Friday, October 20, 2017

Before viewing the Lego Ninjago movie it'd be best to know what Ninjago is

Lego Ninjago hit theaters in September. 

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm going to correct that tonight with companion, Brad Habegger. We are both not ten years old anymore. So for the benefit of anyone else out there who also finds themselves in the uncomfortable zone of admitting that one is no longer ten, I guess I should probably extend my adult brain into explaining what exactly a ninjago is (because you're in luck).

Ninjago is a portmanteau of "ninja" and "Lego." Think of "Bennifer" or "Brangelina" only in this case it is a world and not a power couple (did I use power couple correctly in a sentence?). "Ninjago" is a fictional place invented as both a theme for Lego sets and a setting for the show Ninjago: Master of Spin. This show started in 2011 and lots of kids like it. The first "Spinjitzu Master" (not to be confused with the defunct Bill O'Reilly who was "Master of the No Spin Zone") used some powerful weapons called the Four Elemental Weapons of Spinjitzu to create it. He had two sons: Lord Garmadon (evil) and Sensei Wu (good). Pretty basic right?

Garmadon (as is the case of evil creatures) was eventually banished to an underworld while Wu protected the powerful weapons. But Garmadon came back, so Wu trained four young ninjas and designated them "keeper of the weapons." They both have goals. Garmadon wants to conquer Ninjago. Wu wants to protect it.

In the movie, there are supposedly six ninjas. They are: 1) Cole (earth ninja), 2) Jay (lightning ninja), 3) Kai (fire ninja), 4) Nya (water ninja), 5) Zane (ice ninja), and 6) Lloyd (green ninja). There's a running gag where he doesn't know what "green" ninja is supposed to mean, just like the clueless audience. Lloyd is the son of Lord Garmadon, which he doesn't like, because his dad keeps attacking the city with his army. Garmadon is also an absentee father.

So that's it. Those are things I know (and from what I've read in reviews) is helpful to know before going into this movie to avoid getting lost.




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Here are five things I expect from Solo: A Star Wars story

With the announcement by Ron Howard that the Han Solo movie would simply be called "Solo," it got me to thinking about what I actually expect from a movie about the most famous space smuggler there is.

1) I think that we should see some kind of Heist. I mean...what kind of movie would it be if good ole Chewy and Han weren't making money pulling the wool over someone's eyes?

2) Han should be arrogant. He was pretty full of himself in the original Star Wars (as well as a womanizer) so we should see some of this on display.

3) Lando Calrissian. If we don't see a young Lando and Han playing a game of sabaac, I will be incredibly disappointed.

4) We need to see whatever the Kessel Run is, and it needs to be run in twelve parsecs. This needs to be clearly explained as "impossible" in the movie to do (as well).

5) We'll get a meeting between Han and young Jabba. We already caught a glimpse of him in the Star Wars prequels, but this will be better done because technology and C.G.I. has advanced so much since the early 2000's.

Anyone else caring to take a stab at what we'll see when it hits theaters in December of 2018?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Star Trek Discovery is a dark science fiction take on traditional Trek only with actual cussing and gay characters.

Spoilers Ahead. Please be aware :). Season 1, Episode 5 called "Choose your Pain" was one of the best episodes aired yet, which is to say a lot since this series has got extremely high production values and solid actors. Last night I was caught off guard twice in one episode. For one, the characters dropped the "F" bomb twice. I had to check myself and then realize, hey this is online and a paid subscription at that, so they must feel they can get away with more, and I really like it. Then at the end of the episode, we learned that the doctor and the engineer are a gay couple. I mean...that's just awesome. It's never been a real thing in a Trek show until now. On top of all that, the gay character saved the ship, so yeah he's brilliant and a hero.

But pushing past those two barriers to examine the episode, there was lots to be proud of in the vein of those who like Trek. Roger Carmel's portrayal of Mudd (who we met in the original series) seems to work pretty good. I never really liked the character of Mudd, as he was pretty much an asshole. This new actor carries that role pretty well, reprising the smug trader with no scruples. He says, "I sure as hell understand why the Klingons pushed back, Starfleet arrogance." This probably means that there's more to him than just being a trader in goods. He also has dark political motivations. A possible villain, maybe?

We also learn that Captain Lorca (as if we didn't suspect this already with his commitment to do whatever it takes) is essentially a terrible person. He confesses that he blew up his last command ship so that he could save his crew from the hands of the Klingons. What a way to justify mass murder. The guy's got no moral center whatsoever.

And I also love the spinning ship effect. It's just really cool when they make the jump using the tardigrade and the spore drive. However, what's not cool is that they kept using the tardigrade, even when Burnham kept telling Saru that the spore drive was killing a sentient creature.

Star Trek: Discovery is just a different kind of show. It's dark and gritty with an over-arching storyline and a kind of Babylon 5 or J.J. Abrams reboot kinda feel to it. I wonder where it's going with all this. Maybe the mirror universe? I kinda got that hint from the episode's last scene. Thing is, the last time we saw the mirror universe, everyone had mustaches and strange goatees. That should still be a thing. It really should.


Friday, October 13, 2017

I'm in love with Riverdale's beautiful darkness and suffering. Let me tell you all about it.

There are spoilers in this post!

