Back When We Were Interesting Ep. 29 - Halloween Costumes

Welcome to Back When We Were Interesting, where we talk about the stories and the experiences that make us and you, interesting. We're only one week away from Halloween, and Josh Hawkes, Shelley Rossell, and Francis Fernandez reminisce about the costumes we grew up with, the one's we loved, and the one's we wished we had. Huge respect to those out there who create their own costumes for Halloween or Cosplay. It's a about ghosts, ninjas, and Jedi, as we get nostalgic on this week's Back When Podcast.

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Shelley Rossell - https://twitter.com/shelleyann72

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Day 18 - The Comikaze 2014 Schedule of, "Wow, how am I going to be able to do all that?!?!"

Last week I gave a little insight on who I'm looking forward to seeing next week at this Comikaze 2014, and I thought that the list alone was a little daunting. Then I see the schedule for the next three days and my jaw, figuratively, dropped to the floor, and then literally stayed agape. It looks like it's not only going to be a great two and a half days, but I feel I'm going to need a week to recover from all the things there are to see and do. So let's start with a few of the things I'm looking forward to at this year's Comikaze, because as we know, I have NO idea what it means to be Press at an event like this, so it'll be all new to me. So, I'm sure I'll running around with my arms flailing in the air.

Comikaze Schedule

I'm going to skip Friday, because I fear I may not make it for that day. Instead, let's check out Saturday.

I've always considered myself inept, yet a fan of fashion, and one of the first panels of the morning is all about Geek Fashion. I hope to stop looking like a bum, and actually look like I know how to dress myself. If I happen to miss that one, there's always the later panel all about being Fashionably Nerdy. I wonder if there's a difference.

For Dave the Drummer, I may actually go for the Troma panel as they turn 40. If you listen to A Critical Moment of Awesome, you'll know Dave's love of the Troma films, and for him, I'll have to check this sucker out. I know he'll be jealous, but he'll be with me in spirit using bad special effects with mirrors, scotch tape, and a paper cut out of his beard.

The blog and podcast might be littered with information on how I'm an avid gamer, and apparently, as geek is chic, we are also in the Golden Age of Gaming. A panel I'm certainly looking forward to, as it will give me a chance to see what I can do with my hobby other than be awesome at it. 

To round out my official first day, it will be all about the Game of Thrones panel, the live Hollywood Babble-On, the Constantine panel, Doctor Who Live!, the Single Geeks social, and maybe even attending the Cosplay Ball. All that and I'm only scratching the surface of Saturday's events. This doesn't even include what I'll be doing as Press, walking the floor, buying things, taking pictures and video of the event, and eating, bathrooming, and catching my breath!! Tomorrow, it's all about Sunday's events. Sure it's half a day, but it's a FULL half day.

Are you going to Comikaze? What are you looking forward to? What do you think I should do and see? Not going this year? What panels would you attend? What would you do?

Day 17 - Better Late Than Never; Better Something Than Nothing

Super short, probably Twitter worthy post here. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm a bit long winded. I'm at a loss for words today, which I guess is what this exercise is for. Not to write something meaningful, or even blog like, but just to write. A story, an anecdote, a review, a joke, whatever. So, tonight, the only thing I have to write is, that I have nothing really to write. So, instead, here's an Honest Trailer:

Day 16 - Car-ma Chameleon

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia

It's been eleven years since I obtained "Betsy Jr.". The original "Betsy" was a 1985 Volvo 770. It was a tank, and has seen some pretty harrowing things. It's survived a car accident, a spin out, burning jumper cables, icy freeways with fish tails a plenty, and many hot summers with leather upholstery burning the skin. Then, "Betsy Jr." entered my life as a tough as nails Toyota Corolla from 2003. She's been through ass-dents, snowy mountain passes, headbutts with other cars, and travels all over the great state of California. She is one tough granny of a car. If I were to guess, I would put her at, at least 110 years old in car years.

