A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Biggs On: Wandavision Part II

We’re now six episodes into this series; which means only three episodes remain. I began watching this series with mild interest and now I’m fully committed. I hadn’t intended on writing more about it, however the puzzle in this show is making the discussions fun so I don’t mind writing more on Wandavision. I do not like spoilers so I will provide sufficient warning or redaction when it’s needed.

The puzzle is becoming more interesting as well as a lot of the theories I’ve been reading. In fact there are so many theories and ideas I hardly know where to begin.

spoiler alert!!!

The following content contains spoilers for Wandavision.

Who Is Agnes?

I think, one of the biggest mysteries, is Kathryn Hahn‘s character. Who is Agnes? I noticed, in the first episode featuring Darcy, nobody mentions Agnes when they were assembling “the cast of character”. In fact her character is rarely, if ever, acknowledged by any member of S.W.O.R.D. Is Agnes only visible by Wanda and the other “cast members”? There are fan theories that believe she is Agatha Harkness. Agatha Harkness is a powerful witch from the Salem witch trials that mentors Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) in real magic.

Perhaps Westview is Agatha’s “training ground” for Wanda. Listen for the pronouns. A lot of times the “cast members”, when not under the spell, refer to “her” but never Wanda by name. Could “her” actually be Agnes but S.W.O.R.D believes they mean Wanda? I realize that Wanda leaves Westview to confront S.W.O.R.D but what if that is Agnes using a veil to perpetuate the ruse?

What If It’s A.I.M?

I do like that theory but I have another one. What if it’s not just S.W.O.R.D that is watching Wanda? What if A.I.M is also watching? In fact, what if A.I.M. has people on the inside? By the way, Advanced Idea Mechanics is the evil counterpart to S.W.O.R.D. and is first mentioned in Iron Man 3. Perhaps Agnes is from AIM? In fact, what if Wanda’s “brother” is also an AIM operative? It would explain why he was “re-cast”.

Regardless, I do not think Wanda is turning into a villain. It seems that Kevin Feige is trying to lead the audience that way but I think its misdirection. I think she is dealing with her grief of not only having lost her brother but also the man she loved. I think there are nefarious forces taking advantage of her vulnerable state but to what end? Is A.I.M trying to turn her evil and weaponize her? Agatha Harkness isn’t a villain (at least not in the comics), so perhaps she’s trying to mentor Wanda amidst all of this but she doesn’t know who is trustworthy. Maybe she thinks S.W.O.R.D. is A.I.M. which is why she confronts them veiled as Wanda?

Allegedly the last three episodes are all an hour long and I think they are going to be intense. Are there any Wandavision theories you would like to share?


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Biggs On: The Covid MLB Season

Covid MLB SeasonI don’t talk a lot about sports on this blog; it’s not really a genre that is common in the geek and gaming subculture. However sports is heavy on statistics and numbers, which is right up the geeks alley so I guess it’s not that far out of reach. The baseball season this year is unique because of the covid (much like everything else). I’m having a hard time deciding if the covid MLB season is even worth it. In the end, will it even mean anything?

The Pros and Cons

cardboard fans in the stands

Bernie and a Stormtrooper catching a Royals game

It does feel a bit normal to have baseball on the television again. Hearing the crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd always makes me think of summer. However, this year the crack of the bat is met with silence. The lack of a crowd in the stands reminds us again of the state of the world right now. I do admire how the ball clubs are trying to have a little fun using cardboard cutouts and teddy bears to fill the seats for some much needed levity.

There are only 60 games this season; that’s 102 games fewer than a normal season. Initially I thought removing that many games cheapens the season. However my brother-in-law pointed out that now every game has meaning. This is true and something I hadn’t considered. Everyone watches the first 20 or 30 games of the season. Around the time of the All-Star break everyone’s interests peters out a little bit. As we approach the end the season everyone’s interest is restored, especially if your team has a shot at the playoffs.

