Archive for May, 2020

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 3

May 30, 2020

Adam followed Moana to a curious carriage that was open on the sides and it was somewhat low to the ground. There were no horses attached to it and there was no seat up top from which to guide horses if they were there. Adam looked curiously at Moana and she shrugged.

“I didn’t get it at first either,” Moana said. “Get in. You’ll see.” She climbed into the carriage and Adam climbed onto the seat next to her. There was a small circle in front of Moana and she reached down to turn a key. The carriage started to vibrate and make a rhythmic noise. His eyes went wide and he looked at Moana who was smiling and calm. He reluctantly calmed down slowly. Moana pressed her foot down on some lever and the carriage lurched into motion. Adam gripped whatever he could reach with some anxiousness.

“It’s called a golf cart,” Moana yelled over the noise.

“What’s golf?” Adam shouted, a little confused but talking made him feel less anxious about the ride.

“I have no idea,” Moana shouted. “It works really great at getting us around the island. Although, there are faster vehicles for emergencies.”

“Faster?” Adam asked with some alarm. “Faster than this?”

“You get used to it,” Moana said. “Besides, my boat would go this fast with the wind in my favor and the sea on my side.”

“I never really liked water that much,” Adam said. “My home is between the mountains and the forest.”

“Without the sea?” Moana asked. “I would die.” She seemed serious about that. She suddenly stomped her foot down and the cart lurched to a stop. Adam nearly cried out but managed to keep hold of his courage. Moana pointed out at the valley in front of them. “Look!”

Adam followed her gesture and tried to make sense of what he was seeing. The green valley seemed to be moving but the plants were not moving with the slight breeze. In fact, there was no sense in the movement. Then Adam saw what she was pointing at. It was countless snakes writhing. There were far too many snakes. They were like nothing like Adam had never seen in France. Their scales were a vivid green.

“Snakes!” was the only thing Adam could get out at first.

Moana nodded. “They’re not venomous,” she said. “I’m told that they aren’t native to this island. They weren’t here yesterday.”

“How did so many get here so suddenly?” Adam asked.

“My partner was investigating that,” Moana said. “I was supposed to meet him here and I wanted to introduce you.”

As if on cue, one of the snakes slithered out of the whole group of them with purpose. Adam stepped back but Moana stood her ground. She rolled her eyes and stomped at the snake. In a flash, the snake was gone and a large man was standing in its place. He was massive with long, frizzy hair and he was covered in tattoos and he was carrying a massive hook that looked like it was made from the bone of a giant creature and it had symbols carved into it. Adam suddenly felt himself transform into the Beast and he let out a growl.

“Neat trick,” the man said calmly. “Who is this new guy?”

“His name is Adam,” Moana said. “He, uh, does that.” She exchanged a look with Beast and he took a deep breath and returned to human form. It was getting easier to do each time. “Prince Adam, this is Maui who I guess I’m more or less stuck with forever.

“You love it,” Maui said with a grin. “You’re a prince, huh? Did I mention that I’m a demigod?”

“Not a very good one,” Moana said as she punched Maui in the bicep.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Adam said. “I guess we’re lucky to have you on our side.”

“You’re lucky I didn’t lay you out just now,” Maui said. “You’re welcome.”

“Thanks?” Adam said.

“Don’t worry, Adam,” Moana said. “I would have protected you.”

“I can take care of myself,” Adam said defensively but he had now realized that he was among rare and impressive individuals. He would have to see what they could do.

“So what’s with the snakes already, Maui?” Moana asked, getting a little impatient.

“I transformed into one of them to see if I could chat with them,” Maui said. “They all used to be human. They’re very confused.”

“How did they all get turned into snakes?” Adam asked. “Was it some witch’s curse?” His face darkened as he thought of his own run-in with the witch. He understood now that he had deserved punishment but still thought that the punishment was not in proportion to his crimes.

“I mean mostly,” Maui said. “Some bony witch named Yzma turned them all into snakes. She has some wand.”

“The name’s not familiar to me,” Adam said.

“I’ve never heard the name either,” Moana said. “but at least we know who might be our enemy. Although, it may be more complicated than that.”

“Yeah,” Maui said. “I guess it’s not always the obvious answer.”

“It bears further investigation,” Adam said with a grave nod.

