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Game of Thrones Season 8 DELAYED?!

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With the seventh season of Game of Thrones delayed until July, many fans – myself included – are going a bit crazy waiting the few extra months. Thrones fan pages are posting more and more fandom related memes and articles in anticipation, including fan theories and frame by frame analyses of the official trailer.

 

Well, we can take this short delay as a practice run because the creators of the wildly popular HBO series have said that the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones may not return until 2019.

You may be thinking, “We couldn’t handle two months, Vanri. How are we going to last TWO YEARS?!”

I urge you to try and understand.

The two month delay for season seven was brought about by the plot line itself. Winter is here and the set needs to look authentic. The world of Game of Thrones is so large that they can’t simply build a set. They needed to wait until actual winter to shoot the winter scenes. It was simply practical.

Season eight’s delay is something different, though, and we should be happy about it. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the show’s creators, expect season eight to be so grand that they don’t want to risk rushing through it and disappointing the fans.

As the most popular show in HBO’s history, they have to make sure they go out with a bang. They can only do that with enough prep time. Benioff and Weiss have said it could possibly take them 18 months to prepare and film, which would put the season eight premier date in 2019.

HBO’s President of Programming, Casey Bloys has said, however, that they will know more once the writers begin to piece together the episodes. Bloys stated that there’s a possibility they won’t need the extra time.

I may not know nothing and I may not drink and know things, but I do know one thing… Us Sherlock fans have prepared for this.

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Power Rangers: A Movie Review

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Power Rangers: A Movie Review

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As a “90’s Kid” Mighty Morphin Power Rangers holds a very special place in my heart. I watched it every day it was on. We played Power Rangers at recess and after school. The franchise also launched many video games, some were better received then others. Currently, there is also a new mobile game available, so check your app store!  There was definitely an obsession that was fueled with high kicks and fights over who could be which Ranger. I always wanted to be yellow. In short, I loved Power Rangers. I wanted to be a Ranger. I wanted to save the world with awesome friends. I wanted to learn martial arts, which my family could never afford, and kick Rita’s goons in the face.

Because of this, I was a little concerned when I saw that a reboot movie was being made. My apprehension started to ebb away as I saw more about the Power Rangers movie. The humor in the trailers really helped. I agreed to see it with my friends on opening weekend. I walked in without high expectations. I don’t think any of us really expected more then to see flashy suits and to have a burst of nostalgia.

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I am so glad I did go. I laughed. I laughed a lot, which a person should do when watching Power Rangers. I cried a little. My friends and I kept looking at each other with these huge, goofy grins on our faces. The crowd around me, who were mostly grown up, hardened Rangers fans like myself kept laughing. We could all feel it. That collective moment of, “YES! They did it right.” They had made the movie and we were all LOVING it. This was beyond anything I thought it would be. I was happily surprised at how much I liked it.

Power Rangers is a story about a group of misfits coming into their own. In the small town of Angel Grove, not everything is idyllic as it seems. As an evil rises to take over the world, so must a group of heroes rise to stop her. First, they have to get out of detention, though. Yes, in this remake the kids really do have the attitude and some very real challenges in their lives. After finding colorful crystals, they have to figure out how to use their new powers and become a team in order to save everything they love.

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Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that I really liked the plot. The story was really well done. I enjoyed the costumes and the suits when seeing them with the overall story, which was something I had been a little concerned about prior to seeing the movie. The fight scenes were also really well done. I appreciated how the cast was diverse, and not even just in terms of race. I think a lot of us could see ourselves in at least one of the characters. They were all well developed and given a bit of arc, which can be difficult with a larger ensemble cast.

The music was great. The soundtrack really added to the movie. Rita, who I was probably least impressed with during trailers, ended up being one of my favorites. I was always kind of happy and also… cringing, in a good way… when I saw her come on screen. The effects were good without detracting from the action. The pace of the movie was also good.

Overall, I think it’s a great movie. I felt hyped up when I left, almost like a little kid again. My friends and I talked nonstop in the car. Even my two friends who have watched every episode of Power Rangers were really happy with the adaption. Yes, it had campy moments but, as a Power Rangers movie, it should. No, it wasn’t the series, but it was a very well done modern adaptation of it.

I would rate it: Must see.

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Always keep sparkling!

