30 October 2014

Goodbye to Boardwalk Empire and Thoughts on Sons of Anarchy

This past Sunday was the final episode of Boardwalk Empire. The season was shortened (I believe because it was not as profitable as HBO had wanted) and they had to end a good bit of the story lines early. With the short amount of time they had to work with though, I would say it was a good ending.

For many of the characters, we knew their fate, Al Capone was going to jail, Lucky and Meyer would form the Commission with Lucky being the head of organized crime. The character we were most interested in though was what would happen to Nucky. Would he find a way to survive Luciano's purge and remain an important player?

It looked like it was over for him when he turned over all of his Atlantic City business to Luciano in the last episode. Yet, Nucky always has a backup plan. He manipulates the stock market and ends up making a small fortune, I believe he still intends to be the legitimate businessman when Prohibition ends.

Unfortunately, his past comes back to haunt him. The kid we have seen skulking about turns out to be Tommy Darmody, Jimmy's son. He kills Nucky, but not before we see the flashback that really spawned everything. Nucky earned his promotion to Sheriff by giving Gillian to the Commodore. After he promised that he would look out for her. The shot to the face reminded me of Nucky shooting Jimmy. It was completely sad and unexpected.

I watched a behind the scenes thing about the show on HBO the other night and there were some really cool things. For instance, Terence Winter would call the actors personally to tell them that their character was going to die. It struck me as really odd that these actors would get so attached to these roles. I just always assume they treat this stuff like a job and that they know the job will end at some point. All the actors said they dreaded the phone call from Winter (and on a few occasions he would actually call them for something else, they would be completely freaked out while talking to him).

Also, one of my favorite characters was Mickey Doyle, played by Paul Sparks. He said that when he auditioned, he did the laugh and the casting director told him to lose it and try again. Later when he found out he got the part, he had no clue which version Martin Scorsese wanted him to use. That struck me as funny, since we could have gotten a Mickey who was more serious.

Anyways, thinking about this show makes me realize how poorly Sons of Anarchy is wrapping up it's final season. Kurt Sutter has more episodes and each episode has been given more time and yet for some reason he is not bringing us to a conclusion. Instead he keeps introducing problems and painting himself into a corner.

I recently read a theory that Chibbs may be working for the Irish and that he is trying to cause Jax to be completely unhinged so he can eventually take over and bring the gun business back into the hands of Irish-friendly players (meaning not black guys). Another theory is that Chibbs may be some kind of undercover cop.

I do not hate this idea, but if he is a cop, he has had so many opportunities to bring down just about everyone. What the hell would he be waiting for? Also, I always got the direct impression that Chibbs really hated the Irish (since he was kicked out of the IRA or whatever).

Anyways, I cannot imagine a scenario where Jax feels bad for basically starting a giant turf war. When he finds out that Tara was actually murdered by Gemma, is he going to be like "oh no, what have I done?" Probably not, he will just do his cool bro-walk and smoke a cigarette. Then kill Gemma.

I was trying to think of where things truly went off the rails for this show. I think that Abel should have died in Belfast. I know that is very harsh, but that could have been the thing that made Jax choose, revenge or family. He constantly talks about how important his boys are to him, yet have we ever even seen him with them? Aside from the occasional kiss on the head as he walks by after killing a bunch of people. I think the show could have taken on a different approach from there. Clay versus Jax was what we wanted, not Jax versus August Marks.

At this point though, I would not be surprised if in the final episode, after Jax has somehow pulled off some insane killing spree where all of his enemies are dead, then learns that Gemma killed Tara. As he is about to kill his own mother, in walks JT! Yep, his dead father will return and be like "oh Jackson, I faked my death and now I have returned to take back my club."

Yeah, can this show end soon so Justified can start again?

29 October 2014

Marvel Announces Phase 3

Marvel recently announced their plans for the Phase 3 movies. Needless to say, this is quite the ambitious plan. The only one I am a little iffy about is Inhumans. I loved the mini-series by Paul Jenkins, but I cannot imagine seeing them as a movie (although, I suppose I thought the same about Guardians of the Galaxy).

In the article, they made a comment about how Marvel continues to just trounce DC in all things movie related. Time Warner makes their big announcement at an investor meeting, whereas Marvel brings in the actors and puts on skits to make it a fun event.

28 October 2014

The Way of Shadows

After finishing the Brandon Sanderson books that I was listening to, I decided to try something different, so I downloaded Brent Weeks The Way of Shadows. I loved The Black Prism and have heard that this series was fantastic. It definitely did not disappoint.

How could I not love a book with magic and highly trained assassins? The book starts off with Azoth growing up in the bad part of the city and he sees Durzo Blint kill a bunch of guys. We learn that Blint is the greatest Wet Boy out there and Azoth wants to be his apprentice.

Weeks jumps right in, he does not spend much time giving us a lot of information. We learn that Azoth belongs a street guild that steals money and that his leader is Rat, who abuses people who do not earn enough. Anyways, the book skips through time and we see Azoth rise up to oppose Rat, but in the end it costs Azoth. Blint agrees to take him on as his apprentice, but only if he kills Rat. After that, the book jumps forward a few years.

Azoth is grown up and is now almost a full wet boy, minus that he cannot use his magical talent. Anyways, without giving up too much, he ends up having to fight his master and try to save the kingdom. Here are a few of the things I liked and some of the things I believe will happen.

-The battle between Blint and Kylar was pretty awesome. And a bit sad. Durzo Blint did not want to kill Kylar, but he really had no choice. Well I think he did, I mean, the two of them working together could have went after Blint's daughter and stopped Roth.

