My Fantastic Beasts Misadventure

dsc04127-my-fantastic-beasts-misadventureOn the 18th of November, I had two evening parties to attend.  One was an apartment complex Thanksgiving office party, the other was a Barnes and Noble release party.  Guess which release they were celebrating.

Well, I had a choice to make.  Go to the Release party starting at 4PM an skip the office party, which went from 5:45 to 7:15 PM.  I opted the office party, to briefly socialize with neighbors and meet some treats.  While there I sampled the Two Bite brand pumpkin and Turtle Tarts.  The pumpkin tarts were by definition, like little pumpkin pies, and I could certainly have gone for some more of those.  Although they were topped in some kind of crumble that was flavorless, but had a pleasant-feeling texture.  The Little Chocolate Turtles however, I’d be just as happy not to have more of.  The definitive caramel and pecans were only a light drizzle on top, and largely drowned out by the too-rich flavor and texture.

Well after a bit of Schmoozing and snacking, I realized that one loaded baked potato and some pie did not count as dinner.  Here was my big blunder.  I should have gone out to get my sandwich before I went to the first party, so I wouldn’t have been as late to the Fantastic Beast release party.  Which I missed.  Even though it started at 4PM, and was supposed to end at 4PM the next day.  Apparently what that meant was that part one was 3 hours, and part two of the party (the next day) was 2 hours.  Whee. Nothing was even still set up when I managed to get there.  Occupational hazard of catching the bus.  Especially when 4 passed me labeled “To Station” before I caught my ride.  I was literally 2 stops or less from the Park & Ride where the line started.  When I arrived and there was no sign there had even BEEN a party I figured “screw it, I’m going home and skipping tomorrow.”

Still, the night was not a total loss.  I had a coupon to try Subway’s New Reuben Sandwich (don’t judge me for using a coupon, I’m on a budget and I’m not getting paid for this yet).  The Reuben came in Corned Beef or Turkey, and as per usual for their specials, not set mix of bread, cheese or toppings to go with the meat and Sauerkraut.  I had a corned beef on mutli-grain flatbread, some parmesean, oregano, salt and pepper, with pepper jack as my cheese.  Even with this relatively minimalist approach, it was hard to taste the corned beef.  I nibbled the beef, it really didn’t have much flavor.  Mildly salty, a little tangy.  But in the Sandwich it just could not compete with the Saurkraut and the Thousand Island.  I also got a sample of the Broccoli Cheddar soup, and it seemed to only taste of cheese.  There were clearly small cubes of carrots and broccoli in it, and it looked like someone had finally taken my advice to employ the seedpods of broccoli as an herb in something.  Though I keep saying to put it in ground meat.

Anyways, here’s to seeing you at Barnes and Noble’s Yule Ball on December 17th.  Hopefully that will go smoother.


Is Vera Briggs Secretly Ruby from Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm?

Image result for vera briggs mortal kombat

Vera Briggs: Origin, backstory, maiden name, personal fighting style (if any) and exact history to Jackson Briggs unknown.  Lover to Jax and caregiver to a close family member of his.  No particular manner of dress or speaking out of step with her setting.  In a relationship with Jax before the audience has a look at his life outside the Chosen Warriors.
Particulars: Sometime very soon after Jax became human again, he made a family on a farm with a woman only ever called Vera.  She wears a green jacket over a white T-Shirt and blue jeans, with her hair tied up in 2 braids.  When the time comes to train Jaqui, it is her suggestion that Jax teach, as an alternative to his suggestion to keep her at home for the rest of her life.

