Monday, February 28, 2011

Movie Review Monday - The Karate Kid (2010)

No unwatchable movie this weekend again. I was actually sick for most of the weekend and ended  up watching the remake (sort of) of The Karate Kid named, The Karate Kid. It was starting one of my favorite action stars, Jackie Chan as well as Will Smith's son Jaden Smith. The story is changed a bit, Jaden and his mother move to China, the Miyagi character has changed a bit, and the finishing move at the end is much cooler.

I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed the first one. At over 2 hours, it does seem a bit long. It is worth it though. I went in to this movie knowing it wasn't going to be an over the top action movie and it wasn't.  The story was basically the same. There were some funny moments and some great settings (Forbidden City, Great Wall) which added to the film. Jackie Chan did a great job, once again showing he can do more than just action (this was kind of cheating though since he became a kung-fu instructor).

Overall, it was worth the watch. I would watch this with my little cousin (8), but not sure if he would sit through the entire thing. It falls into its own category. I mean, I wouldn't put it in action, I'm not entirely sure it fits into a drama, some of the lessons and everything seem like they would be over a kid's head, and it's not a movie you and your "bros" would see. It is available streaming on Netflix, worth it if you feel the need to check it out or have a couple of hours where you are watching a nephew.

Next week, as long as my unwatchable movie partner is around, you'll finally get your unwatchable review. Any good movies you have seen recently?

Dre Parker: "You don't know the rules?"
Mr. Han: "Of course I know the rules. Simple. You hit him, don't let him hit you." - The Karate Kid (2010) Source: IMDb

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Comments

Thanks everyone for your outpouring of support this week. Lots of great comments, I have no idea where to start. Let's have a look.

RetroSpider at Some Daily Grind writes: "Oh man I better not get into RP again lol bad things happened last time..."
RetroSpider, We've had quite a few stories of bad things happening. Not just in game, but also in real life. The best story, which sadly wasn't from my group, was a couple of roommates had problems both in and out of game. This got to the point where Member A wanted to get some surgery, grafting a weapon or something. Member B knew that the group needed the skull of a latent psychic, which A was. So B, without permission, bribed and planted thoughts into the surgeons head so that the surgeon would remove the skull of A. This did not end well at all, and I mean in real life.

Con Queso of ConQueso's Cross-Stitching and Gaming Blog writes: "This is a GREAT game. but WHY does it have to cost like $30 ? wtf...they're just damn cards." -refering to Munchkin.
I completely agree with this. I usually search around at gaming sites and find the cheapest one. The time I usually buy stuff like this is at Gencon (gaming convention) because of the deals almost everyone has. I usually use Amazon or CoolStuffInc because of their loyal customer discounts.

Paranormal Explorer at Paranormal Exploration writes: "I find it hard to take stuff like that on faith. I always need proof of something."
I feel there is a lot of things that we aren't meant to understand, at least yet. Science is really exciting right now, but most of the focus we have is on petty issues between and in countries, who the brightest stars are, or what is the latest in fashion. That borders on my personal views of the world though, and I don't want to get too deep in that, lol. Science is great and I wish it was more of a focus than it is.

Tune in next week for the next part of the role-playing game, hopefully a game review, and a little more (much more is overdoing it I think). That is all. So what did we learn this week? Have a great weekend.

Quote: "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." -Brandi Snyder

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old souls?

I just finished reading My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent and it made me think of something from my past. I was a later bloomer as far as college was concerned. I left high school and went straight to work. Years later, I decided I needed to get a degree if I wanted to get out of warehouses.

At college my old habits came back, but worse because I could skip classes. I ended up skipping almost the whole second half of one class. The day of the final, I showed up and was studying with a couple of women who were in almost all my other classes. That is how I met Rachel and something she said to me in the year plus I knew her stuck with me. She called me an old soul.

I am the kind of person who has no idea what to believe. I like having evidence. Rachel was a firm believer in reincarnation until you reach enlightenment. The reason why she had called me that was, believe it or not, "I have wisdom beyond my age." It was pretty weird of her to say that I thought. The more I dwelled on it, the more it did kind of make sense why she would say it. I'm still skeptical about it, but I consider it a possibility for a few reasons.

