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Category Archives: TV


The nostalgic gremlin inside me is at it again, so I’ve decide to sate him with this week’s post: a glimpse at what my childhood was like. I never quite open up to my readers quite like this, and over 100,000 of you have bothered to show up at my site to read my posts, and sixteen of you have made it a weekly basis! So consider this a big thank you to everyone who’s been supporting me. Now, don’t expect this to be a tell-all about myself–I still shall keep personal information at bay.

Without a doubt, I have to dedicate a majority of my childhood to Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel. In fact, the earliest memory I can recall is lying on the couch and watching GUTS from across the room. I was quite the fan of Nickelodeon game shows; the only other shows I watched were Naked Brothers Band and SpongeBob, which I also grew up alongside. I found myself playing SpongeBob games online for long stretches of time, and I can still remember the “Goofy Goober Rock” sequence from the movie like the back of my hand. Oh, and the NBB music wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. Decent, you people call it.

But in 2008, my horizon changed completely thanks to three shows: Total Drama IslandChowder, and Flapjack. Yes, if it wasn’t for these shows, I probably never would’ve become the Cartoon Network fan I am today. And you can assure yourself that I just ate the next two Total Drama seasons up, because I did. Then there’s Disney Channel. I fondly remember watching Kim PossibleThe Emperor’s New SchoolThe ReplacementsSuite Life of Zack & CodyJonas, the list goes on.

Believe it or not, I was reading Goosebumps in the second grade. The first book in the series I ever read was Why I’m Afraid of Bees–an installment I still have today. Rarely did the books ever actually give me goosebumps–but the covers of Phantom of the Auditorium and Be Careful What You Wish For were enough to trigger a very unpleasant night’s sleep. I’m not going to lie. I have something of a Goosebumps collection today, and it’s a shame that Series 2000 and Horrorland will never match the authenticity of the original series. I’m sure many 90s kids are sure to say the same thing. What made the series so unpredictable was that some books were amazing, while others were terrible. I’m not being critical, I’m just stating the facts.

Another favored horror series of mine back in the day is the Chillers saga by Johnathan Rand. Now, Rand is working on two Chillers series: Michigan Chillers and American Chillers. As the titles imply, events within a Michigan Chillers book take place in the good ole Great Lakes State. But American Chillers books can happen anywhere in the fifty states. These books, to be honest, were awfully similar to Goosebumps, but they have covered more subjects that are common in horror literature: werewolves, aliens, zombies, ghosts, vampires, the list goes on. But then the new Chillers came and vacuums are coming to life and crickets are gaining a craving for human meat. But who am I to complain and criticize, old Chillers was the shiz back in the day. Heck, it gave me the inspiration to become a horror author–I’m not saying I am a horror author, I’m still working on it.

Nothing made a day complete quite like getting a couple laughs out of a Captain Underpants book. I was the biggest fan of this series back as a kid; I’d read and remembered each installment by heart, but unfortunately reality has ensued and I consider myself too much of a grown man to continue reading childish stories like Captain Underpants. But watching a video like this one makes me wish for younger days.

Never would I find a series quite like Captain Underpants, where a vile school principal could turn into a superhero who wore nothing but underwear and a cape. But the book I remember the fondest would probably be the third one–that’s where the game changed completely! But as a blogger, I shan’t spoil it for you. This series may have also given me the inspiration to become a comic writer, which is how many people remembered me by. I have to devote a lot of my childhood to Pilkey on this one.

I might as well take the opportunity to remember some more of my favorite book series as a kid:

  • Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel – A 2-time Newbery Honor-winning children’s book series starring a frog and a toad whose friendship take them on many adventures. Easy-to-read vocabulary, imaginative illustrations, and a great moral made this series an instant classic for me.
  • Franklin by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark – A classic children’s book series starring a group of anthropomorphic animals, but the spotlight is on a young turtle boy named Franklin. See as he learns the virtues of friendship and love as he goes through countless scenarios: a bad day, a thunderstorm, the first day of schol, etc.
  • Ready, Freddy! by Abby Klein and John McKinley – First grade is nothing short of a jungle for Freddy Thresher, first grader and amateur shark enthusiast. Read along as he deals with Max the bully, the talent show, show-and-tell competition, homework problems, bedroom horrors, and more. The series has almost 30 installments, so if you like the first book (Tooth Trouble) you can mow down the rest.
  • Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus – 90s kids may remember this one, but I remember it from my elementary school days. It stars a kindergartner named Junie B Jones as she embarks on school misadventures from facing the “stupid smelly bus” to facing the monster living under her bed. Eventually she 1-ups to first grade, where she remains to this day.
  • Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca – Jack and Annie are siblings that live in the fictional Frog Creek, PA. They have a tree house that can magically whisk them into any time or place, from the prehistoric era to San-Fran in the middle of that gnarly quake. They are also assisted on their missions by Morgan le Fay. Like Junie B Jones, the series 1-ups and goes from “Morgan Missions” to “Merlin Missions”, where they remain to this day.

I have fond memories of playing Diddy Kong Racing down in my basement when I should be eating breakfast. It’s just, when I had that controller in my hand, and I was racing down the tracks of Fossil Canyon, it just conjured this feeling where everything in my world just felt right. Even if the game occasionally froze. To a lesser extent, I had that feeling playing Super Mario 64; I have both of the games to this day. But back in the day was the best when we had a little emulator called Project 64 that changed my life forever. I had every N64 game thinkable at my fingertips–the nostalgia would kill me if I had that experience to relive. But I still have an N64 console, a couple of controllers, even some paks. But I honestly have to say that not only was I a Nickelodeon kid growing up, but I sure as heck was also a Nintendo kid. The N64 stuck with me for literally my entire childhood, and then the PlayStation 2 came in and changed everything.

The PlayStation 2 picked up in my childhood where the Nintendo 64 left off, and it’s probably my most cherished childhood memento I have. (Too bad it doesn’t really function perfectly.) The games we had for the console just happened to kick major buttocks and conjure even more nostalgia for me as I type this post. One amazing game I had was SpongeBob: Lights, Camera, Pants, which was basically a SpongeBob-edition Mario Party game. But it was still superior whether I was amplifying the experience by playing with friends or soaking up the goodness by flying solo. I have great memories of knocking my friend out of the ring in the “Goo-ladiators” level, or performing SpongeBob’s solo in the “Rock Bottom” level.

Another great game I had was SSX Tricky, the first and greatest sports game I’ve ever played. My version of the game concept was simple: once you have some big air, Über Trick out to score as many points as you can before landing. When you’re not tricking out, you might be racing against competitive AI or helping upgrade your characters, unlocking boards, costumes, etc. I know the game like the back of my hand, and so do my siblings, who are equally good at it. (I think this game was the one thing we could bond over besides TV shows.) The game also had the best soundtrack:

I might as well recall another game that, while not as legendary as these other two games, was definitely a decent time-killer: Tony Hawk’s Project 8. I can just recall the game’s lenient physics that could allow you to perform a perfect half-pipe transfer or do a clean ollie over a fence. When I wasn’t skating, I sure as heck was bailing or unsuccessfully trying to perform rad tricks. The soundtrack for the game wasn’t half bad, but there’s only two songs I remember fondly: “Gone Daddy Gone” (Gnarls Barkley) and “Smack” (Ugly Duckling).

Oh, and one last thing. I also remember playing lots of music games back in the day: I had the Guitar Hero/Guitar Hero II dual pack, so I had two times the rock-star goodness in one 2-disc case. We also had the first two Rock Band games–no, not in a dual pack. Luckily, our Guitar Hero guitars worked with the game, and the only thing that was new were the drums and mic. Oh yeah, then there was that time where I may have broken the drum pad, but luckily lots of people face the same problem.

The Spy Kids series had my favorite movies ever when I was a kid. It introduced me to an entirely new world full of science-fiction gadgets and fantasy creatures, while still containing traditional laughs fresh for the whole family. I mean, what other movie features beings with thumbs for limbs and a head? I don’t remember Spy Kids all too well, but I can recall the sequel like the back of my hand. Remember, when all the kids fought against the Magna Men, and then Carmen and Juni were sword-fighting the skeletons on the edge of the cliff, and then they fell into that volcano, and then Carmen did a live concert at the end?

Oh, TMI? Sorry about that, I just had a lot to say. Oh yeah, and Lilly from Hannah Montana was in it OKAY I’M DONE! Then Spy Kids 3 came out, and that was an awesome movie too with the video game universe, but then Spy Kids 4 came out. Yeah, we don’t talk about that movie, it’s hard to even call it a Spy Kids movie. That’s why I look at the series as a trilogy with an extremely bad movie. Oh, and there was also Sharkboy and Lavagirl with the gosh-awful VFX, but the chance of it winning kids over is 9:1.

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I think that’s all I have to say about my childhood! Hungry for more nostalgia? Check out The 90s Are All That on TeenNick every night from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET! (I was not paid to say that.) Besides that, tune in next Friday for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: “(Parody) Everything Wrong With Equestria Girls in 7 Minutes or Less” by LittleshyFiM. It’s a hilarious parody of CinemaSins, so I recommend you check them out too. Am I the only one who didn’t know this movie existed until now?!



When I was a wee young man, I was raised on Nickelodeon. Figure It OutGUTS, Double Dare 2000SpongeBob, I watched it all. But around summer 2008, I ripped my eyes from Nick for the first time ever and became a fan of–you probably guessed it–Cartoon Network. Chowder and Flapjack were probably my top two most-watched series from the Network at the time, but then I saw something that hooked me like a trout. Something I’m a strong fan of to this very day. The killer app that brought me and probably millions of other people just like me to become fans of Cartoon Network. It also showed me that Canada isn’t just home of the ice hockey. It is called Total Drama. Now, for a boring recap of the past four seasons. If you want to skip down, scroll down a bit. Or press Ctrl+F and type four periods.

Cartoon Network and their Canadian friend Teletoon wanted to make some sort of mockery of the conventions commonly found in reality TV, so they created twenty-five teen contestants and settled them at Camp Wawanakwa, a fictitious island in Muskoka, Ontario. The campers were Duncan, Tyler, Lindsay, LeShawna, DJ, Eva, Justin, Owen, Noah, Harold, Geoff, Heather, Trent, Gwen, Cody, Izzy, Bridgette, Courtney, Katey, Sadie, Ezekiel, and Beth. From thence Total Drama Island was born.

They were split into two teams: the Screaming Gophers and the Killer Bass. These two teams were given challenges for each episode–from dodgeball to Fear Factor–and at the end of each episode there was a final campfire gathering for the losing team. Every camper received a marshmallow to ensure they were safe for another episode–except one unlucky teen. They had to walk the Dock of Shame, and were taken away by the Boat of Losers. This process went on for 26 episodes over the course of seven months (June to December 2008), and ultimately after a season of sabotage, heartbreak, and alliances, one camper walked away with a grand prize of $100,000. But that wasn’t the case in other countries. In the PAL region, the loser of the American version was actually the winner. I guess they wanted to change things up, which became a recurring occurrence in future seasons.

A week after the season finale, the campers were invited back to the island to participate in a no-rules hunt for a silver case with a million dollars inside, which unraveled into a series of unpredictable events that had only one way to end: a season two, which premiered in summer 2009 under the name of Total Drama Action. Instead of 25 campers, there were only 14 that were split into the Killer Grips and the Screaming Gaffers, and the challenges were now movie genre-based. The season took place at a deserted Toronto film lot. Instead of joining for a final bonfire, the losing team had to attend an award ceremony where marshmallows were replaced by Gilded Chris Awards (made in the honor of the host Chris McClain). Whoever didn’t get a GCA had to take the Walk of Shame down a red carpet, and was taken off the lot by the Lame-o-sine. This process went on for 26 more episodes over another seven months, and one lucky camper went away with not $100,000 but one million dollars!

The season’s special didn’t come until spring 2010, when the cast was nominated for a Gemmie Award for best reality show ensemble. The drama is documented by the hosts of Celebrity Manhunt (a celeb gossip show), Josh and Blaineley. Yes, Blaineley is a girl. However, this heartfelt reunion takes a detour when Chris announces that he will be replacing them with a new show called Total Drama Dirtbags. In an attempt to save their fame, all of the contestants (plus newcomer Sierra) race to NYC to defeat a team of dirtbags and their leader Alejandro. But what does Chris really have planned?…That’s right, a season three! 17 contestants managed to win the reward of starring in season 3, while seven unlucky campers were left in the dust.

Two months after the special, Total Drama World Tour premiered as the third season. Three newcomers were added to the roster of fifteen: the vague Alejandro, the fangirl-ish Sierra, and Blaineley from Celeb Manhunt. The season takes place on several locations worldwide (Tokyo, Paris, Egypt, etc.), where challenges take place, but the season’s hub was on the Total Drama Jumbo Jet. GCAs are replaced with barf bags full of peanuts, and the unlucky camper must take a parachute and take the Drop of Shame out of the plane. But here’s the biggest change: whenever Chris rings a bell and a special icon shows up onscreen, the campers must break into song. That’s right, they need to sing. If they don’t sing, they get eliminated on the spot. Check out some of my favorites:


There are now three teams instead of two: Team Amazon, Team Victory, and Team Chris Is Really Really Really Really Hot. Yeah, you can kinda tell who named that last one. Anyway, this process continued for another 26 episodes over six months, and there was no season special.

The fourth and latest season, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island (originally Total Drama Reloaded), premiered last summer. The story of this season is probably the most unique yet–during World Tour Chris rented out Camp Wawanakwa to a toxic waste company, which used it as a dump. When Chris bought it back for season four, it was covered in biohazardous toxic waste, increasing dangers for a new generation of campers. This new generation comes in the form of thirteen campers: Cameron, Anne Marie, Mike, Zoey, Lightning, Dawn, B, Sam, Brick, Scott, Jo, Dakota, and Staci. This season is very similar to Island, but the challenges are more gross, more embarrassing, and more lethal. Another big change is that the person whose name is called last is eliminated, and the one who receives the final marshmallow, which is toxic. They are taken off the island in a giant catapult via the Hurl of Shame. This process went on for only thirteen episodes over summer 2012. Currently it doesn’t look like there’s gonna be a special.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the fifth season of Total DramaTotal Drama All Stars. This show takes place back at Camp W but is split into two halves, both of them equally important. The first half is a merge of the old and new casts as “all stars”. According to Wikipedia, the fourteen most popular campers from past seasons will be returning, and there are 13 announced campers so far: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Lightning, Lindsay, Mike, Sam, Sierra, and Zoey.

They’ll be split into two teams: the Heroic Hamsters and the Villainous Vultures, pitting the good guys against the bad guys. So far, the official Hamsters are Cameron, Gwen, Mike, Sierra, and Zoey. The official Vultures are Alejandro, Heather, and Courtney. The grand prize will still be a million bucks, but halfway through the season things will change dramatically. The Hamsters and Vultures will disband, and the winner of every future challenge receives immunity for only themselves, and a non-immune camper gets voted off. The process continues until it comes down to two campers, which will decide the winner and the loser.

Christian Potenza, the voice of Chris, has released some lines from the fourth episode of the season:

When a Hero’s eating time is up, they hear this … and the Villains get this … Last time on a very special episode of Total Drama All-Stars: … Say hello to my metal friend! … I sincerely doubt it, Al … next, I’ll allow it, his pain was our gain … Which team will finish their barf-tastic breakfast first? Find out after the break on Total Drama All-Stars!”

The series was originally going to premiere this summer, but now it should be premiering anytime in Q4 2013. Canadians should expect it next winter.

Tdpilogo

TDPI Island

The new island.

This will probably be the start of something new and something big for Total Drama: for season six, they’re moving to a new island. Pahkitew Island, to be exact. The season will contain 14 contestants and 13 episodes, and Canadians should expect it next fall. Right now, not much is known about season six except for what the island could look like. Also, in case you didn’t know, Pahkitew is Cree for “explode”. Oh joy.

Anyway, that’s it for this week! Are you excited for the next two seasons coming out? Have you been a fan of Total Drama from the very beginning, and will you be until the very end? Find out when All Stars and Pahkitew Island premiere on Cartoon Network! Make sure to tune in every Friday for awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America (and Canada),

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: I’m not really one to Facebook quite yet, but news is spreading like wildfire that the social network is updating in quite infuriating ways. This viral hit from ExtremelyDecentFilms shows what it would be like if these updates happened in real life, and it amplifies the frustration in the most hilarious ways.



Hey guys it’s Sam. Back in late 2010, I created a series called Joke Time, where I told Q&A jokes, clever puns, knock knock jokes, and yo mama jokes. It lasted for three episodes over three months before it officially ended. Now I want to have my own diverse segment in something of a homage to that series, but it doesn’t have anything to do with jokes. It’s about trivia. Y’see, I don’t know lots of information, but I know one heck of a lot of trivia! This week’s episode has been made centric to a lone topic: SpongeBob. Now, fasten your seatbelts and prepare to see Nick’s porous pal like never before!

SpongeBob SquarePants

  • Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, says he came up with his character’s voice after he heard the yell of an angry dwarf.
  • Each character on SpongeBob has their own unofficial age–for example, Krabs is “seventy” and SpongeBob is “twenty-six”.
  • The thing is, although SpongeBob would’ve been “thirteen” by the series premiere, he is old enough to be in driver’s ed and to be finding his own job.
  • SpongeBob was originally called SpongeBoy, but the name was changed after the original was found out to be already trademarked (BY A MOP!). The “Sponge” was kept in because Hillenburg feared some kids would mistake for a talking piece of cheese.
  • Karen, Plankton’s WIFE (wired integrated female electroencephalograph), was named after the wife of series creator Stephen Hillenburg. She is also voiced by Jill Talley, Tom Kenny’s wife.
  • Stephen Hillenburg first came up with the idea for the series due to his time as a marine biologist. He pitched his idea to Nickelodeon by bringing a fish tank into the board room, explaining what was living inside it. He then dropped a drawing of SpongeBob inside, and said, “This is SpongeBob, the star of your new show.”
  • Hillenburg came up with the idea for the show in 1984, but only began work on it in 1996 after Rocko’s Modern Life (a 90s Nick cartoon) was cancelled.
  • The Krusty Krab’s siren is identical to the siren in The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Coincidentally, Clancy Brown–the voice of Krabs–was in the said movie.
  • Once, Spike TV attempted to convince Hillenburg to create an adult version of SpongeBob for their adults-only animated block. The show would be very similar to Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon, but Hillenburg knew what was right and turned down the offer. Luckily, Ren & Stimpy APC only survived for the entire summer of 2003 before being cancelled.
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy’s Invisible Boatmobile isn’t actually a boat–it’s a 1959 Cadillac.
  • The Krabby Patty was originally called the Barnacle Burger according to concept art.
  • While Hillenburg was a director of Rocko, he showed writer Martin Olson a comic book called The Intertidal Zone which he had made in college. Olson raved about the comic and suggested he turn it into an underwater cartoon show, which became SpongeBob.
  • SpongeBob‘s first season was the only season to use traditional cel animation. When season two started, they began digital inking, painting, and editing. I guess that’s one of the reasons why the second season was the best season.
  • The show is known for having a French narrator, and this was inspired by Jacques-Yves Cousteau who influenced Hillenburg’s interest in marine biology.
  • Coincidentally, Cousteau studied aquatic life himself, but passed away two years before SpongeBob began.
  • Each main character on SpongeBob could actually be based off of one deadly sin. Krabs is greed, Plankton is envy, Patrick is sloth, Sandy is pride, Squidward is wrath, Gary is gluttony, and SpongeBob is lust. No, not sexual desire, but a passionate desire. In this case, for the affections of friend and foe, but generally for life. Carpe diem, baby!
  • Much like SpongeBob, Hillenburg once worked as a seafood restaurant fry cook.
  • SpongeBob was given a pineapple to live in since it is a common motif in Polynesian crafts, and Hillenburg thought he’d like the smell of pineapple. Well, considering sea animals look at smelling as a very vital sense.
  • Despite Squidward having six legs, he is an octopus. No, it’s not because Octoward didn’t roll off the tongue–it’s because animators thought that giving him eight legs would have a burdened look for him.
  • Tom Kenny also voices Dog on CatDog (another 90s Nick cartoon) and the Mayor of Townsville on Powerpuff Girls.
  • Stephen Hillenburg notes that although the Krabby Patty formula is still very secret, it may be vegetarian. If it had meat, some Bikini Bottomites would be cannibals!
  • SpongeBob is actually helping the NYC Department of Environmental Protection by promoting water conservation using the slogan, “Save water–don’t drip New York dry!”
  • Despite the show being underwater, SpongeBob more closely resembles a kitchen sponge than a sea sponge, since that wouldn’t work well for a cartoon character. If he was a sea sponge, he’d look like this:

  • Hillenburg also thought that SpongeBob wouldn’t make it to a season two, but it is already on its ninth season today!
  • In 2007, President Obama told TV Guide that SpongeBob was his favorite cartoon character, since he watched the show with his daughters.
  • In Korea, SpongeBob is known as Square Square Sponge.
  • The show’s iconic theme song was inspired by a sea shanty called “Blow the Man Down”.
  • Doug Lawrence, the voice of Plankton, also voices Larry the Lobster and Johnny the fish head.
  • The episode “SpongeBob’s Last Stand” was released on Earth Day 2010.
  • The said episode was also initially SpongeBob‘s series finale, but despite that the show creators saw that they could steal the “longest running Nicktoon” title from Rugrats and kept going.
  • Two years later, SpongeBob finally accomplished its mission when it aired its 173rd episode “Squiditis”. (Rugrats only lasted for 172 episodes.)
  • SpongeBob actually inspired the name of a fungus species: Spongiforma squarepantsii.
  • Much like ShrekSpongeBob received a 4D “movie” found at places including Sea World and Nick Suites Resort.
  • It only lasted for four minutes while Shrek 4D lasted sixteen.
  • In April 2013, a prequel 4D movie called The Great Jelly Rescue premiered at Nick Family Suites.
  • The SpongeBob film will be receiving a late 2014 sequel directed by executive producer Paul Tibbitt.
  • The sequel’s budget shouldn’t be surpass $100 million.
  • SpongeBob has created a merchandising revenue of $8 billion for Nick.

I hope you can look at SpongeBob in a new light now! Anyway, be sure to tune in next Friday at 1:00 PM EST for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: A couple days before Halloween 2011, our good friend Toby Turner (aka Tobuscus) began a cartoon series known as Tobuscus Adventures starring him and his friend Gabuscus with crisp animation from Gonzossm. The series garnered 34.7 million hits for Toby, but then a little thing called YouTube Comedy Week showed up. To celebrate, Toby and Gabe were put in a brand new environment like never before–a zombie apocalypse. This episode debuted the show’s new animation technique, the inclusion of Toby’s dog Gryphon, and Toby’s biggest project yet: a Tobuscus Adventures mobile game. Well, you gotta watch the video to find out more!



Last fall (I know I’ve been saying “last summer” for a while now), I made a post about Adventure Time‘s complete first season finally hitting DVD, alongside the Reg Show Slack Pack. I went into immense detail describing each and every episode, and since then I’ve been taking a look at their most recent DVDs in the same fashion. Over a year after the release of the complete first season DVD, Finn and Jake’s second round of adventures have finally been condensed onto one disc that offers 26 episodes of adventure beyond any other.

AdventureTimeSeason2.jpg

Adventure Time debuted on Cartoon Network in 2010, and it redefined the–alright, enough with the boring monologue about the show, we all know you came for the eps!

It Came from the Nightosphere” – This is probably one of the best AT episodes out there, and scored the show its first Primetime Emmy nomination. Anyway, after Marcie sings a song about the corrupted relationship between her and her father, Finn attempts to make Marcie feel better by traveling into the Nightosphere to release her dad. However, instead of reconciling with his daughter he goes on a savage rampage throughout Ooo, heartlessly eating souls with a few condescending one-liners. When Finn discovers the problem he has created, he attempts to defeat Marcie’s father while at the same time attempting to conciliate Marcie.

The Eyes” – When Finn and Jake are trying to get some quality sleep, they are kept awake by a horse that stands in the wake of the moon staring the two down. They try and fail various times to block the horse from their sight, and they are forced to come out and attempt to confront the horse themselves. Its “whacked out poo brain” cannot decipher what the two are saying, so they attempt to get rid of it using the strangest and weirdest violence-free methods. In this episode, we learn that Jake can play Beethoven and Mozart on his viola: most specifically, Moonlight Sonata and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Loyalty to the King” – When F & J rescue the Engagement Ring Princess from the Ice King’s clutches, our frosty fiend is distraught that ERP has supposedly broken up with him. Meanwhile, a new king called “the Nice King” becomes an icon among the princesses. When Princess Princess Princess mentions the new king in front of F & J, they decide to become the king’s knights. When the king “imprisons” the princesses and makes them find a suitably beautiful princess to marry, he sends F & J on an important mission that uncovers a dark secret about the new king…

Blood Under the Skin” – When Finn gets a splinter, he visits Choose Goose to get a protective thimble which causes several nearby knights (especially Sir Slicer) to ridicule him and show off their armor. When Finn asks Choose Goose to hook him up with some click-click armor, his offer to trade the armor for Jake’s head is rejected, so he gives them a poem which leads them on a quest to find the Armor of Zeldron. Which, according to Choosy, is totally click-click. He must travel through a swamp, silence the echoing of the woods, and defeat the one thing that stands between him and his armor. All while avoiding Sir Slicer and his endless stack of condescending ridicules.