Ruby:  Origin, backstory, maiden name, personal fighting style (if any) and exact history to Jackson Briggs unknown.  Lover to Jax and caregiver to a close family member of his.  No particular manner of dress or speaking out of step with her setting.  In a relationship with Jax before the audience has a look at his life outside the Chosen Warriors.
Particulars: A caretaker to Jax’s grandfather in his final months, she is only referred to as Ruby in Outworld or EarthRealm.  Played up to a romantic relation with Jax after his grandfather’s passing until she betrayed her Emperor to save Jax’s life.  While staying with Jax as he mourned, she wore a bland purple dress with short straightened hair.
Mortal Kombat material that supports this: Quan Chi was introduced in Defenders of the Realm as one of its many original characters.  And as recently as MKX (the most recent MK Installment as of this article) Vorpax from Mortal Kombat Conquest was used as inspiration for D’Vorah.  And with all the 3D characters NetherRealm Studios has reinvented or moved to the background, it’s not that hard to consider a TV original being sorted into the shuffle.  Also, with Skarlet written out in the MKX comics, that leaves an openings for another Red Ninja of the female variety.
Relevant Ninja Elements: Ruby is a female member of the Red Ninjas.  A female counterpart to a ninja is called a “kunoichi.”  A kunoichi’s duties differed from a standard ninja in that they were longtime plants, where Ninjas went out and infiltrated their enemies to steal or poison or perform recon, used a variety of disguises and pushed the limit on combat versatility to make their escapes; Kunoichi conversely took the stifling female gender roles of their time and quietly seduced their way closer and closer to their marks to their recon even more discreetly.
Putting it all together: Ruby was the assigned caretaker of Jackson Briggs’s beloved grandfather.  Jax left the Chosen Warriors when his grandfather died, and shacked up with Ruby alone in the Pacific Northwest.  It has been postulated that Ruby killed Jax’s grandfather, given that she was a plant for Shao Khan.  Her mission was to get him alone and defenseless with his guard completely down for a certain capture.  Another point on the note of seduction and reduced roles for women, her outfit was otherwise identical to Ermac’s save her thighs were bare, and she never took part in fighting.  While she did eventually switch sides and facilitate the escape of Jax and his allies, she possessed no evident supernatural powers, and relied on her knowledge of traps and passageway combined with the sort of flips conventionally found in lean action heroines.  On a side note, she might be the most accurate ninja depiction I’ve seen outside of “Mark of the Ninja.”

To sum up my theory, I think that when it was learned that 3 of Quan Chi’s Revenants had become human again, and Scorpion was trying to rebuild the Shirai-Ryu clan, while Sub Zero was on the move being hunted by the Lin Kuei, someone from Outworld (Maybe Mileena, more likely Kotal Khan) sent an agent to monitor the Revenant who was staying put in the open.  But this is not a perfect theory.  Reiko personally came to Jax’s home and threatened Vera to retrieve Jax’s Komidogu dagger.  Did either side of the Outworld Civil War learn anything about this important theft?  And with Jax dead, what happens to her possible mission?   Kotal Khan won the Civil War, is no longer inclined to honor the Reiko accords, and is under constant siege from Raiden’s attacks.  This is Jaqui Briggs’s mother.  Who has just lost the husband she sincerely fell in love with in her first appearance (possibly) and betrayed Outworld for in a Jade-like moment.

My thoughts on last year’s Starbucks Pastries.

Now that Starbucks has released their holiday treats, and another cup design that invites “War on Christmas” rhetoric, let’s look at my old YouTube account. Let’s see what I thought of their pastries last year.

Don’t worry, today I’ll be going over and sampling their Holiday sandwich, and 2 of their coffees, and examining those Green “Unity” cups.  Let’s see what all the fuss is about.


FandomFoodie Halloween Special 2016

Happy Halloween Ghouls and ghosts (or Ghosts and Goblins if that’s your druther).  It’s time for my Halloween Special.  For today, I have 3 food reviews, and a RWBY 2-parter.  RWBY (pronounced Ruby) is a web original animated series that takes fairy tale characters and reimagines them in a world called revenant.  Here, your favorite heros and heroines (including some you’ve never heard of) train in a school to battle monsters called Grimm.  After the 3rd volume ended, there was a parody series consisting of many shorts called RWBY Chibi.  Here I will be examining the end of the RWBY Chibi season 1, and the first chapter of RWBY Volume 4.

