Archive for January, 2023

An Exhaustive Summary of the Batman: Arkham Games Pt. 8

January 30, 2023

The side missions in the Arkham games are called Gotham’s Most Wanted. There are no side missions in Arkham Asylum (except for The Riddler) so we will be jumping straight to Arkham City.

Acts of Violence (Political Prisoners)

Arkham City started as a place to put Gotham’s criminals as a convenient place for the League of Shadows to execute them all. This is part of the League of Shadows ongoing mission to cleanse Gotham City of sin. The secondary purpose of Arkham City was a place to throw political prisoners who somehow got in the way of the first purpose. The idea was that either the criminals would kill these people almost immediately or they would be in a convenient place to kill them later. Other than the backstory, there is not much story to this mission. Scattered across Arkham City you can find political prisoners being bullied and threatened by criminals. If you keep an ear out, you can find these interactions in alleyways. You can listen to a bit of the dialogue between the two characters which fills in some of the dynamics between the two groups. In all of these encounters, Batman easily takes out the criminal which allows the political prisoner to cower in safety.

AR Training

Early in the game, Alfred tasks you with completing training using augmented reality images. The training is a tutorial that teaches you how to better glide and maneuver while gliding. The first set of missions’ completion rewards you with a grapnel boost gadget. The grapnel boost allows Batman to catapult himself into the air in order to traverse the large map more easily Alfred drops the tech off using the Batwing (which he also uses to drop off the Batsuit in the main story). The second set of challenges just nets you some more XP but it also teaches you more advanced techniques of movement in the air.

Fragile Alliance (Bane)

One of the first major side missions that you can access. On the way to Joker’s hideout in the steel mill for the first time, Batman is momentarily distracted by a distress signal coming from nearby. There is a commotion outside of the half-flooded Krank Toys Factory. A group of inmates seems to be trying to break in. Curious, Batman heads over and takes out the goons in front of the factory. Inside the factory. Batman encounters Bane who he last saw when he fought him and then hit him with the Batmobile. (See Arkham Asylum’s main story). Bane claims to have come down from his exposure to Titan and now wants to destroy the stuff. He tells Batman that there are twelve canisters that were smuggled to various areas of Arkham City. They will split the list in half and he tasks Batman with destroying six canisters.

Batman slowly locates the canisters as he unlocks new areas of Arkham City. He destroys the canisters using his remote explosive gel. Once he is done, Batman returns to Krank Toys to meet up with Bane. Bane congratulates Batman on holding up his end of the bargain. Bane then reveals that instead of destroying his canisters, he hoarded them and Batman has ensured that Bane now has the only supply left. Before Batman can react, the place is invaded by gang members and he is forced to team with Bane to prevent them from getting the Titan. Afterward, Batman declares that Bane will not get the Titan either. He tricks Bane into charging and traps him in a broken elevator. Batman makes Bane watch as he blows up the remaining canisters one by one.

Cold Call Killer (Victor Zsasz)

If you poke around the industrial district enough, you will eventually discover a dead body leaning against a pay phone. A bit later, Batman starts hearing various pay phones ringing. If he picks up the phone, he hears the voice of serial killer Victor Zsasz who had a small cameo in Asylum. Victor has been murdering people who answer the phone. When Batman answers the phone, Zsasz will taunt him and challenge him to reach another ringing phone before time runs out. If Batman does not arrive in time, somebody else might answer the phone and get killed by Zsasz. When Batman reaches the phone in time, Zsasz starts rambling which allows Batman time to try to track his location.

After a few cycles of this, Batman is able to locate Zsasz’s lair. On arrival, it is clear that Victor has hostages and also that he has thought ahead and locked himself inside a panic room of sorts. In fact, he has been keeping his hostages in cages meant for medium-sized dogs.  Batman must take a more circuitous route through the flooded warehouse in order to get to a weak point in the panic room. Batman frees the hostages and leaves Zsasz in one of his own dog cages.

Identity Theft (Hush)

Batman stumbles upon a dead body in an alleyway of Arkham City. In the chaos of the gang wars, murders are unfortunately not unknown but this one was different because the entire face of the victim had been removed. This looks like the modus operandi of the killer that the newspapers had dubbed The Identity Thief. Batman finds evidence at three similar crime scenes. He interrogates a political prisoner saying that the murderer looked like Bruce Wayne. He finds Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints on a scalpel. Finally, he discovers a thug hired to clean up one of the crime scenes who tells him that Bruce Wayne was the murderer. As the evidence against Wayne mounts, Batman and Oracle grow concerned. Batman thinks that he is innocent of the murders but can’t be certain since Joker’s infection has caused an altered state. Batman vows to get to the bottom of it.

When Batman tracks down the lair of the Identify Thief, he is trapped behind bars. He is confronted by Bruce Wayne. Well, somebody who looks exactly like Bruce Wayne after surgery. The man introduces himself as Thomas Elliott, an old friend of Bruce Wayne’s. Elliott explains that he wants revenge on Wayne for what his father Thomas Wayne did. Thomas Wayne saved Tommy’s parents after a car crash, preventing Tommy from inheriting their money. Tommy sat by and watched as his pal Bruce’s parents died and Bruce inherited so much money. Tommy believed that should have been hs life too. He wants revenge.

As a professional surgeon, Tommy signed up for a medical mission to Arkham City. He had identified victims whose facial features he could fit together like a puzzle to recreate Wayne’s face. He also replicated Wayne’s fingerprints. In fact, early in the game, Batman encountered him without knowing it. In the church, there was a patient with heavy bandages on his head. When Elliott had cut off his own face, it had overwhelmed him and he needed assistance for some time. Eventually, he was able to finish the procedure and give himself Wayne’s face. He introduces himself as Hush. He walks away and by the time Batman gets free of the trap, Hush is long gone. Batman makes a note with Oracle to keep the file open.

Heart of Ice (Nora Fries)

After Batman defeats Mr. Freeze, he learns that the body of Nora Fries is in possession of The Joker as a way to force his cooperation. Victor Fries implores Batman to find his wife and gives Batman a vague area to look into based on his own deductions. Freeze couldn’t make a move to locate her for fear that Joker would pull the plug on Nora. Batman is able to sneak into the warehouse where Nora’s cryostasis pod is being kept and fights off the thugs keeping her hostage. He informs Freeze of the whereabouts of his wife. Freeze creates a path in the water to reunite with Nora. When Batman finds Freeze brooding near his wife’s tank later, Batman encourages the villain to turn away from crime and focus on his wife.

Hot and Cold (Furnace)

When Batman infiltrates the Steel Mill for the last time, he discovers Harley Quinn who has been taped to a pole and gagged. This had been done by Talia al Ghul in an effort to try and assist Batman. When Batman ungags her, she tells him that she definitely won’t talk and especially about Mr. Freeze’s stolen tech that she hid in the boiler room. (You can re-gag Harley at this point). Batman heads down to the boiler room where a bunch of Joker henchmen is hanging out. When they are defeated, it reveals an upgrade to Freeze’s ice grenade gadget which helps Batman with crowd control.

The Tea Party (Mad Hatter)

 After Batman saves Vicki Vale after her helicopter crash in the main story, Batman does not notice Jervis Tetch aka the Mad Hatter watching him from close by. Alfred contacts Batman and tells him that they have been able to develop a cure. He directs Batman to a nearby roof where he will be airdropping the cure from the Batwing. Batman arrives at the coordinates and injects the cure into his bloodstream. He promptly passes out. When he wakes up, he has been captured and restrained by The Mad Hatter. Hatter explains that he implanted Batman with a remote hypnotic suggestion that would lead him to inject himself with a hypnotic drug. Thankfully, Hatter has no idea what Batman saw and heard that convinced him. Tetch gives Batman his very own special hat (a strange mask) that will put him further in Hatter’s control. Batman begins to fight against the mind control and brawls with Hatter’s henchmen and Hatter while he does. He eventually breaks free and crushes Hatter’s hat which stops any and all mind control. He leaves Hatter and his henchmen unconscious at their little tea party.

Remote Hideaway (Remote Mine Detonator)

Sometime after Batman clears the Museum of Penguin’s thugs, the undercover cops have made the Iceberg Lounge their base of operations. They seal off the club in order to protect themselves as they wait for more orders. When Batman visits them, they give him an upgrade for his disruptor gadget allowing him to remotely detonate mines. This removes them as an obstacle to certain areas.

