Fugitives, Potter Books, and Sciences – Geekout 30

Well, these posts are coming along less-frequently, so I’ll try not to spend too much time on every topic in the post. I’ve been writing posts based on prompts in a page-a-day calendar I received last year. Each page has three geeky topics on it. Today I’ll be naming Two Characters that are Hunted by a Government Agency, Two Harry Potter Book Titles, and Six Types of Sciences.

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Here we go!

Two Characters that are Hunted by a Government Agency

This is a fun one! There are so many good choices here, but I doubt many of my regular readers will be surprised by my choices here!

River Tam

After listing River, I jokingly included “Simon Tam” as my second choice, however, that was just because my wife was watching me type this. I am not going to include him, and anyway, River is more important than Simon to them. They’re only after him to get River anyway. If you don’t know, River and Simon are siblings from Firefly.

Without getting too spoilery, River was extremely smart and experimented on by the Alliance government. After Simon managed to break her out of captivity, they’ve been on the run ever since. The government officials that are following River are quite scary.

Aeris Gainsborough

Everyone’s favorite Flower Girl from Final Fantasy VII, Aeris is hunted by the Turks. While we could get into a debate over the Turks, since Shinra is a corporation and not the “government”, I’m not going to fight too hard on that point. Anyone who has played the game and met the “mayor” of Midgar would likely let me slide on this one.

Two Harry Potter Book Titles

Now this is an easy one. At first seeing this prompt, my wife and I were suggesting that I should do all 7 book titles in order by the number of pages in the books. I’m not confident that I can get the ordering perfectly, and I also don’t feel like writing that much, so I’ll be naming two of the books that I like the best.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Probably my favorite of the series, this book brings in plenty of great things expanding the world. Some of the best include the Marauders’ Map, which becomes very important in later books and facilities all kinds of hijinks.  It also introduces Sirius Black, the Prisoner of Azkaban in the title. Additionally, it’s one of the books featuring a secret mission for Dumbledore.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Order of the Phoenix was a very interesting novel in name at least. We knew the name well before the book was released, and I remember lots of discussions over what the title could meaning. Dolores Umbridge is introduced in this book, and she’s quite the monster. As always, the Defense Against the Dark Arts class needs a teacher, and she’s probably the worst choice. She’s in the pocket of a misguided government, and endangers the entire wizarding world through her actions. Makes for an interesting story though!

Six Types of Sciences

Not sure where to start here or how specific to get. Types? Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Applied Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences could be what they mean, but if we’re treating those as the “types” there aren’t enough for it to ask for six. I think it means more specific than that. Since I think we all know sciences well, I’m just going to list for this one.

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Computer Science
  • Psychology

Wrap Up

Didn’t expect me to pull a Firefly character, did you? Anyway, the next one will be about Gaming, Comics, and Sci-Fi.

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Stephen King, Vampires, and Caped Heroes – Geekout 29

It’s time to discuss some geekiness today! Still a ways behind, but I’m hopeful that I’ll catch up. I’m writing these posts based on a page-a-day calendar that prompts me to name geeky things. Today we’re going to talk about Four Stephen King Book Titles, Four Video Games in which a Vampire is an Enemy, and Four Superheroes that Wear Capes. Seems reasonably possible. We’ll see if I can get all the way to four with that first one…

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And now for the content!

Four Stephen King Book Titles

Sadly, I tried to come up with all four here, but could only name 3. I’m falling one short. I’ve not read any of his books, however, I’m seen the movie adaptations of three of his novels. These are the novels.

IT

Saw this terrifying clown movie as a kid. At the time, however, I didn’t know the significance of who was cast as the clown. Let’s just say that I really enjoy his grin quite a bit. The film is based on the Stephen King novel, as I said, I’ve not read it.

