Final Fantasy VII: Remake (Review – Part One)

I was sorely distracted at work today, because they’re building the new airport parking lot directly across the street from my building. Thanks to my co-worker, I was told that the distinct trembling of the building was due to the rollers, who were pounding down rocks to make asphalt. It wouldn’t have been so terrible, but it made my buttcheeks tremble in my chair, which was, as previously mentioned, very distracting. 

After spending most of the morning dealing with a moving company, which was actually the better part of the day, I then managed to whack my boss in the head with a cabinet door whilst looking for envelopes. 

I may need more therapy after all this. 

But despite these minor inconveniences, what has mainly kept me going the last week or so is the release of the glorious Final Fantasy VII Remake. As per our usual tradition, my brother has been the one doing the playing while both of us have been transfixed by the beauty of this game. I daresay it’s going to end up in my top five favorite games.

So here’s my weird confession. 

Sephiroth has long been one of my favorite villains because…well, just look at him. 

I was also one of the few who absolutely loved the Final Fantasy VII movie, Advent Children. 

A friend at the time was gracious enough to explain the significance of the characters and whatnot for me, so I wasn’t completely out of the loop. This also meant that the big spoiler was revealed to me. Since I knew nothing about the game at that time, all I was enthralled with was the glory of the graphics. And Sephiroth. 

Always Sephiroth. 

Many years after Advent Children came out, my brother tried playing through the original FFVII. We enjoyed it for the most part, but didn’t get far enough to really become all that attached to the characters. I knew it had to be a top favorite for a reason, however, so when I heard of the Remake coming out, I was beyond thrilled. Best of both worlds, in my humble opinion. I was getting the graphics of Advent Children with the original storyline of the game.

And so far, it has not disappointed. 

However. 

I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THE LEVEL OF EMOTION THIS GAME WOULD EVOKE IN THE FIRST UMPTEEN HOURS OF PLAYING IT. 

Seriously. Not. Prepared. 

And since I know of a very specific spoiler coming down the road much later on in the game, I just looked at my brother at one point with tears already in my eyes and said, “This game is gonna make me ugly cry, isn’t it?” 

He just sniffed back his own tears and replied, “Probably.” 

God help us both. We’re only about 20 hours in at this point, and I’ve already been kicked in the gut more times than I care to admit. 

But it’s so good

It’s the level of storytelling and character development that every author dreams of achieving. So the bright side is that I’m so inspired right now. 

We’ve had to take a brief hiatus due to busy work schedules, but I’m hoping here soon we’ll be able to finish this first installment. I’m trying to stay patient because I know my brother has a lot on his plate right now, but dagnabbit I NEED MORE OF THIS GAME. 

Okay, end fangirl rant. 🙂 

Happy New Year!

I’ve been a geek pretty much all my life. I was a geek when it was extremely uncool to be one, and I was a geek when they were fairly well accepted in everyday life. It’s simply a part of who I am and what I happen to be interested in. I have a Lord of the Rings collection. There is still fanart from The Legend of Zelda hanging in my room. I’m cool with this. 

And honestly, the older I get the more I realize that some of us were just meant to be kids forever. I missed out on a lot of the spontaneity of youth because I let fear rule my life. Now I’m in my mid-30’s, and I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks of me. Quite frankly, I like this version of me much better. 

One of the things that hasn’t changed about me over the years is my love of costumes. I went full-out the first time I ever went to a Comic Con and bought a really great Black Widow costume. It was pricey, but LEGIT. I loved the experience so much that I realized it brought back a little dream of mine. 

I had always thought it would be really fun to do costumed Christmas cards. I tried to get my ex-husband to get in on it with me, but he utterly refused. He told me it was a stupid idea, one of the many times his verbal abuse made me feel like a terrible person, and it was all I could to get him to pose for regular pictures. 

Here’s the thing. I adore photo Christmas cards. I love seeing smiling faces and happy families and watching my friend’s children grow each year. I like seeing what they’ve chosen to wear this time around, and what the backdrop is. So for me, I thought It would be so cool to have a theme each year. Dress in costume, go the whole nine yards. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to be the one that everyone looks forward to each year, wondering, “What did she come up with this time?” 

Well, I left that abusive marriage about three years ago. Best decision I ever made. (Which only slightly makes up for the worst decision I ever made, but I digress.) I’m still a single gal, and for the first few years it seemed a little weird to just do Christmas cards of me by myself. Yeah, I know, I could have done whatever I wanted, but I ultimately chose not to go that route.

