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Episode Recap: The Flash S3E20 “I Know Who You Are” – SPOILER EDITION

By May 4, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings, SuperHeroes

I’ll just go ahead and say it.

******SPOILERS FOLLOW!******

Ok, so, if you’re still here. let’s talk about the episode last night.

I said in my last recap, the Flash should stop using so much time travel.  It’s starting to get weary.

I’ve done my best to try to figure this out, and it’s starting to make my brain hurt.  Try to stay with me.  Better, if you have any ideas about what is going on, share them!  I want to hear it.  I need to talk it out!  I hope Greg Berlanti has a great overall plan, because right now, this is a tangled mess.

In this episode, we get to find out who Savitar is.  And it is a Future!Barry, from some unknown timeline.  But before we get to that, let’s talk a little about how much I enjoy time travel movies, books, and other forms of entertainment.  I like it A LOT.

I’ve been into time travel books since my first Choose Your Own Adventure book.  The Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, even Star Trek had time travel!  So I’ve been familiar with concepts of time travel from a closed loop where everything you do, you’ve done, and you can’t undo anything.  I’ve seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, where they simply SAY they’ll do something in the future, and so they do it later, and it gets done, so they can do things like escape their dad’s jail.

That being said, The Flash has forgotten simplicity with this reveal.

Let’s start off by saying, the episode wasn’t bad.  They introduced someone who, potentially, could end up sticking around, as she seems to have some valid theories on the Speed Force, and it looks like HR is trying to get with her.  So, hopefully, she is a character who has more longevity than the end of a season.  That and she was the doctor who was able to trap Savitar in the Speed Force, which is an important bit to remember later.  Last episode, Future!2024 Barry said this Doctor took 4 years after Iris’s death to invent the trap, and then he was able to put Savitar into the Speed Force.

So, once in the Speed Force, trapped there, he sat for…some length.  Then he influenced Julian to become Dr. Alchemy via the Philosopher’s Stone, who created the powered villains formerly from Flashpoint and inadvertently give Wally his powers.

So, before Flashpoint, there was no Savitar. No Philosopher’s Stone, and no Wally West with speed.  Wally was hit with the dark matter, just like Jessie Quick was.  He was hoping he could somehow get speed powers, too.  But, once Flashpoint happened, and he learned that he DID get powers from the dark matter explosion in that reality, and was the Flash, not Wally, he wanted ‘his’ powers badly.

So, due to Savitar influencing Julian, and others, mind-controlling them into doing his bidding (how exactly?  Now that we know it’s Barry, how exactly did he make Julian do all of what he did?), Barry and the rest of them fight the villains, ad try to stop Alchemy.  That leads to Wally getting his powers, under the control of Savitar.  So no Alchemy, no Kid Flash, right?

Kid Flash, of course, is the one who delivers the missing piece of the Philosophers Stone that Caitlin had hidden from the rest of the team.  He throws it into the Speed Force (why, I still don’t understand), and that is how Savitar gets out of the Speed Force.  So, he gave Wally his powers, just so he could use him to get out of the Speed Force.  Why?

So, the biggest problem I have, is how the timeline is supposed to fit all together.  I mean, there’s the timeline where Harrison Wells didn’t get murdered by Eobard Thawn, he creates the STAR labs later, same explosion, Barry gets his powers later, and his mom and dad are alive and well.  This one is immediately changed when Eobard kills Harrison, and takes over his life, killing his wife, and finishing STAR labs early, so he could help Flash get his powers, and get fast enough to send him home (which is still a strange plan).  So the entire show is predicated on this NEW timeline, from day one.

So, in this timeline, we get the TV show, with all the shenanigans of the last two seasons.  No Savitar.  then, we get Flashpoint, which creates another new set of timelines for the show.  Once back to his ‘normal’ timeline, he sees all the subtle changes (Caitlin gets her powers, Joe and Iris were fighting, Cisco lost his brother), and just accepts it will never go back to normal, after a conversation with Jay Garrick, the Flash from Earth-3 who looks exactly like his dad, and is played by the Flash from the 90’s, John Wesley Shipp.  And where is Jay now, I might ask you good reader?  Jay is in Speed Force Prison.  Because when Savitar escaped, he forced Wally into the Speed Force in his place.  And Jay took his place, instead, so Wally could go back to Earth-1.

So, after Flashpoint, Alchemy exists.  This, then, is the timeline where Barry becomes Savitar.  Barry accidentally goes into the future, a few months, and sees Savitar kill Iris.  This future is then further explored when Barry goes to 2024, where Iris is dead, and Emo Barry has given up on being the Flash after trapping Savitar in the Speed Force with the help of Dr. Tracy.  So current Barry goes back to 2017, finds Tracy, not a Doctor yet, and HR recruits her to help make the speed trap NOW.

So, this then, MUST be a new timeline, as Dr. Tracy in the future stops Savitar, but now she is already involved.

In the showdown in the warehouse, Savitar knows word for word what is going to be said, and tells Killer Frost to repeat it.  She knows it’s Future!Barry, and he has been pushing her to kill Tracy Not a Doctor Yet, but he also knows she fails, be cause he knows the warehouse scene word for word, which is only after Killer Frost fails to kill her!  So, he must know that no matter how he pushed her, she was destined to fail.

And that the future 2024 Barry, who didn’t know who Savitar was, and who had the help of Dr. Tracy, and where Cisco lost his hands, has never been the ‘real’ future for Barry.  iris being killed, never happens, because that entire reality is wrong, including Savitar being trapped int he Speed Force.

And my eyes just went cross-eyed.

Because Barry cannot be Savitar and know every word from the warehouse scene, AND be 2024 Emo Barry.  So how did Current!Barry travel to the wrong 2024?  Shouldn’t he have been able to meet the Barry that DID find out his identity, and DID (I am guessing by the end of the season) defeat Savitar?  Or is that no longer a thing?  And if the 2024 Emo Barry saw Iris die, by the hand of Savitar, the future Current!Barry saw when he accidentally went into the future isn’t a reality that exists.  Because if Iris dies, then 2024 Emo Barry exists, but doesn’t know Savitar’s identity.  If Iris lives, then 2024 Emo Barry doesn’t exist, and the future Current!Barry went to originally on accident wasn’t ever real to begin with – and there go my eyes again.

