It’s been a wild and woolly few weeks since my last entry, I’m already worn out and summer hasn’t even officially begun yet! The weekend after my last post was our annual guys’ weekend up at my buddy Rob’s cottage. There were only three of us this year as one of our regulars couldn’t make it. I headed out early on Friday morning so we were up there by mid-afternoon and had the beers cracked asap! The weather was warm enough, but windy on the Friday and Saturday, although that was good as it kept the bugs at bay . . . which we discovered on Sunday morning! Over the course of the weekend we got the dock in, got the water up and running, and did a few other little jobs here and there. In our off time we threw the ball and Frisbee around a bit, watched movies, ate a lot of food, and naturally drank ourselves in to a stupor. It all came to a close much too soon . . . so depressing!
The following weekend saw us head down Hamilton way on the Saturday, as our friend Megan had organized her annual car rally. I was put on a team with a couple of our group’s friends, Julie and Carla, and we were quite the underdogs as our motivation to win was far less than a lot of the other teams. We wore camouflage and were dubbed the “Camo-Toes” (a bit of an inside joke), soon setting off in the Caravan to see what we could accomplish. Lo and behold a couple short hours later we returned to home base to find out we had won! I took some of the loot home with me, which included a massive can of Sapporo and some Heineken, along with some chocolate. When we got home on Sunday it turned in to a bit of a guys’ weekend, as mrs. darthcobain17 headed to Kingston for a work function, leaving James and I to “get by” on our own for a few days . . .
The next weekend was a little more low key than the previous two. James had Beavers on the Saturday, which was a family event. We all went mini-putting, during which I spotted a large garder snake swallowing a frog . . . the kids seemed to enjoy that! Afterwards we went out for some f’real (so delicious!) before heading home and throwing the baseball around in the back yard. Jimmer has got some potential, that’s for sure, if only he cared and like sports in general! On the Sunday I had a race to run in, the recently annual Rock the Road 10km. I had a great run, setting a new personal best with an official chip time of 49:10, which is what I was aiming for. As for mrs. darthcobain17, she was supposed to run but didn’t, as we didn’t have anybody to watch James and she felt she wasn’t prepared anyways. James ran in the kiddie trot and showed off his wheels as well.
As for this past weekend, it was even more low key than the one before, thank the maker! We did a lot of stuff outside like yard work, swimming, throwing the baseball around a bit. And of course we also played inside a lot, with toys and video games, reading some books too. Relaxing, for once . . .
During the work/school weeks we didn’t have much to do for James as his activities are all over with the exception of seeing his tutor. We opened up the pool a couple of weeks ago, and although it took a week to clear up, it’s now quite swimmable and I’ve been in it every day since! I also bought a new bike as after 25 years the old Giant had finally had enough. The new Giant (a Talon) is a real beast and has been a pleasure to ride so far! The weather has not been agreeing all that much lately though, a lot of rain scattered about, but hopefully that will calm down moving forward. During all of this insanity we got a lot accomplished, the juicy details are below in all their wonderful glory . . .
1) Another level is kaputs on Goldeneye, this fifteenth level of the game was called “Cuba – Jungle”. Out satellites were not able to locate the facility we had obtained the coordinates to during my last mission, so a ground search had become necessary. After flying in on a small aircraft I began slinking through a seemingly tropical paradise, with Natalya in tow. There was a heavy, camouflaged Janus resistance throughout though, we dealt with many soldiers along the way. We also had to take out a small number of drone turrets, which packed a little more punch than the mercenaries did! As we came upon a rickety old bridge that crossed a chasm we were engaged by Xenia, who went hog wild, firing grenades at us like a lunatic! I beat her at her own game though, eliminating her and then continuing on. Eventually we came to a cave system that was crawling with Janus operatives. After taking out many troops, turrets, and even a large weapons cache, I finished my task of escorting Natalya to the Janus base. I completed this mission with a time of 11:36 and had a 55.5% accuracy rating.
2) Yet another series has been knocked over on my season of MLB 2K11, this time it was a four game set that saw us travel to Baltimore and take on the Orioles. The action unfolded as such: won @ Baltimore 3-0, won @ Baltimore 20-5, lost @ Baltimore 3-2 (11 innings) & won @ Baltimore 7-2.
3) As for NHL ’04, I played five more games on my season there, which just so happened to be the last five games of the regular season! The results were: won @ Boston 16-6, won vs. Ottawa 9-6, won vs. Atlanta 19-5, won @ Buffalo 12-5 & won @ Ottawa 12-5. Overall we finished first in the league with a record of 81-1-0, for 162 points. Statistically my team leaders were: Goals (Gary Roberts with 109), Assists (Mats Sundin with 140), Points (Sundin with 222), Penalty Minutes (Wade Belak with 423), +/- Rating (Bryan McCabe with +252), Powerplay Goals (Owen Nolan with 6), Shorthanded Goals (Robert Svehla with 9), Gamewinning Goals (Alexander Mogilny with 10), Shots (Roberts with 521), Faceoff Wins (Sundin with 1147) & Hits (Bryan Marchment with 201). As for my goalies, Ed Belfour went 63-1-0 with a 5.09 goals against average, a .910 save percentage, 1 shutout, 48 assists, and 60 penalty minutes. Trevor Kidd went 18-0-0 with a 4.59 goals against average, a .909 save percentage, 9 assists, and 35 penalty minutes. Next stop . . . playoffs, baby, playoffs!!
4) A bit more progress was made on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, I resumed by once again tinkering away on the “Events” (Solo) mode. There I completed the following battles: “Family Ties”, “Yellow Devils”, “Fire-Type Frenzy” & “A Battle of Scale”. And that was it for Events mode! At least, that was an end to all of the battles available to me anyways. I didn’t unlock any sort of achievement for completing the mode, so maybe there are more battles that I have to unlock somehow, but I’m considering this a completion. Afterwards I went back and retried the “All-Star” mode, faring much better this time around. Using Mega Man as my fighter I made it to the fifth round before being defeated, earning 451100 points.
5) And on Nintendo Land I earned a bit of a completion as well, as I was able to tidy up my journey on the “Metroid Blast” mini-game! Picking up on the Assault Mission, with the Battle in the Air option, I completed the final thirteen levels, which included: “Infernal Battle”, “Cyclon Queen’s Tokens”, “Hostile Colossus”, “Geemers!”, “Subzero Combat”, “Metroid Hunt”, “Defend Your Allies”, “Zebesians Incoming”, “Evade the Snipers”, “Air Supremacy”, “Frosty Token Sweep”, “Strike from Behind” & “The Final Battle”. For my progress I earned another stamp, not totalling 2/5.
6) On Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean we managed to finish the last chapter of the game, “On Stranger Tides”, completing all five levels on offer there. The levels went as such: “London Town” (earned True Pirate status, found 8/8 Compass items, unlocked the Scrum character, and earned 3 Gold Bricks [for the level completion, status achievement, and compass items]), “Queen Anne’s Revenge” (earned True Pirate status, unlocked the Cook, Garheng & Salaman characters, found 2/10 Minikit pieces, 4/8 Compass items, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status]), “White Cap Bay” (earned True Pirate status, unlocked the Angelica character, found 1/10 Minikit pieces, 5/8 Compass items, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status]), “A Spanish Legacy” (earned True Pirate status, unlocked the Privateer Barbosa character, found 3/10 Minikit pieces, 8/8 Compass items, and earned 3 Gold Bricks [completion, status and compass items]) & “The Fountain of Youth” (earned True Pirate status, unlocked the Syrena character, found 7/8 Compass items, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status]). Before we set off on these last levels I purchased a few Red Hats (which contain extra features, like when you unlock and purchase red bricks on most other Lego games). The three Red Hats I purchased included the Always Double Treasure, Character Treasure & Treasure Magnet extras. Now it’s time to commence our mop-up operation and go back through the game, collecting all that we missed the first time around. Or at least, as much of it as we can find without driving ourselves crazy!