I feel that it is completely possible that our soul or energy or consciousness, whatever you want to call it, can move after death into a new life. There is no solid evidence because you can't track it and most likely never will be able to. The book talked briefly on this subject and it made me recall this. It makes me feel like I'm not just thinking I am meant for greater things, that it is actually possible. I feel strongly on certain subjects, oppression especially, that makes me feel like I might have been someone who fought these before this life. If it is true of course.  The possible existence of ghosts is the biggest factor that makes me think it's possible. But that is a talk for another time.

I have more reasons as to why I sort of believe and might expand on that on a later post. How do you feel on this subject or have you had any experience with this?

Quote: "There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit." -Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whining at the GM till the Undead Horse is defeated.

I've had this game sitting around for awhile and we had never tried it out, even though I heard great things. Munchkin by Steve Jackson Game is like you are playing a role-playing game, but lacking the actual role-playing and instead it uses cards. The game is basically kicking down doors, fighting monsters, and getting treasure.

There are 4 phases, kick in the door, look for trouble, loot the room, and charity. Combat between you (and sometimes your friends) and monsters consists of you you or other players playing cards from your had to give bonuses to either side. For (almost) every monster you defeat, you gain a level. First player to level 10 wins.

I played this with a couple of other hardcore gamers, and I think it was kind of ruined because of that. We have all been hardcore pen and paper rpg players and we still play card games, so having both of them mixed was weird. I feel if I played this with casual gamers, it would have left me with a great experience. I loved the art and some of the items and monsters were hilarious (Kneepads of Allure and the monster Lawyer that won't attack other thieves). I think I will be bringing this over to my cousin's house and try it out again.

It is worth checking out and you are not limited to only D&D style. They have themed versions for pirates, ninjas, space, vampires, old west, and more. There are expansions for almost every version also. You can also combine different versions together with very little confusion as to how to mix them. I recommend this game, just not in a highly competitive environment.

Quote: "Don't put your fist up, fill them with our hopes, our hearts, and our hands. We're the architects of our last stand." -"Fight With Tools" by Flobots

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trainwreck of an Idea

I had an interesting idea and I'm going to see how this work out. What I need from you is what race and class are you (dwarf warrior, elf wizard, vampire aristocrat, whatever you want to be, be something creative or that expresses yourself or something you just always wanted to be), and answer the question at the end of the situation.

    The bar of the inn is packed. You look around and wonder how you ended up in this town during the middle of its yearly festival. It's not so bad though, the influx of business for the innkeeper means he is charging less for drinks the drunker he gets. There has been more than one person noticing this and he is reaching his limit as you overheard the same story from him for the third time.
   The people in the bar are a scattered bunch. There are other adventurers like yourself, but also a lot of townsfolk who are welcoming and mingling. The townsfolk are talking about how their mighty village was liberated from dark times by their new king. King Felix arrived in town and took control by rallying the people and marching on their old capital.
   As you take another sip from your drink, you hear a scuffling and a thud. "He stole from me," the man who was knocked down called out and pointed at a cloaked figure. The figure was already halfway to the door and you decide to check your pouch just in case. It's not there and the figure is in a full out run to the door as more people find out they've been robbed.

  Question: What did you lose and what are you going to do about it? (Just your actions, the results and next part will be posted soon.Have fun with it.) Also, welcome to roleplaying. :-)

Quote: "I found a way to steal the sun from the sky. Long live that day that I decided to fly from the inside" - "Fly from the Inside" by Shinedown

Monday, February 21, 2011

I quit Magic

For the moment, of course. I'm just burned out.

In other news, more roleplaying and out of the box gaming to come. I told the story of how I became a vampire on Saturday. I'm not going to put my players through that though. A couple of them have more stories of how becoming a vampire killed the game for them.

