Holy shit, am I worn out or what? Wild times, these have been. The weekend after my last blog we had our annual family Christmas party at my parents’ house, featuring us, a set of my best cousins, and some really good family friends. There were 5 kids running around, chasing the cat, and they got even more riled up after playing pass the present!! We had pizza for dinner, drank some booze, and ended up throwing stuffed animals around the room at each other before calling it quits. True story . . .
Christmas fell during the following week, and it was pretty hard on my nerves!! I’m a bit of a neat freak, very routine driven, and this year the wife decided to have her mom and dad come stay with us for a few days as a lot of the rest of her family was off on trips over the holidays, so she didn’t want to leave anybody on their own for Christmas morning. I on the other hand had no such compassion!! J But as usual, wife gets what wife wants. On Christmas Eve we went over to my parents’ house as usual, with mrs. darthcobain17’s mom in tow, and did dinner and presents . . . ending up throwing shit at each other again at the end of the night. Hah! The next morning we woke up and did presents. James got a ton of toys, I got a lot of video games and gift cards and other good stuff . . . it was a pretty productive Christmas for us! Later that afternoon we went over to my aunt’s house, to spend a couple of hours with my dad’s side of the family, before heading back home to have Christmas dinner at our house . . . with mrs. darthcobain17’s dad joining us, arriving while we were at my aunt’s. I put my foot down though, no turkey!! So we had tacos, ham, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Delicious Christmas tacos . . .
Our company stayed through for a few days and eventually left the morning after Boxing Day, but we were in tow as we had made plans with friends in Hamilton! So James went with Nanny to her house, while we went to visit with our friends Megan and Johnny. Johnny and I took off to Toronto to see one of the World Junior Hockey Championship games (more on that below), later on meeting up with a bunch of other friends and visiting a couple of pubs. A nice weekend to blow off the steam of Christmas a bit!!
The following weekend we were back at my parents’ house on the Saturday, to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Good grub and bid euchre, that’s how we do!! The rest of the time we spent taking down the two Christmas trees and multitudes of Christmas decorations the wife had set out around the house this year. The moment it was all done, and I had the floors all vacuumed and mopped, I felt an insane amount of gratification . . . knowing that at that moment it was the furthest away from next Christmas and all the bullshit that it seems to bring as possible! Happy Holidays . . .
As for this past weekend, we were in Hamilton once more, visiting one of the pubs we’d gone to a couple weeks before. There was an 80’s video dance party set to take place, and the wives were all over that! So we slept over at our friends Julie and Dino’s house, and got pretty wasted. On the Sunday we had to race back home as James had a birthday party to attend, but other than that the day was used mostly for recuperation . . . so busy.
The rest of the time, during the weeks, our routine was all thrown off as James was out of school for two weeks and mrs. darthcobain17 was also off. I’m not sure what they did all day long, other than make a mess, but during the break James lost his very first tooth and the Tooth Fairy brought him some good stuff! Once the New Year began and he was back in school, we got James working with a tutor, helping him with his reading and writing. It’s going well, although it’s on the same night as Beavers, which is a challenge. His latest round of golf lessons is going to start soon, and that pretty much covers it. I was able to get a surprising amount of gaming done despite . . . all of the above . . . here is how it all went down . . .
1) Level seven has fallen on Goldeneye, as I was able to get more progress completed there! Said level was called “Monte Carlo – Frigate”. We learned that a scheduled demonstration by the French, of their new stealth helicopter, had suddenly been postponed. Initially there was nothing suspicious about the situation, until 006 was asked to help defuse a hostage situation on the La Fayette frigate. The hostage situation was being undertaken by the Janus crime syndicate, who were using it as leverage to get their hands on the stealth helicopter. So of course I was called in to clean up the mess! First I docked at the side of the ship in a small power boat, then boarded it and made my way to the gangplanks that covered the port side. Once inside the ship I first made my way to the bridge, eliminating all resistance along the way, also beginning the continual process of freeing any hostages I came across. On the bridge I defused a bomb Janus had planted there, then headed below decks. Making my way to the engine room I defused yet another bomb. My next step was to find the stealth helicopter and plant an untraceable tracking device on it, so we could learn of Janus’ whereabouts. After that task was done I bugged out, boarding my boat and getting the hell away! I finished this level with a time of 16:09 and had a 78.7% accuracy rating.
2) Another series is complete from my season on MLB 2K11, the action went down as such: won vs. Colorado 4-3, won vs. Colorado 13-9 & won vs. Colorado 5-1.
3) My mop up on Lego: Lord of the Rings continues, and I got a ton accomplished this time around! I was able to put down the next nine levels, and it went as follows: “Amon Hen” (found the last 8 Minikit pieces, 2/3 Treasure items, and earned 1 Silver Brick [for completing the Minikit]), “Taming Gollum” (found the last 7 Minikit pieces, the last 2 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit, as well as finding all Treasure items and the Tablet]), “The Dead Marshes” (found 10/10 Minikit pieces, the last 2 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit, and finding all Treasure items plus the Tablet]), “Track Hobbits” (found 10/10 Minikit pieces, the last 2 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit, and finding all Treasure items plus the Tablet]), “Warg Attack” (found the last 9 Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit, and finding all Treasure items plus the Tablet]), “Helm’s Deep” (found 6 more Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 2 Silver Bricks [for finding all Treasure items and the Tablet]), “Osgiliath” (found the last 6 Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, and earned 2 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit and finding all Treasure items]), “The Secret Stairs” (found the last 9 Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, and earned 2 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit and finding all Treasure items]) & “Cirith Ungol” (found the last 9 Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, and earned 2 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit and finding all Treasure items]). While in the game hub between levels I unlocked/purchased a lot of stuff as well. I found 28 Silver Bricks, 3 Tablets, and managed to complete 12 Quests. With my Silver Bricks I was able to forge the Mithril Gloves, Carrot Bow, Stud Mallet & Fishing Rod. I also was able to find and then purchase 5 Red Bricks, which gave me the Minikit Chest Finder, Studs X2, Fast Build, Attract Studs & Disguises extras. Finally, with my collected studs I was able to purchase the Haldir, Galadriel, Celeborn, Lothlorien Elf, Denethor, Saruman the White, Eomer, Rohirrim Soldier, Grima Wormtongue, Uruk-hai, Grishnakh, Gamling & Corsair characters. The end may just finally be in sight, booya!!
