Phoenix of the Wolfe: Rise- Part 2

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About 2 months before the soft date of my departure, there was much debate on where I should go.  Back and forth from Colorado Springs, to the Carolinas, to friggin’ San Antonio. San Antonio was a tiny blip on the decision list until I decided; I just have to get the hell out of Texas.  Something about the location just wasn’t meshing well with my psyche ever since I arrived over a decade ago.  Maybe the heat, or the over population combined with the higher cost of living in the later years.  Maybe it was the uber techie/hipster vibe permeating in the area that I thought I was all about until that company-who-shall-remain-nameless went and downsized about 30% of their workforce.  Turns out I wasn’t as passionate about the tech industry as I thought I was.  Ahhh discoveries.  I don’t know.  I stopped trying to figure it out.  I just knew I wanted to get the hell outta Austin for a number of reasons.  Finally I decided on South Carolina since my pro/con list told me so.  (Thanx Rory Gilmore) heheh…

So about a week before I’m about to leave, I’m still in kind of a passive panic mode trying to figure out what I can fit in the car, and what is really not a necessity.  This freak out was heavily sedated by binge watching Girlboss and Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix when my ass probably should have been doing a mock packing to see what can actually fit in the car ahead of time.  That way, when Salvation Army comes to pick up my crap, I have a clear idea of what can stay.  This passive non-decision bull shit went on until the day Salvation Army was scheduled to pick up all of my big items.  TV, futon, awesome speakers, and a bunch of other crap.  Why didn’t I sell it off, you ask?  Ooooh, I’m gonna tell ya!

Selling items in the other states I’ve lived in.  No problem.  Selling off video game stuff ANYWHERE, no problem.  Trying to sell household gear in Texas; pffhaa! Good luck!  Talk about low ballin’.  You advertise a $600 package for half price, these cats do not care.  $300? Nah.  Let’s start the haggling at $50… for everything.  FIFTY dollars!!  Fawk that advertised price!  Hell, some didn’t even bother hagglin’ and just straight up asked me, “what’s the least you wanna sell your items for?”  Like, really dude?!  Really?  GTFOH with yo cheap ass!!  Needless to say, there was a large charity donation on my behalf.  Tax write off was the better option.  You’re welcome.

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Goodbye stuff 😦

At any rate, I did learn one thing at the start of this departure;  You’ve not made any executive decisions in your life until you have to fit all of your super-I-can’t live-without-them worldly possessions into a compact car and you realize it all ain’t gonna fit!  Now is the time when you find out how much of a necessity all of your necessary items really are.   See that 20 inch computer monitor?  Gone!  Air purifier? Peace!  Pillows, Cotsco bulk food, and other clothes you sometimes wear?  Bag it, tag it, trash it! So much good stuff… sayonara, nice to know you!  Find out a lot about yourself when you have to throw out stuff you were just soooo attached to, let me tell ya.  On the plus side, it’s a good way to minimize the amount of physical stuff in your life.  Only have as much stuff as you can fit in the damn car!  I kinda like it.  Reminded me of De Niro from the movie Heat. 30 seconds flat rule.

And then, finally an hour after I was planning on leaving, I hit the road.

Phoenix of the Wolfe: Rise- Preface / Part 1

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A couple of months ago I started toying with the idea of relocating away from Austin.  Wait, that’s a lie.  I’ve wanted to move for something like 3 years now.  But it wasn’t until last year that I started mentally preparing for action rather than just spouting off a bunch of empty words.  I have also decided to chronicle this little adventure, because knowing my own mind, there’s gonna be some comical and no doubt politically incorrect nonsense happening on this journey.  It’ll probably be about 10% censored, and 90% raw, ‘cause , well, let’s face it, raw truth is funnier than trying to make every single person on the planet happy with whatever endeavor one chooses to embark on.  So don’t take anything you read here to heart. But if you do, feel free to Google a basket of puppies and try to forget about whatever it was that got your cereal soggy.  K? OK.

It all started sometime in March 2016.  I moved into a new apartment since my roommate was moving back to her hometown.  Fresh start back into the solo apartment life for me.  Except for the money part, I was cool with that.  Besides, I’m sure my ex roommate was happy not to have the “Clean Kitchen Nazi” constantly getting on her shit about keeping the kitchen clean anyway.  In all fairness, I did give fair warning ahead of time that I like to keep my kitchen spotless and would bitch about it if any roommate didn’t follow suit.  Must have thought I was joking…  Hehe, I got sooo many death looks coupled with the occasional “go f*** yourself!”  Wish I had my camera.  Seriously thought she’d try to kill me in my sleep over it one day.

