Archive | August 2014

TMNT 2014 review: Thug turtles

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Heroes in the half shell!

I finally saw the new turtles flick the other night. It was a special occasion, so we saw that and Lucy, which I’ll review later. For right now, though, I’ll dig into TMNT, and the gripes I had with it. Please keep in mind that this post will contain MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!! So if you don’t want it ruined, then stop reading now.

 

MASSIVE SPOILERS STILL COMING!!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!

 

Turtles lookin all diesel n shit....

Turtles lookin all diesel n shit….

OK, so first and foremost, I’ll go with the differences with the turtles themselves. They looked too….human. Their undershell, the part that would visually consist of their chest and abdomen, are formed to look like a jacked up human with large muscles. This is not what they were supposed to look like. They also weren’t supposed to be 8 feet tall. Apparently, source material doesn’t mean shit anymore. Their faces are also different, and it just doesn’t look right. In a vague sense, their personalities are close to the original, with one HUGE exception. Raphael. In the cartoon, he was a sarcastic ass, and I loved that about him. In this, he’s this gangsta thug with a serious attitude problem, and is thus a complete dickhead through most of the movie. He was constantly bucking Leo’s leadership and talking about going out on his own, totally different from the cartoon. It didn’t make it cool, it just made one turtle “the asshole”. Oh, and what the fuck is up with Donatello wearing a Ray Stantz outfit?! Seriously, the goggle thing, the backpack, gimme a fucking break here! We know, he’s the tech guy, you don’t have to make him look like a cyborg to get that across.

 

Ray, we'd like to fight the shredder, could you move please?

Ray, we’d like to fight the shredder, could you move please?

NO! I Ray am Donatello, and will kick your lily ass!!!

NO! I Ray am Donatello, and will kick your lily ass!!!

Another big change was, of course, the origin story. In this, April O’Neil’s father and another dude used alien DNA to genetically alter the turtles and splinter, but they didn’t grow until they got dumped in the sewer. Splinter learns martial arts from a book he finds, then teaches the turtles. Not sure why they’d go with that instead of using the ooze from dimension X, and including Krang and shit from the first one. I think it would’ve paid off better. The shredder’s outfit was a suit of power armor, and he had no personal relationship with Splinter, which again is totally outside of canon. Also, in this movie, the foot clan was a generic militant crime syndicate, and not a clan of ninjas. They were just run of the mill jack-booted thugs with no real significance whatsoever.

 

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Nope, none of this whatsoever….

This could have been so badass.....

This could have been so badass…..

So now you’re probably asking “but, was it good or not?! Stop nitpicking canon you ginger bastard!!”. I’ll say, for the most part, that it was an entertaining flick. The action was good, although the overuse of CGI was personally annoying. The acting was fair, except for Megan Fox who was ‘meh’ at best. I have to say, though, that the change in the personalities of the turtles was painful. They were pizza obsessed surfer dude types, and now they’re more like gangsta types, which was really annoying. Mostly it was Raph, but still, it changed the whole dynamic. Mikey was awesome though, total goofy like always. At least they got that right. All in all, I’d recommend seeing it if you’re a TMNT fan, even despite the issues. It’s entertaining, and I almost always love when a cartoon is made live action. If you’re not a TMNT fan already, I’d still see it, though some of the subtle references will be lost.

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A farewell to our captain

As you probably already know, Robin Williams has passed away. He committed suicide earlier this week, and to be honest it came as less of a shock to me than it did to many others. No, I didn’t have any insight into his personal life that made this less of a shock, I just understand a bit of how funny people are on the inside. I’ll explain.

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The man, the legend, the irreplaceable.

