Friday, September 30, 2022

Musical Horror-Comedy Film Review: Little Shop of Horrors


This review was originally published on Jupiter Beagle on October 11, 2008.

For the next 20 days leading up to Halloween, I’m going to review some of my favorite horror-themed entertainment. To start the 20 Days of Halloween Celebration, I decided to review one of my all-time favorite films, Little Shop of Horrors. This film is based on an off-Broadway musical that itself was based on a low-budget cult-classic black and white horror film.

The film stars Rick Moranis, who plays a nerdy florist who works at a florist in a poor neighborhood. The owner, Mr. Mushnik, is about to close the shop due to weeks of little to no business when it is revealed that Seymour bought a strange plant to try to improve business. He names the plant Audrey II, after the other employee of the florist, a girl who Seymour has a huge crush on. The strange plant brings in a ton of business from curious people coming in to see it. 

Seymour soon has a problem, as the plant is slowly dying. He tries everything to make it healthy and pricks his finger on a thorn. The plant responds to the blood, and Seymour soon finds out that human blood will make the plant thrive. This is when the fun kicks in, and the horror plot soon unfolds as the plant gets larger and larger and needs more blood than Seymour can provide.

Remaking the film into a musical seems like a strange choice, but it works well. The movie is made very tongue-in-cheek with over-the-top acting, and unrealistic 1950s and 60s era American ideals. The musical actually makes all this campiness a lot of fun. The music was written by the famed musical duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who would later write the music for the Disney animated films Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The music is written in the style of 1960s rock and roll and is incredibly memorable. A song sung by Steve Martin, who plays Audrey’s abusive dentist boyfriend, easily steals the show.

Fans of the original musical will be somewhat sad to know that the ending has changed here to something movie test audiences found more satisfying. In the process, one entire song from the musical is omitted from the movie and is available only on the movie’s soundtrack. However, if you want to see the original ending there are DVDs available with deleted scenes with the original ending on them. For most people, this won’t be an issue, as the new scene in question does work quite well to end the movie.

The music is wonderful and the casting is great. There are plenty of cameos of Saturday Night Live and SCTV alumni throughout the film. The movie is over-the-top and very campy, but as it is based on a low-budget horror film it works out well. If you’re a fan of musicals or horror comedies, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

System Review: Sega Genesis Mini/Mega Drive Mini



After years of licensing the right to make retro consoles of their systems to AtGames, with varying results, Sega opted instead to design and manufacture the Sega Genesis Mini themselves. The emulation was handled by M2. 

Going with M2 for the emulation was the right call, as the emulator runs the game with no visual or audio differences from the original system, as far as I could tell.

The system runs on a Zuiki Z7213 system on a chip with a 1.3 GHz quad-Core Cortex-A7 central processing unit, a 500 megahertz dual-core Mali-400 ARM graphics processing unit, 256 megabytes of random access memory, and 512 megabytes of flash storage.

Outside of Japan, the system comes with two three-button controllers. The Japanese version comes with one six-button controller. It comes with forty games for the Genesis system. These games are excellently curated, as most of the games rank among the most fun games for the Sega Genesis.

The forty games include Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle,Alisia DragoonAltered Beast, Beyond Oasis (known as The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light outside North America)Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Castlevania Bloodlines (known as Vampire Killer in Japan), Columns, Comix Zone, Contra: Hard Corps, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Dynamite Headdy, Earthworm JimEcco the Dolphin, Eternal Champions, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Kid Chameleon, LandstalkerLight Crusader, Mega Man: The Wily Wars (known as Rockman: Mega World in Japan), Monster World IV, Phantasy Star IV, Road Rash II, Shining Force, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Space Harrier II, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (known as Street Fighter II Dash Plus: Champion Edition in Japan), Streets of Rage 2, Strider, Super Fantasy Zone, Thunder Force III, ToeJam & Earl, Vectorman, Virtua Fighter 2, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

Mega Man: The Wily Wars was released on cartridge in Japan and Europe. North America only had access to Mega Man: The Wily Wars on the short-lived cable-based subscription game download service Sega Channel.

