Now that's perhaps one of the finest examples of spiritual guidance I have ever had the good fortune to witness... That was one of the finest examples of spiritual guidance I've ever had the good fortune to witness.

Lets do some gratuitous violence.

-Murphy MacManus, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

And before I forget, to all my manic hispanics out there: ¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!


As far as All Saints Day goes, I've no idea what it actually is. But I do like the movie The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. And I love the character Romeo, the Mexican who is always in his feelings and drives an interesting VW Beetle. "This ain't rocket surgery!" You can see Clifton Collins Jr. in other movies, like he is the very serious character in Tigerland from Lousiana (and yes, it was a real military where the U.S. Army had trained for The Vietnam War). But I forget what other movies he has been cast in.



I had met Norman Reedus once, in Novi, Michigan. It was actually at Motor City Comic Con, and he was hungover and a few hours late. It didn't matter, I waited in line with my friends who were hell bent on meeting the man and getting his autograph because they were so into The Walking Dead. He's a small guy. He reminds me a bit of a rockstar, but I imagine that comes with the territory of having a supermodel from the 90's as your baby mama. And he's small in stature, but genuinely he was a friendly and nice guy. He didn't turn anyone away. Now I'll have to find the photos of him that I took to post on here somewhere, some time. I only remember I went to that comic con event because I wanted to meet Edward James Olmos, and I did. I even had a photo of him. The money he had collected for photo opportunities and/or autographs he had donated to a non-profit that involves clean rivers and water. I also had met his son, Bodie Olmos. I liked Olmos (both of them) because he was cast as Admiral William "Bill" Adama in Battlestar Galactica. His son had a role as well, playing a pilot with the call name "Hotdog", Brendan Constanza. Another cool thing, Edward James Olmos followed me on twitter. The dude is a real class act and amazing actor.

At other cons I had met Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, Aquaman), and he is fucking awesome and has a great sense of humor. Then Lena Headey, the british actress who is Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones signed a photo for me with my moniker 9thninja. I met the legendary Stan Lee, creator of Marvel comics. The list goes on, but I digress.

Halloween was uneventful. In my neighborhood, from what I witnessed, only teenaged kids were out trick-or-treating. And some of my neighbors set up their small tables and sat out there for two hours.

Best Halloween Public Safety Announcement known to date:


Remember how back in the day, there were always those public service announcements warning parents to check their children's candy before distributing it? Parental units were meant to check for razor blades stuck in the middle of apples and poisoned candy. Or was it cocaine-laced candy? Statistically, now officials admit it wasn't actually the people in neighborhoods giving away candy that were trying to kill all the children; it was their own family. Last week on Channel 95.5 (a Detroit radio broadcast channel) one of the D.J.s told the story about how a parent had found a baggie with three round white pills and two blue football shaped pills (come on people, you knew you were already thinking it: that was oxycodone and Xanax). I guess the kid had gone to a friend's Halloween party, and picked that up in the bowl. What that tells me is someone accidentally left their newly acquired substances in the candy bowl. Perhaps it fell out of a sleeve or hand. But I'm willing to wager they were pretty bummed out. I wonder how you tackle that whole conversation?

As for Día de los Muertos, something that truly irks me is when people collect and display sugar skulls year-round. Because they typically have no idea what it represents, and it's insulting to a culture most apparently seem to not understand. All because they think it looks cool. And I've seen people get overly obsessed with collecting them? Why? Someone please fill me in or give your opinion. My inquiring mine would love to know.

I wish I had made a Halloween post, but I didn't. When I was a kid I always loved the idea behind Halloween. I actually think it was one of my more favorite marketed holidays. Maybe because to me it represented getting to be someone else for a day. And wearing a mask so no one could see my face or actual emotions. And to be fair, the monsters of Halloween were far less scary than the monsters in my daily reality.

Plus you could always dance to Thriller.

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Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith. For without fear of the devil there is no need for God.

-Sir Sean Connery

Rest In Peace, Sir Sean Connery. And I raise a shaken, not stirred, martini in your honor as the legendary actor of James Bond. And you were also King Arthur and Indiana Jones' father.


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I thought you were a veteran?

-The Mandalorian

I've been a lot of things since. Most of them carry a life sentence.

-Cara Dune

You might all be surprised to know that I woke up at 3 A.M. Eastern Standard Time U.S. to watch The Mandalorian season 2 stream on Disney Plus. Perhaps I should be up front and say this now, so everyone who reads this and is a fan of the series doesn't get heated...

