The last few weeks haven’t been quite as action packed as the previous few were, but there was still a lot of activity going on. On the Friday night after my last blog our pool opened up for the summer, so I pretty much spent the whole weekend outside, getting the pool cleaned and cleared up, as well as tidying up the yard a bit more. The weekend after that we didn’t do much, but the Monday was a P.D. Day (yes, this late in June . . . I should have been a teacher), so the mother-in-law came down on Sunday and looked after James on the Monday. As for last weekend, it was Father’s Day and so it of course was the most action packed weekend of the bunch! On Friday night mrs. darthcobain17’s dad came down and we went out for dinner, then headed over to the Kids Expo festival at the park. On Saturday we took my Dad to the driving range and then mini-putt, afterwards we went back to their house for a taco feast! And on Sunday the family took me to one of our local attractions, Storybook Gardens, where they had a Lego theme day going on. As for other stuff going on during the weekdays and what not, I’m continuing to ride my bike like a fiend. And now I’m also swimming a ton, doing sit-ups, etc., and have also kept up the diet. The weight loss has hit 20 pounds and growing at this point, this is easily the best I’ve looked in probably over a decade. James completed his latest round of golf lessons just recently and graduated to the next level. During the lessons they decided to give the adults lessons for free, at least any of us who were interested, and I must say it’s renewed my interest in the sport a fair bit! Tips and instruction from people who know what they’re doing certainly does go a long way. We also got James one of those Razor scooters and he loves the thing, he’s been taking it to school for the “wheels days” they’ve been having recently. So all in all it’s been busy, but in a good way, with lots of physical activity and outside play. As for our inside play though, here is what we were able to accomplish along the way . . .
1) The next series is in the books on my season on MLB 2K11. The Cincinnati Reds were next on the list, coming to town for a three game set. The results were as such: won vs. Cincinnati 13-4, won vs. Cincinnati 8-3 & won vs. Cincinnati 10-1.
2) I finally got back to playing Lego: Lord of the Rings, although I didn’t get much accomplished overall. I only managed to complete the third level of the game, called “Weathertop”. There I was able to earn True Adventurer status, found 1 Minikit piece, unlocked the Aragorn character, and earned 2 Silver Bricks (one for the level completion, the other for the status achievement). Hopefully I’ll be able to get in to it a bit more this next time around . . .
3) Donkey Kong Country Returns is nearing the end, as James and I have made our best progress there in a long while! First up came the sixth world, called “Cliff”, where we defeated the first nine levels, as so: “Sticky Situation” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 9/9 puzzle pieces), “Prehistoric Path” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Weighty Way” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Boulder Roller” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 7/7 puzzle pieces), “Precarious Plateau” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Crumble Canyon” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 9/9 puzzle pieces), “Tippy Shippy” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Clifftop Climb” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces) & “Thugly’s Highrise” (defeated boss). We also went on to complete the seventh world, called “Factory”. The nine levels we mowed down there were: “Foggy Fumes” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 7/7 puzzle pieces), “Slammin’ Steel” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Handy Hazards” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 7/7 puzzle pieces), “Gear Getaway” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 7/7 puzzle pieces), “Cog Jog” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 9/9 puzzle pieces), “Switcheroo” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Music Madness” (collected all four K-O-N-G letters, and found 5/5 puzzle pieces), “Lift-Off Launch” (made our way to a rocket and then blasted up in to the air) & “Feather Fiend” (defeated boss). I do believe the end just may be in sight now!!
4) The next two games of my season are in the books on NHL ’04, and the results were as such: won @ Buffalo 11-5 & won vs. Philadelphia 8-3.