Media Update 5/28/20

May 28, 2020


Charlie’s Angels (2019)

I was not really young enough to watch the show but I enjoyed the nineties reboot pretty well. This movie is a full-on reboot done with purpose. The concept of the movie is that the Charles Donovan Agency has now gone global and there are numerous cells of Angel agents all over the place. Each cell is paired with its own Bosley which is now a rank and not so much a name. I really loved this movie from the first few minutes until the end. Part of that really had to do with bringing in Kristen Stewart. I was definitely one of the people who bagged on her in her Twilight and Huntsman days but I now realize that she is great if she is allowed to show some charisma. She was an absolute delight and, as one of the more comic voices of the main trio, she really helped keep things light and fun. I was really pleased to see Naomi Scott as one of the leads because she is really knocking it out of the park lately and in this, she was basically the comic relief while still being a great dramatic character. Ella Balinska plays the heavy of the group and she is great with the deadpan humor. They are joined by Patrick Stewart and Elizabeth Banks (who also directed). I would actually liken this movie to the Mission Impossible film franchise with a slightly lighter tone. It also does not try to sweep the franchise’s history away and instead builds on what they can. It also has a banger soundtrack. I definitely recommend it and I hope that it gets a sequel.


Mystery Incorporated

I watched a heck of a lot of Scooby-Doo reruns when I was a kid and I have definitely been caught up in waves of the franchise’s nostalgia over and over. I watched so many adaptations over the years. I even enjoyed the hell out of the Scooby-Doo live-action movies. I had watched a little bit of this show when it first came out but I got distracted and never continued. The show is somewhat famous for actually giving the regular cast more character arcs and allow them to be a little closer to people rather than cartoons. There is also an overarching mystery that connects the episodes of each season. Some of it feels like Sherlock Holmes and some of it feels a bit Lovecraftian. The art style is a little darker and sharper as well. I love that the cast still is very much like old incarnations but with additional soul. All of this makes each episode less interchangeable and on top of that, the villains feel less iconic but more memorable. I recommend the show and it makes me want to consume more Scooby stuff.


6 Underground

I have become a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds in the past few years so I knew that I would eventually catch this one. The movie follows Ryan Reynolds as the bankroll and leader of a secret squad that eliminates dictators and evil people in power. The movie is very pretty with great sweeping shots and great cinematography. Ryan Reynolds is glib and funny as usual and often the best part of the movie. The problem was that I was just not feeling this one. It has exciting action scenes, fun characters, and a neat idea. However, I feel like it lost me in the editing and some of the writing. From the beginning, there were long scenes that went too long, too many cuts, and the plot meanders a bit. I actually don’t recommend the movie.

Music of the Week:
Lowen – Just Fucking Let Me Love You

Mom / ハッピーニュースペーパー

Caravan Palace – Moonshine

Dead Pirates – UGO

Hockey Dad – I Missed Out

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Secret Organizations”
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 3
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more Black Lightning Season 3
– I watched more What We Do In the Shadows Season 1
– I watched more Riverdale Season 4
– I watched more What We Do In the Shadows Season 2
– I watched Resident Evil 5
– I watched Police Academy 7
– I watched Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
– I started watching The Flash Season 6
– I started watching Arrow Season 8

30-Day Challenge: Film

May 25, 2020

1 – The First Film you Remember Watching

I am sure I watched many movies before it but the first movie that was an event, that I remember when I saw it was the 1989 version of Batman. At age 7, I was already a big fan of the character and this would be the first time that I got to stay up to watch a movie. I was so excited and the movie definitely lived up to the hype and continues to do so. This movie still has one of the greatest impacts on my creativity and imagination. This was peak Tim Burton, who worked within the framework of the comic books to create something absolutely new and fresh. Michael Keaton does such a good job of playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman which is a difficult balance to pull off. Jack Nicholson is so good as the Joker with so many quotable lines but a sinister edge to it that just works. The production design and the Prince soundtrack should not work but somehow do.

2 – A film that you like that starts with the first letter of your name

This movie absolutely came out of left field for me. I had never heard of the comic book prior to the release of the film but I wish I had. Still, it was really fun going in blind. The movie is delightfully wild and absurd. It is definitely up my alley as it is both a comic book movie and a video game movie (although it is not actually adapting a specific video game). The movie uses video game terminology and tropes to tell a compelling story about figuring out your life. For those who have not seen it, the elevator pitch is that Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes if he wants to be her boyfriend. However, the movie has way more to offer than just that. The movie is filled with deep moments accompanied by goofy and offbeat humor. It is probably Michael Cera’s best performance to date. On top of that there are a bunch of great comedic roles from Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick. We also get Mary Elizabeth Winstead as she was really coming into her own. I once chose this as my birthday movie for the express purpose of messing with and confusing my family.

