Friday, December 14, 2018

5 Favorite Easter Eggs from Wreck-It Ralph 2


So I finally got around to seeing Wreck-It Ralph 2. I was a big fan of the original and I was not disappointed in the sequel. The characters' progression felt natural and the conflict wasn't what I expected (I expected Yesss to try to keep Ralph around for her own benefit). But this isn't a review. I just wanted to comment on some fun Easter Eggs that I liked.

Young Moana as "Mo"
In a "mid-credits" scene (because Marvel has conditioned me to not leave before credits are over), we get a familiar face driving home from the movie. If you're paying attention, her name is Mo and she looked exactly like young Moana. This one made me giggle.


Casual Disney Princesses
I mean, I could say a lot about the Disney Princesses appearing and their wardrobe and green room, but let's just appreciate for a moment on their casual outfits. I could go off on this, but just a few notes (just to keep it simple). Snow's shirt says "poison", Ariel's got a list of "thingamobobs", Elsa' shirt says to "just let it go", Moana has a #shiny and there are even more than I can't pull from memory.


Stan Lee Cameo
After the recent passing of Stan Lee, I don't think any of us were planning to see a cameo of him anytime soon, but we had a silent appearance as Vanelope and Ralph run through the web. His user ID character was seeing visiting "Oh My Disney". His appearance may have only been because of Marvel's deal with Disney, but I think it was fun, fitting addition to his legacy.

Merida, from the "other studio"
They actually did a pretty good job giving all the Disney Princesses decent talking time. One big exception is Merida. For the record, I tried really hard to understand what she said and I never had a problem understanding her when I watched Brave. They really amped up her Scottish accent this time and made the great joke about her being from the "other studio", since Merida is the only Pixar Princess in the franchise.


Internet Graveyard
When Ralph goes down to retrieve his cookie medal, there are a number of dead websites hidden down in the rubble. One I noticed was Geocities, a former Yahoo web hosting service. I remember making website with them when I was a kid, back when I was into website design. It was very primitive stuff, but to a 10-year-old it was great. So when I saw it in the background, I had to smile.

What other Easter Eggs did you see that you liked? Obviously too many to list them all. I'll have to watch it again to catch more.

Friday, December 7, 2018

4 Things We Learn From the Avengers 4 Trailer

I had a completely different post planned for this week and ready to post today... but then Marvel dropped the Avengers 4 trailer and that post will get pushed back a week in honor of some of the things I've noticed after watching the trailer a couple times.

Of course as I'm discussing the trailer, there will be spoilers ahead.

Tony Stark: Lost in Space
We last left Tony on Titan after nearly all of his companions had dissolved into dust. I had wondered how he was going to rejoin the rest of the Avengers (or at least the ones who survived) and it looks like he hasn't yet. At least as of the moment when he records his message for Pepper, he hasn't made it home. I have to assume that the writers don't let him die due to lack of food, water, and oxygen, but I guess we won't know for sure until April. Unless I missed something, it does look like he's parted ways with Nebula.

Clint Barton's New Outfit
I'm not savvy with the comic books, but I'd heard that Hawkeye was going to transition to a different alter-ego, named Ronin. I don't know who Ronin is in the comics or what this means for Clint, but the implication I'm seeing in the trailer is that his wife and kids died in the Snap. So now he's back out in the field to get them back maybe? Or maybe he just has nothing to lose anymore with his family gone?

"This is Gonna Work, Steve."
Black Widow says this to clean-shaven Cap, making me think they have some sort of plan. It's vague what the plan is or what the end goal is. I assume it'll be something involving bringing back those we lost, but I guess it could also just be revenge on Thanos. I remember rumors about going back in time, so that's my guess, but I could always be wrong. All we know is Steve is feeling a bit hopeless outside of that plan.