In addition to the forty listed above, the Sega Genesis Mini also includes two new ports of arcade games. The Darius port was developed by M2 and Hideki Konishi, while Tetris was a solo effort by M2. The Tetris port is based on Sega's arcade version. This is a new port and not the one that had an extremely small print run in the 1990s due to Nintendo holding the video game console rights for Tetris at the time.

The Japanese version of the system, the Sega Mega Drive Mini, also contains forty classic games and two bonus games. However, the game list is slightly different. It comes with Alisia DragoonAssault Suit LeynosCastle of Illusion Starring Mickey MouseColumnsComix ZoneContra: Hard CorpsDariusDyna Brothers 2 SpecialDynamite HeaddyThe Game's Crown CollectionGhouls 'n GhostsGolden AxeGunstar HeroesThe Hybrid FrontLandstalker, Langrisser II, Lord MonarchMonster World IVMUSHA, OutRun 2019, Party Quiz Mega QPhantasy Star IVPuyo Puyo 2, Puzzle & Action: Tant-R, Rent-a-Hero, Road Rash IIRockman: Mega World (known outside Japan as Mega Man: The Wily Wars), Shining ForceSlap Fight MDSnow BrosSonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog 2, Sorcery Saga ISpace Harrier IIStreet Fighter II Dash Plus: Champion Edition (known as Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition outside Japan)The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light (known as Beyond Oasis in North America)Streets of Rage 2Strider, Super Fantasy Zone, The Super Shinobi, Sword of Vermillion, TetrisThunder Force III, Vampire Killer (known as Castlevania Bloodlines outside Japan), World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Wrestleball, and Yu Yu Hakusho: Battle to Unite the Demon Plane

As with the Nintendo Mini consoles, I’ll be looking in-depth at the above games in the future, and the links will be updated accordingly. With this mini console, it is like a return to the days of old since Sega has once again rivaled Nintendo. The emulation is excellent and the console is packed with enjoyable classic games. Whether you get the Sega Genesis Mini or the Sega Mega Drive Mini, you'll get tons of enjoyment.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Horror-Comedy Film Review: Beetlejuice


This review was previously published on Jupiter Beagle on October 15, 2008.

Beetlejuice is a film by the master of the horror-comedy, Tim Burton.

It features a newlywed couple who die in an accident as soon as they move into their new home. Before the couple even realizes they are dead, their home is sold. The new family, the Deetzes, moves in and turns out to be quite the opposite of the folksy attitude of the deceased couple. They decide that they want to scare the Deetzes out of their home but turn out to be too nice to do so. They decide to hire a self-proclaimed “bio-exorcist” named Beetle Juice, who turns out to have his own ulterior motives for helping them out.

The cast is brilliantly cast. Michael Keaton is perfect as the wise-cracking, foul-smelling undead con-man Beetle Juice. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are the kind, folksy, newly-dead couple. Jeffery Jones and Catherine O’Hara are wonderful as the pretentious Deetzes. Winona Ryder plays probably the most memorable role of her career as Lydia Deetz, the daughter of Charles Deetz, a gothic girl who has an obsession with the morbid.

The musical score by Danny Elfman is wonderful and is very memorable. The film also contains a memorable song and dance comedy routine to the tune of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). It happens so abruptly and is so delightfully strange, but somehow manages to not feel out of place.

Beetlejuice is a comedy classic. The music is great, the comedy is wonderful, and all of Tim Burton’s trademark nightmare-like sets and creature designs are here. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time to watch it.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Adventure Superhero Film Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

This review was originally posted on the McMurray Internet Channel website on December 9, 2018.

The first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, chronologically, did an excellent job of maintaining an exciting story that never felt bogged down by the world-building elements. These elements, such as the Tesseract retrieved from Odin’s Vault and the shield made from vibranium, fit right into the story without feeling out of place.