A Cheapened Championship

However, without a full season and only 7 innings per game, a championship will feel ill-gotten and unearned. Players are getting sick and games or entire series are getting postponed. How can it feel like an earned win when you aren’t playing a team at its best. There are some teams that are so far behind their 60 games I don’t know how they are going to catch up. Will some teams only play 53 games?? That doesn’t seem fair.

As a baseball fan, I get it. We’re just glad to have some baseball to watch (or any sport for that matter). However, even if the Cubs were to win the 2020 World Series, it just won’t feel as glorious. I will feel “meh” about it. In the history books it will forever be known as the shortened, pandemic season. I also get it from a corporate perspective. Baseball is also a business and a business, just like all the other businesses in the country, has to meet certain stakeholder obligations. Honestly, this baseball season is more about the corporate bottom line and less about the fans.

After much consideration I’m still of the opinion that the 2020 MLB season should have been cancelled. At the minimum they should have at least cancelled the championship. I’m not excited about it, even with the Cubs in first place. I don’t care about the World Series. I waited 108 years for the Cubs to win, I’m content with skipping it this year. We didn’t have one during the 1994-1995 Baseball Strike, I think we can manage not having it again.

/cheers

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Biggs On: Turning 40

I haven’t written an editorial post in a while. It seems fitting that the first one in a while is about age. Coincidentally this is the second age milestone post I’ve written (the first was “Turning 30“), meaning this blog is over 10 years old. In the ten years since turning 30 I now have children. Just the one! Don’t mistake my plural use as a subtle hint. I have left the company that brought me to Cincinnati and I’m now happily employed at a different company for 3 years now. We did suffer some loss; my sister-in-law Natalie and both of my dogs, Gus and Gromit. On the upside, we had five glorious new Star Wars movies! This post, however, isn’t about just the past 10 years. It’s about turning 40.

There are lots of idioms about turning 40. “Over the Hill”. “Middle age”. I’m not a fan of these. Calling someone “over the hill” because they’re turning 40 is like calling someone with dementia forgetful. Besides, these days I haven’t really been feeling like my body is declining. Sure some days my knees and my back hurt; but most days I’m still out there running 4 or more miles a day. I’m still a night owl, up past 11 every night and still functional on 6 hours of sleep.

Acting My Age

Maturity is subjective. I’m mature enough to drive a car, hold a job, pay the bills and be a parent. (Although that last one might be debatable). Be that as it may, turning 40 isn’t causing much change. I’m still an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader; in fact I primarily read non-fiction. Most fiction is rather dull. I’m still an avid video gamer. Granted I’m not playing the games kids are playing these days (ex: I’ve never touched Fortnite). In fact I’m probably playing a video game the nights that I’m up past 11pm. I suspect most people my age that grew up with Nintendo are still frequent gamers.

I still collect LEGOs. I’m going to be 40 in a few weeks and I still enjoy the construction and collection of LEGO. Granted I’m not going out and buying just any LEGO. These days I’m collecting Star Wars kits. Which is a great segue to my next point. I am an obsessed Star Wars fan. Since 8 years old I’ve loved these movies. I’m not one of those fans that are stuck in the past. The movies, shows, animated series, books, comics; I love it all.  A prequel meme best describes it: “I loved them. I loved them all. They’re all my favorites. every single one of them. And not just the original trilogy, but the prequels, and the sequels too. They’re Star Wars, and I enjoyed them like Star Wars!!

So in a couple of weeks, when I hit the big 4-0, it’s going to be just another day. I’ll still be watching Star Wars cartoons, playing video games, reading fantasy novels and telling “your mom” jokes. Personally I believe that is “acting my age”.

/cheers

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Star Wars: From A Sith Perspective

Star Wars from a Sith perspectiveMy wife is not into Star Wars; it’s essentially just myself and my daughter (for now, she’s only 5). However sometimes my wife and I have discussions about canon. It’s almost better that she doesn’t know as much as I do because she brings a new perspective. One that is less mired by 40 years of expanded universe novels and Disney influence. Therefore she is a great source of inspiration for new topics and our recent discussion was Star Wars from a Sith perspective.