It's amazing the kind of memories and experiences you have with cars. They are there for your internal monologues, your pop song solos, and your road rage. They may be transportation, but they are around for many of our important life changes. "Betsy Jr." was even my home for a short time. Now, I realize most people don't think of their cars fondly, but sometimes I feel grateful for such a reliable companion. Which pains me, as I must admit, that it's time to take Betsy Jr. to that farm for her to "retire". It's time to move on.

On Twitter I've been asking around for what would be a good successor. For some reason I'm obsessed with small things. I want a smaller phone, I like a small e-reader, I would like a smaller stomach, and I believe I want a small car. It almost seems appropriate as I went from a tank to a compact car. The natural progression seems to towards a tiny vehicle. Nothing like a Smart Car or anything. I want to actually feel like I can stretch my arms a bit and actually fit something in there other than air. So it looks like it's a toss up between the Mini Cooper or the Fiat 500.

If you have any thoughts on either fine automobile, please let me know. They're European heritage calls out to me. And you'd be helping me find "Lucy". 

A Critical Moment of Awesome Ep. 171 - We Miss The Instruction Manual

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Duck! There's a new Critical Moment of Awesome flying overhead! It's filled with Dave the Drummer and Francis the Other Guy talking about marijuana, video games, paparazzi, Blondie, money, cover bands, and so much more. It's a basket full of nerd on this week's Crit Mo.

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Day 15 - Final Fantasy Fan Festiveal 2014 Highlights & Impressions

It's been a mere hour and a half since the Final Fantasy Fan Festival has ended and I'm still riding on the high that was the closing ceremonies. That final hour was like a rock concert without the rock band. Well, okay, I think I can officially say that "The Primals" qualify as a rock band. I've gained a new appreciation not only for the game, but for it's players, and I cannot wait to get home and jump on my character to continue my journey and prepare for the adventures to come. But before I can get to that end, we have to start at the beginning of the festival and that was the night I arrived in Las Vegas.

I won't bore you with my end of the trip, but it is safe to say I did not make it in for the initial reception Friday Night. There the early comers gathered, drank, socialized, and took pictures with Naoki Yoshida, Producer/Director of Final Fantasy XIV, Mitsutoshi Gondai, the Battle Director, and the lead singer of "the Primals" and Sound Dirctor, Masayoshi Soken. I made it in for the latter part of all that goodness, so things were already winding down. But the energy was strong, and there were a remarkably large number of attendees already there. I could tell it would be a very eventful next two days. So I got down to business and I got my badge. Now this is important, because I thought it would just have my name on there. Little did I know that it would have my character name and my server on there as my identification. So for the weekend, I was Evangeline Desdara.

Saturday started off with a bang as at least a thousand people were gathered for the initial Keynote Address. Naoki Yoshida entertained the crowd and gave the gamers a hint of what was in store for the next patch as well as the next big expansion. This  alone got the crowd going wild as he showed us the teaser trailer for "Heavensward", which the name of the first expansion. We'll be seeing new classes, jobs, new areas to play in, a new race, the ability for Free Companies to build their own Airships, new Primals, and evidently a Primal new to the Final Fantasy mythos is being added in future expansions. There was talk of the upcoming Patch 2.4 "Dreams of Ice" where we got more detail on the Rogue class and Ninja job as well as info on Shiva and even a release date of October 28th. It was A lot to take in that first morning, but really, it was just the beginning of all the hints and reveals to come.

After the keynote you had various activities you could do. Now I want to point out that the Fan Festival was held in one of the Rio Casino's convention rooms that could have expanded to accommodate more people and more activities. I mean, the sheer, overwhelming number of people at the Fan Festival was astounding. Every walk of life was represented there from every age range  and from all over the country. In other words, lines for days (or hours), everywhere. There was even a line to get in a line. I know I may be overwhelmed pretty easily, but this figuratively, kind of blew my mind. There. See? Grey matter all over the floor.