But then I got my beautiful Bailey last year. Suddenly, around the fall, I realized that I had the partner in crime I’d always wanted. She looks pretty “wolfie” in appearance, so I decided to do a last-minute themed Christmas card. My friend’s mom is a great photographer and agreed to take the photos for me, so I threw together a costume using materials that I found from Goodwill and St. Vincent’s. 

They turned out fabulous. Every bit of what I wanted them to be. I loved seeing them, and I sent a copy to every friend and family member that I could think of. The response was exactly what I knew it would be, and people thought they were great. 

So you know what? The next time someone tells you that you can’t do something, or that an idea is stupid, do it anyway. Maybe the response won’t be so positive, but gosh darn it, if it makes you happy then that’s all that matters anyway. 

Be fabulous, my dears. And have a blessed New Year, from Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. 

Comic Con (Part 2)

Another day, another cosplay! Yes, it’s the exciting conclusion to my first post regarding our recent trip to Rose City Comic Con. As promised, I will reveal the genius costume idea that my brother came up with.

After toiling long and hard about who the heck he wanted to be, Brother had just about given up on finding a decent costume. He played around with the thought of going as Titus from Final Fantasy, since that was a character that he somewhat looked like, but the costume ended up being far more complicated than it should have been. (Not to mention pretty expensive.)

He hemmed and hawed over this decision until finally — at last! — inspiration struck him. You see, a good majority of his favorite characters just to happened to be female, which initially made him rule them out. Then he finally thought, “What the heck? I’ll just do a gender-swap of my favorite DC character of all time.”

Thus I bring you gender swap Harley (or “Harvey”) Quinn:

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Not bad, eh? He opted for the Suicide Squad version of Harley, since he really enjoyed Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character. (I won’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, and I personally thought it was by far the best live-action version of Harley Quinn that I’ve seen.)

He got a lot of compliments on his outfit. I’d told him how I had seen MANY Harleys the last Comic Con, but no gender swaps. So you can imagine my surprise when we ran into two of them almost right away. Go figure. While we only got a picture with one, they were definitely a fun couple to hang out with:

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And of course, we couldn’t resist posing with another DC character, which was this Batgirl cutie:

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And we got REALLY excited when we found two other Suicide Squad cosplays:

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I love how Brother is totally in character. The other two are appropriately serious, and he’s grinning like the Quinn he is. 😉

But the best part was when we found a legit, absolutely fantastic Batman. So of course, Brother had to ask if Batsy would be willing to play the part of his nemesis for a photo op. Being the gracious guy that he is, Batman was more than willing to comply:

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But I promise, he really was just a nice guy overall. And probably one of the best Batmans that I’ve seen, to be honest.

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See? Just a nice guy.

So that was our overall Comic Con experience. I managed to snag a few more things for my Lord of the Rings collection, which made me happy. (Even though they weren’t nearly as epic as Karl Urban’s autograph would have been.)

All in all, a great time.

In other news, I am SUPER stoked for this week. My parents, brother and I are going to head over to the island state of Hawaii! Woot! This will only be the second time that I’ve ever gotten to go, and it’s going to be nice to see something other than the tourist trap of Honolulu. Not that I’m really complaining about the last trip, mind you. Heck, any time in Hawaii is good, in my book. But this time around, I’ll be able to do a lot more hiking and exploring and picture-taking. It’s going to be superb.

I’ll be posting photos and sharing about our adventures when I return. Plus I’m going to finally share a little more about my latest project. It’s not really writing-centered, but it’s still creative and very fun.

Until then, aloha!

Comic Con (Part 1)

Another year, another Comic Con in the books! I’m a little late in posting, but it’s been surprisingly busy since the weekend of Comic Con. (You would think being able to work from home would mean that I have all kinds of time on my hands, but it’s amazing how quickly you can fill up those time slots when they’re available…)

Anyway, Comic Con was once again very enjoyable. I haven’t yet received the photos that my brother took, so I’m splitting my post into two parts. I know, you’re on the edge of your seats. While this year’s Con was a *little* disappointing to me, it wasn’t without good points as well. My primary reason for feeling let down was because the two actors that I was actually really looking forward to meeting both had to cancel. One was Jason Isaacs, whom I utterly adore because can you say CAPTAIN HOOK, but he had another commitment that prevented him from attending. Since he’s going to be the new captain in Star Trek: Discovery, it’s no wonder that his schedule is crazy busy.

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Rowr.