5) On Lego Batman 2 I was able to put a lot of time in, going back and mopping everything up! Starting the game on Free Play mode my progress through the 14 levels for the second time around went as such: “Gotham Theatre” (earned True Hero status, found 4/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the The Riddler, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, and Riddler Goon characters, and found the Red Brick [X4 Stud Multiplier extra]), “Joker Getaway” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, and found 4/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Killer Moth, Robin [Classic Suit], Joker Goon, and Bane characters), “Arkham Estate” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 2/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Killer Frost and Asylum Inmate characters, and found the Red Brick [Fast Build extra]), “Arkham Asylum” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 5/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Asylum Patient, Scarecrow, Mr. Zsasz, Mad Hatter, and Mr. Freeze characters, and found the Red Brick [X6 Stud Multiplier extra]), “Ace Chemicals” (earned True Hero status, and found 3/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Clark Kent, Vicki Vale, and Captain Cold characters), “Juggernaut Chase” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 2/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Two-Face and Katana characters, and found the Red Brick [Regenerate Hearts extra]), “The Batcave” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 4/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Batman [Classic Suit], Nightwing, Poison Ivy Goon, and Alfred Pennyworth characters, and found the Red Brick [Minikit Detector extra]), “Assault on the VTOL” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 5/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Shazam, Vixen, Captain Boomerang, Commissioner Gordon, and Talia al Ghul characters, and found the Red Brick [Invincibility extra]), “Attack on LexCorp” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 4/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Huntress, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and LexCorp Security characters, and found the Red Brick [Red Brick Detector extra]), “Robot Sky Battle” (earned True Hero status), “Gotham Metro” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 3/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Man Bat, Clayface, and Scarecrow Goon characters, and found the Red Brick [X8 Stud Multiplier extra]), “Brawl at City Hall” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 3/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Hawkman, Red Robin, and Lucius Fox characters, and found the Red Brick [X10 Stud Multiplier extra]), “Wayne Industries” (earned True Hero status, found 1/1 sound clips, found 1/5 Minikit Canisters which unlocked the Diana Prince character, and found the Red Brick [Grab Expert extra]) & “The Final Battle” (earned True Hero status). Between levels I would purchase some of the stuff I unlocked along the way, first and foremost usually the Red Bricks and the valuable extras they contained. The characters I purchased included Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Supergirl, Batman (Classic Suit), Robin (Classic Suit), Tim Drake, Nightwing, Batgirl, Clark Kent, Cyborg, Superboy, Katana, The Joker, The Joker (Tropical), Harley Quinn, The Riddler, The Penguin, Two-Face (Classic), Two-Face, Bane, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Black Mask, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Zsasz, Mad Hatter, Killer Moth, Red Hood, Azrael, Deadshot, Lady Shiva, Vicki Vale, Captain Cold, Killer Frost, Heavy Joker Goon, Joker Goon, Riddler Goon, Two-Face Goon, Asylum Patient, Freeze Goon, LexCorp Heavy, Poison Ivy Goon, LexBot, Captain Boomerang, Lois Lane, Commissioner Gordon, Huntress, Lex Luthor, Talia al Ghul, Vixen, Shazam, Bruce Wayne, Man Bat, Clayface, Alfred Pennyworth, Asylum Inmate, LexCorp Security, Scarecrow Goon, Red Robin, Diana Prince, Hawkman, and Lucius Fox. As for the extras, I snapped them up in the following order: X6 Stud Multiplier, Minikit Detector, Regenerate Hearts, Stud Magnet, Super Goons, Fast Build, Big Heads, Red Brick Detector, X8 Stud Multiplier, X10 Stud Multiplier, Invincibility, and Grab Expert. At the end of the game I also purchased all 10 hints and all 14 sound clips. When I finally put the game away my completion percentage was at 90.7%. There is some secret stuff you can get with codes and what not, but ain’t nobody got time for that!! Great game, a lot of fun.
6) I kept rolling with Shinobi, completing the next three levels. First up was the third level of the game, after defeating the boss of the last level Jiro jumped out of the building he was in and ended up on top of a moving vehicle, what looked like a train. I made my way along it’s roof and through it’s inner compartments, destroying all of Zeed’s forces along the way. The train was full of weird equipment, the purpose of which seemed to be bizarre biological experiments. For completing the level I unlocked the I Have the Power and Cool Headed achievements. I also earned the Ribbon Magic Concept Art and Hyper Transport MG97 items. In the fourth level, after leaving the train behind, I ended up in a forested area. I proceeded, avoiding deadly spike traps and dispatching more enemies, eventually coming to a waterfall. I navigated this area, avoiding an attacking helicopter in the process, and entered what appeared to be an underground temple. After defeating a strange beast I soon came out in to the forest once again, but not long afterwards a series of helicopters took it upon themselves to harry my progress. They blasted me down in to an underground river where I had to surf on a wooden plank and avoid the hazards in the water. After exiting the water in some manner of cavern I then entered what appeared to be a secret base, soon engaging more soldiers and even a submarine, before exiting the base to take on the boss of the level, an H43 Chopper. The last level I completed was level five, and I started off in what looked like a giant industrial facility, with large fans and what not dominating the landscape. Jumping and running through this environment I made short work of enemy soldiers and ninjas, before hitching a ride on top of a jet that was being raised on a platform . . . it turned out I was actually inside an aircraft carrier! The jet took off and I hitched a ride on it, avoiding other planes shooting at me and attacking soldiers donning jetpacks. Eventually I leaped off my ride when we reached some weird, massive flying ship that looked like a fortress. Making my way over it’s decks I dealt with infantry and turrets, before plunging in to it’s innards. I fought a Fushin Ninja before coming to the craft’s Mega Core. After destroying them both I soon came to the boss of the level, a Super Solider. Upon killing it I jumped out of the craft while it blew up around me, and was caught safely by a female commander in a helicopter, who seemed to be the leader of a resistance against Zeed. For completing the level I unlocked the Afterburned Hunter achievement, as well as the Battle Horse Concept Art item. More to come!