I decided the first thing I would do was hit the merchandise line before everything was sold out. Sure, I had no idea something was already sold out two hours into the festival, but that's because I wasn't willing to pay the extra $80 to become a VIP and get in the front of the line. Also, little did I know, that getting in line to buy things would be a harrowing adventure. I believe the staff for this Fan Festival did not anticipate the sheer magnitude of people there for a single game. I mean, it wasn't a gaming convention for a bunch of Square Enix games, it was just for Final Fantasy XIV. And Theatrhythm Final Fantasy if you count their little booth. Every line in the place was packed full to the brim with people. You could see people spilling over the side of the cup. Luckily, we gamers are a polite lot, as the chaos was quickly turned into organized chaos. Let me just say, I spent three hours in the merchandise line. But luckily there were things to keep me occupied while I waited for my goodies.

The Music Panel just happened to be where I was in the line,  which happened to be the line to get into the merchandise line, and I was pleasantly regaled with stories and the processes of making the music in Final Fantasy XIV by Masayoshi Soken. It was almost like talking to Dave the Drummer about music, but instead of Noise, they were theme songs. Soken even played an impromptu piece from his little keyboard. He shared with us the music that did and did not make it into the game, and he even hinted on what to expect in the future. But that was only my first stop in my long trip to spend money.

At the Fan Festival there were computers set up everywhere. I guess this is to be expected, because I honestly didn't know what to expect when I got to the Fan Festival. I've only been to comic book conventions, so this was all new. Back to the set up. Hives of computers and monitors were set up beside the merchandise line and it was the Odin Primal Challenge. Odin, a boss like monster based off of the Final Fantasy summons, was a challenge to be taken by anyone and everyone and your prize was a coveted "I defeated Odin" shirt to show off to the other players. I was witness to the first wins of the day as people cheered each other on and screamed with excitement as they took the beast down. The comradery was infectious and I applauded for the players who earned their loot.

Beyond that was the shooting range, where people got to take on the persona of an archer, and use actual bows and arrows. People got to keep their holey targets as a symbol of their victory. And just beside that was an artillery range where people shot cannons to knock down targets. These two games felt like they kind of came out of a carnival and that's not a bad thing. It was so interactive, and it brought people together, and required teamwork to complete. Mind you, this was two hours into the Merchandise line, so I got to see a lot of people successfully play both games.

One cannot just stand in line patiently, oh no. I don't have that kind of will power. For a moment, or two, I was a creeper. You see, two individuals in front of me was a lovely woman with tattoos along her arms and a pair of "One Up" glasses. I was polite-ish, and did not stare, much. Now, also note, my creeper status was purely curiosity, as I tried to figure out what it said on her Ultros shirt. Then her tattoos just brought on a bit of nostalgia as I saw the cast of Chrono Trigger on their as well as the original Warriors of Light. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of ink, but that was art I could get behind. As a matter of fact, should I ever be cut and muscular, I would get some 8/16/32-bit tattoos on my personage. Moving on, another hour passed, and I finally had my items in hand. Check out the gallery to see what I hauled home.

I was finally free of the clutches of that absurd line and I paid a visit to their art gallery. Now, I suppose that's a bit of an exaggeration as it was art displayed in a small 20x20 space...probably, I don't know lengths and widths, where the attendees got to vote on their favorite pieces. I think I took video or maybe just pictures of everything there. See the gallery or the attached youtube video to find out.

The next stop was a wall where people could sign their name under their server. It was almost like a meet up wall, except, really difficult to read and decipher with all the names and the Free Companies. It was a bit of a mess, but it was a great place to leave your mark and to let others with the will of "Where's Waldo" to find you.

My next destination was the Lore Panel. Michael Christopher Koji Fox gave anecdotes on the story within Eorzea, and what the names of characters, places, and things, were, and that every location in Eorzea had a story. You may not know what that story is, but this man does. It was fascinating to hear, and another reason why I appreciate the depth put into a game like Final Fantasy XIV.