So I moved in to my new place.  As soon as I walk in on move in day, I swear this was the universe putting shit in motion.  I say this because NONE of the maintenance items –this list was a lot of annoying things, but not deal breakers—I pointed out on my pre-inspection were addressed.  This was even after my 3rd call checking with the office to confirm things were in order a week before I moved in, so they didn’t have to be working around my crap after the fact.  They finally started to address the issues as I was moving my stuff in.

Then there was the issue of the strongest scent of curry forever wafting throughout both hallways and entrances into my damn building. This in itself would have seriously ticked off my nose enough to cancel the lease contract, but the place was the most cost effective one in the area (or so I thought) at the time.  I just partially held my breath every time I’d head into my place to avoid the stench, not to mention the sneezing.  Don’t know why, but too much curry scent makes me sneeze as well.  As much as I’m unbiased about dating a chica because of race, I probably couldn’t date an East Indian babe if she’s into the traditional cooking side of things.  I don’t think the sneezing would work out too well for either of us…

Finally having everything fixed up, the apartment actually was not so bad.  Things were cruising along just peachy until a new neighbor moved in 6 months into my stay there.  And then the real fun started.  “Sliiiiiide, Kachunk!. Sliiiiiide, SLAM!  BAM! Thump thump, kabooom!”  *glass shatter, dog bark*.  Wait 30 minutes and repeat.  Sounded like WWIV, the Dog Demolition Edition down there! This shit was going on for about 3 months straight, so this was about the time I started looking for my damn lease contract to check out the fine print…    After one final SLAM that sent a chunk of something in the crawlspace above me skittering across the ceiling, I finally decided to put that relocation plan in motion…

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW 2

Score = 3/5

Game Type – Action/Adventure, RPG

Platform – Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch

Developer – Nintendo

Publisher– Nintendo

ESRB – Everyone

 

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline: – As the fan boy turns…  A bro love letter to Link.

Hello, my friend.  Hard to believe we’ve been best buds for over thirty years.  Ever since that old man told us ” it’s dangerous out there,” and put that wooden sword in our hands, things have never been the same.

We’ve traveled Hyrule hundreds of times over, in several time zones and dimensions.  Finding rupees in grass, moving statues twice our size, and finding countless treasures in our adventures.  More important than monetary wares, we found the treasure of friendship in our travels.  Gorons, Zoras, and of course the Rito have helped us progress forward to save your world.

Satiating my appetite for our next adventure, I happily revisited some of our most challenging and rewarding moments.  My favorite has always been when we finally obtained the master sword.  We felt like such bad asses after that, didn’t we?

On March the 3rd of this year you opened your eyes and recovered from a fatal blow dealt by Ganon. Thought you were a goner.  But you returned.  You always return.

For in death we are reborn.  A soul never dies.  And a man who fears death, is a soul who didn’t try.

As we run through recent Hyrule, I notice the vibe has shifted.  The scenery is breathtaking.  Ganon’s been out of control and yet there is still magic and wonder to be found.  But as we stand atop Mount Lanayru (It’s damn cold up here) and breathe in the scent of accomplishment after freeing Naydra, I suddenly feel… empty.  Freeing that dragon was not an easy feat, so we should FEEL accomplished, right?  Then why don’t I?

Why don’t I feel anything after successfully conquering my eighteenth shrine?  Why don’t I feel like pressing forward after unlocking a memory we’ve shared with Zelda from the past?  Why does our princesses’s exaggerated Australian / Irish sounding accent annoy the crap out of me? I love Aussies! Why am I so frustrated about the ridiculous amount of inventory micromanagement the game forces onto us with these weapons breaking EVERY, DAMN, FIGHT!? How can your guardians miss the elementary fact that game-play is significantly diminished if the menu has to be re-opened every ten seconds?  Especially in the MIDDLE of the fight.

