‘Supergirl’ - ‘Flash’ -‘Arrow’ - ‘Legends’ Crossover Review *Spoiler*

*Spoiler Alert*
I just saw the finale Legends episode, not the strongest ending.  Disappointing is an understatement, however the overall crossover was great fun.

I didn't see the Supergirl episode, but I liked her character in the other shows.  I particularly liked her interaction with the Green Arrow.

The Flash episode was very solid, but while keeping the latest "Kid Flash" storyline, lacked all of the new "Team Arrow" heroes except Dig (aka Spartan), and Felicity Smoak (aka Overwatch) were absent.  Kid Flash also was absent for the other crossovers.  That made me sad, but at least Team Arrow did show up in the Arrow episode, and they were great: Wild Dog, Ragman, Artemis, and Mr Terrific (Curtis, who I erroneously thought was named FairPlay).

The Arrow episode was my fav, bc it features the Arrow cast locked in a mind control device where they got to live their lives in an idealistic way, meaning all their loved ones were alive.  This hit me hard -- it was far more emotional than I expected.

The Legends episode, which I just watched, was by far the weakest, but had some good parts: it resolves the pathetic Cisco / Barry friend breakup, allows Prof Stein to embrace his child, let's Cisco & Felicity time-travel AND save the day (Yay!), and resolves the strange dynamic between Arrow and SuperGirl.

I definitely noticed the Hall of Justice showing up repeatedly, which was very exciting BUT seemed so strange without the DC "heavyweight" heroes Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.  Makes me wonder just how bad will DC botch their arrival back into TV?  I hope they'll reboot the Wonder Twins and remember Martian Man hunter, but the funny part about DC is its such a mixed bag -- awkward writing, lack of commitment to the comic material, and (deliberate?) two dimensional characters -- I'm always happy when an episode doesn't implode on itself.

Which is where my gripe with Legends finale is strongest: the final scene features Flash and Arrow having a drink at a bar.  It's horribly awkward, essentially out of character for both heroes, and makes no sense.  I felt that someone writing the team up was eager to get to a bar and celebrate that they hadn't f-d up all the shows when the crossover ended.

Extra gripes:
-- general party scene at end with "Agent Smith" resolve was awkward, weak, and felt so strained.  No one cared about Smith, that was a thread no one needed resolved.  Would've rather seen Digger's wife Leila there to congratulate the heroes.
-- the awkward Dominators "let's all flee bc the metabomb was stopped" resolution.
-- not enough Legends hero time on the Legends episode.  One guy got a new outfit (and powers?) but didn't even get their name mentioned, while the animal-channeling heroine barely got a line.
-- "the new President is hot, right?" WTF?  The muscle head really gets too many lines, while so many other heroes got neglected.

Lastly, I have to compliment the crossover bc it tried it's best to honor all the heroes, and they respected the vastly varied hero power levels when fighting the Dominators (SuperGirl really shined in that finale battle). 

Now that it's over, I'm relieved.  Whew!  I want to say "let's not do THAT again", but you know they will.  Let's hope the quality remains at this level or better!

Underworld: Blood Wars CCG on Android -- a 4* game! Review & Strategy

Underworld: Blood Wars is a F2P (free to play) CCG (collectible card game) by Ludia on Android, and it's good.

The game allows you to play one of several Champions, build a deck with that Champion's cards + Neutral cards, and face off against other players.  In gameplay, players pay fangs from a replenishing pool to play cards, and deploy cards strategically in 4 zones on the game board.

I like Underworld better than Hearthstone.  Why?  Bc I like the Vampires vs Lycans vs Humans scenario better than generic (strange) Hearthstone fantasy setting, AND bc the game is straightforward and quick.

I'm new to playing, and I'm certainly no expert, but I'd give the game 4 stars already.  (It'd be a 5* game if it didn't have so many timers.)

