Since ‘This is the May’ or ‘The Fourth Be With You’ or ‘Revenge of the Sith’ or ‘Bleep Bloop BawThirteeneep’ month, we decided to not just give you ONE episode of a galaxy far far away, but a couple of them!
This one was live on Twitch on May 4th, so go sign-up so you don’t miss next month’s. We could have talked Mando again.. we could have talked Battle of Endor – we decided to go back and check to see if the Star Wars from a decade ago holds up. Does the Trade Alliance negotiations make a good story? What about a 3 hour podrace? And love stories abound…. that’s right, it’s the heel turn of Anakin himself, the Star Wars Prequels.
So settle in as we dive into 6+ hours of everyone’s life that has been hotly debated since the’sa come out to the biggum movie screens.
Ok here we go!
A few months back, I did a list of some of the games that have kept me sane while we while away the hours in our bubbles. A lot of them were the big hitters like God of War and Dead by Daylight, but recently I’ve started to deep dive into my Steam backlog to look at a lot of the games that I didn’t give enough of a chance or, more often, missed completely.
Some were bought through a Bundle pack, others were Early Access (a practice I now avoid, but that’s a rant for another day..)
So here’s a short list of some of the little Indies that I’ve checked out, a few I played to completion, and my thoughts as to whether they’re worth your time.
PORTAL RELOADED – Let me start with a cheat. This only recently came out, but I would be doing you a disservice to not mention it. Portal is two of my favorite games of all time, so a well done fan mod that adds a 3rd Portal made me wary. I’ve been hurt before. Fact is, it’s fantastic. The third portal opens a window to the future and the puzzles make you think in an entirely new way about lay out solutions. Highly recommended.
QUBE – On that note, let’s go with the ‘inspired by Portal’ game, QUBE. You wake up in a big white room and have big white gloves that give you powers over the space. The puzzles never twist your brain too hard and the ending is lacking – but you could do a lot worse than losing a few hours to this one.
GRIS – I have a fairly deep opinion of the good and bad ways to use vehicles like games as art. In short, they’re mostly not my thing… but on occasion, there is a game that is so gorgeously rendered that it is impossible to not fall into it. Gris is that. Every moment feels hand drawn and, where you will have very few real challenges in it, it hasn’t been since Transistor that I took so many screenshots just to revisit the world.
NANOTALE – I have a weird love of typing games. It probably is because I honestly have some fast words per minute and do enjoy stretching those muscles sometimes. I assume this is how sports people feel about holding balls.. maybe.. anyway.. Nanotale is the spiritual sequel to Epistory, another typing game by the same publisher, where you use words to adjust magic, discover nature, defeat baddies, and it is all done with a beautifully built world.
These are just a few of the games I’ve attacked the last few weeks, and I’m sure sometime in the future I’ll revisit this list, as there were some real bombs amongst these gems.
That said, I’m always looking for suggestions on little indie titles I may have missed, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know what you’re playing!
A Long Time Ago… On A Podcast Far Far Away…
The Somethings are getting in on all of the May the Fourth fun, jumping parsecs ahead of all of the other podcasts and discussing some of their favorite toys of the Star Wars universe. From blasters to droids to ships to those cool binocular things – Hatton and PCR are breaking down some of the coolest toys from the universe of the light and dark sides.
And if you happen to be seeing this the day it posts, the boys will be live on Twitch tonight with another sojourn into a particular star war – some come hang out!
So sith right back… ok, here we Grogu…
So, this is an interesting topic, but one I enjoy talking about.
Years ago, when AOL Instant Messenger was a thing, a friend of mine and I were watching the Winter Olympics on TV and chatting about it through IMs. We were watching curling, and had no idea what was going on, how it was scored, or anything. So we did some sleuthing…. and, while we were sleuthing, my friend stumbled across some interesting information…
Friend : “Hey, did you know there’s a curling place like… 20 minutes from both of us?”
Me : “No shit?”
Friend : “Yeah, it’s $50 for three two-hour lessons, and if you join their club.. like.. their Curling Elk’s Lodge… they take that $50 off the yearly membership”
Me : “$50? I’ve spent more than that on far dumber stuff…. ”
And a plan was born.
We arrived at the building in Central NJ (Yes, Central New Jersey exists. No, I will not argue this point. No, you are wrong if you suggest otherwise) and are immediately greeted by an interesting cast of characters. Short, tall, skinny, not…skinny, business cut look and ‘lived in the woods and lived off roadkill’ look… one thing was for sure, there’s no such thing as a ‘standard look’ for a curler.
They were amazingly friendly, and when we told them we had found them online and wanted to take the lessons, they said absolutely, but, we have one question “Why curling?”
Friend : “Well, we were watching it on the Olympics and were curious about the rules, scoring, play style and such and saw that you had lessons… so we figured.. .why not?”
