Monthly Archives: October 2015

Loot Crate Unboxing – October 2015

Hello, readers, and welcome to another Loot Crate Unboxing!  This October, we have a special theme tied to a very special day.  Since 10-21-15 is Back to the Future Day, the theme this month is – time.

Awesome time swag. - Photo by me.
Awesome time swag. – Photo by me.

More or less front and center, we have our first piece of loot.  From the ever-more-popular folks at Funko POP!, we have a Loot Crate exclusive of Dr. Emmett Brown from Back to the Future.  This is, in particular from the first movie.  It’s the scene in which Marty is trying to get back to 1985 by using the lightning strike of the clock tower to power the DeLorean.  Doc doesn’t quite have everything hooked up, so he gets the shock of his life.  It’s a great scene from a great movie, and it’s excellently captured in this vinyl figure.

Speaking of excellent, we have a most excellent shirt this month featuring Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted Theodore Logan of Wild Stallions.  The main characters from the iconic 80’s movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, these two get some help from the future to pass their high school history final report.  George Carlin shows up in a time traveling phone booth so the two can travel back to the past and pick up some of history’s greatest figures and bring them to modern (1989) San Dimas.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it is a most excellent choice and has recently been on Netflix.  Admittedly, I’m not sure if it’s still up, but if not, it’s worth it to just buy it.

Jumping back to the reason for the theme, we have a replica of a piece of technology that is close to practicality.  From Back to the Future: Part II, we have a 1:8 hoverboard.  It’s quite the display piece with it’s mirrored base to see the underside of the board.  There is also a certificate of authenticity included with each board.  Personally, I have the board on display in my living room with the Doc Brown vinyl figure standing atop it.

Next, we go back to that time traveling phone booth reference; well, sort of.  The T.A.R.D.I.S. is actually a police box, not a phone box.  We have a Sonic Spork, which is something that some versions of the Doctor might find ridiculous and others would find charming.  I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Matt Smith’s/Peter Capaldi’s sonic.  The design seems a bit clunky compared to Eccleston’s/Tennant’s or even the War Doctor’s sonics.  Nonetheless, I will eat my various foods with this implement and quite enjoy myself.

That’s all for this month.  Of course, we get the monthly button and it features the most important device to time travel ever invented in Hill Valley: the Flux Capacitor.  It will look great next to all my other Loot Crate buttons on my convention bag.  What was your favorite piece of loot this month?  How are you displaying your swag?  Are you looking forward to next month’s crate?  I just saw today that the theme is Battle, and it may feature something from Contra.  At any rate, it should be pretty cool.  See you all next time!

Edit – the November theme is Combat, not Battle.

Growing Up Too Fast

This post was intended to be my third article in my New Jedi Order series of posts.  I didn’t have the chance to write it until February 2015, and quaintjeremy has not yet had time to review it and get it posted.  With his permission to copy my series over to my own blog, I now present the third installment of my review and thoughts on the book series.


It has been a long time now since last you heard from me.  Between an over-demanding schedule at work, and an increased apathy after getting home from said schedule, I’ve been negligent even to my own personal blog.  But, I am resolved to reactivate myself in the blogosphere.  To that end, I return to a topic I began in August of last year: the death of Chewbacca.

Having examined Han’s reaction to his best friend’s passing, I wish now to look at Anakin Solo’s life after Chewie’s death.  If you need a quick reminder of what’s going on, you might want to check out my first and second sci-fi posts for the Thoughts.  The short version, Anakin was the one who decided the needs of the many out-weighed the needs of the one and leaves Chewbacca on the doomed world of Sernpidal, despite Han’s vehement protests.

After his father outright blames him for Chewie’s death, Anakin withdraws almost as much as Han from the world around him.  The loss of his protector and friend hardens the young Solo’s resolve to do anything in his power to prevent the loss of any more close friends or relatives.  Anakin becomes so focused on this ideal that he devotes himself to finding ways to fight back against the Yuuzhan Vong. In this pursuit, Anakin rediscovers the lost Jedi art of the battle meditation.  The battle meditation does play a pivotal part in the war at various battles, but I will examine that another time.

