Tag: Star Wars

Literal filler with room filler

Don’t worry, I can already hear all of your complaints. “Three posts in a row about fixing your room up? What’s the deal Jason, why even bother?”

To be fair, until about an hour ago I was not going to put anything up on my blog today. I have two ideas set for tomorrow and an event on Friday, so the rest of my week in writing is planned out and I figured that could be enough of an excuse to skip a day.

But then I realized I would honestly feel terrible about myself if I broke my New Year streak so early.

So this quick n’ dirty post is mostly for me to make sure I don’t have a gap, and if you want to just come back tomorrow when I have a Fire Emblem Heroes banner release and a movie review lined up, I won’t harbor any ill will.

If you happened to be curious how my room wound up looking after I spent all of yesterday cleaning, then this might just be the filler content for you!

Yesterday I talked about how my room hadn’t changed much since the last time I showed it off. That was early into the cleaning process and it turned out to be a lie. A lot of the tchotchkes taking up space on my countertops hasn’t changed in terms of contents, but the layout is pretty new.

For instance, here’s the top of my TV cabinet — now featuring a fancy new backdrop:

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Told you that’s where I was going to put the Naruto poster. Even if I wound up having to move Diancie to make space.

As usual, my line-up of chess club trophies from elementary school remains in-tact. For years I’ve adored the way younger me happened to conveniently win enough trophies in specific placements to create an upscaling pattern, and I always put them up.

Except now in front of the trophies are the Luna wand I got from Universal Studios and a toy car that I happened to pull out of the dust and turmoil underneath that same cabinet when my sister and I pushed it flush against the wall.

We did so to clear some room next to my desk for where this Gladeo computer is going to go. Though it’s admittedly strange to not have that cabinet take up a diagonal space.

Fun fact, on top of that convertible I also found a list of interview questions from when I covered my friends taking part in the Bay Math League way back in middle school.

Now that’s definitely a story for another day. Remind me to tell it, because I actually have some fun throwback material I can use.

Beyond that car, the most notable changes to the collection are that Han Solo is on the left side instead of the right, replaced by Tanuki Mario — who used to be on top of my main clothing drawer.

I also added a few plushies to make the right side into a Pokémon-dedicated corner and it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. I’m considering moving some other posters over there as well to really complete the picture, but I don’t know how much it would mess with the feng shui.

You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.

I took Chinese for three years in high school so I feel like I’m somewhat obliged to try believing in it.

The next most changed surface in the room is that aforementioned main clothing drawer, which is constantly subject to me coming up with new Amiibo configurations:

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All things considered this is probably the most stable configuration I’ve tried yet, and I think my Star Wars legos fit in pretty well on this side of the room.

However, this wasn’t the first layout I tried.

Originally I thought about spacing the Amiibo out across both surfaces in a curving manner:

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I love the way this set-up looks, but unfortunately it took up too much space.

Saying that is a bit crazy when I realize I have 19 Smash Bros. character Amiibo and there are 73 fighters so far? But still.

Needed some room to fit all my other stuff too.

On the bright side I have an outlet like this to save a photo of the curving configuration, since it is one of my favorites aesthetically.

I think that about covers all the major changes to my room decor starting out 2019. As usual I’m sure it’ll be subject to adjustments as I pick up more useless garbage throughout the year, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it looks!

Hopefully this filler post was worth your time, because it wound up being more fun for me to write than I had expected.

Overheard at a Starbucks counter

Overheard at a Starbucks counter

For all intents and purposes, this morning has kind of been a bust. I’m going to spend a good chunk of this post complaining before getting to the fun Starbucks bit, as a fair warning.

I woke up extra early today, around 6:00 a.m. or so, that way I could commute to campus and show up for 8:00 a.m. walk-in hours at the Communications advising center. I’ve already complained about that and referenced it twice after, so I’ll yadda yadda that and send you over to my complaining post for further details.

If you aren’t interested in reading that post, and I wouldn’t blame you considering you’re probably here for Starbucks stories thanks to the title of this post, basically all you need to know is I had one question about the application of something in my planned schedule next semester that I was going to take regardless. A really quick, little question that I couldn’t get answered with an appointment because they were all booked up for the next month or whatever.

Figured if I showed up at the beginning of walk-in hours today it would be fine.

Then this happened.

Turned out even with my early commute I was the fourth or fifth person in line and everyone is allowed 20 minutes at most. Many people needed that full 20 minutes, as it turns out.

Adding insult to that injury, my question wound up being negligible anyway. Apparently the collateral category I was interested in applying this class to goes away once I complete my minor in Psychology.

Which is something I was made aware could be the case via the internship coordinator on Monday.

So I guess I got confirmation that it is, in fact, the case… But the nearly two-hour wait certainly didn’t feel justified to get that confirmation.

Oh but that’s not all, I also had some salt rubbed into that injury which was subsequently insulted. By the time I got my Comm advising, the office hours of my Psych professor were basically over so I couldn’t go there. Then it turned out the Honors Program Director isn’t around until next week because she’s at a conference, so I wasn’t able to have my project proposal signed off and finalized.

Basically. Getting up super early this morning was a bust. Don’t feel super justified doing it.

