Bayonetta 2

It took me about 8 hours to finish Bayonetta 2 on Saturday. I wanted it to take longer. Plot-wise, It actually should have been shorter. Bayonetta herself seemed much softer in this game. Still a badass, but more emotionally tied to other characters than she even was to child Cereza in the first game. Her softening is likely due to the return of her memories. Now she has a close relationship with Jeanne (and extra fab wardrobe).

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In this adventure, the balance between Inferno and Paradiso has shifted. The demons employed by the witches turn against them and Jeanne gets dragged to Hell. Bayonetta has a limited window to save Jeanne’s soul before it’s devoured forever. So we’re battling angels AND demons this time around.

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These were two of the most fun demon battles. My favorite was the Alurana battle. She was a giant mantis with Jeanne’s soul dissolving in her abdomen. Once defeated, Jeanne’s soul is rescued, but her revival scene was anticlimactic. We ALMOST lost her! I spent most of the game on a quest to save her. I wanted more out of this huge scene before racing off to restore the balance of chaos.

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Bayonetta’s fashion is on point. I love her sleek, sophisticated new look. Her character really does seem to have evolved nicely as her relationships have developed, but I was confused by the return of Luka and Enzo. I get the Enzo is her informant/comic relief, but the Guido stereotype jokes are stale and Bayonetta doesn’t really need him to gather intel. He could be replaced by one line of dialogue. As for Luka, I don’t understand his role at all. In this game, he’s dressed like a cowboy and his relationship with Bayonetta has not evolved in the slightest. He appears when the childlike figure of Loki needs to be carted around, much like child Cereza in the first game. Beyond that, he serves no purpose. I would very much like it if he did not appear in the 3rd game.

IMG_7061I love the barrier breaking heart-shot too.

Bayonetta 3 will probably see the return of Loki/Aesir, likely some new irritating child figure and Balder for sure with another massive Balder battle like Bayonetta 1. I’m excited to see how Bayonetta further evolves in the next game and what new characters we might meet. I’m 100% sure they’ll be:

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Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+3 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
I’m making myself smarter by sharing my knowledge and exercising my skills more through a few gigs on Fiverr. You can have a custom haiku written for you for just $5 by an award-winning MFA poet. OR I’ll read your tarot cards!

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
I made sure I got at least 8 hours of sleep every night this week. I looked and felt so much more refreshed! The extra two hours of sleep a night also made me a little more pleasant to interact with.

-2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I got to the gym this week, but then had a pretty rough Thursday. I spent the day in ER with abdominal cramps so severe I could barely breathe. Long story short, I’m ok and it was nothing serious. Just some fun lady bits drama to keep an eye on. Definitely taking good care of myself and feeling better.

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+4 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I chose my charity to support this year! Notice the new widget on the top right of my homepage? I’ve joined the Extra Life fundraising community to help my local children’s hospital. Inspired by my day in the ER, seeing a lot of hurt or sick kids and worried parents holding it together like a miracle of modern psyche, It’s a ways off until my 24 hour Game Marathon on November 3rd, but I wanted to open up donations early. For the timeframe, I’ve set a pretty modest goal of $1,000. Hopefully I can raise that number before Game Day.

Alison Heller Extra Life Donation

Look for this logo and click to donate!

+3 Luck – Something good that happened this week
Why does every show for the year go on sale in February? I have no idea. But this week, I scored seats for the Smashing Pumpkins. Hopefully I can add a couple of Bush shows to the roster as well.

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+5 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
I have a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT: I got back my Federal tax return and paid off my student loan! That’s $150 a month I can now put toward getting my other debts paid off. There are few greater feelings than the weight of a debt lifting off your bank account.

It’s also the last Sunday of #NoSpendFeb and I have learned a ton this month. I cracked down, saved over $1000 this month (thanks in part to my tax return, but also to some budgeting acrobatics.) I’ll have a full report on the results of this amazing experiment on Friday. I’m stoked to share!

Lioness Oracle Tarot Interview

My latest tarot interview reads with one of my most beautiful tarot decks, the Lioness Oracle Tarot.

Tell me about yourself.
X of Wands
I possess the energy and strength to guide you through your commitments. I work hard and sometimes I take on too much. I’m all about fulfillment. I want to end cycles of ignorance and questioning through discovery and knowledge.

What are your strengths?
Temperance
I’m a calming presence. Much like my collage-style imagery, I combine resources to bring balance, healing and patience.

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Tell me about yourself.

What are your limitations?
Ace of Swords
I can only sharpen your blades of insight and clarity. It’s up to you to determine how to wield that power.

What are you here to teach me?
X of Cups
I want to help you learn the immensity of gratitude. The depth of emotional security and self love. And how to better love others.

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What are your limitations?

How can we best collaborate?
IX of Wands
Be disciplined in your practice and I will be a reliable, dedicated partner. Come to me with high vibes, positive energy and a thirst for wisdom. Through perseverance, we will master your tarot skills.

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How can we best collaborate?

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
VIII of Pentacles
You’ll feel secure in your skills. Grounded in wisdom and intuition. You will possess the resources you need to be a strong and successful reader. People will seek out your services. You could grow a stable schedule of clients and appointments.

