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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Legend of the Lone Ranger

Today's post was supposed to be about a mash-up of The Dukes of Hazzard and Superman, but I just didn't have time to put that together. As a filler this week, enjoy one of my favorite movies growing up, "The Legend of the Lone Ranger"!

I know there are non-English subtitles, but I'm sure you can look past those.



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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Fandom of Others

Recently I listed to a podcast* that I had to turn off halfway through. This was due to the conversation on how people who didn't agree with the hosts were somehow stupid or coming into the subject with preconceptions. They weren't being mean about it, but that was, essentially, what they were saying.

I have no problem with people not liking something involved with geek fandom. There are things I like and things I don't like, just like everyone else. What I CAN'T STAND, though, is how people have to make themselves feel better about their opinions by putting others down. It is perfectly possible for someone to disagree with you about Marvel/DC, Star Wars/Star Trek, etc and have them be an intelligent human being with their own particular tastes.

It's one thing to say something like "I prefer Star Wars over Star Trek because it's more action packed," but another to say "I like Star Wars and anyone who doesn't just isn't smart enough to appreciate the storytelling." People are capable of disagreeing in a civilized way, but in this era of "group think", it seems like this is getting lost.

So, please, keep in mind that those who disagree with you have their reasons and maybe, just maybe, they are valid and well thought out. So, before you go accusing people of lower intelligence or being closed-minded, maybe have a conversation with them. It might turn out that you were the one being closed minded.

Besides, if you have to tear down others just to make your point, then your point must not be that good to begin with. (See my other blog for more.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled geekiness.


* I will not be naming the podcast or the people involved, since this is a more general topic, and I don't want to bring that show, which I otherwise enjoy, under a negative scrutiny.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Star Wars: Micro Collection

One of the toy sets that I always wanted as a kid was the Star Wars: Micro Collection. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing with my 3-3/4" figures and their vehicles, but the Micro Collection seemed more up my alley. For one thing, they were more to scale with the playsets and vehicles. For example, take a look at the following two images, both of X-Wings and pilot figures.

"Standard" X-Wing and figures
Micro X-Wing and figure

As you can see, the "standard" figures can look over the X-Wing while standing next to it, where as the Micro figure would need to climb a ladder to get into his X-Wing. This just made more sense to me as a kid (is it any wonder I became an engineer?) and I always wanted them. Apparenty I was in the minority, though, since they went away fairly quickly.

I did get to play with the Bespin set, though. Our next door neighbor at the time, who now runs the wonderful Weather NJ website, had that set and the X-Wing. He was younger than both my sister and myself, but we would occasionally go over to his house and I'd get to play with my white whale of Star Wars toys. I mean, look at this commercial! How would you not want to play with those toys?



Considering how much these go for on eBay, I don't think I'm ever going to get to own them. It is nice to know that they're still out there, though, just in case the Prize Patrol shows up at my house.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, February 2, 2017

JRPG's

When I play video games I tend towards Role-Playing Games. That's because I grew up playing various games with my friends (see Episode 7 of The Hammer Podcasts! for more information). Add to that the fact that one of my favorite NES games was Simon's Quest, one of the first true RPG games, and it's pretty obvious.

What isn't so obvious is that I primarily am draw to Japanese role-playing games, or JRPG's. Part of this is due to my first exposure to the Playstation system. I was at the University of Sheffield for a year and one of my friends had a PS1 and a copy of Final Fantasy 7. I fell in love with that game, with it's ability to customize your characters (to the point of renaming them) and switch out your party members. This was what I wanted.

Since then I've played several JRPG's, many from Square-Enix, and have, generally, enjoyed them all. They have a nice mix of story, hack & slash, and puzzle solving, which means they're usually something new to deal with. Add to that the fact that there's a lot of replay-ability, and my love of Anime, and you have a type of game that's right up my alley.

How about you? Is there a type of game, or a specific game of that type, that you just feel drawn towards?

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Engineer vs Anime

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that my engineering brain will latch on to something not let it go. Case in point, Attack on Titan, Episode 2. This is one of the shows we're watching for Anime Freaks, so I have to look at it in detail. In the first part of the second episode (see below), we are told that the Titans pushed humanity "...to the brink of extinction, almost over night." That's fine, but then we're told how they saved themselves.

They built three concentric walls, so large that a small outcropping on the side of the outer wall is a decent sized city. One person calculated that the outer wall (Wall Maria) would encompass 180,956 Square Kilometers, or 69,867.5 Square Miles. To put it in perspective, that's bigger than the state of Georgia, but not quite as big as the state of Wisconsin. An absolutely HUGE area to build a wall around.



So I came up with the question, if humanity was killed off so quickly that they were almost extinct seemingly overnight, just how did they find the time to quarry, haul, lift, and set the material for all of these walls? That would have taken an enormous amount of time and labor.

I'm hoping that question will be answered in the coming episodes, but it's going to bother me until they explain it. It just had better not be "magic" or "aliens" as the explanation.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Evaluating Vacation Options - Where to Eat

I've already gone over the cost/benefit analysis for the Disney Dining Plan, but once that choice is made, you still have to decide where you're going to eat. There are two things that I do when on vacation. The first is make meals myself. I'm the cook in the family and we have a timeshare, which means we have a full kitchen available to us. So, I usually plan that we'll have breakfast before we go out for the day, and we'll have dinner there at least a few times.

