Archive for March, 2018

When It All Ended Pt. 11

March 31, 2018

Garth Whispernight walked into his room and then he shut the door firmly and locked it and threw the deadbolt. He looked around the room, leaning back against the door. The mansion had responded to Percy’s desires to be a home to the Raiders by growing and evolving based on all of their subconscious desires. Garth’s room was pretty straightforward and was not as decorated as some of the other rooms. The main feature was some facsimiles of some of the objects that Garth had stolen over his career. It was none of the jewels or coin but was instead a few singular and unique trinkets from particularly memorable heists. In the middle of it all, there was something that he wished he had stolen and he would have if he had had the time.

It was a painting from his native Kofrain. The painting was on a ceramic surface and it was simple geometric shapes and colors. It was not really supposed to be anything. It was also most likely not worth anything as its style did not speak of any great skill in creating it. Still, it was important to Garth. The real one hung in the School for Thieves in the slums of Karaisar. Garth had stopped and looked at that painting every day since he was a little kid. For some reason, it had calmed him when the going got tough. It reminded him of simpler days before he had pissed off both the authorities and the guild by stealing from Lord Abdellah. That had been against the unspoken truce of the city. Garth had been the only one brave enough (or foolish enough) to pull it off.

He had been finally forced to flee but he had gotten his revenge and he gladly left even though it still made him sad to think of those he had left behind. He had carved a swath of destruction through the lands between Kofrain and Eloria. Garth liked to claim that he had joined Morgan’s Raiders because they caught him red-handed but the truth was that he had been ready for a change. What had started as a new challenge had eventually become a true calling. He liked playing hero with his new friends. He owed a lot to them. They had literally saved his life over and over but more than that, they had made his life worth living. They had also made him a better man which is exactly what real friends are supposed to do. Now, it was his turn to repay them.

He had been very careful not to say her name. He had been told that true names had a lot of power in the fairy world, especially with the ones residing in the feywild. This is also why he had never used his own true name while in the feywild. Of course, he had never used it anywhere else but that was a different story altogether. Now, it was time to break a rule.

“Lady Cliodhna, I would have words with you!” He called out into the air. He was not exactly sure what he expected to happen but the sudden appearance of the archfey on his bed was definitely not it. He blinked and backed up, nearly up against the opposite wall. This drew a laugh from the impossibly lovely woman.

“Surprised, Thief?” She asked. Outside of the wild beauty of the feywild, she looked even more beautiful. “I had not thought that you could be surprised.”

“I think I kind of expected that we would talk at a distance,” Garth said.

“Like your wizardess does?” Clio asked with a bright shining smile. “The two of us on either side of the great divide? What would be the fun of that?”

“How did you get here then?” Garth asked.

“How did I pass two planar barriers do you mean?” Clio asked. “I told you that all you had to do was call. I gave you great power through the use of my name and you finally gave in.”

“I did,” Garth said. “I feared you for a long time.”

“You still fear me,” Clio said with a toothy grin. “I can smell it on you.”

Those words and that one look made Garth’s heart pound all the faster. “Is that what you want? Me afraid? Is that like seasoning for the meat?”

Clio laughed again, this time a good long laugh. “Do you really think I want to eat you?”

“Don’t you?” Garth asked. “You always have a hungry look in your eyes when you look at me.”

“Eating a halfling is such an uncouth and mundane thing to do with one’s mouth,” Clio said. “There are much more enjoyable things to do with one’s mouth and other parts.” Her smile at that was so wicked that Garth found himself smiling back, a shiver going up and down his spine.

“I have never met a woman who matched my appetites,” Garth said gently. He was not sure if he fully believed the fey but he was definitely curious. The thrill of the game was a siren call, probably literally in this case. The possible reward was definitely worth the risk to him.

“And the thought that I may be your match thrills you,” Clio said. “Are you then afraid that I may exceed your appetites?”

“Not exactly,” Garth said. “I’m definitely excited.”

“I can tell,” Clio said with a musical little chuckle. Garth could hardly believe he was entertaining the thought that he was entertaining. In his wildest dreams, he could never have predicted this. Well, looking back, he should have seen this possibility during their first meeting.

Garth suddenly shook his head, shaking off that feeling for the moment. “This isn’t why I called you. I wanted to talk business.”

“Business?” Clio asked. “What business could possibly be more important than what is about to happen here and now?”

“Outside of this plane, there is a dragon in the Royal House of Eloria,” Garth said. “We intend to face it tomorrow and we intend to kill it. Frankly, we could use your help.”

“My help?” Clio asked. Her curiosity had clearly been piqued.

“There are lizard people in the city,” Garth said. “I would love it if you could help take care of them.”

“Is that all?” Clio asked. “A paltry thing. It has been far too long since I have felt blood trickling across my skin anyway. Name your deal.”

“Deal?” Garth asked. “I ask you to fight on our side against the dragon and its forces tomorrow and until the battle is over. I also request that you leave me in fighting shape tonight.”

“Easily done, I have great healing powers,” Clio said with a smile. “In return, I will dine with Elorian royalty, you will give me a tour, and then you and your friend will let me explore this realm on my own.”

Garth thought about it for a moment. “Do you intend to hurt the people of this land during this vacation?”

“That is not my intention,” she said.

Garth knew that the fey were compelled to speak the truth but they could come close enough to a lie to be deceptive and manipulative. “Alright, we have a deal.”

Cliodha patted the bed beside her. “Then come and let us seal it.”

