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I’m Going to Pixarland!

Posted on June 21st, 2024

Dave!Back in 2001, Disneyland finally got a second park. Walt Disney World had gotten a second park in 1982 (Epcot), a third in 1989 (Hollywood Studios), and a fourth in 1998 (Animal Kingdom)... so it was a long time coming. The difference being that Walt Disney World has vast amounts of land to expand, whereas Disneyland doesn't. Sure, there's going to be a planned expansion to the Disneyland Hotel side of the street, but it's just not a lot of land because there's hotels there. Nope... whatever was going to end up across from Disneyland was the only shot they had at doing something truly spectacular.

But instead we got California Adventure...

Paradise Pier and Mickey's Fun Wheel

Filled with a bunch of cheap, boring, off-the-rack rides that were themed to the idea of "California," the park was hardly worth waiting for. It was shit. I mean, seriously, Superstar Limo?!? My God. Disney had so badly lost its way that one can't help but think that Walt Disney himself would be disgusted in what's been attached to his name.

The exception being the fantastic attractions Soarin' Over California and the California Screamin' coaster, which were the only reason to waste your time walking over from Disneyland. An argument could be made that Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was also an exception, but it was a seriously dumbed-down version of the spectacular original from Walt Disney World, so I disagree.

But anyway...

Disney found out immediately by the overwhelmingly negative response to their cheap-ass abomination that they done fucked up (I made a special trip to see it and was livid that it was such a waste of time and money). You can't make a theme park on the cheap and expect people will embrace it just because you slapped the Disney name on it. They were forced to start revising things almost immediately, then announced a major renovation in 2007, just six years after it opened.

Eventually we got "Cars Land" which had the excellent Radiator Springs Racers, and "Pixar Pier" which had the fun Toy Story Midway Mania but that was it. Everything else that they've slapped on this massive failure has been mediocre to awful.

The nerfed Twilight Zone Tower of Terror became Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, which was okay, I guess. But they slapped it in the middle of "Avengers Campus" which is horrifically bad. This new "land" was ill-conceived and, shocker, cheap.

California Screamin' got re-themed to The Incredibles' Incredicoaster which is so cheap as to be embarrassing. They just plopped a bunch of static characters around the coaster, including the infamous Jack-Jack "babies on sticks" and Violet's disembodied head, and took away many of the things that made California Screamin' such a fun coaster. Which is to say that it was a massive downgrade.

Despite being a cheap-ass park, California Adventure was at least thematically cohesive. They did their best to actually adhere to the concept of "California" and make sure that everything was beautifully-appointed and had good flow. But now? It's a disjointed, incohesive mess that keeps having less and less to do with California. An obvious re-skin done on the cheap with precious few good attractions (and that beautiful World of Color show) to make it worth visiting.

So what to do?

The Pixar Pier section of California Adventure is the place for all things Pixar... but not including the Cars movies or the Monsters, Inc. movies, which both have rides in other sections of the park. Which begs the question... why not just convert the entire park to become Pixarland... the perfect compliment to Disneyland. But stop being so fucking cheap about it.

Build out a cohesive game plan for how the park "lands" should be defined and how they flow into each other [Cars Land, Toy Story Pier, Monsterstropolis (the Monster's, Inc. city), Metroville (the Incredibles city) etc., this is not rocket science]. Then go attraction by attraction to revise or replace the cheap crap and turn it into something Disney-worthy. Start with Incredicoaster... re-track it to not be so rough, then make it worth being associate with Disney by adding animatronics and decent effects instead of babies on sticks and other stupid crap. Then move on to the next. Then the next.

No idea how to integrate Soarin' (which was ruined when they turned it to "Around the World" instead of "California") but Imagineers are clever. Maybe it could be a ride where you're soarin' like the house in Up or something. Avengers Campus can just be scrapped entirely. And if you can slap a Guardians of the Galaxy Band-Aid on Tower of Terror, then how hard is it to do it again with a Pixar property? Doing a Coco-themed drop-ride that takes you through a colorful adventure through the Land of the Dead could be so cool. And can you imagine if the rest of Avengers Campus was turned into the city of Santa Cecilia that's celebrating Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) 365 days a year? Make it colorful and fun... so cool...

Coco's Day of the Dead celebration

I dunno. Maybe Pixarland isn't the answer... but there's gotta be an answer somewhere. Because right now California Adventure has very little to do with California and is a cheap, shitty park that nobody want's to bother with because there's limited E-Ticket experiences and precious little Disney magic to be had.

Disneyland deserves better.

As do Disney parks fans.