This game was obviously meant for the Wii U, yet they opted to disable the much needed menu purposes built in for the Wii U gamepad.  (see in game Sheikah Slate for uncanny resemblance)  Map and inventory would have been perfect here as it was originally designed.  Nintendo’s reason for removing it was flat out B.S. and I believe they removed it because they didn’t want the Wii U to have any game-play advantage over the new Switch.  I see what you did there Nintendo.  I see it.  Gotta boost those sales for that new console, don’t cha?

And this dungeon situation…  Breaks my heart, Link.  Where are they?  We’ve ran around for fifteen hours and all we’ve found are these stupid shrines.  Rumor has it, there are about four true dungeons in the entire game.  But I won’t be with you when you find them, my brother in arms.  I realize the side quests were my decision, but that only helped me to formulate a stronger foundation about our newest adventure.  I think I’ve sipped my last glass of Lon Lon milk and the bar is closing.

Kind of bitter sweet that my first taste of RPG action started with you in the 8-bit era, and now is quite possibly closing the book on my Nintendo life in the HD era.  We had a good run, didn’t we?  You were the shining beacon of gaming that kept me glued to the digital world since I first picked up the controller.  This time around, had this not been about you and the princess, I believe this adventure would not have survived past the fifth hour.  The whole time spent traveling with you, all I could think about was Aloy and those robo-dinosaurs.  My heart’s just not in this one, buddy.

I know.  I know.  Zelda still needs us.  But she’s a strong princess.  Plus I know you’ll get to her in time and finish off Ganon as usual. *bro-hug*  You’ve never really needed me to get the job done.  But I’ve always relied on you to make it through this human world of mine. But it seems time.  I’ve cancelled my Nintendo identifications, sold off my systems and all of my games.  Even Bayonetta.  We must part ways for now.  I’m not sure what the future holds for either of us, but you’ll always be in my thoughts.

In death there is life.  Answers are not always born in light.

From the past, I’ll reminisce of you.  To let go is to begin anew.

Farewell, Link.  My digital brother.  I’ll miss you.

-Kisho

(seriously teared up a bit after writing this.  *ahem*  Fight on Link!  1-luv)

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

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Score = 3 /5

(Comedy/Drama) Rated- TV-14

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline: Gilmore Girls, ten years later

It’s been about ten years since we’ve last experienced Gilmore shenanigans and the world is excited to see what they have been up to.  The series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has definitely birthed a monster of a series with these crazy characters and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed watching the original series. (Most seasons anyway.  We won’t talk about that last season and a half before it ended and the series desperately missed Mrs. Palladino’s stamp…)

In the revival we have four episodes and each episode is broken down into seasons.  We catch up with Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore’s exciting journalist lifestyle as she’s living a whirlwind existence bouncing through different countries and homes while doing her career thing in the Winter episode.  She seems like she has it all together in the early half of Winter, but the reality of the situation becomes evident towards the end when the wavering shows through.  We also catch up with Lorelai (Lauren Graham) Gilmore and her now live in boyfriend Luke (Scott Patterson) Danes.  Anyone who has followed the original series will know this is a monumental accomplishment for our momma Gilmore as she tends to run like the wind when things get too serious.

Ever since the first season of the Gilmore Girls series, I’ve been hooked on Amy’s writing style.  It’s fast, it’s witty, but also has purpose.  I think she does an amazing job of setting up the pegs in the early parts of an episode she’s writing and then successfully knocks them down in the later parts.  It’s just one of those things that very few manage to do consistently, but she’s absolutely one of them! Her husband/partner in crime Daniel Palladino unfortunately does not share this same skill set.  After catching up with the girls in the Winter episode of the revival, we eagerly  anticipate the comedy and progress of the Spring episode to see what’s going to happen next.  While the progress of the story comes through here, the laughs are far and few between.  The writing style between these two partners is definitely apples to oranges.  Amy’s style is more laugh out loud comedy and I love her for that.  Daniel’s style is more of the martini dry I-see-what-you-did-there type of comedy.  While that style has its place, it’s just never quite seemed to fit within the originals or this revival. The feel good time typically experienced when watching the show is simply just not there during the episodes of Daniel’s writing.

Halfway through Spring I found my mind wandering and started checking emails as the show droned on.  I did perk up anytime one of the more dynamic characters like Paris (Liza Weil) came back into play.  This woman has not missed a beat in the last ten years and snipes ALL of her lines perfectly each time she is on the screen.  It’s a beautiful thing!  The same can be said for Alexis as well.  Lauren, however seems to just either not be feeling it for the first three episodes of the revival, or is maybe just mad tired for the majority of it and doesn’t really get going until the last episode.