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Media Update 3/29/18

March 29, 2018


Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.

Back in the day, the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were absolutely mindblowing. I was fifteen at the time and I was just starting to get into rap music so it did not have the emotional impact it had on some others but I knew what a big deal it was. While he was super popular on the west coast, Tupac Shakur was from Baltimore and that meant a lot to me and some of my friends. Their deaths were a mystery at the time but many chalked it up to the tensions stoked up by the East/West GansterRap War. The show presents a fascinating story. Similar to American Crime Story: OJ Simpson, the show presents real events as a docudrama. The show follows the original investigation into Biggie’s murder, picking up about a month after his death. It also follows an investigation into the still unsolved murder ten years after Biggie’s death (in 2007). Finally, there are also plenty of flashbacks that depict Tupac and Biggie before their deaths. This last bit contradicts the usual story that Tupac and Biggie were enemies. In fact, they were friends and they were also each a fan of the other. The second investigation was not heavily publicized at the time and I love that this show is bringing it all to light again. I wholeheartedly recommend this one for a great mystery and great music.


HH Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer

HH Holmes is a great example of how America always has to try and outdo everybody else. While Jack the Ripper was terrorizing London by killing 5 people, Holmes may have killed at least 50. Holmes was indeed America’s first recorded serial killer. He was a born con man who derived sick pleasure in murder, torture, emotional distress, and dead bodies. Posing as a legitimate doctor and landlord, he efficiently killed a lot of people. Particularly, he created an apartment building with hidden kill rooms and torture chambers within. This documentary was great. Holmes’ story is exceptionally creepy but the pacing keeps the story moving without dwelling too much on the morbid details. The documentary covers Holmes’s whole story from when he was a small boy until he was hanged for his crimes. It is a story that I have heard before from The Devil in the White City. The extra gimmick of this book is that they brought in a lot of law enforcement profilers, historians, and forensic experts to attempt to explain what may have happened. The forensic experts also point out that because forensics was still a fledgling science, we’re really not sure how many Holmes killed. It could be over a hundred, it could be less than a dozen, or anywhere in between. I definitely recommend it but strap in for some grisly details.


Lizzy Borden Took an Ax

I wondered when there would be a movie about the infamous murder that was turned into a morbid nursery rhyme. I did not really know a lot about the details of the murder so I was pretty interested in finding out what the theories were on the murders. In 1892, Lizzie Borden was arrested and tried for the murders of her father and stepmother. Those murders were done with a lot of brutality with an ax. This gained a lot of attention, probably because such violent methods were seen as extremely abnormal for a woman to have committed. The movie stars Christina Ricci who I have been a fan of (and had a crush on) since Addams Family (27 years). I will watch whatever she is in. This proved to be a great decision my part because she is fantastic in this TV movie. She portrays a somewhat ahead of her time young woman with a lot of layers. Unfortunately, the movie was not as great as Ricci was. I’m not sure if it was the pacing or what but it was just not that great. I was disappointed. There is a TV show that takes place after the movie ends so I may see if that is any better. I don’t really recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Biggie Smalls – Party & Bullshit

2Pac – Holler If Ya Hear Me

Gin Wigmore – Hey Ho

iwrestledabearonce – Gift Of Death

Bruno Mars – Runaway Baby

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Investigating Murders”
– I watched more Freaks and Geeks
– I watched more The Pinkertons Season 1
– I watched more Hemlock Grove Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Peaky Blinders Season 1
– I watched Barry Kramer, Game Grumps, GT Live, and Critical Role on YouTube.
– Happy Easter and Happy Passover! Get ready for some A to Z!

Interview Questions 12

March 26, 2018

If you could be a cartoon character for a week, who would you be?

I grew up on cartoons and I still watch cartoons on a weekly basis because animation is such a fun genre of television and film and the stories it is able to tell are so interesting. I immediately wondered what the question means by cartoon character. Does it just mean a character who is animated or an actual, original cartoon character? For the purposes of my answer, they are the same thing. My first inclination was to pick Bugs Bunny because he is so confident, funny, and he always succeeds somehow. However, he also is constantly getting into trouble that he has to get himself out of. That sounds like a hassle. Off the top of my head, I think I would pick Maui from Moana. With the aid of a magical artifact, I could change into different animals at will. I would also have super strength and speed. I would spend the week seeking out adventure and helping people out. That would not only be rewarding but it would also make me feel even more powerful. I assume I would be spending that week here in modern times which seems like it would be a lot of fun. Being extraordinary seems like it would be fun for a while but being able to go back to normal after a week sounds like the ideal opportunity to have my cake and eat it too.


If you could be an Olympic athlete, in what sport would you compete?

There are a ton of Olympic sports between the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Olympics are all anybody can talk about for a week or two every two years. Some of the most memorable televised moments in the world are from the Olympic Games. That right there does not appeal to me. I have never been the guy who grabs the spotlight and I do not really like performing in front of huge crowds. So, competing in a sport like ice skating, gymnastics, or any other fan favorite would be absolutely nerve-racking. Besides, a lot of those sports rely on judges who hold subjective opinions as illustrated by stuff like I, Tonya. Instead, if I had any athletic prowess, I would love to compete in one of the lesser televised sports. Judo comes to mind. Judo is a fascinating martial art that deals heavily with momentum to throw one’s opponent rather than punching and kicking. Similarly, competing in Wrestling would be fitting. I wrestled for two years back in grade school and it is a sport that requires brains, brawn, and reflexes. Both of these sports do not get as much publicized attention but both are also very prestigious sports to compete in. I think that would take a bit of the pressure away while still providing the thrill of intense competition. Proving myself in a sport like that would be amazing.