Thoughts on Bayonetta

After a very intense Splatfest that resulted in a heartbreaking loss for Team Money💸👼🏻, I was ready to dive into something new. On Friday, Nintendo released Bayonetta 2 for Switch. The physical copy comes with a code for the first Bayonetta game so I figured this was a good time to give the series a go. Ryan sweetly picked me up a copy and my long weekend disappeared into Vigrid.

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First of all, this is not the kind of game I’m used to seeing on a Nintendo console. I wrote emails to Nintendo for MONTHS begging them to bring The Binding of Issac to 3DS. I always got the response that due to the religious themes and overtones of the game, they weren’t allowing it. That game is now out on both 3DS and Switch. In Bayonetta, you are literally a bad-as-fuck dark witch whose main goal is essentially to destroy God as well as all the angels and beings of light that may stand in your way. It’s brutal. It’s incredible!

I’m a big fan of the noir style of the game. Many cut scenes employ still frames of film scrolling by to help tell the story. There are a lot of sepia-toned flashbacks, black and white and red lipstick, and of course, gangsters and shady bartenders who might be devils. Rodin might be my favorite NPC.

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Bayonetta is on a mission to uncover her past as well a mysterious jewel called the Right Eye. On her journey, she fights all manner of cherubim and demi-dieties who hint at her impending role in the resurrection of Jubileus, The Creator. I did not immediately notice that her outfit is composed of her own hair, which she can also wield as a conduit to summon demons!. The hair dragon and hair raven were two of my favorite manifestations.

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Of course, the game is deeply sexy, but Bayonetta is always in full control of her sexual agency, which I really appreciate. She’s not there to be sexy for the male characters; she’s there being sexy for herself and kicking angel ass. It’s so refreshing to play a female protagonist who is so unapologetically feminine and fearless. Aside from her gun-heeled stilettos, she keeps her outfit changes in a compact and fires her lipstick like a bullet to finish a critical battle near the end of the game. So empowering.

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I played through this game with my jaw on the floor mostly. The innuendo. The violent and graphic destruction of angelic beings. Bayonetta’s nudity every time she summons another hair demon. This has to be my favorite scene of all time.

It never gets old and I cannot stop watching it! Bayonetta is the witch I’ve always wanted to be. How did I not play this game sooner? I’m looking forward to playing Bayonetta 2 this week. Until Then, don’t ever forget these immortal words of wisdom:

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Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+3 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
On Monday night, I took a hand lettering class at Craft Jam. Since I’ve been diligently working on my planner/bullet journal, I wanted to learn some new skills to turn my doodles into something slightly more artistic. The class was filled with a bunch of kick ass creative women and for 2 hours we learned some of the basics of lettering design. Such a blast! Can’t wait to take the full 3 sessions course in the future.

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
I got a free sample of L’Oreal Elvive leave in conditioner from Influenster. I’ve never used a leave in conditioner. Curly hair is super temperamental and any change to my routine, products or the weather can send my hair into revolt. But I tried it out on a day when I had 0 plans in case of disaster. The results have honestly been pretty great. My hair is SO much more hydrated and incredibly soft. Curls are always thirsty so they’re definitely appreciating this new treat.

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+4 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
This week I faced a FEAR – I recorded a video! I’ve never been comfortable on video. As part of my new role at work, I need to position myself as a thought leader. While I can eloquently write stories and create presentations, giving a presentation is another beast. But I recorded a video presentation where I walk through some strategies I developed around impending changes to Facebook. And people are loving it!

-2 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
There was a lot of funky energy this week. In Inception, when your subconscious starts to realize the dream isn’t real, the people in the dream start to get a little unfriendly, giving nasty looks and sometimes getting hostile. That’s what this week felt like. People who are usually friendly were standoffish, Ryan and I fought a lot over stupid shit just to hear ourselves yell (he shockingly handled it WAY better than I did). But you know what they say – If you keep running into assholes, you’re probably the asshole.  I put up some walls and heightened expectations for other people, so of course I felt a funky energy. I was the one attracting it!

+5 Luck – Something good that happened this week
Lots of great things happened this week. My best friends got me sweet valentine’s treats- Glux got me a chocolate cupcake from Sprinkles and Tony got me a box of decadent, heart shaped chocolates 😋 AND I got my lease renewal from the landlord with the most anticipated news of any New Yorker’s year: “what’s my unjustified rent increase?” IT’S ZERO, BABY!

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-2 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
#NoSpendFeb didn’t go so great this week. I hit my savings goals, but I went a little overboard celebrating Valentine’s Day with fancy shots. Celebrating friends is always worth it though. Especially when you get to give her her first blowjob. Then I spent $300 on Depeche Mode tickets because seeing the biggest band in the new wave movement of the 80s and 90s ir a once in a lifetime thing. Then Muldoon had his annual physical at the vet on Friday, which included blood work, stool work, nails, ears and teeth, and his bordetella vaccine. That ran me $398 😱 I mean, when you have a dog though, taking care of him becomes a necessary expense. And it’s only a once-a-year kind of expenditure. I’d do anything to keep him happy and healthy.

