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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cartoon Interlude

Things have been on the busy side around here lately, so here's a classic Disney cartoon to tide you over.



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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Reversing The Snap


I'm going to assume that everyone reading this has either already seen Avengers: Infinity War, or has heard what the ending it. If you haven't, please skip this post until later.

Still with me? Good.

I've been hearing a lot of talk on the social medias about the "Snap Heard 'Round The Universe" and how those killed in the movie before that "obviously can't be brought back". I'm sorry, but that's not obvious at all. Let's get a run down on the Infinity Stones, shall we?

Space Stone - Admittedly, being able to have instant access to any point in the universe isn't going to help us here.

Mind Stone - As with the Space Stone, this one is probably not going to help in this situation.

Soul Stone - Most people agree that Gamora's soul got sucked into the Soul Stone, so getting her back would be easy. It might be possible that everyone from The Snap is also in there, but that's not the problem we're addressing here.

Power Stone - Now we're getting somewhere. You see, the Power Stone has the ability to supercharge the other stones, making them more effective.

Time Stone - This one allows the user complete control over time, which means that someone could go backwards in time and change events to prevent

Reality Stone - Let's ruminate on the name here. Reality Stone. What's it's power? It can RESHAPE REALITY! The Reality Stone, backed by the Power Stone, can do ANYTHING, even bringing people back from the dead. Or, as in the comics, hit a universe sized RESET BUTTON!

So don't tell me that it's "obvious" that those not killed by the snap can't come back. The wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet can, literally, to ANYTHING. Once Adam Warlock get's his hands on it, everyone's coming back. They may not be the same as they were (changing actors, etc), but they will be back. There's no doubt about it in my mind, so ...


For more on the Infinity Gems and the original Infinity Gauntlet mini-series, check out the latest episode of The Quantum Cast.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Anime Recommendation: The Ancient Magus' Bride


Michelle and I recently finished up watching The Ancient Magus' Bride and I thought I'd share my impressions with you. First of all, I should point out that Michelle is the one that suggested that we watch it. She read the review in an issue of Otaku USA Magazine and thought it would be a good idea for us to give it a shot. I would say the indoctrination is complete. :D

The basic story here is that Chise, who can see various magical beings that others can't, has lived a very hard life. Her father abandoned her and her mother, and then her mother killed herself after trying to kill Chise. She was passed around from family to family and has lived a life of fear and neglect. It turns out that she's something called a Sleigh Beggy, a being that can both generate an absorb great amounts of magic. Unfortunately, this takes quite the toll on a human body, and most sleigh beggies don't live very long. Knowing this, and without any other option, the 16 year-old puts herself up for auction.

She is bought by the mage Elias, who is a an odd fey being. He appears to be a humanoid, but his head is the skull of a wolf with goat horns. He takes his new purchase home and intends to teach her magic as she teaches him about human emotions. The problem is that neither Elias or Chise is very talkative, so there are many times where they end up at crossed paths.

This was a great series to watch. It is visually striking and has some really intense moments, but there are plenty of more light hearted times to even things out. The world is really well thought out and, being based in England, manages to bring in the native Fey seamlessly. There are several points where you are worried for the characters, whether it is due to internal or external conflict, and the cliff hangers make you want to watch the next episode immediately.

Both Michelle and I were really satisfied with the experience and I would recommend it for any adults out there. There's no fan service or anything like that, it's just way too intense for kids.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cosplay Gallery


To coincide with the most recent episode of The Hammer Podcasts!, which is all about Cosplay, I thought I'd do a gallery post of some outfits that my guest, Vera Wylde, and I have worn over the years. Sorry, but you'll have to suffer through mine to get to her's.

This is the Macho Man outfit that I mentioned. My buddy Fred managed to catch me on the home stretch of the run.

This was taken at the wedding of our friends Danny and Alycia, which was Halloween themed. I was dressed as the Imperial Guard and Michelle was the Biker Scout.

 Here I am as Lt. Commander Robert Lupia from the Tales of the Seventh Fleet fan series. As you can tell, this is prior to the weight loss.

Here's a pic of Vera as Fix-It Felix, Jr. 

Vera as the Arkham version of Harley Quinn.

If you're going to do a  Janine Melnitz cosplay, then why not go for The Real Ghostbusters version?

 Vera got crafty with this Poison Ivy cosplay. I think it turned out great.


And now the one you've all been waiting for, the Wonder Woman cosplay that we talked so much about. I can see why a little girl would run up and hug her.

Anyone else have some cosplay pics they'd like to share? Head on over to the Facebook Page and post them as comments.

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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, June 14, 2018

Cell Phone Addiction

Kira's dance recital was this past weekend and they had an announcement before the show. No flash photography - OK. No video recording - Sure. Please turn off your cell phones - This one people apparently had a problem with.

One guy the the row behind me said, "Yeah, that's gonna happen." I'm giving this a pass because he could have said it sarcastically, and I didn't see what was going on behind me.

Another guy in the row in front of me would take his phone out every now and then to check text messages. I'm going to give him a pass as well, since it could have been something important that he needed to check on. Plus, it wasn't constantly. He probably checked five times in the three hours we were there.