I discovered one of my talents. The ability to find anything online. I don't know if this is just laziness on the parts of my friends or if they look and can't honestly find it. Need a pandora battery, no problem. NES rom of a very obscure game, easy. Books, playmats, songs, you name it and I will find it if it is available. This is both a blessing and curse. Curse because I usually look for something really obscure when I think about it. Like, right away. I hear a band on Pandora, I'm looking up when they formed, all their albums, tour dates, tickets. This can happen at anytime during the day, and with a smartphone now, just got worse.

Sorry no movie review today. I could review Let The Right One In, but I don't think I should. It was heralded as a fantastic movie, but like all other fantastic foreign movies, it was too artsy for my taste. I was not entertained by it and it was a bit disturbing. Fine, a little review, lol.

Anyone else have an obscure or overlooked talent?

Quote: "Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as you see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different." - Stacey Charter (for a friend, you know who you are.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Comments + More (Second Saturday Edition)

This feels like my second Saturday, except I don't have to work a half day. Thanks everyone for your comments and it is time to address some of them.

Katie from No Missed Opportunities writes: "Just to be clear, you do watch GOOD movies too, once in a while right? I would hate to think that all you do is watch crap movies."
Dear Katie, I thank you for your concern. I do watch good movies as well. The last movie I watched was Up In The Air, which I thought was great. I watch the whole gauntlet from unwatchable to fantastic. I watch more for the entertainment. I can't watch a movie and think "wow, that was artistic." The artsy movies get lost on me because while they are trying to get across a message, I just want to have fun.

Amy from i am here writes: " I actually like it, but my brother and his friends turn it into a war, where they sit there and yell at each other, then the friends turn to me and tell me not to trade with my brother." (reference to Settlers of Catan)
We have had many of these wars. Being in such a serious gaming group, there are always alliances and denials of every trade from one player. There have been trades for IRL stuff though as well, sometimes cash, sometimes Magic cards.

abby | ybba at Robots in Trouble! writes: "you got a puppy?! awwww! my hubby was going to get me one too but i said no ... even though i really really wanted one :["
The puppy is something my fiance has been pushing for. This kind especially. I kind of caved in to the request but not really. I even told her "I say no to this, but if you come home with it, I won't be mad." Me being mad was her greatest concern, but I'm one of the most relaxed people anyone can ever meet. If anything, I was worried that we wouldn't be able to handle it.

That is all for the comments, now onto how I became a vampire. I play pen and paper roleplaying games (I know, shocker). We had setup for a game of D&D and it was a story that my friend had wrote. The premise was we were hired by one family to steal back weapons (swords, daggers, crossbows and bolts) from another family who had originally stole them. We decided to go through it, fumbling around of course, but that didn't matter as there were only 3 people in the house.

When we got in and it was safe, we were to send a signal to the other family to let them know to come in and grab the weapons.  After we through up the signal/invited them in, that's when things went south for us. Our party was killed one by one. Somehow, we woke up. And in a very cramped space. In a "community" coffin. We were vampires from that point on and in the service of our new lords. And that's the really short version of it.

What did we learn this week?
-Don't invite strangers in.
-Always have a friend who will give you sheep.
-Having a puppy trumps a lot of things.
How about you?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weekend Plans

My fiancé is going back to her hometown for another dress fitting and more wedding stuff. This means it will be Zelda (the puppy) and me this weekend. I'm hoping to be getting some books in the mail tomorrow or Saturday. One of them being My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent for a book club being held at Forever Endeavor. The discussion starts on Friday, February 25th. And I have a maybe confession to make. This might be the first YA novel I read.

I know, I know. In my defense, I had never heard of the genre as I use to be a strict sci-fi/fantasy kinda guy. It has a lot of elements that I like and some I hate (vampires), so it was just a matter of time before I discovered it. The other book I got was a roleplaying game core rulebook, so I'm going to start writing and running adventures again and you'll have some stories from that I'm sure.

Backup plan is movies. I have a good list of amazing movies I need to watch including Let The Right One In, Oldboy, The Dark Crystal, and a few more on my Netflix queue. I might start writing out some stories as well for my gaming group. None of them read this, so all the better.

Tomorrow, what we learned this week and responses to some comments. I kind of want to tell the story about how I became a vampire now too, any takers?

