James Bond: Movie and Science Series

The Living Daylights – one of my favorite Bond films. Photo taken by me.

Last night, I was listening to Bill Nye the Science Guy’s podcast Science Rules. The episode discussed the James Bond film franchise and how scientifically plausible the stunts, gadgets, or action sequences were. It sparked something within me. My latest blog series is going to be a re-watching of all the Bond movies.

I’m going to begin in chronological order with Dr. No which is Sean Connery’s first outing as Bond. In between the movie review itself, I want to take one aspect of the movie and do research to decide if it’s plausible or not. It’s researching the science behind the films. My hope with this blog series is to create a unique take on the Bond franchise.

I’m going to dedicate a few posts per film. This gives me time to watch the next movie in the series. The first post will be the movie review, the second post will be the science of one aspect of the film. Another potential post idea is to discuss the Bond women in each film. This could include how Bond treats the women, how the women auditioned and were chosen to play the role. I might tie this into the era of the Bond films and what was happening politically with women obtaining equal rights.

I’m thrilled with the idea of this series. This will lead to the latest Bond film, No Time to Die which has been delayed. Most of the Bond podcasts I follow are hosted by men and this is my take as a woman and a fan of the series. I hope you’re as excited as I am. If you’re new to the Bond series, you can watch along with me. Most of the Bond films are available on Hulu.

In the meantime, feel free to post in the comments your favorite James Bond film.

Superheroes Needing Video Games

Superhero video games are either fantastic or terrible, there doesn’t seem to be anything in between. Batman Arkham Asylum is one of my all-time favorite video games. Rocksteady took the Batman universe and melded it into an enjoyable gaming experience. I’m playing through Marvel’s Avengers now and while I’m having a fun time, it’s a heavily flawed game. I was thinking the other day regarding which superheroes deserve the “Arkham Asylum” treatment which led me to create this post.

Aww he looks cute now, but just you wait. Image from Pixabay.

X-Men: Open World or a Super Smash Bros Brawl

I could see the X-Men having one of two different game designs. An open- world X-Men game would be great. Having a story mode with plenty of side quests would allow you to unlock various members of the X-Men. Another intriguing game concept would be to do a “Super Smash Bros” style game playing as the X-Men. I think gamers would fight over who gets to play as Wolverine, but still, I think this concept could work.

The possibilities!! Photo taken by me.

The Defenders

The Defenders would be similar to Spider-Man in the sense it would be an open-world game based in New York. I could imagine this game turning New York into a darker version similar to Gotham. It would feature stories allowing you to play as Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Additionally, let’s introduce Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson in the movies), Hellcat, and Silver Surfer. Can someone please make this??

Photo taken by me.

Birds of Prey

My ideal Birds of Prey would be an older Oracle being the head of the organization. Black Canary would be the main playable hero with Helena Bertinelli on stand by. I’m imagining if Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run was turned into a video game. The possibilities!

The Sinister Six + Black Cat because why not?

Sinister Six Meets GTA

Hear me out. The Sinister Six somehow get the upper hand, Spider-Man is supposedly killed and New York is in chaos. Being able to rotate which Sinister Six character you play as while roaming around New York and blasting everything to bits. I could see halfway through we learn Spider-Man is alive and works with the Avengers to take New York back.

I wish more game companies would take on superhero-based games. As mentioned in my opening paragraph, it can be a big undertaking to make a superhero game. Square Enix lost a lot of money making this game. I think if game companies are willing to put in the work of understanding these characters and creating a fun game, these games can be profitable. If you’re unsure, why don’t you ask Rocksteady?

Carrie Fisher & Female Secret Agents – Recently Read Books

It’s been four years since Carrie Fisher has passed away. Isn’t it unreal how time passes? I remember hearing the news and feeling a sense of shock. I never met Carrie in real life, although she had a way of making you feel like she would have been your best friend. She cared about Star Wars fans while being a champion for mental illness. I finally read her memoir The Princess Diarist along with another female-centered book and I wanted to combine them into one post.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

This is the book most well known for discussing Carrie’s intimate relationship with Harrison Ford. This memoir is so much more than discussing an on-set relationship. Carrie talks about her audition for the part. Interestingly enough, Carrie auditioned for both George Lucas and Brian DePalma who was looking for the leading part in his Stephen King adaptation to Carrie. Carrie discusses how she was supposed to lose weight for her role as Princess Leia and how the role impacted her as she aged.

Carrie walks a fine line while discussing her relationship with Harrison. The description is delicate. She’s able to discuss her relationship with him without revealing everything especially since Harrison himself is extremely private. The way she describes their interactions sounds like Harrison. She also states, “How I’ve portrayed Harrison is how Harrison was with me forty years ago.” She’s able to tell this story without the bullshit and also recognizes how Harrison isn’t necessarily the same person while he was with Carrie. I think this line shows the tact and professionalism Carrie exhibits when she wrote this memoir.

Another part of the memoir I enjoyed was how Carrie discussed her fame from the saga. Carrie details some of the offensive interactions with fans as they talk about how Carrie’s body changed and how she aged since her role. Carrie respects the fans along with herself and how she won’t put up with that behavior. She talks about how exhausting it was to sign autographs while not making a huge profit off of it either. As fans, we need to respect the actors who work on the series and how they are people, just like us.

Carrie Fisher was a national treasure. She will be missed forever. I would recommend this memoir if you’re a Star Wars fan and simply miss Carrie’s presence in the fandom. I rated The Princess Diarist four stars on Goodreads.

The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult spy adventure novel. The Athena Protocol follows an organization titled Athena which is an all female based spy organization. They work outside their global governments to deliver justice and deconstruct corruption in various countries. The agents are well trained to handle the challenging environments they’re thrown into.

The Athena Protocol follows Jessie Archer as she’s on a mission in an African village. Her mission is to rescue women who have been kidnapped. She witnesses violence against these women and ultimately kills the man responsible. Athena has one rule, no killing. Jessie is fired and left out of a major operation happening in Belgrade. Jessie decides to work alone and flies to Belgrade to assist her team without their knowledge. Stakes are at an all-time high as Jessie uncovers new information which may jeopardize the safety of her fellow agents. Jessie is in danger and she’s alone.

One series I read a lot when I was younger was the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz starring Alex Rider, a young kid working for MI6. The Athena Protocol is this series, however, women are leading the front. Each Athena agent is given some back story. Jessie was recruited to this organization by her mother. Caitlin is a Southern belle who went to war in Afghanistan. Hala was seeking asylum in the UK and was recruited by Jessie. There’s diversity amongst all the women in Athena. I’m all for including diversity with characters in media.

The action sequences were well written and made me anxious for the characters. Jessie is put into some intense situations at her young age. The last thirty pages were intense to read. It’s surprising to me because The Athena Protocol is only 295 pages. It’s difficult to combine all the action, character development, and descriptions of the Athena group and have it all work together. Shamim Sarif, the author of The Athena Protocol is incredibly skilled at creating this world.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. According to Goodreads, I finished this book within two days of starting it. The second book to the series is out now and I’m going to ensure I order it on my next book haul. I rated The Athena Protocol five stars on Goodreads.

I hit my 2020 reading goal on Goodreads today! I still have a couple of books I want to finish before the end of the year. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Halloween 2020

Happy Belated Halloween! I hope you all had a wonderful, spooky season. I still haven’t taken down my Halloween decorations yet. My stormtrooper holding a pumpkin is still sitting on an end table while my windows are decorated with fun Halloween themed window stickers. With the era of Covid, I was able to host a small gathering with my friend and her boyfriend and it was fun to be able to celebrate Halloween safely.

You disappoint me.

Me and the fiance went as Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. This is the first year we put our kitty Athena in a costume. She had a harness with a cowboy mouse sitting on top of it. I think technically Athena was a horse for Halloween? She hated the harness, so we only put it on for photos and took it off.

One Big Happy Family.

We were able to eat pizza, play music, and have a couple of cocktails. I made a cocktail titled Witches Brew. I found the recipe off Pinterest. It has white rum, blue curacao, raspberry juice, ginger ale and I topped it off with blackberries. They were boozy. I did wake up feeling slightly hungover the next morning.

Darth Vader and Alexis are actually best friends

Ultimately, I’m glad I was able to not miss out on Halloween. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Last year, I spent it at a brewery dressed up with friends. With Covid, we have to make do with what’s safe to do. Now, I’m quarantining until Thanksgiving because we are seeing the fiance’s family in Milwaukee. Let me know what you were for Halloween this year in the comments below.

Better look at Athena’s harness.

Normal People

My friend finished watching Normal People on Hulu and immediately messaged me asking if I had seen this series yet. As a side note, I take a while to watch TV shows since my fiance and my friends seem to watch media faster than I do. She couldn’t stop raving about Normal People and how the sex scenes seemed to be realistic. Normal People is an emotional story of two people falling in and out of love throughout their lifetime.

Based on the book of the same name by Sally Rooney, the series follows Marianne Sheridan (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Walderon (played by Paul Mescal). Marianne and Connell first meet in secondary school with Marianne being painted as the weird girl who reads too many books. Connell is popular although he is attracted to Marianne, he doesn’t want his friends to know. They have sex and Marianne is angered to learn Connell takes another girl to a dance. Marianne and Connell meet again throughout their adult lives as they contemplate being committed together.

The chemistry between Daisy and Paul is undeniable. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two were dating after the camera stopped rolling. This show is an emotional rollercoaster. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying every other episode. The sex scenes feel real. They aren’t super fake and over the top moaning. As I watch these scenes, it feels like two people having sex who truly care about each other’s being.

I do have to offer a slight content warning as this series is extremely emotional to watch. Marianne is victim to familial physical abuse by her brother. The show doesn’t explain why this happens unless I missed it. From the abuse, Marianne finds herself in abusive relationships. It’s heartwrenching to watch because we know Marianne deserves so much more. There’s a storyline leading back to suicide as one of Paul’s friends from secondary school commits suicide. As I mentioned, this is an emotional series beyond Marianne and Connell’s relationship. It’s important to be in that mindset to fully enjoy this series.

I haven’t read Sally Rooney’s book where the series is based. I’m undecided if I will read the book because I loved the show. Usually, I recommend reading a book before viewing the adaptation, but this adaptation is so good! A couple of my favorite book vloggers have already rated the book and their reviews weren’t positive. I have this book on my to-be-read shelf, so maybe I will get it reading this book eventually, but it’s not a high priority.

Normal People is so much more than a love story. It’s a commentary on love, life, and experiencing tragedy. As I mentioned above, it’s best to be in the mood to watch this emotional series. I cried every other episode because I was happy for the characters or I genuinely was sad for them. This is a series I would re-watch if I need a good cry. If you have read the Normal People book or seen the series, let me know in the comments below.

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure. Photo screenshot taken by me.

I’m back to writing regular posts! After hosting a Halloween party followed by the US election, I wanted to take a week off from writing posts. I can’t believe Halloween is already over and Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away. I wanted to write a post about one of the Spooky games I played leading into Halloween this year. This was one of the games I mentioned in my “Spooky Steam Haul” post. Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is a spooky inspired, point and click game with a magical talking cat.

Buzz and Kitteh.

The story focuses on two major characters. Detective Don R Ketype is a PI tasked with recovering the Necronomicon. For those unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s writings, the Necronomicon is an evil book filled with spells destined to bring the world to its end. Don visits the library and meets Buzz Kerwin, a broke college student. An explosion occurs leaving Don kidnapped and Buzz finding the Necronomicon. Buzz takes the book back to his apartment and repeats a spell allowing his Kitteh to speak in words versus meows. Both Don and Buzz need to find out who’s after the Necronomicon and return Kitteh to her normal kitty state.

Buzz and Kitteh!

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure was made by Romanian game developer Stuck in the Attic. Although the game was backed by a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, it was released on Steam three years later in August of 2019. As I took the time to research this game and the developer, I discovered Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure was translated into twelve languages.

I adored this game. I liked playing as Don and Buzz although Buzz was my favorite since he had Kitteh with him. The game was well designed and never glitched on me. The game had enough of a challenge where certain levels took me a bit of time because I would get stuck on what I’m supposed to do next. The game itself was incredibly well made and crafted. Being a fan of Lovecraft’s work, there were several references to his work throughout the game.

As far as replayability, I ended up playing this game twice through. The first time to complete the game and the second time to unlock all the Steam achievements. There are story-based achievements and missable achievements. The missable achievements were slightly annoying at times because you can’t go back and play a level. If you miss the achievement, you would have to play the entire game over to get that achievement. According to Steam, I played this game for 13.9 hours. This is with two full playthroughs of the game. It’s safe to say this game will take 6 hours to complete.

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is a fun Spooky game perfect for any cat lover or HP Lovecraft fan. Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure can be purchased on Steam for $19.99.

President Joe Biden & Vice President Kamala Harris

The United States election was this past week. Last Saturday, the results were announced with Joe Biden winning the presidential race along with Kamala Harris being the first female Vice President in our nation’s history. It’s a historic time and I finally feel as a country, we are back on track.

Normally, I don’t discuss politics on this blog. This blog is my geeky space where I discuss pop culture, books, comics, and video games. However, this election is way too important to skim over. I was never a fan of Donald Trump. The way he would talk about various groups of people is appalling. The US is not containing the Coronavirus and whether it is entirely President Trump’s fault, he’s still leading this nation. This is his responsibility.

With this being said, I don’t believe Biden or Harris are perfect. Biden was a main supporter of the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act” This act passed in 1994 has helped create the mass incarceration seen in US prisons. Harris has been known to be against prostitution and would go after websites sex workers would use. These websites would help sex workers be safe in their line of work. My views line with being a Democrat, although I want to hold my politicians accountable whether they are a Democrat or a Republican.

It’s difficult to put into words how happy I am with Biden’s election. I’m more thrilled for Kamala Harris and being the first female Vice President. Little girls will get to grow up in an era where they will see representation in the highest office in our nation. A Female Vice President means we are closer for a Female President in my lifetime.

With any political post, I will not tolerate any hatred in the comments. I reserve the right to not approve any comments or report them as spam. I write this post because I want to make it clear where my opinion lies as this election is crucial in the time we live in. If you’re a Trump supporter, I will not debate you in the comments. I was harassed by Trump supporters when Trump won the election in 2016 and as I re-read this post, I don’t think it’s disrespectful or rubbing it in anyone’s face. I stand by Biden / Harris and I voted for them because they would be the most qualified to lead our nation out of this pandemic we live in. I hope everyone is keeping well during this time.

Crime Junkie Plagiarism?

Once Upon a Crime – sharing similarites of Ester’s episode versus the Crime Junkie episode.

In between calls at work, I listen to podcasts. Podcasts allow me to learn, laugh, and relax at work. One podcast I listened to was Crime Junkie. Crime Junkie hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat details various true crime cases. I liked Ashley’s narration style and her tonality while she told the story of a particular case. A few weeks ago, I found a Reddit post of possible plagiarism from Crime Junkie. I wanted to investigate this further and it seems there is significant evidence Ashley plagiarized other works from true crime individuals.

The accusations were initiated by a woman named Cathy Frye. Cathy is a writer at the Arkansas Gazette. In a Crime Junkie episode, Ashley discussed the murder of Kacie Woody. Cathy wrote about the case and found certain sections of Ashley’s podcast episode were passages from her article. Cathy is visibly upset because she spent significant time researching the case only for Ashley to read it on the podcast without citing her article. Ashley is profiting off of Crime Junkie and the corresponding Patreon account for the page. I can understand why Cathy is upset. Crime Junkie hasn’t acknowledged Cathy’s statement and has since removed the episode in question.

Those who defend Crime Junkie say that Ashley and Brit aren’t trying to be journalists. This argument doesn’t make sense to me because you can still plagiarize material in any format, it doesn’t matter if they’re journalists or not. Another argument I have read is “are there really that many ways to re-tell the same story?” Facts of a case will be told multiple times in various ways, again it boils down to whether the sources were cited or not. The Crime Junkie episodes I listened to didn’t have sources featured in the episodes.

Ashley did come out with a statement, although her statement never admitted any wrongdoing. She stated how she removed episodes after the research couldn’t be cited and how there are going to be new safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. Ashley never admits to plagiarism in her episodes. I genuinely don’t believe Ashley was doing this purposefully, but she doesn’t admit she’s wrong and that doesn’t sit well with me. This is especially concerning since Ashley is the founder of Audiochuck a podcast company. If Ashley has already had plagiarism scandals for one show, how can we trust that she isn’t doing this with her other shows?

My goal in writing this post isn’t to be negative. As a fan of the show, I’m extremely disheartened to hear this about Crime Junkie. I appreciated Ashley’s work with Crime Stoppers of Indiana and felt she had good intentions with making Crime Junkie and not capitalizing on these violent cases. I think there’s nothing wrong with owning your mistakes and taking steps to improve and I feel Ashley’s original statement didn’t acknowledge the accusations.

Ultimately, I’m going to stop subscribing to Crime Junkie and go back to listening to Once Upon a Crime who also says Crime Junkie plagiarized some of her episodes too. At the top of this post, I linked a video where Once Upon a Crime compares the statements from her episode versus Crime Junkie. It’s sad because I looked forward to a new episode of Crime Junkie, but I can’t stand behind someone who can’t acknowledge any mistakes that have been made. Are you a Crime Junkie fan? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, if you’re wanting to read the original story of Kacie Woody written by Cathy Frye, you can find the story here: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2003/dec/14/evil-door/

Sources:

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/aug/20/former-reporter-calls-out-podcasters-20/?@TheCeliaStorey

https://www.vulture.com/2019/08/crime-junkie-podcast-plagiarism-scandal.html

https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/the-problem-with-crime-junkie

Celebrating Fall at the Apple Orchard

Trying to find activities allowing for social distancing can be challenging. My fiance decided we should go to an apple orchard because at least it’s outside. We settled on visiting the Luce Line Apple Orchard located in Watertown, MN. It was a 35-minute drive away from where we live which is the perfect amount of driving.

This apple orchard was huge! Their apple fields span for at least a couple of miles. At the center of the activities was a white barn to buy fall-themed merchandise. Pumpkins were scattered around the premises and various animals were sniffing children’s hands looking for food. Since the property was so big, we didn’t feel we were on top of anyone and it was fairly easy to socially distance. We went on a walk around the fenced-in animals and found a couple of quiet moments to take pictures.

As far as food, we each ordered a corn dog. I haven’t eaten a corn dog in a while since our state fair was canceled back in August. Additionally, we went to the cocktail stand and ordered a tangy apple sangria. IT WAS SO YUMMY. It was worth the $9 purchase. As we sat and drank our tangy sangrias, we saw Bigfoot walking around. Someone dresses as Bigfoot and walks around the Orchard. There are Bigfoot signs throughout the Orchard. Me and my fiance couldn’t stop laughing when Bigfoot would scare little kids.

Finally, we stopped at the white barn. I picked up more candle wax for my Owl wax burner (I don’t remember what it’s called, but it burns wax). We picked up some homemade maple syrup and a couple of smaller decorative pumpkins that are currently sitting on our TV stand.

Trying to come up with activities during a Pandemic is tough. Me and my fiance take social distancing and mask-wearing seriously. Luceline Apple Orchard was perfectly spacious allowing for a cute date day while being safe.

Challenger: The Final Flight

Challenger: The Final Flight

My fiance loves watching documentaries on Netflix. While we were creating our wedding website, my fiance started playing Challenger: The Final Flight as background noise. Instead of contributing to our wedding website, I became enamored with this docuseries.

Challenger: The Final Flight is only four episodes with each episode ranging from 42 – 50 minutes long. The series introduces the astronauts, provides background information before the Challenger launched, footage from the Challenger as it exploded, and the aftermath of the investigation. What happened with the Challenger? Why did it explode and was NASA responsible?

My knowledge of the Challenger explosion was next to none before watching this docuseries. I knew a teacher was on-board and the shuttle exploded shortly before take-off, but that was about the extent of what I knew. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying throughout the series. Families, children, NASA , and the United States all watched as the Challenger lifted off and exploded for everyone to see. Relatives turned to each other in shock and held each other as they cried. Students were in awe as they weren’t sure what was happening. Hearing the relatives of the seven astronauts speak as they relive this moment was horrifying. Some of the relatives knew their loved ones couldn’t survive while other relatives tried to deny what had happened.

The Challenger launch was a big deal considering it would be the first teacher in space. Christa McAuliffe was a teacher in New Hampshire who was one of 11,000 applicants who applied. She was the final of ten and was chosen to be the first teacher in space. She took an absence from teaching while she trained to be an astronaut. She had planned to teach two fifteen- minute lessons to students from space. I’m imagining how I would feel if one of my teacher friends was chosen to go into space. I would feel elated for them, but extremely anxious about what could go wrong.

The failure of the O-Rings caused the Challenger’s explosion. The docuseries details how NASA knew about the history of the O-Rings failure since 1977. That’s nine years before the Challenger launched. Richard Feynman, a scientist on the Manhattan Project, was included in the post-investigation. Feynman demonstrated how the O-Rings are more likely to fail in lower temperatures. On the day the Challenger launched, it was 36 degrees.

In my opinion, I do believe NASA is responsible for the destruction of the Challenger. There was evidence citing the O-Rings and their history of failure. I find it odd how the O-Rings weren’t tested under lower temperature conditions. Science doesn’t lie and whenever these incidents happen and people die, it’s human error that doesn’t listen to the evidence.

Challenger: The Final Flight is a heart-wrenching look at what happened with the Challenger explosion. There’s a lot we can learn from this tragedy to make space exploration safer and the importance of analyzing scientific data. Challenger: The Final Flight can be streamed on Netflix.