The Babysitter (2017)

Release Date: October 13, 2017

A fantastic comedic horror movie, once again showing how Netflix handily beats out the bigger movie companies.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

The story is pretty straight forward, a boy just entering teen years who is picked on by bullies and who is afraid of everything.

Cole is surrounded by a lot of people including his parents who love him, but are distant. A close female friend that encourages and supports him. Then there is Bee, the babysitter who is attractive, smart and loves spending time with him. It is unfortunate that he is then surrounded by a satanic cult, and large tarantulas.

The movie is fast paced. Shortly after you learn to like Bee, you learn to hate her about as much as Cole accidentally learns that Bee leads a Satanic cult, intent on drinking blood, praying to Satan and killing Cole.

The Satanic Cult is priceless. I loved Max, the bad guy quarterback (played by Robbie Amell, first cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Arrow). John was also a great character, wanting sex, but screaming a lot when trouble happens. Unfortunately I wasn’t as impressed with the two other women in the cult, not because they were bad actresses but because of their roles.

I cannot express how much I loved Max being a murdering satanic cultist chasing Cole, who stops and shows Cole how to defend himself against bullies. I won’t say anymore, but that scene is the high point of the movie for me.

The movie is directed by McG, the same person that brought us Supernatural, and you can see his influence. The movie feels like something that could happen in the Supernatural world.

The good: Everything about this was good. I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Cole and Max.

The bad: That it was over in less than 90 minutes (actually that is probably good, they didn’t let it drag).

This just shows why I will almost always watch anything done by Netflix. Even with a few stinkers, Netflix usually supplies what I look for.

Gaming Update

I figured I haven’t talked about our gaming stuff lately and I would give an update on the various campaigns. I linked the campaign websites in the titles of each campaign.

THINGS THAT STILL REMAIN

Sadly there is only a single game still remaining intact

TAZA’S STORY (A CANDLE IN THE WARP)

Taza of Wyvern Home, she is a bleeding heart hunter and only terrible to bad things. She is definitely my longest running campaign still active (and the second longest running campaign behind Stone’s Project Hidden Campaign which wrapped up as I started Taza). She has been around for close to 8 years and started as a GURPS character set in Shadowrun universe (well an AU universe in the future now). Started as a group character ran of course by my hubby and became a solo character when that game crashed. Still running strong and the campaign has shifted to starting to explore space finding that it is part of the Burning Twilight universe.

 

THINGS THAT ARE GONE

CALL OF ALTHARA (GURPS SCI-FI RPG)

Sadly, the days we were playing the game (Friday nights) didn’t work for half the group. We offered to reschedule to Saturday or Sunday mornings/afternoons but the other half wasn’t interested. So this means we will have to table the game for now. It is a shame, but since it is the GURPS system which is harder to attract people to, we figured we would start a new game (covered later) that was a more popular system.

SONG OF KALI (MECHWARRIOR/BATTLETECH RPG)

This is a great game, but the group splintered and while Kai is gracious enough to start a new battletech/mechwarrior game, my new work schedule with training and hubby’s surgeries take me out of the ability to play it for now. Even if I go back (which may happen) its a new campaign so Shaan’s story at this moment is over. I would probably start a new wordpress for my new character.

ALLY THE HUNTING FAERIE (SOLO RULE-LESS URBAN FANTASY RPG)

My longest running character ever in a solo game my hubby runs for me. She has hit pretty much all of her life goals, she is happy, and not really someone I can see pursuing dangers anymore. It has come time to retire her. I will probably post about my feelings in retiring a character that has been around over 7 years but that would deserve its own post. My one regret is that I had started her blog years earlier, it just got too hard trying to record things in the previous seven years so it didn’t get updated much.

PRIEST’S WAR (SOLO RULE-LESS STARTED AS SHADOWRUN RPG)

No website for this one, it was a secondary solo game I ran for my hubby, based in the same universe as Taza. Upon request we shifted the secondary game to Luther in “Strange Journeys” below. The biggest remaining bonus from this great game was the influence it had on my world building for A Candle In the Warp (Taza’s story).

 

THINGS THAT HAVE ARRIVED

Surprisingly enough several new games are opening up. Right now there is three confirmed games that have been added. More are being worked on.

STRANGE JOURNEYS (SOLO GURPS – CALL OF CTHULHU RPG)

Luther, a German veteran of World War I has come to America and become part of a paranormal investigation team in the mid 1930s. Based in a Call of Cthulhu world with elements of my old school Project Hidden game this promises to be an intense solo game I run for him. We are still in the earlier stage of the campaign as hubby learns the world more in depth. Also probably the easiest game at this moment because while it is a supernatural game, most elements I can look up on the internet for background and I only have to create the links between those things.

TALES OF A GUN (SHADOWRUN 5th EDITION)

The newest incarnation of a straight up 5th edition Shadowrun Campaign. Scheduled to start in January 2018 as a replacement for the Call of Althara. The setting is in Hong Kong however, and the goal is to focus on some of the less well known Shadowrun forces/corporations. This shares the same name of my original Tale of a Gun campaign which the old site is up partially (some of the detailed pages are dead links, but the majority is there). Right now we have three players who are in, looking for two more. We picked Shadowrun because it is a more popular system then GURPS. There is a 5th edition D&D that is waiting in the wings if this doesn’t pan out.