Watcher in the Wings (Azrael)

Throughout the game, Batman can find a strange cloaked man watching him from a high vantage point. When Batman draws close, this man cryptically states that “we” have been watching Batman and also talks about whether Batman is ready or not. Four times Batman finds him and each time, the man leaves a strange symbol carved by a gauntlet-mounted energy blade. Batman is able to scan all four symbols, combine them, and then use them as a key to the map of Gotham to find a fifth location. In the church cemetery, Batman finds a fifth symbol that summons the watcher. The watcher introduces himself as Azrael, lone servant of the Order of Dumas. He brings a message of a prophecy that a fire will rise from Arkham and Gotham and Batman will burn. Batman dismisses this as a fairytale and Azrael says they will meet again.

Shot in the Dark (Deadshot)

After Batman exits the Steel Mill for the first time, he spots a distress flare on top of the partially flooded buildings and hears somebody shouting for help over the radio. He arrives to find a frantic political prisoner who tells Batman that he is being hunted. Before Batman can get him to elaborate, a sniper shot kills the prisoner. Batman uses his cowl to determine the trajectory of the bullet. He follows the bullet back to the logical firing position and concludes that due to the distance of the shot, the only one who could have made it is Deadshot. This is confirmed when Batman finds a custom shell casing with Deadshot’s name engraved on it. This makes sense as Bruce Wayne encountered Floyd Lawton in inmate clothing at the very beginning of the game.

Over the course of the game, Batman finds two more political prisoner victims of Deadshot. Forensic examination of the firing positions reveals Deadshot had come in contact with a specific lead paint and a specific brand of plastic. This information allows Batman and Oracle to narrow down where Deadshot might be going in between kills. Prying off the cover of a utility access point reveals a little cubby where Deadshot is stashing extra gear. Luckily, he left behind a PDA that Batman is able to hack. Batman finds that Deadshot has been hired to murder political prisoners. There are only three names left on the list: reporter Jack Ryder, billionaire Bruce Wayne, and Batman. Batman rushes to save Jack Ryder’s life and then fights Deadshot and imprisons him in a broken-down cable car.


Media Update 1/26/23

January 26, 2023

Halloween Ends (2022)

This new trilogy is what finally brought me into the fold as a fan of the Halloween franchise instead of just liking Halloween 3. I had to watch the end of this version of the story. Inevitably, there will be more but this is the end for now. Michael has been missing in action for four years after his second rampage but how long can he go without killing again? Jamie Lee Curtis once again knocks it out of the park as Laurie Strode and it is fun to see how far the character has come. Andi Matichak returns as Alyson and she also has come so far and does some great acting in this one. Rohan Campbell steals a lot of scenes as a troubled young man battling with internal darkness. I loved the story and this one felt like it tied all three movies together nicely. I kind of want to write something more spoilery on this trilogy. I recommend this movie.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

The premise of this movie sounded wacky to me so I knew I would see it eventually. When terrorists hijack a plane, a mother must unleash her mysterious illness to save the day. This movie was way darker than I expected. I would say that it is most like a mix of Air Force One and Let the Right One In with the tone leaning toward the latter. It is a very gory horror action movie. The action scenes are really crazy and innovative and there is a lot to love. Peri Baumeister brings so much humanity to a vampire character while also being great at being a beast. Carl Anton Koch is a great child actor, doing his best to not be too precocious. Dominic Purcell is always welcome in anything I watch. Alexander Scheer is delightfully psychotic. Kais Setti plays a great everyman, an audience surrogate trapped in this horrible situation. I recommend this movie to people with a strong stomach.

Blackhat (2015)

I do not know how I missed this movie coming out but I did. The FBI and China join together to stop a rogue hacker from killing more people and enlist a convicted hacker to help them. Chris Hemsworth plays the lead, a hacker who means well but who has criminal tendencies. Viola Davis plays a tough-as-nails FBI agent. Tang Wei plays an overlooked but clever computer expert. Leshom Wang plays an arrogant but likable Chinese PLA captain. The action is gritty but really amazing. The information security bits are supposedly some of the most accurate of their kind due to consultants. The movie is tense and dark but still manages to keep things light enough to keep going. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Ice Nine Kills – Welcome To Horrorwood

Sam Smith, Koffee, Jessie Reyez – Gimme

Miley Cyrus – Flowers

Luh Tyler – Can’t Move Wrong (feat. Trapland Pat)

Mashup of the Week:

DJ Cougar – Ice Ice Protest

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Infection”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Growing Up in Scientology, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Maggie Mae Fish, Super Beard Bros, OSW Review, Channel Awesome, 
  • I finished Riverdale Season 5
  • I finished Lie to Me Season 3
  • I started Blindspot Season 2
  • I watched more Supergirl Season 6

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Dem Boys The Briscoe Brothers

January 23, 2023

When I was a teenager, my mother told me stories about being in school and clinging to the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Gimme Three Steps as a mantra of sorts. Because of her, I was introduced to the band and I have always loved their sound. In fact, the very first live concert I ever went to was Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Maryland State Fair. I had a great time. After the concert, my mom bought me a t-shirt and I was excited. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized the implications of the t-shirt having a confederate flag on it. Although I love the band, I struggled for a long time with that symbol of hate and oppression. The band has since clearly denounced and abandoned the Confederate battle flag as part of their aesthetic. This makes sense in this day and age. They also claim that they took up the flag for marketing purposes originally and not because they believed in it.

When I started watching Ring of Honor, I had the same experience with The Briscoes. The two brothers also incorporated the confederate battle flag as part of their aesthetic as shorthand for southern culture and heritage. Still, the true meaning of that flag haunted me. The brothers are from Sandy Fork, Delaware which was not a confederate state but is still close to Virginia and my home state of Maryland which have confederate pasts. As far as I have found, the Briscoes have never publicly uttered anything close to racist and worked with many wrestlers of color without taking liberties. Jay Briscoe had one homophobic tweet over a decade ago which he has since apologized profusely for. The Briscoes claim that they love everybody. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Also, Jay Briscoe died in a horrific car crash very recently and I feel that makes it easier to let go of the issue. 

As I said, I first became aware of The Briscoe Brothers through Ring of Honor, a wrestling company originally based out of my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. This was back in the early 2010s when Ring of Honor had a television deal with Sinclair Broadcasting but was still a pretty small promotion. In 2012 and 2013, I watched it every week. The talent was off the charts and many of them are now part of the WWE or AEW. However, I loved the SCUM storyline. Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, and Jimmy Jacobs had formed an evil faction to feud with the rest of the company. I am a sucker for big bad factions that everybody has to work against. One of the first major victories that spelled the end of SCUM was Jay Briscoe winning the Heavyweight title off of Kevin Steen. 

For the Best in the World pay-per-view in 2013, Jay’s brother Mark challenged him for the title. It got a little personal between the brothers. The preshow of the pay-per-view (which I watched in the DuBurns Arena) was an episode of ROH Television that toured the Briscoe family chicken farm in Sandy Forks. (Their real last name was Pugh) It really illustrated who they were as legit country boys with a lot of passion and humor. They reminded me of the Hogwallop family from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Their style was dynamic and hard-hitting and the two brothers had boatloads of chemistry with each other. Jay was the more serious one while Mark was the silly one but when it came down to it, they were both sharks. Watching them fight each other in the main event was a masterclass in knowing your opponent. Having brothers of my own, I sympathized with both of them as sometimes brothers have to fight.

The brothers were primarily a tag team together but did not always work together. After the events with SCUM, Jay became deadly serious about getting the title back (lost after an injury) and started carrying around his own belt as the Real Heavyweight Champion. Meanwhile, Mark continued to embrace the goofy side of pro wrestling as the master of Redneck Kung Fu. The Briscoes stuck with Ring of Honor for 21 years, only taking a break when Mark was injured in a motorcycle accident and Jay did not want to continue wrestling without his brother. They remained with Ring of Honor until its closure and then came back when it was purchased by Tony Kahn.