Storytelling” – Jake has become ill, and his one request from Finn is to tell him a story. But not just any story. This story needs to contain romance, fighting, suspense, and a happy ending. To find elements for his story, Finn travels to the forest where his story search ends up getting out of hand–he catches Boobafina the duck and Mr. Fox making out for “romance”, starts a fight with Teenage Bear for “fighting”, and even threatens a nest of birds with a rock for “suspense.” But by the time he realizes what he’s doing to the forest inhabitants is wrong, Finn faces “becoming one with the soil” when he hears the call of the wild…

Slow Love” – When a snail named Snorlock attacks the treehouse, he says he comes in peace and is simply looking for love. When Snorlock ends up using the treehouse as a shell, Finn and Jake attempt to teach Snorlock the bases of talking to the ladies with role-playing, saying that feminine mollusks love men with swords. When Snorlock finds a sword and beatboxes at the same time, he woos a group of female snails that begin to destroy the house. When Finn & Jake attempt to protect their house, they discover Snorlock’s darkest secret…

Power Animal” – When Finn’s energy and focus becomes the center of attention at a roof party, a vague gnome is told by him that he has enough energy to run a huge machine. Not weird at all, right? Well, after the party at night Finn is kidnapped by the gnome, befuddling Jake and BMO at his absence in the morning. Meanwhile at Finn’s captive headquarters, the gnome from the party is revealed to be the Grandmaster of the Gnomes, and he had been captured by his henchmen to–you guessed it–use his immense energy to power the “Upturnoverdrive”, which will flip around the entire world on its axis. When Jake realizes Finn is missing, he searches for him but must overcome several distractions including telling jokes with Nymphs and being possessed with the energy of a thousand partying demons… (Yeah, you heard me.)

Crystals Have Power” – After Jake wins a “tough guy contest”, he has a flashback dream of his father saying, “It’s okay to hurt anyone”, which he strongly disagrees with. Thence Jake decides to start a non-violence vow–however, his timing is off, as a crystal they find opens a portal to the Crystal Dimension, where Finn is kidnapped for their great master. What makes the situation go from bad to worse is that Jake must go to non-violent resorts to save Finn while he is being crystallized. When Finn becomes a crystal, Jake laments over his fallen friend when a crystal version of Tree Trunks suddenly appears and a secret or two gets revealed… (Man, what’s with all the secrets? And why is Finn getting kidnapped so much?)

The Other Tarts” – The royal tart is the most delicious confection in the entire Candy Kingdom, and people would risk their lives just for a single bite of it. The only one reliable enough to take these tarts through the whole kingdom and into the Badlands for the back rubbing ceremony was the Royal Tart Toter. As the Toter is now too old and daft to do his job, PB needs a new Toter to take the royal tarts into the Badlands–and who else to rely on but Finn and Jake? But this is a life-or-death situation–if the two fail to deliver the tarts punctually, PB will be beheaded! Knowing that a princess’ head is on the line, the duo chooses to defend the tarts by taking the most perilous routes, but the plan goes haywire when they come across threats from a group of hobos to a cave of zombies…

To Cut A Woman’s Hair” – This is easily one of the greatest and most pivotal Adventure Time episodes ever made, and it is among my all-time favorites. The story starts when Finn and Jake are chewing apples to feed the masticated matter to a group of baby birds, and their mother rewards the two by calling them heroes. Meanwhile, a tree witch, who was apparently eavesdropping the entire time, emerges from the bushes in awe of standing before true heroes. She is unhappy with her balding, and would love to have a nice head of hair. When F & J attempt to flirt with her, she shows that she’s legitimate by threatening to suck Jake into her “bottomless bottom” (talk about a black hole theory), so Finn goes on a journey to find some princess hair for the tree witch before Jake gets sucked in.

The Chamber of Frozen Blades” – This episode was so creative, I’ve created my own Street Fighter IV-based fighting game for it. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Anyway, F & J are having a stakeout in the Ice Kingdom, observing the Ice King’s frosty fortress. They’ve seen no change for six hours, so they decide to go in. Finn wants to hide until the Ice King comes back, but Jake resorts to abandoning their hiding spot, which causes Finn to chuck a meatball at him. He misses and hits their foe’s holo-computer instead, which ends up breaking into a sheet of ice that uncovers the Ice King’s secret ninja cave. As they learn the art of fridjitzu and become ice ninjas, they play around with their powers and test their abilities. Meanwhile, the Ice King is at a hospital with a seemingly sick Gunter, but once he returns home (causing F & J to hide once more) he realizes his penguin pal isn’t sick at all…

Her Parents” – Lady Rainicorn is apprehensive about letting her parents meet Jake during lunch, since rainicorns and dogs have had some past beef to the point of warfare for territory in the Crystal Dimension (how convenient), and she is nervous her parents will hate Jake as they hate all dogs. Finn uses condiments to paint Jake up and covers the house with rainbow jelly to trigger a rainicorny ambience. When Lady’s parents arrive, they can speak proper English due to universal translators, and they initially believe Jake is a “handsome rainicorn”. As Finn helps Jake pull off the rainicorn persona while playing traditional rainicorn games like Capeladapelawamapthhpppppthhhhh, Finn is overworked, injured, and about to lose his final straw. Unfortunately, when Jake says that his friend is “a little raw but has great taste”, they interpret this as believing that Finn is their lunch…

The Pods” – When our heroes stumble upon a dying Gnome Knight that has been turned into a frog, and needs a “pure hero” to protect  a chest with three magic pods inside. Apparently two are good and one is evil, and that one evil pod must be destroyed once and for all. Finn and Jake accept his offer moments before he dies, and they decide to plant the pods to see which one is evil. The next day, one pod splits open to reveal a group of cute piglets in several costumes including a chef, a bumblebee, and a magician. The second splits open to reveal a pack of magic wands, which the piglets play with. The third splits open to reveal nothing but ice cream. Eventually, Finn and Jake discover that they’ve signed up for more than they bargained for when the piglets mysteriously vanish…

The Silent King” – After F & J defeat the tyrannical ruler of the goblin race, King Xergiok, they get taken to the Goblin Kingdom’s palace where they meet the royal chief-of-staff, Gummy, who wishes for Finn to become their new king. Since Xergiok loved to spank his fellow goblins on the tush, the goblins were surprisingly unfamiliar with compassionate treatment. Finn attempts to reject the offer, but after realizing that the goblins could start a destructive war without a ruler, he accepts the offer and has Jake as his “queen”. Unfortunately, when he and Jake refuse to read the book of royal rules, he discovers that goblins run under a very restricted system that prohibits him from brushing his teeth, chewing his food, or even helping goblins in trouble! Speaking of misfortune, Xergiok is planning the ultimate attack-with-a-vengeance on the kingdom with an army of Earclops in an attempt to finish what he had started…

The Real You” – At the Candy Kingdom, PB is holding her annual science BBQ and Finn and Jake attempt to present her a gift–a scale model of the Candy Kingdom made from Finn’s spit bubbles–when she ends up sneezing it away. Chet (that candy corn zombie from “Slumber Party Panic”, but in non-zombie form) and Peppermint Butler quarrel over who will be the BBQ’s grillmeister, and they end up knocking over the grill and starting a fire which Finn puts out quickly and heroically. Impressed by Finn’s heroism, PB grants him the honor of being a speaker at the BBQ. Finn, apprehensive about not being intelligent enough to impress PB, goes to the library with Jake to stock up on smarts, They get extremely bored and cause a ruckus which gets them kicked out. After unsuccessfully infiltrating a Worm College class, Finn visits Choose Goose’s magic shack. There he discovers the Glasses of Nerdicon–in exchange for entertainment–which instantly levels him up to full out genius, knowing every concept of the universe and beyond like nobody’s business. But could Finn’s smartness be his biggest downfall at the BBQ?

Guardians of Sunshine” – Finn and Jake are spending time playing Guardians of Sunshine on BMO, complaining about how their enemies and lava pits are nothing but a cakewalk. However, the difficulty level bumps up when they face the final boss–Sleepy Sam–who kills them, like every other time they’ve played the game. Finn wonders how it would be like if they were in the game, so at night they trick a sleeping BMO into pressing a panel button on his control pad and transporting them into the game. They are converted to 3D, where they discover that the game is bigger than humanly conceptualized, and Jake attempts to cross the pit like he usually would in real life–he dies twice. When Finn dies once when facing Bouncy Bee, and they are unable to beat Hunny Bunny. If Finn and Jake couldn’t beat these bosses, Sleepy Sam must be a pain in the everywhere

Death in Bloom” – PB puts F & J in charge of her Princess Plant while she attends a science conference in Veggie Village, but it turns out that F & J have no plant-sitting experience whatsoever. In fact, F & J’s absurd techniques kill the plant before the end of the day, and Finn brings up the idea of trekking to the land of the dead to claim its soul before PB returns. Peppermint Butler overhears this and opens up a portal for the two, which leads them into the underworld. When they come across Death, the person they need most, he furtively uses reverse psychology to erase Jake’s memory and challenges Finn to a music battle for both the plant’s soul and Jake’s memories. But here’s the plot takes a turn–every contest needs its judge

Susan Strong” – While uprooting taffy-tree stumps, Finn and Jake come across a strange metal hatch in the ground. They follow its path to an underground garbage-infested cave, which is actually inhabited with the tribe of the “Hyoomans”. (Sound it out. :-? ) Among these Hyoomans is one Hyooman that Finn and Jake focus solely on. As Finn had mentioned the sun coming down into the cave, she tells them “su-sun” when they ask for her name, which is interpreted as Susan. After seeing her inhuman strength, F & J ultimately name her Susan Strong. When they decide to bring Susan to the surface to teach them about the world surrounding them–like with any beginner–they get more than they bargained for, and eventually they have to stop Susan from getting to the Candy Kingdom to–you know. :(

Mystery Train” – To celebrate Finn’s thirteenth birthday, he and Jake board a train with a mysterious pink-skinned conductor. While riding, Col. Candy Corn and Mr. Candy Cane end up bumping into one another on the bumpy ride, which infuriates the colonel. However, when the train goes through a tunnel–making everything pitch black–only Mr. Candy Cane’s skeleton remains! Doctor Donut accuses the colonel of being the perpetrator, but Finn knows that the murderer would never be the first one suspected. When sharing details about a person who could’ve framed him, the colonel is found dead after the lights flicker again. A gumdrop states that anyone could be the murderer–even Finn–and quite ironically (almost poetically) he is the next to go. The train ride quickly turns into a high-speed whodunit with innocents dying left and right, and Finn’s final suspect is the Conductor himself, who had used an alibi of being “awesome and cool”. After the epiphany, Finn and the Conductor engage in a hardcore fight possibly to the death…

Go With Me” – While having a sunset picnic, Jake brings up the Couples Only Movie Night to Finn, but he is unsure who to go with. Jake is already hooked with Lady, and Finn tries to practice his kissing skills on a duck, only to freak it out. Jake ends up being his wingman for movie night and teacher about basic couples, and Finn decides to call someone that he didn’t need to kiss. It is none other than PB, who unfortunately turns down Finn’s “romantic” offer since she was practicing for the Whistling Choir Death Match Championship. Finn is distraught, but Jake motivates him by saying she really did want to go and they just need to “convince” her. Finn ends up using Marcie to make PB jealous by using several phases, and even some of Marcie’s more abrasive advice. When PB is drawn more and more away from Finn as his plans become more and more strange, Finn discovers that his perfect girl was right under his nose…

Belly of the Beast‘ – When Finn and Jake’s Tree Fort gets all shook up, rudely awakening them from their slumbers, they find a firework-spewing beast outside the fort. After hearing cries from inside the beast, they decide to venture inside the behemoth’s body to rescue the victim–the victim actually being a bear who needs help putting up streamers. In fact, inside the monster’s stomach F & J find themselves inside an entire bear rave complete with flashing lights and fireworks, every partygoer seeming oblivious to the rave’s location. When they fail to get any attention with their statement, they decide to reconcile with the party’s patriarch–heh heh, its “party”-triarch–Party Pat (Andy Samberg), whom resides at the “blood waterbed” that is the beast’s heart. And besides, if Pat leaves, everyone follows. And not even a syrupy duet ballad from the two can save the bears from their possible fates. Let’s just say it involves a lot of lava…

The Limit” – When looking at the night sky, they hope for a shooting star to come so they can wish for an Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant. However, a firework streaks across the sky instead and makes a message upon explosion that says “BUTT”. This actually means “Baby Us Trouble Time”, which is a distress signal from Hot Dog Princess’ knights, who are trapped in a labyrinth. Our heroes decide to investigate themselves, and they are pointed to a wish-granting beast at the center of the maze. However, in this labyrinth, Jake’s powers have a limit which is clearly shown as Jake grows paler and weaker. As Finn and Jake reach the heart of the labyrinth, Jake becomes inches away from his breaking point as Finn gets closer to solving the puzzle…

Video Makers” – You may not know it, but Finn and Jake hold their own annual nightly Finn and Jake Movie Club at their tree fort. Tonight they’re showing old Mushroom War-era flicks (the War was what made Ooo look all post-apocalyptic-y), but one thing is restricting them–and if you guessed copyrighting, you were correct. Realizing that they’ve been committing criminal actions of illegally showing copyrighted movies, they decide to cancel for the night (despite Jake believing the pre-War copyright was powerless) and eventually find a video camera after the Club, and decide to show their own movies at the club. The next day, Finn, Jake, BMO, and Princess Bubblegum all work together to create a movie. But while Finn wants a tense action-adventure, Jake–surprisingly–wants a syrupy romcom. :neutral: And with every piece of footage Finn makes come criticism from Jake, and with every piece of footage Jake makes comes criticism from Finn, and so on. And left with the prestigious job of editor, BMO’s got his hands full over what to do–until he decides to quit the fight through the movie.

Mortal Folly” – After a session of meditating on the balcony, Finn and Jake are given special gems from Princess Bubblegum like the one in her tiara, set to protect them at where they were just about to go–the chamber of an evil sorcerer known as the Lich King, currently trapped in an amber prison. The gems’ protection purposes were that just staring at the Lich without this gem would possess you, similar to how anyone who dared to stare at Medusa turned to stone. Unfortunately, at this time the Waving Snail (you might have seen him in Easter eggs cameos in select episodes) crawls in, gets possessed, and slowly breaks the Lich’s amber prison and sets him free! Only left with the gems, the Gauntlet of Billy (Ooo’s greatest hero), and a pink sweater (for Finn as a token of affection, obviously), Finn and Jake must venture on what must be their most dangerous journey yet to prevent the Lich from regaining all his power. At the same time, they must break through an equally dangerous problem–the Ice King with his persistent pesters to receive a blessing to marry PB.

Mortal Recoil” – Now, I’m gonna have to spoil what happened at the end of “Mortal Folly” or else “Mortal Recoil” really won’t make much sense. Y’see, after the Lich’s defeat, the Ice King decided to pick up PB to “set her free”–but only clumsily and rather stupidly dropped her into the Lich’s Well of Power. The effect of the boiling well melted her body through–remember, she’s Princess Bubblegum–but, despite what the title card foreshadows, she did not die. She was rushed to the Candy Kingdom’s hospital, and (in a scene resembling your average super-cheesy medical drama) she was thankfully revived although she briefly flatlined. Tons of people came to see her recover, including Finn, Jake, and the Ice King. And Finn got a new pack courtesy of the princesses as a token for beating the Lich! Finn’s really put the Ice King on his blacklist now–this was clearly seen at the hospital–but he and Jake offer to nurse PB back to health. But they find some strange occurings in PB’s behavior, like crawling, heavy breathing, convulsions and other spasms. But as the day goes on, it is shown that the Well really left its mark on PB, turning her into an altered beast that Finn and Jake must fight to save Ooo and every single lifeform in it.

Heat Signature” – In the season finale, Finn and Jake visit Marcie as she and her friends watch Heat Signature, which could be by the looks of it a sci-fi horror/thriller (considering its tagline is a blatant Alien reference). These friends of hers are three ghosts: Wendy, Booboo, and Georgy. When Finn is discomforted by Marcie’s couch (which she never uses due to her flying powers), he and Jake wish they were vampires or ghosts. Marcie tells the two to close their eyes for the Biting Ritual–which is actually the Pinching and Ketchup-Dabbing Ritual. The prank continues when Finn and Jake believe that they’re invisible and try to mess with LSP, but Marcie’s ghost friends become more and more hostile to the point of attempted murder…

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Now don’t be hopping out of your chair and driving to your nearest Walmart–this baby hits stores in two weeks, the Tuesday after next Tuesday. That gives you a lot of time to save money and stuff. Well, that’s all folks! Tune in next Friday for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: It wasn’t a real hard decision to pick this video. Ever since my big bro introduced me to South Korean pop music (“K-pop”), I became overwhelmed with all these artists I was listening to. I actually put up a post about one of those artists a while back–remember, Girls’ Generation? Anyway, this was another Korean artists Chris introduced me to–well, actually they’re a trio. They’re called Clazziquai Project, or just Clazziquai, and they specialize in making the best Korean house in the country. They have released several albums: Instant PigColor Your SoulLove Child of the Century, the three-part Mucho series, and their latest one Blessed. This song comes from Instant Pig, and it was probably the trio’s first breakthrough hit on a trail of success. It talks about a girl and a guy singing sort of a “he said she said” love song from two different perspectives, and it’s called “Sweety”. This is probably my favorite song. Like, ever.

Here’s the English version:



Hey guys it’s Sam. Back last year I made a post where the good ole Bookie made a post summing up all of the good books that were coming out that year. Now, I’m here to bring it again, and now you won’t have to wait for most of the novels–they will most likely already be out, and I want to introduce my comrades to some new books. So for now, enjoy this delicious smoothie of chopped, crunched, and blended book-world news of what’s cooking this year.

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)

I’m a huge fan of fast-paced sci-fi thriller novels like Maximum Ride and Witch & Wizard so I think I’d dig this one. This one came out back in February, so it’s gotten lots of time to sink into the mainstream quicksand. You could call this the novelization of Inception if you wanted to, but the latest novel from young adult author Kiersten White really messes with your mind. Mind Games (or Sister Assassin for non-Americans) is a fast-paced psychological thriller starring Fia, whose first impulse to go with her gut is always correct. Annie, Fia’s sister, is sightless to her surrounding world–she only opens her eyes when her mind whizzes with odd visions of the future. The two sisters are taken into a school that uses superhuman females as weapons of corporate espionage, where they must decide repeatedly to use their strange abilities in horrific ways or to risk their lives and fight the system–no matter what the cost.

Young-adult authors might remember Kiersten White as the author of Paranormalcy, an urban fantasy trilogy that introduced her to the world of books and turned her into a NY Times bestselling author. The final novel, Endlessly (how ironic), concluded the saga last year and White is currently making plans for a Paranormalcy film. MTV Music Video Award-winning director Ray Kay is set to direct the movie.

The book received mixed reviews. High praise was given for its spy-fi elements and well-suited ending, but high criticism was given for pretty much everything else, most notably the plain characterization.

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)

Speaking of sci-fi thriller, that brings us to our next novel which came out back in March. In the writing debut of Debra Driza, Mila 2.0, the titular character lives with her mom in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her harrowing past of being created in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do the humanly impossible. But when Mila discovers her shocking secret, she must flee. Flee from the dangerous operatives who want her dead because she knows too much. Flee from the mysterious group that wants to capture her and unlock her tech. But Mila’s hidden powers will surprise you (and her), and they might just save her life. Her artificially intelligent life.

Mila 2.0 is just the start. Driza plans on making two more books starring Mila to form a Mila 2.0 trilogy. Goodreads described the book as “the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human.” They recommended the novel for fans of I Am Number Four, and said that the book’s gripping ending would pave the way for Mila’s second adventure and have readers hungry for more. I guess there really was more to Mila than met my eyes.

The book received generally positive reviews. Its fast-paced action and heart-racing adrenaline rushes were lauded, but its romance overemphasis and lack of emotional connections were noted as something that could’ve been finessed.

Take Timmy Failure, the clueless and confident CEO of the best detective agency in the nation town. Throw in his partner, an imaginary friend in the form of a polar bear named Total. Throw in Timmy’s mom’s Segway the Failuremobile, and what you have is Total Failure Incorporated, a global enterprise designed to make Timmy wealthy enough to prevent his mom from stressing over bills. But of course, his plan does not include the 4′-tall lady who we shall call She Who Must Not Be Named. Nor does it include Rollo Tookus, who cannot carry out a super-easy spy mission due to his obsession with getting into “Stanfurd”. Stephan Pastis makes a stunning and charming departure from Pearls Before Swine with Timmy Failure: Mistakes Are Made, “the kids’ comedy of the year”. Here are a couple notable blurbs that would look great on the back of the book:

“Timmy Failure is a winner!” – Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

“Seldom has failure been so likable–or funny.” – Wall Street Journal

“…a great story starring an unforgettable protagonist whose unorthodox approach to detective work (and world domination) will have readers in stitches.” – Lincoln Peirce, author of Big Nate

“Readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero.” – Booklist

“Pastis has assembled an eccentric and funny cast (running gags revolve around Total’s voracious appetite and a librarian who looks like one of the Hell’s Angels), yet there are also touching interactions to be found…” – Publishers Weekly

Timmy Failure received generally positive reviews. Its well-written humor and charm factors were positively recognized by critics, but some flat characterization and peculiar usage of archaic references were also dissected.

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

You may recognize Marissa Meyer as the unique author of the sci-fi romance novel Cinder (the start of the Lunar Chronicles), which was one of Indie-Bound’s Kids Next List picks for last winter. But the story of our favorite cyborg heroine is not yet over, as her story continues into Scarlet, the thrilling sequel which came out in February. Now after discovering a shocking secret, Cindy’s trying to break out of the clutches of prison in New Beijing (this was after World War IV), but she’ll be the most-wanted fugitive of the Commonwealth even if she succeeds. Halfway around the Earth, Scarlet Benoit has a missing grandma. It turns out there’s a lot Scarlet doesn’t know about Grandma B, nor of the grim danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet meets a street fighter named Wolf who may or may not have the whereabouts of Scarlet’s grandma, she is reluctant to believe Wolf. However, the two are drawn together in some sort of relationship. After Scarlet and Wolf solve one mystery, they run into another when they come across Cindy herself. Now this misfit trio must stay one step ahead Queen Levana, female ruler of the moon colony Luna. That introduces the book’s side plot, where she is attempting to make Kai (the prince of New Beijing) give into his pressures of marrying Levana or evoking a World War V.

In spite of its slow start, the novel received critical acclaim for its deep and complex story, a shrewd and surprising backstory, and impeccable fairy-tale weaving that made it impossible for most people to put Scarlet down. People are still coming up with ideas of how the brand new characters could play vital roles in the final half of the four-part Lunar Chronicles.

Unremembered (Unremembered, #1)

Jessica Brody began writing and “publishing” novels at the age of seven, using materials like cardboard and electrical tape to turn her into an amateur bookbinder. She is no stranger to the world of young adult books–she’s written three already–but this story is her most stellar and unorthodox departure yet. In Unremembered, the beginning of Brody’s new sci-fi saga, a flight courtesy of Freedom Airlines ends horribly and unexpectedly with a crash over the Pacific. No one ever suspected to find survivors among the wreck, and that’s why the sole survivor of the crash has made global headlines. That survivor was 16-year old Seraphina. However, her body shows no signs of the crash, but here’s the kicker–she doesn’t remember boarding the plane. In fact, she doesn’t remember anything before the crash, let alone at all. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest, nor can anyone locate her DNA or fingerprints in a single database on Earth. As this astray amnesiac attempts to piece together her empty past, befuddled by a world she doesn’t know and an ominous threat she can’t remember, she discovers an odd boy who claims to have known her before the crash. A boy who claims they were in a relationship. Sera must decide whether or not this boy can be trusted, and if he can protect her from those who have been making her forget.

It turns out you really can’t judge a book by the cover, as Unremembered turned out with very mixed reception. People praised it for having the elements of a sci-fi gem, but criticized it for being an orthodox story that brought nothing unique to the action-thriller genre,  and how its intellectual properties (planning and thoughts) were in over their heads. Oh, and it came out in March.

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

If you’re like me, you’re very familiar with the fantasy subgenre of “fractured fairy tale”. These kinds of books put twists on classic fairy tales and mend interesting and unexpected worlds around them, taking the original stories to whole ‘nother levels. Examples include Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, and Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm/In A Glass Grimmly. Coincidentally, this story was made for fans of those books. Now rising fantasy star Liesl Shurtliff has given a twist on a classic Grimm story: Rump. This came out just a couple of weeks ago, so it’s probably ankle-deep in the mainstream quicksand. Now, Rump isn’t just short for Rumpelstiltskin–in a magic kingdom where names are destinies, he literally is the rump of everyone’s jokes. But his luck changes when he finds an archaic spinning wheel–he discovers he can spin straw into gold. His best friend whom we’ll call Red (hint hint) warns him of the magic’s darkest dangers, and she’s right. With each spun thread, Rump obliviously weaves himself deeper and deeper into a curse. To break the curse, he must go on a dangerous quest and fight off pixies, trolls, poisonous apples, and a maliciously foolish queen.

Rump got positive reception for having the fun side that most stories fail to have, full of delightful adventures and hidden messages such as greed and friendship.

Pulse (Pulse, #1)

From the look of this cover, you may already tell this has something to do with sci-fi. Well, if you guessed that, you’re right. This is indeed a sci-fi story called Pulse from the author of Skeleton Creek, which came out in February. 38 years from now, the world is still recognizable. No world wars, no apocalypse, no Republics or Capitols–I’m assuming. Well, the country has been split into two “super States” (what.), and protagonist Faith Daniels attends what is little more than a teenage daycare. In the future, select teens have “pulses” which grant them with the power to move things with their minds. In other words, they’re telekinetic. Faith discovers that she has a pulse with the help of a mysterious classmate named Dylan. Faith uses her powers against telekinetic masters so powerful they could pancake their enemies using uprooted street lights and shifted boulders. But even with a pulse, the mind can be hard to control. So can the heart. If Faith and Dylan want to combine forces and save the world of the future, she must harness both and discover that real power comes from within.