This topic is the result of a longer discussion about future Star Wars Celebration events. The theme for SWC usually has some kind of movie or milestone to celebrate, hence “celebration”. The final movie in the Skywalker saga has finished filming and is now in post-production. So now what?

Where Are We Going From Here?

There are 20+ Marvel films so we know Disney doesn’t like letting go. Disney has announced a new trilogy but we won’t see the first film until 2022. This is a smart move, we don’t want Star Wars to suffer from the Marvel “super hero burnout”. However, we are getting more Star Wars in the form of live action and animated TV series.

Be that as it may, our conversation has nothing to do with anything in production or announced. Our discussion is completely hypothetical but a really cool concept.

Movie(s) From A Sith Perspective

I love the idea of a movie (or movies) told from a Sith perspective! All of the Star Wars movies are told from the protagonist perspective. However, not everyone sides with the Jedi; the Sith are equally as cool. It isn’t just the “goths” and “emos” that are drawn to the dark side, millions of fans of various personalities enjoy the Sith. The Dark Side always seems to have the cooler characters (ex: Darth Maul, Asajj Ventress, Darth Revan) and the cooler lightsabers (ex: Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, etc). So wouldn’t it be cool if Disney/Lucasfilm developed a film (or series of films) which told a story from the Dark Side?

We are told that the new series of films will take place around the time of Knights of the Old Republic. We don’t know yet if this will follow the story as told in the video game, but it certainly has all of us fans in a tizzy. These films could be told from Darth Malek’s or Kreia’s perspective, adding a more sinister and dark appeal to the films. Honestly, I don’t think this is the approach Disney, or the directors, will take. A game as popular as KotOR, you don’t want to change things up too much.

I think a movie about the rise and fall of Darth Revan would be amazing, if it’s done right. Only the future, and Disney, knows what’s in store for the franchise. In the meantime, it looks like the closest we will get to an antagonist lead is The Mandalorian, which looks incredible.

/MTFBWY

You don’t know the power of the dark side.

Lamentations of a ThinkGeek

In 1999 a brilliant company was formed; ThinkGeek. An online retailer that sold products catered toward the geek culture. I have more merchandise than I can recall from ThinkGeek. I’ve been a loyal patron for many years. In 2015 we were shocked to discover that ThinkGeek had been sold. For a mere $140 million ThinkGeek became the property of GameStop. Initially I was skeptical about it, and I still am (more on that later). Then, just a few months ago, the unthinkable happened.

So Long Timmy, and Thanks for All the Fish

In June of this year GameStop announced they would be shutting down the ThinkGeek online store, permanently. It was a sad day, indeed. The upside to this news is that there will still be an online ThinkGeek location, it’s just become a section of the GameStop website. I have quickly perused the new ThinkGeek section of the website and, overall, there seems to be a lot of familiar merchandise. It’s somewhat refreshing.

The bigger picture, however, is the fact that GameStop’s earnings are down. Perhaps the acquisition of ThinkGeek is supposed to help bolster their bottom line. If that does not succeed then they are going to be in some financial trouble. GameStop already has a reputation for their “pennies on the dollar” trade in program. Most people take their games there if they are desperate to get rid of them, with the knowledge that they won’t get a lot of return on their investment. If GameStop fails, then ThinkGeek goes down with the [mother]ship.

It’s A Niche Market

My biggest lamentation of losing ThinkGeek is its unique merchandise. There are very few, if any, competitors out there that sell similar merchandise. Jinx and Blizzard’s Battle.net store come close but they don’t have the diversity of products ThinkGeek had. They were selling to a very specific sub-culture and, while niche markets are typically a seller’s unicorn, clearly they were still not moving product fast enough. A union with GameStop makes sense, from that perspective, because it exposes the products to a much larger audience.

So the greatest travesty would be if GameStop goes under next. ThinkGeek, and all its fantastic products, will be gone. I have not found another retailer that sells products similar in nature to the things I was buying from ThinkGeek. I honestly hope another retailer emerges or, if anyone knows one that already exists, please leave a comment. Until then I guess I will be a more frequent GameStop customer.