7) Major progress was made on Super Mario 3D World on this go round, so much so that it is now complete! In effect we beat the game by defeating Bowser in the last official world, but after doing so some bonus worlds opened up so we still have a bit of work to do before this one is fully complete. Picking up where we left off last time, we were not far in to the “Bowser” world. We completed the last ten levels there, which unfolded as such: “Bowser-3: Cookie Cogworks” (earned 50220 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-Train: The Bowser Express” (earned 64560 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-4: Footlight Lane” (earned 49600 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-5: Deepwater Dungeon” (earned 62070 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-6: A Beam in the Dark” (earned 38600 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-Mystery Box: Mystery House Claw Climb” (earned 51700 points, and collected 10/10 stars), “Bowser-7: Grumblump Inferno” (earned 47250 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Bowser-A: Motley Bossblob’s Encore” (earned 72800 points, and collected 1/1 stars), “Bowser-B: Hisstocrat Returns” (earned 59050 points, and collected 1/1 stars) & “Bowser-Castle: The Great Tower of Bowser Land” (earned 38300 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars). And that was the official end of the game, shibby!! The first bonus world that was available to us was called “Star” world. There we completed all ten levels, which went as follows: “Star-1: Rainbow Run” (earned 97400 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-2: Super Galaxy” (earned 45100 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-3: Rolling Ride Run” (earned 47060 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-4: The Great Goal Pole” (earned 14850 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-5: Super Block Land” (earned 43110 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-Toad: Captain Toad Takes a Spin” (earned ???? points, and collected 5/5 stars), “Star-6: Honeycomb Starway” (earned 86900 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-7: Gargantuan Grotto” (earned 56420 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “Star-8: Peepa’s Fog Bog” (earned 59870 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars) & “Star-9: Cosmic Cannon Cluster” (earned 31750 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars). The next bonus world that became available was called “Toad” world, there we were able to complete the eight short levels on offer, which went as so: “Toad-Mystery House: Mystery House Brawl” (earned 66700 points, and collected 10/10 stars), “Toad-1: Night Falls on Really Rolling Hills” (earned 39160 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Toad-2: Spiky Mount Beanpole” (earned 53550 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Toad-3: Deep-Black Jungle Drift” (earned 52100 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Toad-4: Trouble in Shadow-Play Alley” (earned 41920 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Toad-5: Back to Hands-On Hall” (earned 68150 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Toad-6: Gigantic Seasick Wreck” (earned 54100 points, and collected 3/3 stars) & “Toad-7: Broken Blue Bully Belt” (earned 20710 points, and collected 3/3 stars). It was then onwards to the last bonus world available to us, the “Fire Flower” world! It was a long one, but we completed all twelve levels, which included: “Fire Flower-1: Switch Shock Circus” (earned 63210 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-2: Floating Fuzzy Time Mine” (earned 37620 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-3: Piranha Creeper Creek after Dark” (earned 45500 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-4: Faster Fort Fire Bros.” (earned 41620 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-5: Sprawling Savanna Rabbit Run” (earned 62100 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-6: Shiftier Boo Mansion” (earned 27150 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-7: Pipeline Boom Lagoon” (earned 33500 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-8: Blast Block Skyway” (earned 37820 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-9: Towering Sunshine Seaside” (earned 42350 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-10: Honeycomb Skyway” (earned 72500 points, and collected 3/3 stars), “Fire Flower-11: Spiky Spike Bridge Sneak” (earned 39600 points, and collected 3/3 stars) & “Fire Flower-12: Boss Blitz” (earned 153000 points, and collected 3/3 stars). I do believe there is another bonus level available in the game, but we didn’t reach whatever targets are required to open it up. Oh well, I’m more than satisfied with this experience, a great game for sure!!
8) We are now at the same spot on The Lego Movie Videogame as we are on Pirates of the Caribbean, as we were able to complete our first go round on the game during this blog period. In order to do so we completed the last four levels of the game, which shook out as so: “Broadcast News” (earned The Special status, unlocked the Wyldstyle [Space], Sharon Shoehorn, Where Are My Pants Guy?, Bad Cop [Scribble Face], Bad Cop & Dr. McScrubs characters, found 2/5 Golden Instruction Pages, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [for the level completion and status achievement]), “Back from Reality” (earned The Special status, unlocked the Emmet [Master Builder], Astro Kitty, Garbageman Grant, Blaze Firefighter & Ice Cream Mike characters, found 2/5 Golden Instruction Pages, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status]), “Bricksburg Under Attack” (unlocked the Superman, Wonder Woman & Green Lantern characters, found 1/5 Golden Instruction Pages, and earned 1 Gold Brick [completion]) & “The Final Showdown” (unlocked the Vitruvius [Ghost], Gandalf, Gordon Zola, President Business & Lord Business (Minifigure) characters, found 2/5 Golden Instruction Pages, and earned 1 Gold Brick [completion]). Afterwards we played the “The Bonus Room” and achieved the minimum 1,000,000 studs requirement, but we could only find 8/10 Gold Bricks so we still have a bit of work to do there. Now on to our mop-up operation on this game as well!
9) I began play on “Chapter 2” of Robotech: Battlecry, plowing through the first handful of levels there. The first level was called “Ambush Hills”, and it picked up after the remaining Zentradi had been exposed to Earth’s culture and mixed in with the general population, after many of them had defected after the last war we fought. Jack had been assigned to Base 6 with a couple of his friends, we began helping the RDF by running patrols to snuff out any insurgencies relating to the Zentradi portion of the population. This particular mission saw us travel to the remote community of Graystone, where a band of Zentradi scavengers had been preying on the citizens there. We tracked down the offending raiding parties and eliminated them, also destroying their weapons caches in the process, to help prevent any future trouble. I completed the level with a time of 9:16, earning a 30.8% firing accuracy. The second level was called “Trouble in Graystone”, and it was a direct continuation from my last mission. A number of Graystone’s citizens were holed up in the civic center, while the Zentradi that remained were on a rampage outside of the building, attempting to destroy it along with everyone inside! I was tasked with patrolling the center and eliminating any Zentradi that approached, which I did. I completed the level with a time of 4:08, earning a 49.5% firing accuracy and 53.3% missile accuracy. I was also awarded the Bronze Cross medal for my performance. “Special Delivery” was the name of level three, in it a group of Sea Sergeant helicopters were carrying food and supplies to a remote outpost, so I was to escort them safely to their destination. Numerous Zentradi scavengers attacked, but I put them out of their misery and saw the copters all arrive intact. I completed the level with a time of 4:10, earning a 38.5% firing accuracy and 85.8% missile accuracy. The fourth level was titled “Destroids in Danger”. Upon reaching the outpost during my last mission, we had unwittingly stumbled in to a scuffle between the Zentradi and some Tomahawk Destroids. I joined the fray, battling the Zentradi and making sure that all of the Destroids came out of the battle in one piece. We also recovered supplies and a stranded pilot along the way. I completed the level with a time of 7:16, earning a 38% firing accuracy and 69.6% missile accuracy. The fifth level was “Unwanted Guests”, in it I was dispatched to an area where UFO’s had been sighted by various recon patrols. If they were hostile my job was to eliminate them, which I did, at the end of the mission I detected a very large bogey way off in the distance. I completed the level with a time of 5:01, earning a 19.2% firing accuracy and 67.5% missile accuracy. The sixth and final level I’ve been able to get at so far was called “Dark Skies”. It turns out the Zentradi fighter pods from my last mission, the purported UFO’s, were just a pre-emptive force covering a large Zentradi scout ship that was entering the system! I engaged said vessel, first concentrating on it’s various weapons turrets, before decimating it’s escort as well. I completed the level with a time of 4:19, earning a 32.5% firing accuracy and 47.2% missile accuracy.
