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  • First Journal Since RTX 2016 - An Update on Life

    4 days ago


    Hello friends, if you’re still there! My activity on the RT site fell off pretty quickly after RTX 2016 because I was starting my last semester of my forensic science degree. I ended up receiving my degree in Fall of 2016, and decided that I wanted to continue schooling. The following semester, I earned a lab science certificate, but has a lot of trouble finding employment, so again, I decided to continue schooling. 

    I applied to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my dream school), two other UW schools, and Ohio State University. Unfortunately, I was not accepted by the University of Wisconsin, but I was accepted by Ohio State. 

    So here I am in Columbus, Ohio, now a Buckeye instead of a Badger. I’m working and going to school full time, so I’m always sleepy lol. I’m currently majoring in forensic biology and minoring in German – which leads me to the second part of this journal! 

    Ohio State accepted me for a study abroad program in Dresden, Germany from June until August. Sadly, my flight, food, and room and board is not included in the program costs. I started a GoFundMe to hopefully meet my goal of at least helping me with my flight. Any little bit helps, and I’ll love you forever for helping me accomplish a bucket list goal of mine :)


    Until my flight, I’ll be working and studying my ass off while trying to catch up on RT content I’ve missed over the past year. 

    Thank you to anyone who read this!

  • Wallace & Gromit: Ranked.

    6 days ago


    HellLLllLOOOoOoo and welcome to ANOTHER BLOG. A few weeks ago, to celebrate the release of Early Man, Aardman's newest feature film, I did a Top 10 of my favourite animations from the studio. The main rule? No Wallace & Gromit. The reason? Because of this! It's now time for the US release of Early Man, the one maybe more relevant for the majority of people reading this blog, so that means it's time for the Part 2 I promised. Every Wallace & Gromit film/show...RANKED. OH MY GAWWWWDD...said nobody ever. 

    So, what counts as Wallace & Gromit, exactly? Well, obviously the series of short films, and the feature length movie they are, perhaps most well known for outside of the UK. I'm also counting any television production starring them, but I'm not including video games, comics, adverts or one-off short-form animations, such as the minute long short done for the National Trust a few years back. I'm also not including 'Musical Marvels', a W&G themed concert that had original animations and brief story peppered throughout, as the animated sequences are merely window-dressing for what's otherwise a BBC Prom performance. 

    The most important addition? Shaun the Sheep. I debated whether or not this counted as Wallace & Gromit, but given it's a spin-off from the short films, featuring a character introduced in Wallace & Gromit? I figured it counted...also it made the ranking more pleasantly numbered, so there's that...that said, I'm not counting the pre-school spin-off to the spin-off, Timmy it's a Shaun the Sheep spin-off...aaaaand also I haven't seen it. Y'know, so there's that.

    That's it, really! As usual, these are just opinions, you're entitled to disagree, let me know which your faves are, along with anything else you'd like to say...nicely, in the comments below! Okay? OKAAAY...HERREE WE GOOOOOO.

    10. World of Invention (2010).

    Kicking things off with something most of you have probably never even heard of...yeah, that's right. Wallace & Gromit had an actual TV show, back in 2010. Not only that, it was also the final W&G production that the sadly now departed Peter Sallis ever worked on, and it's also the last long-form Wallace & Gromit production made as of time of posting. For something with that many significant claims to fame, it's a wonder why it's not as well known as other things in the franchise, really, huh? Well....actually, about that. The reason is because it's less your normal kinda W&G production, and educational series presented by Wallace & Gromit. Yeah, that's why it's at the bottom, folks! This one off, 6 episode show was a co-production between Aardman and the BBC, in an attempt to use the characters as an engagement point to get children interested in science, technology, and some real life wacky inventions. Each episode was framed as a TV show hosted by Wallace, with Gromit being a one-man production team on the cameras and TV operation. The main focus was short live action clips showcasing new inventions and inventors, but each episode had a specific theme, and that theme was framed by animated exploits in the studio, with Wallace's attempts to showcase his own inventions, or just scientific experiments usually going predictably awry, with Gromit on hand to save the day, as it were. This was inoffensive and enjoyable enough stuff, but obviously, given the main draw to this is Wallace & Gromit themselves, having the purpose of the show be to focus on real people and real technology meant it didn't really catch on the way the BBC may have wanted, given the extensive marketing/educational push that came alongside it. The animated sequences are, obviously funny, detailed and super charming, as you'd come to expect from W&G, and I appreciate the sentiment behind using the franchise to inspire children with real technology and creativity, but it's not what I want from the franchise, and that's why it's at the bottom of the ranking. It certainly carries a certain additional charm, knowing this was, at the time nearly 90 year old Peter Sallis' final stint in one of his most iconic roles, so maybe it's worth checking out for fans, anyway.

    9. Cracking Contraptions (2002).

    Another TV series...of sorts, Cracking Contraptions holds a special weight with me, because it was the first new Wallace & Gromit production I ever got to enjoy as a child, and when it got announced, I more or less exploded, actually coercing my primary school teacher into letting me use his overhead projector to watch the first short online before I even made it home back in the day. Whilst these are short...shorts, varying from 1 to 3 minutes, depending, I'm counting them because they came as an original series shown on TV, rather than as one-offs made for a specific promotional purpose. The actual purpose of Cracking Contraptions was to train up a team of rookie, or at least inexperienced animators at Aardman to be able to animate in the style and quality required for Wallace & Gromit as preparation for the at that point in pre-production feature film. These are fun, but brief mini-adventures with the duo, the brief nature being why they're so low down on the list, it's simply hard for them to compare to the short-films, features and shows that came before, and followed on from it. That said, these 10 Cracking Contraptions shorts are still a fun time, and made for a very, very Merry Christmas for 9 year old me as each episode aired on BBC One across the festive period, and then on Christmas Day itself I got the lot on DVD, along with many other W&G goodies that'd come out around the same time. Nostalgia aside, these still hold up in the same way all the W&G films do, providing the same detailed, creative and funny exploits you'd expect, just at a smaller length. Highlights include the above Shopper 13, possibly the ultimate 'why don't you just do it like anyone else would' scenario for Wallace and his many unnecessary inventions, rivalled only by The Tellyscope, which features the most overly complicated alternative to turning a TV on ever. Other ill-fated inventions showcased include a malfunctioning Auto-Diner, a crumb targeting vacuum cleaner turned feral, a rather cruel real-life alternative to counting sheep at night, and a self-defence vest that basically amounts to a boxing glove on a spring. These creative, slickly produced shorts are a lot of fun to watch, their only real weakness is well...being short. Ignoring the above edutainment misfire, this is as close as we'll ever get to a Wallace & Gromit TV least...featuring Wallace and Gromit, specifically.

    8. Shaun the Sheep (2007-2016).

    Speaking of TV's a ...TV show! Aardman's first attempt at a proper children's TV show, and only their second attempt at a proper TV series in general (Rex the Runt, featured on my previous blog was the first), Shaun the Sheep was a long in development spin-off of Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave that came off of the pop culture growth of Shaun the Sheep as a character, following his use as a fashion item by one of the Spice Girls in the 90s...yep, that was a thing. Roughly 10 years later, and the series finally came to be, show-run by the same guy who made Rex the Runt, and ran the Creature Comforts series prior to this one. Shaun the Sheep is a spin-off entirely removed from the world of Wallace & Gromit, in that they don't appear beyond brief easter eggs here and there, but in some ways the set-up and geography is pretty in keeping with the main series. Shaun, a bit older than he was in his first 1995 appearance, is now living on a farm with a whole flock of other sheep, tended to by a farmer and his dog, who acts as both friend and foe to Shaun himself. Although visually, beyond the dip in quality you'd expect from a syndicated TV spin-off directed by someone other than Nick Park, it's as you'd expect in terms of design, charm and detail from Wallace & Gromit. The key difference is there's no speaking whatsoever, dialogue across the series being reduced to various grunts and gasps, something that extends to both animal and human characters. This lack of language barrier, paired with the pre-existing appeal of Shaun/Aardman, and the simpler, more child-friendly antics have allowed the show to catch on big-time in regions all across the world, particularly Europe and Asia, with the character now Aardman's biggest financial income, and international export. As a result, the show has run for 5 seasons across nearly 10 years, with 150 episodes produced as of 2016, which easily makes it Aardman's longest running, collectively lengthiest production. As it stands, Shaun the Sheep is a children's show, it lacks the same polish and wit of Wallace & Gromit, but that doesn't stop it from being a visually pleasant, creative and entertaining series that's very hard to dislike, regardless of what age you are. A couple dud episodes aside (A clip-show episode being the real low point of the series...and mankind in general), it's consistently high quality and easy to enjoy from whatever entry point you randomly stumble across. It's no Wallace & Gromit, but in a world increasingly without Wallace & Gromit? It's not a bad alternative, and having an Aardman TV show of any sort is pretty neat in general. Whilst its future at this point is uncertain, with another feature film on the way in 2019, it seems likely this will continue at some point, in some form.

    7. A Grand Day Out (1989).

    Here we are. The one that started it all. The student film project that became one of animations most beloved and acclaimed franchises, and the short that put Aardman on the map globally. A Grand Day Out was the first outing for Wallace & Gromit, and Nick Park's first film production....and...well, it shows, really. It's a classic, and a perfectly enjoyable, thematically iconic one at that, but it's very rough around the edges, and lacks the same degree of humour and creativity that the pair later became known for, and that's why it's appearing so low down the list. That said, I still really love this first outing, in all honestly, I don't hate any of the things ranked on this blog, there's just a clear difference in polish and scale between Grand Day Out and anything that followed, which sadly puts it at a complete disadvantage, historically significant or not. The basic premise is very British. It's a bank holiday, Wallace & Gromit want to go on a day trip...but they're out of cheese! OH NO. They, or Wallace at least, opts to pick a destination known for its cheese you have Cheddar, Wensleydale...uh...Tesco...and then the moon. As everyone knows, and NASA clearly are covering up to this day, the moon is made entirely of cheese. Naturally, the moon is the hot destination for any cheese connoisseur, and one homemade, bright orange rocket ship later, the pair are off into space...after a very last minute cracker supply run, of course. It may be Wallace & Gromit at their least polished, but it really goes to show how good the series is when this is the formative film that paved the way...because it's still really fun to watch, and full of memorable moments. The rocket construction montage, the in-rocket shenanigans prior to landing, their exploration of both the moon itself, and the...unique? flavours of its cheese and of course...the coin operated cooker...guy who I guess is evil? But maybe just lonely? Um. That one's a bit odd, and not something the series ever repeats or explains, but's pretty fun all the same. Throw in some delightfully (fittingly?) cheesy, brass-heavy music and some perhaps unintentionally creepy character models for Wallace in the first half, which was made at Nick Park's school, prior to his recruitment by Aardman, who then helped him finish the second half on the moon, with slightly less nightmare-inducing results...and, got yourself A Grand Day Out. Like I said, it's rough, it's lacking in certain aspects we've come to know and love from these guys, but it's still really entertaining stuff, and features a host of motifs (The rocket, the rivets, the love of cheese and Wallace's passion for inventing) that have remained a mainstay to this day, hell...the classic porthole view of Wallace & Gromit looking out on the moon at the very end has become something of a logo for the franchise, the two staring goofily through their hand-made, bright orange rocket-ship window really summing up a lot of what's appealing about the franchise. It may not be their best, but it was certainly a damn good effort for a first try.

    6. Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015).

    From the first one out the gate, to one of the most recent, and the first feature length film on the list. Shaun the Sheep Movie is...obviously, a follow-up to the Shaun the Sheep TV series, taking the same setting, characters and general kid-friendly tone, and applying it all to a 90 minute run time, instead of 10. The results are mixed, but on a whole pretty successful, and ended up being a surprise critical hit back in 2015, nominated for both the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, despite maybe not being on the same quality as previous movie attempts from Aardman. The premise? After trying to get a day off from the monotony of his day-to-day life, Shaun and his friends stage an elaborate plan to take their farmer out of action for the day. Previously mentioned friend/foe to Shaun, Blitzer intervenes, and inadvertently ends up sending his owner on a caravan trip into the city, resulting in head trauma, and amnesia. Shaun, Blitzer and eventually the rest of the 'flock' head into the city after him, and encounter many hardships along the way whilst attempting to blend-in, eventually attracting the attention of the menacing, violent animal control ...guy? Will they survive their trip to the city, and will they be able to get their farmer back...and even so, will he ever be the same!?'s a kids film, so take a wild guess, but it's a fun ride getting to the expected conclusion all the same. Whilst the film has some less successful attempts at humour, it's frequently funny, generally quite charming and even a little touching at times, something the TV show has dabbled in once or twice, but never to the extent of the film. Shaun the Sheep Movie very much hits all the usual mainstream animation notes you'd expect, but stands above the usual fare thanks to the obvious Aardman charms and details, in addition to a cast of likeable characters, both main and supporting. As with the show, there's no dialogue at any point, which also leads to a certain unique quality, this maybe why it's caught on with critics so much. It's maybe Aardman's weakest feature, but it's still pretty darn good, and like with the show it came from, it's a very hard film to hate when you get down to it. Shaun's just a fun guy, y'know? The less said about the credits music the better, mind...

    5. The Farmer's Llamas (2015).

    Remaining on Mossy Bottom Farm (Yes that's the name) for our next entry, also moving forwards to the most recent entry on the list to date. Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas was a 30 minute special broadcast Christmas Day on BBC One, much in the same vein as the Wallace & Gromit shorts that came before it, actually releasing in the same year as the Shaun the Sheep Movie, suggesting it was a very busy year for the production team of that franchise. Whilst the Movie took the GANG off the farm, Farmer's Llamas keeps them at home, but introduces a set of new characters in the form of the titular Llamas. After making friends with the new guys at a farm show, Shaun tricks the farmer into buying the troublesome trio at an auction. At first, things are going least for Shaun and the Llamas, the rest of the farm not so much, the new arrivals being somewhat enablers to Shaun's bad behaviour. When things take a turn for the worse, Shaun finds himself alienated from both groups, and seeks to correct his mistake, with unexpectedly dark results. Whilst some have considered the design of the Llamas, paired with their specific style of music to be a stereotypical caricature of South Americans, with the mischievous nature leading some to consider the portrayals as racist, I feel this is maybe overthinking speechless animated characters a bit too much. Personally, the unique individual personalities and stellar animation on the Llamas, paired with the serial-killer'esque, visually creative end sequence are what set this 30 minute short above its feature length predecessor in a lot of ways. It's the same quality of animation and same mixed, but generally successful mixture of humour and heart, but with what I feel is a leaner, more entertaining 'story'. It lacks the crap-pop songs and abundance of pop-culture reference related humour that the movie thrives on also, and whilst it may not have the same degree of ambition, it makes up for it with a fantastically realised set of new characters, once again proving Aardman are the kings of expressive stop motion puppetry. For fans of Shaun the Sheep, and Aardman in general, 2015 was definitely a treat.

    4. A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008).

    And so, we arrive at the most recent, and possibly last ever Wallace & Gromit film. Nearly 10 years ago now, A Matter of Loaf and Death was broadcast with the previous entry, Christmas Day on BBC One, and ended up being the most viewed non-sporting event in the UK for over 20 years. W&G is somewhat of a British institution, and given how rare new films come along? It was quite the event. This was also the first time Aardman turned a 30 minute short over in a single year, announcing the film in January and giving updates on its production over the 12 month wait on its website, which was fun for people like me, who are desperately sad nerds. The premise is surprisingly dark for what's generally considered family entertainment, a baker hating serial killer has murdered 12 innocent people in the local area, and Wallace has just so happened to recently open his own don't need to be a genius to know where this is going. Coincidentally (?) Wallace just so happens to meet the girl of his dreams, a former low-fat bread spokeswomen, and after saving her from being eaten by a crocodile, the two swiftly fall in love. How nice. What could possibly go...oh. Never mind. Although the goofiest, most cartoonish of all the W&G shorts, finishing a transformation into more wacky slapstick territory that began in Curse of the Wererabbit, compared to the more subtle (Relatively anyhow) humour and action of the previous films, Matter of Loaf and Death also deals with oddly dark themes, including the previously mentioned murder of the serial variety, but also domestic abuse and stockholm syndrome-esque grief via the other new character of the film, Fluffles...a similarly mute love interest for Gromit that gets a pretty raw deal across the events of the film. Although the quality of humour isn't quite on par with previous films (The 'bomb in my pants' scene is maybe a somewhat low moment for the series as a whole), it makes up for that with Nick Park's signature flair for cinematic lighting and detail, providing a feature movie's worth of extravagant directing and well thought-out action for a merely 30 minutes long short. It's a great short, not the best from W&G by far, but the characters are still wonderful, the animation/lighting/directing/music is all top form, and the premise, whilst dark (Not a problem for me really), is really fun. If this is the last slice of action from these two we ever get, it's a pretty good ending point. I'd like another though, Mr Park...please? PLEASEEE?!

    3. A Close Shave (1995).

    We're reaching the end of our rankings, and as such, we're very much in the classics territory. Those days of Shaun the Sheep are behind us...oh they aren't, because sheep are the name of the game in A Close Shave, the 3rd entry in the Wallace & Gromit franchise, which also happens to be the début appearance of a certain, previously mentioned sheep named Shaun. Wallace & Gromit have opened a window cleaning service, soap canons, bungee chords and HILARITY ENSUE, AH AH AH, EH? HA HA HA. But also there's sheep being slaughtered. And Gromit gets framed for murder and sent to jail. Oh...ohhoho? No. A Close Shave introduced what went on to become the formula for the franchise...Wallace uses his inventions to start a new career, meets a girl he fancies, things go awry, with the villain being connected to the love interest in varying ways. In this instance, his window cleaning business leads him to meet Wendoline, owner of a local wool shop who needed her windows cleaning. She's the only store in the area to have any wool, the recent sheep rustling/killings leaving everyone else fresh out...why's she got so many? Whooooo's this evil looking dog called Preston? Gosh, who knows what's going on here. As we now come to expect, the short is beautifully filmed and contains several memorable action sequences, the most famous of which being the truck/bike chase, which takes many forms, including on-road pursuit, air-assault and some truly impressive on-motorbike sheep stacking. The sequence that follows is almost as great, and the whole short is filled with great gags and goofy jokes. Wendoline isn't a particularly interesting character, despite her moral quandaries, but Preston is a suitably menacing villain, and Shaun is...well...Shaun. Although introducing a scrappy young side-kick to a pre-existing, well loved formula can often result in a bad case of Scrappy Doo, Shaun is just sparsely used enough to not intrude, whilst also providing additional charms to proceedings. As with the show that later spun-off, the supporting background sheep cast is great too, and the score, by Julian Notts is as always, an underrated treat, adding tension, excitement and heart to scenes when required, the Gromit trial sequence, shown from the perspective of Wallace reading about the events unfolding, is the emotional whammy of the film, and perhaps the saddest scene in the whole franchise....I mean, obviously things are going to be just fine, this isn't Black Mirror, but still hard not to feel a bit touched by the emotions displayed by usually such jolly characters. This, along with the following 2 entries, are the 3 people always struggle with deciding just WHICH Wallace & Gromit film is the best...well, we're about to find out where the chips fall for me, that's for sure.