The film follows Marvel’s oldest property for which they retained the film rights at the time. The film follows Steve Rogers, a sickly thin boy from Brooklyn in the 1940s. When the United States joins the Allies in World War II, Steve Rogers is a man, but his frail sickly body prevents him from being enlisted. He tries to enlist five times with five different addresses, but he is marked 4F – unfit to serve – at each examination. His childhood friend “Bucky” Barnes warns him to stop falsifying his information in trying to enlist, as it is a criminal offense that could result in prison time.

Steve ignores his friend’s advice and is caught during his next attempt to enlist. Thankfully, he was caught by a German scientist named Dr. Erskine who recognizes that Steve is a good man who wants to enlist, not for the satisfaction of killing, but to prevent the Nazis from bullying the world as he has been bullied his entire life. Steve becomes the second person to be given Erskine’s super soldier treatment after a Nazi soldier named Johann Schmidt was given the treatment prior to the point when Dr. Erskine fled to the United States. The treatment amplified what is inside people, turning Johann Schmidt into the villainous Red Skull and turning Steve Rogers into the virtuous Captain America.

Captain Rogers proves that he is more than a marketing tool when he saves his friend Bucky, and soldiers from other Allied units, from deep within enemy lines.

Red Skull has been building up Hydra within the shadows of the Nazis, an organization named after the Greek legend. The group is intent on taking over the world, including Nazi Germany, and imposing the Red Skull’s rule over all of humanity. To combat the Red Skull, Captain America forms an elite group named the Howling Commandos from a group of rescued soldiers, including his friend Bucky Barnes.

He also has help from Agent “Peggy” Carter, of the top-secret war agency the Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR, who develops feelings for Steve Rogers over the course of the film. Her character will later be further developed in her titular short film and television series, but Agent Carter already shows herself to be a fantastic asset to the SSR here, as she kills the driver of a car from many meters away.

The film is a fantastic adventure and a modern take on the adventure serials of the 1940s, much in the same vein as Raiders of the Lost Ark before it. It remains one of the best films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is well worth watching at least once, if not multiple times.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Agent Carter One-Shot Review

Action-Adventure Mega Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the first game based on the quartet of pizza-loving sewer dwellers. It was also Konami's first game based on the property. The end result missed the mark in nearly every aspect, but it did lay the groundwork for the much more beloved games that followed.

If there was ever a game that I wondered how on earth I managed to complete as a child, this was it. The game starts out on an overhead map. You can change between turtles whenever you like by hitting the start button. These are the best parts of the game. The game goes downhill from there. Once you enter the sewer, the game switches to an action platformer. The problem is that jumping feels off and the level design is hit-or-miss. When it misses, it really misses. You can control the height of your jump with light button taps, but often the level will put a ceiling between where the turtle is and the platform to which he has to jump. This leads to infuriating sessions where the current area has to be completed again since the enemies respawn. The Cowabunga Collection minimizes hair-pulling as it has a rewind button. This is definitely the preferred way to play, as even seasoned platformer players will fail to make a jump at least once in the game.

The other infuriating thing is that Donatello and Leonardo are the only useful turtles. Michaelangelo and Raphael have a very small range compared to the two aforementioned ninja-practicing testudines. The best thing to do is to leave Raphael and Michaelangelo for areas where it is nearly impossible to not lose health. 

This brings us to the worst part of the game, the dam section. Without the save function of the Cowabunga Collection, I would not blame anyone who rage quit after trying this level. Heck, I wouldn't blame anyone who rage quit even with the save function. The turtles have to swim through a maze to disarm eight bombs in only eight minutes. Impeding them are electric beams and electrified seaweed. The latter is the worst part as it is nearly impossible to make it through without hitting seaweed since the path is so narrow and pressing the swim button causes the turtle to rise up quite a large amount. Also, the time limit makes careful swimming impossible. The time limit also makes waiting for the electric beams to stop a challenge. It's nearly impossible to make it through without draining the health of one, or likely two, turtles. That is why it is best to save the weakest turtles in this game, Michaelangelo and Raphael, for this level.

