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Think, Sip, Write: ep30 – Jelly Bean Challenge

Roberta and I are joined by Tony and Lana to play a jelly bean challenge. Will we get Lime or grass clippings? Licorice or skunk spray? Oranges or Ear Wax? Find out some of these, and let us know if you try it out. You can find more info about “Bean Boozled” at http://www.jellybelly.com or look for it in local stores or online. #thinksipwrite


Think, Sip, Write: ep29 – Cell Phone

Roberta and Rick share some fun facts about the history of the cellular phone, and it may be older than you think.  Can you remember what your first phone was?  Add to the conversation by commenting below. #thinksipwrite

 


Review: Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix

Iron_Fist_NetflixUnlike most of my reviews, I’m going to keep this one straight to the point and less in depth.  The reason is because of the amounts of positive vs negative the show had.  My negatives are NOT what other people complained about.  I guess I’m a purist and less concerned about appeasing to the masses, because the negatives that I’ve read is more along those lines.  That being said, there is a lot of positive too, that isn’t given enough credit.

Let’s set the record straight.  This is not the best Marvel Netflix show.  It is in my opinion tied with Jessica Jones for last place, but certainly not bad.  The controversial casting is absolute crap.  Danny Rand as a white guy has always been.  The actor did a great job with what he was given, and I’m hoping his mannerisms are corrected as this is sort of an origin to the Iron Fist character.  My complaints?  Use a razor.  I’m tired of the scruffy look.  Danny should in my mind be clean and youthful looking.  He was with monks after all.  We already have Daredevil, Jessica, and Luke being total badasses.  He should be just as kick ass, but not so tough looking.

The Hand played a decent role in the show, with the highlight easily being Madame Gao, and Davos.  The latter of these two also had a good set up for becoming the next villain (Steel Serpent).  Claire is obviously the glue to bring the Defenders together, so her role although it felt sort of forced, worked for what it was.  Colleen and the Meachums were also very good in every scene.

Action wise this played out just like a classic kung fu movie, with heavy story and not a lot of fighting until the end.  The problem here is that the fighting seemed subpar.  For someone who is supposedly the best fighter in the world, he sure gets beat up a lot.

The first five episodes really had me hooked.  Then episode six came and it slowly went down hill.  The final episode was great, but then they threw on that extra two minute ending and I wanted to forget everything else.  That ending was not good.  They threw it there to get people to come back and see what happens next, but it felt disrespectful to everything else it had done over 13 episodes.

In my opinion Iron Fist doesn’t really work on its own.  I think it has to be Powerman and Iron fist or a heroes for Hire.  That would be worth the time.  I wanted to really love this show, and though I liked it, I can’t claim I’d ever rewatch it.  Other reviews say Danny should have been an Asian guy.  Stop changing races and looks of characters!!!  We get that enough.  If any thing I’d think that’d be offensive to Asians to be typecast in that role.  Danny being trained by Asian monks is what makes the idea work.  They just need to figure out how to do all of that.

One final thought… they could have done a little better of explaining how he got his powers.  I know, and comic readers know, but any new comer will be left slightly confused by the lack of information.

Iron Fist gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  It is enjoyable at its good moments, and disappointing at its bad ones.  These fall 50/50 throughout the whole thing, so I’ve voted right down the middle.

What did you think?  Comment below.


Think, Sip, Write: Ep28 – Beer

Rick and Roberta chat about some history of beer, the brewing process, and some fun facts.  See what social media users said were their favorite beers.

Do you have a favorite?  Comment below the video and share.

Follow us on Facebook @thinksipwrite
Inquiries can be emailed to: rickpipito@hotmail.com

Rick’s Social media:
Twitter & IG: @rickpipito
On Facebook as: “Novels by Rick Pipito”
http://www.rickpipito.com (for info on his books and more)

Roberta’s social media:
Twitter, IG, & Snapchat: @homemadedelish
On Facebook as: “Roberta Pipito”
http://www.homemadedelish.com (for recipes and more)

Thank you for all who chimed in.


Trailer: A COURSE FOR HUMANITY

My novel A COURSE FOR HUMANITY, now has the trailer treatment.  Check it out and grab a copy at lulu.com or Amazon.com.  Available in print and digital now.


