A stupid good thing

maxresdefaultIt has been a miserable couple of weeks around here.  I just got over being sick and went straight into some major Clark Kent life drama, which combined with an apparent downturn in the local economy (the sales for the store in general have been shit for several weeks now) have not done well for my general state of mind lately.  Unfortunately, while I do like to use the blog as a braindump for said on-my-mind stuff, sometimes shit simply isn’t My Business to share– that would be the family issues– and the other major thing that happened recently and scared the everloving fuck out of me would make it way too easy to figure out certain important things that I’m not willing to share about my kid, even if I just nibbled around the edges on it.  So you all get VaguePosting and I consider opening another blog up and telling no one about it just so I can get the post in my head out and onto paper.  Or, uh, pixels.  Whatever.

It’s a thing, is what I’m saying.

But!  I was fucking unconscious at work yesterday– I literally either sold something to or quoted out every customer I spoke to except for one, and managed to transform a sales week that was utter shit walking into Saturday into a quite-welcome average week walking out.  I’m off today, because the boy turned six on Wednesday and his birthday party is today.  There are lots of sweaty six-year-olds in my future.  (I am tempted to say “and not in a good way,” here, which I think is probably just creepy innuendo for the sheer hell of innuendizing?  What the hell would the good way be?  I dunno.)

But back to that stupid good thing.  And it’s really stupid, so those of you who aren’t video game nerds may just want to go ahead and cut out now; the tl;dr version is I had an utterly minor life accomplishment that has improved my mood.

Anyway: I can’t find when the first mention of Nioh was on this blog, but needless to say the damn game came out in February and I haven’t really played anything else since I bought it.  I have been stuck on a particular boss– that evil ice bitch Yuki-Onna, pictured up there– for, literally, months, to the point where it has seriously affected the way I think about video games.  I want a fucking cheat mode on everything I play now, because paid $60 for this damn game and I want to see the whole thing, and nothing is worth getting stuck for as long as I was.  And it didn’t matter what the hell I did, I couldn’t get her past half her health, and I was still good for a two-second “Nope, not today” one-shot death about every third or fourth fight.  This weekend (which, remember, is Thursday and Friday for me,) being generally miserable and lacking in any brainspace whatsoever that might be useful for things other than video games, I decided I was in “beat this boss or die trying” mode.

To wit: I respecced my entire character, twice, and learned an entirely different weapon, switching my build from sword-spear to kusarigama-spear and adding a bunch of ninjutsu and onmyo mage skills, just so that I could get past Yuki-Onna.  And finally, Friday morning, I managed to take her out after months of trying.  I have been playing video games for a long, long time, guys, and I’m pretty certain I have never once in that time gotten stuck for this long at a specific boss in a game and then actually gotten past it.

I am several stages past her level now, and destroyed all the bosses in between on the first time I fought them, having had to massively overlevel Yuki-Onna’s stage in order to finally fucking beat her.  Which: way to difficulty spike, game.  She’s supposedly only the sixth hardest boss in the game, too, so I have that to look forward to, since I haven’t seen any of the top 5 yet.

But hey: it’s good news, even if it’s stupid good news.  The way shit’s been going lately, I’ll take it.

(Want to improve my mood?  I haven’t sold a book in a few days.  If you have a couple of bucks you don’t mind burning, you could order one.)

On letting idiots make decisions for me

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Perhaps the sound of a million baby-men all wailing at once alerted you; there is to be a new Doctor Who, or maybe a new Doctor, hell, I don’t watch the show, I don’t think “Doctor Who” is actually the character’s name, but maybe it is– and at any rate, the Doctor is to be played by a Person of Feminine Aspect, a Vagina-Haver, a Breasted-American, except she’s not American and Breasted-Brit sounds like some sort of snack food.  A girl!  Playing a character who used to be played by a man with a penis!

I assume Peter Capaldi has a penis. And all the others, whatever their names are.  Steve or James or Bonbon or something else British.  I’m only assuming they all had penises.  I’ve never seen any of their penises.  But apparently they were really important to all this Time Lord business.

So, yeah, there’s a girl in a show now and oh so many judgment-challenged sillymen are oh so very upset.  And here’s the thing: I’ve kinda been jonesing for a new Nerd Thing lately that I could pay attention to?  I’m tired of Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones has worn very very thin and I was never into the TV series anyway, and I’m not actually certain that the new Star Trek is actually watchable by regular people who don’t have some sort of arcane CBS subscription that I refuse to find out anything about.  But I can watch this new Doctor Who thing, right?  And knowing that me watching it is a tiny thorn in the ample sides of some very horrible people brings me pleasure, so there’s that.

I have actually tried to get into Doctor Who on a few occasions and failed.  With the notable exception of Monty Python, British entertainment does tend to bounce off of me a bit, and every previous episode of the program I’ve tried to watch really didn’t get anywhere with me.  But for some reason I downloaded the two-part season finale of Season 10, which was Capaldi’s final season (although I understand there’s some sort of Christmas special thing coming, where he’ll actually end his run?) and damn if I wasn’t well and hooked despite not really having the vaguest idea what the fuck was going on or who any of the non-Capaldi characters were.  The Cybermen should have been Power Rangers-level cheesy nonsense but somehow they worked, and I was suitably creeped out by them.

And so: I shall be partaking of this new LadyWho person, and hopefully I will enjoy it.  And if not, meh.  At least I annoyed some idiots.  That’s always worth something, right?

PS: Is “Dr. Who” some sort of faux pas?  I keep wanting to spell it that way and changing it back to eliminate the abbreviation.  Is it like Spider-Man, where if you don’t include the hyphen you die in seven days?

