Weary, Wicked & Wittier Than The White House

 

So, as you may have noticed, this is the second year in a row that has been marked by an extended absence on my part at around the same time.  This is not a coincidence.  The reasons are something I’ve struggled with, but I feel like sharing them might be both good for me as well as make it somewhat easier for some out there that may be dealing with similar issues to know that they are not alone.

I have for some time been dealing with a particularly vicious two-headed demon; fibromyalgia and depression.  The roots go back a long ways and aren’t particularly the point here and now; but suffice to say, the two have an awful symbiotic relationship with one another.  The fibro causes significant physical pain, which makes the depression worse, which magnifies the pain, and so on and so forth.  This is exacerbated during the changeover of seasons – as weather patters begin to change, pressure systems begin to wildly fluctuate and both conditions are particularly sensitive to that.  If you have ever suffered from seasonal depression, or have had a knee or shoulder ache during a storm, imagine that but cranked up to 11 and then happening almost constantly.  Basically the only way for me to work and take care of my absolutely required social responsibilities was to lock my psyche into something resembling this:

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Believe it or not, I’ve wanted to write.  I’ve spoken with some of you, on Twitter or in person, and I’ve sat here some nights, staring at the blank page and cursor blinking at me, but just unable to sort through everything and assemble it into something resembling coherent thought.  But I’ve missed you (EWE’s Note: Don’t admit that to them, you sniveling fleshsack!) and believe it or not, so has EWE.  I promise.  Speaking of whom…

EWE and Editor Weary

But you know what I haven’t missed?  What I haven’t been ABLE to miss?  What I haven’t even been given a chance to miss?  DONALD MOTHERFUCKING TRUMP.  Specifically, I have not been afforded the opportunity to miss Donald Trump saying or doing something that is a complete and utter embarrassment to the country as a whole, both here in the U.S. and to whatever allies we have remaining in the world at this point.

Now, I don’t have the time or patience (nor likely do you) to expound upon every single horrific statement, quote, tweet, or other action taken by our narcissistic, dementia-addled lunatic-in-chief, but I think we can probably sum up the general vibe relatively quickly.  Let’s see…

“A Pluses,” huh?  Who the fuck was grading your sad-sack efforts on that curve – Betsy Devos?  No wonder your administration doesn’t like public education – they probably all grade too hard for you.  And since when did travel to Puerto Rico suddenly become the equivalent attempting to reach the North Pole?  It’s a fucking U.S. territory, and this is 2018.  We have the most powerful, modern Navy in the history of time, and we aren’t actively involved in any major armed conflicts.  Do not talk to me about the “war on terror” bullshit because that’s like saying we couldn’t send ships because they were busy patrolling the shorelines as part of the “war on drugs.”  The bottom line is that your administration was caught unprepared, responded completely inadequately, and as a result, the death toll was 3000.  Would some people have died anyway?  Yes – that’s the harsh reality of natural disasters.  But would 3000 people have had to die if food, water, electricity and infrastructure had been restored to island as quickly as possible thanks to efficient and effective U.S. response?  No, and Trump’s refusal to be able to admit even the slightest bit of error, and in fact to petulantly whine that HE’S NOT GETTING ENOUGH CREDIT FOR HOW WELL IT WENT in the face of 3000 dead souls is a stunning, mind numbing demonstration of just how self-centered and disconnected from reality he is.

Oh really?  Bob Woodward is a liar?  The Bob Woodward that was instrumental in exposing the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon and fundamentally changed how the media and the general public viewed the presidency and government in general?  The Bob Woodward who has been one of most well-respected, thorough, and meticulous presidential researchers and analysts of our time?  The Bob Woodward who, despite respecting the time-honored tradition of maintaining his sources’ request for confidentiality with regard to their identity, has hours upon hours of documentation of his interviews with them in order to prepare his book?  That Bob Woodward is a “liar” because his book, rather than portraying you as the greatest president in American history, instead depicts you as being so fundamentally disturbed and mentally unfit to handle the rigors of the presidency that those closest to you have taken to manipulating you around your worst and stupidest impulses in an effort to just keep the country functional and out of any kind of doomsday scenario?

