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Theres something soothing about watching a bunch of vampires be absolute morons on television every week. Theyre undead, capable of incredible feats, dark magic, and, in most cases, have been alive for hundreds of years. They should possess at least a little more finesse than Michael Scott. And yet, the bloodsucking clowns of What We Do in the Shadows are so very bad at being immortal monsters, which means they are excellent at comedy.
FXs TV series, based on the Taika Waititi film of the same name, returned for a second season just as funny as ever. Like the movie, the show follows a trio of vampires this time, they live on Staten Island as opposed to the New Zealand of the films living together in a derelict old manor. Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) are hundreds of years old and also total dorks. Theyre bad at most things they do, but as long as they dont accidentally stumble into sunlight or fall on a wooden stake, theyll get over it. (It turns out, vampirism is a very potent form of failing upward.)
While this is extremely similar to the movie its based on, the TV version of What We Do in the Shadows fleshes out its mockumentary antics with a few additions to the formula: namely, a familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guilln) who serves them in hopes of becoming a vampire, and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), an energy vampire who looks normal but feeds off the ambient misery of everyone around him.
Colin and Guillermo are the reason What We Do in the Shadows works as a show, two regular-looking dudes juxtaposed against their goth reality show roommates that also have their own normcore sociopathic tendencies. Colin, in particular, gives the show a feeling very similar to The Office. As an energy vampire, he feeds off everyones annoyance and goes out of his way to be obnoxiously corny and irritating. (One very good Colin bit involves him incessantly saying updog as if it were a joke no one had ever heard before.)
Like the best work of show creator Jemaine Clement (who co-wrote the film with Waititi), theres a lot of fun to be had with taking the iconography of the occult and supernatural and putting them in front of the mundanity of the mockumentary. What happens when theyre haunted by a very petty ghost? Or deal with animal control when it captures one of them in bat form? Or accidentally get a pet zombie?
Watching What We Do in the Shadows is oddly cathartic while social distancing. Maybe its because the vampires of the show are also isolated in a fashion, unable to see the sunlight and absolutely kooky as a result. Maybe, What We Do in the Shadows argues, immortality wouldnt make you cool or fearsome, but instead really freaking weird. In that way, its kind of like watching a reality show about patently awful people. Maybe you have your flaws, but hey: youre not that bad!
If youve spent any of the last month on Twitter, the corniest social network, you might have noticed a meme going around where people ask each other to pick their preferred quarantine house. Simply put, the tweets list groups of people, real or fictional, and asks which set you would like to shack up with while social distancing. Like all bad memes, theres very little logic to them other than asking people to argue for the posters amusement, and this makes them consistently unfunny at least until the lists get so baffling that the meme loops around to becoming funny again.
Its a bad meme, but its one that feels appropriate for understanding why What We Do in the Shadows is so fun to watch. Like in this silly Twitter exercise, no one in their right mind would probably want to share a home with a bunch of vampires. But after watching What We Do in the Shadows, why not? It could be fun. I wouldnt recommend vampirism as a quarantine hobby, but being weirder? Sure. We could stand to be a little weirder.
The name Apocalypse should strike fear into heroes, both mutant and human alike. En Sabah Nur has even been known to face down the gods themselves. His notoriety and abilities areboth biological and technological. The despotic shepherd of evolution has displayed extraordinary power on countless occasions, befitting of his ominous and intimidating title. Unlike other evolutionary fanatics like The High Evolutionary, Apocalypse is far more hands-on-- he's more than happy to force his view of how life should progress with an iron fist.
With En Sabah Nur, it all comes down to his belief in the "Survival of the Fittest" mindset. If something is weak, it does not deserve to live to see the strong futurehe envisions. Given his own powers, abilities and natural acumen for all sorts of things, he certainly practices what he preaches. So, what exactly is it about Apocalypse that makes his genetic makeup so unique?Here's a look at his anatomy, which may glean some information about the villain's staying power..
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One of the technologies he is seen using the most is the armor he was given by the Celestials. This gave Apocalypse an amazing power spike, making him strong enough to go toe-to-toe with gods. In one such battle, Apocalypse ran afoul of a young, pre-Mjolnir Thor. With one headbutt, he forced the young god into retreatand Thor said he could feel that the blow almost broke his neck.