#Review: WONDER WOMAN

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I meant to get this written a bit earlier, but this ended up being a much busier (or at least much more tiring) week than I’d originally anticipated.  Keep something in mind, though; this is my review after almost a week.  So this is after I’ve had time to think about the movie for a while and let it roll around in my head for a bit.

I’ll be direct: I’ve hated almost every DC movie released since 1989.  Nineteen eighty fucking nine.  The only reason for the “almost”?  I never saw Catwoman— because why the hell would you?– and I did not hate Suicide Squad, mostly because I didn’t care enough about any of the characters in the film to properly hate it and Harley Quinn was fun to watch.  I got home from Batman Returns way back in 1992 and ranted about it at such length and such volume to my parents that my neighbor actually came over and asked me to cut it out.  My parents live in a house.  The last several DC films have been so bad that I refuse to even admit that the characters they are supposedly about are even in the movies.  Man of Steel wasn’t about Superman.  Batman Begins was about some sort of sword-fighting ninja dude who isn’t a detective and doesn’t give a wet shit about human life, and by the time Alien Jesus v. Wing-Rat Psycho came around, he was literally branding criminals so they’d get killed in jail.  Fuck that.

That fuckin’ movie actually had the word Justice in the title.  Was there at any point any concern with justice anywhere in that movie?  Ever?  Nah, of course not.

Wonder Woman is probably the best superhero movie since Superman and Superman 2.

Why “probably”?  Because I’m not capable of watching Iron Man or Avengers with any sort of objectivity.  I need to watch Civil War again; when that came out, I called it the best Marvel movie; I’m not sure it’s held up to me as well as they have.  Wonder Woman is so much better than the rest of DC’s film product in the last thirty years that we shouldn’t even refer to it in the same category any longer.  It’s like saying that out of this giant pile of shit the carefully plastic-wrapped apple on top is the tastiest.  Of course it is; it’s the only fucking apple.

Proposal: that, from now on, the remainder of the DC murderverse films (and those not formally part of the murderverse as well, such as the execrable Superman Returns, which revealed him to be a deadbeat dat) be referred to as murples.  Only Wonder Woman gets to be a movie.

Damn near 500 words in, so I probably ought to get to the “why” part.  It actually isn’t all that complicated, so don’t blink or you’ll miss it:  Wonder Woman is actually a hero in this movie, who does heroic things and whose primary motivation is to save people.  The first time we see Diana in full Wonder Woman getup, she’s charging– against the advice of everyone around her— across No Man’s Land straight into rifles, mortars and machine guns to save a French village full of strangers who she has never met.  It’s an outstanding moment; the best in the film and one of the best superhero reveals I’ve ever seen.

Why is she doing that?  Because they’re there and they need help.

This, you see, is what superheroes do.  And what Wonder Woman gets right that literally no DC movies and not enough of the Marvel films have gotten right is that it remembers that its main character is supposed to be a superhero and so she acts like one.

There’s more, of course, but that’s the core of my love for this film and everything else is really window dressing.  Gal Gadot is phenomenal; I really wasn’t into the idea of her playing this character (I’m still on Team Gina Torres) but turns out I was at least as wrong about that as I was about Tom Holland playing Spider-Man.  The other standout from the movie is Robin Wright as Antiope and, while most of Lucy Davis’ lines were in the trailer, she steals every second that her Etta Candy is on the screen.  Chris Pine is exactly what he needs to be and no more.  And Elena Anaya as Dr. Maru is creepy as fuck in another role that doesn’t get a huge amount of screen time.  The opening bits on Themyscira are fantastic; I want to see more of all of that, Antiope in particular.  I mean, c’mon:

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(I have, in case it’s not clear, no serious complaints about the film.  About the closest I can get is that the CGI could be a bit better in parts.  But whatever.  Graphics barely even register to me anymore.)

A word about setting the film during World War I instead of World War II:  I think it was a brilliant idea.  Why?  Because Wonder Woman fights against the idea of war itself.  Her role is to be as an ambassador for peace before any other moral good.  And, much unlike WWII, World War I is a perfect examplar of the utter pointlessness of war.  It strikes me every time I read a history book about it: World War I was a war fought for nothing.  Literally nothing.  Not one person who died during that war died for anything.  And yet millions of people died horrible deaths and millions more were wounded.  It actually dilutes Wonder Woman’s anti-war message to put her into World War II, because fighting to stop fascism is actually a cause.  So as much as I’d like to see Wonder Woman punching some Nazis, I think it was a solid change to make to the story.

The big question, of course, is whether this means I’m going to have to see Justice League when it comes to theaters.  I’m still leaning toward no, as nothing I’ve seen from the film makes me think that the word justice is going to belong in the team’s name and there’s going to be more Alien Christ in it.  But the fact that Wonder Woman even got me to consider seeing Justice League?

If that’s not a solid reason to see the movie, I don’t know what possibly could be.

In which I am SuperDad

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Tonight I bought the boy a Pokémon sourcebook and a bunch of cards in a tin on the way home from work, then once I got home I put together my new Raspberry Pi and downloaded a bunch of Nintendo games onto it.  And the original Atari 2600 version of PITFALL!, which was mostly for my mother.

I thought it was going to be a pain in the ass, honestly, but the whole thing worked like a charm.  There’s a weird audio issue where it won’t keep a consistent sound level, but I suspect I can suss out what’s causing that given some time and adding new games to the system has turned out to be damned easy.

He went from deliriously happy to be playing Mario to nearly throwing his first controller within five minutes, so I figure I’m doing something right.

What games from the Super Nintendo and original PlayStation era should I be downloading?  I missed those the first time around; my parents wouldn’t buy me either of them.  🙂