Think, Sip, Write: ep27 – What Time Is It?

Due to the release of my new novel A COURSE FOR HUMANITY, we felt it fitting to discuss time travel.  Is it possible?  If so, where and when would you go?


Review: Stranger Things Season 1

stranger-thingsOkay, I know I’m behind on this one, but best things come to those who wait, right?  I’ll keep this review fairly brief.

Season 1 of Stranger things was a hesitation on my part.  I didn’t want to watch because everyone said such great things about it, that I didn’t want to be let down.  This is part of the reason why I never watched Lost, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or Walking Dead (past season 1).  I just think things get taken out of context and hyped too much.

For Stranger Things though, I can say the reviews were mostly right.  I am stuck wondering if this is a generational thing though.  The show was nostalgic for me, and reminded me of how life was when I grew up in the 80s.  Okay, maybe not the upside down, or monster aspect, but the way childhood and family life was handled.  There were less worries about people being bad, and more about the fantastical.

Some of the show’s narrative was predictable at parts, but mostly it was given a good level of suspense and story telling to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.  Credit must really be given to the cast.  Each of these actors and actresses were outstanding and convincing in their performances.

I don’t want to review much about it because it takes away from it if you haven’t seen it.  All I can say is that it is easily binge worthy, and I can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins only because some originality was lost due to nostalgic things, but this is not at all a flaw with the series.  In fact, I think it is part of what makes it what it is.  What did you think about Stranger Things Season 1?

 


A Whole new experience

IMG_7659[1]Whether you are into video games or not, this is something you must try.  Before I get into how amazing Zero Latency’s VR Arena is, I want to take a moment to mention where I played it.

Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos of PA was probably my second favorite vacation of all time (Second only to Disney).  The décor, food, water park, arcade, shops, and comfort of the rooms are only part of the experience.  We stayed from Friday through Sunday, and it served as a perfect little get away.

Now onto the gaming experience.  I was privileged to try the Arena and given a selection of which scenario I’d like to try.  As of right now there are only a handful, but this is just the beginning of an era in VR technology.  I’ve tried the headsets you can buy in the store, but they don’t even compare.  The arena is in a full sized warehouse.  It is an empty dark room with some circles on the floor and walls.  You wear a vest, headset and VR helmet, which puts you into the game using a series of motion capture sensors.

I had the honor of meeting Andre, who works with the company responsible for the games.  We spoke a bit about the two available games (they run about 20 minutes each), and what is on the horizon for the company.  Hint: They are opening more locations around the country and the world.

You must be 13 to play these games and that is for a safety aspect.  The one game I didn’t try was called “Engineerium.”  It is a cartoony world where you solve puzzles to progress. There is no shooting or action, but the bit that I saw was out of this world… literally.  It works in an M.C. Esher manner where you can walk on walls and upside down.  In real life you are standing and walking in a room, but your mind sees and tells your body something else.

Since I just did the Escape the Room experience a few weeks ago, I wanted to get into the genre where I first began writing books.  Since FLESH AND LEFTOVERS was my debut novel years ago, I felt it’d be good to revisit zombies.  So, I played “Survival.”

I was warned before hand that this can be an overwhelming and downright intense experience.  I’ve tried military simulators in the past, so I wasn’t worried.  I now retract that line of thought.  This is something way beyond that.  Picture yourself inside a video game, able to walk around in a place that responds to your body movements.

The survivalist in me didn’t need the four weapons supplied.  (You are given a shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle, and heavy assault rifle.)  You only actually carry one weapon in your hand, but a button on the side allows you to switch back and forth.  I’m a person who likes to make every shot count, and conserve my ammunition.  I stayed mostly with the light assault rifle for short controlled bursts.  It paid off.

IMG_7661[1]Myself, and 4 others were put into the scenario together.  I was the only person who hadn’t played it before, but was able to figure out a plan immediately.  In this game you must defend your position from a horde of zombies.  Not only is it important to make your shots count (headshots are the best), but to utilize the explosive barrels, and keep your defense barriers erected to prevent an onrush.

