Catching Up on my Movies

I’m way behind in my movie watching. Between work, fixing up my house, spending time with my girls, and writing, I don’t get a whole lot of movie watching time. I’m also way behind on my TV watching too. I haven’t finished the second season of any of the non-Daredevil Marvel Netflix shows. But, since movies are a lot quicker to watch than seasons full of shows, I figured I’d get some of them out of the way first. Here’s my overall opinions on them.

Needless to say, there will be spoilers here (although, I doubt there are too many people as behind in their movie watching as I am)

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Older Games

Lately, I’ve been getting my hands on some older games and have been playing them. Most of them are games that I used to play at one point in time. Not all of them, but most. Maybe I’m nostalgic, or maybe I’m just old, but I’ve been enjoying these older games more than most of the newer games coming out.

The first thing I got was a NES Classic. My wife and I both grew up playing the NES. We, of course, play the Mario games, but there are a few others that I’ve played on it: ExciteBike, Tecmo Bowl, the original Final Fantasy. The first two I used to play all the time and are still not bad to play. I never played the original Final Fantasy until we bought this… I’m not a fan. Also, I remember Zelda being a lot better.

But, that’s not the only system I have older games on. If you look on my Xbox One, you’ll find KOTOR 1, KOTOR 2, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 (the original Xbox version, not the one that came out last year). All of them are from the first Xbox and all of them are games that I absolutely love.

The first KOTOR is still my favorite single player game of all time. I’ve probably beaten it a dozen times and I still love playing it. The second KOTOR isn’t as good as the first, but it’s still fun to play.

Battlefront is still a lot of fun to play. I forgot how much fun it actually was. Granted, it was more fun way back when, but that was because I was almost always playing either with, or against, my brother. But, it’s still a lot more fun to play than the new Battlefront games.

What about you? Are there any older video games that you still play?

Have You Read My Stories?

Also fun for the weekend, if you didn’t take my suggestion yesterday, is reading the stories that I have on this here blog. You can find them on the My Stories tab at the top of my page. I have a Star War fan fiction. A Left 4 Dead fan fiction.

I also have 3 different comic book-type stories. There’s Dead Set, which is my serious one. Captain Procrastination is my off-the-wall goofy one. And DICO is…. well…. DICO is somewhere in the middle.

I’ve also done a short Superman fan fiction, and a Spider-Man one as well, but I haven’t added them to that page yet for some reason. I suppose I could do that now, while I’m thinking about it, but I’m channeling my inner Captain Procrastination at the moment. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Speaking of “next time”, that’s when I’ll see you again, dear readers!

Diversify

I’ve got a few writing projects going on at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped me from also reading two different books (one at work, the other at home). A guy I work with asked me how I was able to read two books at once. “Don’t you get the characters or the plots confused with each other?”

Honestly? No.

And it’s not because I feel like my brain is too sharp or powerful for such a thing. That’s certainly not it. I’m one of the most scatterbrained people I know. For example, if Mrs. Revis asks me to do something right before she goes to bed (like empty the dishwasher or switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer), unless I do it right away, I’ve forgotten it about five minutes later. Then, when the morning comes, I am the recipient of an angry glare and I don’t know why until she reminds me of what I was supposed to do.

No, the reason I don’t get them mixed up is because they are nothing alike. Other than the fact that at least some of each of the two books takes place in Texas, they have nothing in common.

The one I’m reading at work is The Deceivers by Alex Berenson. Here is the back cover blurb for it as it appears on Amazon.

The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.

When John Wells is called to Washington, he’s sure it’s to investigate the carnage in Dallas, but it isn’t. The former CIA director, now president, Vinnie Duto has plenty of people working in Texas. He wants Wells to go to Colombia. An old asset there has information to share–and it will lead Wells to the deadliest mission of his life, an extraordinary confluence of sleeper cells, sniper teams, false flag operations, double agents high in the U.S. government–and a Russian plot to take over the government itself. If it succeeds, what happened in Texas will only be a prelude.

The book I’m reading at home is Night Shift, the third book in the Midnight, Texas trilogy, by Charlaine Harris. Here’s the blurb for hers.

At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town. Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place…

So, basically, one book is about a CIA agent trying to stop terror attacks and the other is about a small Texas town that has vampires, werewolves, psychics, and witches in it.

Not similar at all.

