All posts by gimmesamich89

About gimmesamich89

Ben is an alias, but technically it is part of this WordPress user's name (middlenames, gotta love them). Ben is studying environmental science and has a deep love for fiction. Although his degree is Ben's top priority he is very fond of literature and hopes to have some of his work published one day. Ben is also an active painter and drawer. You can view his artwork at hope84point5.devientart.com

Why Rosario’s Death Hurt A Little More

First, WILL AND GRACE HAS BEEN BACK FOR OVER A MONTH! All my gay needs are being met happily. I swear ever since the series returned last September each episode has not disappointing in terms of comedy. Karen is still insanely drunk, Grace is still Grace, Jack is adjusting to the fact he isn’t a twink anymore (and is now a grandpa), and Will is still being Will.

However I like many fans was saddened to discover Shelley Morrison would not be returning to the series as Karen’s maid Rosario. At first I brushed this off and understood that the actress had retired and that she wouldn’t have the same amount of energy she once had to do the show and that she and the writers would keep things open for cameo in the future. Unfortunately last Thursday the characters fate was cemented. Rosario Inez Consuelo Salazar passed away.

Many fans were hurt and saddened at the decision to kill off the character, this hurt a little more. Yes the episode was still loaded with hilarious one liners, amazing innuendos, Karen going nuts, and some physical humor, the tone and knowledge that Rosario was dead couldn’t be escaped.

The reason why it hurt was because my godmother loved Will and Grace. About six months before she passed away in 2015 my godmother and I were talking about Will and Grace; we both loved the show and it had been my introductory to the idea that I didn’t have to be the gay stereotype constantly seen in the media at the time with the fact that Will was constantly mistaken for a straight man who was single despite Grace being in his life. She had mentioned how she would love for the series to come back.

You can imagine my tears of laughter and joy in the fall of 2016 with the short Vote Honey was released and led to the return of Will and Grace! I chose to watch again because Will and Grace was the early stages of the gay agenda your church pastor has warned you about (don’t be surprised if he goes missing), and because I miss my godmother.

I watched the return of the show with her photo close to me, I did consider buying a few episodes and watching them next to her grave, but that’s all kinds of crazy I’m not willing to go to just yet.

Rosario’s death (on the last day of the Mexican holiday Dia de los muertos and the catholic holiday All Souls Day) was sad, it reminded me that someone I love and couldn’t physically be with me to watch the show anymore. But there was still laughter and strange things happening despite the sad nature of the reality like in real life (except hopefully no women are having threesomes with their ex husband and his daughter).

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Prelude to Write a Novel in November

It is less than a week away before I begin my journey to writing a novel in November, I have spent my time looking for jobs, finishing up books, starting up books, and various forms of self loathing over lack of employment. Also hating a sudden weight gain I have that my family claims isn’t showing (I know they’re lying!)

Are You Some Sort of Narcissist?

Nah, I hate myself too much to be a narcissist, but thanks for thinking I have a self esteem that strong. I decided to do one last blog before I try this little experiment of writing something so long within such a short amount of time. It will literally be the longest form of writing I have ever written if I am successful.

What is Write a Novel In November? How did you Discover it? Why are you Participating?

Click here to learn more about write a novel in november! Don’t want to click that lovely link I provided that will conveniently open in a new window because I’m that nice of a person? Yeah I don’t blame you I normally left click and open links in a new tab too. Anyways the actual name for this is National Novel Writing Month, I don’t know why it’s associated with November directly, but why not?

I discovered this little thing writers do via the FAQ page for Marissa Meyer’s website when I decided to look her up after reading the first three books in The Lunar Chronicles (you should totally read The Lunar Chronicles). I thought it was an interesting thing to do for some people.

I decided to participate because why not? My friend Sam and I were going to try it last year, but we didn’t really accomplish much.

What was Last Year’s Book About? What’s This Year’s Book? 

A mermaid committing homicide because her entire school was killed in a boating incident with stupid rich kids. This year’s book is still a mermaid story, but there is no homicide, I don’t think I can write constant homicide scenes and keep them interesting. I suppose this year’s book can be labeled as a “scientifically accurate Little Mermaid.”

Dude Mermaids Suck! Write about badass girls in lovetriangles fighting a totalitarian government in a distopian world! 

I can’t help but feel that story has been done already, but this story is different from what I normally write. As mentioned above it has to atleast be 50,000 words which is alot longer than my little collection of short stories.

I’ve also been advised to write a story that is the opposite of what I normally go for in entertainment (in my case alot of science fiction with some fantasy. Also I haven’t seen too many YA books about mermaids (once again single track mind with my fiction).

Okay so how’d you come up with the idea?