Scott Lang: Escaping the Quantum Realm
Last we saw Ant-Man he was twirling around in the Quantum Realm after Hope and her parents vanished during the Snap. Obviously he made it out of the Quantum Realm and now he's reached the New Avengers Facility to reach out to Natasha and Steve. I had hoped, based off a line in the mid-credits scene of "Ant-Man and the Wasp", that he'd maybe be traveling back in time... but maybe he still will and he'll be the means behind whatever Black Widow and Captain America's plans are?

Anything else I missed from the trailer? Any speculation or theories?


Friday, November 30, 2018

Heroes of Hufflepuff

I've had a conversation with one of my best friends at multiple times about how all the major heroes of Harry Potter seem to be from Gryffindor. In honor of "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald" coming out recently, I wanted to highlight a few heroes from the yellow house. Upcoming minor spoilers if you haven't seen the new movie.


Newt Scamander
Obviously our quirky magizoologist had to be on this list. Twice so far we've had adventures from our nutty Hogwarts drop out. We've far from seen the last of Grindewald, but in his first encounter he was able to subdue Graves/Grindewald and take him into custody. We know from "The Philosopher's Stone" that Dumbledore is the one who defeats Grindewald in the end, but I'm getting the sense that Newt will continue to play a vital part in his defeat. Not only that but he wants to do it in the most humane way possible.


Cedric Diggory
He may not have gotten the spotlight very much, but from the book and a half we know about him, we know Cedric was a good young man. He graciously accepted his win against Gryffindor in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" (and even tried to make a do-over happen). And then the next year when he and Harry were competing against each other for the Triwizard Cup. He showed dignity and loyalty to his school throughout the whole thing, even though he could have been mad at Harry like the others. In the end, he helped Harry win the Tournament, even though he didn't survive the trip home himself.


Nymphadora Tonks
We weren't introduced to Tonks until the Wizarding War was underway, but she showed more bravery than many Gryffindors. After she married Remus, she still put her life on the line to protect the Wizarding World, the Muggle World, and her son. Her sacrifice ended up being ultimate, being one of those lost in the Battle of Hogwarts, alongside her husband. I think it's safe to assume that her legacy was carried on by her metamorphmagus Hufflepuff son, Teddy.


Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, etc.
Despite being critical of Harry in "The Chamber of Secrets" and "The Goblet of Fire", the Hufflepuffs of Harry's year were loyal and kind people who always seemed to be there for him. We also had a fair number of them join Dumbledore's Army during "The Order of the Phoenix" and while none of them were enlisted to fight at the Ministry of Magic, they stayed to help with other DA members during the following battles at Hogwarts.


Pomona Sprout
Professor Sprout was the Head of Hufflepuff house and Herbology professor during Harry's education. She seemed to hang out more in the background for many of Hogwarts's major events. However, she stood out to help particularly during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts, standing up to Voldemort and Death Eaters, often just with her magical plants.


Wayne 
Bonus points for the hero of the play "Puffs". The parody play follows seven years at an unnamed British school of magic. The Puffs tend to hang out in the background compared to the other houses, but our hero Wayne is more of a hero than he realizes, even if it's just for making me happy to be a Hufflepuff. Bottom line: next time you're in NYC, get tickets for Puffs.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

5 Times the Doctor Directly Influenced History


The Doctor has been traveling through time and space (and our TVs) for 55 years now. Not counting spin-off material, that gives us 284 adventures that we know about (as of today). He's gone to the creation of the Earth ("The Runaway Bride") to the end of the universe ("Utopia") and he's influenced history (both in the past and future history), but there's only a handful of times that he's influenced historical Real World events.


Man's Discovery of Fire ("An Unearthly Child")
After accidentally traveling to the Stone Age, the First Doctor, his daughter, and their unwilling companions (Ian and Barbara) get caught in the middle of a tribal feud. In order to gain their trust, Ian makes fire for them. Teaching the tribe to make fire wins them enough points that they're able to leave in the TARDIS (even though it takes them a while to actually return to present-day London).