Reception for Pulse was mixed to negative. Its unexplained future was heavily panned alongside its conspicuous lack of action-packed adventure, plus its underwhelming characters and relationships and a greatly deceiving synopsis. In fact, here’s how one Goodreads user put it: “…almost non-existent adventure (unless you consider moving cups with your mind adventure), poor and mostly unlikable and under-developed characters and extremely unhealthy relationships.” Wow, is a story about telekinesis and saving the world that bad?

Also, the finale for Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning Seeds of America trilogy (started by Chains and continued by Forge) is forthcoming. It’s going to be called Ashes, and the plot is as of now unknown. The book may be releasing this year as opposed to 2014, but I guess we need to stay tuned for those news.

Ah, finally. We’ve saved the best for last. People who mowed through the Hunger Games trilogy and were starving for more turned Veronica Roth’s Divergent into an award-winning NY Times bestseller. When the book’s sequel Insurgent came out, people turned that into yet another award-winning bestseller. The two books became so successful that Roth is currently planning for a Divergent movie! (Check her Twotter feed to stay tuned. Yeah, I did that on purpose.) But now, after months of theories and guesses, Roth’s epic finale to her trilogy is coming this October–Allegiant. Yeah, Roth sarcastically gave the book the name of Detergent, but some people thought it was called Convergent, and that’s how this came up:

Anyway, check out Amazon’s and Goodreads’ summary to the explosive end to Roth’s smashing saga. (Oh, like my amazing alliteration?)

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Stay tuned and stay hungry for Allegiant when it hits stores October 22. But for now, here’s a link to Roth’s Twotter:

https://twitter.com/VeronicaRoth

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That was fun! If you plan on reading any of my recommended books, post it in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe if you’re new, and don’t forget–press the like button. Now just stay tuned until next time to get more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: If you’ve stuck with me long enough, you probably know who Nick Bertke is. He’s the greatest mixer of all time, that’s who he is. He goes under the stage name Pogo (his channel’s called “Fagottron”), and although he has less than 250,000 subs, his videos have gotten millions of hits and millions of fans for his unique remixes of movies and TV shows. His best works include remixes of Harry PotterMary PoppinsAlice in Wonderland (1951), and Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs. Today’s video of the week is a Pogo remix from two years ago with nearly 750,000 hits. It’s a remix of HR Pufnstuf. If you don’t know what that is, sit back and enjoy this lesson.

Back in the 60s, there were these people named Sid & Marty Krofft. They made a show called HR Pufnstuf, which ran in 1969 on NBC. Yes, I said NBC. However, the show was so successful it stayed on the Saturday morning schedule until 1972. The show’s about a boy named Jimmy who takes his magic flute named Freddy and rides a boat to Living Island, where everything from clocks to houses are anthropomorphic. The island’s mayor is a dragon whom is the title character of the show, who takes Jimmy in to protect him from the show’s antagonist Witchiepoo. In a nutshell, it’s basically a psychedelic Sesame Street.

Because I love you guys so much, here’s the Bonus Video of the Week. It’s another Pogo remix, but you should be able to tell what got remixed from the name of the video.

Sam out.



Hey guys it’s Sam, back to kick off season 2013 with style! cool If you’re wondering why I’ve been gone for the past few weeks, here’s a one word answer: SCHOOL. confused But luckily, I’ve got some juicy news that will make your whole week! Remember back last summer when I gave off news about Adventure Time‘s latest DVD? Well, guess what? It’s going back into that world with a brand-new 16-episode DVD that sporadically capture the best of its seasons!

Let’s start with Adventure Time. Back in fall 2011, Cartoon Network put out a new Adventure Time episode that was like no other. It answered the classic question many fans of the show asked: “What if Finn was a girl, Jake was a cat, and the entire land of Ooo got gender-swapped?” Several days later, Adventure Time unraveled an entirely new world within its fanbase, from fan art to fan fiction. Fionna and Cake also began to dominate the media through Adventure Time merchandise (especially via Hot Topic), and soon it was proven to the entire nation that this show had not yet lost its a-game. To pay some respect due to that groundbreaking episode, Cartoon Network took it and fifteen other episodes and packed it into the show’s first DVD of the year, known simply as Fionna and Cake. This DVD spans from the show’s second season all the way to its fourth. Let’s check out what experiences this DVD has to offer.

Titlecard S3E9 fionnaandcake

Fionna and Cake” (S3 E9) – Yep, this was the episode that changed the land of Ooo and everything associated with it forever. Finn has now become the spunky Fionna, and Jake has become her peppy feline companion Cake. PB has become the elegant Prince Gumball, and Lady Rainicorn has become the silent and colorless Lord Monochromicorn. Ice King has become the cruel Ice Queen, too. In this episode, Fionna and Cake are helping PG decorate for the Biennial Gumball Ball, when suddenly the Ice Queen crashes the ball to kidnap PG! Luckily, all three of them get through the surprise attack without a scratch. Later, chemistry starts to form between Fionna and PG, and to get her prepared for a worst-case scenario Cake begins giving Fionna guy advice. But not even the power of love can protect them from the dangers that lie ahead…

storytelling

Storytelling” (S2 E5) – Jake has become ill, and his one request from Finn is to tell him a story. But not just any story. This story needs to contain romance, fighting, suspense, and a happy ending. To find elements for his story, Finn travels to the forest where his story search ends up getting out of hand–he catches Boobafina the duck and Mr. Fox making out for “romance”, starts a fight with Teenage Bear for “fighting”, and even threatens a nest of birds with a rock for “suspense.” But by the time he realizes what he’s doing to the forest inhabitants is wrong, Finn faces “becoming one with the soil” when he hears the call of the wild…

Titlecard S2E9 theothertarts

The Other Tarts” (S2 E9) – The royal tart is the most delicious confection in the entire Candy Kingdom, and people would risk their lives just for a single bite of it. The only one reliable enough to take these tarts through the whole kingdom and into the Badlands for the back rubbing ceremony was the Royal Tart Toter. As the Toter is now too old and daft to do his job, PB needs a new Toter to take the royal tarts into the Badlands–and who else to rely on but Finn and Jake? But this is a life-or-death situation–if the two fail to deliver the tarts punctually, PB will be beheaded! Knowing that a princess’ head is on the line, the duo chooses to defend the tarts by taking the most perilous routes, but the plan goes haywire when they come across threats from a group of hobos to a cave of zombies…

Titlecard S2E14 thesilentking

The Silent King” (S2 E14) – After F & J defeat the tyrannical ruler of the goblin race, King Xergiok, they get taken to the Goblin Kingdom’s palace where they meet the royal chief-of-staff, Gummy, who wishes for Finn to become their new king. Since Xergiok loved to spank his fellow goblins on the tush, the goblins were surprisingly unfamiliar with compassionate treatment. Finn attempts to reject the offer, but after realizing that the goblins could start a destructive war without a ruler, he accepts the offer and has Jake as his “queen”. Unfortunately, when he and Jake refuse to read the book of royal rules, he discovers that goblins run under a very restricted system that prohibits him from brushing his teeth, chewing his food, or even helping goblins in trouble! Speaking of misfortune, Xergiok is planning the ultimate attack-with-a-vengeance on the kingdom with an army of Earclops in an attempt to finish what he had started…

Titlecard S2E17 deathinbloom

Death in Bloom” (S2 E17) – PB puts F & J in charge of her Princess Plant while she attends a science conference in Veggie Village, but it turns out that F & J have no plant-sitting experience whatsoever. In fact, F & J’s absurd techniques kill the plant before the end of the day, and Finn brings up the idea of trekking to the land of the dead to claim its soul before PB returns. Peppermint Butler overhears this and opens up a portal for the two, which leads them into the underworld. When they come across Death, the person they need most, he furtively uses reverse psychology to erase Jake’s memory and challenges Finn to a music battle for both the plant’s soul and Jake’s memories. But here’s the plot takes a turn–every contest needs its judge

still

Still” (S3 E7) – When F & J wake up one morning to discover that they’ve been completely immobilized, they discover that the Ice King had sprayed the two with a freezing potion in their sleep. The only antidote for the potion is an unfreezing potion (duh) which looks exactly like its counterpart. Anyway, the reason Ice King froze the two is to bond with them. While immobile, Finn realizes that he has mental enhancements, so he cooks up a plan to put his mental powers to work. Meanwhile, Jake must sit through the Ice King’s different “bonding” techniques as Finn conjures a mental savior…

wizardbattle

Wizard Battle” (S3 E8) – The annual Wizard Battle has come round once again (it’s like a magic-infused Hunger Games without all the dying), and this year’s grand prize tops all others: a kiss from PB herself! (If you disapprove of the prize, you get turned into a cat.) The battle’s head, the Grand Master Wizard, states that weapons and science are prohibited and spells from the “8 schools of magic” must be used. When F & J discover that Ice King is gonna cheat his way to victory, they decide to enter disguising themselves as Magic Fist to prevent Ice King from getting that kiss, while Jake believes Finn wants the kiss for himself. To really ensure that Ice King will get his comeuppance, the duo decides to team up with a fellow contestant to stop Ice King in his ruthless tracks once and for all…

What was Missing Title Card

What Was Missing” (S3 E10) – Finn, Jake, PB, and Marcie are all victims of robberies by the Door Lord, who steals BMO’s controller, Finn’s lock of PB hair, Jake’s baby blanket, among other items. They chase the Lord into Red Rock Pass where he escapes through a double door that refuses to let the gang go after him. It is then inferred by the words inscribed on the door archway–“this door shall yield to no command, save for a song from a genuine band”–that the gang must turn into a band to open the door and continue the pursuit. But this is far easier said than done, as Jake decides to make himself the band’s “jerk”, and Marcie unleashes the bitter rage PB brought into her…

frombadtoworse

From Bad to Worse” (S3 E13) – (This was the series’ Halloween 2011 special.) I’d consider this episode to be the spiritual successor to “Slumber Party Panic”, the series’ first-ever episode (not counting the animated short). Anyway, when Cinnamon Bun’s empty stomach leads him to devour candy zombie tissue that PB has been experimenting with, he infects the entire Candy Kingdom and sparks the 2nd Candy Zombie Uprising. When PB explains a cure she has been coming up with, she gets bit by a candy zombie. She attempts to tell Finn to use Science, but is zombified with her last human words being, “Science is…muhraahh.” Now the fate of the kingdom lies in the hands of Finn, Jake, and LSP as they must concoct their own antidote to end the outbreak. But making a cure for an entire kingdom is harder than it looks, and they don’t have all the time in the land of Ooo…

Marceline’s Closet” (S3 E21) – When F & J decide to hang at Marcie’s house to jam with her, they find a note on her door saying that she has gone and not to enter her house. Despite the warning, while playing Cloud Hunt Jake goes inside her house anyway. Unfortunately, Marcie comes back at this point, forcing Finn and Jake to take cover inside her closet to prevent them from being seen. They are forced to watch Marcie play a private song that no one can hear, made up of contents from her even more private journal. In an attempt to escape using his magic powers, Jake comes across a white spider that causes havoc around Marcie’s house. But all the embarrassment really reaches a summit when Finn sees a side of Marcie no one in Ooo should see

ghostprincess

Ghost Princess” (S3 E24) – While eating hot dogs over a fire, Finn and Jake are suddenly haunted by Ghost Princess who wishes to find out how she died so she can retire to the 50th Dead World. The three visit the graveyard where GP was buried, but find only a single clue. After interrogation with the spirit buried next to GP, the trio meets a spirit named Clarence who quickly becomes GP’s pal. While the two ghastly gals attend a Spirit Waves concert, F & J continue to investigate within the cemetery, and are caught gravedigging by 3 ne’er-do-well ghosts. Luckily, GP and Clarence bail the two out before things can get ugly. Finn comes across two halves of a dagger that suspiciously spell “Clarence”, and GP discovers the dagger a shocking secret of hers is revealed…

Incendium” (S3 E26) – When Finn receives a broken heart following a rejection from PB, Jake decides to cheer him up by finding a new love interest for him and leaves BMO in charge of Finn. On his search for Finn’s new love, he rescues a flambit named Flambo from a pack of Iron Owls, and is informed about a “hot” princess that’s Finn’s age in the Fire Kingdom. Introducing himself as the “baron of the grasslands” to the Flame King, he attempts to win the heart of Flame Princess (in her debut) in ways like a syrupy serenade. When all his efforts fail, Jake goes into drastic measures which finally impress the Flame King to hand over his “evil, destructive daughter”. After a while, Jake begins believing Flame Princess is evil, and accidentally enrages the princess to the point where he begins brawling against fiery consequences…

cardwars

Card Wars” (S4 E14) – While consuming a fine meal of sandwiches and juice, Jake brings up a board game called Card Wars that he wants he and Finn to play, since he always beats Lady Rainicorn and BMO “does not play such games” with him. The loser of the game was forced to drink a mixture of soda, coffee grounds, beetle butter, grape jelly, kimchi, and ham chunk juice. The winner of the game could drink a simple cup of soda. The game turns from a “imagination-is-everything” adventure to a holographic fight to the end, using land cards and attack cards to build their defense in a fashion that would make any Dungeons & Dragons fan shriek with glee. Unfortunately, the fun starts to diminish when Finn realizes Jake’s given himself a boost in tendencies to get frustrated or upset, and this causes him to become over-the-deep-end competitive…

Princess Cookie” (S4 E13) – During a hostage crisis, Finn, Jake, and PB have barricaded themselves behind Banana Guards. PB attempts to negotiate with a cookie, the hostage taker, by offering her a cowboy hat instead of her crown as ransom. The cookie stubbornly turns down PB’s offer, and Finn and Jake decide to go in and help PB. Jake disguises himself as a milkman (he wanted to be a mailman), and Finn is disguised as his shadow. Jake goes in to deliver milk to all the hostages, and Finn has planned that Jake will splash the cookie with milk and yell the signal: “Alvin’s hot juicebox!” Since the cookie had chocolate chips, the plan was rendered useless and Jake decided to fix the problem by talking face-to-face with the cookie. It was revealed that the cookie, known in his day as “Baby Snap”, was an orphan in the Candy Orphanage where PB came to cheer the kids up. When PB asked Baby Snap what he wanted to be as a grown cookie, he said he wanted to be a princess just like her. PB giggles, believing it is a joke, but Baby Snap takes it seriously and believes PB had insulted her. Suddenly, Jake decides to join “Princess Cookie”‘s side and help him found his own kingdom where he could be Princess Cookie and Jake could be the mailman he always wanted to be. Unfortunately, Princess Cookie gets cornered between a rock and a hard place and ends up doing the unthinkable–trying to commit suicide

youmademe

You Made Me” (S4 E20) – After Finn examines a Candy Person’s aura using an Aura Visualizer, he and Jake view a strange sight on a surveillance camera two Banana Guards were supervising–Lemongrab watching a Candy Person sleep. When confronted by PB, Lemongrab explains that he is alone and desolate in his castle, somberly dubbing himself the “earl of nothing”. When PB tries to extend the conversation, Lemongrab suddenly and repeatedly yells at PB the three words that make up the episode’s title, as well as calling her his “Glob”. After the strange encounter, the Candy Kingdom is gathered to find a companion for Lemongrab, but he ends up imprisoning Finn, Jake, PB, and a trio of rebellious pups in a reconditioning chamber to be electrocuted. After Lemongrab nearly kills the group, the problem ends up being resolved when–well, let’s just say two heads are better than one

Lady and Peebles Title Card 1

Lady & Peebles” (S4 E19) – Finn and Jake have been gone for 3 weeks after a skirmish with Ice King, and Lady Rainicorn & PB decide to take the situation into their own hands and trek to the Black Ice Cave to begin a gadget-supported journey to find F & J. On the way, they are assaulted by giant body parts that give the duo a brush with death to keep them on their toes–or, in Lady’s case, their hooves. When Lady succumbs to mortal injury, PB carries her the rest of the way and tracks the voices of the three, and suddenly discovers what appears to be Ice King’s body, as well as a Zanoit-poisoned F & J. They suddenly realize that a classic Adventure Time villain has made his unexpected return, using Ice King’s tissue to create a new in-the-flesh body, now wanting PB’s “whole package”…

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Well, those are the 16 episodes on the Fionna and Cake DVD. If you want to buy the DVD, at Amazon it costs $11.39 regular, $17.58 used, and $11.25 new. At Walmart’s website it costs $11.38, at Target’s website it costs a cent higher, and at B&N it costs a whopping $17.02. Take your pick, and make sure to tune in next time for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! Oh, and make sure to tune in to Adventure Time every Monday at 7:30 only on Cartoon Network!

Stay classy America,

~S~

P.S. If you want to hear more from Adventure Time, check out these new games at their website (http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/adventuretime/index.html):

  • Cinnamon Bun’s in a sticky situation–he needs to roll his way through the Ice Kingdom while avoiding lethal obstacles, so help him make it out with his flavor intact in One Sweet Roll.
  • In the style of Legends of Ooo, get to experience Finn and Jake’s adventures like you’ve never experienced them before–in 3D! Play your way in a fully interactive world with Marcie, Lady Rainicorn, and more in Finn and Jake’s Epic Quest.
  • In a sequel to Flambo’s Hot Mess, Flambo is once again literally on fire as he burns up new stages (now incorporating coal and diamonds instead of jelly beans), and now you get to unlock special new characters and even create your own levels in Flambo’s Inferno.
  • Paying homage to the return of Fionna and Cake, you get to play as Fionna as you punch, kick, and blast your way through all sorts of stages and face all sorts of enemies in Fionna Fights. (The game is also available at the App Store for 99 cents, so now you can play it on the go.)

Video of the Week: A long time ago, Freddie Wong–respected as one of YouTube’s VFX kings–released a video called “First Person Mario” where the viewer was able to see World 1-1 in Super Mario Bros get played out from Mario’s perspective. The video garnered nearly 20 million views as this year, received a 3D version, and is remembered as one of Freddie’s most popular videos. A week ago, Freddie and his team had finished a 50-day rendering process for the next big “First Person Mario” project. Instead of taking place in World 1-2, it takes place in the final boss stage of Super Mario Bros 3. Yep, the one with the tanks and the cannonballs. You’ll never believe how realistic everything looks, especially once you see Bowser…

If you want to see the original, I’ve got you covered.

And here’s the 3D version of the original, but the 3D effect only works with those cheesy red-cyan 3D glasses. You can watch it without glasses–if you want your eyes to hurt like they would playing a 3DS on full-throttle 3D for over 30 minutes.



Hey guys it’s Sam from the future, and I just want to apologize once again for the whole malware alert fiasco on Google Chrome. I made edits on most of the gaming sections of the post and it is now 100% officially available for all to see. I know this may have come up a bit late, and I can’t wish you a merry Christmas now, but definitely have a happy new year! See you in a few, America!

~S~ 8-) (Sent from the future on 12/29/12)

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Hey guys it’s Sam, and welcome to our third annual Sammwak Christmas/New Year special! But let’s start out with the Christmas half. There’s that one month of the year where the snow falls and temperature drops, but cheer rises. Yep, it’s the month of December, which means the month of Christmas. Most people believe the 24th and 25th are the two days where you hope Santa Claus will come and make your entire year worthwhile, but that’s not even the true meaning of it. It’s actually just a big birthday party for Jesus Christ, as the holiday is actually the “season finale” for Advent, as well as the beginning of the 12 days of Christmastide. (Yeah, I spelled it right, it’s not “Christmastime”.) But anyway, let’s get our party pumping with a nice spin on our trademark Christmas carol…”(Sammwak Wants You To) Deck the Halls 2012″!

Deck the halls with seas of presents,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

‘Tis the season to be goody,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Santa’s coming, so please be good, or he’ll give you a big lump of coal!

One day a year is this jolly

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-LA!

Oh, I also planned to have some SpongeBob in there, so here ya go.

Oh, and here’s a cool song my English Plus class listened to the other day. Here’s the lyrics if you want to partake in a Minecraft Christmas Sing-Along! And since it’ll take too long to go through every word in the entire song, let’s do just the 12th day and work our way down the list of items.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Steve gave to me,

twelve iron shovels,

eleven tasty cookies,

ten dancing zombies,

nine little saplings,

eight shiny diamonds,

seven golden apples,

six Ender chests,

FIVE GOLDEN PANTS!

four tasty cakes,

three anvils,

two diamond picks,

and a Creeper hissing at me!

Now for some tips to throw a great Christmas party!

  • Book a date. As December moves, people get busier by the second, so it’s good to have a date ready.
  • Send out invitations in late November or early December. This way you can drain out how many people to expect, and remember that this is RSVP only.
  • Plan your eateries in advance. Are you gonna host a relaxed buffet, or a more sit-down meal? Scrawl down your ideas on the shopping list and stick to them. Prepare as much as possible the day before the party, and make things easy and simple—-the last thing you’d want to do is be slaving your own self in the kitchen while guests are having a good time. Some good recommendations to fulfill hungers are cookies, cookies, and more cookies.
  • Welcome guests upon arrival. Be sure to make your guests feel good, and greet them at the door. Take their coats and escort them to the party area. Make introductions if guests aren’t acquainted with one another and strike the conversation. Arrange drinks to hand out to your guests, and the real icebreaker comes for shy guests.
  • Play music. The perfect formula to setting moods fast. Be sure to cook up a few CDs beforehand, but play it at a sustainable volume, since people will want to chat.
  • Host games (optional decision). The most classic party games in the book, like charades, are perfect for Christmas parties. More sophisticated get-togethers can host adult games, but just in case, have plenty of writing utensils, papers, and balloons.
  • Have fun! Don’t feel uncomfortable at the party. Your guests will be looking at you to set the mood, you being the host/hostess. If you lead the way of a fun time, all will follow.
  • Give the kids something to enjoy! Especially if you have children at your party, let them have friends invited. Give the kids something to do that will keep them entertained for a sustainable duration, so keep them busy.

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If you prefer some “picks for popcorn” to satisfy your yuletide needs, check out some of my most favored holiday flick picks!

Golden Tomato Award winner for Best-Reviewed Animated Film of 2011

“…a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength” – Rotten Tomatoes

“Fabulous, funny holiday movie about the Christmas spirit” – Common Sense Media

In her film directing debut, Sarah Smith gives us arguably one of the best–if not the best–Christmas film released to theaters in years. The story revolves around Santa Claus’s titular yet maladroit son Arthur Christmas as he gets caught in the middle of yet another gift-giving spree on Christmas Eve. However, not even Santa’s high-tech ship has delivered every present that needed to be delivered, as Arthur realizes that one girl’s present has been left behind. In one of the wildest, riskiest, and craziest journeys yet, Arthur and his comrades must race against the clock to deliver the lone present and save Christmas. The film ended up grossing almost $150 million–$50 million more than the film’s actual budget. But hey, don’t be nervous because it didn’t win commercially. Grab your family and friends and check out how it can  really bring the “tide” back into “yuletide”…

2010 Kids Choice Award winner for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie (Jim Carrey)

2010 Kids Choice Award nominee for Favorite Animated Movie

36th Saturn Award nominee for Best Animated Feature

Common Sense Media Editor’s Pick

“…dazzling special effects…an array of fine performances from Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman” – Rotten Tomatoes

“an exhilarating visual experience” – The Chicago Sun-Times

“a marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie” – Entertainment Weekly

From the director from some of history’s most groundbreaking films–Forrest Gump,the Back to the Future trilogy, and The Polar Express–comes one of the most unique animated holiday films of all time. Presented completely in motion-capture animation, Robert Zemeckis’ take on A Christmas Carolstars, as always, the cold and gluttonous Ebenezer Scrooge. In 1843, Scrooge shows true hatred for everything related to Christmas or even happiness itself, refusing to attend his nephew’s Christmas party and forcing his employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off. That night, Scrooge gets an unexpected visit by the spirit of his former partner-in-business Jacob Marley whom had passed a week prior on Xmas Eve, now having to carry heavy chains forged from his greed throughout his afterlife. Marley gives off a premonition that Scrooge will be haunted by three spirits that will guide him to finally repent and prevent an even worse fate than himself. Indeed, Scrooge is haunted by the three ghosts Marley had foretold–the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Through the spirits Scrooge witnesses visions of how he became the man he is now, the ways he will corrupt others, and–if he really doesn’t cooperate–even his own fate…

1995 Kids Choice Award nominee for Favorite Movie Actor (Tim Allen)

“…firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films” – Rotten Tomatoes

“Heartwarming family tale for both kids and adults” – Common Sense Media

Imagine this: one night you cause Santa Claus to fall from your rooftop to his demise and you and your son must finish St. Nick’s gift deliveries, then you travel to the North Pole where you realize–much to your surprise–that you must actually become the real Santa Claus himself and, under the power of the Santa Clause, convince his loved ones that he truly is Father Christmas himself. But you’re not impersonating Santa, you’re slowly becoming him–you’re growing white hairs, you’re adding weight, etc. Well, that’s basically the entire concept of The Santa Clause. In director John Pasquin’s first collab with Allen since his days on TV with Home Improvement, this fictitious fantasia hosts Allen’s first real primetime trip to the big screen after working a minor role in 1989’s Tropical Snow and is sure to be a family hit for both the hilarity and the heart-warming it has to offer. And if you don’t think so, then ho ho ho boy, you’ve got some work to do! (Bonus: If you want to, consider the movie’s two sequels Santa Clause 2 and Santa Clause 3.)

