Welcome to my new series on the TSR blog called Puck’s Musings. This is where I basically talk about whatever comes to mind. The main goal of this article, and of the miscellaneous category, is to have a sort of coffee shop feel to it where you can just sit back and relax while reading these articles. Have any suggestions for future topics you’d like to me to talk about? Hit me up in chat. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
If you aren’t already aware yet, the trailer for Fast & Furious 9 – more simply known as F9 – is out. The trailer was apparently supposed to air during the Super Bowl, I guess, but that didn’t happen. Not that I saw at least.
In any case, I’ve always been a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise. The early movies were what made me fall in love with super cool and sexy sports and muscle cars. You’ve got gorgeous women, fast cars, street racing and interesting story plots. What’s not to like about it, right?
However, since Fast Five, I would the franchise has turned much more to high stakes action, where you can essentially bend the laws of physics and most people wouldn’t bat an eye. As long as it still includes the main themes of fast cars, sexy women, and street racing, it’s all good in the hood, right?
Now, I know that some people would complain about the franchise deviating from street racing, saying that the plots don’t make sense anymore, and the characters are way too overpowered. I actually would concur for the most part. I disagree that there’s no street racing. However, from watching the Fast & Furious 9 trailer, the plot has gotten a little farfetched, especially with the unexpected return of Han. Han is a fan favorite played by Sung Kang.
Now, the rest of what I’m about to say about Han is kind of a spoiler alert especially if you have never watched Tokyo Drift before. If you haven’t, please avoid the next paragraph and watch it, then come back. Also, if you have never seen any of the Fast & Furious movies, I highly recommend watching.
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Those who have seen Tokyo Drift, you and I both saw Han’s car over in the middle of the road with gas leaking out. Just before the camera panned out, Han was clearly bleeding and in some pain. He was also very, very screwed, as we were certain that that was going to be the end of Sung Kang’s character. With the explosion that followed, that had to be it!
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I will say this. The creators of the franchise have brought people from the dead before, so on that note, Han’s return shouldn’t really be too surprising. I am really curious, though, as to how this movie will explain how Han is still in alive.
All that said, I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s going to be another action-packed movie. It’s going to be the second movie without the long-deceased Paul Walker (RIP), third if you count Hobbs & Shaw. It’s going to feature a new antagonist by the name of Jakob, played by John Cena. All plot logic in this franchise is going to be thrown out the window so if you expect to understand what the hell’s going on, don’t! Just enjoy the ride and the crew kicking ass once again!
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I want to preface this by saying I watch the Super Bowl every year, starting maybe five years ago or so. Every year, I also watch the halftime shows, which I haven’t minded for the most part. I’d always thought the performances were just okay. Last year’s act with Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and probably one other rapper I don’t remember was pretty bad. Now, I’m not trying to crap on Maroon 5 as a band. They’re actually pretty good. I’ve listened to a few of their songs. Their live performance though that year was not great. I’m not going to even comment on the other two artists because I don’t listen to very much hip hop or rap.
This year’s halftime show featured Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, as well as J. Balvin and one other Latino artist. I have to say. I was impressed. First off, did they lip sync? Maybe. Yes, they did. However, their performance was very culture appropriate. Was it sexy? Yes, absolutely. However, it was also vibrant and full of life. There were cultural dances and representations from both of their backgrounds. Shakira showed off both her Columbian and Lebanese side. I also literally found out about her Lebanese side through Twitter. Lopez showed her Puerto Rican heritage, even raising the flag at some point. There was a lot of cultural vibrance, and I loved it.
I was poking around on Twitter seeing what people were saying about the halftime, and to no one’s surprise, some people weren’t happy about it. There were lots of tweets, responses, and a few articles put up by journalists saying that both artists’ clothing were too risqué.
Here’s my response to that. So the eff what? I get the need to censor certain things that would be inappropriate for children, but there are so many worse things going on in the world right now. This is what some people want to be concerned about? There are numerous TV shows and movies out there that show sex, drugs, and violence. I’m sure most kids have seen a whole bunch of things they shouldn’t have that they’re used to it by now. News flash: our minds are going to be corrupted eventually. That’s just how life works.
Now, getting back to the whole thing with Shakira and J-Lo? That’s nothing, at least compared to the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction from years ago. Neither of their breasts were fully exposed. No one saw their vaginas. So, what if they showed a little skin? You don’t think high school cheerleaders do the same thing? Or even NFL cheerleaders?
I really don’t understand why some people complain about the things they do. Again, I understand the whole thing about needing to be “age-appropriate”, but if the NFL truly wanted to be “age-appropriate” maybe they shouldn’t have booked two feminine artists who clearly wanted to express themselves and their roots through their music. End rant.