Khan wanted to include the Briscoes on television for All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor. The problem was that Warner Brothers owned both TNT and TBS and considered the Briscoes to be a liability. Their rough and rowdy past troubled the executives in a similar manner to how they had troubled me. Of course, I worried because I earnestly believe in human rights and equality while the executives primarily care about profits. Still, I did not think it was completely fair as I believed the boys had repented and redeemed themselves. I also hoped that putting them on television would finally give the Briscoes an excuse to abandon the confederate flag. They didn’t need that flag but they still had it. 

Unfortunately, as I said earlier, Jay Briscoe died in a car accident earlier this month which means that he will never appear on television again. Thankfully, we are left with plenty of archived footage on YouTube and the Ring of Honor subscription service. I will probably be catching up on a lot that I missed while I agonized over their use of the flag. If Mark continues to wrestle, I hope that he considers dropping that element. I would understand if he hung up his boots. He and Jay had a legendary career without being in a major company and that legacy will continue.

Harley Quinn and the Joker’s Daughter (Movie Pitch) Pt. 2

January 21, 2023


Harleen Quinzel fka Harley Quinn (Jennifer Tilly) – Former devotee and henchwoman to the Joker who is now trying to get back to her original life plan of psychiatry. She wants to help people and keep her head down but has a flair for creativity and performance.

 Joker’s Daughter aka Dina {Bella Higginbotham) – A young woman who claims to be related to The Joker in order to gain some credibility in the criminal underworld.

Jewelee aka Julia Clarke (Jennifer Stone) – A former criminal and the wife of Punch. She has moved on and gotten her life back together (for the most part) but misses the excitement of crime.

Punch aka Paul Clarke (Joe Keery) – A former criminal and the husband of Jewelee. He is clingy without a job to go to and is kind of los in lifet.

 Enigma aka Evelyn Nashton (Joy Sunday) – The actual daughter of The Riddler who uses her considerable intellect to help people rather than hurt them. 

Lady Clayface (Chelsea Peretti, Ali Wong) – The victim of a freak accident with the original Clayface, she can shapeshift like her body was made of clay. She can also impersonate anybody or anything. Harley is helping her with identity issues related to her abilities.

The Toyman (Christopher Meloni) – A genius inventor and criminal who is tired of being overshadowed by the rest of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. He wears a mask resembling a doll’s head and often speaks softly.

Amygdala aka Aaron Helzinger (Derek Mears) – A muscular mountain of a man who has little control over his impulses but is easily controlled by Toyman. In his excitable state, he can barely form words let alone sentences. 

Blockbuster aka Mark Desmond (Charlie Rawes) – A steroid-infused thug who is also controlled by Toyman. He is a little more intelligent than Amygdala. 

Bob  – An ex-stooge for The Joker who survived when The Joker attempted to kill off his henchmen. He is captured by Toyman and tortured for information on The Joker’s resources before being killed and left as a message..

Batwoman (Kristen Stewart) – A costume crimefighter and cousin to Batman. She is stretched thin with the rest of the Bat Family off on a mission.

Pamela Isley fka Poison Ivy – Formerly an ecoterrorist as Poison IVy but now operates more as an activist after reforming coinciding with becoming Harley’s roommate and girlfriend.

The Joker (Jackie Earle Haley) – The boogieman of Gotham’s criminals. He has been missing for quite some time but his presence is still felt by many.

Interior – Mayor’s Office, Interior – GCPD, Exterior – Street, Interior – Bar

Toyman takes over the airwaves. He asks Gotham where their heroes are. Gone. They once feared the Joker but where is he? Gone. Toyman is the new Joker. He’s better than Joker. He’s far more reasonable. Toyman has the power and he has the bombs. If the city of Gotham does not want to play nice, he can blow up any target he wants. And he will blow them up. He will follow through. No jokes. Bombs are already in place across the city. A list of demands will be transmitted and those demands better be met or there will be hell to pay.

Interior – Harley’s Hideout

Harley’s crew has just finished watching the broadcast. They are banged up and bandaged but still alive. They had a really close call. Harley tells the others that they have passed the point of no return. Toyman did not succeed in killing them but he tried really hard. He might think he succeeded but the instant he finds out he failed, it is execution on sight. The next time he will make sure to get the job done. If they run, they will never stop running. She did not want to get involved and she feels guilty for getting them into it. Everybody speaks up and says that they are there for her. It is personal for all of them now. It is time to suit up and wreck Toyman’s day. Dina points out that it has been shown that Harley cannot stop her from getting involved. Harley reluctantly agrees to take her along.

Enigma captured the truck’s license plate and her system’s algorithms have been going down the rabbit hole and gathering information. It has mapped out the financial and logistical structure of Toyman’s empire. He has done a lot in a very short time. Toyman has a data distribution center that he is likely using to remotely control his dollbots and drones across Gotham and possibly what he would use to set off the bombs. Harley says that dismantling that center would leave his operation confused and it would be fun. But first, they are going to need to gear up.

Interior – Multiple Locations

Paul and Jewlee go to their storage unit and dig out their old costumes. Enigma loads up on gear and pulls out a mask designed similarly to her father’s. Harley pulls out her old costume and shakes her head. She and Dina set about throwing new costumes together. Lady Clayface sits back and eats popcorn. She changes her form to include a costume in time for the lineup.

Interior – Box Truck

The group bonds as they drive toward the data center. Dina enjoys being a part of the group and Harley is clearly happy for her. They all have a lot in common being on the wrong side of the law but being good people at heart. 

Interior – Data Center

Their truck backs into the loading dock and several security guards start approaching. The door of the truck explodes, sending everybody flying. Harley’s gang pokes their heads in after the misdirection. Harley pulls a large piece of shrapnel out of the face of a dollbot. Harley congratulates Enigma on her bomb and asks how she knew they would all be dollbots. Enigma shrugs and states that she didn’t. The crew shrugs and sets about their plan. Punch and Jewlee will accompany Enigma to the control center. Harley, Dina, and Clayface will run interference.

Harley, Dina, and Clayface move to make as much noise as possible as they head toward the source of the most movement in the building. Their plan is to draw as much attention as possible to keep security off of Enigma’s group. As the three start to fight through the dollbots, Harley has to admit that she missed this. She also admits that Dina is doing a great job. Clayface is also thriving by cutting loose and allowing her form to continuously change. Harley remarks that Clayface might maintain better control by experimenting more. A rocket launcher hits Clayface and scatters her, leaving Harley and Dina to go on alone. Harley has seen Clayfaces go to pieces and come back together before.

Punch and Jewelee are bickering as they move with Enigma through the air vents. Enigma pleads with them to stop and focus but they cannot let it go. In the heat of the moment, both reveal their insecurities. They go silent and all business much to Enigma’s relief. They fight through their own gauntlet on the way to the control center. When they get to the control center, Enigma can no longer take the tense silence and begs the two to talk it out. As she hacks into Toyman’s systems, the two agree to confront their issues head-on. As they make up again, the two start making out much to Enigma’s annoyance/amusement. She struggles with Toyman’s system and looks over and spots a wall of photos of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. She spots her father’s picture and curses him before going back to it.

Dina and Harley step into a room and are confronted with five Jokers. The Jokers insult both Harley and Dina. They make fun of Harley’s past infatuation and her repeated imprisonment. They then start to make fun of Dina’s claimed parentage, disowning her. Just as the two seem they cannot take anymore, a sixth Joker appears. He mocks the Joker in general and how, as scary as he was, he was a failure too. He always lost to Batman. Always. The sixth Joker winks which causes Harley to laugh and then Dina laughs. The sixth Joker is revealed to be Clayface and the three wreck the Jokerbots in a moment of true therapy.

Harley’s team meets up with Enigma’s team, sealing the door behind them. They spot Punch and Jewelee still making out. As Enigma gets close to shutting things down, Toyman shows up on screen. He declares that this is not over. Harley tells him he’s right because they are coming for him next. Dollbots are slowly destroying the doors behind them. Toyman says that they will die. Enigma tells him that there is one problem with that. She is smarter than her father. She shuts down the data center. The operation was a success. Now to go after Toyman himself. Enigma traced his signal when he tried to gloat. They have his location. It is in a sub-basement below the facility.

Interior – Toyman’s Hideout

Toyman is throwing things around and yelling in anger. He reminds Amygdala and Blockbuster that they work for him as long as he has control. He holds up the remote control and uses it to bring them in line. He vows to rebuild once they eliminate Harley and her gang.