Title-holder of history’s highest-grossing comedy film as of 2009

1990 Oscar nominee for Best Original Score (composed by John Williams) and Best Original Song (“Somewhere In My Memory”)

1991 Kids Choice Award winner for Favorite Movie

“a good-natured, albeit unrealistic, family film that both kids and adults will enjoy” – Common Sense Media

This is easily the most classic yuletide comedy in the book, the one movie that skyrocketed star Macaulay Culkin’s film career, and one that will always live in my heart. In this hilarious hijink, the McCallister family is preparing to spend their Christmas in Paris, but forget one tiny detail: Kevin, whom is one of the two sons. Now home alone, Kevin finds himself to experience true freedom by pigging out and watching mature films, but after an unexpected visit by the Chicago Police Department Kevin gets an even worse scenario where his house is under the besiege of two dangerous thieves…dangerously dull, that is. Once Kevin realizes he has to defend his home if he wants to emerge as the victor of the fight, he begins organizing an increasingly clever series of booby traps that the burglars mindlessly continue to fall victim to. That’s pretty much the entire film, but that premise alone–and how the film’s director, also responsible for Gremlins and Mrs. Doubtfire, pulled it off–grossed the movie an overall revenue of almost $500 million! No wonder it’s the highest-grossing comedy of all time!

2004 ASCAP Award winner for Top Box Office Films

2004 Golden Trailer winner for Best Comedy

2004 Blimp Award nominee for Favorite Movie

2004 MTV Movie Award nominee for Best Comedic Performance (Will Ferrell)

2004 PFCS Award nominee for Best Live Action Family Film and Best Use of Previously Published or Recorded Music

2004 Teen Choice Award nominee for Choice Movie Actor (Will Ferrell) and Choice Movie – Comedy

2005 Golden Satellite Award nominee for Best Youth DVD

Common Sense Media Editor’s Pick

“A movie full of Yuletide cheer…a spirited, good-natured family comedy…benefits greatly from Will Ferrell’s funny and charming performance as one of Santa’s biggest helpers” – Rotten Tomatoes

“Peppy holiday favorite for both kids and parents” – Common Sense Media

In Will Ferrell’s first primetime starring role for a family film, he portrays Buddy, a man raised among Santa’s elves whom discovers that in actuality he is the son of a father named Walter who likes in NYC and is on Santa’s naughty list. Ditching the North Pole to find his dad, Buddy only incorporates what he’s learned among the elves and elflike, which makes Buddy a snowflake decoration master and gives him expectations to the best from everyone. Which, in case you’re wondering, aren’t really crucial skills in the Big Apple. Buddy’s dad, who’s in the publishing industry, is slipping on thin ice because he needs to find a successful children’s book by Christmas Eve. Despite being skeptical that Buddy is his son, after a DNA test Walter finally accepts Buddy and brings him home to meet Walter’s wife and second son. However at Gimbel’s, Buddy stumbles across a pretty lass named Jovie. On his way to saving the holidays and creating happy endings for all from the North Pole to NYC, Buddy gets lots of opportunities to do idiotically fun activities as he experiences what the Big Apple has to offer, as well as getting more in touch with Jovie and her family.

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That’s enough movies for one special! Now, in reference to this year’s Halloween special, let’s tune in some of your favorite TV show’s efforts in making their viewers’ Christmases a very merry and holly jolly one! But before I tell you that, I need to tell you about the campaigning some of my fave channels have been doing. Cartoon Network has definitely got in the habit, changing their trademark jingle to fit the yuletide mood and even hosting the Naughty Or Nice Christmas event:

And Disney XD has also gotten in a yuletide mood, introducing their new “Shiver-Vision” campaign to support them kinda like how Disney Channel’s “Monstober” campaign kicks in for Halloween.

Now, let’s get to that TV!

Oh, Christmas Nuts!” from Kickin’ It - Yep, even the Wasabi Warriors celebrate Christmas. But Jack, Milton, and Jerry are more interested in getting presents from Santa than unlocking the true yuletide spirit, so Rudy makes the trio volunteer at “Santa’s village” for activities like gift-wrapping and the snowball toss. However, their intentions backfire when they are framed for stealing a bag of gifts from the village and become “the kids who stole Christmas”, becoming banned from the mall and the dojo. The three desperately attempt to show their innocence, targeting an elf named Tinsel, when they discover a shocking secret about the village’s wrapping paper that might just prove they’re not guilty. In the meantime, Eddie and Kim participate in the ultimate “fight before Christmas” by showing off their window displays in a contest full of envy and competition.

The Christmas Special” by Regular Show - For this simplistically titled half-hour holiday special, you might be wondering, “What’s the park doing to celebrate Christmastime?” Well, of course throwing a huge Christmas party! Unfortunately, at the same time Santa himself is getting himself in a lot of trouble. One of his own elves, Quillgin, has betrayed him and now they are fighting to what seems to be the death over a gift box. The clash ends suddenly when Quillgin fires three bullets into Santa and causes him to fall out of his sleigh, taking the box with him. He ends up making a crash landing in Skips’ garage, where Mordo and Rigs discover him while going out to get more drinks for the party. After being skeptical Santa proves to them he is not a scam by reciting the two’s Christmas wishes about invisibility cloaks, and he informs them about his purpose and why the gift box is so important. When opened, the box grants its bearers with what they want most–and it accepts anything, even the worst of occurrences. Worse yet, the gift can only be destroyed when thrown into a pit of lava, which means nothing like a chainsaw or a hammer can even dent it. The pair, now having gotten the rest of their comrades into believing their story, travel with Santa to East Pines to drop off the box in an abandoned mineshaft. However, when Rigby commits an act of vandalism by playing with the park’s snowman, they are held as captors by none other than their worst enemy–Gene. Initially Gene does not believe them, stating that they’re trying to pull a yuletide prank because Benson was mad about the quality of his sweater, but after discovering the box’s true powers he gives in. Gene manages to give the gang a ride to the mineshaft on snowmobiles, and warns the gang about a series of booby traps before heading away. It turns out that before they can get to the pit, they must go through three trials that are not as treacherous as the last…

Christmas” from The Amazing World of Gumball - As the series’ first episode to have a name without “the” in it, Elmore’s Christmas special is obviously a very special one. In what seems to be a reference to The Santa Clause, the Wattersons accidentally hit a filthy bum whom apparently looked strikingly like Santa. When they rush the stranger to the hospital, Richard worries that he will be on the naughty list and decides to do a few impromptu deeds that only manage to wreck the hospital. After Richard’s hospital havoc, the doctor finally gives the family the diagnosis of the situation: the stranger has no ID, no memory, clearly no chances of being Santa, but he does have one thing–he must be cared for by those who caused pain to him in the first place. The family definitely goes overboard with their planning, as Richard surrenders everything he owns to “Santa”, Nicole goes out of her way to ensure that everything “Santa”‘s  filthy fingers touch will be put in their place, and the family even takes “Santa” to the mall and replaces him with the mall Santa…

It’s A SpongeBob Christmas!” from SpongeBob – Remember back in 2000, during SpongeBob‘s second season, when “Christmas Who?” came out and literally redefined Nick’s ways to make a Christmas special? Well twelve years have passed since that, and seemingly to celebrate the success of the original SpongeBob Christmas special, Nick came back with something even bigger. And by big, we mean they took Bikini Bottom, turned it into stop motion inspired by the timeless Rankin/Bass specials, and added several songs to the mix. Yep, that’s a true SpongeBob Christmas. And this Christmastime definitely differs from the rest, as Plankton has his biggest scheme yet to both ruin the happiest day of the year for Bikini Bottom and all its Bikini Bottomites, as well as make himself look good for Santa to put on his nice list and deliver to him what he desires most–the secret Krabby Patty formula. And how does such an evil mastermind do that? Well, after thirteen years of failure Plankton has definitely taken notes, as his new plan is creating…fruitcakes? But these aren’t just any fruitcakes, these are fruitcakes laced with jerktonium, an element “fresh from the periodic table” as “Jt” that can make any consumer become the meanest and nastiest jerk of all. Pretty soon, Plankton spreads his baked horrors across the city and slowly turns everyone Bikini Bottomite around into a jerk. Every single one except SpongeBob. Apparently, his yuletide love is so strong not even jerktonium can reach his heart, so thanks to this Plankton has created a Plan B that will take SpongeBob’s Christmas cheer and crush it–a metallic Sponge-Bot that will impersonate the real being. With SpongeBob curious as to how the city’s gone mad–literally–he visits a cranky Sandy where he finally discovers the secret to the fruitcake’s power…

Note: This episode contains one major error–when in Sandy’s treedome SpongeBob does not wear his water helmet and is perfectly fine in air for some reason–the stop motion likely made it tough to create a helmet for his head, let alone having it stay on.

A Fairly Odd Christmas” from The Fairly OddParents - Now, this isn’t exactly what you’d call a TV episode, but rather a TV movie. But I still consider this a Christmas special, and it still technically is in the show’s canon. In this riveting holiday Odd Movie sequel to Grow Up, Timmy Turner, Timmy is traveling round the world with his girlfriend Tootie and his fairies. While on this magical trek the foursome are granting wishes for the people they meet, but Santa discovers that with these granted wishes Timmy’s customers automatically get removed from Santa’s nice list. After confrontation with a pair of elves, Santa directly explains to Timmy the true meaning behind “with great power comes great responsibility”. But at that very moment an elf informs Santa that the gift wrapping machine has broken, and when Timmy unwittingly decides to grant Santa’s wish, his fairy magic malfunctions and turns into a blast that sends Santa sailing into the machine. Worse yet, he suffered a blow to the head on the way in, and he has suffered brain damage. Luckily, Timmy’s beefcake companion Jorgen arrives and tells him–once again foreshadowing The Santa Clause–that he must become Santa since all godchildren must take the place of a holiday icon they have been damaged to the point where they can’t do their job. Unfortunately, Timmy can’t become Santa due to being on his naughty list, and Timmy’s fairy friends can’t do squat about it since the planet’s magnetic polarity at the North Pole invalidates this type of magic…

Note: This is Drake Bell’s second starring role to a Nick show’s Christmas special in the form of a TV movie. The first was Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh.

Mr. Claus” and “Mr. Elf” from Mr. Young - If you couldn’t already infer, this is indeed another reference to The Santa Clause. After Derby’s planned prank goes wrong, Santa ends up falling from his sleigh on Christmas Eve and his hard landing knocks out his memory! So now Adam, Derby, Ivy, Echo, and Slab must deliver the rest of Santa’s gifts to the entire world in just one sleigh! Unfortunately, upon coming back they discover something shocking about Santa that changes the entire Christmas for them. As for “Mr. Elf”, Santa is also a centric character in this episode as Adam takes a reindeer to the North and convinces Santa to automate the work, but now must care for all the unemployed elves. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but then again this episode has only aired in Canada…

Silent Punch, Deadly Punch” from Randy Cunningham - Norrisville’s favorite ninja is back to kick some yuletide butt, and he is looking for the Skunk Pine so his smoke bombs can be restocked. When Randy does find the Pine, it is stolen by Hannibal McFist to use as a Christmas tree for a party at McFist Industries. After discovering that Howard is also at Hannibal’s party when his company was bought by his industries, Randy disguises as a ninja Santa to infiltrate the party and restock his bombs. Even if it means fighting robo-elves and a robo-snowman…

Generic Holiday Special” and “Orange Carol” from Annoying Orange - Yep, Nerville and his flock of fruits have definitely got their hands full of yuletide spirit. But they have so much of it, they couldn’t cram it all into one episode–they had to knife chop it into two! Their first episode was the show’s first “generic holiday special”, highlighting things like how the Easter Bunny makes his eggs (ewww), Passion Fruit’s plan to outdo Orange’s “new friend”, as well as some celebrity appearances. And not celebrity appearances as big as the Rock Candy Monster (although he does nonetheless appear), these are actual celebrities–people like “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bret Michaels, and Alice Cooper, to be exact! Oh, there’s also famous vegetable guitarist Squash in there. But as for “Orange Carol”, it sounds pretty much 100% as it seems–Orange’s levels of annoyance have slowly begun to upset his fruity friends as they go Christmas caroling, and even Nerville has been infuriated to the point where he bans Orange from the group of carolers. But as he naps, he is visited by three spirits who will one way or another show him the errors of his ways. The first spirit is the Ghost of Annoyances Past (aka Midget Apple), who shows him how annoying he’s been for the past few Christmases. The second spirit is the Ghost of Annoyances Present (aka Pear), who shows him how his friends are doing without him around. And the third and final spirit is the Ghost of Annoyances Future (aka Marshmallow), who shows him how corrupted his future will be if he continues to be so annoying…

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But of course, I’d be a cold-blooded and cold-hearted blogger if I didn’t talk about the tragedy that occurred exactly a week ago. All was well on the 14th of December for Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Almost 500 kids had enrolled in the school between kindergarten and fourth grade, and it seemed to be a pretty basic day…or so everyone thought. At exactly 9:35 in the morning, 20-year old Adam P. Lanza had just committed matricide and was driving his mom’s car to Sandy Hook, where he broke through a glass door at the front of the school. Sporting apparel fresh out of Battlefield, Lanza spent the 14 minutes he was inside the school shooting every child and teacher in sight. Lanza ended up robbing the lives of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook before committing suicide with a headshot as soon as police authorities arrived. Add all that up with Lanza’s mother, and a total of 28 people lost their lives0 in the shooting. Despite the number the Sandy Hook shooting ranks as the second-deadliest shooting in America (behind the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007) as well as the second-deadliest mass murder at an elementary school in the US (behind the 1927 Bath School bombings). Enough gruesome details, let’s just dive into “moment of silence mode” to honor and remember those who were put to rest last Friday. Yes, from bystanders to heroes.

  • Charlotte Bacon (6)
  • Daniel Barden (7)
  • Olivia Engel (6)
  • Josephine Gay (7)
  • Dylan Hockley (6)
  • Madeleine Hsu (6)
  • Catherine Hubbard (6)
  • Chase Kowalski (7)
  • Jesse Lewis (6)
  • Ana Marquez-Greene (6)
  • James Mattioli (6)
  • Grace McDonnell (6)
  • Emilie Parker (6)
  • Jack Pinto (6)
  • Noah Pozner (6)
  • Caroline Previdi (6)
  • Jessica Rekos (6)
  • Avielle Richman (6)
  • Benjamin Wheeler (6)
  • Allison Wyatt (6)
  • Rachel D’Avino (29, teacher’s aid)
  • Dawn Hochsprung (47, principal)
  • Anne Marie Murphy (52, teacher’s aid)
  • Lauren Rousseau (30, teacher)
  • Mary Sherlach (56, school psychologist)
  • Victoria Leigh Soto (27, teacher)
  • Nancy Lanza (52, Lanza’s mother/killed at home)

“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

- Barack Obama in one of his many speeches addressing the Sandy Hook shooting

As you can see in my little blockquote, the shooting has triggered swarms of shock, surprise, and most of all grief across the country and even most of the world. It has gotten tons of reactions from people who took the gratitude to remember those who were put to the big nap in this tragedy. Smosh didn’t even release their usual Friday video one week because of the shooting! Luckily, I think all this was satisfied when practically all the artists and coaches on The Voice banded together to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with an array of lit candles organized to set the mood. Each artist and coach held a card which bore the name of a young victim in the shooting and their age. Here, it makes a lot more sense if you see it for yourself. (By the way this has over 4.4 million hits, so consider it viral.)

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And since you know how much of a Jolly Good Bookie I am–that’s right, I am the Bookie–let’s count down this year’s best and worst books of the year!

As I said before, and will say again, I’d be daft if I didn’t mention the first three Sisters Grimm books as some of my books of the year. I don’t know how Michael Buckley pulls it off, whether or not he has some sort of “magic touch” when it comes to writing. He has the humor, adventure, action, surprises, excitement, charm, awesomeness, character, fantasy incorporation, and about a million other things that made the original Sisters Grimm trilogy nothing less than a flawless hit. (Wow, I think someone would ought to say this about Ocarina of Time.) When I first read Fairy-Tale Detectives, all I recognized Buckley for was his NERDS series, which I had eventually gotten quite fond of. But as I read the book, it slowly changed my perspective of the fantasy genre itself, and when I put the book down I was almost itching to get the sequel. A few weeks or months later (remember people, this is an entire school grade ago, so I can’t recall much detail) I eventually got the second installment via “on-hold” and read that through like I’d read the first one. In a rather dimwitted act, I got so antsy for that book that I checked out both the third and fourth installments to try and hold me off. Unfortunately, I didn’t read a chapter of either books since I knew it wouldn’t make any sense, and simply refused to treat a series like this. Luckily when I read the third book, it blew its previous installments out of the water. And to this day, although I’m still waiting for my time with the fourth installment to come–I keep having dreams about it–let’s just honor the original trilogy in the meantime. Especially with our Fantasy Books of the Year honor.

Now, I bet you’re wondering, “Oh, of course Sam would put City of Ember as one of the top books.” Well, actually, I’ve got a pattern going on. I list a good book, and then I list a bad book. And as I already listed Sisters Grimm as a good book, then City of Ember inevitably has to be the bad book. Now I bet you’re shocked, flabbergasted, thinking I’m all hypocritical. But actually, City of Ember only messes up on the small problems that predictably grow bigger throughout the story. Speaking of story, the book’s storyline isn’t half bad: in a post-apocalyptic world, the city of Ember has reached its 240th year of existence and seems to be in more eroding condition each year. The lightbulbs that serve as the city’s only light source are beginning to die out, resulting in blackouts that terrify the entire city, but two kids will get to the bottom of it. Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet, to be exact. On Assignment Day–it’s sort of like a holiday where each young Emberite (I know it’s not a word, but it sounds right) receives a job requiring work around the city–Lina is given the dreaded job of Pipeworks laborer. Doon, however, gets the best job of all–the messenger–and shockingly turns it down. Eventually Doon convinces Lina to swap jobs with him, as Doon is interested in the Pipeworks due to them bearing Ember’s generator. Seems cool, huh? Not when awkward storyline and clunky perspective and dialogue get in the way. These are basically what makes City of Ember that much farther away from its true goal, and this is kind of sad to say. Ember had a great storyline and plenty of potential, but its problems in general prose is what corrupted the book. And it got turned into one of the most mediocre movies of 2008, as well as one of the year’s biggest box office failures. That’s corruption itself. Let’s give this book a Sci-Fi Miss of the Year honor just to accentuate the book’s imperfections.

You’ve probably never heard of this book. And that’s what makes it that much better. Paul Feig’s groundbreaking children’s literature debut, Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut!, practically takes modern science fiction and gives it his own unique twist. And as he was the true main man behind the notorious Nickelodeon show Freaks and Geeks, it wasn’t a surprise Feig didn’t back down in humor. In fact, all of Feig’s charm, adventure, action, and prose skills were conglomerated in this one novel, and it had an equally impressive storyline to go with it. You see–well, let’s just use the description I had in our last INSANE.

” As the titular star of the book, Ignatius “Iggy” MacFarland, achieves both. The premise of the story revolves around Iggy being the center of lots of teases and laughs from the meaner kids at his school (an example being “Piggy MacFartland”), and when he reaches the last straw he decides to do something that even Neil Armstrong considers bizarre. (Or should I say, considered, due to Neil’s passing earlier this year in August. Long live the man who showed us that it was possible to literally moonwalk. :cry: ) Iggy actually builds a rocket ship that he plans to launch to send him (and his friends Gary and Ivan) into outer space to another planet. Iggy has the metaphor that hopefully the extraterrestrials will be more nice to him, but when something horrible happens with his ship–with him inside–he is somehow blasted to…well, not outer space, but a parallel reality or “frequency” known as Lesterville. (And here’s where the science fiction comes in…)

At this twisted dystopian version of the real world, Iggy discovers a strange race of humans and their even stranger language (made up of the mere “puh” and “pah”), and discovers that the entire frequency is ruled by a man known as Chester Arthur–Iggy’s English teacher! He has now become the frequency’s dictator/president, and literally every brand in sight has been affected with Arthur’s name. Arthur Potter by J.K. Arthling, Artbucks, Art Wars: The Artpire Strikes Back, Art of the Rings, The Artfather Parts I and II, even Spider-Art, for Art’s sake! (Oh great, now they got me doing it.) In this frequency, Iggy meets Karen (another Earthling) who becomes his companion in solving the mystery of Lesterville and defeating this version of Mr. Arthur–and hopefully they can return home with their skins. Oh, there’s also a flying fairy-like girl in the story named Foo, which you could consider his second companion.”

I finished it a while ago, and it turned out to be one of the greatest sci-fi novels I’ve read since War of the Worlds. So with all this smashed together, it’s not a big mystery why I should give this my Sci-Fi Book of the Year honor.

Now, Dan Gutman’s always had a special place in the book section of my heart. From his Million DollarWeird School, and Homework Machine sagas to some of his standalones like Getting Air and Get Rich Quick Club, he’s always nourished his abilities with humor to fuel his prose. But this–I think he was still experimenting his writing skills with this one. I’m not saying that to insult the book, this is actually his second sci-fi book (after They Came from Centerfield, which is actually Gutman’s fiction debut) and arguably his most creative and unique one yet. It basically revolves around a boy named Lucas “Yip” Turner, named after George Lucas and nicknamed after Yip Harburg (responsible for the music from Wizard of Oz). Yip’s family is engulfed in film special effects–his father is a modern VFX expert while his grandpa is a more old-school junkie in horror film effects. One day, Mr. Turner introduces brand-new software that can create virtual actors to take the places of stunt doubles (known as “vactors”), so Yip and his sister create a vactor of their own. This vactor goes by the name of “Victor” (get it?), and he is pretty much intellectually, physically, mentally, and emotionally perfect. To sum all this up, Victor fulfills the book’s title of being “virtually perfect”. However, Yip makes a deal with Vic–if Yip could let Vic break the barriers of cyberspace and enter the real world, Vic could let Yip break the barriers of the real world and enter cyberspace. However, Yip realizes that the software–and Vic–have bugs, and soon Vic turns against his owner. Which is actually one of the most humdrum plots I’ve seen this year.

This is basically the exact same plot as the DCOM Pixel Perfect (see the similarities already?), except it’s put in a book. “Unfortunately, there were lots of bumps in the book, from prose to premises. And not even its endless consumerism mentioning can stop VIRTUALLY PERFECT from several death-defying imperfections.” That was my Google Books review, by the way. And I think you can tell that this is our Sci-Fi Flop of the Year already.

Historical Fiction Book of the Year. Nuff said.

Take the Boxcar Children‘s humor and character and smash it together with X-Men‘s heroism and action, and and what do you get? Booklist‘s formula for the kickoff to James Patterson’s Maximum Ride, The Angel Experiment. If you paid attention during my Middle School, Worst  Years of My Life review a few Fridays ago, you would know that James Patterson writes much more fantastical series. Witch & Wizard focuses mostly on fantasy, while Maximum Ride is Patterson’s taste of science fiction. Anyway, the book revolves around the flock. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel to be exact. Anyway, these six kids all share an amazing yet at the same time dark secret–as babies they were the test subjects of genetic experimentation, and because of that they became 98% human and 2% bird/avian! And with that 2% avian came their own pair of wings which actually allow them to fly! Unfortunately, the novel doesn’t spend the entire 400 pages with these kids frolicking and partaking in aerial mischief–they’re actually the prey of a fierce manhunt formed by the Erasers, a wolflike species which loves eating up winged kids like the flock for dinner. In fact, the Erasers had abducted the former youngest flock member, Ari, and turned him against his own relatives! The actual plot of the book mainly consists of the Eraser-flock battle, from the Erasers kidnapping Angel to a final subway fight with Ari to serve as the finale of the novel. And in case you didn’t know, that’s what makes the novel so exciting to read and picture [using Dav Pilkey's imagination theory]. Here’s what I had to say about the book in my Google Books review:

“James Patterson proves that his history of action and mystery writing from the 1990s is still intact with this engrossing read. THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT impeccably mixes Patterson’s trademark charm, humor, and action to make for one of the best sci-fi adventures in the past decade. Definitely a recommendation for people who love unique science fiction or don’t like science fiction at all, and for those who are skeptical about the series they can start off with the manga books.”

You don’t even have to read the book for the first hundred pages to see why it’s my Book of the Year.

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We’ve been through movies, we’ve been through TV, we’ve even been through the Sandy Hook sho–oh, what’s that? You want me to talk about video games now? If you say so! Here’s a highlight retrospective of what’s been happening through the fourth and final quarter of the gaming season!

