Posts Tagged ‘P’

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 1

April 18, 2020

Belle saw the sword raising up, ready to swing at her for a final time and there was little she could do. She had twisted her ankle and her head was spinning from a brutal blow. The mindless men and women who had her cornered showed no signs of giving her any mercy. She took a deep breath and made a wish but when the sword came down, it clanged against another sword. Standing there was a beautiful, young woman wearing a pink, green, and blue armored outfit. She whirled around and slammed the hilt of her sword into the side of the attacker’s head, dropping him instantly. She turned on the others and her sword clashed again. She used her leg to sweep a woman off of her feet and then ducked a sword swipe from another man and elbowed him hard in the back of the head.

The woman walked back towards Belle, barely breathing hard. She had a regal bearing that spoke of charm classes and high birth. Belle did not have the best history with other women her age. The woman offered her hand and helped Belle to her feet. Belle’s ankle held her weight but it really hurt.

“You really can’t be this close to the water especially at night,” the woman said. “You’re lucky that I was on patrol in the area. What’s your name?”

“Sorry. My name’s Belle,” she said. “Who are you?”

“Really?” the woman asked, her eyes going wide. “It’s been so long since somebody didn’t know who I was. I guess that’s humbling. My name is Aurora. Queen Aurora.”

“Nice to meet you,” Belle said. “Um, I’m technically a princess.”

“Technically?” Aurora asked, confusion swirling in her eyes.

“It’s a long story,” Belle said.

“Why don’t you tell me while I walk you toward safety?” Aurora asked. “Where can I take you? Where’s your home?”

“I don’t even know where I am,” Belle said. “None of this looks familiar. One minute I am being chased by some creature outside of the castle and then there was a loud cracking sound, a flash of green light and then I was suddenly here.”

“Like magic?” Aurora asked. “What did it feel like?”

“It felt like being swept up in a snowstorm but also like being dunked underwater,” Belle said. “It felt like magic. I have a little experience with magic but not like this.”

Aurora looked surprised again. “You’re one of the lost like me!” she shouted. “We have to get you to the castle. You’re with us.”

“Lead the way,” Belle said and they started to walk. “Thank you for saving me back there. I’m not much of a fighter. I’m more of a reader and my protector is missing.”

“I wasn’t much of a fighter either,” Aurora said. “but after my husband, Phillip, faced down a dragon for me, I never wanted to be defenseless again.”

“You mentioned being ‘lost’,” Belle said. “What does that mean? What’s going on?”

“This is not my kingdom,” Aurora said. “I come from another world. As far as we can tell, when all of this started, something broke and people started ending up in new places. I wasn’t in my kingdom anymore with Phillip but I was here instead.”

“Where is here?” Belle asked.

“This is Queen Ariel and King Eric’s kingdom,” Aurora said. “They faced down an evil sea witch named Ursula. Somehow she was resurrected along with the woman who terrorized me, Maleficent. They teamed up with some other baddies to take over all of the realms.”

“Sounds absolutely nasty,” Belle said.

“Ursula is here in this realm,” Aurora said. “She somehow stole the will of people near the harbor and are using them as her private army against us. Ariel calls them the Poor Unfortunate Souls or The Unfortunate for short.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Belle asked.

“We’re getting close to figuring out how to travel to the realms like our wicked opponents,” Aurora said. “Maybe you could help us.”

“Me?” Belle asked. “What can I do?”

“You said you’re a reader,” Aurora said. “Maybe you could help with the research.”

“Yeah!” Belle said. “I can definitely do that. Anything to get back home.”

Playlists

April 18, 2019

Over four months ago, my good friend Joe passed away in his sleep. As I had previously stated, one of the things that we shared was a love for music. Though we sometimes argued over what constituted “good” music, we agreed that music was good. One of the things he did was curate playlists on YouTube like people used to make mixtapes. This year I decided to start making my own playlists of my favorite music. I add to them from time to time but I also go on music binges trying to pump them up so I can put them on in the background sometimes. Below are three of them that I have worked on the most but I have so many more I want to create.


Rap


Pop Music


Hard Rock

So what do you think I am missing? What other playlists should I create?