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS




There, now that's out of the way, let's proceed, shall we? So yes I streamed The Mandalorian at 3:01 A.M. because it's been how many months since my last dose of Baby Yoda? Yeah, a few of you out there will grudgingly admit you did the same damn thing. You know how the saying goes about the pot and the kettle. Yeah. So don't judge.

The opening scene was Mando and Baby Yoda walking down what appeared to be a dark, faintly lit alley way of what reminds me of Detroit in space; there are broken, flickering street lights, graffiti painted on all the walls of every building, and unsavory beings around every corner. I'm not actually sure which planet it was, just that it was in the Outer Rim. There are some sort of red eyed creatures hiding in the darkness, watching every carefully treaded step. And of course Baby Yoda is cruising in his custom made pod that Kuill had designed then weld together, sadly before Kuill the Ugnaught's untimely demise. No one will ever again say in Nick Nolte's recognizable voice the way he had. Some people might think Star Wars is stupid, and admittedly even as a fan I can say some of the movies are very poorly written, however, if you pay attention and listen to the things some of the characters say you begin to realize that there are many insightful views that really make you think. And it's my opinion that Kuill was a character that helped make Mando see things in a different light. And Kuill helped Mando grow immensely.

So back to cruising Baby Yoda, in his pimped out pod. They meet up with a Twi'lek bouncer watching a back entrance door that leads to an underground fight. Patrons comprised of thieves, thugs, smugglers, gangsters and the like are cheering ringside, some agitated because their bet had gone sour. Gamorreans are fighting in a ring to the death. Mando is there to try finding other Mandalorians and the Jedi, perhaps even Baby Yoda's species. In this particular episode he wanted to find other Mandalorians, and after kicking a few asses when the character in question tries hijacking his beskar armor, he is told that there is a Mandalorian on Tatooine. Naturally people are going to think this is the infamous Boba Fett. But, it is not. It's a small time marshal played by Timothy Olyphant (Go, Gone In 60 Seconds, The Hitman, Deadwood (the television series) and Deadwood (the movie), who had acquired Boba's armor when he had bought it off of some Jawa's (the sand people) that had found him in the sand dunes.

Mando is cool and collected even in his anger that this marshal is an imposter, wearing Mandalorian armor he never earned himself. And the marshal smiles after strolling into the mining town's cantina doorway, asking for two cups and a bottle. Then tells Mando he had "never seen a real Mandalorian". Mando demands that the armor be given to him, the marshal is defiant. And before any sort of altercation occurs, a Krayt Dragon rolls right into town under the sand to fuck shit up and eat a bantha.

The marshal then agrees to give Mando the armor if he can help him kill the Krayt. Obviously this is a man who cares about his towns folk and believes in protecting his people, as noble as that is. Long story short, the mining towns people and the Tusken Raiders (who originally were not on good terms) come together and work with eachother toward reaching a common goal: to kill the Krayt.

I had no idea that Krayt Dragons just vomit like the exorcist when they want to disperse a huge crowd of people. Anyway Mando blew it up with a bantha that was wearing a suicide bomber jacket, essentially. And now everyone is happy. Yay.

Mando leaves Tatooine, and you see a recluse in the desert who had been watching this chain of events unfold (I know for damn sure there isn't a lot to do in the desert after a while to pass the time). And that man is, of course, Boba Fett. Or retired Boba Fett, rather. Following suit of Obi Wan Kenobi. GET YOUR OWN IDEAS BOBA!

I do love the series in the way that it brings those lessons about life and the insight we sometimes lack and need to be reminded of. And I do love the cuteness of Baby Yoda, most people do. Except now there are some crazy asses out there telling their significant others that they do not want to reproduce unless a small, big eyed and big eared little green baby with three-hands are the end result. But I digress. And I do think that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni (he actually drew the first concept of Baby Yoda) have been doing a superb, nay, exceptional job with this web series. Along with the directors Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow from the first season. It'll be interesting to see how this second season goes, and what direction the series takes us into. Hopefully there will be other reveals and things uncovered from Star Wars lore. And what other actors/actresses have been given guest roles?

And I whole-heartedly believe that Pedro Pascal nails it as Din Djarin, the Mandalorian. I have to throw in that I thought his acting in Game of Thrones was wicked, where he was Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper.