7) As for Gex, there I was able to complete the next two levels and thus finish “Cemetery”, the first world of the game. The levels I finished were called “Disco Inferno” and “Spin-N-Puke” (defeated the world’s boss) respectively. The password I got after defeating said boss was BXRFYHGP. On to the next world!!
8) Since defeating Star Wars Angry Birds a short while back I needed another Wii title to keep me going, so I decided to start play on Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters! This game follows the story of a human named Hal Jordan, who has recently been deemed worthy of becoming a Green Lantern, a guardian of the galaxy, and is heading to the Green Lantern’s home planet of Oa to complete his training. The opening level is pretty much just a tutorial. To begin with I had a sparring match with one of the most powerful Green Lanterns around, before meeting up with Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Ch’p, and Arisia afterwards. They put me through some basic training exercises, getting me used to the controls. Not long in to it some alarms began to blare and we found out that the Manhunters (Oa’s first, failed attempt, at creating peacekeepers for the galaxy) were attacking Oa! Ignoring the threat I was tasked with battling my way across Oa, to the meeting place of the heads of the guardians. Once there they gave me my assignment, which was to travel around to different worlds and monitor each situation, helping out the senior Green Lanterns who are in charge at each location in any way possible. In order to do so I then headed to the communications room in preparation for my first journey. This looks like a decent game so far, can’t wait to explore it a little further!
9) Finally, since I completed Lego Batman 2 I needed another handheld game to consume, so I decided on Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril for the 3DS! The story behind this title is that Doctor Doom is collecting cosmic bricks that have rained down to Earth thanks to the Silver Surfer’s ruined surf board. He is teaming up with Loki to construct a powerful weapon of mass destruction out of them! Your job is to take control of a great many Marvel super heroes and stop this from happening. This Lego game is very much unlike most of the rest of them that I’ve played, in the fact that it does not have a central hub that you can roam around and collect items in, while also accessing the game’s levels. You simply pick your level off of a list and away you go. It’s kind of disappointing, but also kind of a relief at the same time!! The game is divided up in to chapters that consist of three levels each. The first chapter of the game is called “Sand Central Station”, and the three levels I completed there were as such: “Park Avenue” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Hulk and Sandman Goon characters, gaining a Collectible Card, as well as a Red Brick [X2 Super Move Slot extra]), “Sand Central Interior” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Iron Man and Hulk [Gray] characters, and gaining a Collectible Card) & “Sand Central Rooftop” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Spider-Man and Sandman characters, and gaining a Collectible Card). Afterwards I made some purchases with the Lego studs I’d collected. The characters I purchased included Hulk (Gray), Sandman, and Sandman Goon. I also purchased the Super Move 2 extras for the Spider-Man, Hulk, Hulk (Gray), Iron Man, and Sandman characters. The second chapter of the game was called “Baxter Building”, and the levels I knocked over there included: “The Lab” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Captain America and Spider-Man 2099 characters, and gaining a Collectible Card), “Baxter Rooftop” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Mister Fantastic and J. Jonah Jameson characters, and gaining a Collectible Card) & “Times Square” (completed 9/10 challenges, unlocking the Mary Jane Watson and Daredevil characters, gaining a Collectible Card, as well as a Red Brick [Honking Sounds extra]). Afterwards I purchased the J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Daredevil, Mister Fantastic, Spider-Man 2099, and Captain America characters. I also purchased the Super Move 2 extras for the Mister Fantastic and Spider-Man 2099 characters, as well as the X2 Super Move Slot and Honking Sounds extras. The last chapter I’ve been able to get at so far is the third one, called “Oscorp”. The levels I nailed there were: “Oscorp Offices” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Hawkeye and Spider-Man [Symbiote Suit] characters, and gaining a Collectible Card), “Oscorp Basement” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Black Widow and Black Widow [Classic] characters, and gaining a Collectible Card) & “Symbiote Labs” (completed 9/10 challenges, unlocking the Gwen Stacy and Hawkeye [Classic] characters, and gaining a Red Brick [Big Heads extra]). Afterwards I purchased the Hawkeye, Black Widow, Black Widow (Classic), Gwen Stacy, Hawkeye (Classic), and Spider-Man (Symbiote Suit) characters. I also purchased the Super Move 2 extras for the Hawkeye, Hawkeye (Classic), and Spider-Man (Symbiote Suit) characters, as well as the Big Heads extra. Great game so far, can’t wait for more immersion!!