(Written on 4/13/19)

Poetry

April 18, 2018

I used to write a lot of poetry. Part of that was that I thought I was really deep and literary and poetry sounded like somebody smart would do. For the record it actually is but I was a teenager who was definitely trying too hard. The other reason I wrote poetry was because of my school’s literary publication called the Mock Turtle. The Mock Turtle was, of course, named after the character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was also a class where our English teacher (Helen  Underwood, I think) taught us how to write poetry. We also read a lot of some of the best poems in history. For the record, my poems were never celebrated (except the bad poetry slam I once won).

However, a lot of the friends I hang out with most are scientists. They either studied science or work in the field in some way. I was never a scientist. While I respect science immensely, my two careers have been mostly dealing with the power of words. The word that my friends use is ‘poet’ and so I sometimes refer to myself as a poet. It actually reminds me of Patton Oswalt describing a college course he once took called Physics for Poets which was an easy Physics 101 course designed for humanities and art students. That is what I am. I study the law and I write, those are the two main things that I do. I am a poet, I guess.

None of this is to denigrate scientists. I love science and my scientist friends even when they are overthinking water filtration or child development in a tabletop gaming session. Science is how we track and examine our world on a physical level. “Poetry” is how we examine and govern the world based on its meaning to us. Both are important for different reasons and neither make life worth living alone. This is why it is so important to not only push STEM when it comes to education. We also have to push the humanities. Art and the various other ‘poet’ pursuits are so important to how we run our daily lives. Of course, communication between the two is integral to running a fair and beneficial society. But I digress.

Here are a few types of poems:

Haiku:

I hate the summer
The heat is too oppressive
I love the fall best

Cold wind like a sword
Driving deep into my chest
I huddle for warmth

This month is crazy
I am writing many words
Please enjoy it all

Pastoral:

I listen as the train’s wheels clack on the track below
I feel every bump as the train travels downtown
Every turn threatens to toss me to and fro
I try to keep my head up, try not to let myself frown
I am used to this kind of treatment every day
The other choice is enduring traffic on city streets
So I shake it off and just let my music play
I listen closely and nod my head to the beats
I know it is what I must do to get to work
So I just smile and try not to be a jerk

Limerick:

There once was a young writer
A “poet” since he was an ankle biter
He scribbled some rhyme
Most of the time
But he was nothing more than a blighter

There once was a woman in B More
As a mayor she thought she could be more
In the end she was wrong
She just sang the same song
And as a politician she was mostly a bore

Freeverse:

I am writing this after going to the gym for over an hour
Why do I punish myself by pushing my body so hard?
Because the future is a place I want to live
What use is fighting for the future if I keel over?
I also feel so invincible afterward
A little sore but I feel like I just killed a dragon
It is so rewarding and my shirts fit a little better lately
That is so great
As I lay on the couch and write
I feel like I am conquering the world
Just don’t ask me to move

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

April 19, 2016

So I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I was diagnosed very early in first grade when I was about five or six years old. It can make it difficult to focus on certain tasks but it also makes multi-tasking so much easier. In my experience, being ADD is different from being ADHD which is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. ADHD is similar but also includes a hyperactivity component that I do not have. Why am I going on about this right now? You obviously already read the title of today’s post and the letter A was on April 1st. Well, one of my favorite shows growing up was Pee Wee’s Playhouse and it was the most ADHD thing I can think of. Paul Reubens created a character during his time with the Groundlings named Pee Wee Herman. Pee Wee is a boy who grew up to be a man but still enjoys doing a lot of stuff that kids do and didn’t exactly mature with age. Some people may have found this to be annoying but I found him to be pretty funny and the highly kinetic nature of his show was exciting. He eventually got to do some movies which captured a lot of the child-like whimsy and offbeat humor that the show had.

Unfortunately, all of that came to an end when Paul Reubens was arrested in 1991 for masturbating in an adult theater. The whole event became a media circus mostly because the media can sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of selling papers and getting ratings. His reputation was tarnished for doing something in public that he should not have done but was sort of understandable. He never hurt anybody but he was unfairly tried in the court of public opinion and cast aside. However, he eventually started to make his comeback as an actor. He revived his stage show in 2010 (on which his television show and movies were based) and is now finally making another movie over twenty years after Pee Wee’s Playhouse went off the air. As I got older, I became even more fascinated with the show and movies. The character still resonates with me because he represents that child-like energy and wonder that I strive to hold onto in my life. Paul Reubens is also a great comedic mind and I am always interested to see what he has going on next.