The Shining

I don’t know how closely the film matches the book. I recall people talking about the differences, so I know there are some significant changes. Considering how good the film is, I’d expect the novel is very good as well. I think I might enjoy reading it, so I likely will at some point. Remind me not to take a job as a caretaker of an old hotel in the mountains…

Pet Sematary

This is a strange one. I don’t recall the details, except for undead pets. I think at least one of these was created intentionally. There’s an ancient burial ground (as there always is), and the pets buried there come back to life. Also, I had to look up the spelling of the title, because it’s not spelled correctly. The story is spelled that way because the children made a sign for the pet “sematary” where they buried their dead pets.

Four Video Games in which a Vampire is an Enemy

Had to be enemies. No Vincent for this one. I guess I’ll take my copies of Final Fantasy VII and go home… I’m going to count any enemies, whether they’re prominent in the game or not. I’m expecting that I can get a set of games that will all feature some prominent vampire. I’ll likely not shed too much light on them, however, since I hate spoilers.

Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Without getting into the details, this Dungeons and Dragons based game has more than a few vampires as enemies. Some of them are named, significant opponents, so I don’t want to get into those details for reason of spoilers. This is a great, classic game, and there’s an updated version of the game that plays well on modern hardware.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

This past Wednesday I was having a discussion with some friends about what a great year 1997 was for movies and video games. This is one of those 1997 released games that I mentioned. It’s often considered one of the best of this large franchise. Yes, the franchise is full of vampires as enemies.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

This game has been in my Steam wish list for over two years now, and I’ve yet to play it. Having played Vampire: The Masquerade in its LARP form, I know that the game must have vampires as enemies. As I’m sure the main character must be a vampire as well. I always hear good things, and would like to play the game at some point.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

There are plenty of vampires that you can fight in this game. And if you’re not careful, you can become one! There’s some disease that you get first, and you’ll be a vampire before you know it. Oops! People in the game start making comments about it, because you look kind of scary to them once you’re a vampire. Not good. Fun though!

Four Superheroes that Wear Capes

No capes! OK, these guys have capes, which Edna would not approve of. I’m going to allow anything even cape-like as long as it’s a loose fabric hanging down behind the shoulders. OK. Three. Two. One. Let’s jam!

Batman

Considering his nickname is The Caped Crusader, it’s hard to imagine him without a cape. Unlike some others, Batman uses a functional cape. Flight or glider depending on the incarnation, but it’s also part of his arsenal of flare and intimidation.

Superman

How else would you be able to tell he’s flying if he didn’t have a cape being pulled by wires behind him? This cape-wearing superhero would be hard to tell to leave the cape behind. He’s a bit more powerful than most heroes, so if he’s willing to chance it, I won’t tell him otherwise!

Thor

This Asgardian ruler has a certain look to uphold, and the cape is part of his wardrobe. I believe he’d be wearing this cape at home and when acting as a superhero. Again, hard to tell him not to. I think he’d keep the cape if only for the look it gives him.

Dr. Strange

Similar to the usefulness Batman finds in his cape, the Cloak of Levitation that Dr. Strange wears is quite powerful. It’s a magical cloak that allows Dr. Strange to fly and can even move around, acting as a powerful tool or weapon as needed.

Wrap Up

Looks like we got most of that. The next post will cover Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and General Geekiness.

Known Superheroes, Animated Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Races – Geekout 28

Many topics we’ve seen in this series of posts as I try to keep up with a page-a-day calendar I received last year. The calendar challenges me to name some geeky things each day. I go a little beyond that, trying to write something about each one as I go. Today, I’m tasked with naming Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity, Four Animated Sci-Fi Films, and Six Fantasy Races.

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Let’s see how it goes!

Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity

Most superheroes maintain a secret identity, so they can have some semblance of protection for their loved ones and normal lives in general. Sometimes the heroes are considered vigilantes working outside the law, so need the protection from the government as well as from the villains. Whatever the reason, there are some who cannot (or choose not) to maintain separate lives.

Dr. Manhattan – The Watchmen

After turning his transformation, Dr. Manhattan might have the powers to hide his new identity, but I doubt he cares enough to deal with it anyway. He’s completely blue and has incredible powers. He’s probably one of the most powerful characters in all comics. Ever. I don’t remember many calling him anything except for Dr. Manhattan.

