Archive for August, 2020

Summer Games Done Quick 2020

August 31, 2020

The world is chaos and darkness but there are some bright spots here and there. Personally, I have friends and family and things are clipping along professionally for me. The world needs a lot of help and that’s why organizations like Doctors Without Borders are necessary. Medecins Sans Frontieres has been an organization for as long as I can remember. They go where medical professionals are needed and help as best they can. Traditionally, I feel like that mostly included going to underserved and third world locations to provide healthcare without political strings attached. Now they are responding to crisis after crisis. For the first time, MSF has set up shop in the USA to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They are all over the globe and they are selfless.

The reason why I bring them up is because the charity event Summer Games Done Quick just ended last week. Games Done Quick runs multiple events a year and each one is assigned a charity. SDGQ chose Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and they were able to raise 2.3 Million dollars from crowdsourcing. The event lasted for one week and was jampacked with speedrunners plying their skills and arcane knowledge. A wide range of games are chosen and each one has a runner, commentators, and a host. The runner or runners operate the game while they and the commentators explain the techniques and tricks that are being performed. The host keeps an eye on the donations coming in and reads out messages attached to donations. This year was special because it was done entirely online instead of in person which allowed for an expanded roster of runners but more technical obstacles.

There are a lot of great runs but some have absolutely blown me away, made me laugh, or just entertained me in general.

The first that I can think of is the above run which is a race between two runners of a game I talked about on this blog previously. Hollow Knight is an incredibly difficult game played casually but speedrunners make it look easy. Both of the runners here play the game beautifully and bosses that I spent hours trying to beat look like a beautiful ballet of spinning blades.

This is a run from early on in the event of a first-person shooter called Dusk which I have not played. The developers bill it as the fastest first-person shooter. The reason why this run was so hilarious is because one of the developers of the game was commentating. The run was just full of the developer protesting, sputtering, and joking as somebody absolutely exploited and destroyed the game he worked so hard on.

This run is from the Silly Block of games (at AGDQ this is called the Awful Block) which is full of the silliest and weirdest games on the schedule. That includes the Alf computer game, Hypnospace Outlaw (which I should write a post on), and the above Pringles run among others. The Silly Block is very fun and often a great place to start watching since most of them are short and fun runs.

There are so many more runs and here is a link to the playlist so you can see if something appeals to you more.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 6

August 29, 2020

The kitchen had calmed down by the time that Esmeralda dropped her off at the kitchen although it showed every sign of the work that had gone into the meal. Esmeralda had impulsively handed Belle a tarot card before they parted. Belle was studying it as she ate her late breakfast ravenously. She felt a bit like Adam the way she was shovelling food into her mouth. The card was labeled as The Hermit. She had no idea what it meant but the art was pretty. She supposed Adam had been a bit of a hermit before they met, though. In a way, she had been a hermit when she buried herself in her books and shied away from people. The card depicted a supposedly wise old man with a lantern. He looked solemn and maybe a bit lonely.

“She gave me one of those too,” Tiana said as she walked up, wiping her hands on her apron.

Belle quickly chewed and swallowed quickly, just barely avoiding choking. “Oh?” she managed to get out.

Tiana pulled a card from the waistband of her dress and held it up. The card said The Chariot at the bottom and depicted a long-haired man being carried on a litter. Adam had long ago given up most of his royal trappings and it looked absolutely extravagant. It looked much more lively than Belle’s Hermit.

“Any idea what it means?” Belle asked. “I’ve never read about the tarot.”

“I have no idea,” Tiana said. “I knew a man who traficked in such magicks and it turned me off of learning anything about it. I don’t think this is really the same thing. Esmeralda is a nice woman, I am sure it does not mean anything bad.”

“Sure,” Belle said. “I’ll have to look it up when I have a chance. When this is all over.”

“Tell me before we return to our worlds,” Tiana said with a smirk.

“You could just ask Esmeralda,” Belle said. “We could both do that, actually.”

“There’s fun in the mystery,” Tiana said. “The journey is just as worth it as the destination even if it is hard.”

“That’s true,” Belle said. “Most of my life I sat around waiting for change but it didn’t happen until I made it happen.”

“You’re my kind of woman, Belle,” Tiana said. “I think we might have a lot in common.” Belle was starting to realize that this was probably true. Though their personalities were different, they might have gone through similar adventures.”

Belle smiled. “Did your fiance magically transform leading you through a chaotic adventure where you learned a lot about yourself?” she asked.

Tiana laughed and tucked her card away. “Actually, he did,” Tiana said. “He and I both transformed into frogs and got lost in the swamp.”

