Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I’m answering an unanswered question from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Why did Joss Whedon feel it was necessary to kill off Pietro Maximoff?
Look, not all of these posts can be winners.
Why is this Evan Peters and not Aaron Taylor-Johnson?
Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.
I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.
In all my years of going to Vegas, I’ve been off-strip only twice before this trip. Once was to visit my cousin’s aunt, and the other was to play D&D. For the latter, I connected with my now-friend Stephanie via Facebook. She picked me up at the hotel, drove me to a gaming store, ran one of the early DDAL adventures, then took me to In-N-Out so I could see what the fuss was about (meh), and then took me to In-N-Out headquarters so that I could say I had been there and Erik never had.
The Millennium Fandom
This year, Stephanie had a free day Wednesday, so she took me on my third trip off-strip. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the bar:
After this, the owner (Alex) took us into a section of the bar that was closed that night.
Alex took another picture, but it was a bit poorly timed. However, Alex pointed out that it probably caught me at a moment I was using the Force. I think he’s right.
Next, I had to pick up a passenger. She’s why I crashed the Tie Fighter into a bunch of chairs.
After this, I toured the rest of the bar. I didn’t get some of the references, so please fill in the blanks if you can.
The Fifth Element‘s Water Stone.
Lightsabers, a helmet from The Mandalorian, a helmet from 300, the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones (top left surrounded by red light) and some big-ass sword I didn’t recognize. The bottom left look like bullets, and above that is a shield.
Well, sure, you can just look at these things, but ….
What’s that above me?
Beneath the Aluminum Falcon was this guy.
What’s that hanging above R2’s “head”?
Some Raiders of the Lost Ark stuff and stuff from video games I didn’t recognize.
The Air Stone, Pac-Man, and a mashup. I didn’t get the reference on the license plate.
Lots of masks, the Earth Stone, and a katana I don’t recognize. Is it from Highlander? Suicide Squad? Maybe it’s simply a katana.
Wall-E thinking the band would let him play that night.
I almost went back here thinking it was where the men’s room was. No reason.
Enough of this. Let’s have some more Star Trek. And what the hell? Some Hellraiser too.
Now we have the proton pack from Ghostbusters and some Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, as well as some other things I don’t recognize. It’s hard to see from this image, but in the top right corner is an archer with an eagle on its shoulder. I didn’t get the reference, but I’d love to have that in my home. It was pretty cool-looking. The reason it’s blurry is because the lighting in the room forced me to use a “night” setting on my camera phone requiring more than an instant of exposure, and the slightest movement blurred the picture.
Unless you had forgotten, you must have known that the Fire Stone had to show up. Also, we have references to Predator, Alien, Wonder Woman, and Nightmare Before Christmas (a movie, by the way, that I didn’t see until last year).
After the tour, I noticed a couple of other things around the bar itself. First, a Batman vs. Superman sign that was behind me as I entered the bar.
Remember what I said about the camera setting? In this case, the blur created a neat effect. This is a real image. These are real people, not a drawing or touched-up photo.
Okay, but what’s the crowd like? Well, the QAnon Shaman showed up!
Finally, as I was leaving for the night, I went to the men’s room and saw this hanging on the door to the bathroom stall. Brilliant. I love this movie.
As you can see, this is my kind of bar. If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing it’s your kind of bar as well. It’s worth the Lyft/Uber trip. Oh, and a self-delivered pat on my back.
If you think about it, between the mask and the shirt, I personally added to the nerd motif. Alex should put that picture of me on their website.
If you’re ever in Vegas, look them up. Their online store is here, though most of what I was looking for is sold out.
Here’s an article pondering who in the MCU is a cat person v. dog person. I have a response to each entry.
Loki, cat person: Hiddleston provided the best acting in the entire MCU.
Steve Rogers, dog person: I’ve been called libertarian (or libertarian adjacent), and that label is reasonable, but Steve Rogers is the most naïve of libertarians. “We don’t trade lives.” Really? One willing life for trillions of unaware innocents? That’s a dog person for you.
Tony Stark, cat person: Tony Stark is the MCU.
Bruce Banner, dog person: Couldn’t figure out a woman loved him until she beat him over the head with it. Even then, walked away from it. Dipshit.
Yesterday I recorded my second-ever podcast. Again, it was with my cousin, Kessel Junkie, and again it was Star Trek related. In light of that, I bring up a related, recurring social phenomenon. Every now and then, a misconception enjoys new life on the internet despite having been thoroughly debunked just a few years prior. This one came up again recently. Many people still think that the Star Trek “arrowhead” logo denotes a specific ship, the Enterprise.