    2. Curse of the Wererabbit (2005).

    I'll be honest, it's been really hard to choose which of these final two films takes the top spot, they're both...really...REALLY good, and the best of what Wallace & Gromit has to offer, but despite their one and only feature film outing being one of my all time favourite animated films, it just misses out from ruling the roost, thanks to the previously mentioned beginnings of a shift in tone and humour to be a bit more...flamboyant at times. It's not enough to ruin the film by any means, but it's enough to get it second place in this, a battle of two masterpieces. Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit is probably the most widely seen film of the franchise, given it's a feature length co-production with Dreamworks Animation, that released in cinemas worldwide, and topped the US box office in its opening weekend, going on to win all the animation awards for its specific year. The premise is an exquisitely directed horror spoof where Wallace, frustrated by Gromit's frequent attempts to strong-arm him into a healthier lifestyle, decides to take the natural next step...which is of course, brain alteration. Concurrently, their booming rabbit control business, sold to the entire town thanks to their undying devotion to vegetable growing, has resulted in a storage problem, one Wallace thinks he can fix with...brain alteration OF COURSE. Whilst attempting to remove their veggie desires, the process goes wrong, and he ends up melding minds with one unlucky rabbit. Soon after, a monstrous wererabbit starts ravaging the crops, and it's up to Antipesto (That's the name of their business btw) to stop it...but just who could it be? HMMMM, SUCH MYSTERIES, EH? This feature expands the usually small cast to a whole towns worth of wacky characters, and features such acting talents as Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter in the leading support roles of villain, and love interest respectively. Despite the wider scope and bigger budget, it still manages to keep the feel and charms of the shorts, the puppets all look handmade, and bare the trademark, literal Aardman fingerprints all over them, and even with Dreamwork's constant demands for the film to be more palatable to American youths, Nick Park and the gang basically ignored that and made it just as toothy and British as always, the only exception being the American version turning Gromit's all-important prize Marrow into a dub alone, despite looking nothing like one, nice job, Dreamworks! As I've already said, visually this film is truly beautiful, having better directing, lighting and action chereography in stop-motion than a lot of live action blockbusters have, with a spectacular soundtrack one again worked on by Julian Notts, but this time also with the help of my main man HANS ZIMMMERRRRR. The action set-pieces aren't up there with the best of what the franchise has to offer, but they're still really great, and of course, the humour and heart is in abundance, the ending maybe overdoing it a little on the unwarranted attempts at tugging your heart-strings. Nitpicks aside, this is a spectacular animated movie, probably Aardman's best feature film (Although Chicken Run, the previous blog's #1, gives it a big ol' run for its money)...but not the best Wallace & Gromit film? Uhhh? What could possibly top this!? Welllll.... 

    1. The Wrong Trousers (1993).

    I mean, what else? Literally, this was the only one left, this is a franchise ranking blog, not a Top 10. That said, this, the second W&G instalment and the first to be fully produced at Aardman, is a rather predictable winner. The Wrong Trousers is very much the most universally beloved of all the films, at least from the people that've seen them all. It set the blueprint for the tone and quality expected of the franchise, and many would argue it has yet to be surpassed. And given its placement, I'm inclined to agree. Like I said, I love all the Wallace & Gromit films, with the top 3 in particular all being classics, but I mean...The Wrong Trousers is one of animations finest hours, surely? Premise is pretty simple, Wallace is struggling to pay the bills, probably because he just bought a pair of god damn autonomous, NASA designed pants....but hey ho. To make some extra bucks, he decides to rent out the spare room, and of course, it's not long before a silent and creepy penguin moves in, deciding instead to take claim of Gromit's room, leaving the poor pooch in the grotty spare. As you'd expect, the penguin is a fugitive from the law, an infamous jewel thief known as Feathers McGraw, who wears a rubber glove on his head to disguise himself as a chicken. Natch. What follows is a dejected Gromit running away from home, only to discover Feathers' true motivations for moving in with Wallace. The step up in quality from Grand Day Out to this is truly incredible, the addition of a co-writer, and a film-crew, along with the sizeable budget increase from his student film origins, gives Nick Park the chance to truly flaunt the directing talents he's now well known and awarded for. The humour is subtle, but hugely effective, the story is surprisingly engrossing for a film about a penguin lodger planning a diamond heist using a pair of walking trousers, and the whole thing comes across as a slick noir caper, brought down to quaint, British size. The heist taking place in a local museum, the epic chase taking place on a toy train...and holy SHIT. That god damn, motherfucking train chase. What a legendary sequence that bloody well is. At the time of production, the Aardman crew had no idea how to pull off a sequence like that in stop-motion in a way that wouldn't take all of time, and cost a fortune. What you see on screen is their first attempt at this kind of action, and yet it's possibly their finest moment, and one of animation history's most delightful chapters. And when you consider that's only the closing part of an exceptionally enjoyable 30 minutes of cinema? Then you'll start to understand just why this is top of the ranking in this blog. In some ways, you could view it as a negative that Wallace & Gromit have never managed to surpass what was essentially their formative production, but when you consider just how good some of the later films are, and how great the franchise is in general, it's really more a sign of the sheer quality of this film that they can't quite top it. I fear the days of Wallace & Gromit are long behind us, and even if they aren't, I fear even more than any new short would suffer from the continued change in tone and quality of humour that started in Curse of the Wererabbit and has most recently culminated in Early Man (A good film but not a patch on Aardman at their finest), but regardless of what the future holds, it'll never change the timeless excellence of The Wrong Trousers...and, well...most of the Wallace & Gromit library, honestly. It's good shit, and something I'm forever glad I grew up, and developed as a person with.

    And there you have it! My double whammy of Aardman blogs all wrapped up....thanks to anyone who decided to check this, and the pervious blog out....I know they're niche interest, and blogging in general is a niche interest these days, let's face I really appreciate those who continue to support my foolish endeavours. What do you think of the rankings? What's your favourite Wallace & Gromit film? Do you think we'll get another in the future? What did you think of Early Man? LET ME KNOW ALL THESE IN THE COMMENTSSSS, HEYY OHOOOO.

    Won't be doing another blog for a little while, done 5 of them essentially back to back with little overall response, which was expected, but a little demoralising. My next blog is already planned though...and well, it's gonna be...ahem...AHEH...Marvel-ous. Subtle, eh? ALRIGHT, LATER GATORS. GOODBYYEE.

  • Week 15- Working On Lighting Still

    6 days ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,

    This week has been a bit tiring when it comes to time managing.  I have been working on my daily drawings in the morning, go to work in the evening, and come home to work on my big digital project at the night.  It's the same routine each day, but I can handle and manage for now.

    Aside from that, I am still working on rotoscoping light for the clips I have and it's a long process to do.  I think I'm on my 2nd clip to work on the lighting and I have about above 30 more clips to work on.  With this work I am doing, it might take me a couple of months to work on until I can work on sound editing and compiling the final clips together.  I have much to do, but this is where I am right now.

    Until then, I have more drawings to share with you all.     


    Hope everyone has a good week and I'll see you later.


  • The Cloverfield Problem.

    1 week ago



    Oh...hello! This wasn't planned until a day ago, obviously. I felt the urge to talk about the weird situation with this franchise in more detail, the spirit of Cloverfield itself, here's a blog STRAIGHT OUTTA NOWHERE.

    As you may well know, the 3rd instalment of the Cloverfield franchise just appeared out of nowhere on Sunday evening/Monday morning at the end of the Super Bowl, revealed for the first time as The Cloverfield Paradox during the event, only to then be released on Netflix hours later. It was a pretty amazing marketing stunt, but the general consensus is that it may have been done this way partly due to the mixed-negative reception most fans and critics are now giving it. In the hours before release, its single 30 second teaser trailer told viewers that it would finally explain what happened in the original Cloverfield, released just over 10 years ago. The results were...interesting. So I think it's time to now look over the franchise as a whole, and discuss...just what the fuck exactly is Cloverfield as a franchise, and is it even worth being one? LET'S SEEEEEEE...

    Cloverfield (2008).

    Cloverfield came out as it aimed to continue existing back in 2008, first revealed without any prior knowledge of its existence out of nowhere in July 2007, via the above, mysterious teaser trailer that went on to set the tone for the opening sequence of the film, albeit with new, and alternative footage leading us in to what's perhaps the most iconic shot of the franchise, that decapitated Statue of Liberty head rolling across the street, complete with the must lampooned OH MY GAWWWD's. The first teaser didn't even have a film name attached, merely giving you the release date and the vague hints of some sort of big creature roaming the streets of New York. In a time where film trailers had become (and continue to be) less tantalising teases to get the audiences interest, and more condensed versions of the whole film, showing you every key action scene and big story moment before you can even make up your mind about wanting to see it, or not...Cloverfield's teaser got a lot of people very curious indeed. Throw in the extensive ARG (Alternate Reality Game), that's now become an expected and much loved tradition among hardcore fans for this franchise, and a continued sense of mystery leading right into the day of release and it's no wonder why this low-budget, found footage sci-fi movie was a surprise box office hit, earning over $170 Million against its $25 Million budget. The film was warmly received by fans and critics alike, and has gone on to become a standout of the now since mostly abandoned found footage genre.

    The premise of the film was pretty simple, and intentionally designed less to explain what's going on, and more to immerse you in it. A bunch of friends holding a leaving party for 'Rob' Hawkins find their lives turned upside down when a mysterious entity attacks the city of New York. Whilst initially the aim is, obviously, to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (Ironically something the film famously pays homage to with its green head flinging antics), when it turns out Rob's close friend and awkward recent sex-partner, Beth is trapped in her appartment, so the mission becomes to rescue her instead. Along the way, the gang encounter the military attempting to fight back what is now known as a giant fucking spider-monkey....THING that drops smaller parasitic creatures off its back, which they then encounter in the New York subway, the bite of these resulting in the unfortunate...uh...exploding? of Marlena, who had really picked the wrong leaving party to just turn up at without knowing anyone. They rescue Beth, get to da evacuation choppa, and all looks well and good as the monster is carpet bombed by the army...only to then resurface and cause the CHOPPA to crash, leaving Rob, Hud (Played by the recently shamed TJ Miller) and Beth stranded in Central Park, Hud suffers from a bad case of 'needing to get a good shot of the monster' syndrome and gets bitten in half, and then our two remaining lovers are seemingly killed in the following airstrike on the park, which may or may not have killed the monster, the audio at the end of the credits...which is required to be played backwards in order to truly understand, suggests IT'S STILL ALIVE. Throw in a mysterious object crashing in the ocean in a flashback (of sorts) seen at the very end of the film, and a general lack of explanation for what the monster is, where it came from, and what happened next? You've got yourself a mysterious ass film, and something people have been wanting a sequel of some sorts to for a long time now. 2016, they got one...uh...sorta?

    10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

    Fast forward to roughly 7 years on from the original Cloverfield...and yet again, a mysterious teaser trailer popped in front of a random Paramount release reveals a new Cloverfield movie that nobody in the world knew about, with a release date only two months on from this first reveal. This time, the found footage take is abandoned in favour of traditional filmed fare, with at that point completely unknown director Dan Trachtenberg (Only known prior to this for a Portal fan-film) helming, and John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr starring. The teaser told you next to nothing, beyond these three dudes being in a bunker, seeming to be getting on just fine, something weird happens above them, then it seems everything goes to shit, cue a mysterious, monster-like noise as the Cloverfield logo reveals itself, followed by 10 and Lane...not propositioning this as an immediate sequel so much as a continuation of the franchise. What followed was a predictable degree of surprise and excitement, followed by another extensive ARG that used corporations and concepts that seemed to tie into the first film in order to flesh out the otherwise mysterious character John Goodman plays. The film released, and was another sizeable success, earning $110 Million against a mere $15 Million budget, and the reviews and audience response were even more glowing, with praise especially going to John Goodman's unhinged and unsettling performance, with early-year awards buzz that predictably, went nowhere. Most people approved of the shift from found-footage genre picture, to tense and claustrophobic human drama, but some criticised the ending for feeling tacked on (Which we'll get to later in the blog), and questioned its placement in what was now, we supposed, a franchise.

    The film opens with lead character, Michelle, as she seemingly ditches her fiancé, packs up her bags and drives off into the sunset. She doesn't get too far, it seems, before being involved in a nasty car crash, and then wakes up with her broken leg in a brace, which is also hand (leg?) cuffed to a pipe in a dingy, sealed room in a weird bunker. John Goodman's Howard soon makes himself known, proclaiming to have saved her from the crash, and also from an apparent apocalyptic event that's left the human race completely wiped out, in his words. After several attempts to escape from her seeming prison, she's eventually allowed out into the whole bunker, where she meets another 'survivor', Emmett, and after witnessing a bloodied, diseased and manic women brain herself to death on the bunker's sealed door, the three all learn to live with each other, and accept that the world really has ended. After living in apocalyptic domestic bliss for some time, Michelle discovers Howard's much-touted daughter was actually a girl he kidnapped and seemingly later killed, and whilst he may have saved her and Emmett from a potential apocalypse, he also may have had ultimately sinister motivations for doing so. After their ensuing escape plan is partially discovered, Emmettt meats an untimely, grisly end protecting Michelle, with Howard starting to show his true colours towards her afterwards, and it becomes time to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, come what may. After barely making it out of the bunker alive, and leaving Howard slowly dissolving in its burning remains, Michelle discovers there really was an apocalyptic event, a seeming alien invasion to be precise, which, again she barely survives. The final moments of the film being her decision to stop running away from things, and start to fight, specifically joining the rag-tag human resistance in taking down the alien threat. End film, and again, leaving explanations and conclusions aside in favour of immersing the viewer in a situation that's just as confusing to the characters as it is to them. 10 Cloverfield Lane left even more questions addition to all the ones raised in this film, it also failed to answer anything from the first, or even tell the audience how it ultimately tied in to it...would they ever get their answers? a fashion.

    Cloverfield Paradox (2018).

    And thus we arrive at the reason this blog exists today...The Cloverfield Paradox. Unlike the previous two films, this was known about for some time prior to its ultimate reveal, the more attention Bad Robot draws to itself as a purveyor of mysterious projects, the more likely someone's gonna go out of their way to find out. Initially known as 'God Particle', it became known as the third, untitled Cloverfield after not too long, being pushed back from release again and again starting from late 2016, all through 2017 and then supposedly delayed in 2018 too, before suddenly being sold off to Netflix by Paramount, and getting surely the insurmountable peak of surprise releases, being announced and released within the space of 3 hours. The first, and only teaser trailer for this film popped up for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl, revealing the name, release time and a few shots from the film, with the main bulk of the teaser seemingly tying this film into the original Cloverfield...promising to finally reveal what caused the events of that film, going so far as to suggest events may take place simultaneously at one point. This was something of a mis-sell, in immediate hindsight, but the surprise reveal and sudden release got people very excited indeed, with the traditional ARG having been taking place prior to its reveal, in what many had anticipated would be build up to the release of its first trailer, not the film itself. Unfortunately, the excitement of its sudden release started to subside when the majority of people saw, and weren't too impressed with the final product. The critical reviews have been somewhat over the top in their scathing dislike of what I feel is an entertaining, but cliché and half-baked space romp, with some people being more favourable to it than others, with the only universal agreement being that it is a step-down for the 'franchise' and it doesn't fully explore the potentials it lays out, both as a standalone film, and as a tie-in to the series as a whole.

    We start off on earth, with Ava and Michael Hamilton stuck in a long line for some petrol, in a near-future where we've used up all our energy sources, and the world is slowly falling into chaos, with the threat of war over what limited resources remain growing ever closer. It turns out there's a plan, however, and after some encouragement from her husband, Ava makes the decision to do her part, and soon enough we're orbiting the earth in what's both a space station, and a particle accelerator, with the hope behind it being the discovery of an infinitely sustainable energy source from a successful particle collision. After almost two years of failed tests, they finally seem to have some luck, only for everything to quickly hit the fan quite spectacularly, like some sort of shit. Suddenly, they find the earth is missing, and the gyroscope used to position and locate themselves has gone missing too. Tensions start to rise among the international crew, bolstered by increased division between their nations back on Earth. They don't really have that long to think about this, because really weird things start to happen soon after, chiefly...finding a completely unknown women fused inside a wall, who believes she's one of the crew, a Russian crew-member having worms (and a gyroscope, somehow) transported inside his body, which causes some horrific eye...stuff, and eventually, a worm-infested body explosion that, obviously, kills him, and...oh yes, Chris O'Dowd's arm phasing through a wall, disappearing, only to then turn up as ...seemingly some alternate reality version of himself's arm that has sentience? Uhh? It turns out they've phased into an entirely different dimension, and the ship has merged with the version of themselves that had also been there, with a crew that both differed in motivations, and also literally who was and wasn't on board. It also turns out that the Earth in the universe they were now in had succumbed to the energy crisis their Earth is on the verge of, and was close to annihilation. Meanwhile, on the ...real? Earth, Ava's husband is witness to a sudden and catastrophic event that leaves his city in ruins, rescuing a small child from what seems to be a giant monster. Meanwhile, Ava is debating whether or not to stay in this alternate universe, as in this one, her children are still alive, blaming herself for the death of her own as they were killed in a fire from a malfunctioning energy cell that she herself had illegally installed. Throw in the wall-woman, Mina's desires to get revenge on crewmates who were traitorous in her own universe, and also take the possibly now useable energy source of the Particle Accelerator to save her own world? And...well...things get a bit messy. The race to get back to their own dimension before it's too late results in the death of everyone but Ava and her gravely wounded crew member Kiel, who finally make it back home, only for it to turn out that, whilst they've been away, giant monsters that seemingly, their Particle Accelerator incident unleashed on the planet have more or less destroyed the civilisation they were hoping to have saved. Cue huge Cloverfield monster coming out of the clouds, roarwwrrinng, and then end credits. Leaving things on yet another cliffhanger, with scores of unresolved questions, and only vague answers to the big question from 10 years ago...just why are these monsters here? And how are these films connected? Wellll....

    How are they connected? 