And what about Legends of Tomorrow?  I mean, last season, Captain Cold died destroying the Oculus, which is the device the Time Masters used to keep the timeline un-fractured.  They’re different than the Time Wraiths that chase Barry and other speedsters down when the muck about with the timelines.  It’s a whole other story to go into detail, but suffice it to say, they destroyed the device that kept time on a single path…whatever that meant.  Will this ever effect Barry?  Will the writers even remember that the Legends even exist?

So, Savitar is Barry from a timeline where, by the looks, he is scarred up, and has black hair.  So, speedsters have the ability to heal, most of the time.  How can Barry be scarred up?   Perhaps his armor does more than just help him go faster without blowing up in a giant ball of static electricity.  Maybe it gives him his speed, instead of just protecting him from excessive speed (but it does that too).  This would explain why he is trying to change the timelines.  He is trying to avoid some type of event, where he ends up losing his powers.  His entire intention has been to cause Barry to….realize the power of love, and that without those around him he is a loser, destined to become Savitar?  Is 2024 Emo Barry the real SAvitar, just from further in his own future?

And who built the suit?

So many unanswered questions.  Some don’t even make sense.

What do you think?

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Why is The Big Bang Theory popular?

By May 2, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings

The TV show The Big Bang Theory is the most popular comedy on right now.  It’s the highest rated show, it’s been on for a decade now, with two more years to go.  The three top stars (Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons) each make about a million per show, Simon Helburg and Kunal Nayyar make just under that, around $800,000, and all five of them recently donated part of their salaries so Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could both be paid with some parity (around $500,000 per episode).  It’s obvious they all work together well, and want to continue to make the show a success.

But why is it popular?

There are some who think it shouldn’t be.  They have various reasons from insulting characters, unfunny jokes, and stereotyping.

But still, it’s the most popular comedy on TV, and doesn’t look to be slowing down.  There’s a new spin-off, starring a young Sheldon in high school.  I guess it was pitched like “Malcom in the Middle, but with Sheldon, and Jim parsons doing a voice-over like Wonder Years.”  Because that’s exactly what it is.  So they’re capitalizing on the most popular character, and expanding the brand.  I don’t think this show is going anywhere, because it lives on in syndication.  Much like M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy, you’re going to find it on years and years down the road.

Let’s start by looking at the characters.  I’ll start with the most popular one, and the one without whom there would be no drama, or conflict.  He is the primary reason the show is beloved.  Of course, I mean Sheldon.

Sheldon is played by Jim Parsons, who was almost unknown before the show started.  His chemistry with Johnny Galecki was obvious from day one.  Even in the rejected pilot, before the show was re-tooled and recast, the producer was keeping the two main actors.  Sheldon has been called autistic.  High  functioning autistic, but autistic.  Now, both Parsons and the producer, Chuck Lorre, deny that he was, or is, intentionally autistic.  They may not have meant to do it, but the autistic  community has embraced him as one of their own. Sheldon is annoying, frustrating, dramatic, and overly sensitive to his own concerns above all others.  But somehow, Jim Parsons is able to convey a hidden level to the character, one that makes him endearing and lovable.  His body language, and reactions to things can take a scene from great, to world-class.  A good example is the episode “The Romance Resonance” from season 7.  Bernadette is in quarantine and the rest of the group gets together to sing her a song, which Howard had planned for the anniversary of their first date. They were going to do it in a restaurant, but due to the circumstances, they were going to do it in the hospital.  Sheldon, being Sheldon, is afraid that he is going to catch something while in the hospital (even though he loves hospitals, like the MRI machine), due to being in the isolation ward.   He hides around the corner from the group, because he is afraid he will catch what Bernadette has.  Through the hospital quarantine room walls.  They line up to sing, and Sheldon takes a few squirts of hand sanitizer, and walks over next to Amy keeping his hands in his armpits, for safety I would assume.  The moment the song is over, he says Bernadette doesn’t look good, and bolts around the corner, and out of frame.  The song, was amazing.  It was heart touching, and the performance came across sincerely.  A great TV moment was made world-class by the scene stealing Sheldon.  His reactions were the drama and the conflict in a heart-warming scene, and all you can do is laugh along, knowing he is just trying to avoid the situation because it’s emotional and scary to him.  Because he really does love and care about Bernadette, and saying so, in front of everyone – even while singing a song with the rest of them – is scary.  So he came up with reasons to get out of it.  I can relate.  I think a lot of people can.

Kaley Cuoco plays Penny, the neighbor, who’s last name we still don’t know (except now it’s Hofstadter).  Penny wasn’t in the original pilot.  She was brought in as the new neighbor, and love interest.  That was a key fact to getting picked up by the network, because there was chemistry between all three.  Sheldon was quirkier, Leonerd slightly nerdier (if possible), and their costuming was in the more familiar configuration.  Kaley added a lot of sexy tops to the show, and if there is one thing that will get an audience to watch a show before it’s fully proven, it’s a cute girl with low cut shirts.  In fact, her costuming is the single most varied of the entire cast.  As her character has changed and matured, her costuming reflected that.  Currently, Penny is a pharmaceutical sales representative and dresses in slacks, and dress shirts, matching her career choice.  Even when out for drinks with Bernadette and Amy, she no longer dresses like a 20 something club girl.  She isn’t.  She is a married, career woman, and her clothes reflect that.  Even sitting around casually at home, she is costumed in a more mature manner than previous seasons.  Along with her career, her personality has changed.  Season 1 Penny was a typical blond airhead party girl.  As the seasons progressed, she changed.  She learned the nerd culture that her on-again, off-again boyfriend, now husband, Leonard loved.  She fought for the One Ring movie prop when the boys found it at a yard sale, and even ran her own booth at a D-level convention.  She went from a waitress, hoping to be an actress, to a (barely) working actress, to a successful saleswoman.   She even tried to start her own business.  Of all the characters, I think she has shown the most change.  Of all the main characters, she is the only female (with Amy and Bernadette only coming along later), and she holds her own against all of them.  Sometimes, they can get the best of her, she but she shows she can match wits with them, time and time again.  She is a master of pop culture, while they are masters of science, and she proves she is smart, and emotionally much more savvy than they are.  She even goes to college during the show, proving to herself she isn’t dumb, she just never tried very hard in high school.  I think a lot of people can relate to her.

