Is Teatro ZinZanni worth the Money?


Teatro ZinZanni is dinner and show theater in downtown Seattle on Mercer St.  My wife won tickets to the show, so we decided to give it a try.

The show is a five course meal spread out over three and half hours.  The acts consist of a comedian, singers, and acrobats, all based around the story that we are witnessing the big party before Ragnarök, or the end of the word.  It is like a rock opera/Cirque Du Soleil/dinner deal.

The food and the music were good, but the acrobats stole the show.  They did an amazing job.  I did tend to get a little hungry waiting for the next course to be served since they serve the food as part of the show, and the servings aren’t that big.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, but it is pricey.  I got in for free and still ended up paying a bit of coin, and I am not sure I would have paid the full hundred or so dollars a person, if we hadn’t got the tickets free, but if you do get to go, or are looking for something different, then you will have a good time at Teatro ZinZanni.

Is Oz Great and Powerful?


Oz: The Great and Powerful is the prequel to The Wizard Oz, and is directed by Sam Raimi.  It never lives up to the original film, but he still made a pretty decent movie, and if you have seen Raimi’s earlier work then you might notice that this seems a lot like Army of Darkness for kids.

Army of Darkness features a jerk that comes from the future and he saves a kingdom with his knowledge of basic science. Oz: The Great and Powerful features a conman/magician, Oz (James Franco), that goes over the rainbow in a balloon and saves a kingdom with his knowledge of science and theatricality.  He even has some scenes at the end of the film to confirm that he knows they similar too, but unlike his previous movie, Oz learns his lessons and becomes a better man.

You can tell Raimi is having fun with the visuals in this movie.  Since it is a fantasy land he goes over the top with color and the detail, and it looks fantastic.  He also gets to use his horror chops because the flying baboons are quit scary, and he has a few startling scares too.  He also peppers things from the original Oz all over the place so you know it is the same land.

The actors, especially the witches, Mila Kunis (Theodora), Rachel Wiesz (Evanora), and Michelle Williams (Glinda), do a great job, and they are really the stars of this movie, but if you are not a fan of James Franco, then this movie will not change your mind because he is pretty much James Franco.  Oz’s computer animated compatriots, played by Joey King (China Girl) and Zach Braff (Flying Monkey), do a great job of playing the characters sweet and keeping Oz on the straight and narrow.

Raimi did what he could to make a worthy prequel to the classic film, but he falls a little short.  It is still an entertaining film, and since he kept it PG, you can take your whole family, which is a rarity these days.  It does make me want to watch Army of Darkness again though.

Second Run in Shadowrun!


The boys and I got together for another shot at the Table Top RPG Shadowrun.  The good news is that we are getting better at it; the bad news is there is still a lot to learn.  As we play we are still digging through the rule books quit a bit, but I think we are finally getting the hang of things.  As the GM (Game Master) it is my job to know the rules backward and forward but I seem to lack the ability to keep everything straight.

Shadowrun has so many ways to solve issues due to the verity of skills the players can have, half of the GMs job is just to roll with the punches, and work with the ideas that your players are throwing at you, and not punishing them for their creativity.  Thankfully Daniel, Andy, and Shawn always kept me on my toes and are forgiving of my errors.

I do want to give a shoot out to the store DriveThruPRG.  They have some great tools and campaigns that make running any table top game, let alone Shadowrun, much easier.  I got my campaign On the Run there and it really helped having pre-made NPCs (non player characters) and bad guys ready to go.

If you have never played a table top RPG you should give it a shot.  They are a lot of fun, and it is a great way to hang out with your friends, provided they have an active imagination.

Is the Shadow of Freedom worth reading?

Shadow of Freedom

Shardow of Freedom is book written by David Webber, and is the fourteenth of series (or third or twentieth depending on how you look at it), so if you haven’t read the previous thirteen there probably isn’t a lot of this review you will understand.  The only reason I am writing this review is to vent on the internet.

This book was originally part of A Rising Thunder, but because of length they made it its own book, and because of that I was hoping it would make a good second half to A Rising Thunder.  It does not. It turns out is more like the third Saganami Island book about Admiral Michelle Henke and the Talbott Cluster. It does have a better ending then A Rising Thunder, but that is not difficult.

This book commits the same sins as a lot of the more resent Honorverse books in that it introduces a lot more new characters that you don’t care about, and most of the action takes place around a conference table then in giant space battles, and I am a big fan of giant space battles, less so conference tables.  The bad guys in this book are also uninteresting, they are either evil and dumb,  The Solarian League, or evil and twirling their mustaches in the background, The Mesan Alignment.  Plus the Solarians are so out classed as far as tech and firepower goes, that the strategy is how to win with killing the least amount of bad guys, so The Star Empire of Maticore isn’t even threatened in this book, so there is nothing to get worried about except that maybe the Mesan’s will do something, they don’t, but I assume they have a great maniacal laugh.

I keep reading these books hoping they will get back to what made them great in the first eight books.  With exciting action and Machiavellian strategy, but instead they have taken a turn for more characters and more conference tables then I can count.  I would like to say this is the last Honor Harrington book that I am going to read, but they used to be so good that I know I will keep reading and hoping for their return to glory.

Top 10 Movies for 2013

pacific-rim-backgroundAs we move towards movie season 2013, I thought it might be fun to list my top 10 movies that I want to see this year.  Here they are in descending order.

10: World War Z

A movie about a war with Zombies? Count me in, though it has fallen down my list due to a number of script rewrites and people saying that they completely changed the story from the book, but it is still a movie about a war with the undead so it sneaks in at number 10.

9: Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card’s book finally makes it to the big screen.  If falls to number 9 since I think this is a hard book to convert to a movie with all the internal monolog of Ender, plus they need to find a ton of good child actors.

8: R.I.P.D.

This is a movie about the Rest In Peace Department, a group of dead cops that move people and monsters to the other side.  I am hoping that Jeff Bridges can make Ryan Reynolds tolerable.

7: Thor: The Dark Worlds

A sequel to Thor with the Dark Elves? Yes Please, and Disney/Marvel hasn’t let us down so far.

6: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I loved the books and was caught off guard when the first movie was as good as it was.  I won’t be again, and I hope they keep the quality up.

5: Man of Steel

Zack Snyder (Watchmen and The 300) and Christopher Nolan (Latest Batman Trilogy) reboot Superman.  Warner Bros has a lot ridding on this, and the buzz has been very good.

 4: Iron Man 3

Marvel/Disney continues to make movies I want to watch, and adding Sir Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin sounds amazing.

3: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Here is hoping we get to see Smaug in this movie!  The Hobbit Trilogy rolls on.

2: Star Trek Into Darkness

The first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie was better then anyone expected, and now the hype is out of control for this second one. Please, Please be good, and oh yeah it has Benedict cumberbatch in it!

1: Pacific Rim

Guillermo Del Toro, Giant Monsters vs. Giant Robots, and Idris Elba!  Plus they beat the crap out of San Francisco.  I can’t wait,  I really need to build that time machine.  I ordered all the parts I just have put it together yet.

So that is my list tell me what you think or even add your own!