    This has been the million dollar question since 10 Cloverfield Lane dropped...just how exactly do that film, and the 2008 original connect? This has always been a point of confusion for the majority of people, as the brand connection would lead you to believe they either take place at the same time, or 10 Cloverfield Lane is a proper sequel that chronicles another incident that occurred in another part of the USA. Chief problem with concept number 1 is the obvious anachronisms 10 Cloverfield would have if it indeed took place at the same time as the 2008 set original. Phones, cars and technology are quite a bit different now than they were back then, and phones specifically are the kicker, given a modern touch screen phone plays an integral role in the opening...whereas in early 2008, we'd only really just entered the dawn of what's now the modern mobile phone, with a comparatively lower tech flip-phone being an integral plot-device in that one. They simply don't take place at the same time, and given we can assume the original's monster destroyed New York, and continued to survive afterwards, it seems unlikely that it would've been business as usual 7 years later, and even if it had been defeated, aliens and giant monsters are prattled off as ludicrous conspiracy theories by the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane, which simply wouldn't be the case had this taken place after Cloverfield. Our newest entry to the franchise was promoted as having the answers, at least for how the events of the first film happened. Despite this, the film takes place in the not too distant future of 2028, a full 20 years on from the events of the original Cloverfield movie it was clearly, misleadingly marketed as taking place during. So what's the connection?'s there, but it's not exactly the focus of The Cloverfield Paradox, in fact you could say it's quite literally a throw-away line towards the very start. The non-character of Mark Stambler, chiefly represented through the viral ARG campaign that took place prior to release, turns up very briefly on a newsfeed, discussing the potential dangers of the particle accelerator experiment about to be undertaken. According to him, and his book which I'm surprised doesn't suddenly exist for real yet, the ramifications of this experiment going wrong could result in a tear in the space-time continuum, one that he has on good authority could unleash monsters from another dimension into our own, at any point in time, and possibly in any other dimension in the multi-verse. This is a very specific and sloppy tie into the grander scheme, but it does finally offer...something of an explanation for what's going on? Sorta?

    If the titular 'Cloverfield Paradox' and its very specific prediction of doom are to be believed, the brief tear in space-time caused by the particle accelerator incident that left the crew of Cloverfield Station (There's a lotta Cloverfield stuff to be named in this blog) in another dimension, and later brought them back, was a tear across the entire multi-verse, leaving temporary gateways between different dimensions that allowed monsters to break through and cause havoc in different time periods, in different universes, in an event that occurred both simultaneously but also in completely different times and places across space-time...universe..multiverse...hoo boy. Basically, the monsters of Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane and the one(s?) seen during The Cloverfield Paradox are from a rift in spacetime that occurred in at least three separate universes. The connection is that they aren't connected in a traditional sense, but are in a multiverse that was afflicted by a singular space-time event that tore through all of them. That's...complicated, and kinda dumb, but it does explain why these films co-exist in the same franchise without having specific connections. The running threads through all of them are a connection to Slusho, JJ Abrams fictional brand that appears in basically all of his films...and more specifically, Tagruato...a conglomerate business that features in all three films to some degree. It's the company Rob is leaving to work for in the first Cloverfield, it's the mining company Howard previously worked for in 10 Cloverfield Lane, as evidenced broadly by the ARG campaign, but also briefly featured on an unopened letter in the film...and finally, the name appears on some equipment on the space station in Cloverfield Paradox, implying they had a hand in its construction. These all being apparent alternate realities, the only through-lines are these companies that exist in all of them. You can't even argue that the monsters themselves are a connection, as 10 Cloverfield Lane features an entirely different, albeit similar in basic concepts species. Which leads us to the biggest question...

    Why are they connected?


    GOOD QUESTION. And one that's not really answerable from a in-universe perspective. After the original Cloverfield released, and made a lotta muns, got a lotta love...obviously the question became...when's the sequel coming, JJ? Whilst I don't think it was ever designed to become a franchise, producer/creator JJ Abrams and director Matt Reeves both seemed keen to explore the franchise some more in the future, specifically, a film that followed on from, or took place at the same time as the original. The chief example of a potential sequel brought up by both in the months and years following its release was that of another found footage film that followed a different group of people trying to survive the same event, from a different perspective, that maybe offered a bit more insight into the lore behind the attack, and its monsters in the process. Reeves specifically points out that in the bridge scene, featured early into the films 2nd act, where the group we're following encounter another person filming the events unfolding. His idea was the possibility of exploring things from that perspective, having that specific crossover moment, but otherwise telling a completely different found footage story, set within the same disaster. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well obviously that never happened, come 2009 and JJ Abrams was showing reluctance to make a sequel just for the sake of doing one, wanting to make sure they had a solid idea for a follow-up before doing it. At this point the idea of a military-focused sequel that'd abandon the found-footage genre was also mused. Fast forward a few years to the release of Super 8 in 2011, which despite being treated similarly mysteriously to Cloverfield, and featuring many seeming connections, was denied by Bad Robot to be connected to the franchise, with the actual sequel to Cloverfield seemingly in development hell. And that was it until 2016, when 10 Cloverfield Lane suddenly had they made a new Cloverfield movie without anyone knowing? The answer? Well...they hadn't. It was never meant to be a Cloverfield movie.

    10 Cloverfield Lane, previously called The Cellar, previously called Valencia...was an attempt by Paramount Pictures to make low-risk, microbudget genre movies that cost little to make, but potentially offered a sizeable profit. The script originated in 2012 and circulated the infamous hit list of unproduced, but promising screenplays, then being snapped up by Paramount, who gave it to partner studio Bad Robot to develop further. The film was rewritten, cast, and well into production before the musings of a potential tie-in to Cloverfield originated. The film was finished and renamed The Cellar in 2015, and given several test-screenings, where it's reported the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't there at all. Instead of going outside and having a fight with some monsters, Michelle seemingly stepped outside, having completely destroyed the bunker, only to find...nothing. No monsters, no killer gas, but no animals or people either. The film supposedly ended on an ambiguous note, where you were never sure if the event was over, if humanity had survived, and beyond that, if an event had even taken place at all, with the suggestion that it'd all been a lie made up by Howard to kidnap her. When the idea to make it a Cloverfield movie became reality, the budget was marginally increased to include extensive reshoots that tied it into the franchise, and added the required monster madness at the end. It's unknown how much of this was added in order to make it a Cloverfield movie, and how much if it was added because of the test-screening feedback, but the fact of the matter is, this was a standalone thriller re-purposed to become a spiritual follow-up to Cloverfield, with the actual sequel to that film apparently scrapped due to the western kaiju scene, something that was basically non-existent in 2008, having been "played out" by films like 2014 Godzilla and Pacific Rim. Around the same time as Valencia was filming, another micro-budget sci-fi film was in the works at Paramount, called 'God Particle'. Announced in 2012, but only entering production in 2016, this was another intentionally low-budget, but high concept genre picture that initially stood by itself as a standalone project, only to then be tweaked and reshot at a later date after the higher-ups decision to integrate it into Cloverfield suddenly became apparent to the writer. What it seems the Cloverfield franchise has become, is a home for Paramount to repurpose original sci-fi properties into franchise films, in order to make them more financially viable. Something that worked really well with 10 Cloverfield Lane, and worked well for Paradox in terms of marketing, but ended up not succeeding so much as a film, or a tie-in to a larger franchise plan, given Paramount more or less gave up on it succeeding, and sold it off to Netflix. Indeed, it seems whatever plans Bad Robot and Paramount have for Cloverfield are less thought out and more spontaneous whims, which are evidently going to be hit and miss, and remain standalone titles despite leaving so much left unanswered or explored. It also makes you wonder just why Super 8, a film with a marketing campaign somewhat identical to Cloverfield, a monster that, although at the time differed too much from the 2008 original to tie-in, but now could slot in quite nicely in a world where 10 Cloverfield's spaceships exist, and the entire multiverse is at play, and hell...a poster that's almost identical in design and font as 10 Cloverfield Lane' a Cloverfield film? Because it certainly would be now, there's no question about that.

    What's the future, here?

    As it currently stands, it seems any plans or hopes for a traditional sequel to 2008's Cloverfield, or a sequel to either 10 Cloverfield Lane or The Cloverfield Paradox are more or less off the table. Cloverfield as a franchise doesn't seem to exist as a connected narrative so much as it does an anthology film franchise, seemingly to be comprising of previously unrelated films that've been repurposed in order to vaguely fit around a premise of big monsters causing biiiig problems on our planet. Whether or not this trend of re-purposing existing films will continue, or if eventually what I guess is now the Cloverfield Multiverse will eventually start getting stand-alone titles designed from the get go to be in the franchise remains to be seen. We do know already that there is at least one more film being for the Cloverfield franchise, and that's Overlord, another low-budget sci-fi film that filmed last year, and was reportedly a zombie movie, but may now be about another monster attack, this time set during WWII. None of that is confirmed, but given it's coming from the same sources that outed God Particle all the way back in 2016? Seems pretty likely that it's true. That's currently scheduled for an October release, which would be fitting for its zombie/monster horror angle, but at this point, who the hell knows when a Cloverfield movie's going to be released, for all we know it's already out there and we just don't know it. It's crazy times. Whether or not this film will be any good is another question entirely, it seems, as with any anthology media (Black Mirror, American Horror Story, things of this nature that've caught on a lot again in recent times), the quality is going to vary wildly depending on the premise, and talent involved...and it certainly doesn't help when last minute reshoots and forced injections of brand-connecting mythos are dangerously thrown into the mix. 

    Whilst the idea of a high concept, monster based science fiction franchise which can never be predicted, can land at any moment, and retain the increasingly illusive element of mystery that so few films manage in this day and age is very enticing, my chief concern is the quality of their films, and the need for them to have tie-ins, at the detriment of their own story. Either you're an standalone anthology series that's never going to fill in the narrative blanks left unanswered in each consecutive film, or you're a connected series of monster movies that needs to have a stronger through-line. You can't continued to try to be both, and fail at being either, and expect people to keep turning up at your door each time you pull a wacky marketing stunt from your magic JJ Abrams hat. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed all three of these movies so far, but The Cloverfield Paradox wasn't especially fantastic despite being entertaining, and it does well and truly make you question if Cloverfield'ing random projects at the last minute is a particularly good idea, even if it makes people ooh and aah at the surprises. Three films in, and people are starting to get antsy about the whole concept and the way it both tampers with original movies, and fails to explain its own lore to a satisfying degree. We're at a turning point, I feel. We've had the biggest release stunt possible, we've had the first dud release too. The cracks are starting to show, and if the downward spiral continues, the franchise will have the interest and intrigue it exists solely off of killed stone dead. We have no idea how Overlord will be, we don't even know how much it'll tie into the franchise, and how early on that decision was made. Like everything else in this franchise, it's a total mystery, and that's really starting to become a double edged sword for it. Let's just hope the future gets brighter for Cloverfield before it's too late.

    Well...there's an impromptu blog for you. What did you think of The Cloverfield Paradox? What's your stance on the other films in the franchise, and how do you feel about it being this loosely connected anthology? Let me know in the comments below, and see you next week for Part 2 of my Aardblogs. I'm just...too many blogs, you guys. LATER GATTOORSS.

  • Week 14- Close Yet Far

    1 week ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,

    I don't have much to write this week, I'm just working on my big project as usual.  I'm getting close to finishing it, but yet it still feels far away to complete.  I'm working on rotoscoping light movement right now and it's taking awhile to work on because I have to animate it each keyframe to make it move smoothly.  I still have much to do.  They are small adjustments to work on, but I have to do them with every clip I have done so far and I have a lot to do.  There's much to do, but I have to keep moving forward.

    As for know, I have more drawings to share this week.


    Have a good week everyone,


  • Consistency and Adaptability

    2 weeks ago

    Caofontaine Wizard

    As seen on:

    My Website


    /* Create a system that works for you. If you want to be more efficient, make your schedule efficient first. */


    They’re qualities I guess I’m more known for now than in the past.

    I’ve always said that there isn’t enough time to do what we want to do. We need more hours in the day. Unfortunately, that is an unrealistic wish. The compromise is to create a system in which I effectively make use of the time I have available. Of course, that doesn’t always work out.

    For years, maybe more so in college, I’ve been trying to develop a system for myself to be more efficient. College was more of the test bed for it. Took a lot of experimentation to get where I am today and it’s not a perfect system. Nothing ever is.

    I think to be consistent, you need a mindset change. It’s like what motivates you. Motivation and hard work stem from actively turning on that switch to allow yourself to do so. I know that’s strange to say, but it’s not as if your brain subconsciously says, “Hey, today you’re going to be motivated”. I’ve used the work ethic from my running to apply in my work, exercise, friends, family, and extra-curricular activities.

    So in my work I try to stay 3 steps ahead. Knowing I have something due on Tuesday, I try to get everything done and approved on Monday, to make room for potential hiccups. Or to give whomever I’m working with enough time to get their part done. This allows an increase in efficiency and quality of work. It also allows me to start other work early.

    I’m not saying you need to plan out your day hour by hour to create your system. I don’t even do that. My system is still an ad-hoc schedule in certain aspects, especially my weekends. Weekends are designed to allow you to relax, but you want to get the most out of your weekend as well. To go back to a timely system, my work hours are 8 hours almost to do the dot. When my 8 hours are done, I go straight to my workout. Of course, if I need to stay later to do the working part, I must do so and that’s where having a good system allows for good adaptability.

    Let’s talk a bit more about my habits. I wear a Fitbit. My step goal is 7,000 daily. I actively try to get it every single day. I haven’t failed to reach my step goal since January 2015. Even on the weekends, where I’m typically at my most inactive. I will actually walk around in my bedroom while watching a video in order to get my 7,000 steps (because the outside world is scary, man).

    Ok, so you’ve read about my rambling on how my system works. I honestly wish I was able to have a good system in high school or college because I truly believe it would have work and help me grow more as an adult trying to balance life and work. Plus my grades could’ve been better. Though that would mean maturing early as a middle-schooler to start building a system through high school and college. Maturing is hard.

    So what’s my advice to you, reader? If you’re keen on being a consistent person, you have to want it. Again, it’s a mindset you need to put yourself into to develop it. It will take a lot of trial and error. You will not get this on the first try. It’s going to require some sacrifice. Maybe things you wanted to fit into your life, but can’t because time doesn’t allow it. People you hang out with may have to take a back seat in order to reach a level you’ve never been at before. It’s hard. It’s going to frustrate you, but you’ll know once you’ve reached a system you enjoy and then you start building on it and adding back what you had taken out.

    I currently love my imperfect system and it’s only gotten better in the past few months. I’m more awake and active than I’ve ever been. I can think more clearly and my quality in the things I do during the day have improved. I’m seeing the results. It’s only upward from here. You can do it. Just have to want to do it.

  • Top 10 Aardman Animations.

    3 weeks ago


    WOAAHH, HEYYYY. I toooold you I'd be back soon, eh? Usually I'd take a post-Gimpy Awards blog hiatus, and in general now I'd make a new blog every couple months these days....but it's a special occasion, and after having missed the last chance to celebrate a few years back, I certainly wasn't going to do it again!

    Aardman a studio. They make things. There's many studios out there, some better than others, but there's none quite like Aardman for me. If you've known me at all across the many years, you'll know I'm big into these guys and gals, and have been since I was like, 3 or something. They were a huge inspiration to me, and helped make me the person I am yeah, blame them. So whilst a new film from them may not be a big deal to some, it's a biiiiiig deal to me. Early Man, their newest feature film, from the man who created Wallace & Gromit (Nick Park) is out in the UK this week, so I'm very much in the mood for some Aard, maaaan!

    So yeah, I decided to do a Top 10 of my favourite productions that Aardman have made. These can be feature length, or short films, and they can also be TV shows, as long as Aardman were the studio who made them happen, they're eligible. The exceptions? Firstly, music videos and advertisements. Aardman are quite well known for these, but not only would there be a fuckton of them to sift through, they also wouldn't have much of a chance against the longer form, original productions they've made across their 40+ year lifespan. The other exception? Wallace & Gromit. What's that, I hear you say? WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT, THEN!? Well that would just mean the winners would be obvious, and the list would be dominated by those, instead of more interesting inclusions. The other reason is I'm going to do ANOTHER blog in a couple weeks, to coincide with the US release of Early Man, ranking the whole Wallace & Gromit franchise, which includes Shaun the Sheep. So that's why. Should be fun, mmmm?

    Alrighty, that should do it. The usual, these are just my opinions, if you disagree with the ranking, or wish something specific had been on here, that's fine, let me know...niiicely in the comments below, and we can DISCUSS. ALRIGHT, ENJOOOYYYY...

    10. Morph (1977-2005, 2014-2016).

    Couldn't be an Aardman ranking without this little guy, really. Although he wasn't their first creation (The titular Aardman was their first broadcast animation), Morph was definitely their first success story. Debuting on 'Vision On' back in the 70s, Morph started out as a comic foil to the late Tony Hart as he worked on some arty things. He continued this supporting role on arts programmes on and off up to 2005, appearing on smArt for several years, which is where I was first introduced to him. His role expanded into his own TV shows a couple times, once an original series that featured a whole supporting cast of characters including, most notably, Chas, his I guess? And  all sorts of wacky shit, like a tinfoil woman, a green alien blob ...thing...and a nailbrush that behaved like a pet dog. The other was some weird, cheaply made reuse of previous years of existing footage, but hey HO...never mind, eh? After his stint on smArt ended, his time in the sun came to pass, an attempt at a revival with a new arts show pilot in 2012 came to nothing, and then Aardman finally took matters into their own hands, doing their one and currently only Kickstarter campaign to revive Morph and Chas in a new series of 1-2 minute animations for Youtube. The success of that campaign, and the resulting shorts led to a second run of these, this time made for Sky TV...and then in 2017 he celebrated his 40th anniversary with his own charity fundraising exhibition. He's the longest running Aardman 'franchise', and whilst he's ranking low for lack of substance or lengthier outings, what he lacks in words or depth, he makes up for in charm and creativity. Morph as a design is very simple, just being a thick blob of plasticine, not even featuring an armature (Sorta interior skeleton for the puppets), and the desktop setting limits what can be done with the character, but in another way, the limitations allow for more creative and quirky scenarios, making even a 1 minute Morph short generally pretty damn entertaining. That, and..well he's just a loveable guy really, Morph. Here's to hoping there's more from him coming in the future...maybe a Morph movie? That'd be....a challenge, but if anyone could pull it off, surely it's Aardman.