-I think that Kylar, as the Night Angel, will to do better than Durzo. He will attempt to save Cenaria and go after the God-King. That is just my guess.

-I am hoping Logan makes it out of the Hole. He is probably my favorite character, a giant warrior, who also just happens to be a scholar, and probably the best person in the whole world. He is the kind of person who probably feels bad when he steps on a bug.

-Speaking of Logan, my prediction is that he survives and rallies the nobles. He then finds out that Jenine is still alive and being held by the God-King. Maybe he will be the one to kill him.

-I wonder if Kylar will join up with Solon and Dorian to learn more about being a Magus. I remember Blint telling Kylar that his Talent was immense that the Magi would be fighting over him if they were in that part of the world.

Anyways, I am looking forward to starting the next book. If you read this series, let me know what you thought of it.

25 October 2014

Engagement Photos

Last Friday, Lindsey and I had our engagement photos taken. I am sure most of you know how much of a fan I am of having my picture taken. If you are not aware, I hate it. I just hate trying to smile, I need to be relaxed and laughing. Fortunately, our photographer was fantastic. She was very energetic and she put me at ease and had me laughing in no time. If you are looking for a photographer in the area, definitely check out Jacqueline Moss Photography.

I am not going to post all the pictures, there are 243 of them. These are just a bunch of the ones I really liked (I am not including any of the ones that could be potential Save the Dates, since Lindsey would murder me).

Let me know what you think!

Look at that neck line. And look at all those gray hairs. That is really depressing.

I feel like this one looks pretty natural. Lindsey is telling me something and I am just smiling and pretending to listen. All while holding a sign.

Of course there are plenty of pictures of the ring. What else would you expect with engagement photos? Does anyone even want to see my ugly mug?

I had so much trouble throwing leaves into the air. Who knew it was so tough? Actually I kept throwing them at Lindsey, I am sure it was not intentional.
This is the look Lindsey gives me when I start telling her about something I find interesting, such as some historical event or science thing.

I am sure we will be adding all the pictures to Facebook at some point, so do not fear if you were worried about seeing the entire collection.

24 October 2014

2014 NFL Pick 'Em Week 8 and Fantasy Football Week 7

Ugh, I only got six right last week. That is not going to help me catch up to Gideon (especially when he only got six correct as well). Adam2 (no offense Adam, but it is easier to refer to you as Adam2 instead of saying "future brother-in-law") was the big winner with eight. Everyone else was around me with a few 7s and 5s. Not a good week for any of us.

Okay, so Gideon is still in first, with my mom just two games behind. I am in fourth place behind Adam2 (we are both 50-55, but he must have me on tie-breakers), after me it is Adam (49-56), then JasonI (48-57). Last year's champ, Sean, is  47-58, while Lindsey is a very bad 35-70.

I did my picks on Wednesday, but did not save them for some reason. So I already missed the first one. Although, I am pretty sure I took San Diego. I just thought for sure they would keep it close.

Fortunately, fantasy football was a little better for me than picking against the spread. I beat JasonI and moved myself into fourth place (I said I was in 4th last week, but I was actually in 5th).

With Fred Jackson getting hurt, I am severely lacking in running backs. Yes, McCoy plays this week, but I am relying on Storm Johnson again. Not something that gives me a lot of confidence. Good thing I have some awesome receivers.

Jessica beat Gideon, knocking him out of first place. Ryan jumped into the lead position with a big win over Ruskin (who is having terrible luck, has scored a ton of points, but only has two wins). Gideon dropped all the way to fifth with Ryan, Jarrod, and Jim all 6-1. Me and Gideon are 5-2. My brother is 3-4 and in 9th place. C'mon dude, step it up!

This week I take on Jarrod and I should not have to even mention what a victory would mean. Okay, allow me to explain. Gideon is taking on Jim, if G-Dizzle should win and I beat Jarrod, that gives me an opportunity to move into second place and if Ryan would lose (he won't, but pretend with me for a second), I would move into first! Exciting times.

I know you are probably wondering about my other leagues. Well over in Kevin's league I am 4-3 and currently in 7th place. And in the Pittsburgh Bloggers league, I started out 5-0, but have lost my last two. Again, in that league I have scored the most points, but have just been outscored the past two weeks in weird manners. For example, last week, I would have won if they had not taken back that Antonio Brown touchdown. Oh well, no use in complaining.

23 October 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

The first trailer leaked for Avengers: Age of Ultron and I am definitely digging what I see so far. James Spader's voice as Ultron is perfectly creepy. I also loved seeing Iron Man's Hulkbuster Suit. I wonder if Quicksilver will be funny and cool like he was in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

21 October 2014

This Makes No Sense

Last week I went to the Social Security office and filled out the paperwork to get a new card. I lost mine a few years ago when I got pulled over, it fell out of my wallet when I gave the cop my license. Yes, I know you are not supposed to keep it in your wallet. I learned that lesson, thanks for warning me ahead of time.

When we left the office, Lindsey said "I wonder how they mail it to you? Seems like it would be easy to still someone's identity, right?" To which I responded "they probably send it in an unmarked envelope."

Well I was wrong. They send it in a white envelope that says Social Security Administration. That does not seem like a very secure method. What other things could they be sending? Social Security checks? Cards? That is about it, right? So if you are someone looking to steal identities...well I think you can see where this is going.

Here is what really makes no sense to me, they have security guards at the SSA building, they have secured floors that you cannot access without a code. Why not just print the card there or have it sent there and have me pick it up? That would make more sense.