Belle was intrigued. “My fiance was cursed and transformed into a raging beast,” she said. “He changed back to human, though.” The events still felt fresh in her mind. The fear, the curiosity, and the love were still all mixed together. She and Adam were just starting to really connect now that the chaos had stopped. Of course, the chaos had started again.

“With true love’s kiss?” Tiana asked. Belle was surprised. Was true love’s kiss a common thing? It was something to weigh in her upcoming studies, she supposed. She wondered if the research should go beyond books. Books were always a good place to start but there seemed to be a lot of magical experience connected to everyone involved in this crisis.

“More or less,” Belle said as she blushed. “Oh and all of his servants had been transformed into furniture.”

“Alright, you got me beat there,” Tiana said. “That is absolutely wild. We’ll have to compare notes at some point.” Belle was amazed at how easily Tiana could talk to other people. Belle was still working on that aspect of her life. She and Adam were both working on it in different ways.

“I get the feeling that this place is full of people with interesting stories,” Belle said. “I wish I had more time but I need to be in the library to study how to beat this thing.”

“Good luck on that,” Tiana said. “As much as I like cooking for all of this royalty and fine folk, I miss my husband, my mother, and my home.”

“I miss my husband and my father,” Belle said. “We’re still figuring home out. We’re still figuring a lot of things out.”

“So are we but we were settling in. Again, I tell you good luck,” Tiana said. “I won’t keep you here. It looks like you enjoyed your breakfast, though.”

“It was so good,” Belle said. “I hate to rush off.” She pocketed her tarot card quickly.

“We all have our jobs to do,” Tiana said. “You’ll prove your worth when you help solve this thing.”

Media Update 8/27/20

August 27, 2020

Ford v Ferrari

I am not a car guy but one of my best friends from third to twelfth grade really was so I know a little bit. However, this movie does not require you to know much about how cars work but more how companies and invention works. This movie follows the journey of Carol Shelby, Ken Miles, and other engineers as they worked to design Ford’s first sports car, the GT40. Ford is struggling a bit under Henry Ford’s son and they need to expand into new markets and break tradition to survive and flourish. They contract outside company Shelby American which is helmed by the straight-shooting Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) who used to race cars but now helps design and build cars. He hired the difficult but brilliant Ken Miles (Christian Bale) onto his team to build for Ford in a bid to expand their business. Honestly, I think this might be Bale’s best performance to date and I say that as a fan of his career. The cast of characters on their team are also great with a special shout out to Ray McKinnon as an old school engineer working for Shelby. I also really liked seeing Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca, the one whose idea it is to shoot for the moon in the first place. I definitely recommend this movie.

Live from the Space Stage

This is a surprising new documentary produced by Kevin Perjurer of Defunctland and young filmmaker Matthew Serrano. Knowing it was from Perjurer, I knew that it would probably have something to do with Disney parks but I was absolutely surprised (and I was right). The documentary covers the Disney Record Company’s manufacture of a band called Halyx. The musicians in Disney parks at that time (1981) were either very poppy or stuff like barbershop quartets. This was Disney’s attempt to design and put together a rock band. The concept was to put on good music but it was more important to put on a spectacle. Each band member took on a persona, several of them were dressed in costumes that made them inhuman. They were a vaguely Star Wars-themed band but an entirely new creation. The band members really added to it and they gained a huge underground following and then a bad record deal demolished them. I definitely recommend it.

High Score

This is a new documentary series on Netflix more or less on the history of video games. A lot of it I had heard before but some of it was absolutely new to me. It is not made by any one company and therefore is able to look into the high spots and the low spots. For example, it covers the move from arcades to the Atari, Japan making landfall in America, and lots of innovations and entrepeneurs. It has also covered so far the Atari ET debacle, the Video Game crash of the Eighties, and various court cases. Everybody is absolutely candid. The show also covers inspirational stories outside of the actual industry. For example, it tells the story of the trans woman who won the National Space Invaders Tournament. It is a fascinating look at how the industry evolved from counter culture to mainstream culture. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:


HALYX – What Is He Hiding

Lacey Sturm – Impossible

러블리즈(Lovelyz) – 지금, 우리

Bowling For Soup – Alexa Bliss

Maisy Kay – Almost Touch Me

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Building Something Innovative”
  • I watched more Riverdale Season 4
  • I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1
  • I watched more Watcher videos
  • I watched more Watchmen Season 1
  • I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 5
  • I watched more Lovecraft Country Season 1
  • I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1
  • I watched more Muppets Now Season 1
  • I started Hannibal Season 2
  • I started watching Summer Games Done Quick
  • I finished Batwoman Season 1