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Missed Opportunities

Posted on May 21st, 2024

Dave!I've mentioned more than a few times here, I try really hard to not have regrets in life (okay, I've probably mentioned it several times... give me a break, I've been blogging for over 20 years!). It's just not worth it to pine away over something you did or didn't do, something you said or didn't say, or somewhere you went or didn't go. Just be happy with what you got out of this life and not worry about the rest. It happened. Or didn't. What more can you do without the ability to travel in time?

That being said...

This is not to say that there aren't things I wish could have happened or not happen for one reason or another. Missed opportunities, if you will.

As an example... I really wish I had visited the Aspen Hard Rock Cafe when it was open. It would have been so easy to do. So easy that I kept putting it off so I could hit the more difficult ones in foreign countries. But then the cafe closed with little warning and my plan to visit every US cafe evaporated. That really sucked. It haunted me for years. Now-a-days, when I've pretty much given up on visiting Hard Rock properties, it's like... meh.

As another example... I really wish that I had visited the infamous "Star Wars Hotel" (AKA Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser) at Walt Disney World in Florida. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd, and the immersive properties of the hotel seemed like something I would have enjoyed. But it was ungodly expensive, and I just couldn't afford it. My plan was to wait until the newness wore off and the price would (hopefully) drop a bit when Disney needed to draw in more visitors.

Except rather than lower the price when they weren't getting enough visitors, Disney CLOSED THE HOTEL! I was bummed. Just like the Aspen Hard Rock, I had missed my opportunity forever.

And then I saw this video by one of my favorite YouTubers, Jenny Nicholson, detailing her totally fucked and busted experience at the doomed attraction. It's four hours, but time well-spent...

Holy shit!

Thank God I didn't have thousands of dollars to throw away on this awful experience. Knowing my luck, I'd end up with a worse stay than Jenny, and it's not like Disney is going to give you your money back if they failed to accomplish what they promise. At least I assume that's the case. If you go to one of their theme parks and an attraction you were dying to ride is broken down, you don't get part of your ticket price back. Unless you're an influencer with huge social media reach, apparently.

So, yeah, absolutely no regrets when it comes to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

As it should be.

   

Bullet Sunday 845

Posted on March 3rd, 2024

Dave!Wah! My weekend is already half over and I'm not ready for it to be Sunday! But Sunday it must be... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Goonies Never Die! I watched this video reflecting on the career of Josh Brolin solely in the hopes that he would talk about Men In Black 3. That movie is so incredibly underrated. It's an amazing film. And a large part of that is Josh Brolin doing a Tommy Lee Jones impression... perfectly... for most of the runtime. And obviously GQ knew that's the thing everybody wanted to hear, so they saved it for last...

I sure wish that we could have heard more about his experience working on that movie.

   
• Otin! Oh man. The new Disney+ series, Iwájú, is Afrofuturism done very well... but it's so much more than that because there's like a lot going on. And it's very much steeped in Nigerian culture, which is to say that it's something wonderfully different than the same old shit we usually get. Bravo to Disney for giving us something fresh and new for a change. And for using amazing voice actors who breath life into these characters...

The characters of Iwájú.

The frickin' FOOD in this show is unreal. They put a lot of focus on it as a part of entrenching you into Nigerian culture. And, I tell you what, the emotion they pack into these 20 minute episodes is substantial. Tola is the main character of the show... but it's her best friend Kole who will break your heart. Dang they put a lot of hardship on this poor kid. The villain in this series is a very, very bad man! AND GOOD LORD THIS SHOW IS BEAUTIFUL. They use color to illustrate the class divide in this future Nigeria, and it's very, very hard not to see it because it's the visual language they paint with. And, as if all that wasn't enough, the sound design is equally wonderful. Great surround effects to envelope you in the environment. If you have Disney+, it's very much worth checking out. The episodes are short, so it's a quick watch.

   
• Ramona! Ramona Fradon is a legendary artist whose gorgeous illustration style has been seen on a vast number of comic book characters. I think I first saw her work on Aquaman reprints or the Super Friends comic. But over the years the thing I most remember her for is the "special event" Wonder Woman stories they'd get her to draw. She had a more "cartoony old-style" that wasn't my favorite for the comics I was into, but that didn't mean I couldn't appreciate it from an artistic standpoint. Far from it, her minimalist style is beautiful because she could get some very expressive line-work that stood very well on its own. I remember reading about her retirement (which was January 5th) and she passed four weeks later on February 24th at the age of 97. Her final work was a trio of covers for Women's History Month...

Though one of her more brilliant works was a private commission piece that she did a few years ago...

Rest In Peace. You were a trailblazer and true artist from the start.