4) As for NHL ’04, there I was able to complete the next five games on my season. The action unfolded thusly: won vs. Ottawa 9-4, won vs. Chicago 12-2, won @ Ottawa 11-0, won @ Tampa Bay 16-2 & won vs. Columbus 14-3. First shutout of the season, woot woot!
5) Batman Origins: Blackgate is finally complete, I managed to finish this sucker off this time around! Picking up where I left off, I first exited the Administration building after my fight with the Joker, heading towards the Lighthouse, which I had tried to penetrate oh so long ago and failed. From the docks I used my line launcher to get across to the lighthouse area, and began exploring these new surroundings. The door to the nearby armoury was locked, but there was an override switch located at the top of the lighthouse which would allow me access. After taking out a couple of Penguin’s goons I began climbing the outer face of the lighthouse, running in to more resistance as I climbed higher. Upon reaching the summit of the tower I used my crypto sequencer on a panel, upon completion the door below was then unlocked for me. Dropping down from the lighthouse I entered the armoury and immediately ran in to the holed up Penguin and his assorted goons! I took poor old Cobblepot down in a drawn out boss fight, afterwards I met up with Catwoman, who informed me I now had everything I needed in order to enter the Arkham wing of the prison. I then headed directly below the area where I beat the Penguin down, soon afterwards entering the Arkham wing. Not far in to it I came upon a massive vault, within which a number of the prison’s guards were being held captive! Using my line launcher I made my way through the cells that surrounded the vault, careful to avoid the electrified flooring below, eventually finding the controls that opened said vault. Inside though, I was instead surprised to find Bane, who was hooked up to a life support machine! Catwoman then entered the scene, informing me in only the way she can that it was her scheme all along to have me open this vault and free Bane for her. Catwoman had taken on a contract to free Bane for a mystery party, and I had helped make it happen! To distract me from taking her out, the femme fatale informed me that she’d taken a small number of guards, strapped bombs to them, and scattered them throughout the prison. Naturally I tore off through the prison, starting in the Cell Blocks, where I rescued the first guard. Next was the Administration building, where I freed two more, before I headed to the Industrial zone, where I freed the last one (along the way I acquired the Red Son Chest, New 52 Belt, and a Rush Upgrade). My final task took me in the direction of the Lighthouse, where I eventually caught up with Catwoman. She made Bane run ahead without her, leaving her alone to deal with me, and that was a mistake on her part. I took the bitch down in my last boss fight of the game, upon doing so a mysterious government agency swooped in and carted her off, also saying they’d picked up Bane during his escape attempt. The game then ended with a mysterious cutscene of the unknown party who’d been following events all along, discussing letting Catwoman go . . . hmmmmmm. This was a really good game, an in depth environment with lots of action, but it also required a lot of thought and could take you in different directions, depending on the course of action you took. Totally worth a play!!
6) A milestone was made on Jak X: Combat Racing, as I was able to complete play on the “Green Eco Cup” section of events! First up I traveled to “Haven City”, where I competed in two events: “Forbidden Jungle – Death Race” (won the event, gold medal) & “Haven City – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal). Next up I visited “Kras City”, where I took part in a couple more events, as so: “Dirt Stadium – Artifact Race” (won the event, gold medal) & “Western Tour – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal). “Spargus” was the next locale on my docket, where I completed the “Canyon Run – Freeze Rally” event (won the event, gold medal). My last stop was the final piece in completing the “Green Eco Cup”, and it took me to “Grand Prix”. There I had to run three straight Circuit Races, at “Forbidden Jungle”, “Mountaintop Highway” & “Northern Tour”. I finished fifth, second and first respectively, enough to get me the overall win and a gold medal! Halfway done this puppy!!
7) The next trio of levels is now in the books on Transformers: Beast Wars. The ones I completed this time around were as follows: “Polluted 1 – Polluted Zone” (my task was to recover a downed stasis pod in this hazardous area, I did so after fighting off much resistance and it turned out to be Rattrap in the pod), “Polluted 2 – The Skriix” (the strange aliens I’d encountered while rescuing Rattrap were called Skriix, my job in this level was to eradicate them and also flush the Predacon Inferno’s forces out of the area) & “Polluted 3 – Inferno Attack” (it turned out Inferno had been experimenting on the Skriix, which would have made them even more dangerous, so my duty was to engage Inferno in a boss fight and destroy him). One more area of levels to go!
8) The other game I completed this time around was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie! Picking up where I left off I began with level eleven, forging on to close out the game. The action unfolded as so: “Shieldbreakers” (Baxter Stockman’s lab was protected by some sort of energy shield, we had to take it down by locating and destroying various shield drones that were giving it power, afterwards passing through the now vulnerable doors), “Shell Monster” (we reached Baxter’s office where he revealed his latest mutant creation, a massive turtle he’d named Slash, after taking Slash out we found evidence that Baxter was planning on springing Shredder from prison), “Pacification” (to help mitigate the efficacy of Baxter’s upcoming escape attempt on Shredder, we roamed the streets and searched out four of the Foot Clan’s weapon caches and destroyed them), “Crack It Open!” (closing in on Baxter’s hideout we came to yet another large shield that barred our progress, we had to search the area and take out more shield drones while also dealing with Foot Soldiers, Mousers, turrets, drones, etc.) & “Worst Nightmares” (finally breaching Baxter’s headquarters we found our enemy, the Shredder, but he was able to take many other forms including Splinter, Slash, the Rat King, etc., which made for a very hard fought final victory, although in the end he escaped). Seeing as I had Story Mode all wrapped up, I then chose to partake in the game’s alternate mode, called Side Missions. These missions take place within the game’s various levels and give you simple objectives to complete, nothing as long as in Story Mode but basically the same kind of gameplay experience. I achieved victory on all missions, which included “Escort”, “Foot Ambush”, “Black and White”, “New Kind of Mutant”, “Foul Science”, “O’Neil Memories”, “Showoff”, “Dark Past”, “Pizza Strike” & “Simulation” respectively. Overall this is a fun game with lots of cool aspects to it, but a tad on the short side. I’m probably going to rate it an 8, although it’s more deserving of an 8.5 let’s say.