DUST PRINCESS (SOLO RULE-LESS URBAN FANTASY RPG)

My new solo game ran by the hubby that replaces Ally. Playing a hunter that has recently left the government/mercenary “executioner” squad that hunted non-humans. She is unable to remember the details of her service for 16+ years or why she wanted to quit as part of her being released (amnesia). This feels like it will be an exciting game.

 

There are definitely more ideas and more things forming (I always have several campaigns in various states of being worked on, in case something crashes). But that is my current brief roundup.

 

Last week or so

This last week or so I have been held up at home, unable to go many places due to the walking boot, broken foot and a lot of swelling.

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Bruising is least painful part

Not that it is a big deal, it looks like since its an on the job injury I might get paid for my downtime, although the Department of Defense doesn’t use the normal Washington State Labor and Industry Insurance, which means they use the US Department of Labor instead.

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This requires an MD to sign off on everything. The sad part about this, is this is not how medical services work. Nowadays most interactions are with Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioner’s (NP, or ARNP in WA State) or straight up RN’s who do the hard work.

Their signatures (the non-MDs) are acceptable for anyone else evidently, except the Department of Labor. So I had to go back yesterday to the ER to have a doctor countersign the paperwork from the day of my break, and now that they countersigned I may need to go back and do more with the doctor, who never saw me or my case (and that is normal, they use the lower paid staff to do most of the work, unless its life threatening I am assuming).

In addition this week brought some highs and lows with the injury.

The high was once again seeing how lucky I am to be married to my husband. He wants to take care of me, and even when I annoy him because I am not the world’s best patient, he still shrugs it off, loves me and is willing to go out of his way. I am damn lucky to be with him and I love him more than anything.

He was willing to drive me anywhere, go anywhere for me, or just listen to me whinge about my foot. He is absolutely amazing.

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The low was realizing this was the first major injury or incident that I didn’t have my parents clucking over me and worried about me. It was a little depressing to not get the constant phone calls checking on me, worrying about me or reassuring me.

I realize I am a 46 year old man, but it was crushing to only get silence when I normally would get a hubbub of concern, and love. I realize the hubby gives more than enough, and this doesn’t take from that at all. I know part of it was my parents were fairly young (they would only be 68 and 67 this year) and it has only been a little over a year since they passed.

The hubby is my only close support network left, and honestly while I have a lot of friends to help (and who always are there if I ask), no one else is close enough at the moment that I can let in to fill that.

I anticipate there will still be scattered feelings like this that might lessen over time, but I know from talking to my parents in the last couple of years that even as they approached 70 they felt the same. No one told me this growing up, that there is no switch that clicks and makes you different. You are still that 17 year old that wants your parents affection, doesn’t want to deal with people’s bullshit and who hates being stuck in situations that you don’t like.

That has been my week (other than playing Max Payne 3).

Max_Payne_3_Cover

Not A Lucky Day Today

Today was a bit rough. I got to work, getting ready to work through a sample plan for an audit I was on. I walked over to my cubicle, turned and pivoted on my left ankle, and the next thing I knew I was smashing off my desk as I fell, barely stopping my head being smacked by holding out my left hand.

Me in the cubicle of shame. Not this day though.

I laid there for a few moments, stunned, picked myself up and planted myself in my chair. I sat there for a few moments with a burning foot. One of my coworkers named Bill came over to check on me. He joked around, ribbing me for the fall. I pulled my shoe and sock off and noticed a huge lump on my foot.

Within 15 minutes I was surrounded by two supervisors, our Resident Auditor (think a full manager of the office) and four or five auditors (a revolving mix) all checking on me. During this time it got even more swollen. Eventually it was decided one of my supervisors would drive me to the ER. The problem is, the defense contractor we work at is a huge city size campus. The building we are in is larger than a football field and there was no way I could walk anywhere.

One of the supervisors called the paramedics (the contractor has their own in house fire department and paramedics) and the paramedics were there within a few minutes. They were nice guys, supplied with top of the line equipment and began the process of taking my vitals. They were prepping me to put my ankle in a fancy new air splint design I hadn’t seen before.

As they were taking my numbers, they asked which hospital I wanted to go to. Evidently the Contractor provides free transport to medical facilities for their employees. This is when we point out that I am not a defense contractor employee, rather I am a federal employee who audits them. They immediately put away the splint and wrapped my foot in a older pillow with some ice… I am not joking when I said that, the hubby got to see the pillow when I was at the ER.

First ambulance, with a pillow wrapped around my foot.

In addition they couldn’t take me to the hospital, but they didn’t want to release me to my supervisor so she could take me. Because we weren’t “employees” they couldn’t drive, but they had some BS excuse that they couldn’t release me to someone with less medical experience. This means they called a second ambulance company (a third party) to come get me and take me to the ER.

Second non-contractor ambulance, actually going to hospital.