Top 10 (Nerdy) Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

So here we are, deep into February with March right around the corner.  It’s the beginning of tax season and with all that’s fit to buy, I’m going to offer up my top ten choices to spend a tax refund on:

10. Steam Wallet

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First off, Steam is addicting. With a sale for every season and weekly deals the year round, I suggest you dump part (or all) of you refund into your steam wallet. When the Spring sale starts, you won’t be able to cry you don’t have money in your bank account; it’ll be right there on Steam waiting for you to spend.

9. Kickstarter

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Following a close second to the constant games on sale are games yet to come out. Feeling nostalgic for a game you used to play? There’s likely a reboot, or an anniversary edition being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. I’ve got my 20th Anniversary Whiskey Box Edition of Deadlands coming and I can’t wait. New ideas abound there as well. There might be an awesome game you don’t know you’ll love just waiting for you to back it.

8. VR Equipment

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Virtual reality is hot, even Pornhub is into it (so I’m told). The high end phones, and even the PlayStation all have VR tech waiting to gobble up your cash.  There are inexpensive models you can purchase for your phone if you’re not ready for a setup the same price as a full console.

Read the rest of this entry

Women in Gaming: Felicia Day

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I can’t even tell you the first time I heard of or saw Felicia Day. To me, it felt like she burst out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere I looked. I knew she was a nerdy girl but that is about all I was sure of until I saw The Guild on Netflix and, after having it on my list for months, decided that I was going to watch it.

I was confused because the episodes weren’t long at all and quickly found out they were webisodes, so entire seasons were only 20 mins long. I dove in, watching an episode lead to more until I binged everything they had to offer.

I quickly identified with Codex.

A quirky, weird girl who loved to play video games and didn’t get people. Just wanted to have friends and for people to get along. Couldn’t help but be awkward at the best and worst of times. Check, check and check. Hell, I am still all of those things; there is nothing I could do to change any of that. However, representation matters. So, more than anything, here I was, being represented. Even the character Tinkerballa wasn’t a healer (nothing wrong with healers).

I played World of Warcraft, my main (the character I played the most) is a two-weapon fury warrior. No one believed that I am a girl. Girl’s should be healers, boys play warriors. Watch me roll my eyes. I love my warrior and I always typically make a warrior first in all games I play, even RPGs like Dragon Age. /End Mini Rant.

So here I was staring at my representation and at first I had no idea how to take her. Not only did she fit, but she was the center of the show. A show full of awkward, nerdy, typical geek stuff. Ok, some of it’s exaggerated but not always and not always overly so. So of course, I looked into her even further.

In real life, she is a quirky, weird girl who loved to play video games and didn’t always understand people. Um, what now? I was floored. What am I supposed to do with that? More representation at my very finger tips. She geeks out, is running a successful Gaming Entertainment Company with a fabulous community and is just like the rest of us. She is an inspiration.

Felicia even appeared in one of my favorite shows (Supernatural, so jealous) and played a quirky, weird gamer girl. Even as I do research for this article, I realized that she did the voice acting for a character I just encountered in Guild Wars 2, last night. SHE’S EVEN BEEN IN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Holy crap, I have to go back and watch that again.

She is accessible. Even if you’ve never been on YouTube or Twitch, people typically know who she is. Maybe they remember her from that one episode of House, a commercial from Supernatural or caught her one of the millions of places that she has popped up.

Of course, we could name the tons of times that she has appeared in video games, even getting her own character in Dragon Age 2 DLC, Mark of the Assassin, Tallis, a character she created. They created DLC for a character she created. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

To me, Felicia Day is epic. She is helping to normalize women in all forms of gaming, while actively affecting the gaming industry in more ways than one. Not only her, but her company raises so much for charity. Even more, her representation continues as she announced she is going to have a baby very, very soon.

I wish her all the luck and welcome her to the geeky mom club.

Goodnight, Sweet Princess

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2016 has been a rough year for fandom.  We have lost some of the most iconic actors and artists from some of the best that geekdom cherishes.  Of all of the losses this past year, I think I am the hardest hit by the death of Carrie Fisher.  Of course our grief isn’t nearly as profound as that of her family, especially with the passing of her mother shortly after.  Having lost my own mother this year, I can empathize with what they are going through, and I know that what we feel as fans is nowhere close.  Our grief is real, though, and, while different, it is a sign of just how much Carrie meant to all of us.