When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?

My answer for this used to be that I would eat. I remember many times where I would make up for depression with a snack or a fast food or take out meal. It really was not healthy and I am glad to have kicked the habit, especially when it comes to sugar. Anyway, now I try to pour that same emotion back into writing. Getting a lot of writing done makes me feel like I accomplished something and makes me more confident about myself even if I do not always feel like I have written well. One shot short stories often allow me to get some of the anxious emotions out of my system. I also have a long history of watching something fun to lift my spirits. I used to have go to depression movies to try and shake myself loose from my funk. Tangled, Enchanted, Ghostbusters, Twister, and many more were movies that I watched to try and get happier. Now I am more interested in watching something new but I often search out something I feel will be lighthearted and cathartic. Often, I will have it on in the background as I write. If I do not have time for either of those two things, I really like to listen to music. On the really bad days, it is great to put on hard rock or heavy metal that I know the words to and just sing my heart out. This is done in private since my singing is not so great.


What 3 famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party?

This is always such an interesting question because when I think of actually meeting famous people, I get intimidated. Will they like me? Will I say something stupid? However, I have met and gotten along with plenty of people. I know how to talk to people. I should not allow myself to have that frozen feeling inside. I think the first person that I would love to have over would be Mick Foley. Foley is a former professional wrestler who moved on to become a New York Times Bestselling author and stand up comedian. The guy is highly intelligent for somebody with so many head injuries and I would love to talk pro-wrestling, writing, or whatever with him. Another fun person to have around would be Justin Roiland, one of the creators of Rick and Morty. Justin just seems so energetic and, if Rick and Morty and his other works are any indications, he is a pretty smart and funny guy. He seems like an interesting guy to joke around with or talk about science-fiction with. The final one has to be Arthur Marx aka Adolph Marx aka Harpo Marx. Harpo had a reputation for being a fascinating guy. While he never finished third grade, he was still intelligent in a lot of ways and he gained a unique perspective during his life. He was part of the Algonquin Round Table which was one of the most famous groups of talkers in history. Famously, he was the best listener in that group. I would love to talk about whatever with him and feel like we are both truly listening to each other.

When it All Ended Pt. 10

March 24, 2018

“What are you all talking about?” Cassandra asked from the top of the stairs. She had left the flask containing the djinn on her bedside table. She would release her in the morning when it was marginally safer. Besides, she had a feeling the djinn would either wreck the mansion or get them all drunk if given the chance. Messing about with spirits was dangerous but unleashing mischief onto the world definitely topped the dragon making the capital of Eloria its lair.

“We were just talking allies, Ms. Oakspring,” Galath said. “Even after all our travels the allies we can call on are running short.”

“Once again, Galath,” Cassandra said. “You can call us by our first names. I think you’ve earned being informal with us.”

“I think I am just more comfortable calling you by your surnames,” Galath said. “I suppose I like knowing that you are all somehow linked to my past.”

“Go on and speak how you will speak, Galath,” William said. “Either way, you stand by our side and that’s all that matters to me.” Garth and Cassandra both nodded and each agreed with that sentiment. Cassandra stepped behind the bar, amidst the unseen servants and sat facing the three men.

“Speaking of allies,” Garth said. “How did things go on your end?”

“I spoke to Princess Cora briefly and she is keeping the dragon busy for now,” Cassandra said. “I don’t know how long she’ll last.”

“As far as I know,” William said. “the Royal family does not have as much prowess when it comes to battle. It must be hard to be helpless against a dragon in your home.”

“Only mostly helpless,” Cassandra said. “I kind of know the Princess. I met her once back at New Moon. She showed signs of magical ability but if she pursued that, it was with private tutors.”

“Besides that,” Garth said. “I’ve heard that the royals are actually pretty smart and capable.”

“Oh Pelor,” Galath said. “did you case the royal palace at one point?”

“I will neither confirm or deny it,” Garth said, looking side to side. “I will say that they do have a lot of nice things and even one artifact would probably set me up for life.”

“No stealing while we’re there tomorrow,” Cassandra said. “Anyway, the Princess will try to get the beast up onto the roof. It’s big and flat and will give us more space to face the dragon.” All three men started to think of what they could do and what they had to do on that roof, strategizing based on their abilities.

“And what of the djinn,” Galath asked. “Will she help us?”

“She has agreed to help us,” Cassandra said. “I know it’s foolish to fully trust a djinn but I feel like it’s worth the risk and Morgan and Percy agreed.”

“Well, I trust you,” William said. “That’s all that matters.”

“Yes,” Galath said. “I have complete faith in you.”

Garth shrugged. “Sometimes you have to work with a trickster.” He grinned.

Cassandra smiled in thanks.

“Well,” William said. “I hardly think we need the help. We’re a great fighting force. We’re Moonglow’s Raiders and I have never seen anybody as powerful as we are.”

Cassandra had a sudden thought. “Hey trickster,” she said. “I just thought of somebody that you could possibly contact.”

“Me?” Garth asked. “All my old friends are back in Kofrain and, besides you all, I have nothing but enemies in Eloria.” He paused and thought for a moment. “And Shura and Treles and Ascines and I really carved a path, didn’t I? I’m really drawing a blank here Cassandra. You’re going to have to give me a hint at least.”