This weekend, I kept things very very low key to make up for that spending. I should also be getting my tax return soon to bolster my savings and pay down my debts. Hopefully next Sunday I’ll have the exciting update I’m waiting to break!

Favorite Places: Coney Island Brewery

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Since we’ve reached peak craft brewing in this country there aren’t many breweries left where you can feel like a regular or enjoy truly exciting beers. But in a world of IPAs akin to kiddie rides, Coney Island Brewery has earned their hashtags #TakeTheRide and #ThrillYourTastebuds.

On a typical Saturday in summer, you can find me wandering between the brewery and the Freak Bar, sipping beers, emphatically cheering on the sideshow and talking to freaky new friends. Even on winter weekends it’s nice to escape to a place that feels so much like my childhood home in Wildwood, NJ.

Coney Island Brewery Black Lager

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I’m a big fan of their quirky and creative events. In the summer, they host big happenings and can releases at least once a month. My favorite last year was the Cotton Candy Festival. The Cotton Candy Kolsch is one of my favorites so I had to pick up some cans to bring home.. Not too sweet, but perfect for a summer afternoon.

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The Brewery’s Birthday Bash in August was also a total blast. Sideshow performers hung out and did their acts among the crowd Adam Realman, my sideshow professa from Sideshow School 2012, ripped a deck of playing cards in HALF and made my boyfriend bleed trying to replicate that feat of strength.

We spent Super Bowl VII with CIB at Kitchen 21, enjoying our favorite craft beers as the Eagles historically won their first Lombardi. Most recently, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with an excellent beer and chocolate pairing.

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Freak Show Saturdays are a great opportunity to get freaky with flavors. As CIB describes their Randall infusions:

Every Saturday a new, mad, reckless experiment in beer science will be conducted in our taproom as we infuse one of our styles with a new ingredient.

Think NY Honey Stout infused with Cafe Grumpy espresso beans, our Merman NY IPA blasted through two chambers of whole cone Mosaic hops, or perhaps Mermaid Pilsner infused with lemon starburst?

As someone who is routinely drawn to events to try their newest releases and limited editions, this is a kryptonite that guarantees I have plans every Saturday!

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It’s no surprise I’ve been a member of the Beer Freak Club since last year. I’m only one punch away from the mug club and definitely on track to score one of those BEAUTIFUL Beast Stainless Steel Growlers only the freakiest fans earn.

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NYC Beer Week is coming up fast and I’ll be checking out a couple of spots. I’ll definitely be at the kick off party at the brewery next Sunday. Then March 1, I’ll be hanging out for a while at the Brazen Fox. I love when CIB comes to my neighborhood! Who else is coming out?
beer week

Book Report: Fire and Fury

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I’ll be honest. There were only two factors that drove me to purchase this book.
1) The hype surrounding what was seemingly a damning, spare-no-soul expose on the Trump administration.
2) Trump tried to stop the book’s release, so buying it felt like a small, personal protest.

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It was sold out all over the city. No one had it. As much as I hate to buy books from ANYWHERE over The Strand, I had to turn to Amazon. Even that took weeks, but at least I could read the first chapter online.

This was probably the most intriguing part. Bannon is painted as a comical, hog-like bureaucratic villain, a puppetmaster pulling all the strings behind Trump’s back who doesn’t realize he’s on strings as well. He’s instantly love/hateable and becomes the key figure throughout the book. Yes. It’s more about Bannon than it is about Trump.

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Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is like Mean Girls with politicians. It’s by far the cattiest snarkfest I’ve ever forged through in my life. I want to believe the accounts detailed in the book are true, but the tone and overwhelming hearsay undermine the credibility of the story and make me seriously incredulous. This is not to say I have an inkling of fondness or support for Trump. His presence actually nauseates me.

Wolff counters Trump’s simple-mindedness and lack of intellect with dense prose and winding sentence structures almost as difficult to untangle as the incompetence of this administration. I have an MFA in poetry writing, a medium in which you can pretty much make up whatever grammar rules you please, and I was shocked by Wolff’s comma fetish. He sometimes employed them to draw out sentences for than a third of the page long. Needless to say, it’s a taxing read that requires long stretches of silence and concentration.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear litany. Chapters are more episodic; each one attacks a different person or situation. The most often chided scapegoats are Kushner and Bannon. Wolff skirts around Ivanka. She is given nearly no autonomy or agency, almost always referred to as “daughter” or “wife,” despite Wolff’s suggestions that she is the strongest not-so-secret influence on her father. It seems like there’s a much more interesting story behind Ivanka than any of the other crew, but we never find out what’s lurking behind her polished facade.

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It’s not so much that damning expose I was promised as much as it is a comedy of errors chronicling one circus’ sheer incompetency. You could probably get the same tired gossip from Stephen Colbert’s Our Cartoon President. Overall, there was short-lived satisfaction in purchasing the book in protest, but actually reading it is just more cruel subjection to the same exhausting punishments we’re living every day. You’re not going to learn anything new and you’re just going to end up frustrated, bored and depressed.