The one person that I'm NOT giving a pass to is the woman sitting right next to me. She had her phone out for the whole show and do you know what she was doing on it? Playing a GAME! Seriously? You came to a dance recital for, presumably, someone who care about and that's how you're going to spend your time? The person sitting next to her even had to nudge her during the acts that she was supposed to pay attention to! We're talking a woman at least in her 40's here! If the show was that unimportant to you, then why even bother going? Just stay home, sit on the couch, and have your face stuck to the phone there. You'll save everyone a lot of aggravation.

Is it really that hard for people to not be with their cell phones? It just doesn't make sense to me. This past winter I saw someone shoveling snow that took at least three times long than they should have. Do you know why? It's because after every second shovel, out comes the phone because Odin forbid they went more than a MINUTE without seeing someone's status update.

My phone gets turned off when I get home from work and doesn't get turned on again until the next morning. I've got better things to do with my life than stare a 4.5" x 2.5" screen constantly, especially when my family is involved.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Anime Recommendation: Your Name


A couple a weekends ago, my family sat down and watched the anime movie "Your Name". The basic idea is that high school boy Taki from Tokyo and high school girl Mitsuha from a small Japanese village randomly switch bodies with each other when they fall asleep. This leads to some pretty dramatic changes to their lives, as each tried to influence the other in what they see as a better direction. As this goes on, Taki and Mitsuha communicate back and forth via journals on their phones, and begin to find comfort in each other.

The two never speak or meet face to face, and when Taki tries to call Mitusha's phone, the call doesn't go through. Then, as suddenly as it began, the switching stops and we're left with Taki trying to find out why this all happened in the first place and what happened to Mitsuha. That's where the twist comes in, and what a twist it is. I'm not going to spoil it for you but I can say that I didn't see it coming and it is handled beautifully.

This is a movie that could have worked in both live action and animation, but I think the animation gives it the freedom to do some things that would have been harder to do in live action. The writing and acting are terrific and you really get sucked into the story. I think that all three of us gasped at the reveal of what was going on, and that's not something I can say very often.

I would highly recommend this to, well, everyone. It's probably not great for young children, but there's nothing objectionable. Kira, who is 9 at the time of this writing, was completely engrossed in the movie and barely spoke through the run time.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Top 10 Favorite/Most Influential Cartoons


There's something going around social media that asks people to list their Top 10 Favorite/Most Influential Cartoons. That sounded like a blog post topic to me, so here we are. I'm going to list these in no particular order, basically as they come to me. Also, I'm going with the "Most Influential" side of the equation, since "Favorite" would take too long to narrow down.

The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour


No conversation about cartoons would be complete without talking about Looney Tunes. These cartoons showed me many layers were possible in storytelling, and my whole family loves them. Heck, there will be times when we'll just start quoting Bugs & Daffy cartoons out of nowhere.


Star Blazers


This is a no brainer. I remember seeing Star Blazers when I was very young and that started my love of both anime and long form storytelling. The fact that this was a self contained quest, with a beginning, middle, and end fascinated me. American cartoons just didn't do that.


Gargoyles


I love many Disney cartoons, and many of the shows from the 90's, but none has resonated with me as much as Gargoyles. An equal mix of Mythology, Arthurian Legend, Shakespeare, and Superhero, this cartoon seems like it was made for me. Add to that the fact that the cast is just lousy with Star Trek actors, and I'm hooked.


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe


I've told the story on MotU-Cast about how I won a He-Man contest from Burger King as a kid. I was already a big He-Man fan, though. The idea that strength was to be used to the benefit of others, and wasn't a goal in itself, was a great message.


Battle of the Planets


As much as I hate, and I do mean HATE, 7-Zark-7, I can't deny that Battle of the Planets was a treat for me to watch as a kid. I don't remember seeing it with any regularity, so stumbling across it was always a special occasion. Plus, it lead me to Gatchaman, which is the FAR superior source material, so I can't ignore it.


Challenge of the Superfriends


I could list most of the Superfriends here, but the one that was my favorite (and, coincidentally, didn't have any Junior members) was Challenge. The intro sums it all up, "The Justice League of America versus The Legion of Doom." What more could you want?


The Incredible Hulk


When someone mentions The Incredible Hulk, this is the music that plays in my head. Much more than the wonderful Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno show, this is the comic brought to life. No, it's not 100% faithful, but Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, and Rick Jones are present, along with General Ross and Major Talbot. Plus, this Hulk can speak!


Record of Lodoss War


One of the first Anime that I saw when I was in college was Record of Lodoss War, which is, essentially, a Dungeons and Dragons session animated. Like with Star Blazers, this was a very definite beginning, middle (which was at the start, for some reason), and end. It was wonderfully animated and had some great characters.


Silverhawks


I'm a mark for Rankin-Bass, Science Fiction, and Superhero cartoons. This is a combination of all three, with the caveat that the heroes are actually space cops fighting the space mob. Plus, it had lessons about the solar system at the end, which is better than the "You see, Timmy ..." stuff that the other shows of this era were doing.


Flash Gordon


I love pretty much all of the Filmation adaptions, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, Tarzan, Star Trek, but Flash Gordon holds a special place in my heart. Again, this was long form story telling, but there really wasn't an end to it, since every time Ming was defeated, he would just escape and come back. It did build on itself, though, which was really nice.

How about you, dear reader? What are your top 10 cartoons?


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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