/cheers


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Disney World: 25 Years Later

I recently returned to Disney World to take my 4-year-old daughter on her first visit. In 1994 I was 14 and that was the last time I went to Disney World, I had gone at least twice more prior to that. While my memory isn’t that great, I do recollect bits and pieces from each of my previous visits. So here are my adult observations of Disney World; 25 years later.

The Magic Band and Fast Pass

Magic Band

The Magic Band is brilliant. Instead of worrying about carrying your wallet, credit cards and hotel room key, you can wear them on your wrist instead. You can connect a credit card to your Magic Band and simply scan it at the register to pay for items (food, merchandise, etc). If you are staying at a Disney resort, you simply scan your Magic Band to enter your room. So you don’t really need your whole wallet, just your ID and perhaps a little bit of cash.

Plus if you set up dining plans, your Magic Band will store that information for you. Dining plans are pre-paid meals that you set up when you are planning your trip. In fact you can also schedule a reservation at the same time so you don’t have to wait an eternity when its time for lunch. It’s a fast pass for your meals.

Speaking of fast pass; a fast pass is how you can skip the long lines for the rides and shows. It’s like setting a reservation for a ride, but you have to set that up ahead of time as well. However, if you miss your window to use your fast pass, you lose it. Meaning you have to wait in the longer line if you want to go on the ride. All of your fast passes are, again, managed by your Magic Band.

While the fast pass is a great idea for planning your day and trying to get on your favorite rides, it kind of adds a new level of exhaustion. You are literally going from one ride to the next depending on the spacing of your fast pass rides. So if you think you are going to get your Fitbit steps in, you probably won’t. There isn’t much time for meandering when you are going directly from one ride to the next.

Adult Observations

When you’re a kid (even 14 years old) there are some things you don’t really notice at a place like Disney World. There are some things you don’t even think about.

It’s Offensively Expensive

When you were younger and your parents told you Disney is expensive, you probably just shrugged it off. As an adult, returning to Disney … OMGWTFBBQ its expensive. I feel like someone should have bought me dinner first before bending over for that. You are basically spending the same amount of money you would for a decent down payment on a new car. I guess its one of those things you don’t notice as a kid, the price next to each item on the menu. The merchandise is more affordable than food. It was $4.50 for a 20oz Coke Zero! Setting up meal plans and snacks on your Magic Band is your cheapest option.

Alcohol and People Watching

As I was mentally preparing for this trip, I often joked that I need to pack a flask to survive. Then I got to thinking, is there alcohol at Disney? When I was a kid (yes, even at 14 because I wasn’t interested in alcohol) I wasn’t curious about buying alcohol. The answer is, Yes. Every restaurant has beer and wine. Unfortunately I never bought a beer because it makes me tired and I was already pretty exhausted!

People watching is quite revealing too, especially when it comes to line etiquette. There were 10 of us and we were all using the same fast pass reservations. Trying to keep 10 people together in an amusement park line takes quite a bit of coordination. Despite our best efforts, we were inevitably split up by other patrons slipping in line between us. Apparently foreigners do not seem to care if your family is split apart, or they just don’t recognize the situation. I’m not trying to stereotype all foreigners however most of the time, if the intruders didn’t appear to be foreign, they would often allow those family members left in the back to move forward.

Costumed Characters MIA

The most surprising thing I observed is the lack of costumed characters. I know I don’t have the best memory but I distinctly remember seeing Disney characters in the streets quite often. It was especially common in Magic Kingdom and I swear every 10 minutes you ran into a Mickey, Donald or Goofy. The entire time we were there I think I saw a Goofy once, and it was at Hollywood Studios. There are “character encounters”, but they seem to be scheduled, which really takes the fun out of it. It’s also possible that more characters meander during the busier time of year.

The trip was still super fun, even as an adult. Of course I will need to return to Disney World after Galaxy’s Edge opens.

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

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