    9. Pib & Pog (1995, 2006).

    We're taking a sharp turn from one of Aardman's best known franchises, right into obscure territory...and frankly, we're gonna be staying there for a while, so get strapped in for some AARDMAN EDUCATION. Pib & Pog is a strange one, for sure. It's one of several standalone short films Aardman made for Channel 4 back in the late 80s/early 90s, and it's not the last one on this list, I'll tell you that much. What makes this one strange is that it's something of a franchise? The short debut'd in 1995, and they went on to become the face of Dairylea products in the UK for a short period in 1999, featured in a selection of advertisements. The story didn't end there, though, as over 10 years later on from their original short in 2006, they were revived one last time for a 5 part webseries on the now dead and buried ATOM Films...which was a video content website that pre-dated, and then was killed by Youtube. The premise of Pib & Pog? What if childrens TV show...but too far? The original short was done up to be like a sweet and innocent pre-school show, but as you'll see above, it's anything butt. Uzis, sulphuric acid and more are used in this oddly violent slapstick film, all accompanied by the innocent, nieve kind of narration you'd expect from a kids show. The slapstick and comedy timing are what sell the short, which is one of many Aardman productions that veered towards the adult audience that many wouldn't expect them to cater to. Whilst the short is somewhat a halfway house in terms of audiences, it's violent and uses surprising weaponry, but isn't explicit as such....the series that later followed is full on adult, with two episode themes being eating some anonymous drug, and looking at (off-screen) bestiality porn. The short is the star, but the series is good fun too, and whilst Pib & Pog is decidedly one-note in premise, hence why it's never really taken off despite their attempts to seralise it, I still find myself chuckling along with each oddball adventure the pair have had. The short (above) and the 5 part series are all now available on Aardman's new teenage/adult comedy Youtube channel, why not give it a look? Worse ways to spend 30 minutes, I can assure you.

    8. Stage Fright (1997).

    We're staying in the 90s, we're keeping with Aardman's adult-aimed C4 shorts library, but this time we're going from brief and comedic, to dark and narrative-focused. Out of all the shorts they made for Channel 4, I'm surprised this one hasn't broken out with some sort of cult following because it's...just one of those things that could, really. Stage Fright is a beautifully filmed, but slightly wonky attempt at a more serious, story focused animation from Aardman, who're generally known for light-hearted slapstick fun. The basic premise is a slightly feral dog-trainer struggling to survive in a world that's moved on from stage-performances and variety style entertainment, into the early days of silent cinema. Throw in a concerned but conflicted blossoming actress and the arrogant and violent leading man who seeks to exploit the trainers pet dogs, and the actress for his own cinematic pursuits, and...well...It's a promising premise...but that's basically the entire short in a nutshell, and I mean that twofold. That's the entire short summed up without much else in terms of depth, and it's also that the promising nature gives way in the end to a solid, but iffy production. Visually the short is stunning, and that's mostly why it's here, the lighting, animation and atmosphere are all top notch, and akin to the quality you'd expect from a feature length production, not merely an 11 minute short. It's also got some great moments, particularly the ultimate (inevitable) undoing of the big baddie, who's main fault is lacking in any purpose beyond being a violent jerk. The short also suffers from the weird decision to have one actor do all 3 voices, which ended up clearly pitched and altered in post-production, as sometimes, particularly with the actress, it sounds very artificial and weird. That said, it's still a very entertaining short, and an interesting experiment in dramatic, adult storytelling for Aardman, one which they haven't really explored a huge deal before, or since (Babylon, a 1986 surreal short about corporate greed and arms dealing is a rare, gory and dark exception, missing out on this list because well...I can't make heads of tails of what's going on in it, really). Mainly, it's just beautiful to watch, even to this date, and the plot and acting are serviceable enough to leave you with a pretty damn solid short.

    7. Loves me, Loves me not (1993).

    Another adult-aimed Channel 4 short from the 90s, now veering between the two previous shorts in terms of tone. This is a dark and surreal comedy...of sorts(?), not telling a whole narrative so much as focusing on one person and one scenario. 'Loves me, Loves me not' tells the tale of a man, deeply in love with....whoever's in his picture frame, deciding to play that age-old game with the petals of a flower. They love me...they love me not...and so forth. The twist in this short? Each pull of the petal creates an effect on him, or the world around him brings euphoria, not brings...trouble. I'd recommend watching it before reading this entry, it's right up there so why the hell not, y'know? What really makes this short work is the creativity of the premise, and the expressive, smoothness of the animation throughout. Each consecutive petal pull results in a more dramatic end-result, what starts as tears of sorrow soon results in a gun to the head...what starts as a warm feeling of satisfaction could turn into your heart beating so fast it bursts out your a good way. The more petals he pulls, the more drastic the 'Loves me not' end of the spectrum becomes, and that of course, brings up the age old question of which will win out upon that final pull.'s not the good one. The increasingly violent and suicidal means the 'not' petals use to physically express the pain of not being loved are what give this short the more adult edge, and the ultimate twist that all this was over a love...for himself? The frame holding a mirror, after all? Makes his ultimate plunge into hell a bit less painful, because it becomes the story of a self-centred man desperate to prove how much he loves himself, at the expense of the poor flower, and eventually his own life. The ending has a satisfying, amusing thump to it, with the eerie music, and unusual background/lighting throughout adding a strange, enjoyably unsettling atmosphere to proceedings. It's greatest fault is that maybe it peaks in terms of petal-pulling results around the mid-way point, but it's still a unique and creepy short, one I wish Aardman would do more of these days. How about getting the ol' Aardman/Channel 4 band back together, guys? That'd be awesome, and I think there's definitely an audience who'd turn up for a new collection of dark, but well crafted animations from this studio, to that demographic.

    6. Not Without my Handbag (1993).

    Another entry, another Channel 4 short, this from the same year as the previous..and that, along with a similarly morbid sense of humour, are where the similarities end. Not Without my Handbag is a tale of a missed washing machine loan payment having deadly results. We're back in the fully comedic department again, somewhat hit and miss at that, unfortunately...which, along with some odd pauses and strange character movements are the shorts only real faults. Visually, the short is one of the most surreal and unique that Aardman have made, lacking any of their usual, toothy, post-Wallace & Gromit faces and model designs...or even the usual plasticine models at all, really. The characters, much like the world they inhabit are...oddly proportioned and rather creepy, but in the best way, of course, and the premise of the devil being a cake-addicted loan shark makes for a fun take on the well explored concepts of hell and the antichrist. Simply put, a little girls Auntie forgets to pay her loans in time, the devil kills her and attempts to take her soul to hell, but when she realises she left her handbag behind, she escapes the clutches of Satan himself in order to go back and retrieve it. What follows is a colourful, vaguely-horror inspired romp where the devil attempts to recapture the now zombified Auntie, and the little girl attempts to stop him...and if she's going to do that, she'll need a fuckton of cake. Whilst the humour is a bit wonky, this is an otherwise really entertaining short, pulled to another level once again by the polish and artistry of the production. As I said, it's truly unique in its visual style, particularly unique coming from Aardman, who've settled into a lovely, but increasingly familiar style of animation, much as most studios do once they've found their mainstream feet. Obviously it wins points from me for its horror based moments, and just in general, the batshit premise and quirky execution of that is really great stuff. If you want to see something completely different from Aardman...there are a few possible avenues, but this is maybe the most enjoyable one.

    5. Adam (1991).

    Our final short film to be featured, this time not for Channel 4 but instead being a solo-production of Aardman's, that went on to be nominated for the Animated Short Oscar (Winning at the BAFTAs for the equivalent category). Adam, released in 1991, is a really fun short that takes full advantage of the medium it was created in, to tell a story of creation, the clay that God sculpted man from being well...clay...and the hand of God being what can only be assumed as the...'animator', as it were. What follows is more in keeping with the goofy, slapstick and cheeky exploits you'd expect from Aardman, the titular Adam famously having his little plasticine penis on display for the entire film, which is both not what you'd expect to see from Aardman...and also oddly so keeping in trend with the naughty sense of humour you absolutely do expect. Once Adam is quite literally sculpted into being, it doesn't take long for things to start going wrong, first he's feral...then he's disobedient...then bored...lonely...and before he can even start to turn to the darker side of thinking, his benevolent creator makes him a friend, one he assumes to be an Eve...but then turns out to be a penguin. Oh. Nonetheless they embrace in a rather heartwarming conclusion which I hope doesn't suggest another dose of bestiality for this list, I'm not doing this deliberately I sweaaar. In general this is just a really fun short, the use of clay as both a literal representation of God creating life, but also as the very setting the film takes place on makes for some expressive and fluid slapstick sequences. The world Adam resides on being a tiny orb which, Super Mario Galaxy style (over a decade earlier) can be roamed around freely in a 360 degree fashion. The limited, barren setting provides a surprising amount of creative situations for the short, with everything from chunks orbiting around at high speeds to the globe spinning rapidly on its axis making for fun slapstick moments. The HAND OF GOD intervening frequently to make sure things don't go too far south, like an owner dealing with a troublesome new pet, again leading to a fun and unique dynamic between man and his creator. It's a more traditionally Aardman film, but that's hardly a bad thing, and it's always fun to see animation make use of its unique medium, Adam takes full advantage of its plasticine genre from start to finish, and as a result it's one of Aardman's best short films.

    4. Rex the Runt (1998-2001).

    We're venturing into Aardman's more substantial offerings now, with their first attempt at a proper TV show. We may have Shaun the Sheep now, but back in the late 90s, Aardman's only real venture into television programming was with Morph, either appearing as a co-star in arts programmes, or in brief, narrative-light shorts. In comes Rex the Runt, another production that treads into more adult waters than most would expect, but with brilliant results. The original premise of Rex the Runt was the titular, wobbly squibbly dog (That catchy theme tune, though) and his 3 friends, the eyepatch wearing, gun-toting Bad Bob, the scrappy Wendy and the...uh...Vince managing to literally break television. Yep. The 'Telly Man' gets in touch at that point and demands they fill in for the actual TV whilst it's being repaired, and thus begins the first of many unhinged, surreal and unpredictable adventures for the foursome. The 'fill in for the TV' premise takes a backseat after the pilot episodes, which were ultimately aired out of sequence anyway, but the fourth wall breaking awareness of being on TV remains throughout, often being the igniting factor of the stories, with premises including needing to regain their comic timing, and the chaos that ensues when Rex leaves production of one episode to Bob while he goes on paid leave. In the world of Rex the Runt, everything costs '10 quid', cordless drills can cause the earth to burst like a balloon, and much like Adam, plasticine is more than just the medium in which the show is made, it's part of the story. A score of British guest stars and talents lend their voices for some truly bizarre roles, there's a baffling mixture of the live action, real world thrown in frequently, the back catalogue of Aardman, and the studio itself turn up frequently (At one point a Zebra is told he can't be in the episode as, according to Aardman's very own book of 3D animation, they're the hardest to do in stop motion)'s just...all...completely nonsensical and insane. And it's glorious as a result. The star of the show though, is Vince. It's really hard to explain why without you having seen him in action but...he suffers from Random Pavarotti Disease...and that's the least of his problems, frankly. Rex the Runt is an acquired taste, and one that sadly didn't pick up enough of an audience to continue beyond its short 2 season run, the last they were seen was in 2001...unless you count a tantalising picture cameo for Vince in Shaun the Sheep Movie, Aardman produced health insurance advert campaign that features a dog uncannily similar in design to Rex...which...must have been intentional, right? Honestly, much as I want another instalment of Wallace & Gromit, I'd sacrifice it for another series of Rex the Runt because it deserved more love than it got. Pleaaaaasse, Aardman? Pleaase? 

    3. The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists (2012).

    The first feature length Aardman production on the list, and possibly the most underrated of their films?  The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists...or...Band of Misfits if you live in America, which has never seemed to quite grasp the Aardman sensibilities when it comes to marketing and dialogue, is the rare Aardman production that's not an original IP, based instead on a comedy book franchise by Gideon Defoe, who also wrote the screenplay for this film. It follows the simply titled Pirate Captain, his pet, Polly the Dodo (Who he believes is a parrot) and his similarly oddly named crew of briny rogues (The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, The Pirate with Gout, etc) as they attempt to score enough booty to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award for their captain. Along the way, they meet Charles Darwin, who has a crush on Queen Victoria, who just happens to truly hate pirates, along with Charles' loyal butler monkey, a host of rival pirates, and...the Elephant Man? Yeah, so don't go into this film expecting historical accuracy, not that you would. Do go in expecting a great time, as this film is fucking hilarious, and also beautifully animated/directed (Peter Lord, co-founder of the studio, taking the directing reigns), with some great and inventive action sequences to boot. Throw in a great licensed soundtrack and the usual Aardman background details that make re-viewings a must, and you have what should be a classic animated comedy caper. And feels ..somewhat overlooked? It famously lost, alongside LAIKAs much more revered (and deservedly so) Paranorman and Disney's similarly underrated Frankenweenie, to the vastly more forgettable Brave back at the 2013 Academy Awards....and since then, hasn't really been talked about at all? It got strong reviews, did ...okay at the box office and yet just seems to have slipped into obscurity quite fast. That's a real shame, because it's one of Aardman's best feature films, definitely up there with their funniest works, it's got a great balance of humour, a nice mixture of all-audiences slapstick action, and slightly naughty, quick-witted, fast-flinging comedic dialogue that will appeal to older audiences perhaps more than the young. If you're a fan of Aardman, this has all the things you want and expect from them...and beards, big, luxuriant beards. If you haven't already, check this out, it's a real treat.

    2. Creature Comforts/Creature Comforts USA (1989, 2003-2006, 2007).

    Back to the Aardman classics (Ahuh...get it...because that's the name of the DVD you...probably haven't heard of...never mind), Creature Comforts is one of the studios most well known works outside of the W&G stable, and has become something of a long-running franchise for them, at least in the UK. Initially starting as another short film for Channel 4 back in 1989, which also happened to be the directorial debut of Nick Park, who's now known almost entirely for creating Wallace & Gromit, the first short of which (A Grand Day Out) competed against Creature Comforts, and lost, at the 1990 Academy Awards...losing to yourself, that's just...sad, right? It then went on to become an award winning, iconic advert campaign for electric cooking/heating across 1990-1991, before getting its own TV show in 2003, that ran for 2 seasons across 4 years, a year later getting a US spin-off for CBS that completely tanked, and thus ended the Creature Comforts saga...sort of...they did go on to use the brand for disability/countryside code PSA campaigns, and most recently revived the format in a series of shorts to celebrate the 90th Birthday of much loved nature programme presenter, Sir David Attenborough. It's had a long and much loved run in many shapes and forms, but one thing has always remained the same, and that's the core premise. The voices of the public, unaware of what they're being recorded for at the time, brought to life as stop-motion animals of all sizes and types, to have an entertaining conversation about...well...anything. The original short took the Great British public talking about living in retirement homes and on low-income housing estates and reinterpreted as animals talking about living in the zoo. The advert campaign took people talking about their new electrical appliances and....*ahem* applied that to an animal perspective. The TV show took a huge range of popular topics, including love, life, food, health, sport and the debate over extra-terrestrial life and took the personalities of the people they asked about all of those things and interpreted them as an animal they felt fit the best. It's a simple premise, but it's also genius, and the expression, creativity and detail...that old Aardman magic in other words, merges with that premise perfectly, creating truly unique entertainment from start to finish, particularly in the TV show, which is frankly, way too brilliant to be ignored. The US spin-off was a slightly more risqué take on the same format, using the voices of the American public talking about various topics instead...and it was, possibly? Even better than the UK version, although tragically cut short at merely 7 episodes due to apocalyptic poor ratings in the States (Only 3 of the 7 episodes aired in its original run, later being picked up by Animal Planet), and sadly that seems to be the end of Creature Comforts as a show. Maybe it's due a comeback sometime soon, that'd be nice, although one could suppose the days of people freely being microphoned and asked about random topics without being aware of Creature Comforts, and thus potentially compromising the natural feeling, have passed. Either way, I love what we got. 

    1. Chicken Run (2000).'s hard to believe this film is nearly 18 years old. God...I'm so close to death...what's the point in living any mo-HEYYY....Chicken Run. My favourite Aardman Animation (thatisn'twallace&gromitrelated), and I mean...I feel this is probably a popular choice for most people, right? The critically acclaimed, highest grossing stop-motion movie of all time that perhaps is the only thing possibly more well known and loved than Wallace & Gromit on an international level for Aardman...I's just amazing, right? It's almost mundane in its victory, predictable, even. This film is the reason the Academy Awards have a Best Animated Feature category, it was so well loved by critics, despite not ultimately getting a chance at Best Picture, that it was decided the feature animation game had gotten so good, that it needed its own category to showcase the excellence. It's hard to believe it was funded by Dreamworks Animation, when you look at what they make now. But there you go. This is probably the only entry on this list that doesn't need an explanation, but I'll do it anyway. Chicken Run is the Great Escape, with hens. Ginger and a group of plucky chickens find their frequent failed attempts to escape the grizzly confines of Tweedy's Farm, run by the truly evil Mrs Tweedy, and her bumbling husband...Mr Tweedy, made all the more important when the focus of the farm shifts from egg laying to...pie production, and no, not apple pies. Chicken pies. It's full of the expected Aardman humour, slapstick and attention to detail, but also manages to be a surprisingly dark, at times emotional film too. There are real stakes on Tweedy's Farm, made clear in the opening of the film where a chicken, who's no longer able to lay eggs, meets a swift end, with the blade of an axe, against a gloomy wooden stump, in a grimy shed. Later being seen again as a cooked and partially eaten chicken roast on the Tweedy table. Hopes of escape are raised when Rocky the Rooster...voiced by Mel Gibson, which really tells you this film is 18 years old, seemingly flies in to the rescue, but it's not going to be plain sailing from there. What follows is an entertaining, funny, action-packed and at times surprisingly poignant race against time to escape their prison before they're all killed, basically. All the characters are immensely likeable and memorable in their own ways, the set-piece moments, particularly the Pie Machine sequence are exceptional, there's a score of quotable lines and enjoyable comedic moments, with it all being grounded in an, at times tragic sense of real jeopardy, meaning you really root for the characters throughout. It's a classic, I don't need to have told you that, but there you go. Aardman have made so many great productions, but this is truly their finest hour, at least when it comes to things that don't involve Wallace & Gromit.

    Well, there you have it! My Top 10 Aardman Animations...I hope you actually read it, and enjoyed it, because I know this is a niche subject matter, but hopefully one that's been fun to find out more about, and even more so, I hope that you checked out the shorts/shows available in this blog, and made some new favourites of your own. Let me know if you did, and what you think about the rankings in general...feel free to point out any missions, it's likely I've seen it, so I can probably give you a reason why it didn't make the list. Do you think Early Man will earn a place in my Top 10? Do you intend to see it? Let me know! 

    I hope you enjoyed, I'll see you in mid-February with my 'Wallace & Gromit: Ranked' blog to celebrate the US release of Early until then...LATER GATOORRSS.

  • The 2017 Gimpy Awards Part 2: Movies.

    1 month ago



    Part 2: Movies.

    EEYYY, WELCOME BACCCK TO THE 2017 GIMPY AWARDS. On Monday we did all the best and worst that TV had to offer in the year passed, and today? Today we're talking MOVIES. What's that, I hear you say? Didn't you already do a Movie awards as part of At the Screwvies that gave away most of these awards, including Best Movie? HEYYY...shut up. 

    So, as with the previous, can only cover what films I saw, so if you're expecting Coco, Shape of Water, Justice League...that sorta thing to turn up, they won't be here, as I either didn't choose to see them (Justice League) or the film in question hasn't released in the UK yet (The other two). And yeah...this is my opinion, so take it as such, and have fuuuun!