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Even before the Celestials appointed En Sabah Nur as their evolutionary agent, Apocalypse was immortal. One of the longest living mutants, Apocalypse benefits from a seemingly infinite lifespan via his mutations. This is likely a largecomponent of his "Survival of the Fittest" school of thought, as he presumes he will live through everything that comes to pass. It is important to note, however, that his immortality does not mean he is invulnerable.
Luckily for Apocalypse, his appointment as the agent of evolutionary change on the Celestials' behalf has afforded him a way to bolster his immortality. Should the villain take a lot of damage, his augmented body can enter a stasis that allows him to heal from injuries that may have otherwise stayed with him. This ability coupled with his natural healing factor makes sure he can return at full power whenever he is defeated.
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Apocalypse has had an interesting relationship with the techno-organic virus over his existence. Most infamously, he infected Cable with the virus, which became a part of the character's lifelong struggle and the diminishing of his power. He has also instructed his underlings to utilize the virus in other ways, like taking over spaceships and other technology. When Apocalypse made Angel into Archangel, his metal wings were made from similar techno-organic means.
On one occasion, Apocalypse's understanding of the virus allowed him to step in and help cure Professor Xavier of the affliction. While uncharacteristic of the villain, both he and the X-Men were in conflict with Stryfe at the time, so it is likely he saw value in having Xavier live. The final and most intriguing relationship En Sabah Nur has with the techno-organic virus is that it appears to revitalize him. On the rare occasion Apocalypse is killed, the virus appears to bring him back to life.
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Apocalypse isvery hard to harm. His body is resistant to a plethora of damage types and his endurance is among the most formidable in the entire Marvel Universe. While there are certainly ways to defeat Apocalypse, simple brute force rarely works. His aforementioned healing factor, Celestial augmentations and his molecular makeup work in tandem to make him nigh-impervious.
Apocalypse isresistant to some of the most powerful energy sources in the Marvel Universe, including a shout from Black Bolt. Black Boltis able to crack planets in two with his sonic capabilities -- so knowing Apocalypse has endured one of his attacks is quite impressive. En Sabah Nur also holds the power to take in energy and absorb it to bolster his defensive capabilities, similar to other mutants like Bishop.
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Proving he is indeed the fittest for survival, Apocalypse is able to completely control his molecular structure. Using this power, he is able to grow to large heights, shrink his form, fashion his limbs into weapons and even constrict his foes with his body, similar tohow Mr. Fantastic often fights. This manipulation also affords him incredible defensive abilities, reinforcing body parts with extra mass if needed or contorting in unusual ways to dodge attacks.
In addition tousing his molecular structure manipulation for combat, Apocalypse can perform other extraordinary tasks like morphing himself into machinery -- most notably, Celestial technology. This allows him to merge with it and understand it better. When coupled with his Celestial technology, Apocalypse can also manipulate his body to grant himself additional superpowers or employ deceptive, shape-shifting tactics to infiltrate and blend into crowds.
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Gary is a writer on all things Marvel and hails from Newcastle, England. His favourite heroes are Nova, Moon Knight and Elixir of the X-Men. He also likes listening to Japan and brooding on balconies in old buildings.
In celebration of Earth Day, April 22, here are some of our favorite quotes about the distinctly profound nature of Mother Nature herself.
On the 50th anniversary of the planet's big day, the world is on lockdown and there will be neither parties nor parades in Earth's honor. And you know what? Mother Nature is doing a happy dance nonetheless. A pandemic is obviously devastating for humans, but pollution has plummeted and wildlife is enjoying the freedom to roam in places long off limits. Mother Nature's like, "this is the best Earth Day ever."
But just because we can't got out and sing our praises for the planet doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate at home. TreeHugger has long echoed the cliche that every day is Earth Day, but we really take it to heart. So to help bang the drum for our favorite planet, here is a selection of some our favorite quotes on all things Mother Nature.
Lao Tzu: "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
Isaac Newton: "Nature is pleased with simplicity."
John Muir: "Keep close to Nature's heart ... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain, or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."
Katrina Mayer: Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.
John Muir: "Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."
Felix Dennis: "Whosoever plants a tree / Winks at immortality,"
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The earth laughs in flowers."
Aristotle: "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."
Carl Sagan: The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.
Vincent Van Gogh: "If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere."
Henry David Thoreau: "I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees."