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One of the most anticipated games of the year, Assassin’s Creed III, became Ubisoft’s biggest launching success yet. Its pre-order numbers alone drove both Brotherhood and Revelations‘ ratings into the ground, becoming the company’s most pre-ordered game ever. In its opening week the game topped the UK charts as the bestselling game of the week, boasting the best sales the series has ever seen to date. In fact, AC3 was actually the UK’s second biggest launch of the year only behind FIFA 13, doubling the launching week sales of AC2 and beating Revelations by over 100,000 copies! 3.5 million copies of the game were sold in the game’s first week of release! At the night of this year’s Spike VGAs, it received six award nominations: Game of the Year, Best Xbox 360 Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Action-Adventure Game, Best Graphics, and Character of the Year for Connor Kenway. It also was the centerpiece of plenty of critical acclaim from some of the biggest reviewers out there:

“A resonant story, compelling exploration, and tense oceanic battles make Assassin’s Creed III a rousing success” – GameSpot

“…delivers everything the series has promised, and throws in a little more for good measure” – Game Informer magazine

“…newly refined gameplay and incredibly rich setting are captivating stuff…” – Official Xbox Magazine

“…an impressive adventure that succeeds in most of what it attempts.” – IGN

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Of course, one of the year’s biggest anticipations finally unraveled itself last month, as Nintendo’s entry into the eighth generation of gaming and the first 8th-gen console to date. It already has the pride of its big brothers, the Wii, SNES, and NES, and I believe that it builds much more upon that. It indeed was the Wii U, formerly codenamed as “Project Café”, that I’m talking about. Just a few weeks ago this console finally hit the primetime, boasting jaw-dropping prices of over $300. Surprisingly, the console has already sold over 400,000 units as of December 1! I don’t know whether it’s the console’s backward compatibility with the Wii, or its new services like the Nintendo Network, or even the console-controller design that makes the Wii U so popular. In fact, maybe it’s merely just the games it has to offer! In fact, the Wii U showed both its upsides and downsides with select games that it had on its launch list, and I’m just about to tell you what those games were…

  • New Super Mario Bros. U, the first Mario game for the Wii U or in HD, was  arguably the console’s biggest hit. It was the center of lots of critical acclaim, getting compliments like it being “a great excuse for families to gather round the TV”, “an enticing glimpse of Mario’s HD future”, and that it was “an impressive step in the right direction.” To add to that, it even got luck at this year’s Spike VGAs when it was awarded with the Best Wii/Wii U Game award! And who else to accept the award like the big boss of Nintendo himself, Shigeru Miyamoto? Currently, the game has sold more than 200,000 units with an attachment rate of approximately 60%.
  • On the other hand, the console’s pioneering survival horror ZombiU didn’t do as good. And I could easily tell why–its London zombie apocalypse premise seemed pretty generic and cheesy to me. And to believe this game was supposed to bring back honor and homage to Zombi, Ubisoft’s first-ever game for consoles like the Commodore 64. The game only proceeded to get a mixed share of reviews overall. Reviewers like Eurogamer praised the game for displaying “the success or otherwise of ZombiU could be defining for the Wii U”. Reviewers like Game Informer and IGN strongly criticized the game for having “a clunky control scheme and annoying melee combat” as well as being “sloppy and poorly executed”. Now, if I were to be the tiebreaker of this skirmish, I’d say that the game isn’t an Operation Raccoon City kind of game, nor is it a Left 4 Dead or Walking Dead kind of game.
  • The Wii U’s pack-in game, Nintendo Land, managed to be a hit with most of the game critics out there. Nintendo Land, intended to create a carnival or theme park atmosphere, consisted of twelve minigames/”attractions” that each had roots of an old Nintendo game. Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion, and Pikmin were just some of the games that were rooted into the attractions. The game was created mainly to display the quality and functionality of the Wii U and its GamePad, just like how Wii Sports displayed the abilities of the Wii. And look where that game is now–it’s the most bestselling game in history! Now, since Nintendo Land likely couldn’t achieve a prestigious honor like that, it got its run to glory started with plenty of positive reviews. GameSpot gave the game an 8/10 score and said the game had “plenty of family-friendly fun and [made] great use of the Wii U’s capabilities.” IGN was even more positive about the game, giving it an 8.7/10 score–making the game an Editor’s Choice pick–calling the title “the cream of the mini-game crop” and praising its variety and content. GamesMaster gave the game 86% and said it was “an essential purchase for party lovers that whets the Nintendo appetite.” To me, it looks like Wii Sports has met its match. No, seriously, that’s straight from IGN.
  • The Wii U’s first primetime enhanced game, Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition, made the game look even better than it already is. It’s already won many prestigious titles, awards, honors, and accolades–in fact, so many that it had to release a Game of the Year edition! So how else to praise a good game by enhancing it exclusively on one console to make it even better? And that’s what Armored Edition‘s sole purpose was to do. One of GameSpot’s editors, Carolyn Petit, praised the game from its atmospheric open world to its amazing senses of combat, but only had two problems with the game–BAT mode, as well as the Wii U-specific settings and properties that put “a few chinks in the Caped Crusader’s costume”. IGN, once again, praised the game for the same fields that GameSpot did, and also criticized the game in the same fields that GameSpot did, but this time the game got off the hook with a 9.5/10 score! In fact, Armored Edition is one of the most praised Wii U games out there right now, so it’s definitely worth a glance or two.

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This month, Spike hosted its 10th-anniversary Video Game Awards. They got so in the mood that they actually renamed the award show VGA 10 for any purpose involving the anniversary. For his fourth time yet Samuel L. Jackson returned as the show’s host, the show had a first for presenting awards via Xbox Live, and also users could “play” the show while it aired. Audience members and users with Xbox Smartglass got an incomparable 2nd-screen experience that had real-time updates along with the show. And to add to that, Entertainment Weekly and the Spike VGAs banded together to make the show’s first “Entertainment Weekly and Spike VGA Best Game of the Decade” award. That is, in case you’re curious, a very prestigious honor. Many games that won’t be hitting retail until 2013 were debuted at the show in their exclusive world premieres, including South Park: The Stick of Truth, BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington (the game’s first DLC pack). Wolfgang Gartner, Tenacious D, Linkin Park, and the Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla. For those who want the results of the show and couldn’t see them live, here they are now:

Game of the Year Nominees:

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Dishonored
  • Journey
  • Mass Effect 3
  • The Walking Dead

Game of the Year Winner: The Walking Dead

Studio of the Year Nominees:

  • 343 Industries for Halo 4
  • Arkane Studios for Dishonored
  • Gearbox Software for Borderlands 2
  • Telltale Games for The Walking Dead

Studio of the Year Winner: Telltale Games

Character of the Year Nominees:

  • Connor Kenway for Assassin’s Creed III
  • Commander Shepard for Mass Effect 3
  • Master Chief for Halo 4
  • Raul Menendez for Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Claptrap for Borderlands 2

Character of the Year Winner: Claptrap

Entertainment Weekly and Spike VGA Best Game of the Decade Nominees:

  • Batman: Arkham City
  • BioShock
  • Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Portal
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Half-Life 2
  • Wii Sports
  • World of Warcraft

Best Game of the Decade Winner: Half-Life 2

Best Xbox 360 Game Nominees:

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Borderlands 2
  • Dishonored
  • Halo 4

Best Xbox 360 Game Winner: Halo 4

Best PS3 Game Nominees:

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Journey
  • Borderlands 2
  • Dishonored

Best PS3 Game Winner; Journey

Best Wii/Wii U Game Nominees:

  • The Last Story (Wii)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
  • New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
  • ZombiU (Wii U)

Best Wii/Wii U Game Winner: New Super Mario Bros. U(by a landslide, I believe neutral)

Best PC Game Nominees:

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Diablo III
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Torchlight II

Best PC Game Winner: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Best Shooter Nominees:

  • Borderlands 2
  • Max Payne 3
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Halo 4

Best Shooter Winner: Borderlands 2

Best Action-Adventure Game Nominees:

  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Darksiders II
  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Dishonored

Best Action-Adventure Game Winner: Dishonored

Best RPG Nominees:

  • Diablo III
  • Torchlight II
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Xenoblade Chronicles

Best RPG Winner: Mass Effect 3

Best Multiplayer Game Nominees:

  • Borderlands 2
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Halo 4
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Best Multiplayer Game Winner: Borderlands 2

Best Individual Sports Game Nominees:

  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
  • WWE ’13
  • SSX

Best Individual Sports Game Winner: SSX

Best Team Sports Game Nominees:

  • Madden NFL 13
  • NHL 13
  • NBA 2K13
  • FIFA 13

Best Team Sports Game Winner: NBA 2K13

Best Driving Game Nominees:

  • DiRT: Showdown
  • F1 2012
  • Forza Horizon
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Best Driving Game Winner: Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Best Song in a Game Nominees:

  • “Castle of Glass” by Linkin Park for Medal of Honor: Warfighter
  • “I Didn’t Ask for This” by Austin Wintory for Journey
  • “Tears” by Health for Max Payne 3
  • “Cities” by Beck for Sound Shapes

Best Song in a Game Winner: “Cities” by Beck

Best Original Score Nominees:

  • Journey by Austin Wintory
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II by Jack Wall
  • Halo 4 by Neil Davidge
  • Max Payne 3 by Health

Best Original Score Winner: Journey by Austin Wintory

Best Graphics Nominees:

  • Halo 4
  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Dishonored
  • Journey

Best Graphics Winner: Halo 4

Best Indie Game Nominees:

  • Fez
  • Journey
  • Mark of the Ninja
  • Dust: An Elysian Trail

Best Indie Game Winner: Journey

Best Fighting Game Nominees:

  • Dead or Alive 5
  • Persona 4 Arena
  • Street Fighter X Tekken
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Best Fighting Game Winner: Persona 4 Arena

Best Handheld/Mobile Game Nominees:

  • Gravity Rush (handheld)
  • Sound Shapes (handheld)
  • LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (handheld)
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 (handheld)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game Winner: Sound Shapes

Best Performance by a Human Female Nominees:

  • Jen Taylor as Cortana in Halo 4
  • Emma Stone as Amanda Cartwright for Sleeping Dogs
  • Jennifer Hale as Commander Shepard (female) for Mass Effect 3
  • Melissa Hutchison as Clementine for The Walking Dead

Best Performance by a Human Female Winner: Melissa Hutchison as Clementine

Best Performance by a Human Male Nominees:

  • Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack for Borderlands 2
  • Dave Fennoy as Lee for The Walking Dead
  • James McCaffrey as Max Payne for Max Payne 3
  • Nolan North as Captain Martin Walker for Spec Ops: The Line

Best Performance by a Human Male Winner: Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack

Best Adapted Video Game Nominees:

  • The Walking Dead
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2
  • Lego Batman 2
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Best Adapted Video Game Winner: The Walking Dead

Best DLC Nominees:

  • Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard
  • Portal 2 – Perpetual Testing Initiative
  • Borderlands 2: Mechromancer Pack

Best DLC Winner: Skyrim – Dawnguard

Best Downloadable Game Nominees:

  • Fez
  • The Walking Dead
  • Journey
  • Sound Shapes

Best Downloadable Game Winner: The Walking Dead

Best Social Game Nominees:

  • Draw Something
  • You Don’t Know Jack
  • SimCity Social
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Best Social Game Winner: You Don’t Know Jack

Most Anticipated Game Nominees:

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Tomb Raider
  • BioShock Infinite
  • The Last of Us
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth

Most Anticipated Game Winner: Grand Theft Auto V

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Pretty cool, huh? Unfortunately, this time of year isn’t all for fun and yuletide cheer. I think I’ve made it quite clear on both my blogs that I was a fan of two magazines. One was Game Informer. The other introduced me to reading game magazines themselves (the first actual mag I read was Nick Mag) and did it in such a unique and creative way. Sure, it was centric around just one company, but still. And, of course, that magazine was Nintendo Power. Since summer 1988 it’s been the one, only, and official Nintendo magazine for all Nintendo diehards’ gaming needs. Unfortunately, this August Nintendo revealed heartbreaking news–since they couldn’t renew their licensing agreement with Future Publishing, the magazine would not be making it to 2013.

Oh, come on Peach, don’t be sad. There are plenty of other Nintendo magazines out there!…I think. But then again, this is pretty much the only Nintendo magazine worth caring about. I can’t believe that this mag has to celebrate its 25th anniversary releasing its final issue! Most game series’ 25th anniversaries are times of celebration, but–sorry, I got a bit emotional there. Let’s not waste time trying to force me to give the saddest yuletide speech and let’s take a look at NP‘s final issue’s cover, and how it so gracefully reflects that of the first:

issue

Let’s all “get the power, Nintendo Power” one last time as this great big ship sails into the sunset…or at least, that’s how the magazine described it. :cry:

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Now, in the same fashion as last year, let’s get more into the “new year” spirit by introducing something that I’ve never really done before–our Channels of the Year. Not just videos of the week, but in my opinion are the channels that have brought the biggest and best stuff to their home pages for the entire year of 2012. And in addition to that, this might get you anticipated for those of 2013! Now, without further ado, here are the best channels of 2012!

You probably should’ve seen this coming, but indeed Tobuscus ranks among the best channels I’ve seen this year. As the fifteenth highest-subscribed YouTube channel of all time, Tobuscus just keeps getting better and better every year, even if it’s his vlogs we’re talking about! Toby already made a smash at VidCon 2012 (the audience actually sang “Dramatic Song” with him! :D) and got a smash for real in his infamous iPhone 5 breaking. His Minecraft song “I Can Swing My Sword!”, after two thirds of the year, became Toby’s second most-viewed video in history with over 20 million hits! (His literal Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood trailer still leads by five million hits.) Not even that, but I also got in touch with Toby more personally at his official Google+! I know for a fact that under all those pictures he takes of him and his fans, he will always be a humble YouTuber. After all, he does have over 500 million video views. So let’s give him the Veteran of the Year Award.

This is definitely one of the newer channels that I’ve been attracted to: Jacksfilms. Much like Toby, his highest video is at over 20 million hits, but he definitely doesn’t have as much subscribers. In fact, he’s only the 378th highest-subscribed channel. That makes me believes that Jacksfilms definitely wins the Underdog of the Year Award in my book. Jack Douglass, the man behind Jacksfilms, does lots of things from his notorious Your Grammar Sucks series to lots of multi million viewed sketch compilations and parodies. He is one third of the “Sideburns Crew” alongside Toby and fellow YouTuber Sean Klitzner, who collaborate in a number of videos. The most-viewed video involving one of these collabs was “TOBJACKSCUS” which got just over 1 million hits since its launch in May 2011. Some of Jack’s parodies also consist of him merely voicing over other commercials like the ShamWow and Snuggie commercials–ironically and coincidentally, these parodies are his top 2 most viewed videos of all time. Sure, Jack doesn’t impress me with every video he releases, but with the videos he does release with impression comes lots of interest. And it’s pretty cool if you’re friends with almost 20,000 people on YouTube.

The fan art Pewdie.
The real Pewdie.

This is probably one of the most famous YouTube channels out there, let alone within the top-10 most subscribed range, and one of those rare channels that manage to bring something great to the table every single dinner. That was a metaphorical statement, but you know what I mean. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube alias PewDiePie or Pewdie, is a 23-year old YouTuber from Sweden who partakes in playing various video games and uploading his reactions to the web for all to see. Some of these games include Cry of Fear, Happy Wheels, PaRappa the Rapper, Shadow of the Colossus, Just Dance, and–easily his most famous one–Amnesia: The Dark Descent. He is the tenth-most subscribed YouTuber of all time, with over 3 million subscribers for his channel, making his channel one of the few fastest-growing ones on YouTube itself. Because of this, Felix definitely deserves a Man of the House Award. He also calls his subscribers “bros” or “the bro army”, which is accentuated by his tendency to perform a viewer-interactive “brofist” at the end of each video. I mainly take pleasure in watching most of the gaming montages he makes, as well as his Happy Wheels and Amnesia videos as standalones. I love PewDiePie so much because he portrays a very humorous but down-to-earth character that is fueled by curiosity and exaggerated human emotions like fear or sorrow. His real-life persona compared to the kind of persona that he portrays in fan art is very intriguing to witness. Speaking of character, sometimes in the games he plays he gives names and life to certain inanimate objects, and here are some of them:

  • Stephano - Arguably Felix’s primary companion while playing Amnesia. Stephano is a golden statue that Felix has speak in a French accent, and he also carries lots of leadership in his attitude and occasionally yells at Felix for being scared or not noticing a blindsighted clue. Stephano was apparently “born” and his birthday is on August 17, 2011, but I can likely infer that day was the first day he starred in a PewDiePie video. Felix usually sets Stephano down every now and then, but then promptly comes back to get him again. Some of Stephano’s trademark phrases are “Allos Pewdie!”, “You found meh!”, “This way, Pewdes”, or “Follow me, Pewd.” He can also hoarsely whisper whenever he is dropped by surprise or when Felix gets startled.
  • Gonzalez - The evil twin of Stephano, except he is bronze instead of gold which makes him easy to differentiate from Stephano. He often tries to trick Felix into believing he is Stephano, gives him good counsel, and is possibly related to Gonzales from the game Facade (another PewDiePie-played title).
  • Piggeh - Likely Felix’s secondary companion in Amnesia, Piggeh is a dead pig that has a birthday two days after Stephano’s, which somehow makes him older than Piggeh. Piggeh’s usual catchphrase is “I’m pumped!” and his humor is very creepy and satirical with a very wide topic range. He has very fluid movement whenever he is carried by Felix, and often says “You thought I’m a pig? No, I’m a snake.” because of this.
  • Jennifer - A rock that Felix sometimes comes across in Amnesia, and is often criticized for her weight due to being large when discovered. Jennifer actually loves Felix but is almost always rejected by him when he says “You’re too fat, Jennifer” or “I know, you’ve told me 1,000 times already”. Jennifer is one of PewDiePie fangirls’ most sympathized characters as her striving to finally win Felix’s heart seems to be very realistic–for a rock. Currently she does not appear in many videos except when Felix gets a rock thrown at him or is being chased by a rock.
  • Barrels - In Amnesia, barrels are Felix’s mortal enemy. When encountering a barrel or a number of barrels, he usually shouts “Barrels!!!” and proceeds to throw them around. Sometimes he yells at barrels in Swedish (most notably in Cry of Fear) and often comments about its look or what it says on it. One of Felix’s lesser-used companions, Mayo, actually works for the said barrels and Gonzalez often foreshadows that he is in league with the barrels.
  • Vespa - Also known as the Segway in Happy Wheels. When playing as the “Segway Guy” character in the game, he will usually refer to the Segway or any used vehicle as “Vespa”. Through Felix, Segway Guy seems to have emotional attachments or attractions to Vespa sometimes wanting to kiss it or cuddle with it. When he plays as the “Moped Couple” characters the moped is also considered “Vespa”.
  • Farsa/Farsha - What reads of all train destinations in Cry of Fear, and is mainly the moniker he gives to the in-game train(s). Farsa barely shows up but unfortunately committed suicide near the game’s end by driving off a cliff.

Sure, they’re only the 135th most subscribed channel of all time, but they’ve been among the prime YouTube channels to successfully make the Internet-to-TV transition that so many channels have failed to make properly. They are the comedy, filmmaking, music, and advertising duo of Rhett J. McLaughlin and Charles L. “Link” Neal, better known by their combined YouTube alias RhettAndLink. Ever since 2006, a year after YouTube was first born, these two have been working their butts off to make videos for our amusement and pleasure. But they’ve actually been pals since the first grade. On the first day of school in the said grade, the pair were forced to stay inside during recess as a punishment from writing bad words on the desks. When they were assigned to silently color pictures of unicorns, their companionship really sparked. They wrote their first screenplay, Gutless Wonders, at age 14. Coincidentally, they were Wolfpack roomies at the NCSU, where they studied engineering. Some filmmaking lessons and low-budget DIY productions later, they became Rhett and Link itself. But in the first year Rhett and Link became YouTubers (or, as they call themselves, “Internetainers”) they never got a single multi-million hit video. The highest they ever got was 100,000 with their song about velcro. The next year, however, their drive-thru rap video became their first video to exceed a million hits with 3.2 million views. Through 2007 lots of ups and downs went through the channel, with their BBQ song becoming their next multi-million hit and then their “worst commercial ever” becoming the next. You can clearly see that Rhett and Link have not always had it as easy as other more famous YouTubers like Nigahiga or Smosh. But today, they’ve gotten much more innovation, effort, and creativity woven into their videos, their success had led to a clothing line that accompanies their videos, and they have been sponsored by and working with a lot more YouTubers like Orabrush, Tobuscus, MysteryGuitarMan, etc. Because of all this, they definitely deserve an Innovation Constipation of the Year Award and a Diamond Award for being so unique. Some of their most famous videos include:

  • 2 Guys 600 Pillows” or “My Favorite Pillow” – Write a heartwarming song about one’s long-lived affection and feelings for one another. Take six hundred pillows, do crazy things with them, put in lots of backwards video editing and lots of backwards speaking, and even throw in a sponsor from SleepBetter.org, and you have Rhett and Link’s 2011 Webby Award-winning hit of 2010. To add to that, Rhett and Link were nice enough to throw in a bonus video highlighting most of the original video’s secrets as well as throwing in some extra goodies as well.
  • Epic Rap Battle” – The same year “2 Guys 600 Pillows” came out, the pair had also made a rap song made trying to get a restaurant waitress’ attention and affection. Like most of the channel’s songs, the rap contained lots of bizarre things about Rhett and Link that wouldn’t really occur in real life. Here are some examples right here. On the way to work, Rhett carpools a group of third graders and teaches them multiplication tables. Link can apparently speak sentences like “The square root of raspberry should be legalized” in Morse code. Rhett has his own yoga meditation DVD called Mind Reps. Link successfully performed the Heimlich on a horse choking on beef jerky, and it eventually went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Well, you see what I’m trying to say here? And coincidentally, back in September the two released what seems to be a sequel to the video, now centric to their masculinity and manliness, which was entitled “Epic Rap Battle of Manliness“. (And for those of you who are curious and/or skeptical, Rhett and Link were indeed in an Epic Rap Battle of History in case you mistook this one for it. They played the Wright brothers going up against the Mario brothers.)
  • 5-Word Songs” – Occasionally, the two might run out of song ideas and ask their fans what they think they should make a song out of. But here’s the rule–it can not be any more or any less than five words long. Currently there are two ideas that have been found and successfully made into songs: “rub some bacon on it”, and “Nilla Wafer top hat time”. Combined the two have over 3.1 million hits.
  • Good Mythical Morning” – Well, I have two things to say about this that differentiate it from the rest of their videos. 1. This is actually on Rhett and Link’s second channel, RhettAndLink2. And 2. This is not one video, it’s actually an entire show. As the title suggests, Good Mythical Morning (often abbreviated as GMM) is a show that runs every morning on every weekday, from Monday to Friday. Some of the topics discussed on the show include the greatest movie quotes of all time, the strangest name a human can receive, stuff you didn’t know about The Avengers, tips on bear attack and quicksand survival, what makes fire ants special, and if Furbies can really learn anything. It is one of Rhett and Link’s most famous series and their only regularly-airing show to date.
  • Dope Zebra” – What do you do if you take a zebra costume, put two people inside that know how to dance, and make that zebra do the most dope moves around? That’s pretty much the story behind Dope Zebra. Since its release a while ago it has 5.1 million hits, making for one of the channel’s biggest hits. But in a full background story on the video and its conception on an episode of Good Mythical Morning, it was told that the Dope Zebra had arguably become the two’s most famous video character yet. Not only did it get both Dope Zebra and Rhett & Link in the music video for LMFAO’s “Sorry for Party Rocking”, they also appeared on America’s Got Talent! Needless to say, the threesome were buzzed with the dreaded triple X before the Dope Zebra could even lift his hind legs off the ground, but luckily Rhett and Link did not expect to pass to the Vegas round, nor did they actually want to. How modest of them.

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Now let’s accentuate our new year celebration by nutshelling all the games you might want to check out!

  • After the first leg of Rayman’s rebirth plan (Rayman Origins) became a success, our limbless lad can continue his new console experimentation with the upcoming Wii U-exclusive Rayman Legends
  • After Lara Croft, one of gaming’s most famous heroines, disappeared from the limelight following 2010’s Guardian of Light, the Crystal Dynamics-Square Enix team reunites once more to bring us Lara’s first series reboot, Tomb Raider
  • After stellar success with the Sims 3 saga, Maxis has finally decided to revive the true genesis of the Sim world in the PC & Mac exclusive SimCity
  • One of the most popular FPS series in history, BioShock, gets a complete makeover from characters to setting in the 20th century-era BioShock Infinite
  • Isaac Clarke’s necromorph-filled bad day continues into a new installment, but now Sgt. John Carver gets to share the pain with him to stop the scourge permanently in Dead Space 3
  • In the city of Los Santos within San Andreas, three equally troubled men’s stories will intertwine in the pursuit of the “almighty dollar” in Grand Theft Auto V
  • Kratos still hasn’t made ends meet for Ares, the god of war, and now he’s on an ancient-Greek quest to defeat the Fury threesome to sever all ties in God of War: Ascension
  • Picking up where the first installment left off, the Palanai island in the Banoi archipelago has become the source of a zombie outbreak, and now after an unsuccessful escape our four survivors must relive their undead nightmare in Dead Island: Riptide
  • 20 years after millions within the human population have ceased from a cordyceps-type fungus, a black-marketeer named Joel and a young girl named Ellie make a dangerous and Infected-filled trek across post-apocalyptic America in The Last of Us
  • Epic Games reveals their newest in the Unreal Engine series, Unreal Engine 4, in an open world survival-of-the-fittest monster adventure known as Fortnite
  • Nintendo’s famous rural village full of personified animals has taken the big jump to the 3DS, and while Japan has already gotten their share us Americans and Europeans will have to wait a bit longer for Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  • Marvel’s ever-so-famous “merc with a mouth” is smashing through the 4th wall from Marvel vs. Capcom and into his own game known merely as Deadpool
  • After Skyrim and its DLC Dawnguard changed the perspective of the RPG genre forever, Bethesda plans to make the breakthrough accessible for PCs and Macs everywhere in Elder Scrolls Online
  • Luigi made a smash hit on the GameCube as the fourth Ghostbuster, and now he’s been sent on another spine-tingling mission from Professor Gadd to punish all the spirit scamps out there in the newly-named Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
  • After Mortal Kombat and the DC Universe collided in the greatly disappointing Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, NetherRealm and Warner Bros have teamed up once more in the 100% superhero-centric Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • One of TV’s most raunchy and beloved shows takes LARPing to an all-time extreme for not just consoles, not just computers, but clouds as well in the hopeful and hilarious RPG, South Park: The Stick of Truth

(Now let’s talk about movies…well, it won’t be much of a time saver to explain every single movie, let’s just nutshell a few that’ll be coming in 2013.)