It was a quick bite to eat and then a little look around at the other stations at the Fan Festival. There were actually quite a few things to do there outside of the Live Quest, that had people getting together and doing the different quests throughout the convention floor. From there they would go back to the Loot station for fun prizes. There was an Extreme Primal Challenge (where you challenged bosses while enduring certain handicaps), a Frontline event (where players fought against other players), a Speed Run Dungeon Challenge (where you play through a dungeon as quickly as possible), and a line for the amazing cosplayers. This game is made for cosplayers, as there are simple costumes like bikinis and kimonos, to the more complex armors and even Primal costumes. So many people with such amazing talent. They wowed everyone who passed by them. There was even a toddler dressed as a Lalafell.

It was Developer Panel time, and more revelations of the upcoming Expansion. One of the biggest announcements was the pseudo announcement of the Dark Knight Job. This was to be hinted at by Mitsutoshi Gondai, who was supposed to wear a Batman t-shirt, but apparently forgot it. Naoki Yoshida then attempted to hint how much he loved the Christopher Nolan adaptation of Batman. This, of course, led the audience to conclude that players could play a Dark Knight. There was also the hint of the new race, as Yoshida faked us out with the mock up of race I've seen before, but don't know the name of. Either way it was not going to be the new race. Instead it was hinted that Yugiri, the mysterious woman we meet in the end game story, would be the key to what the new playable race would be. There was also talk of what to expect in the future expansions from new recipes for jobs, what to expect from the new level caps, and the final Binding Coil of Bahamut.

Eight o'clock rolled around and I was tired. Long lines, a horrible night's sleep the night before, and me nodding off whenever I took a moment to sit down meant it was an early night for me.

The following morning was an amazing Champagne Brunch at the Bacchanal with my sistra. Protip: don't skip out on the donuts. They're amazing. The afternoon lead to some gambling and me breaking even, and then I ran straight back to the Fan Festival.

Starting the day off right, I popped into the second Developer panel where questions were answered, Golden Saucer (an in game amusement park) details were revealed, Chocobo racing and the Tetra Master card game were announced, and we got more details on player housing. As if that were not enough, we were treated with some revealing photos in Yoshida's hands to whet the appetite for those there. There was talk of in game coupling and marriages and even having to book the in game wedding. Things just got real. A little too real.

The rest of the evening was a blur, as I took video of the convention floor and highlighting what was offered to us, I played a little Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, grabbed a bite to eat and sat in for the Costume contest. I took horrible pictures thanks to my phone's mediocre camera of the cosplayers, but rest assured, the costumes were amazing. I will most likely have to link to other people's galleries so you can see how fantastic of a job these cosplayers did. Soon afterward it was the closing ceremonies with a raffle, where people walked away with impressive things like high end video cards and mechanical keyboards. They were not playing around. But the end of the night, the pièce de résistance had to be the band "The Primals", as they played in game music, with singers in tow.

You may be thinking to yourself, especially if you made it this far without having played Final Fantasy XIV (for which I thank you for reading this!), it's just game music, so it had to have been a classical music concert with violins and oboes. Oh, no, that was not the case. "The Primals" were an all out rock band and the music had people on their feet, hands in the air like they didn't care, and even had some folk head banging. If you were a layperson, you would think this was a band out of your local alt rock station. It was a brilliant way to end the weekend with fun, electrifying music, audience participation, and even an encore.

I left the casino with a smile on my face, a renewed appreciation for the game and its players, and a respect to the hard work the developers go through to meet the players needs and some of their demands. By the end of the weekend, I'm sure new friendships and alliances were made, money was probably lost, drinking certainly happened, and at the very least, there was an excitement for the upcoming content in a game that people love. It's always tough to leave Las Vegas, but I leave with anticipation, excitement, and a look forward to things to come. Thanks to the people who set up Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2014, and for those who attended. It made for a brilliant and memorable weekend.

PS: The video and gallery are now up. Thanks for checking it out!

Day 14 - Joke A Cola Classic!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And your misery is over with this final joke...

A mushroom walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a drink.

The bartender says, "I'm sorry kid, we don't serve your kind here."

The mushroom replies in astonishment, "Why not? I'm a fungi!"

The bartender replies, "I know. That's why I'm not lichen you."