Quote: "Believe you can and you're halfway there." -Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'll trade you two sheep for a brick.

The Settlers of Catan. This is one of my favorite games, possibly my favorite of all time. The only contender so far is Dominion which I covered last week. Settlers is a simple game to learn and does have a lot of luck involved, but there is a ton of interaction with other players.

The Settlers of Catan pits you against other players in a race to 10 points. Each city and settlement that you build will help you achieve this victory, as well as owning the longest road or points from development cards.

The game starts with the tiles randomize to form an island and all each tile getting a random number. You place down two settlements and roads connecting to each one. From there each turn consists of rolling two dice and players collecting resources if they control a city or settlement on the borders of that number, trading cards with other players, and building or buying. Simple enough.

There is a level of diplomacy because every time a seven is rolled, there is a robber that you move from one tile to another. If there is a player with a city or settlement bordering the tile,  the player who rolled the seven steals a card. Whatever numbered tile he is on won't pay out a resource if that number is rolled as well until he is moved. Trading is also a big part of the game, but this can be bypassed by having a settlement or city build on a port (which offers 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 trades).

The Settlers of Catan is has a high replay value as we have been  playing this game for years. There are other versions of this game, but we have never tried them out. You can also find online versions of the game, but again I haven't looked around as much. I prefer to sit around a table with friends or even family members and play. This one is highly recommended by my play group, and is the only board game that some of them play as well. So what you waiting for, grab your lumber and wheat and get to building.

Any other games we should try out?

Quote: " I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed." -Algren "The Last Samauri"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nothing Serious Today

I don't know why, I'm just not feeling it this week. Most likely my internal struggles are derailing me. I have however, puppy pictures. Here is Zelda, our new dog.
With her green sweater 
Her favorite activity 

So there you are. Have a great day and keep your head up. :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Unwatchable Movie This Weekend

Because I caved in and kind of said yes to my fiancé getting a puppy. It is a Dachshund named Zelda. Pictures to come later if they are requested.

So getting a puppy plus having things to do this weekend really threw the weekend off. Have a great Valentine's day everyone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Commenting on Comments

I hate that title too, lol. Just a placeholder for now.

I love your comments, they do honestly brighten up my day and keep me entertained. Time to address some of these.

Stephanie Faris of Steph in the City writes: "I generally go by the stars of a movie as to whether or not it's good. Any movie past 1990 that stars Luke Perry and any movie past 1997 that stars Lauren Holly can't be good. Definitely B-listers."
Stephanie, the mastermind behind it all, Uwe Boll, is notorious for getting actors to work for him for cheap. He goes with stars are either well past their time or stars that are between big projects and will work for some extra cash. They really didn't have much to work with on this project at all, it was tragic.

Cassandra of Saving Me From Myself writes: "Personally I'm very glad that I take part in public schooling. I feel that I've learned a lot from the experience even if I haven't always had the best teachers, education, etc."
I feel this same way also Cassandra and I believe it has helped us shape our choice. I plan on teaching them a little at home as well. Public school is lacking in certain areas and it really wouldn't

I don't remember putting that in here, oh well, let's get this
kendra30752 @ RiBbOnS and PeArLs: "At least you've done your good deed by keeping someone from wasting their time & possibly money on watching it."
........under way. Yea, I'm going to be taking a break from bad movies soon, I can't take it, lol.

Brad Jaeger @ Brad Jaeger - Aspiring Author: "I do what I want, when I want. That's my schedule."
So much win. Also not a bad idea. I tend more towards chaos than order anyway.

Tracy @ Forever Endeavor: "I love hearing about people (well, guys actually) talking about playing games that aren't attached to a game controller."
I love the card, board, and pen and paper games. I've been playing them for 14+ years and will keep it going. It certainly helps me stay social.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Looks like As You Like It will be this weekend's unwatchable movie. I have some movies for the following weekend that are suppose to be amazing. No really, completely worth your time to watch them. If you have any AMAZING recommendations for that weekend, leave them here and I will add them to the list of need to see. Have a great weekend everyone.

Quote: "Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes." Jim Carrey

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A blogging schedule?