So for you, readers, I can offer some strategy suggestions (and please comment yours), which I've gathered from gameplay and reading online a bit:

  • If you're ranged, shoot.  If you're melee, get up close. (With a caveat.)
  • Leveling your Champion (main character) can be an effective strategy.  You do this by having your associates get axed (so try to get your weenies shot on the front line!!) or killing opponent cards with your Champion.  Using pawns as cannon fodder also can be effective.
  • I like to exchange damage every turn with their hero to speed up the game, but I get more precise when my hero is near 10 HP.  (10 HP is a 1-round quick kill near the end, often easy to execute. Generally it's unwise to be on the front line with 10HP or less!!)
  • I like heal cards.  Hitting opponent for 4 dmg is good (altho I likely get hit back!), but healing 4 can make a disparity between us that I can exploit.  Damage cards are also nice.
  • Caveat -- if other player is ranged & I close in, I may be able to neutralize them.  Likewise, if opponent is melee and I keep my hero far back, I may be able to make their melee ineffective for long enough to spray them down with bullets.
  • Cards that say "recon, start of turn, end of turn, ferocity" can potentially have their effects multiple times.  "Awakening" is a one-time effect when they come in, and "revenge" is when the card is killed.  Some cards effects are while the card is in play, others are "for this turn", and some add permanent boosts to a card's stats.  "Defend" cards must be targeted in their zone FIRST (or moved).
  • Dual currencies: this is a gripe for me, but it's standard for F2P games nowadays.  Gold is won, can buy packs, and can be bought with real $$.  Gold is 200 for $2 (& cheaper the more you buy), and card packs are between 200 & 500 gold.  Epic packs can be acquired by finishing Daily Mission (changed every 12 hours).  Blood also come from packs, and is for acquiring cards directly.  Buying a common is 250 blood, rare 650, epic is 1500 , and each legendary card is 5000 blood.  The basic cards come with each Champion.

As to which cards are awesome, I can't offer a big list yet bc I'm a newbie.  What are YOUR favs & why?

There IS Blood Soldiers (David), a card that makes pawns when it recons (ie moves zones?), and another, Vampire Recruiter (David), that makes pawns when it gets shot.  That seems pretty sweet, esp if you can combine that with a card that pumps pawns.  I don't have those cards yet, but I've gotten KO'd that way by a Lycan.

My first Blood purchase was: Sentry Team, which gives a +1melee to a random Vampire every round.

Quinn's Pack Tactics (+4 melee to all friendly Lycans) seems very strong.

My latest tendency is to play Melee Lycans and dominate the first 3 zones.  The advantage is it neutralizes the other team's ranged attacks against my Champion AND limits them to 3 units + their Champion.  If I have higher Melee and out those in front, I win on hits (from them) so missing that first attack when I move in is less important.  I try to line my Home zone with units that affect the whole board, then my combat zone with ranged, and their combat zone with my Champion + melee units.  If I need to fall back, I try to keep a Defend card to play & move that to my Combat Zone when my Champion falls back.

Best of luck, enjoy the game, and please tell me what you discover!!

Suicide Squad - review *SPOILER*

Suicide Squad -- I'd give it a 6/10, ie a B-.
 Yes, I liked it.  It was a B movie made with an oversized CG budget.  It lacked good writing or character development, and made up for it with ... not much.  Sexism?  Too much meaningless CG?  Evil govt corruption?

So why did I like it?  (Just read my own review, doesnt seem like a liked it!)

I just saw Suicide Squad 15 mins ago, so I'm puzzling this thru myself.  It was so painfully flawed in so many ways.

I mostly liked the comic book look & feel, some of the quirks of the characters, and the concept.  I wish the execution could've been more like Guardians of the Galaxy somehow -- more character driven, room for the core team & not just Deadshot & Harlequin, etc.

Deadshot -- actually a crappy villain (from Flash TV show & comics) and completely miscast with Will Smith.  Bullets are not great in the superhero arena, even if you never miss.  He wouldn't wear his mask much bc they want to get every dime from Smith's A-List mug.

Rather than re-doing Deadshot as a black hitman (completely dropping his ex-military backstory from Flash), Will Smith needs an A-rsnk superhero, and in DC the biggies are Superman, Batman, Flash, WW, Green Lantern, Aquaman (sorta) and -- hey, none of them are black (!!!) except one Green Lantern (& Will Smith wouldve been great) -- Red Tornado?  It's a sad day when Will Smith can't get a heavy hitter hero (or villain) role bc DC sucks that badly.
Oh well, Smith did his best with it.
- Punching bags made no sense
- they didn't explain his gear/eyepiece, didn't even have a cool still of his sniper rifle -- and why have a sniper rifle if you never miss???
- hair style.  blech

- Harlequin -- the real star of the movie, she outshined the Joker.  Never got to do any comic book-style shenanigans, but she got to kill bulletproof grunts with a baseball bat and a mallet that went "Bonk".

Diablo, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Commander Flag, Enchantress (& her brother) -- I wasn't impressed with any of that.  In terms of character, their dialogue had their motivation and background & there was nothing left there.