That ends the “let me complain about things that annoyed me on my personal blog” portion of my post, though.

Because the fun Starbucks-focused thing you all probably jumped on this train to hear about came while I went to get a drink and drown my annoyance.

Now there are a few caveats I need to elaborate as scene setters.

The Starbucks I went to is on the ground floor of the Pollak Library here at CSUF. It’s kind of the most central point on campus so it’s a very busy spot.

By 10:00 a.m. or so, the lineup to get coffee was long and the place was booming.

After ordering my drink I popped one headphone in and continued listening to a podcast I started during that two-hour wait.

Mostly Nitpicking, the podcast put on by that YouTuber I love Nando V. Movies, for anyone curious. It’s great and you should be listening.

BUT ANYWAY. Point is I might not have been the most cognizant of my surroundings.

Even so, I swear to god this is true. While waiting for my order to get thrown onto the counter I saw one girl attract the attention of a barista. She leaned in, mumbled “Order 66,” and the barista got the most solemn look on her face as she nodded, turned around and went to the back room.

Being the nerdy loser I am, the only way I could have possibly took that was in the framework of the Star Wars prequels.

Like now I’m totally convinced some random customer at Starbucks is secretly Emperor Palpatine and all of the younglings in the back room of the coffee shop have been chopped up by future Darth Vader barista.

There’s absolutely no other way to interpret that scene.

Especially not one that involves the mobile order Barista Vader brought out a few seconds later.

Total coincidence.

Yeah, that’s the whole story. Don’t know if you think it was underwhelming after spending a chunk of this reading about a guy complaining about his first world problem of getting up early for no reason, but I personally thought it was hilarious.

Probably in good part due to the aforementioned lack of sleep and general annoyance.

Figured if nothing else it would make for a good blog post to write and fill the extra three-hour time gap before my first class at 1:00 p.m.

So I hope you too feel that reading this was a good use of your extra time.

Reusing and Recycling

Reusing and Recycling

Last year I didn’t really have a proper Halloween. All of the oxygen was sucked out of that particular room by Milo Yiannopolous visiting Cal State Fullerton, which wound up being a massive, exhausting reporting project that I was the lead on.

Nobody around campus got to have a real Halloween that year. As great as it was getting lost in that world, it was a shame that I didn’t get to dress up or do any of that fun, traditional spooky stuff.

As a result I’m a bit out-of-practice when it comes to doing things like pulling together costumes.

So when my friend Mimi invited me to come to a Halloween party tonight, I panicked over how to dress.

And by panicked I mean I got really busy with school and didn’t bother pulling anything new together. Instead I just reused my costume from two years ago and came as the esteemed Willy Wonka.

Here I am with Mimi, also apparently reusing an old costume. Also, please note the god of partying noshing on some meatballs in the background. Because he was awesome.

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka of course. I put this thing together two years ago after he passed away, and I’m impressed I still somewhat fit into the women’s size pimp-purple coat that I dug out of a thrift store.

Guess there’s something to this whole exercising regularly thing after all.

I’m kind of writing this in the corner of the party while waiting for my turn at Mario Kart, so I won’t be too verbose. But I figure I should highlight some of the fun things here because it’s a cool little shindig.

For instance, the aforementioned drunk Mario Kart.

I’m not personally drunk because I have a long drive home after this, but basically everyone else is fucked up on every kind of alcohol under the sun.

And we’re playing Mario Kart.

For some reason a decision was made to start the game at the hardest difficulty while playing a Rainbow Road race.

First off, I have to say, it’s incredible that that’s the decision everyone collectively came to. But also it was just plain hilarious watching everyone struggle through it while inebriated.

(I personally got fourth place as my girl Rosalina while everyone else was 10-12, so I got to flex my sober video game muscles a little)

Jackbox came in later, but for me Mario Kart at a massive party full of people who aren’t purely nerds was way more surprising.

Also on the list of party attractions was the food, of course. Mimi put together a lovely spread of chips, candy and cheeses for people to soak up that alcohol with.

Plus there were these lovely cupcakes:

Note the meatballs in the background, also prepared by Mimi and made famous by our God friend.

Very Halloween-y.

Naturally the costumes are also very important to discuss. Someone is wearing a dragon made out of a cardboard box, and her boyfriend is dressed as Daenerys from Game of Thrones.

There are at least two one-pieces in the room, a cheetah and a Stormtrooper.

Two girls came dressed as an angel and a devil.

We’ve got Miguel from Coco, Lucas from Earthbound, a Slytherin student with the dark mark tattooed on…

It’s a very interesting, eclectic mix that I don’t exactly feel comfortable taking a larger photo of. So maybe check my social media stuff in case I like some pictures Mimi puts out or whatever.

Oh yeah, also there’s a cat. A very sweet cat with big ol’ eyes. Animals are always welcome at a party.

Even though I’m basically meeting everyone at this place tonight, I’d say it’s been a great time! Certainly a wonderful distraction from my Mass Media Ethics assignment and preparing for class registration.

But that said, I’m going to get back to the festivities. I’d wish everyone a happy Halloween, but we’re still a bit early for that.