“Well,” she said. “The ally wouldn’t be in any of those places. The ally would be in the feywild.”

“Oh no,” Garth said. “Not her.” He slid off of his stool and started to walk away.

They all turned to watch him. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Garth,” Cassandra said. “but tomorrow is going to be really hard on everyone. I want all of us to survive. I want as much of the Guard as possible to survive.”

“We need all hands on deck, Garth,” William said with all seriousness in his eyes. “She wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.”

“I know,” Garth said without turning around. His shoulders slumped and he sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“What are you afraid of?” Cassandra asked. If it had not been her who asked, if it had been William, the question might have made him angry. Cassandra was just so good at reading people, like the books she was so fond of.

“She is a being of the feywild,” Garth said. “they’re not like us. They’re dangerous.”

“It’s not like she wants to eat you,” Galath said. William and Cassandra laughed a little at that.

“She might,” Garth said and that ended the laughter. “I just don’t know. I know that she had a hungry look in her eyes and I just don’t know what she was hungry for. With other girls, I had an idea before I pulled them close. This is uncharted territory.”

“We will not force you, my friend,” William said. “It is enough to have you by our side in the battle tomorrow.”

Garth sighed. “I hate that I’m not the fearless force that you all know and love.”

“Love is a little strong,” William said but it was said calmly. “There is a very clear line between bravery and foolishness.”

“I was just teasing you about you know who,” Cassandra said. “You have a good point. She could be very dangerous. She is Fey, not mortal like us.”

There was a long silence. “I think I’ll turn in,” Garth said. “We have a big day ahead of us and you know how I get if I drink too much.”

William smiled. “Drink too much? I’ve never seen it happen myself.”

“I’m very good at hiding,” Garth said with a smile and he headed up the stairs. The three remaining looked at each other worriedly.

Media Update 3/22/18

March 22, 2018


The Breadwinner

Unfortunately, I did not hear about this movie until it was nominated for an Oscar up against the brilliant Coco. What struck me first was the beautiful traditional 2D animation. The story follows a young girl in Afghanistan under the Taliban who must pose as male to provide for her family. The first thing that made me smile is the reverence for stories. These are stories that I am unfamiliar with since they come from a land far, far away that people in my country have been taught to hate by warmongers. These are stories of people who have a history much longer than my culture. These stories are told in different styles of animation to set them apart from the rest of the film. The world of the movie, Afghanistan, was so foreign to me that it was intensely interesting. It was also infuriating as I watched religion cause people to treat women like cattle, a problem that is still a big deal the world over. I felt so scared for these women who were put into a world where it was physically dangerous to try and do things I take for granted. It was a really touching film with a lot of heartbreaking but hopeful messages. I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Hemlock Grove

As anybody who knows me for any length of time knows, I am a huge fan of Halloween and I am automatically interested in anything based on the classic supernatural monsters. I like werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, and all sorts of things. This has led me to actually like a lot of stuff I probably would have not cared for without the supernatural element. Hemlock Grove is probably another thing like that. The show follows a gypsy werewolf and a rich boy vampire who, instead of remaining enemies, get bound together to resolve some sort of mystery. It is one part Twin Peaks, one part original Dark Shadows, and one part Vampire Diaries (all of which I liked). The cast of characters does a great job of interacting with each other, stirring up a lasting chemistry. The world-building starts the moment the show begins and it is a tiny corner of the world where people already know about and accept the supernatural (to a certain extent). So far, the best acting comes from Famke Jannsen who plays a morally questionable (possibly evil?) vampire lady. Her son is one of the leads and the other lead is a scruffy Romany werewolf. Like Twin Peaks, the show has an offbeat feel at times which help give it an otherworldly feel. The show also keeps a tight lid on its bigger mysteries, making me very curious. I definitely recommend it if you like supernatural stuff like I do.


Monsters vs. Aliens

I am a big Disney/Pixar fanboy so I have not seen nearly as many Dreamworks movies. It does not help that Dreamworks puts out movies that I have little to no interest in (i.e. Boss Baby). However, there are still a few acclaimed Dreamworks animated movies that I still want to see and, on a whim, I decided to watch this one. To start with, it has an attractive cast. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert just to name the main cast. The movie follows a bunch of monsters fighting invading aliens (duh). The monsters are all tributes to older horror and science fiction monsters like Attack of the 50ft Woman, The Fly, Mothra, The Blob, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. While it is not the most complicated or fleshed out animated movie, it did surprise me in how good it is. It subverts gender stereotypes over and over but not in a way that I felt like it was hammering me over the head. There was a lot of silly comedy but there was quite a bit of clever comedy thrown in as well. It was much better than I was expecting it to be. There will likely never be a sequel because Reese does not really like to do sequels (like Jim Carrey). I recommend it for lovers of animation and people who like a little bit of girl power.

Music of the Week:
Run the Jewels – Oh Mama

Eumir Deodata – Space Dust, Sherlock

Ivy Levan – Hot Damn

Arsonists Get All The Girls – The 42nd Ego

f(x) – Electric Shock

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Unexpected Heroes”
– I finished watching Jessica Jones Season 2
– I continued watching The Joel McHale Show
– I continued watching iZombie Season 4
– I continued watching Fate/Apocrypha
– I continued watching Glitter Force Doki Doki
– I continued watching Freaks and Geeks
– I continued watching Peaky Blinders Season 1
– I continued watching Gurren Lagann

A to Z Theme Reveal 2018

March 19, 2018

So it has come to this. This is my fourth year taking part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The first year was such a thrill, trying like heck to finish each post before the deadline. I thought I was in over my head that first year but somehow I hung on and I finished everything on time. I was exhausted. However, I was also immediately brought into the larger blogging community and I felt like a legitimate badass. I knew I had to do it again. About that time I renamed my blog and began to get serious about things and started to work towards a regular schedule. For the next challenge, I wrote a lot of it ahead of time. For the third challenge, I was done writing halfway through April. I am ready to go again and I look forward to another fun (and weird) April.