My degree; to be more precise I came up with the idea while taking a hydrology class. Mainly from reading Water the Fate of our Most Precious Resource by Marq De Villiers. I’m actually devoting most of tomorrow to skimming through the book and looking over my notes from an Oceanography class I took in college too.

I guess in a sense I’m applying “write what you know” to this story in the sense that I’ve written short answers to questions in both hydrology and oceanography. I also know the feeling of grief and loss a little too well so there’s that too.

Themes?

Environmentalism for sure, some religion (mainly Christian, Jewish, and Hindu faiths because those are the only ones I know fairly well). I don’t plan on writing it in a dystopian way though.

That’s all I’m gonna say for now, wish me luck!

 

 

Turtles all the Way Down Review

       

Turtles all the Way Down the long awaited novel by John Green after his heavy success with The Fault in Our Stars. If you follow his vlogs like I do you will know that until a few months ago he had stayed very quiet about his work post The Fault in Our Stars. Many fans of his (some known as Nerdfighters) were very excited to see the release of Turtles all the Way Down, and since I have read most of John Green’s books I figured I’d read Turtles all the Way Down too.

        Also fun fact, I had intended to grab the book at Target because Target dictates to me what is worth reading and what isn’t and to my surprise I got myself a signed copy of Turtles all the Way Down. It seems like something silly to gush over, but there’s just something nice about knowing a book you bought was in the same area as their ‘parent’.

Spoilers from this point Onward, can’t jedi mind trick this out of you. Hehe Star Wars reference in a book that has NOTHING to do with Star Wars. And maybe some discussion about John Green’s vlogs over the past few years.

        Turtles all the Way Down follows a girl named Aza Holmsey, a girl who suffers from a form of OCD that involves the fear of Clostridium Difficile (C.diff) and other bacterias to the point where she’s always applying hand sanitizer to one of her fingers that has a perpetual cut due to always pushing her thumbnail into her middlefinger. Aza has only her mother due to her father dying when she was a child.

        Aza also has her best friend Daisy who is a big Star Wars fan having knowledge of the current expanded universe, the Legends universe, and even writing her own Star Wars fanfiction. The story kicks off with Daisy taking interest in the disappearance Russell Pickett wanted by the police for a white collar crime due to a large reward being offered for the knowledge of the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Because of this Aza runs into Davis a childhood friend of hers and son of Russell Pickett.  

        In all honesty I was a little worried reading the first quarter of the book; worried that this was another flavor of Looking for Alaska in the same way that Paper Towns was due to the mystery of the disappearance of Russell Pickett that our protagonists want to solve. After some bribe is involved the mystery is dropped down to mainly background noise in the novel with the bulk of the story involving Aza’s OCD and how it affects not only her, but her relationships and prevents her from experiencing life in the same way a normal person would.

        I don’t have OCD, I’ve made jokes at the expense of individuals of OCD (mainly out of my lack of education on the disorder and inability to organize my living space), but TatWD gave what has been described by fans on the Facebook Nerdfighters page as a very accurate internal description of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It probably helps that John Green as admitted to having OCD and knowing the experience for it.

        The way it affects Aza outside of the fear of C.diff is a constant fear of not being clean enough and losing the ability to do things that some people would enjoy doing and have no problem doing (such as French kissing) where the thoughts of another person’s bacteria inside of her make her unable to enjoy the sensation and her thoughts focusing primarily on the fact that something that isn’t hers is inside of her.

        Aza also struggles with her relationship with Davis, who she does have feelings for, but the above side effects of her OCD prevent her from enjoying the more physical parts of their relationship. While both of them do have a unique form of communication via text message. Even though Davis does return the feelings towards Aza he does have physical desires (not sexual, but atleast some form of physical intimacy.

Aza does feel guilt for her choice t date Davis despite his dad missing because it distracts Davis from taking care of his little brother Noah who isn’t taking the disappearance of their father in the same way that Davis is.

There is some strong emphasis on parents in this novel, even stronger than Green’s previous work where parents are far from a obstacle in their stories as seen in some other YA books. Aza has only her mother who worries about Aza frequently because of her mental health and just because she’s a good mother. Davis’ father on the other hand abandoned both his sons, was never too close to them, had arguments with his wife before she passed away, had the staff of his house raise his sons, and left all his money to a tuatara named Tua in hopes that the research to discover the secrets to the long life of tuataras can be found and he’d get the credit for funding it. Daisy’s parents are mentioned, but never seen due to Aza never asking about them or ever going over to Daisy’s house.