No

You see, Orange Hobgoblin, it really just comes down to a relatively simple calculus.  Bob Woodward, he’s got credibility.  A track record of proven integrity and reliability.  You, however, have…um, Melania?  Baron?  The human caricature drawing that is Rudi Giuliani?  So really, anyone with even a drop of common sense would realize that banking on your word is not a safe bet.  Ever.

These are just a couple of examples of the freakish, insane alternate universe that Donald Trump has chosen to inhabit. Where 3000 people dead goes from being a mistake that could have been avoided to an “unsung success” that just doesn’t get the credit it deserved.  Frankly, I could go on, but I’m beginning to tire for the night, and there will be plenty of nights to come – but for now kids, I have missed you all greatly, and it’s good to be back! – EWE

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Game Night! – CAH & the Return of #FrozenFoodFridays!

Greets, mortals!  Let’s start things off with a thank you to those of you that may have joined the game night crew earlier tonight as we dusted off the card table and streamed one of our favorites, Cards Against Humanity.  As always, it was whack, inappropriate, borderline-aneurysm-inducing (Editor’s Note: well, for him, anyway) fun.  For those that couldn’t join us live, don’t despair, my marvelous minions – just look below!

Now, normally that might be enough to call it a night – oh but I told you last time, old EWE has decided he wants to start ramping things up around here again.  Sure, I may not be able to post as OFTEN as I might like – but when I do, dammit, I’m going to make damn sure it was worth it.  So I have reached WAY back to find one of my most beloved segments from early in the blog’s life, dusted off the mothballs (Editor’s Note: or, in this case, freezer burn) whatever – I present to you the return of #FrozenFoodFridays!

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So, if you know me at all, and you think I’m going to find anything wrong with this dish, all I can say is hahahahahaha!!!

So, let’s get the negatives out of the way right off the bat, shall we?  Devour frozen meals have a completely godawful marketing department.  I mean, a balls-out, what-the-shit, genuinely horrific messaging campaign marked their entrance into the marketplace, and only got marginally better with their recent Deadpool 2 tie-in commercial campaign.  I loved that movie, but it didn’t influence my frozen dinner purchasing.  The commercial itself was entertaining as hell though, I’ll give them that.

The problem with all of this fancy packaging, 6th grade “food you wanna fork” (seriously, that is their slogan – if my eyes rolled any harder they would fall out) marketing campaign, and Deadpool licensing agreement is that it all leads to increased cost to you at the register.  When purchased at regular price, Devour frozen meals are some of the most expensive per ounce frozen meals you are going to find in the standard frozen food section of the grocer’s freezer, without venturing into specialty areas such as gluten free or the like.  However, this is where the good news begins because the meals are quite often not at regular price recently – more and more often, they are on sale.  And if you can find them while on such a sale, take full advantage of it, for you will not be disappointed.

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Look at this…LOOK AT IT!

I’ve not been fortunate enough yet to have sampled all of the wide variety of Devour meals, in particular the new sandwiches – but what I have had so far has been universally fantastic.  Painless preparation – heat, stir, heat again, let stand, stir and enjoy.  And as you’ve probably noticed above, they have one dish in particular that combines lasagna, alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, and bacon – four of my favorite things to eat in one scrumptious meal.  Devour frozen meals definitely get a thumbs up from me!

That’s it for tonight folks, as old EWE is hearing the siren song of his sheets and blankets – but with luck maybe I can be back before the weekend is out!  Until then, kiddos! – EWE

 

Vacation’s Over, Humans!

That’s right, mortals!  Your vacation, my vacation, EVERYONE’S vacation is done!  For the first time in CENTURIES (Editor’s Note: well, years, but still…a long time) yes, A LONG TIME, I decided it was time to give myself a break.  An actual, honest-to-evilness break – from work, from writing, from everything but relaxing.  And you know what?  IT…WAS…GLORIOUS!!!

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I spent an entire week waking up when I wanted, hanging out with my sons, reading, gaming, finally playing laser tag for the first time in my life (it is just as fun as I always figured it was), and oh did I mention, NOT WORKING.  It was, quite frankly, the single best week for my mental health that I’ve had in recent memory.  So yes – I’ve been away.  You’ve all been free to rebuild your little villages and prosper and whatnot.  But guess what, kiddos?  DADDY’S HOME!