10) Good work was done on Rayman 3D as well, picking up where I left off from last time level six was next on the docket, that being “The Sanctuary of Water and Ice”. At the start of said level I entered the council chambers of the Teensies, where I was then able to pass in to another world. After doing so I found myself at the edge of a rocky shore, where I began by battling a pirate before climbing some rocks and making my way inside of a cavern. Moving through this cave system I explored and swam through it’s natural elements, as well as some pirate made structures, before locating two magic spheres that allowed me to access a temple. Then skidding down a long, slippery slope I came to a guardian named Axel, soon after defeating him in a boss fight! For my efforts I received the first of the four masks I had been tasked to find. I immediately went and gave Polokus this mask. During the level I obtained 47/50 lums and broke 1/2 cages. Level seven was titled “The Menhir Hills” and it began in a glade that featured large, thorny bushes that I couldn’t get past on my own. Fortunately there was this strange walking bullet creature that I was able to tire out and then hop on to and ride, passing over the danger and towards a pirate made structure that ended up being their military academy. I explored said academy, both it’s insides and the grounds that surrounded it, eventually running in to my friend Clark. He told me he needed a Life Potion, as he wasn’t feeling all that well (I then had to make a detour back to the Marshes of Awakening level and visit the Cave of Bad Dreams to obtain said potion, which afterwards ended up being it’s own independent level, where I was able to obtain 45/50 lums). I then headed back to The Menhir Hills and fought my way to Clark once more, whom I gave the potion to. Upon reviving he went on a bit of a rampage and began smashing through the rest of the academy, helping me find an exit where I was then able to ride a walking bullet to freedom! During this level I obtained 42/50 lums and broke 6/8 cages. Next up came “The Canopy”. This level began in what looked like the inside of a large tree. I first dispatched a spider and then used it’s webbing to scale the inside of said tree, eventually dropping down a tunnel of sorts before coming to the land of the mushrooms! After a bit of exploring I stumbled upon a makeshift cell and upon opening it found Globox inside! With my best friend now in tow he helped me penetrate our environment even deeper, also lending me more energy and increasing my punch power by giving me a silver lum. In the end we gained access to a building with a Teensie in it, who helped us exit the land. During this level I obtained 50/50 lums and broke 4/4 cages. The last level I was able to get at, the ninth, was called “Whale Bay”. Inside of a cavern system I began by making my way along some rope bridges, mixed amongst some wooden buildings. I soon came to a more open area featuring a lot of water, afterwards finding out that Carmen the whale was trapped somewhere nearby. So I explored my environment and eventually found Carmen, freeing her and following her through the water, where she eventually led me to a pirate shipwreck! I explored the wreck, able to rescue a Teensie before exiting the level. During the level I obtained 35/50 lums and broke 2/4 cages.
11) I switched tack on 1080 Snowboarding a little bit, as instead of continuing on with the “Match Race” mode (which I suspected was about to get really hard) I chose the “Contest” mode. Said mode pits you in a solo competition that unfolds over a course of 5 rounds, with the objectives varying with each round. I selected Kensuke Kimachi as my rider, on a Scout 156. The experience unfolded as such: Crystal Lake (completed the slalom circuit within the given time frame), Air Make (performed a trick jump off the large ramp), Crystal Peak (completed the slalom circuit), Half Pipe (performed tricks on the half pipe) & Golden Forest (completed the slalom circuit). My total score was 54,987 points, enough for a new record. A short and sweet mode for sure, on to the next one!!
12) I went in to beast mode on New Super Mario Bros., as I’ve absolutely obliterated it in recent weeks! Enough so that it is now my second completion of this blog. I last left off in “World 3”, resuming there I was able to complete the remaining five levels, which went as such: “World 3-3”, “World 3-Ghost House”, “World 3-B”, “World 3-C” & “World 3-Castle”. I had to skip the fourth world as I didn’t know how to access it, so I then went on and completed both “World 5” and “World 6”, which unfolded as follows: “World 5-1”, “World 5-2”, “World 5-A”, “World 5-Tower”, “World 5-3”, “World 5-Ghost House”, “World 5-B”, “World 5-C”, “World 5-4”, “World 5-Castle”, “World 6-1”, “World 6-2”, “World 6-Tower”, “World 6-3”, “World 6-4”, “World 6-Tower 2”, “World 6-5”, “World 6-6”, World 6-A”, “World 6-B” & “World 6-Castle”. I was then able to figure out how to get to “World 4”, so I went and got that out of the way. The levels there included: “World 4-1”, “World 4-2”, “World 4-3”, “World 4-Tower”, “World 4-4”, “World 4-Ghost House”, “World 4-A”, “World 4-5”, “World 4-6” & “World 4-Castle”. Getting back on track afterwards I then began to tackle and ultimately complete “World 7”, which unfolded as so: “World 7-1”, “World 7-Ghost House”, “World 7-2”, “World 7-3”, “World 7-Tower”, “World 7-4”, “World 7-5”, “World 7-6”, “World 7-7”, “World 7-A” & “World 7-Castle”. Next up was the last world of the game, the dreaded “World 8”. It took a while but I managed to chew through all of it’s levels, which included: “World 8-1”, “World 8-2”, “World 8-Tower 1”, “World 8-3”, “World 8-4”, “World 8-Castle 1”, “World 8-5”, “World 8-6”, “World 8-7”, “World 8-8”, “World 8-Tower 2” & “World 8-Castle 2”. Upon finishing my total points accumulated amounted to 5,726,490! As usual I was able to obtain all 3 Star Coins scattered throughout each of these game levels, so I am completely up to speed. Upon finishing the game I went and explored the other 1 player mode the game had to offer, called “Minigames”. I played every mini-game the mode had to offer, which included: Snowball Slalom/Lakitu Launch/Danger, Bob-omb! Danger!/Whack-a-Monty/Balloon Racing under the “Action” category, Wanted!/Which Wiggler?/Hide and Boo Seek/Puzzle Panel/Concentration under the “Puzzle” category, Memory Match/Picture Poker/Pair-a-Gone under the “Table” category, and Mario’s Slides/Sort or ‘Splode/Bounce and Trounce/Bob-omb Squad/Trampoline Time under the “Variety” category. I set high scores for almost all of the mini-games where a high score applied, this was a cool addition to a game that already had depth in spades. Such a fun experience, as is the Mario Bros. way!!
13) On Sonic Rush I continued to forge ahead, although it really started to get difficult as I got closer to the end so I’m at a bit of a standstill for now. Picking up where I last left off I began play on the fourth zone, called “Night Carnival”. I completed all three levels there, as follows: “Zone 4, Act 1” (B rank), “Zone 4, Act 2” (C rank, obtained the green Chaos Emerald) & “Zone 4, vs. Boss” (B rank). Zone five was called “Huge Crisis”, there I beat the three levels on tap, the action went as such: “Zone 5, Act 1” (C rank, obtained the silver Chaos Emerald), “Zone 5, Act 2” (C rank) & “Zone 5, vs. Boss” (B rank). Zone six, called “Altitude Limit”, was the last one I was able to get done up to this point. The three levels there included: “Zone 6, Act 1” (B rank, obtained the turquoise Chaos Emerald), “Zone 6, Act 2” (C rank) & “Zone 6, vs. Boss” (S rank). My first S rank, woot woot!! Such a good game, tough though . . .