Me : “There’s two ways I’m getting to the Olympics. Curling, or buying a ticket”
Luckily for us, both of those answers were acceptable.
They ran us through the rules for scoring and the rules for playing.
They impressed upon us 2 VERY important rules to start.
Rule 1 – Never step onto the ice with your “slider” foot first (as opposed to your “gripper” foot which has the traction)
Rule 2 – Always take your keys and phone out of your pockets before playing.. because you will forget Rule 1.
For scoring, the large ‘targets’ on each end of the ice (called “The Sheet”) is called “The House”, the center of which is “The Button”. Each team throws (slides) a total of 8 rocks. The team with the rock(s) closest to The Button gets 1 point for each rock that is closer to The Button than the opponent’s closest rock…. cool, so like, shuffleboard mixed with bocci. Got it. The thrower pushes off from The Hack and slides forward, releasing the rock before the Hog Line (think, Blue Line in hockey). The sweepers can control the speed of the rock, as it reduces the friction in front of it. What we didn’t know, was the bottom of the rocks aren’t smooth… they’re concave. Only a very thin lip actually contacts the ice. The ice isn’t smooth either. Before each match, they lightly spray deionized water on the ice to give it a dimpled texture. This texture, along with the bottom rim of the rock, and the slow rotation given to the rock upon release, is what ‘curls’ the rock… the speed of that curl and the distance it travels down the sheet, is aided by the sweepers, and those sweepers are guided by the thrower.
Now, each team has 4 members… 3 players and The Skip (team captain or “skipper”). It’s The Skip that will stand at the far end of the ice and let the thrower know where he wants to shoot for. Skip determines placement, one thrower throws, the other two sweep. When it’s the Skip’s turn to throw, the 3rd thrower will take the Skip’s place at the far end of the sheet for aiming help, but the Skip still tells him where to stand.
Each match is 8 to 10 “Ends” (think innings in baseball) and each End is over when each team has thrown all 8 rocks. The team that throws first is the team in the lead. The last rock (from the team behind) is called “The Hammer”…and advantageous rock to have as you can completely change the scoring for that End, but.. you only get that advantage by being behind so… it comes at a cost.
A tournament is called a Bonspiel, and, as is customary in curling, there is an overt amount of good sportsmanship. Good shots can be quietly hi-fived, bad shots are never mocked, and… at least in the rink we were at.. at the end of every match, the winners by the losers a round, and the losers reciprocate by buying the winners a round.
It was AMAZINGLY fun to play, and MUCH more of a workout than we had imagined. Our first lesson was all about balance. Second lesson the following week was form, and third lesson the week after was a mini-match of 4 ends. We had a blast. We forgot Rule 1 a handful of times and paid for it. We were sore for days, but man… it was fun.
We didn’t become members as the ‘local Bonspiel’ was in Canada, and we just couldn’t commit to taking the time to go there when needed to play, but, would I do the lessons again? In a heartbeat.
We’ve been with Wanda and the Vision for their whole journey, so it should be no surprise that we want to check up on them for the End.
Was this strange jump into a bubble worth the journey? Does the ending hold up? There’s only one way to know – and that’s by checking out The End – Wandavision
This episode was filmed before a live studio audience over on twitch.tv/somethingcast. Join us for our next party on May 4th, 8pm EST.
Ohhhhhkay, here we A-go-tha! …wow, that one was a reach…
Before the post, let me please direct you to our [The Wheel] Vs: Robots episode, where you can help choose the fate of one team of robots as they try and crush the other. There is a poll, there is another segment in a future episode coming about it – it’s a good time and you should get in on it.
Now, to other things.
One of my go to ‘Hey, what am I putting on’ shows when I have no effort built within me to find something new to binge on or I’m not seeing anything screams out for me, is Mythbusters. I love Mythbusters. I did when it was on television and now, with it gone, I still keep track of what Adam Savage is doing on Youtube. They have molded me in ways I can’t even fathom, at the very least, in recognizing that engineering nerds (a subset I definitely put the Mythbusters in) are my kinds of people. So, while I was watching some random thing blow up – I decided to list a couple of my favorite Mythbusters episodes so you can see – if you missed this show somehow, you can jump to the good stuff to see if its your cup of explosion.
In no particular order:
I’m putting this one here because it tends to be everyone else’s favorite. I mean, it’s a great episode and it is one of the best they put together. Season 2, Episode 8 – challenging the question of how the Anglin brothers got away from (sean connery voice)Thehhh Rrock!(/sean) using raincoats shaped into a boat. Did they survive? The Anglin Brothers I mean… not the Mythbusters… the Mythbusters obviously survived.