Interior – Elevator

Harley’s gang is huddled together in the elevator as it descends, licking their wounds and getting ready for the last fight. Harley declares that she is going to end Toyman for this which makes Dina apprehensive. 

Interior – Toyman’s Hideout

The elevator dings open and Harley’s crew is met by Blockbuster and Amygdala. The fight begins as the crew tries to take on these lumbering behemoths. Eventually, most of the crew is able to hold the two men back. Harley and Dina get past them and into Toyman’s inner sanctum. There they find Toyman has gotten into a mechanized suit. He shoots at Dina and Harley and the fight begins. Harley is able to goad Toyman into revealing the remote to his henchmen. At least Joker used emotional manipulation, she teases. She manages to get the remote away and smashes it.

Back out in the entrance, Amygdala and Blockbuster suddenly stop fighting. They try to gather their wits and when Harley’s gang go to attack them, they beg off. They explain that they are free of Toyman’s influence and that Harley’s gang can do whatever they want with Toyman. They are officially clocking out. They walk over to the elevator and leave.

Dina and Harley are still fighting Toyman who is surprisingly spry. Toyman knocks Dina into a wall and Harley goes into overdrive and beats him with her mallet. She raises the mallet above her head for the killing blow but Dina calls out for mercy. Harley brings the mallet down and breaks open Toyman’s mask. She did not kill him but he is dazed as he looks up at Harley.

“There he is. There is the pathetic Joker wannabe. You wanted so badly to be the Joker but you couldn’t be a quarter of The Joker on your best day. But do you wanna know a secret? The Joker was a loser. What does that make you? Less than a loser. The truth is, he was holding me back. You couldn’t even do that right. You’re not even worth killing.”

Cut to Harley and Dina having tied up Toyman. Enigma warns that the police are on their way and Harley blows a kiss to Toyman as they leave, laughing.

Interior – Harley’s New Office

Another group session. Everybody has been decompressing and debriefing from the adventure. Harley says that the adventure was crazy but it might have been good for them. Unconventional therapy, maybe. The others are open to doing it again sometime. Harley says they have to lay low. Everybody but Dina has a record. Enigma states that they did a good thing. The Batfamily does good and nobody bothers them. The difference is they have the trust of the cops. Maybe they can do it again if they are needed.

The meeting breaks up and Harley and Dina talk. Dina is done with the Joker and Harley states that they will continue to keep each other to that promise. Dina states that she is going back to school and got a job and an apartment. Harley is happy for her. Things are going to be better from now on.

Post-Credit Scene – Exterior – Gotham Street

Harley is walking into her car and stops in her tracks. She calls out whoever is following her to show themselves. Batwoman steps out of the shadows, impressed that Harley knew she was there. Harley has developed a sixth sense when it comes to superheroes over the years. She is disappointed that she didn’t rate a visit from Bats himself. Batwoman actually volunteered to visit. She does have a message from the Batfamily. They know what she did and they hope that Harley and her crew have truly turned over a new leaf. They need to stay out of trouble. Harley says that she’ll try but no promises. She turns to go but Batwoman asks to speak to her. She has a problem that she needs Harley’s help with. A family problem.

Media Update 1/19/23

January 19, 2023

Glass Onion (2022)

When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to Knives Out, I was excited to see the further adventures of Benoit Blanc. (Though, I also wanted those adventures to include Marta) At the height of the pandemic, an eccentric billionaire invites his friends and Benoit Blanc to his private island for a weekend of mystery. This movie very much felt like Knives Out while also being different and its own thing. It continued the legend of Benoit Blanc while introducing new characters and exploring some new (and old) themes. Speaking of Blanc, Daniel Craig is awesome in the role. Forger James Bond, this is the role he was born to play. The character is instantly likable and relatable while also being admirably clever. Janelle Monáe is a great combination of relatable and too cool for school. Fellow Marlyander Ed Norton is spot on as a caricature of many idiotic billionaires we see in the news. Dave Bautista is funny as an alpha male with a bit of a soft side. Kate Hudson plays a great oblivious superstar. Kathryn Hahn is great at playing a wet blanket who is constantly anxious. Leslie Odom Jr. is remarkably likable as a scientist who knows he is the smartest person in the room. The mystery once again winds and twists in ways that I did not expect and everything falls together so well. I recommend this movie.

See How They Run (2022)

I am not the biggest fan of Agatha Christie but I recognize how her writing influenced the mystery genre and helped give birth to untold adaptations and permutations of that genre. After a movie producer is killed backstage after a performance of The Mousetrap, a police detective and officer are tasked with sorting out the mystery. The movie is incredibly clever while churning out a lot of references to Christie’s works and the other progenitors of the genre. Sam Rockwell plays the world-weary and jaded detective. Saoirse Ronan plays the plucky and excitable officer studying under his wing. A lot of the joy of this movie comes from the chemistry between these two and the awkward comedy of Ronan’s character. The ensemble cast is very good at portraying something very similar to what Christie herself might have written. The story has a touch of metaness as it is about a murder mystery surrounding a stage play version of a murder mystery. It also pays tribute to The Mousetrap, a play written by Agatha Christie that is still on stage and has been for over six decades. I recommend this movie.

Amsterdam (2022)

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I got excited because of the cast and how it looked like a lot of fun. Two soldiers reunite with a nurse who they met after their tour of duty in World War I and are swept up into a conspiracy and mystery. Christian Bale plays a back alley doctor dedicated to treating veterans no matter what. He is a comically pathetic character. John David Washington plays a black man who managed to become a respected attorney in New York City in the 30s. Margot Robbie plays an eccentric ex-nurse who has a good heart and an artistic soul. Rami Malek has some offbeat comedy as a wealthy magnate. Anya Taylor-Joy is so fun to hate as his filterless wife. There are also some good small roles done by Taylor Swift, Robert Deniro, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Myers, and Michael Shannon. It is a stacked cast. I felt like the movie kind of dragged and some of it was hit-and-miss. When the movie was focused on the story, it was great and the characters were easy to love. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

The Bites – Do Me A Favor

Real Boston Richey – Light Switch

Sam Smith, Koffee, Jessie Reyez – Gimme

Hoity-Toity – Over It

Mashup of the Week:

Billy McClintock – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go to the Grave

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Big Cast Mystery”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Growing Up in Scientology, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Maggie Mae Fish, Super Beard Bros, OSW Review, Channel Awesome, 
  • I watched more Pennyworth Season 1
  • I watched more Riverdale Season 5
  • I watched more Lie to Me Season 3
  • I watched more of The Last Drive-In
  • I watched more National Treasure: Edge of History
  • I watched more Williow (2022)
  • I watched more Supergirl Season 6
  • I watched Gamera: The Invincible (Rifftrax version)
  • I watched Puppet Master: Doktor Death

Disney Trip: Day 2 – Magic Kingdom

January 16, 2023

I woke at the latest minute I could manage before meeting my family down in the lobby. I was still aching but I was determined to be in good spirits. After all, it was my birthday and I was going to the Magic Kingdom, something I had hoped for but never expected. I felt a bit subdued but I ate breakfast and that picked me up a bit. We traveled to the park and parked in the Simba lot. We started to walk towards the monorail.

The Monorail

The monorail is definitely something I remember from my visit at six years old. We made our way to the first line of the day. It is easy to disregard the monorail since it is merely a convenient way to the park gate but it really is interesting. The thing glides along at a quick speed and the windows let you see everything on approach. It may be a cliche but having the park reveal itself as you look out the window of a speeding quasi-futuristic train is really cool. There was everything that I have read about and watched on YouTube right in front of me.

Liberty Square: Haunted Mansion

Our first stop was in Liberty Square so we hoofed it through Main Street. I was surprised at how easy it was to get around. I guess I had internalized the park as gigantic from when I was tiny. It is still big but you can make good time going from section to section. We arrived at the line of my number one choice for attractions. I had expected it to still have its holiday overlay but the OG Haunted Mansion is always cool. I absolutely loved every moment of the ride. The line itself is a walk through a cemetery with fun references on every tombstone and mausoleum. The ride is classic from start to finish. Hearing the Ghost Host in person for the first time was amazing. I have studied this ride but nothing compares to actually seeing it in action. A blend of old school and new-school special effects and watching my mom’s reaction was priceless.