14) After defeating Harry Potter the last time around it was time for me to pick out something new to play on the Wii, and for that choice I selected Sonic and the Secret Rings. This game is very similar in premise and gameplay to that of Sonic and the Black Knight, which I completed a year or two ago. The story behind it is that a character out of the Arabian Nights storybook, Shahra the Genie of the Ring, contacts Sonic while he is sleeping and explains her plight. For in the storybook world of Arabian Nights the evil genie known as Erazor Djinn (formerly the genie of the lamp) is gaining power, his end game being to destroy the world of Arabian Nights, erasing it forever! And after that he’ll move on to Sonic’s world and do the same there. So Sonic agrees to help Shahra in her bid to stop Erazor’s plan, sucking him in to the storybook and guiding him through his quest. So far I’ve played the first five levels of the game, which unfolded as so: “Paragraph 01” (bronze medal), “Paragraph 02” (bronze medal), “Paragraph 03” (bronze medal), “Paragraph 04” (bronze medal) & “Paragraph 05” (bronze medal). For this style of Sonic game it’s not a sidescrolling platformer, you are always running forward at high speed and have to beat the level as quickly as possible. It’s a different kind of concept for the franchise, and it can be tricky, but it’s pretty fun. More to come!
15) James was tiring of Pirates of the Caribbean a bit so we began playing a game he was really looking forward to, called Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Swamp! The story begins in Mystery Inc.’s clubhouse, which is located in a swamp somewhere. Shaggy and Scooby are getting tired of solving mysteries so they leave Fred, Daphne and Velma in the clubhouse to do what they do, while they head in to the swamp to get away for a bit. While exploring the duo pick up a delicious scent and follow it to it’s source, a woman named Lila who is cooking a stew out in the middle of nowhere! She is a mysterious person and explains to them that she can never leave the swamp, but leaves it at that. Wanting to help her out the pair agree to go on some missions for her, to obtain the missing ingredients needed to complete her stew. To help them on their quest she gives Shaggy and Scooby a camera, so they can take pictures of anything of interest along the way. After playing through this introduction to the game we then headed back to the clubhouse to talk to Velma. Turns out a friend of the gang’s named Costington had been in touch and wanted them to come visit, so we then headed to the Mexican style town of El Muncho . . . which just so happened to be one of the locations Lila wanted us to visit for her ingredients! Once in El Muncho we began poking around a bit but were soon jailed by the town’s tyrant of a sheriff. Not much later Shaggy and Scooby managed to escape their cell, then we freed the rest of Mystery, Inc. Our group then roamed through El Muncho, dispatching zombie bandidos, eventually hooking up with Costington at his house. He filled us in on the legend of the town, how all the people had been driven away by a fiend known as El Scaryachi! Costington then asked us to locate his missing butler, Romero, who might be able to fill us in on more of the details. Not long afterwards we managed to find Romero and talked with him, battling more bandidos in the process, then headed to the cemetery and explored it along with the catacombs beneath it. Not too far in to our explorations though, we were chased away by El Scaryachi himself! Upon evading him we were concerned to find the sheriff’s badge at the scene of the chase. With that info now in our possession we continued to forage through the town, talking to the brothers Emilio and Estevan about the situation, who mentioned to us that Costington had discovered oil deposits in the region recently. Unfortunately we got caught by the sheriff again and thrown back in the slammer, but after another successful escape attempt we headed to the mausoleum where we confronted El Scaryachi once again, this time taking him down in a boss fight! Afterwards it was revealed that the sheriff was the culprit, for he was trying to scare Costington away so he could take the oil for himself. As for Romero, he was a spy working on bringing El Scaryachi to justice as well. During our travels in El Muncho we found a special chili pepper, which we then took back to the swamp and gave to Lila for her stew, who then tasked us with our next mission. Upon arriving back at the clubhouse we found out that Daphne’s cousin Anna had been in touch with the gang, inviting them to her ski lodge at Howling Peaks . . . which again just so happened to be where Lila had asked us to go for the other ingredient she needed! On our way to Howling Peaks we ran in to a large monster that tossed the Mystery Machine around a bit, fortunately we all escaped unscathed and soon after met up with Anna in Howling Peaks. We were concerned to find out that she hadn’t been the one to get in touch with us and extend an invitation to the lodge, also explaining that lots of weird stuff had been going on lately to drive all the tourists away. At Anna’s suggestion we first visited Moose at the ski shop, who reiterated that the tourists were all being driven away and that a couple of the snow machines had also gone missing. Heading to the chalet to see Anna again, she reiterated Moose’s story and mentioned that something large had been lurking around the area in recent days, telling us to find her lodge manager Sergio, who might be able to shed more light on the situation. Heading outdoors we eventually located Sergio, who was trapped in a cellar, he gave us the key to a mysterious cabin only after we’d brought him tissues, socks and food! Once inside said cabin we found tons of research on Yeti scattered throughout it. Our sleuthing came to a temporary halt though, as suddenly a large roar was heard and we hightailed it back to the chalet! Unfortunately Shaggy and Scooby got trapped outside, so we took the opportunity to venture in to the unknown, having to fight some small monsters called Weendigos before reaching a cabin serving as an electrical room. Eventually we ran in to a stranger named Barry, who seemed to be a hunter or explorer of some sort. He said he’d offer to bring a stash of beans to the chalet if in exchange we obtained pictures of some of the local wolves for him. We agreed to his deal and continued along in the snowy tundra, soon contacting Anna, who instructed us to head to the radio room. After obtaining a key to this room from Sergio, we overheard some chatter that sounded like there was trouble down in the logging yard. Naturally we then headed there, fueling up a plow and using it in order to gain access to the yard, before finding the foreman stuck in a porta-potty! After getting this character, Dustin Planks, out of his predicament, we discussed the issue of the large beast that had rampaged through the area. Following the trail of destruction it left in it’s path we reached the site of some old ruins, quickly figuring out how to enter them. Inside the ruins was Lila’s former family dwelling, where we found a recipe featuring ice mushrooms, the other ingredient she needed for her stew! Setting out to find some of these mushrooms we were distracted from our task when Anna radioed and said that the Yeti had just smashed it’s way through Howling Peaks, damaging the ski lifts in the process. Heading back to town we met everybody at the ski lift, where the two of us were able to take it and limp up to the summit of the mountain. Waiting for us at the top though was said Yeti, who proceeded to chase us right back down the hill! After escaping this vicious beast we wound up at Moose’s shop, where we found the batch of lift tickets Anna mentioned had mysteriously gone missing. Looking to talk to Moose we went to find him but in our search instead ended up reaching some manner of ice cave, where we found Barry captured by a group of Weendigos! So we fought them off and freed him. Exiting the ice cave via a secret tunnel we ultimately ended up at Moose’s shop once more, where we eavesdropped on a suspicious conversation between him and some of his friends. So we then headed back to the ski lift and reached the summit for the second time, having to battle a rabid beast named Frankenmoose before the Yeti showed up again! This time we were ready for him, taking him out in a long boss fight. Afterwards we unmasked Moose as the culprit, who was upset that all the tourists had taken over his mountain, which he wanted all for himself. It was then time to head back to our clubhouse in the swamp, upon doing so Shaggy and Scooby set out to find Lila and give her the last ingredient for her stew. The other three members of Mystery, Inc. thought it was a bad idea and planned on catching up with us, after taking care of some stuff at the clubhouse. Eventually they all met up with Lila and the duo give her the ice mushroom. Suddenly a giant swamp creature rose up from below and it appeared as though Lila had either been eaten by it, or she turned in to the beast itself! After a brief battle with the alligator, Lila emerged and explained that the recipe was what she required to help release her and her pet alligator, named Suji, from captivity in the swamp. She was afraid that if she just asked straight out for our help in the matter we would have said no, so she set up these elaborate recipe chases to entice us in to helping her. So all’s well that ends well, the gang began heading back to the clubhouse while Lila and her pet swam off in to the distance! Game over. A pretty fun game too, considering there were only really three levels in it. Lots of action and puzzles, with plenty to unlock. Fun, fun!!