The Destruction of the Dinosaurs ("Earthshock")
The Fifth Doctor and his TARDIS team (Adric, Tegan, and Nyssa) end up in the middle of a 26th Century Cyberman plan, which includes an explosive freighter crashing into Earth, to prevent an anti-Cyberman alliance. The Doctor's team manages to change the freighter's course... into the past. Before Adric can stop it, it crashes into the Earth, killing him and (as they've travelled millions of years into the past) the dinosaurs as well.


Mount Vesuvius ("The Fires of Pompeii")
In an attempt to show Ancient Rome to Donna, the Tenth Doctor ends up taking her to Pompeii, the day before its destruction. They got flipped around, due to some oracles and a missing TARDIS, they ended up in the middle of an alien plot. In order to stop the Pyroviles from conquering the world, but the Doctor has to cause Vesuvius's eruption, sacrificing Pompeii to save the world.


Vincent van Gogh's Paintings ("Vincent and the Doctor")
Following a possible alien to the 1890s, the Eleventh Doctor and Amy meet Vincent. As they befriend Vincent, they track down the alien. Along the way, they learn of Vincent's depression (which will eventually lead to his suicide) and they drop hints along the way of paintings that Vincent will do. These paintings may have very well happened without the Doctor and Amy's interference, but in this version of events the Doctor and Amy lead Vincent to the sunflowers ("Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers") and the church ("The Church at Auvers").


Rosa Parks ("Rosa")
SPOILER ALERT FOR CURRENT SEASON
Trying to get her brand new TARDIS team back to 2018, the Thirteenth Doctor ends up in 1955 Alabama right before Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat. A time traveling racist comes back from Stormcage Containment Facility (same place River Song was imprisoned, FYI) and tries to rewrite history to stop the end of segregation and all the progression that came since. However, as they stop the time racist, the Doctor and her companions realize that (by taking up seats on the bus) they helped make history happen.

What did I miss guys? What historical figures and events did you enjoy from the Doctor's adventures? What events would you like to see?

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Favorite Harry Potter Movie Yet!



Y'all. Mind is blown.

Image result for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
I had previously enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back in 2016 when it came out. I thought it was super fun to see the Wizarding World Universe in a different time period and a different continent. I enjoyed Eddie Redmayne's debut as Newt Scamander and overall I thought it was a fun film.
I was looking forward to the sequel, The Grimes of Grindelwald, but didn't think that I would like it as much as I did, or that it would tie together to the books and movies as it ended up doing. Please be warned that minor spoilers are ahead!

The Good

  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. Given that Newt doesn't make an appearance in any of the Harry Potter novels, I didn't know what to make of his character, but Eddie is the perfect Newt. His quirky personality traits and ticks are endearing and it's impossible for me to dislike the actor or the character. Depth and whimsy don't often go together, but they do in Eddie's portrayal of Newt.
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Jude is easily my favorite Dumbledore out of the three actors that have played the role. With Crimes of Grindelwald we begin to see aspects of Albus's personality and past that add depth and layers to an already complex and deep character. I can't wait to see Jude continue to play this iconic role as we learn more about Albus, his family, his past, and his interactions and connection to Grindelwald.
  • Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. Johnny's gift of playing a variety of characters and roles continues to amaze me, and he is a fantastic villain in this story.
  • Balance of humor, action, and magic. JK Rowling is just as talented a screenwriter as she is a novelist. The movie was very well balanced between the serious and the humorous, with plenty of magic, surprises, and plot twists that surprised everyone in the theater right up until the very end. When a movie leaves my mind reeling for more than 24 hours after I've seen it, I know that it's a good one, and I'm still processing what I saw on Thursday night!
  • The plot twist at the end. Like I said. I'm still processing it and may need to see a therapist to fully unpack everything that happened.