After a time, Anakin even develops a vague “Vong-sense” after some alterations to his lightsaber made during his captivity on Yavin IV. Anakin is able to take his lightsaber and attune it with a lambent crystal inside. Lambents are living crystal used by Yuuzhan Vong as sources of artificial light. Anakin struggles through a lot of mental turmoil before getting the weapon to work. When he finally ignites the now purple blade, he realizes that attuning the lambent to the lightsaber has provided a sense of the Yuuzhan Vong similar to Force sense of other people, but to a lesser degree. To get Anakin to Yavin IV, however, I must digress.

Upon learning that the Yuuzhan Vong have targeted Yavin IV as their next target, Anakin charges off to the planet, against the counsel of his uncle, Luke Skywalker, to warn the Jedi Praxeum. This is where Luke has established his training center and home for young Jedi-to-be. However, Anakin arrives to find that the Peace Brigade, a collection of dissidents who side with the Yuuzhan Vong thinking they will be allowed to survive the takeover of the galaxy, have already begun an invasion of the planet.  Anakin stays to fight, along with Tahiri and Ikrit, buying time for many of the children to escape.

During the fighting, Anakin’s long time friend and classmate, Tahiri Veila, is captured.  Anakin is still haunted by his decision at Sernpidal and decides to go after her in a poorly-planned rescue attempt.  He manages to get himself captured and is put to work as a slave with the Shamed Ones, the lowest caste of the Yuuzhan Vong’s society.  Shamed ones are without honor and deemed cursed by the gods.  Often they are Shamed by an implant not taking hold properly, or in the case of warriors, perform some act that strips them of their honor.  I will look more specifically at Tahiri’s story another time.

Anakin is eventually able to convince one Shamed One, Vua Rapuung, to assist him in freeing Tahiri, after Rapuung tells Anakin that she will be shaped into a Yuuzhan Vong.  During the ensuing Shamed uprising, Anakin and Rapuung fight side by side, instilling an ideal in the Shamed Ones that greatly affects the latter months of the war.  Anakin does eventually rescue Tahiri, but he still doesn’t feel that he has atoned for his perceived sins.

Several months later, the Yuuzhan Vong have created creatures that are part vornskr, part fero xyn: voxyn.  Voxyn are shaped and cloned for one purpose and that purpose is to hunt down and kill Jedi.  The voxyn combine the Force-sensitivity and hunting skills of a vornskr with the even-more ferocious hunting skills of the fero xyn.  Voxyn could smell Jedi through the Force and track them over great distances, even from one sensing the Jedi on other ships through the void of space.  They possessed 8 legs, a poisonous scorpion-like talk, and could spit acid and produce sonic blast-wave screeches.  These creatures were truly one of the most deadly adversaries the Jedi Order ever faced.

The Order was able to learn that the voxyn were all being cloned from a queen, who was being kept at the Yuuzhan Vong worldship in orbit around Myrkr.  After losing several Jedi to the creatures, something had to be done to stop them.  Most of the ordained Knights and Masters were occupied with other war efforts.  So, a strike team of young Jedi was assembled, despite Luke’s misgivings, and sent on a mission to kill the voxyn queen.

The strike team and the voxyn. Image uploaded from
The strike team and the voxyn. Image uploaded from

Anakin Solo lead the strike team including his twin siblings, Jacen and Jaina Solo, Tahiri Veila, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Alema Rarr, and several other young Jedi.  The strike team also included several YVH droids, and eventually included to Dark Jedi the team encountered on the worldship.  The mission was successful, but at a great cost.  All of the YVH droids were destroyed, and roughly half of the Jedi were killed, including Anakin.

The strike team was trapped in a corridor and being hunted by several dozen warriors and a few voxyn.  While the two Dark Jedi stole the ship the strike team intended for their escape, a severely-wounded Anakin took it upon himself to fight off the warriors and buy time for the strike team to escape.  He was determined that no more of his team would die on the mission and began to draw heavily on the Force during his fight.  As he drew more of the Force into himself, Anakin began to glow and emit a brighter and brighter light.  Pulling a thermal detonator to himself with the Force, he was able to kill the remaining voxyn chasing the team.  Ultimately, the amount of Force energy Anakin drew into himself was of such magnitude, that he became one with the living Force and vanished in a blinding white light of pure Force energy.

