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V1P2's Blog



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2017 Book Challenge List

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Dec 31 2017 · 311 views

Since the nature of my work means I have way too much free time, I decided to participate in some random blog's 2017 book challenge, because why not? The way the challenge works is that there are 50 or so categories, and during the year you have to read books that fit in each of the categories. The rules don't say that reading one book can satisfy multiple categories, but it doesn't really say it can't either. So I did the challenge that way.

So how did I do? Got everything except three. The nature of where I was made it reeeaallly hard to find used book sales, or finding books on a trip. I didn't read a book recommended by an author I loved because I just didn't get around to it. But, anyway, here's V1P2's 2017 in books:

(Authors not included because I didn't record that information initially and I don't feel like going back and putting it in.)

Requirement- Book

A book recommended by a librarian- How to Ditch Your Fairy
A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long- Frankenstein
A book of letters- Dear Mr. Henshaw
An audiobook- Dear Mr. Henshaw
A book by a non-white author- Native Son
A book with one of the four seasons in the title- The Tears of Autumn
A book that is a story within a story- Frankenstein
A book with multiple authors- You Might Be a Zombie
An espionage thriller- The Tears of Autumn
A book with a cat on the cover- The Carnivorous Carnival
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym- The Bad Beginning
A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read- The Lightning Thief
A book by or about a person who has a disability- A Mango-Shaped Space
A book involving travel- Murder on the Orient Express
A book with a subtitle- You Might Be a Zombie: Shocking but Utterly True Facts
A book that's published in 2017- New Orleans Vampires
A book involving a mythical creature- Pegasus
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile- Go the *cough* to Sleep
A book about food- The Monday Night Cooking School
A book with career advice- Thinking in Pictures
A book from a nonhuman perspective- Diaspora
A steampunk novel- Boneshaker
A book with a red spine- The Ersatz Elevator
A book set in the wilderness- The Slippery Slope
A book you loved as a child- The Bad Beginning
A book by an author from a country you've never visited- Diaspora
A book with a title that's a character's name- The Count of Monte Cristo
A novel set during wartime- The Tears of Autumn
A book with an unreliable narrator- The Haunting of Hill House
A book with pictures- Fantastic Mr. Fox
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you- Native Son
A book about an interesting woman- Thinking in Pictures
A book set in two time periods- The Covenant
A book with a month or day of the week in the title- The Monday Night Cooking School
A book set in a hotel- The Penultimate Peril
A book written by someone you admire- Thinking in Pictures
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017- Murder on the Orient Express
A book surrounding a holiday other than Christmas- A Hallowe'en Party
The first book in a series you haven't read before- Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Series #1)
A book you bought on a trip-

The following were "bonus" categories, not required but I wanted to read these categories anyway:

A book recommended by an author you love-
A bestseller from 2016- Me Before You
A book with a family member term in the title- Native Son
A book that takes place over a character's lifespan- Frankenstein
A book about an immigrant or refugee- The Covenant
A book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of- Perdido Street Station
A book with an eccentric character- The Grim Grotto
A book that's more than 800 pages- Pillars of the Earth
A book you got from a used book sale-
A book that's been mentioned in another book- Native Son
A book about a difficult topic- Thinking in Pictures
A book based on mythology- The Lightning Thief

A lot of these books were read for the first time. Some of them were surprising, like Perdido Street Station which is an incredibly weird science fiction book that has no right to make as much sense as it does. I got to revisit old favorites like "A Series of Unfortunate Events," found some new favorites like How to Ditch Your Fairy, and read some books that I'd like to promptly forget I read like Me Before You. And I finally read Frankenstein, which was a really, really good book.

Next week I get to jump on the 2018 list, which I hopefully do better at completing.


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Assassin's Creed 3- Initial Impressions

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Aug 09 2017 · 333 views
Entertainment
In between work, travel (for work), reading mountains of books and watching whatever movie I happen to be able to get my eyes on (the last was Hannah Montana- don't judge), I decided that I wanted a selection of video games for entertainment, because I'm not always in the mood for reading or watching movies, especially when I can't sleep at night and I end up staying up till 1 am or later. My computer does come with a solitaire collection and Candy Crush for free, but there are only so many cards you can flip and candies you can crush before you want something more stimulating. So I took advantage of the recent Steam sale and loaded up with:

- Age of Empires 2 (w/all current expansions)
- Age of Empires 3 (w/all current expansions)
- Assassin's Creed 3/4/Rogue (standard versions)

(All for PC)

I've been a fan of the Empires games for years, but I've never played any Assassin's Creed. I've had my eye on the games for years, though. Despite being fantasy/science fiction, the historical environments (and your ability to explore them!) really seemed appealing. I went with 3-Rogue 1.) because I didn't want to buy everything and 2.) I liked the idea of exploring a Colonial Americas environment over the other settings. If I find I like the games, I'll look at purchasing more during next year's sale.