    Best Opening.

    The LEGO Batman Movie.

    This year offered a ton of great openings, some not even mentioned below (Blade Runner 2049's opening was tense as fuck, for instance), the ones that are? Baby Driver's dizzyingly fun and beautifully edited opening heist sequence set the tone for what was to come, whereas GotG2 managed to top that well loved musical opening to the first with a bit of Baby Groot and ELO, can't go wrong. That's all well and good...but they were lacking in one crucial detail. BATMAN. In a year severely lacking in exceptional mainstream animation, things opened pretty nicely back in February with this hugely entertaining and visually stunning sequel/spin-off to 2014's surprise success story, The LEGO Movie. It's fair to say Batman was the surprise favourite inclusion to that surprise hit, and his spin-off proved to be quite the treat itself, even if things got a the numbers after the first 30 minutes. The opening however, was easily the best of the year, and one of the consistently funniest sequences this side of an Airplane! movie. The opening titles and set-up are all great, but I'm specifically focusing on what you could consider the opening credits...and that musical number. LEGO Batman's love of self-expressive mixtapes was a quick joke in the original film, but gets the spotlight in this, with a hilariously dumb and catchy summary of everything the Dark Knight...specifically his exaggerated plastic version stands for. It's a shame that things later on into the narrative never quite stack (AHah...LEGO jokes) up to how things start out in this movie, but when your opening's this good, that's a hard ask, let's face it.

    2nd Place: Baby Driver.

    3rd Place: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

    Best Dumb Film.

    Resident Evil Vendetta.

    This is one of my favourite awards I do, simply because it's a chance to talk about films I really enjoyed, even if they'd never rank high once the end of the year rolls by, and it's time to single out the critical darlings to praise. Dumb movies have just as much a right to exist and be enjoyed as anything else, and you don't get much more gloriously stupid than Resident Evil, eh? Skull Island paired dazzling visuals with goofy, nonsensical antics, and Death Note was...hoo boy...Death Note was a gloriously fun mess. But Resident Evil Vendetta takes the cake, providing insanely over the top, brain-numbing gun-ho action spectacles the likes of which we haven't seen since Team America, except without the same self-awareness. Previous CGI Resident Evils, Degeneration and Damnation were...mixed. Degeneration was pretty shit, and Damnation was an improvement but not quite enough to be considered good. Vendetta was definitely the surprise of the year for me, because I really...really enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, it's terrible, but it's Resident Evil terrible, and that's glorious. If you've ever wanted Chris Redfield and Leon S Kennedy to team up and take out a corridor of zombies John Wick style, or see a dog crash into a car, which causes another car to crash, which causes a humongous explosion? This is the film for you. It's an enjoyable mix of gory horror, over the top, high-octane chase sequences, one on one fights which play like John Wick met The Raid and fell into a vat of Looney Tunes...and also there's a laser gun that blows up like, 5 buildings. It's insane, and insanely dumb, but I had so much fun with Resident Evil Vendetta. Even if Chris looks like a fucking muppet, and sounds WROOOOOONG!!

    2nd Place: Kong Skull Island.

    3rd Place: Death Note (For broadly the wrong reasons).

    Best Animated Film.

    The Red Turtle.

    As I said at the start of this list, it's not been a great year for mainstream animation. Coco may have captured the hearts and minds of most of the world, but it ain't out here yet, SON. As for the rest, it's either Dreamworks or Sony or...Cars 3. Yeah. LEGO Batman put up a valiant job and has been awarded justly for that (Unlike say...LEGO Ninjago...hmmmm?), but for the best animated films of the year, you need to look to the smaller pictures, and a more global perspective. And yes, a lot of those haven't come out here either, but those that have...probably came out elsewhere before 2017 but FUCK's MY AWARDS, WE DO IT MY WAY. My Life as a Courgette was a surprisingly dark and unique stop motion film about children dealing with rejection, abuse and loss, and World of Tomorrow Episode 2 was another winning blend of comedy and existentialism from the severely under-appreciated Don Hertzfeld, but for my animated film of the year, I'm going to have to go with The Red Turtle. Technically the newest film from Studio Ghibli, and certainly in keeping with their level of detail, heart and charm, this is actually a European production they funded and distributed in parts of the world. This Dutch castaway tale hasn't a single word of dialogue, or a single word displayed on screen. It's a truly universal film that has no barriers of language or cultural sensibilities, and more than that, it's supremely engrossing and beautiful to boot. The film shows us the life of a young man who gets lost at sea, and winds up stranded on a tropical island, where all he has for company is the nature around him, and the titular Red Turtle getting in the way of his numerous attempts at escaping. What happens next is for you to find out, but it's a bittersweet tale of love, loss, hope and hardship. It's often quite funny, and sometimes rather warming, but it's not afraid to linger on the tragedy, doing so without dwelling in the corporately mandated sentimentality that's engulfed most, if not all mainstream animation as of late. It's a visually stunning and unique film that delivers a satisfying and engaging story...and does so without a single word of dialogue. What more could you ask for? Take that, Boss fucking...abomination of highly detailed baby arse powder farts. Shudder.

    2nd Place: World of Tomorrow Episode 2.

    3rd Place: My Life as a Corguette.

    Best Film Nobody Saw.


    Oops, we're in French now! There were a lot of underrated cinematic gems this year, some more big-budget than others. I've gone for a host of smaller films this year, The Villainess is a flawed, messily paced Korean martial arts movie that makes up for its shortcomings with beautiful visuals, and blisteringly frantic fight scenes. Whilst Prevenge flew massively under the radar, being a insanely quirky comedy horror about a pregnant woman driven to murder by the baby in her belly's voice (Which was written, directed and starred by Alice Lowe, who was actually heavily pregnant at the time of filming, pretty crazy). But for my award winner, I've gone for this French-Belgian cannibal...drama...horror...coming of age tale...set in a veterinary school. I know, sounds stupid, right? Throw in the fact that this film's première got attention for causing members of the audience to faint due to the explicit violent content presented on screen, resulting in ambulances being called to the Tornoto Film Festival...and I won't blame you for wanting to steer clear of this film. I went in assuming it'd be nothing more than a shock horror nasty film, my viewing partially due to the classic case of curiosity killing (or in this case, eating) the cat. What I got instead was a surprisingly fun and visceral offbeat horror that ended up being one of my favourite films of the year. Yes, it's got unsettling imagery, unsettling themes and a lot of hands in horse arses, but it's also a really fun and engrossing story of a young girl's sexual awakening, and descent into depravity upon leaving the safe clutches of her parents and entering the college/university system...and I mean, anyone who's been to University will know there's plenty of depravity to be found...just maybe not as much flesh eating? Hm. Headline grabbing 18 rated content aside, this is a genuinely great film, bursting with colour and character, and definitely one to watch if you can stomach the viscera, and...worse still, the SUBTITLES. AAAAaaaaaAAAAAAGGH!!

    2nd Place: Prevenge.

    3rd Place: The Villainess.

    Best Soundtrack.

    Blade Runner 2049.

    It's been a solid year for cinema soundtracks, I have to say. The previously mentioned RAW, in addition to John Wick 2 and Baby Driver delivered some stellar scores, with my 2nd place Dunkirk earning extra points for its intentionally escalating, anxiety-inducing shepard tones (In addition to being really great anyway), and LEGO Batman being a surprisingly stirring inclusion that blended years worth of varying Batman movie musical motifs into one, seamless composition, that was a far better score than an animated comedy LEGO film has any right to have. That said, I've got to go with Blade Runner 2049, that similar to LEGO Batman took a huge dollop of inspiration from an existing score...that obviously being the iconic, sparkling synth of the original 1982 Blade Runner film, which was scored by electronic musical legend, Vangelis. My boyfriend Hans Zimmer (Who I think has literally won this award every year I've done it) co-worked on 2049's score with Benjamin Wallfisch which takes a lot of inspiration from the original's delightful music, at times paying full lip-service to it, but also blending it with a deep, bassy, Silent Hill'esque industrial sound that quite literally shook the seats of the cinema during my screening, numerous times. It's a fantastic mix of serene, twinkling synth beauty and wailing, droning, screaming sounds of metal pain and mechanical violence that truly help set the tone for the scenes they compliment, when paired with the staggering visuals and stellar acting, it makes for a truly special experience. Some people say that the best movie soundtracks are the ones you don't notice, because they blend perfectly into the film. I think that's a load of shit, I want the music to blow my mind, I want it to overwhelm me with its power, or with its sheer volume (When it fits the film, that is), and it's fair to say 2049's score does both of those things, and does so frequently, and very successfully. It may not blend into the background like some would wish, but it simply wouldn't be the same film without this incredible score.

    2nd Place: Dunkirk.

    3rd Place: The LEGO Batman.

    Best Movie Moment (SPOILERS).

    Vegas Club Fight - Blade Runner 2049.

    Moving on from Blade Runner to...well...more Blade Runner. Ironically though, for a scene that features basically none of the previously mentioned and much loved score. No, for this truly incredible scene, it's up to the ambience of the ruined, broken world of the film to score the ensuing action, that's less about incredible fight choreography and high-concept takedowns as it is, like most of the film, creating a visually bold and beautiful sequence that also manages to tell a story about both lead character K, and the aged and isolated Dekkard, of whom this is their introductory scene. Kudos go to the already award winning opening of LEGO Batman, and another stand-out scene from 2049 that managed to make two women no-clipping into each other to try and turn on Ryan Gosling a thing of staggering, unique visual beauty, but it's gotta be this fight. It's just gotta be. Starting in a desert consumed hotel lobby so orange tinted you'd be easily fooled into thinking you were looking at Donald Trumps ugly fucking cunt of a face... *Ahem* Before it then shifts into an abandoned, malfunctioning Vegas club hall. The lights flicker and shift around, holograms of dancers and famous singers flicker on and off all around the room, the occasional blaring of musical sequences piercing what's otherwise total silence as our two Bladey Boys have a violent showdown...of sorts. The whole scene is beautifully staged and visually striking, Denis Villenvvin..vineue....and Roger Deakins both working at the height of their already excessive cinematic powers to give the audience the Deckard/K throwdown they've been waiting for, and delivering bigtime. The scenes that precede, and follow this moment are also exceptional...but that says a lot about just how amazing Blade Runner 2049 was. This moment though? Easily the best scene of the year. There was so many amazing movie moments in 2017, a lot of which haven't even been mentioned, but this  still manages to take the award, no question.

    2nd Place: Holographic Love - Blade Runner 2049.

    3rd Place: Opening Song - The LEGO Batman Movie.

    Worst Movie Moment (SPOILERS).

    Ruining Everything - Atomic Blonde.

    2017 may have been full of great moments, but it had its share of stinkers too, sadly. Resident Evil's fakeout attempt at an emotional ending, and bullshit reasoning for it not actually happening pissed me off, and Fassbender drunkenly (despite being sober) singing a tune as he was dragged through the halls of Abstergo and strapped to a giant robot arm in Assassin's Creed may have been the ultimate sign of just how crappy that film ended up being...but there's nothing worse than a bad moment in a good film, especially when it's the ending, and especially when it undoes all that was good prior to this point. Atomic Blonde was a ton of fun, a great lead performance, fantastic action sequences, insanely stylish, bursting with neon-drenched atmosphere and a fantastic licensed soundtrack, but that ending...hooooooo boy, what a shame. The set-up for Atomic Blonde is Theron's Mi6 agent, Lorraine Broughton being sent to Berlin in the tumultuous days leading up the fall of the Berlin Wall, in order to retrieve a stolen microfilm listing undercover British, American and Russian agents. She's told to trust no one, but to try and get others to trust her, so she can acquire the film and protect the lives of her fellow service men and women. She lands, has a few fight scenes, makes out with a swell gal, shit hits the fan. It's a great time, and shaping up to be one of the strongest action films of the year. And then it turns out our lead was working for the Russians all along, and was a double agent. Except she wasn't...she was a triple agent, she's actually American...and the whole British Mi6 thing was her being undercover for the KGB who she was undercover in for the CIA? UHhH...I think? She drops her British accent and flies off to the US, job done. The end. Oh poo, what a shame. Up until the last 15 or so minutes, the film is really great stuff, it's a cold war espionage thriller so yeah, there's gonna be twists and turns, but this double-bluff of a reveal that undoes the character we've spent the whole film with, and everything she's done for literally no reason, because it adds nothing but confusion? It ruins the film, and I'm not the kinda guy who tends to say that about bad endings to good films generally. Atomic Blonde is still a stylish and fun action flick, one worth watching...but I honestly think you should stop before the end because it really...really spoiled the whole thing for me. A bad scene in a bad movie is one thing...but a movie-ruining scene in a great movie? That's a cardinal sin.

    2nd Place: Fakeout Ending - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

    3rd Place: Crazy Singing Fassbender - Assassin's Creed.

    Most Anticipated Movie of 2018.


    Stolen from me in the At the Screwvies awards, it takes its rightful place at number one here at the Gimpys because this is MY AWARDS and MADHERO CAN'T DO SHIT TO STOP ME, MWAAHAHAHAHH. But yeah, I'm still really keen to see what The Predator is going to be like, being a big fan of that franchise. I'm also super stoked to see Enter the Spider-Verse, a film I wasn't particularly interested in until that visually jaw-dropping teaser released, and the multiversal premise was seemingly revealed. Those both sound great, and hopefully will be...but Annihilation is a far safer bet, and one that's oh so very close to release as we speak. From director/writer Alex Garland, best known now for the exceptionally good Ex Machina, his Oscar winning (For VFX at least) directorial debut , but I've been a fan of Garland for a long time prior to that, be it his writing work on 28 Days Later and Sunshine, supervisional work on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West or Dredd...which he technically did writing for, but it's a pretty well known fact that he was more or less spearheading the direction of that film too, credited or not. His follow-up to Ex Machina is based on a critically acclaimed, high concept sci-fi novel, and has an all-star cast, predominately of which are female (As in the book). I haven't read the book, and don't intend to read up on it until after I've seen this film, because the tantalising mysteries as to what's going on, and how the events will shape out are part of what's so appealing about this film, in much the same way I went into Ex Machina almost 100% blind and had a terrific time in the process. It's not yet known what form the UK release for this film will take...there's suggestions Netflix might snatch it up for a quick release after it's been in US cinemas, which would be a shame as I'd love to see this on the big screen myself. But regardless I've got high hopes for this film, and I'm very much praying it lives up to my hype.


    2nd Place: The Predator.

    3rd Place: Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse.

    Worst Movie.

    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

    Talk about bowing out the same way you came in....which is stumbling over and catching fire. Assassin's Creed and Ghost in the Shell both proved to be huge letdowns, that had a lot of potential to be among the best cinema of 2017 and ended up being some of the worst, Creed a nonsensical mess and GitS just being...boring and bland. But the award for absolute worst film I saw this year has to go to Resident Evil: The Final Chapter because...fuck me, it's rare you watch a film and feel like so little fucks were given about...well, anything from the people who made it. Like it or hate it, and I'd be very surprised if it were the former, the Resident Evil live action films have been going for over 15 years, released 6 instalments and made an increasingly larger sum of money with each successive entry. They have a fanbase, they, like most crappy films of this nature, have a weirdly complicated and heavily connected plot across each film, and going into what's titled THE FINAL CHAPTER you'd expect a certain degree of resolution to the many dangling unanswered threads left along the way, particularly from RE3 onwards. get none. Not even the cliffhanger from the previous film is resolved. Characters are never seen or mentioned again, including beloved characters from the game...they're just assume dead off-screen without so much as a nod or a wink about it. The film is awfully filmed, shaky...dimly lit without any attempt to make it enjoyable to watch. The action scenes are noisy and unentertaining, the film is loaded with entirely unnecessary jump-scares despite not being a FUCKING HORROR FILM. The plot literally makes no sense, and as mentioned earlier, they attempt to inject a degree of emotional oomph into certain scenes, which simply don't work, including what would've been a semi-decent end to the story, only to then be faked out with total bullshit reasoning. For RE movies 1-4, I'll admit to finding them guilty pleasures...RE5 despite being one of the most nonsensical films in cinema history, managed to have a certain sense of style thanks to a great soundtrack and some fun action...Final Chapter? No. Just no. Thank fucking CHRIST it's over. It's staggering to believe this came out literally 3 days after the RE7 game that turned the games franchise around for many. It's staggering this exists in the form it does. It's truly awful.

    2nd Place: Assassin's Creed.

    3rd Place: Ghost in the Shell.

    Best Movie.

    Blade Runner 2049.

    Just looking at this film after the PTSD induced headache I received from talking about Resident Evil is like a gush of cool, crisp water down my parched, drying throat. I've had a really hard time picking the number 1 spot this year, partly due to not having had the chance to rewatch some of these films for a re-evaluation before picking a winner. I may come to regret choosing Blade Runner 2049 as my favourite film of the year, as I have no idea how it's going to stand up on further viewing. Baby Driver I've rewatched and loved, but it still didn't hold up to my first viewing of 2049. Dunkirk is in a similar position to Blade Runner as I've yet to see it again, but again...despite being wasn't Blade Runner 2049. And that's ultimately why I've taken a potential, retroactive risk, and given the award to this film. Maybe it won't be as good on later viewings, but in terms of experiences...memorable moments, engagement and just...cinematic majesty, there was nothing out in 2017 on the same level as Blade Runner 2049, it's an incredible work of film, be it science fiction, or any genre for that matter. Full disclosure, this isn't the opinion of some diehard Blade Runner fan who got a boner before even walking into the cinema, I appreciate the original for a lot of stylistic merits, but I don't rate it super highly as a whole product. 2049 takes the beauty and style of the original, makes it better, and adds a more compelling story, better action scenes, a more diverse musical score, some great side-characters, moments of humour and a bunch of at times oddly moving sequences. Much as how Fury Road was everything I'd always wanted Mad Max to be (I hate the older Mad Max films), 2049 was everything I've always wanted a cyberpunk movie to be, and everything I'd wished the original Blade Runner was. 2049 does everything a sequel should, which is take what was great about the original, remove what was poor, and add a heap of new stuff. It's both a fitting, well connected sequel to the original film, and it's own unique cinematic odyssey, it works in both respects, and does so brilliantly. Maybe I'll rewatch it on DVD instead of the overwhelmingly sensational IMAX experience, and find it less enthralling now I know the twists and turns. Maybe I won't like it as much second time around. Maybe Baby Driver and Dunkirk hold up better. But Blade Runner 2049, as a first-view experience did something that no other film in 2017 managed to do, it filled me with wonder and awe, which is a rare thing to feel when you've seen so much and experienced what feels like everything cinema has to offer. Did I also mention this film is fucking beautiful? If films were handsome suitors, I'd be bending over and pulling my pants down for Blade Runner 2049. Oops, too far, huh? Oh well. This film rocks, BEST FILM. Of 2017 anyhow.