Johnny Galecki plays Leonard Hofstadter, a brilliant physicist, roommate of Sheldon, and eventual husband to Penny.  Of the three main characters, Johnny Galecki was previously on a very successful sitcom, Roseanne.  Some would think that he is the reason why the network took a second pilot, allowing Lorre to re-tool the show.  Galecki was a known commodity, with decades of TV experience.  They even brought in his former cast-mate from Roseanne, Sara Gilbert as a sort of distaff counterpart – a female version of Leonard.  While her character, Leslie Winkle, didn’t end up permanently with any of the guys (or girls) in the show, her character (and experience with Johnny) brought in elements that helped bolster the fledgling series. To say  Leonard has issues with his mother is to understate the complexity of his relationship with her.  She is a highly touted psychiatrist, who is deeply disappointed in Leonard, apparently just by being born.   Due to his mother’s cold upbringing, Leonard is hyper-sensitive to women, and their approval.  His relationship with Penny is fairly inequal at the start, due to his subservient nature.  While this had some positives (such as his deep-seated desire to please women in bed resulting in extended foreplay), Leonard had to learn to stand up for himself more in his relationship with Penny.  He is the nerd who chased the beautiful woman for years, and finally got close enough for her to love his quirks.  While he isn’t as neurotic as Raj or Sheldon, Leonard has a lot of issues relating to women.  In the first episode, Penny asks him to get her TV from her ex boyfriend.  This does not end well for Leonard, but continues to try to impress Penny.  For several seasons, he tries.  It’s only in Season Two, after he leaves for three months to the arctic with Sheldon Raj and Howard that she realizes the extent of her feelings for him.  He’s the most social of the main four guys, and the most willing to try new things to fit in.  He is the straight man for most of Sheldon’s antics, as well as a lost of the rest of the characters.  He is the closest to an actual audience surrogate the show has (nerd who gets the hot girl), and is the one who is the most sympathetic (always trying to do the right thing, always listening to his conscience, and the butt of many jokes, especially Sheldon’s).  He’s relatable, friendly, and an overall good guy.  To quote Sheldon Leonard is “Good people.”  The fact that he puts up with Sheldon makes him a saint, as far as I am concerned.

And there is a breakdown of why i think the show is so popular.  The three main characters are played by talented actors, supported by a cast and crew of people who genuinely enjoy working together (and put their money where their mouths are by donating part of their own salaries to other cast-mates).  The characters are relateable, and are a reflection of people you probably know.

It’s currently in season 10, and has been renewed for two more years.  Personally, I’d love to see it go 15, or longer.  As long as the character continue to change, grow, and be funny, I’ll be watching.

 

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WWE Payback recap

By May 1, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings, Wrestling

The Raw only (except for a few Smackdown Superstars due to the Shakeup) PPV has finished, and here’s the shakedown.

WWE just put on one of their ‘minor’shows.  Along with the ‘big 4’ of Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Summer Slam, and the Royal Rumble, the minor PPV’s (can it really be called that anymore?) are barely a blip on the radar most month.  There are so many of these now, the TV broadcast shows feel like filler between PPV’s now.

But enough of that!  Let’s talk WRESTLING!

Payback Kickoff Match: Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows

First up was a Kickoff match with Big Cass and Enzo Amore against Karl Andersen and Luke Gallows.  These guys keep feuding, and fortunately, the ‘right’ team finally got a win.  On a kickoff show.  But hey, E&C need to get SOME wins, if they are ever going to look strong enough to contend for the Raw Tag Team Titles by Summerslam.  Good solid match, good tag team wrestling, and Enzo FINALLY managed to get a win for his team.  Well, good!  It’s a shame they don’t get to be on the PPV proper…but hey, Randy Orton and Bray got TWO segments….but that’s for later.

Winners: Big Cass and Enzo

Then a backstage segment with the Golden Truth (they’re still a team?) offer a “good luck” but inform the tag champs that they got next on whoever wins.  But they hope the Hardy’s win…but they still got next.  Matt said it was “WONDERFUL!”…which is a allusion to his #broken personage, which the WWE fans are rabidly waiting for, and it should be much longer now.

Miz TV (with Finn Balor)

Another segment with strong mic work from Miz.  The crowd played along with chanting “miz TV”, and Miz played them like a cheap violin.  Balor makes his glorious entrance, and Miz looks bored, playing up the length of the entrance.  When Finn gets to the ring, he heels it up questioning if Finn really needed a 5 minute entrance.  This sounds like old complaints about Undertaker’s entrance….but it wasn’t valid then, and it’s not valid now.  Entrances make or break a wrestler.  Would Bobby Roode be as over if he didn’t have an absolutely GLORIOUS theme song and the presence to pull it off?  Anyhow, Miz runs down Finn, saying he’s too small, too injury prone (another segment where Miz is playing the voice of the bookers backstage.  Last time it was Dean Ambrose on being “lazy and complacent”  this time, it’s Finn being too small, and injury prone.  So, like all MizTV segments, it ends with Miz getting his ass kicks – just like Balor said!

Winner: The fans.  Great segment, and helped get Balor over.  While the WWE hasn’t announced who is facing Brock at Great Balls of Fire (terrible name), I am thinking it might be Balor.