It is my firm belief that Anakin would not have felt compelled to meet his end in such a manor had Chewbacca not died on Sernpidal.  The death of someone so close to Anakin, combined with the subsequent deaths of other Jedi and innocents at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong, pushed Anakin, and indeed all the young Jedi of the mission, to grow up too fast.  They formed in their minds a responsibility that would normally befall persons much older than them.  However, the culmination in his death at Myrkr was set in motion by the events and actions of Sernpidal’s destruction.

Tell me your thoughts on Anakin’s life and death in the comments below.  May the Force be with you.

Weird Al Wednesday – October 2015

Hello, readers!  I must apologize for being a week late.  I really thought I’d have time to get this up last week, but alas, life happened.  With this being October and the month of Halloween, I thought something “scary” might be appropriate for this month’s Weird Al Wednesday.  It is to that end that I present the following:

This original song by Al is a style parody of the soundtracks common to 1950s-era science fiction films.  The excessive use of electronic sounds like a theremin and synthesizer are prevalent in this song, along with the lyrics being quite the synopsis of the creatures themselves.  Even the title of the song is reminiscent of the the 50s sci-fi/monster films.  Aside from that though, this is a fun song and still holds much of Al’s humor.  This is obvious with such lines as “I sure hope they don’t come in here, I just shampooed the rug.”  I mean, do you honestly think that any other artist (save other parody/comedy artists) would release a song with a line like that?  I didn’t think so.

Overall, this wasn’t my first choice for a ‘Halloween’-themed song, but I’ve already done a post last year on Nature Trail to Hell.  This is a close second, obviously, as it made the cut for this month’s choice.  Do you like the song?  Do you prefer it over Nature Trail to Hell or not?  What are your plans for Halloween this year?  Let me know in the comments below!  Until next time, stay weird!

The Founding of Eastdock and Westdock

At some point in the future, I plan to run a Titansgrave campaign that focuses on a group of folks who start off as fans of the Beer Baron and run a Beer Club in one of the smaller towns well to the north of Nestora.  Upon searching the map, I settled on Eastdock.  Since I haven’t seen anything published on this town or its obvious partner Westdock, I thought I’d share my story of their founding.


Emerging from their cave, this sordid group of folk were in awe and terror of what they beheld.  They were cautious of this new world, but also curious.  Suddenly, they became aware that they were hungry and began searching for and trying things to eat.  Some of the folk died in the early days, but by the time of the Endless Night, they were experts at what to eat, how to cook, the making of tools, and had even learned to talk to each other and the other folk on what they now understood was their island home.  Life was good for a time.  The Humans, Gnomes, and Halflings had a good life of sport, song, drink, and food.  For many months, their island was a paradise.  But as with all good things, this paradise began to come to an end.

They had boats for fishing, but began to realize these boats would need to be larger and sturdier to weather the wider seas.  Soon, they would need to start searching for other places from which to get resources.  After a few weeks of hard work, the islanders had built a small fleet of 14 vessels to sail as a convoy.  They loaded the ships with provisions and things to trade, and after some protections were cast by the local mages, they fleet set sail for whatever they could find.

After a week, they encountered a terrible storm that threatened to destroy the fleet.  Even the protections of the mages could not withstand the awesome power of the wind, rain, and lightning.  A few of the ships managed to stay together, but they were separated into two groups that didn’t find each other after the storm.  Three of the ships were lost to the depths, while one group of 6 and another of 5 ships eventually found land.  Little did they know that they were only a few days journey by foot from each other.

They made landfall and began setting up camps.  Most of the provisions had either been used up or lost in the storm.  As such, they set about doing what they knew: building and fishing.  After a few weeks, a Saurian scout party of 2 Suarians and a dozen Orcs comes across the built-up camp of Westdock and approaches cautiously, weapons drawn.  There are some initial communications issues leading to the scout party attacking the strangers.  The scout party is taken down by sheer numbers, but the casualties to the folks of Westdock are significant.  As a result, they move closer to the sea and begin fortifying their camp.  They take the weapons of their fallen attackers and learn how to use them, and even build their own.  This is, after all, the first time they’ve seen power weapons and blasters.

Eastdock has a less-dangerous encounter with an Elven scouting party.  The Elves are cautions, but less hostile and instead work through the communications issues to try and establish a good relationship with the folks of the Eastdock camp.  Because of this good relationship, the folks of Eastdock move a little farther into the river delta where they settled and build up quite a town.  Many Elves end up joining their little holdout of civilization and they develop quite a propensity for magic and trade.