16) Lastly, with finishing up on Super Mario 3D World recently, we moved on to our next Wii U title of choice, called Avengers: Battle for Earth! The story behind this game is that an alien race known as the Skrulls have secretly begun to invade the Earth. They are able to accomplish this subtly by taking over the identities of various super heroes, in essence creating evil doppelgangers! As the story unfolds you are tasked with visiting different locations and engaging these fiends in street fighting scenarios, taking them to the mat! We started off with the game’s “Campaign” mode, which began with a bit of a trial level in which only one player could participate. The battle pitted Iron Man vs. Wolverine Skrull, which I won (all fights are a best of 3 rounds), earning a silver rating. After this was out of the way we could then begin Campaign mode in earnest, engaging in the Co-op option. James and I first visited “Manhattan”, where our progress went as follows: “New York Malady” (Wolverine/Black Widow vs. Captain America/Thor Skrulls, we won and earned a silver rating), “Broadway Showdown” (Captain America/Thor vs. Wolverine/Black Widow Skrulls, we won and earned a gold rating), “Howling Fury” (Iron Man/Black Widow vs. Hulk/Wolverine Skrulls, we won and earned a silver rating) & “Phoenix Rising” (Phoenix/Spider Man vs. Thor/Spider Man Skrulls, we won and earned a gold rating). After that last match we unlocked the Phoenix character! There are more levels to go in Manhattan, we just need to figure out how to unlock them. So we then moved along to the “Baxter Building” area and completed the first fight there, which went as such: “Terra Incognita” (Scarlet Witch/Magneto vs. Hulk/Storm Skrulls, we won and earned a silver rating). A fun game, not quite what I expected but cool nonetheless!
“NNGRR” - On our guys’ weekend at the cottage we didn’t watch as many movies as usual as the weather was pretty nice, plus there was an NHL playoff game on TV each night. But we were able to view a couple, one I reviewed a short while back, A Million Ways to Die in the West, which is hilarious. The flick I was most excited about though was the sequel to a movie I absolutely adore, and it was just released the week of our trip, so I picked it up the day before we left. It was the hilarious . . . Hot Tub Time Machine 2!!! Huzzah! The story kicks off in current times, almost 20 years since that fateful ski trip the gang went back in time to revisit in the first film passed, forever altering their respective futures. Lou Dorchen fronts the rock band Motley Lou, although his biggest success is his tech firm, Lougle, which has made him an enormous fortune. His son Jacob, labelled a slacker, is basically functioning as Lou’s butler. Nick is a Grammy winning recording artist, having stolen music from artists yet to come along and ride what should have been their successes to international stardom. As for Adam, he is not present, off on some experiential journey. Unfortunately Lougle’s stock has been dropping lately though, as the company is beginning to stagnate. At a board meeting Lou announces his next idea, that of time travel, and gives one of the nerds on his team (Brad) the formula for nitro (the substance needed to power the hot tub time machine)! Not much later, during a party at Lou’s mansion to celebrate his success, events turn tragic when an unidentified person blasts him in the dick with a shotgun! In an effort to save Lou and his dick, Jacob fires up the hot tub time machine and off they go . . . only this time they go in to the future. And it’s not only the future they end up in, but an alternate dimension as Lou is somehow still alive. In this alternate dimension Jacob is now the star, supplanting his father at the top of the tech food chain, while Lou is a washed up, bearded loser. As for Nick, his career hit the skids and he’s now a broke ass former musician. Jacob keeps them focused though, their first step is to locate future Adam as they found his trench coat beside the hot tub, thus deducing he is Lou’s killer. Upon finding Adam’s address though they are disappointed to find his son instead, Adam Jr., who is to be married the next day to his fiancée, Jill. Having never met his father, Adam and Jill think it’s a great idea for him to tag along with the guys in hopes that they somehow do find his estranged father. But in a future where so much has changed and everything is new to these three maniacs, this foursome gets sidetracked many times along the way, to hilarious effect, while investigating possible leads on the perpetrator. Among the suspects are Gary Winkle, a jealous “friend” from back in the day who missed out on the original time traveling adventure, not to mention Brad, who despises the way Lou runs his company. After many twists and turns along the way they finally figure things out, but it will be a close shave to try and save Lou and set things back to rights. Can these dysfunctional fools bear down enough to get the job done, or is it finally curtains for sweet Lou Dorchen? The reviews were really mixed for this film, but I laughed my sack off literally the entire movie! It’s one of those ridiculous types of comedies that I tend to love so much, and the cast members are so perfect for the roles, it’s just a joy to watch. The interactions between Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke are priceless, they are one of my favourite comedy ensembles of all time (plus Adam Scott was awesome too). The eye candy was amazing, with Gillian Jacobs, Collette Wolfe, and Bianca Haase as the lead females . . . delicious. I enjoyed all of the set pieces, the future look and little gadgets and what not that they made up. Much like the first film this is just one of those types of movies you can put on and watch any time at all and it will still be as enjoyable as the first time. I want a third!!!
We began the weekend of the car rally by watching an old movie we thought James would like, featuring the bumbling 1980’s character Ernest P. Worrell . . . in Ernest Goes to Camp! The film begins with a scene from many decades ago, with an Indian tribe performing a sacred ritual that sees their young men graduate to manhood. Fast forward to current times and we find out the sacred grounds that belonged to this tribe now house Camp Kikakee, a boys only camp that sees it’s patrons experience all sorts of fun activities and camaraderie! We are then introduced to our main character, Ernest P. Worrell, who serves as the handyman around the camp, although he really desires to become a counselor one day and help shape these young boys’ lives. Ernest may soon get his chance though, as the camp’s leader is running a program called Second Chance, where kids who have had trouble with authority attend the camp in order to help improve their dispositions. When Kikakee’s regular counselors can’t cut it with these new attendees they dupe Ernest in to the job, but he is clueless and thinks it’s his big chance! Of course the boys play Ernest for the fool at first, but after a while they realize that he is the only one in recent memory who has seemed to give a care about them, for he is only trying to help them and teach them things. In the meantime there is another drama unfolding around the camp. A man named Sherman Krader, owner of the Krader construction company, is trying to buy up the land that Camp Kikakee sits on. For within this land is the world’s largest deposit of a valuable mineral called Petrocite. After many failed attempts to procure the land by contacting the owner, an old Indian man named Chief St. Cloud, Krader results to some dirty tricks and dupes Ernest in to convincing the Chief to sign off on some papers. Soon enough the sad news comes down the line . . . that Camp Kikakee is going to be closed immediately, to be taken over by Krader construction. Realizing the error of his ways Ernest is determined to fight back against these bullies and save Kikakee from a violent end . . . and determined to help Ernest is the handful of hooligans he’s been trying to mentor! Banding together and coming up with a plan, the group then executes said plan. But will a small group of kids and a loveable loser like Ernest be able to triumph over such an overwhelming force? Stranger things have happened!! I enjoyed watching this film all these years later. Of course it’s total cheese, but it brought back some good memories and James really seemed to like it. Lucky it was a three pack that we bought, there will be more Ernest to come for sure!
