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Stefon Mears
Writer, gamer, capoeirista, pagan, the list goes on and on.
Writer, gamer, capoeirista, pagan, the list goes on and on.

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Spoiler-free commentary on Westworld finale.

I’ve been enjoying this first season of Westworld, with one exception. There’s been a plotline I considered to violate the established world-building. Or, at the very least, seemed to demonstrate a ridiculous level of ignorance about network protocols and security. I found it difficult to believe, sometimes to the point that it pissed me off.

But I stuck with the show, because everything else was working well. Tonight, in the episode The Bicameral Mind they rewarded me.

Tonight, in a single statement, I understood how and why that plotline worked. And the answer was pretty much the only one I could accept.

So, if you watch it, and you find yourself thinking that this one plotline shouldn’t work, I say give it time.

Speaking of Metallica and Iron Maiden, Metallica also cover "Remember Tomorrow" on the new album.

Now, for context, "Remember Tomorrow" is probably my favorite song off of Maiden's first album.

With that in mind, I really like the cover. It's a pretty straight-ahead cover, but it carries the Metallica feel, which works better than I expected.

Also helps that Hetfield didn't try to do too much with the vocals. He's a good lead singer for Metallica, but he's not the singer that Paul Di'Anno was. Then again, I always felt that Di'Anno wasn't given enough credit by Iron Maiden fans.

Don't get me wrong. I love to listen to Bruce Dickinson. He's more powerful than Di'Anno, vocally, and his style better reflects the direction Maiden went, musically, after the second album. But he built on what Di'Anno established, and I think that should be remembered.

Also, while Di'Anno would never have sounded good on Dickinson's songs, I never much cared for the way Dickinson sings Di'Anno-era songs.

Well, that was a side trip. But there you have it.

Heard "Atlas Rise" today, the second single from Metallica's new album. Quite good.

Also, it sounded like an homage to Iron Maiden. There were sections of guitar work that would have been right at home in an Iron Maiden song. No way it was coincidental.

Ghost Rider fans -- I've been watching Agents of Shield, and the Darkhold is a big element this season. Does the Darkhold come up a lot in Ghost Rider storylines? Because I'm only used to seeing it in one character's stories: Dr. Strange. But then, my comic reading has sometimes been ... focused...

So, Dr. Strange.

Spoiler-free thoughts: Saw it Friday evening on a 72’ GTX screen with pretty darned impressive sound. Loved it. Enjoyed it so much we went back to see it in IMAX 3D the next day. I’m not a big fan of 3D, but I thought it really worked for this movie. Yeah they deviated from the canon in some pretty significant ways, but I didn’t mind (mostly), and I’ve been a Dr. Strange fan for some forty years. I won’t tell you how they resolved the core conflict, but it fit the character perfectly.

Could I quibble over a couple of things? Sure. But overall, definitely recommended.

Now then. Spoiler space…

Not kidding. Spoilers coming…

This is your last warning…

Now, onto the spoiler-laden commentary…

Wow. I almost don’t know where to start. Cumberbatch nailed the character. Terrific. Mordo was nothing like the comic book Mordo, of course, but the Mordo they invented was great. Depth his namesake never really had. He’ll make an excellent nemesis.

Amazing job of bringing Ditko’s art to life, especially the Dark Dimension. And Dormammu for that matter. Also, it was cool to see Caecilius as a major villain (basically playing the comic book Mordo role). Dug the magic, especially the moment when the Ancient One punches Strange out of his body. I’m probably going to drive Melissa nuts with this movie once it comes out on Blu Ray.

On the other side… I don’t care much for the Eye of Agamotto as an Infinity Stone. I get the choice, and it will tie Strange into the Infinity War. Still, I’m not sure how they’ll handle the Eye after the Infinity War.

I really didn’t like the sling rings. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the Ancient One didn’t use one. Then I could have explained them away as a training tool. In fact, I’ll be happy if they retcon that and don’t require Strange to use one once he’s got more XP under his belt. Just feels like a forced way to control their teleportation.

The “relics choose you” thing was a little Harry Potter for my taste, but I can (more or less) excuse it as their rationale for having all those magic items sitting around, largely unused.

Also, can’t wait to see what it means that Mordo has the freaking staff of the Living Tribunal.

That’s it for the moment. Happy to discuss it more in the comments.

Had a heck of a weekend. My brother was up to see Dr. Strange with me (more on that in another post) – including lots of running around Portland with him – played in a new D&D campaign, and got to see the Blazers beat the Nuggets after a stirring second half comeback.

Heck of a weekend.

Back in 1983, Marvel Comics did a limited reprint compilation of a bunch of early Dr. Strange comics. I'd already been a huge Dr. Strange fan for years at that point.

In the forward to one issue, Stan Lee promised that they were this close to finalizing a deal for a big screen blockbuster Dr. Strange movie. I got so excited about the idea that I kept looking for updates.

That was 1983.

That's how long I've been waiting for a Dr. Strange movie.

You might think that means I was first in line to see it opening day. That's a reasonable conclusion.

Truth is, I haven't seen it yet.


Because my brother is flying up this weekend so he can see it with me.

My brother managed to take something that may be one of the most awesome fan events of my life, and make it even better. I'll get to see this movie sitting between +Melissa Mears and my brother.

I'd say I can't wait, but the truth is that I like anticipation. So I can wait. But I must say I am looking forward to it.

(And I'm not expecting perfection. Hell, I still watch that 70s made-for-TV version from time to time. And, of course, Dr. Mordrid, which is as close as we've come to a real Dr. Strange movie up to this year.)

Well, I managed to get about halfway through the day without thinking about the fact that it was election day. (I voted over a week ago.)

Now I'm having trouble thinking of anything else. I've never been one of those people who wants to skip days. The kind of person who thinks about some cool future event and wants it to be that day. I like anticipation, so I enjoy all the days in-between. (More about that in a separate post about Dr. Strange, in my desperate attempts to distract myself.)

But right now, part of me really wants it to be tomorrow.

Maybe I'll go downstairs and shoot pool.

Back from Lincoln City. Learned more than I would have believed. Thoroughly exhausted, with attention drifting here and there.

Trying to catch up on social media, but G+ does not make this easy. I apologize if I've missed anything important.

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In a world where elves build on the bones of lost civilizations, Cavan Oltblood carves out a path to adventure. Not quite a warrior and not quite a wizard, this king's bastard rides with Ehren the smiling priest, and Amra, the deadliest swordswoman alive.

Killers burst through the door at the worst time. So much for Cavan's bath, much less his date.

Someone wants Cavan dead. Someone willing to kill everyone Cavan loves, to steal something Cavan doesn't know he has.

Half a Wizard, a novel of high fantasy adventure, full of magic and action where the decisions of one person can affect the fate of kingdoms. From Stefon Mears, author of With a Broken Sword and Twice Against the Dragon.
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