   
• Help Me, Todd! Okay... let's do the math. Paramount+ wants $60 a year to subscribe with ads. Without ads is $120 a year. BECAUSE IT COMES WITH SHOWTIME, WHICH I DO NOT WANT! No option to get CBS shows without ads and without Showtime. I would pay $90 to get a year of ad-free, but Paramount is a joke of a company who wants me to subsidize their Showtime programs which I have no interest in watching. And so... do I pay $60 so I can watch So Help Me Todd with ads... or do I just subscribe to the show on iTunes for $30 without ads and I can watch it as much as I want? Well, because I don't believe in paying for stuff I don't want AND I detest ads, I'll just buy the show on iTunes. It is, after all, my favorite network show on television...

I just purchased So Help Me Todd on iTunes!

It's not like CBS has any other shows I can't live without. I'll just watch episodes of NCIS Hawaii once Paramount runs out of money from trying to force crap on people they don't want and they're forced to sell episodes of the show to Netflix because the person in charge of the company is a fucking moron. Can't wait for the spin from the Paramount PR office when profits drop to record lows and they have to convince shareholders that the people running the company aren't fucking idiots who just lost $60 from me. Of course, this is the network who canceled Magnum P.I., so it's not like I expect rational thought to come out of their leadership. But hey, maybe they'll renew So Help Me Todd and get another $30 out of me next year? Stranger things have happened!

   
• Keep Your Fucking Bullshit Politics Out of People's Lives! The insane... FUCKING INSANE... crusade against IVF is usually seen as something that affects only women. That's not true. It affects women, men, and those identifying as neither... it affects families. And I am disgusted to my core that dumbfuck politicians who don't give a shit about facts... or ANYTHING or ANYONE except MONEY and POWER... put these dipshit laws on the books. Fuck them and all the people who vote them into office. A man wrote an article for GQ Magazine talking about what he and his family went through, and it's worth a read.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Republican senator blocks bill to protect IVF. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a literal ghoul. She's a shell of a woman who has been filled with a hatred for other women that's shockingly brutal and cruel. Nothing quite like watching a woman embrace the patriarchy to dismantle an option for women who want to be mothers. I get why regressive men vote for toxic, misogynistic pieces of shit to represent them in government. But I will never in a million years understand how women vote for... whatever the fuck this horrific excuse of a human being is... who works overtime to endanger their lives and strip away their rights...

If your God didn't want IVF for us, HE WOULD HAVE DESIGNED HUMAN EMBRYOS TO BE DESTROYED WHEN FROZEN! But of course their belief in an all-powerful deity doesn't allow logic to be applied to anything, so here we are. Fucking anti-science dumbshits making a decision for others in the "Land of the Free" over an issue they probably don't even fucking understand. Sadistic fucks.

   
• Spam! Just when I think I've hit all the keywords to stop spam texts from politicians reaching me, along comes one more to add. Eventually I'll get there! I regret more than just about anything I've ever done sending money to one candidate... ONE... via "ActBlue." And the spam texts and emails have never, ever stopped ever since. No matter how many emails or phone numbers I block. The fuckers just keep making up new ones...

Spam keywords to stop poliician spam.

I love how ActBlue, which is about as skeezy an operation as you'll find just says "It's not our fault you keep getting donation requests from us... we just just provide tools for candidates to fundraise! You can't blame us!" And yet... all the people "using their services" are constantly saying "It's not the criminals! It's the guns that are the problem!" So... which is it? If ActBlue acted responsibly and forbade people from using their donation processing system if they send spam texts, and accepted complaints from people getting spammed with ActBlue requests who never "opted in," then there wouldn't be a problem. But ActBlue doesn't give a fuck. The more people using their service, the more money they make. And so I will never, ever donate to any candidate using ActBlue. I wish others would do the same. Then candidates would have nobody to blame but themselves for getting into bed with these fucking assholes.

   
• Fishy! The first Aquaman was dopey fun. So long as you didn't think too hard, it wasn't horrifically bad. Kind of a fantastical globe-spanning adventure. But Aquaman 2? Yeah, it's horrifically bad. And though some of the visuals are really great... most of it is so bad that it practically looked animated like a cartoon. And not in a good way. As if all that wasn't enough, the film is obsessed with Aquaman having piss be squirted in his mouth. Baby piss. Octopus piss. I spent the movie pretty sure that his wife is going to be pissing in his mouth any minute now. Or just full-on brick in his mouth. Which is the natural escalation we need. Hilariously, they ended Aquaman 2 the same way that they ended Black Panther... and THEN they ended it AGAIN the same way they ended Iron Man! They copied TWO Marvel Studios movie endings in the same film! Holy shit am I glad that the Zack Snyder reign of terror over the DCU is now officially over.

   
I guess that's enough trash for one Sunday. See you next week.