What I Didn't Like
  • Honestly there's not too much to put here, however, there are some inconsistencies with the film as compared to canon and what is found in the books and in references on Pottermore that didn't sit well with me as I watched
    • Apparating into Hogwarts -- the trailer and the movie feature a handful of ministry officials that apparate directly onto the Hogwarts grounds. Any careful student of the Harry Potter novels knows that it is impossible to do so. It does seem to be inconsistent with canon and isn't really explained.
    • Minerva McGonagall as a teacher at Hogwarts -- Professor McGonagall wouldn't have been old enough to teach at Hogwarts during the events of Crimes of Grindelwald, so WHY is she in the movie? It seems to be a pretty blatant anachronism, and I can't identify her critical connection to the plot. Unless it's to come in film #3? Or there's another Minerva McGonagall that teaches at Hogwarts?
Image result for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hogwarts
Overall, this is an easy recommendation for any Harry Potter fan. Anachronisms and inconsistencies in canon set aside, this is easily my favorite film from the Wizarding World universe. I can't wait for the sequels!

And I may need to go see this one again....any takers?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Voldemort and Satan

Luna Lovegood: [My father and I] believe you, by the way. That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, and you fought him, and the Ministry and the Prophet are conspiring against you and Dumbledore.

Harry Potter: Thanks. Seems you're about the only ones that do.

Luna Lovegood: I don't think that's true. But I suppose that's how he wants you to feel.

Harry Potter: What do you mean?

Luna Lovegood: Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat.

Like many people I've had my critiques of the Harry Potter movies over the years, but this was one added part that I liked (at least I don't remember it being in the book). As if being an angsty teenager isn't enough, Harry had the Ministry of Magic and the Daily Prophet fighting against him for a year. This was only a few months in and he was already feeling worn. While it wasn't necessarily in the book, I'm sure Voldemort would revel in the lack of faith Harry seemed to have in his own cause at this point. After all, loneliness is powerful.

How many times do you get discouraged in life? Lonely? Sad? While it's not necessarily Satan's end game, discouragement and loneliness certainly makes it easier. If I feel lonely, it makes it easier for Satan to tempt and corrupt and discourage.

"He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27)

But the scriptures teach us that we're not alone. Instead, we've got evidence that we have countless allies cheering us on, supporting us, and fighting for us.

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6:16-17)

Next time you feel lonely, remember that you're not alone. Don't get discouraged. Don't give up. Hang onto your faith.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sorting Storybrooke into Hogwarts Houses

A couple months ago I did a short run down, sorting the Avengers into Hogwarts houses. Now, as my wife and I re-watch Once Upon a Time, it's time to sort some heroes and villains from the Enchanted Forest. Where do you think they'd end up?

Evil Queen/Regina Mills - Gryffindor
It's funny how, despite being the on-and-off villain of the series, Regina ends up being one of the most valiant heroes of the series. Currently my wife and I are re-watching the Wicked Witch arc and this is when Regina really begins to transform into a hero. Once she owns the light inside of her, Regina becomes a brave addition to the heroes. She was the saving grace for me in Season 7, the poor reboot that couldn't. And due to her bravery, I'm sorting her into Gryffindor.

Snow White/Mary Margaret - Hufflepuff
Maybe it's the play "Puffs" in my head, but Snow White always seems like the overly peppy, hopeful, friendly type (even when she has her moments of doubt). Despite many setbacks and maybe disappointments, she has her hope. Beyond that, she's also all about her family and loyalty. Not just loyalty to people, but loyalty to what's right as well. Because she's the epitome of Once loyalty to me, she's sorted into Hufflepuff.

Prince Charming/David Nolan - Gryffindor
David is kind of the stereotypical, overeager Gryffindor. He has a good heart. At the same time, he'd kind of headstrong and impulsive. He's also the stereotype of Gryffindors being a bit self-righteous. That being said, he'll bravely charge into battle to defend his family, even if it means delivering Emma to the wardrobe or crossing into the Wish Realm to save grown-up Henry. So for his big-headed courage, he's in Gryffindor.

Belle French - Ravenclaw
This one is maybe even too obvious to post. But Belle's whole hero MO was her brain. Instead of grabbing a sword or a bow, she would much more quickly grab a book. Instead of fighting, Belle fought with knowledge. We know this from her trip to Arendelle, her discovery of Hook's cloaked ship after his arrival, or any other number of events. That being said, she also threw her fair share of punches.