I've gotten a few hours of playtime in, and I'm intrigued. Fortunately for me, the developers designed this game in mind with the idea that there are people like me who might not play the first two and opened it with a basic voiceover explaining what's happened so far. There are two groups, Assassins and Templars, and they spent centuries vying for control over artifacts from a previous earthen civilization that was wiped out and the same event is looking to wipe out humans again. Protagonist went into this cool machine to relive his past, gained experience, is back for round three. There was something about an Apple of Eden and a temple, too, but I'm just rolling with it. I think I get the gist.

After a short intro, we get transported to England (though we quickly set sail for America) where we proceed to play missions that both add a bit of story and help the player get used to the controls and type of things we will be asked to do in this game. Climbing, interactions, following, a little bit of combat, some free running. It was a bit of a slow start, and honestly at this point I still feel like I'm waiting for things to gear up a bit, but there seems to be a huge learning curve here with regards to the controls so the slow start is probably good. I also like that, for the most part, we're given the ability to explore right away since I find that's the best way to learn the controls. But even then its still difficult. I couldn't figure out how to stealthily kill people when I wanted to, but had no problems doing it accidentally while walking around, and then proceeding to get into fights I couldn't figure out how to win. The whole stealth thing is new to me, too, and I feel like there's a lot the game hasn't taught me yet. The manual talks about a notoriety meter, for example, but I can't figure out what that's talking about.

(* For reference, I am on currently on the mission where you have to free the prisoners from the camp while disguised as British soldiers.)

What I'm hoping from this game as I play it is that I get the opportunity to explore more regions outside of Boston, perhaps in other colonies, villages, or North American wilderness. Not that there isn't enough to do in Boston, I just really like exploring and doing sidequests and finding all the bonus things. I'm also hoping that we get some explanation on why the present day segments are even in these games. I realize this is an ignorant opinion given that I'm starting with the fifth official installment and am only a few hours into it and have very little knowledge of the background lore, but I just don't understand why the present is important beyond being a cool science fiction concept. So far this game seems like it could have easily been constrained to the past and been basically the same. Templars vs. Assassins competing for relics or ancient artifacts still sounds great to me. :shrugs:

So far I'm intrigued, though. Looking forward to where the story goes and how the gameplay works out... while being worried about my poor computer's ability to handle the graphics. It's fine right now, but we'll see. :fear:

In other unrelated quick recent events, I lost my debit card and ID. Got the debit card replaced so now I can finally get money to pay rent (and buy food, food is important), but the ID will take a lot longer to replace. BUT on the bright side I have my first vacation coming up in a few weeks and I'll finally be able to see all the important people I haven't been able to see for the past almost year. Am excited. Am very excited.


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Indiana Jones 5

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Mar 15 2016 · 968 views
Entertainment
From the Walt Disney Company's website news page:

Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.

“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”


I know I'm not supposed to get excited about a film until proudction stills are released (because they can always get cancelled), but TOO LATE I ALREADY HAVE ALL THE EXCITEMENT.


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Films I'm Stoked For: Tomorrowland

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Mar 12 2015 · 619 views

I almost devoted this entry to the news that Frozen 2 was announced and my thoughts on it... but Tomorrowland is coning out soon and it looks awesome. And I've had this in my 'blog drafts' document for a while now and it should have been posted weeks ago.

Anyway, Tomorrowland. Movie trailers have always had issues, but the one that nags at me most is the one where trailers show way too much. Even teasers can have an obnoxious tendency to tell you the whole movie (see: Prometheus). What I love about the trailer for Tomorrowland, and what makes it look really exciting, is that it barely shows you anything. From the teaser we know we have a (probably troubled) female protagonist who is able to be whisked away to a unique setting where “nothing is impossible” and people “have the power to actually change the world.” That’s it. There’s no real plot or story revealed. We don’t even see this fabled ‘Tomorrowland’ beyond a one second glimpse at the end. It’s rare to go into a movie knowing so little about it, and that’s the whole reason I’m excited for it. Now the first trailer for the film is simply a teaser, and the trailers that have been released since have probably spilled more story. But I haven't watched them. For once I want to go into a movie knowing almost nothing.

The intriguing mystery isn't the only good thing Tomorrowland has going for it, it's also directed by Brad Bird. This guy gave us The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille so he’s proven that he knows how to craft a story with great characters and a lot of heart. He also directed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol so he knows his way around live action spectacle as well. I have no idea whether this will lean more toward his Pixar work or MI 4, but I’m hoping it will end up being a combination of the two. And while his writer Damon Lindelof has a slightly, uh, lesser reputation, I’ve enjoyed enough his work (including the aforementioned Prometheus) enough that I won’t write the project off simply because he’s attached to it.