3 – A film whose title has more than five words

Dr. Strangelove (for short), was a great watch when I first saw it. It is a zany comedy about one of the darkest subjects that you can joke about. Total nuclear annihilation. Set in the middle of the Cold War, a simple mistake threatens the safety of the world. There is a huge cast of characters, all parodying some portion of the Military-Industrial Complex. Three of the major characters are played by comedy legend Peter Sellers. He transforms himself into three very insane characters, the kind of people you hope are not in charge of nuclear weapons but who you fear are. There is also Slim Pickens as exactly what I think of the military. George C. Scott actually plays an over the top comic character which is usually out of his comfort zone. The movie is directed by Stanley Kubrick who is not exactly known for making sunny movies but he was able to inject the story with plenty of dark and zany humor. Additionally, this was my dearly departed friend Joe’s favorite movie so it will always be even more special to me. It is definitely a blueprint for later movies like Death of Stalin which makes the audience laugh as atrocities are performed.

4 – A film with a number in the title

This movie unexpectedly threw me for a loop. This movie is based on a Stephen King short story that I never read. It is one of the simplest adaptations of King’s work and has an astonishingly small cast. The main characters are played by John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Cusack plays a writer who has recently experienced great loss and travels around the country debunking the supernatural. Receiving a mysterious challenge, he is in for the fight of his life. The movie is a pure horror movie. It relies mostly on psychological pressure than petty jumpscares. Cusack is great as a skeptic who is suddenly shown the light. The movie thrives on unreality and the special effects that show that are absolutely brilliant and understated. This is also possibly Samuel L. Jackson’s most subtle role and it is so interesting to see. The movie feels way deeper than most adaptations of King’s work and that helps drive the point deeper. It is light on plot and heavy on character moments which actually also helps prevent the usual Stephen King rambling. There is also a devious sense of humor running through which twists the knife even further. This was definitely a predecessor of effective horror storytelling like the legendary PT and so many other surreal horror stories about psychological torture.

5 – A film where a character has a job you want

I was always intensely interested in keeping archives and researching things. Indiana Jones was always a fascinating character and for sure I wanted to be him when I was a little kid. I even had a copy of his famous fedora for a little bit. I also wore a tiny bomber jacket with a map on the inside. I wanted to be an adventurer just like him. However, after growing up a bit I realized that I really did not want that. Indy is a professor and I really do not like talking in front of crowds. I also think the rest of his work is pretty dangerous. However, the people who research and catalog the supernatural things, that seems way more interesting to me. We first see this organization at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. We next see evidence of them in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If I read between the frames well enough, those scenes mean somebody is in charge of keeping tabs on magical and highly advanced technology. That definitely sounds like an interesting job.

6 – Your favorite animated film

I have written about it many times before but hands down my favorite animated film is The Nightmare Before Christmas. Henry Selick really brought to life a neat little world full of fun lore and interesting characters. It is a great look at depression, passion, and boundaries. Skellington Jack is such an innocent soul for the King of Halloween and it is hard not to see my own bouts with depression in his. I also definitely see Jack’s passion and sense of fairplay in myself. The portayal of Santa Claus is one of the best in cinema history. I would put him up there with the portrayals from Klaus, Ernest Saves Christmas, and The Christmas Chronicles. Santa is best when he is a rounded character who is not saintly good but good because he earnestly sees good and evil in the world and chooses good. Sally is just such an interesting character and it was not often back in the early nineties where a woman was portrayed as the smartest character. The whole cast of characters are so well designed and the animation and music are superb.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 3

May 23, 2020

Aurora and Belle turned a corner and Aurora pushed open some double doors. “This is the Library,” she said. “Are you sure you don’t want to get some rest first?” Aurora knew that at some point, Belle’s journey from her world would eventually hit her and hard. Still, she knew that everyone had to deal with the transition in their own way.

Belle walked forward without seeming to hear Aurora at all. Her eyes were wide and her smile made them shine bright. Here was something that Belle understood. Back in her hometown she practically lived in the library. Then, in Beast’s castle, when she saw the library she had finally seemed to find her footing. She felt some of her anxiety and tiredness melt off of her like snow on a steep roof. She was so focused on the books that she did not even register that there was a young man sitting at a large table with many books in front of them. Aurora gave Belle some time before she spoke again.

“Belle, I would like to introduce you to part of our team for uh, what did you call it?” She asked of a tall thin man with spectacles and short but floppy hair.

“Research,” Milo said without looking up from his book and scribblings and then looked up and realized that the princesses were standing there.

“Right! Research!” Aurora said. “This is our ‘research’ team. Belle, may I introduce to you to Mister Milo Thatch. Mr. Thatch, I would introduce to you, Princess Belle.”

“Just Belle is fine,” Belle said. “I’m barely a princess. I promise.”

“You can call me Milo,” he said. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m actually technically a king, so there’s that.”

Belle made another mental note at that. The number of members of royalty from many different worlds was climbing quickly. Ariel, Aurora, Tiana, Milo, and herself made five which seemed to be a lot. She wondered again if royalty itself was part of the magic or if that was a faulty theory.