9) Next up . . . X-Men: Destiny, where I chewed up two more levels. The third level took me to the “Buffer Zone”, my primary objective now that all hell had broken loose was to find Magneto and get some answers. So we split up and began to explore the Buffer Zone, where I immediately found signs of Magneto’s recent presence. Along the way I encountered many Purifier Punks and beat them to death, as well as an increasing amount of High Purists. I came across Wolverine and had to snap him out of a frenzy he was in, watching his back for him. Not long afterwards I discovered hordes of punks planting explosives in an effort to clear the way for their big guns, whatever that meant! I wiped the punks out and deactivated the bombs, although one package was able to be detonated. A telepathic message from Emma Frost was then received, informing me that a tank had just been unleashed, so I hurried to the scene of the explosion and checked matters out. Wolverine and Mystique were battling this machine, which turned out to be a heavy shielded Mech Walker tank! I took the fight over and eventually brought the beast down, afterwards the three of us discussed the events, figuring out that the tank was simply used as a distraction . . . for during the fighting the Purifiers rounded up our mutant brethren and shipped them off to Alcatraz island!! The fourth level was suitably titled “Alcatraz Island”, and it began with Emma Frost and Scarlet Witch arguing about what our next step should be, also debating Magneto’s possible role in everything that had unfolded up to this point. I made the decision for them, deciding that we should first try and rescue the captured mutants on Alcatraz. I set off through the corridors of the prison, taking out all Purifiers along the way, finding many mutants locked away in cells. I freed them all, and they spoke of being experimented on. During this action I got a message from Emma, saying that she’d been picking up on some psychic interference. So I went to check it out, and it turned out that the interference was coming from the ghost of a dead mutant, which I helped set free, clearing matters up for Emma. Forging ahead I turned the tables on some Purifiers who tried to capture me, thinking they had caught Wolverine. I chased them down and beat them to a pulp, afterwards resuming my search and rescue operation. Once that task was complete I headed to the stairways in order to descend to the prison’s sub-levels, but before I could do so a number of U-Men attacked me! I had to defeat them before I could pass, and that is where the level ended . . .
10) We blew Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed wide open this time around, completing more events than I can count! To begin we continued on in the “Sunshine Coast” area of the game, where we knocked down the following events: “Downtown Drift – Drift Challenge” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Battlezone Blast – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Monkey Mayhem – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Studio Scrapes – Versus” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Roulette Rush – Boost Challenge” (completed in B class, completed the event, earning 2 stars) & “Starry Speedway – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars). With the stars we earned in this area we were able to unlock the Amigo character for play in the game. We were then able to move on to the second area of World Tour, called “Frozen Valley”. There we were able to finish said events: “Studio Scurry – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Tricky Traffic – Traffic Attack” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Banana Boost – Boost Challenge” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Pirate Plunder – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Snaking Skies – Ring Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Shinobi Scramble – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Graffiti Groove – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Neon Knockout – Battle Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Snowball Shakedown – Race” (competed in B class, placed third, earning 2 stars) & “Seaside Scrap – Versus” (competed in B class, completed the event, earning 2 stars). With our collected stars we were able to unlock two characters in this area, including Shadow and . . . Danica Patrick!! Next up came the “Scorching Skies” area, where we were able to complete the following events: “Adder Assault – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Keil’s Carnage – Traffic Attack” (competed in B class, completed the event, earning 2 stars), “Dreamy Drive – Race” (competed in B class, placed third, earning 2 stars), “Rogue Rings – Ring Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Sunshine Slide – Drift Challenge” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Sanctuary Speedway – Race” (competed in B class, placed first, earning 2 stars), “Seaside Skirmish – Pursuit” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Shrine Time – Sprint” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star) & “Hangar Hassle – Pursuit” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star). With our amassed stars we were able to unlock the Vyse character and the Console Mod extra. “Twilight Engine” was the next area we could compete in, but we weren’t able to access all the events there just yet. The ones we were able to beat went as such: “Undertaker Overtaker – Race” (competed in B class, placed third, earning 2 stars), “Monkey Brawl – Battle Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Death Egg Duel – Versus” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Golden Gauntlet – Boost Challenge” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Ruin Run – Ring Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Hatcher Hustle – Sprint” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star) & “Racing Rangers – Race” (competed in C class, placed first, earning 1 star). With our stars we were able to unlock the Pudding character. The fifth and what appears to be the final area of this game is called “Moonlight Park”. Here are the levels we’ve been able to get out of the way there so far: “Carnival Clash – Versus” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Ocean Outrun – Traffic Attack” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Billy Backslide – Drift Challenge” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star), “Speeding Seasons – Boost Challenge” (competed in B class, completed the event, earning 2 stars), “Carrier Charge – Ring Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star) & “Burning Boost – Boost Race” (competed in C class, completed the event, earning 1 star). More on it’s way . . .