        My favorite character in the novel is Daisy, as I mentioned before she’s a huge Star Wars fan, but she was fun. There were moments of her being shallow and using Aza a bit (she did kick off the whole plot by making Aza not only trespass on Russell Pickett’s property but start a relationship with Davis Pickett for the sake of information on the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Daisy also makes some points that Aza’s life isn’t as bad as she feels it is due to Daisy only having a smartphone as her only form of online entertainment which becomes very shocking and impressive when people remember that she has written lengthy Star Wars fanfiction on her smartphone. I felt myself siding with Daisy in one argument when Aza is concerned about her spending habits after they receive their hush money through buying not only a new car, but a new laptop. Daisy argues that Aza has a laptop and a car and lives in a house with her own room despite having only one working parent while she only has her smartphone, shares her room with her eight year old sister, and lives in an apartment complex even though she has both her parents and both of them being employed. Minor fun fact, but the paper BB-8 seen in the photo above was used as a bookmarker because I couldn’t find a bookmark that wasn’t currently being used, you can imagine how delightfully surprised I was discovering that Star Wars was mentioned frequently in this book and how appropriate it is.

        As I mentioned before I don’t have OCD, but anxiety issues; there were parts of the book where I could relate to Aza’s mental health and constant moments of being a prisoner in her own mind and having internal conversations with herself. Some parts of the book were very eye opening at how OCD isn’t “a need to have everything perfectly tidy” as I’ve joked around about in the past, but something more that really does control how a person functions and can prevent them from having a normal life and in some cases making horrible decisions based on the mental argument they have with themselves.

        I really enjoyed Turtles all the Way Down; it was a nice alternative to the usual John Green protagonist of teenage boys feeling the need to prove something about themselves, or being fixated on ‘the girl’. Aza and her friends were really fun and even the main conflict of Aza’s OCD causing problems in her life her friends and family still love and care for her.

        I give Turtles all the Way Down by John Green four Star Wars fanfics out of five.

Writing exert from my past!

The days are inching closer to Write a Novel in November and I had been reviewing stuff I’d written in the past. Some of it I’m really happy with, and some of it I hope never escape my google drive. Here is actually something from the first (unpublished) novel I wrote when I was eighteen.

It was called Sing for Me because I was listening to Sing for Me by Tarja Turunen alot at the time. It started out as fanfiction to the tv show Dead Like Me and I was constantly making up the plot as I wrote (how did I ever do something without an outline?), here is an exert that I actually enjoyed writing when I was eighteen and can’t help but cringe a little over now as an adult. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 4

Brian

“When exactly were you going to tell me you were this skilled fighter who has something to do with the end of the world?” I calmly asked James

“Hey I was too busy searching for you, and well dating you at the same time. You‟re just

so different from what I was expecting.”

“Different how?”

“Well for one thing you wear dark clothing and listen to such strange music. Yet you‟re

pretty much a devout catholic!”

“How is that different? There are plenty of young Catholics who shop at HotTopic, listen to

death metal, and Gregorian chanting! You’ve been trying to get me to shop at such horrid places like American eagle ever since we started dating!”

“Maybe because you actually look nice when you don‟t look so depressing! And you didn‟t

tell me your boyfriend died either, I could have helped you!”

“You didn‟t know me at all when we first  met!  The  only  reason  we  know  each  other  is

because you were clumsy and slipped on ice!” James  took a deep breath and calmly started

to speak again.

“That‟s not entirely true.”

“What!”

“Before we met I noticed you walking around campus. You were just  so  mysterious, I could never tell if you were male or female until you cut your hair, I could never tell if you believed in God because I wasn’t sure if the rosary was a fashion statement or not, all I knew was that you were taken up until the day of the accident.”

I stared at James for a moment. “Did you ever see Sebastian with me?”

“No.”

“Do you love me?”

“Yes”

“And I love you too. I still love Sebastian, but he‟s gone now. And even so I belong to God; you only get to have me while I’m still mortal.” There was silence between both James

and I.

“Have you ever heh?” James winked at me and had a naughty grin on his face.

“Pervert!”  I  pushed  a  pillow  into  his  face.  “You  may  have  those  fancy  super human abilities but I am something you can never be again, and you can never take that away from

me either” I winked back at James

“Oh come on! You have confession!”

“Not even that will get it back” I started winking a very rare type of wink.

“Tease!”

James

That little tease, I wonder if he does it on purpose or not sometimes though. Yes  I  have  had  sex  though,  and  well  I  probably  get  horny  a  lot  more  than  the  average person. I mean  sure  Brian  is  cute,  but  his  body  is  still  a  mystery  to  me.  He  wears  baggy clothes  most  of  the  time,  but  when  he  dresses  up  for  church  he  seems  skinnier  than  the average  person.  I  pretty  much  have  never  seen  any  skin  of  his  besides  his  feet,  face  and hands.    He  likes  long  sleeves  mainly  from  what  I  could  tell.  He  still  is  a  cute  guy  though, despite his beliefs and unusual personality and choice in clothes.