   

Oh BOY!

Posted on January 1st, 2024

Dave!Today the copyright expires for the original Mickey Mouse and he enters the public domain.

For decades Disney has greased the political wheels to convince the government to keep extending the length of copyright (originally Mickey was supposed to expire in 1984, then again in 2003), but then they kinda just... stopped. Apparently the old-school original Mickey from Steamboat Willie just isn't worth it anymore. So welcome to the latest DaveToon here at Blogography, I guess...

Bad Monkey and Public Domain Mickey Mouse

But don't go crying for Disney... they still have copyright protection for a bunch of other versions that came after Steamboat Willie Mickey. PLUS, I'm pretty sure that people will still be going to Disney for all their Mickey Mouse content.

Well, except for Mickey Mouse porn of course.

My favorite Mickey is a tie between Public Domain Mickey and the white-faced, red pants, yellow shoes Mickey which followed Public Domain Mickey. Everything that came after that... Peach-Faced Mickey, Caucasian Mickey, 3-D Mickey (essentially every Mickey which has white around his pupils)... I don't like much at all. Though I do kinda like the brand new Throwback Mickey that Disney is currently using because they've gone white-faced again. Mickey belongs to everybody and shouldn't be Caucasian.

In the coming years more and more of Disney's original characters will start collapsing into the Public Domain like dominoes. Donald, Pluto, Goofy... all of them. Well, except "Hans" from Frozen. Nobody is going to want anything to do with that asshole.

UPDATE: Well send me to Disneyland and call me Minnie... apparently Red Shorts Mickey IS in the public domain. There was a poster advertising him in 1928!

Bad Monkey and Public Domain Mickey Mouse

I prefer him with yellow shoes and white gloves as he would later be depicted, but I still like this better than any caucasian version of Mickey, so this is great news! I wonder if it's allowable for me to change the colors and consider it "artistic license?" Maybe!

   

Pride Saves Lives

Posted on June 16th, 2023

Dave!"I don't want my kid to be gay or trans!" is echoed over and over again as the underlying excuse for the renewed resurgence of LGBTQ+ hate that's infiltrating our laws and society. And I get it. I wouldn't want my kid to be "gay or trans" either. Not because I think there's anything wrong with it... you are who you are... but because this unrelenting toxic bigotry is incredibly dangerous for LGBTQ+ youth.

Except...

Seeing LGBTQ+ representation and diversity doesn't encourage kids to "become gay" or "become trans" any more than seeing somebody who's left-handed encourages them to "become left-handed."

All it does is let them know that it's okay for them to BE gay or trans, if that's who they are, and that they are not alone in the world. That they are accepted.

But entirely too many parents would rather their kids grow up to be miserable adults by denying who they are... assuming they don't unalive themselves first... than to embrace who they are and live their truth. This was made overtly clear to me when I saw the backlash after Pride-inclusive gamer icons were released for the Disney Speedstorm racing game...

Pride, Intersectional Pride, Nonbinary Pride, Pansexual Pride, and Inclusive Pride icons.

Transgender Pride icon.

The very first response I saw on social media was along the lines of "I don't have anything against the gays but I am sick and tired of Disney cramming this LGBT stuff down my kid's throat." As if seeing a rainbow Speedstorm logo is somehow an assault on kids?

And it's like... hey, if you're kid is straight and doesn't want to acknowledge Pride, then they can ignore the new icon options and pick something else. But if they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Then thank God for Disney and Gameloft, because your kid obviously isn't going to get any support from you. They may be too afraid of you to select a Pride icon for themselves, but at least they get to login and play the game where a bunch of other people are sporting the icons and showing their support for who they are.

It's little things that like that can be the difference between life and death for some people. Literally.

Pride is important because some kid somewhere is being raised to believe that they're better off dead than gay.

So good on you, Disney. Keep cramming that "gay agenda" down our throats.

   

Di$ney $peed$torm Microtran$action Hell

Posted on April 24th, 2023

Dave!I am not a hardcore gamer by any stretch of the imagination. I have a Nintendo Switch. I have an Xbox S. I play games from time to time when I need a distraction from the horrors of the world. Usually it's games that are challenging without being frustrating, though all games become frustrating to me eventually since I always reach a threshold where I my skills just can't carry me through.

The latest game to occupy my time is the "Early Access Package" to Disney Speedstorm, a Mario Kart style racing game featuring Disney characters. Disney Kart, if you will. It looks amazing on my Xbox S. The music is great. The racetracks are well-designed. The game is a lot of fun to play. At least right now it is...

Speedstorm: Mickey Mouse at the wheel of a racecar.

Speedstorm: Racing through the jungle of The Jungle Book.