Riverdale is back. I love this show because everyone has a motive for murder. And even if they don't eventually end up dead, it's just enough of a fantasy to buy into. I mean...could there be a whole small town of sex-crazed young (exceptionally gorgeous) people bleeding all over the place as they damage and traumatize one another, while listening to great music and leaving a good looking corpse? Maybe not, but who knows? IT COULD HAPPEN IN EDGY-VILLE.

This year's mystery (last year was Jason Blossom's death) is apparently "Who shot Archie's dad?" Played by Luke Perry, I was legitimately thinking a couple of times that they might just bump him off while watching last night. But they didn't, and I think the series is stronger for making this decision. The bit near the end though where Archie stands vigil over their house with a baseball bat to attack any intruder makes me think that they should have just invested in a home security system. It wouldn't have had the same impact though. And although that scene was very dumb, I got an earlier one where Veronica joins Archie in the shower. In that scene, he's watching blood swirl between his toes and thence down the drain. That scene was as hot and steamy as it was intended to be. But...Veronica did get into the shower while Archie was trying to wash his dad's blood from off his skin so yeah...a little dark but I still liked it. Eh...Veronica is not in the series for her ability to comfort people.

You would be mistaken too if you thought that a simple request for help from the local gang wouldn't produce some good helpings of trauma too. Jughead asks the Serpents to help uncover some information they might have about the possible masked shooter, and it results in a bloodied man being delivered to his trailer. They wanted to make sure their effort did not go unnoticed by Jughead. Makes sense, I suppose, in a psychopathic kinda mindset kinda way. I mean, there'd always be that nagging doubt: did they actually look into it?

Finally, Cheryl was a big winner in the premiere. She puts her mother (who's in the hospital with third degree burns) in her place, even squeezing the oxygen tube so that she's gasping, and then telling her that she's in charge now. Wow, go psychopathic teen. She also had the best line of the night in Fred Andrews' room at the hospital: "You gave me the kiss of life Archie Andrews, now I've given it to your dad."

Oh and Jughead ate a burger in the premiere. It's about time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The porgs are here! The porgs are here! Here's ten questionable facts about porgs that I could have made up.





PORGS ARE HERE! So you might as well know the facts (via io9 and then stuff I made up about them because I is funny):

1) Porgs are residents of Ahch-To, which is the mysterious planet where Rey finds Luke Skywalker. They are here for a reason, and it is not to sell merchandise. Or maybe it is to sell merchandise, but please realize that this is in no way "selling out." It's just fleshing out a universe so that it feels more realistic.

2) Luke Skywalker must be a fan of porgs.

3) They build nests.

4) They can fly short distances.

5) Their babies are called "porglets."

6) They are sea birds. Their coloring varies. Males are slightly larger than females. They're also inquisitive.

7) They're based off puffins, which are eaten in Iceland. So they may be better smoked to balance out the oil. However, because this is a fictional universe, a porg may in fact taste like chicken.

8) They may be low in saturated fat and high in midichlorian content. The reason why Han Solo was on Tattoine in the first place was because he was dropping off a shipment of porgs, which is the food of choice for slave labor on that planet.

9) Gordon Ramsey thinks they're delicious.

10) I suspect that Chewie will work through his grief over losing his lifelong friend by collecting porgs the way an elderly widow collects cats.

Now you are prepared to truly appreciate the porgs. You are welcome. And in case you haven't seen the theatrical trailer, it's below :).


Friday, October 6, 2017

I seriously would like a pair of these free posters being given away at New York Comic Con.

You'd be hard-pressed to find anything "Free" that's as cool as this.

Bottleneck Gallery has teamed up with Warner Brothers to give out some frickin' awesome Blade Runner 2049 posters at New York Comic Con. Man oh man, I wish I was going. These are gonna fetch some serious cash on Ebay. Check them out:

Sigh. I need more high quality free stuff in my life. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No I have not slipped any personal information into my characters either accidental or otherwise.

Today is the first Wednesday in October, not to be confused with the first Monday in October (a designation reserved for the new term of the SCOTUS). This means that it's time for a new Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The website for the IWSG is located HERE, and it's a great way to start making friends in the writer community. In fact, I can't really recommend beginning anywhere else so yeah...if you write...start there first.

This month's question from the desk of the IWSG is as follows:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Unfortunately no. I can say that 100% of everything I've written about, scene-wise and action-wise, is completely made-up. I wish that I led an interesting enough life (even in small snippets) to include in my stories but the fact is that it's just not true (for me at least).

And maybe there's a lesson in this question: in order for you to be a great writer, you should strive to live an interesting life because it will improve your writing. Makes sense, right? Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver in World War I, a bull runner, and a heavy drinker all of his life. He married four different women, was almost killed in two plane crashes, and went on safaris in Africa.

Oscar Wilde dared to be a promiscuous homosexual in the puritanical Victorian era. He was in and out of courts on scandalous accusations, sentenced to hard labor, and was publicly humiliated. And of course he drank absinthe. All the great writers did.

Mark Twain was a gold prospector, steamboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, served in the American Civil War and was friends with Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. He died one day after Halley's Comet came closest to Earth, as he had predicted.

Anyway, history is replete with examples of great writers living vibrant, fulfilling lives. It doesn't wax poetic about the schmuck that is middle class and works a 9-5.

So maybe the IWSG is trying to tell us all something this month: live a life that makes you want to slip personal information into your characters. I suppose you can take that to the bank.