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Luke and Lorelai

Is this performance decline a residual from her other long running series where she pretty much is tasked to cry almost every time she’s on the screen?  Has the genuine happiness been pushed so far back from the melodrama acting elsewhere that she is unable to recall it on command now like the tears?  I don’t know.  But it certainly shows here.  She used to outshine almost EVERYONE in the cast with her verbal and facial expression chops and it’s sad to see that energy absent in her recent performance. I still have love for her though. I just hope that resolves itself if they decide to keep going with more episodes because it did look like the light started to shine a bit in the Fall episode.

While watching the Summer episode, there’s even a 30 minute musical…scratch that, it was actually only about ten minutes (I literally just went back and had to scrub for the timing) but it felt longer.  Had to fast forward through it when I was watching it, as it seriously annoyed the crap out of me and my short attention span.  Call me crazy, but spending that big of a chunk of precious screen time on something that has absolutely nothing to do with the main character’s progress/story is a waste.  Fluff or filler as they say.  They would have been better off shortening the episode instead.  The main characters nor support characters are even performing in the damn thing and had me failing to see the point of it.

By the last episode, (Fall) I was elated to see Amy’s name back up there for Writer/Director. The entertainment was back on track as well as the timing.  The short cameos with Rory’s past love life and even her father admitting defeat at losing Lorelai to a marriage with Luke tied everything together for the final episode.  The enjoyment factor throughout the 4 seasons was about 50% for this fan.

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Paris, Lane, Michel

That number could have definitely been boosted with the writing and better support appearances in the Spring and Summer episodes.  I would have loved to see more screen time with Lane(Keiko Agena) and maybe how she interacts with her mother in regards to her marriage with Zach and the kids.  I just feel like there were higher entertainment values that could have been exercised in the middle two episodes to support the lives of our main two protagonists in addition to the evolution of our beloved support characters then saaaay a pointless musical.  The trite running gags that refused to end needed to be taken out back and put down after the first couple runs as well.  Found myself squinching my own face when certain bits ran on too long. (poolside anyone…)  And for the record, I DO enjoy the occasional musical…when it’s good.(I’ll just leave this here for proof- Shen Yun)

Overall, I gave Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. After ten years, it’s only expected that everyone has moved on to other things in their life and might not have the same performance spark as they did back then.  Understandable.  I’ve watched all 4 episodes and noticed the difference in not only the writing between the episodes, but also the acting in response to the writing.  I honestly believe with the right mind behind the pen, there is definitely potential in going another few rounds with the Gilmore Girls.  I am a tad curious to find out what becomes of Rory and the bomb she dropped at the end of the revival.  Although without properly fleshing out the support characters along with our main two, I do believe things will get pretty dull and deem it not worth the efforts.

Love is a Unicorn

Love is a unicorn

Lust at first sight is common, but love is a unicorn.

Hasn’t happened to me yet, in all my years of being born.

Quite content running solo.  At times, even close my mind to the possibility when they walk by.

Grown tired of shallow waters and train of thoughts that run dry.

Didn’t see you at first. I almost bumped into you.

Then you moved a little to the left.  “Oh, that reflection is new.”

“Who is that!?” I wonder.  And almost miss the beat.

“Stop staring, Mr. Wolfe.  And by the way, “MOVE YOUR FEET!”

She can’t catch the sequence. “Coordination’s a little rough.”

But I’m finding it endearing.  “No no, this is NOT love.”

Caught me looking and she smiles.  “My gods what a sight.”

One of those smiles you work hard to see… day, or night.

Pressure’s on now, my boy.  Can’t let her slip past.

Let’s build on that spark, or later you’ll kick your own ass!

I break the ice and she speaks, the short vibe is kinda nice.

Eyes sparkle as her lips move.  Somehow this feels just right.

Exotic name, fit frame.  Her hands, soft to the touch.

Should probably tone my brain down a notch, ’cause I’m analyzing too much.

Thoughts fly to a distant future of things that just might be.

Thoughts that never cross my mind, about things I don’t foresee.

Maybe this is a sign.  A glimpse of something new.