Captain Hook/Rogers - Slytherin
I'm sorting both versions of Captain Hook into Slytherin, due to their cunning. Even when Hook (both original and wish version) became a hero, he was cunning and scheming. The original's ambition and devisivenss in winning Emma's affection and fighting to keep her shows his ambitiousness. In addition, Wish-Hook/Rogers crossed realms and endured curses in order to rescue and reunite with his daughter Alice. Finally, it was even stated to Tinkerbell (in a shared history for both) that Hook was all about self-preservation, a key trait of the house.

Rumpelstiltskin/Mr.Gold/Weaver - Slytherin
I don't think this should come as any surprise to anyone. Slytherins are known for their cunning and ambition. Whether we're talking about his scheming to get the Sorcerer's Hat in Season 4, his manipulation to break the Dark Curse in Season 1, or his long-term plans to get him back to Belle in Season 7, Rumpel was all about ambition. If we need further evidence, we have extensive conversations in Season 3 in Neverland talking about his self-preservation habits, a trait common among Slytherins.

Emma Swan - Gryffindor
I think I knew from the start that "the Savior" would be a Gryffindor. There was no question. She's too cynical for Hufflepuff, she's too just for Slytherin, and she's too impulsive for Ravenclaw. The thing she does have is her impulsive bravery, just like her father. Whether she was charging into the Darkness to save Regina in Season 4 or taking control of Storybrooke's chaos in Season 2 right after the curse broke.

Where do you think our Storybrooke heroes should be sorted? What about our Season 7 reboot heroes?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pokemon: Codename Looker


As I mentioned in a recent post about Pokemon, the life of a certain Looker is a little fuzzy. So I wanted to put his apparently timeline together (assuming that theory was correct).

In Pokemon RBY/FRLG, there's a Global Police agent aboard the SS Anne. This black and white Global Police Agent was on the trail of Team Rocket. He has no name, but as I previously theorized, this is likely Looker.


Shortly thereafter, in Pokemon ORAS, Looker washes up on the shore of Hoenn. Whether the SS Anne capsized like in the Anime, or he simply washed overboard, Looker shipwrecking could have easily had something to do with the storm that Kyogre whipped up in AlphaSapphire (where he ended up in the non-Mega Evolution timeline is another question, but I'm not going to discuss parallel timelines here).


Stated in Pokemon SM, 10 years before those events, Looker, Nanu, and another faller track Guzzlord. The unnamed faller died, but Looker and Nanu find Anabel in the Alola region. It's unclear when exactly this happens, but it's likely it was after his appearance in Pokemon ORAS and before his appearance in Pokemon Platinum.

THREE YEARS LATER

Somewhere in the three years after, Looker appears in Sinnoh during Pokemon Platinium. Over the course of the game, Looker helps the player (Dawn/Lucas). They meet several times throughout the game, as Looker helps Dawn/Lucas fight Team Galactic. Ultimately, after Cyrus goes into the Distortion World, Looker investigates Charon, finally arresting him.


A FEW YEARS LATER

Sometime after (probably two or three years), Looker made his way to the Unova region. He first meets the player (Hilbert/Hilda) after the defeat of Team Plasma at N's Castle. He gets Hilbert/Hilda's help in capturing the Seven Sages. After each is defeated, Looker takes them into custody.


TWO YEARS LATER

During the two years following Pokemon BW, Looker makes his way to Kalos, eventually basing himself out of Lumiose City. After the player (Calem/Serena) beats the Elite Four in Pokemon XY, he signs him/her on as his assistant. The various assignments Looker sends Calem/Serena to do eventually lead Looker and his assistant to Xerosic of Team Flare. After apprehending Xerosic, he leaves Kalos, not to be seen for another two years.


TWO YEARS LATER

After becoming the Champion in Pokemon SM, the player (Elio/Selene) is put to work by Looker and his boss Anabel to investigate and catch the Ultra Beasts.