Carrie was young when she landed the role that would forever place her among the stars.  In her life, she fought substance abuse and mental illness.  She battled internally and externally to find a healthy balance in her life, and is a real inspiration for people who are suffering from the same struggles.  She was a daughter, and mother, writer, and actress.  Of all the things she’s done, what most of us will recognize her for is her role in the iconic Star Wars saga.  It’s easy to forget the real trials she went through, and focus on the screen image we have of her, but I think for many these go hand in hand.  Neither should be discounted, since each is equally as important for different reasons.

“She was my first hero,” my wife sent me in a text when we got the news.  That is a powerful thing in geekdom.  We tend to choose our heroes a little differently than most people.  We look at fantasy worlds, and the people that inhabit them, and choose characters we would most want to be like.  Carrie, as Princess Leia, was just that for a lot of people of my generation.  She was a hero, for boys, but probably for a lot more girls.  She was a leader, a rebel, and a graceful woman.  She rescued the rescuers, didn’t take any flak from anyone, and gave as good as she got.  When her lover was captured, she put herself in danger to help and when she was captured herself, she took matters into her own hands and got herself free.  Eventually she would become a symbol of hope for the future Jedi, and finally a General.

In her most iconic role, and in her life, Carrie is a symbol of strength.  When the world – or the Empire – beat her down, she got back up and kept on fighting.  When drugs -or a giant space slug – enslaved her, she took that chain in her hands and strangled them.  She had a rough life, but I’m thankful that the last images we do have of our Princess, and our General, is again one of beauty and grace.  She will continue to be an example to people who struggle.  Her writing and her work will live on for generations.  She’ll be missed, but as many popular images are going around, she may be more powerful now than she was in life.

We will miss you, Carrie.  You are our hero.

Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution

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Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution

Stories are powerful.

They are some of the most important things there are.  They teach us who we are, who we can be, and how to live our lives.  For many of us in the United States, the end of 2016 has been a time of profound suffering, and when we are suffering, stories can lift us up, bring us comfort, and strengthen us.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve found movies to be particularly helpful.  With that being said, I present “Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution.”

Full disclosure: my husband and I mainly watch two types of movies: children’s cartoons and franchise action flicks, so that’s what I’m going to be drawing on for this list (“Franchise action flicks?” said my husband. “That’s a pretty fancy way of saying ‘Marvel.’”  “Ah,” I said, “but we also saw Ghostbusters. That’s not Marvel.”)  And, while we’ve been spending our pre-apocalypse playing a fun game called “Give All Our Money To The Disney Corporation”  – they produced six of the ten movies on this list – Disney didn’t give me anything for writing this post other than sweet, sweet movies and movie-related merchandise.

Anyway, to paraphrase Jillian Holtzman, grown-up movies are for dudes.

10. Inside Out

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Inside Out is an amazing movie to watch at pretty much any time, but at its surface it doesn’t have much to do with the apocalypse or the revolution.  What it is about is processing difficult emotions.  I’ve been having a lot of those lately: anger, sadness, fear.  You probably have too.  Inside Out helps us name them and accept them.  It’s good to watch any time you’re going through something difficult; I must have watched it about a dozen times in 2016.  It helps.

 

 

 

9. The World’s End

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Shaun Of The Dead would have been a great pick, and I’m giving it an honorable mention, but I believe The World’s End is the strongest of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto movies in terms of theme, writing, and overall quality.  Besides: the name kind of says it all.

Spoilers:

The World’s End is about a group of friends who return to their home town to discover that their friends and family are being replaced by alien ‘blanks.’  They spend the rest of the movie fighting ‘blanks’ in some seriously badass action sequences and eventually defeat the aliens through sheer stubbornness.  “It’s no use arguing with you,” says the alien speaker before buggering off and leaving the humans to their own, dubious devices.  Also, the world ends.  But our main characters survive (more or less) and build new lives in the epilogue.  The world’s end is, for some, a new beginning.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger

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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Nazi-fighting superhero movie for when your country’s being taken over by neo-Nazis IRL.  Furthermore, Steve’s personal journey is one many of us can relate to.  He starts the film with little going for him other than courage and self-sacrifice, but grows into a true hero.  He stays true to his principles even when he becomes powerful, even when he feels like an impostor.  Captain Steve Rogers is someone we should all aspire to be like.  He reminds us what America’s true values look like, and what they don’t.