First, the movie is not connected to any previous incarnation of the character. That means it is not connected to the Pee Wee Herman Show, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or Big Top Pee Wee. All of those were excellent but this movie was made nearly thirty years after Big Top Pee Wee so it’s actually the perfect time to throw out continuity. Besides, the character never was incredibly consistent within its story. However, the movie does have one actress from Pee Wee’s Playhouse and four actors from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in it playing different roles as a nice easter egg for fans. In fact, the feel of the movie is kind of similar to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It is a road picture where the main character takes a journey and must overcome a lot of obstacles to reach his destination. The overall arc is that it’s ok to leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself with new places and experiences. If you don’t take chances, you could miss out on what makes life worth living.

Even though all of his history was erased, it really felt like the character of Pee Wee had matured somewhat. While he did use all of his famous catchphrases and mannerisms, he also used a lot more subtle humor and commentary. The timing on certain things felt a little tighter than his previous movies and the movie felt like it flowed better. Pee Wee has a certain selfless selfishness to his character making him react certain ways in different conditions. At first, it was a strange concept but then I realized that most human beings are willing to act selflessly until they hit a limit and then they turn 180 degrees to protect their interests. I love the character of Pee Wee and the cartoon-like reality that follows him around as well. It also does not hurt that I do not find his voice annoying even though I can imagine some do.

While Paul Reubens is great in this movie, he’s joined by a lot of other very funny actors. The big one is Joe Manganiello who I was not really familiar with since I have not watched True Blood or Magic Mike yet. Manganiello is really funny as a fictionalized version of himself. By the end of the movie I was really impressed with his comedy skills and he ended up working really well with Reubens. Of course, most of the charm of this movie comes from watching Pee Wee interacting with a whole crowd of characters throughout the movie. They were all really well-written characters, mostly akin to improv comedy characters. I have to say though that my favorite were Stephanie Beatriz, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Pohly who played a parody of characters from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. I found myself smiling a lot as I watched it but it wasn’t exactly a laugh out loud kind of comedy for me but Pee Wee never was. I enjoyed just about every minute and I would probably watch it again if I did not have so many other things I want to watch. I recommend you check it out, it is not just a nostalgic cash-in, it stands alone. Also, if you are a Pee Wee fan then it definitely compares well with his previous work.

Pokemon Alpha and Zulu

April 18, 2015

What follows is a partial outline for a Pokemon game I’ve kind of created in my head bit by bit.

So we begin with the normal selection of the girl or boy model and name selection. Your character starts in the lab of Professor Cole. You select your starter pokemon. I would say Vulpix, Poliwag and Oddish for the sake of argument but it would probably be new pokemon.

Once you have chosen, the professor starts to explain your new duties as his assistant. He tips his hand and lets slip that he’s working for Team Rocket. He abandons you and leaves you to face a member of Team Rocket. After that, you swear vengeance and begin the journey to earn gym badges and take down Team Rocket.

Along the way you face down several Team Rocket threats and plans. You also meet and travel with a young trainer named Carrie whose family is kidnapped by Team Rocket. She travels with your character which provides for plenty of double battle and versus opportunities. She starts with one of the starter pokemon and builds a balanced team on her own.

The player is separated sometimes from Carrie. At these points the player is alone or joined by another NPC. The player fights gym leaders and the Elite Four and various Team Rocket bosses. What follows is a list of gym leaders.

Gym Leader 1: Matt the Immovable Gym Leader
Type: Normal
Badge: Huge Badge
Pokemon: Snorlax, Slaking, Munchlax, Ursaring, Stantler

Matt is a lazy gym leader who enjoys his power as a gym leader more than he enjoys actually battling to keep his position. When the player arrives at the gym, Matt’s Slaking is blocking the door and taking a nap. After he is beaten, the player double battles him and Cooper before reaching the fifth gym. He was beaten by a trainer named Carrie who he wants to impress so he made her gym leader and is now trying to whip himself back into shape.