Well, no, it doesn’t. As this article on StarTrek.com explains, the arrowhead insignia is the insignia for Starfleet. All Starfleet crew are supposed to use it. The misconception arose from an error in production for the episode, Charlie X, in which a ship’s crew was given a different insignia. That ship, however, was not part of Starfleet. The crew “were the equivalent of merchant marine or freighter personnel,” and thus didn’t use the arrowhead insignia.
I’m not sure how this misconception stays alive after all these bouts with social media. The communication badges for every single person I can think of in Next Generation are based on the arrowhead insignia. That alone should have put this puppy to rest long ago.
Yeah, I know. It’s not the end of the world, but have you ever met a Star Trek fan? Despite unavoidable inconsistencies, but producers and fans alike want consistency from episode to episode and series to series. Considering how extensive the Star Trek intellectual property is, it’s amazing that we’ve enjoyed that.
I’m probably going to have to re-blog this after another five years.
NewbieDM is going through a similar journey to my own, only he’s looking at playing an older version of the Star Wars RPG. One of his recent threads caught my eye, in particular, this one.
This had me thinking, “What’s the greatest lightsaber duel in Star Wars cinema?” I’m referring to the movies only because I’ve never watched any of the animated series. I copied Kessel Q. Junkie on this post because I’m convinced he knows more about Star Wars than George Lucas. So, let’s look at each duel in movie-universe, chronological order within NewbieDM’s framework. I’m including only those combats that were between force-aware users because I don’t want to waste my time on wannabes. Snoke’s guards aren’t, to my knowledge, force-aware. Despite some quotes from those involved, Finn was never established as force-aware within the context of the movies, so his battle with Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens also doesn’t count. Even the mass battle on Geonosis doesn’t count, which is a damn shame. We’ve never seen so many lightsabers in one place at one time.
Jinn v. Maul, The Phantom Menace
No conversation, no change of environment, nothing peculiar about the combat, and no force powers beyond a jump. They can’t all be contenders.
Jinn and Kenobi v. Maul, The Phantom Menace
This is the one that everyone — even Prequel haters — most often cite (as far as I can tell) as the best lightsaber duel, but I disagree. It probably made for the best display of melee combat, and used both force powers and a change in environment in that combat, but the social/psychological combat was no different than you’d expect in any on screen battle. To me, this criterion requires an attempt to convert someone to the other side morally speaking. That’s not present here. They never even spoke with Maul. Three out of four ain’t bad, but it ain’t perfect.
Anakin and Kenobi vs. Dooku, Attack of the Clones
No real force manipulation, and psychological warfare is only an afterthought based on a prior conversation with Kenobi, which took place a long time ago (pun intended). The entire fight took place in only one cavern. The combat was reasonably good, but none of this sounds like #1.
Yoda vs. Dooku, Attack of the Clones
Force manipulation, good combat (with damn funny special effects on Yoda), and mild psychological warfare (really, just shit-talking, though, which isn’t ideal). Hooray! But all within the same environment, with terrain not really playing a role at all.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Count Dooku, Revenge of the Sith
Again, there’s no change of environment. Terrain is largely irrelevant and is subsumed within the category of use of force powers, which were used to pin an already unconscious Kenobi. Nope.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous, Revenge of the Sith
Well, Grievous did say that he was trained in the Jedi (Sith?) arts, so this counts. No interesting psychological manipulation and only the most minor of force powers in play keeps this from the top spot.
Palpatine vs. Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin, Revenge of the Sith
Minor change of environment, a small use of force lightning, decent combat (but with two disappointingly easy deaths), and if you read the novelization, there’s a good about of psychological manipulation. But novels don’t count, so there’s only a bit of manipulation at the end directed towards a non-combatant, Anakin. Very close but no cigar.
Yoda vs. Palpatine, Revenge of the Sith
Change of environment, use of force powers, and psychological shit-talking, but the lightsaber aspect to combat was a bit undersold. I want that to be the foundation on which the other criteria are built. Still, this is very close, and it appears to me that, on the whole, Revenge of the Sith did a better job with lightsaber duels than any other movie.
Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Revenge of the Sith
Here’s some more proof of the assertion I just made. This duel had good melee combat, a change of environment with good use of terrain, and the use of force powers to supplement the combat. But the psychological warfare wasn’t true lightsaber duel worthy. This was closer to a hurling of insults than any attempt at conversion. No one was moving anywhere on the morality continuum. Everyone was set in place.
Kenobi v. Vader, A New Hope
The melee combat is dated, and there was no change in environment. It served it’s purpose, and a New Hope is arguably the best Star Wars movie, but this wasn’t the best lightsaber duel.