Fast forward an hour, I had been transferred between two ambulances and arrived at a local hospital. There they x-rayed my ankle and foot and it came back with a break. They are a little worried about the placement of the break (a Jones Break I believe) so had me set up an appointment with an orthopedic specialist on Friday. Meanwhile I am not allowed to do any weight bearing at all on my foot as they put in a temporary fiberglass cast.

Xray Time
Emergency Room Waiting
FInal situation “temporary cast”

So here I am back home, a little drugged up, with an ankle sprained and swollen and a broken foot, out of work at least for the rest of the week, blowing my saved up leave. Hopefully I won’t need surgery, I need this healed before the hubby’s surgery in November. Oh, and please excuse any meanderings on this post, I am under those pesky pain meds… because this does hurt a lot.

Ghost does not approve! Not of my injury at all!

AHS: Freakshow (Season 4)

Now we are getting back into the wheelhouse of horror. Some scary things, some bizarre things, and some good acting by everyone means this is a definitely better season.

This story about a freak show run by Elsa Mars, a German woman who leads the group in Jupiter Florida in the 1950s.

The story is about the Freakshow itself, the new people they meet and the subsequent background stories, a murdering clown, a possible second clown, a summoned creature and references to two other seasons of American Horror Story.

The acting is very good, there are several main characters of people who are unique, and there is Michael Chiklis (from the Shield and the Commish). There is some scary parts, and a lot of trying to figure out where a person fits in.

My only part I didn’t like was Sarah Paulson’s role. She was an excellent actress, but trying to play both twins of a Siamese twin, just didn’t work for me. However, it wasn’t Ms. Paulson’s fault, she did well, I just couldn’t buy her character for some reason.

Pros: Even better then the first three seasons, the story is fairly unique, the characters are very entertaining and Jessica Lange can sing really well.

Cons: The Siamese Sister bit didn’t work for me.

I am looking forward to Season 5, where we get to meet Lady Gaga in a role.

The Home Front: Life in America During World War II

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I should clarify, it isn’t really a book, more like a documentary in an audiobook format, or a radio serial from the 1940s. I don’t think they even have a text copy of this.

It takes a view on the American home front before and during World War II. It goes over the issues that the American civilians went through from the growing issues in Europe, through the war itself. It utilizes Martin Sheen as a narrator of the situation, but you get to hear the actual radio broadcasts from the government and civilians.

You get a view on the civilians themselves and it is rather eye opening. I always knew things weren’t so patriotic on the home front (or even in the military). While there are a lot of great things we talk about that generation, there were also major problems as well, and you hear it from the people’s own voices.

FDR had a thing where people would broadcast questions or opinions to him on the radio and he would sometimes respond (but usually not, too many people). There are a lot of people professing what we attribute to the greatest generation, a lot of caring people who were going to do what they needed to do.

I wasn’t surprised at the negative people though. I knew that there were a lot of racists people, a lot of antisemitic people, and it was a bit discouraging to hear them talk. They sounded a lot like the alt-right in current days.

I think the most surprising thing was hearing how the people drafted in World War II were very reluctant to go. It sounded like most were going to go anyways, but there wasn’t nearly the wave of volunteers that our mythic popular culture says. This isn’t a bad thing, and it actually reassures me that we aren’t much different.

I definitely enjoyed this book. I recommend others to listen.

View all my reviews

Narcos (Season 1& 2)

A remarkable telling of the life of Pablo Escobar by a great actor named Wagner Moura.

Originally I thought the show as only about Pablo Escobar. Since Mr. Escobar died in the 90s I didn’t think the show itself would go more than two seasons so I would review at the end of the series, like I did Hand of God. Then he died and Netflix is moving on with the Cartels, so here is probably a good stopping point to review.

Like all TV shows, it glamorized and filtered through the lens of Hollywood, even with that, I thought it was a decent three-dimensional view of Pablo Escobar. Of course, I don’t know him personally, but I have read about him and it felt like a fairer view, even with the glossy candy coating it got.

I appreciated that it showed he was a human, not just a monster. Maybe this is because I came from a family (both blood and not blood) that was involved illegal activity when I was a child, but there is no “bad” only person. Society may not agree with a person, but it doesn’t mean that the dealer/killer/arsonist/etc. doesn’t love other people, want to help other people and that they don’t make human mistakes. I always hate the idea of an “all bad” villain, because it isn’t true. Like a show I used to watch said a lot, “Everyone is the hero of their own story”. No one thinks of themselves as evil.

The part of the show I didn’t like was how his wife was handled. I don’t know personally of his relationship, but having grown up in a similar scene I don’t believe there is any way that his wife wasn’t fully aware and complicit, or at the very least aware and tolerant of it. Personal experience says there is no way that remains a secret, and in fact my experience most spouses work together.

Other than that, I enjoyed the series, I liked how it showed both sides and I would recommend seeing it.

Pros: The acting was great, the story tight and interesting the whole time.

Cons: I was just sad to see Wagner Moura no longer in the show.

I will definitely follow up with Season 3, I look forward to more stories.