Frontierland: Splash Mountain

Afterward, we had a little bit of time until our lightning lane appointment for the next ride so we slowly walked over to Frontierland. Splash Mountain was definitely not on my list but my brother and his girlfriend made a good argument for it. This ride based on a racist Disney property was going to be changed into a Princess and the Frog ride soon. We would be one of the last riders on a legendarily weird Disney decision. Still, I was awake enough at this point that my stomach was starting to tie in knots from the anticipation of a 50-foot drop. Rationally, I knew that I would be fine but I have never been rational about rides. 

We loaded onto our little plastic log and the ride began. This ride was actually the scariest of the day and only part of that was the multiple drops. Yes, multiple drops! The animatronics on the ride are old and very creepy. They don’t move much and watching a rabbit get into twisted BDSM situations with a fox and a bear ended up being way darker than expected. The vultures mockingly talking about the “laughin’ place” did not help. Then the final drop happened and everything inside of me flip-flopped and I shut my eyes and we splashed down. Then it was all smiles and laughter. I only got a little wet and it felt good in the growing heat of the day.

Adventureland: Swiss Family Treehouse

We once again had time to explore so we walked over to Adventureland to decide what to do. I got some caffeine in me so I felt a lot better about life. It was around this point that we spotted Aladdin and Jasmine. It was cool to see them. After some diet coke and popcorn, it was time to decide what to do next and we still had time to kill. This enormous treehouse was something cool to look at. As we climbed all of the stairs, I tried to put myself in the place of a shipwrecked family. Honestly, the treehouse looked like a cool place to stay if it had wifi.

Adventureland: Pirates of the Caribbean

At this point, our scheduled ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. We even spotted a live Jack Sparrow outside of the ride. I remember the line scaring me when I was six but this time, I was enchanted. Pirates has a distinct watery smell to it that is nice. I was expecting a lot more stuff from the movies but surprisingly, it was kind of subtle. You can see Jack Sparrow from time to time but there is so much more to the ride. It was the second time in a boat that day which was once again nice in the warm Florida climate. I did not expect to get wet but I realize now that expectation was silly. What I definitely did not expect was another drop. I was caught off guard but it was gentler and shorter than Splash Mountain. This ride is a classic for a reason and I have read and studied a lot about it.

Adventureland: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

We decided on lunch but we had a little time to kill while we waited to be served. I suggested we head into the Enchanted Tiki Room because I had heard some good things and had little memory of it from 34 years earlier. Go figure. Also, it would give me another chance to sit down and rest my tired feet. The attraction is a bit dated but, as a fan of vaudeville-style humor, I loved it. The songs were pleasant and the patter of the hosts kept things moving. There is a thunderstorm effect that I thought was thrilling. I think they could keep this attraction around if they updated it a little bit. Maybe add some female representation. 

Main Street: Casey’s Corner

We were hungry and it was time for hot dogs. This was a great birthday lunch as I got to relax in the shade eating one of America’s tastiest treats. We talked about what we had absorbed so far. I also downloaded a Disney trivia app as we chilled for a bit. 

Main Street: Mickey’s Holiday Parade

After eating, my brother and his girlfriend rushed off as the parade was starting. My mom and I stayed put and realized in short order that we could see the parade from our table. I sipped a drink and looked up as each float passed. I tried to explain to my mother who the different characters were. It was a pleasant parade.

Tomorrowland: Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

After refueling, we headed over to Tomorrowland to check it out. I was secretly thankful that we could not get a spot in line for Space Mountain. Sadly, we would not have time to ride Jungle Cruise either. However, we would still get our share of corny jokes. We headed over to the lightning lane of an attraction that had been of interest to me during my research. The idea of this attraction is that you are attending a comedy club designed by the monster world to collect energy. There were plenty of pre-recorded bits but the real charm of the attraction is similar to Turtle Talk with Crush. The monster standups interact with members of the audience, poking fun at the audience and themselves. It was funny and charming. An audience member even came up with a funnier punchline than was intended at one point.

Monster: What do you call a snowman in the desert?

Little Girl: Lost

Monster: Or… a puddle.


The rest of our visit to the park was not dedicated to any specific activity but instead we decided to walk around Fantasyland. We got a close up view of Cinderella’s Castle. We also saw so many cool references to classic movies. There is a circus area dedicated to Dumbo, the outside of the Beauty and the Beast restaurant is gorgeous, and Rapunzel’s tower was beautiful. There was so much to see and just walking around it all was so pleasant. It was so nostalgic.

The Ferry

After a bit of window shopping, I sat down on the curb and watched the parade again. I got a clearer look at it this time. We left the park a little early to make room for our evening activity. We decided to leave by ferry since we had experienced the monorail earlier. The ferry was very pleasant and scenic in a different way. Disney is surrounded by a lot of greenery and I like boats.

Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life

After a short break back in my hotel room, we met for dinner downstairs at the poolside cafe. The food was really good and it was nice to relax and eat in the nearly empty venue. After being in the crowds of Disney, it was nice to have breathing space. 

We headed down to Disney Springs which is the fanciest strip mall that I have ever seen. I am only partly joking. The place was obviously built for shopping and there is nothing wrong with that. It is also a location for live music. Passing the House of Blues was cool including statues of Jake and Elwood Blues. My mom took me into a sports store and tried to explain stuff about this year’s advancements in World Cup ball technology.

We headed to grab our seats for the show. I was glad that I went directly to my seat because there was a lot of clowning on stage and in the audience before the show actually started. It set the tone for a very charming and sweet show. I had never seen a Cirque show before and I was blown away. Everybody always talks about the stunts and there were definitely some amazing ones. However, my favorite parts were the story bits and clowning bits in between the moments of spectacle. The story was very nice and reminded me of stories like Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. I also loved all of the tributes to the wonderful Disney animation that I grew up on.

After a great show, it was time to once again crash in my hotel room. I went to sleep pretty quickly, secure that I would get to sleep in a bit the next morning.

Harley Quinn and the Joker’s Daughter (Movie Pitch) Pt. 1

January 14, 2023


Harleen Quinzel fka Harley Quinn (Jennifer Tilly) – Former devotee and henchwoman to the Joker who is now trying to get back to her original life plan of psychiatry. She wants to help people and keep her head down but has a flair for creativity and performance.

 Joker’s Daughter aka Dina {Bella Higginbotham) – A young woman who claims to be related to The Joker in order to gain some credibility in the criminal underworld.

Jewelee aka Julia Clarke (Jennifer Stone) – A former criminal and the wife of Punch. She has moved on and gotten her life back together (for the most part) but misses the excitement of crime.

Punch aka Paul Clarke (Joe Keery) – A former criminal and the husband of Jewelee. He is clingy without a job to go to and is kind of los in lifet.

 Enigma aka Evelyn Nashton (Joy Sunday) – The actual daughter of The Riddler who uses her considerable intellect to help people rather than hurt them. 

Lady Clayface (Chelsea Peretti, Ali Wong) – The victim of a freak accident with the original Clayface, she can shapeshift like her body was made of clay. She can also impersonate anybody or anything. Harley is helping her with identity issues related to her abilities.

The Toyman (Christopher Meloni) – A genius inventor and criminal who is tired of being overshadowed by the rest of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. He wears a mask resembling a doll’s head and often speaks softly.

Amygdala aka Aaron Helzinger (Derek Mears) – A muscular mountain of a man who has little control over his impulses but is easily controlled by Toyman. In his excitable state, he can barely form words let alone sentences. 

Blockbuster aka Mark Desmond (Charlie Rawes) – A steroid-infused thug who is also controlled by Toyman. He is a little more intelligent than Amygdala. 

Bob  – An ex-stooge for The Joker who survived when The Joker attempted to kill off his henchmen. He is captured by Toyman and tortured for information on The Joker’s resources before being killed and left as a message..

Batwoman (Kristen Stewart) – A costume crimefighter and cousin to Batman. She is stretched thin with the rest of the Bat Family off on a mission.

Pamela Isley fka Poison Ivy – Formerly an ecoterrorist as Poison IVy but now operates more as an activist after reforming coinciding with becoming Harley’s roommate and girlfriend.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel had enough of being Harley Quinn, constantly dodging the Bat Family and usually ending up in Arkham no matter how hard she tried. On top of that, she had devoted herself to The Joker but he never fully returned her affection and instead constantly abused her. She shed that toxic relationship and earnestly worked toward redemption and eventually regained her degree. She hung up her shingle to practice psychiatry and although she was struggling, she was happier.