“Really?” Aurora asked, startled. “I had no idea. I’m sorry, Milo.”

“I don’t really like to advertise it,” Milo said. “Especially with Queen Kida elsewhere.”

“We all seem to be separated from our loved ones,” Aurora said.

“At least we’re lost together,” Belle said. “I can’t imagine being washed up on strange shore and I was all alone.”

Aurora and Milo enthusiastically agreed. A much older man came walking out of the stacks, with a comically bushy mustache and a funny-looking helmet. He was also looking a little lost but optimistic. Belle guessed at a glance that his lost expression may have nothing to do with their situation. He had the look of an academic. Belle knew that she had worn this expression many times back in her village.

“Oh I’m sorry,” the man said. “I was a bit lost in the stacks. Reminds me of my years in university.”

“Belle, this is Professor Porter,” Aurora said. “Professor Porter, this is Belle.”

“A professor!” Belle said. “I always wanted to go to university but my father couldn’t afford it.”

“Well,” Professor Porter said. “We could use another set of learned eyes.”

“That was my idea,” Aurora said. “As soon as Belle started talking about how much she loved reading. Maybe she could join you?”

“Like the professor said, I think that’s a great idea,” Milo said. “We’d be glad to have you.” He pulled up a chair to the table for her. She sat down gratefully.

“Thank you,” Belle said. “My head is spinning and I have to do something. I feel better with a book in my hand.” She reached out to clutch one to her chest.

“Well, we have plenty of those, my dear,” Professor Porter said. “We have many soldiers here but few scholars. We’ll figure this out yet!”

“There is one more member of the research team,” Aurora said. “but Queen Ariel is finally getting some sleep. You’ll meet her in the morning if you can drag yourself out of bed in time.”

“I’ll try,” Belle said. “Honestly I might sleep for a week.”

“It’s a lot,” Aurora said nodding. “I have to go check in with patrol but I’ll have Tiana or one of her workers show you to your room when they bring your food. You should rest, library or no.”

“I’m starting to agree with you,” Belle said with a yawn. “I suppose the problem won’t go away tonight.”

Media Update 5/21/20

May 21, 2020


Dora the Explorer

When I was unemployed for a long period of time years ago, I watched a lot of Dora the Explorer and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (which is why I wrote a gritty reboot last month). There’s something very wholesome and calming about those shows. When I saw the poster for this movie, I was all in and I previously wanted to watch it in theaters or as a double feature with Sonic the Hedgehog. Anyway, the movie is sort of a sequel to the series but also reimagining the original series. It stars Isabella Merced as high school-aged Dora who is eternally optimistic and super smart. She is such a delight and she has an unironic sweetness that is so good. Jeff Wahlberg plays Diego, her now sullen and moody cousin Diego. Madeleine Madden plays Sammy, a type-A valedictorian who is threatened by Dora’s intelligence and baffled by her optimism. Nicholas Coombe plays the token white kid, awkward but intelligent and with a good heart. The adults are all great but a special shout out to Dora’s parents who are played by superstars Michael Pena and Eva Longoria. The movie is a fun adventure in the vein of Spy Kids and Temple of Doom. I also like how they were able to keep the cast Hispanic. I definitely recommend this movie.


Judy

This is an absolutely devastating movie but it has a lot of comedy to try to bring it up. The movie covers the last year of Judy Garland’s life when she had burned all of her bridges in the United States and briefly reignited her career with a series of concerts in England. It is such a fascinating look at somebody who has been utterly crushed by life and herself. I thought I knew about Garland’s life but I was immediately surprised by how much the movie taught me. I knew about the pills and I knew some of how the Hollywood system messed with young Judy’s head but this really laid it all out there. It also shows her relationship with her kids who she loved desperately. It mostly focuses on the younger children (Lorena and Joey Luft) probably because Liza Minelli disavowed the production. Also, they are portrayed as somewhat estranged in the movie. Renee Zellweger is really great as the confident yet anxiety-ridden Judy. Jessie Buckley plays her British handler, a young woman who tries her best to support Garland even as she is falling apart. Darci Shaw is really good as the young Judy Garland in the crushing hands of Hollywood. I recommend the movie although it is very dark and parts of it are creepy.


I Am Not Okay With This

I had heard really good things about this show. Adolescence and superpowers have long been linked in fiction and I was looking forward to an honest take on it. Being a teenager sucked for me and I like dipping into fiction that shows how awkward and weird being young is. Sophia Lillis is immediately likable and relatable as an awkward and ‘unremarkable’ teenage girl, Syd. Her inner monologue (which we hear constantly) is entertaining and feels both dark and funny. Wyatt Olef plays her awkward and hippie-ish neighbor and he is fun. Sofia Bryant plays Syd’s no-nonsense, badass best friend. I also really liked Aidan Wojtak-Hissong who plays Syd’s younger brother. He is a really well-done version of the kid prodigy and his chemistry with Lillis is so good. The show was instantly charming when it could have been overly dark. It also tackles LGBTQ+ issues well in that it makes it no big deal as it should be. I definitely recommend the series.