US Championship match: Kevin Owens (c) vs Chris Jericho

I’m a fan of Jericho.  Ever since he was in WCW, I have enjoyed his antics.  From the man of 1004 holds, to the best ring announcer ever, he dominated WCW as only a cruiserweight could – that is to say he was buried, ignored, forgotten, and eventually made his way to the promised land of WWE, where his real talents could be utilized.  And for the last 10+ years, Jericho has shown why he IS the Best in the World at What he Does.

These two went at it like a pair of former best friends….which, storyline-wise, they are!  It was a great battle, Jericho went outside the ring, and used psychology and strategy to win the day.

Winner: And NEW US champ, Chris Jericho!  Which also means he moves to Smackdown until he leaves to go on tour with his band Fozzy.  Not a bad thing for Smackdown.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs Austin Aries.

Another cruiserweight bout which the WWE barely promoted.  Aries looked great against Neville, even getting him in perfect position with his submission move, the Last Chancery.  But Neville pulled a classic heel move, got physical with the ref, and got himself DQ’d.   Good heel ending for the match, ad continues their feud.

Winner: by DQ, Austin Aries, but STILL the champ, Neville.

Raw Tag Team Title Match: The Hardys (c) vs Shemus and Cesaro

This is one of the matches everyone was anticipating.  Not due to the in-ring action (The Hardy’s wrestle like they always have, and Sheamus and Ceasaro are still wrestling as semi-babyfaces.), but because it involved Matt Hardy, and everyone is waiting for when he gets #Broken.  With Jeff Hardy getting his tooth broken (what a trooper!), the physicality of the match was evident.  Both teams has some good moves, but a blind tag, and great tag work, meant the Hardy’s leave, still champs.  There was, however, a MASSIVE post-match beatdown, where Cesaro stopped playing babyface, and finally turned heel.  I am sure Sheamus is happy about that, as he’s a better heel than face.  During the beatdown, Matt gets busted open the hard way, showing again, how physical the match really was between these two teams.

Winners: The Hardy’s, still not #broken

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs Bayly (c)

This is one of the matches I was waiting for, as Alexa Bliss has become my favorite superstar right now.  She has the disadvantage of only being 5 feet tall.  In an industry where the management (read: Vince) LOVES tall wrestlers (think: Charlotte), she has to overcome massive odds backstage to get the recognition she deserves.  And Alexa has been superb on the mic, and in the ring.  She has elevated herself to championship levels, and it shows in the ring, and on the mic.

The match itself was good, with ring psychology coming into play for the finish (Bayley hit her head on the turnbuckle several times before the finish).  The ladies gave a great match, good energy and pacing…and ultimately, Alexa Bliss makes history by being the first former Raw Women’s Champion AND Smackdown women’s champion!

Winner: The audience and NEW Smackdown women’s champion: Alexa.  Great match from the ladies, and congrats to the NEW champion!

House of Horrors Match, Part 1 : Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – non title match

This part was pre-taped.  I know, because the PPV took place in San Jose (west coast), and at the time of this match it was 6:30pm in California.  The sun wasn’t even down, but the Randy/Bray segment was the ‘dead of the night’ with crickets in the background and everything.  Continuity errors anyone?

They started it off with Randy pulling up to the house (with bad lighting) in a limo. Lots of standing and closeups of Orton’s face and reactions. He walks through ‘creepy’ rooms, and Bray attacks him from behind…like 4 times.  The announcers really tried to play up the ‘horror’ and ‘scary’ aspects…but nothing would save this segment.  They fight through a few rooms (including a child’s room with ‘creepy’ dolls hanging from everywhere), until Bray pushes a refrigerator down on Randy, pinning him beneath.  Bray takes the limo back to the arena, singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands”, confident he is going to win, because Randy can’t make it back to the arena.

Until then, we get another match!

Winner: None yet.

Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins is the man my Girlfriend referred to as the “whiny bitch”….and I can’t disagree.  Seth, as a hell, was a whiny bitch.  As a face, he’s still pretty whiny, but it’s not as bad.  I like Seth, but this was spot on!

So, Samoa Joe hurt Seth’s knee when he made his Raw debut, and almost made Seth miss Wrestlemania.  The announcers fully play up how Joe was the one who broke Seth in the first place, and Seth sells his knee the whole match.  Another “one legged man in an ass kicking contest”, so, of course, Seth wins.

It was a good match, with Joe showing off his skillset to the delight of the crowd, and Seth making the miracle babyface comeback for the win.  Solid match, and good storytelling.

Winner: Seth freaking Rollins (The whiny bitch)

House of Horrors Match – Part 2:

So Bray limps to the ring, with his confidence exuding into the crowd, knowing he has Randy back at the house, pinned under a fridge, and no ride to the arena!  It’s going to be an easy win!

Bray makes his lights down entrance, and when the lights come up, RANDY IS IN THE RING!  OH MY GOD, HOW DID HE GET THERE?  They fight back and forth for a while, until the BOLLYWOOD BOYS from Smackdown Live show up and interfere!  Jinder Mahal must not be far behind!  Ultimately, Jinder Mahal comes down to ignite the feud between himself and Randy (since Bray isn’t on Smackdown anymore, that feud makes a LOT more sense).  He hits Randy with the title belt (which he stole on Smackdown), Bray hits the Sister Abagail, and the match is over.  Jinder again leaves with the championship, and leaves Randy laying in the ring.

Good thing WWE changed it so it wasn’t for the Smackdown title, so they could have Bray go over.  Which he DESPERATELY needed.

Winner: Bray Wyatt (with some help from Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boys)

Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns

So, I’m on the “I hate Roman Reigns” bandwagon, for essentially the same reason as most people:  I’m tired of having him forced down my throat.  People are rejecting the wrestler, not the character, and it’s not good for Roman.  I know Vince doesn’t understand the difference between heat,and “X-Pac heat”, but Roman is getting MAJOR X-pac heat .  Turn him heel, let people boo him, and have him ACT like a heel.  because people aren’t warming up to Reigns and it’s going to hurt him.  His fed with Strowman, however, has REALLY kicked into gear, and is getting Strowman over BIG TIME.