I’ve always been the class clown type, always cracking jokes and trying to make others laugh. While many others benefited from this, they likely never realized that I did so because I was damaged inside. Cracked.com did an article on just this the other day, and it’s very true. Although I always sought to make people laugh, a big reason I did was so they wouldn’t hate me. When I was a kid, I was often disliked by my peers right out of the gates, just by being me. My way around that was to make them laugh, since it’s harder to hate someone who makes you laugh. That continued into my adult life, and is still prevalent to some extent. I’ve known quite a few hilarious people as well, and they are/were just as fucked up inside as I, some more so. It’s a difficult thing to deal with, and much of it stems from some form of depression and/or a lack of self worth. Rodney Dangerfield, one of my comedic idols, also suffered from this, and Robin Williams was no different. These are two of the funniest people ever to exist, in my opinion, and though they possessed a profound ability to make others laugh, they would often sink into deep depression. I can’t speak for what got them down, but for me it was a mix of many things, acceptance being a big part of it. This is nothing to sneeze at either. Sure, people can rebound from depression with tons of therapy and whatnot, but when it goes on for this long, it becomes a core part of them. The depression or lack of self worth can be so deeply rooted that, in my case, it cannot be fully overcome, just accepted. Some wounds never heal, no matter how many doors you open and how many demons you face. Now, the demons have taken one of the most phenomenal entertainers of the past hundred years.

Oh Captain, My Captain....

Oh Captain, My Captain….

I honestly can’t think of anything Robin was bad in, or that I felt ‘meh’ about. From his stand up routines, to his work in Comic Relief, to his many movies (both comedic and serious), he’s made us laugh, cry, think, and dream. He inspired so many people, especially in comedy, and had a presence that could never be recreated. These are shoes that cannot be filled. We’ll always have his movies, his jokes, his inspiration, and his awesomeness, and we can introduce him to the generations to come. I haven’t been able to watch any of his videos or movies yet, since it’s still pretty fresh, but I will again. Everything from Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire to Jumanji to Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come will always be with us as a testament to how phenomenal of an entertainer this man was. I truly hope he has found some peace, and is perhaps hanging out in some afterlife with Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Jonathan Winter, Red Fox, and Benny Hill. One thing is for sure, IF there is an afterlife, it’ll be fucking hilarious! Be at peace good sir, we will forever miss your genius…

 

If you know of someone who is struggling with depression and/or self destructive behavior, do not hesitate to act. You don’t need an intervention, just let them know that you see that they are in pain, and you’re there for them. Talk to them, show that you care, and be there if they need you. I assure you, it’s importance is paramount. The only thing worse than being in pain, is watching everyone around you ignore it. Yes, I speak from experience.

Pennsic 2014, the drunkening

So once again we ventured into the wilds of Cooper’s Lake campgrounds for a vacation of drinking, debauchery, food, violence, learning, etc, etc, oh just fucking get on with it. If you know me, which most of you do, you know I went to Pennsic again this year. This was round 3 for the Lish and I, and this time we spent an entire week there. Since you should already know what Pennsic is all about from my previous post, I’ll just comment on the highlights.

Pennsic from above. You can't see half of it because it's covered by trees. The white dots are the larger tents...

Pennsic from above. You can’t see half of it because it’s covered by trees. The white dots are the larger tents…

We once again camped with Honig and Serpentius. When we got to camp and met up with everyone, it was as if no time had passed, which is amazing in and of itself. The entire week was awesome, with no drama that we had to deal with in the encampment. We brought some more noobs with us this time around, and they all had a blast. We spent the week partying and relaxing, and really saw it for more than we did before. The interactions between people, the politics that go on, the honors that are given, and the victories that are won, all tie into what I now see as a sort of alternate universe. It’s like a dream world that we get to live in a week out of the year. We made even more new friends, drank way too much at a few parties, got caught in the rain and mud, and spent more than we could afford. Basically, Pennsic as usual!

Also, this year we camped out in a different tent, a SoulPad we purchased from our good friend Honig. It’s a 16′ round canvas tent, and it was awesome for Pennsic. We had plenty of room for our 2 oversized cots, 3 small tables, and all of our gear. It wasn’t as stifling during the day like a regular camping tent would’ve been, and it held up to the wind and rain rather well. We’re looking forward to using it again, especially since it’s cake to put up and take down.

Our new digs!

Our new digs!