Music of the Week:
Deltron 3030 – Virus

Simple Kid – Serotonin

Quichenight – If I Get Corona

goomiey – ステレオタイプ

Sedona – Closer

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “This is Her Story”
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 3
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural Season 5
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more Black Lightning Season 3
– I watched more What We Do In the Shadows Season 1
– I started watching Riverdale Season 4
– I started watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 4

Personality Database

May 18, 2020

I had posted previously about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It is an amazing insight into your personality and I absolutely suggest that you take it if you have not already. Myers-Briggs helps people figure out both their strengths and their weaknesses. This past week there has been a thing going around Twitter where people point out which fictional characters share their Myers-Briggs designation. By the way, the resource for looking that up is Personality-Database.com but I would suggest downloading the phone app because the website was blowing up when I was on it. I decided to pick a selection of the requisite five characters and examine how I might be like them. It was another fascinating look at myself.

I am an INTJ, by the way. That stands for Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging.

The Heroes


Batman (Most depictions of Batman)

This was a most pleasant surprise to find on the site. In retrospect, I should not have been surprised. I have spent my life sticking to the metaphorical shadows. Instead of being an actor, I chose to be a stage manager and theater designer. I chose to be a paralegal and not a lawyer. In so many ways, I do not really like the spotlight on me as it distracts from having a comfortable life. I also tend to read between the lines when I am remembering facts and draw conclusions based on my experiences rather than just the facts. It really helps me as a researcher and a writer. I also really love signs and symbols like the Batman, he uses them to strike fear or inspire hope but I use mine to leave easter eggs in my writing. See also: Daredevil (Marvel), Dr. Stephen Strange (Marvel), and Black Panther (Marvel).


Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

This is one I expected going in. While Giles eventually displayed an artistic side (like I do) but he was a very private person who preferred small crowds and the quiet of his library or magic shop. Like Giles, I really love being in a support role rather than the star of the show. Giles spent seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the power behind the throne, a man who used wit and wisdom to guide rather than direct. He continued that role in the later comic book seasons as a covert problem solver, something I also like to do. I love fixing problems without anybody realizing there was a problem in the first place. I am sometimes doing my best work when clients do not notice me. I leave the flashy and presentation work to my boss, an attorney. See also: Harrison Wells (The Flash), Merlin (Kingsman), and Zordon (Power Rangers)

Villains


Thanos (The MCU)

Thanos is not your usual Marvel villain. While other villains tend to be just as showy and boisterous as their superhero counterparts, like me Thanos is a somewhat quiet and reserved man. Especially as he is portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is an introvert. He quietly and calmly embarks on a mission of mass murder without being all that showy about it. I think I am most like Thanos in his Thinking Judging part. Like me, Thanos loves order and for things to be decided. Once he makes his decision to kill half of the Universe, he never wavers and works hard against those who would steer him from his path. He also does not let himself play until work is done, as morbid as that is. See also Mewtwo (Pokemon), The Thing (The Thing), Doctor Doom (Marvel), The Wicked Witch (The Wizard of Oz), and Agent Smith (The Matrix).


Simon (A Christmas Prince)

I can see this one. While Simon displays a wish to be in the spotlight as King, he only moves on it once he thinks that the path is absolutely clear. He does not compromise in his mission and does everything in his power to make it happen up to and including being underhanded but he never lies. Later, it is shown that he never really wanted the spotlight and is fine working as a covert fixer. He helps solve the central problems in the two sequels by being uncompromising and sneaky. At the same time, he has an absolute love for rules and order. Whether he is acting for good or for evil, this makes him look two-faced. I have definitely been guilty of the “By Any Means Possible” part of the Thinking Judging. Sometimes I have to rein myself in from taking too much initiative and circling back to the group or those in charge to consult them on my plans. However, when those plans are in place, they absolutely have to happen as planned or I have high anxiety and frustration. It is a part of me that I am working on. I also get so caught up in the details of what I have seen that I find it hard to take in new information after a decision. See also Professor James Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes), Severus Snape (Harry Potter), Magneto (Marvel), and Eobard Thawne (DC Comics).