The Joker had mysteriously gone quiet a year ago but Gotham was far from quiet. Villains and gangsters still ran the criminal underground. 

Gotham City – Second Bank of Gotham 

Police have surrounded a bank with a robbery in progress. The negotiator team taps into the security cameras as they talk to the robber.  A young woman wearing a handpainted mask reminiscent of The Joker looks directly into one of the security cameras. She declares herself to be The Joker’s Daughter and that she would be bringing her father’s chaos back to Gotham. After the young woman slips up, the cops rush in. She holds her own against the first handful of cops until somebody hits her from behind and she blacks out.

Interior – Abandoned Underground Bunker

We watch the interior of a large metal roll-up door for a moment before we see the sparks from somebody using a cutting torch device to cut a rectangle in the door. As the shape completes, there is a loud guttural noise as a fist slams into the door and knocks it down. As smoke drifts up from the door,  the forms of Amygdala and Blockbuster are silhouetted in the newly made entrance. We see them both step into the light, both of them monstrous. A commanding yet childish voice tells them to step aside. As the towering villains step aside, we see Toyman step into the light. Toyman remotely turns the lights on and we see that the place has Joker graffiti everywhere. This is the place. Time to get to work. 

Interior – Harley’s Office

She comes to, sitting in a plush armchair. As her vision comes back into focus, her gaze lingers on a plaque reading “Dr. Harleen Quinzel”. She sees degrees framed and hanging from the wall but also her discharge papers from Arkham. Dr. Quinzel is sitting behind that desk and smiles at the young woman and informs her that she saved her from the cops. The young woman complains that she would have been fine. Harley knows when she sees somebody over their head. The young woman freaks out when she realizes her mask is gone. Harley has it and can hand it and the young woman to the cops at any time. Besides, Joker is nobody to take after. 

The young woman declares that she is legitimately The Joker’s Daughter and that Harley is a quitter. Harley loses her cool and calls the woman a liar and she would know. The woman doubles down on her claim but it is not like they can do a DNA test. Harley calms down and finds out that the girl is basically homeless. With Pam out of town, Harley offers to let her crash at the apartment. She will tell this young girl all about The Joker. The girl’s name is Dina.

Interior – Harley and Pam’s Apartment

Harley and Dina order Chinese and talk into the night about Joker and Gotham as promised. They seem to bond just a bit. In the morning, Harley wakes up Dina and tells her that she has to go into the office and that Dina should come along. When Dina protests, Harley points out that she can turn her in to the police at any time. Dina calls her a narc but relents. 

Interior – Harley’s Office

Back at the office, Harley brings Dina into a group therapy session. It is here that Dina is introduced to some of Harley’s patients. The bulk of her patients are ex-villains like herself. Paul and Julie are former puppet-themed criminals Punch and Jewelee but came to Harley first for marriage counseling. Enigma came to Harley to deal with issues with her own father. Sondra is still coming to grips with her powers. We get short flashbacks of each patient here. Harley has Dina introduce herself and the other patients react to her claim of being the daughter of The Joker. Julie and Paul hate the mental image. Enigma states that Dina should not want to be the daughter of a villain. Sondra thinks Dina must be crazy. Harley defends Dina but also agrees with the group. She relates her own story as Harley Quinn with a flashback.

Exterior – Gotham City

Toyman stands on top of a roof overlooking Robinson Park with Amygdala, Blockbuster, and several doll robots. The city is unveiling a new outdoor theater pavilion. They are interrupted by two police officers doing a security check. Toyman watches passively as they are swarmed and silenced by the doll robots before they are killed. Toyman sets off an explosion, destroying the new outdoor theater and scorching a large section of the park. Toyman laughs as the fireworks are reflected in his doll eyes.

Interior – Harley’s Office

An alert on Paul’s phone interrupts the session but as his wife and the others yell at him he insists they will be interested. He shows the news of an attack on Robinson Park. Harley recognizes the tech used as coming from one of the Joker’s stashes. Dina gets excited about her father’s apparent return but Harley points out that if it was the Joker, he would be front and center and hogging the camera. Somebody else has done this. Dina is apoplectic and urges that something has to be done. She has to defend her father’s honor. Harley states that Joker never really had any use for honor and that the Bat Crew will handle it. As if on cue, the news anchors remark on the Bat Family being involved in a huge battle near Coast City. Harley curses.

Interior – Noonan’s Bar

Toyman struts into the toughest bar in Gotham and announces himself. He takes credit for the bomb in Robinson Park and promises more to come. He tells those assembled that she is the new King of Gotham’s underworld and they should run and tell their bosses. Forget the Joker, it is a new age.  If anybody crosses his crew, they will pay the price. The criminals start to hassle Toyman, asking what crew is going to back him up. He snaps and kills with his gadgets. Amygdala and Blockbuster appear. An impromptu barfight starts up and Toyman’s men make short work of their opponents while smashing up the bar. Toyman sits on the bar and just laughs as he watches. When the dust settles, he orders the two behemoths to go get the rest of the bombs.

Interior – Harley and Ivy’s Apartment

Harley gripes that Ivy loves Robinson Park and she is going to be so pissed. Dina tries again to push Harley into going after whoever is using the Joker’s bombs. Harley reiterates that it is not her problem. She is not a hero. She is a normal citizen. Dina says that she will never be normal again. Dina was such a fan of her as Harley Quinn. Dina wanted to be her.  But now Harley is just a traitor who turned on The Joker. Harley asserts that she did not betray The Joker, she just walked away. Her life with Joker was miserable. Dina asks if it was all bad because in the news footage, it looked like Harley was having fun. Harley admits that there were fun parts but after a while, those fun parts did not include The Joker. He never returned her feelings and then she realized that those feelings weren’t real. They were an addiction. Harley realizes that she is the only one who could investigate this. The cops don’t know about The Joker’s hideout. She insists that Dina stay put while she checks it out. She puts a tracking device on Dina to make sure she stays put.

Interior – Joker’s Bunker

Harley and Enigma show up to investigate. It is immediately apparent that somebody has been there. The place is a mess. Harley confirms that something is missing. She should have anonymously reported the bunker to the police. She supposes she didn’t out of a twisted sense of loyalty and fear of getting sucked back in. Enigma points out that she got sucked in anyway. It is because she let Dina push her into it. Enigma points out that maybe Harley wanted to be pushed into it. An adventure without The Joker. Joker had the keys to the place and had no need to break in so he has not returned. Enigma’s scans confirm that three people entered from footprints in the dust on the floor. They keep looking around and Harley finds her old gear and blows the dust off it. She reaches out and traces her fingers along the handle of her old mallet.

Interior – Harley’s Office

Dina is lounging at Harley’s desk. She is going through Harley’s personal files on The Joker and is curious. She gets up to clear her head when there is a knock on the door. She opens the door to find Punch and Jewelee standing there. They are there for emergency marriage counseling. Dina points out that Harley is out but lets them in. Dina points out that Julie and Paul clearly love each other like crazy, the only thing missing is their adventures. They’re stuck in a rut. She has just the solution but it is a little crazy. 

Interior – Sondra Fuller’s Apartment

Sondra opens the door to Dina, Julie, and Paul. Dina asks for Sondra’s help as she has a feeling that Harley and Enigma are going to be in over their heads. Sondra talks about fighting so hard not to be a monster that she cannot get involved. Dina points out that Harley was there for Sondra. Punch and Jewelee point out that a monster wouldn’t help Harley. She’s not just Lady Clayface, she’s their friend Sondra. They need to find Harley but Dina has a solution for that.

Interior – Joker’s Bunker

A truck backs into the bunker and Amygdala and Blockbuster get out. He lumbers over to load more bombs into the truck. Enigma and Harley hide and watch. An accidental sound draws Amygdala and Blockbuster’s attention and when they find Enigma, Harley attacks from behind with the mallet. The two women fight with the behemoths shrugging off their attacks. A drone appears with Toyman’s face on the screen and he is annoyed that the bomb retrieval is taking so long. Toyman activates robotic dolls that crawl out from under the truck. Harley and Enigma are very outnumbered now. 