I  guess  you  could  consider  me  agnostic  though.  I  know  there  is  a  supreme  being  in  the

universe, but I’m not really into the Bible or religion. I was taught as a child to be catholic,

but I was never really into it (I got confirmed because my parents asked me to though).

I slept naked that night woke up naked the next morning and I decided to stay that way for

one reason. Then Brian came into the room.

“James we’re out of milk…is there any reason why your naked?”

“None really, I just wanted you to see me that‟s all.”

“Umm ok, you have a nice body I guess…I have to go take a shower”

“I‟ll join you”

“NO!”

“Why not?”

“Because I like my showers to be privet!”

“Aww come on!”

“That better not be a pun!”

“It might be”

“Pervert!”

“Were both guys anyways” I grabbed his shoulder after saying this as he entered the

bathroom.

“I said no!” Brian then slammed a strainer at my head knocking me to the floor.

“That wasn’t very nice!”

“That‟s what you get for being a naughty boy!” I heard the bathroom door slam along with

the shower beginning a little later. I pulled on my boxers just to avoid more objects being thrown at my head. I heard the door open and saw Brian walk out wearing boxer briefs and a loose t-shirt.

“Look I’m sorry about earlier.”

“It’s ok James, you’re still cute anyways.” Brian sat beside me and kissed my cheek.

“You really are skinny you know”

“I‟m vegetarian”

“I like meat” We really are very different now that I think about it.

“So how exactly do you hide the four pack?”

“I have no idea, should I go for six?”

“If you choose to, I’m going to be late for class, byes” Brian then kissed my cheek again

and ran off to his room.

Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 Review

        Being the Star Wars fan that I am and this being the final season of Star Wars Rebels I have decided to review each individual episode (well episodes since they’re being released two episodes a night) for the final season of Star Wars Rebels. There will be spoilers.

        This week’s season premiere of Star Wars Rebels kicked off with the continuation of the Mandalorian Liberation arc from the previous season. Sabine and the Wren clan fight not only to free Sabine’s father, but to also destroy the weapon of mass destruction designed and created by Sabine known as the Dutchess. Also there’s the return of Bo Katan from Star Wars the Clone Wars.

        The episode itself is primarily action packed with much attention devoted to Sabine and her allies rescuing her father from Imperial forces as he is about to be executed in Part 1. As mentioned above Bo Katan does return to the series, but only gets a few lines and proceeds to aid the other Mandalorians in kicking ass and taking names and to say “a Mandalorian with a jetpack is a weapon.” Outside of Ezra having trouble with using a Mandalorian jetpack (how do those work anyways?) there is little to no comedy present in the episode along with the episode ending in a cliffhanger.

        Part 2 focuses on Sabine’s efforts to destroy the weapon ironically named as the Dutchess (Dutchess Satine was a devout pacifist, you can imagine how pissed Bo Katan must be gaining this knowledge). The weapon is designed specifically to affect Mandalorian armor so that it literally bakes the individual inside of it and causes them to be incinerated and reduced to ash. Of course the Rebels succeed and Mandalore is liberated.

Despite my enjoyment of the episodes I was a little disappointed that Sabine’s arc in the show has been wrapped up so quickly. I also didn’t like that Bo Katan didn’t really have development in the episode, but we can blame that on the fact that Clone Wars was cancelled before her own story with Mandalore could be animated and recorded.

We do also meet Sabine’s father who is an artist and actually critiques Sabine’s artistic abilities shortly after he is rescued rather than concentrating on her abilities as a warrior. I have a feeling Sabine’s father was a supporter of Duchess Satine since he isn’t as combat ready as the rest of his family (that we see).

Despite the episode being Sabine centered we actually don’t get too much development out of her as a character outside of rejecting the opportunity to get revenge on someone who hurt her family and betray Mandalore. I still enjoyed the episode for the action sequences and the score for Sabine’s theme.

I give Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 three Mandalorian jetpacks out of five (seriously how do those work?)

Star Wars Phasma Review

        Once in the year 2015 there was Star Wars The Force Awakens; many didn’t know what would happen in the seventh unexpected installment of the Star Wars saga outside of large amounts of merchandising, but based on this merchandising we were introduced to new characters. One of these characters is Captain Phasma; she was known as the first female stormtrooper, people knew she meant big business with her chrome armor and phabulous cape. She was described as “this trilogy’s equivalent of Boba Fett” meaning she was meant to be intimidating and evil.

Ironically she technically was like Boba Fett in that she got taken out with little to no fanfare. The best term to describe Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens would literally be ‘epic fail’. She disappointed many fans since her actress Gwendoline Christie was one of the few new cast members of the new trilogy to already have a name for herself due to her role in the HBO series Game of Thrones. To be fair though when a wookie knocks the shit out of you and demands you lower the planet wide shield, you best do what the wookie says.