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We’ve got lots and lots to talk about and get caught up on!  The Game Night! streams will of course be coming back – Beefer, Dracollia and Special Buddy in particular are itching to grace your eyes and ears again (Monkey is a little more meh on the whole stream thing).  I’ve watched and read and played so, so many things to share with you all.  In particular – if you have Netflix, consider if any of the following apply to you: Did you grow up during the 80s?  Were you a Voltron fan?  An anime fan?  An action cartoon fan in general?  A mecha fan?  Just a fan of well done animated series?  If any of these apply to you, and you have Netflix, stop what you are doing, and binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.  If you don’t have Netflix…subscribe to Netflix, and then binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.

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This is a modern reboot/retelling of the Voltron saga, but for those of us that watched the classic show when we were young (Editor’s Note: well…younger, anyway)…ahem, fear not, because the producers at Dreamworks did as well, and while Legendary Defender serves as an homage to that tale, it is not slavishly beholden to it, and the modern characterizations of the familiar characters both ring true and yet are fresh and avoid being dull retreads of a bygone era.  After a couple of full season releases, the show opted for the growing “half-season” method of release, with each season consisting of a single-digit number of episodes that comprise approximately half of an entire season’s story arc.  Season Six just released on Netflix and having watched the entire series twice now, it stands as a fantastic example of a licensed Netflix Original Series done right.  Even the occasional filler episodes include a bit of plot advancement, as well as lighthearted character moments that don’t feel like a chore to slog through just to get to the next “important” episode.  While some of the plot twists may feel like they are telegraphed at first, in reality the writers, animators and voice actors do an absolutely amazing job breathing such life into the different characters that you truly will be second guessing yourself and your predictions over and over again as the series progresses – and that’s a sign of a job well done.  To say much more would risk giving away twists that you deserve to experience for yourself – now go form Voltron!

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There will be more from here, boys and girls – so many games, good (Dragon’s Crown Pro) and…less my cup of tea (Prey).  There will be books – including my finally, inevitably crumbling to the siren song of the audiobook in the car…which has seen me basically consuming a new non-fiction book every few days, not counting what I read with my eyes, and that’s all just my pleasure reading, not my work-related legal research and writing, to say nothing of black magic, blood magic and curses (Editor’s Note: Uh, just ignore those last few…).  There will be wrestling talk – for what it’s worth, currently NJPW is the best wrestling on the planet and the only thing WWE has coming close as a whole is NXT.  On the main roster, they’ve got Styles, Bryan, and Rollins – and you give Vince and his “creative” time and they will goddamn find a way to fuck those guys up too, no matter how much talent they have.  Don’t believe me?  Go talk to Shinsuke Nakamura…or Asuka…or Sami Zayn…or Finn Balor…or literally any tag team.

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And there will be legal and political talk of course!  Like for example, I hear some citrus-fruit-based life form and his helper monkey/former-NYC-mayor have somehow formed the theory that, in a society that is literally founded on, among other things, the concept of nobody, NOBODY being above the law, the living orange can pardon himself.  That he’s incapable of committing a crime, and that even if he did, he can somehow pardon himself from that crime.  Now, I will engage in a more in-depth look at this at a later date, but for brevity and blood-pressure’s sake, let me just sum up briefly this way: no, no he cannot pardon himself, and anyone that tells him that he can, or that goes on television and advocates that he can, should not only be bounced out of the practice of law immediately, but should – and I honest to cats can’t believe I’m saying this – be liable to the poor orange bastard for damages, because he’s not a lawyer, and if he relies on advice so incredibly, recklessly, shit-stormingly stupid as being possibly true, then they should go down for it every bit as hard as he does for not having the goddamn spine to tell him the fucking truth. – EWE

Game Night! – Dragon’s Crown Pro

Long time, no see, mortals!  I’ve been a bit swamped with various unexpected events lately – still am, truth be told – and as such, have not had the opportunity to either game nor write nearly as often as I would like.  However, Dracollia, Beefer, Monkey, and Special Buddy were able to all join me for Game Night last night and we were able to throw a live stream up on the Twitch channel of Dragon’s Crown Pro for PS4.  While some headset issues prevented you from enjoying our typically insane banter, the gorgeous art style and satisfying 2D brawler-RPG gameplay more than make up for it.