The drone fires a rocket at them but a brick wall suddenly forms and blocks the shot. The wall is Sondra who immediately engages in a fight with Amygdala. Dina, Jewelee, and Punch join the fray and fight against the dollbots. Everybody gets in each other’s way and the fight is very dicey. Blockbuster loaded the truck while everybody else was busy. Near the end of the fight, something on the back of Amygdala’s neck sparks. Toyman’s crew gets in the truck and drives away. Dina tries to pursue but Harley holds her back, telling her they are in no condition to keep going.

Interior – Toyman’s Truck

Toyman is over the moon at besting one of The Joker’s greatest sidekicks, the great Harley Quinn. Still, he is upset that anybody would dare oppose him. He tells Amygdala and Blockbuster to deliver the bombs. He has business to take care of.

Interior – Joker’s Workshop

After regrouping, Harley decides that they should finish looking around before anonymously reporting everything to the cops. Harley is grateful for the help but it’s still not their fight. She does wonder how they found the place and Dina tells her to check her pocket. It’s the tracking device that Harley gave Dina. Harley is annoyed but impressed. They spread out to check things out. Dina is in Heaven as she tours the workshop of her alleged father. That delight turns to horror as she screams when she discovers a dead body nailed to the wall. She throws up as the others catch up to her. Harley confirms that this was an ex-Joker henchman named Bob. That must have been how they found the place. Bob was sick but he didn’t deserve to die like that. Dina is shaken. Harley comforts her but also explains that this is the kind of thing Joker did all the time, even to his own henchmen. 

Interior – Harley’s Office Building

After they are satisfied with their search, Harley tells everybody to come back to her office for a group session. They need to talk this out. When they get up to the floor where Harley’s office is, Dina looks pale and heads for the bathroom again. Everyone stops in the hallway as Harley goes into the bathroom after her. Dina is looking in the mirror. Harley watches her and gently tells her that some people aren’t cut out to be villains. She needs to find her own path. Dina frowns and keeps her mouth shut but when Harley looks away, she seems to really think about it. As they continue toward the office, they hear a loud noise. A missile impacts Harley’s office and a huge explosion knocks them all off their feet as parts of the building fall from above.

Media Update 1/12/23

January 12, 2023

Nope (2022)

I actually watched this last year as soon as it hit a streaming service but I have not had time to talk about it. I like Jordan Peele’s movies so much partly because they are all so different from each other while still maintaining a certain quality. A brother and sister who run a family business supplying horses for film shoots encounter something beyond the understanding of men. Daniel Kaluuya is the star and does a lot with very few words. His looks speak volumes. Keke Palmer provides a lot of the comic relief but also a lot of heart as the sister with ambition. Steven Yeun is slightly sinister as a former child star with a lot of issues. Brandon Perea is the true comic relief as a bumbling Fry’s employee. Michael Wincott plays an enigmatic filmmaker who is very serious about his work. The movie has a lot of twists but I really loved the action sequences. It was absolutely thrilling. The special effects were also amazing. I recommend this movie.

Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

I am a Jurassic Park/World defender. This is the culmination of the entire franchise. Characters from both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World join together to figure out a biological mystery that threatens to destroy Earth’s ecosystem. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniella Pineda, Omar Sy, and Isabella Sermon return from the Jurassic World franchise. Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Campbell Scott, and BD Wong return from the Jurassic Park franchise. Then there are some newcomers. Mamoudou Athie has a strong performance as a young idealist scientist. DeWanda Wise is hilarious and exciting as a swashbuckling smuggler. The cast is a great ensemble and the movie does a great job of following everybody while maintaining a great plot. This was the perfect end to the franchise as it has gone so far. I recommend this movie.

Lair of the White Worm (1988)

I had recently heard of this movie and how insane it is and I was not disappointed. In the English countryside, an eccentric noblewoman seeks to make sacrifices to a legendary beast that has given her vampiric powers. It is very loosely based on Bram Stoker’s last book. It stars Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi before they became stars which is mindblowing. Amanda Donohoe is sexy, terrifying, and hilarious. The energy of the movie is wild and manic and there is not a single boring part of it. It is definitely very campy. Also, I really liked the special effects which were way better than I would expect from a movie like this. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

SZA – Kill Bill

Key Glock – Spike Lee

PECHA – Gur Sidhu

Avantdale Bowling Club – Rent Too High

Mashup of the Week:

Sam Default – Jolene’s Club

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Big Intelligent Monster”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Growing Up in Scientology, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Maggie Mae Fish, Super Beard Bros, Mr. Nostalgia, OSW Review, Channel Awesome, 
  • I watched more Pennyworth Season 1
  • I watched more Riverdale Season 5
  • I started Lie to Me Season 3
  • I watched more of The Last Drive-In
  • I watched more Titans Season 4
  • I watched more National Treasure: Edge of History
  • I watched more Williow (2022)
  • I watched more Supergirl Season 6

Disney Trip: Day 1 – EPCOT

January 9, 2023

We started the day around 7 am as we swung by Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. My brother and his girlfriend get all of the credit for this whole trip because they did the bulk of the research. They controlled the Disney Experience app and ordered our food and got us into lightning lanes. I am deeply grateful. My mom also gets a lot of credit for riding rides next to me and listening to me rattling off Disney trivia like a madman.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Almost immediately after the gates opened, we walked along the right-side path where we spotted this attraction. There was virtually no line and all of us had seen and enjoyed the original movie. We jumped on the chance and practically jogged down the empty line. I jumped into a clamshell with my mother. The ride is a dark ride mostly made up of screens. We see Marlin and Dory once again looking for Nemo  They are soon joined by other characters from the movies who try to help look for Nemo as well. However, this time Nemo is hiding on purpose as a prank and can constantly be spotted during the ride. Everybody is reunited as the ride ends. The last little bit was a pleasant surprise as the characters are projected to look like they are in an actual aquarium with real fish and dolphins. This was such a neat idea and allowed for a transition into the next part.


This is an educational aquarium where people can observe a lot of sea creatures from the movies and beyond. There were tanks with dolphins, manatees, manta rays, sharks, and other smaller creatures. We lucked out and we were there during feeding time. Back in Baltimore, we have an excellent aquarium but this was a really nice one with the Disney touch. It also had a little corner devoted to Bruce the shark and his friends. The aquarium was a peaceful and colorful way to start the day. 

Turtle Talk with Crush

My brother was hyped about this and I was definitely interested. We were led into a theater where the sea turtle Crush from the Finding Nemo movie appeared and talked to the audience via an undersea communicator. The cast member who played Crush was quick on his feet and the technology (which I assume is similar to VTuber technology. It was a fun little question-and-answer session that was interrupted by little skits including other characters. The technology made it feel very real.

Winnie the Pooh

After emerging back outside, we randomly spotted Winnie the Pooh cavorting on the grass. We watched as he struggled to open a present. It was a fun bit of pantomime. Like a lot of characters, he was still dressed in his holiday best.

Mexico: The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

From there it was on to the countries, the shining jewels of EPCOT. We went left into Mexico and I was immediately taken aback by the Aztec pyramid in my view. It dominated the Mexico pavilion. The line in front of it looked long but we checked on the app and it was not actually that long. We thought about getting some tacos as a snack but we hopped into the line instead. The line wound around and into the pyramid. In the queue were a lot of displays of Day of the Dead artwork which I love. When we got all the way in, my immediate first thought was “this is like Casa Bonita” from South Park. The inside is a restaurant, a gift shop, and a ride. We headed for the ride which was a musical journey through Mexican culture with The Three Caballeros (Donald, Panchito, and Jose). It was a really pleasant boat ride with some great music and artwork. It was also really cool temperature-wise in there.

Norway: Gods of the Vikings

What’s next to Mexico? Norway. That makes sense, right? We had thought about trying to get on the Frozen Ever After ride but it was temporarily out of order and we could not get a spot in line on the app. Still, my brother’s girlfriend’s family is from Norway so we definitely needed to check this land out anyway. It was a cute and quaint-looking little village. We stepped into this exhibit and I was not disappointed. It was small but it had some great wood carvings, artifacts, and paintings covering Norse mythology. It had nothing to do with Marvel (although I’m sure people could find connections) but everything to do with an accurate portrayal of the mythology.

Norway: Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

We sat on a bench and ate sweet treats from the cafe. They were traditional treats from Norway so I was interested to try something new. I had lefse which is very good. Lefse is a potato-based flatbread wrapped coated with butter and cinnamon and wrapped into a tube kind of like a tortilla. The cinnamon was just sweet enough and there was plenty to eat without being too much.