So happy pre-Halloween?

Happy Saturday night?

I don’t know, I’ll figure it out later. It’s party time right now.

More YouTube Recommendations

More YouTube Recommendations

I know I basically did this exact same thing less than a week ago, so it probably seems like this is a cop-out.

But honestly just consider it a symptom of me spending the whole day cleaning the house. Don’t have too much to talk about outside of inhaling chemical fumes all afternoon, so I figure it’d be much more engaging if I talked about more content creators I’ve discovered on YouTube over the past few days that have helped make the cleaning more bearable.

That said, welcome to… That thing I just said!

Yeah. Get hyped.

While the previous ‘check out these content creators’ post I did focused primarily on people who talked about comic book lore and writing conventions in cinema, the two people I want to talk about today primarily discuss writing conventions and cinema.

But in more specific details this time around. I swear.


Lindsay Ellis

Though I initially saw her content adjacent to the Nostalgia Critic some years ago, I only just recently discovered Lindsay Ellis for her purely solo career here doing video essays.

Video essays which are wonderful and educational in all the best ways.

More than basically anyone I’ve seen before, she takes deep dives into the minutia of film studies, as well as the history and cultural influences behind media that she, primarily, seems to hate in one way or another.

Though not in a CinemaSins-style “let’s just tally up all the shitty things” kind of hate, more of an academic “here’s what works and what doesn’t” kind of hate. Which just so happens to mostly target pieces of popular culture that leave her drinking herself into more of a stupor the longer she talks about them in an unexplained but great little running gag.

Out of everything of hers I’ve seen thus far, my favorite pieces would have to be her discussion on how the live action Beauty and the Beast is terrible about remaking a classic (with additional shout outs to her other Disney-themed videos on why Hercules isn’t a huge blockbuster and why Moana was Pocahontas but better), a lengthy piece on why the Netflix Will Smith movie “Bright” was terrible, and two documentary-length multi-part series on why the Hobbit failed and how Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise can be read from a multitude of different film study disciplines.

There’s just a bunch of good stuff all around, and the sometimes dejected tone of dealing with film studio bs and expectedly horrible comment sections on videos are nice additions to really thought-provoking ideas.


Pop Culture Detective

Where Lindsay Ellis seems to approach much of her content with a clear underlying sense of love for the film industry as a whole, Pop Culture Detective takes a vastly more critical look at everything in cinema (as well as television and occasionally video games) that are problematic in relation to one subject:

Masculinity.

As a fair warning, these videos hold no punches when it comes to eviscerating popular culture for instilling often toxic values often without intending to. If you love franchises like Star Wars or actors like Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis, it may sting some to watch these sorts of analyses.

Yet, that’s clearly the point. An effective one, at that.

It’s clear throughout multiple videos that the Pop Culture Detective loved many of the movies he discusses to death as a kid. But when he began to look at them in a new light, he was able to pick apart problematic patterns that we can all learn from even if we love the original content.

More often than not I find his content most effective when it delves into those patterns which have grown throughout the history of cinema. For example, his videos on abduction and stalking as abundantly-used tropes were eye-opening in that I frankly didn’t realize just how often they are used.

His more individually-focused pieces, like a video on the backwards logic of the Jedi Order in Star Wars, are also great.

Yet he also spends time talking about more positive representation of diverse forms of masculinity, like in a video about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In fact, no matter what’s being covered, this creator clearly spends an ample amount of time looking into the subjects for their faults and what kind of effect it has on our culture, but at the same time he isn’t just blatantly negging everything and everyone in the industry.

More often than not he at least makes the aside that there likely isn’t an intent to be a bad influence, even if it sometimes comes across that way from how he otherwise presents the material.

It’s a well-balanced, educated look at film and T.V. through a lens that I don’t often see given as heavy a focus, so definitely check Pop Culture Detective out.


So those are the two content creators I wanted to introduce you all to today. Both with very different approaches at the same goal: Educating the public on more positive ways of producing film and other media.

What do you think of these two? Are you interested in the technical and theoretical sides of filmmaking?

If so, let me know in the comments! Also, if there are any creators whom you believe are worth their weight in views, let me know about them too. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more things to watch as I continue my pursuit of a clean house during these fleeting final summer days.

Script Doctoring at its finest

Script Doctoring at its finest

If I haven’t made it totally obvious around here, I like movies.

I like movies a lot. A good chunk of that love comes from my dad, who was a pretty serious actor for a while and continues to work in the movie industry, currently for Fandango as I’ve discussed in the past. Thanks to him I’ve seen all kinds of flicks from throughout cinema history.

As time has progressed, seeing movies with him (and the rest of my family by extension) has essentially become a fun exercise in script doctoring. While a ‘script doctor’ may be an actual industry term for someone who consults on a script before it is put into production, I mean it more in a post-viewing thought experiment sense. Being able to walk away from a movie and discuss what could have been done to improve upon it.

Granted there are elements of hindsight involved knowing everything that happens as a finished product rather than seeing it in its fledgling development. A development that may be plagued with other problems that lead to less than stellar end products.

But we discuss things with those points aside. We have no real qualms given that none of us have any intent to create our own movie anytime soon. It’s just fun talking about how we might have improved certain things.