30 Day Challenge: Songs Pt. 5

August 24, 2020

25 – A song you like by an artist no longer living

A relatively recent death, Dr. John was a legit jazz and blues artist in every sense of the word. He was rightfully labeled a legend and can be listed among the greats for all time. However, I did not even hear his music until I was almost eighteen in the year 2000. Yes, because a lot of what I take in is through television and movies, the first time I saw Dr. John sing and play piano was in Blues Brothers 2000. He was part of the legendary superband The Louisiana Gator Boys among such lumanaries as BB King, Eric Clapton, and Bo Diddley among many more great musicians. If Blues Brothers 2000 did one thing right, it was to form that band. That was not the only movie that Dr. John was a part of. Any time something was set in New Orleans, there was a chance that his music is somewhere on the soundtrack. Case in point, the above track opens up Disney’s Princess and the Frog. It was the perfect song to set the scene and introduce the magic of the setting before the characters are properly introduced.

26 – A song you like from the last decade

This song is a great song that definitely gets me pumped and it is really fun to sing along to. I had heard of Bruno Mars before (how could you not?) but this was actually my introduction to Mark Ronson. A funny family story actually stemmed from this song. As I have mentioned before, my brother did a TED Talk years ago. While he was backstage, he was introduced to Mark Ronson because my brother’s talk had been about sound and Ronson was intrigued. This was around the time this song was hitting the airwaves. My brother told us the story later and we thought it was cool. Cut to my mom doing a calisthenics class and the song that the instructor played that she liked the most was Uptown Funk. She went to my brother and asked if he had heard of the song. Not only had he heard the song, he had met the singer. My mom was hardly embarassed that she had failed to make the connection but we all laughed pretty hard.

27 – A song that breaks your heart

I am pro-choice for sure but even so an abortion is rarely something anybody looks forward to and is often not a happy moment. Ben Folds and drummer Darren Jessee wrote the song about an experience Ben Folds had accompanying his high school girlfriend getting an abortion. I can feel the anxiety, grief, and angst so much emotion in the performance. It was a departure for Folds who had mostly had uptempo and silly songs as hits. This was him growing as an artist.

28 – A song by an artist whose voice you love

I absolutely fell in love with Halestorm because of Lzzy Hale. She has such range for a hard rock singer and every song has such smooth vocals with a sharp edge. Pretty much every song they have done has been a hit with me and I use to listen to their music a lot in the car on the way to gaming. I am also particularly fond of how they put their albums together. For example, their hit Mz. Hyde slides right into I Miss the Misery in the next track through the sustain of a guitar. However, the real appeal is the vocals that always blow me away. There is something a little blues and a little punk rock to it. Halestorm also does a lot of covers including covers of pop songs adding a rock flair.

29 – A song you remember from your childhood

The first time I heard this song was in my mom’s car on a Raffi tape. Raffi and the Rise and Shine Band was a godsend for parents everywhere. He released good recordings of a lot of classic songs but broke it up with some more exciting songs. That way, mom did not have to hear us sing along to Wheels on the Bus and then some other repetitive song. Instead, she sometimes got a De Colores or this song originally recorded by the legend Harry Belafonte. Of course, his recording has a very prominent place in Beetlejuice. He did not write the song as it was a traditional Jamaican work song from the point of view of dock workers working at night to load ships.

30 – A song that reminds you of yourself

I just had to pick this one. I have loved Weird Al so much since I first heard his silly parodies in the nineties. I feel like he has gotten better and better as a performer and a songwriter since. This song really fits with my life. Particularly, it makes me think of my high school years when my horizons were starting to expand. I was obsessed with Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Video Games, Comic Books, and so much more. I was very white but I was just starting to get into rap music and less white forms of entertainment. I felt out of place and kept my NWA, Pharoahe Monch, Jurassic 5, and Busta Rhymes albums hidden. I went to a private school and I was self-conscious. I am a fan of so many things that Weird Al lists in this song. It always makes me smile.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 5

August 22, 2020

Mulan sat at the table sipping a cup of tea. She had made the tea herself, not willing to flag down a soldier or other refugee during such a tense time to make the tea. She had been taught to make tea by her mother and she really needed a cup to calm her nerves. Seated around the table were the foreigners. Mulan had called a meeting with them because she trusted members of the Emperor’s army but these people were mysteries that Mulan would need to solve before she could effectively lead what may be the only resistance left in China. The fort was out of the way but this monstrous army would eventually find it.