11) Because I finished two games for the 3DS I had to pick another to begin play on, and that title just happened to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze! This is a game that takes place in the world of the current Nickelodeon cartoon that’s airing on TV, and it’s a wide open environment that you have to explore, revisit and build upon as the plot evolves, a very cool concept for this game. The story builds upon the main theme of the cartoon, highlighting the four brothers’ battles against Karai and Shredder, as well as their continual search for lost mutagen canisters. The opening sequence of the game was basically a tutorial, to kick things off Mikey was late for a training session with Master Splinter. I had to take control of the party animal and make my way through the sewers to our lair, where I eventually met up with him. Splinter then put me through a number of exercises with Raph as my partner, highlighting the games main controls/functions. The game then began in earnest, with Donny informing us that he’d picked up the location of a mutagen canister on the move, so we went to check it out. We also planned on meeting up with April and Casey, who were out on the streets in the thick of it. I backtracked out of the lair the way I’d originally come in, eventually making my way topside. Navigating the mean streets of New York we passed through many different types of buildings, soon having to take on Foot Soldiers and Mousers as we went (obtaining the Shuriken ability in the process). Eventually we reached an area that featured Kraang droids on patrol, along with some drones, even a Squirrelnoid!! This led us to a boss fight with a mutant named Rahzar, who we took down with extreme prejudice! Afterwards we met up with Casey, who informed us that we’d probably find the mutagen at TCRI (obtaining the Double Jump ability as well). We then forged on, in to a part of the city we hadn’t explored yet, soon enough coming to what looked like a TCRI facility, what with it’s white washed labs and pink/purple hued lighting. Running in to a heavy Kraang presence, along with Mousers and drones, we obtained the Smoke Bomb, Pizza Box, and T-Phone abilities/items (using the T-Phone we contacted Casey, who in turn allowed us to upgrade some of our fighting skills!). Soon afterwards we found the mutagen canister, but Baxter Stockman swooped in and took it from us! Continuing on after this boss fight, we ran in to the mutant turtle Slash, who had come in peace. He gave us some advice/intel on Shredder’s master plan, plus he gifted us with the Ground Pound ability. Backtracking through TCRI and then over the rooftops and along the city streets, we ultimately encountered Karai, who like Slash, provided us with intel on Shredder’s master plan. His scheming was so dastardly that his own daughter couldn’t even be a part of it! Apparently Shredder was preparing a super weapon he plans on turning loose upon the world. Hitting the streets once again we soon came to the docks, where we ran in to April, gaining the San Shuriken ability. She also gifted us with the ability to Block our enemy’s attacks. After our pow wow with April we were in for a tough one, as we came across Tiger Claw and Newtralizer exchanging a mutagen canister, before Newtralizer teleported off to Dimension X! We confronted Tiger Claw though, taking him down, afterwards forging on and obtaining another Pizza Box in the process. And that’s where I’ve left off . . .
12) It was also time to get some new games going on the Wii U, as Mario/Luigi had fallen last go round. The first game we picked up was Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which we got from James’ nanny for Christmas!! I’d never played a game in this franchise before, but I’ve always heard good things. Typically I’m not a huge fan of fighting games as I find them somewhat one dimensional, but this title is pretty cool. You can take a horde of different characters in to battle against each other, in either one on one bouts (with four characters participating in the fight) or tag team battles, amongst a multitude of scenery taken from various game franchises (kind of like how the tracks in Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed are inspired by past games). I’ve tried a number of characters but have ultimately settled on King Dedede as my bruiser of choice, whereas James tends to use Yoshi and Mega Man a lot. But there are tons of characters to choose from in total, including many from the Mario Bros. universe, Samus from Metroid, Pac-Man, Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, a number of Pokemons, and Kirby, among many others. We’ve dabbled with the game quite a bit, usually preferring to go in as a tag team against the computer, and so far we’ve unlocked the Falco, Wario and Lucina characters for play in the game. It’s an ass kicking good time!
13) Another game we got working on was Nintendo Land, which mrs. darthcobain17 got us for Christmas as well! This is one of the system’s original launch games, and it is pretty unique. It’s a collection of mini games that you access via a fantastical looking amusement park, but the best thing is . . . you use your Miis to play all of the various mini games, and other people’s Miis from around the world roam your park all the while! So funny. The mini games Nintendo Land contains are inspired by past Nintendo titles, and in total I think there are about a dozen or so. Up to this point we’ve played about seven of them, here is how that has gone: “Donkey Kong’s Crash Course” (high score of 2183 points, obtained a silver trophy, and earned 1/5 stamps), “Mario Chase” ( ), “Yoshi’s Fruit Cart” (high score of 602 points, obtained a silver trophy, and earned 1/5 stamps), “Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest” (chose the Quest option, playing as the Archer, and completed the The Grasslands, The Lost Woods, and Grassland Temple levels, earning 1/5 stamps), “Metroid Blast” (chose the Assault Mission option, taking part in an Air Fight, and completed the First Contact and Geemer Invasion levels, earning 0/5 stamps), “Takamura’s Ninja Castle” (high score of 1970 points, obtained a silver trophy, and earned 0/5 stamps) & “Captain Falcon’s Twister Race” (high score of 3211 points, obtained a silver trophy, earning 1/5 stamps). A cool and different game for sure, can’t wait to get back at it!
14) Since I only had Lego: Lord of the Rings going at the time on the regular Wii, I decided to get something fresh happening there as well. The game I chose was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows . . . part 1! Naturally this game mirrors the events that took place in the movie of the same name, or the first half of the seventh and final book of the infamous Harry Potter series. If you don’t know this story by now . . . well, crawl back under a rock, or go jump off a bridge, your choice. Anyhoo, this game began with a bang, that’s for sure! Right off the bat Hagrid had me (Harry) in the sidecar of his motorcycle, as the members of the Order of the Phoenix were attempting to transport me to The Burrow (themselves serving as decoys), where it was thought I’d be safe from the evil machinations of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. I had to blast away at pursuing Death Eaters with my wand, while Hagrid flew his motorcycle through the skies above London. Lord Voldemort even showed up in person, but I got the better of him and sent him ass over tea kettle. After also hitting the streets of London for a short spell, we arrived at The Burrow as safe as could be expected. Lots more to come on this one, I’m sure!!