And of course, based on a previously stated theory, all of this timeline could go out the window if Looker jumps into his TARDIS and does all these events out of order anyway.

He's even frantic and erratic like the 10th Doctor


Friday, October 19, 2018

The Quiet Power of Inara Serra

The legendary TV series Firefly brought us over a dozen incredible characters, but the hardest to understand yet arguably strongest is the companion Inara. Despite her controversial career choice, she is the voice of comfort, wisdom and the matriarch of the Serenity's crew.

*If you haven't seen Firefly spoilers and also what's wrong with you? Seriously, get your life together and watch it.*

Inara is a companion. In the Firefly universe this essentially means a high priced prostitute, but she is so much more than that. Inara is a lady in every sense of the word. Trained not only in the physical aspects of her job, she is also well versed in the art of conversation, tea service, and socializing. She frequently mingles with the upper crust of society, honored and accepted in her station and even envied for her lifestyle. She works from the Serenity as a way to expand her clientele and see what the universe has to offer, converting one of the shuttles into her own private lounge.

Inara's strength doesn't come from her ability to fly a ship or shoot a gun, but from the pure feminine energy she extrudes in every aspect of her being. Her cabin is a drastic contrast to the rest of the ship, decorated in silks and cushions, making it a soft welcoming place, as opposed to the hard edges and metals in the rest of the ship. She speaks gently whenever she talks, even in anger or frustration, using her force of will rather than volume to defend her space.

Her relationships with her shipmates are as diverse as the crew itself. With Kaylee she acts as an older sister, with River she becomes a mother. With Jayne she's more of a scolding nanny and most interestingly besides her psudeo love interest is her relationship with Shepard Book. Shepard in this context is a traveling minister for a vaguely unexplored Christian denomination, and when he first meets Inara both seem slightly standoffish, as their professions seem to be polar opposites. They quickly grow to see the wisdom in each other's council, and form a mutual respect in one another, sometimes even appearing as the only sane people on the ship.

Inara-focused episodes don't break out into her firing a gun or chasing down a spaceship. They focus mainly on her place as a companion and what that relationship brings out in others. The most notable episode featuring this is Jaynestown, where a wealthy merchant hires her as a companion for his son, with the hope to "Make him a man" by taking his virginity.

Inara, in true form, performs her job but explains to the young man that what they did does not make him a man, and that it's not her place to do so. She helps him navigate his complex feelings of masculinity and his relationship with his father, helping him see that weather or not he is a man is up to him, not up to his father or society. He defines his masculinity, which ties into the other characters conflict and ends up saving the day.

It's easy to say Inara is a throw-away character by hearing her profession described. Most prostitute characters are played purely for laughs, occasionally as tragic characters like Les Miserables Fantine, but rarely are they painted as people to respect or admire. In Firefly's short lifetime we met a strong fascinating woman that exemplified femininity, not despite her profession but because of it, making her one of fiction's strongest women.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Almost Invisible Alien

(This post was originally posted on my personal blog in March 2013)


SPOILER ALERT FOR ANY DOCTOR WHO FANS!!! I’m going to be talking about a Season 5 (Eleventh Doctor) episode today.

The episode features the Doctor and Amy, his companion, traveling back to nineteenth century France to meet Vincent van Gogh and take care of an alien he’d painted in a church. Whilst taking care of the alien, the Doctor finds van Gogh having an emotional breakdown that very much reminded me of my experiences with depression. Though there is no consensus about what van Gogh’s mental disorder was, the writers of Doctor Who portray it as a bipolar disorder. As I watched the episode, van Gogh mourning his loneliness, misery, and hopelessness, I was reminded of my own episodes of depression, feeling that I have no hope and I eventually all those close to me will leave me. Yet I can also relate to how only a little while later, van Gogh had cried it out and was a happy person again. He says that occasionally he’d be tormented by those moods, but then suddenly he’d be okay. Sometimes I feel like I can go days or weeks at a time feeling completely happy… and then an episode hits and I’m upset for a day, a few days, a week, or who knows how long. It wasn’t until the end of the episode when the Doctor takes van Gogh to the present day and he sees a museum full of his own work that he believes his life was worth something.