Pierre Trudeau: What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred miles on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.
Aldo Leopold: I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.
Frank Lloyd Wright: "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
Rembrandt: "Choose only one master nature."
And lastly, the great sage, Alex Trebek: "If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you."
In celebration of Earth Day, April 22, here are some of our favorite quotes about the distinctly profound nature of Mother Nature herself.
Pinatubo: last year's brilliant juvenile started his career at Wolverhampton
A trainer and I stood in the centre of his yard at the start of last month gazing at a horse as she walked by, blissfully unaware, or perhaps unappreciative, of the potential cataclysm that was coming racing's way.
We stared appreciatively at this horse, a striking unraced two-year-old filly, and mused about what may lay ahead for her. "You can just imagine her charging up the hill at the July course", or words to that effect, were offered enthusiastically by the trainer. He was right, I could imagine it.
And that's what two-year-olds, like no other type of horse that is raced, offer; excitement and anticipation, disappointment and befuddlement, but the chance to dream and ponder "what if".
So, that is what I look forward to most when racing finally returns, the chance to see two-year-olds in action and the boundless possibilities almost each and every race for such horses presents through the year.
Newmarket July course: often anticipation before two-year-old races
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
That is the beauty with juveniles. Yes, you are most likely to see a very talented horse running at the July course in the summer or at Newbury or York, the prize-money, prestige, programmes and racing surfaces at tracks such as these often make them the chosen places for the regally-bred and expensively-bought youngsters.
However, brilliance is not the preserved of these courses. Take, for example, a seemingly run-of-the-mill novice contest staged on a Friday evening at Wolverhampton in May last year.
That race was won by none other than Pinatubo, who didn't even start favourite but would end the year unbeaten and ranked among the best juveniles we have ever seen in Europe. Who could have predicted such a sequence of events that morning?
The excitement that fizzes around racecourses before the appearance of a well-touted two-year-old, particularly an unraced one, is a delight.
I have experienced this at the aforementioned July course more than any other racecourse. That tangible anticipation about what may happen was present before Motivator, winner of the following year's Derby, scored for the first time there, and it was the same when Rainbow View blew away her opposition on debut as well (she really was a wonderfully talented juvenile).
Frankel: made his debut at the July Course in Newmarket
However, it was never more fevered than before an unraced Galileo colt in the Juddmonte silks stepped on to the racecourse for the first time on a Friday evening when rain lashed down from the sky in torrents.
Of course, you don't need me to tell you the horse in question was Frankel, starting out on his road to immortality. A two-year-old with countless potential whose trainer, the late Sir Henry Cecil, after the race stood sheltering from the rain, head characteristically tilted to one side as he absorbed what he had seen, pondering what he might do nextas those gathered around him waitedfor his customary "what do you think?".
From those exciting debuts, to the stakes races, nursery debutants and sales contests, where horses bought from relative peanuts can provide those who have invested their hopes and dreams with returns they couldscarcely have imagined a matter of months before, two-year-old racing offers so much to look forward to.
So, I hope to be at the July course later this summer with the sun warming my shoulders, watching the filly I let my mind's eye picture thundering across the turf do her thing. Who knows where it may lead?
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The latest episode of Westworld was explosive and it sets things up well for the penultimate episode of season three.
Before you read on, be warned this post is full of spoilers if you're not up to date with Westworld.
'Decoherence' followed several of our main characters and it did so well.
The Man In White
Anyone who thought William was finished was very wrong.
The cruel technological therapy he was put through was another example of the grim future that Dolores is trying to plunge into anarchy.
The most striking scene saw him sit down for 'group therapy' with three past versions of himself, and his father-in-law James Delos.
He learns from painful memories from his past, namely that he can't blame his abusive childhood for the monster he became.
His solution? To brutally bludgeon the past versions of himself to death of course.
This brutal interlude is interrupted by Stubbs and Bernard.
We previously thought it was team Dolores vs team Serac but we may now have a third major grouping in play, led by the 'Man In White'.
Maeve tellsEngerraundSerac she wants what Dolores has an he appears to grant her that wish by reincarnated her with some added ruthlessness.
This is demonstrated when she returns to the World War Two simulation and single-handedly takes down a horde of Nazi soldiers.
She also gets the allies she asked for but is powerless as Dolores Charlotte Hale, puts an end to her favourite one, Hector.