This match was brutal, as you would expect.  They showcased Braun’s strength (of course), played up the injuries he already gave Roman, and Braun basically dominated the match.  Fan would chant “thank you Strowman” through most of the match, showing just how much people dislike Reigns.  Braun is in complete heel mode, trashing the audience on the mic, doing his best to heel it up, but the fans are having none of it.  They continue to cheer and thank Braun for destroying Roman.  Against almost anyone else Braun gets some heel reactions….but against Roman, he is 100% babyface, no matter what heel actions he takes. Reminds me of Stone Cold to an extent.

So he does what Braun does – he destroys Roman.

Winner: Braun Strowman (Thank you Strowman)

After the match, Braun keeps beating down the fallen Roman Reigns, dropping him chest first on to the ring steps, and then driving the steps into his chest.  Reigns is bleeding from the mouth, and a giant pool of blood is in the ring (this is the ONLY way they can color a match on purpose anymore.)  Roman refuses medical attention, ad hads off to the back, where he joins Talking Raw, the post show recap, and spits blood all over their walls to help sell his injuries.

So there you have it, another WWE PPV is in the bag, we’ve got two new champions, and some great feuds starting.  THANKFULLY, we have seen the end of Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt…..thankfully because it is NOT getting better.

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Video Game Review: Golf Clash

By April 30, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings, Video Games

Golf Clash is a game made by Playdemic. Overall, it seems a pretty straightforward golf game.  If you’ve played Tiger Woods golf, or any golf game in the last decade, this should be a very easy game for you to pick up, and learn.  You can play it on Facebook via your PC, or on your phone, and connect it to your Facebook account.  I find it works MUCH faster and cleaner without having to go through Facebook, so I play a majority of my games on my phone.

The game starts off easy enough.  It walks you through driving the ball, and putting the ball against a computer opponent (a bot).  So, you drive a ball, you put a ball, then you play a game.  After that, it’s game on!

Story

It’s golf.  There is no story, except you are playing golf.  As you.  Against other people.  Occasionally, they will have national tournaments, and such…but there really is no story to this game.  It’s golf.  You golf for money and prizes.

Game Play

The controls are easy.  On the computer, click and hold on the ball, drag it backwards, and wait for the swing meter to be in the middle, and let go.  The swing meter moves faster or slower, depending on several factors.  The first is how hard you are trying to hit the ball (the further back you pull, the harder you hit the ball).  Overpowering a shot makes it go further, but makes the swing meter go back and forth faster than a Venus Williams tennis game.  Lower power makes the swing meter go slower, making it an easier shot.

You can also drag the ball to the left or right to curl the shot.  This gives it an arcing left or right curve, and can get you around obstacles (like water hazards, and sand traps), while keeping you on the green in a way a straight shot won’t.  Higher quality clubs have greater curl than the beginning clubs, so if you’re looking to curl your shot around those trees, better upgrade your clubs!  The better you upgrade your clubs, the easier the game gets.  More control, more accuracy, top spin, backspin, curl, and the bounce trajectory are all enhanced with upgrades.  Want to know EXACTLY where your ball will bounce?  Gotta upgrade your club!  Of course, upgrades cost money, as does entry to the hole.  So you have to be careful about upgrading too quickly, and leaving yourself stuck on the beginner course, with no way to earn more than 50 coins at a time.

All games are 1 hole, with a shoot-out in case of a draw.  I have found, when players are nearly equally skilled, and with similar clubs – the result is almost always a draw.  Unless the person leading off has vastly superior clubs, amazing skill/luck, or someone takes a really bad shot, most games are going to end up in a shoot-out.

The rules of the shootout are easy:  closest to the pin wins.  These are very short holes, usually not over 180 yards, so you won’t be using your driver.  Most of the time you’ll be using a wood club, so upgrade this club often, and frequently!  The better your wood is, the better you can place your shots.

The real challenge is when someone gets a hole-in-one.  Since the green is so close, you get 1 shot, and closest wins.  So, of course, the best play is to get your ball in the hole!  Whoever is closest wins, so if you both manage to get a hole in one, the game moves on to another shootout hole.  This continues until one fails to get a hole in one, or they both fail to get a hole in one, and one is closer to the pin.  The winner gets the spoils.  In this case, it’s trophies, gold coins, and occasionally a reward chest.

Golf Clash has a trophy system, as well as a coin system.  As you win games, you get trophies (2 for beginning, then 3, etc).  Trophies do nothing, except unlock the next tour.  Sometimes, you get gems for collecting trophies (such as 5 gems for getting all the beginning trophies (tour 1 is 20 trophies).

Gems are valuable, as they are the currency of the realm, along with the gold coins.  Gems can buy new clubs from the clubhouse (every day there is a special on a new club).  You can buy upgrade cards, chests, piles of coins, and piles of gems.  I prefer to play my games without spending money, so I simply collect the gems from chests, and from the achievement unlocks.

As you progress from tour to tour, you are comparing your total winnings against others in your division.  At the end of the week, the top 3 players in the division get chests (platinum, gold, and silver).  The chests can contain gold, gems, upgrade cards, new clubs, and special high powered golf balls.  You only get to use a golf ball once, so I try to use them sparingly, but they have special abilities like wind resistance, and a greater control over left and right spin.  Clubs can only control top and backspin, so if you need that extra edge, a good ball can do the trick.

So there’s the game play.  Aim your ball, adjust for spin, pull back, and release when the swing meter is centered.  That’s the extent of the controls.  The real challenge, however, is in mastering the spin, power, wind, bounce, and the rest.  Simple to learn, difficult to master.

The real fun begins when you add your Facebook friends and challenge them to a round!

Sound

Golf Clash has a very simple sounds.  An announcer tells you if you’ve had a great shot, or a perfect shot (perfect shot is the exact center of the swing meter, and a little off to the right or left is “great”.  He also announces the results of your putt (Par, birdie, etc).

There is also the sound of the club swinging, the crowd clapping and “ooooh”-ing, and the ball hitting a hazard.  But other than that there really are not a lot of sounds.  It’s minimalistic in it’s approach, but I think it’s effective.  Leave the rest for game play!