Next it’s time to congratulate the Oshawa Generals on winning the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup back at the end of May, for they triumphed over the Kelowna Rockets in the finals by a score of 2-1! After winning the OHL championship by defeating the Connor McDavid led Erie Otters, which is no small feat in itself, they went on to sweep the four games they played in the Memorial Cup, which also featured the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, plus the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts and Rimouski Oceanic. They were a very strong team that made some really good additions during the season to help them solidify their run, and boy did it pay off. I didn’t watch as much of the tournament as I should have, as once the Knights are out of the OHL playoffs I tend to lose a bit of interest due to the distraction of the NHL playoffs, but what I did watch was pretty exciting hockey, especially that final game. Congratulations to the Generals, and let’s go Knights in 2016!!
Early the following week I finished the latest TV series I was watching, that being the second and final season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Summer Glau, yeah!!! This season picks up right where the first left off, in the aftermath of the battle that saw the Terminator unit known as Cromartie decimate an entire FBI squad led by James Ellison . . . the person in charge of tracking down the fugitive Sarah Connor. During the battle John’s Terminator protector, Cameron, has her chip damaged. So before John and Sarah can find a place to lay low after the carnage they first have to deal with Cameron, who is now trying to hunt John down and kill him instead of protect him! After this bit of business is taken care of and John is able to repair Cameron’s trip the three of them, with Derek Reese in tow, search for new digs. Upon finding a home to rent they settle in and John begins going to school again, where he meets a cute blonde named Riley, and the two hit if off quite well much to Sarah’s disapproval. As for Sarah, she has resumed her task of trying to stop SkyNet from ever coming to pass, using a list of names provided to them by a resistance fighter to investigate possible leads. The Connors’ adventures take them to many different destinations including a nuclear power plant, a psychiatrist’s office, a UFO convention, a steel factory, and a sleep clinic, just to name a few. Meanwhile, while these outings are unraveling other events are in motion too. After the destruction of his comrades in the FBI, James Ellison quits the force and is soon after recruited to provide security/intelligence support for a Ms. Catherine Weaver, who runs a company called ZeiraCorp. Knowing the truth about the machines now, having seen what both Cameron and Cromartie are capable of up close and personal, he is convinced to take the job when Weaver expresses a knowledge of these machines and an intent on learning much more about them. Also, a femme fatale from the future named Jesse enters the fray, who just so happens to be the love interest of Derek Reese. As time goes by revelations unfold on the mysterious Catherine Weaver’s origins and intentions, as well as a link between Jesse and Riley that may be hazardous for the Connor clan. The adventures don’t stop at just chasing after those responsible for SkyNet’s creation though, mixed in with all this other action we see Cameron lose her memory and strike out on her own for a little while, Sarah and Cameron having to chase John and Riley down after traveling to Mexico for a brief getaway, Cameron researching SkyNet on the side during late night library sessions, Riley attempting to off herself, and a brief reunion with Sarah’s recent boyfriend Charley. Throughout the season many details are revealed concerning the pasts of the main characters, not just the Connor family but also Riley, Jesse, Catherine, and most intriguingly the origins of the Terminator unit that ended up becoming Cameron. In the end the Connors’ leads take them right to Catherine Weaver and ZeiraCorp’s doorstep, the subject of their visit being her pet project, the computer A.I. system known as John Henry. But are the goings on at ZeiraCorp what Sarah and John assume them to be, or is there more going on than meets the eye? This season was killer, totally building on the first season and turning this series in to a world class affair . . . which makes we wonder why the hell they cancelled it prematurely, after just two fuckin’ seasons!?! What is it with Fox anyways, those idiots are always canceling good shows way too early. Anyhoo, this season had a ton of great action, interweaving storylines full of intrigue and suspense, and best of all an all-star cast that seemed born for the roles. Of course my favourite is Summer Glau, as my blog title would indicate. I find her so appealing, not just her extreme good looks but also the types of characters she portrays in her works, she is quite talented. This show will live on forever in my heart, screw you Fox!!
Later that same week I finished the book I had on the go at the time, the third entry in the Tunnels series, called Freefall. It’s been the best one yet! As this story begins we find out that Will, Chester, Elliott, and Bartleby survived the drop down the Pore, although Elliott was badly injured in the process. The land they find themselves in is even closer to the Earth’s core than they were before, and because of this the gravity is a lot less, which the boys find quite cool as it lends them the super power of jumping! However, in this unknown land there are also unknown dangers, such as large man eating spiders! After setting out to explore the area, carrying Elliott along on their backs, they boys are saved from just such a spider by a crazy, frumpy old woman named Martha. She takes their group to the cabin she lives in, where she explains to them all she knows about the region they now find themselves in, at the same time trying to tend to Elliott’s wounds. Meanwhile, not too far away a few others who made the drop down the Pore have survived, namely Will’s former sister(s) the Rebecca twins, along with a Styx Limiter. Soon enough they come across their adoptive father, Dr. Burrows, who fell down the Pore well before anybody else, he is having the time of his life exploring the area and trying to find the fabled “Garden of the Second Sun” that he found evidence of before he fell in the Pore. The twins reveal their Styx heritage to him and force Dr. Burrows in to trying to help them escape the Pore, and he is flabbergasted by their behaviour. As all of this is unfolding below the Earth’s crust, events are in motion topsoil as well. Mrs. Burrows, after meeting Will’s birth mother in the last book, decides to make drastic life changes. She leaves the home she ended up in, rents an apartment, gets a job, and begins going to the gym. In her off time Celia investigates leads in to her family’s disappearance, and in doing so she meets up with Drake, who survived the perils he faced in the last book! Back down below things are about to come to a head. Will, Chester and Martha stumble upon one of the Rebecca twins, who offers up an apology and gives Will the Dominion phials, which supposedly contain the evil plague the Styx plan on releasing topsoil in order to decimate the Earth’s population. They take her to the cabin and keep her under lock and key, Will starts to trust her although none of the others do. What’s worse, Elliott’s condition is deteriorating after she catches a fever and can’t seem to snap out of it. When one day Rebecca mentions to Will that she saw Martha burying something in the yard outside the cabin, Will investigates the site and discovers bottles of pills! Confronting Martha on the matter she admits she got them from a shipwreck in one of the caverns, and that she only wanted to protect the boys from any misguided hope, as her son Nathaniel perished in the exact same way Elliott seems to be fading. But the boys feed Elliott the old medication and tell Martha they want to go to the ship to investigate it further. It’s an arduous journey and once they are there all hell breaks loose. After investigating the wreck, which is actually a modern day steel submarine, they are left with more questions than answers. But that is all put aside when the other Rebecca twin, with her Limited guard and Dr. Burrows in tow, ambush the group at the submarine! Fortunately Elliott finally manages to recover at this point, she saves the day by planting some explosives and blasting the cavern to pieces. In the aftermath there is no sign of the three evil doers. Chester, Martha, Elliott and Bartleby are stuck in one of the tunnels that led them to the submarine, while Will and Dr. Burrows are in a tunnel on the other side of the cavern. The foursome choose to stay put and wait for the Burrows boys to rejoin them, but in setting out to find a route back to Will’s friends, they make a huge discovery. Deep within the Earth they find what must have been some sort of military installation equipped with food stores, weapons and supplies. What’s better, there is a harbour at this facility with a working boat. The pair use the boat to navigate the underground river and return topsoil, and immediately hook up with Drake. Soon enough they also reunite with Mrs. Burrows . . . although it’s not such a sweet reunion for Dr. Burrows! A plan is then formulated. Drake and Mrs. Burrows are going to remain topsoil and try to flush out the Styx leader, in an attempt to weaken their cause. Meanwhile, Will and Dr. Burrows are to return below and search out the Rebecca twins and their Limiter, to make sure they are all dead and the Dominion phials are safe. During their journey the pair is reunited with Chester, Elliott, Martha and Bartleby, and so they all head back to the site of the submarine and begin their investigation. Once there though things take an interesting turn and Dr. Burrows plunges even further in to the void, with Will close behind, and then Elliott and Bartleby behind him. Much to Roger’s delight their long journey ends with an arrival at . . . The Garden of the Second Sun!! Although it looks peaceful and abandoned at first, with the Burrows boys eventually letting their guard down, Elliott is having none of it. And for good reason, for their group is not alone, and it’s only a matter of time before they find that out. Although all three books have been fantastic so far, this is easily my favourite of the bunch! The characters continue to develop and are now all intermingling, learning each other’s secrets, and the overall sense of adventure and discovery backing the story is limitless. So much fun, I can’t wait for Closer!