So who am I? I go by the tag Wolf of Words for a reason. Growing up, my mom was a transplant from South Carolina who moved up to my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Her family did not understand her desire to move north among the Yankees. This only made her grow closer to another family member who had moved to the north to Ohio. My Great aunt supposedly taught my mom to howl at the full moon. My mom, in turn, passed that on to her children. It taught me not to take life so seriously and not to be so self-conscious. It also made me stop and appreciate the world around which in turn brought out my creative side. So why words? I have been a writer ever since I could remember. My brain is a constant fountain of words and at some point, I decided to harness that instead of letting it go to waste. Writing is easy for me because words just fall out of me, tumbling onto the page both good and bad.

What is this blog normally? This blog is usually a mish-mash of what I find interesting. I never settled on it being just one thing and I made my peace with that a long time ago. The blog encompasses my interests and I am overjoyed if those interests ever intersect with your interests. My normal schedule is Monday – Thursday – Saturday each week and I have kept to that schedule for a long time now. Thursdays are always a feature I creatively named Media Update. It is a feature where I watch three new things a week (television, movies, stage plays) and then I do quick spoiler-free reviews. Saturdays are often for fiction writing and I have several ongoing stories and one-shots that make an appearance. Mondays can be anything I want but I often want to do something personal on that day. You can see archives of the regular features on this blog to the right.

So, I should probably get to the reason why many people might be reading this. This post was supposed to be a theme reveal for the challenge so I should probably get on with it. This month’s theme is:

Geek Pride

I am a big ol’ nerdy geek and, while those words were used as insults in the past, I have long since decided to own who and what I am. I take pride in knowing a lot about pop culture and trivia. I also take pride in the many pop culture fandoms that I belong to. (Shout out to fellow Critters, Tweethearts, and Lovelies just to name a few!) So posts this month will generally have to do with my geeky interests. This is a bit of a cop-out since most posts the rest of the year are the same but what are you going to do? Report me? To the theme police? As I write this, I pretty much have my first week written and I am still trying to work ahead. You can expect movie reviews, personal messages, media commentary, short stories, and probably fandom gushing. So get ready because I am getting fired up myself.

I will be reading other people’s blogs and responding to any serious comments left on my posts. This challenge is about writing for me but it is also a major chance for me to connect with other people. Many of the blog links to the right come from people’s blogs that I subscribed to. If you read my blog and think that we might be kindred spirits, give me a shout in the comments. There are so many blogs that participate that it is easy not to see everybody’s blogs even in a month. I would love to hear from you with your suggestions. I love my geeky pursuits, fiction, non-fiction, and the American judicial system just for starters. If you do not guide me, I will just wander around like I usually do.

If you are still reading this far, I feel compelled to plug a very personal part of my blog. Please consider coming back here in October. For the whole month of October, I honor my favorite holiday which is Halloween. For me October is Halloween. So, if you feel the same way or you are just a bit curious, please come back. I will be reviewing several horror movies and it is also the one month during which I write fanfiction. All of the reviews on this site have little to no spoilers. Full-length reviews talk just as much about how I connect with the movie or why I watched the movie as how the movie itself was. So come get spooky with me later this year.

When It All Ended Pt. 9

March 17, 2018

William Havelock and Garth Whispernight were sitting at the bar downstairs. During his exile from his homeland, William had learned to really enjoy a good tavern. There was usually fellowship, decent ale, and there was the possibility of a good brawl breaking out. William had earned his title when he was knighted. He did not come from nobility but he had instead made a name for himself in the tourneys all over Shera. He had fought threats to the land alongside prissy rich boys and girls and gained fame through hard work and bravery. However, it was not until he had officially become a full-time adventurer that he had downtime to discover the simple joys of drinking with friends. Of course, there was a time when it looked like William and Garth would never be friends.

Garth had come a long way himself, even farther than Shera. He had fled Kofrain himself when the desert had figuratively gotten too hot. When he had joined the party he would have been the first to admit that he was a scoundrel. He was proud of it. He called himself the world’s greatest thief but he had always done it for fun and not riches. William and Cass had been the ones to finally catch him and Morgan was the one who convinced him to join the group. What started as reluctant do-gooding turned into an exciting thrill ride which in turn led to him being as addicted to saving the day as the others were. The war of words between him and William had grown from animosity to petty fun and finally to real friendship. Garth had turned over a new leaf and while he still did not follow the laws of the land, he definitely used those powers for good.

“You are very quiet over there, Whisper,” William said, setting his mug down. “You also look a little green. You’re not scared are you?”

“Scared?” Garth asked with an incredulous look that had indeed been a look of dread a moment before. “Unlike you, I will never even be seen by the dragon. It won’t know what hit it when I get the killing blow.”

William laughed. “You? I’m sure you meant to say that it will be me who scores the killing blow and I will do it as I look that dragon in the eye. It will know who ended its life.”