And that got me thinking about all of my books. It’s the same with them too. If you were to look on my bookshelf, you’d see Harlan Coben books next to Jurassic Park, Dungeons and Dragons novels next to The Lincoln Lawyer, and Star Wars novels next to books written by the fictional Richard Castle.

And that, my friends, is how you avoid getting burnt out on reading. You diversify your library.

Versus: Season 2 Episode 2

Ok, I’ll admit it. The first post of the second “season” of Versus didn’t go as planned. Matticus and I both made our pitches and waited for our awesome readers to vote in the poll. Then, the time came for the poll to end…. only it never did. At last glance, which was about a week ago, it was still active. I’m still not sure what happened there.

At some point, Matt and I are going to go to battle in the virtual arena that is Versus again, but I need to iron out the kinks in the system first. So, with that in mind, I’m going to subject you all to some of my regular Versus posts, only I’m going to start including polls on those. That way I can practice, and hopefully figure out what I did wrong the last time, before we have our rematch. Unlike my older Versus episodes, however, I’m only going to be doing one matchup per post.

Let’s try this poll thing again. Onto the matchup!

MORE ANNOYING VIDEO GAME PARTY MEMBER: CARTH (STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC) VS. SERA (DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION) VS. LOUIS (LEFT 4 DEAD)

We’ve got us a three way battle. I also had a Three Way for dinner (which means nothing to you unless you’re from the Cincinnati area), but that’s beside the point. This matchup consists of three characters from video games that I have spent a lot of time playing. I’m pretty sure that I’ve logged over 100 hours on each of them. So, these characters have had a lot of time to get under my skin. Let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

Up first is Carth. He is the first actual party member you pick up in KOTOR. Then, he spends the rest of the game annoying the crap out of you. He goes on some whiny tangent about how he doesn’t trust anyone anymore because he was betrayed before. If you take the time to ask him about it, he gets defensive and snaps at you. As the story progresses, if you keep asking him about it, he reveals that the person who betrayed him was his mentor and the betrayal was the bombardment of his home planet which led to the deaths of his wife and child (Although, you find out later in the game that his child survived and turned to the dark side). Granted, if my wife and child were killed, I’d be devastated, but I don’t think I’d be a whiny ass and blame it on everyone I meet. I beat this game at least 5 times and I think the only time I talked to Carth enough to get the side quest that involved his kid was the first time. I couldn’t take it for any of the others.

Next is Sera. In Dragon Age, certain people have accents that mimic those that are on Earth. For example, the Orlesians all speak in French accents. Sera, on the other hand, speaks in a heavy British accent. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me. When Sera speaks, however, she goes 100 miles an hour. I can’t understand most of what she says she’s usually talking so fast. Even when you have the text appear on the screen and read it, most of what she says is still nonsense. She uses metaphors that just don’t make sense to me. Her answers to questions are usually vague and leave you with more questions than when you started. I won’t even talk to her anymore unless it’s absolutely necessary to complete a quest.

And last is Louis. Quite frankly, Louis is a little bitch. When any of the other characters from either of the Left 4 Dead games get entangled with one of the special infected (a hunter/smoker/jockey/what have you) they cry out for a teammate to help them out. Louis just cries. I looked for an audio clip so I could show you what I mean, but I couldn’t find one. The most annoying one is when he gets pounced on by a Hunter. He screams, “Get it off me! Get it off meeeeeeee!” while sobbing. Literally sobbing. If it wouldn’t lessen my chances of survival, I’d let the little bitch die every time.

But, who is more annoying? That is for you to decide, dear readers. I’m going to put up this here poll thing and hope it works correctly this time around. Cast your vote and let me know who you dislike having in your party the most. If I get it right this time, I’ll post a follow up with the winner in 8 days.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger Finale

race-to-danger

“Attention soon-to-be-dead fleshpile,” came Envy’s robotic voice in my ear, “all of the other racers have finished. You might as well cross the finish line, too. Besides, staring at the man who will soon be killing you is a waste of what little time you have left.”

Realizing that our staring contest was getting us nowhere, I broke eye contact with Nalith and pulled my swoop bike across the finish line, into the garage. As I dismounted my bike, I could feel every eye on me. Their confusion was apparent without me even having to look at them. I had just done something that no other racer had ever done before: I had openly thrown a race. Not caring what they thought, I started walking back to The Quick Fix.