I have surprised myself. I actively was trying to create a schedule and failed at it. I just decided to start posting whatever. By doing so, I created a schedule without realizing it. This is what it looks like so far:

Monday: Movie Review (Unwatchable Movie Challenge and sometimes good movies)
Tuesday: Serious Business (Issues regarding daily life or the world)
Wednesday: Random Review (Games, Books, General things I want to have your attention)
Thursday: ??????? (This is where I need your help)
Friday: Comments (Responding directly to comments and/or feature other bloggers.)

Thursday was going to be storytime. Truth is I don't have many stories of my life, I have big ideas but don't take many risks. Most of the stories would be of other people and not sure if they would come across as funny. I could post up some of my short stories possibly or maybe even dreams I've had. What are your thoughts on this? Any ideas for a subject for Thursdays or should I even switch up some of these days? Thanks in advance everyone.

Quote: "See me, I'm still standing. I may be bleeding, but I'm still breathing." -"Renegade" by HED P.E.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Past the Village there is a Festival with Nobles and Spies

Those are just a few of my favorite cards from Dominion from Rio Grande Games. This is an out of the box, deck building card game where you try to grow your kingdom. A little explanation on the deck building card game, you start out with a set number cards in your deck (10 in this one) and each round you can buy cards to add to it. These cards give you extra buys, extra actions, let you remove or add cards to your deck.

Dominion is the first game I ever played like this and I fell in love instantly. Learning the cards and combos the first time around is really fun. After that, it's all about perfecting your approach to winning. The goal is to have the most victory points in your deck at the end of the game. For the first set, victory points didn't do anything. There have been victory point cards that have come out that do also have actions on them though.

There are 25 different cards in the original set, which you only use 10 of them. Setup and cleanup are very easy, most games last between 15 and 30 minutes. Depending on the piles you get, the game can move faster or slower. I've played this with teens as young as 14 and with a few of my elders as well and they loved it as well. If you get a chance, definitely try this game out. There is a free version you can play online but the card pool isn't as extensive. I highly recommend you try this out.

Any other games I should try out and let you know about?

Quote: "Change the sword to words and lift continents." - "Rise" by Flobots

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Schooling: Home or Public?

I currently have no kids and not even married. The pace of life moves quickly and before I know it, both will be upon me. Among all the major decisions you have to make, the choice of home schooling or public/private school is the one I've been thinking about the most.

I personally went to public school. It was what everyone had ever done, as homeschooling wasn't as big as it is now. Public school is a good way to learn social skills and team building I feel. The children can find leaders in their teachers as well. On the negative side, the class moves only as quickly as the bottom 25% of the class. I have been in classes where whole sections were left out because students were struggling with certain areas. Also, the motivation is not there I feel. There were very few competitive assignments. I believe that competition is a good thing as you experience it everyday. Being able to not only compete with people who are better than you, but also accepting wins or loses like a good sport is important.

Home schooling appeals to me because the student has all of your attention. This not only helps them get the help where they need, but the student can also identify their weak points and hone study/learning methods to improve. It seems like you can learn a lot more than in public schools. It also helps the parent learn as well as the student. The down side has a lot to do with the social aspect and the team building that I like from the public schooling. The parent also needs to be able to grasp what they are teaching so that everyone knows what is going on.

Just had to vent some of my thoughts on this situation. I'm leaning more towards public because of the dedication needed on our side, which might not be possible being a middle class couple with both of us working. What are your thoughts on this situation?

Quote: "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein

Monday, February 7, 2011

Final Storm Review

Challenge #3 has been completed, and boy was that a waste of an hour and a half. Final Storm is brought to us by Uwe Boll who has produced numerous movies that make me frown (bad writing, bad concept, just plain bad). My hopes for this movie were already low just because his name was attached to it.

Spoiler Alert!

My fiancé and I laid down and watched it. The opening showed some promise. It had been storming for 3-5 days straight and the world was thrown into chaos. That is about where you can turn off the movie. You follow a country family (mom, dad, and son) and a stranger that they took in. The stranger at first claims it is his house, and it comes out after about an hour and ten minutes that is was his parent's house.