Anna was sitting directly to Mulan’s right with her hands folded neatly and trying to look professional. Aladdin was sitting to her left, relaxed and slumped back in his chair a bit. Rapunzel leaned heavily on the table, obviously exhausted from working hard in the medical tent. Merida sat on a windowsill nearby, looking half at the room and half out the window. Mulan could not really catch her eye because the redhead was wearing a hood to keep the sun out of her eyes and presumably to hide her shocking red hair. Merida had also declined a cup of tea when the others had accepted. Mulan was not offended but curious.

“Thank you for meeting with me,” Mulan said. “I am Fa Mulan, agent of the Emperor and formerly of the Chinese army. The soldiers here have chosen me as their leader temporarily.”

“Temporarily?” Aladdin asked. “Until what happens?”

“My husband is General Li Shang,” Mulan said. “I am much more comfortable with him leading.”

Merida snorted. “A woman can lead just as well as a man,” she said. “Sometimes better.”

“I agree,” Aladdin said without explaining further.

“I agree with you,” Mulan said. “but having my husband lead is a matter of logic rather than tradition. He has much more experience leading and I am much better when I have time to myself to think.”

“Of course, too much time alone can be bad for you,” Anna said pointedly, glancing over at Merida. Merida either did not hear the comment or chose to ignore it.

Mulan took a sip of tea for serenity. “Why don’t you tell me again who you all are and what you are doing here at the fort.” She gestured to Anna who seemed most excited to speak.

“My name is Anna,” she said. “I come from Arendelle. My parents were the King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle but they died on a trip to solve the mystery of the source of my sister Elsa’s magical ice powers. My sister Elsa became Queen of Arendelle and she accidentally froze our kingdom. I had to go on an adventure with my current fiance and a snowman to stop a wicked prince who happened to be my fiance at the time. My sister and I reconnected and then she unfroze Arendelle. After that we journeyed to the Enchanted Forest and the not-so-mythical Ahtohallan to solve the mystery of the Enchanted Forest and our parents. After that, Elsa made me Queen of Arendelle.” Anna looked around and then tensed. “Sorry, sometimes I talk a lot when I’m nervous.”

“That’s alright,” Mulan said. “What are you doing around the fort?”

“I’ve just been making myself available,” Anna said. “I had been learning to cook back in Arendelle so I have been helping in the mess tent a lot. I don’t have a lot of experience in battle but I’m ready to help however I can.”

Mulan nodded and gestured to Aladdin.

“My name is Aladdin, I am a Prince of Agrabah,” he said. “I have been using my friend Carpet to search for surivors and supplies. I know what it feels like to be chased and to be hungry.”

Mulan nodded and gestured to Rapunzel who sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“My name is Rapunzel and I am from the same world as Anna although we first met here,” she said. “I am a Princess of Corona although I spent a long time lost in the woods so I am new to the whole royal thing. I used to be able to heal magically but when I lost that ability, I tried to learn as much as I could about other magics and natural healing. My, um, godmother’s journals taught me a lot about herbalism. I have been trying to heal the sick and wounded.”

“How is that going?” Mulan asked.

“It’s going well,” Rapunzel said. “The forces here are almost back to full fighting force.”

“And my husband?” Mulan asked with as much patience and calm as she could conjure.

“Your husband will recover soon,” Rapunzel said. “However, his wound was really bad. Oh by the way, I am pretty good in a fight.”

Mulan nodded and breathed a sigh of relief.

Without prompting, Merida climbed down from the windowsill and pulled her hood down. “My name is Merida of DunBroch and I suppose I’m a Princess too,” she said. “I’ve been up on that tower shooting innae thing that moves. It’s my job to alert everybody when they finally find us.”

“I feel that you have been up there too long on your own,” Mulan said. “When do you sleep?”

“I sleep in bits here and there,” Merida said. “I make it through.”

“I’ll take a turn above,” Mulan said. “You consult with Rapunzel and get some rest and at least one proper meal.”

“Nobody’s a better shot than me,” Merida said. “I can’t take a break for too long.”

“Trust me, I am a pretty good shot myself,” Mulan said. “I’ll call you if there is an emergency. Get some rest. That’s an order.”

“I don’t do well with orders,” Merida said. “but I suppose I’m a guest here. Fine. I’ll play along.”