Before I had even left the mechanics area, a figure stepped in front of me. Expecting it to be Nalith, I was a little surprised when I found myself face-to-face with Teebo. Then again, I thought to myself, Nalith won’t find me from the front. He’ll sneak up behind me and the next thing I’ll know, I’ll be waking up in my bed again with him standing over me.

Teebo seemed like he was about to say something, so I raised my hand to stop him. “I’m sorry about what my droid told you that I said about you,” I said in Basic.

“So, you didn’t actually say that,” he asked back in Huttese.

“No, I said it. I’m just sorry he told you.”

Teebo threw up his hands in disgust. I thought about trying to stop him and attempting to make peace, but the next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed again. Nalith stood over me, his normally passive face was a mask of rage. “Do you realize what you have done,” he screamed at me.

“How are you able to knock me out in public and drag me back here without anybody seeming to notice or care,” I calmly responded.

Apparently, he didn’t like my response, because he slapped me hard on both sides of my face. “I asked you a question,” he screamed again.

“I know exactly what I’ve done,” I yelled back. “I did to your career what you threatened to do to mine.”

At that, Nalith laughed. “You overestimate the effect of your actions, Torr.”

“No, I don’t, Nalith. Think about it for a second. This was one of the biggest races of the season. There had to have been dozens of holorecorders there. While I’m sure that most of them stayed on me during the whole incident, I’m betting that at least one person got curious as to what I was looking at. That means that there’s video of you already out the on the HoloNet.”

“That’s an awfully big risk to be taken for something that’s not guaranteed.”

“I thought so too. That’s why I had Envy take the holorecordings for me. What? Did your ‘toys’ not pick up that Envy was broadcasting? Maybe you just didn’t notice because you were too busy staring back at me.”

Nalith pulled a datapad out of his pocket, hit a few buttons, and turned blood red in the face. “I’m going to kill you.”

“No, you’re not,” I told him. He stopped in his tracks, confusion replacing anger on his face. I continued, “In your line of work, anonymity is usually a good thing. Now, your face is out there for everyone to see. In the future, when people see your face, all they’ll think is that you’re the guy who rigged a race. You’ll never find anyone to hire you again…. except your current employer. And they won’t hire you again if you kill me.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Because most fathers don’t like it when you kill their children.” Nalith raised his eyebrow and waited for me to continue. “I didn’t put it together until you told me ‘your’ opinion of my driving skills. It’s funny how it is the same as my father’s. Not just similar, but word-for-word. I’m guessing he gave you some materials to help you with dealing with me and, you being the meticulous type, memorized it all.”

“An interesting theory.”

“It might be a theory, but, since I happen to have the highest powers of deductive reasoning in the entire galaxy, it’s more like fact.”

“Oh really? Care to fill in the rest of the blanks, then?”

“Sure thing, Hutt-licker. It all started with Katellan’s betrayal. It never made sense to me. I was never able to process it. The reason I couldn’t process it is because it would never happen. He would never do anything like that to me. That means he was in on it with you, and the only way he would agree to deceive me is if he knew who was behind the deception…someone like my father. They knew each other fairly well.”

“If he was in on it, as you claim, how did he end up dead?”

“That would be your fault, Hutt-sniffer. I’m guessing the original plan was that you’d say you wanted me to fix Teebo’s swoop, and when he refused, I’d take his place. You, however, had a rivalry with Turussk, and saw that you had an opportunity to take him out while completing the task my father had for you. So, you tried to drag him into it, but since he’s incredibly paranoid, or he just knew you too well, he didn’t buy it for a second. He defended himself, and Katellan got in the way.”

“Sounds like you have it all figured out. I have a question for you now.”

“Go ahead, Hutt-lover.”

“If you knew that your father was behind all of this, why did you throw the race?”

“This race is one of the things that helped me realize that this was my father’s doing. This is his favorite track. If you were really only interested in fixing the race, you would’ve waited until the next one after what happened to Katellan. Because it had to be this race, it made me realize that he was behind it. So, I threw it for two reasons: One, to make him angry. And two, to make you pay for what happened to Katellan, you Hutt-kisser.”

“If you’re as clever as you think you are, why do all of your insults have to do with Hutts?”

“Because they are the most ugly and vile things in the galaxy….except for your mother.” Nalith shot me a death glare, but I ignored it. “Tell my father I’ll see him the next time I make it back home. Now, get off of my ship.”