The overhead level actually becomes quite a bit of fun when you get to the point where you can drive the party wagon. Walking enemies can be run over and vehicles can be hit with bullets shot out from the wagon. Once you get the missiles, you can destroy enemy vehicles with one hit. It's tempting to just fire away at vehicles with missiles, but there are also blockades that can only be destroyed with missiles. Sadly, the fun overworld driving sections only last for one level, and most of that level is spent going in and out of sewers and buildings searching for missiles and grappling hooks that you will need to get to sections that can't be jumped across. With these sections being platforming sections, the fun of the overhead section is quickly overshadowed.

Alongside the Nintendo Entertainment System version, it was also released for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Arcade via PlayChoice-10, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, and ZX Spectrum. Some of these versions have more appealing graphics, but the platforming sections are surprisingly even less responsive. This makes the NES version the best of the bunch, which isn't saying much.

The one bright spot of this game is the music. Even though there are mainly only two musical scores for the overhead and underworld levels, with the exception of some new music in the final level, they are really great and can get stuck in your head well after the game is over. When I was a little girl, I would just stand in place on the overhead map or hang out in an enemy-free part of the sewer just to hear the music.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is probably best summed up as a game with some good ideas that are poorly implemented. Some of the ideas, such as the spin attack powerup would make its way into better Konami games such as Turtles in Time and Hyperstone Heist. Other than the music and the short overhead sections, there's not much to recommend. It would be a mediocre game, but the terrible dam level takes it even lower. Unless you're playing with the emulator functions in Cowabunga Collection, don't bother playing it. Even with the collection, there's really no point playing it unless you want to earn the achievement for doing so.

Final Verdict:
1½ out of 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game Review

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Arcade Beat 'em Up Mega Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an arcade game by Konami that was one of the premiere beat 'em ups when it was released in 1989. It still holds up today, especially in the newer releases that have multiplayer support over the internet.

As is common in arcade games, the story is scant, but it does get the job done. The goal of the game is to save your friends from the Foot Clan, then track down the Technodrome to defeat Krang and Shredder. The Nintendo Entertainment System version also adds a level where you have to shut down a weather machine that has been covering New York City with snow and another level where you fight a shogun in a martial arts dojo. 

Alongside the Foot Clan ninjas, Shredder, and Krang, there are also popular villains from the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, such as Bebop, Rocksteady, and Baxter Stockman. It also includes the lesser-known villain, Tragg the rock soldier. The Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game also includes two bounty hunters created specifically for the game, Shogun and Tora. 

Other than the fighting gameplay which feels responsive and easy to learn, the presentation is what makes this game unforgettable. It has fun character animations, both in the sprites of the turtles and those of the enemies. Two of my favorites are the animation played when one of the turtles falls down a sewer hole and those of the motorcycle-riding Foot Clan ninjas. The Nintendo Entertainment System Version has smaller sprites and simpler backgrounds, but it surprisingly includes most of the animations from the arcade version. The NES version also has two exclusive levels, the aforementioned snow-covered New York City and a level in a dojo. These levels, especially the dojo level, have some fun animations of their own including ninjas jumping up through the floor and the tiger painting that comes to life and fights the turtles. There is some slowdown,  flickering sprites, and only one type of enemy on screen at the same time in the NES version. However, it is really impressive how Konami managed to recognizably replicate the arcade version and add extra levels on such limited hardware. Digital Eclipse's emulation in the Cowabunga Collection is the best way to play the NES version, as it has options to remove most of the flicker and slowdown. 