Media Update 8/20/20

August 20, 2020

Lovecraft Country

HP Lovecraft was an absolute racism but that part of him has long gone ignored. I have definitely explained that even Italian was too dark for Lovecraft and he named his black cat the N word. So when I heard of the book Lovecraft Country which combined the real life guidebooks that Black people wrote for travelling the country and eldritch horror, I was excited. The involvement of Jordan Peele was exciting and showrunner Misha Green has a history in television. JJ Abrams is just a producer. The show hit me right away with the great combination of realistic stories of racism and extraordinary tales of horror. The show is set in the 1950s with segregation still legal and many laws still on the books making it easier for violence against Blacks to happen. Unlike movies like The Green Book, it does not pretend that racism only existed in the South. Jurnee Smollett is great as the hot-blooded Letitia. Jonathan Majors plays the bookish ex-soldier Atticus who is bucking against the way the world is while trying to be smart about things. Courtney B. Vance plays the older Uncle George who is wise to the guidebooks and is constantly working to explore and add to the book. I definitely recommend this show.

Project Power

When I first heard about this movie, I was intrigued and expected it to be an adaptation of a comic book when it is actually not. It definitely feels like a graphic novel, though. The story of the movie is that there is a new pill being sold that gives people superpowers for five minutes. The superpower depends on a person’s individual genetic markers and are based on animal attributes. The powers are often not pretty and disastrous hence it being an underground drug. It stars Jamie Foxx as an ex-soldier similar to the second Captain America (Isaiah Bradley) who has a personal vendetta. He is joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a hotshot police detective. The real star of the movie is Dominique Fishback, a young student who is caught up in the drug world but desperately wants to help. The movie is action-packed and takes a look at how policing, politics, illegal experimentation, and life under the poverty line really works. I definitely recommend it.

Zombies 2

I really liked the first Zombies as it had a lot of bouncy, poppy music but actually had a really good racism allegory. The second movie extends that allegory and really puts more work into it. It is ostensibly about how minorities may try to pass or fit in to get rights instead of being themselves. This includes denying or destroying their heritage in exchange for acceptance. It also explores the situation of how non-minorities can lose their place in their community by siding with minorities. It is not a perfect movie in that sense but it is definitely very entertaining and I hope it educates the average Disney Channel viewer. The whole cast returns and they all get expanded bits in stories. Milo Manheim plays one of the titular zombies who is trying to gain more rights for his kind but is swayed by the siren song of true acceptance. Meg Donnelly plays a cheerleader who has lost ground for choosing to date a zombie and is trying to live her life the best way she can. I was very pleased that they gave more of a role to the franchise’s only black character played by Carla Jeffry who is adorable. Although, the addition of the werewolves does bring in the dynamic Chandler Kinney who is so charming. I recommend this to those who like bouncy musicals.

Music of the Week:
Cardi B – Money

Steven Page – The Work At Hand

BiS2nd 新生アイドル研究会 – アゲンストザペイン

Bring Me The Horizon – medicine

Lauren Jauregui – More Than That

Weekly Update:

This week’s theme is “Racism and the Supernatural”

I watched more Riverdale Season 4

I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1

I watched more Watcher videos

I watched more Watchmen Season 1

I watched more Batwoman Season 1

I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 5

I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1

I watched more Muppets Now Season 1

I finished Hannibal Season 1

I finished Scientology and the Aftermath

I finished Elementary Season 2

30 Days Challenge Songs Pt. 4

August 17, 2020


19 – A song that makes you think about life

This song made me think a lot about my depression and my anger problems. I used to listen to the song and hurt, feeling misunderstood. Eventually, I realized how much of it was a choice that I was making and that I could choose to be happy (with the help of anti-anxiety drugs). I did not want to feel like the villain anymore and so I worked to change my life. Listening to this song makes me think of those days and how I do not want to slide back into them. I would have been interested to see the rock opera that this was supposed to belong to as the villain Jumbo sounded like a sympathetic character.


20 – A song that has meaning to you

Honestly, this was probably the first song I can remember that made me weep. People can hate on this song all they want but it came at right the just moment in my life. I had been working at a job that I hated and did not feel appreciated at. My mental health was deteriorating quickly and then they let me go and I agreed to go at about the same time. Still, I was devastated because I had never been asked to leave a job before. I had always been the one who made that decision so I felt lower than low. I went to visit my folks for Easter and I left there feeling down but a little bit hopeful. This song started playing on my car speakers and I just lost it. I had lost the good news in all of the bad news. I was free! Sure I had no paycheck but I also did not have to go to a job that had me depressed and anxious and was negatively affecting my health. It made me think of how I needed to find something that suited me better. I have now found that job and I will move on from my current job and find something that equally suits me. At that moment, I learned to “Let it Go” and I felt so much better after a good cry.