“Will you two ever stop arguing?” Galath asked as he walked up and climbed up onto a stool. The older dwarf man had taken off his customary mail and cloak and he looked a lot more casual as a result. The party was used to him being so formal.

“I’m afraid not,” William said. “You and Morgan just might be stuck watching over us forever, old man.” He and Garth smiled at each other, they would be done sniping at each other for a while.

“True,” Galath said. “It’s not as if we’ve been able to unload either of you along the line.”

“We’re hard to get rid of,” Garth said proudly. “But who would want to get rid of a crack thief like me?”

“All of the nobles of Eloria for starters,” Galath said. “Usually I find your bravado a bit tiresome but we need your legendary confidence tomorrow, Whispernight.”

“I keep racking my brain for any more allies we could call on but I am separated from the Knights of Shera and most of the friends I personally made during our adventures are on the front lines,” William said. He reflexively looked over at the sword he carried with its hawk head pommel. He felt a brief guilt that he was not with his fellows in Shera or in the thick of battle with the brave Guard of Eloria. Then he remembered that if he had been, he would not be here to face the dragon and that was strangely comforting.

“Yes,” Galath agreed. “I too have been searching my heart for allies but to no avail.”

“What about Carania, Galath?” Garth asked.

Galath flinched at that. It was not a negative thing but just proof of how much that name affected him. “She would be very effective here but last I heard from her, she was dealing with a problem in the Underdark. Even if she was not down there, she would be on the front lines dealing with the undead that are rumored to be fighting in the war.”

“That’s a shame,” William said. “She really would be helpful even if this kind of strays from her mission from the goddess of death.”

“We all go above and beyond what we are asked to do, Mr. Havelock,” Galath said. “Also, I’ll remind you that she is no grim reaper but is as much a defender of life as she is a defender of death.”

“True,” William said. “I’m sorry for implying anything wrong with the lady. She has done right by us a couple of times now and I just wish she could be here now.”

“So do I,” Galath said. “But I’m sure that we will see her again.”

“I bet you will,” Garth said with an elbow to the dwarf’s ribs. “If you know what I mean.”

Galath coughed and shook his head. “I’m sure I have no idea what you mean.” The dwarf took a long sip of his tea, so much that the cup refilled as soon as he set it down. It was a bit of an irregularity for a dwarf to not be a drinker but Galath always wanted a clear head and sometimes drinking just reminded him of the friends he had lost when he had been petrified. He looked around and realized that all three of them were men separated from their original homes. While they were not the same, that thread had tied them together in the midst of a party of adventurers. “You know, maybe you two can go home after this.”

“Maybe I don’t want to go home,” Garth said. “Maybe there’s no real home to go back to.”

“Surely your home did not crumble to dust like mine did,” Galath said. “It is probably still there.”

“Not the structure, Galath,” Garth said. “Maybe I like it here better and maybe this is sort of my family now.”

“Has the thief grown a heart?” William asked with a smirk.

“No!” Garth yelled and then there was an intense silence. “I always had one, I guess.”

“Of course you did,” Galath said. “and I know how you feel. I will never forget the bond we have forged together.”

“Neither will I,” William said. “It is as strong as the vows I took as a knight. Maybe stronger.”

The three men drank to that.

Media Update 3/15/18

March 15, 2018


Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

I love fairy tales, folktales, and mythology and I really should buckle down and read more of the 1001 Nights. I am not extremely familiar with Arabian/Muslim lore beyond Ali Baba, Aladdin, and djinn. Lucky for me, those three are what this anime is about. Basically, Ali Baba is a fruit peddler/shipping working who dreams of making his way into and through a legendary magic dungeon to get at the riches and magic items inside. Aladdin is a naive little boy who has made friends with a djinn who resides in a magic flute. Together, they set out to accomplish their dreams. I love media where different stories are reimagined and mashed together (see Once Upon a Time). This series is pretty zany and a little bit adult kind of like Kill la Kill. Similarly, all of the adult humor is in good fun and there is nothing malicious or too racy or the average viewer. I am excited to see where this leads as I like stories that have strong archetypes who are fleshed out into real characters (like American McGee’s Alice or various Oz adaptations). The animation is beautiful but also unexpected at times, kind of like FLCL. I have watched very little so far and I imagine that soon it will really pick up. I definitely recommend it. Besides, watching the trailer just now, I have to at least get to the part with Matt Mercer in it.


Sword Art Online

I had heard that many people did not like this anime but I did not want to research why because of possible spoilers. I decided to check it out for myself and I at least found a reason for myself. Without major spoilers, I did not like how there were huge time jumps going to episodes 2 and 3. I felt like I missed a lot of interesting adventures. However, from what I have seen so far, it is a fairly good anime. The premise is that a whole bunch of people sign up for a virtual reality MMORPG and the programmer traps them in it. If they die in the game, they die in real life and they cannot log out or be removed from the VR apparatus. The whole game operates in a fantasy setting that focuses on (wait for it) swords and the art of using them. The animation is very pretty and the character design is interesting. As expected, the anime is not light-hearted in the least as it deals with mostly young people dreading the next battle which might cause their death. I hope the series slows down a bit so I can really get into it. I guess I recommend it although it is a bit dark and there are plenty of other good anime series out there.