Nalith stormed out and left my ship. I instructed Envy to fly us out of there, and after he informed me of my continuing inferiority, he took the ship up and out of Tatooine. I didn’t care where we went, I just knew we had to get away from that place.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 11

race-to-danger

“What are you going to do, Master,” Envy asked.

With a raised eyebrow, I looked at the droid. “You better watch out,” I told him. “For a second there it actually sounded like you care.”

“You are a fleshpile who is inferior to me in every possible way. However, you are an inferior fleshpile that I’ve grown accustomed to. Should you perish, I might get stuck with a fleshpile even more useless than you. Therefore, it is in my best interests to try to keep you from expiring.”

We had just finished the upgrades on the swoop bike that we had been working on for Turussk (after Nalith had taken the bomb off, of course). There was only ten minutes left to get it to the track in time for pre-race inspection, so I let the conversation drop there. Besides, it would probably be better for me to leave Envy out of this. I didn’t want anyone else taking a shot for me (not that Envy would actually take a shot for me. He’d probably let me get shot, laugh about it for a minute, then try to find me medical care.)

Getting the swoop to the track on time was a race unto itself, but we managed to do it. The inspector went over our bike and found nothing wrong with it. We got the swoop bike into position at the starting line and waited for the race to start. It seemed to me to be hours, but, in reality, it was only twenty minutes. During that time, I went over what I needed to do in my head. Because races are so unpredictable, it was impossible to know how it would all work out. All I knew for certain, was that I was going to have to drive faster than I ever had before.

The engines of all fifteen swoop bikes roared to life simultaneously. All of my focus was on the light that would signal the start of the race. As soon as it lit, I jammed the throttle and took off. My plan was working perfectly, as this was my best start ever. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. By the time I reached the first turn, other racers had caught up and passed me. I was momentarily confused because my swoop bike was so much faster than theirs.

“Attention, fleshpile,” came a voice over the comlink in my helmet. “You are supposed to go fast the entire race, not just the first 1000 meters.”

I looked down and saw that Envy was right. I had reverted back to my old ways and only the throttle at half power.

“Unless you want to die a horrible death,” he continued, “you should probably speed up. If you do, in fact, wish to die a horrible death, please allow me to watch as Nalith does his job.”

Tuning Envy out, I gave more power to the engine and held on tight as my swoop quickly accelerated. I let up on the power for just a few seconds as I approached the next curve. After this curve was a long straightaway that should let me catch up to, and pass, all six of the racers who were now ahead of me. As soon as the course straightened out, I once again jammed down the throttle and set my swoop bike to go as fast as it could.

This was the fastest I had ever gone on a bike before and I must confess, it was rather frightening. If I didn’t urinate before the race, I’d probably have a wet race suit right now. Nevertheless, my plan was working and I had passed all of the racers except one. Of course, that one had to be Teebo. As I pulled along side of him, I snuck a glance in his direction. It was very tempting to try to run him off the track, but I reminded myself that I had more important things to do at the moment.

My bike surged ahead of the pack again. I kept up my pace as long as I could, knowing that I needed to gain as much of a lead as I possibly could. The other racers had much more experience taking turns and curves at these speeds, so I was going to have to slow down some. The trick was slowing down enough to where I don’t crash, but also going fast enough to where I don’t lose my lead.

By the time I had reached the last part of the track, my plan had worked. I had given up some of my lead to Teebo, but not enough for me to worry….yet. The very last turn was a killer (I’m not being metaphorical. Many racers have actually crashed and died there). It was a straight ninety degree turn to the left. The only other time I had raced on this track before, I had gone so slow around that turn that the engine power was barely moving the bike. This time, I couldn’t do that.

I slowly let off the throttle and at the last possible moment, hit the brakes and swung the nose of the bike left. With my momentum, I was quickly getting closer and closer to the wall. Envy’s voice over the comlink told me that it had not been a pleasure knowing me. That’s when I kicked the power back up to full. The bike lurched forward and I missed slamming into the wall by mere millimeters. My heart was beating so loudly in my chest that I barely heard the roar of the crowd when I made it out.

“Very impressive driving,” Envy told me. “For a fleshpile, that is.”

I ignored him again and concentrated on the ever closer finish line. As I approached it, I held back my emotions as I whispered, “This is for you, Katellan.”

I slammed on the brakes, stopping the bike ten meters away from the finish line. Looking over in the stands, I found Nalith and just stared at him while all of the other racers passed me.