  • The director of the original Spider-Man trilogy brings us a story about the Land of Oz older than the groundbreaking 1939 film or even the 1900 book, portraying James Franco as the new Wizard of Oz in Oz: The Great and Powerful
  • The director of Space Chimps teams up with the co-director of How To Train Your Dragon to create a story about a family of cavemen and cavewomen as a disaster leads to them journeying to find new shelter in The Croods
  • After the weight of An Unexpected Journey was finally lifted off Peter Jackson’s shoulders, he only had to enhance the LOTR world in preparation for the second installment in the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug
  • One of Disney-Pixar’s most notorious films, Monsters, Inc, gets its well-deserved backdrop explaining everything from their first meet in college (even monsters have to go to school) to putting their bitter rivalry behind them in the prequel Monsters University
  • Gru, the three orphans, and his ever-so-lovable minions will be returning through a storyline that will seemingly be incorporating aliens into the plot lines in Despicable Me 2
  • The second “true blue” film of the trilogy chronicles Gargamel as he creates evil Smurf-like creatures called Naughties, and furthermore kidnaps Smurfette and takes her to Paris where he will use the Eiffel tower as an energy-generating antenna powered by Smurf essence, so the remaining gang must travel back to the human world and regain help from Pat and Grace in The Smurfs 2
  • Having shaken off the food storm that almost ate the world, Flint and friends are forced to flee from town where Flint accepts an offer from his idol Chester V to join the Live Corp Company in cleaning up the island, but he realizes that his FLDSMDFR is still alive and is now creating mutated food beasts in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2(formerly subtitled Revenge of the Leftovers)…
  • After starring in one of Martin Scorsese’s most successful movies, Hugo, Asa Butterfield has decided to reload and star in another film from the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine which takes on yet another classic book but of way bigger proportions, Ender’s Game
  • When Anna is cursed by her sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, she must reverse the curse by surviving a trek across an icy landscape, but luckily she is joined by outdoorsman Kristoff as well as his one-antlered reindeer and a snowman, which may give her hope to finally melt Elsa’s heart in Frozen
  • After Katniss and Peeta manage to survive the 74th annual Hunger Games, they try to forget their time in the battlefield but are only reminded by it when rebellion is simmering across the districts, and while she and Peeta embark on the Victors Tour of all twelve districts President Snow is only crafting a 75th Hunger Games will be a much bigger and bolder affair in Catching Fire

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Surprisingly, Austin & Ally and Jessie even had their own plans set out for the new year! Actually, they did their first collab over it! And that created the one-hour crossover special “Austin & Jessie & Ally All-Star New Year’s Eve“/”Big Dreams and Big Apples“! I can’t believe they actually went through all the trouble to make this special, so say kudos to them as I explain the crossover’s plot:

To wrap up 2012 with a bang, Austin has got himself a gig in Times Square to play on New Year’s Eve in front of billions of people! Unfortunately, Sheri, Trish’s phone AI–think of “her” as a less-intelligent Siri–has mixed up Times Square with Tim’s Square Pizza! (But hey, it’s the best square pizza in Miami.) Luckily, the dilemma is erased when Sheri manages to book Austin, Ally, Trish, and Dez for the next flight to Times Square! Unfortunately, Sheri mixes the 1:00 pm flight with the 1:00 am flight, and now they’re really stuck. On the other side of the east coast, Emma is ecstatic to find out that Austin will be playing in Times Square, as she is an eccentric fangirl, and begs Jessie to take her. Despite initial rejection, she eventually gets convinced when she realizes that Ryan Seacrest would be there. (Ugh, media these days.) Austin, Ally, Trish, and Dez manage to get a taxi there, but cannot afford the ride and must hoof it to the Square. When they get there, they realize that full capacity has been reached and no other person can be let in, but Jessie uses her riches to hitch a helicopter to ride them. Unfortunately, Bertram has allowed Luke and Ravi to attend the concert as well, and worse yet they’ve abandoned Zuri! And I think you may already know by now that Zuri loves shiny things, and–well–the Times Square ball is pretty shiny…(and that’s only part one…)

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I think that’s a pretty good way to wrap up the year, so I’m Sammwak saying “ho ho ho” right before you go. :D

See you in 2013, America,

~S~ 8-)

And here’s for our super-special honor-filled and totally clean Videos of the Year! (Luckily, I managed to narrow down my choices so I didn’t have a list that went on for infinity. Enjoy! :D)

(Believe it or not, “TNT” is actually the fourth most-viewed gaming video of all time according to the YouTube charts. As the top three above it are all Angry Birds-related/themed, consider this the most bestselling gaming video of all time that isn’t Angry Birds-related. Shockingly, “TNT” actually beat out the official Minecraft trailer itself!)

If you want a more general video, here’s one that takes the most viral videos and stars 2012’s YouTube season had to offer and conglomerates them all into one amazing “Gangnam Style”-themed medley song/video. Can you name all the YouTubers in this video? If you think you can, comment me in the section below and get a secret prize…



Just in case you’re thinking to yourself, “When was the first INSANE?”, it was actually the first ever Super Awesome News Update I put up. I’ve been thinking about it, and Incredibly Noble Super Awesome News Expedition actually sounds alright. It rolls off the tongue kinda like “supercalafragilisticexpialadocious”, and it’s a pretty clever acronym at that. :) So, let’s start off our second INSANE (or is it actually the first? neutral) right with some juicy news that have the right to ooze! (Ooze also means “to give a powerful impression of”. :D)

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Let’s start off, just like last time, with the books I’ve been digging recently and some upcoming Jolly Good Bookie reviews that could be happening…

This first book is classified as a mix between comic adventure, science fiction, and fantasy. In fact, according to the library I found this I’m actually the first one to consider reading it! It’s obviously something truly new and unique in my reading styles, and it’s one of the best novels I’ve ever read where I really didn’t know what to read. It’s called Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut! by Paul Feig, and just in case you’re wondering consider “frequenaut” as a portmanteau between “frequency” and “astronaut”. As the titular star of the book, Ignatius “Iggy” MacFarland, achieves both. The premise of the story revolves around Iggy being the center of lots of teases and laughs from the meaner kids at his school (an example being “Piggy MacFartland”), and when he reaches the last straw he decides to do something that even Neil Armstrong considers bizarre. (Or should I say, considered, due to Neil’s passing earlier this year in August. Long live the man who showed us that it was possible to literally moonwalk. :cry:) Iggy actually builds a rocket ship that he plans to launch to send him (and his friends Gary and Ivan) into outer space to another planet. Iggy has the metaphor that hopefully the extraterrestrials will be more nice to him, but when something horrible happens with his ship–with him inside–he is somehow blasted to…well, not outer space, but a parallel reality or “frequency” known as Lesterville. (And here’s where the science fiction comes in…)

At this twisted dystopian version of the real world, Iggy discovers a strange race of humans and their even stranger language (made up of the mere “puh” and “pah”), and discovers that the entire frequency is ruled by a man known as Chester Arthur–Iggy’s English teacher! He has now become the frequency’s dictator/president, and literally every brand in sight has been affected with Arthur’s name. Arthur Potter by J.K. Arthling, Artbucks, Art Wars: The Artpire Strikes BackArt of the RingsThe Artfather Parts I and II, even Spider-Art, for Art’s sake! (Oh great, now they got me doing it.) In this frequency, Iggy meets Karen (another Earthling) who becomes his companion in solving the mystery of Lesterville and defeating this version of Mr. Arthur–and hopefully they can return home with their skins. Oh, there’s also a flying fairy-like girl in the story named Foo, which you could consider his second companion.

So far, Ignatius is one of the best 300+-paged novels I’ve ever read; it has humor, charm, eye-popping illustrations, adventure, and a surprising quantity of drama. However, I can’t review the book right here and now since I haven’t even finished it yet. 80 Oh, go ahead and gasp, but I’m almost halfway through the book FYI. Anyway, let’s see the next book I’ve been digging…

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Sorta like how I brought up Hunger Games in the last issue, you likely know what this is. Let alone very well.  If you don’t, think of it as the latest descendant of school story series like Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. It’s Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. Yeah, James Patterson being the guy that wrote Maximum Ride and Witch & Wizard and all those other books. And to believe this time around he’s writing a book that’s somewhat and somehow normal. This book concerns the life of Rafe Khatchadorian as he enters his first year of middle school, and he already has enough problems outside of school without throwing what happens inside school in the mix. Luckily, like Nikki Maxwell, he’s got an ace plan to make it the best year ever–if he can pull it off correctly. With his best bro Leo the Silent wordlessly cashing in points to Rafe (and in this game, points are not a good thing) he decides to go out on a limb and break every rule in the school’s austere Code of Conduct with arm & hammer. Chewing gum in class gets you 5,000 points, running in hallways gets you 10,000, and pulling the fire alarm gets you 50,000. However, when Rafe’s dirty deeds done dirt cheap catch up to him, he’ll have to make a finicky decision whether to believe that winning really is everything, or he’s ready to face the rules, bullies, and–worst of all–the truth that he’s been sidestepping.

So far, this book sounds really good, as I’ve been a bit overzealous in my wants of this book. Luckily I’ve got my hands on it and–like the first ever Nintendo Power issue I’ve ever read–I’ve been reading rather slowly to salvage every moment of the book, and that’s a challenge with so many descriptive illustrations in the book. It sounds seemingly like a new Big Nate-esque series, but let’s just not hope that it’s going to crash and burn like the actual series did. If you want to check out more of James Patterson’s books, suggest trying this list out:

  • Middle School: Get Me Out Of Here! - In this riveting sequel to Rafe’s first middle school adventure, Rafe has been accepted to an art school and believes he’s finally stepped into a math-and-history-free fun zone. Nope. It’s more competition than Rafe can handle, and to turn his humdrum life into an afflatus for an ultimate work of art, he decides to execute his biggest plan yet…Operation: Get A Life!
  • I Funny - In this spiritual successor to Rafe’s series comes the story about Jamie Grimm, a middle schooler on a mission to become Earth’s greatest and funniest standup comic. But unfortunately, his brutal life with his aunt and uncle and their evil son Stevie doesn’t give him much laughing matter. He practices his comic act day in and day out on his siblings, friends, and the patrons at his uncle’s diner. But when his uncle mentions the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic contest, Jamie knows he has to enter but has to choose between sharing his dark past or hiding behind his comic act…
  • Witch & Wizard - The world has changed permanently with the government having control over the entire society and with kids frequently disappearing. For Wisty and Whit, sister and brother, their lives are changed forever when they get separated from their parents and thrown into a secret prison for no comprehensive reason. In this “juvie”, Wisty and Whit discover otherworldly powers they never knew they had, and now they must master their skills and save their parents–maybe even the rest of the world–as witch & wizard.
  • Maximum Ride - After mutants known as Erasers abduct the youngest of their group, the “bird kids” (results of genetic experimentation) take off in hot pursuit of the Erasers but find emotional brick walls in the way concerning the mysteries of their beginnings and intellectual purposes.

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“Not since Lord of the Flies has there been such a powerful story of children forced to survive in a world without adults.” That’s pretty much the slogan for The Girl Who Owned A City, a post-apocalyptic story by OT Nelson. The story concerns a killer virus known merely as the Plague sweeping through the Earth and taking the lives of all over 12 years old with it. In a Chicago suburb, ten-year-old Lisa Nelson and her brother Todd are among the youthful survivors of the Plague, but only make a living by looting off of abandoned homes and shops, like every survivor in the story does. Lisa pioneers the idea of driving cars despite being underage, as well as raiding a farm and to look at the diminishing supplies of stores. By now desperation has caused kids to form and join “gangs”, and to fight this Lisa becomes some sort of vigilante and forms a neighborhood militia. Inducting all of the trustworthy kids she knows, Lisa plans the militia’s defense methods from booby traps to throwing things off the rooftop. She also makes an arsenal for the militia in case of an emergency, mainly composed of guns and Molotov cocktails. Lisa and her militia eventually becomes enemies with one the many gangs, specifically the Chidester Gang from Chidester Avenue. And if you know how post-apocalyptic stories go, chaos eventually ensues…

I actually read this book as a class book (Girl Who Owned A City is a commonly used story in schools), and I’ve just recently finished the book. In fact, it’s not bad, but I still felt awkward reading the book considering it was the only one I’ve read to be in Times New Roman. There was also a lot of stuff going on within two mere pages–as the text was very tightly compacted together–so although it was a bit overwhelming at times I still managed to pick up my pace. In fact, the book is one of the best “oldies” that I’ve read recently, incorporating action, drama, alongside positive messages like leadership and survival. I definitely recommend this book to someone who’s just got fresh off of a post-apocalyptic story like City of Ember and is hungry for more.

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Speaking of recommendations, I’ve also got something big to tell you about–my Christmas wishlist. And when I say big, I don’t mean I have 10 things on it, I actually have 39 things on it. And they’re all books, because you know how much of a czar I am when it comes to reading. Although it would take too much time to list all of them, let me tell you about some of the books I underlined as “I want this especially badly” books…

Sisters Grimm 4-9 by Michael Buckley – The first time I ever read Sisters Grimm was in the fifth grade, as I’d heard about the series and was also very fond of the Brothers Grimm at the time–and the books seemed to show off some very promising characters. Needless to say, this is the best fantasy book series I’ve ever read–no, this is the best fantasy book series ever solely created. And that’s a very prestigious honor in my honor. Alas, as I progressed through the series the next installment became harder and harder to get, and by the time I was ready for the fourth book it never showed up, and I’ve never read a live book since. :( I say “a live book” since I was actually so desperate to read the fourth book that I even found the Google Play and Books samples for the book!

If you want to know what the series is about, it’s basically just about two girls named Sabrina and Daphne Grimm whom have been tossed between foster families like a yo-yo, only portraying niches like punching bags and servants. They reunite with Relda Grimm, the grandma they never knew, and are taken in by her. At her house Sabrina and Daphne realize the secret their family has kept for years–they are actually the latest generation of descendants from the notorious Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and must take in the profession of “fairy-tale detective” as some sort of family tradition.

If you want to know just how promising this sounds to me, let me show you the premises of all six of the books I want:

  • Once Upon A Crime - Also known as The Grimms Take Manhattan. :D When the two main protagonists of the story, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, finally go back home to the Big Apple to help their faerie friend Puck, Sabrina is ecstatic to be home. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of another fantastical adventure, as we realize that the fairy kingdom is within NYC. Puck’s father, King Oberon, has been slain and the Grimms are putting up every fairy-tale folk/Everafter in town on the suspect list. The culprit will almost always be the one you least expect…
  • Magic And Other Misdemeanors - When the past and future start playing unwanted games with the present, Sab and Daph get their first solo case with a little assistance from Puck, and the girls suspect that a rash of magical thievery might have surfaced at the root of the problem, but with Mayor Heart’s bizarre taxing and Mr. Canis still continuing to transform into the Big Bad Wolf, the Grimms have a lot of worries and little time to sort them out. Can they solve the crime and change the course of the future for humanity’s own good?
  • The Everafter War - Picking up where book six left off, the seventh installment of the story starts with Sab and Daph’s prayers finally being answered when their parents awake from their sleeping spell. But this little family reunion is cut off unexpectedly when they are caught in the middle of a war between Prince Charming’s army of Everafters and the villainous Everafter organization the Scarlet Hand. As the Grimms work to help Charming’s rabble rebels, Sab comes face-to-face with the darkest enemy her family has ever seen which uncovers a secret so shocking it’ll rock the family to the core…
  • The Inside Story - In the series’ penultimate eighth installment, again picking up where the last book left off, the book starts with Sab, Daph, and Puck stuck within the Book of Everafter. Inside the book, all the fairy tales are stored and their enchanted characters can convert their destiny at their own wills. The trio must pursue the mysterious Master from the last book throughout some of the most classic tales in the book (literally :D), willing to change anything to save their baby brother. Soon, they are caught by the book’s Editor/guardian who forces the three to stick to the stories, even threatening them with its army of Revisers. As they must now stay under the Revisers’ radars, they meet tons of classic fairy tale characters, but will they find their baby brother?
  • The Council of Mirrors - In the ninth and final book of the series, the Grimms and their friends must face off against the Master to ultimately decide the fate of Ferryport Landing, and the rest of the world. When the magic Mirror (by now an antagonist in the story) fails to make it through the magical barrier in Relda’s body, he decides to convert to his backup plan–going on a killing spree until all the Grimms are dead, allowing the barrier to collapse. As the Mirror creates his murderous plan to the last detail, Sab has recruited all the other less-evil magic mirrors to discover how to deal with their enemy. The mirrors suggest joining forces with the Scarlet Hand, in exchange for offering Ferryport’s citizens their liberty. Wow, it sounds a lot like a fairy tale-infused Deathly Hallows, don’t cha think?

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Powerless by Matthew Cody – Imagine a world where the greatest superheroes are actually kids. No, it’s not Chronicle I’m talking about. You’re likely imagining Matthew Cody’s groundbreaking novel Powerless. In the book, 12-year old Daniel, the new one in town, learns a rather ugly truth about his closest friends–one can fly, another can turn invisible, and another controls electricity. These super kids use their powers secretly for good in the town, but their powers do not stay forever–when they turn thirteen, their powers will disappear along with any memory that they ever these powers. Could their minds be getting drained by a memory-stealing villain? The answers lie in an ancient meteor strike, a WWII comic book, the fabled and green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and possibly even “powerless” Daniel himself…

Young Samurai 1-3 by Chris Bradford – I’ve never actually read a Japanese-based novel before, but Chris Bradford defied the rule that most Japanese-rooted books are just manga. In the trilogy you see before you, we go back in time to 17th century Japan, where Englishman Jack Fletcher strives to be the first ever gaijin samurai. In case you’re curious, gaijin translates basically to “outsider”, so I guess Jack wants to be the first English samurai I guess. It wasn’t just the very intricately detailed illustrations that roped me in, it was the premise of each story itself:

  • The Way of the Warrior - Jack Fletcher is sailing with his father and crew in search of the fabled Japanese islands. After a nasty shipwreck off the coast of 1611 Japan in a village known as Toba, and subsequently the crew gets attacked by a ninja mistaken for a Japanese pirate or wokou. Rather traditionally for a book, only Jack [or the real main protagonist] survives the attack, which makes me wonder–how could almost an entire boat crew die at the hands of one ninja? Anyway, Jack’s dad leaves his son with his most prized posession, a rutter (a precursor to the navigation chart), and Jack is rescued by Masamoto Takeshi, a legendary samurai swordsman. Takeshi decides to take Jack under his wing and raise him until he is of age (16) to go on by himself, making Takeshi’s actual son Yamato jealous. After a heated spar with Yamoto and another ninja attack, Jack is enrolled in a samurai school in Kyoto to be raised as a true nin–sorry, samurai…
  • The Way of the Sword - After his first year at samurai school, Jack’s troubles only expand when the prejudice of his school classmates forms dangerous enemies, and Dragon Eye–the ninja who attacked the crew–is still after Jack. Jack’s only hope of victory lies in surviving the Circle of Three, a ritual that will test Jack’s intellectual, mental, and physical skills to their breaking points. For most, becoming one of the Circle is very prestigious, but for Jack it’s a life-or-death situation…
  • The Way of the Dragon - It is by now summer 1613, and Japan has been threatened with warfare and Jack is faced with his greatest fight yet, as samurai are siding against one another and Jack’s warrior training is tested as the blood begins to flow. His and his friends’ survival depends on him mastering the Two Heavens, the secret sword technique of Takeshi. But first Jack must recover his father’s rutter from Dragon Eye, which leads to these dramatic questions–will Jack defeat his enemy? Or will Dragon Eye finally fulfill his mission in slaying the young samurai?…

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Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman – 10-year old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, or the SCGE. This is a six-week sleepaway camp where he’ll get to write poems and perfect logic proofs. SCGE has been home to some fabled middle-school smarties (and forthcoming Jeopardy! contestants), but it has a real image of being the Nerd Camp. Another acronym for SCGE could be the Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads. But Gabe’s not really a nerd–at least, he doesn’t think so. But that was before he met Zack, his hip soon-to-be stepbrother. Now Gabe is in panic that Zack thinks of his formula as 100% nerdity (that isn’t a word? it is now :D), and with a wild summer to spend with a midnight canoeing ride to “Dead Man’s Island” makes Gabe realize something. Zack may not be the brother he’s always dreamed of, but that doesn’t mean they can’t even be friends…

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass – This kind of book could easily honor Roald Dahl even after his death, and it sounds like one of the sweetest and juiciest novels on my list. No, seriously. :D Anyway, this book is about four kids whom enter a national competition to discover the tastiest confection of the country. Who can create a sweet more sapid and savory than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew?:

  • Could it be Logan, the Candymaker’s actual son, who can detect the color of chocolate just from the touch?
  • Perhaps it might be Miles, the boy with merry-go-rounds and the color pink on his list of allergies?
  • Or maybe it’s Daisy, the jolly girl who can carry a 50-pound heap of taffy off the ground like a feather?
  • Chances are it could be Philip, the boy in suit-and-tie who’s always jotting information down in a secret notebook?

Ghostopolis and Power Up by Doug TenNapel – Believe it or not, Doug’s the guy that actually created Earthworm Jim, one of the most iconic, memorable, and charming video game heroes of the 1990s. To this day, he’s done music, animations, books, Eisner Award-winning art, as well as essays. (Not the kind you do in school, more literary essays.) And since I haven’t looked at Bone ever since I read and reviewed its ninth and final main book Crown of Horns, Doug seems to be an intriguing replacement.

Let’s start off with the premise of Ghostopolis first. This graphic novel revolves around two protagonists: teenager Garth Hale, and middle-aged SITF agent Frank Gallows. SITF stands for Supernatural Immigration Task Force, a governmental organization with a heart set on tracking down ghosts and other apparitions that have gone amiss in the real, physical world and sending them back to their homes in the afterlife–aka Ghostopolis. Garth has a currently unidentified “incurable disease”, and it is also foreshadowed and mentioned that the relationship between Garth’s mom and late grandpa was a dysfunctional one. Agent Gallows uses devices called “plasmacuffs” to catch and apprehend ghosts, and on a call to apprehend a skeletal horse known as a Nightmare, Gallows accidentally transports Garth along with the Nightmare…(By the way, gallows are erect structures used for the purpose of hanging.)

Now, Power Up–just as it sounds–is a video game-themed book. The book’s protagonist, Hugh Randolph, is a family man who’s down on luck. He works as a drone at a local printer until he discovers a mystifying game console that gives him the power to produce riches to infinity, manipulate his work day, even cheat death. But of course, and as we all know, you can’t sidestep and hide forever…

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1)

Alvin Ho 1-4 by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham – Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to be scared of pretty much everything. In fact, it’s called “panphobia”. And there’s a little boy who could be summarized using that exact word. That boy is Alvin Ho, an Asian-American second grader. This poor little panphobic has fears from elevators to tunnels and girls and most of all school. He’s so fearful of school that he never emits a word through all the seven hours he’s there. Ironically, at home he’s a clamorous superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother, and a gentleman-in-training to follow in his father’s footsteps. In the four books I want–in chronological order–he goes to school, goes camping, attends a girl’s birthday party, and bravely attends his GungGung’s BFF’s funeral. And he’s just in second grade! Please take a break while you view these crying emoticons to applaud Alvin and all he’s done.

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Dork Diaries 4-5 by Rachel Renee Russell – I’ve already reviewed the second and third books of the series, so it’s not a big shock that I’d want to put up the next two. By now IMO, Nikki has gone from the super cliched girl-next-door to a more caring, loving, and heartfelt friend who still wants to blend in, but at times likes to shine her diverse colors. In the next two books of the saga–marking a first in the series to release two books in the same year–Nikki’s positive traits are put to the ultimate tests.

In Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess, Nikki discovers that Brandon is doing volunteer work at a local animal shelter, which is to her not surprising considering how dreamy he–no, I am not going down that road! Then Brandon says that the shelter is in danger of closing, and Nikki knows in the name of dorkiness that can’t happen. Especially when a secret about Brandon is disclosed that makes saving the shelter that more important to Nikki. So Nikki recruits her friends Chloe & Zoey to enter an ice skating competition to assist in raising the money needed to save the shelter, but obviously Mackenzie has to butt her nose into a situation that could make or break the lives of tons of adorable animals…

 In Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All (also making a first for the biggest amount of hyphens in a title rolleyes), Nikki becomes very zealous into becoming a student journalist for her school’s newspaper, predictably as she’d already made the headlining story once…

…and it might or might not have something to do with Mackenzie becoming the newspaper’s “gossip girl” in her new scandalous column of tittle-tattle. And there could even be some succulent info about the Nikki-Brandon relationship that Nikki doesn’t enjoy Mackenzie telling to the school. So Nikki becomes a recruit on the paper’s staff and ends up as a columnist like Mackenzie, but she’s giving out counsel and advice! It’s initially a fun activity, answering letters and all, but when Nikki’s inbox becomes flooded with these requests and pleas for guidance, she may need her own help. But luckily with Chlo and Zo at her side and on her keyboard, it seems like Nikki can maintain the mess. Or will she end up as humiliated as she did on the newspaper headline?…

NERDS 1-2 by Michael Buckley – If you had to name a series that did Buckley that commercially and critically prospered as much as Sisters Grimm, it had to be NERDS. NERDS being an acronym for National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society. Sounds like a pretty boss acronym for a word that means “a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious”. The members of the NERDS organization are all normal grade-schooler kids that have conditions or diversities that have evoked the “upgrades” that make them NERDS nerds in the first place:

  • Jackson “Braceface” Jones - Formerly a cocky and arrogant football star that was so famous his teacher actually taught a subject solely themed on him, Jackson may seem externally tough, but internally he suffers from notable insecurity and a craving to be accepted. His football stardom and fame was stripped from him when he was given permanent braces, but these braces can actually transform into any mechanical device he wishes. Unfortunately, Jackson’s guzzle galluses must stay on his mouth at all times, even after transformation.
  • Matilda “Wheezer” Choi - A spunky Korean-American girl affected with bronchial asthma that makes her winded after not even walking her entire block, Matilda’s upgrades consist of two nano-enhanced inhalers that gift her with flight and the ability to blast baddies. Ironically, she’s rather tomboyish and actually despises anything “girly”. Also, she’s a great pro wrestling enthusiast and can equip anything and everything as a weapon.
  • Heathcliff “Choppers” Hodges - Actually, he has four nicknames, but I decided to choose one that actually made the most sense so I wouldn’t get the stress of having to write out every single one. Cliff is an intelligent kid that suffers from being the target of most bullies, and his upgrade seems to be the most awesome and rather scientifically classified. He has a psycho-hallucinogenic whitening treatment which gets further enhanced by a special kind of toothpaste that, when worn by his buckteeth, has powers of hypnosis and mind control.
  • Duncan “Gluestick” Dewey - Duncan is a chubby Afro-American boy that is a tech enthusiast and also a paste eater. This habit has actually backed up his upgrade–he can stick to any and all surfaces. He is one of the three NERDS nerds that have told his family about his astonishing secret. Without his abilities, Duncan is basically and generally feckless.
  • Julio “Flinch” Escala - Julio is a hyperactive Mexican-American boy that is described as a walking ball of energy, mainly spiked due to all the sugary treats he consumes due to his sugar addiction. Every single day, I should add.  His upgrade is a harness that burns his energy into superhuman speed and strength, and without it he is noticeably shaking and unable to stop himself. Due to his disliking of romance and everything lovey-dovey, he could be considered the asexual NERDS nerd. Julio also shares a strong friendship with Duncan.
  • Ruby “Pufferfish” Peet - This stubbornly smart Jewish girl suffers from the worst allergies in history. Seriously, documented history states it. Her upgrades enhance her allergies to where she can use them psychically to detect feelings like danger and dishonesty. She is also the head nerd of NERDS itself.
  • Mindy “The Hyena” Beauchamp - Formerly a junior beauty pageant queen, this freelance worker also doubles as a skilled martial artist aspiring to become a pro assassin. eek Don’t be scared, she doesn’t actually have what you’d call an upgrade, but she has a very contagious and obnoxious laugh. She is also Jackson’s love interest, hates it when people find out her real name, and currently works as a NERDS nerd on a classified project…

Should I even have to tell you what the two books are about?

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So now that you know every single darn detail about what I’ve been doing–oh, let me set you free from the hassle of reading this long post with all the videos I want you to watch. Consider this the Ultimate Video of the Week Compilation…well, besides our Halloween special compilation, but that’s another story.

Stay classy America,

~S~ cool



BestDVD.jpg

I know, I know. Our third case of déjà vu. But seriously, when it comes to the compact disc age Mordo & Rigs have got their hands full. But  two Tuesdays ago, the park came out with their biggest DVD yet. A title that put even their Slack Pack to shame. Cartoon Network and Warner Home Video have come together to bring us the biggest, baddest, brutal-est, and bombastic-est moments of their third season. Ironic, considering this is their second DVD yet. But now they have sixteen episodes compared to their last DVD’s twelve, and it’s got an even special-er special feature than that lame special feature short! Ladies and gents, I give you the park’s latest creation–The Best DVD In The World* (*At This Moment In Time). Let’s take a look, as we always do in this scenario, at the episodes this DVD has to offer!

Slam Dunk” – When Mordo gets a call from Margaret requesting for him to create a website for her, he is mortified to realize that Muscle Man & Fives already have the computer reserved, despite not even using it and instead playing basketball outside. So the four end up in a two-on-two basketball match–winner gets a week of computer rights. When they fail miserably, Mordo angrily kicks the basketball and says that basketball sucks. At this very moment, the God of Basketball arrives from the sky and offers to teach the two how to become real naturals at the sport. Moments later the God is horrified when he sees how bad Mordo & Rigs truly are, so he decides to sweeten the deal by giving them his powers. After Mordo and Rigs effortlessly beat Muscle Man & Fives at a game–by now the reservation has been extended to two months–they concoct a plan where Fives fakes an injury. Since Muscle Man’s only teammate is “hurt”, he chooses the God himself to substitute–and even worse, the God grants him his powers as well…

Cool Bikes” – When Benson confiscates the golf cart from Mordo & Rigs and replaces it with two manual bikes, they strike a deal with him. The deal went like this: if Benson admitted they were cool, he had to give the cart back. After re-designing the bikes and getting new digs at Das Coolest, they are still unsuccessful with Benson. After Benson confronting them again in the middle of a whole circle of people, Mordo & Rigs finally crack and tell Benson that they don’t care what he thinks. At this point, Mordo & Rigs are taken to a space shuttle which highly resembles the Death Star with shades, having been arrested for “being too cool”…

The Best Burger In The World” – When Mordo, Rigs, Muscle Man, Fives, Skips, and Pops are at the house’s front steps excitedly discussing the forthcoming arrival of the Grill Em’ Up truck–home of the Ulti-Meatum, “the best burger in the world”–Mordo and Rigs’ chances are smashed like a beef cattle when they realize they have a hunch of unfinished work to do from the previous week. Benson sets the stakes even higher when he says that the two cannot even think about getting their Ulti-Meatums until their work was done. Worse yet, they must suffer watching their colleagues pig out on their burgers–oh, and if you want to know what an Ulti-Meatum is made out of, here we go. It’s a cheeseburger, stuffed inside a cheeseburger, with two deep-fried cheeseburgers as buns. So it’s basically a triple cheeseburger, plus the added Himalayan ketchup. (If you ask for it Idaho-style, a whole bag of potato chips is added.) At Skips’ garage which the two are cleaning out, they uncover the Hologram 9000. This is a machine that can turn anyone’s image into a hologram, even with realism settings! With the truck’s final call for burgers on the line, they make their holograms, set up the trick, and go order their Ulti-Meatums. Unfortunately, the holograms come to life with minds of their own…

More Smarter” – Mordecai believes he was smarter than Rigby ever since he became a dropout at his high school, and not becoming a recipient of his diploma in the process. His lack of high school wisdom is really exemplified when he fails to calculate a math problem involving the enclosure for the park’s turtles. After unsuccessfully returning to high school–only falling asleep and engaging in a dream sequence where he graduated–he tries to get his diploma online, where he stumbles across an ad for an intelligence-boosting drink. He takes the formula and defies its rules by ingesting more than the prescribed amount, and indeed becomes smarter. When Mordo takes the same drink, he becomes as smart as Rigs, leading to a fight to determine who is “more smarter”

Rap It Up” – Mordo & Rigs are spectating as the famed rap group CrewCrew drop hot rhymes in rap battles at the park snack bar. Pops shows up, accidentally rendering the rap as poetry, and only gets called a “loser” when he tries to recite some of his own. This agitates him and leads him to challenge CrewCrew to a rap battle, but Mordo & Rigs take him under their–lemme rephrase, they shove him under their wing due to Pops’ lack of knowledge on rapping. When they attempt to practice, Pops drops out of the battle due to “the rude nature” of rap, and how Rigby defined rap to him. Everything starts going downhill when Pops buys matching poetry suits for him, Mordo, and Rigs, and despite initially quitting they take Skips’ advice and attend the battle. This is where it is shown that poetry really is a strong opponent towards rap, despite being its polar opposite…

Weekend at Benson’s” – This is a major example of how the biggest situations can occur out of the smallest scenarios at the park. When Benson requests that Mordo & Rigs hold the ladder for him as he goes to change the lightbulb on a park lamppost, but an argument between the two over who was annoying him causes the ladder to fall–taking Benson with it. His impact with the ground actually knocks him out cold, and a now panicked pair decide to conceal Benson’s closed eyes with a pair of sunglasses and continue the day using Benson like a puppet. They manage to have a successful conversation with Muscle Man by positioning his arms into different gestures, and just as they are about to take him to his apartment room one of his neighbors–Audrey–shows up. Apparently Benson had made a deal with Audrey to attend her party, and despite initial rejection they refuse to accept the disappointment on Audrey’s face and go anyway. When Audrey’s boyfriend Chuck aka “The Iron Stomach”–which is accentuated by the “FE” on his shirt, FE resembling iron on the periodic table–begins hassling Benson, Mordecai manages to make Benson knock Chuck’s water out of his hands. This leads to an intense eating contest centric to every hot food you can think of, and remember folks–this is against a guy nicknamed the Iron Stomach…

Camping Can Be Cool” – At the coffee shop, Mordo & Rigs are watching the weather channel at the coffee shop, which dictates that the weekend will have plenty of nice sunlight. When Eileen questions the two’s concern over the weather, it is shown that they are actually planning for a weekend camping trip. Shockingly, Margaret has never been on a camping trip, so Mordo happily invites the two on the trip which infuriates Rigs. After a musical montage of a car ride, they arrive at National Forest where Mordo rebelliously directs them to a restricted area of the forest. After various fun and rather typical camping activities–and another musical montage–they are caught by a park ranger. And to make things go from bad to worse, Margaret accidentally left her keys in ignition inside the car. And to make things go from worse to even worse, they come across a horrifying monster lurking in the woods…

Trash Boat” – While watching a band-centric show, a rock star named The Urge is asked how he got his name. He answers that he merely conglomerated two random words, and Rigs wishes to change his name in the exact same manner. When he sees a pile of trash and a picture of a boat, he settles on his new name: “Trash Boat”. But Mordo’s teases are no match for him, as he actually bears his name change certificate to being “Trash Boat”. When Rig–sorry, Trash Boat realizes he needs fifty bucks to switch his name back, he only becomes the laughingstock of the park when he attempts to find extra work. When he gets fed up with the mockery, especially when Benson forces him to wear a name tag, he proceeds to hide in an alley and cry. At this moment, the obese and bald Urge shows up via portal, wanting to eliminate Trash Boat due to stealing the fame and absurdity of his name…

Butt Dial” – After a game night with Marge and Eileen, a elation-stricken Mordecai doesn’t even care when Rigby plays with the buttons of his phone. The feeling rots like an abandoned apple when he realizes that he had butt dialed Marge a voicemail–more specifically, a self-sung love song called “Having A Good Time”–and sent it to her while taking out the trash in the golf cart. Mordo and Rigs then engage in a typical find-the-phone-and-erase-the-message mission to prevent Mordo from hitting ultimate humiliation. The first leg of the mission occurs at–not surprisingly–the coffee shop, where Mordo ends up knocking Marge’s phone out of her hands when she sees a new message and into a cup of coffee. When this turns out to be Eileen’s phone, Marge gives Mordo and Rigs the ability to search in her car for the phone. When they realize she had left it at the house with Pops during game night, they rush back home. After three failures of trying to unlock her passcode, they are transported to the Phone Guardians who plan to “erase” the pair for hacking into Marge’s phone…

Think Positive” – When Pops decides to play with the childish side of him by catching butterflies, drawing, and playing with toys, his elation is frequently hindered by Benson yelling at Mordo and Rigs. When Benson’s yelling pushes Pops to dangling at the end of his rope, he makes Benson never yell again or face being fired. Ironic, considering he’s the boss. Anyway, Mordo & Rigs push themselves to do wild and mischievous activities without Benson’s yelling threatening them, rendering Benson almost powerless in stopping them. After unsuccessfully trying to control his temper, he relies on the Internet, anger management tapes, and other things to keep his cool, but none work. While hearing a tape, Benson–along with all of us–realizes why he began yelling in the first place: he was encouraged to as a kid by his family. But when Mordo & Rigs crash a cart into a tree, Benson reaches his boiling point, where he begins fuming as much as his gumballs and stores all his anger in a way that begins slowly absorbing the park…

Video Game Wizards” – After a gaming session, Mordo & Rigs come across a commercial for the Maximum Glove–the Reg Show world’s spoof of the Nintendo Power Glove–that will be the grand prize of the Game Inferno Tournament at the Ferguson Convention Center. (Yes, when I say Ferguson, I do mean GBF.) When Rigs gets suspicious about Mordo’s lack of enthusiasm for the tournament, he realizes why moments later–Mordo had already chosen Skips to be his partner. A crushed Rigs dolefully decides to tag along with the two on their trip, aggressively and repeatedly bombing Mordo for his decision. He even went so far make a mix-tape song (called “Never Pick Their Friends”) that epitomizes Rigs’ statements. On day one of the tournament, Mordo is nice enough to put Rigs down as the alternate during their registration, but Rigs is infuriated from this and starts a fight between the two in the middle of the convention center. The quarrel ultimately ends in Rigs storming away after having uttered a sentence I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “I hope you have as much fun winning the glove as you did losing your best friend.” After this blow to Mordo’s self-esteem, they proceed to make their way through the tournament until they reach the tournament finals, where he finally realizes that the Maximum Glove wasn’t as important as their friendship…

Skips vs. Technology” – Now, before I even explain the premise of the episode, I’ll have you know something about Skips: he was granted immortality, is exactly 6’1″, and claims to know many things to those of the unknown–or as he sometimes calls it, “everything.” But in this episode, we realize that this is all a little white lie, because there’s one thing Skips is terrible at–working anything in the criteria of a computer. Actually, we learn a lot about Skips in this episode–he’s been helping at the park since it was a Revolutionary War battlefield in the 1700s, for instance. But when Mordo and Rigs come across an “error 219″ while designing and printing something, Skips unsuccessfully attempts to help and only makes the error worse. Skips refuses to believe that he cannot fix everything, and after learning about fixing the error–and pretty much using a computer–he returns only to find the error growing bigger. It is now an “error 220″ after Mordo and Rigs tried to fix it, and he finds little to no guidance or help from the rude youths at the computer help zone. The youths decide to have a lunch break and call Techmo to help Skips. But we see that ever since the Revolutionary times where Skips had fixed Techmo’s–or should I call him by his original name, Samson’s–prosthetic arm, he’s gotten his old wooden one changed to a robotic one and landed a job as a computer master aka “technomancer”. After Techmo’s unsuccessful error-220 lesson, it is shown that the error 200 is actually a virus named Doom Ma Geddon. Like a real medical virus, Doom Ma Geddon infects Techmo in a possession fashion, turning him in a malevolent, sinister beast that digitizes everything he touches…

Eggscellent” – (This episode won the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Short-Format Animated Program!) While watching a rather generic action show which consists of basically lots of vehicle flipping, Mordo and Rigs come across a commercial for an eating challenge. The challenge is a twelve-egg omelet, and whomever eats the entire thing–plus two dinner rolls and a bowl of fruit–will win a trucker hat that declares them “eggscellent”, hence the episode’s name. Rigs quickly gets obsessed with the hat while Mordo thinks it is lame, but he gets dragged into trying out the big omelet anyway. Even when a waiter warns him of the omelet and asks him to try another entree, Rigs is dead set on completing the challenge–and nearly dies for real when he gets a gnarly allergic reaction. Mordo makes a promise to Rigs that he would get the hat, just before Rigs falls into a coma from the reaction. After letting out a majority of his anger on Benson, he realizes that the hat is not for regular sale and fails his first try at the challenge. At the hospital Rigs is at, Benson presents Mordo with the journal of Johnathan Kimble, a former park worker that had tried the Eggscellent Challenge in the same way Mordo is now. He had concocted a plan to make eating the food easier, such as crushing the eggs, crumbling the rolls, and mixing them into a glass of water that came with the omelet. Unfortunately, he was never seen again after this. The next time Mordo tries the omelet, now having trained himself in Kimble’s ways, the waiters are astonished at his skill in eating the omelet. In fact, rather jealous to the point where they try to thwart him…

Muscle Mentor” – When Rigs and Mordo argue about whether or not they should have a coffee, Rigs brings up one of his rebellious statements at how Benson never pays attention to what they do. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong time to be a rebel–Benson was right behind him, overhearing the entire conversation. Right there on the spot, Rigs is fired, but manages to get another chance due to not being able to do work from a lack of proper training. So Rigs is assigned to have a mentor–unfortunately, that mentor is Muscle Man. Even worse, he is literally on him at all times with Muscle’s trusty mentoring harness. Rigs must complete a shift of work worth eight hours of effort, and if he cannot he is automatically fired. If Rigs cannot take the work, or Muscle feels like Rigs is gradually unable to, he pulls the red cord that literally confirms Rigs being booted from the park roster. He must also work under Muscle’s three rules:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Stay cool.
  3. Forget the first two rules, never quit.

Although Rigs manages to complete his shift, the real trouble starts unfolding post-shift, where Rigs finally reaches his boiling point with ole Muscle…

Fists of Justice” – While Mordo and Rigs are playing a video game, they are unexpectedly approached by Skips. Turns out that for his birthday six months ago, the two had pitched in to create a coupon that cashed in a day of Skips’ work to the two. And if his chores weren’t finished, the world would come to an end. They manage to get everything done except moving Skips’ humongous harpsichord, which gets stuck in the front door and–with the harpsichord acting as a fire hazard–the two call Skips. Skips’ meditating session is halted by the call, and although he accepts the offer he eventually gets his fingers crushed by the harspichord’s lid. Before he can explain why he was gone, Gary–remember, the Guardians of Eternal Youth’s messenger–picks him up to fight Klorgbane the Destroyer. They decide to hitch a ride on Gary’s El Camino due to their worry for Skips, and–for not the first time on the show–they wind up at the Guardians’ palace. With Skips’ broken fingers being worthless against Klorgbane, and when he is defeated his colleagues pitch in and request for the Guardians to grant them the Fists of Justice…(So yeah, basically call it “Free Cake 2″.)

Trucker Hall of Fame” – (This episode was the show’s first official Father’s Day special.) When Muscle Man attempts to wish his father a happy Father’s Day to his dad through his trucker radio in his trailer, he is visited by his brother John whom silently informs his brother on his father’s death by presenting his trucker hat. Later at the funeral, where Muscle Man flips out after stating the cause of “Muscle Dad”‘s demise–putting a cactus under a cop in a bear suit, whom turned out to be a live bear–he manages to keep his cool and announces that for “the ultimate Father’s Day tribute”, he would take an urn of his dad’s cremated remains to the Trucker Hall of Fame. Y’know, where they’d be spread and all. Benson requests for Mordo and Rigs to accompany Muscle on his trip–since Fives didn’t do good with deaths–and on the road he flips for the second time, after one of the knobs on his radio breaks. When he eventually makes a bathroom stop, the three uncover a heartbreaking realization–Muscle Dad, “the best trucker in the world”, isn’t even a trucker at all. He had simply posed in one of those put-your-face-here pictures, which is shocking considering the picture even got his green skin tone perfect. When Muscle Man breaks a picture of his father, he finds a note inside–written by Muscle Dad himself–apologizing for lying to him after all these years. Despite this, they continue their trip to the Hall of Fame, they are stopped by a pair of guards as menacing as the pack of ghastly trucker spirits they encounter…

Oh, that was everything. :lol: And by the way, the special feature of this DVD is merely a collection of employee profiles. Better than Slack Pack‘s special feature short, at least. Anyway, the DVD is out right now, so you can save up your money and go see/reminisce the most highlighted moments of the show’s third season! :D

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Stay classy, America,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: To pretty much summarize everything I went over today, I decided to put up this five-minute video from  . It’s an interview with the show’s creator, JG Quintel. That’s short for James Garland Quintel, I’ll have you know. And it’s not “quin-till” or “quin-tull”, it’s “quin-tell”. It’s like the proper pronunciation of “Samus” these days–how do these people come up with such differing versions? Anyway, in the interview JG goes over juicy details like how he got his start in cartooning, the one show he loved as a kid, how the show’s characters actually debuted (not just on the show), why he chose animal characters over human characters, and what makes these unique characters rather normal people. It got put up back in September, and so far it’s gotten almost 73,000 hits with almost 5,000 likes! Lemme show you some of the praise this video–plus JG and Reg Show itself–received in the comments:

“my dad digs regular show and he is 53 years old” – abunzamobi

“I love Regular Show and J.G Quintel. <3″ – TheLionKingSimbaFan

“U know who else likes regular show and Cartoon Network? My mom!!!!!! XD” – anniedr21

“Its a good show you should give it a try, and if you don’t like it, thats cool, not my problem, but it is really funny” – Colleen Hand

“It’s so weird to hear Mordecai’s exact voice coming out of an unanimated person” – thefailguy12

BONUS POINTS:

  • From 0:00-1:33 in the video, JG is shown behind a collection of encased plastic figures resembling Cartoon Network characters. How many can you name?
  • Throughout the whole video, clips from Reg Show episodes are shown. Can you name all the episodes?
  • JG actually provides the voice for one of the park workers on the show. Who is that worker?

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Oh and by the way, happy Thanksgiving. What do you expect to do to celebrate the one day a year where it’s actually somewhat mandatory to eat to your belly’s content?

Speed Bump

And here’s some Thanksgiving facts for you:

  • Did you know that Thanksgiving has been an official holiday since 1863, when Abraham Lincoln (whom was President by then) had declared a day of “thanksgiving of praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.
  • Did you know that Thanksgiving is on different dates in different countries? The American version is on the fourth Thursday of every November, the Canadian version is on the second Monday of every October, the Liberian version is on the first Thursday of every November, and the Norfolk Island version is on the final Wednesday of every November.
  • Did you know that when the Pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving, they ate with only spoons, knives, and fingers? Yep, no forks.
  • Did you know that Ben Franklin had wanted the turkey to be our national bird instead of the bald eagle?
  • Did you know that magazine editor Sarah Hale had convinced Lincoln to create Thanksgiving?
  • Did you know that Hale was also the author behind “Mary Had A Little Lamb”?
  • Did you know that in America almost 300 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving occasions?
  • Did you know that America’s largest turkey-consuming state is California?
  • Did you know that a turkey has more protein than both chicken and beef?
  • Did you know that only male turkeys gobble, while females (aka “hens”) cluck?
  • Did you know that turkeys have heart attacks, as shown when turkeys within the range of the US Air Force’s sound barrier fracture died from heart attacks?

Here’s to a day of feasting. Gobble, gobble, gobble. :mrgreen:



Last year was probably one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had on this blog. And another year has passed, and I remember a promise I  made to conclude last year’s Halloween special–to come back next year for the third special. And that third special has finally come. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun with all your fans. Releasing at 5pm like my last special, this Halloween’s gonna be a hoot. Prepare to be scared. Your goosebumps are gonna get goosebumps. Stock up on your lightbulbs, grab a bowl of candy, and hope for the best–because this holiday special may be something you’ll never return from.

Halloween, also known as Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’/Saints’ Eve–based off of its original “All Hallows’ Evening” name–is a yearly worldwide-observed holiday that precedes the western Christian feast of All Hallows, allowing the people of the world to trick-or-treat, attend costume parties, bob for apples, carve jack-o-lanterns, light bonfires, watch scary movies, prank, and visit “haunted” attractions all in one night. Most kids consider it the scariest day of the year, while others consider it the most fun. Me? I don’t directly celebrate Halloween, but rather the fall harvest. But it’s no reason not to host this essential 2012 special. Speaking of specials, Halloween has also been the night of the arrival of the Great Pumpkin–or so Linus van Pelt believes. He’s so determined to find the Pumpkin that every Halloween night he sits in a pumpkin patch awaiting the holiday figure’s arrival. When he fails to show himself, Linus only ups his ants for next Halloween. And there are three things that kid’s learned to never discuss in public: religion, politics, and that ole Great Pumpkin. But you can’t blame the kid for trying, can you? And besides–he has a little brother named Rerun!

Anyway, to change the subject, lots of your favorite channels are still going back to their Halloween-y roots like last year. Disney Channel’s bringing back Monstober (kicking it off with their new DCOM Girl vs. Monster), and on demand I saw a deal from the Hub about RL Stine’s Haunting Hour. (Don’t worry, they put up Goosebumps too.) But, like usual, Cartoon Network seems to be at the top of its game this year. While its campaign may not be as tyrannical and direct as last year’s, my scared-silly supplement did leave me feeling something. But I’ve decided to crunch all the episodes worth caring about together and break them down right here, right now.

Terror Tales of the Park II” from Regular Show - Last year’s Halloween special from the park was a hoot, offering 1.968 million views on its premiere–but surprisingly, the rest of season three’s episodes literally bedraggled this rating. But hey–if a creepy living doll, the ghosts of a heavy metal crash pit, and Rigby being turned into a house wasn’t scary enough, wait until you see what the gang brought this year. The premise of the episode goes like so: everyone is decked in a costume heading towards a Halloween costume party that Margaret had recommended. Benson is a pirate, Mordecai is Frankenstein, Pops is a mummy, Rigby is what seems to be Hulk Hogan, and so on. But they quickly realize that the drive is taking a bit too long–as they are already lost. To kill the time (get it?), the people decide to spin some scary stories. Benson reluctantly allows them to, with one rule: they can’t really scare Pops.