Superhero movies have been an excellent source of that internal debate for the last few years. Especially thanks to the Marvel and DC cinematic universes attempting to create larger, cohesive universes. That kind of large-scale project opens up tons of opportunities to pull from previously established canon in both the comics and movies to determine what might be better ways of moving in the direction those studios are going toward.

DC movies are the obvious ‘easy target.’ You’ve probably heard all of the comments: They ruin a bunch of popular characters. They’re doing everything to catch up to Marvel in too much of a compressed timeline. The dark, gritty approach to superhero storytelling isn’t utilized well.

For the most part I can’t say I’d argue. There are plenty of recent DC movies that I thought I would love just based off trailers which wound up being disappointing. Suicide Squad and Batman V. Superman come to mind immediately.

However, there’s plenty of good things going on in the DC cinematic universe. Things that we all want to work out better in an overall context because of how iconic the characters are.

The Batman and Justice League animated series’ from the 90s/00s were huge parts of my childhood. I knew Batman and Superman and all of those characters growing up because of how iconic those shows were, given the fact that I was never much of a comic book reader.

Outside of the big characters like Spiderman or Hulk, I wouldn’t know anything about Marvel until they began their own cinematic universe. Though, to be fair, as amazing as that universe is there still are flaws. It just happens that the flaws are less noticeable due to how much is going well around them.

I would also say that the MCU has been a big thing to me because of how amazing an example it is of creating an extensive universe. Of crafting stories that all tie in together and create one giant experience.

For someone who wound up becoming a writer, it’s amazing to see.

But all of that aside, I feel like I’m getting too tangent-y with what should otherwise be a simple post. Basically, I love discussing the flaws and successes of each superhero movie with my family because of their merits as good cinema and because of the engaging universes they create.

That post-movie critique is frankly as important to me as the movies themselves.

This summer, I’ve taken those interests in post-critiques to a whole new level. My realm of consistent YouTube views has expanded into more analytical channels, rather than simply let’s plays and other video game stuff.

Some notable examples, because I’m honestly using this post as an excuse to promote these people include:

  • NerdSync — A channel focused on looking at not just obscure bits of comic book stories and trivia, but looking at them through the lens of the real world history that led to in-universe decisions. Great 10-minute watches which have taught me so much more about comics themselves that also often promote other comic book-related creators on YouTube.
  • Captain Midnight — More or less the same idea as NerdSync, examining decisions in comic books (primarily their movies) through the lens of real world decisions and general tropes surrounding them. Includes interludes on every video showing commercials and media properties from earlier decades related to modern-day cinematic counterparts that are very recognizably stylized and pretty cool.
  • Mother’s Basement — Kind of does for anime what channels like NerdSync do for comic books. Examining the problematic or successful underlying writing tropes and such which go into beloved shows. Loves to bash on Sword Art Online, which I find hilarious having never watched the show but knowing just how hated it is by anime fans.
  • Just Write — If you want to be a writer like I do, this channel is a good place to spend some time. They look at popular media (be it books, television, movies or some combination of the three) to pick apart specific traditional writing clichés or innovations. Some really notable pieces on shows like Westworld or the modern-day Star Wars trilogy that I love and have been able to use as some writing inspiration for my own novel.

These guys join a pantheon of other more analytic-focused channels that I now enjoy the catalogs of, amongst mainstays like Game Theory, Cinema Sins and Wisecrack.

None of these creators are the reason I decided to write this post in the first place, however. I found a brand new addition to this list today that really pushed me over the edge.

Nando v Movies is a channel that looks at all different movie genres (though primarily superhero flicks) through an analytical realm similar to the others I listed. Picking apart tropes and clichés to see what works and what doesn’t.

But Nando does something a little different to stand apart from the crowd.

He is, essentially, a very well-researched script doctor.

What my dad and I might do just based off knowledge of the cinematic universes we’re observing after watching a new DC movie, he does using a full breadth of comic book history to draw upon.

He quite literally acts out brand new scripts for scenes that either minutely or majorly change a film in a way that drastically changes things. I don’t think I’ve seen any videos of his that misses the mark in making both good and bad films better in some way, shape or form.

He doesn’t just look at the major cinematic universes too, though his work on lackluster DC flicks are pretty amazing. He also looks at the Marvel Netflix shows and other major blockbusters. Star Wars, Ready Player One, Jurassic World. All of which are given minor adjustments with so much heart that they feel like they could be easily canonical.

Even if he too acknowledges in part one of his Justice League rewrite that he has the benefit of hindsight and no movie-making pressure. That’s sort of where I stole my own earlier disclaimer from, as a disclaimer.

Side note, investigations and fan theories for the current Star Wars films have become some of my favorite things. Because I enjoyed the Last Jedi, but I’d almost say I enjoy fan-generated ideas for the Last Jedi better than what we got in theaters.

Now with all this said, I don’t always agree with the content of the creators I’ve mentioned here today. But I feel like that’s just as big a part of the magic behind watching them as the amazing theories and insight they’ve been able to cobble together for mediums I haven’t paid too much attention to.