Depression, bipolar, and other mental disorders are a huge trial for many. One source I looked at said that about 10% of the US adult population deals with depression. Another statistic said that about 2.6% of the population deals with bipolar. Another thing I want to touch on here is suicide. Like van Gogh eventually took his life, there are many that feel mortality is too painful and so they take their own life to ease the pain. One website told me that in 2010 it was reported that there were 38,364 deaths in the United States. The same website says that 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. And what about the other 10%? Does that mean that that 10% without a diagnosable disorder could have been helped? Perhaps saved?

Back in the 1980s, Elder Ballard said about suicide, “Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth.”
  
It’s important to show love to those around us, because as the saying goes “everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” but oftentimes we can’t see that. Like in the Doctor Who episode, the alien is invisible to all except van Gogh. He’s labeled as crazy and mad. Even when the Doctor and Amy try to help him with the alien, they’re left pretty helpless because the only person who can see it clearly is van Gogh. It is just like depression and other mental illnesses. I have felt many times like I am fighting an alien that only I can see.

There is help though. If you are struggling with depression, bipolar, or another mental illness, see a doctor or see a psychiatrist. All else fails, call this number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Human life is too precious to give up so easily. Keep trying. No matter how many times you fall, keep trying, because you’ll make it to eternal life if you just keep trying to keep the commandments.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Digimon Adventure Loose Ends (2)

A year and a half ago, the Digimon fanbase was in the middle of the Digimon Adventure Tri series. I did a post about the loose ends the series left after that universe seemingly closed over 15 years before. So now that Digimon Adventure Tri has ended officially (and the dubbed has aired in English), we have another Digimon Adventure project announced. So in honor of that, I've got some more Digimon Adventure loose ends that this new series could address.

02 Kids and King Drasil
In the opening of "Reunion", we see the Season 2 kids taken down by King Drasil's Royal Knight Alphamon. They appeared to be in their Digital World clothing. We see nothing of them until silhouettes in "Future", where we learn they were interfering with King Drasil's plans. So Why were they in the Digital World to begin with? What happened to their partners? I'd personally like more details and maybe more than a sillhouette.


Dragomon, Maki, and the Dark Ocean
I referenced this one in my old post, but we had Dragomon alluded to in "His Master's Voice" (episode 2x13) ending with a silhouette and a cryptic narration. We saw the Dark Ocean again several times after that cliffhanger, but nothing. Last we saw of the Dark Ocean, we saw Maki being dragged into the ocean, seemingly by Dragomon's minions (Scubmaon/Divermon). So what happened to Maki? And Tapirmon? And Dragomon?


Gennai and the Black Sphere
Again, I alluded to it before. I feel like I have even more evidence towards it. In "The Ultimate Clash" (episode 1x45), Piedmon pushed a mysterious black sphere into Gennai's back. Could this be why Dark Gennai was working for King Drasil in Adventure Tri?


Daemon's return
Speaking of Dark Gennai, as he disappeared at the end of "Future", he referenced the possibility of Daemon coming back. Granted, this could be his insanity, but when Daemon was sent to the Dark Ocean in "The Dark Gate" (episode 2x45) he vowed to return. It would definitely be unexpected to have Daemon return out of nowhere, maybe with Dark Gennai's help?


Daigo and Maki's team
First seen as sillhouettes in "Now Apocalymon" (episode 1x53) and then in flashbacks in "Loss" and "Coexistence", we didn't have any information on the original Digi-Destined for almost 20 years. Then we met two of them and they've both (presumably) died. I would love to see flashbacks again, maybe from the perspective of the Digimon (now the Digimon Sovereign) to fill in some of the blanks. Or I suppose we could see some of the other three kids who remained nameless when we met Maki and Daigo?