But seriously. Major disappointment at his not being there. I’ve had a fangirl crush on him for more years than I care to count, and I by far consider him to be the hottest Captain Hook in existence. Yes, even compared to Once Upon a Time, though I confess that version of Hook is also quite dashing. Actually, he just makes an epic villain in general, from Dragonheart to The Patriot.

My other sad face came when Karl Urban had to cancel. I was really hoping for his autograph to add to my Lord of the Rings collection, but unfortunately he had a family emergency and had to stay in New Zealand. We weren’t offered details on what was going on, but suffice to say I hope all is well with him and his loved ones.

So I didn’t really meet any major celebrities this year, apart from the one and only Weird Al. My friend was actually the one who paid for the photo, but you’re allowed to have a friend with you if you choose, so I got to be the friend, yay!

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He is actually rather tall in real life. I mean, I know I’m only 5’2″, but sheesh.

But he was very nice for the brief moment that we got to spend with him. My main focus this time around was getting to enjoy the always excellent cosplay available. I mean, people get so dang creative. (I can’t wait to show you my brother’s cosplay. It was super fun.)

I got to meet one of my favorite Disney princesses, Belle:

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I stuck with Black Widow this year, since my budget didn’t entirely allow a second costume. Next year, I hope to be able to plan ahead and cosplay Merida from Brave. But back to this year.

I found the most legit David Tennant version of the Doctor that I’ve ever seen in my life. For reals. The moment I saw him, I ran up yelling, “TAKE ME WITH YOU.”

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Also legit? This excellent cosplay of Barf, from one of my favorite Mel Brooks films of all time:

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It’s like John Candy never left us.

My two other favorites were also incredibly authentic, starting with our other favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow:

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This guy entered the costume contest and actually made his own costume by hand. Combine that with the fact that his face is eerily similar to Johnny Depp’s, and you have one excellent pirate.

Last, but not least, was this fantastic Samus:

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The intricacies of her costume were AMAZING. Best Samus that I’ve seen thus far.

So there’s part one! Stay tuned for part two, in which you will see my brother face one of his mortal enemies, hehehehe…..

Why We All Need a Little Brother in Our Lives

So I’ve mentioned my brother a few times now. He’s pretty cool for the most part, except when he makes fun of me. But name me one little brother who doesn’t pick on his sister from time to time? (Besides I usually deserve it. Don’t tell him I said that.)

Today, however, I got to actually get a good laugh at him. Poor kid had to work the day after Christmas, which he really wasn’t looking forward to in the first place, but he got ready and headed to his car to take off anyway.

My family has this tradition that we always wave to each other from the window or doorway. It’s a longtime ritual that first started with my grandma and grandpa. As my grandpa went to work each morning, he wanted my grandma’s face to be the last thing that he saw as he drove off, so every time he left the house, she was there at the window waving to him. If it was dark out, he would flash his lights a couple of times to show that he saw her. His other common signal was to hold up one finger, then four fingers, then just three, which meant “I love you.”  Two generations later, my family still carries this out even to this day. Whenever we leave, we always wave to each other, and my dad often gives the sign for “I love you,” just as his dad did.

Thus I was at the window this morning, ready to wave to my brother as he went off to work. This was how I was able to witness the glorious moment when he carefully looked over his shoulder, slowly backed his car up….and ran straight into our garbage cans.

I’m pretty sure that I laughed for a solid ten minutes straight.

He looked very sheepish as he got out of the car, fixed the cans and proceeded to drive off. I was kicking myself for not having my cell phone ready and in my hand, but I still chuckled about it all day.

However, I started to feel kind of bad as the day wore on. Brother had already been kinda down about having to go to work, plus Life had given both of us a swift kick in the @$% recently. In fact, we had just been talking about how we were feeling kinda bummed before our awesome family came over for Christmas and cheered us up.

So I braved the after-Christmas crowds and did my best to make it up to him:

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What you can’t see behind my note is a couple of keychains he’d been wanting too. See, I’m a good big sister. Most of the time.

Harley Quinn makes everything better, right? I think I made the world right again. *puffs chest out*

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, DO IT. Disclaimer: It’s super dark (obviously) and really not a very wholesome movie. But it’s freaking awesome and probably one of my favorites of the year. Won’t be for everyone, but if you want to see a great action flick (and get some Harley Quinn eye candy) give it a go.

Rose City Comic Con!