The Internet, for as divisive as it can be, is an excellent place to pose ideas and invite civil debate. I love having the opportunity to compare my own ideas and headcanons to their own.

So that’s essentially my pitch for the day as I finish this post seeing I’ve somehow almost hit 1,500 words. Go out and find some analytical content for your favorite things.

It’s not only an excellent way to kill time, but an excellent way to kill it with engaging, thoughtful material.

This feels gross… But Disney makes it right.

It’s no surprise that I’ve become a bigger fan of mobile phone games in recent years.

I’ve been a hardcore GameBoy/DS fanatic throughout my childhood. Yet, despite certain phone games of widespread popular fervor like Angry Birds or Pocket God making their way into my gaming lexicon, overall the app market never truly broke into my big leagues.

That is, until big companies I already loved like Nintendo started to get into the market with more substantial titles.

Marvel was really the first with Contest of Champions, which I played right around the time the first Ant Man movie came out. Then there was Super Mario Run, Pokémon GO, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and of course Fire Emblem Heroes. Hell, Simpson’s Tapped Out held my interest for a good while there.

However, even if the app market is getting more respectable with these kinds of big, time-intensive titles… It’s still not perfect.

Tons of games, even the ones I’ve referenced up above, still rely on gimmicky microtransaction bs that attempt to force players with no patience to spend extra money.

While many are free, to be fair, and some are even arguably worth spending money in for all the content they offer on a free model… It’s still a bit of a disgusting practice. Especially when we start to see it slip into mainstream console gaming with titles like Star Wars Battlefront II (the bad one, not the amazing PS2 one).

I bring all of this up to let you know that I recognize the flaws in the mobile gaming market despite my recent embrace of it.

Because it should give you all some context behind why I feel so disgusting with my latest embrace of Disney’s Crossy Road.

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Man I feel like I need a shower just saying that.

Yet.

Let’s be fair to the game and it’s developers before I just shit all over the whole model.

Hipster Whale, from my point of view at least, became a rather popular niche developer for the phone market by embracing the classic style of Frogger and using it to create a game full of wacky charm with Crossy Road.

It was quite literally a game where you were a chicken crossing the road. As if you were playing Frogger.

Completely silly and derivative, but honestly genius in a “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this idea” kind of way. That charm, along with about a billion unlockable characters set in a game where the goal was to obviously push little kids to spend money, led to a title that grossed well and spawned a billion spin-offs.

The games are all synonymous with that silly, microtransaction-laden gameplay of the first. I even remember the Game Grumps playing one of the spin-offs for their Christmas block last December.

Disney Crossy Road is arguably the most despicable of these spin-offs. On the one hand because it’s quite literally just the original game with a new coat of paint. But also because, well, Disney is attached to it.

If that’s not the most money-grubbing thing I can imagine, I don’t know what is.

Yet, despite seeing this much just by looking at the game’s title screen… My sister and I are hooked.

We found the game while hanging out with our friends the other day and downloaded it on our Apple TV just for the memes. At the time it was perfect for that, especially when we picked up a totally random character from a movie we loved.

But then we both downloaded the game to our phones after that. The rest, as they say, is history.

Obviously the biggest draw to this game specifically is the Disney tie-in. Collecting characters from your favorite movies to play with.

Especially toward the beginning, it’s all fun and games as they clearly give you large rewards on a frequent basis to keep summoning new characters from a slot machine.

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It’s about as blatant as psychological manipulation gets, as soon enough the “three minutes to next reward” becomes “one hour to next reward,” and so on.

Yet there’s also enough ways to get around spending money that I can inherently understand the appeal.

Coins are scattered throughout each procedurally-generated run, and collecting 100 of them allows you to roll for a new character.

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The game also frequently gives players 30-second advertisements to watch for a free 20 coins. More obvious manipulation, but easy enough to set the game aside for half a minute just to score some extra cash.

My one significant problem with the lottery system comes from the fact that you aren’t guaranteed to unlock something new each time. Even when I had only unlocked about six characters out of the near-200 across a variety of popular Disney movies, I still got a second copy of The Sultan from Aladdin.

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They do give you other collectible tickets for duplicates that can be spent on things like higher-end character lotteries, but still. I can tell it’ll be more annoying in the long-run.

Also, I just have to say it. There are also some really bad character designs. Like the single-pixel butt and breasts model of Mirage.

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And don’t even get me started on Simba’s hilarious facial expression.

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Some lame characters aside, the gameplay is simple and effective. Like I said, it’s just Frogger. But with Disney characters.

You tap to go forward and swipe to move from side-to-side and avoid obstacles.

Yet Disney Crossy Road actually stands out quite well because of how it utilizes it’s gimmick, in my opinion. There’s clearly a large amount of effort put in to make each world and each character unique to the movies they came from.

Just look at the variety in the different environments you can play on:

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Each movie set not only brings aesthetic elements into this kind of janky Minecraft style, they also have unique mechanics.

For example, the Mulan world has a lucky cricket drop that can save you from death once.

The Lilo & Stitch world is covered with fruits that can be collected and turned into an old lady to add extra points to your run length without you having to actually go those extra steps.

The Jungle Book world is literally always on fire because of frequent lightning strikes.