Graphics

On Facebook, it seems very low quality.  Perhaps it’s the interface, perhaps its the need of going through Facebooks servers.  Whatever the reason, Golf Clash looks terrible on Facebook, and it is slow to load screens or when changing between players.

On my phone, however, it’s amazing.  You can easily tell the difference between fairway, rough, and out of bounds.  The trees look nice (from a distance.  Up close, some of the tree texturing is funky, but you can ignore it without too much work.)  The water, the courses, the sky, all look amazing.  The superior golf balls have different designs on them, and you can see them move as they roll on the ground, a nice little touch.

The graphics for game play are good, the other graphics are fairly simple.  An easy to use interface, with easy to access pages makes it simple to get going without a lot of effort.  The graphics are done well enough you don’t notice them, and no glaring clipping issues or bugs.

Replay

This game is nothing but replay value.  If you enjoy golfing, or electronic golfing, this game is going to take hours from your life.  The format of 1 hole, and the shootout, means you don’t feel a large sink of time.  It’s always “just one more game, it only takes 5 minutes!”, and the next thing you know, 3 hours have passed.

The real challenge and replay value is in the additional tours.  There are 11 tours.  Tour 1, the beginner tour, is 50 coins to join, and you win 100.  Tour 11 is 10 million to buy in, and 20 million when you win.

Each tour brings slightly more challenge.  The beginning course, it’s all straight shots, wide open greens, and pretty easy not to mess up.  By the third tour, you have to deal with much strong winds, complex fairways (trees, hazards, etc), and little room for error.  This game is predicated on you playing it multiple times.  It brings you back with chests that unlock over time (or you can use gems to get them faster), a variety of tours to choose from, random players from across the world, and the ability to challenge your friends.

Final Decision: 21 points

The scoring is on a point system from 0 – 5.

Story – 0
There is literally no story to this game.

Gameplay – 5
It’s an excellent, fun, easy to play golf game.

Sound – 3
It’s got little sound to it, but the sounds that are there fit very well.

Graphics – 3
On Facebook it seems very low quality, but on my phone, it’s pretty high quality.  Good images, icons, and overall artwork is fine.  No lag on my phone, but some delays via Facebook.

Replay – 5
I would give it a higher score if I could.  This has taken hours of my time, and will probably take more before I am done.

Final Thoughts: I like it.  I’ve been a fan of golfing games for many years.  There is always some sort of way to raise the skill of your character (Outlaw Golf on the Xbox), or your clubs (like Tiger Woods PGA), and Golf Clash is no different.

It’s got high re-playability, which is important for me.  It’s got a way to play for free, without having to spend ANY money, also important to me, and it allows you to play against real people, in real time – even letting you challenge your friends!

The graphics, for a golf game, are pretty good, without being overbearing and too technical.

There is no story, but it’s golf, and that hardly takes away from the over all fun.

So there you have it, Golf Clash on your phone or Facebook.  I recommend it!

 

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Classic Video Game Review: Yar’s Revenge

By April 28, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings, Video Games

Yar’s revenge.  This game was unlike anything I had seen.

Back in the “olden times” (the 1980’s), video game graphics were terrible.  I mean, they stunk  up the place, badly.  If you squinted, and tried REALLY HARD, sometimes you could actually see what the artists intended you to see.  But 8 bit graphics were hardly able to keep up with the artist renderings on the outside of the box.  Yar’s Revenge had a simple box, brightly colored, with what looked to be a fly, shooting fire balls.  I mean, this was hardly eye catching, compared to some of the other covers competing for young eye balls.

Inside, there was a comic book.  It gave the backstory to the “Yars”.  Turns out, the Yars were flies, which were launched into space, on accident, during some human space mission (it’s in the 80’s, they set it ‘in the future’, that’s the best we get!).  Somehow, being launched into space gave them the ability to fly in space unprotected, eat literally anything (including energy) and convert it into energy balls they could shoot out of their face.  It seemed like a super cool idea (I was 12, give me a break!)  So I was pretty hooked, before the game even started.  Who wouldn’t want to play as a fly that could eat anything?

To be honest, I expected to be the humans, fighting the invading Yars.  Even with the title of “Yar’s Revenge” I didn’t expect to play as the Yar.  I expected to play as a human.  That’s how video games were played.  Aliens invade, we fight them.  I mean, Space Invaders captured the trope perfectly!  What else would I expect?

Certainly not the Yars defending their race after an evil alien race destroyed one of their planets.  It was the entire “humans defending their planet from an evil alien race” trope, but the ‘humans’ were flies.  My 12-year-old mind was blown.  These were peaceful (mostly) aliens, who simply wanted revenge for the deaths of millions, possibly billions of their species.

Now, you might be thinking “But these are flies!”  Sure, they’re giant mutated space flies that can eat any material and convert it to energy to blast you apart with.  But these are gentle, peace loving flies.  Not the buzzing, annoying flies of earth.  Or so I imagined.

And off I went to play the game.   Overall, game play is pretty simple.  There’s the Yar (you), the shield (right side of the screen), and a “neutral zone” (static bar in the middle) where the Yar-seeking missle couldn’t destroy you, and that’s pretty much IT.  Once you eat a piece of the shield, you can summon the Quarlon Cannon (or whatever the name was).  But that’s where the evil SWIRLY OF DEATH resides.  So, you are being chased by the Yar-seeking missile (and only safe in the neutral zone), while you avoid the Swirly of Death, and you want to shoot the forward-only Cannon into the vulnerable center of the shield.

The cannon followed you, the Yar, across the screen, and fired in a straight shot.  So, basic strategy was to eat a piece of the cannon, fire your energy blasts to make a hole, then fly off into the neutral zone, and fire your cannon to destroy the base.  Seems simple enough.

But, there are a few twists.  First, the missile gets faster.  I mean, not TOO fast, but faster.  Second, the Swirly of Death changes color, and each color change brings a new ability.  Fist, the Swirly of Death just shoots forward.  Easy to avoid, and go in for the kill.