However as promotion for the upcoming Star Wars The Last Jedi a new wave of merchandising and novels was released, one of these novels being Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson. The book actually isn’t from Captain Phasma’s point of view, but rather her story is being told by Resistance spy Vi Moradi as she tells Phasma’s origins to First Order member Captain Cardinal.

Also I listened to this audio book via my local library and the app Axis 360, if you want to listen to audiobooks or just check out books and save money go to your local library (I have a strong feeling someone at my library is a big Star Wars fan).

Spoilers from this point on. Phasma will hunt you down and kill you for any knowledge you may have of her past.

Phasma is evil, possibly one of the most evil non force sensitive being in the new Star Wars canon. Her life was far from an easy one being from the planet Parnassos, a planet all but forgotten and unobserved by the Galactic Republic and the first order under the impression that “there’s no real life there.”

As mentioned above the story actually centers around Resistance spy Vi Moradi who is captured by the First Order and is being interrogated by Captain Cardinal because he wants dirt on Phasma to get her kicked out of the First Order. Vi agrees to tell Cardinal the story of Phasma in exchange for her escape and in hopes that Vi can help Cardinal realize the First Order is not the right side to be on.

Phasma is from a warrior tribe known as the Scyers that is actually very humble, spiritual, and respectful towards life and not allowing anything to go to waste. The Scyers celebrate the birth of children because they are such a rarity and if a child makes it past five years of age it is something worth celebrating. Phasma is a skilled warrior and respected leader of this tribe with many of the few younger members of this tribe looking up to her and trusting in her wisdom. Things change one day when a First Order ship carrying Brendal Hux (father to Amitage Hux) crashes on Parnassos. Phasma and members of her tribe investigate the happenings.

The character who tells of Phasma’s origins on Parnassos is Siv, she has known Phasma her whole life and respects her. However Siv begins to see that Phasma is changing (or rather showing her true colors) as soon as both of them along with other members of the Scyers begin their travels with Hux to his ship. Phasma slowly begins dawning stormtrooper armor feeling that they suit her. It is shown that Phasma is very fond of bloodshed, killing her parents, her brother, many minor characters, and even the youngest child of the Scyers Frey. She eventually kills Armitage Hux and is implied to kill Cardinal after poisoning him and is off to kill both Vi, Cardinal, and eventually Siv to make sure no one knows of her past for good.

Along with the origins of Phasma it is shown that Phasma cares only for herself explaining why she so willingly lowers the shields for Starkiller base during the events of The Force Awakens movie. It’s also shown that her armor is very unique among Stormtrooper armor in that it was forged using the parts of Emperor Palpatine’s yacht.

I felt at times the book spent too much time on Parnassos, but also understand why so much time was spent on there. I also enjoyed the introduction of Vi and Cardinal; it was interesting seeing the perspective of Cardinal, someone who is grateful to The First Order due to him being on the planet Jakku and loathing the fact that the Galactic Republic often ignored outer rim/poor planets like Jakku and supports the First Order so that no other planets will ever be overlooked again. We also get exposition on how this new generation of stormtroopers came about; they’re all more or less kidnapped children and orphans gathered from planets overlooked by the Galactic Republic.

I also felt that the book was very similar to A Song of Ice and Fire; no where near the violence, gore, and sexual activity as A Song of Ice and Fire (I don’t think we’re ever getting a sex scene in Star Wars outside of fanfiction and porn parodies), but the violence and betrayal constantly seen in the book make it seem like Phasma would fit right in at Westeros.

I very much enjoyed listening to this audiobook, I give Star Wars Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson four phabulous chrome stormtrooper helmets out of five.  

 

The Feels of Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2

Not sure if any of my followers believe in God, but I do. While I do comment on Christianity in my reviews and write essays on it, I prefer to keep my own personal beliefs as private as possible. Earlier this year I very much wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 because of how much I loved the first one, for whatever reason I didn’t see it in theaters. Normally I prefer not think much of the term “God has a plan/reason for things happening,” and for once I think it may be appropriate for God not wanting me to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 for a while.

I’m just going to rip the band-aid off right now. My dad had a tumor removed and almost died. The day we found out he had a tumor was a normal day, but it was scary. The day that he and my mother went out of town to see a doctor interested in the tumor I had two breakdowns, one infront of my brothers, and one in private. To deal with the former breakdown my brother offered to take me to the movies, Guardians wasn’t in the fancy movies anymore so we settled for Spiderman Homecoming. Obviously I was bummed, but I figured I’d get to see it later. During my dad’s operation I felt a brief pain in my chest and sensed something was wrong and tried my best to keep it together as the doctor told us his lungs collapsed. I cried alot when he slept as I kept him company in the recovery room. My dad is recovering great by the way so there is a significant decrease in emotional breakdowns these days.