There’s something like this in every world, and while the same three or four overall level gimmicks do repeat themselves, each is unique enough to stand out.

Characters have unique skills as well.

The Grand Councilwoman from Lilo and Stitch can find a special Prisoner Jumba character of she travels far enough.

Meanwhile, Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph shoots her gun at certain cars in the road to give you a big score multiplier. You can’t control when she does it, but still.

There’s also a certain amount of charm seeing each and every character face plant against the side of a car (or a person depending on the technology of a given world).

The music in the game is also noteworthy. Each movie’s world utilizes a famous song recreated in a pretty great chiptune style. Beauty and the Beast plays “Be Our Guest.” Aladdin plays “One Jump Ahead.” Lion King plays “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”

I do wish some songs appeared over others, like “This is Halloween” instead of “What’s This?” for Nightmare before Christmas. But that’s a nitpicky complaint all things being equal.

Despite being repeated in such a short segment to become ear-grating over time, all of the songs are well-constructed. The game itself pushes its own soundtrack, and I’d argue its worth downloading.

There’s only 23 worlds in the game, with some obvious choices like Sleeping Beauty or Hercules missing in place of obvious lame tie-ins like the Tim Burton Alice Through the Looking Glass. But, and I hate to say it, I’m interested to keep going and see if they add more down the line.

I know, I know. This strange review of Disney Crossy Road is out of left field. Especially when I haven’t even written anything on Hollow Knight, like I wanted to.

Hell, it just frankly feels wrong for me to be spending time on this obvious microtransaction bait of a game when there’s some phenomenal titles I could be playing. Like the aforementioned Hollow Knight. Or Enter the Gungeon.

Or hey, I heard that Subset Games’ Into the Breach is available on Macs down and I’m so down to try it.

But no. Instead I’m here playing Disney Crossy Road.

I guess in the end this post is sort of here to try to justify all of the time I’ve spent playing this the last couple of days. As if it were my plan all along.

But the truth is that it wasn’t my plan all along. I’ve genuinely jumped into this game with both feet, and I’m weirdly enjoying it a lot.

Just going through this short analysis of the game has shown me that maybe it isn’t just a weird anomaly. The game does have its merits, particularly in aesthetic and musical aspects.

So hey, who knows. Maybe Hipster Whale is as popular as it is for a reason.

But what do you think? Have you played this game before? Or any title in this developer’s line-up?

Let me know how you feel about them, or about this game specifically, in the comments down below!

July 4th, 2018: A Parade in Photos

July 4th, 2018: A Parade in Photos

There’s nothing like a parade on the Fourth of July.

Well… Actually I’m not so sure about that. It just seemed like the right cliché to start this post off with considering I’m talking about going to a parade on the Fourth of July.

To be completely honest, I think my most fond Fourth memories date back to these pool parties I used to go to at a family friend’s house. Not only was it a poolside BBQ every year, but we could all see fireworks from that yard as the night fell.

Also I have very fond recollections of playing Donkey Kong Jr. one year off of that kind of bizarre card reading attachment that existed for the GameBoy Advanced I think? That might just be a fever dream, but if nothing else it helps me associate the Fourth with DK jr.

Probably a different story for another day, though. I just wanted to punctuate my conversation about Alyson with a video game thing.

Because she loves that.

Spiteful recurring jokes aside, this 4th of July I went out past LAX to Westchester for a parade. Alyson and the RUHS band perform in this particular parade every year, and it’s my second time coming along for the ride.

Last time I went was a few years ago when I wasn’t focusing so much on the power of having a blog to spout nonsense into, though.

So I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to fill up one of my daily writing requirements.

However, I’m also spending the day with the family since it’s July 4th, so I’m going to keep it brief and just do a neat little slideshow of all the cool stuff that made its way through the parade route before RUHS performed.

Hopefully you enjoy this very non-politicized Fourth of July post. Because god knows the fervor is strong when I hear people yelling things like “take him down” at Maxine Waters, a U.S. Congresswoman, as she makes her way down the parade path.

God bless America.

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Also, can’t forget the bonus recording of Aly and the band performing:

Happy birthday, America. May your founding principles continue to hopefully shine through to number 243 and beyond!

The Del Amo Mall Bizarre Goods Tour

Today my journey to the Del Amo mall as a chauffeur for my sister got a fair bit more interesting when I was able to drag my buddy Juan along for an impromptu hangout.

All-and-all it was a great time, far more than it would have been if I just went and sat around by myself. We had lunch, explored a bunch of kitch-y stores, made fun of some really silly products and talked about all the important things in life.

Like video games.

But that’s another story. I thought it might be fun to take another look at some of the photos I took of some ridiculous things around the mall. Because that seems just quirky enough to probably be interesting, and it’s a real easy kind of post to do while watching Ready Player One with my family.

So let’s begin with this:

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Boxing Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2.

I’ll be honest, the scene where Jack-Jack fights the raccoon is probably the best part of this movie. But… Wow. How could you make a toy that looks so unsettling?

I understand the idea that they’re sock puppets. It makes sense. The interactivity of the toy is also cute, since both characters make noises when they punch their arms.