The chiptune music is great, and it is fun that the catchy opening song is included in a sample that isn't compressed too badly. The voice samples, however, are more heavily compressed. This is fine for the electrocuting robots that channel the Daleks from Doctor Who by saying "do not resist us". The heavily compressed samples for the turtles such as "shell shocked", April's "save me", or Shredder's "tonight I dine on turtle soup" sound quite tinny and aren't as impressive as they once were. The NES version doesn't have any samples and does play a few different level songs as well as those from the NES exclusive levels, but the arcade game's music that is there has transferred quite well to the little grey toaster that could.

The arcade version has support for up to either two or four players playing simultaneously depending on the cabinet. The NES version only has support for up to two players playing simultaneously. The arcade version has unlimited continues. When I was a little girl, I went to an arcade with a pocket full of quarters. I probably paid a good ten dollars in order to get to the end. Like a lot of arcade games of the era, the ending is presented entirely through text. The text is fitting, however, and it has the same tone as the television series on which it was based. The NES version is harder, as continuing in the arcade version continues right where it left off while continuing in the NES version starts from the beginning of the current level. There are also only three continues in the NES version, although this can be changed to ten in the Cowabunga Collection. In the aforementioned collection, there is also a god option that makes the chosen turtle invincible and kills most enemies with one hit.

In addition to the arcade and NES versions, there were also versions for home computers such as Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS. There are a lot of limitations in these versions, and the controls feel a lot stiffer on each, so they aren't really worth playing. The arcade version, either in the arcade or via the emulated versions in the now unavailable Xbox 360 version or in the Cowabunga Collection, is the best way to play this game. The emulated versions have online play, so if you enjoy multiplayer games, these versions are the way to go.

If you are interested in playing the additional two levels in the NES version, the control is just as responsive as the arcade version, so could be worth playing if you aren't turned off by the limitations of the older hardware. The best way to play the NES version is with the settings that mostly eliminate the flicker and slowdown in the Cowabunga Collection.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game is a bonafide classic that manages to hold up well to modern tastes. The fun animations, great chiptune music, and excellent level design make this one a must-play for Teenage Mutant Turtle fans as well as those who are fans of arcade beat 'em ups. The arcade version is the best version to play, but the NES version is fun if you are interested in the two exclusive levels. The Cowabunga Collection is the best choice to play as it includes both the arcade and NES versions and it sports accurate emulation, online play, and the ability to reduce slowdown and flickering on the NES version.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ReviewFall of the Foot Clan Review coming soon

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Like a Dragon 8 Coming in 2024

The big Ryu ga Gotaku Studio reveal is that Like a Dragon 8 is coming in 2024. It will feature the same turn-based RPG gameplay as Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Like a Dragon 7).  Surprisingly, it will feature two protagonists: Ichiban Kasuga and Kazuma Kiryu. Yakuza 6 (Like a Dragon 6) was supposed to be his swan song, so it will be interesting to see what prompted the now silver-haired Kiryu to return to the action. 

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name coming in 2023


The Like a Dragon fun continues with the announcement of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. This game will show what happened to Kiryu between Yakuza 6 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Judgment and Lost Judgment are now on Steam


The excellent Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) detective series spin-off, Judgment has finally come to Windows.

Steam now has both Judgment and Lost Judgment available as well as the excellent Lost Judgment DLC, The Kaito Files.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Remake Heading West

 

Like a Dragon: Ishin!, the Yakuza samurai spinoff with Yakuza characters as mostly real-life figures from Japan's Meiji Restoration during the Edo Period, is getting a remake for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Even better news, it is coming to the west with an official English translation. The original game was released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, however, it never left Japan.

It will be available worldwide in February 2023.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Open World Action-Adventure Mega Review: Spider-Man


There have been many great Spider-Man games over the years. However, Insomniac's Spider-Man changes up the mix a bit, with a more experienced Spider-Man, playable Mary-Jane Watson and Miles Morales stealth sections, and a mix of iconic and lesser-known characters in Peter Parker's rogues gallery. 