21 – A song you like with a person’s name in the title

This is the first song that popped into my head that met the criteria and it still cracks me up as a song. Abbey Road remains my favorite Beatles album and I used to listen to this song on repeat. I love the juxtaposition of the dark subject matter with the bouncy music backing it. The lyrics actually remind me of rap music with their internal rhymes and the way it plays with language. I used to say this was my favorite Beatles song as a joke but, honestly, I still love this song for real. People are down on songs like these because they are silly and have little meaning but sometimes the Beatles were great when they were being silly. Songs like this, Octopus’ Garden, Yellow Submarine, and more really did not seem to mean much but were just fun to listen to.


22 – A song that moves you forward

When I am low on energy, I will often listen to pro-wrestling themes. It makes sense as they are usually designed to fire up the crowd and the performers. This band, Downstait, has written a few that I listen to for Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and now Cody Rhodes. I am also a huge fan of the bands that work with WWE’s CFO$ like Code Orange and Incendiary. I am really fond of “The Root of All Evil” (Aleister Black) , “Real Deal” (Emma), and “Limitless” (Keith Lee). I also like some of Jim Johnston’s new stuff like “New Day, New Way” (The New Day). I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the music department of All Elite Wrestling as well which seems to be using different artists instead of an in-house crew. Stuff like “Superkick Party” (Young Bucks), “The Best Friends Theme”, and “I Fell” (Darby Allin). All of the music is designed to get people hyped and it is why I often use it as my alarm in the morning.

23 – A song you think everybody should listen to

I just picked a song at random from on my phone but I have loved this track since I first saw the music video ages ago. While being dangerously close to being an X-Men reference, he X-Ecutioners were actually a DJ/Turntablist trio that did a lot of work with other artists. They embraced the spirit of the old turntablists but with original compositions. Linkin Park is a group that I have loved since their inception even though a lot of their songs sound similar to each other and blend together. The mix between electronic, rap, and rock is pretty fun to listen to. This plays up the turntable strengths of both the X-Executioners and Joe Hanh with the strong style of Mike Shinoda’s rapping.


24 – A song by a group that you wish were still together

Jurassic 5 was one of the groups that first got me into rap music and they remain a benchmark that I judge a lot of rap groups by. One thing that I respected was that the group never had to go dirty or violent with their lyrics. There is nothing wrong with violent or sexual lyrics but it made J5 stand out among the pack when I was also listening to NWA, Wutang Clan, and Busta Rhymes. As you can hear in this track, they also sampled some really fun stuff. (The Muppet Show!) Their lyrics were always mind-bendingly complex and most songs changed rhythms and melodies several times throughout the song as different members stepped in. I have since heard a lot of good things from the former members on other tracks but they were always so good together.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 5

August 15, 2020

Thankfully, Maui did not climb onto the golf cart for the return trip. His enormous weight would have probably caused the cart to drag on the ground. As it was, Adam could feel the cart sag when he sat down. Instead, Maui transformed into a hawk and flew high above the cart as it traveled the paths back toward the ramshackle houses where they had come from. It was the closest thing that the three of them had to a home at present. They were lost in this foreign land of Hawaii and confused by all of the modern trappings. Moana seemed to be adapting but Adam felt as lost as Maui looked when he thought nobody was looking.

Moana had grabbed up one of the snakes and had handed it to a startled Adam. He had the thing in a death grip as they drove back to town. He never really dealt with snakes even when his father used to take him hunting. There were certainly snakes in France but he had really only seen snakes in pictures in books. Suddenly having one in his hands was an absolutely mind-blowing revelation. He had long considered himself brave but he could feel his heart beating hard and fast as he stared at the snake. It was even weirder to think that the struggling snake was actually a transformed human being. He wondered who they had been. He also wondered if he was more scared now that he had something or somebody to lose.

“Are you even listening?” Moana asked and Adam looked up surprised. Moana was smirking at him but she had some concern in her eyes. Adam tried to smile but knew that it did not come off as genuine.

“What?” Adam asked. He blinked up at Moana and got the sun in his eyes. The snake squirmed a little but Adam kept hold.

“You haven’t heard a single thing I said on the whole way back,” Moana said. “We’re back, by the way.” Adam looked around and saw that the golf cart had stopped and they were back to where he had woken up that morning.

“Alright,” she said as Maui landed and transformed back to his demigod form. “Let’s get that to the lab so that you can let go of that thing.”

“You’re fine, aren’t you Adam?” Maui asked with a smirk. “A brave guy like you.”