Speedstorm: Racing through Mt. Olympus.

Speedstorm: Mulan racing on rails.

And here's a taste of the gameplay...

To gain early access, you'll have to pay for a package. They start at $30, and there's really no reason to pay more than that because you'll eventually get everything in the bigger packages just by playing the game. Upon final release, Speedstorm will be Free-To-Play. Which is to say that you can play for free, but you'll be NAGGED TO DEATH to pay for micro-transactions to unlock things you need to keep advancing and be competitive in multi-player. So... if you have any aspirations to play the game, I'd do it now when you just have to pay once instead of paying small amounts over and over and over and over AND OVER. They don't have these micro-transactions enabled yet, but the path to do so is painfully obvious. There's a boatload of in-game currencies along with special tokens and credits, each of which unlocks something or another...

One of a dozen in-game currencies... this one is a Season Box Credit.

There's a super-special kind of in-game currency called "shards" which "star-up" your racer characters and Pit-Crew characters. In the example below, I got a single "Mickey Mouse Shard," which is 1/10th what you need to get the next star... at least to start... after you have one star the amount needed escalates to 1/20th (2 stars), 1/35 (3 stars), and so on, making it much harder to level up the higher you go...

Look at that... a Mickey shard!

If you don't want to wait to randomly earn the shards from racing, you can purchase them randomly in "boxes" or purchase them outright in the online store "Daily Specials" section (which change every day). Here I can buy 5 Mickey shards for 49,500 Season Coins...

Buy five Mickey shards for 49,500 Season Credits!

My favorite racers to play are Mike Wazowski and Donald Duck, so I wait for those characters to be on offer, because there's only so much currency to go around. Along with a character's "stars" there's also their "level" which requires special general tokens along with token specific to a character's "collection." In the example below, I have to have 9 General Wrenches, 4 Turbo Boosters, and 5 Boo Doors to get him to Level 17...

MIKE WAZOWSKI!!!

Characters and their supporting Pit-Crew characters are specific to different "collections" of characters. Some races can only use characters from a specific collection. It's best to pick your favorite out of each collection to star-up and level-up...

Character collections... Mickey and Friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hercules, Mulan, and Monsters Inc.

The Monsters Inc. character collection.

All characters are dropped into one of four character classes... Brawlers, Speedsters, Tricksters, and Defenders. The character's stats, hit bonus, and boost all shift depending on which class they're in, and affects how you play. Donald Duck is a Brawler, so he has better car handling, stuns when you hit, and gets manual boost power any time you stun. Mike Wazowski is a Speedster, so he has a higher top speed, gets an automatic speed boost when you hit, and gives power to your boost bar when you run over an auto-boost. Eventually I'll try and level up Elizabeth Swan as my Defender and Mulan as my Trickster so I can get a handle on the different kinds of play that's offered.

Characters have generic abilities that change effect depending on whether you fire them forward, charge them to fire forward, or fire backwards. They also have a unique special ability. Mike's "special ability" is Hold the Door (HODOR!) which allows you to teleport-jump ahead on the track by summoning a magical door. The more stars you have, the further ahead you appear...

The Monsters Inc. character collection.

As mentioned above, each collection of characters shares a "Pit-Crew" and the more stars you have the more Pit-Crew characters you can assign. Each of your Pit-Crew varies in rarity and adds to your stats in some way(s). For the Monsters Inc. collection, one of the better Pit-Crew options is the CDA Agents which add a bit to your Top Speed, Acceleration, and Bomb Skill. The more shards you collect, the higher their star level and the better their bonus...

CDA Agent skills.

The highest class of Pit-Crew is "Epic Level" but their shards are incredibly hard to get, thus they're very hard to unlock, and even harder to "star-up"...

CDA Agent skills.

Each racer has their own car. You can change car appearance with various cosmetic changes (like paint) and different accessories (like wheels). I honestly don't know if changing your wheels or adding a spoiler (called "wings") or repainting your car actually does anything except allow you to make your car look unique, so I don't really focus on them...

A car and it's options for customization.

Actually playing the game is done by choosing your "Game Mode"...

Different Speedstorm Play Modes.

  • Starter Circuit: This is where you are introduced to the racer characters and how the game works. As you advance you earn various in-game currencies.
  • Season Tour: You race your way through 8 chapters which each unlock after 1 week. The current season is called Unafraid and focuses on the Monsters Inc. character collection. The chapters have names like "We Scare Because We Care and "May the Best Monster Win" and "Don't Panic!" You earn "Season Coins" which have to be spent while the season is active.
  • Limited Events: Playing these wins you featured rewards like stars or upgrades if you meet certain objectives at certain levels of play.
  • Local Freeplay: Allows you to race against up to three people in the comfort of your own home (no internet or premium online membership required) on the track of your choice, for the number of laps you want, at the speed you decide, against the number of CPU racers you dictate.
  • Private Track: Essentially it's like Local Freeplay above, but online. You select the people you want to admit to your private track. Requires an internet connection and premium online membership (like Xbox Live) to play.
  • Online Multiplayer: You can either select Ranked (meaning you compete against players on your level of play) or Regulated (where everybody has the same level of character and no upgrades).