Day 11 - It's Gonna Be A Long Weekend

Sometimes I don't understand the concept of vacations, and this weekend, with the Final Fantasy Fan Festival, I can hardly call it such. Everyday will certainly be fun, but it's going to be so exhausting. And then, there's the threat of not being able to write a blog post every day for the next three days because I'll either be on the road or at the convention. A huge first world problem if I've ever seen one. So, for you fine people, the next three days after today, will be filled with a lame joke. I realize this is a cop out, but meh. Hmm, I've been really negative recently.

Time to be positive! I'm a fan of mash ups, especially that of Isosine. I know little about this person, other than the awesome music created. I have no idea how I stumbled on Isosine's music, but I've been listening to and downloading ever since. They're just out there. It's very cool, and I think the music is very good. So enjoy the very unlikely pairing of Korn and Taylor Swift. And for those already poopooing this song, I was going to give you the ridiculously addictive Justin Beiber vs. Slipknot

Get ready for the hilarity of my bad sense of humor for the next few days. And everyone, have a great weekend!

Back When We Were Interesting Ep. 28 - Fall Into A PSL

Welcome to Back When We Were Interesting, where we talk about the stories and the experiences that make us and you, interesting. Josh Hawkes shows off his ninja skills by jumping into this week's Fall premiere with Shelley Rossell and Francis Fernandez. This week it's all about the things we love about Fall. From the weather, to food, to TV shows (like we do), and beyond. So grab a slice of pumpkin pie, a bottle of your favorite beer, and chill out with the game on, and your headphones on, as you delve into this week's Back When Podcast.

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Josh Hawkes - https://twitter.com/303_Ninja

Francis Fernandez - https://twitter.com/sortageek

Shelley Rossell - https://twitter.com/shelleyann72

Josh's Fiverr - http://www.fiverr.com/joshrhawkes

Francis' Fiverr - http://www.fiverr.com/sortageek

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Josh - @303_Ninja on Twitter
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Day 10 - Comikaze Here I Come

The end of October is doubly eventful for me. Not only is it Halloween Day, but it's also the first day of Stan Lee's Comikaze! It's ridiculously exciting because it's not only my first time going, but I'm also going in as Press. I will be attending the convention with mic and camera in hand to not only partake in the festivities, but also, hopefully, participate. As such, I wanted to give a little highlight of a few of the people I'm excited to see at this year's Comikaze, and I hope I get the chance (and in all honesty, have the balls), to talk to them and meet them.

If I had the choice (which I know I do), I would put the entire list of guests and celebrities on here, but that would cheating. So we'll start off with the celebrities who I believe the stars of the convention: Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar. I grew up watching these three actors fight crime and each other in the original Batman series. They are not only iconic, but they shaped the childhoods of so many people. And who can deny that Adam West is just plain awesome, as he continues to act and do voice work today. I want to be that man when I grow up.

I've hinting in my podcasts that I listen to a lot of other...podcasts. One of which is Hollywood Babble-On starring Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith. I've listened to Ralph Garman on the Kevin and Bean morning show for years. He is a great impressionist who I base a lot of my own impressions on and he's genuinely funny. Actually, when I first started listening to the Kevin and Bean show, I only listened for his entertainment news. Then there's Kevin Smith, whom I've been entertained by since "Mallrats". A story teller I would love to learn to become, he always has a fascinating anecdote to tell at just the right moment. I could listen to that man talk for hours, and I'm pretty sure I have with all the podcasts I consume. Two guys who would be a blast to just see live.

In the end there are just too many other people to name, as you see the convention's roster is huge. From Rob Leifeld, to Elvira, to Captain Jack Harkness, it's a very impressive line up, and I'm looking forward to just sharing the same room with them. It's nerve wracking, exciting, and scary, all at the same time, but I know it'll be a blast. The end of the month, cannot come soon enough.