“I’m fine,” Adam said. “I’m not used to snakes is all.” They climbed out of the golf cart and started walking. He was not entirely sure that he was fine. He had nearly drowned the day before, had woken up in a brand new world, his curse seemed to be somewhat back, and Belle was nowhere to be seen. He was stable but barely. He wondered how much of that Moana could see and how much Maui cared enough to notice.

“There are a ton of snakes back at the islands,” Maui said. “I once fought a snake that was twenty feet long.” He flexed his amazing biceps and Adam could swear that his tattoos actually moved. Tattoos were also something he had only seen in books.

“I’m sure,” Adam said. “I guess that’s a reminder that things could be worse.”

“No,” Maui said with a laugh. “It was awesome.” He rested his giant hook on his shoulder.

“Maui,” Moana said with an exasperated sigh. “Stop teasing people. What have I said about bullying? What has Te Fiti said about bullying? What about bragging? Hasn’t bragging gotten you in trouble?”

“Alright, alright,” Maui said. “Go on down to that ‘lab’. I don’t like those guys, I’ll stay up here and keep watch.”

Moana reached down and pulled up a trapdoor in the ground, the dust cascading to the ground. “Are you ready?” she asked with a bit of a teasing smile.

“Should I be worried about what’s down there?” Adam asked.

“If anything goes wrong, you can just go beast mode,” Moana said. “but seriously Jumba and Pleakley are harmless. They’re aliens so they’re very weird but they are harmless.”

“What’s an alien?” Adam asked.

“Something from another world,” Moana said.

“Like us?” Adam asked.

“Yes but completely different,” Moana said. “You’ll see.”

Media Update 8/13/20

August 13, 2020


Watchmen

I was a big fan of the graphic novel when it came out, although as I have gotten older I roll my eyes a bit at some of the politics. It is an interesting look at how superheroes might actually work in a world more like our own. It shows how power corrupts and how society will always seek to tear down anybody who becomes famous. The movie adaptation was not great but that is because it was a panel for frame adaptation. It was never going to be anything else. The show is an adaptation in that it takes the story forward in time and writes a new story. It is a world still feeling the echoes of the characters in the original source material. Regina King plays a masked police detective, a woman stuck between justice and the system. Jean Smart plays Laurie Blake, the now jaded veteran superhero who is now dedicated to eradicating superheroes. Jeremy Irons plays Adrian Veidt, an aging genius billionaire who is now going mad. The rest of the cast is filled with great performances from Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Louis Gossett Jr., Don Johnson, and Hong Chau. All of these are names you should know by now. The story has a lot of moving parts and several ongoing mysteries that relate to the original source material and the new material. I definitely recommend the show.


Nancy Drew

I used to read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I got into Nancy Drew when I first read Hardy Boys books that crossed over with Nancy Drew. Once that happened, I never really went back to the Hardy Boys. Reading Nancy is why I immediately got into Veronica Mars. This show feels very much like Veronica Mars. Nancy has had a hell of a time and now she is reconnecting with a world she had previously disconnected from. She is rusty as an investigator and now there are also supernatural elements to deal with (something that was prevalent in the visual novels). Kennedy McMann is great as the somewhat jaded girl detective with a heart of gold. Leah Lewis plays George Fan, a moody, nerdy young woman with strong convictions. Maddison Jaizani plays a somewhat ditzy Bess Marvin who kind of acts as a light in the darkness. Tunji Kasim plays Ned Nickerson, the bad boy who is Nancy’s boyfriend. There is plenty more to love in the show so far and I am getting into the twisting mystery. I want to see what happens next. I recommend the show with the caveat that it is a CW show so it has a lot of that style.


The Girl Who Played With Fire

Like the first movie, this is another mystery/thriller from the land of Sweden. Stieg Larsson died before his books were adapted into movies but each of the Swedish movies has been very faithful to the source material. While the style of the movies feels bleak, the mysteries burn hot. Lisbeth Salander is a compelling character. She is a heavily flawed yet fascinatingly awesome character. The first film made Noomi Rapace a name in America and that ended up being a great thing for Hollywood. She brings a fire to Salander, an outsider, a punk, and a hacker. Along the way, she befriended a journalist played but Michael Nyqvist who is a little bit goofy but an intelligent and moral voice for the voiceless. Together and separately, they are trying to save the world in their own way. The movie, like its predecessor, is entirely in Swedish but it is very easy to follow with subtitles. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:
BABYMETAL – Elevator Girl