Then today I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2. Never before did I think I’d cry so much because of a Marvel movie. I know one day my dad will die; one of my earliest memories in life is my dad telling me everyone will die one day, but that death was okay because there was heaven. My dad is a religious man, however unlike what many would expect he didn’t throw me out when I told him I was gay. He loved me unconditionally still. The primary reason I stay a practicing catholic is because of my dad; he’s not perfect, not ideal, but he is a good enough reason for me to be in the religion permanently.

For those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It also doesn’t help that Cat Stevens was one of many cassette tapes my dad had me listen to when I was growing up, but it’s appreciated. And no I won’t post any spoilers and I don’t think I can properly review this movie at this time (or ever), but it’s great.

#RealityHigh Review

        I saw #RealityHigh pop up while scrolling through Netflix last night and decided to view it out of curiosity. The story follows high school senior Dani Barnes, a modest girl who cares about one thing and that’s the health and well being of dogs. Dani is low on the social radar until she’s pulled into the world of social media by showing interest in the ex boyfriend of her local social media star classmate Alexa.

        Spoilers from this point on, really like most highschool stories, this is kind of predictable.

        Yes that brief bold sentence is right; if you’ve seen any movies about kids in highschool (particularly Mean Girls), then you know what will happen. “Girl is ‘ugly’, has one best friend, gets noticed by cute guy, becomes popular and irresponsible, makes big mistake, has fight with best friend, fixes everything, jackass rival gets comeuppance, HAPPY ENDINGS FOR EVERYONE!”

        There are select variations in the plot of this movie, but nothing that hasn’t been seen in a teen movie. The main premise of this movie is that Dani’s school rival isn’t just any old mean girl, she is a social media celebrity known as Alexa Medina. Alexa is known for her vlogs, fashion tips, life tips, and being a saint online by promoting positive body images and other social justice issues. In real life Alexa is manipulative and selfish and spends her time using her star status to get what she wants. She’s kind of like an evil Michelle Phan (yes I’m aware there is someone who runs a tumblr dedicated to finding each and every flaw with Michelle phan, we are not opening that can of worms.)

        The interesting approach this movie has is how social media and Alexa’s status as a online celebrity plays affects Dani’s life as someone who wasn’t on social media.

        Dani had nearly no online presence and was one of the few teenagers using a flip phone instead of a smartphone. Things change as soon as Dani falls for Alexa’s ex boyfriend, just like in Mean Girls. Dani hangs out with the popular kids, begins to upgrade her fashion and briefly puts her responsibilities secondary in life. Things go predictably south for Dani after Alexa gets her drunk and secretly records a conversation between the two later editing the video recording to make Dani look like she had been stalking Alexa.  

        This knocks Dani down and has her realize that Alexa had been manipulating her own life to throw her off tracks. A key difference between this film and other teen films is that as soon as mutual friends between Alexa and Dani see the youtube video, they are pissed at the way Alexa used Dani and proceed to unfriend Alexa on on social media and in real life.

        Dani proceeds to do a livestream explaining she doesn’t care what people think of her, and only asks for people bothering to watch her live stream help with a animal clinic charity. Said stream is successful, partially because of some networking between some other (fictional) YouTube celebrities who also love animals.

        Everyone more or less gets a happy ending, Alexa is outed as a fake with some help from Dani’s sister, and is also exposed to somehow faking her youtube views. Everyone but Alexa is happy by the end of the film.

        I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and I still ended up disappointed. I feel like there was more potential for the movie concerning the villain being a social media celebrity who constantly used her celebrity status to get perks in her life and look like the victim whenever things didn’t go her way.

        As I pointed out this is a movie with a highschool setting, but nearly everything in the plot feels borrowed from other highschool movies. As I also mentioned before the plot is very similar to the plot of Mean Girls; there are even times when I’m not even sure if portions of the plot are shout outs to other (better) movies, parodies, or the possibility of creating a drinking game for people watching the movie.

        I give Netflix’s #RealityHigh two  blackberries out of five.

Leia Princess of Alderaan Review

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        No I am not talking about The Princess Diarist (that will be read and reviewed before the end of the year, don’t worry). I am talking about Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. I had picked up the book because it was interesting to get a princess Leia story set before the events of A New Hope and because I enjoyed listening to Bloodline also by Claudia Gray.

        The book follows Leia as she goes through trials to earn her status as royalty to the Alderaan royal family and her early adventures as she enters the world of the rebellion against the empire.