Part 1: Count Chocula and RWBY Chibi finale

Yes, I’ve never had Count Chocula before.  Try not to collapse from shock.  Seemed a borderline necessity for my first Halloween special.  Soggy, not a strong cocoa flavor, very few Marshmallows.  After that it’s the Marshmallows.

There were distressingly few marshmallows in the mix.  I even moved the contents into a transparent container to be sure they hadn’t just fallen to the bottom somehow.  I’d long been under the impression that this was just a Chocolate version of Lucky Charms.  Boy howdy was I mistaken.   Only 1 shape and 2 types of Marshmallows, making up less than 20% of the mix?  I’m not sure I’ve even seen them advertised since they were still tied into one of the Casper sequels.  So maybe they’ve gone downhill in years past.  In any case, they had little flavor in plain almond milk, almost none in the more thematically chosen chocolate almond milk, and just a little more in the gag choice of calcium-enriched orange juice.  So unless it was for a project in the future I doubt I’ll get them again.  I’ve still got to finish off that clear box.

Seinfeld Structure (Laugh Track, ad spot, 2 skits of balanced length) There was a sitcom structure to this one.  The sketches are all situation comedies amidst the parody anyway, but this time there was a laugh track where characters pause in their sentences to allow for an unseen audience to chortle loudly.  We even see the “audience” at the end where all the phantom models (now complete with eye animations) are cheering for the end of the season.  There’s also a commercial break.  First we see Pyrrha advertising Pumpkin Pete’s Marshmallow Squares.  She’s really uncomfortable about it.  But it brings her full circle to her first appearance, where that distinction is used to show her athletic level, though she laments the cereal is not very good for you.

Speaking of full circle, Neo is based on Neopolitan Ice cream.  Guess what she’s promoting.  I think she got the most out of the parody treatment.  In both series, she never spoke, but in the main series she communicated primarily through expression and body language.  Here she has a Wile. E. Coyote picket signs that turn Roman Torchwick’s dialogue into buildup for her inevitable payoff.  It somehow makes her even cuter.

Professor Port makes another appearance, off camera.  No speaking cameo this time, and still no character model, even when the whole cast appears at the end.  And it wouldn’t complete the first season of RWBY Chibi without one last pancake gag from Nora.  How much can that girl eat!?  I guess her metabolism speeds up for pancakes.  XD

Goodbye and my feelings.  There was still no Penny in this one, no team CFVE, no one we hadn’t seen in the parody series before.  It’s a shame about Penny.  Everyone else who died in Volume 3 got some more traction in this series, which helped soften the respective blows of their often sudden demises.  No one needed that more than Penny.  She was the physical embodiment of innocence.  She couldn’t lie without hiccupping, she hugged too hard (which had been milked for humor before) and threw herself into relationships with people who casually called her friend.  She was already cute and funny in her own way.  She really could have contributed to this.

All in all, I think that after the house the series built over the past 3 years was torn down and set on fire, a break from the melodrama was helpful and soothed going forward.  Especially in light of the passing of series creator Monty Ohm.  And you can live in carefree fantasy for only so long before you have to face the harsh truth of the adult world.  Plus this lets us see how the world of Remnant has changed and progressed since the Battle for Beacon.  And that’s something we’ve wanted to see for months now.

Part 2: Pumpkin Spice Special K and RWBY Vol 4 Ch. 1

Crispy, tastes like that classic mix of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and cloves so even with the added nutrients in both, I would definitely prefer the Pumpkin Spice Special K.  This is the rare case where I feel the added flavor might just INCREASE existing nutritional value.  The first 3 ingredients here are rice, whole grain wheat, and sugar.  It seems like they used allspice instead of cloves.  And all four were towards the bottom end of the “contains less than 2% of the following segment.”

Dry and 3 milks: Even with beverages, this stays crispy throughout.  Must be all the rice.  The unsweetened Almond Milk was an unsurprising mix, but the chocolate almond milk drowned out the Pumpkin Spice flavor.  It seems like NOTHING competes with that flavor.  Strangely it was the tangy Orange Juice that retained the taste of Pumpkin Spice.