The In-Between


Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family)

Not a shocker here. I have loved the character since I first saw The Addams Family (199) and have gone back and loved every iteration since. There is a reason that Christina Ricci was my first official celebrity crush and it was not just because she is goth. Wednesday is a person who is not so sure of who she is inside but is very sure of what the world is outside. In both movies, she is the one who first senses something is wrong because she has a solid view of what her family should be and is frustrated when it changes. Of course, this cuts both ways in that I absolutely hate change in my everyday life. In Wednesday, it is shown in the frustration about the disruption that a third sibling causes. At the same time, she is a rabid researcher and gets caught up in topics that interest her to the point of obsession. In the first film, it is shown by her deep research into the Bermuda Triangle. I do this all the time too both in my professional and personal life. See also Collin (What We Do in the Shadows), and Ellie Whedon (Locke and Key).

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 2

May 16, 2020

The next morning, Adam was back to human form as he stood on the beach and looked out over the sea. He had a blanket draped over his shoulders and no shirt, he did not want to transform again and tear the shirt that Moana had left by his door. He was slowly eating a breakfast that mostly consisted of some sort of compressed meat. It was not too bad. He watched the waves lapping at the sandy shore and thought about Belle. They had been through a lot. Actually, Adam realized that he had selfishly put Belle through hell but she had come back when he sent her away. She loved him when he had not really deserved it and he wanted to make up for all the horrible things he did. He needed to get back to the castle and make it up to her. He was willing to put in the work to truly change.

After a long time for introspection, Adam noticed young Lilo had walked up to stand next to him. Standing next to her was the creature she had called Stitch. The thing was not even as tall as Adam’s hip and had huge ears, eyes, and a mouth lined with pointy teeth. It was covered in a thick blue fur that almost hid its claws. Stitch would have been terrifying if it was not so cute. If you put a collar on it, you might mistake it for a rather ugly dog at a glance. Lilo had said that the creature was not of this world. Fur and being from another world, Adam and Stitch had more in common than he would have guessed at first.

“Whatcha thinking about?” Lilo asked, looking up at Adam with wide and curious eyes.

“My wife,” Adam said. “Her name is Belle and I have a feeling she is far away from here.”

Stitch let out a sigh and looked up at the sky. “Angel,” he said with some anguish in his voice.

“Maybe I can see her,” Lilo said softly and she unfocused her eyes as she looked out at the ocean. “Give me a second.”

“Really?” Adam asked with some excitement. “Belle could see long distances with the help of a mirror I gave her. Can you do something similar?”

“I see her,” Lilo said, an odd calm in her voice. “She is worried about you but she is safe.”

“I’m glad she’s safe,” Adam said with a smile. “Can you tell where she is?”

“She can’t see your wife,” Moana said with a smile. At some point, she had stepped up to Adam’s other side. “She likes to mess with strangers. She can’t really help herself.”

“Really?” Adam asked Lilo.

Lilo kicked the sand a bit. “Yeah,” she said. “Sorry mister.”

Adam sighed. “In the past, I would have let rage consume me,” Adam said. “Your trick did give me hope for a moment, Lilo.”

“You didn’t turn into the big monster this time,” Lilo said.

“I didn’t,” Adam said. “I’m a little worried about that right now. I thought I was past that.”

“What is it?” Moana asked. “Is it a curse?”

Adam looked surprised. “It is a curse,” Adam said. “According to the witch who cursed me, it should be broken.”

“How did you break the curse?” Moana asked. “Did you need something returned to you?”

“No,” Adam said. “I had to work through some issues. Maybe I’m still working through them.” He paused. “I’m definitely still working through them.”

“I work on issues too,” Stitch said.

“Yeah that’s right, Stitch,” Lilo said. “You’ve stopped breaking things mostly.”

“Lilo,” Moana said. “Go on. It’s not safe for you to be out here and you have chores to do.”

“Not the dishes again!” Lilo cried out.

“Dishes again,” Moana said. “Sweeping too. And bring Pleakley and Jumba their food.”

Lilo grumbled and kicked the sand again.

“What was that?” Moana asked, a smile forming on her lips.

“Nothing,” Lilo said. “Come on, Stitch. Let’s go.” She and Stitch scampered off across the sand.

“There’s an even chance whether or not she does those chores,” Moana said. “I was trouble when I was her age too.”

Adam chuckled. “I think we were all terrors at that age,” he said. “You said outside is dangerous? What’s going on?”

Moana nodded. “Come on,” she said. “I’ll show you. It’s got to do with magic.”

Media Update 5/14/20

May 14, 2020

Ozark

My boss had really been pushing this show, as it is one of his favorites. Other than starring Jason Bateman, I had no interest in the show or any idea what it was about. But I knew my boss was not going to be quiet about it so I decided to finally check it out. The show is super dark from the very first episode but it has really good dialogue. The show is about a financial investor who is forced to take his family to the Ozark Mountains in order to launder money for a criminal cartel. Bateman plays the father, a fast-talking but hapless financial wizard. Laura Linney plays his troubled wife, a woman on the verge of a breakdown but determined to do what she can for her family. The kids are really good actors and are written to be believable kids. There is an interesting cast of characters in addition but my favorite so far is Julia Garner as a young woman from a meth-dealing, backwoods criminal family. She is so interesting and cunning and I want to see her story specifically. I recommend the show but, again, it is very dark.