Okay, here it is. THE BIG POST. Yes, it’s probably going to be a little on the longer side, but it’s been a month and I’m still so flippin’ excited I can’t hardly stand it. I’m already planning for next year.

So as I mentioned before, this was my first ever comic con. I had always wanted to attend one and just never had before. Well, my very sweet friend Tracy decided to treat me to this particular con, because she wanted to me to experience the greatness firsthand. It was a wonderful and amazing gift, let me tell you. I decided to go as Black Widow from The Avengers, and I think it’s safe to say that I made a few fanboys pretty happy. 😉 (Total side note, but I absolutely LOVED how my costume turned out. Buying from Amazon is never a guarantee, but in this case it was very well-made.)

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Not the best picture, but meh lighting will do that.

 

The only thing my grandma and I had to adjust was the shoulders of the costume, but I blame that entirely on my inability to measure correctly. I’m no seamstress, so I’m sure that I just sent in the wrong measurements. Everything else fit perfectly, and the accessories were just as good.

 

 

Tracy and I attended both days, and while I didn’t get a chance to listen to any of the panels, it was still a worthwhile experience in my opinion. It was a flurry of costumes and people, even a few service dogs. I glomped on right away to some of my favorite characters.

 

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And naturally, I had to pose with just about any character from the Marvel universe. Because Marvel. (And yes, I realize that Black Widow wouldn’t be grinning from ear to ear for all these photos, but I was excited and couldn’t help myself. Pretty much anyone who came and asked to have their picture with me got a huge smile because that was totally flattering.)

 

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This guy’s costume was INSANELY realistic. His voice sounded all electronic and everything. It was probably one of the most impressive costumes there, in my opinion. (And yes, it was even better than naked fish guy in the background.)

 

My personal favorite picture was when I found Captain America, Bucky AND the Black Panther altogether. I had seen the Captain and Bucky from a distance, and their costumes were probably the most detailed of all of the different Marvel characters I saw there. I had hoped that I would get a chance to take a picture with them and, low and behold, as we descended down the escalator, I spotted them with Black Panther and posing for a few people. I immediately dashed over and said, “I have GOT to take a picture with you guys.”

 

The second they saw my costume, they got all excited and motioned me over. Tracy was the primary one taking pictures for the weekend, so she snapped a couple of photos. Unbeknownst to her, a group of people immediately crowded behind her with their cell phones, getting shots of the four of us together. I tell ya, I felt a little like a celebrity for a few seconds. It was kinda cool.

 

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Not a bad looking bunch, eh? Team Captain FTW, baby. (And is that a handsome Captain America or what?) 😉

 

I even managed to find some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

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Of course, then I found out they were actually working for HYDRA.

 

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So that was the majority of Saturday. Oohing and aahing over costumes, checking out all of the vendors (I got a GORGEOUS Doctor Who print that I love) and getting some autographs from pretty famous celebrities. Sunday was reserved more for photo ops and more perusing of the vendors.

 

Which brings me to perhaps my favorite moments and my celebrity reveal: I GOT TO MEET BILLY BOYD!!!

 

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Okay, this man is one of the nicest people you could ever want to meet. Seriously. He has such a sweet, gentle spirit about him, and he made every single person who came up to him feel special. I got majorly tongue-tied around him, but he was still nice despite my stuttering.

 

I got Billy’s autograph on one of my Lord of the Rings movie guides, which is officially the crowning achievement to my collection. (Yes, I have an LotR collection. It’s pretty awesome, though I have yet to be able to properly display it. I’m hoping to fix that one day.)

 

We also got to meet Dante Basco, who played Rufio from the iconic Hook. That movie is one of my absolute favorites of all time. Talk about a piece of my childhood. (And tell me, what girl growing up didn’t have a crush on Rufio when this movie came out? I’m guilty as charged on that one.)

 

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Dante was super cool in a more casual way. He was laid-back and easygoing but still very nice. He even told me I looked sexy in my Black Widow costume. That gives him major bonus points in my book. (This was taken with Tracy, the friend who invited me. She made her own costume and based it on a character of her own creation. Pretty darn cool.)

 

As we were standing in line to get pictures with Dante, there was this absolutely adorable little girl in front of us with her dad. She was maybe three or four, and she kept showing me her toys that she’d found at the conference. How was I supposed to resist such a cutie-pie wanting to play airplanes with me? The best part was when they went up for their photo with Dante, however. The dad had cut out a picture of his wife’s face and put it on a stick, so that she could be in the picture too. It cracked me up to no end. He looked rather sheepish when I asked him about it.