Andre played with us, and he took a sniper position on an elevated platform.  (In reality he was really on the level we were, but to us and him in game, he was up high.)  We worked well together for the first ten minutes.  Our base was heavily fortified.  But then it became frantic.  More zombies came, and this is when the stress began to kick in.  Andre called down to tell us that he was coming down to help out.  The zombies started finding a way up to him, and it was becoming harder to maintain our borders.

Then someone shouted, “We’ve got a breach!”  and as I turned around I saw a zombie within a few feet of me.  I ran.  Yes, literally ran away as I fired into its face.  My flaw was not thinking about what was behind me, and the surround sound told me I needed to turn fast.  A massive beast of an undead man towered over me by a few inches and I managed to dodge in the nick of time.

At this point in the game, I actually felt anxiety.  I kept telling myself this wasn’t real, but when I say I could feel fear build within me, I’m not lying.  I breathed slowly and tried to act calm to concentrate on the task, and not the flurry of emotion.  One of my squad mates was then “eaten.”  When you die, you stay in place in a neutral state until you are respawned ten seconds later.  I did not die, but when your team mate does, it becomes even harder.

Movement is the key.  This is not a shoot em up game.  This is survival… and shooting is only part of that.  Communication and agility help as key factors.  Once the helicopter arrived to lift our platform, we ran to the extraction zone.  This was very difficult because you need to remain relatively confined at this point.  The good news is that you are all back to back, so you can cover each other and all sides.

Once our platform was lifted, I switched to my sniper rifle and began picking off the horde from a distance.  This was more calming and was a good wind down to the whole thing.  There are people who have run out on the scenario and have asked to be removed from the game for its intensity.  It is only a game, but your mind does a great job of taking you into that virtual world.

If horror isn’t a thing for you, then you need to try the Engineerium.  It won’t scare you, or get your anxiety up, but will force your perception of reality into another world.

They also rank you in the game.  I scored the highest kills in my squad, and among the thousands of people who have played, I placed #115 in rank.  Apparently I’m a way better survivalist (though not the best) than a gamer, because if this were on a TV, I wouldn’t have the benefit of being able to see all my surroundings.

I can see this as a more improved training device, not just for fun, but for running special training for police and military at some point.  (Of course nothing will prepare you for the real thing, but this is an amazing step toward that)

I’ve attached a pic of my score, and if you head over to my Instagram page @rickpipito, you’ll see a little video clip of me being calibrated into the game.  I’ve also embedded a trailer of the game I played (below).  Picture what you see there, but up close and personal, and all around you.  The visuals and audio provided really take you to another place.  Also, head over to http://www.zerolatencyvr.com to learn more about it and all their games/locations.

Have you ever tried Virtual reality like this?  let me know what you think.  Comment with your thoughts on where gaming is going or anything else you want to say.

 

 

 

 


Interview: A COURSE FOR HUMANITY

With any new release I often get questions regarding my books and projects.  A COURSE FOR HUMANITY has given me the honor to receive the same, so here are a few that I’ve received recently.  Feel free to send your own questions or comment below, and I’ll be sure to answer.

Q: Is “A COURSE FOR HUMANITY” part of your Eternal Hunger Saga, or is this something new?

Rick: In a way it is both.  Like all my novels, I like them to be stand alone entries that occur within the same fictitious world.  This book begins in the future with a new cast, but for fans of the previous entries, there are subtle nods to certain things.

Q: How long did it take you to write?

Rick: Typically a novel takes me six months, once I begin actually writing it.  There is a lot of planning before hand, so the whole process is slightly longer.  For “A Course For Humanity” it was a lot different.  I actually came up with this idea back in early 2000.  I finished writing the first rough draft by mid 2001.  Then September 11th happened, and I sort of shelved the idea.  I became so engrossed in my emotion at the time that I concentrated more on my music.  When I started getting into writing books it just remained in the back of my mind.  It wasn’t until last year that I decided it was time to take my original idea and make it work.  So from concept to finish, it technically has been seventeen years.

Q: 17 years?!  Wow.  How much did your original concept change and evolve into the final product?