“NNGRR” - The day after my last blog I finally got around to watching what has become a legendary classic . . . Sharknado!! In the town of Santa Monica, California local surfing legend Fin Shepard is in for quite a rough day. While out on the ocean with his buddy Baz, catching some waves, he witnesses a shark attack, but soon realizes things are even worse than they seem. A massive hurricane storm system pushing up from Mexico is driving a pod of thousands of sharks up to the California coastline! After evacuating the water Fin, Baz, and the waitress that works at Fin’s pier side bar, Nova, all take shelter in said bar. However, this storm is unlike any storm ever witnessed before. Shortly afterwards Fin’s bar is under siege from intense wind and massive waves, and what’s riding in with the wind and waves are the thousands of sharks the storm has stirred up. It’s not long before the area, including nearby Los Angeles, is flooded out and there are sharks literally swimming in the streets! A mission is then undertaken by Fin, Baz, Nova, and a bar patron named George, to get to high ground away from the danger, while rescuing Fin’s estranged family along the way. But with all manner of sharks popping up from the sewers, dropping from the sky, and swimming in the streets, it’s a much more difficult challenge than it seems. Does this rag tag bunch have what it takes, or will they end up being chum like much of the rest of Los Angeles? This movie was very cool, falling right smack dab in the middle of that B movie horror/disaster genre I’ve come to love so much! I liked Ian Ziering and Tara Reid as two of the main characters, as I’ve always liked them in their past productions. But there were some cool new actors I was introduced to as well, including Jaason Simmons, Aubrey Peeples, Chuck Hittinger, and the super-hot Cassie Scerbo!! Can’t wait for the follow up film to drop . . .
A day later I finished reading a book called Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi; Into the Void. This story starts out on the world of Tython just over 25,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, and it serves as a bit of an origins story for the Jedi . . . or Je’daii as they were called oh so long ago. Tython is a world in the deep core, and the planet itself is alive with the Force and holds many mysteries. It is here that the first Je’daii Masters honed mastery of their craft, seeking to keep themselves in balance between Tython’s twin moons Ashla (the light) and Bogan (the dark). Lanoree Brock is a Je’daii Ranger and one of the Masters’ most promising disciples. She travels the Tython system and keeps the peace as Je’daii have always been tasked to do. However, when she is called back to Tython to receive orders for a new mission, she is quite curious as to it’s nature. Lanoree’s Master informs her that there is a sect of individuals who call themselves “Stargazers”, and are obsessed with obtaining an ancient piece of technology thought to be developed by the planet’s previous inhabitants, the fabled Gree. The leader of the Stargazers plans on obtaining this device, and powering it up using dark matter, in order to open up a pathway to the unknown stars beyond their home system of Tython (interstellar travel/hyperdrives is not a capability they had at this point). However, it’s believed that if this device is used it could go awry and cause the destruction of their entire system! The reason Lanoree is chosen as the individual to undertake the task of stopping these Stargazers is that her long lost brother Dalien is thought to be the one leading the movement. Dal was never able to channel the Force although everybody pushed him hard to do so, and so he grew to resent the Je’daii. After a violent incident during Lanoree and Dal’s training as youngsters, Dal fled and when Lanoree caught up to him in the ruins of the Old City, all she found were his shredded and bloodied robes. Taking along a shady Twi’lek named Tre Sana for the ride, Lanoree must hunt down her ghost of a brother and do what must be done . . . but does she have it inside of her to pull the trigger, so to speak? This was my introduction to this time frame in the Star Wars universe and I quite enjoyed it. I love the Jedi origins aspect of the story, and although it was full of the typical type of Star Wars action, there was also lots of mystery to it with all of the ancient mythology that was hinted at and explored. The book also came with a short excerpt from a graphic novel that takes place in this part of the universe and timeline, as well as a very short story that details Lanoree’s last mission leading up to her confrontation with the Stargazers. Great read!!