One difference this year is that, prior to Pennsic, we requested permission to join the house of Serpentius. To our surprise and delight, we were voted in successfully and are now members of the house. We are deeply honored to be allowed to keep such awesome company, and are looking forward to more events and time spent with our now-fellow snakes. Hell, we even got a little teary when Omega and Rox came up to us after the ceremony to embrace us and welcome us into the household. Truly an awesome time!

Our new colors!

Our new colors!

Another great thing about this year was our first official court attendance. We didn’t really know what to expect, and were surprised at how awesome it was. There was a bit of pomp and circumstance, and it was definitely a serious event, but it still felt somehow light and laid back. Part of it was that the king and queen of our kingdom are absolute riots, and have no problem joking around as well as being respectable and serious. We saw Honig’s son get honored before the king, and it was a really great experience. Of course, for me, it really helped that I’d been drinking steadily for awhile, and I had a knight sitting next to me to answer all of my questions. I’d have been totally lost otherwise.

Breeder's coffee when creamer is added, magnified under a microscope....

Breeder’s coffee when creamer is added, magnified under a microscope….

Some other highlights of this year. Breeder’s coffee, which crept and walked on its own (sorta like the soot balls from spirited away), and got us going every morning in the most chemically violent way possible. If not for that, we’d have loafed the mornings away in camping chairs. The Loch Ness Monster beverage at Loch Laven, which after 3 pints of it left me thoroughly annihilated. The Roxy tear, an awesome night out drinking with the members of our household. The birth of the Serpentius Party Girls *throws up the shocker*. The knowledge that you may grab anyone’s ass so long as you say “good game” afterward. Napping in public can, and will, result in all toenails on one foot being painted with black nail polish. Talking someone into buying new armor can end up in looks of death from said person’s significant other, right up until she sees him in it and forgets her name for a moment. An entire week of not wearing underwear feels incredible and awesome, so long as baby powder or gold bond is readily available. SoulPads really ARE that much better than regular tents. We also learned that you don’t technically NEED to bow to the king if he’s running over to pants the duke running your household. And finally, we learned that when in short supply, two straight men will share a cheddar brat Lady and the Tramp style just to have some.

Yes, this happened. I left it on until the day we left.

Yes, this happened. I left it on until the day we left.

Oh, and mind your surroundings. We were heading to the car, and I was being vulgar with a bottle of Gatorade, making it appear to piss all over the Lish (we have a very “special” relationship), when we walked right past the fucking queen of the east kingdom. Something to note for next year.

So overall, it was an awesome trip. We made some new friends, reconnected with some old friends, and had a blast all around. All this, despite the fact that it rained most days we were there, and the whole place was muddier than our current political climate. It didn’t dampen our spirits, though, since other spirits were always a-flowin’! Anyways, returning back to our everyday lives was a sort of culture shock, and it brought something into stark contrast. At Pennsic, we are who we REALLY are, deep down. We are lighthearted, fun, silly, respectful, and we live every moment to its fullest extent. We’re happy, and not just because we’re not at work or cleaning up after the kids or whatever, but because being there allows us to be whatever we want to be. With that in mind, I chose to be the REAL me. I let myself go, and it was amazing. Being truly freed like that is something everyone should experience in their lives. It reminds us that being adults, and growing older, really doesn’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things. We’re all the same kids we always were, we simply get buried under piles of responsibility, stress, and anxiety from our day to day lives. When you can let all that go, you’ll find yourself. It’s not an easy thing to do, since we as humans tend to try to be in control all the time. However, if you can let your control slip, and release the fear of really being yourself around others, you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. This is a HUGE reason why being at Pennsic makes me so happy, it’s because I get to really be myself, and despite that, people enjoy being around me and welcome my presence. For me, that’s something I’ve always wanted and never got as a kid. To get it as an adult is probably THE most awesome thing! This is why I come home happy, and it helps me to appreciate my life more. Sure, it may be different for others, but this is what it means to me, so if you don’t like it, refer to the image below.

Haters on the left, me on the right!

Haters on the left, me on the right!

Cheers, from the Lish and I!!!

Cheers, from the Lish and I!!!