Does a golfball fly because it has those weird pockmarks? It’s so weird, it turns out to be really enjoyable and ranks as one of my favorite stories that has an ending I didn’t expect. Taking the golfball, they attempt that same method on a car and the results are not only interesting, but hysterical looking.
THE DUCT TAPE EPISODES
A bit of a cheat here, but there are like 5 duct tape episodes, and each of them is better than the last. It seemed like every season after the first duct tape show, they thought ‘wait, can we go bigger’ — and they do. From surviving on an island to crossing a damn canyon, the old nerd adage that duct tape holds the world together is shockingly accurate.
Another episode that usually hits the ‘best of’ lists’ – Lead balloon is a great one for a lot of reasons. The biggest being that the deeper they get into the science of what’s going on, the harder they try. You can see the palpable excitement in the team as they solve this puzzle in front of your eyes. Is it possible to fly an actual lead balloon? How big does it need to be? How the hell do you make a lead balloon anyway? Some episodes are great because of the big bang, some because of the weird results – this one, and my final one, are classics because the methodology is so on display and shows how experimentation gets you to unexpectedly fantastic results.
THE SEE-SAW SAGA
By far, my favorite episode of the Mythbusters, and given it is one of the later season episodes, I wish they had gone back to this style of episode more. Both teams (Jamie & Adam / Tory & Kari & Grant) get together and do two parts of one huge myth, culminating in what can only be described as a Rube-Goldberg-esque puzzle of scale and impossibility. Did you enjoy the Mythbusters? What’s your go to comfort food for your brain? Sound off in all of the usual places and let us know!
Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!
WHEEL! OF! TOPICS!
That’s right Somethings, it’s time for everyone’s favorite piece of radio flair, The Wheel – filled with a whole bevy of options for the guys to answer over… this one – well, this one needs your help.
At the end of this episode you will have the chance to make a decision as to who won… and we will reveal the results on our next Wheel episode.
But first, you have to hear about two forces of robotic supremacy… the lines in the sand have been drawn and only one team will stand tall at the end. From films across the genre spectrum, what would YOUR robot team be?
After listening, not before – click here to make your vote!
Ok, here we bidibidibidibidigo!
Hey all, PCR here.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the MCU. Going all the way back to our Year 1 celebration we’ve talked about it, hypothesized about it, fawned over it and reviewed aspects of it. Today, I’m going to dive a bit deeper into the “why” I enjoy it so much, and some things they do that I’m not fond of.
First, the Infinity Gauntlet comic crossover is, by far, my favorite comic crossover. End of story. Was it perfect? No… most huge comic crossover events tend to start amazingly, then seem to have a hard time finding a way to finish, but it still struck a chord with me and has stuck with me since my comic-collecting days… so when Marvel teased at the end of Avengers that we were getting Thanos, I was in. I felt “there’s no WAY they would do Thanos and NOT do Infinity Gauntlet!” and I was pleased to be correct on that count.
One of the most amazing things in my opinion that the MCU gets right is casting. I have not found one instance of casting.. hero or villain.. that I’ve been against. Now, have I thought some were ‘meh’? Sure, but in those instances it’s more of a “I don’t hate it” and much less of a “They missed the boat..So and so would have been MUCH better!” (looking at Corey Stoll as Yellowjacket here and to a larger extent Anthony Mackie as Falcon). Those examples aside (I’ll get into the Mackie thing later), from hero to villain to supporting role, the casting in MCU movies and shows has been amazingly spot on.
Another thing I absolutely love about the MCU as a whole, is how they set precedent for future endeavors. “Ok, we got you to understand The Convergence and The Nine Realms? Good, here’s The Quantum realm and Dr. Strange” “You good with multiple suits of Iron Man armor flying around on their own? Awesome, here’s Ultron and his army” just to use two examples. It’s brilliant storytelling in my opinion, and makes it easier for those who *aren’t* huge comic fans to digest what they’ve been seeing on the screen.
I’ll call it “loyalty to the source material”. Civil War was a great comic series (not Infinity Gauntlet great, and fell off with a much weaker finish, but still a great concept). The movie we got, while entertaining and giving us some great fan service in scenes, was not the story told in the comics. Now, I get it. It couldn’t be. Civil War comic run was a huge crossover event in and of itself. There’s no way to effectively condense that down into one movie…and I also know the MCU shouldn’t be a slave to the source material in a way that doesn’t allow for moving the MCU plot along. That being said, to me, there’s something about a movie using source material so loosely that it almost retcons and makes the original source material irrelevant. This isn’t just an MCU flaw, this is a movie flaw in general, but it’s one the MCU and Marvel doesn’t do better on. Is there a way for them to? I’m not sure, but it stands out to me nonetheless.
And finally, let’s talk about the Netflix shows.
