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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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.

Joss Whedon, Train Games, and Captain America – Geekout 14

Maybe today is the day I catch up. We’ll see if I can get a second out completed. I’ve been answering prompts from a page-a-day calendar I received for Christmas last year. Each day there’s a new prompt, and it’s surprisingly difficult to come up with an answer. Today I’m supposed to come up with Two Television Shows [for] which Joss Whedon was a Writer, Two Games in which Trains appear, and Two Captain America Enemies.

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All aboard the geekout train!

Two Television Shows for which Joss Whedon was a Writer

This was a sudden, but inevitable question. Can’t really ask nerdy stuff without covering Joss Whedon these days. Naming four would have been easy enough. Two is a walk in the cemetery waiting for vampires.

Firefly

Glad I got another change to reference Firefly. So far, I’ve only mentioned it as being a Sci-Fi television show, having a comic published by Dark Horse, and for featuring an iconic named sci-fi starship. Clearly I am not a fan of the show. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this show! It was really great!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

A show that was on at my house when I was a kid. This didn’t really catch my interest then, however, I’ve since gone back and watched it. I really enjoyed the show. Does this surprise anyone? Of course not! It’s got Quark in it! Armin Shimerman plays Principal Snyder of Sunnydale High in this show. It probably is Quark, considering that the he and Rom landed on Earth decades before the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer took place!

Two Games in which Trains appear

The number just wasn’t high enough for me here. I’m going over two. Didn’t know what kind of games it meant, so I chose board and video.

Ticket to Ride

Starting obvious, this is the most widespread board game about trains. It’s a light-weight, fun game that you can pick up at most stores. Don’t even need to visit your local game shop for this one. They’ve released different versions of the game as well.

Mario Kart 64

Wanted to pick something unexpected, so this is it! There’s a train in the desert level of the game.

Railroad Tycoon

This one is actually a trick. Did I intend the video game or the board game? Both! And based on that name, I think you can guess that there are trains in the games. The board game is quite fun, but it’s much heavier and longer than Ticket to Ride. Also, the board game no longer has the license to use the name from the video game. It’s now called Railways of the World.

Final Fantasy VII, VIII, XIII

I am certain that more of them also have trains if I thought about it, but these definitely have them. You start the game on a train in both 7 and 13. And you first meet Laguna, Kiros, and Ward on a train ride in 8.

Two Captain America Enemies

I wanted to say “Tony Stark” and “Bucky Barnes”, but my wife got mad at me for suggesting that. Bummer. Sometimes I like being horrible like that!

Red Skull

Classic and evil-looking, Red Skull is an obvious enemy of Captain America. He’s from the comics and was portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the recent movies, which means he was well-played. Look, I know another actor’s name!

Arnim Zola

Evil nerds are fun. Here we have a brilliant enemy scientist. I don’t want to get into everything he’s involved in during the movies for fear of spoilers, but for those in the know, it’s fun stuff! For definitions of fun that don’t require being Good.

Wrap Up

Added some extras here, because these were fun choices. Tomorrow’s categories will be sci-fi, fantasy, and general geekiness.