Rick: A lot.  My writing has become more consistent and better since then, and even my first novel.  I’m always looking forward and not back, so I wanted something that would have some staying power, and still fit in my Eternal Hunger Saga.  The core story from my original idea is still there, but with better dialogue and narrative.  It’s exciting to me to be able to tie it in with what is now in my series, and still be something old and new.

Q: Who is your main character, and what makes them a good lead?

Rick: Well in a way this novel has multiple mains.  It really focuses on the Continuum group as a solid unit, but if I had to choose a main character for this trilogy, it would be Francis Murphy.  He’s a mass murderer.  He’s a vampire.  He is struggling with the reemergence of his humanity, and while he is forced to deal with that, it’ll ultimately be up to him to save him self and the human race.  The question is whether he will do it or not, and if so what are his motives?

Q: I thought you were only doing one book about vampires.  What made you change your mind?

Rick: The fact that he’s a vampire is secondary in this book.  BLOOD THE SECOND HELPING was my core vampire novel.  I don’t want to do any of that again.  A COURSE FOR HUMANITY is really a focus on our decisions as a human race.  We become our own downfall, and the few who step up to prevent such a catastrophe may seem unqualified, but it makes for a very surreal (despite it being time travel) story.

Q: So current events had a say in what you did with this book?

Rick: I try to stay medium with my politics in my books.  I don’t push any certain way.  Some authors like to push their political opinions as a theme.  I only use them for characters.  I might have a die hard Republican or Democrat character pop in every now and then, but that is to keep it realistic.  It is never a focus.  The past election in the USA influenced my decision to make the book happen now.  There are political undertones in the prologue that basically set up everything.  It basically talks about how hateful and unaccepting of differing opinions, people have become.  I’m one of those people who has strong feelings on certain things, but I never hold it against others who don’t agree.  I try to see where they are coming from, and if I can influence my reasoning a little on them, then at the end of the day both parties are better for it.  I just don’t see why the divide is becoming greater.  It’s not a good course for humanity.

Q: Haha.  I see what you did there.  So what are the challenges in writing time travel into a book?

Rick: This one was easy to be honest.  I kept the beginning of the story a few hundred years in the future, and the finale a short jump into our future.  No events have happened yet to actually influence the narrative.  That was a relief.  The challenge came in explaining how time travel works.  I’m very acute with detail when it comes to making these things believable.  I did my best to explain why you could travel into the past, but never into the future (unless the future ripped you from your place in the past).  I also explained many alternate outcomes of our actions at any place in time.

Q: What is the deal with the cover?  It is a really eye catching design.

Rick: It’ll make more sense once you read the book, but the green waves in the sky represent a shift in the time line.  Something has changed.  Think of the wave as erasing what is there and rewriting something else.  My brother usually does the cover art, but he’s been tied up with my next children’s book, so I went and designed this one.  I still went to him for advice and for pinging cover ideas off of.  That way I didn’t feel like I was replacing him, and he was still involved in a limited capacity.

Q: You said you were writing a lot of music when you shelved this idea originally.  Did this come into play at all in your songs?

Rick: Yes, actually.  I wrote two songs about it.  The first was called “Leech,” which I performed with my old band Code Blue.  The second was called “Swallowed By The Sun” which I played with Everyone Loves Mahoney.  Both had a different feel musically, but worked well with the lyrics.

Q: Can we hear these songs anywhere or see the lyrics?

Rick: Actually, yes.  I have a few songs on Soundcloud.com.  I’m not sure what is up there, but I believe Swallowed By The Sun is definitely.  You can find some of my other songs there too if you search for “Everyone Loves Mahoney” and “Rick Pipito” (for my solo stuff).  As for the lyrics, I’ve been wanting to do a poetry book with all my song lyrics and poems at some point, so I should probably get on that sooner rather than later.

Q: How did you come up with the title for this book?

Rick: Originally it was called “Continuum: The Fight For Humanity,” but then there was a Continuum tv show and I wanted to avoid confusion, so I dropped that part.  Then the election coverage started, and I thought “fight” was too negative.  Everyone was fighting.  I wanted a positive title.  My wife suggested I keep with the food theme that I’ve used for the whole Eternal Hunger Saga so far.  After a few days of pondering I decided on “A Course For Humanity.”  It’s sort of a double entendre.  Course meaning food and direction.