Angel Has Fallen

I loved the first two movies in this trilogy. They are just the right mix of crazy action and appropriate gravitas. The movie is about a hotshot secret service agent who must fight against the US Government and domestic terrorists after being framed for an attempt on the President’s life. Gerard Butler is once again great as the fusion of an everyman and a superman, Mike Banning, Secret Service Agent. Morgan Freeman once again plays the President with all the gravitas he can summon. We also get the introduction of Nick Nolte as a grizzled off-the-grid Vietnam vet. Danny Huston plays a very charismatic villain, clearly a villain from the start but a sort 0f blue-collar bad guy. I really loved the addition of Jada Pinkett Smith as an intuitive FBI agent. Of course, Lance Reddick is always welcome in any movie or show that I have seen him in. The movie felt more driven by story and character than the past two movies. We really got to dive deep into what makes the characters tick. The lower budget on this one actually made the movie feel a little more grounded. I definitely recommend this movie.


The Foreigner

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was all in. Jackie Chan does not so much get better as age but evolves into something just as good but almost an entirely different animal. When he was young, Chan was flashy, funny, and amazingly athletic. I am definitely becoming a fan of this new Jackie Chan. He is no longer the plucky and agile fighter and is now more of a predatory, methodical being. He is just as effective but gives off different energy which is refreshing. Pierce Brosnan plays an aging IRA leader who is now a politician. I really liked Charlie Murphy (not that Charlie Murphy) as a crafty operator, she was just so interesting. The movie is a great revenge flick but it is also a political mystery that hearkens back to the historic Troubles. It plays on British and Irish history very well. I recommend this movie as well.

Music of the Week:
The HU – Song of Women feat. Lzzy Hale

The Regrettes “What Am I Gonna Do Today

Seizure Machine – Culito

Aesthetic Perfection – Gods & Gold

Megan Thee Stallion – Captain Hook

 

Weekly Updated:
– This week’s theme is “You Messed With the Wrong Person”
– I finished Bojack Horseman
– I watched more Scream Queens Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 3
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural Season 5
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more Black Lightning Season 3

Cult Pantheon

May 11, 2020

What follows are the borderline and rarely worshipped mystery cults of the world of my Dungeons and Dragons campaign. These are often but not always the crazy people of the world and it shows.

The Nameless

It is rumored that this god or goddess was punished early on in the history of creation. This deity decided to expose the mortal races to knowledge forbidden by the other gods. While the good deities had the best wishes for the mortals of the world, they had wanted to keep them in the dark on certain things. That way they could more easily protect them even from themselves. Sometime later they realized their error much later, the damage had already been done to The Nameless. They nearly destroyed them and what survived had lost its name and form. The Nameless escaped into the Dreamplane, connected to the minds of the whole world. Not much more lore than that survives in the world but it is known that The Nameless survives as a sort of god of inspiration. The followers of the Nameless are few and far between but most are inventors and forward thinkers. Many, but not all, also contain some level of insanity.

Zeoron, The Limitless One

Many theorize that Zeoron was waiting for the gods when their eyes first opened to reality. One of the rumored “Old Ones”, Zeoron did not take kindly to the upstart newcomers who wished to form the world. He fought them all but either lost or realized his fight was futile. Instead of dying, he exploded and his essence spread across all of the planes much like the spores of an exploding mushroom. His followers contend that Zeoron’s essence is everywhere and is truly limitless. Many of his followers believe that Zeoron wishes this reality forged by the gods is illigitimate and must be destroyed. That is why they think that Zeoron’s essence may be the origin of all monsters in the known planes of the multiverse. Followers of Zeoron seek to destroy the foundations of society and any forces that might defend the multiverse from destruction.

Church of The Light

Worshippers of the Church of Light reject all deities in favor of the truth of the light. The light never intercedes on behalf of its followers but instead allows them to rely on the power within which makes them stronger and more self-assured. They view dependence on the gods as a drug, one that is dangerous to mess with since the power and favor handed down from the gods can be taken away on a whim. Followers of the Church of Light seek to teach others to abandon the gods and move on. All that is needed is the Light. The Church is small but extremely loyal to each other. Some outside of the Church have wild theories about what the Light really is. It could be a devil, a spirit, an Old One, or any number of things whispering in the ears of mortals to cause doubt of the gods. Some of their followers prefer the Church because they are tired of the eternal conflict between the good and evil forces.