Germany: Germany Model Train Display

While my brother and his girlfriend were checking out the glass art, my mom and I walked over to check out this little display. It includes a whole little town of lovingly-crafted buildings and four model trains rolling around. It is an out-of-the-way place to relax and enjoy the craftsmanship of something simple but not easy to make.

United States: American Heritage Gallery

The United States pavilion was not very attractive to me since it is the country that I live in but we were waiting for our food (see below) so we explored. We stepped into what looked like a colonial building and we went to the back of the building. There was a show but it wasn’t time for that to start. We ducked into this little museum and I was glad for it. Inside were exhibits on the various regions of the country and artwork (both old and new) from Native American tribes. It was beautiful and nice to see.

United States: Regal Eagle Smokehouse

At this point, it was time to get a full meal to fuel the rest of the day. We first grabbed a table in the sun and then we pounced on a table in the shade which was way more comfortable. I sipped on a beer as we waited for our food. I am not usually one for beer (or drinking in general) but the beer was cold and soothing. I ate the Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich. Great bits of meat between garlic toast. I also had some really good baked beans. We got to relax and process the first part of the day.

Japan: Kawaii – Japan’s Cute Culture

We walked into the Japan pavilion which was full of architecture from the feudal era. It was beautiful but we went straight toward the rear of the pavilion for an exhibit on the Japanese culture that I know best. This was a little history of all of the cute merchandise from Japan’s history. 

Japan: Matsuriza, Taiko drummers

This was the second unplanned surprise of the day and it was neat. We saw the group setting up but we had no plans to actually check them out. As we started to leave the pavilion, the trio of women started to play, so we stuck around. It was not a long show but the rhythm was excellent. To think about the practice that goes into the timing is mind-boggling. Some of it is without being able to see each other. 

Morocco: Atlas Fusion

This one came from my brother’s research and once again it paid off. I really loved the architecture of this pavilion the best. The style (reminiscent of Marakesh and Casablanca) lends itself to a lot of shade and protection from the volume of the park. It did not hurt that the pavilion was more empty than others. I saw Princess Jasmine through a window and Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies (probably still second place). However, the real highlight was catching a performance of some awesome Moroccan music along with some belly dancing. The energy was impossible to ignore.

Canada: The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs

We walked through France and the United Kingdom (stopping at a few shops briefly) but we were once again ready to have a seat. We sat down on some empty benches in front of a stage and not even five minutes later we were treated to a surprise concert. I was kind of done with Christmas more or less but the music was awesome. It helped that the band was incredibly lively and played some deep cuts. Between the good tunes and the opportunity to rest my tired feet (and a strangely entertaining squirrel, I was feeling pretty good.

Canada Far and Wide

Again, we had some more time to kill so we stuck around in Canada for a bit. We saw a movie that was playing and jumped on it. The movie was basically a tourism video about Canada (complete with an invitation to visit at the end of it). The video was shown in Circle Vision, a technology that surrounds the audience with screens. The footage felt a bit like IMAX in that I felt like I was there sometimes. The really joyful surprise was that the movie was narrated by Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy who are so cute together no matter what they are doing. They really sold what could have been a boring movie.

United Kingdom: Yorkshire County Fish Shop

We backtracked to the United Kingdom for a little bit of dinner. We found a nice outdoor table and dove into some fish and chips. The outside of the fish was crisp and the inside was so good. It reminded me of having fish and chips with my mom in actual London.

France: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

This is the ride that we had booked that morning and I had heard so many good things. We went back to France to get to it. As we stood in line, I hurriedly tried to explain the plot of the movie to my mother. The theming of the ride was top notch with the ride announcements being done by Emil (Remy’s brother). The ride itself was absolutely amazing. By using screens, a well-designed ride layout, and 3D glasses, the ride provides an experience that absolutely feels real. It is the closest thing to true virtual reality that I have ever seen. It physically moved so little but I was still out of breath by the end of it.

Soarin’ Around the World

This is a ride that has been around in some form for decades. We climbed into seats and we were dangled in front of a huge screen in a suspended state. Like a supercharged IMAX, it felt like we were really flying amongst some of the most famous places in the world. Once again, we were not moving much but it felt exhilarating.


We gathered near the water for the fireworks show. Honestly, I was absolutely dog-tired at this point as my feet and back were hurting pretty badly. I was starting to lose my Disney spirit. At this point, my only real complaint about Disney is the lack of seating, especially during a big event like this. My feet felt like knives. Still, the show was absolutely amazing and made me forget about all of that for a little bit. The show has fireworks but it is more of a giant screen show. There are massive screens created by using mist from the lake water. There is a lot of great art inspired by Disney movies. The music is made up of a lot of tunes from movies set in countries included in EPCOT and sung in the native languages there. It was a really beautiful show and I am currently looking for full versions of those songs.

Finally, the day was over as we arrived back at the hotel by around 11 pm where I promptly collapsed. Negative points to the hotel for not having a bathtub for me to soak my feet in. The shower had great water pressure, though. After a little bit of web surfing, I fell into a deep sleep.

In General:

There are so many things I saw that were a blur. All of the merchandise was cool looking but (aside from a wolf stuffed animal I thought about in Canada) nothing really jumped out at me to buy. The sea of humanity was truly massive but everybody was super nice. Everybody there really wanted to be there and it showed. The day physically destroyed me but there are a lot of cool memories that I will carry forever.


January 7, 2023

Caraline gripped the ledge outside of Castle Diadem with one hand while she clutched the Jewel of Dragons in her other hand. This heist had not gone as well as she had planned. She reviewed the plan. The first step had been to enter the castle undetected. She had accomplished that. The next step had been to grab the Jewel of Dragons without setting off any traps. This had also been checked off the list with only a few complications. The last step had been to exit the castle again undetected. That last part had not gone off without a hitch. A chance encounter with a servant had alerted the guards. A makeshift escape rope had been made from a tapestry but it had only gotten her so far. That led to her predicament.

As her mind raced to try to find the next step in her escape plan, a crossbow bolt suddenly impacted her shoulder. It was the shoulder of the arm hanging onto the ledge. Miraculously, she barely managed to hold on for a few moments. Then her arm spasmed and her fingers released as if they had a mind of their own. She started her rapid descent and her mind went into overdrive. She quickly swallowed the jewel. She would need her hands free. She tore the bolt out of her shoulder and grabbed both ends and caught it on a stone jutting out of the wall. The pain was exquisite but the move slowed her down enough to push off of the wall in a backflip.

She was much more close to the ground but still had a ways to go. She twisted in the air and just barely caught hold of a branch of the tall tree in front of the castle. She swung on the branch and pointed her body to a lower branch. She bounced off the limb and tumbled clumsily downwards. She braced herself for impact and landed on her own two feet. She was definitely going to feel all of this for weeks. This jewel better be worth it. She shook it off and sprinted toward the gates.

The gates were in the process of closing. Crossbow bolts flew past her but she sprinted with everything she had left. A big guard stepped into her path but she launched her fist into the poor guy’s throat. She pivoted around his falling body and pushed off to sprint again. She slid under the closing gate and then somersaulted back into a run. The treeline seemed so far away. That was the moment that she felt a hand on her back and she was suddenly teleported far into the trees. She promptly ran into a tree.

“Sorry!” a voice cried out. “I was trying to help!”

Caralina wiped the blood from her broken nose. “I told you that I did not need your help!” she yelled.

Andi reached down to try to help Caralina up. “I know you did and I tried to not help,” she said. “I could have helped you countless times but I was good. I could have cast invisibility, feather fall, stone shape, and so many more spells but I waited until you had succeeded. You were about to be shot in the back.”

“I was already shot,” Caralina said, waving Andi away. “I survived that well enough.”

“You’re not invincible!” Andi shouted. “You have to accept help at some point.”

“I’m fine,” Caralina said. “I’ll get to a cleric.”

“Did you get the jewel?” Andi asked.

“Yeah,” Caralina said. “We’re going to have to wait for it. I had to swallow it.”

“You did what!?” Andi asked.

“Is that bad?” Caralina asked, frowning at the urgency in Andi’s voice.

“We should get you to that cleric a little quicker,” Andi said.

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