15) Lastly, we also started play on Mario Kart 8, which I picked up recently with some Christmas gift cards . . . we were very excited to finally have this one in the fold!! What I like about this latest version is that they’ve kept it similar to the various versions of Mario Kart that have come before it, but they’ve made the tracks way more intense and interesting, plus in all the colourful, HD glory they are rendered in . . . it’s pretty amazing. Anyways, James and I began with the meat and potatoes of this title, starting out on “Grand Prix” mode, beginning with the easier 50c.c. class. The circuits in this mode come as per the usual, in sets of four races, in which each racer is awarded a certain amount of points for each race, depending on his or her finishing placement. The racer with the most total points at the end of all four races is the winner of the circuit and claims all bragging rights! The first circuit up was called “Mushroom Cup”, me and James chose Shy Guy and Yoshi as our racers, respectively. The results (with my placing first, followed by James’) were as such: “Mario Kart Stadium” (1 and 6), “Water Park” (1 and 9), “Sweet Sweet Canyon” (1 and 9) & “Thwomp Ruins” (1 and 12). Overall I won the circuit with 60 points, unlocking the Flower Cup as well as the Morton character. Next came the “Flower Cup”, where we utilized the services of Peach and Morton. The results were as follows: “Mario Circuit” (2 and 8), “Toad Harbor” (1 and 12), “Twisted Mansion” (1 and 11) & “Shy Guy Falls” (1 and 12). I won the circuit with 57 points, unlocking the Star Cup and the Baby Rosalina character. The “Star Cup” came next on the docket, and we enlisted Waluigi and Toad to steer us through it. The results unfolded as so: “Sunshine Airport” (1 and 8), “Dolphin Shoals” (1 and 11), “Electrodome” (1 and 11) & “Mount Wario” (2 and 9). I won the circuit with a total of 57 points, unlocking the Special Cup as well as the Wendy character. Naturally the “Special Cup” came next, and we used Donkey Kong and Toad as our racers. Events went down as so: “Cloudtop Cruise” (1 and 9), “Bone-Dry Dunes” (1 and 8), “Bowser’s Castle” (1 and 7) & “Rainbow Road” (1 and 12). I took the circuit with 60 points, unlocking the Metal Mario character. “Shell Cup” was the next circuit we knocked down, piloting ourselves around it’s tracks with Daisy and Peach. The results were: “Moo Moo Meadows” (1 and 6), “Mario Circuit” (1 and 4), “Cheep Cheep Beach” (1 and 8) & “Toad’s Turnpike” (1 and 2). I won the overall circuit with a perfect 60 points, unlocking the Banana Cup as well as the Roy character. Next came “Banana Cup”, where we drafted Daisy and Toad as our drivers. Events unraveled as such: “Dry Dry Desert” (1 and 7), “Donut Plains” (1 and 12), “Royal Raceway” (1 and 11) & “DK Jungle” (3 and 11). I took the circuit with 55 points, unlocking the Leaf Cup plus the Toadette character. At this point mrs. darthcobain17 decided to get in on the action, so we had three people competing in the next circuit! The circuit in question was “Leaf Cup”, and the drivers this time around were Luigi, Toad, and Baby Luigi. The madness went as follows: “Wario Stadium” (5, 1 and 12), “Sherbet Land” (2, 1 and 12), “Music Park” (1, 10 and 11) & “Yoshi Valley” (1, 5 and 7). I won the circuit with 50 points, which unlocked the Lightning Cup and Pink Gold Peach character for us. We made fun of mrs. darthcobain17 during the action because she looked just like her mother!!! Hah! It was then back to just me and James for the next couple of circuits, we closed out the 50c.c. class by competing in the “Lightning Cup”, using Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong. That circuit unfolded as such: “Tick-Tock Clock” (1 and 6), “Piranha Plant Slide” (1 and 7), “Grumble Volcano” (1 and 12) & “Rainbow Road” (1 and 7). I won the circuit with 60 points, unlocking . . . us!! Our Mii characters were now able to strap themselves in to a kart and get out there on the track. So funny. We then moved up to the 100c.c. class on “Grand Prix” mode, starting at the beginning with the “Mushroom Cup” circuit. Of course we each used our respective Miis as our racers for this one!! The circuit broke down as follows: “Mario Kart Stadium” (1 and 7), “Water Park” (1 and 7), “Sweet Sweet Canyon” (1 and 11) & “Thwomp Ruins” (1 and 6). Overall I won the circuit with 60 points, unlocking the Lakitu character. Throughout the game we’ve also been unlocking many different parts for our karts with the stars we collect in each race. More on this soon for sure . . . probably a lot of it.
“NNGRR” - The weekend after my last blog I kicked things off by watching the first sequel to the original Starship Troopers movie, called Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation! I was not even aware they made any sequels to the original film until very recently, so when I found this in the bargain bin at Giant Tiger I snatched it up without a second thought! Anyhoo, in this second entry to the series the action picks up not long after the first movie closes. The human armies of the Federation, in the wake of their first huge victory, are pressing even further in to bug space, attempting to take the fight to their enemy and gain the upper hand. However, on an unnamed planet deep in bug territory, a small team of troopers is quickly running out of luck, surrounded by bugs on all sides with nowhere to run. After putting in a call for an airlift their hopes are dashed even further when it appears there is no rescue in sight. When one of the troopers picks up on his scanner that there is an abandoned outpost a short distance away the leader of the group, General Shepherd, chooses a few troopers to remain with him and make a last stand against the bugs, while the rest of his forces launch a desperate flight to said outpost. Their journey is successful and they suffer light casualties, with a violent sand storm bringing them temporary respite from their enemy. But with the door to the outpost fragged and unable to be closed, they have to set up a watch and are constantly on edge. While exploring the facility they now call home, Lieutenant Dill (the man now in charge) along with Sergeant Rake and Private Sahara, make an unusual discovery in it’s upper levels. Locked inside of a furnace is a man named Dax, a former Captain for the Federation. He was locked in the furnace for killing his commanding officer so Dill sees him as nothing but a traitor to the Federation, although Sahara is curious. With orders to leave Dax in his makeshift cell, Dill’s crew get on with life at the outpost, attempting to restore communications and get that door repaired. But with the bugs starting to make moves against them and the situation getting intense, Sahara unknowingly heads upstairs and frees Dax, trusting her psychic instincts that he is a good man and indeed not the traitor Dill fears him to be. Her move is met with anger, especially from Dill and Rake, but when Dax, with help from Sahara and Private Otter, manages to restore power to a force field around the outpost that keeps the bugs at bay, many of the troopers approve. Not long afterwards more good news arrives, for General Shepherd has survived and arrives on their doorstep! With him are three strangers that aided in his survival, including Sergeant Peck, Corporal Griff, and the unconscious Private Soda. Shepherd regales his troops with tales of their daring rescue, but with the outpost in a state of relative peace the rest of the troopers, especially Sahara, soon begin to realize that something is a little off with these three newcomers. All of a sudden there are some love triangles going on, and all of the troopers heavily associating with the newbies begin acting strangely as well. Eventually the truth becomes apparent, that these three strangers who showed up on Sahara and company’s doorstep, were hosting bugs in their bodies all along, and passing their condition along to those they were coming in to contact with! This realization may have come too late though, as eventually only Sahara and Dax are left uninfected. With a drop ship on it’s way to rescue them (after finally being able to restore communications) the race is on . . . the race for survival! But in the end will there be anybody left alive to report to the Federation the details of this new type of bug? This was a pretty gritty and nasty flick, I quite enjoyed it. It fits in just fine with the original, although it wasn’t nearly as expansive. It was missing all of the space flight scenes and stuff like that, but it was still a great watch and a classic type of sci-fi scenario. And I love that Private Soda, she’s got quite a rack on her!! Images of said rack to follow . . .