Gym Leader 2: Cooper the Party Gym Leader
Type: Grass
Badge: Party Badge
Pokemon: Ludicolo, Leavanny, Tangela, Roselia, Grovyle

Everybody in town loves Cooper because he throws the best parties or that’s how it used to be. The townspeople are tired of Cooper throwing all night parties all the time and have become embarassed that he isn’t trying harder to excel as a gym leader. He feels no motivation to try any harder since he has never lost a battle before. When he is beaten by the player and then Carrie, he sees that he must try harder. You and Carrie double battle him along with Matt later on as both have banded together to help each other train.

Gym Leader 3: Leo the Power Station Gym Leader
Type: Electric
Badge: Power Badge
Pokemon: Rotom, Pikachu, Emolga, Zebstrika, Galvantula

Leo is a hard worker and maintains the largest power station in the region. He is an expert in electrical engineering and splits his time between maintaining the power grid, battling and helping to teach less experienced trainers. After the player beats Leo, Team Rocket attacks the station and Carrie and the player must defeat them. In the ensuing battle, machinery is damaged and it is revealed that a legendary electric pokemon has been assisting in the operation of the power station. The player must then fight this legendary pokemon.

Gym Leader 4: Ariana the Circus Gym Leader
Type: Poison
Badge: Center Ring Badge
Pokemon: Arbok, Seviper, Skrelp, Victreebel, Nidoqueen

Ariana grew up as a child of circus performers and took her parent’s passion as her own. She combines that with her passion for pokemon and holds gym battles as part of her circus. Ariana loves snake pokemon in particular and they can be found crawling all over her circus and two of them are part of her team. She isn’t invested in the main storyline but is more than happy to battle the player for her badge. Before that she really puts the player and Carrie to the test in a series of double battles and solo battles.

Gym Leader 5: Jack the Sanctuary Gym Leader
Type: Flying
Badge: Wing Badge
Pokemon: Talonflame, Aerodactyl, Noctowl, Skarmory, Staraptor, Altaria

Jack’s gym sits on the roof of the Cindelle City department store and is a sanctuary for flying pokemon and also a research center. Jack balances the responsibilities of being a gym leader with trips into different regions and areas to look for flying pokemon. He is friendly but always determined to come out victorious. The player can meet him again on Victory Road where he’s all to happy to get a second chance at winning.

Gym Leader 6: Alex the Fighting Star Gym Leader
Type: Fighting
Badge: Spectacle Badge
Pokemon: Hawlucha, Hariyama, Mienshao, Hitmonchan, Gurdurr, Sawk

Alex comes from a long family tradition of fighters and has incorporated that into his Pokemon battling. However, when he was five years old he got bitten by the showbiz bug and started working toward the first television station in the region. When he inherited his family dojo, he converted it into a television studio as well. He eventually also made it a Pokemon gym when he earned that title. His family wants him to treat the honor with more respect but he is blinded by the lights of the cameras. Eventually he’s able to compromise and bring honor to his TV show.

280 sq ft/18 boxes

Gym Leader 7: Captain Heather the Enforcer Gym Leader
Type: Steel
Badge: Iron Badge
Pokemon: Doublade, Lucario, Bisharp, Metagross, Steelix, Escavalier

Captain Heather is a detective for the police and hard on the trail of the new boss of Team Rocket. She appears at the end of most of your run-ins with Team Rocket to arrest any members left on the scene. She also teams up with the player and Carrie during the battle to take down the boss once and for all. She’s more than pleased to take a break and battle the player for her badge. Once she has been met she hands out sidequests to the player.

Gym Leader 8: Mira the Studious Gym Leader
Type: Ghost
Badge: Spirit Badge
Pokemon: Mismagius, Haunter, Hoopa, Golurk, Spiritomb, Litwick

Mira is a bookish and quiet young woman who regularly communes with the dead, creeping out many in her community. Still, she’s fiercely loyal to her town and her region and protects both with a furious vengeance. Most think of her as a meek librarian type but when she’s challenged she is a dominant opponent who easily eliminates many threats. She secretly helps the player against Team Rocket by sending her Mismagius and Litwick to help with puzzles. She also fights alongside the player and Carrie on Victory Road.


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