Day 9 - All Sorts of Nonsense

I think I mentioned it before, but I'm doing this blog because I know, no one really reads it. It's like my selfish little spot in the world where I get to go on about stuff, rant about things, and just talk all sorts of nonsense. Originally I was going to talk about my first day getting back to the work out business. Seeing my fat ankles, feeling my mortality more and more, then I realized, that's a bummer. Who wants to hear about my fear of dying young because I'm a lazy ass? Okay, I just intentionally did a synopsis of the post that will not be, right her, so there. I think my English is being brutalized right now. Nonetheless, it's time for me to be a bummer in other ways.

But why should anyone care? I mean, I'm just a random dude on the internet. I understand why people of both genders run to other people's blogs. They're interesting, they stick to the same subject, it's not personal, and there's a pay off. I just recently saw Gone Girl, and part of the movie/book revolved around a woman who wrote in a diary. No one found it strange that there was a person out there who was putting down her personal thoughts into a book. Now of course, a diary is personal, and a blog is public, but we all have a little narcissism in us...possibly. Part of me hopes someone will understand where I'm coming from, while part of me just needs a way to put out my thoughts in an open forum, just in case anyone cares.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy talking about things I'm interested in. For instance. I'm enjoying "The Flash" immensely. I think the kid actor is really good, I think all the other actors are doing well too. It's like a super hero "Law & Order". I just have a difficult time putting to words my thoughts on something, without sounding cliche. I also believe that there are other people out there who are much more qualified to give a well thought out review. I also realize, that doesn't stop anyone else. Yeah, this is what it's like being in my brain. A mess.

Wow, you have to wonder if there's anything happy and fun in my life. As they say, it's the negative that screams the loudest. That's why the news is always depressing! I avoid the news outlets, not because I want to be uninformed. I just think it's really, really sad. 

In the end, much of what I have to say is a lot of nonsense. I'm still trying to figure things out, as it were. Until then though, I hope you don't mind the absurdity.

A Critical Moment of Awesome Ep. 170 - This Is Our Blondie Cover Band

CLICK HERE to listen today.

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It looks like your wish came true, because you have an all new Critical Moment of Awesome! This week Dave the Drummer and Francis the Other Guy get into some serious discussion talking about "The Devil", and a kookie theory Francis had. From there it's Blondie, music that Dave is working on, movies he recommends, like Horns, another Doctor Who review, more comic book movie and TV talk, Glee, Francis' relationship status, and so much more. So grab a bowl of chips, get the beans, cheese, beef, and rice, and plop a dollop of Crit Mo right on top. 

Bad Movie Of The Week - Shredder Orpheus - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246231/?ref_=rvi_tt

Bad Music Video of the Week - Kali Muscle - MONEY AND MUSCLEhttp://youtu.be/cINuLWrSzVo

You're listening to A Critical Moment of Awesome, the devolution of a great idea. From pop culture, to music, movies, games, science, food and more, we really do cover it all. If you want to suggest a topic, have questions or want to tell us what we got wrong, write us at critmo@mail.com. Thanks again for listening.

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Day 8 - Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival

It's five days away, and I'm prepping myself for the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be my third/fourth (depending on who's counting) convention I've ever attended, and I'm getting excited. This, though, is apparently not their first convention. So I'm here to give a little detail on what it is and why I'm excited on going.

The Final Fantasy Fan Festival is an event put together by Square Enix, the makers of Final Fantasy XIV, to celebrate the game, show love to the fans, and talk about the future of the franchise. Now, I'm going to guess that some of you are familiar at least with the Final Fantasy name. It's either met with love and affection, or confusion, but it's a game that started back in 1987 as Square's last ditch attempt to make a successful video game before the company went bust (Spoiler alert: It was a success). It was with that first game, that I fell in love with the series, and from there Square continued to build on the series, keeping firmly with a fantasy theme, then branching out into sci-fi. A fun little fact is that only a handful of the games share the same universe, and Final Fantasy XIV is hinted to be one of them. But, oddly enough, this festival is not about the series as a whole, but on their latest installment, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV for short), their second and a half, attempt, at making a successful MMORPG. With Final Fantasy comes a very confusing history, and I promise not to bore you with all the details.