Q: You said this was the final trilogy in your saga.  What is your next book with these characters? 

Rick: It’ll be interesting to say the least.  My next book will go very dark.  Francis Murphy (the leech) is going to find that he can’t fight his curse any longer.  It is beginning to completely take him over.  My original idea was to have a sequel involving the first vampire Cain.  That idea ended up becoming something else in “Blood, The Second Helping.”  I constantly get compliments on how great of a villain Cain was in that book.  I figured since time travel was involved, that I could actually take that original idea and work it somehow.  It’s no way near what it was in concept, but the plot is still the same.  Murphy will be trying to figure out a way to eliminate Cain in the past, so that he can be rid of his own curse. 

 Q: Cain is coming back?  How will this affect your continuity?

Rick: This will be Cain unlike you’ve seen him before (except in limited spurts).  Cain will be a very violent and vicious creature in this book.  It won’t involve any events that have occurred in my other books, but it will certainly feel like it fits.  At the end of the day the result of tampering with time will be evident.  There will be one last chapter (novel) afterwards to explain the aftermath if Murphy or Cain survive (or perish).

Q: Then your whole saga will be complete.  What does that mean for the future (pun intended) of your novels?  Where does Rick Pipito go from there?

Rick: Book 3 in this trilogy will wrap things up and leave the reader in a place where they will be questioning whether the series will happen as it has, or if the timeline will be replaced by our current (real world) reality.  I’ve got nine novels planned out that won’t have anything to do with this series.  Some are trilogies, others are stand alone.  To anyone who has followed all along, they could have thoughts that say “Hey, this is our world now,” but before it was changed it was something else.  One of my books will be a supernatural thriller about alzheimers patients, that will explain what they go through, and maybe they aren’t as all gone as we initially think.  In other words everything I create is in the universe of my mind.  I want to keep it that way.  This is just an easy way to do it by creating a secondary universe and separating myself from what’s been done to an extent. 

Q: You were just labeled as “Most versatile Local author” in the latest issue of Philly Current Magazine.  What’s it like to have such recognition?

Rick: I’ve been in the top 25 and 100 lists of authors before, so it’s always exciting and flattering.  I will never consider myself perfect.  I’ve still much to learn.  I think even the most veteran of writers does.  Anyone who claims they are the best, will no longer put out better work because of their ego.  It’ll become stale and unexciting.  Being called “Most versatile local author” is a very flattering sentiment.  I’ll take it.  haha.  I love knowing that my work has an impact on others in a good way, and having my name spread out there in such a great magazine is definitely a high point.  You can get a copy of this issue by the way at http://www.phillycurrent.com (it’s the #pcpicks2017 issue). 

Q: Is there anything you wish you’d be awarded or recognition you’d like to receive?

Rick: I think it’d be really cool to be interviewed with my wife.  We both are constantly getting inquiries on how we are able to juggle being parents, and hitting all of our fantastic goals.  It’d make for a really fun read or interview, and I really enjoy working with her.  We are a great team.  She tells me when my stories are hit or miss, and I do the same with her food.  To me we are the ultimate team.

Q: Where can we get a copy of A COURSE FOR HUMANITY?

Rick: It’s available on Amazon in digital form, and on http://www.lulu.com in print.  Also, my Beyond Human Trilogy will be in Barnes and Nobles soon, so be sure to check out that and my other works.

 

 


Philly Current Magazine PCpicks2017 party

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Happy 5 year anniversary to an amazing magazine.  I am honored to be among their #pcpicks2017 issue as Philly’s “Most Versatile Local Author”.  They did a nice little write up on me, and the party was such an amazing time.  Be sure to check out http://www.phillycurrent.com to get your copies.

There were too many cool locals to list them all, but here’s a few shots of my night’s fun with Marilyn Russell, Roberta Pipito, Karen Hepp, Gervase Peterson, Gina Gannon, Tony Bruno, Miss Robin Austin, & Eddie Keels.

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