A couple days before New Year’s, once all the Christmas bullshit had finally settled down, I watched Starship Troopers 3: Marauder . . . a second sequel to the original movie I also had no idea even existed! This film picks up many years after the events of the original entry in the series, well in to the Second Bug War. The central character is Johnny Rico, the hero of the first movie, he who captured the brain bug on Planet P! Rico is now a Colonel and in command of an outpost that is under siege on the planet of Roku San. Although the Federation and it’s forces have advanced their weaponry and tactics, so to have the bugs evolved to become more advanced in their fight, meaning the two sides are basically at a stalemate. Rico is pleasantly surprised when his old friend Dix Hauser, now a General, shows up at the outpost escorting one of the most powerful figures in the Federation, the Sky Marshal, Omar Anoke. Also in tow is Anoke’s pilot, Lola Beck, whom Rico has a bit of history with. Not long in to the visit, after a confrontation with the locals that ends up in Hauser attempting to arrest Rico for insubordination, the fences protecting the outpost suddenly fail and the bugs swarm in, proceeding to slaughter the Federation forces! In the confusion Hauser ends up staying with the outpost while Beck safely transports the Sky Marshal away aboard their shuttle. During their flight though, Beck’s shuttle is mysteriously attacked in space, above a planet named OM-1. After a crash landing all that is left of the crew is Beck, Anoke, a flight attendant named Holly, Dr. Wiggs, a crew chief named Bull, and a cook named Jingo. Just after touching down a bug is spotted, so the crew sets out in search of a facility where they can radio in for an airlift. During their sojourn things get weird though, as Anoke starts behaving erratically, beginning to preach religion. Meanwhile, back at Federation headquarters, Hauser saves Rico from execution at the last possible minute. For Hauser got a tip on some mysterious goings on within the Federation, and then went to confront Fleet Admiral Enolo Phid about it. Phid then let Hauser in on a little secret, and it completely explains Sky Marshal Anoke’s erratic behaviour. For Anoke is a psychic, and in meeting the brain bug he developed a major bond with it . . . a religious type of bond! Suddenly Hauser realizes that the fences failing on Roku San was Anoke’s doing, as was his crew ending up on OM-1. The religious deliverance he’s been preaching to the survivors on OM-1 doesn’t refer to God as they believe in . . . but a more arachnid type of God! The reason Hauser then freed Rico is because he wants Johnny to lead an elite team of troopers, wielding new state of the art technology that links their weaponry directly to their minds, and go in and rescue Beck and the others on OM-1. Will Johnny and his select team come out victorious, or will the monstrosity that erupts from the sands of OM-1 bring a violent sort of deliverance to them all!? This was a really good movie, the acting so cheesy at times, but the action non-stop, bloody, and often times hilarious. I like how this film got back in to the space travel end of things a bit, and the introduction of the robotic armoured suits that they wore at the end was very cool also. And of course they had some topless scenes, they have become an important aspect of the Starship Troopers franchise for sure!!
Just before everybody headed back to work and school in the first full week that followed New Year’s, I finished an epic read I had engaged in on the recommendation of a family friend, called Leviathan Wakes. Awesome!! This story takes places generations in the future, when space travel is quite advanced and many of the planets of our solar system have been settled. Life on Earth, Mars, and the asteroid belt beyond are all commonplace. The action kicks off following the crew of an ice hauler called the Canterbury, which is returning to the Belt after loading up at the rings of Saturn. On their way home they are sidetracked when forced to investigate a distress call coming from a damaged ship out in an empty area of space. Executive Officer James Holden and a select number of his crew head outside of the Canterbury to investigate the crashed ship, and once inside they find a grisly discovery . . . some sort of bizarre alien growth which looks like it killed all of the ship’s former crew members! Meanwhile, back on the Canterbury they’ve noticed a ship suddenly appear out of nowhere, which immediately sets it’s sights on the ice hauler. Soon after the Canterbury is vaporized, leaving Holden and his remaining crew grieving for their lost friends, and thirsty for vengeance on this mysterious attacker. Not being able to confront this enemy directly though, Holden figures he’ll do the next best thing, by broadcasting evidence of the trap that was set to destroy the Canterbury . . . which he believes to have been orchestrated by the Martian navy! Meanwhile, on the outpost of Ceres, in the middle of the Belt, a cop named Miller is suddenly tasked with tracking down a missing woman named Juliette Mao. Her family (who are very well off) is eager to locate her and bring her home to Earth. After much digging Miller eventually tracks down Julie’s last known whereabouts, to a ship named the Scopuli . . . the very ship Holden and his crew unwittingly investigated and made their gruesome discovery on! Miller’s next step is to locate Holden and find out what he knows about Julie, if anything. Holden and his charges, which include his second in command Naomi, pilot Alex, and mechanic Amos, have taken refuge with a notorious figure named Fred, who works for a revolutionary group called the O.P.A. Holden’s comments regarding Mars’ involvement in the destruction of the Canterbury went viral and increased galactic tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Belt, which were already quite strained to begin with. Using his wits to track them down, Miller eventually runs in to Holden other at a place called Eros Station, while Holden and his team are in the middle of executing a mission for Fred. Not long after introductions though, the small group is attacked and forced to fight for their lives. Afterwards, when Holden reaches the supposed location of the person they are supposed to bring back to Fred, Miller is horrified to find out the person in question just so happens to be Julie . . . and she is all kinds of dead! Julie had obviously been exposed to the alien virus that destroyed the crew of the Scopuli. In the ensuing days, while waiting for clearance to leave Eros after their skirmish with the unknown attackers, all hell breaks loose once more, only this time it is deadly serious. Under grounds of a radiation leak, all persons on Eros station are herded in to the casinos, where they are then exposed to the alien virus . . . and the aftermath is not pretty! Miller and Holden figured something was off before they could become caught up in the genocide, and manage to fight their way to Holden’s ship, heading back to the relative safety Fred can offer them. Horrified by what went on on Eros, Fred puts the O.P.A.’s considerable resources to work and manages to locate a secret space station where this alien virus originated. Soon Miller and Holden are involved in the raid on Thoth Station, which goes