Then, the Swirly of Death fires directly at you (well, one of the 8 square directions).  Then, it fires at you, and changes direction once.  Then it fires at you, and changes direction towards you as long as you’re on the screen.  The Swirly o Death becomes the Yar-seeking Swirly of Death.  And the neutral zone, which protects you from the missile….is useless.  The Swirly will find you, and it WILL kill you.  It has a special set of skills, and you will regret ever crossing it.

Which makes it sound like the game is pretty well capped at a certain level.  But you could not be more wrong.

In the 80’s, video game magazines sometimes posted screen shots (literally a picture of a TV screen taken on a camera…my mother’s Polaroid for example) of high scores, or such.  One game, called “Demon Attack” by Activision, after a certain point, the score would turn into all exclamation points “!!!,!!!,!!!”.  You could send the screen shot into Activision and get….”something”.  I took the screen shot, and sent it in, but never received the “something”.  Maybe it was easier to do than they thought?  Either way, you took a shot, and sent it in, and they congratulated you.

On Yar’s revenge, though, there was something similar.  If you managed to kill the Swirly of Death with the cannon (instead of shooting into the base), it would beat the level, and give you a free man.  In between levels, it was paused.  So after a level, you could take a break, and come back later.   Shooting the Swirly of Death was rather difficult, as you were the target, and it followed you, rather than flying in a straight line, like the cannon.

But, here’s the trick I found, which allowed me to play the game for over a week.

The trick is to get to the pink Swirly of Death.  This is the highest level of Swirly, and it follows you on the screen everywhere.  The Yar-seeking ability is critical.  So, here’s how to win:  Fly up to the shield, eat a piece, summon the cannon.  Fly into the neutral zone, and hang out at the very top (or bottom) of the screen.  The screen wrapped around up and down, but not left to right.  And that is the key to beating the Swirly of Death.  Once you’ve summoned the cannon, you wait in the neutral zone, where the missile can’t hurt you.  The Swirly fires, and you move off to the other side of the screen (top if you were on the bottom, bottom if you were on the top), and the swirly follows you, now safely inside the neutral zone.  Then you wait for it to get close, fire the cannon, and move off to the right towards the shield, and the Swirly follows you, and is destroyed by the cannon, giving you a free life.  I won’t say it’s particularly easy to do, but I will tell you that after a week straight, it gets a little boring once you master the move.  And get a free life with every stage victory.

I sent in my screen shot, of my Yar’s Revenge game…and I got a response!  They said they didn’t track how long someone could play Yar’s Revenge, but congratulated me on my amazing ability.

So, I’ve got that going for me.

www.cosmicscott.com

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Recap of The Flash Episode S3E19 “The Once and Future Flash”

By April 26, 2017 Entertainment, Ramblings, SuperHeroes

 

 

So, I’m a fan of The Flash.  I was a fan of Arrow when it came out, and with this addition, I was hooked.  Not only was I a fan of the Flash from when I was a child, as a comic book reader, but when they introduced Grant Gustin in Arrow, and gave him a kind of back-door pilot (intended to be, originally, but that’s another story), I was ready for this to break all the rules of Arrow.  Arrow had a firm “no powers” rule in the first season.  Even characters who would normally have powers, didn’t.  China White, Bronze Tiger, both should have had superpowers.  Instead, just highly skilled.  Which worked perfectly for early Arrow.  It needed that limitation.  I expected Flash to remove that limit.

I was blown away.  If you have been watching every week, like I have, you will know that this show has taken any limit, and just thrown it out the window.  Time travel was just one small part of season one’s craziness.  We also had the introduction of Grodd, the super intelligent, giant, telepathic, mind-controlling ape, among other classic Rogues like Captain Cold, and Heat Wave.  It just got bigger, and crazier from there.

But this season, we get Savitar, and the death of Iris.  More time travel, of course.  Like this episode, where Barry just casually goes into the future to get some information he thinks he can get from himself.  Yes, he goes into the future to ask himself for an answer he doesn’t have in the past, hoping to change the future where this information would come from, and ultimately, wiping this world out.  Sort of.  Timey-Wimey, and all.  Time travel shows make my brain hurt when they don’t follow any of their own rules.

For Flash, there should be one big rule.  It should be in neon letters, shining brightly in the writers room so they don’t forget.  This one rule would help the show tremendously, and bring some form of control back to an out of control power.  That rule should be no more time travel.  Not into the future, nor the past.  Not Barry, not Wally, not Jesse Quick, and not the villains.  Especially not the villains!

So, this episode dealt with Barry trying to stop Savitar from killing Iris in the next episode or two.  He decides he can get the information he needs by going to 8 years in the future.  Why 8 years?  Because, in the room built by the future villain Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne), had a future newspaper with the Flash disappearing into a red sky.  Barry decides, that is the time he is going to go to, so he can ask himself how to stop Savitar, and ask him the identity of Savitar.  Only, he can’t get to the future, without the help of Kid Flash, Wally West.

Now, as a young boy, the Flash was an adult, so I had a hard time relating.  But Kid Flash, of course, was aimed directly at me!  A little hero worship, a little surrogate fantasy, and I was Kid Flash!  And as I got older, amazingly, they got rid of Barry, and Wally became The Flash.  I loved it, and loved how his maturation matched my own!  Of course, he was introduced in the 60’s as a teenager, and I was in my 20’s in 1990, but hey, it’s comic book time!

So, I like Kid Flash.  This particular version is ok, just a little too mopey for me.  I know, it’s on the CW, and it’s kind of necessary to have mopey people.  And since Iris and Barry are happy (until she dies), then they had to have someone be mopey.  So I get it.  But he’s made some really dumb decisions.  I wouldn’t call them “rash” because rash can be excused.  Maybe I just think it’s lazy writing for someone to do stuff, like open the doorway to the speed force and throw in the missing piece so Savitar can be released.  That kind of stupid decisions.