Later that same day I sat down and watched another epic movie journey I had in the works, called . . . Robo Croc!! This tale begins with a military led shuttle launch somewhere off the coast of Florida. Just after liftoff there is a technical issue though and the craft explodes, sending it’s cargo down to the ground far below. The cargo in question is a top secret military weapon known as nano robots, tiny robotic organisms capable of infiltrating host subjects and converting them in to robots themselves, and taking directives form the U.S. military. This dangerous cargo happens to land in a theme park that is part zoo and part adventure land, containing both a water park and an ATV test track. The nano bots land in the paddock of the park’s massive Australian Saltwater Crocodile, named Stella, and immediately they infest her body, beginning a transformation. Meanwhile, not long after arriving at work the park’s animal warden, Duffy, is told there’s been a disturbance, that Stella is missing as is the employee who feeds the animals. Soon afterwards the military arrive and take over the search for the croc and their payload, and the two sides are immediately at odds over how to proceed with said search. Joining Duffy on his crusade to recapture Stella and save the park is their new biologist, Jane. The two immediately get to work, but the action heightens when Stella is able to break out of the zoo portion of the park and wander freely in to the ATV track and the water park, where Duffy’s son just so happens to be enjoying the afternoon! It’s a race for survival, and all the while the people of the park who are being killed and injured don’t realize they are being manipulated by the head of the nano robot project, Dr. Riley, who is mercilessly using the situation as a chance for a field test of sorts. Riley may have bitten off more than she could chew with Duffy and Jane though, but just how many people will die before they can stop the madness? This was another great B horror movie, again right up my alley! I really like the nano bot premise. Although I’ve experienced a lot of nano bot exposure in my sci fi wanderings, I’ve never seen it used in this sort of fashion. The action was great as well, and I really liked the cast, none of whom I’d ever heard of before. I am honoured to insert this title in to my DVD shelf!!
For a short while now James has been on a bit of a super hero kick, his favourite for some reason being The Flash! So we decided to let him start watching some super hero movies that aren’t too, too violent. So the weekend after my last blog we began with Spider-Man, from 2002! As you would have guessed, Peter Parker is the main subject of this film. He is a nerdy high schooler who is way in to photography, and because of this he is the subject of ridicule, often at the hands of his crush Mary-Jane’s jock boyfriend, Flash. However, when on a science field trip one day Peter gets bit by a genetically modified spider, and it changes his life. Waking up the next morning after going to bed early because he was not feeling well from the effects of the bite, Peter finds out that he’s feeling great, appears to be in much better shape, and can do all sorts of things physically that he never would have been able to before. He also discovers that he can shoot actual spider webs out of his wrists! Needless to say his next bullying session from Flash ends in a much different manner! Energized with his newfound, remarkable abilities, Peter soon casts himself as Spider-Man (or the Human Spider if he had his way!) and roams the streets fighting crime. Some cast him as a vigilante villain, while others praise his proactive stance on crime. While all this is happening Peter’s best friend’s (Harry) dad, Norman Osborn, is experiencing trouble at his company. Oscorp is a massive supplier of futuristic arms to the U.S. military, but unfortunately the military is not pleased with Oscorp’s recent progress on a project. Taking matters in to his own hands, Norman forces a co-worker to use an experimental gas on him, but the procedure is cut short when Norman begins convulsing. Although he survives, Norman is mentally altered and he assumes an alter ego . . . which becomes known as The Green Goblin! After the shareholders decide to cut Norman out of the equation, effectively firing him, the pure fury of the Goblin is then unleashed. There to combat him though is your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, and their many battles are epic! However, it all culminates one evening when the Goblin kidnaps Mary Jane and lures Spidey in to a trap only one of them will come out of alive. Just who will it be? I remember this being a great movie when it was released, and it is still a great watch over a decade later. The effects are still really good, it’s got a classic Spider-Man plot and feel to it, and the action is well mixed with some important character/plot development. The cast is really great too. I love Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, he just seems so perfect for the role! And then you’ve got James Franco, Willem Dafoe, and Kirsten Dunst too, pretty solid! I wonder what we’ll choose next . . . ?