The weekend of my run we kicked things off by watching the second of our Ernest movies, namely Ernest Goes to Jail. As this film kicks off we learn that Ernest is now working in a bank, as a night janitor, although with his bumbling manner he ends up doing more messing than cleaning! He has a few friends at the bank, the night watchmen Chuck and Bobby as well as a teller named Charlotte. Ernest yearns to move up the food chain and become a teller himself, but the blowhard owner of the bank, Mr. Pendlesmythe, can’t foresee that happening any time soon . . . or at all! Lifting Ernest up from his downed spirits is the fact that when he gets home one day after work he has a letter waiting for him, a letter informing him that he’s been chosen for jury duty. Thrilled to be part of the process that is the justice system, Ernest shows up in court raring to go. The person being tried is a man named Rubin Bartlett, already an inmate at Dracup prison and convicted of killing another inmate! During the proceedings Rubin notices that Ernest looks exactly like his fellow inmate and boss in the joint, the dastardly fiend named Felix Nash. In a desperate gambit Rubin convinces his lawyer to ask the judge to temporarily switch the proceedings to the jail itself, so the jury can witness the environments the crime actually happened in. The next day while at Dracup prison Rubin, Felix and another inmate named Lyle engineer a switch. They lure Ernest away from the group he is with and knock him out cold, after which Nash trades clothing with Ernest and suddenly he’s a free man! After coming to Ernest thinks his new situation is a prank, but soon enough he realizes he’s actually in jail and he proceeds to try and explain to the guards what happened. They are having none of it, though! Rubin quickly warns Ernest to keep his mouth shut, as with Nash now living his life on the outside he could harm Ernest’s friends at a moment’s notice, if need be. At first Ernest plays nice, but after learning that Nash is planning on robbing Ernest’s bank he decides he needs to make a stand and gain his freedom. After many unsuccessful escape attempts the warden finally manages to approve a trip to the electric chair for Nash (Ernest). Ernest is terrified, but after a couple of recent experiences electrocuting himself the chair doesn’t kill him, it only serves to lend him some powers . . . power enough to blast himself out of prison! Ernest first heads home to try and catch Nash unawares, to confront him before he pulls the heist, but unfortunately he’s too late. So, heading to the bank Ernest engages Nash in a battle to save his friends and his place of employment, but does a bumbling fool have any sort of a chance against a hardened criminal like Felix Nash? This was a pretty funny flick, I enjoyed it much more than Ernest Goes to Camp. It sure has some interesting characters and it showcased Jim Varney’s comical chops, focusing on some of his imitations and what not. I determined during the viewing of this film that he looks like a combination of Chris Kattan and French Stewart, so funny! James really liked it as well, this was the Ernest movie he most wanted to watch out of the bunch. One more to go!
Late last week I watched the middle movie of the most current Batman trilogy, called . . . The Dark Knight! The story picks up not long after the events of Batman Begins, and the Dark Knight has left his mark on Gotham, as the streets are quite a bit safer and the local crime bosses are feeling the pinch. Making matters worse for organized crime is Gotham’s new district attorney, Harvey Dent, who even Bruce Wayne is impressed with. Harvey is helping put a clamp down on crime the good of fashioned way . . . you remember, the justice system!?! Despite the fact that Harvey is dating Bruce’s old flame, Rachel Dawes, he throws a fundraiser for Harvey to elevate his stature even further. But soon a new player enters the scene, an insane lunatic who wears clown makeup all over his face and is known as . . . The Joker. This character assumes control of the various organized crime factions in the city, in a most violent fashion, and begins causing trouble the likes of which has never been seen! In between all the bank heists and his other sordid activities, Joker goes on a killing rampage, stating that more people will die every day until Batman reveals his true identity. Batman and Lieutenant Jim Gordon decide to bring Harvey Dent in to the mix on their secret meet ups, in an effort to come up with a plan to neutralize this new threat. However, no matter what they try this maniac seems to always be one step ahead of them. Amongst the victims of Joker’s killing sprees are the commissioner of the Gotham police force, along with a high profile judge with ties to the mob trial. But the good guys refuse to let this terrorist off the hook and draft up the outlines of a plan. With some forewarning of Joker planning an attempt on the life of Gotham’s mayor, Gordon pretends to take a bullet for him during the ensuing chaos, in essence faking his own death. Afterwards Harvey announces that he is Batman and is taken in to custody. The plan comes to fruition while the police transfer Harvey to prison. For they know that Joker will attempt to head off the convoy and get at Dent, so that is where Batman steps in, along with the miraculously living Gordon, who finally manages to take Joker in to custody! Afterwards Gordon is promoted as the department’s new commissioner, but the moment of joy is short lived as the Joker’s plan all along was to be taken to jail, so he could set up his next diabolical plan . . . a plan that will see the death of Rachel Dawes and the severe disfigurement of Harvey Dent, now dubbed Two-Face! With two maniacs now on the loose and gunning for the Caped Crusader, do Batman and his police compatriots have any hope in ending the threat they represent when they weren’t even able to deal with Joker in the first place? Never count the bat out, I say!! This movie is pretty awesome, it’s the point when this Batman trilogy got super serious. Batman Begins was dipping our toes in the deep end whereas the Dark Knight is the cannonball off the diving board. Pretty gritty and grim, lots of fatalities, and it sees the iconic introduction of Heath Ledger as The Joker, who did a tremendous job (R.I.P.). A comic book masterpiece of a movie!
