) in order to come in under budget. The new show does not have that problem although they do bring it back once or twice for fun. Something new for American audiences is that they took away a lot of the localization changes such as restoring an Italian villain. The show is fun and I can’t wait to see how they treat some of the old characters as they return. (Count Duckula!) The show feels fresh to me and more accessible now that I have indulged so much in English television since I first watched the show. I definitely recommend this one too.

Music of the Week:
The Regrettes – Hey Now

Saint Motel – My Type

DOOMTREE – Final Boss

Tiger Lillies – Crack of Doom

Animadness – Kizuna

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Childhood Cartoons Rebooted”
– I finished Season 5 of Longmire
– I watched more Season 2 of Little Witch Academia
– I continued watching Season of The Magicians
– I finished Season 1 of Blue Exorcist
– I started Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek
– As usual, I watched Game Grumps, GTLive, Critical Role, and DCA on Youtube

The Singing Sword

January 8, 2018

The sword was singing. It was not humming like it had been struck by metal. It was full out singing mezzo-soprano style. Actual words were coming out of it, pouring out of it while it sat on the blacksmith’s workbench. Of course, the sword was singing in Gnomish which nobody really spoke anymore. So, the blacksmith had to fetch somebody who could actually speak the language because he had not the heart to melt it down an try again. It took two days for the boy who ran errands to find somebody who would come over and check it out. It was a third-string assistant to an honorable wizard on the other side of the city.

The bespectacled young woman scurried her way all the way across town to see the sword. They informed her that they could have brought the sword to her. It would have been disruptive to the flow of the town’s traffic but they still would have done it. Instead, Aricia the Enchantress shoved everybody aside and started yelling phrases at the sword as soon as she arrived. Of course, the sword did not seem to respond and nobody watching understood her or the sword. The sword just kept singing. It was quite close to the strangest thing anybody had ever seen.

“It didn’t seem to respond to you, noble Aricia,” Arik said. At this point, he just wished the stupid sword would stop singing or be removed from his shop. He wished he knew who had dropped it off but nobody could remember who had dropped it off or when. Arik was starting to forget a time when the workshop was not filled with song.

“I think the sword may be stupid,” Aricia said. “It will not listen to reason.”

“I’ll take your word that you were offering wisdom,” Arik said.

“Insolence,” Aricia said but her heart was not in it. “The sword is a mystery. I have never seen such magic before.”

“Too complicated?” Arik asked. As a master blacksmith, he knew very little about magic. It was not in his wheelhouse. He knew that some of his finely crafted weapons were taken to enchanters like Aricia or her boss now and then.

“Too stupid,” Aricia said. “Who would want a singing sword?”

“It does not make much sense,” Arik conceded with a shrug.

“No,” Aricia said. “It is pure frivolity. An enchantment with no purpose.” There was a long beat of silence.

“So what is it singing?” Arik asked.

“What?” Aricia asked. She adjusted her spectacles as if that would help her hear the question better.

“I mean it’s Gnomish, right?” Arik asked. “What is the song actually about?”

“Oh just some ancient treasure,” Aricia said and waved her hand dismissively.

“Treasure!?” Arik shouted and then he looked around the shop wildly. Thankfully the curious crowds had dispersed due to the sword’s obnoxious song looping. “Um, what sort of treasure is it?”

“Whatever it is, it’s dangerous. Guarded by a dragon of all things,” Aricia said. “Something called The Treasure of Bast.”

“Bast, eh?” Arik asked, taking a moment to mop his sweaty and sooty face with a damp cloth. “I’ve never heard of it.”

“I suppose nobody has,” Aricia said with a shrug. “I’ve never heard of a single singing sword.”

“Nobody?” Arik asked with growing excitement. “Suppose we inform a group of adventurers and maybe we could get a share of the treasure.”

“Adventurers would never bring back a share,” Aricia said. “Adventurers rarely look behind them and they would not for us even if we were on fire.”

“What if we went with them?” Arik asked.

“Do you have a death wish?” Aricia asked, for the first time looking directly at the blacksmith and actually seeing him. She sized him up for a moment.

“I can swing a hammer,” Arik said, a little bit hurt by the assessment. “I’m very strong.”

“Well, suit yourself,” Aricia said with a sign. “I have a million things to do for my master. I can’t go on an adventure.”

“But we need you as lore mistress,” Arik said. “We’ll never find our way without an accurate translation.”

“That makes me valuable,” Aricia said with a crooked smile. “They have to protect the valuable ones whether they want to or not. You? Not so much.”

Arik grunted and shrugged. “So we just need to ask the next group that comes in,” He said.

Aricia pointed at a group coming in the door. “What about them?”

“Oh crap,” Arik said. “Not them again.”

 


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