Never mind, false alarm.  She just kissed her boo…

Today I Exploded an Egg

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Today I exploded an egg.

     Today I exploded an egg.

My first encounter.

     Yellow lumps, on the counter.

Today I exploded an egg.

     That’s right, you heard, what I said.

Shots rang out.

     I dove behind the couch.

          My toe screamed “OUCH!”

               Shooting pains won the bout.

                    No guns in the house.

                         Much louder, than a mouse.

Oh microwave, microwave, please, no I beg.

     Today I exploded an egg.

 

Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses (2016)

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Score = 3/5

(Live Orchestra/ Digital Arts/ G – **if there was a rating)

 

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

 Logline:  30 years of memories, resurfaced in 2 hours.

**may contain spoilers**

It’s hard to believe this series has been around for so long.  I still remember the first time I cracked open the box on the first Legend of Zelda game for the original NES and my eyes popped open to twice their size at that sweet golden cartridge inside.  Well, it was still plastic, but the coating was a spitting image of a shiny piece of gold.  And that game was on point the second you hit the power button and that opening theme song started playing.  Oooh man.  I was still a young’n at the time, but something about that start screen music told you this was about to be epic.  And it did NOT disappoint.

Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is a unique orchestra experience.  As with any orchestra, the goal is to take your ears on an exciting journey.

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A Link to the Past

This show strives to do more with our time spent in the theater by projecting gaming moments that span across the majority of the series up on a large screen in the center of the orchestra.  Remember when the old man gave you that wooden sword in the first game and told you it was ‘dangerous to go alone?’ Or how about when you first removed the Master Sword from the stone in a Link to the Past?

 

A handful of Zelda games were on display, each with their own orchestrated segment.  I particularly loved how they designed the music to flow along with the on-screen action. Most pieces started off with the over-world theme and hardcore Zelda fans knew exactly which game in the series we were about to be treated to within the first few notes.  The music blended quite nicely as they took us through key parts of each game by bringing the sound low at times to capture mood changes only to pick the energy back up when facing a boss or two on the screen until it’s climax.

There were also some standout moments in the second half of the show when the conductor put down her standard baton and reached over for one with a bit more… style to it.

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Twilight Princess

One of my favorite moments was during the Twilight Princess set.  Maybe it was that theme song, or maybe the crisp hits on those harp strings, but man, they had my neck groovin’ during that piece.

Over the years many gamers have come to not only appreciate, but look forward to the music in games today.  Many of us are even audiophiles that associate sounds with a particular location in the gaming world in addition to the place they were when they were playing, clothes they were wearing at the time,  or even the brown wooden chair with the ugly pastel-green seat cushion we were sitting in when we first heard a particular sound from the game.  Pretty astounding really.

The music in the Zelda series has always been a wonderful addition to a solid gaming series over the years, but grew into it’s own persona when the Ocarina of Time released. All of those different songs deliberately used to do different things in the game seemed to have created a gift and a curse situation for Nintendo after that master piece of a game. They’ve tried to emulate the music as a character for the game for many of the iterations after it.  Majora’s mask worked to an extent, but some of the others after it felt a bit rehashed in terms of creativity music wise and game-play wise.  Hopefully with the new release coming in 2017, they’ll change the game again with more creativity in the music in addition to the Zelda formula.

I gave this show a 3 out of 5 for a couple of reasons.  While I do love the trip down memory lane, I also would have welcomed a bit more in the atmospheric tone happening throughout the show.  There were maybe about 2 or 3 sets where they captured that essence of mood building and impacting sounds while matching up with the screen action, but I feel they could have done more in this sense to really take the mind through reliving more moments.  For the most part, the over-world themes of each game with varying main music pieces were played.

Skyward sword

Skyward Sword

Sure the show is only 2 hours, but in that two hours, I think we could have switched up each piece to showcase maybe more subtle points in the games, rather than the same rinse and repeat formula.  This also could have been carried over into the screen action as well to match up with the different moods of the games. They definitely capitalized on things such as Wind Waker’s pirate themes and Twilight Princess’s darker vibes, and I believe this should have been captured across the entire spectrum of games on display during the show.

Overall the show was enjoyable.  I’d definitely recommend it if you are a Zelda fan.  And if you do attend, don’t make the mistake of leaving after the lights go out and the conductor walks off the stage the first time. *hint-hint*