The racetracks that are included are so good. Each is based off of a Disney location that come out of each collection. You've got tracks set in places, like Mount Olympus from Hercules and The Great Wall from Mulan... plus tracks inspired by themes, like pirate ships from Pirates of the Caribbean and jungle ruins from The Jungle Book. There's even tracks which are themed off of an idea, like "The Silver Screen" which is in black-and-white. Within each track are various courses. "The Castle" (from Beauty and The Beast) includes options like "Main Hall" and "The West Wing" and "Time for Tea"...

Speedstorm Track Selection.

Controlling your racer is insane. At least for somebody like me who started out with Night Driver and Pole Position. There's so many buttons and combinations to remember, that this game will be a challenge for young kids (or old kids like me)...

The control setup.

I suggest turning steering assist and auto-acceleration on so you have two less things to worry about, then focus on mastering one skill at a time. I started practicing how to launch attacks and use my manual speed-boosts. Then spent time learning how to drift, which is essential because drifting fills up your manual boost meter faster (essential to winning races). Then I focused on dashing, which allows you to bump other players as you approach or pass, hopefully stunning them enough to get ahead. Then I practiced rear-view so I can look behind me. Then rear attacked so I can hit what I see behind me. Then jumping so I can hop up on grind-rails or reach ramps and such. It's a lot.

Whether you are blazing through the Starter Circuit or working your way through the Season Tour, you have a map of the races you need to play along with what goals have to be met to win experience or coins or whatever. This could be using a certain number/kind of skills, placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, or even just completing the race...

Speedstorm Play Map.

After the race you're told the results and how many of the goals you met. Most of the races can be played as many times as you want to get a better time or meet all the goals (some races are special and can only be played a limited number of times)...

I won first place.

Speedstorm Race Results.

Speedstorm Goal Results.

Certain races are special for some reason. Maybe the track is foggy. Maybe there's a guest boss you have to beat. Maybe the boosts and skill power-ups are floating. Maybe to win you have to be the Last One Standing...

Speedstorm Last One Standing Race.

If there's a flaw, it's that there doesn't seem to be any surround sound despite my having 7.1 turned on and surround sound enabled. It would be very cool if cars went whizzing past you audibly as well as visually. That's partially compensated for by the music. They got funky electronic versions of Disneyeque tracks that really adds to the atmosphere of the game...

Ultimately, there's a lot to like about Disney Speedstorm. Above all, it's fun. At least for now. I'm very glad that I bought the Early Access before the micro-transactions kick in and everything becomes a "He Who Spends The Most Money Wins the Race" kind of situation. Or, in some situations, "He Who Doesn't Spend Money Can't Access The Full Game" because parts of it like Speedstorm's "Golden Pass" will also likely require your money to get.

Given that this is a Disney game, I was surprised at how brutal it can get. Ramming into other players is a big part of what makes it so dang entertaining (at least when you do it... not so fun when it happens to you), which isn't the nicest way for young children to spend time in a game. Zooming up on poor Meg from Hercules and shoving her into the rails is nasty business, but given the complexity of the controls, maybe they won't be playing it? I dunno. It seems like kids have a better shot at being good at modern games than I do anymore.

So, yeah. If you're into Mario Kart and want to play as Disney characters, this is your ticket (so long as complicated controls and the incredibly complicated array of currencies doesn't scare you away). But if being financially bled to death by micro-transactions is not your idea of fun, then eventually when the free-to-play goes live you will be pretty miserable indeed. The frickin' ridiculous number of in-game currencies make this abundantly clear. My guess is that there will be a monthly package you can buy to get a set number of various tokens, coins, rewards, credits, and whatever at a discount, but regardless of how they bundle things up, having to keep paying to play really sucks. Which is to say that the future of all gaming sucks, because this is the future we're headed towards.

And oh what a crappy future that will be.

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The Most Magical Whatever on Earth

Posted on October 25th, 2022

Dave!As a kid, I was a massively huge fan of Disneyland. I dreamed of going for years before my family finally made the trip down to California. Once I got there, it truly was the most magical place on earth... at least it was to me.