    2nd Place: Baby Driver.

    3rd Place: Dunkirk.

    Welp, there you have it! Or...have it again, depending on if you read the At the Screwvies awards! My best and worst for 2017 at the cinema. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have favourite/least favourite films that weren't in the awards? Why not join in the discussion and post it about it nicely below, and we can have a jolly chinwag about it. Like what you read? Why not check out Part 1 on my profile page, and share both that, and this around if you feel it's worthy of sharing.

    Come back on Friday for the 3rd and final part, covering all things gaming, and also the final two main awards of the year. SEE YOU THEN. LATER GATOORRS.

  • The 2017 Gimpy Awards Part 1: TV.

    1 month ago



    PART 1: TV.

    WOooOOAAAAHHH, HEEEYY, WELCOME BACK AGAIN BOYS AND GIRLS AND SUCH TO THE GIMPY AWARDS. For the seventh year running (Eighth if you count a previous incarnation) it's time to hand out the prestigious(?) golden gimp to the best and worst of the TV, Movies and Games from across the year, in addition to the all important Overall THING OF THE YEAR...and of course, the Cunt of the Year.

    First up, on Day 1 we're talking all things television. It's been a really exceptional year for TV, especially for new shows, whilst some long-running series' have faltered or stagnated slightly, the newbies have picked up the slack, delivering fresh, bold and glossy experiences of all kinds for us to love, laugh and cry to. 

    Couple quick groundrules, I haven't watched EVERY show ever made, so if your favourite/least favourite isn't here, that's possibly moreso because I wasn't able or didn't get around to watching it. I also need to have watched the entire show, or at least the entire half of it broadcast in the year for it to be eligible, so as big of a trashfire as Marvel's INHUMANS was, it's not in the running because I didn't watch it beyond the first episode. Finally, this is all in good fun, and it's just my opinion, so if you disagree, feel free to say so in the comments, along with any other thoughts you have, but keep it civil, keep it friendly...we're all here to have fun, right? RIGHT. OKAAAYY, HERE WE GOOOOOO....

    TV Show I'll Miss the Most.

    Bates Motel.

    A somewhat mixed bag of a winner, this year's been strange on the basis that the 2nd and 3rd place shows would have easily won, had they been 100% confirmed to be over. As it stands, both seem likely casualties of circumstances unrelated to the respective shows. Hinterland is reportedly going to be a victim of Brexit's impact on European co-productions such as it, whilst The Exorcist is likely to be on the firing line as a result of Disney's very recent buyout of 20th Century FOX (Although to be fair, its ratings have been iffy and it barely got a second season to begin with, so that's pretty much dead, even if it's not official). Bates Motel, however? This show had a full run and ended at its natural point instead of being cancelled. I have a complicated relationship with this Psycho prequel/spin-off/remake series, which loosely takes the events/characters/world of the film and both relocates them to the present day, and also serves as a prequel and an abridged retelling of more well-known events from that story. It's a flawed show, campy and enjoyable in its own way, with some standout moments and terrific acting, but also somewhat missing the tone and spirit of the original film, and also trampling on way the story was originally told, and the directions it ends up taking. The final season frustrated me in a lot of ways due to its drastic alteration and handling of the character of Norman Bates, turning him from a somewhat sympathetic victim turned deranged by insanity, to a colder and more in-control sociopath who's motivations and origins differ quite dramatically from the source material. That said, it's been a fun ride these past 5 years and I will miss this flawed, but entertaining take on the world of Psycho, even if I didn't fully enjoy the show across its run, particularly the closing episodes. On a related note I've very much like to retroactively remove the 2nd and 3rd placers from this award, so ...hey...why not renew them, entertainment industry? Yes please.

    2nd Place: Hinterland(?)

    3rd Place: The Exorcist(?)

    Best TV Moment (SPOILERS).

    Jimmy and Chuck in Court - Better Call Saul.

    A few years ago, the thought of a prequel spin-off to Breaking Bad, focusing on what was often the comic relief side-character would've filled us with dread. It'd be an unnecessary cash-grab focusing on a character not worth taking the spotlight. 3 seasons on, and Better Call Saul has gone from strength to strength, providing a different tone to its parent-show, and yet offering the same quality of production and complexity/intrigue of narrative. It's a fantastic show all around, and what's been very much the ongoing, cat and mouse, emotional core of the narrative has been the ....complicated relationship between Jimmy McGill and his brother Chuck. The more successful of the two who's had to work hard and by the book to reach and achieve his life goals resents his younger brother, who cuts corners and breaks the law and always seems to get away with it. Over the course of the 3 seasons, their relationship has become less your traditional sibling rivalry and more a twisting, turning chase to put the other out of action for good. This all finally came to a head in the above, powerhouse of a scene in which Chuck testifies in court to try and put Jimmy out of the lawyer practice once and for all, and ends up getting his comeuppance due to Jimmy's underhanded tactics putting both his general sanity, and apparent medical condition of being allergic to electricity into question. This season would prove to be the unravelling of Chuck's career and...seemingly his life, despite him technically being very much in the right, and this whole scene, from start to finish, ended up being one of the most engrossing, tense sequences on TV for quite some time, let alone just this year. The final scene in Handmaid's Tale provided a satisfyingly defiant note to end a season of lost hope and uncertainty, and LEGION's surreal black and white horror sequence was a standout visual/acting performance showcase, but you Better Call Saul's big showdown was a cathartic bursting point to a long-standing eruption of conflict that had been waiting to happen since Season 1.

    2nd Place: Final Scene - The Handmaid's Tale.

    3rd Place: Black & White Horror Homage - LEGION.

    Worst TV Moment (SPOILERS).

    Shitting on History - American Horror Story: Cult.

    I could've filled the entire blog with bad moments from this trainwreck of a TV season, but American Horror Story: Cult's disrespectful, distasteful and warped exploration of real history/tragedy within its over the top, campy fictional exploits really pushed the boundaries of what should be considered acceptable storytelling. AHS Cult was all about the fallout of Trump winning the US election, which sounds like a promising set-up for some socio-political satire and horror, much like the highly acclaimed movie 'Get Out' did earlier in the year, but what we get instead is a messy and poorly researched exploration of extreme opinions on both ends of an internet war brought to life as a crazy guy trying to take over the world with nonsensical logic. Chiefly, the main antagonist of Kai is a deranged individual inspired by real cults of the past to make his own. Fair enough, you might say, but then the show only goes and explores those past historical events, not really recreating them for historical connections with an eye for accuracy so much as twisting and exploiting real-world tragedies and unstable individuals for its own pulpy, shockploitation means. It does this not only once, but twice in a big way. Firstly, an exploration of the SCUM movement, a group led by a mentally unstable individual who believed all men deserved to be mutilated and killed...not only glorifying and justifying this factually unhinged and criminal cult, but then going so far as to tie it into the Zodiac Killings, saying they were SCUM doing their good work and brutally executing men simply for being male. Throw in some weak, limp-wristed stereotypical gay characters that border on the homophobic in portrayal, and you've pretty much got that scene in a nutshell. This whole, lengthy narrative is then thrown into question as a lie, making the whole, unpleasant and problematic sequence POINTLESS. A few episodes later, it goes on to glorify the killing of a real life, pregnant woman among several other people, recreating the Charles Manson murders as a misty-eyed, Tarantino esque, over the top cinematic sequence which turns stabbing a pregnant belly into a campy gore sequence, the main character then justifying these events as inspiring, and the show using Charles Manson as a narrative tool later on. It makes for downright uncomfortable, unpleasant viewing, and it's pretty fucking disgusting that a show this bad, with story concepts this shoddy and poor decided to drastically warp and exploit real tragedies in the name of shitty, campy satire and shock value based sequences. It's disgusting, and the continued misadventures of BBC's Sherlock, and the halfway point downfall of the new season of Samurai Jack can't even compare to this level of indecency.

    2nd Place: The Airplane Mystery Solved - Sherlock.

    3rd Place: Jack in Love - Samurai Jack.

    Most Anticipated TV Show of 2018.

    Luther Season 5.

    I'll be honest, barring the usual season returns for shows both new to 2017, and long-running...I was somewhat struggling to pinpoint a specific, standout 2018 TV show that I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement to see. There's plenty to look forward to, but nothing that deserved a specific awards mention. And then I remembered Luther. Last seen in 2015 for an entertaining, beautifully filmed but slightly disappointing (And a little unnecessary) 4th season, word came earlier back in 2017 that a 5th run of this much loved British crime drama would be coming, presumably late into 2018 (Christmas?), with filming taking place in January. If the previous season was disappointing...why am I so excited for this one?'s Luther, mainly. One of the standout characters and British TV shows of recent times, exquisitely filmed and entertainingly mixing a charasmatic lead performance (Love ya, Idris) with action, drama, dark themes and a good dollop of horror from time to time. It's a visceral, colourful, practically comic-book style crime drama lead by a lead who's practically a superhero, right down to (rather goofily) having a wardrobe of the exact same shirts, ties and jackets. The previous two-episode season ended on a grim but promising note, suggesting a future conflict between Luther and a new villain based around the seeming death of a former friend/foe. Even at its lesser, at times goofy Season 4, Luther was still electrifyingly entertaining television, and I'm always going to be excited for another romp around London with Idris and his strangely enticing salt and pepper beard. See you next Christmas, John? I hope so.

    2nd Place: N/A.

    3rd Place: N/A.

    Worst TV Show.

    American Horror Story: Cult.

    I'll admit, this was obvious. Outcast Season 2 was genuinely dull, aimless and crap TV, and Iron Fist was a slog to get through, with an intensely unlikeable lead character, but American Horror Story: Cult? This was one of the worst TV seasons of all time, and I watched Under the Dome. I specifically remember saying back when Under the Dome finished with its 3rd and worst season, that it was almost bittersweet in that nothing could ever be as bad as that show, which featured alternate dimensions and alien bug people mind control harems. But then Cult shambles along and well and truly reignites the terrible TV game in a way I never expected again. I should've seen it coming, it was American Horror Story, a show that even at its peak was a massively flawed experience, I'd actually given up on the show after the uneven Freak Show that was the fantastic, stand-out Jessica Lange's bowout for the series, but I got suckered back in because of the surprising, topical nature of Cult's premise. A horror show tackling the fear, division and uncertainty of a post-Trump America? A political satire that mixes real-world fears with over the top horror? That sounded really promising...and what we got was....truly...TRULY awful. With scenes and dialogue that I still can't believe made it onto a show this big, lines and terms ripped quite literally straight off the pages of Tumblr and 4chan without any thought of how it'd actually sound as real words spoken by real people with the conviction of mostly well respected actors who at one point in life had believed in this shows admittedly unique and at times boundary pushing explicit content. Gone was that now, though. Focusing instead on cheap jabs at both extreme ends of a conversation nobody wants to have, bouts of explicit and unpleasant violent content that served no purpose, character motivations and narrative threads that make no sense whatsoever and changed every 5 minutes purely for the purposes of injecting as many implausible, audience betraying twists as possible, and a prompt abandoning of the very premise that served to get people interested in the show to begin with. Coming across as a show that was written as they went along without any aim for where it finished, and featuring an abundance insanely stupid, unintentionally hilarious and downright offensive moments, American Horror Story: Cult can't even end on a satisfying note. It delivers nothing but laughs of disbelief that a show like this even managed to exist, with the scariest thing about it being that some people consider it good. What an absolute load of irredeemable shit. Fuck you, American Horror Story.

    2nd Place: Outcast Season 2.

    3rd Place: Iron Fist.

    Best TV Show.

    The Handmaid's Tale.

    The fact that both my best, and worst TV show of 2017 deal with currently relevant, socio-political themes and extreme portrayals of cultish behaviour and gender-politics says a lot about how much can, and can fail to be done with these depressingly prescient concepts. The Handmaid's Tale is based on a book published in 1985, but feels like something more savagely relevant than ever, in a period of time where the leaders of the USA are seeking to turn back the clock on equality of all kinds, with a campaign based around fear-mongering and lies, spouted by many falsely in the name of and against religious figures, a show like The Handmaid's Tale shows us what happens when the extremes of that ideology take hold, when the hateful masses succeed in taking control with a choke-like grip, and enforce their will with violence, not logic. It not only does this, but manages to do so with style, a surprising amount of diplomacy and a compelling cast of characters on both sides of the situation, resulting in one of the best new TV shows for several years. Originating on Hulu of all places, but screening in the UK on the far more fitting Channel 4, Handmaid's Tale predominately follows the plight of Elizabeth Moss' June Osborne, a woman trapped in the dystopian nightmare that has become her America. In a world where most of the female population has become infertile, those who are capable of carrying children are handed off as slaves to wealthy, influential couples of power who want to have a baby. It makes for grisly and unsettling viewing, but compelling television all the same. As we explore her current situation, the events that led her, and other players in the story to this point in time are slowly revealed, a steady, satisfying drip-feed of world building that explains how the many pieces ended up in the places they now find themselves. Both present day and flashback scenes are engrossing and well made, being a rare TV show with very few weak-points across its first 10 episode run. It has emotional highs and's both fulfilling and depressing, but always compelling viewing. Peaky Blinders was a massively entertaining and stylish fourth go around with the Shelby family, and LEGION provided a surreal and off-beat exploration of the X-Men franchise in a way I never expected to see, and enjoy so much, but The Handmaid's Tale was top class TV, and very much the best show of 2017. I hope the ongoing story continues to be this exceptional in the years to come.

    2nd Place: Peaky Blinders.

    3rd Place: LEGION.

    And there you have it! Part 1 out of the way! What do you think? What was your favourite, and least favourite TV of 2017? What do you think of my choices? What are you excited to be watching in 2018? Let me know in the comments below, and please do share this around if you feel it's worth sharing! See you on Wednesday for Part 2, where we're tackling all things cinematic from the past year. Until then, LATER GATORS.

  • Car Build

    1 month ago



    Few more things. Had to change the cylinder head out from the d16a6 head, it was super warped and couldn't be machined any further. Found a super cheap d15b7 head, literally the same as the a6 but with a smaller more economical camshaft. swapped my Delta 272 cam into the head and bolted everything up(also found out that honda makes oem mls headgaskets so i didn't have to shell out more money for a cometic one). I did finally get new injectors, PTE 1000cc injectors, they work really well. Some minor idle issues at first(plus the delta 272 cam is a bitch), but they were fixed after a little tuning. The car is now running on e85 and i love how much torque it makes down low. I still need an adjustable fuel pressure regulator because stock 35psi fuel pressure isn't the best when you're looking more more horsepower. What else...oh yeah, idk if I posted this already but I did finally upgrade my clutch, stage 5 competition clutch. Holds the power like a muthafucka. The only thing I'm worried about is the fact that I still have an open diff. Even though it spins both tires when i launch the power distribution is too inconsistent, the torque steer is really bad if i have good traction.. ummm can't really remember anything else off the top of my head. Still needs suspension, stock monster truck suspension lol.

  • Car Build

    1 month ago


    10/13/17 new turbo setup

    Garrett 60trim. Heading to the drag strip with some friends in the crx, one friend has a wrx and Speed6. Both of their cars have about 350hp. I'll be honest I had trouble keeping up with the wrx, but i have excuses... I was on low boost(12psi)/I was taking it easy on the car/I didn't want to be a dick k. anyway, everything was going well, just turned onto the road where the strip is and then suddenly, I had no boost! The car was still working fine(engine wise) it just didn't spool the turbo anymore. I literally just got this shit running two days prior. Well I got ready, tech'd in and still paid to run even if it wasn't gonna be very fast. Didn't think it was fully broken yet. So I still lined up and ran. 2 step shot some flames but it was sad fire because I had zero positive pressure(shout out to the local tuner tho Positive Pressure Tuning) ran a 12.8 the 1/8 mile. THAT'S FUCKING SLOW. Well that's a honda for you. I Fuckin bet if I wasn't broken I'd be in the 8s. Weird how I broke on Friday the 13th. That was the last race night of the season because winter time. So I sent my turbo in for warranty, didn't give it to me but they discounted a new one for me lmao(SADFACE)

    1/4/18 Fuck it's already been two years and I haven't even noticed... blah.

    I'm still waiting for my turbo that I ordered lmao(kms) but no biggy. It's snowy out rn so I can't drive the crx anyway. But when that happens it's getting turned the fuck up.

  • New Years Resolutions ! (Also Hello, World!)

    1 month ago


    It's that time of year again! It might sound cliche but to me it genuinely feels like yesterday 2017 rolled around; time flies dude!

    I've never been one to participate in New Years Resolutions, but this year is different. In 2017 I felt myself becoming quite lost within the confusion of life, with events and circumstances dizzying my career focus and goals.

    I let myself become distracted with petty problems and toxic friends who didn't share any of my passions and, stupidly I will admit, I found myself changing to suit them instead of feeding my own interests.

    However, with the bad there was some good! 2017 was the year I officially became a First Member! I've been watching RoosterTeeth for years but it was only in the recently passed year that I became inducted into the RT community. At the time I thought nothing of it really, as I just wanted to watch RWBY the moment it came out, but it's strange how after all these years of content watching I only recently discovered how fucking cool this community is. 

    I legitimately went my entire young years unaware of the participation that members of the community could have in this space and it all hit me in the face at once last year.
    I am like the one ape that discovered fire 100 years later than every other ape.

    So, how to sum up this very unfocused first blog post (yay me).

    In 2018 I want to:

    1) Surround myself with people who are on a similar path to me, and forge relationships that better each other rather than bring one another down.
    2) Get more involved with the RoosterTeeth community! Write 2 - 3 blog posts every week about random topics (I am interested in Gaming, Game Development and I like RWBY)
    3) Get above 85% in all of my University Subjects (Exams, Assignments, Projects, Essays etc)
    4) Stay healthy! Eat more fruit and vegetables and drink more water!

    I feel as if these goals really compliment each other. I surround myself around people with similar goals and attitudes by blogging here on the RT website which is a good first step and I get to be apart of the RT community at the same time. Staying healthy for me won't be as challenging as maintaining an 85%+ for all my Uni subjects. 

    But hey, what's a new year without new challenges to destroy? I wish all of you a really happy new year and I hope you all have made resolutions for yourself that will challenge and shape you into a more positive and loving person!

    See you in the next post <3

    - DingoDave

  • I Promise This...

    1 month ago


    So yesterday, on the 31st of December, I binge-watched the Burnie Vlog and, as I reached the end, I came to the realisation that I was incredibly jealous of Ellie. 


    I wanted so badly to work for someone that would send me on some of the crazy adventures that I watched her go on.

    Having spent most of the past year "trying" to make something of myself (see: sitting around doing nothing), I chastised myself for being so bloody lazy and unsuccessful. 

    Hadn't I already decided a year ago that I would create some sort of content and suddenly have the dream life? 