Dr. Strange

Considering that his name was already Dr. Strange, that’s certainly not keeping things secret to use it still. My guess here is that what he’s fighting is too obscure for most people to even notice or care. He’s not fighting the normal villains like the Avengers. The magical world is separate enough that he probably doesn’t bother with a secret identity.

Iron Man

Doubt this was always the case, but the current cinematic version of this character almost immediately dropped that secret identity, revealing that he is Iron Man. I think it fits well, since the character is too arrogant to avoid the fame and glory.

Four Animated Sci-Fi Films

This is surprisingly challenging, since there aren’t that many good ones to be honest… Most science fiction films are not animated.

Titan A.E.

I’m probably the only person, but I really enjoyed this movie. I’ve seen it quite a few times actually. It’s objectively not a very good movie, but it has some elements that I enjoy that will seem familiar to any science fiction fans. You’ll probably laugh at how many famous people there are doing the voice acting for this not-so-successful film.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

I hope you weren’t worried about “Spirits Within” when you saw “Final Fantasy”. Yes, it would have qualified for this category, but I’d rather pull this one. This film is part of the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, taking place after the events of the game. Some Final Fantasy games would be considered fantasy, and some are a combination of fantasy and science fiction. Final Fantasy VII is one of the science fiction ones where there’s a world of technology, including some ahead and some behind our own. Mostly it’s just different from our own.

If you’ve not seen this film, I’d steer clear of it if you have yet to play the game. I know it’s challenging to go back to a 20 year old game, but I think it’s worth playing. Once you’ve played the game, the film will provide an interesting continuation to the story. I don’t know how the Final Fantasy VII remake will be, but I’d still recommend playing the original game first.

WALL-E

I love this movie. It doesn’t have the heart-wrenching beginning like Up, but it’s still full of emotion as well as fun. Foreign contaminant. It takes a bit of a comedic approach at times, but it’s got some strong environmental warnings. In the film, the Earth is no longer suitable for human life, and humans now live on generational ships in space.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Even being a Star Wars fan, I’ve yet to see this film. When it was coming to theaters, it looked more like a children’s film than a Star Wars movie. I know that the Clone Wars TV Show and also Rebels are good, but this I’ve never heard good things about. I may watch it at some point. We’ll see.

Six Fantasy Races

If there’s one area I’ve expertise in, it’s this one. Here we can cross into Dungeons and Dragons as well as plenty of fantasy novels. And I’m skipping humans, despite their being a race within the fantasy genre.

Elves

The standard race that appears in most everything. Depictions of them vary from being taller than or shorter than humans. Nearly always though, these pointy-eared creatures, are considered wiser and longer-lived than humans.

I debated bringing in the different types of elves, but that seemed a bit unfair. Many worlds have various elves, Tree Elves, Wood Elves, Forest Elves, High Elves, Dark Elves, Night Elves, etc. Each of these have different traits, characteristics, and societal structures.

Dwarves

One of my favorite bits about dwarves, though not consistent, is that even the female dwarves have large beards. Always makes me laugh, because it would be challenging, given the stoutness of dwarves in general, for humans to tell the difference. Could make for some awkward and potentially insulting pronoun-usages.

Dwarves are always shorter than humans, and are nearly always miners of some kind. They’re often greedy, hoarding gold, gems, and jewelry within their mountains. They’re also stocky fighters who can drink ale with the best of them.

Halflings

Halflings are a very short race, even shorter than dwarves most times. You may also know them by Tolkien’s name for them, Hobbits. Their small stature makes them light-footed and good at pilfering and burgling. Often overlooked for their size, most stories and gaming systems feature them more powerful than some might expect. Judge them by their size, do you?

Orcs

I often feel bad for Orcs, because everyone immediately assumes they’re all evil monsters based solely on their monstrous appearances. I’m sure there are stories where an Orc as good, but I’m not currently thinking of one. Orcs in Tolkien’s world are monstrously-perverted Elves if I remember correctly. If that’s the case, that at least means that they’d share some characteristics with the Elves. Are the Orcs smart? Are they wise? Would they, if they could, create a society of their own?