The following week I finished reading the second book in The Seven Wonders series, called Lost in Babylon. This story picks up just days after the four kids’ last adventure in Greece, with Jack, Aly and Cass very worried about Marco, who disappeared with the flight Loculus at the end of their time in Greece. However, there really isn’t time to worry as Professor Bhegad and the Karai Institute have their next mission planned, to head to Iraq, the site of ancient Babylon. Bhegad believes the next Loculus is located where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon once stood, another of Earth’s ancient wonders. Upon arrival in Iraq it’s not long before they discover Marco and a happy reunion ensues! He apologizes for taking off, but his excuse seems pretty flimsy. Marco proceeds to show his mates a secret he found while in Iraq. Entering the Euphrates River, down below the surface they pass through a portal which actually takes them to ancient Babylon . . . which has been stuck in some sort of other dimensional time loop for thousands of years! Befriending a girl named Dalia, who ends up being a long lost descendant of Atlantis too, they try to make friends with the evil king in an attempt to gain access to the Hanging Gardens. With Dalia’s help they eventually do, and after battling through many traps they find the invisibility Loculus. However, removing it from it’s shrine causes all sorts of disasters to erupts, which seem like they will eventually destroy this mysterious land. Heading back to the river and informing Bhegad of the situation, the group then heads back to the Institute, eventually returning to Babylon with a device that should hopefully replicate the Loculus and allow them to get what they need, while keeping Babylon intact along the way. But much to their dismay, Jack, Aly and Cass never get to see this plan through, as Marco betrays them. He’s secretly been in touch with the Karai Institute’s rivals, The Massa, and it’s not long before they have both Loculi and all four kids in their possession. The Massa take their captives to a secret base in Egypt, where they believe another one of the Loculi are hidden away inside the great pyramid of Giza. But before The Massa can put them to work, Jack, Aly and Cass escape along with both Loculi, in a daring effort that is aided by a mysterious member of The Massa. However, there is still much to be done for the three kids and the Karai Institute, as they need to stay one step ahead of The Massa in the search for the remaining Loculi. Who will manage to penetrate the pyramid of Giza and find the next Loculus first? Is Marco lost to the Karai Institute and his friends forever? And just who is the mysterious person who seems to have Jack and his friends’ best interests at heart? Unfortunately I’m going to have to wait a while to find out!! This was another great read, a gripping blend of action and ancient secrets. Amazing how much you can learn from a “kids” book!!
Last Friday the 2013-2014 NHL season drew to a close when the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Rangers 4 games to 1 in the Stanley Cup finals, netting them the greatest trophy in sports for the second time in the last three years! The Kings’ road was a tough one. After getting down 3 games to none in their opening round series against the San Jose Sharks, they stormed back to win four in a row and take the series in stunning fashion! After that they faced two more of the league’s more elite teams in the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, and those two series both went the full 7 games as well. The series against Chicago was so good it was almost like the Stanley Cup finals in itself, better in fact than the actual finals were. As for the Rangers, they were the team that rose to the top out of a field that wasn’t that great to begin with in the East. They made a slightly better showing in the finals than I thought they would, but I hate that team, as I normally hate all Rangers’ teams, so to see them outclassed and out-experienced by a bigger, more exciting L.A. team was sweet music to my ears and eyes. The Kings have become one of my favourite teams in recent years for a number of reasons. They are big and like to punish their opponents with relentless physical attacks, and they are also heavily tilted in their Canadian content (obviously). They have a large number of Canadians on their team, as the eventual Stanley Cup winning team tends to have each and every year. Not only that, but they have some local guys from my hometown in Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty, and a handful of other guys from nearby towns like Woodstock, Toronto, St. Catharines, etc. Thank you Los Angeles Kings, for ensuring that for one more season at least, a team full of douche bags didn’t escape with this most coveted trophy!!