    Indeed, I had - I just didn't know what it would be yet. But what I did know for sure was that it would be witty, comical and just all-around amazing! 

    Simple enough, right?


    The New Year's countdown came and went and I still had no idea what to do with myself. Even after my 4th coffee this morning (my hands are still shaking from the caffeine overload), I wasn't any closer to the magical stroke of genius that would grant me the internet fame and easily-gained, hardly-earned success I so desperately desired.

    I watched some of the vlogs again for inspiration - and then it hit me!

    Inspiration was never the problem. It was motivation. 

    Didn't Burnie himself did say that motivation could not be fully relied on and that discipline was key? 

    So I started with a to-do list of simple tasks that I needed to get done ASAP. 

    Nothing extraordinary, just basic chores like tidying my new room (I just moved home to Paris to stay with my folks whilst I sort my life out) and updating my old Macbook Pro (a barely-used hand-me-down to replace the one that I may or may not have dropped in the tub last month).

    I spent most of the day on the room and, as I cleared away the junk and found places for the antiques that now make up about 70% of the decor, I felt my mind filling with little daydreams of the adventures I'd like to go on this year.

    Which brings me to the title of this entry (and my blog for this year).

    Rather than waste time on resolutions that I won't remember next week, I'm going to make myself a list of promises that I aim to fulfil by the end of 2018. 

    I'll blog, vlog and Instagram my way through each of these promises and, hopefully, someone out there will benefit from them too. 

    Internet fame is no longer the goal - mainly because I'm not ready to create the kind of entertainment content that I want to see as RoosterTeeth does. 

    So, instead, I'm going to create the kind of content that I need to see. 

    And I need to see someone doing good for themselves without outside motivation.

    So, with that in mind, 

    I Promise This:

    - I will do something that I find noteworthy every week.

    - I will work hard to progress in my next job.

    - I will learn (at least) one new skill and work to improve the ones I have already.

    - I will distance myself from the drugs that lead to last year's failures.

    - I will cultivate the discipline required to follow through on all of the above.

    - I will take this fresh start for the blessing that it is so that, next year, I can look back at the person I am today and smile as though remembering an old friend.

    This is my promise list, and I intend to keep every single one.

  • Week 9-A New Year Is Coming

    1 month ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hello anybody out there,

    I just want to say Happy New Year and that everyone stays safe for the new year.  I know a lot of people are discussing their new year resolutions and the changes they are going to do for the new year; however, I've always wondered why people decide to change on the first day of the new year.  It kind of confuses me, why not just do it on any other day to change, why just one day?  I've been asked what my new year resolution is, and I didn't give them an answer.  But if I did have something to say to the people asking me this question, it would for me to be more confident in meeting new people and sharing new creative/artistic ideas with others.  I just want to be with others that share that creative spirit and to make new friends.

    Aside from that, here are some more drawings I made.






    Happy New Year Everyone.


  • Week 8-Happy Holidays

    1 month ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Happy Holidays Everyone,

    I hope a lot of people out there are having a great holiday season this year with their family and friends.  I'm looking forward to celebrate New Years for 2018 coming up and start a new.  For me, 2017, majority wise, wasn't a good year for me.  So much has happened this year; some good, but a lot of bad things happened.  I don't know what 2018 will bring, but I'm ready for anything that comes my way.

    It's been awhile since I have last posted something in my journal.  I've been on a Hawaiian vacation for a week with my family and it was very tropical to visit, especially in the winter when it's warm there.  But I'm back from vacation and I'm happy to get back to my digital work that I love doing. 

    Since I've been gone on vacation, I had to draw on paper, instead of a computer, and I would like to share on what I drew based on the vacation.  And the last drawing was done digitally and would like to keep the paper line background for all of my future works.  




    For some reason, lined paper was the only type of paper I had on the trip and it was something I had to work with.  However, I started to enjoy the combination of the lined paper with my style of comic or cartoon drawings.  And as I came home from vacation, I didn't want to stop using the type of paper for my work.  So now, I'm going to trying using the lined paper for my digital work in the background and see what happens.

    Take care everyone,


  • My Go To Person

    1 month ago

    Caofontaine Wizard

    As seen on:

    My Website


    /*We all need that friend to turn to when things get rough.*/


    Many of us have that friend we can go to for almost anything. It’s truly something special when you got that. In social media, you’ll see posts almost worshipping them because what they do for you is remarkable. Let me talk about mine without sounding as cheesy as possible. This probably doesn’t do the person justice either.


    Meet Corey. “Software Developer, serial traveler, and climber of rocks”. I’ve known Corey for about 7 years now, meeting in college after hanging out with some classmates after wrapping up finals. When we first met, he thought I was the same age as him. He’s 2 years older than I am, the same age as my oldest brother. The mindfuck it gave him when he realized this was pretty funny.

    His fondest memory of me is something I don’t even remember, probably with good reason given the moment. So in class, apparently I was drifting off, into nowhere, when suddenly I’m asked by the professor to answer a question. Apparently I answered the question somewhat correctly, then proceeded with a further response as to where to find the answer in the exact chapter and section of our textbook. Now, I’m not saying that’s not something I would know because at that time, I probably did know, but Corey was thinking I know my shit and I just don’t recall any of this.

    We grew to be great friends through class and our love of playing Halo. He is much better than I am and to show you that, here’s a video I made a few years ago.

    That’s the backstory. It’s great to know someone with common interests professionally and unprofessionally. It’s how you make friends, right? By finding things you both like.

    We both come from different facets of life. Some tougher than most. We’re smart, or so we like to think we are. We’re hard workers, when we want to be, given the opportunity to prove it.

    All I can say is, the man has helped me through some pretty dark days. It’s about learning how to move forward from the disappointment and the mistakes. Where’s the silver lining in out of all of it? I’m not a person who feels 100% confident in many things. Instead of being stuck like that, I got Corey to push me out of it and move on to the next thing.

    The best thing about friends like that is you’re able to learn from each others experiences and makes each person become better. Plus, those are the kinds of people who stick around because you want them around.

    So thanks, buddy. Play Halo with me more.

    Now to shamelessly plug all of this stuff.

    Website | Blog (Rants, raves, and all of the above.) | Learn GO With Corey | Medium | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | Better Developer

  • Week 7-About To Take A Trip

    2 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti


    I made it through another work week and I'm off on vacation for a month.  I need this break to get ahead of my digital projects and to be relaxed, instead of stressed.  I'm about to go to Maui, Hawaii and I'm still trying to get prepared for the trip (still choosing on what to pack).  I don't have much to say for this week, but I'll write more next week and probably write about the trip.

    Until then, I have more drawings to share.


    Thank you,


  • Week 5-Busy, But Innovative Week

    2 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hello again,

    Sorry that I didn't blog yesterday, I had plans with friends and I had to do errands.  I had a very busy week, but it was more productive and inspiring.  I was more productive with the work that I like to do digitally that it made me happy and energetic.  It's weird how one week I was gloomy and not feeling so great, and the next week I became progressive and motivated to get to my artwork done.  It's weird how our moods change from either the next day or week.

    I did more drawings for this week and they are all related to the holidays (except for a few).  And I recently submitted an artwork for a tee-shirt contest for SacAnime, for anybody out there who lives in Sacramento, a couple weeks back and I thought it would be cool to share it here.


    SacAnime Tee-Shirt Contest


    See you next week,


  • New Blog Post

    2 months ago

    kirstenxo Miles Luna Fangirl

    writes about how she never posts on her blog then posts on her blog

    I am irony incarnate.

    But seriously, enjoy something a little different:



  • Life Has Not Been Kind To Me This Year

    2 months ago

    kirstenxo Miles Luna Fangirl

    What a self-pitying title this journal has? But I guess it is well deserved. I try to give as little insight into my feelings on here as possible but the RT site is actually somewhere I feel I can be completely honest about my mental state.

    As we come into December I have done a lot of reflecting recently. What has this year brought me? A lot of pain, a lot of sadness, some joy but mostly the former. If I'm completely honest, 2017 has been one of the worst years of my life.

    In the last month alone I have:

    - Been made homeless

    - Found a new place that is the opposite side of the city to my job

    - Been rejected from countless career prospects

    - Been dumped

    And much more in terms of my mental health.

    My blog went on the back-burner whilst I tried to fix my problems but every time one stress alleviated itself, another would appear. I've been in an endless cycle of misery. 

    It has been a long time since I have felt I wanted to die; I am not that person anymore. There is nothing on this earth that could make me want to give up so badly but my lord, 2017 really did get me on that brink again. Especially in the last week or so.

    I have been a bad friend to those of you I speak to on here and it's because I kept taking time away for myself.

    What good things have came of this year?

    - I was able to go to the USA for the very first time and attend RTX and meet some of my favourite creators

    - I was able to go to RTX again in October and meet some of my online friends in real life

    - I attended London Comic-Con for the very first time and made new friends

    - I was able to go to events I never imagined being able to go to before

    - I moved to London which was always my dream

    I can't say 2018 is going to be my year or start off well or any of those things. I am very sad, but that's okay.

    I want to start a YouTube channel where I can talk about things I want to talk about. I want to turn my reviews into videos that those of you who read my blog can enjoy. I want to do this. It doesn't need to be a career for me but I would love to do this for myself. That's my next goal. Get the equipment to do those things. I hope some of you come on this journey with me. 

    I am 21-years-old and although right now my mental health is a shit show and my career prospects look grim. I'm okay. I want to start brand new. I am not a lucky person but there's no reason I don't deserve the same happiness as everyone else.

    I love you all. 

    Also seriously please follow me on Twitter if you want to see more of what I do because I tend to reply more on there as it is so much easier to access on my phone: TWITTER


  • I Don't Fit In (Anywhere)

    2 months ago

    Caofontaine Wizard

    My Website


    /*I see myself in several social groups, but I often wondered whether I truly fit into all of them. Do I truly belong there?*/


    At 25, I’m still wondering where I fit in the world. Do I have a purpose here and am I fulfilling, or even enjoying that purpose?

    I’ve been exposed to so many different facets of life, I can even determine which one I feel most comfortable in. I’ve heard the terms “social chameleon” or “social nomad” used quite frequently on the internet. Basically it’s a person who is able to seamlessly integrate themselves in different social groups. They don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

    Am I saying I am one of those fortunate enough to fit in any social situation? Absolutely not. I’ll explain.

    If I divide my main interests up, it would be running, video games, and programming. So why would I not fit in where my interests lie? Whenever I am in the middle of these groups, I always clam up and shut down because every person I interact with in these groups seem to know insurmountably more about said interest than I do. While it’s a great learning experience, it makes me feel small, kind of “noobish”.

    With running, I could join a group and go on runs with people. Except people in those groups are all in much better shape than me and would leave me in the dust within 5 minutes of running. For the most part, they’re training for races. How often do you find a running group that just runs with no purpose in mind? My body is also unbelievably fragile that I don’t think I could train for a race anymore. Besides that, their knowledge of running would surpass mine. I think of myself as a running nerd, no question about that, but when you put me in a room of fellow running nerds, I slowly realize that I know less than I thought I do. Can’t really contribute and fit there if you have nothing constructive to say or do.

    I think about people who enjoy video games, such as myself. It should be all-inclusive, so long as you play and enjoy them. It’s also the stereotype. I don’t think I fit the bill. What is the bill, exactly? Is it a basement dweller eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew playing World of Warcraft for 18 hours a day? It might be the most prominent stereotype, but certainly don’t fit that one. I probably just haven’t found the right group yet. Or maybe I just don’t like video games as much as people I know do.

    I majored in computer science. I never felt I fit in for one second in college. It’s probably because looking outside in, I felt the least “nerdy” one. I had one person tell me I don’t “look like a CS major”. He didn’t give me any context as to why I don’t look like one. Was it because I wore more running/track type clothes than shirts with video game logos on it? Quite possibly. Maybe he thought I was just too dumb, yet surviving all these years of the program. I never felt as smart as other people and couldn’t talk as well in the terminology they understood more than me. That kind of psyched me out.

    I’ve explained why I feel I don’t fit in 3 of these groups, but I think the most challenging is which one pulls to me more. Every time I jump into one group, it feels as if another group is trying to pull me in. It’s almost a tug-of-war battle. I almost feel I don’t want to assimilate into a group fully with the risk that I will abandon a group completely. Maybe I should make a group that blends these 3 interests together. Maybe I already have and I’m its first member. Or maybe I should learn to blend into these groups better so I don’t have these fears of not fitting in and sticking in social limbo. That would be nice.

  • The one with the intro.

    2 months ago

    Skilltacular Producer @ RT Games

    Let’s talk about games!

    What’s up, y’all!

    Welcome to what will be my random ramblings about games. Each post, I’ll aim to cover a few of the games I dabbled with over the past 12 months. Board games, video games, yard games, hell, maybe some IRL stuff like escape rooms or good ol’ tag. Who knows?  As a game dev, I might have a different view than some, but in the end, I’m just a dude that loves all things Games. First, let me touch on who the heck am I and what do I do at Rooster Teeth?

    What would I say I do here?


    I’m Brian Reilly. I’m a producer with Rooster Teeth Games. I’ve been ‘round these parts for about two and half years. Originally, I was brought on to help our internal dev team. I’ve since expanded my hat collection to include a hand in our game publishing efforts and heading up all of RT’s board games. I feel that having this sort of gig demands that you have a decent working knowledge of what’s hot or not. That said, I play lots of games, but finish very few. If you want to know more about my background (school, other jobs/ games, favorite candy bar) just ask.

    As we go on, shoot me questions, pose counterpoints, recommend games, whatever. I’m writing on because we’re all part of the best community ever, of all time. Eventually, I’ll bust out my fancy review scale. For now, all you need to know is that it’s pizza-based, and thus, the greatest scale to be created.

    That’s it for now. More soon! Hit me up here or on twitter @Skilltacular



  • It's Back!

    3 months ago


    Hey every one Mountain Nerd is back and this time I take you with me to Kreepy Geek Con! A small town horror convention with a big heart.

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  • 5 Classy & 5 Trashy Horror Films.

    3 months ago


    Good HALLOWW DAAAYY to yoooou Giirrlllss and Ghoooulllss...and....guys too. HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEN...AAWooOOOOOoooOOo *Ahem*

    Yeah, it's Halloween yet again...a time for kids in cheap-ass costumes to knock on the doors of strangers and demand treats they haven't earned, a time for adults in inappropriate costumes to get drunk and have awkward sexploits next to a guy in a clown outfit...and...a time for losers like me to sit in the dark all night by themselves and enjoy the TRUE meaning of Halloween...HORROR...specifically of the movie variety. But what kinds of horror? Are we looking for some fine dining? A film dripping with atmosphere and more quietly chilling than bombastic. Or do you go full trash? Watch a film full of gore, sex and loud noises. If you're looking for something inbetween, you've come to the wrong blog, because today I'm taking a look at 5 sets of films from opposite ends of that spectrum, 5 films that offer classy frights and intelligent design....the other 5....are just downright trash, but in the best possible way.

    Few ground rules and I said before, we're not looking for middle ground horror that maybe offers the traditional scares but in a more creative, refined way, so films like 'The Thing' or 'The Conjuring' aren't in the running. We're also looking for GOOD examples of these films, it's not a matter of just being classy or trashy...but being that and also managing to be good. For the sake of elegancy and avoiding repetition, some entries will be multiple films of the same 'franchise' that all match the reasoning for their inclusion. And finally, this isn't a Top 5 of best to worst so much as it is 5 films in a loosely organised list, a grab-bag of high quality examples of both kinds of these horrors.

    Also, before we begin...I guess I need to establish what defines a 'Classy' or 'Trashy' horror. To do this, I looked at the things that the average horror is generally known for, and what tends to put less eager moviegoers off the genre. So we're talking the obvious stuff...a lot of blood/gore/grisly imagery, an unhealthy quantity of sexual content and nudity, and the douchey horndog characters that come with that territory. A paper thin premise and corny writing...and crucially...jump scares, the loud noises and big bangs that tend to take the place of more creative or genuinely unnerving frights. That's not to say the entries on the 'Classy' side don't dabble in some grisly images, sexual content or shock horror, it's just the frequency and purpose of their inclusion. 

    ALRIGHTY...that was a lot of pre-talk...let's get to the good stuff, huh? HERE WE GOOoOOOOO.

    5 Classy Horror Films.

    5. The Orphanage (2007).

    Kicking things off with some WORLD CINEMA?! Oooh, very classy. Often mistakenly assumed to be a Guilermo del Toro film, mostly due to the fact his name's plastered all over the damn DVD case, but also just because it really does have the feel of a Del Toro production in themes, setting and tone, 'The Orphanage'...or...'El Orfanato' if we're going to use the native Spanish tongue of the film itself for its name, is actually directed by J.A. Bayoana. The name may not sound all too familiar right now, but last year he did A Monster Calls, which got a fairly high amount of praise, and next year? He's directing a little film called Jurassic World's...not really called that, but yeah. The Orphanage was his first feature film, and it made a big splash back in 2007, garnering a lot of acclaim, and being a big influence on later films of similar setting and premise from that point (The Awakening in particular feels practically like a inferior remake). The basic premise is a once orphaned and adopted girl returning to the orphanage she grew up in in to re-open it as a facility to take care of disabled children. Her son, Simon...with an accent on the 'o' that I forget how to do on my keyboard proclaims to have befriended a mysterious, sack-wearing child, and after some other events and revelations, goes missing. What follows is a grim, atmospheric story of a mother's grief and potential madness at the loss of her child, and the lengths she'll go to find him again. Whilst there are some jumps and bangs to be had in this film, it's not in the business of cheap scares, spreading the shocks across the length of the film, and focusing instead of building an atmosphere of dread, and also, much like Del Toro's own dabbles into the horror genre, the story and characters. It's not a fun flick, and by the end you may end up feeling just a tad haunted by the events that have unfolded, but it's a terrific and influential chiller that's well worth a look, if you can stomach the TRUE horror of subtitles! AaAAAAAAAGGHHH!!

    4. The VVitch (2015).

    Remaining a little niche, but switching to the English language, here's another depressing and dark horror flick that deals with upsetting things happening to children! Hooray! Another début film from a promising director that will no doubt go onto bigger and better things in the future, Robert Eggers' occasionally sub-headed 'New-England Folktale' is set in the 17th century, and follows a family banished from their plantation community due to...what else, religious disputes, and we follow them as they attempt to build a new life for themselves, outside of their community, and seemingly, beyond of the reach of their Lord. And you'll be happy to know that they set up a nice place for themselves, bond together as a family, and just have a terrific time from start to finish. Oh that's not right, they're all miserable and the baby gets kidnapped by the titular WITCH...or...VVITCH, cuz that looks cool I guess. What follows is less your traditional horror story, and more a deeply unsettling drama about a impoverished family struggling to keep things together as their whole life comes down in ruin around them. There's no jump scares or traditional 'scares' in general, just a lot of uneasy conversations and deeply grisly, prolonged sequences of suffering. Also, there's a goat? Don't know if you've heard about that SHIT, but there's a gosh dang goat, and the goat's name is Black Phillip, and he only dang dances about and stuff, so yeah...check that out, yo. Goaty antics aside, this is not an easy watch, it's more or less 90 minutes of cold, damp hell, with a heap helping of deeply unpleasant surrealist imagery, which only escalates further and further the more the dark forces of the forest around them start to torment and toy with the family, tearing them apart, and turning them against each other in the process. The ending is suitably dark and weird, and the film won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you're looking to have a downright miserable Halloween, but an atmospheric and engrossing one nontheless? This is one to check out.