Amanda Waller -- I liked her, even though I thought Arrow had a better Waller.  Also strange to watch a character in a superhero film who you know does in the TV show, which is unfortunate bc she's like a better govt darkside commander, a colder meaner (likely more realistic for a govt pencil pusher) & less capable Nick Fury.  Funny to say Sam Jackson isn't as hard as she was.  Ha

Cameos --
Batfleck sucks.  He looks horrible in the Batman suit, can't pull off the likeable billionaire role, and he comes across too serious.  While I hated Christian Bale far more (mostly for the idiotic voice), they are similar low quality -- except Affleck is a nicer guy, I hear.

Flash -- again, TV Flash is a great cast pick.  Movie Flash is bizarre, can't see any good reason behind it.  It's like DC can't do TV but completely fails for movies.  Weird.

No Green Arrow, no Overwatch (that'd have made sense), no Spartan (wouldve made me laugh -- but he also has the Argus/Waller connection.  And no Robin.

We do get a tscky Marvel-copy bonus scene before main credit roll of a preview of Superfriends coming -- along with a strong suggestion there won't be a Suicide Squad #2.  "Shut it down, my friends will do it for free."

Which brings me to the *HORRIBLE* dialogue:
Deadshot - "Don't forget: we're the bad guys." Later, "Stay evil, doll face."  - imagine good guys saying "Remember to stay good"?!?  This is the subplot being written as dialogue, generally a no-no.  *Proof that bad writing doesn't stop a movie from getting made!*

Harlequin, "We're bad guys, it's what we do."

"No Daddy, don't shoot!" somehow Deadshot's daughter can leap into a fight between Batman and Deadshot, AND leap into the line of fire between a hitman that never misses???  I'm lost on that.

I can't remember Harlequin's final line as she saves the day, but acts like she's switching teams.

I was so disappointed that NO UNEXPECTED ACTIONS happened in the film:
- Why did the team stay loyal?  (Except Slipknot, which was funny -- could've at least given him a backstory before icing him.)
- Why does having a Suicide smartphone App keep them in line when Enchantress is destroying all the communications grid?  And why can't any of them smash the phone or shoot the phone or boomerang the phone, etc?
- Why does Diablo transform & doesn't that zap his neck bomb?  (That scene made me feel like I was watching Power Rangers, wanted them all to morph!!)
- Why does Enchantress say shes gonna make a machine, but then have a lightning beacon where everyone can find her, but no machine?  Why does she need all that lightning?  Why couldn't she be naked?
- What's Enchantress' bro's name?  Enchanter?  Or Tentacle Arms?
- Despite not explaining anyone's gear, we do get a background on Katanga's sword -- just enough info to know it'll probably kill the baddie.
- All the dialogue in the bar was painful.  Made a good preview clip, but just hurt during the movie.  Couldve been a chance to toast backstory characters, or even have them actually get drunk, etc...?
- I would've liked to have seen Killer Croc do something distinctly animal-likke, for instance go to the bathroom.  (How'd Harlequin do that in her cell, btw?)

A journey of 20 years - poem

Been clean off weed now nearly 20 years.
Looking back I see so much more clear.
A divorce-framed childhood with traumatic fear.
Two parents with their own childhood issues dear.

Picked up my first beer two years ago after none for 18.
Changed my world view instantly after being so clean.
I now drink more often and pray far less, it would seem.
Reconnected me to social drug use, a happy American scene.

I'm a father now, a husband now, and a working creative freelance.
Tried to work in corporate awhile and succeeded, more or less by chance.
Had managers threaten me, fire me, say "you don't belong here" askance,
But I survived past all of them, then quit that unhealthy dollar dance.

Pursued my dream for both wealth and health; to tell stories and get paid.
I got to shoot a bunch of projects, did well with some, so I stayed.
Then the economy collapsed and my sweet production business was unmade.
I went jobless for almost 2 years, supported on unemployment, and I played.

Joined a group filming shorts, made a few, screened in contests, and won prizes.
But my heart wanted bigger projects, seemingly far out of reach due to the sizes.
The risk of making feature films and failing horribly paralyzes.
The risk of not making my dreams burns as my new mid-life crisis.

I'm happier than I've ever been in so many ways, it's hard to believe.
Committing to a marriage and having our first child (and another coming) has so expanded me.
My inner turmoils has become entertainment rather than pending insanity.
I've left much of my isolation behind and rejoined the rest of humanity.