A special thank you to my friend Sheedo Magneto Esquire, fellow Detroiter and artist. He sketched the Boba helmet on the slap (postal sticker) and has given me permission to use it in this article and on my site. Check him out, his links are below:

Sheed's website: Sheedo Art

Sheed's IG: @sheedo_magneto

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Yeah the title has no relevance here. Well, except for maybe this one teeny-tiny useless piece of information concerning my own self. You see... I've always been among people who go absolutely crazy for a cannoli. It's a pastry; I keep thinking is that it's the Italian version of baklava (which when pronounced correctly by an Arabic speaker is "bak-lawa"). Just thought you might need to know that just in case, you never know when you'll need to know how to correctly say the name to a dessert. But back to my story...

So I always find myself in a group where people lose their shit over a cannoli. And I've had people always tell me that I should try one. That it is the absolute best thing ever invented, and "OH MY GOD YOU'LL LOSE YOUR F-ING MIND!!!" Alright, so finally I had one at Buddy's Pizza in Ann Arbor. This was a couple years ago. In hindsight perhaps it was not the most authentic place to consume a cannoli, but it's as close as one can get to Italy on a Sunday afternoon; they serve Detroit-style pizza, and a variation of pasta. Authentic-enough, right? I actually believe it was some holiday, and someone did not want to eat their miniature cannoli. This might rub some people the wrong way, but yeah, I'm not really a fan. Am I that one odd duck who isn't all about dessert? Possibly. Long story short, that's the end of my not-so-awesome experience. The title comes from The Godfather (1972). It always made me laugh because it was a very random thing for the character Peter Clemenza to say to another mafia henchman (mafioso). If you ever want to impress someone with trivial knowledge, Richard Castellano had improvised during the scene.




I might give it another go if I were back out in Seattle, Washington, at a restaurant called Shaker+Spear, located on 2000 2nd Avenue. I guess if you're in the northwest and decide you want a creative dessert, there you go. Wait, I guess I should be literal as some people are, and very much so. IF you're in Seattle, go there. Because if you're in Portland that's a long ass walk to get a cannoli. Or a very expensive Uber ride.


I only remember being very excited about finding a place to get fish and assorted other seafood near Pike Place Market, and that was because it was called Ivar's. And Ivar is the name of my American Pit Bull Terrier. Naturally I had to swipe some napkins with the name printed on them. It's the little things that make me smile. And speaking of which, Ivar's is having a Veteran's Day Promotion with free entrees.


The other day I decided to upgrade my World of Warcraft account with the upcoming new expansion, Shadowlands. I had also decided to make a new character to level up, mostly out of sheer boredom. I logged on to the Draenor U.S. server as my level 120 Horde Blood Elf Rogue, Sinapse, then noticed that Blizzard dropped the leveling cap back down to 50. So when Shadowlands does release, the players will have to level up to 60, rather than 130. I believe this was done in an effort to attract new subscribers, and to not overwhelm anyone who might be considering playing World of Warcraft after their buddies talk them into it. I do know that the leveling system, and how long it took, often discouraged new players. I think that may be one reason why Blizzard created the Classic World of Warcraft AKA Vanilla WoW (vanilla simply means old school) servers--creating a realm where new players and the OG players who missed the camaraderie involving guilds and group experiences could go escape from what they referred to as "retail WoW". Hate to break it to them, but either way it was retail. Because you were paying for vanilla and retail, couldn't have one without the other. But I digress.

So the changes that took place after last week's patch for the upcoming expansion left me unsettled. I didn't really have an opinion as to whether I loved or hated the direction the game is heading in. Honestly? At first I hated it. I created a new Alliance Worgen Rogue on the Bloodfurnace U.S. server (his name is Jacian), and as soon as he was created I was given a choice on where I'd like to have him assigned to. It used to be that Worgens were started off in Gilneas, which I could never stand. Those quests bored me to death. So I chose the new starting area. Apparently it's some sort of shipwreck island... thing. And I was pissed because Blizzard had made it so easy to level up quickly. And you could earn gold coins without much effort. The other thing that started to annoy me was all of the quick tutorial tips that kept popping up. But you might ask, 9thninja, man, why were you so pissed about a game? Because it took me eons to level up my Horde Blood Elf Rogue. And it took me forever to earn that first gold coin. New players will never feel the pain of running on foot to their quests and dungeons until level 40. And they'll never know the time consuming grind to get the gold to learn the Riding skill and to buy that first mount. Now they're practically given to you.

But I do see the point. And I understand why Blizzard did this.

One cool thing? I noticed that now I can fly in areas where I didn't have the flying skill previously. And that's making my character's life a bit less stressful. It's made earning a few achievements easier than ever before.

I wonder if Blizzard made bank due to Covid-19? I mean, with many states locked down earlier in the year and everyone staying home, did more people play? What do you think?