Spoilers from this point onward, I’m not a jedi so I can’t mind trick them out of you. Also there will be fanboy tendencies and observations and other nonsense.

        Leia is destined to become ruler of Alderaan, a planet of peace and charity. To earn the title of royalty Leia must master the challenges of mind, body, and heart. At the same time Leia is participating in the Junior Senate prepping to take over the political world of Alderaan when the time comes. Through the story Leia begins to discover her parents involvement with the rebellion against the empire feeling conflicting feelings of joy that people are going to stand against Emperor Palpatine and anger that her parents kept such a secret from her and would betray the way of her people who had been pacifists for centuries.

        Leia’s discovery of the rebellion is actually the end result of her performing an act of charity through the challenge of heart. While “hiring” refugees on Wobani in order to grant them a happier life, she unintentionally screws up negotiations her father Bail Organa had been working on for years to allow citizens from Wobani to immigrate to Alderaan.

        Through her challenge of the Mind Leia notices interesting activity in some sectors and decides to look into it thus discovering a wider rebellion. Her parents aren’t entirely thrilled at the discovery that Leia knows about the rebellion due to her innocence and lack of knowledge about the rebellion being the only thing to protect Leia should the Empire catch onto what the Organa family is up to. An interesting event happens with Leia’s challenge of the body also occurs where in a life and death situation Leia uses the force without realizing it!

        Despite the efforts of her parents Leia becomes more active in the rebellion both intentionally and by sheer accident gaining the attention of Wilhuff Tarkin who slowly becomes Leia’s arch enemy in not only the book, but in the future as well (until Luke blows him up anyways).

        Fans of Star Wars will also see more of Leia’s personal life with Bail Organa and her mother Breha Organa and how they balance their life. Bail is the senator of Alderaan representing the planet in the galactic senate while Breha is the queen and ruler of the planet taking care of things on the planet. It was very interesting to see Bail function out of the public eye as father to Leia with him actually losing his temper at times when Leia got too close to participating in the rebellion. Breha for the first time is very active in Star Wars content with very little of her ever seen even in Legends material. There is actually a very funny scene involving Tarkin and Mon Mothma where an argument is staged to throw off Tarkin to what is really happening in the rebellion.

        There are many shout outs and foreshadowing in the book, one particular event happening on the planet of Naboo that I’m not going to spoil in this review and I encourage readers to look for. There are cameos of C3PO and R2D2 (I kind of feel like it’s mandatory to have them around these days), foreshadowing for Bloodline (guess who that lock of hair belongs to). Other things include the introduction of the character Amylin Holdo who will be featured in Star Wars the Last Jedi this December. In the story Holdo is more or less the Luna Lovegood of the Star Wars universe choosing to constantly wear exciting and detailed clothing compared to the humble simplistic clothing of her people of Gatalenta. Her character arc (besides becoming a close trusted ally of Leia) is finding a balance to be independent of her people without resorting to some stranger fashion choices.

        My only complaint about the book was some possible timeline issues with the television show Star Wars Rebels in relation to what age Leia is when she meets Ezra and the crew of the Ghost.

        I give Leia Princess of Alderaan four Porgs out of five (yes I can rate a book with porgs even if there aren’t any porgs in it!)

Saban’s Power Rangers Review

        Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a big part of not only my childhood, but the childhood of many kids who grew up in the 90s. It may or may not be the source of me being gay (I love you David Yost, if you’re reading this please consider me for a husband.) Despite what I may have claimed amongst my peers growing up I continued to watch every season of power rangers up until Power Rangers RPM wishing I could afford to cosplay as any of the blue rangers (and a few green rangers).

        When it was announced that a big budget Power Ranger movie would be released (again) I kind of wanted to audition for the role of Billy, but then realized I had very little chance of getting the role and that more than likely the casting director didn’t want to cast some scrawny twenty something year old who looks like a teenager when they can cast some younger guy in great physical shape as a teenager. Plus I was working on a degree.

        Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the film in theatres, I recently purchased the movie via Google Play.

Spoilers and personal observations from this point on, you won’t be able to wake up in your bed the next day wondering how the hell you’re alive.

        One of the reasons I didn’t see the movie in theatres is because I was very hesitant about seeing the movie. Based on leaked images from the movie’s production and official artwork for the villains (oh Goldar, what did they do to you?) I was turned off. I was scared this would turn into a Transformers scenario where this film was made because of lack of creativity and money to be made off nostalgia.

        I did enjoy the movie though; it had it’s flaws and at times I felt like the actors were told “just channel The Breakfast Club and work with that” because at times it felt like it was a semi modernized Breakfast Club. Minus pot smoking (that we know of), dancing, and unnecessary makeovers.