 

“She doesn’t actually know that I did that yet,” he said. “And she hasn’t seen the pictures.”

 

That made me laugh all the more, just picturing her reaction when she saw her smiling face in the photos as well.

 

I also got to (briefly) meet Stan Lee, Marvel creator and super-writer. There were so many people in line for the photo ops that our encounter was very short, but it was pretty overwhelming to be standing right next to a living legend.

 

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Naturally I had to wear my costume for part of Sunday, just long enough to get a shot with Stan Lee.

 

So yeah, I think that’s about it. It was an amazing time and really fun. I was very impressed with how respectful and considerate everyone was. All of us were there for the same reason, which was to have a good time and meet cool people. No one shoved in line to meet celebrities or got impatient. They were all willing to wait their turn and were super nice whenever someone asked to get a picture with them.

I highly recommend attending a smaller Comic Con like this one to anyone who wants to meet other geeks and have a great time. As I said, I’m already planning for next year!

When Life Gives You a Lemon…

Wing it right back and add some lemons of your own.*

Okay, not really. But life does sometimes hand us some unexpected surprises. While prepared to go to Monterey, as previously noted in my blog, it was not something meant to be. In fact, a lot has happened in the few short months since I wrote that post. Far too much to go into detail at this time.

So instead, I will shift my focus to something far happier:

I’M GOING TO ROSE CITY COMIC CON!!!!!!

This is my first EVER comic con, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s just what I needed to help get through some difficult stuff right now, and it’s a more than welcome distraction. I have always wanted to attend one of these, so it’s awesome to get the chance to experience it firsthand.

For my costume, I decided to keep it rather simple and am going as Black Widow from Marvel’s Avengers. And you know what? I just have to say THANK YOU to Scarlett Johansson. She’s a kick-butt character in those movies, for sure, but she still has her curves and isn’t afraid to still be feminine. (Plus Scarlett is only about 5’3″, according to most web sites, which means that she’s only an inch taller than me. It’s extremely difficult for me to find characters to cosplay because I’m either too short or too curvy. Or both.)

So yes, thank you, Scarlett. For being an amazing, in-depth character that women can still relate to while not taking any crap from anyone. For having a slam-banging hourglass figure that those of us who aren’t 6′ tall can cosplay.

All that to say, a full blog post jam-packed with pictures will be coming after this weekend. (Plus you’ll get to see the super celebrity that I’m getting a photo op with!)

Until next time!

*In case you don’t get the reference, it’s from one of my favorite comics of all time:

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Battle of the Five Armies

Apparently I wrote this post right after the latest Hobbit movie came out and forgot to actually put it on here. Dork. A little late, but here are my thoughts right after seeing the movie:

Husband and I decided to attend an impromptu showing The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies over the weekend, and now my heart is in itty bitty pieces.

Okay, so it’s a myriad of emotions, but tears of pain are amongst them. Yes, it was totally over the top. (Seriously, what was up with Legolas and the falling bridge? I know he’s an elf and all, but STAHP.) Lots of battle scenes that were trying too hard to be epic. Super Special Awesome Dramatic Music to make one have all the feels.

And I still loved it.

Epic Thranduil is epic.

Epic Thranduil is epic.

My favorite part was probably seeing so much of Thranduil in action. (Or, as my friend put it, “Thrandy and his Swag Stag.”) Dude’s made of win, what can I say? I shed bitter tears for the losses we suffered. I cheered for the moments of glory. I’m probably just a big sucker for anything with elves.

I confess that it’s been 15+ years since I read the book, so while I know they botched the story a lot, I don’t remember enough to know exactly how they botched it. Thus I was content to sit back and just enjoy the pretty. If you’re looking for a die-hard, true as can possibly be to the original version of the book…well, this isn’t it. If you want to see a lot of awesome fight scenes and Thranduil looking all regal and such, this is the movie for you.

Happy Birthday, Ocarina of Time!

It’s been sixteen years since the beloved Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was first released! My, how the time flies. So many good memories of this game. (I’ve already shared some here.) Sixteen…whole…years….

Hot dang I feel old.

I’m going to ignore that feeling. If you’ve never played this game, go find a copy. Now. It’s made of win. (Are we still saying “made of win”? Is that still cool? I’m apparently so old now, I could be completely out of touch. Whatevs. I like to say “made of win” so therefore I shall.)

Anyway, celebrate this glorious 21st of November by playing Ocarina of Time for the eleventy-billionth time. You owe it.