Now, as I mentioned, FFXIV is not the companies first game based on the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) model. Square Enix first dipped their toe into the world of MMOs after the wildly popular Final Fantasy X for the Playstation 2. Final Fantasy XI became a moderate success to those looking for something like World of Warcraft in the Final Fantasy world, with a player base that at one point, exceeded two million players. As a result, festivals and conventions were created for those fans here in the US, as well as in Japan, to commemorate the XI series.

This year, the Final Fantasy Fan Festival will be celebrated in the US, the UK, and Japan, with a three day event that will have fans listening to and interacting with developers, gathering in game prizes, cosplaying, and a lot more. It looks to be a huge event that will cover not only the aspects that we love about the game now, but also talking about the future of the franchise, what to expect in the upcoming expansions and patches, and get us excited about this world that the players have truly become a part of. For those unfamiliar with the MMO, the vastness of a game like this is in the name, as the world, the characters, the history, and the stories are massive. It's not a game for those looking to just play it and beat it in 40 hours. The game potentially can last many hundreds of hours after that and technically not have a true ending for years. It's a fun, living, breathing, simulated world where you don't play against the computer, but with other human players all over the world. 

When the Fan Festival was first announced, I figured it would be a fairly small affair with some of the fans. Forums and websites didn't seem to be talking about it much, so when it came to the day to buy the tickets, I wasn't worried. Little did I know that everyone and their mother wanted to attend this event. The website that hosted the tickets nearly had a heart attack. Yet somehow, I ended up being one of the lucky few that will be going to the Fan Festival. It also seems that many of the podcasters I listen to, also got tickets, and it will be exciting to see and talk to the people who create the content I enjoy listening to. 

This may not be like conventions I've attended in the past. This is a gaming fan festival with emphasis on the game the fans and I love so much to play. I'm looking forward to what's in store, and I'll have a full write up of my experience in about a week, so please look out for that. Until then, if you haven't experienced Eorzea and the magic held within, visit the Final Fantasy XIV website. There you'll get details on the game and even details on the Fan Festival. And if you're going, come find me, let's chat about our adventures.

For more details: http://ffxiv-fanfest.com/

Bear witness to the dawn of a new age in this prologue video for FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn!

Day 6 – In The Time of Chimpanzees I Was A Monkey

Sometimes you have to just get something out of the way just so you don’t have to keep worrying about it or thinking about it anymore. Like getting a flu vaccination or eating your veggies before a juicy steak. So, I’ll just get this bit of nastiness out of the way, and hopefully I won’t feel compelled to talk about it, ever again. As Dave the Drummer once said, we live in hope.

Much like things that are kind of annoying or painful or just plain dumb, you want to get it over with as quickly as possible. So, I’ll do my best with a few lines and little exposition. I suck. Simple as that. I didn’t need to be told this by the people I’ve loved, cared about, and respected, I’ve believed this since I was a small boy. This is not some self-esteem issue (though I’m aware that it is) or a pity party (because you can’t pity facts), because I won’t (hopefully) be mentioning this again in another blog post. This is me being aware of who I am. Which reminds me. It always amazes me that people don’t know they’re assholes. How do they not know this?! I mean, I’m fully aware that people suck, so why don’t they? Does no one quietly reflect while sitting on the lavatory?

So to end this bit of sharing, the only reason I’m mentioning any of this at all is because I still get asked why I don’t date and why I’m not with someone, or something similar of the two. It’s an odd thing to ask, as I have no idea what is so important about my love life. But men and women both are curious as to why I do not have someone to love. So, I just wanted to put it out there, that it’s because I’m fully aware of how much I suck. And as someone once, lovingly told me, why would anyone want to be with that?

Okay, so that was all a bit thick with vitriol and you should never leave your audience with a sour taste in their mouth, so I’ll leave you with this.

Back When We Were Interesting Ep. 27 - The Brat Pack or the Whack Pack?