Yet I must acknowledge that what I've gone through has changed me to the core.
Besides seeming perma-stoned to so many, I'm also so much more.
Only a few see how the power of experience and faith combined have helped me soar.
I've left behind so many flaws that defined me those 20 years before.

The largest victory, however, is to be free of that compulsion to go numb.
I smoked to turn on and trip out, but the overarching effects left me so dumb.
The value in accumulated memory, not wiping the slate clean of nearly every crumb.
Is what has helped me persevere on this dream walk, helped me not to succumb.

So many obstacles in life rise up to stop us from success.
The biggest however, comes from my most sensitive inner recess.
I fear that I'll be revealed as a failure, a fool, a sick and repulsive mess.
But now that I've shared that fear with you, it can be rendered powerless.

It's now time to take the journey I've dreamt of since I can first remember things.
To tell stories and inspire visions beyond anything anyone has ever seen.
I've narrated dreams to my son before he sleeps, but very early he'll say, "The end".
Someday I know we'll journey together in my manifested dream, my friend.

AppsWrap - Mabinogi Duel G2 + work CYA

Just finished first take at AppsWrap write up of Mabinogi Duel.  Wow, this is an excellent Android game!

(I'm trying to break off Apps reviews from here onto separate blog, AppsWrap.  This one is about my LIFE, not just software.)

Please read the write up and provide your feedback?  I can say this -- it's one of the best free to play CCG's (collectible card games) I've encountered in Android, it has animated bouncing boobs, generally nice artwork, and it's got some strategic deck design.  It's Korean, so there's some funny mistranslation and some really interesting cultural crossover stuff here.

Some confusion at work, can't elaborate much except to say it felt like another arbitrary management thing where I got the short end yet again.  Unthrilling, to say the least.

When I screw up, I am accountable.  When managers screw up, what happens -- obfuscate, misdirect, blame someone else.  I've seen this so many times now.  Blech

Update -- back to that previous work thing -- now that I've been laid off, I'm more free to say a few things:

1- that job sucked.  I liked the concept, but the execution was failed.  I could list all the failings, but the simplest way to summarize is that the management was erratic, questionable, and unprofessional. The only upside to their direction was there was no up-front harassment and there was no completely illegal management (which I've seen at other places).

2 - the Director was, to be political, rather unusual.  He'd say things like, "I'm not known to be a micromanager", and then require everything on workdesk to be velcro-taped down in specific positions.

3 - I got laid off again; "We were contracted to video tape 1000+ meetings, but now the [govt organizations] say they only want to film 100 or so this year, so we have to downsize.  Again, this is due to no fault of your own." etc.  Well, last time it was due to automation (ie computerization), and this time it is due to poor management by weirdo Director (see #2, but I will add some more).  Here's a suggestion -- how about laying YOURSELF off, you buttwipe?!?!

4 - Bad management example #2: after the strangest interview I have EVER had, I was hired for a DIFFERENT job (lower paying too) than the one I interviewed for -- PART TIME WEBCAST DIRECTOR.  Another 5 guys were also hired (all of us white males btw).  We all got phone training for 1 month, followed up by on-site training for a month.

Just as we are all up to speed, the Director calls each of us up individually, says the client has decided they'd now prefer to have fulltime employees rather than part timers, so he tells me this and asks, "Would you be open to working full time?"  I said sure.  OK.  The next day, only 3 of us come in.

The Director announces the other 3 were let go because they didn't want to work full time, and congratulations!  2 of you are now fulltime, and you (REkzkaRZ) will remain part time.  WTF?

Although the Director tried to make it seem like the client had just changed their mind, the other supervisors said things like "congratulations, you made the cut.  Get this gig is harder to do than getting into Harvard" and one mistaken 'potshot' comment, that the Director deliberately "decided to try and hire more compliant and flexible people who would commit and stay with the role, rather than the stars".

And then a few weeks later the Director emailed the fulltimers that work hours would now start at 7am.  Since he didn't email me or mention it to me, I didn't acknowledge it and kept working @ 9am.   Then the Director stopped them from being allowed to leave when there was nothing to film (ie no meetings), but I kept on leaving since he never informed me of this.  Then he voided the fulltimers contract offers & made them sign new ones with the new terms -- after already working there for 5+ months.

Anyway, despite the generally weird experience at that job, it did provide me with a title I wanted, 'Director', and they paid me for 6 months to do one of the most simple jobs I've ever done.