This past Friday night Sieve and I went to see Jurassic World, which we’d both been dying to watch . . . after all we did go see the original together in 1993 at the Goderich theatre, best to continue the tradition! This film is an absolute blast and is set in current times, 22 years after the series of mishaps that plagued the original Jurassic Park, founded by InGen president at the time John Hammond. In the ensuing years InGen has continued to operate and the island’s new owner, Mr. Masrani, has expanded upon Hammond’s dream by opening an interactive, state of the art theme park on Isla Nublar called Jurassic World! Over 20,000 visitors stream through it’s gates every day, and a couple of new additions to the park crowd are on their way. Claire Dearing, the park’s manager of operations, is being visited by her nephews Zach and Gray. However, with how busy Claire is at the park she has her personal assistant look after the boys upon their arrival, granting them full access to the park and it’s numerous attractions. In the meantime Claire is addressing a group of potential investors on the next big reveal Jurassic World has in the works. In an effort to keep on raising the bar said reveal is a new dinosaur that they’ve genetically modified, in essence making their own new brand of dino . . . which they’ve dubbed the Idominus Rex! After the meeting, upon showing the Idominus to Mr. Masrani, he orders one of the park employees to inspect the Idominus’ pen to ensure it is safe enough. The employee in question is a man named Owen Grady, who has been working with the park’s raptors in an effort to become their alpha, not taming them per se but managing to exert some measure of control. As the pair head off to inspect the Idominus’ pen we learn that Claire and Owen have had some sort of short lived past relationship and they are often at each other’s throats. Owen’s mood darkens even further when they reach the Idominus and it’s enclosure seems a little bit lacking. When they try to locate the Idominus using thermal imagery they determine it’s no longer in it’s pen, and panic sets in among the park employees. With claw marks all up along the inner wall of the enclosure they believe the beast to have escaped. However, there is more to the equation. The Idominus is actually still in the enclosure, having managed to somehow camouflage itself, and it soon attacks Owen and a couple of other park employees! Owen makes it out and almost manages to keep the Idominus trapped in it’s pen, but it bursts through the slowly closing door at the last minute and then has the run of the park all to itself! As the beast slowly heads south towards the main hub of the park, it leaves a wake of bodies in it’s path, both human and dinosaur alike. Soon caught up in the fight for survival are Zach and Gray, who were out exploring the plains in one of the “hamster ball” contraptions. In doing so they discover many relics from the original theme park, which is very cool. Back at the control center the special force employed for such emergencies is dispatched but are quickly decimated by the rogue dinosaur. As the Idominus gets closer and closer to the park, breaking open the aviary and unleashing a flock of pterodactyls in the process, desperate times call for desperate measures. At the urging of an InGen goon named Hoskins, Owen decides to take his raptors in to the wild and use them to chase down and ultimately destroy the Idominus. However, after that plan ends up in an epic fail Owen confronts the chief scientist Henry Wu (yes, from the original movie!) on just what types of genes they used when creating this abomination. As the chase looms closer and closer to the park Owen, Claire and company are left with just one choice . . . a choice that could save thousands, or that could help serve up the human buffet even faster. This movie was epic, plain and simple. Starting from the storyline, on to the visuals of the park, down to the amazing job they did bringing these creatures to life, the whole film was just a feast for the senses. Add in an all-star cast led by Chris Pratt and I am really having a hard time not lining up to go see this thing again. I’ve heard they’re now going to start work on the next installment in the near future, which is a huge relief seeing how long it took for this fourth movie to come along. This is easily my second favourite film franchise after Star Wars, bring ‘em on!!!!
Also this past weekend we watched the last of our Ernest movies, called Ernest Scared Stupid! This film begins with a flashback from the year 1880, in the town of Briarville, Missouri. Townsfolk apprehend a vile creature that had been stealing their children away, upon being ridden from existence the beast curses the Worrell family line, so that subsequent generations would get dumber and dumber! Fast forward to the year 1991 and Ernest P. Worrell is clinging to a job in the town of Briarville, as a general worker focusing on helping to clean the town up a bit. He has befriended a trio of kids named Kenny, Elizabeth and Joey, who often times can be seen driving around with Ernest in his garbage truck. Halloween is looming very close and after some bullies break down the kids’ home-made haunted house, Ernest promises them he’ll help build a new fort. They drive in to the woods loaded with supplies and stumble upon a very spooky patch of woods. However, this woods has the perfect tree for them to build their fort on, and so they quickly get to work! Unknown to them though, is the fact that the creature that used to haunt Briarville oh so long ago is buried under this massive oak tree. And during their activity building the fort Ernest unwittingly releases the creature from it’s burial ground. Soon enough young children begin to go missing. For this creature, a troll of some sort, takes the kids and turns them in to wooden statues, using their energy to help breed it’s own descendants! Enlisting the help of the town’s eccentric old scary lady, Old Lady Hackmore, Ernest learns the true nature of the situation, although the authorities don’t believe him. Soon enough both Kenny and then Elizabeth are captured by the troll, who is named Trantor. With nobody able to help him, only Joey and Old Lady Hackmore hip to what’s going on, Ernest must confront the beast head on and stop it’s reign of terror before any more young victims can be claimed. While Ernest is off trying to save the day Joey figures out the keys to stopping Trantor, soon enlisting a group of kids to mount a rescue mission. It all comes to a head in the spooky forest, in a battle that pits Trantor and his recently hatched minions against Ernest and his kiddy companions. Which side will come out on top!? This was by far my favourite of the Ernest movies we’ve watched, as I love Halloween themed films and really appreciated all of the puppetry involved with the creation of the movie’s antagonists. Like the late, great Jim Varney, a true classic for sure!
Just last night the 2015 Stanley Cup champion was determined, and that would be none other than the Chicago Blackhawks!! With the Hawks now winning their third Stanley Cup in the last six seasons this thing is officially a dynasty, which is hard to fathom in this day and age of the salary cap. When you look at the players they have on their team, such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and the list goes on and on, it’s hard not to drop your jaw. Especially being a Leafs fan, who for the last number of years have been so downright pathetic!! Chicago suffered some pretty lean years before these successes, but they now have the winning blueprint down to a tee, and they are a joy to watch. They played the surprising Tampa Bay Lightning in the final series and sunk them in six games, but it was a close one as every game was decided by one goal with the exception of last night’s elimination game, which Chicago won by a score of 2-0. Despite Tampa keeping things close it was rampantly apparent just how much better Chicago was in all areas of the ice though. Tampa had a much easier road to hoe along the way, first taking down the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens, two teams that are not physical in any regard, and in the case of the Canadiens they rely heavily on their goaltender to bail them out on a nightly basis. The Lightning did manage to take down the New York Rangers in the conference finals though, who I had predicted to go to the Cup finals. As for the Blackhawks, they had more of a battle on their hands in the rough and tumble Western Conference. The first two rounds saw them dispose of the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild, both heavily favoured as Cup contenders heading in to the playoffs, before disposing of the Anaheim Ducks in a very physical conference final series. Despite this the talent, depth and experience of this Chicago team saw them through their long journey, which is even more impressive seeing as their back end was so banged up. So congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on their 2015 Stanley Cup championship winning efforts, it was a magical ride!!
For the last few weeks I’ve been listening heavily to a Greatest Hits CD I picked up a while back, from none other than The Guess Who! The Guess Who are a Canadian outfit (from Winnipeg, no less!) who originally formed in the late 1950’s, but didn’t earn worldwide success until the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. The band’s lineup was a revolving door of various members over the years, but the two names one might most recognize are that of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman. The band’s sound is rock and roll of course, with some psychedelic rock swirled in often and to great effect. I find that the really good music from the 1960’s and 1970’s has a distinct kind of feel and sound to it, and The Guess Who certainly had that quality in spades. You may not know their name or have the ability to recall any of their songs, but chances are you’ve heard a good number of their hits and would recognize upon hearing them. I consider this album an essential addition for any fan of rock music, my favourite tracks of the 18 that it contains include “These Eyes”, “Laughing”, “Undun”, “No Time”, “American Woman”, “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature”, “Hand Me Down World”, “Share The Land”, “Albert Flasher”, “Rain Dance”, “Star Baby” & “Clap For The Wolfman”. That’s virtually all of them, but that’s how bloody good this collection is, so go get it!!