I just wish the thing didn’t make it look like both a small baby and a raccoon weren’t twink boxers. Because god damn is it just… Not great.

Luckily there were a bunch of other cute Incredibles toys for parents to buy. Don’t buy your kids this unsettling bit of nightmare fuel, parents.

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Here’s a clothing shop that’s just called “Q.” I don’t know why it’s just called Q. I didn’t go inside so I’m not sure what the gimmick is.

It’s just Q.

Honestly, I don’t have anything else to say about the place. I just thought it was so bizarre that it was worth pointing out.

Unlike this next picture, which has so many bizarre things to it that I can’t stop talking about it:

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Seriously I’m not even sure where to begin here. The clashing art styles all being thrown together immediately stand out of course, but it’s the fine details that really just dig into your cerebellum.

Like why is Naruto wearing Goku’s outfit while standing next to Goku in a much more soft, pastel tone.

Why is Crono from Crono Trigger hanging out with Black*Star and Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby? Except Kirby is red instead of pink.

Why is Bijou from Hamtaro sitting on top of Cloud’s shoulder? She ain’t in any Final Fantasy games.

Oh and let’s not forget the extra bizarre inclusions. Why is Nyan Cat in the top corner? Why is Navi from Ocarina of Time hanging out without any other Zelda character anywhere on the piece?

Ultimately though, I think there’s just one question to ask.

Who allowed this photoshop hodgepodge to be a thing?

I could honestly talk about that thing all day. But I won’t because I might actually descend into madness if I do.

So instead I’ll talk about this.

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Anybody remember Xiolin Showdown? Because I do!

I used to seriously love this show growing up. So when I saw this PSP game sitting in a shop, I couldn’t not take a look.

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I never owned a PSP or anything, but this game seems like it was probably pretty cool. I wonder-

Wait.

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Oh no… What did they do to your face little guy?

I… I can’t even look at that. It’s physically painful.

Okay let’s move on to something hopefully less nightmare-inducing, shall we?

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I spoke too soon, there are just as many nightmares over in toy land.

I don’t know whose decision it was to make ‘Mighty Muggs’ a thing, but they made a very poor choice when it comes to overall design. Especially if they were hoping to compete with things like Funko Pops.

But hey, let’s look at something less terrifying, shall we?

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Like check out all of these god damn copies of Wii Fit.

I don’t know who out there decided to trade in all their copies of Wii Fit to Book Off in the Del Amo mall, but I just wanted to give an extra special shout out to all of them.

Because look at how amazing this collection is. It’s literally the most stocked game in that store, and it’s beautiful.

Worth the trip all by itself, honestly.

Though that wasn’t the only amazing game that made this trip worthwhile.

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My Stop Smoking Coach. For the Nintendo D.S. An Ubisoft title.

Only one dollar.

To be completely honest the fact that I didn’t go out of my way to buy this thing out of sheer curiosity’s sake may just be my greatest regret.

Actually I got ice cream because I didn’t buy this game, so I guess I don’t regret it too much. But if I see this thing again next time I go to the store, I’m definitely going to go out of my way for it.

Here’s another game that I thought was interesting from a series that’s probably a little more well-known.

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Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland.

I don’t have too much to say about this overall. I threw it over to my friend Sam who’s a huge Harvest Moon fan and she’s never played this particularly title in the series.

I just wanted to throw it out there because it probably has the most nationalist title I’ve ever seen. ‘Save the Homeland.’ Can’t help but imagine the Von Trapp family showing up to beat off some Nazis.

That was about all I had in terms of video game stuff. But I did have a little more to cycle back to from our stop in Disney earlier:

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Check out this Porg. Everyone loves Porgs, right?

Well, this is a Porg mug that has a scalped Porg. So you can drink it’s brains.

For the children, right?

I don’t know maybe that isn’t as funny on here as it was in person, where Juan pulled his now infamous ‘drink of my Porg’ line.

So I’ll let that one fly and move into this last fun thing I pulled out of our last trip to GameStop on the way home.

I’m not a huge basketball person, but my Twitter has been rampant with talk about LeBron James joining the L.A. Lakers. I have my own opinions about that whole thing and how… Ridiculous the number of dollars thrown around for one man are.

But that’s neither here nor there.

In the end I think it’s all worth it just for what this GameStop employee did to this NBA 2019 advertising stand.

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Pure genius.

It’s about as good a place as any to end off, if you ask me.

Hopefully you enjoyed this romp into weird shit I found today. If so let me know! Also don’t hesitate to send me any weird things you might find, because I thrive off that.

The Ramblings of a Madman with a fresh Haircut

The Ramblings of a Madman with a fresh Haircut

After a few too many weeks of waiting, I finally got my hair cut today. It’s been a long time coming, and as cliché or obvious as it must sound I feel a billion times lighter now that the mop on my head has finally been shaved down.

I was getting into that dark place of no return that my Cousin Erika would call the “Jew-Fro” zone.

In hindsight, I imagine it could’ve been interesting to do a “before and after” picture comparison for this post. But I didn’t exactly think of that until it was too late, so we’ll have to scrap that idea and return to it another day.