Characters

        Quite a bit was changed for this cinematic Power Rangers reboot, the main thing being that all the rangers besides Billy and Kimberly actually have personalities. Starting with Billy he is still a genius, but has been given a small dosage of Sheldon Cooper. He is kind of a mama’s boy and has a deceased father, he may or may not have a disability since he mentions the inability to fully understand humor and sarcasm at times (which is funny because the casting called for someone who can be witty and sarcastic).

        Jason in the original 90’s tv series was a focused and disciplined martial artist and a determined leader. Here he’s a jock with no martial arts training (none of the characters have any of their martial arts or gymnastic abilities of the actors from the 90’s television series, but they sure do have muscles). Jason is also known to put the need of helping others before his own personal needs and with a little bit of pep talk from Zordon and Alpha 5 takes on the role of the heroic leader of the team.

        Zach’s character was completely rehauled from the Zach of the series. No more is he a fun loving martial artist trying to create a hip hop based form of martial arts, nor is he black. I’m guessing to avoid controversy the casting agency made damn sure not to accidentally cast a black guy as the black ranger and an asian woman as the yellow ranger before filming. Now Zach is still fun loving, a bit of a trickster, and is caring for his sick mother with insecurities associated with it. Also he’s the hottest male in the cast.

        Trini is interesting since she is played by a hispanic actress Becky G. Despite not being of asian ancestry and being in a hispanic family, Trini is still named Trini Kwan (I guess her grandfather is asian?) Trini was hyped as being “the first lgbt superhero in film” (IceMan and Constantine disagree), but this really isn’t made a big deal in the film itself outside of her family desiring a normal life and considering her sexuality not normal. She is a loner and does yoga while listening to metal. I like her.

        I want to say Kimberly is the closest to her 90’s counterpart. She’s perky, spoiled sweet, and your typical teenage girl. There were moments where I was convinced Naomi Scott and Amy Jo Johnson pulled a freaky friday on all of us to the point where even some of her vocal gestures reminded me alot of Amy Jo Johnson. There are layers to this new Kimberly, she has regrets and isn’t as sweet as honey like she was in the 90s. Also there were times where I noticed chemistry between her and Trini.

        Alpha 5 definitely got an upgrade. He is far more competent as a assistant to Zordon, can actually fight if he is needed, Zordon is kind of a dick and only wanted the power rangers to morph so he could resurrect himself because he considers the new team incompetent. I didn’t like Rita, Rita is just boring she wasn’t even scorned by Zordon, she was just power hungry. Oh and Goldar is literally just molten gold. That’s not even scary, gold is one of the softest elements on the periodic table, the rangers could have beaten Goldar with one of Billy’s homemade bombs!

The Story Itself

        The story itself is admittingly generic; five teenages with nothing in commong get chosen to become super heroes and defend the earth/Angel Grove from the evil that attack it. Along the way these protagonists become besties with a training/friendship montage. This formula has actually been used in a few seasons of Power Rangers and I have nothing against it. What I do have a problem with is that a good three fourths of the film is devoted to this bonding time. I do understand that time has to be devoted to developing these characters and their relationship with each other and that this bond/friendship is the key to them defeating evil, but they could have discovered that friendship=morphing a little sooner.

        WIth the backstory I was…disappointed. I do appreciate mentioning of the Zeo Crystal being the main macguffin though. I think it’s because as a teenager I had discovered the Super Sentai television series that each season of Power Rangers is based on and particularly liked Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (the season that started off Power Rangers). In Zyuranger the witch Bandora (Rita) cursed the dinosaurs after her son is slain by a TRex (her son started the fight) by selling her soul to Daisatan (Lokar). In what little backstory we have of the Power Rangers adaption Zordon and Rita agreed to three out of five coin toss over earth. Zordon cheated, Rita was trapped in a dumpster while in return Rita trapped Zordon in a time…thing.

        However the lack of backstory is actually a good thing for the film despite my complaints about it since it allowed the film to devote more time to the growing friendship between the rangers. I didn’t particularly like how Rita was defeated as it felt very anticlimactic to an already boring character.

The Good Things

        Despite feeling too much of the film revolved over the bonding friendship of the rangers it is one of the better parts of the film and it is relevant to the plot. The shout outs to other parts of Power Ranger seasons were also very nice. Amy Jo Johnson and Jason David Frank cameo’s were nice (why wasn’t David Yost invited to cameo?) All of the rangers having actual personalities is also a good thing and it is impressive that it was accomplished since even with two hours it can be hard to flesh out protagonists in a film.

        CGI in the film was weird at worst (Goldar…), but it was great to see the Zords and Megazord look so good. Also having the Power Rangers theme from the 1995 movie while the zords are piloted was perfect.

I give Saban’s Power Rangers three Nice Stereos out of five.