It was from that point on that I became a hardcore Disney Parks geek. I would visit Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and even Tokyo Disneyland over the years just to keep up with whatever cool rides and experiences they had added. That lead me into becoming once of those infamous "Disney Adults" that keep getting trashed by assholes who are mad that they have to stand in line with their bratty kids to ride the rides... using the justification that "Disney is for kids."

To which I say "Fuck off" because kids invade my space all the time. So even if I bought into the argument that "Disney is for kids" (which I do not), I wouldn't care.

But anyway...

I haven't managed to make my way to any of the Disney parks for years. I really want to see the completed Pandora - The World of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at either USA park. But I have a serious problem with the way that Disney is letting the parks go downhill thanks to shitty decisions made by CEO Bob Chapek. The gutting of perks from staying at Disney hotels. The total shitshow that's the "Genie+" service (pay more to get less!). The meandering lack of direction and general stagnation. It's as if all the things that make Disney parks a magical place have been falling by the wayside.

Meanwhile over at Universal Studios...

Yeah, Universal is slowly starting to eat Disney's lunch. On top of investing a lot of time and money into cutting-edge experiences and maintaining hotel perks, they're building an entirely new park in Orlando. Not an extra land, but a whole new third park.

Called Universal's Epic Universe the information coming out of its construction is pretty amazing. We're getting four dedicated lands: Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, Wizarding World, and How to Train Your Dragon... along with a central hub (complete with its own attractions) and plenty of room for expansion...


Photo by @BioreConstruct with overlay by @TonyHawkins

This isn't just "Blue Sky" promises about stuff that might happen, this is Universal literally building their future.

So I dunno. Maybe Disney will pull through and actually manage to get Disneyland Westside going. Maybe their rumored "Disney Villains" land and "Frozen" land will actually happen in Orlando. Maybe they'll start adding perks back to the hotels so that the massive price tag is worth it.

But until then... I just don't know that a few new rides is enough to make me book a trip to Orlando.

But Epic Universe is shaping up to be something that might.

   

Bullet Sunday 762

Posted on May 22nd, 2022

Dave!The sun may be shining outside where I'm at, but I'm not out enjoying it as I should be... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Breakfast! The season finale of Saturday Night Live was fairly mediocre... despite having Natasha Lyonne hosting and great send-offs for Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson (and apparently Kyle Mooney is leaving as well?). HOWEVER... it introduced me to Japanese Breakfast, a band I never knew existed but fell in love with immediately. This has to be one of my favorite SNL performances ever...


Kate McKinnon waves good bye.

   
• The Valet! I'm a huge fan of Eugenio Derbez, and his new movie The Valet on Hulu is great. At first I worried that it wasn't taking advantage of his talents, but boy did he bring it in the end...

Worth your valuable time. And we're also getting a second season of his show "Acapulco," which is something else you should be watching.

   
• Baymax! My favorite animated character since Stitch from Lelo & Stitch and Sully from Monsters, Inc. has his own show...

And how great is it that they kept the other characters from Big Hero 6 to be in it as well?

   
• Umbrella Academy 3! I've been in awe at just how good the Netflix adaptation of the Umbrella Academy comics have been... actually improving on the material in some ways. And now we're at Season 03 and it's looking as cool and bonkers as ever...

With Netflix being an absolute shit-show as of late, and their tradition of killing shows after 2 or 3 seasons, I'm more than a little worried about getting Season 04.

   
• She-Hulk! This is what happens when a show looks like it has a very good chance of exceeding your expectations. People of earth, I give you She-Hulk: Attorney at Law...

   
• Marvel! And now that Ms. Marvel is nearly upon us, Marvel Studios is giving us a bigger taste of what's to come...

I. Cannot. Wait.

If nothing else, casting Tatiana Maslany in the lead is 100% pure win.

   
• Heartstopper Redux! And lastly, the news I've been waiting for ever since I watched the show... Netflix has renewed Heartstopper for two seasons...

Announcement of Heartstopper's renewal on Netflix by Netflix.

While this is incredible news... had they waited any longer, the actors would be getting too old to play their characters... it's also a bit disappointing. From my estimation, they'll need four seasons to get through all the graphic novel material which has defined Nick & Charlie's relationship, so why not renew for three? And boy oh boy do I hope that they fold in more material for Charlie's sister, Tori (or, better yet) give her a series of her own and adapt Solitaire). In any event, not all the news coming out of Netflix is bad, it seems.

   
And now I need to get outside and tie up some of my flowers before they take over my yard!

   

Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi Number One

Posted on March 9th, 2022

Dave!This is the tenth anniversary of Disney's epic disaster, the movie John Carter. I was reminded of this sad fact because there's a look-back at the movie happening over at The Wrap. I don't have anything more to say about this heinous abomination of a film than what I said in my initial scathing review... but I do have a new perspective.