  • Payback” told by Mordecai – This story seems to be a scary, demented, warped version of “Skips Strikes”. Taking place at the same bowling alley, Stardust Lanes, Mordo has just dominated his colleagues in a game. Well, everyone except his uncle Steve, who sits out the round. Despite his colleagues and their bad moods wanting to leave, Mordecai manages to convince them to play another game and gives his uncle a loan of $5. A now ecstatic Mordecai begins to dance around in excitement, but while moonwalking he ends up bumping into uncle Steve. He stumbles over to the ball return, where his light-up tie gets stuck, pulling him in and killing him. (I can’t help but be reminded of Syndrome’s death in The Incredibles.) Later at Steve’s funeral, a guilt-stricken Mordecai has literally changed his name to “Mortified”. And worse yet, his uncle had never paid back his nephew’s $5. But after a bad dream concerning the murder, Mordo wakes up and finds Steve’s ghost staring at him with glowing eyes. After splashing his face with cold water, it happened again. Now concerned whether this is reality or a big mind game, Mordo (and eventually Rigs) continue to be stalked by Uncle Steve’s ghost all the way down to his grave–where it is revealed that he just needed to pay his nephew back.
  • Party Bus” told by Margaret – Mordecai, Rigs, Marge, and her friend Eileen are decked out in costumes and ready to hit the movies. But Benson & Skips are currently in control of the golf cart for late-night patrolling of any TP-ing hooligans. With no sign of transportation now, Eileen–her costume being a businesswoman–manages to call a taxi for them. But another car arrives before the taxi, deeming itself as the Party Bus. The four, greatly persuaded by the atmosphere, decide to call off the taxi and board the bus instead–but they take the bus’s slogan, “This Party’s Killer!”, for granted. While the four are enjoying themselves to dancing and downing, Marge sees that the bus driver has passed the local theater downtown. They eventually realize that once they board the bus, they cannot leave the bus. And every partygoer on the bus isn’t wearing a white wig–they’re actually aging before the gang’s eyes as the bus moves forward! Not only that, but they begin to age as well! Seeing their colleagues turn to dust, Mordecai manages to take out the bus driver and follow his first natural instinct–shifting the bus into reverse. But this only gives everyone a case of Benjamin Button’s disease–they start de-aging! The gang manages to escape through the emergency hatch of the bus as children, and make the final jump off the bus as babies. As the gang celebrates their victory, they only dissolve into dust.
  • Wallpaper Man” told by Benson – Mordo and Rigs have taken it in to draw a cheesy cartoon in marker on the wall. The cartoon depicts Rigby describing his job as a prison, and Mordecai–pointing to a hole in the wallpaper–having found a way out. Although the two take pleasure in their joke, Benson uncovers it and forces them to re-wallpaper the entire house. If they did a bad job, they’d only re-re-wallpaper the house. After failing to cover up just the cartoon with wallpaper, they find their TV in the hallway promoting Jan the Wallpaper Man. Coincidentally, he’ll do a customer’s first wallpapering job for free! They decide to hire Jan, and lock themselves in their rooms playing video games as Jan takes care of the house. When they decide to take a break, they find the entire house vividly wallpapered in black and red. Unfortunately, when they hear Pops crying for help they find Jan wallpapering him to the wall! When Jan sees his cover has been blown, he hisses at the two and crawls along the walls out of the room. They manage to rescue Pops, but must navigate a constantly-shifting maze of wallpaper to rescue Benson as they hear his cries as well. Due to an optical illusion, the maze gradually gets smaller, causing a claustrophobic Rigs to begin tearing through the walls. They use this method to uncover a cave where the remaining workers–including Benson–have been held hostage by Jan, wrapped in cocoons made of the same wallpaper Jan had used on the house. In one of the most disgusting scenes on Regular Show, Jan transforms into his true giant spider form as he ties Pops to the ceiling. Mordo & Rigs desperately try to fend off Jan with rocks, but only rip the cocoons of their colleagues. While Skips and Pops have heavy landings, Benson has a more smooth landing and even catches a delivery man [sending grenades to Muscle Man. Don't ask.] who had been trapped. As Spider-Jan impales Muscle Man through the stomach and eats him, Benson carries Skips & Pops away to higher ground, forcing Mordecai and Rigby to fire whom they had hired. Rigby does not take the phrase as metaphorically speaking and actually tries to fire Jan, which only makes the problem worse. They realize that the delivery man had left behind his package of grenades, so Rigs manages to retrieve it as Mordo pelts Spider-Jan with rocks. Moments later, they are in his grasps, and–awkwardly saying different catchphrases simultaneously–they unclip all the grenades and throw the package into the beast’s mouth. Their celebration is shortly lived when they suddenly question the range they must be in to avoid the explosion; the resulting explosion not only destroys the house, but presumably Jan and the two as well.

Costumes & Courage” from Austin & Ally - Austin’s new record label owner, Jimmy Starr, invites him to perform at his record’s Halloween party, where Ally’s new song will be the centerpiece of a duet with him and Taylor Swift! However, Austin believes that Ally had sold their song to Taylor, and lets out his frustration and anger through a text to Starr, calling him an “evil, gutless rat”. However, when it is accidentally sent, they split up at the party to find Jimmy’s phone and delete the message. Meanwhile, Trish and Dez are off ghost-hunting when their plans go haywire when they accidentally knock Taylor unconscious. Since Ally’s wearing an identical costume to her, she decides to step in as an understudy to keep Austin from being left hanging–singing onstage for the first time.

Summerween” from Gravity Falls - In Gravity Falls, Halloween is such a favored holiday that it’s not only celebrated on its rightful date, but also in the summer as Summerween! With jack-o’-melons, candy, and fun at bay, Mabel and Dipper are excited to dive in. But when Dipper’s crush/fellow Mystery Shack worker Wendy deems trick-or-treating as a child’s activity, Dipper’s entire outlook on Summerween changes. The night gets more heated when worker/elder Soos tells them about the tale of the Summerween Trickster. Believing it to be unrealistic, Dipper insults it but causes it to come to life; by the end of Summerween, when the final light of the final jack-o’-melon is dimmed, they must collect over five hundred pieces of candy for the Trickster or be eaten. Meanwhile, Mabel and Dipper’s Great Uncle/Grunkle Stan attempts to scare two boys who laugh at the definition of horror, claiming to have watched scary movies since the age of 2.

Wazombie Warriors” from Kickin’ It - This is like some sort of Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead for the show. When Kim falls asleep whilst watching a Halloween movie, she dreams that all of her friends have turned into zombie-vampire hybrids known as “zompyres”. Kim must battle these zompyres, which is a great physical and emotional struggle, due to it feeling like she is hurting her friends–especially Jack. She must travel to the home of Doctor Krupnick (who is Milton in real life, the only fellow non-zompyre person in the dream) whom holds the only zompyre antidote.

The Halloween” from Gumball - As the show’s first-ever holiday special, the ghostly Carrie (in her 3rd main role) takes Gumball, Darwin, and Anais to a costume party on Halloween–a party inside a real haunted house! So it’s not a big surprise when it is revealed that every single partygoer is a ghost! And Gumball and Darwin seem to be enjoying themselves–until they turn into ghosts themselves! Will this party get crashed before Gumball & Darwin can even put their skins back on?

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Alright now, I think that’s enough crunching for one Halloween. Anyway, like I did last year, I’ll take it in to put up the tips, tricks, and slips to the best Halloween bash ever:

  • Make good invites for people. An attention-grabbing invitation will encourage them to come.
  • Afterwards, make a guest list. A good party has a capacity of a good twenty people.
  • Decide the snacks, party favors, and drinks. It’s a good idea to be willing to include cake.
  • Decorate your house, but make it good. Any old papier-mâché ghosts or stuff scrawled on paper simply won’t cut it, and your party will be a total bust. Buy your own decorations that are creepy and cheap…they’re cheapy.
  • Make sure your food is prepared before people arrive. If half of your capacity is already attending the party and you only have a bag of pretzels willing to be eaten, the party-goers won’t have much of a strong appetite, and the chances they might hoof it will rise. Make sure you got food, and food that guests would want to eat.
  •  Try and dress up in a costume yourself. If you host a creepy Halloween party in just a shirt, khakis and a cardigan sweater, you’ll be the center of the audience, yes, but not in an entirely good way. You can leave out this tip if you want, but if you want to blend into your surroundings, try and buy your own costume. Don’t make it too scary, because you might leave a visual scar if half of your attending guests are kids.
  • Tidy up the house. I don’t mean to sound like I’m quoting something your dad would probably say inside your room, but a good party has a clean atmosphere. If your guests are noticing junk like empty bags of Doritos behind the couches, or colonies of dust bunnies, you, and your party, will probably look like a slob.
  • Decide where, when, and directions. This is the most important part of a Halloween party. Don’t tell your guests unsure sentences like, “Uh…I honestly don’t know”, because this is the biggest chance that they’ll bail out. Maybe hand out flyers of your party, and have every necessary detail on them, location, date, and address. This makes sure that they’ll know where to come, why they’re coming, and the time they’re expected.
  • Is the party going to be outdoors or indoors? Another important tip. Make sure if your party is going to be out or in. And make sure everybody gets the same information, because people will be arguing if they get different info. If you plan to have an outdoor party, set up tables and chairs. If indoors, set up stuff like food and décor.

GOOD INVITATION FORMAT

You’re Invited – The simple phrase that makes an invitation an invitation. This phrase sets the tone and lets people know, instead of jumping out and slapping them across the face with other detail. “You’re invited” is merely what an invitation cannot lack.

Where, When, and Why – Another essential invitation detail. Attending guests need to know where they’re going, why they’re headed there, and when they’re expected. Without these details, your invited guest will be more baffled than a half-brained kid taking a MEAP test. Also, be on the safe side and put your number on your ads if guests don’t have invitations, because they gotta reach the host/hostess somehow.

(optional) RSVP – Translated from the classic French phrase repondéz s’il vous plaît, RSVP means “reply please” or “please respond”. This is so that guests can respond to you with “Yes, I can come” or “No, I cannot come” as a response.

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Let’s wish such a happy Halloween birthday to these celebrities that it’s scary

  • Vanessa Marano - Notorious for her performances on Gilmore GirlsWithout a TraceSwitched at Birth, and–most ideal to today’s theme–Ghost Whisperer, Vanessa may not be as well-known to kids than her little sister Laura, whom plays Ally on Austin & Ally! Vanessa started her run as a starlet from the age of two, working at Stage Door Theater productions since. Her role on Without a Trace is one of her most famous ones to date–and coincidentally, she and Laura were sisters on the show. Anyway, while she currently works as Switched at Birth‘s Bay Kennish, Vanessa will be celebrating her big jump into her twenties on Halloween! And because she’s fluent in Italian: “Buon compleanno, Vanessa!”
  • Piper Perabo - She’s been in the industry from Coyote Ugly to her Golden Globe-nominated performance on USA’s Covert Affairs–including both Cheaper by the Dozen movies and then some. Born of a physical therapist and a college poetry professor, Piper is of the descent of Norway and Portugal, named after actress Piper Laurie, and the victim sibling of two brothers. She is an Ohio University graduate, with a degree in theater, and will be turning 36 on Halloween! Happy birthday, Piper!
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. - While he’s worked on many solo projects in his career, Larry is best known as the drummer for one of Ireland’s greatest rock bands, U2. An overabundance of praise and honor engulfed Larry as a result of his work with the band, including over twenty received Grammys. Mullen started all this drumming worker at the age of nine, as the only child of Maureen Mullen and Larry Mullen, Sr. For decades he has lived with girlfriend, fathering several children in the process, but to this day has never tied a knot with someone. And although I don’t know if he’ll be giving out candy or little Lucky Charms boxes on All Hallows’ Eve night, we can only infer that Larry Mullen, Jr fiú a breithlá sona. That’s Irish for “Larry Mullen, Jr. deserves a happy birthday.” :D
  • Adam K. Horowitz, also known as the Beastie Boy, King Ad-Rock or just Ad-Rock. This some-of-everything man (music, acting, producing, guitar-playing, and rapping) came from New Jersey from a mom named Doris and a play-writing father named Israel. Beginning his musical passion in the punk rock band, The Young and the Useless, he became the Beastie Boys’ replacement guitarist in 1982, when the original one quit. He has been a piece of the pie since, although he has an epilepsy diagnosis and a 5-year marriage with riot grrrl artist Kathleen Hanna. He is celebrating his 45th birthday today. Happy birthday, King!
  • Robert M. Van Winkle, also known as Vanilla Ice. This extreme athletic rapping home improvement TV personality pioneered Billboard chart-topping songs with his timeless summer 1990 single, “Ice Ice Baby”. Currently signed to Psychopathic Records (do mass murderers rap there?), he began hosting The Vanilla Ice Project since October 2010 (that’s his home improvement show), and has even survived his own suicidal attempt, as well as surviving a major 3-year fame fall. Today he is turning 44. Happy birthday, Ice!
  • Willow C.R. Smith is turning 11 today. Better known as Willow Smith, or mononymously as Willow, she encouraged the music junkies of pre-Halloween 2010 to whip their hair like 21st-century girls. The song was only number eleven on the Billboard chart, but it’s been part of meme lore ever since. She’s also dipped her hand into the jar of acting, starring as Robert Neville (played by her own father)’s daughter in I Am Legend and also as the hobo jungle resident Countee in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Happy birthday, Willow! And make sure to whip that hair real good!
  • Sir Peter R. Jackson, known for directing all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, alongside the 2005 revival of King Kong, is turning 50 today. To me, 50 is a big number of age, but the 50-60 area is recently the most prone death area. No offense, Sir Jackson (I’m not a fortune teller), but just be aware. This New Zealander scored global attention by churning out “splatstick” horror comedies such as Bad Taste and Braindead. I’ve seen a little of one of his movies, and all I have to say is: Awesome directing, Pete. Although sometimes he did slip under the line, such as with The Lovely Bones. No offense, but happy birthday, Sir!

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Pretty good special so far, huh? Well, it’s not over yet–check out some of the def new games coming out this season!

In 1937, an Englishman named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, known more widely as J.R.R. Tolkien, released a novel that spawned what would be one of the most epic book series of our time. And before Harry Potter, before Children of the Red King, before Series of Unfortunate Events–there was Lord of the Rings. And Lego’s been able to get their hands on some of the most popular series to kingdom come. BatmanIndiana JonesSpongeBob, and the like. And now in Lego The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Gandalf and the rest of middle-Earth are next. This game follows the storyline of–quite surprisingly–the movies instead of the books, taking players through epic moments with sprinkles of the variety and humor Lego does best. The game’s developer Traveler’s Tales (the Lego godfather since 2005) have claimed that they will dramatically tone down the slapstick laughs used in other Lego titles. But like in Lego Star Wars, for example, some scenes have been edited to be family-friendly or just to be a comic relief. Complementing the new Lego LOTR toy collection, the game can obviously be played with company in a drop-in-drop-out style. Due to a growing inventory the player owns, this game is most definitely a Lego RPG. Which is saying something. And if you want it special-edition, you’ll get an extra mini-figure of Elrond! Well, the game’s not coming out until the 30th for the PC, PS3, Xbox, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS, and regular DS, and if you miss out on any of it–you shall not pass! But you can pass to this def game below…

Adventure Time. A show I love with a burning passion. Its online games? Not so much. Sound Castle was too choppy, Righteous Quest was too sloppy, Jake’s Tough Break was too croppy, and I know what you’re thinking–is it possible for me to have a favorite game? Well, I do have a heart, so yes–Flambo’s Hot Mess was pretty good. But this May, the people behind this TV sensation announced something that literally vaporized all we knew about Adventure Time. It’s even got shining light in Nintendo Power. Some of the people involved in this insane project are WayForward (the makers of SpongeBob SquigglePantsShantae, etc.) and–of course–Cartoon Network Interactive. As Adventure Time‘s first-ever primetime video game, this is Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! I’m not pulling on your chains, that’s the real name of the game. But to prevent any stress let’s call it Adventure Time: The Game. The game’s plot revolves around Ice King building his own Garbage Princess and ends up lying around Finn and Jake. He’s made off with Ooo’s entire garbage supply, so it’s up to Finn and Jake to set things straight. The perspective of the game depends on where you are; when exploring the land of Ooo, you are in a top-down perspective like Legend of Zelda, but when you enter a dungeon or some sort of level the game turns into a 2D sidescroller like Zelda II. But earlier this year in July, it was told that the game would have a collector’s edition on both platforms it’s set out for–the DS and 3DS. It includes a steel case cover of the Enchiridion, a booklet with show creator Pen Ward’s artwork, a poster of Ooo itself, and a stylus stylized around Finn’s own sword! Adventure Time fans with the power of Nintendo on their side, get ready to have the most mathematical adventure of your life! Adventure Time: The Game won’t be hitting stores until November 13th, so that gives you plenty of time to save up. But I do have one question–why on Earth is Ice King being penalized for stealing garbage?! I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD THING!!!

I know what you’re thinking by now: Sam, I appreciate you including the Wii U, but it’s not necessarily a game. And to you I say that there are so many games coming out next month for the Wii U that I might as well include this. Anyway, this is our first peek at the eighth generation of gaming as we know it as Nintendo’s fighter, and hopefully it brings the fire that the Wii brought. And that’s assuredly how the Wii U’s “big brother” financially won the seventh generation of gaming. Will the streak be brought down another generation, or will all the potential be for naught? Well, it has many big perks on the Wii: at 2 gigs it has more than 20x the Wii memory, it features its own embedded-touchscreen GamePad, it will be “backward compatible” with the Wii, it supports Wii attachments like the Remote Plus and Nunchuk, and so on. It’ll be a hefty fine if you want to get it no matter where you come from, since it costs 300 American dollars, 300 euros, 250 British pounds, and nearly 30,000 yen. If you want it premium, it’s 350 dollars, 300 pounds, 350 euros, and just over 30,000 yen. But enough talk, let’s get to the games you should be antsy for:

  • Ubisoft’s first publication was in 1986, an arcade adventure with the roots of Dawn of the Dead known simply as Zombi. 26 years have passed, and Ubisoft has decided to give the homage and honor to the game that kicked it off in the first place. Formerly known as Killer Freaks from Outer SpaceZombiU will be one of Ubisoft’s first original and exclusive entries into the Wii U. 4 centuries ago, Welsh astronomer John Dee creates the Black Prophecy, an apocalyptic prophecy which will be brought into full swing in 2012. By November, a zombie apocalypse has surfaced and run amok in London, and you will use the GamePad to not only navigate, but also do things like aiming select weapons and unlocking weapons. You also have a “Bug-Out Bag” which stores your other goods, but do note you are vulnerable while handling it. Upon a player’s death, they are permanently removed from the game and a new survivor takes their place. Kill the dead survivor–which should be a zombie by now–and try and get back any goods from their Bag. And you have plenty of goods to save up if you want to buy this game on November 18th.
  • Remember in 2006, how Wii Sports was released to demonstrate the true powers of the Wii? And look where it is now–carved into many Wii owners’ hearts, and having stolen the throne from Super Mario Bros as history’s most bestselling game. Well, Wii U’s got its own contender as well–Nintendo Land. Set in a carnival/theme park atmosphere, this game will feature twelve differing minigames based on numerous Nintendo franchises–some of which support a maximum of five, with four equipping the Remote and Nunchuk, and the remaining one equipping the GamePad. Some of the minigames take pages from series like ZeldaMetroidMario, Donkey KongPikminLuigi’s MansionAnimal Crossing, and YoshiNintendo Land will be a launch game for the regular version of the Wii U on the 18th, but will be a pack-in for the premium edition.
  • The Kinect had loads of games upon release; titles like Dance Central and Kinect Sports were actually somewhat good. And one of the games that didn’t make the par was Game Party: In Motion, which maintained a post-poor review incognito status since its kickoff in November 2010. But for the first time, Warner Bros.’s Game Party saga will be company-hopping! Instead of being a Kinect-exclusive, the latest Game PartyGame Party Champions–will make a beeline for the Wii U. Not much is known about the game except the release date, November 18th, the cover, and the fact that–obviously–it’s a party game.
  • Like Super Mario 64 represented the Nintendo 64, the red rivet will be coming back to represent the Wii U in New Super Mario Bros. U! Rendering the Mushroom Kingdom now in glorious HD, the game shows that after 27 years of failure Bowser has actually learned something. Bringing the Koopalings with him once more, he ambushes Peach’s castle–but also brings a mechanical arm to chuck Mario, Luigi, and the two Toads to a distance that literally vaporizes them from his worries. So the four must venture back across the land and win back Peach from the king of the Koopa Troopa, and that’s easier said than done. Anyway, the game’s play takes a lot of pages from New Super Mario Bros Wii–up to four can play at the same time, reach the goal flag at the end of each level, etc. As it is the Wii U, either the Remotes or GamePad can be used in-game, the latter of which being able to continue a game off the TV screen. NSMB U also introduces new power-ups, most notably the flying squirrel suit. It is good for long-distance gliding, slow descents down up-down paths, or clinging onto wall sides. Individual players can also carry baby Yoshis. And I’ll have you know that this started as New Super Mario Bros. Mii, but don’t fret–select game modes will allow Miis to be included. And on the 18th, Mario will be making his biggest jump, glide, and stomp yet.
  • After Ryu Hayabusa had his image bedraggled in the default version of Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei have decided to make a few tweaks to the most controversial problems. So they released the game’s most recent update, Razor’s Edge. Currently a Wii U-exclusive, the game allows the GamePad to choose differing weapons, perform “Ninpo”, view extra game info, etc. The series’ bloody glory will be rejuvenated, and assets like the Karma Counter will be returning. AI has improved as much as the upgrade menu, and the Lunar Staff and Duel Katanas are some of the new exclusive weapons being shown. The game also introduces a playable female ninja, Ayane, whom will bear her own move set similar to her incarnation in Sigma 2. Cutscenes will be sprinkled to explain her role in the game. An early version of the game was already acclaimed by IGN, but you’ll have to wait–like everybody and everything else–until the 18th to sharpen your blades.

Now, if you’ve been tagging along to Sammwak, you’ve heard about news of there possibly being an Epic Mickey sequel. A few months later, I clarified that with a hunk of news about both the sequel and its sequel! mrgreen But now, there’s been enough news out for the sequel’s sequel to get some shining light. Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion, Mickey’s upcoming and notably nostalgic adventure, holds it own as a tribute to Mickey’s Illusion games (1990-’95) courtesy of Sega, especially Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Anyway, this game takes place some time after the events of the original game, and Yen Sid has accidentally transported the evil Mizrabel and her Castle of Illusion to the Wasteland. Mickey’s new partner Oswald the Lucky Rabbit contacts Mickey to tell him about the castle’s appearance–and how Minnie’s been seen inside. Mickey then goes off to save not only Minnie, but all the “Illusions” trapped inside the castle. Some of these Illusions are Ariel, Ursula, and Sebastian, Scrooge McDuck, Peter Pan, Rapunzel (in her Tangled iteration), Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, and Gopher. Several Illusion locations have also been announced: King Triton’s underwater kingdom, the Aladdin-themed Agrabah, and Rapunzel’s tower. The game mixes Castle of Illusion‘s side-scrolling with Epic Mickey‘s paint-and-thinner mechanics. Using the touchscreen of its available console–the 3DS–the player will be able to bring scattered items in each stage into existence. How well the player draws these items will affect their quality in the incarnation; a perfectly-traced cannon will surely damage only enemies, but a badly-traced cannon will damage everyone in the area–even Mickey! The game’s nostalgic 16-bit visuals come from hand-drawn sprites, and there will also be scrolling parallax backgrounds according to Disney developer Warren Spector. Like all the Wii U games, it’ll be coming out on the 18th. And as promotion, Power of Illusion underwent a ballot on Epic Mickey‘s official Facebook page. Fans were asked to vote for their preferred game cover, and this was its winner:

Pretty cool, huh? Comment #wiiu and tell me if you’re excited for Nintendo’s 8th-gen fighter! Anyway, let’s keep the show going with some Halloween-y jokes! I know this may be a bit usual for a Halloween special, but it beats stalling around. Heh, that’s a funny word. Stalling…staaaaaalliing….staaaaaaaaaaaallliiiiiiiiiing…stalling?…stalling!….stalling!stalling!…stalling.

Why wasn’t there any food left at the monster party? Because everyone was a goblin!

What is a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!

Why doesn’t Dracula have any friends? Cuz he’s always a pain in the neck!

What did one casket say to the other casket? “Is that you coffin?”

What’s the problem with two twin witches? You never know which witch is which!

What do you call a witch who likes the beach but is scared of the water? A chicken sand witch!

Who won the zombie war? Nobody, it was dead even!

Why did Dracula go to the library? He wanted a good book to sink his teeth into!

Why is it hard for a ghost to tell a lie? Because you can see right through him!

Why did the skeleton go scuba diving? Because he wanted to get some muscles!

Why don’t skeletons play music in church? Because they have no organs!

What do you get when you cross a ghost, a dog, and a rooster?…A cockatoo!

To conclude this special–as heartbreaking as it sounds–I’m going to present an index of some of my favorite YouTube videos! And I don’t mean “favorite”, like “I like it, tee hee”, but “This is one of the best videos I’ve seen of its criteria!” eek I say “some of” since–as you can infer from my Videos of the Week–my actual collection of fave vids would take way too long to present. confused I know, not typical for a Halloween special, but it’s a darn good blowout. If you like what you see, go ahead and subscribe to their rightful owners, but for now here comes the awesomeness! biggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreen

Stay spooky, America,

~S~ 8-)

p.s. Check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to make a jack-o’-lantern out of an empty toilet roll!

p.p.s. Also check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to carve a pumpkin!

p.p.s.s. Finally check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to use your old jack-o’-lantern! I suppose the topic will be quite smashing. :D

Video of the Week: Just to make sure the Halloween feeling’s spreading, check out this video from the “Re-Micks” series on Disney Channel’s Have a Laugh! branch of goodness. (Another HAL! series is the stunt-filled Blam!) Now, the people who make these Re-Micks get Mickey and company to play and/or sing today’s hit songs, like Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up”, Hannah Montana’s “He Could Be the One”, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, and even Jessie J and B.o.B.’s “Price Tag”. But I guess this Re-Mick was made to set the Halloween mood. This follows Mickey Mouse’s spine-tingling and perfectly unrealistic Halloween adventure–to the tune of “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” by deadmau5! This is basically the official version released by Disney itself, with 6,000 views since its release a few weeks ago.



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