The Irregular at Magic High School

When I hear ‘magic school’, my interest is immediately piqued. I wish I could have gone to magic school and, somewhat related, I wish that magic was real. I guess I was expecting somewhat of a more grown-up version of Little Witch Academia (which was whimsical and dramatic) but instead I got something else. Something else that was not exactly bad once I started to settle in. In the world of the anime, magic is known to be real the world over and it is readily combined with technology to improve its use. This and other details make magic a very specialized thing where people almost have magical majors that they focus on. Families are known for certain techniques and magic is intimately connected with intellectual aptitude and studying. I definitely immediately got a Naruto vibe because of this but it is way slower and more drama-based. Still, I am very interested to find more about the seemingly complicated system of magic. I do have to drop a spoiler here because something really bothered me. The show centers on a brother and sister and the sister totally has the hots for her brother. I thought it was my imagination at first but yeah, it is made clear in the second episode. Based on Internet comments, it is one-sided and neither makes a move but it is fairly disturbing to me. Just a friendly warning. Because of that, I would not recommend it but also because it just did not grab me. There are plenty of high school dramas in English that I could watch.

Music of the Week:
Red Velvet – Stupid Cupid

The Regrettes – Come Through

Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still

Foo Fighters w/Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

Attila – Bulletproof

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Anime Magic and Fantasy”
– I started watching Jessica Jones Season 2
– I continued watching iZombie Season 4
– I continued watching the Joel McHale Show
– I continued watching Fate/Apocrypha
– I continued watching Freaks and Geeks
– I watched a ton of Barry Kramer on YouTube
– As usual, I watched Game Grumps, GT Live, and Critical Role on YouTube
– I am so proud of those who participated in the National Student Walkout Day

Fandom: Passion vs. Toxicity

March 12, 2018

Being part of a fandom is a great thing. Fandom used to be a more solitary thing. If you loved a television show, for example, there was a limited group of people you could share that with. If the other people at the dinner table or the water cooler did not also enjoy the thing you loved, you would just get polite nods or eye-rolls. You became an island unto yourself at least when it came to that one subject. Sure, there were conventions and fan club newsletters but mainly you just loved content quietly. That is, until the dawn of the Internet. The Internet connected people on an unprecedented scale and suddenly it allowed people of similar interests to find each other over humongous distances. This was the point where fandoms really took off as communities. These fandoms can be a powerful force for good and for bad. The difference is the line between passion and toxicity.

I was a big fan of a show called Community although I only discovered it well into the fourth season. When the creator, Dan Harmon, teamed up with an old friend, Justin Roiland, to produce a new cartoon show, I was ready to get in on the ground floor. The show they created was Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty started life as a parody of Back to the Future but evolved into a clever dark comedy science fiction adventure that still includes fart jokes. It juxtaposes insightful, reflective moments with parody and absolute silliness. I love the show because it is intelligent but it also does not take itself too seriously. The show has seen a very positive response from fans who definitely get the show. However, there is a section of the fanbase that even the creators disavow. These are the same people who hated the third season because it felt more progressive and they blamed that on the creators being forced to hire female writers. These are the same kind of people who use “SJW” as an insult. These are also the same people who threw fits when they could not obtain Schezuan sauce from a McDonalds Rick and Morty promotion. It makes me so embarrassed to have these people as part of the fandom and when that news story broke, I quickly explained to friends that I was not part of that.

Readers will know that I am a big fan of professional wrestling. This is really a loaded fandom when it comes to public perception. I will just set aside the whole problem I have with the alt-right connections the WWE leadership has. The fanbase for sports entertainment is incredibly passionate. Everybody has their favorite performers and everybody is quick to praise or criticize storylines as they are happening. I have seen plenty of positive discussions online about certain performers and their merits or flaws. I have disagreed with some of it but I can definitely respect when somebody has an opinion. For example, I love Finn Balor but if other people just are not feeling his energy then so be it. However, I have read comments on websites that are so negative. It is apparently a big thing in the fandom to hate performers because everybody else hates them. This phenomenon is still so weird to me. I have read plenty of comments from people who want fewer matches with women because they just seem to hate all the female performers which is kind of a red flag. I have read so many comments that seem to spew so much hate against the performers and not the characters they play. I just wish the WWE fandom, in particular, could be more positive about things.

I don’t talk about it much but I watched a lot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. As a guy who once wanted to be an animator when I grow up, I retain a big interest in animation and I watch a ton of it. When the show started to gain a huge fandom, I wanted to check it out. When I did, I genuinely liked the show for being witty and creating interesting characters and a deeper plot than I see on most shows intended for children. It enjoyed a lot of deserved popularity as everyone had fun with it. Then I found about the “bronies”. Hoo boy. Bronies (a portmanteau of bro and pony) are grown men some of which seem to obsess over this show in a very creepy manner. I am all for fighting gender stereotypes as I have loved plenty of stuff with a mostly female demographic. Erasing gender stereotypes and going against toxic masculinity is a great thing. However, when you start to crowd the original intended audience out of their own events and fandom, you need to self-examine. This one is not completely negative but I was glad when bronies got their own convention and seemed to start to divide themselves from the main fandom.

It’s not all negative, though. The vast majority of fans that I have met are positive and passionate about things they like and apathetic about stuff they don’t like. I would hope that most people do not have time to sit around talking about how much and why they hate something in pop culture. Those people are out there but I do not really wish to know them. I made a decision more than a year ago to try and be more positive about things in general and I have been trying to follow through with that. I hope that anybody who reads this really thinks about how they approach fandoms and try not to be too negative. Also, don’t hate women. Reminder: Don’t crap on something too hard because somebody out there might like it and it hurts when somebody craps on your thing.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 12

March 10, 2018

Magical Earth Defenders

Lennon, Natia, and Kelsey were already sitting at the lunch table when Margaret arrived. Kelsey and Lennon had brought their own lunches. Lennon had studied and planned what she should be eating and everything was just so. Kelsey had two sisters so she had what she managed to grab on her way out of the door. Natia was eating her fries from the cafeteria lunch line much like a great white or maybe a piranha. That is if piranhas could brood. Margaret walked up carrying a tray of cafeteria food. She looked a bit out of place with her clothes just so but the girls waved her over.