Welcome to Back When We Were Interesting, where we talk about the stories and the experiences that make us and you, interesting. Hosts Josh Hawkes, Shelley Rossell, and Francis Fernandez talk about the celebrities of yesteryear, which happens to be only a few decades ago. From what was acceptable to the things that are not, to the remakes that are coming, and the idols we sought, it's a menagerie of what was good in the past, and what counts as good in this day and age. It's all that nostalgia and a whole lot more, on this week's Back When Podcast. 

Youtube Video: http://youtu.be/KyKNOX432fMTwitter:

Josh Hawkes - https://twitter.com/303_Ninja

Francis Fernandez - https://twitter.com/sortageek

Shelley Rossell - https://twitter.com/shelleyann72

Josh's Fiverr - http://www.fiverr.com/joshrhawkes

Francis' Fiverr - http://www.fiverr.com/sortageek

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Josh - @303_Ninja on Twitter
Francis - @sortageek on Twitter

Day 5 - A Day of Rest & Arrow Review

For the last few months, I've been running myself ragged with things that keep me distracted. Whether it's a show I'm watching or a game I'm playing or a book I'm reading, I've been allowing myself to stay up into the wee hours of the night, doing things to keep my mind occupied. As a result, I'm tired all the time, I can't remember anything, and my jokes are all a "pun"-ishment. So tonight, on this fine Friday, I have decided to give myself a little break. I will actually, try to sleep early.

Therefore, my post for tonight will be a brief review of the premiere episode of "Arrow". The first episode of "Arrow" had a lot of competition with the bevy of genre, superhero shows. One of those new shows was even spawned from Olive Queen's shenanigans, "The Flash". As a result, the writers of "Arrow" are going to have to pull all the stops this season if it's going to keep the fan's attention. Especially with how well "The Flash" was received. I mean, I liked that show a lot. Luckily, I believe they've pulled through with finesse, intrigue, and a lot of surprises.

*SPOILER ALERT*

The quick recap of the first episode of "Arrow" involved Oliver Queen and his little buddy Roy dressed as The Arrow and I'm guessing Arsenal (as Roy's superhero name hasn't been announced). Along with Diggle, they are stopping a gaggle of thieves stealing explosive arms from some no good villain of some sort. Chaos ensues as a new baddie appears on the scene with a new and improved Vertigo drug, that we saw in the previous seasons, and it is none other than Peter Stormare playing the Scarecrow. Captain Lance has a heart problem, Laurel becomes less annoying than her previous seasons incarnations, and love is in the air. Oliver and Felicity try to find normalcy in their dual lives, and nearly get killed on a date. Oliver gets all broody and the "will they/won't they" continues as they set out to find the person who tried to kill them. Todd Ingram, aka, Brandon Routh, enters the scene with all the good looking smiles and whatnot, and steals Oliver's company right from under him. Meanwhile, the Arrow crew try to find where Slippery Pete will strike next. Some Oliver leader-ing goes on and Diggle angering, and then some fighty fighty and day saving happens. Sara shows up with her Canary bad assness, meets up with Laurel, and Sara conveniently dies with some black arrows from her chest that makes you think Captain Jack did her in. Diggle and Lyla have a 6 month old baby, Oliver tries to give the love to Felicity, but she gets all butt hurt for some reason, and Superman has farting rodents on his computers.

*END SPOILERS*

All in all a very good episode that had me emotionally invested the entire time. There was a great amount of action, a scene chewing villain to whet the appetite, and I didn't even mention the somewhat interesting flash backs to Hong Kong. The overall plot was all a set up for the season, which I'm fine with, and it gave a little more depth to the whole Olicity ship. Brandon Routh is fitting in his playboy shoes rather well, and he looks to be some competition for Ollie. The returning characters bring in that familiar warm blanket while adding the nuances of their new lives. Roy doesn't get much to say or much screen time, but I'm sure that'll change as the season continues, but so far he's a pretty cool sidekick. Still the superior genre show in my humble opinion, and one that will probably have me me hooked in the weeks to come. This episode get's 8 arrows out of 10.