I have no idea what to even say because nothing happens for almost the whole movie. They go to two towns to find them deserted and the last five minutes is the stranger trying to kill the dad and take the family as his own. Other than that 15 minutes of the movie, nothing happens, literally. We were SO bored and the music kept building up to....... nothing. This is probably the worst movie yet in this challenge because of that.
End of Spoiler!

But yea, this is definitely a movie to avoid. I don't even think it fits in a genre just because of that reason. It's kind of a horror but not scary. It's kind of a drama, but you don't care about what's going on. If it wasn't for the music and the feeling that something had to happen, this movie would of been off in 10 minutes. There are so many questions that were left unanswered too. What happened to everyone? Where did they all go? Why are the animals gone? How does Luke Perry know what he does? And the ending leaves even more questions.

Good luck with this movie if you take up the challenge. Now that you know that NOTHING happens though, it will be easier to turn off.

This weekends choices: The Superhero (Action Thriller, a mix of live action and animation; outlook:grim), Narcosys (Action Sci-fi & Fantasy, Netflix says I'm going to give it 1 star, I bet they are right), and finally, As You Like It (Romantic Comedy, a [poor?] adaptation of Shakespeare, almost 2 hours long. /sigh)

Quote: "Life is, too short, so love the one ya got." -Sublime (Forgot the quote, so I used the one I have on my gmail account currently.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Finally

This has been one of the most random weeks. The blizzard on Tuesday and Wednesday that led to having a snow day on Wednesday. Yesterday felt like I was working on a Sunday. The Eureka marathon that I had this whole week and watching the few shows I watch on the wrong nights. Kind of back to normal now, but the weekend starts tonight with a trip to the mall with the cousin for card game tournaments.

This weekend will be productive, that is my goal. I have to watch the next movie in the challenge (looking like Troll 2 right now), and I want to do a couple more random errands. After that, back to writing. No more computer gaming, maybe a break for some Zombies or Munchkin (board/card games), but seriously writing as these ideas are driving me crazy.

I'm looking forward to all of these movies, thanks really, thanks. /sarcasm. You'll have a more in-depth review of it as I will be trying something different. Unless there is a big swing of votes, Troll 2 it is. I have a few ideas for next week already. Do you all care about spoiler alerts in these or no? Any plans for your weekend? Will it be fun or work?

Quote: "We'd rather make our children, martyrs than murderers." White Flag Warriors by Flobots

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow day and a little background

Finally back. We got hit with some crazy snow, 20 inches in some places. Yesterday was very anti-productive as well since I'm determined to finish Eureka. Did you have any of this crazy weather?

Background: Origins of a gamer
Lately, especially right now, as in this very moment, I'm feeling all nostalgic. I'm not sure how or why, but my brother and I got into playing the Pokemon card game way back when. This was probably a couple of years before I could drive ( I think it started when I was 14), my grandmother use to bring us out every Saturday to this card shop / cigarette store. Here is where we started getting really good. The people we played against were some of the best.

One weekend after the Pokemon fad had been faded for awhile (we still showed up to the same shop to play though), a couple of our friends were playing a new game. This was something we had never seen before. It was called Mageknight and instead of using cards, it was using miniature figures. We got heavy into this game as well, traveling a little more for tournaments. This is around the transition time from moving to a new shop as well.

Currently, the group we started out with has changed a lot. We have had about 4 or 5 different shops we called home and the thing that holds it all together is Magic: the Gathering. Of all the people I have considered friends, there are really only four who have never really went away in the past 15 years or so. I'm thankful for all the friends I have currently, even if I don't talk to them or see them as much. So thanks everyone for the support and friendship throughout the years to those reading this. To all the others, internet friends, blogging friends, real life friends and family members, thanks to all of you too. :-)

This started out me wanting to talk about how much I want to play Magic at an actual comic shop again, but I guess this is much better, lol. Anyone you would like to thank?

Quote: "If we don't make it alive, well it's a hell of a good day to die." -The Offspring (And yes, I'm fine, just love this whole song, especially this lyric.)