Luke v. Vader on Dagobah
Doesn’t count, but even if it did, it employed only the psychological weight of a lightsaber duel. No change in environment, weak combat, and no force powers. Let’s move on.
Luke v. Vader, Return of the Jedi
This duel gives us psychological manipulation and a decent combat, but the use of force powers is limited other than when Palpatine sticks his nose in it, and there’s no change of environment. Like the climactic Phantom Menace duel, this comes close, but only one can be the best. This ain’t it.
Ren vs. Rey, The Force Awakens
Minor use of force powers and manipulation, and no change of environment. Disqualified! Scene.
Ren vs. Luke, The Last Jedi
Force projection nonsense. I don’t even think this should count, but many of you will, so here we go. The combat was a bit boring, there was no change in environment, and the use of force powers wasn’t to my liking. YMMV. I will say this, though. The psychological manipulation wasn’t what I gave as basis for a good lightsaber duel, but it really worked here. Luke tricking Ren was a clever use of manipulation. I’ll allow it, but this still doesn’t win the top spot. Part of the scene.
Rey vs. Ren via Force Projection, The Rise of Skywalker
Again, I don’t think this should count, so I analyze it under protest. There were two environments because they were in different places, and the melee combat was mediocre. It should be the foundation of a lightsaber duel, but it played second fiddle to the psychological manipulation. That’s the only strongly satisfied criterion. Nope. Not the best. Scene.
Rey vs. Ren on the Ruins of the Death Star, Rise of Skywalker
Not much along the lines of a change in environment, but it was a neat environment. There was a weak attempt to convert Rey before the battle occurred, and the only use of force powers appears to be lip service. It’s as if they threw them in there just to make sure that they’d score a higher rating on a blog post like this. But the actual melee combat itself was pretty good. Not good enough to win though. Scene.
Luke v. Vader, The Empire Strikes Back
I skipped this one, and I’m sure you all know why. This is the clear winner. There was a noticeable upgrade in special effects from just one movie ago, making for a more interesting melee combat, and that fight involved a change of environment. Peppered throughout are the use of force powers beyond just jumping around, and multiple psychological ploys, all of which were designed to convert Luke to the dark side through appeals to his ego, greed, and need for family. The movement is a little stilted because it was the second-earliest movie in the series with dated special effects, but this lightsaber duel is the complete package from a dramatic point of view. Sorry, Maul, but you lose.
If I forgot any, please let me know. I apologize, but I can’t be expected to remember all of them. After all, . . .
Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s both in a diversion from my rants about my impending return to 1st Edition AD&D. I actually had Avengers: Infinity War running in the background yesterday while working, so a little MCU seems appropriate.
I have no idea who Krang is and am too lazy o Google it.
However, one point I’ve pondered recently is the scene on the Enterprise where Sybok divulges the inner trauma (so he thinks) of Spock and McCoy. Kirk, of course, refuses to play along but there are a couple of things wrapped up in this scene that seem especially…
To refresh your recollection, I concluded that Nebula committed parricide, the killing of a close relative. By my semantics, it would follow that Loki and Sylvie’s relationship is incest (a relationship with a close relative). That doesn’t quite track, though. My first thought (and one contemplated in the article and the science fiction it cites) was that it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a particular form of incest: selfcest. Is that a different thing? The issue with my conclusion on Nebula, as I just said, was one of semantics more than logic. There simply isn’t a word for the killing of your multiverse doppelganger unless you call it suicide, which I declined to do. You’re not really the same person. However, in the case of Loki and Sylvie’s relationship, the genetic similarity becomes even more important because I’d imagine that a child of their pairing would be even more likely to develop genetic abnormalities. But if this logic holds, it’s definitely incest, but selfcest (as I interpret the term) doesn’t really exist, or wouldn’t assuming multiverses existed and could be traversed.
The only way I can fully reconcile this is if we reimagine the word, selfcest. To be a bit blunt, selfcest seems analogous to masturbation, but I don’t think anyone would call it that. Ergo, to be precise, we’d need a new word that describes the specific instance of incest where the other party was your mutliverse doppelganger. Returning to how I handled Nebula’s act, none of the alternatives, whether preexisting my post or coined by me, seem acceptable. Mirrocest, clonecest, dimensionicest, alterocest, etc. are goofy and/or inaccurate.
But having used the term, “multiverse doppelganger,” so many times in this post, I think I have the answer: Doppelcest, and by extension, doppelcide for Nebula. At the very least, you must admit that it’s better than multiversaldoppelcest.
With the multiverse on the horizon, this could become a non-negligible issue for the viewers. Or at least for the weird viewers. Like me.
If you know any good shrinks in the DC area, hook me up. I’m clearly in great need of one.