The weekend after the Stanley Cup was awarded I finished reading the second book in The House of Secrets series, called Battle of the Beasts! To start this second installment off it’s been a number of weeks since the Walker children’s last adventure ended, where they were sucked in to a mishmash of fictional stories created by Denver Kristoff, the former owner of the old San Francisco home they now live in. During their intense experiences they dealt with evil doers like pirates and warriors, not to mention Denver’s evil daughter, the Wind Witch, who manipulated Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor in to finding the powerful Book of Doom and Desire for her, which she was planning on using to rule the world. After Eleanor managed to banish the Wind Witch, the recent past had been mostly uneventful, the biggest problem the kids faced were bullies at their new school and such issues. But one day that all changes when Cordelia suffers through some bizarre physical ailments that can’t be explained. She seems to be turning to ice underneath her skin, and her teeth are falling out. It all culminates when Denver Kristoff manages to capture Eleanor, and during her older siblings’ rescue effort the Wind Witch is born from Cordelia’s mouth! Fortunately for Brendan, Eleanor, and Will (a fictional hero they picked up in their last adventure), Cordelia comes back to life afterwards and the Wind Witch is mystified. It’s not too much later that the Walkers are forced in to another hodge podge of Denver Kristoff’s tales, once again being coerced in to doing the Wind Witch’s bidding. Soon they are facing gladiators in the coliseum of Rome, which is ruled by a toad of an Emperor named Occipus, they come under attack from robotic Nazi soldiers from World War II, as well as help Tibetan monks defend their monastery against fearsome creatures called Frost Beasts. Throughout their journey the primary goal is to stick together and find a way home (a goal that is broken by Brendan temporarily), while denying the Wind Witch the power she lusts for. Using their courage and wily thinking the kids may just be able to do so, but along the way they make a startling discovery . . . a discovery that insinuates the Wind Witch is actually a long lost family member. This was another cool story, I find this series to be very fast paced and action packed. And the story is pretty cool too, it will be interesting to see where this revelation goes over the remaining books in the series.
A couple nights ago we finished watching the second season of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original, which was ready for viewing in full on June 06 I do believe. To start the season off Chapman is mysteriously being transferred to a facility in Chicago, but she doesn’t know why. Chapman believes she is being disciplined for her violent run in with Pennsatucky, but it is actually so she can appear in court to testify against Alex’s former drug cartel running boss. Alex tells Piper to lie and say she’s never met him, in fear of her personal safety, but when Alex takes the stand she caves and tells the whole truth, meaning she goes free while Piper is still stuck in jail and could potentially have one more rap added to her sheet! Returning to Litchfield the mostly peaceful life the inmates lead is about to be turned upside down. A new inmate known by the name of “V” enters the fray, a heroin dealer who used to be involved in current inmate Tasty’s life. V immediately begins sowing distrust among the inmates and they soon find themselves segregated in to groups according to race. She also begins finding a way to bring cigarettes in to the prison, and not long afterwards drugs. Red, no longer in charge of the kitchen but wanting to get in on the action as she is a rival of V’s from one of her previous stints at Litchfield, also finds a way to bring in other contraband, through the prison’s greenhouse. In the meantime there is much going on amongst the prison’s staff as well. The cover up of inmate Diaz’s pregnancy gets returning guard Mendez sent to jail, Healey must deal with his issues of anger and unwillingness to help the women he is in charge of caring for, and biggest of all, with Chapman’s help Caputo takes assistant warden Figueroa down on charges of embezzlement! There are many other plots going on as well, with the action all culminating in a pretty explosive episode that seals off a lot of storylines, but leaves many others wide open. What a great show, absolutely everything about it. Now we have the long wait while season three is produced!!
The last little while I’ve been listening to Super Collider (2013), the most recent release from Megadeth!! This band was formed in the early 1980’s by front man Dave Mustaine and bass player Dave Ellefson, and are pioneers of the thrash/heavy metal sound and scene. Mustaine actually played in Metallica before forming Megadeth, but he was a bit too wild for those guys!! In total the band has released fourteen studio albums, and their sound is for the most part very fast, very guitar driven, and their subject matter touches on the issues of life and death, religion, rebellion against authority and other social issues, and much more. One of their trademarks is Mustaine’s voice, which is one of the coolest in the business, a very gruff type of growl. This album is a very excellent listen, my favourite tracks on it include “Kingmaker”, “Super Collider”, “Built for War”, “Dance in the Rain”, “Forget to Remember” & “Cold Sweat”. Beauty!!