Wednesday December 12, 2018
Book 19: A Function of Firepower — Part I
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Ralph Breaks the Internet

Up until about a third of the way through the film, Ralph Breaks the Internet had me worried. It wasn’t doing anything new, and the conflict was a pretty soft one, and I was afraid the film wasn’t going to give us anything like the joy¹ we got from Wreck-It Ralph.

And then it got better. Lots better. We’ve known for years that Princess Vanellope is technically (and literally, and actually) a Disney princess. Disney owned this, and went on to own (and give themselves a good roasting for) all the associated princess tropes they’ve built during the last eighty years.

Snippets of the “princesses” scene have appeared in trailers, but the full scene takes it further. And then Disney doubled-down on it, and gave Vanellope a very, VERY Disney Princess moment of her own.

Speaking of trailers, there’s a trailer for the film which features a mobile game called “Pancake Milkshake.” I felt just a little robbed when that scene didn’t appear in the film, but then I sat through the credits and let’s just say that if you feel robbed about that kind of thing you should sit through all the credits too.

Ralph Breaks the Internet clears my Threshold of Awesome, and is going to be on my must-buy list when the Blu-Ray is available.


¹ Wreck-It Ralph also gives us a master class in how to unflinchingly bottom out the protagonist during that moment when they do the wrong thing by trying to do the right thing. I still cry when Ralph smashes that car.
² The comparison between this sequel and the sequel to The Incredibles is a stark³ one. With Ralph I felt like there was serious risk of Disney letting us down, but they knocked it out of the park. I felt like Disney/Pixar had an easy win with The Incredibles II, but they managed to foul out.
³ If I were the sort of person to make pop culture puns I’d say the comparison goes beyond being merely stark, and heads into the territory of Eddard Stark, but I’m not that sort of person⁴.
⁴ Because footnotes don’t count. 

 

Shop Schlock Mercenary for the Holidays

The Schlock Mercenary store¹has sections for sale-priced merchandise, and clearance items. Either category (or perhaps both!) may help you meet your holiday shopping needs. Of note, the Planet Mercenary RPG is currently discounted to just $40. It includes over 200,000 words of encyclopedic in-universe information that you can enjoy without doing any role-play at all.

We also have Mystery Boxes for just $25, each of  which is guaranteed to have $70 worth of merchandise contained within.

Place your orders by December 18th in order to ensure delivery in time for an under-the-tree presentation² here in the United States. International orders should be placed sooner, and the deadline is more difficult to pin down.


¹ If you’ve shopped with us in the past you may notice that the new storefront³ lacks Schlock Mercenary branding. We’ve changed storefront providers, and haven’t yet applied any window-dressing. Rest assured that this is our store, though.
² We’re talking about a Christmas tree, but other trees will work. Or no trees. Delivery will be in time for you to place your gift wherever you’d like its recipient to find it on Christmas Day.
³ Changing technology (and delays in its implementation) necessitated a move from Volusion, our host for over a decade, to Shopify. We’re quite happy with our new home at Shopify, and plan to decorate it soon⁴.
Soon (adverb): “eventually”

 

Every Day is Thanksgiving Here

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US, a holiday one might describe as a celebration of plenty through ritualistic overconsumption. In that light I’d be sending the wrong message if I said that every day is Thanksgiving at my house.

Less cynically, Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude through ceremonial indulgence, but okay, that’s not less-cynically enough, so I’m going to back all the way out of that and try an approach that doesn’t have quite so much stuffing in the mostly-metaphorical poultry carcass.

Here in our home we are aware, every day, of the blessings that you, our readers, patrons and friends, provide for us. We say “thank you” so much that we worry the meaning may have bled out of those words. We don’t want them to sound rote, but we can’t not keep saying them.

We just closed a Kickstarter which bears witness in a numerical way of the support for which we’re thankful. With every update to that project we expressed thanks, and every time we did so we had the aforementioned concern that maybe we were saying it too much, or incorrectly.

Those are risks we’ll take, because the alternative—not saying thank you at all—simply will not do.

Thank you! Yes, we DO think this every day, and we say it as often as occasion permits. Today we’ll be overeating and relaxing with extended family, and the only work I’ll do is this blog post, and it just now occurred to me that I cannot recall many instances in my previous career in which  the public expression of sincere thanks was part of the job.

So thank you for putting me to work in a field where gratitude is a required part of the mind set. It feels good to be grateful, and better to say it.