The result of this is a very angry Maeve.
Before that she had appeared to find some common ground with the consciousness of Dolores that Serac introduced her to.
That goodwill is gone now and we're looking forward to seeing her up against Dolores in the real world.
A brilliant showing from Tessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson has been brilliant throughout Westworld but she's shined in season three.
She's playing a character who is pretending to be someone else, while the imposer grapples with the real Charlotte Hale's emotions, and she pulls this off expertly.
Her action packed sequence in this episode made for great viewing as Hale successfully retrieved the host data, which could be crucial as Serac had all of the host bodies destroyed.
She also stole the corrupted Dolores pearl and destroyed Hector's pearl.
It's been very interesting to see Hale fighting with the 'inner Charlotte' and it proves to be her undoing as Serac realises something is up as the 'real Hale' wouldn't have bothered to check up on her son.
Just when it appears she's succeeded in her mission and rescued her family....BOOM!
Will Charlotte survive?
Hale was already becoming disillusioned with the original Dolores as she challenged her on Martin Connells' death.
Her charred body somehow made it out of the burning car and stood up.
If she is to survive, there are plenty of questions? Will the death of Charlotte's family drive her crazy? Will she still trust Dolores? And will she be given a new skin or walk around like a terrifying corpse.
We're betting on the latter.
Is William human, host, or both?
Thompson's wasn't the only outstanding performance in episode six.
Ed Harris' William became even more fascinating as we got an insight into his troubled life.
Whether he's fully human has been questioned before and we basically got confirmation that there's at least some host in him as his blood test revealed an 'unknown protein'.
Could William have used some of the knowledge from the experiments on James Delos to enhance his own life or look for immortality? Delos' appearance could hint at that and it will certainly make things very interesting if William is now part host.
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Five talking points from Westworld S3E06 - Buzz.ie
Beer-label immortality is there for the taking as Stanley Park Brewery looks for artists to help celebrate Earth Day – Straight.com
Ever wondered who illustrated some of the greatest beer labels youve ever had the pleasure of peeling off the bottle?
Like the Old Style Pilsner Beer classic with the cartoon biplane, stagecoach, and vintage-20s automobile.
Or the Adventure Time-like King Louie DIPA artwork for Aeronaut Brewing.
Now youve got the chance to impress not only your fellow beer connoisseurs, but also the Amateur Art Critics Association of B.C.
To celebrate this years Earth DayStanley Park Brewing is looking for original submissions for a special edition of its Hollow Tree Lager. By entering a piece of original art, you not only get the chance to see your work on a bottle of the brewerys best-selling beer, but also a $500 cash prize and a prize pack. That pack presumably includes beer, which is reason enough to enter. Two runners up will receive $200 each and a prize pack.
Normally, this is the time of year when the micro-brewery would be getting ready to celebrate Earth Day as part of on-site activities organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES), a non-profilt charity dedicated to stewarding conservation efforts, habitat restoration, and educational activities.
Instead, with the crown jewel of Vancouver parks currently being reclaimed by the racoons and squirrels during the COVID-19 lockdown, Stanley Park Brewing is getting creative with its efforts to help with SPES fundraising.
To celebrate Earth Days 50th anniversary on April 22, $1 from every limited edition label bottle of Hollow Tree Lager sold, $1 will be donated to the ecology society.
Whether youre the second coming of Andy Warhol or someone who has trouble drawing a stick man with a ruler, youre invited to submit a design that pays tribute to Earth Day, Stanley Park, and the experiences that are part of any visit.
Here are the ground rules as laid out by Stanley Park Brewing:
Entry to the contest is open until 11:59PM PST Thursday, April 16, 2020 to Canadian residents aged 19 and over.
Six submissions chosen by Stanley Park Brewing will be put to a public vote on Instagram Stories to determine three finalists on 12pm PST Saturday, April 18, 2020 to 12pm PST Sunday, April 19, 2020. Stanley Park Brewing will select and announce the grand prize winner (1), and runners up (2) on the Stanley Park Brewing website on Monday, April 20, 2020. Winners will be contacted within 48 hours of the contest closing.
All artwork must be your own and original. Art may include a tagline; however, it should be separate from the artwork. Winning entries must meet the outlined theme, submission criteria and agree to the terms & conditions.
For more details or to submit your design, go here.