As the Endless Night finally started to break, and the sun rose over the horizon for the first time in nearly a generation, the folks of both Eastdock and Westdock sent out caravans of merchants to try and find trading partners.  It just so happened, that near a hot spring geyser of red rock, a caravan from each town crossed paths and the islanders were reunited and vowed to strengthen the ties of their cities, as well as find ways to travel home.  None of them actually knew how to get back to their island, but they were determined to find it, nonetheless.

Months passed, and the Endless Night became a thing forgotten.  Rumors were circulating in the bustling towns of Westdock and Eastdock about unrest to the south and someone calling herself a Prophet.  The folks of Westdock, still overcautious from their first encounter with Saurians, began shoring up their defenses, as well as those of their friends in Eastdock.  It wasn’t long after that a small group of ships returned to announce they had finally found their long lost home and a route was mapped to bring trade to and from the island.

The Chaos Wars erupted into full destruction south of the two water towns.  Given the close relationship between Westdock and Eastdock, it was no wonder that they had such and intertwining of magic and technology.  This made them targets of the Prophet and her forces.  Luckily, the two towns had made enough friends and built up enough defenses that they withstood many attacks from the forces of Chaos.  The aquatic nature of the towns even assisted in sending each other supplies and reinforcements after the master builders and arcmages worked together to build submersibles.

To this day, the submersibles are a closely  guarded secret, even thought the Chaos Wars a a thing of the past.  The twin cities have opened up their gates to those wishing to visit and do business.  Westdock is still not as welcoming as Eastdock, but they aren’t as paranoid as they used to be either.  Eastdock does have a stronger magical presence than technology, just as Westdock is the reverse.

You will find both towns brimming primarily with Humans, Gnomes, and Halflings, all tied to the towns’ founders.  Eastdock has a sizable Elf population, as well, but very few Saurians, Orcs, or Dwarves.  Westdock, however, has a decent percentage of Dwarves and Saurians (despite how some of the very old Humans, Gnomes, and Halflings feel about them), but not very many Elves, and only about an equal population of Orcs.  Occasionally, you will find the odd Beastfolk here and there in either town, but they are usually just passing through on some trip or another.

Loot Crate Unboxing – September 2015

Greetings Looters!  Welcome to another unboxing post.  This month, we have a new theme: Summon!

Summoning the September Loot Crate. - photo by me
Summoning the September Loot Crate. – photo by me

Our first summoned item doesn’t require a devil’s trap… or does it?  No, this doesn’t.  It’s a 1:43 scale version of the Winchester ride: THE 1967 Chevy Impala from Supernatural.  I’ll admit that I am not only a fan of this show, but of the car.  The first car I ever had was my grandfather’s 1977 Chevy Impala.  Yes, Sam and Dean have a ride 10 years older than mine was, but the old Impalas were good, sturdy cars.  What makes this an exclusive you ask?  Well, how about the fact that it has the original Kansas license plate, not the new Ohio one?

Up next, we have a small vinyl statue of Homer Simpson as the Golden Buddha.  It’s true that Springfield’s own has the body of the Buddha, but his teachings are no doubt different.  This is most obvious by the statue’s accompanying necklace and pretzel.  What do pretzels go with? Beer.  Mmmmm, beer.

While I would have preferred a different character, I am a fan of the Pokémon laplander from Bioworld.  I grew up with Generation I and the show, so I’ve loved Pokémon for a long time.  I’m also a big fan of hats, so I welcome the addition of this to my collection.  My only issue is the continued overuse of Pikachu, simply because he’s Ash’s starter.  I mean, c’mon folks.  Enough with the little yellow electric rat.

The last two items this month are both from Blizzard Entertainment and both correspond to their game, Hearthstone.  First of these, is the actual hearthstone stress ball.  It’s a cool piece, and well-shaped to hold in your hand and soothe your worries.  Second of these is the Hearthstone collectible coin and card pack with an in-game code.  I have dabbled in League of Legends, which I understand is similar in concept, so I look forward to trying out this growing game.

Well, that wraps up another great month of loot.  What was your favorite thing this month?  Let me know in the comments!  Until next time, readers, loot on!