Gnomes

This nuisances come in garden variety or as illusionists. Probably more than that, but I had to make the joke. Gnomes are tricksters sometimes, and as such specialize in illusions if you play RPGs. They’re also very small, which you probably guessed based on the garden ones.

I’ve unintentionally played a gnome in a game of D&D. I was playing a Human Bard with very close ties to the Druids, and had requested a Reincarnation rather than a True Resurrection if I were to die in my adventures. It happened, and the Reincarnated brought my character back as a Gnome. Luckily, the Bard’s abilities at performing were epic, so he was able to resume his previous life. Just a bit shorter

Goblins

And everyone’s favorite race to hate, the Goblins. More than a decade ago, a comic called Goblins Comic was created. I haven’t read it in a long time, so I don’t know where the story has gone. It seems to still be going though, so maybe I’ll check in on it. What’s interesting is that the story follows two sets of main characters, some traditional characters, and a one is a group of Goblins. It’s great, because Goblins are not often the main characters of stories and are generally just the evil creatures that adventurers kill at the beginning of their quests.

Wrap Up

Next up for your geeky enjoyment is General Geekiness, Gaming, and Comics. See you next time!

“Yeah, I wouldn’t place a lot of confidence in what you just heard. Over and out.” – Wolf, answering a pager.

Fictional TV Cities and Video Game Dragons – Geekout 27

As I make my way through my backlog of these, I’ll try to keep this interesting. I think there are a few good ones today. On this page of my page-a-day calendar I’ve been acting upon, I am supposed to name Two Characters from the Wind in the Willows, Four Fictional Cities which appear in Television Shows, and Two Video Games in which a Dragon is an Enemy.

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Here goes!

Two Characters from the Wind in the Willows

Never heard of this. What is it? Book? Movie? TV Show?

Four Fictional Cities which appear in Television Shows

I think I’ll choose cities where the show is based, not just ones that appear in the show. This will limit my choices, so I’ll allow myself to hit the same fictional world if needed.

Gotham – Batman (various)

Home of the caped crusader himself, Gotham has been in plenty of shows, including a show bearing the name. Where its located has changed between interpretations, but it’s a big city with some theatrical villains to be sure!

Central City – The Flash

Home of our good friend, Barry Allen, this centrally located city is somewhere in the middle part of the continent. Did the name give it away? I think it’s been in Ohio before, and I’m sure some interpretations have it further south in Missouri or Kentucky. Central is kind of relative term here, since the absolute middle of the country doesn’t have enough people.

Hawkins – Stranger Things

This nice, quiet Midwestern town doesn’t exist, does it? If it is named after a real city, sorry. It’s certainly not like this one though, or I seriously need to worry more in my life. If you’ve not seen Stranger Things, I’d recommend you check it out. It’s a Netflix sci-fi series that’s set in the 1980s, so it’s got all kinds of fun cultural references. I’ll give you a hint, the town’s not as quiet as I made it seem…

Sunnydale – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

What?!?! You mean the city surrounding the Hellmouth isn’t real?!?! I don’t think it is, since that name seems wholly manufactured to be ironic. Anyway, This is the city where Buffy fights against vampires, demons, etc.

Two Video Games in which a Dragon is an Enemy

Dragons are often enemies, so that part wasn’t too much of a restriction. I’ll allow any tier of enemy, so it doesn’t have to be the main villain of the game.

Skyrim

In this game of the Elder Scrolls series, there’s a great deal of dragon lore to be had. I’ll toss this mild spoiler in here, you play the game as a Dragonborn, which means that you have the soul of a dragon. You’ve got some nifty powers from this trait. And as I’m sure is no surprise, you get to kill dragons in this game. In fact, you get the chance to kill a dragon voiced by the same voice actor who plays Mario in all of those games.