And if that wasn’t enough, it stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie. I mean come on.


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ONUA!

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Feb 26 2015 · 750 views
LEGO Stuff
When I went out shopping yesterday I had three goals:

1.) Buy my sister some ceiling stars
2.) Find her a desktop fountain
3.) Buy an iTunes giftcard.

But when I was strolling through Target I decided to check out the LEGO sections to see if Onua and Gali where there on clearance. Sure enough, they were! There were a decent number of Galis for ten dollars, but I got the very last Onua which was priced at 13. So of course I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity. Throwing caution to the wind, I bought it.

I also ended up not buying ceiling stars or an iTunes giftcard because at that point I ran out of money. And I didn't find ny desktop fountains. Oh well.... it was totally worth it. Because Onua is SO COOL. I liked how it felt like a combination of technic and classic BIONICLE, and that's owed entirely to the gear function. The shoulder pads can get in the way of his arms depending on how they're positioned (and the way they're attached is kind of iffy), but that's really my only complaint. (Well, that and the stickers. I just don't like stickers.) He looks big, he looks buff, he looks like Onua. He also has two trans purple bone pieces, but really I'm just glad to add a little more CCBS to my collection. I don't know when I'll be by Target again, but if I get there in time I'll definitely pick up

In other LEGO news, I finished building 10232 Palace Cinema which I recieved as a Christmas gift. I'll probably end up writing a review which if I don't post in LEGO discussion, I'll definitely put it here. In case anyone cared (probably not).

Now excuse me while I go fanboy over my new toy... and my first new BIONICLE set in six years! :br:


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Donating Blood

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment, General Life Stuff Feb 17 2015 · 750 views

I know I should say that I like donating blood because it’s a generous thing to do and it saves lives, but honestly I just do it for the free cookies and movie tickets.

The first time I donated blood was several years ago- 2011, I think? Prior to then, it's something I had always wanted to do, but despite how ridiculously easy it is to donate blood, I kept putting it off. Even after my first donation, I didn't donate again until 2014, and still only did three donations total that year. I had no excuse really- the center kept calling me to try and set up appointments, and they (claim they) do need it so what was I waiting for? My school even had a Blood Mobile on the campus that I passed literally every day it was out. It was silly for me to keep putting it off. So, sometime late last year, I arbitrarily vowed that I'd do it more often- call it my new year's resolution if you will. Part of this was inspried by a gift the center sent me- a calendar with my donation days starred on it. I felt bad, and a little embarressed, that they gave this thing despite only having three appointments on it. So after looking at it a few weeks ago, I decided that this is something I would make an effort to do more often.

So yeah, that’s what I did today. I donated blood, and then ate free cookies and accumulated some points to spend on free movie tickets. Specifically I donated platelets, which means that a machine takes blood out me, spins it around to separate platelets from other blood components, then pumps those components back into me. (At least that’s what they tell me they’re doing- I just sort of have to trust them). For those who haven’t done this, it takes a while. The first time I donated platelets it took about 75 minutes. This time, though, it took 119. Fortunately the blood center I go to is well stocked and they provided me with a tablet, with Netflix, to watch movies. It sucks having to watch movies on a six inch screen, but it’s a lot better than staring at a wall for two hours. The film I watched was Fantasia, which I got ten minutes short of finishing. I probably shouldn’t have bothered- Fantasia is one of those films that’s really hard to enjoy when you can’t give it your full concentration (and can’t hear the music that well), and it’s really hard to concentrate when you have a needle stuck in your arm and you have to squeeze a ball the whole time and your body is constantly changing temperature and your mouth and lips keep vibrating. It didn’t help that this time around was actually a little painful, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because this is the first time they’ve taken blood from my right arm? I dunno.

Because of how quickly the body generates platelets, one could potentially schedule one of these visits every two weeks (at least, two weeks is the date they gave me to come back). While this isn’t something I want to do every two weeks (which probably isn’t good for the body anyway), I’d like to make this a once a month thing. Because giving blood saves lives, and it’s a good thing to do.



Okay, fine, it’s because I like free cookies. Don’t judge me.


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Toy Story 4 (2017)

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Nov 06 2014 · 738 views

Nearly two decades after Pixar Animation Studios created the world’s first computer-animated feature film with Toy Story, today it has revealed plans for Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4, an adventure that returns audiences to the world of the studio’s signature characters.

John Lasseter, director of the original Toy Story and Toy Story 2, will direct the film, which opens a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the Toy Story gang. The story was dreamt up by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich, the storytellers who have been the driving force behind all three Toy Story films.