A perspective that comes from the successful adaptation of Dune after the initial failure of that film in 1984.

If only somebody like Denis Villenueve with reverence of the original books could have been put in charge of John Carter of Mars, then maybe it would have had a shot at success. Instead we got a movie which bore only a passing resemblance to the novel. They ignored some fairly major things that made the series work as books, and instead added a bunch of stupid shit that didn't work at all.

As a massive fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, I fucking hated this film. And my opinion hasn't changed one bit in a decade. I tried watching it again tonight to see if there was any redemption to be had, but there was not. Terrific visuals and special effects which are pounded to shit by a horrible script.

Part of the article at The Wrap was Andrew Stanton talking about the plan for sequel films. The second of which was to be Gods of Mars and the third of the trilogy being Warlord of Mars...

Given how badly the film portrayed the holy Therns and their role in things, there could be no doubt that the sequel would have totally fucked up Gods of Mars just like it completely ruined A Princes of Mars. And so... a part of me is relieved that John Carter failed so utterly that we never had to suffer through the sequels. But the bigger part of me is still angry that we had to suffer through any of this shit at all.

Oh well. The books haven't gone anywhere, so I can return to Barsoom... the actual fucking Barsoom... any time I like.

And then there's this...

If there's anything that can redeem Star Wars after the shitty fucking prequel trilogy, this would be it. Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi was one of the few good things to come out of those crap films (another being Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu).

I guess all we can do is hope for the best.

And then there's this...

After an incredible first season, Star Trek: Discovery became one of the shittiest Star Trek shows to ever air, which is why I am really, really hoping that the best thing to come out of it... Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, and the crew of the original-original Enterprise... will redeem that franchise.

I guess all we can do is hope for the best.

   

Bullet Sunday 749

Posted on January 30th, 2022

Dave!Yikes. Look like it's the Northeast's turn to be inundated with snow! But you can still find warmth in your heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• BAT! I have watched this SO many times...

Those are some big bites! I love bats.

   
• Eats! Well that was sure nice of him...

@constructioncoach

♬ original sound - Learn To Remodel Better

Somehow, this never occurred to me. But I guess it happens. Or your UberEats driver gets in an accident... or has a car breakdown... or whatever. I guess the good news is that if you're an UberEats driver who gets in an accident you have something to eat while you wait for the tow truck.

   
• Minnie! Disney put Minnie Mouse in a pantsuit, and people are losing their fucking minds. And it's like... it's a cartoon character. Don't stress. My problem isn't that Minnie Mouse is in a pantsuit... it's that she's in a butt-ugly pantsuit. THIS is the best they could come up with?!?

Minnie Mouse in her butt-ugly pantssuit.

At the very least they could have kept her signature red, white, and yellow colors!

   
• Star Dreck! I'm desperate for new Star Trek ahead of the new season of Picard, so I thought I'd give Star Trek: Discovery yet another try. God what a shitty TV show. It's inconceivable that something so incredible in Season 01, just keeps getting worse and worse. Season 02 was bearable, but Season 03 was terrible, and holy shit... I didn't think that Season 04 could possibly be worse... and yet here we are. It's all talking and endless, endless whining about absolutely everything. WHO GIVES A FUCK?!? It is a complete waste of Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Ronnie Rowe, and the rest. Star Trek is all about balancing the emotional core with excitement and adventure. Sitting around the bridge talking about your feelings to solve problems is boring as fuck and watching it is tantamount to torture. Oh well. I've decided to watch Picard Season 01 again instead. It didn't stick the landing, but boy did it have some good Star Trek along the way.

   
• Ink! One of my most favorite TikTok creators is "Sad Papi," a chef who has been creating cooking videos for a while now. Even when he cooks meat dishes, he's given me ideas for cooking that have been great. He posted this video recently that wasn't quite cooking-related, and it may one of my favorites (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@sad_papi Reply to @godzillaaa1 ♬ original sound - Sad_papi

Can you imagine being this good-looking, but still having to field shitty comments like this? Insanity. Fortunately he had the perfect response.

   
• MACGRUBER! I have been dying to see a MacGruber sequel ever since the first movie in 2010. It was bizarre, hilarious, and entertaining in a way I didn't really expect. Fast forward twelve years and Peacock gave us a MacGruber limited series. That lead to Will Forte going full-circle and returning to the character he originated on Saturday Night Live...

It's amazing to me that Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe are back as well. Both have had non-stop work this entire time... but maybe working with Will Forte on another MacGruber project was just too much fin to resist? I hope they feel the same way about returning for a second season of the show!

   
Enjoy what's left of your Sunday, party people.

   

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