Speaking of TFA…

 

7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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No Star Wars movie would be out of place on this list (well, maybe the Ewok movies but they shouldn’t count).  Their themes of resistance and rebellion against fascist autocracy are particularly resonant today.

Spoilers:

I chose TFA in particular for some of the same reasons I chose The World’s End.  Coruscant is destroyed, but it’s not the end of the movie (seriously, what is it with JJ Abrams and blowing up beloved planets?).  Han Solo dies, and it’s not the end of the movie.  Finn and Rey both had horrible childhoods that could have made them callous and bitter, but instead they join a generations-long fight for freedom and justice.  This is especially resonant in Finn’s case, as a former Storm Trooper.  The movie is a reminder that we can survive tragedy and that each of us has the capacity to become a hero.  Plus, I think that all of us have a Kylo Ren somewhere in our friends or family.

6.  Home

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Home got mediocre reviews when it came out, but I still don’t understand why.  It is for sure the best post-apocalyptic kids’ movie since Wall-E, if not even better.  Home is the first movie I watched after I learned the election results.  I watched it with my daughter.  It is the story of a daughter and her mother and the end of the world.

Spoilers:
The end of the world is prologue in Home.  We watch through the eyes of a well-meaning aliens as the humans of Earth are forcibly removed from their homes and transported to ‘Happy Humansville’ (totally not a concentration camp).  The aliens, known as the Boov, have destroyed human civilization without malice or even knowing that what they did was wrong.  As the film progresses, we watch Oh, the Boov voiced by Jim Parsons, befriend Tip, a human girl who has been separated from her mother.  Through knowing her, he slowly begins to realize what effect the Boov invasion has had on her life.  With creativity, empathy, and hope the two change the entire galaxy for the better.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Much like with Star Wars, all of the Hunger Games movies deserve an honorable mention, but Catching Fire is special to me.  I chose it for this list because it is the beginning of the rebellion.  It is the point in the series where the ‘games’ become more than that: where the players start to look and act beyond the arena in earnest.

Spoilers:

The thing that, for me, makes Catching Fire so powerful right now is the story of people who have been pitted against each other by a system that controls and exploits them coming together to wield their righteous anger against that system.  At the climax, Katniss turns the table on the Panem elite, directing her weapon not at another player, but at the system itself.  In a time when so many of us are focused on levying blame on one another, we need to heed Haymitch’s words and remember who the enemy is.

4. Moana

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Ok, Moana probably seems like a break in the pattern, but bare with me.  The world doesn’t end in Moana (though it comes close), and nobody fights in a revolution.  At its core, though, Moana is a movie about moving beyond one’s comfort zone.  In order to save the world, Moana has to break with tradition and leave the island where her people have resided for a thousand years.  Maui overcomes anxiety and self-doubt, becoming a selfless hero  in the process.  Both characters embody courage, and that type of courage is one thing we desperately need.

The themes and story aren’t the only reasons I chose Moana, though.  Moana is the first movie on this list to come out after the 2016 election rocked our world.  When I saw it for the first time, I was expecting a brief escape from the nightmare around me, but what I got was much more than that.  I got a reminder that, even in the darkness, there is still good in the world.  Moana is the epitome of feminist princess movies; Moana stands on the shoulders of Belle and Jasmine, Mulan and Tiana.  She is both feminine and heroic, and there is no compromise or dichotomy between the two.  There doesn’t need to be.  Moreover, the film features only characters of color, played by actors of color.  That Moana is a major, box office topping motion picture today is evidence that even with everything that’s going on, there are a lot of good people in the world, who can accomplish amazing things when they work together.  It illustrates how far we’ve come as a society.  And that there’s just no telling how far we’ll go (sorry, I had to).

On that note (no pun intended), Moana is also the only musical on this list, and it’s a proven fact that singing makes people feel better(1).  So find the music, learn the lyrics, and rock out.  I sure as hell have and it’s the only thing that keeps me going some days.  Also, since they were composed by the same person, some of the melodies in Moana remind me of Hamilton, which is only not on this list because it is not a movie (yet).

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Without going too deep into spoilers, suffice it to say that for those of us in the USA, this movie has been a little too real as of late.

Spoilers:

…what with the bad guys we thought we got rid of at the end of World War II showing up again, infiltrating the government and messing everything up, not being able to trust anyone, the best friend brainwashed by Russians, leadership acting like nothing’s wrong even though it clearly is, I could go on and on.