    3. Let the Right One In/Let Me In (2008/2010).

    Oh, hey! Another directorial breakout horror about children going through terrible things! I'm detecting a pattterrrnn...

    I'm including both the 2008 original and its 2010 British/American remake as one entry because, honestly, you can't go wrong with either, and in some respects, the remake is a more visually interesting, easily enjoyed affair for some, being in English, instead of the original's Swedish dialect and general...atmosphere of a pale, bland and cold looking locale. Tomas Alfredson may be crashing and burning right now with his trainwreck of a film 'The Snowman' but back in 2008 he was smashing it with this deeply...deeply twisted semi-romantic (Like...we're not talking...a lotta love here, honestly) horror drama that followed in 2006's Pan's Labyrinth's footsteps to become a breakout world cinema horror(ish) sensation. The basic premise here is about a lonely young boy who gets bullied at school getting a new neighbour, a young girl seemingly (Aheh) around his age, and after some awkward first interactions, the two bond, they become friends, and the boy starts to fall for his new, mysterious companion. The problem? Oh, she's a vampire...yeah. She, and what appears to be her father arrive, and soon a series of grisly murders start taking place...are they connected? Welllll...what do you think? What unfolds is a blossoming, awkward friendship/romance set against the backdrop of an ever escalating vampiric..situation in the neighbourhood that has its fair share of grisly imagery, shocking twists, and an ending that, after haunting you, will leave you thinking for quite some time. Although the two versions vary in some small, but key regions, they're both damn fine films, and Let Me In, directed by Matt Reeves (Director of Dawn/War of the Planet of the Apes, and the upcoming Batman film) is the rare foreign movie remake that does more than just work, instead potentially beating out the original, depending on how much you liked the unique atmosphere of the original. You can't go wrong with either, and this is one deep, disturbing pair of horror dramas that's well worth your time.

    2. Hush (2016).

    The most recent entry on this list, and perhaps the closest to being a middle-ground horror film in terms of content, I've included it in this blog because of the way in which it dabbles in a familiar genre of horror, but in a way you'd perhaps, not expect. Hush, a Netflix exclusive home invasion horror by 'Oculus' director Mike Flanagan (Who went on to direct this year's truly grisly but engrossing Gerald's Game) looks on paper like everything you'd expect from a horror of this kin. Guy in a wacky mask...innocent victim to prey on...gore ensues, right? Well...yes, but also no. Hush is less a traditional slasher flick, and more of a tense game of cat & mouse between a serial killer with the twisted urge to toy with his victims before offing them, and the resident of a remote, forest secluded home, a young woman and writer who just happens to be deaf. What ensues is an inventive and entertaining duel between two minds as he attempts to gain access to the house, or goad her outside, and she tries to send a message for help, and escape. Although it sags a little in the middle, it's a slickly directed, tension based horror which forgoes the use of jump scares and instead focuses on taking you on a thrill-ride that has few words, but a lot of impact. Initially it may seem that the killer has the upper hand on a woman who can't hear where he is, or what he's doing, but when you've spent so much of your life training to be functional despite your disability and pushing forwards despite the shortcomings people assume you have, it quickly becomes apparent that you are not one to be fucked with. A tension based thriller with a lot of creative ideas and a fun dynamic between its two core characters, Hush, despite a few rather gory scenes, is not the film you think it is, and it's one you simply have no excuse to pass on, because...I know you have Netflix, I KNOW YOU DO. I SAW YOU OVER THERE, WATCHING STRANGER THINGS, HUH? 

    1. Silence of the Lambs (1991).

    Going for a real obscure one here, I know. There's a huge debate as to whether or not this is a horror film, but generally, the people who don't consider it a horror film are the sort of people who wouldn't want to admit a horror film was not only this interesting, but also that a horror film could sweep the Academy Awards back in its respective year. Well, much how other entries in this CLASSY portion of the blog blend their horror with other genres, Silence of the Lambs, one of the most iconic films of its era, is a crime thriller...but it's also a bloody horror film, so stop whining about it, ya crusty old cretins. And it's pretty obvious why its on here, it's not your USUAL HORROR FILM, after all. There's no jump scares, there's no spooky house or supernatural force, there's just the horrors of humanity, and the people who venture into the darkness to capture them. Jodie Foster is terrific as Clarice Starling, on the hunt for Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who kidnaps and skins young women, and wears their flesh in an attempt at some sort of twisted transformation. Yeah. Naturally, of course, she's sent to interview Hannibal Lecter, a hyper-intelligent killer with a taste for human flesh, currently behind bars, who may know something about the kidnapper. It's a race to rescue his latest victim before he kills her, and you better believe some twisted shit's gonna go down before you get to the end of this cinematic classic a horror film. It may not go BOO, but the way it's filmed, the themes it explores and how it does so? You'd be foolish to call that anything but horror, and Hannibal Lecter is one of the horror genre's most intriguing characters, played fantastically, iconically even, by Sir Anthony Hopkins. I honestly don't really need to sell this film, its legacy and acclaim speaks for itself, but maybe the fact that it's one of the most lauded horror films of all time escapes people's mind, as there's an active mentality that it simply doesn't fit in the genre. It may dabble in several, but Horror is no doubt one of them, and as a dark, engrossing detective story with some truly great character performances and unforgettable movie moments? It's about as classy a horror film as you can get ...considering there's a scene where someone flicks semen. Yep. That's a thing. Lovely.

    Ooh, well these all sound lovely, huh? Perfect for those not so big into the trashy horror films that dominate the real classy flicks there.

    ...Anyway, let's go jump straight into the garbage, roll around in some blood and flash our tits, because's time for some TRASHY horror films to entertain you this Hallow'd of Eeeeeeves.

    5 Trashy Horror Films.

    5. Trick R Treat (2007).

    As I said, we're jumping headfirst into all the glorious horror trash with our first entry, the very definition of a cult success. Trick 'R Treat, the directorial debut (Another one of those) of Michael Dougherty, who's now currently working on the upcoming Godzilla 2, had a truly bumpy release. Originally filmed and planned as a cinema released film, it got held back for two years, had a few festival screenings and then dumped to DVD in October of 2007. Presumably WB didn't know how to market it, or didn't think it'd do well enough financially, but despite its quiet DVD release, it's gone on to become a firm favourite among fans of the genre, and it's hard not to see why. It's a blood soaked, goofy celebration of all things Halloween and all things trashy horror. There's blood, there's boobs, there's jump scares, swearing, horny teens...monsters, serial killers, creepy name it, it's all here. It's a semi-anthology that tells individual stories taking place around the same place on the same night (Halloween, in case you were wondering), but they all connect together in some way, it's all rather a gloriously dumb way. To give away specific details would be to spoil the fun, but needless to say there's a little bit of everything in this film, and it's all done in a campy and supremely tongue in cheek manner that makes this an especially fun and rewatchable Halloween flick. But it is a trash one, in the best possible, well crafted, lovingly thought out way. Sam, the little sack...boy...wait, that's taken. The little bagchild who is very literally the poster child for this film is a severely underrated and fun horror character, originating from an animated short made by the same director, who clearly has a very dark sense of humour indeed. If you like your horror knowingly dumb, dripping with gore and loaded with all the usual trash presented in a gloriously self-aware display of gratuity...this is a film for you. Just make sure to follow the rules of Halloween before sitting down to watch it...ahh..that's...a joke...from the see. Yes.

    4. The Descent (2005).

    You know the story, a bunch of gals go on a caving holiday, find an unexplored network of tunnels...encounter monsters...die. It's a tale as old as time. This pulpy 2005 horror flick from Neil Marshall (But it WASN'T his first was his SECOND....TAKE THAT) has its own bumpy release story to tell, and it's maybe quite a bit worse than our previous tale of woe...because it involves EDITING. Yes, this film got its rather spectacularly downbeat ending chopped off by its US distributors, who decided that American audiences would want a more positive ending rather than... the actual one....because Hollywood is full of idiots, you see. So if you do want to see this film, and live in the US? Make sure it has the correct, 'unrated' conclusion because it's really the icing on this deliciously grimy and visceral (literally) underground nightmare. If you're claustrophobic I'd give this one a pass, mind. Once this group of adventurous ladies make their way down into the caves, you are going down with them, and you're not coming out for quite some time...if at all. There's something quite unsettling about the concept of being trapped in the narrow, grave-like confines of a small cave passage, particularly when you know nobody is coming to rescue you...but it's okay, you don't have to worry about being trapped and slowly dying of exhaustion, hunger or fear...oh no no, the horrible monsters will get to you and tear you to shreds before that point. It's a visually vibrant, graphic tale of the lengths someone will push themselves to survive against all odds. It's like 127 Hours, except instead of being trapped in a ravine for a bit, you're being chased through a nightmarish cave system by disgusting monstrosities that want to eat you. Y'know, it's really similar. An exciting, visceral thrill-ride the likes of which you've probably never seen...unless you watched The Cave...which wasn't as good, I'll be honest. It may be jump-scare heavy and drooling with gore, but this is a trashy adventure horror you can't miss....unless, like I said, you're claustrophobic...cuz...yeah. Don't. And hey...all female cast, ah? AHH? Don't get many of those.

    3. Evil Dead (2013).

    Honestly, you could pick any of the Evil Dead franchise to throw right into this wonderful trash pile, and hey...if it was trashy TV horror, Ash vs Evil Dead would be raining supreme on said pile...but I decided, instead of putting the whole franchise here, I'd specifically pick out the 2013 remake because...DAMN...this film went out of its way to be trash. Like...that was the whole point of its existing. This surprisingly entertaining semi-remake of the classic Sam Raimi-led cult franchise, helmed by director Fede Alvarez in his *Ahem* FEATURE DÉBUT, WOAOAAAHHHHHH (He'd later go on to direct Don't Breathe, which is well worth your time, I love that one) was marketed extensively as being a disgusting, 18 rated nightmare, the posters with the mantra "THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE" slapped right across them in huge letters, and the trailers solely focused on just how explicit and gory the film would be. So, as you'd expect, it quite literally rains blood in this particular, po-faced, gritty instalment of the franchise that gained cult adoration for its more comedic outings. You have to remember though, that the original Evil Dead, whilst unintentionally campy as hell, was never meant to be funny, and was actually at the centre of a major 80s wave of controversy in the UK in which VHS tapes were not classified by any ratings board, meaning they could be as disgusting and explicit as they so desired, something which became something of a big deal back in the day, with Evil Dead a key 'offender' for its graphic violence and depiction of...uh...tree rape. Not only does this remake have both graphic violence and, yes...tree rape, it has them in a far more graphic and realistic way, and is going out of its way to be as disgusting, grotty and trashy as possible. And because of that, it's a lot of a ....oh god, she just sliced her tongue in half and vomited blood in that person's face..kinda way. Yeah. This film was produced, marketed and released as nothing more than a grotesque nightmare, trying to drum up the same pulpy controversy as the original film of the same name. It didn't work, but what we got was an unashamedly violent and entertaining horror film that does nothing unique or interesting, but reigns supreme when it comes to its oodles of graphic gore and nasty scenarios. Could still do without the tree rape, mind.

    2. Freddy vs Jason (2003).

    It wouldn't be a trashy horror list without at least one slasher franchise turning why not two at the same time? Yes, whilst Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street are the original trash-horror franchises (Halloween is up there too, the OG slasher, but slightly less trashy, at least originally) that more or less invented the now stale and regrettable blueprint of horny teens, ample teen breastage, annoying characters and lots...LOTS of people, young and old being killed in horrible, violent ways without any shred of remorse or dignity. I could've put either franchise in their entirety on here, Friday the 13th especially just, those films really are nothing more than just a bunch of people getting stabbed, huh? Kinda boring, really. But why settle for one, when we have a film that not only has both of these franchises combining, but does so in perhaps the more garbage blockbuster movie ever conceived by anyone ever. And boy oh boy, is it a lot of fun. You got Freddy Krueger, a teenage dream/nightmare invading hack'n'slasher who says BITCH a lot and has a tendency to do wacky cartoon things like turn into a car or suck someone into a bed and spray their blood everywhere. Things like that. Then you have Jason Vorhees, a hockey mask wearing deformed adult child...corpse(?) with a machete who aggressively murders teenager camp counsellors, generally for being horny. You throw those two together, come up with a vague reason for them to fight, sprinkle in a bunch of horny stoner teenagers in almost quite literally, the Mystery Machine, and you have....a garbage fire, but a really...really fun garbage fire to watch. This film literally throws everything, including the kitchen sink at the audience, there's blood, guts, swearing, jump scares, nudity, sex, drugs, corny dialogue, over the top cartoonish deaths, explosions, heavy metal and just...yeah. It's a terrible terrible film, but it's one of the best terrible horror films you'll ever see. There's always an inherent entertainment value in crossovers, but they're basically always garbage...this one is too, but it's gloriously trashy, entertaining garbage that'll leave your brain shrivelled and begging for help, but you'll be too busy laughing to care.

    1. Final Destination (2000-2011).

    Yeah, we're ending on an entire franchise. Why not. So yeah, we've just talked about dumb as fuck slasher films where a bunch of annoying teenagers get horribly killed by serial killers. Now it's time to check out a dumb as fuck slasher franchise where the supernatural serial killer is...death itself? Hrmmm. Final Destination as a franchise seems to be more or less dead now, 6 years on from its last entry, which not a whiff of a suggestion that it'll ever get a sequel. In some ways that's good...these films are truly awful, but in other ways? I'm honestly a little disappointed, because these dumpster fires are a real guilty pleasure of mine. The basic premise, for all of these films is as follows. A bunch of kids, teens to early 20s folk are all in a specific place, maybe they're all friends, maybe they're just randomly in the same place at the same time. One of them suddenly has a premonition of a horrible chain of events that leads to them all dying horribly. A plane crash, a bridge collapse...a...Nascar race gone...sideways...literally. They freak out, convince their friends to leave with them, maybe a few other people do too...then the event happens, people die, but they don't...they survived, it's a miracle! Oh, they weren't supposed to survive, now death's coming for them one by one, going down the list in order of who died first, offing each person in elaborate and creative ways that ensure no matter where they go, what they do, and how safe they think they are...death always finds a way. Now that sounds pretty fun, right? And it is, honestly. It's also fucking trash, and again, it's loaded with the horror tropes everyone either loves to hate, or just plain hates. Bunch of douchey kids sex'd up and drugged outta their skulls, the girls generally without clothes on at least once because...yeah, okay, suuuure. As with a slasher film they're all painted as uniquely unlikeable and often unrealistically, cartoonishly asshole'ish (At least I thought, until I went on the internet) with the express reason being that when they get horribly murdered, you don't care. Lovely. But the deaths are the real star of the show, here. Frequently creative in both staging and (literal) execution, and increasingly more and more over the top in each consecutive film, it's a lot of fun trying to work out just what of the many potential contenders will be the lucky circumstance that offs the unsuspecting individual, and their tongue in cheek nature generally provides a lot of laughs too. Like with Freddy vs Jason, it's balls to the wall, all in...right up to 11 trashfire horror from start to finish, except this is an entire franchise, and if that's something that takes your guilty fancy, then you should check this garbage out, dawg. It's awful! Hurrah! 

    AWwOOOooOOOhh, those films were SCARY bad, huh? Well...a couple of them, the other ones were trashy but good, honestly. Ah...uh...BooOOOOOOo. That's the blog, folks! Hope you have a safe and fun Halloween, whatever you decide to do with it, and I hope you enjoyed reading this SPOOoOoOOKY blog!

    As always, comments/ZINGs/sharing around are much appreciated if you enjoyed reading. Seen any of these films? What do you think of them? Gonna check any out? What are some classy/trashy horror films you enjoy? If you check any of these films out for Halloween, let me know what you think! 

    Dunno when I'll post a blog next, possibly sooner than later, cuz I i d e a. If not that, then...uhh...see you this Christmas! LATER GATORS.

  • A Letter to Little Me - My Biggest Regret

    4 months ago

    Caofontaine Wizard

    My Website


    /*I wondered what it'd be like to write a letter to my younger self. I only wrote one to my future self in middle school. I never got that mailed to me though.*/


    Dear Little Ben,

    Here I am, your future 25 year old self, wanting to have a chat with you about what’s to come. I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to be that fun of a time.

    Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Some are pretty big and others on a much smaller scale. I’m still writing to you, so things haven’t been too awful to us. I want you to learn from the mistakes I have made, so that when you are my age, you won’t have to resort writing something like this to your younger self.

    You are a first generation born Chinese-American in your family. You’re not going to understand or even know about the cultural clashes that come from our parents and American culture. You’ll simply abide by “what mom and dad says,” and that’s ok, but be sure to know which advice to heed, which ones to question. This will improve your growth tenfold.

    Little Ben, my creativity at this age has been dismal. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is the case. If I had to guess, it’s because of how I was controlled as a child. Children are brilliant in the way that they can experiment on things with no real consequence. It lets their brain develop in ways that allow them to flourish.

    I however, feel I did not have that luxury due to the way I was raised. I was controlled. Things were done for me because I couldn’t. Whether it be making a diorama or making a map of the world, I was unable to do these things myself because they were done by my parents the majority of my childhood. Not because I asked them to do the whole thing, but because when asking for help, it went from assistance, to taking over because it was taking too long. I have heard, “Why do the teachers make up these projects that the parents always has to them?” far too many times. I understand why the projects asked a lot. They’re meant to make us thing. In my case, I never really got to think. I suffered the consequence by not taking initiative to progress my own growth. I was shielded for too long to do what mom and dad thought was the right thing to do.

    So where do we go from here? Most importantly, where do YOU go from here, little one? Well, the answer is simple. You know the problem. The solution is to be able to identify and avoid what’s to come. You’re a good kid with years of wisdom beyond anyone’s imagination. You need to tap into it earlier in order  to benefit your future. Mom and Dad will view this as a rebellious phase, but that’s ok. You need to do these things to exercise your brain, expand your creativeness, and become more confident. Too many times have I not been able to do things due to my lack of confidence. You will be great.

    Little Ben, I wish you luck in your adventure. I hope you never become what I am now.


    25 year old you