The first news of the new coronavirus surfaced about mid-to-late January, almost heading into the Chinese Lunar New Year. It originated from Wuhan, which is the capital city of Central China’s Hubei province. Evidently, supermarkets had been selling wild animals, including bats, along with produce. There was even a tweet that surfaced showing a table at a restaurant being served a bat with their soup and other foods.
According to the Washington Post, there have now been 3,887 additional cases and 65 new deaths in Mainland China, bringing the totals to more than 24,000 with more than 3,000 of them critical. Mainland China now has reported 492 coronavirus deaths. Two others have died in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
U.S. officials have quarantined nine people since strict travel restrictions came into effect Sunday. Wisconsin confirmed its first coronavirus patient, bringing the number of known U.S. cases to 12. Hong Kong will enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine arriving from mainland China, including foreigners and its own residents.
Taiwan has expanded travel restrictions to include all Chinese citizens living in mainland China and has raised an “amber outbound travel alert” warning their citizens against traveling to Hong Kong and Macao. According to a Chinese disease expert, containing the virus and number of infections could take up to six weeks.
This is a very tense time for travel in the world, especially to and from mainland China and other Asian countries. I don’t know what the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus is, other than that if you know someone who has traveled from Wuhan, China, you should let them know that they need to have their health checked immediately. Whether or not this is more dangerous than the flu, I have no idea. But the numbers don’t lie. I hope everyone stays safe.
The Last of Us Part II Finally Rated
I don’t know how many people reading this are into gaming, but the PlayStation 4 exclusive The Last of Us Part II has finally been rated. It has been rated M for blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language, and use of drugs. For those who’ve played games like Grand Theft Auto, Mafia III, and other mature games, this is nothing for you. However, Naughty Dog -- which produced The Last of Us, the Uncharted series, Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, along with other games -- has never been known to add more than violence in their games. Even The Last of Us, my favorite game of all time, only included everything except sex and drugs.
The Last of Us Part II is exciting for me, personally. A few years ago, I’d stumbled upon the original while searching through Let’s Plays on YouTube. I needed a game to get into. Now, The Last of Us was originally released in 2013 for the PS3. By the time I even found out about it, it had already won multiple Game of the Year Awards. Seeing that so many people were on the hype train, I joined in as well. Best decision I’d ever made (aside from getting into hockey).
The Last of Us isn’t your average zombie apocalypse game where you’re trying to avoid getting your brains eaten out. As a matter, they’re not really “zombies”. Naughty Dog calls them the Infected. The virus outbreak in this case is based on a real-life parasitic fungus called CBI, or Cordyceps Brain Infection.
For this virus, there are four stages of the infection: Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, and Bloaters. Runners are infected people trying really hard to resist the fungal infection. Stalkers are the stage between Runners and Clickers, where fungus is starting to take over the brain even more. The Clicker stage is when the fungus has fully taken over the brain. The human face has essentially been split in half by the fungus, rendering it blind. As a result, Clickers rely on echolocation as it makes a clicking sound. Hence the name. Finally, the Bloater stage results when the cordyceps fungus has fully taken over the body. The fungus acts as armor for protection.
Aside from the Infected, there are other antagonists as well, such as hunters and the military. Though for some gamers, the controls have been known to be clunky, I haven’t had an issue with it. The gameplay is fantastic. The emotional storyline is very riveting, starting off with a tearful bang just a couple minutes in.
From all accounts, Part II is slated to be the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever taken on in its history. It’s supposedly more emotionally draining, more beautiful with nature taking over, and even scarier with more types of enemies including a new stage in the infection. It was originally scheduled to be released February 21, 2020 (so this month as of typing this blog post). However, it got pushed back to May 29, 2020.
Again, I don’t know if there are any gamers reading this, but I’m super excited for this game. I’ve been waiting on a sequel for years since they first announced it. I can’t wait to watch people play the full game, and I can’t wait to play it myself!
PS5 Reveal Coming Soon?
Regarding PlayStation, the PS5 reveal may be coming soon. Sony has launched the PS5 website, only providing fields for an email address and birthday. To me, this definitely does signal a potential reveal coming either in the coming weeks or next month. A lot has been made about Sony’s next generation console. The PS5 has been confirmed for release during the holiday season in 2020. I look forward to seeing more news about it.
I hope you guys enjoyed the debut of Puck’s Musings. I talked about a lot, including Fast & Furious, the halftime show, the coronavirus, and video games! By the way, I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, so I am kind of bummed that the 49ers lost.
However, I am not fully knowledgeable about football enough to really talk about the game, other than to say they blew a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter. Head coach Kyle Shanahan should have had them run the ball.