“Hey new kid!” Natia yelled out, loud enough that even Lennon gave her a look. “You might have made a mistake.”

“What?” Margaret asked. The usually poised young girl suddenly looked worried and an even paler shade of white. People never talked to her at her old school and now she was blowing it with the few people she knew at her new school. “What do you mean?”

“She means we usually avoid the cafeteria food if we can help it,” Kelsey said helpfully.

“Except the french fries,” Natia said, her mouth half full. The other girls rolled their eyes which made Margaret smile and calm down a bit.

“Sit down, Margaret,” Kelsey said. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

“At the very least, you won’t die,” Lennon said with a smile. “Most of us pack our lunches to guarantee edibility and nutrition.”

“And because it’s cheaper,” Kelsey said.

Margaret smiled and sat down. “Thank you, ladies. I’ll take that under advisement.”

“How are things going on your first day?” Kelsey asked.

“Things here are less complicated than the academy,” Margaret said. She smiled. “and more welcoming. The academics are comparable. I’ll do fine here as soon as people stop staring.”

“We’re happy to have you, Mar,” Natia said.

“So how was your talk with the Principal?” Margaret asked. “They whisked you away from us for quite some time.”

“What’s the damage, Natia?” Kelsey asked. By now, they all knew how often Natia had been skipping school and they knew the school would be displeased at the very least.

“I somehow got away without detention but I have a ton of work I have to catch up on. I have to get a tutor,” Natia said. She punctuated that last bit by grumpily dipping two fries into the ketchup before shoving them in her mouth.

“You’re lucky that you got off with just a tutor,” Lennon said. “Principal Evers can be strict. By the way -“

“I need a tutor too,” Maya said, interrupting. Nobody had noticed her walking up to the table. She sat down carefully, purposefully ignoring all of the stares she was getting. Margaret was briefly thankful not to be the center of attention before her empathy kicked in and she felt bad for Maya. She wondered how much worse the attention might be if Maya had not bespelled her tattoos away. Maya was thinking about that as well.

“Where did you come from?!” Natia cried out before Kelsey put a hand over her mouth.

“I came from the castle,” Maya said with a shrug. She had a brass plate in front of her that she was eating salad from.

“And grabbed a salad from the castle’s fridge?” Lennon asked.

“From the garden,” Maya said.

“Wow,” Kelsey said. “Good for you for eating healthy.”

Maya smiled. “Thank you. It’s the only way I survived so long on the run. At some point, I just became a vegetarian which was cheaper but hard on the run. Anyway, I don’t think I should invite a tutor over to the castle. Can I borrow space from one of you?”

“You can invite the tutor there if I’m the tutor,” Lennon said. “I can tutor both you both.”

“Don’t you already have special projects for independent study?” Kelsey asked.

“How did you know about that?” Lennon asked. She did not think taht a popular girl like Kelsey would know about that.

“I’m nosy,” Kelsey said. “I know things about people.” She shrugged with a smile.

“Well, I can still tutor them,” Lennon said with a smile. “You guys can be my new special project.”

“I’m not sure I enjoy being referred to as a special project,” Maya said.

“Yeah, watch your phrasing, Red,” Natia said.

Once again, Kelsey covered Natia’s mouth with her hand.

“Please don’t use codenames when we are in civilian gear,” Margaret said.

“I was just kidding,” Natia said. “Are those really our codenames? They’re only kind of cool.”

“We’ll have to discuss it at some point,” Maya said

“We have a lot of things to discuss,” Kelsey said. The girls all nodded in agreement. “Speaking of tutoring, we also need magic tutoring.”

“And superhero tutoring,” Natia said.

“We can do all the tutoring at the castle,” Lennon said. “It’s safer there and we won’t get interrupted.”

“Making a castle our hangout? Yes please!” Natia said with a smile.

“Just as long as you all stay out of my room,” Maya said. Natia stuck her tongue out at her which made Maya smile and almost laugh.

“We also have to keep all of this a secret,” Margaret said.

“Exactly,” Kelsey said.

“Duh,” Natia said. “Of course, that’ll be hard.”

“I have to agree,” Lennon said. “My parents seeing me walk again would make their year.”

“We’ll have to make sacrifices for this,” Kelsey said. “We’re trying to save the world.”

“You’re right,” Lennon said. “It’s definitely worth it. If we lose, extradimensional aliens take over the world. We can’t let our parents or the government interfere with that.”

“Wow,” Maya said. “I never thought that would be my life and I ran from the things for years.”

“Well you have real friends now, Maya,” Kelsey said. She looked out at the table full of former loners. “You all do.”

“I never thought that would be my life either,” Maya said.

“Me either,” Lennon said. “I was always too shy.”

“I’m too loud!” Natia said with a big grin.

“Too rich,” Margaret said.

“Well, none of you are too much for me,” Kelsey said. “We’re a team.”

“Aw, that’s so sweet blue!” Natia said and they all laughed.


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