Ganza, The Advocate

The self-styled spirit of Justice, the shadowy Advocate urges her followers to fight for both accusers and the accused. Therefore it is also a sort of deity of even-handed Law. Followers created the first so-called Lawyers and corresponding Judges. Worshippers pray to remain objective and unemotional whether they are on the attack or on defense. They are passionate only about making sure that their wards are given fair treatment by the governments of the world. Ganza is represented by the symbol of the scales. Her followers are expected to dress well while following their mission.

Dendar, King of Nightmares

Dendar was born as the God of Fear but he proved to be a loose cannon and he ended up being opposed by good and evil gods alike. He sought the destruction of everything that everybody had built. Therefore, the evil gods did not stand in the way of the good gods when they captured Dendar. They imprisoned him for eternity in a box floating through Outer Planar space. At some point after the Ascension, the box was cracked and Dendar escaped into the Dreamplane. Mortals and Immortals alike still feel the pure fear of Dendar’s power in their sleep. If he can, Dendar will be released from the Dreamplane and will not stop until he utterly destroys the multiverse.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 2

May 9, 2020

Aurora led Belle to a big castle on the shore overlooking the sea, part of it was actually in the water. The place had obviously been modified to be more of a fortress and the work looked recent. Huge iron plates covered the lower windows and nasty-looking spiked fences and sea barriers had been desperately erected. It was all so grim but Belle had gotten used to grim. In the night, she could see soldiers patrolling the grounds by their lit torches. There were quite a few people out there which was kind of comforting. Of course, so was Aurora’s sword.

They arrived at the gates and the guards opened them for Aurora and Belle. The two women made their way inside. Everything was more inviting and warm inside the gates but there was still a tension in the air. Aurora knew exactly what she was doing and where she was going and Belle definitely liked that. Belle had never been a fighter, she was just not that kind of woman. Still, she did like to help people and Aurora seemed sure she could help here. She held onto that. A little dog walked up to them and Aurora turned to it.

“Dodger,” Aurora said. “Something or rather somebody has come up. Have Phoebus take over my patrol?”

“You got it, Your Majesty,” the dog named Dodger said and then scampered off.

“Did that dog just respond to you?” Belle asked.

“Yes,” Aurora said. “Is that weird to you?”

“A month ago I was having conversations with teapots and candelabra,” Belle said. “I’m just trying to establish the rules here.”

“The rules are that there aren’t really any rules,” Aurora said. “This is all insane and it will probably be insane for a long, long time. Are you hungry?”

“Actually yes,” Belle said. “I can’t remember when I ate last.” Her stomach grumbled and she silently prayed for a meal with Adam with a bit of the gray stuff and some of Mrs. Potts’ tea. She did not want any of this to happen and now it was all hitting her at once. She felt a bit dizzy for a moment but she shook it off with a deep breath.

Aurora flagged down a young woman who was passing by with a tray of food. “Tiana?” she said. “Could you get some food to the library for Belle here?” Belle’s eyes brightened at the sound of the word ‘library’ but she tried to stay on track.

“Of course!” Tiana said with a brilliant smile. Tiana was dressed in strange clothes that looked like some sort of dress but a strange design and material. “It’s nice to meet you, Belle, I’m Tiana and, as you can see, I love to cook. You definitely look like you could benefit. Newcomers get beignets.” She said the last with a flourish as if that word was not only supposed to mean something but it was of great importance.

“Great!” Belle said. “I’m excited for whatever those are.”

“Oh you will love them,” Tiana said. “Everybody back in New Orleans loves a good beignet and mine are the best.”

“New Orleans?” Belle asked. “I’ve heard of Orleans but not New Orleans. How strange.”

“Tiana here is also a princess from another world,” Aurora said.

“That’s three of us who are royalty,” Belle said. “Two princesses and a queen.”

“Four of us if you count Queen Ariel,” Tiana said.

“That might be something,” Belle said thoughtfully. “It’s a big deal to have so much royalty in one place.”

“Really?” Tiana asked. “I’m barely even a princess, I kind of just stumbled into it. I married a layabout dirt poor prince.”

“It was kind of the same with me,” Belle said. “I had no idea my husband was even a prince until after we fell in love.”

“We’ll have to talk about it sometime, huh?” Tiana said. “I do have to get this food to people. Maybe a cup of tea later tonight? You’ll probably need one. Your head has gotta be spinning.”

“It is,” Belle said. “Thank you. That would be great.”

“I’ll have somebody bring you some food at the library in the meantime,” Tiana said before she ran off to deliver more food.

“There’s that word again,” Belle said. “I love libraries. Libraries make sense. Please bring me to the library.”

Aurora laughed. “Sure,” she said. “Let’s go.”


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