Anything from Digimon Adventure, Digimon Adventure 02, or Digimon Adventure Tri you'd like tied up nicely in the 20th anniversary movies? Maybe some action with Davis, Ken, Yolei, and Cody. Maybe they could get crests and reach Ultimate and/or Mega? That'd be fun.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

What is Dungeons and Dragons?

Occasionally I get asked by a well meaning friend "Hay do you want to get together sometime and we can play Dungeons and Dragons?"

I try to keep the smile on my face while I cringe just a little inside.

I realized recently that with all the different media depictions, misunderstandings, accusations of witchcraft and so fourth that a majority of people don't know what Dungeons and Dragons is exactly, so here is my attempt to set the record straight.

A Different Beast

In most board games, a group of people can sit down one evening, open the box, set up the components, play, then put everything back in the box. Dungeons and Dragons though, is a whole different beast.

Let's say we're playing a basic pre-written campaign that one can buy in the store or pick up online. To start a group would need the book that explains how to make and use a character, a book that explains how to run a campaign and a book that features the creatures the adventurers may run into during the campaign and need to make sure all these components are of the same set. Usually this costs between $60 to $100.

Next each player will need to build their character. Some characters can be found online but the point of Dungeons and Dragons is to create a custom character that you want to play, unlike a video game where you slip into Mario or Geralt's shoes.

Lastly and most importantly, you need a dungeon master. This is a person who will run the game. The players each play one character in the world, the dungeon master's role is to play everything else. The creatures, the other characters the players may run into, even the cosmetology the game exists in.

So already you can see that this is levels beyond a game of Monopoly, so this alone makes it all but impossible to start a game on the fly. Usually character creation alone can be at least an hour long process for new players. Some of the more experienced players can streamline the process, but for the uninitiated a lot may need to be explained.

Oh and dice. You need all the dice. Like ever. If you think you have too many dice you don't, you're still short.


The Art Of Roleplay

Dungeons and Dragons is a pure roleplaying game. It goes far beyond moving a piece across a board then rolling dice to determine success or failure. Say a player encounters a merchant. In a mainstream board game the options for interaction may be little more than buy or sell items. In Dungeons and Dragons though, the player could buy from the merchant, sell to the merchant, attempt to rob the merchant, attempt to fight the merchant, attempt to seduce the merchant, attempt to befriend the merchant, try to capture the merchant to use as a slave, try to buy the merchant's entire store from him and set it up as a franchise, or burn the merchant's store to the ground then use the ashes in a dark unholy ritual.

These are just a few options I could think of on the fly. Honestly a player could do whatever they can imagine to varying degrees of success. The player needs to know that all options are available and what they can and need to do based on who their character is, what their motivation is, what the quest is and where their morals lie. A degree of acting, improvisation and imagination are all required for this exercise, which can be a major departure for most new players who aren't used to getting to be people.

Length and Sessions

So let's say you've got everything together. You've got your friends, someone's a Dungeon Master, character sheets are made, and snacks are within arm's reach. An average campaign of Dungeons and Dragons takes about 5 or 6 hours. Now that's if the players go from one objective to the next completely focused on the task at hand. Add in the players banter, the in-jokes, the references, the side talk, and the discussion as to what to do next the short 5 hours can stretch out to a good 20+. Now of course few have the constitution to sit for 20 hours straight playing a game, so this means the game usually takes place in sessions over months and even years. Some games have been rumored to have been going on for decades, as new players are added and others retire, move or even pass away. Being in a campaign isn't a casual game night, it's also a commitment to help your buddies take down the bad guys and save the world.

Still Want to Play?

This may all seem intimidating, but if you still want to give it a try know that they're are people who are happy to teach newcomers to the game. If we didn't the game would probably be dead. Some Dungeon Masters are even informally tutored by veteran players eager to pass on their skills. THe point is that if you want in you're welcome to join but just know what you're in for.

Also, never split the party.

-JOE