Villains: Cinder Fall is still alive, but sorry to my fellow Jessica Nigri fans, she doesn’t have a speaking role.  Emerald must serve as her interpreter at the meeting of the villains.  Speaking of Emerald, she and Mercury not only get no respect from Cinder’s peers, but they seem horrified when they watch Grimm appear from a pool of Muck in the Grimm World.  I didn’t see them in the opening, and based on that meeting I have to wonder if they’ll survive for very long.

And Salem, the Big Bad.  I’ve heard a Fan Theory that she was originally Summer Rose, Ruby’s late mother.  In the meeting of the menacing minds, she mentions “Dear Ozpin” being slain by Cinder, and she insists that Ruby be brought to her alive, after her follower Hazel mentions that they’ve bested Ruby’s fellow Silver-Eyed warriors before.  If she’s no threat, why do you want her alive?

Onto the new team: With Pyrrha dead (Spoilers) and her teammates backing Ruby on her otherwise solo mission to Haven, there’s some debate in the ranks whether to call themselves Team RNJR (pronounced “Ranger”) or Team JNRR (“Junior”).  Each team in Ruby consists of 4 members, and the team name is composed of an acronym featuring the first letter of each team member’s given name.  They’ve obviously been at this quest for awhile, because from the last time we’ve seen them, Ren’s hair has grown from the base of his neck to the middle of his back.  Ruby has new charges that she can load into her rifle, providing lightning or fire.  Nora’s hammer has been upgraded to feature an electric charge, and Jean spends most of the episode unarmed.  We see him get an upgrade with Pyrhha’s metal, letting her support and accompany him in spirit, and raising the question of what other upgrades he’s packing.  Also we get a funny scene where we finally see Pumpkin Pete from the show’s Marshmallow cereal.  Further exploring the world they live in, and still maintaining the series sense of humor.  A key aspect of growing up, which ties neatly into this new volume.

Weiss and her Father:  Weiss’s Father only made an appearance in the end of the last chapter of the last volume, though me made multiple contact attempts in the second and third volume and was consistently described as an antagonist in the first volume.  She was taken away by him after Beacon Tower fell (spoilers) and this episode ends with her being summoned to see her old man.

What questions do I have and how do I feel going forward?  The opening and closing animation Showcases Blake and the White Fang Separately.  But there are people we haven’t seen before around Blake, as well as Sun.  Does he find her again after she vanishes?  Or did he say he saw he run off to give her time to wait in hiding before she ran off.  And why’s he getting pushed aside for another Cat-eared brunette?  Is this Blake’s brother, or betrothed?  And speaking of the White Fang.  Do they have a new heavy player?  When Salem mentions how loyal Adam is, the villains express hope that someone whose name we haven’t heard before will be as much so.  Is this one of those hooded figures we see in Yang’s intro animation?  Why aren’t they wearing Grimm Masks like typical White Fang members?  And when will Team JNPR’s new name be finally decided?


Frapula Frappucino

Bottom is mocha, then whipped cream dallop, Strawberry Puree, White Chocolate Cream Frap is body, Vanilla Whipped cream tops it off, with strawberry puree drizzled around the cup.

While I was waiting I was offered samples of various upcoming Holiday flavours.  I chose Gingerbread Latte.  It reminded me of the Caramel Apple Latte I had at Costume Coffee some months back.  But there I made the mistake of adding espresso shots, and could barely make out the Caramel Apple flavor.  Here I just had it as it was, and the coffee flavor still saturated everything.  As my Frapula was being prepared, the baristas described it as tasting like Neopolitan Ice Cream.  I tasted their argument.  Chocolate, then Vanilla, then finally Strawberry.  Although it needs to ne said just how refreshingly potent the Strawberry flavor was.  It actually made me think of the aforementioned Neo as I was drinking it.  Happy Halloween indeed.  And unlike the Gingerbread Latte, I could easily make out the applied flavors.  Pity they stop selling it today.