well for the O.P.A., and at the end of it they find the person responsible for Eros’ genocide, a Mr. Dresden. He fills them in on the details, that this “protomolecule” was sent to their galaxy billions of years ago by a race far superior to humans, and it could be humanity’s salvation, potentially capable of helping them change their own destinies and perform improbable feats. But at the cost of sacrificing thousands, maybe millions, in order to figure out how it works? Miller doesn’t share the same opinion, and so he shoots Dresden in cold blood. At this point Fred’s biggest dilemma is how to go about disposing of Eros Station, and then also in helping to smooth everything over with all of the various planets and factions involved in the debacle . . . that is, until Eros station itself comes alive! With the protomolecule being unleashed on so many victims in a confined area the planet itself takes on a life of it’s own and is capable of thought, also able to transport itself across the galaxy at improbable speeds. After exhausting all of their options it comes down to one final plan, for Miller to sabotage the station from within, and drive it in to the heart of Venus, sacrificing himself in the process. After how far Holden and his crew have come and all they’ve been through, can they help restore a relative peace to the galaxy by successfully aiding Miller in his mission, or is Eros station going to become the scourge of humanity? This was a big book, with a complicated storyline, and it was absolutely amazing! This read was a very gritty space epic, I found it had a lot of similar elements as the Alien series does. Despite being such a long story, I found myself unable to stop turning the pages and chewed through it pretty quickly. There were a lot of twists and turns along the way, it’s just a very well thought out and exciting story. I hear it’s been picked up to become a TV series some time in 2015, so that will be cool to see it come alive on screen. Bravo, bring on book two!
Late last week I finished reading the final book of the Alien trilogy I’d been involved with in recent months, called Alien: River of Pain! The book begins with a few past interludes before the main story gets going. First, in the year 2122 Ellen Ripley is aboard the Nostromo after it’s crew visited the surface of LV-426, unwittingly picking up the creature that terrified us in the original Alien movie. This section expounds on a brief interchange between Ripley and the android science officer, Ash. The scene then shifts forward 40+ years, to the year 2165. On the surface of a rock named Acheron, a team of engineers are involved with installing some atmosphere processors that will eventually make the environment suitable enough for human habitation, in support of a planned community named Hadley’s Hope. Just eight years later, in the year 2173, Anne and Russell Jorden give birth to the first infant actually born in Hadley’s Hope, a wide eyed baby girl they name Rebecca . . . whose nickname just so happens to be Newt!! Our last leap in to the future takes events to the year 2179, when Newt is just 6 years old. While she and her older brother Tim explore the nooks and crannies Hadley’s Hope has to offer them, their parents, who serve as wildcatters, were hired on by Weyland-Yutani to explore the storm swept surface of Acheron and report any findings to the science team. New to Acheron and Hadley’s Hope is Commander Demian Brackett, a man recently transferred to the outpost to serve as the new head of the Colonial Marines unit that is stationed there. Brackett requested the transfer to Acheron, as he wanted to see Anne Jorden, who he had a relationship with many year previously before becoming a marine. Upon his arrival he meets a lot of good people, including Anne and her family (which causes a bit of strife between her and her husband!), but also sees there are some problem children, such as the facility’s administrator and a couple of his more thick skulled troops. Meanwhile, in the deepest reaches of space a salvage team comes upon a vessel floating aimlessly and proceed to check it out. Inside they are flabbergasted to find a young woman deep in the throes of hypersleep, but if they don’t rescue her soon she may be going to sleep permanently! It turns out this woman is Ellen Ripley, who has been floating in space since her experience with the first Alien on the Nostromo!! She is taken to Gateway Station and meets with a Weyland-Yutani lackey named Burke (you may remember these scenes from the Aliens movie). After debriefing Weyland-Yutani many times, on the events aboard the Nostromo, Ripley is eventually dismissed and stripped of her pilot’s license, but not before being graced with some disturbing news. In the 50+ years she had been in hypersleep, a community had arisen on LV-426, now otherwise known as Acheron . . . a community called Hadley’s Hope!! Back on Acheron, not long after Weyland-Yutani receives Ripley’s debriefing, a particular set of coordinates is called in to the administrator, and the Jordens are the crew chosen to go and check said coordinates out. Once on site they discover a major find, an ancient, alien spacecraft that seems to have crash landed on Acheron’s surface! Anne and Russell are both spooked once they head inside the ship and witness the strange sights it holds though, but they can’t help but press onward. Soon their journey ends in disaster, as unknowingly they come upon the aliens’ egg sacs and a face hugger attaches itself to Russ, forcing Anne to lug him back to their vehicle and radio in for help. Eventually Brackett and the marines sort them out and everybody returns to Hadley’s Hope, with the science team eager to check out just what is going on with Russ and this strange being attached to him. Soon enough the things dies and detaches, but everybody’s relief is short lived as a baby alien bursts out of Russ’ chest and skitters away in to the air ductwork!! The marines organize a hunt for the thing, but during the operation they discover the creature grows abnormally fast, and is very deadly. When a team that headed out to the alien ship to follow up on Anne and Russ’ discovery returns with even more people sporting face huggers, Hadley’s Hope is suddenly turned in to a scene of chaos. More and more aliens are released in to the shadows, and the population of Hadley’s Hope dwindles accordingly. The aliens strike fast and quiet, killing some and taking the rest to use as breeders. After a failed attempt to breach the aliens’ hive and take the fight to them, Brackett and the remaining survivors surmise that fleeing Acheron is their only hope of survival. Not long after the action finishes the book concludes with Ripley and a team of marines landing on Acheron, set to investigate why they haven’t received communications from Hadley’s Hope in some time . . . leading us in to the nitty gritty events of the Aliens movie. This book was another awesome Aliens story, so gritty and scary! It was neat how it included some brief events from both the Alien and Aliens movies, but mostly served as a back story as to what happened to the people on LV-426 that instigated the events of the Aliens movie. I’ve heard they are soon going to be releasing a combined Alien/Predator trilogy, that is going to be must read material for yours truly, I love this shit!!