However, despite my initial plan to possibly talk about the feeling of freedom that comes with losing 20 lbs of hair, I think that’s a bit too cliché for my tastes right now. I also don’t exactly feel like talking about how I wish I’d gotten this haircut before going to lunch with my friend Mimi this afternoon because I looked like a wind-beaten Wolverine.

So I guess the question is: What do I want to talk about?

Honestly, I’m not super sure. So I’m just going to riff a bit and see where my tired mind takes me.

I didn’t decide to go for my haircut until after I got back from lunch in Fullerton this afternoon, which was around 5:30 p.m. or so. That’s what made it so surprising that when I called into my local Supercuts, they said it would be another hour.

An hour wait? For a Wednesday night haircut? Seemed pretty bizarre…

But I wasn’t going anywhere else, so I figured I would go with it. Mom figured they were potentially busy because it’s the middle of school graduation season.

As it turned out that didn’t appear to be the case when Aly and I arrived at 6:30. Instead it just seemed like there were only a couple people on shift.

Yeah Aly came along to the hair cut with me, because why not? Also because she was able to make me hold back laughter awkwardly by making faces at me in the mirror from the waiting area.

And mooch food off of me afterward.

One thing I found myself contemplating throughout my stay in the stylist’s chair was the large mirror, actually. As strange as that probably sounds.

It’s purpose is fairly obvious. It gives everyone under the sheers an opportunity to see how their hair is being treated, and likely gives the cutter another angle to see things from while they work.

But I found there isn’t much to observe just watching the stylist at work. So instead I wound up focusing more on myself. Staring into the void, as it were.

On the one hand, that kind of constant staring at oneself without any outside distractions was strangely meditative, allowing me to interpret my more casual resting facial expressions.

On the other hand it was kind of distressing to just stare at myself. Because I don’t know if it was just the writing in the room, but I swear I looked like a super villain in that moment. Large shadows all around my eyes and dark crevasses over my cheek bones. Kind of reminded me of that scene in Revenge of the Sith where Anakin walked into the Jedi Temple ready to kill some younglings.

Is it weird to compare myself to someone on the verge of large-scale child murder?

Maybe I just need to get some more sleep.

He says with a laugh. More sleep? As if. There’s way too much to do late at night. Like catch up on Let’s Plays. Or play Minecraft.

… Boy I’m kind of lame aren’t I?

I should cut this off before I start to get too real, it’s not like this is amounting to anything but silly filler anyway.

Take your Child to Work Day

Take your Child to Work Day

Okay so it’s not actually Take your Child to Work Day…  As far as I’m aware… But for my dad it was.

Since I’m off on summer break, he decided to take me along to the office today so I could get a change of scenery and tour the office — something that my sister has been able to do, but I haven’t considering I’m off in Fullerton 99 percent of the time right now.

Obviously I can’t bury the lede too deep considering the big reveal is spoiled in the featured image.

If it even is a spoiler? I’ve probably talked about this before.

My dad is a Senior Director at Fandango, the movie ticket and streaming media site owned by NBC Universal. It’s a pretty perfect place for him in the way it blends movie stuff and technology stuff.

But to be fair, it’s also a pretty awesome place in general.

Just in the last week he got moved into a different office, so I got to be an early observer.

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Fun fact, apparently the desks are all mechanized to allow people to adjust them into standing desks if desired. That’s neat, in my opinion.

Not just my dad’s office is cool, though. This place is chock full of movie posters, memorabilia and all sorts of other neat modern spaces.

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The more casual parts of the office extend to the outdoors as well.

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But of course there were other benefits to coming in on a Tuesday than just a nice couple of spaces to work in.

Fandango apparently does catering for its employees a couple days a week, and someone had enough foresight to bring me in on one of them. On the menu was a pretty good Mediterranean spread:

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We had lunch with one of dad’s co-workers from the NBC side, which actually was one of the nice things of coming to work with him. Getting to watch him in his element, talking with friends and colleagues.

Even if I felt like I was kind of just off to the side doing my own thing, possibly even in the way during such exchanges, it was still a good time.

Oh, but let’s not forget. The other cool perks of the job.

We were able to watch The Last Jedi on the big, fancy curved TV that was apparently a Korean prototype left over from the previous inhabitant of the office.

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That was pretty sweet. Especially when some of his co-workers came in and sat around for a while to shoot the shit about movie stuff.

While I make it sounds like the whole day was just fun-and-games, there was plenty of downtime for me where I sat around doing some work as dad went off for meetings. Plus, many of the visitors to his office were there for official work business before getting distracted by fun movie stuff.

So if anyone else from Fandango winds up reading this, don’t take it as me saying my dad just did nothing all day. I assure you that isn’t so.

However, it still was a fun day overall. A full day with my dad, going all the way back to our early morning stop at the voting booth for the California primary election today.

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Gotta do your civic duty, folks. Especially since this midterm for us means a Gubernatorial and Congressional seats race alongside a whole bunch else.

But hey, this isn’t a political post or anything. So I won’t dwell on that for too long.

It all just plays into the overall message, that I went out, had a fun day with my dad and got to see him in his natural element. Plus I got some work done in the process, so I can’t say I have too many complaints.