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Look upon this beauty, and despair…

For some reason, I can’t embed Twitch the way I can YouTube, so you’ll have to hit the link above if you’re interested (Editor’s Note: and if you can help us solve this little dilemma, feel free to educate us in the comments below).  Until next time, humans! – EWE

Game Night! – Dad of War

Happy Friday, humans!  So, technically yes, I know, the game is God of War…but let’s face it, the hook is that Kratos and Atreus are learning to be father and son every bit as much as they are an ass-kicking combo of gods.  We tried something a little different for tonight’s stream, as Dad of War is obviously a single player game and I have not wanted to spoil the main story beats of the game.  So, since Beefer has advanced the furthest in terms of combat ability and accessed a difficult optional battle with a Valkyrie Queen, we elected to stream his attempts to defeat her…with the rest of the crew providing him with, ahem “encouragement.”  Hopefully you find it as entertaining as we found ourselves!  Except Beefer.  He didn’t appear to be entertained by it at all.  You can find the video on YouTube or below.

Until next time! – EWE

Indie Corner: Last Dream

Welcome to mid-week, mortals!  You’re halfway to…wondering where in the hell your weekend went before doing all of this over again, for the rest of your natural lives.  BWAHAHAHAHA!  Ah, but I don’t bear all bad news – in your spare time, you could stumble upon spectacular little gaming gems like the one I’m about to tell you about!

This is actually a two game series that was funded on Kickstarter and developed by White Giant RPG Studios, and was brought to my attention by my very good friend and fellow streamer, as well as husband to my bestest friend in the world Malevolent Moogle, the one and only Absurdum.  Please, please, pretty please, find and follow him on YouTube and Twitch – he is very funny and talented and knows his games!  Last time we got together, I saw him playing what appeared to be a retro-RPG and asked what it was.  After watching him play it for a while longer and hearing from him about how much content the game and its sequel roughly contained, I pulled them up on Steam and found them to be on sale in a bundle for under $5 total – and you can guess what happened.

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I have not yet progressed far through the main story of the game yet, but that is primarily because I have been reveling in the comfort-food-feeling of the combat and leveling mechanics.  For those with fond memories of being able to lose themselves in an hour or so of fast-paced, turn-based combat with a relatively steady trickle of rewards in the form of skill points and gold for new abilities and equipment, you will be right at home, and the variety of character classes ensures that multiple playthroughs are unique in playstyle.

If these games are still on sale on Steam, and you have any fondness for old school JRPGs at all, this is a no-brainer from my standpoint.  If they are not on sale, this still feels like a pretty solid value, but the developer’s website appears to have a demo version available for download, so try it out for yourself and if you like it as much as I do, by all means, support an indie dev, humans! – EWE

Game Night! – Cards Against Humanity (And Some Other Stuff!)

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Let’s start with the other stuff, humans!  My journey through Midgard and the realms beyond alongside Kratos and Atreus continues, and it continues to amaze me with the development of both its world and its characters.  I simply cannot exaggerate how much of a rebirth this game is for Kratos – from a mindless avatar of rage and destruction to a wizened, saddened, but still angry, and struggling to be better, father and man.  I can’t get into too many details without spoiling story beats, and that would be criminal because you simply owe it to yourself to play this game because I don’t know how any game this year is going to beat it as a pure gaming experience.  I cannot get enough of it, and am enjoying every moment I spend with it.

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When I’ve put down the PS4 controller and gone to bed (Editor’s Note: and subsequently failed to fall asleep) I’ve been spending some time with Adol Christin’s adventure in Ys: The Oath in Felghana.  The Ys series of action-RPGs is one to which I am definitely late to the party, as I have had them lingering in my Steam library for quite some time but have only recently begun playing through them – but I don’t mind because that has resulted in the most pleasant kind of surprise.  Fantastic, challenging combat and platforming, creative level design, and absolutely stellar boss battle design have made these games a complete blast for me to play.  The storylines are fairly standard anime fare – which, as an anime fan, I’m not complaining about, but if you aren’t an anime fan, won’t do much for you.  But overall, in my time playing through Ys Origins and now Ys: Oath in Felghana, if you are a fan of action RPGs or action platformers at all, you owe it to yourself to try this game.

Finally, tonight, Dracollia, Beefer, and myself may have made some kind of dubious history by dealing in three-month-old-tomorrow Special Buddy!  It was quite fun to watch as we banter, either on YouTube or Twitch or below!

Happy gaming, my friends! – EWE