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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 " 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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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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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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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and The Super-Monkey

I have quite the range of tastes in entertainment, and it's rather interesting where they intersect. One instance of this occured last month when my wife and I watched "The Six Napoleons", an episode of "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" starring the great Jeremy Brett as the great detective. In this we have someone breaking plaster busts of Napoleon Bonaparte, for no obvious reason. The culprit, and spoilers for those that haven't seen the episode or read the story, is described as:

" alert, sharpfeatured simian man with thick eyebrows, and a very peculiar projection of the lower part of the face like the muzzle of a baboon." - From the text of the original story

This man's name is Beppo, which is an unusual, but not unheard of, nickname for the Italian name Giuseppe.

This got me to wondering, what this the origin of the name for Beppo the Super-Monkey? Did Otto Binder read the Conan Doyle story and use that as part of his creation of Beppo? I don't think that we'll ever know the answer, but this is what my mind does when watching things like this.

Also of note was that the episode also had Mirina Sirtis in a small role, so you get Superman, Sherlock Holmes, and Star Trek all converging. My kind of show.

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