Later that same day where I finished my book, I watched the original Thor movie, which believe it or not I had yet to see! The film begins with a bit of back story. In the year 965 A.D. ancient Norse gods, led by Odin, repelled an attack by the Frost Giants, a race of war obsessed beings intent on not only conquering Earth, but all realms of the universe. A great source of the Frost Giants’ power, the Casket of Ancient Winters, was taken from the Frost Giants and stored deep in the vaults of Asgard, safely tucked away where it can cause no harm. Fast forward to current times and Odin’s sons, Thor and Loki, have reached maturity, with Thor prepared to succeed his father as King of Asgard. However, before the ceremony can be completed a few Frost Giants manage to slip in to Asgard and make an attempt to steal back the casket. A steel guardian Odin calls the Destroyer dispatches the Frost Giants, and all is well again. But Thor doesn’t take the attack well, and he appeals to Odin that the truce between Asgard and Jotunheim has now been broken in an act of war, but Odin preaches caution, saying the actions of a few don’t indicate the intentions of the many. Thor won’t be placated though, and so he secretly arranges a raiding party to travel to Jotunheim via the Bifrost, a party that includes his brother Loki as well as his friends and fellow warriors Sif, Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun. The six acquit themselves well, but eventually they are just far too outnumbered. Odin shows up at the last second and drags them all back to Asgard, but upon arrival he blasts Thor for his arrogance and stupidity, casting him down to Earth without his powers, forcing him in to exile for his transgressions. Thor’s arrival on Earth does not go unnoticed, for in a small town in New Mexico an astrophysicist named Jane Foster has been studying the skies for some time, in an attempt to explain some revolutionary theories she has been developing regarding the composition of the galaxy. Although her friends and partners, Darcy and Erik, don’t quite believe the fantastical elements of Thor’s story, Jane is enthralled with him and the more time she spends with Thor, the more she believes in his origins. Not too far away Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir has also landed in the desert, and it has become quite an attraction for the locals as nobody seems able to lift it. It has become such an attraction that agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up and cordons off the area for research and monitoring! Meanwhile, up in Asgard bad tidings are afoot. First of all, with questions of his origins after making some startling discoveries during the battle in Jotunheim, Loki confronts Odin and finds out that he is actually a Frost Giant. During Odin’s original battle with the Frost Giants he rescued an infant, taking him on as his own son, and this turned out to be Loki. Soon afterwards a tired and distraught Odin falls in to the Odinsleep. While he is down and out Loki plots with the Frost Giants to help him take over Asgard, and not only dispose of Odin but his pesky brother Thor as well! This sets up a two part battle, first on Earth and then finally back on Asgard, which pits brother against brother and Asgardians against Frost Giants. Do the Asgardians have enough in them to win another victory over this fierce foe, or will Loki’s addition finally help tip the scales in the Frost Giants’ favour? This was a pretty good film. I’m a fan of Chris Hemsworth, and I adore Natalie Portman, she’s in the top five on my “list”! The action was awesome, and the visuals were pretty amazing as there were a lot of fantastical elements to this story. Agent Coulson showing up in yet another Marvel movie was delightful and hilarious, and it was cool to finally learn more about Thor as he is one of the main Marvel heroes that I don’t know all that much about.
Finally, amongst all of this craziness an annual tradition was taking place, a certain little tournament . . . known as the World Junior Hockey Championship!! This is a 10 team tournament that begins on Boxing Day every year, pitting the top nations in the world against each other in a round-robin ice hockey tournament, to determine who is the best of the best. Put on by the IIHF, the tournament features junior age players, so those under 20 years old. The teams that participated this year included Canada, U.S.A., Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Russia (since it was co-hosted by Toronto and Montreal we even made it out to a game, seeing Switzerland take on the Czech Republic, I’ll post pictures). Naturally Canada was the favourite, as we always are, despite how even the top teams have mostly become in recent years. Our Canucks did not disappoint! They waltzed through the round-robin portion of the tournament, defeating Slovakia (8-0), Germany (4-0), Finland (4-1) & U.S.A. (5-3). In the medal round they disposed of Denmark (8-0) and then Slovakia (5-1), before facing Russia in the gold medal game on January 05. It’s a classic rivalry, perhaps the most classic of them all, and boy did it sure play out that way! The Canucks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead just two and a half minutes in, but Russia climbed back to within one before the period was out. In the second period Canada once again put on the pressure, blowing things open to a score of 5-1! However, the Russians were given some momentum when the refs began gifting them powerplays, calling Canada for four minor penalties in a row, only one of which was an actual penalty. This allowed the Russians to climb back to within one yet again, putting the score at 5-4 Canada and setting up a pretty wild finish. In the third period the Canadian team came out refocused, got a quick penalty kill out of the way, and then never looked back, hanging on to win the game 5-4 in a heck of an exciting fashion! After not winning the gold since 2009 this victory came as a big relief, as the Canadians and their fans expect to win gold every year, even as improbable as that sounds. Hockey is not just a game here, it is a passion, a fabric of our everyday life, and anything less than gold doesn’t really register. But they pushed the competition around this year and brought home the bacon once more, congrats fellas!!!