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” said Lasseter. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. Toy Story 3 ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another Toy Story movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie—and I wanted to direct it myself.”

Writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (Celeste and Jesse Forever) joined the project, and Pixar veteran Galyn Susman (ABC’s Toy Story OF TERROR! and Toy Story that Time Forgot) is producing.

Toy Story 4 is slated for release on June 16, 2017.

Source- Disney Blogs

Well, there it is. After a few years of speculation, rumors, and short films, we have confirmation that Toy Story 4 is going to be a real thing. This early it’s hard to imagine what to make of this. On one hand, the Toy Story Trilogy is darn near perfect. It chronicles the life of a child as seen through the eyes of his toys as he grows up, matures, and moves on. It doesn’t really seem like there’s any story left to tell with these characters. Yeah Woody and the gang will have further adventures with Bonnie, but the linking element of the films, the bond between Woody and Andy, is gone.

On the other hand, it’s Pixar. Four-five years ago I was saying pretty much the same thing: “Why do we need a Toy Story 3? The first two are so perfect! Why ruin a good thing?” And then Toy Story 3 came out. The fact of the matter is that despite some hiccups (Cars 2, and to a lesser extent Monsters University) Pixar tends to excel in the story telling department, and I don’t feel like Lasseter would put this on a schedule, or consider it at all, if he didn’t feel like there was a story worth telling. The articles implies that he, as well as his previous Toy Story partners, have a solid idea in mind, so right out of the gate I think there's reason to be optimistic. Making it feel like a natural continuation of the previous films will be an uphill battle for them, though, and I eagerly await for story tidbits to see how they do it.


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Films I'm Stoked For: "Song of the Sea"

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Oct 23 2014 · 473 views

(I can't link to the trailer and majhost won't let me upload a poster image, so go here to see the poster instead [google images link].)

Back in early 2010 when the Academy Award nominations were announced, there was one nomination in the “Best Animated Feature” category that threw some people for a loop: The Secret of Kells. A common reaction I saw to that was: “The Secret of What?” With it only screening at various festivals, and no more than 37 theaters in America (Boxofficemojo), it’s not too surprising that not many people here had heard of it. I only knew about it from looking at a list of eligible entries for the category, but didn’t really give it a second thought. About a year after that it returned to my thoughts for some reason, and I decided give it a watch not really knowing what to expect. To be honest, I was kind of nervous about it. This was before I got really interested in animated films so the weird style was kind of off putting.

But I was floored by it. Completely blown away. The story was simple but powerful in it’s sincerity and the art style of the film wasn’t distracting, but gorgeous. Almost every frame, and I mean that without hyperbole, is worthy of being printed, framed, and hung on the wall. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the director’s (Tomm Moore) next project, and this year, five years later, he’s delivering.

Song of the Sea, judging from the trailers, keeps intact the art style that made Kells such a mesmerizing film to watch, and like it explores elements of Irish mythology. In this case, Selkies- creatures who (from what I understand) naturally live as seals but can shed their skin to live on land as humans. The film’s synopsis indicates that the movie will be a sort of reverse Little Mermaid story, about a little girl Selkie who was born on land but wishes to return to her home in the sea. It sounds like a simple story, arguably much simpler than what Kells had to cover, but I have no doubt that Moore will make it emotionally resonant and incredibly gorgeous.

Admittedly that’s not a whole lot to go off of, and my excitement is entirely based on the one single film he’s made so far. Still, every film maker has to start somewhere, and Kells was a strong enough debut to make Moore a filmmaker to pay attention to. So far the film has debuted at two film festivals (TIFF and one in London) to positive reviews, and the ones I’ve read indicate that it’s a worthy followup to Kells. I have doubts that it will get a wide release here in America, and even if it does it probably won’t come around to my neck of the woods. But I’ll be buying the Blu-Ray the minute I can, because even if it’s half as good as Kells it will still be one of the finer film offerings this year, animation or otherwise.


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'A Tale of Two Sisters'

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Sep 28 2014 · 681 views

Once Upon a Time spoilers.

Spoiler


And that's all I have to say about that.





Hello! And...

Welcome to V1P2's Blog!

Getting To Know Me

Because you shouldn't interact with strangers. . .


BZPower Name: Vorahk1Panrahk2

Likes: Reading, Movies, School, Robotics, LEGO Bricks, Food, world history
Dislikes: Arguing, Some Vegetables, Pasta
Hobbies: Boy Scouts of America, Robotics, Geology

Favorite -
Book: The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho, among others
Author: Paulo Coelho, among others
Vacation Destinations: Anywhere Outdoors
Song: American Pie, among others
Bionicle Set: Onua Nuva

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