So, Barry asks Wally to push him, because Kid Flash is faster than Barry.  So Wally pushes Barry into the future, where Barry finds himself exactly where he thought he wanted to be – 8 years in the future.  He makes some dumb decisions, he finds out everyone’s fate, and discovers, LO AND BEHOLD, no one knows Savitar’s identity.  He made the trip for nothing.  But, he sticks around to get future!Barry back on track (he was all mopey because Iris died), reforms Team Flash, and then goes back to the past.

So, he doesn’t need help to go to the past, just the future.  Which really…makes no sense.  Because we all time travel into the future, one day for every day.  Ha ha, I know.  But going backwards in time, that should be much, much more difficult, and take much more energy.  But he does it all the time, almost casually.  (Remember the rule?  Yeah, they really need to remember the rule.)  But the future, he needs help.  Hoooo-kay.  Let’s just remember, the show is, most of the time, FUN!  So, some things can be forgiven.

Anyhow, Barry fixes the future he intends to erase by changing the past, then heads back to the past to save Iris.  When he has been told over and over, he cannot do.  So, of course he will.

He gets back to the past, gives everyone a big hug because he’s been gone for days, and to them it’s only been a second.  Which makes no sense, as when he goes into the past, it doesn’t instantly change everything.  ANYHOW.

The show ends with the big reveal of who Savitar is – only we don’t get to see it.  Killer Frost does, and she’s like “woah”.  And, future Killer Frost even said when Barry finds out it’ll blow his mind.

Which makes no sense, because future!Barry didn’t know who Savitar was, so why would Killer Frost think Barry would find out who he was?

So that’s the Flash.  I still love the show, it’s still off the rails crazy, and they revel in their comic book origins.  I’ll be back next week, that’s for sure.  Will you?

The Flash — “The Once and Future Flash” — FLA319a_0096b.jpg — Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Dog Training 101

By April 26, 2017 Pets, Ramblings

4:00am.  Every day at 4:00am, our puppy, Dorian, wants to go out.  He is 9 months old.  He is a beautiful dog, with shining gray fur and amber eyes that change color in the light.

He is a weimaraner-Labrador mix.  He is what we call ‘high energy’.  He requires multiple walks a day.  He needs to play, run, jump, and basically, be a puppy.  We knew this.  We accepted this.  We knew when we got him, his puppy stage would last about 2 years, and we got him at the tail of year one.  We knew this, and accepted it would be a challenge.

The big problem when we received Dorian (a story for a different day), is that we didn’t know how “high energy” he would turn out to be.  We were told he “didn’t like the outside”, and was basically “afraid of everything”.  Technically correct.

He is afraid to go outside.  He is afraid of cars, noise, other dogs, bees, and flowers.  he is afraid of our car sitting in the garage, and the chair sitting in the garage, near the car.  He is afraid of the garage, where the car and the chair are.  He is afraid of our backyard.  He is afraid of the neighbor’s dog barking in their yard.   He is afraid of our other dog, Zuri, when she is barking at the neighbor’s dog.

He isn’t afraid of anything when he’s in the house, though.  He’s not afraid of Zuri, though she outweighs him by 40 pounds (she is 80 lbs, he is 40).  He isn’t afraid of the cats, even when Luna has scratched and scarred his nose multiple times, and he gets in trouble for chasing Merlin around.  He isn’t afraid of peeing or pooping in the house, and he sure isn’t afraid of jumping on us at 4:00am because he wants to play.  Usually after he’s already pooped in the house.  *sigh*

He loves to play with Zuri.  Zuri, however, isn’t always so thrilled.  He will tug at her neck, or collar, and gently bite her ears (gentle, until she yelps, then he lets go FAST!) .  He will bite at her feet when she is laying down, and growl (playfully) and snap (playfully) and jump backwards, haunches up, tail erect, and forward paws out in front, barking and yipping his invitation.  Classic “I want to play” body language.  He loves to get Zuri to chase her.  All around the house.  Inside.  At 4:00am.  He won’t play outside, he’s too afraid.  He won’t play in the garage, even when we move the car, because he’s too afraid.  But he will play.  Inside.  Anytime he feels like it.  He isn’t afraid of anything, he just wants to PLAY!

It’s tough not to get mad at him, but he’s a puppy.  I don’t blame him for how he was brought up before we got him.  He’s such a loing puppy, though.  On the good days, when the clouds break and the sunlight shines down for a moment, we see him as the dog he WILL be.  The dog we will train him to be…..eventually.

We start our third month together in a few days.  We have seen many positive changes in him since then.  He sits, and lays down almost always on command.  He will (now) stay as we place his dog food down, and wait for us to tell him it’s ok to eat.  He goes out the back door during the day, and does his business, even scratching at the back door to let us know before he goes in the house.  I just wish he was more consistent about it.  He is getting better, and I have to keep my mind on that fact….otherwise, I might end up taking my anger out on the puppy.  And he doesn’t deserve that.

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The First of Many

By April 26, 2017 Ramblings, Uncategorized

So, here is my first post.  it is pretty basic, to be honest.

Day 1 of the 30 day challenge.

I should probably start by explaining this blog.  I’ve always had something to say.  It hasn’t always been clear to me, what I wanted to say, but I’ve always had a powerful urge to TALK.  I used this professionally, to sell things over the phone.  I’ve used it in my personal life, to take a dull conversation, and drag it into something resembling a good time.

This is where the blog comes in.  I don’t have a specific theme.  I don’t have a conscious direction.  At least not yet.  The great thing about stream of consciousness, and holistic detectives, is you never know where you are going until you are there.  Yuu might not go where you thought you wanted to go, but you always end up where you need to be.

To quote Buckaroo Bonzai – “No matter where you go….There you are.”

So, to you, my very first readers.  Those of you intrepid adventurers who plumb the depths of the archive, who dig back to volume 1, post 1, day 1.  Thank you.

I hope you stick around.  I think it’ll be quite fun.  I don’t know exactly where we’re going…but I sure will know when we get there.


 

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