Thomas Paine wrote, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman,”(2) leading some critics to posit that the true ‘winter soldier’ of the film is not Barnes, but Rogers, who stands steadfastly for his country even when everything is going to hell.  I’ll say it again: we should all aspire to be like Captain Steve Rogers.  It’s going to be a long winter.

2. Rogue One

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…I assume.  I haven’t actually seen it yet, but from what I hear it’s everything we need right now, and might just be the second best movie ever for starting a rebellion and fighting the evil empire when everything seems hopeless.  There’s only one movie that does it better.

 

 

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

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This film is pure perfection.  It’s got everything.  Apocalypse: check.  Revolution: check.  Baddies that are larger than life but seem a little too real in our current political climate: check and check.  The desolate landscapes that are showcased so beautifully are a perfect mirror for the desolation of my soul following the election, and the characters perfectly express the pain and rage I’ve been feeling and continue to feel.

And yet.  And yet it is still a story of heroes. A story of hard choices in desperate situations, of horror and violence, of unspeakable loss, but, ultimately of defiance, rebellion, and justice.  It teaches us that we are stronger than we know, better than we know, that we can find allies in unexpected places, and that, ultimately, even long after the world has ended, we still have the power to build a better society.

References:

  1. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/singing-happy1.htm
  2. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/175410-these-are-the-times-that-try-men-s-souls-the-summer

Wonder Woman Honored then Snubbed by the U.N.

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The United Nations, famous (infamous?) for having Saudi Arabia on the human rights council, recently appointing Wonder Woman as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.  Then, even more recently enough, people threw a fit that it was reversed.  Strangely enough of the people who complained aren’t who you think.  UN staffers, feminists, and non-fans of the character were vocal about their opposition.  Even written in the petition:

Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent warrior woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots –the epitome of a pin-up girl.

What this says about women who do look like Wonder Woman is a bit of a double standard in my opinion.  While every woman is different, there are probably a great many women who look like her and girls who will look like her.  Saying they are abnormal is just as bad as saying any other body type is abnormal.  Saying she’s a ‘white woman’ shows the ignorance of people who cannot tell the difference between the wide range of  European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people, as much as the ignorance of people who think all Asians are the same.  And what’s wrong with pin-up girls?  It’s a job just like any other, and there are highly talented, and successful burlesque dancers, pin-up models, and dancers and if we are empowering women that means accepting whatever job it is they decide is best for them, right?  Who are we to shame any of these aspects of real women?

If a woman of Greek descent, who saves people all around the world and immigrates to America is too American, then which fictional character would work?  What other fictional female character is as well known, especially with the upcoming DC movie?  How many little girls, and even adults, cosplay as Diana every year?  What message does the UN send to these woman and girls, and even boys, when they say Wonder Woman isn’t womaning well enough to be an example for girls to look up to?

And current iteration?  Did they even google Wonder Woman before writing that?  Take a look.  Wonder Woman art is as varied as the artists who’ve drawn her.  Just in the top few results, we have her in the traditional red, white and blue, decked out in armor, wearing pants, and covered from neck to toe in an armored body suit.  She’s drawn as athletic and slender, or muscular and curvy, large chested or smaller, and everything in between.  The current iteration of this immigrant super heroine is quite diverse really, and it seems to me she shows that women can be whatever they want, and look however they want when they do it.

Thankfully fans are speaking out, with one 14 year old girl starting a petition to reinstate her.  Even Phil Jimenez shared this great tweet with art from Catherine and Sarah Satrun:

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Quite honestly, at the end of the day, if the point is to pick a woman who will fit everyone’s definition of a role-model, you’ll fail.  You’re not going to find a single fictional female, or male character, that everyone will think is a perfect example.  It’s simply not possible.  What I do know is when I see the faces of little girls dressed as Wonder Woman, they look like they’re having the time of their lives.  Do little girls really care what she’s wearing, or do they care that they feel like goddesses when they put on a costume and pretend to be Diana for a few hours?  Should we be focusing on what a woman wears (I’m told that’s really bad), or what she does?  Should our message be that a woman can do whatever she wants, and dress however she likes when she does it, or she can do it as long as she dresses in an acceptable manner?  I may just be one of those silly guys, but it seems like a damn confusing message to me.