I know last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic again, partially due to The Mandalorian. And yes I was one of those nerds who decided that I should make a Bounty Hunter, and I was in a guild with other Mandalorian Bounty Hunters. I had leveled that character to the max. Then went back to playing a Sith Marauder and maxed his level. Because you know me... Jedi in the streets, Sith in the sheets. Rawr.

I cannot wait for the new season of The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda... rather The Child, and Mando are the best relationship I've seen in a while. The second season series premiere is October 30th, so get Disney+ and stream that ish.


Special Look | The Mandalorian | Disney+

Martini. Gin, not vodka. Obviously. Stirred for 10 seconds while glancing at an unopened bottle of vermouth.

Eggsy, The Kingsman: Secret Service (2014), schooling the bartender on the-one-and-only way to make a martini.

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 "Stay with me. If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled; for you are in Elysium, and you're already dead! "

Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the Armies of the North. General of the Felix Legions.

 

I thought I'd start with a quote from Gladiator, a movie I had thoroughly enjoyed by Sir Ridley Scott. Actually there are quite a few he had produced and directed that I instantly loved. I believe I picked this one due to the content being based around wars of past, and the veterans who had proudly served. Even from more recent wars of past, and veterans I had proudly served with. I wanted to have a blog post honoring veterans from the United States; and someone who I hold dearly in my heart suggested that I tell a tale that involves humor whilst honoring veterans of war. But I couldn't decide on stories from the Iraq War, or the campaign in Afghanistan. So this is something I will have to think upon, and decide which stories I can tell that will convey the personalities of the people in them. Some of these people were lost, sadly. And some I have lost touch with. But nonetheless every soldier deserves to be remembered; not as the boy who had enlisted after chomping at the bit, and not as the boys who thirsted for honor and glory; no, as the men they all had grown into. As the men who found themselves in that desert.

Apparently I have a lot of reminiscing to do. And honestly sometimes I don't like these little trips down memory lane. Then I'm reminded that it is a positive thing to be nostalgic, at least, here and there. This has all been jump started by DAV e-mailing me about a possible influencing campaign involving blog posts.

But what's going on right now? So I had spent some time in Dubai over my birthday, which is back in September. And after that I had returned home weeks ago because, well, honestly, 1) it was time. And 2) I had found a 6 year old Arabian mare for endurance events, but she was located in Kentucky. So I went and looked at her. The trip was uneventful for the most part, until the car that we all had traveled in decided to not start. All due to a fuel filter going sour, which was fine. I wasn't going to stress about it. It got resolved, however, the vehicle's owner was charged at least $600 more than they should've been. Again, not my place. But I did mention that they should call the corporate office of this huge auto repair company, as it's a chain in the United States. And the price should be uniform, not based on location. Or in this case, based on the fact that the mechanics assumed we were stuck (we weren't) and needed desperately to get home (which we did not). But nonetheless, it wasn't right and imagine had it been someone who was in a bind and needed to get home ASAP. And they really couldn't afford to be charged double. That really was unprofessional. Seriously, auto repair company I shall not name, not cool guys, not cool.

The thing that did pull on the heart strings a little bit was the fact that two southern folk actually offered us their truck to use--whether locally or to drive all the way back home to Michigan. Who does that? Surely not many people in the northern states would offer such a thing. But bless them, southern hospitality is a real thing. So my hats off to you, old southern gentleman and southern belle. You may have shown me that there is still hope for humanity after all. I should mention that I also met an Arabian gelding named Fly By who loves to show off. And I have a video of him doing just that, until he slipped and fell into the grass. Then he was embarrassed, which makes the video even better.

So in other words, Fly By crashed into the control tower. Haha!!!

This past weekend some friends of mine painted a mural in honor of Ria. I am thinking about asking Nathan if I can write an article about that and post some of the pictures taken. Phybr (he made one of the logos for my website), painted her face. I believe they added some of her cremated remains to the paint, so literally, she is part of the painting. It's really touching. I knew Ria, but I wasn't close to her. From the sounds of it, she was a pretty spectacular person. However this also reminds me that I need to write a tribute to a friend I considered family. It's been almost a year that Ekot passed, and I've not written anything about it. I know she would've loved to have heard about the horses. And would have wanted to have seen them. I miss her, truthfully.

There are so many things I need to do and write about. I just need to get off my ass and start. The procrastination needs to stop. Maybe I should go watch some youtube videos on ideas involving "How To Stop Procrastinating". It's not even that I am lazy, because, I'm not. I just need drive and motivation. Also, whilst you're there, why not subscribe and like my youtube channel?

Sigh.

Hopefully sooner than later.

 

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