Not everyone has that option, however, so we come to the second thing. I insist that we eat at some place that has, at most, two locations. The whole point of traveling is to experience new things, and the food is part of that. This is pretty easy to do when visiting Theme Parks, but even there I tend towards sit-down restaurants as the quick service tends to be the lowest common denominator in food.

Here are two recommendations that I have for anyone visiting Walt Disney World. Both of these are on the "must visit" list, and that's not so much for the food, which is good, but for the ambiance. The Liberty Tree is just slopping over with history. I'd be happy just to wander around and look at everything without ordering anything. Plus, it's front and center in Liberty Square, so it's convenient to a number of attractions.

The Sci-Fi Dine-In is almost the opposite. Again, I don't recommend it for the food, which is also good, but this is one where sitting down and taking it all in is better. There are cartoons and old movie trailers on a loop and your table is a car! This is a little hidden in Hollywood Studios, though, so you have to seek it out.

The Liberty Tree Tavern

The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

If anyone has any other suggestions, either at WDW or any of the other Orlando Attractions, I'd love to hear them.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top Ten Podcast Epsiodes

Taking a look back at the podcast last year, I had a definite plan of attack. I wanted to do "generational stories", and there were quite a few varieties that I covered. As a "greatest hits", here are the top ten downloaded episodes of my show.

10. We start off with Episode 15, where I did my best Casey Kasem and recounted 9 of my favorite Cartoon TV Themes. This must have hit a cord with people, because it got 429 downloads, even though it was an episode from 2015. It was also one that I really enjoyed putting together, since I love all of those tunes. These shows were a HUGE part of my childhood (well, not Gargoyles, but you get the idea).








9. Episode 16 was my wife's first podcast appearance, and we talked about The Muppets. This is a topic that both Michelle and I love. It's just not a road trip until we do the "Bear left. Right Frog." bit. Also an episode from the year before, it came into 2016 with 448 downloads. Not bad.








8. Luke Jaconetti (one of them thar Jaconetti Boys) was nice enough to come on for Episode 18, all about the movie Excalibur. As I said in the episode, this movie is what got me into all things Arthurian, which is a big part of my life and how I view the world. It's an ambitious movie, and does short cut a lot of stuff, but it is easily the best King Arthur movie ever made. We got a magical 489 downloads for that one.









7. My wife joined me on the next installment, which was Episode 23 and her second podcast appearance, covering the relationship of Henry Jones Sr. & Jr. Michelle is actually a bigger Indiana Jones fan than I am, so it was a fun discussion. If you want to hear our commentary for The Last Crusade, head over to the Patreon page and become a supporter at the $8 level. This got a decent 508 downloads.


6. It wasn't a generational story, really, but Andy Leyland and I FINALLY got together to talk about The Fall Guy on Episode 17, the first episode of the year. This is the show where I discovered Lee Majors, and I still think it's his best work. Like the conversation I had with Andy, it just seemed like Majors was have fun doing the show, which makes a big difference. This one came in with a respectable 638 downloads.








5. Dave Weter joined me for the episode in 5th position, and that was the Legends of the Superheroes episode for Daredevil. Both of us like this movie more than most, even though we know that it's flawed. I would recommend that people give it another look, if they haven't seen it in awhile. This garnered 741 downloads, making it #23 on the TTF hit parade.







4. My epic conversation with Scott Ryfun about the Skywalker Family (aka Episode 21) came in at the 4th position. We were all over the place on this one, even revealing some of our Star Wars Stories. With 747 downloads, that puts it at #22 on Two True Freaks for the year.





3. Episode 20, which was Part 2 of my conversation with Michael Bailey about Superman/Batman Generations, came in at #3 with 831 downloads. That puts it at the #12 spot for the Network in 2016. This was an unintentional two-part episode. Mike and I just talked so much about this series that I had to make it multiple parts or it would have gone on too long for my tastes.






2. The Buck Rogers Episode of Legends of the Superheroes, guest starring Darrin & Ruth Sutherland, came in at the #2 spot, with 833 downloads. It was also #11 overall at TTF for the year. This was the Sutherlands first guest spot, and I'm honored that they came on my show first. We had a really great time talking about the show and the cast, and coming up with better possibilities for Season 2.









Drum roll, please.

1. Coming in with 919 downloads, and in the #8 position for the entire Two True Freaks Network, is Episode 19! This was Part 1 of my coverage of Superman/Batman Generations with Michael Bailey. I love John Byrne. I love Superman. I'm also rather fond of Batman. So this series was right in my wheelhouse. I picked this up off the stands as it came out, so I was right there on the ground floor. And who better to talk about Byrne, Superman, and Batman than the Godfather of Comics Podcasting? We had so much fun that I really want to do Generations 2 with him at some point.


The main thing I noticed is that all but one had guests on them. Maybe I should keep up this trend. Heck, even Michelle, who doesn't have a podcast, got two episode on this list.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes