Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 In A Nutshell

How have you been? I have been quiet this year. Quite quiet. I try to be genuine on my blog since it is usually the only place I feel I can be genuine, but I suppose that I just couldn't spitball and shoot jokes off the cuff like I used to for a good while. I couldn't review much of anything because I could not focus. I could not focus because my mind had drifted off elsewhere. 

In a sense 2016 has been a very dark period for me. 

But I suppose everyone gets a good fall every now and then and getting up is hard sometimes. 

As a person I am an introvert. I try to use humor to make my interactions with other people easier, but when I'm not feeling funny I am a dreadful bore to be around. Unpleasant, even. I just want to be left alone and by myself most of the time. And when I do want company I am unsure and afraid of trying to ask for it. 

I suppose everyone is their own worst critic, but I am truly my own worst enemy. 

I think the reason it was so hard for me to recover this year was because I stood in my own way. I do many things the right way and still tell myself something is still wrong. Which they are because no one is perfect, but sometimes saying that isn't good enough. 

But when I really do something wrong like trusting the wrong people my self-criticism is pretty much crippling. 

I fell short of my standards this year. Far short. 

But... I wouldn't allow myself to get back up and that made things even worse. 

As of this writing, I've pretty much regained my inner zen. I am fine. As long as I stay within my safe haven. 

If I can just avoid the users and abusers of this world I will stay fine. Of course, I cannot avoid evil people completely, but I can limit my contact and touch with them. 

A few months ago there was a new hire at the company I work at, but he did not work there long. He murdered somebody. I saw it on the news. He was an 18 year old kid I had seen only a few hours at work before he did his deed. I told him to wash his dishes and then go on home, but he did not go home. He went somewhere, but not home, I imagine. In the early hours of the day he killed someone and it was clearly not in defense. 

I saw him on the news, contradicting himself as the cameras were held to his face. The police escorting him made the mistake of taking to the wrong car and so the murderer got to have even more camera time where he talked and talked about just casually killing someone in his ghetto-talk. 

Obviously, he lost his job after his 15 minutes of fame. 

I knew he was a piece of shit from the get-go, but even then I didn't quite think he was a murderer. Still, I've worked with seedy people before and I know I work with some thieves at this very moment. It's scary. Very scary. Still, to have worked with a murderer is shocking. 

People like that are the reason I just shut myself off and stick to anime and manga and music and movies. 

And that very thought is what got me back on my feet again. Interactions just are not my thing, it seems. I got burned this year by two people. Burned bad and I did not know how to handle it. They were not murderers or anything like that, but they were abusers of trust. 

It was my fault for associating with them, but I've learned my lesson. I know what people are capable of now. To quote Dr. Cox from Scrubs, "People are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling."

I'm standing on my own two feet again and I am happy to be focused again. I may not sound happy, but I am. 

I am very glad 2016 is coming to an end. I am hoping 2017 won't be a bastard, but I am learning quickly how to handle bastards. 

I apologize if this entry sounded bleak or cryptic. Christmas is almost upon us and I am feeling festive, but I also know that my mother is sick right now. There's no tree for us this year. Probably not any gifts, either. And there are some rotten people in this world stealing money from people that trust them and they get away with it. 

And Goddamn it, if Donald Trump is president-elect....

This world can seem so beautiful, but it's hard to think it isn't completely wicked, too.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hope (Sowon)

It's been so long since I got my Korean movie fix. Over a freaking year. I suppose part of that is because I just haven't been blogging, but another part is I gave up Netflix for close to a year.

I decided to pick it back up recently because I did miss it quite a bit. It was nice to see the Korean drama Iris (not the crappy movie version) on Netflix and I watched the first episode again. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first time. Still, good memories. 

The episode did make me think about all of the cool Korean flicks I used to watch often.

I am not sure why I chose this movie in particular. I think the five star rating on Netflix helped, but it was mostly just a random "Hey, fuck it, this might be good so I'll watch it" sort of decision. Like, you know, pretty much all my other decisions are. The movie seemed like a bit of a family movie based on the thumbnail/poster, but the description sort or... well, scared me a bit.

This was the description:

After 8-year-old So-won narrowly survives a brutal sexual assault, her family labors to help her heal while coping with their own rage and grief.
Needless to say this subject matter is not for everyone. I did not even know whether I should give it a try, but I had faith that this film would not be tasteless. My Korean movie choices have yet to let me down for the most part and I was sure that this movie would not, either. 

Everyone's tastes vary and I am sure that many people would not find any merit in this movie simply because it's subject matter is very difficult.

It's hard to watch without a good share of rage-induced cussing.

But I found myself rewarded greatly by this movie by the end.

I won't really comment on the need to make movies from controversial subject matter because I'm not going into that. I applaud the makers of films like this and Silenced because I view them as the artistic awareness pieces that they are. Other folks may view this as an attempt to make some sort of exploitation attempt, but I don't see it. I've seen many exploitation films and this isn't among them.

This film is equal parts horrifying and beautiful. The idea that the cute young girl in this film is going to have her life torn apart is brutal. Thankfully, the "scene" happened off screen. We were shown enough to get an idea that something terrible happened and then we were told the rest through the conversations of other characters. Anything more would have been too overbearing and would have broken this film's watchability.

Our cast is pretty effective if not outstanding. Our male lead, Sowon's father, is a hard character to like at first and after the assault it is tough to know where his character is going to go. This could be his redemption to the wife and daughter he has neglected or it could be his damnation.

I suppose it might be spoiling things a bit, but his redemption is something this movie needs to survive and so it obviously gives it to us. His attempts to cheer up his daughter by dressing up as her favorite character are sweet. Although it is kind of fucked up that it took his daughter being raped and nearly dying to make him a somewhat decent human being again and I don't know how to feel about that. But then the story would have been a mess since it is really all about the father's attempts to heal his daughter.

So... I dunno, I guess it works because the plot makes it work. It's almost like being emotionally conned into liking him in the end. Or maybe it is just good filmmaking. It's hard to be critical of this film or down on it since it is just so damned charming. I'll just say it's good filmmaking and be done with it.

It felt strange to feel all warm and fuzzy at this movie's conclusion. Mostly because I didn't expect it. Although I guess I should have since it shows us everyone all happy go lucky in the movie's poster. Still, I know movie posters lie all the time so I didn't trust it. But now I see the poster in a completely different light.

You'll know what I mean if you've seen the film yourself, I think.

Anyway, that pretty much concludes my first review in ages. Hope ya'll had fun.

P.S. - I did recognize a member of the cast and at first I could not place him, but I knew I had seen him before. After a Google search I discovered that the dickhead father's boss was the trusty sidekick in City Hunter. So that is a neat little sidenote.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Favorite Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle Cards

Nothing can be more dangerous than a good gacha game. Because the temptation to spend money on those games is real. Dokkan Battle is the game that I've been playing real hard for a few months now. Lately with the Super Vegito banner I have been grinding so hard that I literally am exhausted from playing a game on my phone.

For my efforts I have been rewarded with some of the best cards in the game and I got the chance to make them even stronger with a bit more mission grinding.

I have both the Global and Japanese versions of the game on my phone, but since I got some sweet cards on Global I have made that account my priority and my Japanese account has taken a backseat. The Japanese version of the game has better events, but I have the better cards on Global soooo I am playing Global mainly now.

How you get cards is all RNG (Random Number Generator) and the odds of you getting the card or cards you want is absolute garbage sometimes. Paying for the stones when there is a sale to summon characters can solve some of the issues regarding how random the character drops are, but that is something for each player to decide. Paying for stones doesn't guarantee you will get the cards you want but it will allow you to get as many stones as you want and therefore you'll have much better chances to get almost any card on a given banner.

But it still not a 100% thing. You could spend thirty bucks on 90 summon stones and get jack when you try to summon. So be cautious if buying.

The following is the list of my ten favorite cards in the game that I actually have and can use at any time. If I haven't pulled it I won't list it. If I've used it in as a friend on a team it won't count unless I actually have it in my collection. Otherwise this list would pretty much all be god leader cards even though I only have one between my JP and Global account.

In case you don't know each card has certain abilities. Six cards can go on a team with the addition of a "friend" card that can be added for each mission. How these cards link together is very, very important. Leader skills are vital and support skills are vital. A bunch of SSR cards on a team means jack if they cannot support each other. So plan your team carefully. 

Some cards are nukers (basically for each ki orb they streak their attack goes up a percentage), some are tanks (the ones that can take a hit), and many others have a variety of abilities that can come in clutch during a long battle. It's really important to know all passive skills, links, leader skills, and type advantages before putting a team together before going into a tough event if you want to be successful.

Some tough events will provide medals that will awaken (or evolve) your cards into something better. So when I mention that cards are or are not awakened that is what I mean. 

That being said, let our list begin!

1) Super Vegito - It is quite ironic that I pulled this card for my first time ever on my Global account. He's my only god leader, but I do not have him awakened to his full potential yet and I won't be able to awaken him for a few months. He cannot tank a super attack worth a damn so a super attack sealer like PHY Gotenks is very important, but his defense against normal attacks and his subsequent counter attacks are freaking legit. As a leader he is only really good if you are running an all agility team. He can link well on a rainbow team if you have other fused saiyan cards, but he is best utilized on an all agility squad for his leader skills. My JP account has a really good agility squad but no Super Vegito and my Global account has a shit agility squad but a Super Vegito. At least I got him, I guess. Until I can awaken him I will use him as support on my Gogeta squad because his counters are really freaking sweet and he has good links. You can't not use this card if you have him. 

2) Super Gogeta - I pulled him just before I pulled Super Vegito and he is an absolute beast. I managed to fully awaken him and with a double Gogeta lead all of my cards get super attacks and that is a great thing to have. That is not to say he is perfect, though. He doesn't have the health of a Super Vegito team and he has no counters. He also cannot take a hit worth a damn. But he is the second best card on Global right now next to Super Vegito. The damage he deals out was the reason I could stand a chance against Super Vegito in the boss fight. In fact, he can make pretty much any event a lot easier. He is really good as a leader for those of you that don't have any god cards (or at least haven't awakened them yet). Now if I can only pull him on JP....

3) SSGSS Kaioken Goku - This card is a boss. He does have a ten turn limitation on his passive skill so longer boss fights can be a bitch, but he is an excellent support unit on either a rainbow team or an agility squad. His super attacks (especially before the ten turns are up) are beautiful and he has great links. I do not have mine awakened yet because I don't quite have a good enough team on JP to take the event on yet. Those 77 medals will be a bitch to grind. Still, he is a glorious card without being fully awakened. 

4) PHY Gotenks - This card has been with me for so long. He is my ultimate support unit on Global. The damage he deals out is decent (could be better), but his super seals and now that I have Super Vegito my life is going to be a lot easier. This card is almost guaranteed to super on a double Gogeta team and on a team with other fused fighters. The super attack seals should be happening like regular clockwork if you build your team right. Then you just let Super Vegito go to town with the counters. Easy way to take down bosses. He is not an agility card so that is a drawback for a Super Vegito squad, but JP has Oceanus as an agility sealer and he will eventually come to Global. Until that time it is vital to have a sealer like Gotenks. As a leader he isn't bad either if you don't have Gogeta or Vegito. 

5) Majin Vegeta - Once you awaken this card the world tournament becomes a goddamn cakewalk. Once this card supers he attacks every other card on the field. He might not destroy everyone depending on their health, but he will make a fight against multiple characters so much easier. Unlike STR Broly he does not have shit links so he is almost always going to have a super ready to go if you build a decent team around him. I wouldn't have him as a leader, but that AOE super is gorgeous so he is a must have on a WT team. 

6) AGL Golden Frieza - I have way more defensive powered cards on my JP account than my Global account. My favorite (for the moment) is this glorious bastard. He can tank those supers easily and he would be great support on a Super Vegito team. When you cannot seal then you need to tank and that is when you use this guy. Unfortunately I don't have him on global and I don't have Vegito on JP so... I kinda feel unfulfilled. I've got two cool accounts that are growing, but if I could combine them I'd have it made. But I can't so I just got to tank my hits until I can get my Super Vegito on JP. And I have to go without a tank on Global and use all my items up to reduce damage. How depressing. This card makes life in Dokkan Battle a bit easier for the AGL squad. Or any squad. Just be careful with his passive. If you go below 50% health he will not tank a hit. 

7) Great Ape Turles - Speaking of the AGL squad, we've got our resident wild card Turles. Not only does he have the chance to become a great ape and dish out some serious damage (during which time he is invulnerable), but he can also stun the enemy. Neither I would count on during a serious battle because it's always random, but it is sweet when it happens. As a leader he is decent and provides a ki and attack boost to all types. He is sort of like a poor man's Gogeta, I think. His links could be better, but villains always get the shaft in this game. He has the "Prepared for Battle" link, though. 

8) Super Saiyan God Goku - I am lucky enough to have this card on both accounts. He's easily one of the strongest cards that doesn't have a Dokkan Awaken. There are better cards than him in the game, but he has three key links that put him over many: Shocking Speed, Prepared for Battle, and Over in a Flash. I would not put him as a leader, but he is really good support on my Gogeta-led team on Global. 

9) Janemba - I got this guy twice on JP. He's a tank and his supers lower the defense of the enemy. He has the Shocking Speed link that gives ki and he gets the Fierce Battle when he gets awakened. So if you need to wear down some defense and take a hit then this is your card. He's just hard to give a super attack to because his links aren't so good. Frieza's links weren't good either, but Frieza makes up for by being a nuker. 

10) INT Piccolo - Here we have another tank on JP. If you joined the recent tournament and made any kind of effort you got this guy in your inbox. He is a free tank and he has an awakening that will turn him into an even bigger tank. I have this guy, Janemba, and Golden Frieza on my team so I can take pretty much any hit. It really is nice. He can't link, but his passive is sweet. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dragon Ball Vol. 9: Test of the All-Seeing Crone by Toriyama Akira

The Red Ribbon Army has been soundly defeated and to the shock of no one that knows that this series is longer than eight volumes. However, Goku's friends appear to not know that he's okay so they journey to Red Ribbon Army HQ with hopes of giving aid but the only thing they find is a quiet battleground where our favorite spikey-haired kid roams around free.

Of course, the narrative must go on as Master Toriyama still had to make his rent payment, but what story was there to tell next?

Surely, we remember that Upa's grandfather had been killed by the brutal Taopaipai and that Goku vowed to revive him. So that's where we start.

Only we all know it won't be so easy as the final dragon ball appears to have vanished completely off of the map. Not even Bulma's handy dandy dragon radar can find it.

It's at this time that Muten Roshi chooses to mention he has a sister that can divine the future and/or locate lost objects for them. The old Crone can even travel between this world and the afterlife.

Although Toriyama's storytelling style is such a joy it's sometimes frustrating for those of us that pay attention to detail. Think about all the big villains in future installments. If Uranai Baba could see the future then surely she'd know about things like the Saiyans and Cell and Majin Buu and stuff like that.

But since Toriyama didn't even know about that stuff when he wrote these chapters then neither did Uranai.

Uranai can find the dragon ball on her crystal ball, but she won't do it for free. Her condition is that they must fight in a tournament of her own and if they win then she will find the dragon ball. 

Kururin joined the L club immediately when he lost to a vampire guy that even Puar could defeat. Not to be outdone, Yamcha gets soundly defeated by a mummy-looking dude. 

So our hopes to find the last dragon ball fall to the hands of Son Goku as he must face the remaining fighters. 

Which, I mean, we all know how it turns out. Son Goku easily beats them all with the exception of the last mystery fighter. The last fighter is the only true challenge and almost beats Son Goku, but a bit of luck aids in Goku's last minute victory. 

And we get a nice sweet moment when Goku discovers that the mystery fighter is actually hiss deceased grandfather, Son Gohan.

With the tournament finished Uranai shows everyone the location of the dragon ball. 

It's moving in a car and headed toward their location. The vile Emperor Pilaf is at it again!

Anyway, that is this volume in a nutshell. I enjoyed this much more than the Red Ribbon stuff. Nice to get back to some fairly competitive fighting. 

Attack On Titan Vol. 19 by Isayama Hajime

So I've been rewatching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on the new blu-ray set and it looks stunning. Definitely worth the $100+ price tag since it includes both seasons and three spin-offs. I'm also watching it in "chronological" order this time and the experience is definitely interesting. I've also watched the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! (only the first episode so far) for the first time ever and that was interesting. 

But this is just about all of the anime I've got going on since I finished the Attack On Titan anime for the second time. Of course, I'm still playing Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle (both the JP and the Global versions for the moment) while I am impatiently waiting for Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for the PS4 to be released October 25th. Game-wise, that is pretty much it. I've basically put other games like Attack On Titan, Digimon Cyber Sleuth, and Tales of Zestiria on hold for a bit. With so much of my energies going to two different versions of Dokkan Battle I am not sure I can play other games right now.

I am not really sure what blog entries I will be able to muster up in the coming days and months, but I have been trying to come up with a few ideas. I think you'll enjoy 'em.

In the meantime I suppose I should get on with this entry and then cry in a corner somewhere because I'm caught up with the series until volume 20 hits the market.

This volume brings us the very much long awaited rematch between the Survey Corps and the Armored Titan.

Of the titan villains I've long since thought that Reiner Braun was the most interesting. Even though Bertolt's Colossus Titan is the "face" of the series that we see on most merchandise it is Braun's Armored Titan that really compels much of the story forward. He has always seemed like the stronger of the two and the leader... at least until the Beast Titan showed up and schooled them.

By now we know that the Beast Titan is the true leader of the bunch.... as far as Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie are concerned. There could be someone above him for all we know, but from what we actually know the Beast is the true boss. Yet the Armored Titan represents everything about this series we've come to know. He's the enemy of humanity and all that good stuff. Basically he is the early Vegeta of this series.

So the fight between him and Eren is especially satisfying this time around. Of course, it might not have ended so well for the Survey Corps this time if not for the new (and incredibly convenient but bulky) weapons the Corps created.

But the deviant team of titans won't just let one of their own fall. The Beast Titan (quite literally) launches Bertolt into the scene of the battle to come to Reiner's aid when it looks like the Corps and Eren have managed to bring him down for the count.

Of course, before Bertolt enters the battle we get a flashback to Marco's death and the part that Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie had in it. I'm not sure that is was especially necessary at this point in the story, but it doesn't take away from the tension much.

Then the volume ends on a predictable cliffhanger. Bertolt Hoover has transformed into the Colossus Titan and seems ready to do battle and it looks like this might be just a bit more than Eren and the Survey Corps can handle.

Very exciting stuff. I'm curious to see if the Colossus Titan can actually fight and what will happen if he does.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Favorite Anime-Related Possessions

It's no secret I love anime. When you run a blog and spend more money than seems wise on things like box sets and figures and phone apps about anime then it is pretty much a given that anime is a big part of life.

I own anime-related items. Lots of them. But they are not created equal. At least not to me. All of them have meaning, but I think everyone has certain things in their possession that just have either sentimental value or what have you that make them mean "more" and I am the same way. 

So I wanted to make a list of my favorite anime-related items. I'm talking about shirts and figures and all that good stuff. To me, blu-ray sets and DVD sets don't really have a big place in this list because I think most of them are pretty interchangeable with others. However, some will appear on this list.

And yes, I will try to include recent pics whenever possible. 

10) Digivolving Blackwargreymon - I loved Digimon when I was younger and my absolute favorite character on that show was Blackwargreymon. This guy actually digivolves from Blackagumon. So as a kid that loved both Transformers and Digimon I thought this figure was the absolute shit. The best of both worlds. I still have it proudly displayed on my anime shelf. I know there are better figures out there of this character. Some of them I can't even afford. But this is literally the only figure I've ever owned of this guy. I know he is dusty in the photo and I hate that, but I just haven't had time to dust lately.

9) IF Labs Fifth Form Cooler - Dragon Ball Z is my go-to anime. It probably always will be. I still have all of my figures from back in the day. Of course, over the time my tastes have refined a bit and S.H. Figuarts has really spoiled me, but there are a few figures I have that still stand the test of time. This awesome Cooler is one of them. Cooler is one of my favorite DBZ movie villains and his fifth form is one of the coolest transformations around. And this old IF Labs figure did him all kinds of justice. Just look at that detail.

8) Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum Collection Box Set - This was one of the first anime series I purchased with my own paycheck. I also bought it at a time before it got way too expensive to justify buying. It is an awesome (but not for everyone) series and the collection is still fantastic. 

7) Time Wizard - I never played Yu-Gi-Oh! as a card game, but I did collect the cards. I have a ton of them. I loved the anime and I always grew excited when I got a card that was featured prominently on the anime. The Time Wizard may not be the most well known cards from the show, but I remember the awesome moment when Joey used it to create the Thousand Dragon. Of course, the real card is different than what was shown in the anime. It's actually quite a powerful (but risky) card. I love all of my Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, but I literally cannot take a picture of every single one. I have too many. So I will let the Time Wizard stand in for all of them. 

6) S.H. Figuarts Vegetto - The DBZ series may have taken a turn for the worse with the Majin Buu saga, but there were a few bright spots that still make it a worthy entry: Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Gotenks, Mystic Gohan, Buuhan, Majin Vegeta... and Vegetto. Honestly, I got this figure on a lark. He is not my favorite character, but Vegetto is still pretty badass and he was on sale at the time I purchased him from Crunchyroll. As you can see he is still in his case. When I have a better setup I will probably open him up. 

5) Gurren Lagann Limited Edition - Remember when I said I was glad I bought Evangelion before it got too expensive? Well, this series was an exception where I knew it was expensive as hell, but I bought it anyway. I think I spent $160 on it. Yeah, but it is an awesome series and the collection is pretty freaking sweet. 

4) Super Saiyan 2 Gohan Statue - I've had this figure so long I can't even remember when or where I got it. It is older than my Cooler, I think. The detail isn't quite on par with my Cooler, but it is still pretty good. I've had it displayed on my dresser ever since I got it. So we're talking about fifteen years of display. 

3) Survey Corps Jacket (Attack On Titan) - This is a old picture as the date with undoubtedly give away, but the jacket is still in fine form. This jacket is so comfortable and wearing it always gives me strength. I know that sounds weird, but that is just how it is. I also got this jacket before the English dub had even started airing. 

2) Tiffany Vollmer's Autographed Bulma Drawing - I've told this story on my blog before and shown the picture, but this still remains one of my favorite treasures. 

1) My manga - For the longest time I was not a fan of manga. I never read any and I never bought any. But then a switch clicked somewhere in my head. I've been slowly building my manga collection up from scratch. I am still not where I want to be with my collection, but I do have all of the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z manga.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Attack On Titan Vol. 18 by Isayama Hajime

It's crazy to think that the manga I am about to be caught up with is the manga I have been putting off for over a year. I knocked 16 and 17 out of the park with gusto and 18 went down quick, too. Now I am staring at the cover of volume 19 while checking the release date of the 20th volume it is looking like December of 2016.

So once I read volume 19 that will be all she wrote for a bit and I am mildly depressed right now. I am still going to keep a flame lit in my heart for this series after I finish volume 19, but I will need to read other manga again until that wonderful day in December. But ah, such is the life of the hardcore otaku.

Volume 18 begins with a trip to Instructor Keith Shadis, the hardass that taught the new recruits how to be real soldiers. In manga time it has only been a few months since Eren was trained by him, but in real life it has actually been a few years. So I wouldn't blame anyone if they can't remember who Keith Shadis is, either. I only did because I've been playing the video game and watching the series again. 

Our first chapter is actually a really good one because it details Keith's friendship with Grisha Yeager. In the last volume I was thinking about how I wanted more insight into Grisha's life and this chapter provided just a bit more of that. So I really liked it. We also learn more about Instructor Keith and that is neat. 

Our second chapter is a nice reflective moment where Commander Erwin Smith seems like the true standout. I've always liked Erwin, but he really does not get much character development in the series. Normally, he is just the face and tactician of the Survey Corps. However, there is a human being in there somewhere and what few glimpses we can get at him are really good moments. I just hope Erwin does not die. I'm not saying he will because I do not know, but I do know death flags when I see them. 

The final half of the volume is about the Survey Corps retaking of Wall Maria. Eren Yeager succeeds in using his hardened titan form to cover the hole in Wall Maria, but something is wrong. Armin and Erwin know that the enemy has to be nearby watching everything. They couldn't just let the Survey Corps come in and fix the wall and win. 

And they are right. Because just when it seems like it is time to pass the champagne the Armored and Beast Titans show up to spoil the party. 

It looks like we'll finally get that fight between the Armored Titan and Eren Yeager in volume 19.

Cliff. Hanger. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Attack On Titan Vol. 17 by Isayama Hajime

Bet you didn't expect to see me this soon, huh? That's because I am back, baby. I know my blog has become a desolate wasteland where no one travels anymore, but I suppose I missed it more than anything so I decided to bury it in the pet sematary and wait for some magic to happen. There might be no one else here but me, but I shall enjoy myself. 

Well, let's get to this volume.

The 17th volume of Attack On Titan continues to give us some much-needed story and character development. And some titan action, too. 

The strangely formed "King Titan" that Rod Reiss transformed into wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, but it made up for in sheer size what it lacked in appearance. The fight between Eren and the King Titan was less of a fight and more of a... tactical battle. Since the King Titan was so ridiculously sluggish but incredibly huge it could not really fight like the Female Titan could. 

So Eren had to work with the Survey Corps to sneak attack the huge thing while the queen-to-be Historia Reiss actually was the one that managed to get the killing blow. 

The entire confrontation took up the first half of this volume while the second half tells two very different stories. 

The third chapter sends us into the past of Kenny Ackerman and it shows us how he met Levi and taught Levi. For those of us that are Levi fans that chapter is certainly a great present. Although we get to see how Kenny fell in with the Reiss family as well. 

I will say that all of this talk about bloodlines and who can or can't have their memories changed by the Reiss family over the last two volumes has not only gotten more and more strange, but also more tedious. I mean, it is neat to know, but at this point I want the Survey Corps to go ahead and get their inevitable battles with the Armored and Colossus Titans started. Or at least tell us more about Grisha and how he discovered everything.

The fourth and final chapter basically shows us the aftermath of the whole Reiss family spectacle and some of the innovations made since defeating the King Titan. It is a nice and calm chapter that hopefully foreshadows and oncoming storm. 

The best part of this whole volume is the very end where we finally get to see the man who is the Beast Titan. And boy, did it look like he put a hurting on the Armored Titan.

OMG.... (Do people still say that anymore?)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Attack On Titan Vol. 16 by Isayama Hajime

It has been such a long time since I dished out the goods on some manga, hasn't it? Almost a freaking year! That isn't to say I haven't read anymore in that time because I have been reading the Prison School series and enjoying the hell out of it.

But until now I have kept my hands off any Attack On Titan manga until I could get at least a few issues I could read in quick succession. Unfortunately, my long wait has resulted in only four manga volumes being released in the West. Four. Wow, that is depressing.

This volume kicked some ass, though, by gum. Not sure about waiting a year to read it, but the volume made me feel instantly at home. I also took a fifteen minutes prior to skim some previous volumes to refresh my memory and that helped greatly.

Even though there hasn't been a lot of titan-fighting going on in the last few volumes there has been some legit political shenanigans going on. Nothing major. Just the Survey Corps basically overthrowing the current government.

Granted, these human confrontations haven't brought us any closer to Eren's basement or to taking down any of the other human-controlled titans, but they've been entertaining. There are no titan fights or epic Survey Corps titan takedowns in this volume, but that doesn't mean there aren't fireworks.

Instead we have the Corps trying to track down the captured Historia Reiss and Eren Yeager. They were captured by the diabolical "true king" Rod Reiss and Reiss's goal for his daughter Historia is to reclaim the "true power" of the Reiss family. 

And apparently that power is that of turning into a titan and killing motherfuckers. 

Eren spends pretty much the entire issue on his knees and in chains in some weird chamber that supposedly was built by other human-controlled titans. In front of him Historia is tempted by her father and if she gives in to her father's dark desires then she'll get to inject herself with some crazy titan-turning shit and eat Eren Yeager and take his powers. 

Rod Reiss also informs Eren that his father Grisha Yeager is a titan, too. In fact, Grisha is the one that wiped out the Reiss family with the exception of Rod and Historia. What's more is that Rod's entire family could turn into titans.

I remember when I started this series, both the anime and the manga, thinking that this series would be a simple man vs. monster fighting story. And for a while it was. Not much plot development was happening. Then when things started to hit the fan very few answers were given as to why. 

So the depth of this story has really hit a home run this time. We are finally getting some answers. Bombs are being dropped and they are insane. The puzzle pieces are finally falling into place. Fuck yes. I still don't know what the hell is in Eren's basement or who the Beast Titan is or where the Colossus, Armored, and Ymir Titans ran off to, but this volume at least gives us a glimpse of Grisha Yeager and why some of this is even happening in the first place.

And the cliffhanger that ends this volume is splendid. 

Sure, it is a bit over the top that just about everyone is a freaking titan now, but the story is getting more interesting so I don't care anymore. Onward to volume 17!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I think Christopher Nolan is a fucking genius. In my opinion he is the only director of the modern day to come close to touching the greatness of the shadow of Kubrick. I've been a fan of his since Insomnia, but I think we all know that was a bit too safe of a movie to follow Memento. Nolan's true filmmaking strengths lies in creating the strange and the visually stunning and he does so in Inception and even in his Batman films.

However, I would argue that Interstellar is by far his most visually stunning and Kubrickian movie. You cannot watch this film without comparing it to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mean that in a mostly good way, too. Granted, this movie is not quite as far out or good as Kubrick's space opus, but it is still pretty fucking far out and good.

I regret the fact that I never got to see it in theaters. Or in 3D. Normally, I don't give a shit about 3D, but there are certain scenes in this movie that just beg to be seen in another dimension. If you've seen the scenes with the wormhole and the black hole then you already know what I am talking about.

Of course, this movie is not perfect and it is not quite as good as what Kubrick might have made. Some plot lines don't make sense or are just plain dumb. Let's start with just how Matthew McConaughey's character Cooper stumbled into being an astronaut after being a misfit farmer for most of his life. NASA's secret HQ was practically next door to him and that is cool, but if Cooper was such a hotshot pilot... wouldn't NASA have come to him instead? You'd think, but it took an act of the supernatural to lead Cooper to the NASA base. Strange.

Some of the scenery on earth is also bland. Even more bland than Anne Hathaway's performance. 

And then there is the ending to consider...

But then this film gets so crazy magnificent at times that it is hard to consider this film anything other than a wondrous experience that can only be described by watching it.

I love this movie, but I am on the fence over how high to rank it. At it's worst it is a 7.5. At it's best it is a 9. So I think an 8.25 should be sufficient of a grade.

Of course, I am a big fan of films that take on the vastness of space without relying on Star Wars as crutch or a starting point. So you may feel free to color me biased. I really love shit about outer space.

Matthew McConaughey was also awesome in this movie. I never used to appreciate his acting skills because most of the movies he starred in were dumb. I knew he was a good actor because he was great in A Time to Kill, but there was a long time where he was in a lot of rubbish.

But he's been in a lot of interesting movies lately where you can actually appreciate his presence without automatically thinking of his (totally awesome) quote from Dazed and Confused.

Anyway, it's a damn fine flick and one I am glad I finally got out of my "to watch" list.

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle

I suppose that it is long past time I talked about how I've been managing to nerd out lately. When I managed to get my hands on a PS4 and played the shit out of Dragon Ball Xenoverse I thought my life was pretty much complete. Then I basically finished that game and I felt a bit of a hole open up inside me. An emptiness. A nothingness. It was a deep and dark hole that only something fantastically nerdy could satisfy. 

With Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 still a few months away and Pokemon Go falling off the radar for me I had few places I could turn to. So I started looking at my phone and downloaded a game called Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle.

The game has been around for a while and there are two versions of it. A lot of internet folks play the Japanese version of it, but I don't know how to do that so I've been playing the "global" version. Unfortunately the global version is a couple of months behind the Japanese version so there are a lot of kickass characters that won't be available for quite a while. 

But until I can figure out how to play the Japanese version on android I am basically stuck with the global version.

The game is simple enough in that you play different stages with different characters and you have to line up colored orbs to level up your attacks. Your attacks get high enough and you get to beat your opponent. And when you beat your opponent you get the chance for some sweet drops. 

Of course, you get the chance to get much stronger characters throughout the game and play in a lot of different stages. You get power boosts from training and items and clearing levels and you get zeni from selling characters you no longer need and clearing levels. 

The summoning is probably the funnest (and most frustrating) aspect of the game, though. 

Basically, you use five dragon stones (which you can get from the game in a variety of ways including using actual money to buy them) for a single summon under any banner you choose or up to fifty stones for a "multi-summon." Multi-summons get you ten characters and a single summon only gets you one. 

RNG plays a huge factor, though. SSR's are the goal for the game. SSR meaning super super rare. So you really won't get many of those and if you do get one it probably won't be the one you want. Any SSRs are typically good unless you are insanely high leveled and have a ton of them already. SR's are okay, but some might be pretty useless depending on what deck you are trying to build. R's are pretty much all garbage except for a select few characters than you can use in certain ways if you really, really want to. 

And N's are bullshit you can use to train your stronger characters. Or sell them to Baba's Shop. Whatever. 

I had a successful day with three of these SSR's being new hauls. And I really, really wanted that Majin Vegeta, too. So I'm really happy. 

I've also been evolving some other cards and I am hoping to "Dokkan Awaken" another. Dokkan Awakening takes quite a bit of grinding because you first have win medals to "Z-Awaken" a character and then you have to win different medals to "Dokkan" them. All while making sure the character you are trying to power up is maxed out. That means training them up with "Friend Summons."

So there's quite a bit of patience involved when it comes to getting the characters you want, maxing them out, and creating the right team. And some of the bad guys can be really tough. The Broly one is brutally hard. So getting your team is half the battle. Winning the game is the other. 

I've been playing this game way too much. After 26 consecutive days I'm level 40 and I have two URs and and ten SSR's in my deck. Of my 51 characters only one is a rare and any N's I come across are training bait. 

I'm still learning the game and I am trying not to have to spend money to keep a steady flow of dragon stones going. It is hard though. You can earn dragon stones by beating levels but sometimes the levels are so hard you use dragon stones for a chance to revive to keep battering the enemy. So you could spend three stones to revive, but only get one stone if you win. 

So playing smart is important. Don't waste stones like that unless you really have to. Because if you don't have stones you can't summon and build your team. 

Anyway, it is a neat little game and an addicting one if you don't mind playing on your phone. It helps me take my mind off of the depressing circumstances surrounding my life. 

I'll see you next time. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Suicide Squad

Ever since Christopher Nolan stepped away from the batcave the theatrical world of DC has been struggling a bit. Marvel's insane success with its extended universe has only seemed to exaggerate the matter. Man of Steel isn't a bad film exactly, but it is definitely molded after Nolan's reboot of the bat. Yet it is a decent enough movie on its own and I recall really liking it when I saw it in theaters.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (as far as the Ultimate Edition, with thirty extra minutes is concerned, since that is the only version I've seen) isn't completely terrible, but it is a far cry from the asskicking epicness of Captain America: Civil War or The Avengers and is certainly a step down in quality. And the "Martha" thing was pretty stupid and I figured out what was going to happen with that from the get-go.

After the success of Deadpool someone at DC thought it would be a neat idea to make their own version of it and they didn't quite succeed. What is worse is that they took everything that was great and biting about Deadpool and watered it down into a Will Smith vehicle more akin to Independence Day than anything else.

And I like Will Smith normally. I liked him in this movie, too. He's great at doing his usual Will Smith thing. But.... I don't know. He didn't seem remotely villainous. I expected more from him in this movie. Granted, I expected more from everything about this movie except for Jared Leto's Joker. 

Jared Leto is easily the most forgettable Joker committed to celluloid to date. I wouldn't call him bad exactly, but he is about as memorable as Troy Baker's voiceover version of the Joker. What? Don't recall that? Probably because you automatically think of Mark Hamill when you think of the voice of the animated Joker. I love Troy Baker's contributions to voice acting and his Joker is even valid, but... you just can't make the wheel twice and expect us to appreciate it the same the second time around. I think that is called the law of diminishing returns

For better or worse Heath Ledger's portrayal as the Joker will be the bar against which all other Joker portrayals will be measured for quite sometime. And Jared Leto's Joker just doesn't measure up. He doesn't compare to Jack Nicholson's Joker, either. 

He's just... there. A thug with green hair. There's no overwhelming sense of menace. There's no epic "let's put a smile on that face." There's not even a "Never rub another man's rhubarb." Just nothing. 

I've heard all the stories about editing ruining this Joker and so on and I don't care. Sure, editing can kill a movie or even a character, but Batman's cameo in this movie was effective regardless of his screentime. I am not sure I appreciated his confrontation with Deadshot quite as much, but he was basically the same Batman we saw in Batman v Superman and we didn't need thirty minutes of him to figure that out. He was there, did his Batman thing for a few minutes, and then BAM he was gone. I am still not sure about Ben Affleck's Batman as far as my personal preference goes, but his version is a valid enough Batman. 

The Joker had more screentime in this movie but did little with it. 

Of course, this isn't even a Joker movie and it would have been just fine without him. It would have been fine without Batman, too. 

Honestly, this is not even the sequel to Batman v Superman that it tries so hard to be. Yes, this movie is filled with references to DC's previous cinematic failure and even features Batman, but it just doesn't make sense for this movie to follow in those footsteps when it feels like it not only should want to stand on its own, but it also should be able to poke fun at that same film and at itself. Much like Deadpool did to the X-Men films and to Deadpool's previous appearance in X-Men Origins

But nope, the attitude this film tries to have is quickly tamed by the need to follow a set formula. A formula that actually isn't even that good for DC yet. 

This film doesn't have the balls it wants you to think it has. So on that front this film is a failure. 

Believe it or not, none of this really describes the film's plot, though. I have said nothing on it. In fact, I can barely remember the plot. Something about the Enchantress and so on. I don't know. It didn't really seem important. The world was going to end from some terrible gravitational device (yet another one) and a ragtag group had to put an end to it because Batman and the Justice League were probably out building their Justice League base or washing their tights or something. Their absence from the climax of this film is a bit of a mystery. 

But whatever. 

From the start of this movie we are barraged with twenty different rock and pop songs we've all heard fifty millions times in at least fifty million better movies. I love Creedence, but Fortunate Son doesn't need to be featured in another movie ever again. Ever. 

And all the time they spent introducing these characters to overplayed rock songs really meant fuck all at the end of the day because no one other than Harley or Deadshot really had any kind of significance on the movie. . I mean, what exactly did Captain Boomerang or Croc do in this movie? Jack Squat, that is what. A superpowered The Dirty Dozen this film is not. 

I still enjoyed this film in the way that I enjoy Monster Energy drinks and poptarts from time to time. Basically, this is the kind of movie that is bad for you but you probably know that but watch it anyway because slumming it every now and then seems okay somehow. Still doesn't compare to a decently cooked 22 oz porterhouse and some Maker's Mark, though. 

Seriously, watch The Dark Knight and then watch this movie. 

Or better yet don't watch this movie and watch The Dark Knight. Unless you just like poptarts. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Top Ten Favorite YouTubers (2016 Edition)

....and I'm back with an update of my old list of YouTubers. Granted, it's been only five months since my last YouTuber list, but in internet time five months is closer to the Jurassic Era than it is to today so it's time for an update. 

Since I've been taking more of a break from anime, I've been devoting that time to my other hardcore otaku hobby: Playing guitar. And YouTube is pretty helpful when it comes to helping poor schmucks like me know what to look for in the world of guitars and gear. It's not all just guitar wizards playing insane scales here, though. If anything, it's more about learning about effects and what goes into guitars and so on. So some of these recommendations may be boring as hell to you, but to me they are fascinating and educating. 

Of course, these YouTubers may not all be guitar-related since that isn't a criteria for my list, but considering the kick I'm on they pretty much are just to keep in the spirit of things. 

So let's kick things off with number ten:

10) Tina S - This girl is the definition of prodigy and she's a better guitarist at her age than most professionals are right now. Of course, her cover of Dragonforce's Through the Fire and Flames should be enough to cause a person to foam at the mouth out of envy. Just fantastic stuff. 

09) The Tone King - If you like learning about gear (and who doesn't?) then the Tone King is definitely a name to look up. One of his videos taught me how to change strings on my Floyd Rose-equipped Jackson. It's an informative channel, no frills. 

08) Phil Jakes - This guy plays fingerstyle versions of rock classics like nobody's business. His videos look a bit lo-fi, but he kills it on guitar. I'm still shocked that this guy hasn't had something go viral. He's really, really good. 

07) Jared Dines - Dines, the Lord of Djent, does guitar gear demos as well as comedic routines on his videos. He also plays guitar against himself sometimes. 

06) Rob Scallon - Perhaps one of the most insane men to ever pick up a stringed instrument, whether that be a shovel or a guitar, Rob Scallon really goes where few guitarists have gone before. Even going so far as to play heavy metal in a dentist's office. He also played Flight of the Bumblebee using only open strings. Fun stuff. 

05) Leo Moracchioli - Leo from Frog Leap Studios makes covers in different styles. His older videos have him covering rock songs in an acoustic style, but his newer ones have him converting pop and hip-hop into heavy metal goodness. He plays all of his instruments, shoots his own videos, edits them, and mixes them. The end product is always amazing. He literally makes pop songs better. Check him out. 

His cover of Adele's Hello is also one of the best covers I have ever heard: 

04) WillsEasyGuitar - This guy makes guitars by hand and he shows you how to make them by hand. If you order one he makes it in whatever color you want. You can always go to for more info. The amount of time he puts into his work is amazing. I don't plan on ever building a guitar, but I'd buy one of his. He truly cares about his work. So go check out his videos and learn a bit about the process of making guitars by hand. 

03) Rob Chapman - Rob Chapman is the lead singer of a band called Dorje and the founder of Chapman guitars. He got a sweet guitar model called the Ghost Fret that I really want. He's also got a YouTube channel where he demos gear for U.K.'s Andertons and he also spitballs about all sorts of stuff in his own vlogs. He once made a half hour video where he changed the strings on his guitar and just talked about random stuff the entire time. That might be boring to some, but to me it was just neat. 

02) 331Erock - The man otherwise known as Eric Calderone wears a smile in every video while killing it on guitar with his "Meets Metal" series. He even dresses up every now and then while he does it. Because, you know, real men can cosplay while play guitar. 

01) Ryan "Fluff" Bruce - The internet's guitar gear guy. At least as far as I am concerned. Anytime I want to hear about a new amplifier or a new pedal this is the guy I go to. He may be a bit too "techie" for some people, but he knows his stuff. He also mixes Rob Scallon's stuff and sometimes pals around with Jared Dines for some amusing videos. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Centimeters Per Second (Byōsoku 5 Senchimētoru)

The standard for anime movies is Mr. Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. It's tough to get around that. 5 Centimeters Per Second is a movie that aspires to be a Miyazaki type of film. It isn't, but at times it comes close. Visually, the film is pretty stunning and in an animated film that is always a large part of the battle. Possibly even the largest. I've seen plenty of animated films that were fairly thin on story, but were lifted up by great visuals. Yet I've also seen plenty of animated films that looked a bit lacking on the visual front, but had such a great story that the visuals didn't even seem to matter.

5 Centimeters Per Second does not have a great story. At all. In fact, it barely has any story to speak of. Much of it comprised of inner monolog that convey the struggles of the characters while the movie shows us one nice scene after the other. Which is an approach I don't mind as long as the characters are appealing to me. 

This movie clearly has its fans. If you Google it you'll see almost nothing but positive reviews, but even the mixed reviews will praise how this movie looks.

I am just simply not much of a fan of this movie. It was neat, I suppose. At just an hour long, it won't feel like a waste of time and everything is pretty enough to look at.

However, I can think of quite a few romantic anime and slice of life stories that are just plain better. Typically, love stories only work as long as the melodrama is kept to a minimum and the main characters are interesting. There are exceptions, of course. The anime world is filled with main characters that are dense in some ways, but they otherwise seem likeable and that goes a long way toward winning an audience.

5 Centimeters Per Second fails in two ways. For starters, our male lead Tono Takaki is just a character that takes up space. He's certainly no Tenchi or Ryuji. His journey is somewhat sympathetic, though. Many of us have been there when we were young. We had crushes on girls we couldn't get over and it affected how we moved forward in life to some degree. So there is a door opened for the audience to really get Tono, but Tono himself is just not an interesting character and that makes it tough to get drawn further in by his struggles. He's a blank slate where something could be. 

We're stopped just short, watching a story we can understand and can even identify with, but can't quite run home with. Instead of being in the room with the characters we are stuck outside looking in and sort of wondering where everything is supposed to go.

And that leads to the way this story fails in a second fashion: The hour running time seems a bit too generous.

The second part of this three part story actually seems like it could be taken out completely and the impact of this story would remain unchanged. The story doesn't move forward one bit and we even get introduced to a different character that brings nothing unique to the established story. Again, such that it is.

The resolution part gets too flashback heavy and the overly emotional theme song that starts playing just doesn't quite make the story seem real.

Eh, for my money you should stick with Toradora or Colorful if you want a better feels trip.

For Want Of A Gibson

I made a vow at the end of last year that I would prevent stagnation in my life and so far I've done a good job of it. I've changed workplaces three times in the last three months and bought myself a whopping two guitars. I also haven't been blogging about any of the anime I've watched or manga I've read. Shocking. I'll get back in the spirit of it soon, but I've just been trying to change some things lately. 

Does this mean jack in the long run? Well, maybe not. Certainly not to anyone else.

But it means a lot to me. Granted, few of the changes I've made yielded immediate positive results and they weren't really supposed to. The changes themselves were necessary. I've always been a bit off the cuff, but it's only this time I worked on a larger scale.

The most recent and most important change has to do with the second guitar I purchased Saturday.

Changing jobs seems almost secondary. Jobs, it seems to me, are a means to an end with the end always being money. For a long time I was loyal to a company (and a building) despite not getting the results I wanted for a period of over three years and eight months.

Saturday I went back to that same building and just being there gave me the sensation of eating crow. It wasn't pleasant. I was there for an "interview" I had to do on the computer and nothing more. I'll be going to a different location, thank God. It was so awkward for me to just sit there, feeling like a failure. Feeling like I was going back to a company so soon after leaving like I couldn't do anything else on my own. It was miserable.

So it was in that mindset I went to Guitar Center afterward. I just wanted some picks and strings. In January I had purchased a Jackson JS32T (my second of that model although this one didn't have a Floyd Rose trem system like my other) and I wanted to put some strings on it that were more to my taste. However, while I was there I decided on changing the brand of strings I bought to something a bit different and hopefully better and I thought "that's my positive change for the day."

But then I decided to ask the register guy about a line of credit. All big stores have them, right? So why not ask?

I'm lucky enough to have good credit despite flipping burgers for a living so I figured I'd be a sure-win for some credit.

If you've never been to a Guitar Center then let me explain that every one of them has a wall of guitars on one side or the other and the further in one direction you move the pricier they get. I never looked at the wall that had the Gibsons and Fenders because I don't believe in masochism. There's no sense in trying to play a guitar I couldn't afford in years. Even with good credit there's no way I could pay for even a mid-range Gibson. Some Gibsons cost as much as 6 G's, but others can be as low as a grand. "As low as" being the operative phrase, of course. 

However, after I was approved for a bit of credit I decided to look at "the wall" with intense scrutiny. The salesman more or less prodded me into looking around and I suppose that all I needed was just a bit of prodding.

At first he showed me a very nice Schecter model, but I didn't quite bite on that. Nothing against that brand, of course. It's just that... Well, why buy a guitar that's $700 on a payment plan when a wall of Gibsons is staring at me?

Admittedly, there wasn't much that caught my eye even as far as the Gibsons go. I suppose it is funny how things look completely desirable when they are hopelessly out of reach, but then come under intense scrutiny once they can be reached. And I suppose that's a natural mindset. Gibsons are expensive. Really expensive for a burger-flipper. So if I was going to get one of these "bargain" Gibson Les Pauls I was going to get one that was worth my while.

Salesman that he was, he pointed me toward "the one."  The Gibson Les Paul that wouldn't let me look away. I told the guy to take it down so I could play it.

I played it through a small Peavey amp that had a diverse range of sounds and tones. My current home amp is a small Acoustic brand and while the one I practiced on at Guitar Center is probably the better of the two it was still a closer way to judge than playing on a Marshall half stack.

What. A. Guitar. It's gorgeous and smells so good. That may sound funny, but the wood and finish make it smell fantastic. You can always judge a nice guitar by its smell, I think. 

It is my baby. Granted, it costs about as much as the down payment I put on my car (and it will be a while before I pay it off, too), but it's well worth it. 

To me, Gibson Les Pauls are the identity of the rock n' roll spirit. It can play some serious metal, too. You just gotta know how to find your tone. 

I am tremendously giddy to have one. It really is a dream come true for me to finally own one. I never thought I would ever get to play one. Let alone own one. 

I admit I do envy those guys that have multiple Gibsons. I hope they know how good they have it. 

But I finally got one.

After I bought the guitar I told the salesman "that I just came in today for some picks and strings."

Life is funny, isn't it?