Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Extra Life 2014

Every year my buddies at Power-Ups Not Included participate in a charity event called Extra Life. For those of you who have no idea what this is all about, here's the rundown. 
Extra Life is an annual event where gamers pledge to play games for twenty-four hours straight to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Each player calls for friends and family to make donations through email, social media and word of mouth. Started in 2008, Extra Life has raised millions for children's hospitals. Last year they raised four million dollars!

This year I decided to participate and see if I could raise money for my local children's hospital. Though you don't absolutely have to stay up and play for twenty-four hours, my friends always take the challenge and I didn't want to fall short on my first year. So I got some drinks and snacks together, shipped the kids off to different locations for the weekend (grandparents), had my games ready and set out to raise some dough!

My goal was to raise two hundred dollars. The plan was to start on Friday night and finish up on Saturday night, a bit ahead of my PUNI friends' schedules. I started out around 6:30pm by playing Wartune online. I had just started a new server and was making some good friends in my guild. Next, I played World of Warcraft for a bit. When my body was tired of sitting and staring at my computer, I decided to go fire up the Wii. I played Wii Sports Resort for a bit and actually had some of the best gaming I've ever had on that game. I murdered my previous score in Frisbee Dog!

Soon enough, I was ready to switch it up again. I tried to play Dragon Age 2 on the PS3 but I was still towards the beginning and it was so much dialogue. Blah, blah, blah, that was trying to put me to sleep! I swigged a gross tasting five hour energy drink and moved on.
I went back to my PC and played Wartune on a different server for a bit. Then I figured I'd play some League of Legends. Now LoL is a fun game, don't get me wrong, but I really suck at it. That's one of those games that I play for fun but have no expectations at all of doing well. Unless, I'm drinking, then I'm decent at it. 

As night became day, sleepiness began tapping my shoulder. I ignored it. I took some caffeine pills at some point. Then, only a little over an hour later, I drank another energy drink, completely forgetting until afterwards that I'd just have caffeine pills. Big mistake. After hours of PC gaming, it was time to switch up again. I could have spent most of my time on the PC but my ADD wouldn't have it. I played a few games on my phone, all the while beginning to feel sicker and sicker. The caffeine overdose really started kicking my butt. I felt sick for the rest of the day and well into the night. But I kept going. Small trash can at the ready, stomach groaning and bitching, I was determined to push through and finish my first year, even if I had to puke and game simultaneously for the last five hours!

Sitting and playing on my phone had my eyes drooping so I switched up again and played a board game with my husband: Trouble. I honestly can't even remember who won but the competition of a live gamer right there woke me up. After that it was back to the ol' PC to wrap it up. I called on some friends and we played a few games of League of Legends. They even helped me improve on my game some, bless their dear hearts. I need all the help I can get!

Unfortunately, after my time was up, sleep didn't want to take me completely. After three hours of dozing I was back up feeling sickly so I decided to hop back online and support the team members who were still gaming. 

In the end, I raised one hundred and fifty-one dollars. It was actually way more than I expected! I'm really grateful to everyone who supported me as I gamed by donating, sharing my posts and cheering me on. This was one hell of an experience that I hope I can do again. 

When the day was done, our team, PUNI, raised three thousand, one hundred and seventy-five dollars for children's hospitals. All Extra Lifers raked in over five million, six hundred thousand dollars! And even better, donations can still be made until the end of the year. Please consider donating if you haven't already. It's for a worthy cause. 

See, gamers are awesome people after all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Books That Should Be Movies Pt. 1

We all know that Hollywood has run out of ideas. I mean, their about to redo Ghostbusters. The time for original thinking has passed. Turning to books has become popular but unlike everyone else, I recommend turning to older books instead of those that just came out. I hate it when they're already starting a movie series based on a book series that isn't even completed yet. That's exactly how a lot of anime series go horribly wrong.

Anywho, when it comes to children's books, I think the best series to make the leap to the big screen should be Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence. These five books are a fun fantasy read that I could see as epic movies. If they're told right. And if they're told in order. I actually think that if Disney took the initiative, they could make some real masterpieces. I could even see Peter Jackson directing. 

I would so pee myself in excitement if these wonderful books were ever made into screenplays but I'll say right now that there are definitely things that should NOT be done when prepping these bad boys for Hollywood. 

Do not:
1. Make the children older. Back in 2007, Fox made the mistake of trying to make the second book in the series into a movie entitled The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. This was a horrific failure. They literally stabbed my childhood in the heart by taking a huge shit on a Newbery Honor winning book. Of the hundreds of problems with that movie, the one I will touch on here is the fact that they changed the main character's age. He's supposed to be just turning eleven. In the movie, he is turning fourteen.
A teenager has a completely different view of the world than a pre-teen does. These books are about children, not horny kids who see every member of the opposite sex as a potential girlfriend/boyfriend. The innocence of childhood is actually pretty relevant to the stories. Don't mess with that.
2. Skip books in the series. Thanks Disney for screwing up the Chronicles of Narnia movies by skipping books. Just because said books didn't involve the characters that you deem most important, doesn't mean you can just pretend they aren't there. It was the chronicles of NARNIA not the chronicles of four siblings. 
Don't skip Over Sea, Under Stone just because it doesn't involve Will Stanton and is aimed at a younger audience. The Drew children are relevant to later books.

3. Make them American. Don't even think about it. That crappy movie from 2007 did this. Locations in the UK become important in later books so don't screw with this. Also, English kids are so cute. 
  3. Cut corners. Don't leave out huge chunks of the story because filming them would be a pain. If it would take two and a half hours to tell the story right, then that's how long it needs to take. Don't get slack on the funds because if done right I believe that these could be serious box office cash cows. Don't make every scene involving magic on a computer. When Merriman and Will jump off a cliff and dive deep into the ocean, let's not make that entire scene CG. Part of it, sure, fake bubbles would be cool looking of course. Use real actors people, that's what they're paid for. 

4. Make a completely different story out of it. Please don't do this. A few changes here and there are always going to happen, I know, but these books wouldn't have won awards if they weren't excellent stories. There is a scene in The Dark Is Rising where Will discusses religion with a priest very briefly. Knowing how sensitive some Christians can be, I'd leave that out (cause some people are on the lookout for things to boycott) but I honestly can't think of any other situations that would really offend anyone so I see very little that should be changed. 
And to those Christians reading this, don't get offended. There are fanatics in every religion. I read these books as a child would, seeing only magic and wonder. I don't over analyze children's books. To this day, I haven't told my children about the religious parallels in The Chronicles of Narnia. It's just a story about a magical world and a friendly lion. 
The conflict here is between the Light and the Dark, two outside forces that try to manipulate people based on the good and evil already in their hearts. Deities have nothing to do with it. 

To conclude, I think that if someone took the initiative and wrote some decent screenplays based on this series, the film industry could have some real box office jewels that could become instant classics in family entertainment. I know I'd be happier than a pig in shit.