Overall, I enjoyed them. Daredevil was spot on. Jessica Jones wasn’t my kind of show, but I found value in watching it. Luke Cage season 2 was far better than season 1. Iron Fist …well… was necessary for The Defenders to work (which, to me, it did) and Punisher was amazing.
None of them (to date) have ever been ‘shouted up’ to the greater MCU movieverse, and there’s an easy way they could have been in Infinity War.
When Thanos snaps, there could have been a montage scene (much like they had in the comic) of scenes from around the world of people disappearing. Imagine, Thanos snaps, and we cut to Hell’s Kitchen and see Matt talking to Foggy and Foggy dusts… Jessica and Trish both dust mid conversation…Luke watching people in Harlem suddenly dust away… it could have taken them… 2-3 minutes of movie time to intersperse something like that, and it would have paid the TV shows respect for carrying on the MCU torch in other media.
That’s it for me for now, Hatton’s up next week!
Yarr yo ho ho and a bottle of Something not so brutally alcoholic (see: The Booze Episode)
Wellllcome back everyone – and it is time for the Somethings to set sail on the seven seas as we go on a voyage to review Netflix’s The Lost Pirate Kingdom. Do the boys hoist the jolly roger and go pillaging across the Atlantic? Or are they scurvy lilly-livered scalliwags who don’t know their port from their starboard? Well, get yourself on board and join us as we take a look at this docuseries.
Was it good? Was it accurate? How much syphilis can one documentary feature? Find out here and now on Something In Review: Lost Pirate Kingdom
Ok, here we Yo Ho Ho!!
If you haven’t followed along the last few months, we’ve talked a lot about the MCU’s TV outing WandaVision – and for good reason.. whether you dug it or not, it was a fresh take on a story that really felt beyond the scope of what DizMarv would try and pull off. The concept of the show isn’t precisely a straight from comics series, but it does take some points from the comic and the on-again off-again low bubble story of the Scarlet Witch’s tragedies. The on-again / off-again aspect is very much because comic writers sometimes pick up a character where they want them to be and another character sees where they should be differently, so you end up with disparate versions of the same character… but since it’s comics, it’s usually begrudgingly accepted.
That said – Wanda is, quite literally, my least favorite Avenger… and it is mostly because her power set is so vaguely ‘chaos magic/hex powers/mutant ability/reality warping/etc’ that she has become the go-to on how to get into a bad situation or out of one. So why don’t we take a look at the reason the Scarlet Witch has the power to disassemble how much great stuff the MCU has done…
First – let’s take a look at Wanda in the early years of Avengers…
Using her mutant ‘Hex Power’ she basically had telekinesis that only worked half the time. If the villain was too strong, too not-human enough, too aware, too magic, or too advanced.. there was a lot of this sort of ‘OH IF ONLY…’ But from this issue above (Avengers #99, 1972) to this panel from (West Coast Avengers, #56, 1989) she has fallen in love with Vision, he’s been taken apart by the government and replaced with an emotional white husk of his former self (sound familiar) and has been corrupted by an evil something er another…
And just like that – Wanda’s powerset has grown exponentially and is never reined in again. It just continues to morph and grow and get bigger and dumber and more unwieldly. All the while she ends up being the go-to damsel in countless stories. Wanda’s been brainwiped. Wanda’s in a coma. Wanda’s been kidnapped. Brainwiped again. She gets over the Vision. She’s not over the Vision. She has moved on to become a better person. She can’t handle the Avengers. Just non-stop using her as a foil and a victim and a catalyst when honestly, all she really needs is some good head meds and a shrink.
Then….. in the 2000’s – literal hundreds of comics later.. she becomes enraged about her kids and takes down the Avengers. She’s locked up and the Marvel heroes are legitimately contemplating killing her. Yes, there’s a lot of handwringing and ‘we can’t do that’ talk, but the fact is – the idea pops up and is considered… so when Xavier and her comic dad, Magneto, show up at her cell. She does this:
She creates an entire reality where mutants never existed and her dad is the king and everyone is happy. (House of M) — When we break out of that alternate world, no more mutants are being born… like she literally altered the DNA of the world. All the while she continues to disappear for a while, come back and be forgiven, or atone, or have her powers changed yet again — the cycle continues on. When there is an unstoppable unbeatable villain? Who do writers call on… whatever version of Wanda is useful for them. No reason to explain it – just call it ‘Untapped Remarkable Powers’ and it’ll do just fine. When Wanda can’t do it.. just have someone photocopy Wanda’s powers so DOUBLE WANDA can do it. (Avengers v. X-Men #12, below)
I’m thrilled that Wandavision was so good. I just hope that the movie writers don’t fall into the same pit that the comic writers have for years – that by not defining the Scarlet Witch, you leave her available as a crutch to lean on whenever you didn’t have a better ending in mind.