Religious Simpson’s show. Munchkin and Dante are Spirited Away. Free tabletop Role playing games. Qwirkle goes mainstream



Finished up my work with the last crew and started up on a new one. Religion is the theme of this show. Surprisingly not very  insulting.  I’ve seen a show this season that does have a very anti Christian joke in it (actually making fun of Jesus. I hope they cut that joke out). Yet this one, which is all about religion, gets away with the topic by only making fun of the people rather than the religions (or it’s founders). Wonder if anyone will care for it?


So I decided to see what Munchkin’s reaction would be to the movie Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki.  Keep in mind that she’s only three years old and the movie is REALLY intense.  Why would I even attempt to show her this movie? Well, I’ve tried showing her other dubbed version of Miyazaki movies that I own. I showed her My neighbor Totoro.

It didn’t keep her attention at all. I then tried showing her my personal favorite Miyazaki movie (if it’s in the original Japanese) Kiki’s Delivery Service and, again, she didn’t really care for it (I don’t own Castle in the Sky Laputa dubbed, so I couldn’t show her that).

So I pretty much gave up showing her Miyazaki movies.  Then, one day while going over my DVDs, she saw Howl’s Moving Castle and asked me if she could watch it. So I thought, why not?  It’s intense but I doubt it will keep her attention for long.  I mean, it’s about a young woman who turns into a old lady, for goodness sake. What could she possibly like about it?

Well, apparently, just about everything but the end.  She sat through most of the movie. In fact, she loves seeing the part where the main character turns old.  Why in the world does that movie keep her attention while Totoro doesn’t, is beyond me. So since she liked Howl’s Moving Castle, I thought perhaps I’d show her Spirited Away.

Both Munchkin and DANTE where glued to their seats! Dante too. He’s only a year and a half years old. They couldn’t get enough of the movie.  They watched the whole thing. From the moment they saw it, they barely blinked.


When it ended, Munchkin asked me to play it again. WHY?!

Here’s my theory: From the moment the movie begins, there is a sense of conflict to the situation the protagonist (a young girl) is in. Within the first five minutes of the movie, she is faced with having to choose between one fear and another (follow her parents into the scary tunnel or stay behind in the car alone with the creepy statue).

Her choices go from bad to worse as the story develops and she is confronted with one frighten thing after another.

This movie puts the young girl in the most perilous and dangerous situations a little kid could possibly be in, and yet, she faces all the situations, fear and all, and not only begins to conquer her fears, but also begins to thrive.  The scary things, the dangerous things,  she faces them all in a believable way and becomes strong.  All those things, become less scary, less weird and she comes out ahead in the end.

I think both Munchkin and Dante related to a character that was confronting very scary things.  To them, everything must seem as scary as the monsters in the movie. Maybe to them, the world is full of giants and weird new magical scary things.  They must have empathized with the protagonist’s predicament from the start.  But then seeing her “handle it”, get used to it all and thrive must have really been the thing that kept them riveted.

Miyazaki captured the true essence of the old fairy tales in this movie. The type of story that isn’t watered down by making the perils a person faces so weak that it’s hardly a threat and therefore, not really worth telling. This movie is like a classic fairy tales that puts a character in a true life and death struggle where you either succeed and become a stronger, better person in the end, or die trying.

OR…maybe I just have weird kids. After all, Munchkin LOVES Batman, which I don’t understand because Superman is WAY cooler. I blame it on her mother.


For those of us who are broke, getting free games is awesome, so I thought I’d put up some Free Rpgs or board games that I’ve found on the net.  This week I’ll put this one up:

Risus: The Anything Rpg

Risus (Latin for laughter) is an extremely rules lite rpg.  You can download the pdf of the game off the site and the rules are six pages long. It was designed as a comedy rpg but as far a I can tell, most people use the game for more “serious” games.  It’s very versatile and has a very clever conflict resolution mechanic.  It’s also very easily modified to you own needs. It has a  fairly involved community that has made quite a few mods to the game already. Check it out.


(Photos taken from

I’ve mentioned the game Qwirkle before in two posts a loooong time ago. I’ve been meaning to write a review of the game and I will the next chance I get.

The reason I’m bringing it up though is because, up until now,  the game has been difficult to find in stores. You could get it online but, often, that is just a pain (especially with the shipping cost) and some people don’t feel comfortable buying online (like my mom).  Nothing beats going over to a store, seeing a game, picking it up, examining it, buying it and playing it a few minutes later.

Well, now you can do just that.  Qwirkle is now being sold at Target stores in the U.S..  I discovered this on Tuesday when I stopped off at one to buy some diapers.  I always go the toy section to check out the toys and board games. You can imagine my surprise when I came across the game. It’s always exciting when a good “hobby board game” makes it’s way to the mainstream retailers.


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