Spider-Man uses the mechanics from the Batman: Arkham games with the addition of climbing on walls and webbing. It is this final factor that makes the game really enjoyable and sets it apart from its inspiration. It is really fun to web up thugs, and super enjoyable to swing around town. Swinging is the mechanic that will make or break a Spider-Man game, and this one delivers. It also adds a mechanic to make Spider-Man's swinging zippier. The zip web is thrown in front of Spider-Man, causing him to zip forward. Spider-Man also makes new gadgets as the story progresses which can be used in combat. It's fun to use the web bomb to web up enemies and then use the concussive blast to throw them back and stick them to walls.

The Arkham mechanics work well because, in both the game and the comics that inspired it, Spider-Man is a lot like Batman. He is also a genius that makes gadgets and has a suit lined with electronics. For the things that Spider-Man doesn't have, such as a bullet-proof suit and a grappling gun, Spider-Man makes up for it with a healing factor and his web shooters.

Alongside the Spidey missions are story beats where the plot switches to the Daily Bugle reporter Mary Jane Watson and the teenage coder Miles Morales. As she is Peter's on again, off again girlfriend, M.J. Watson is in close contact with Spider-Man, and as a reporter, she proves invaluable in finding evidence. Stealth is the key in these sections of the story, as both characters have to get in and out of situations without being caught. These sections are a controversial part of the game, but personally, I enjoyed them a lot. I just wish there were more M.J. stealth sections, not just because Miles Morales got his own game by Insomniac, but also because they are more fun. Once M.J. gets the ability to shock enemies unconscious, the stealth sections become quire enjoyable.   

The story sees Peter Parker working for Otto Octavius working on mechanical arms for people who lost their own. As time allows, he also helps his Aunt May, who works at the F.E.A.S.T. shelter. The charity, founded by a businessman named Martin Li, is so named as it provides resources for food, emergency, aid, shelter, and training.

In addition to his obligations as Peter Parker, he also patrols the city as Spider-Man. This version of Spider-Man takes its Batman inspiration further as he works with a contact in the police department. Yuri Watanabe is a great addition to the Spider-Man lore, as she is a wonderfully complex character and not just a cookie-cutter police chief.

Fans of the comics and films will be happy, as the story includes Spidey staples such as Kingpin, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, Black Cat, Taskmaster, and Norman Osborn. It also has lesser-known villains such as Mr. Negative, Shocker, Hammerhead, Silver Sable, and the obscure villain, Screwball. Mr. Negative, in particular, is a very compelling villain that I hope makes it to the big screen someday.

The presentation is excellent. It has moments of cinematic action, which are very reminiscent of the Uncharted series. Many are quick-time events that provide precise button pushing, but the prompts stay on screen for a while, so, thankfully, they aren't a challenge. The visuals are quite realistic, even in the original PlayStation 4 version. The textures and models in the remastered version are improved and sometimes changed, especially Peter Parker who is completely redesigned. The former actor for the face of Peter Parker, John Bubniak, has been recast to Ben Jordan (no relation to the paranormal investigator). This was done to better match the facial performance capture of Yuri Lowenthal. Both versions are excellent. I, personally didn't notice a difference in the facial movements of either actor, but your perceptions might be different than mine. The rest of the actors are excellent as well, especially Watanabe's voice actor, Sumalee Montano. Her vocal performance helps a lot in making Yuri Watanabe a compelling character.

Insomniac's Spider-Man is Spidey's best game so far. With great visuals, interesting characters, fantastic voice acting, fun cinematic staging sequences, and cinematic music, it is worth playing both for people who are fans of the comics and films as well as people who only have casual knowledge of the web-slinger. 

Final verdict:
5 out of 5

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Blog Subjects Broadened

As you might have noticed, I've been reviewing a lot of games other than adventure games recently. I used to have another blog where I posted these, but I barely update the other one, so I decided to consolidate them all into my main blog - this one.  It will still be named The Adventuress, though, so there will not be any stand-out changes, really.