Final Fantasy VIII

In Final Fantasy VIII there’s a fun scene where the character you’re controlling is performing on camera for a movie and in the scene he’s supposed to fight a dragon. Well, a real dragon shows up instead of the fake one. There are plenty of dragons you can fight in random battles in the game, but this one’s just a fun situation. After some running away, the characters regroup and fight the dragon.

Wrap Up

That’s some progress. Let’s see if we get some good stuff from Comics, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy tomorrow.

Fruit Games, Anthropomorphic Characters, and Mad Scientists – Geekout 26

OK. I fell off the wagon. Let’s see if I can catch up. I’m only about a week behind right now. Today I am supposed to name Four Tabletop Games in which Fruit appears, Six Anthropomorphic Comic Book Characters, and Two Franchises Featuring Mad Scientists.

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Time for geekiness.

Four Tabletop Games in which Fruit appears

This was surprisingly difficult. I’ve spent plenty of time trying to come up with these, and as a result, I’m going to be super lenient in my interpretation of “appears”. I’ll count pictures of it or physical representations of fruit (even if the game calls that fruit a vegetable).

Apples to Apples

There are Apples on all of the cards, so it’s fairly obvious. This is a light, party card game. The backs of the cards have apples, but the fronts of the cards have either prompts or answers.

Hi Ho Cherry-O

This isn’t even the prompt about naming kids tabletop games, but I was thinking of cherries and came up with this game. If you couldn’t guess from the name, this is a children’s game. Don’t know much about it, and I don’t even know if I’ve played it. Did it have commercials when I was a kid?

Agricola

This board game has little wooden bits they released as an add-on pack called “Vegimeeples”. It made it so you could have shaped pieces for your grain and vegetables. The current pack includes grain shaped and carrot shaped pieces. Originally, however, the orange vegetable pieces included were pumpkin shaped. And for those of you that know already, pumpkins are fruit, not vegetables.

Scoville

If you’re not a spicy-food fan, you likely don’t know that there’s a heat scale called the Scoville Scale. It helps in determining how hot a food will actually be. This board game is named after that scale, because the game is about peppers. Many people think these are vegetables, but they’re technically fruit. The seeds inside are a giveaway. I’d recommend leaving these out of your next fruit salad though…

Six Anthropomorphic Comic Book Characters

As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following along, comics are not my specialty, however, I am able to get some of the info about them. Knowing that, I’m not going to restrict myself in not duplicating in a franchise. Six is a lot to not do that.

And in case you don’t know, anthropomorphic characters would be ones that are human-like without being human. They are likely going to be bipedal and be able to grasp things in hands, but the animal may not have those traits normally.

Rocket Raccoon – Guardians of the Galaxy

I only know this character from the movie, not from the comics, however, I would assume they’re not completely off-base with him. The character is a raccoon that’s been modified. He talks, walks on hind legs and grasps things in hands.

Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

With a pair of swords and wearing blue, this turtle is a mutant as large as a human and very human-like. My favorite of the turtles.

Michelangelo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The party turtle of the group, Michelangelo is the orange, pizza-eating machine. My wife’s favorite turtle.

Raphael – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

He’s the red-wearing turtle.

Donatello – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This purple-wearing turtle does machines.

Splinter – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The mutant rat who trained the turtles, he’s just as large and human-like. He also grasps things with his hands and walks upright on hind legs.

Two Franchises Featuring Mad Scientists

Well these are fun! Mad scientists create such interesting things. I’m not going to be super strict on the “mad” part, allowing for anyone who has crazy inventions or experiments (whether madness is involved or not).

Walter Bishop – Fringe

This one has some fairly good madness. If you’ve not seen Fringe, I’d recommend watching the show. It was good fun. As you’d expect from television, it loses some of its direction as it goes, and gets into strange territory sometimes. This character is the best part of the show, which says something great about Walter. You can’t help but love this wild and crazy scientist.

Dr. Nefario – Despicable Me

He made a fart gun, so that’s kind of mad. Also, made pretty much all of Gru’s tech, so he’s got skills.

Wrap Up

We’ll be back soon with some Fantasy, General Geekiness, and Gaming.