Normani – Motivation

Qveen Herby – Cheap Talk

K.Flay – Not In California

Jimmy Eat World – 555

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Crimes from Books”
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more Hannibal Season 1
– I watched more Riverdale Season 4
-I watched more Batwoman Season 1
– I watched more Scientology and the Aftermath
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 5
– I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1
– I watched more Muppets Now Season 1
– I watched more Perry Mason Season 1
– I finished The Umbrella Academy Season 2
– I started watching Haunted

30 Days Challenge Songs Pt. 3

August 10, 2020


13 – A song you like from the Seventies

I have liked the Ramones since I first heard them as a youth. I was exploring beyond my parents’ musical tastes when I discovered Punk as a genre. It is the perfect thing for a preteen misfit to stumble upon. I loved the Ramones because they were high energy and their lyrics sounded crazy and exciting. They were counterculture, slacker weirdos and with their long hair and leather jackets, they felt like they were on a similar wavelength to me. What is interesting is that this song and many of their songs from early albums did not even chart. However, now I hear this song everywhere. It is in plenty of movies, television shows, commercials, and video games. Everything goes commercial eventually. That used to annoy me more. The Ramones were my happy introduction to the land of Punk, somewhere I still love to visit.


14 – A song you like from the Sixties

Jimi Hendrix was my jam for a long time when I was in high school. One of my friends was a total music snob but we could connect through our love of Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix transcended a lot of boundaries because just about anybody I knew loved at least one of his songs. I remember listening to this friend’s coffee house version of All Along the Watchtower and just really enjoying it. Hendrix was a consummate performer who had a strong creative mind. His stage antics and stunts are well known (ie smashing or burning a guitar on stage) but he was also known for changing up how he played and sang songs while on tour which gained him the ire of his more purist fans. My youngest brother was actually the one who really taught me about the guy. He played a right-handed guitar upside down because he was left-handed, for example. My brother first learned guitar by watching Jimi’s fingering in videos of live performances.


15 – A song you like that’s a cover by another artist

It is hard to pick just one song, actually. I picked the above GWAR cover of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” because their performance before and during the song is just legendary. Covers are really hit and miss but that does not make them inherently bad. Many times a band can really nail another band’s song and make it something new and fun. Sometimes they simply make a safe copy of the original song with just a few tweaks and that’s alright. Other times they seem to miss the point of the original completely or make it into something unfun. For example, I am not a fan of bands that turn modern, upbeat songs into dirges or stripped-down slow versions. Some of those bands’ sole purpose is to change the genre of the original song. At the same time, I am always in for a good Metal, Punk, or Dubstep cover of a slow song that speeds it up. I guess I just really like uptempo music more.


16 – A song that’s a classic favorite

I am not sure what ‘classic favorite’ means here but I figure it is another throwback to what folks would consider falling under the classic modifier in musical genres. I am actually going to say a bit about classical music because I am sure it is underrepresented in these sorts of lists. This is one of the tracks that I would listen to in the afternoons after attending high school while I rested my eyes so I could do my night owl thing. Also, I would turn it on low when I had a migraine and drift off to sleep with the help of a handful of acetaminophen. Mozart has always been my favorite classical composer because he has such complex compositions that are rich in different sound textures. He also wrote a lot of symphonies and operas which are more fast-paced than slower composers. This particular composition, Jupiter, always made me think of both the Roman God and the Sailor Scout at the same time.


17 – A song you’d sing a duet with someone on karaoke

This is a song that does not really feel like it is not that hard to sing. It is slow enough to get the words in but fast enough to be fun. I like a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival but this is probably my favorite. I used to sing it to myself a lot when I worked and lived in New Jersey. It has a simple, jangly tune and there are not that many lyrics to it. Come to think of it, that may be why people gravitate toward so-called classic rock. It has the less complex composition that they are used to while modern music adds a lot more noise to the signal. I like either, myself. Also, it would have to be a duet because there is no way I am going on stage to do karaoke by myself. I just do not see the appeal.


18 – A song from the year you were born

Of course, it is not what I was listening early on in life but mainstream Rap music was really being born during the same year that I was. Sampling was becoming more of a thing and we were experiencing a new explosion of culture in the United States. Thanks to the Hip Hop movement, new innovations and influences were brought into mainstream music. The original DJ work will never be commercially available because of the rights issues with sampling and record companies shying away from any sort of lawsuit. There is some work being done on platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud but even those are not safe spaces from legal challenges (legitimate or not). However, the music underground still exists offline at least here in Baltimore as I have been exposed to Club and House mixes that were pretty spectacular done. I used to do some remixes myself but stopped when I lost access to better equipment and software.


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