Howie Defranco’s Favourite Video Game

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie  Defranco and today is fun day and the topic is our favourite video games. Well look mine is a hard choice, I could say Arkham city for its well told story, I could say GTA V for its online aspect, I could say Pokemon for my sheer dedication over the last however long. None of those, though because it has to be the game I’ve played most, and have comeback to many times over the years, Kingdom Hearts 2. The first kingdom hearts was awesome don’t get me wrong but the second one was where the game hit its stride. So much so that that people still clamour to buy all the spin off games waiting for a true sequel, 11 years later now.
The game was incredible, combining a great story, with Disney characters and great gameplay that just drew you in. It’s a story I’ve played through maybe 30-40 times since the first time I picked it up because I just want to play it again, especially the battle for Hollow Bastion level. It was the best part because there’s a point in it when your team leaves you and your stuck fighting a thousand heartless alone and it’s purely a brave heart moment. Then there’s the song, Sanctuary, still one of my favourites today every time I hear it I just drift back into a simpler time when I’d play games all day long.


Howie talks addiction

Hey blog readers, I’m Howie Defranco and today’s topic is all about that wonderful little thing called addiction. Ok wonderful is pushing it quite a bit because it’s actually not in the slightest. Now I myself have a fairly addictive personality but thankfully stayed away from most types of substance related addictions with the exception of alcohol. Thankfully alcohol is not an addiction for me either, partly because I can only stomach so much and partly because I realize when I need to stop. For me though and I acknowledge it wholeheartedly behavioural addictions are my vices. Today I’m going to talk about the ones that affect me more often than I care to think about.

The first of which will be gambling, which is something I have fairly under control assuming I don’t enter a casino. The first time I entered one was with my mom she took to see a show at the Hard Rock out in Coquitlam it was Whose Live Anyway? It was fun and after the show she gave me some money and told me to play on her dime for a bit, she gave me 20$ I turned it into 90$ lucky right? Over the course of about 3 weeks I went to a casino on 15 separate occasions each time taking a limited amount of money and either winning or losing it. It was all for the fun, and then I started playing to win money, I’d take 60$ and walk out having lost 100, 200, 250$. I skipped classes to go play, I ditched friends to go play and that is why if I go to a casino now I never go alone and only bring cash. A gambling addiction can ruin a persons life, I’m just lucky I noticed and learned to control mine.

Then there’s both pornography and sex, yes both are addictions. Since I was 9 years old I’ve watched pornography at l least once every day, I do it when I’m stressed, to help me sleep, to make me feel better, to feel pleasure. I don’t remember exactly how I started watching it, I think I just saw something online one day and felt a need to well take care of myself. I used to do it all the time, if I was at home and because I didn’t have much going on outside of school when I was little it was all the time. That addiction I think lead to an addiction involving sex, that you could probably figure out and that I don’t want to go into detail about. What I will say is it started a year and a half ago just after when I hit one of my lowest points and it lead to me making that same mistake to feel better about myself 15 times over the next year whenever I had the money. I’ve stopped doing it, but even today I still think about doing it, how much better it feels then just watching porn. Every time though that I feel alone, or sad, or butt, or stressed I think about doing it again and sadly it’s more often then I like admitting.

On to easier topics, did you know that food/eating is considered a behavioural addiction. Neither did I but for someone that eats as much as I do it makes sense, I eat 3 meals a day yeah sure, plus snacks, and whenever I’m hungry. I eat a lot of food is the jist of that, I eat whenever and I eat more than most people, mostly cause I enjoy food a lot. I eat when I feel stressed and I eat when I am happy, I use whatever excuse there is to eat, lately I feel I’ve been able to keep it more under control, especially with my family at home going on a diet and having healthier food.

Lastly and probably the most serious addiction I have is an addiction to forms of entertainment, television, video games, movies. I spend hours at home watching stuff or playing video games and I mean unhealthy amounts of them. Literally if I’m at home I’m watching or playing something on the tv in my room, I’ve watched 100 different tv shows through and through, 700 movies and played video games for 24+ straight before.

I know in this blog I didn’t touch on substance abuse because it’s not something I personally have experienced or have witnessed. For those of you who have or are going through it right now please, please seek help. Find someone to talk to about it, at the very least the addictions I have are extremely less likely to cost me my life. So please be careful out there because in this day and age, with so many substance whether illegal or not, it’s incredibly dangerous.

Howie’s favorite Super Heros

“And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come–great responsibility!” – Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) (the first appearance of Spider-Man)

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today I’m going to try and tell you who my favourite superhero is.  Now first and foremost this can only be a “super”hero, therefore anyone without superpowers is automatically disqualified.  No batman, nor green arrow, nor iron man, etc, sadly some of the characters that would be in my top 10 for heroes.  I’m extremely anal in this respect though when people talk about superheroes I’m sorry, I love the idea of a normal person saving the day.  Where’s the fantasy though, the unbelievable, the amazing in that though, anyone could become batman but no one could become say superman.  Anyway there’s my rant for the blog, now let’s get down to business and talk superheroes.
As I see it difficult to list just one as I personally have a lot of favourites, I’m going to list the top 3 I could think of and talk about the “why” them.  These three are based on different categories, whose the most heroic, most interesting power and who is probably my all time favourite.
“I’m here to fight for truth, and justice, and the American way.” – Superman (1978)
First let’s start with the most heroic hero there is, in this category you’ll find there’s nothing but leaders and boy scouts.  I thought about saying Captain America, or classic Cyclops but nope when you think of the most heroic superhero only one can be said.  Cue John Williams to play the theme because it is Superman, how could it be anyone else.  First off he stands for truth, justice, and the “American” way but for the record superman was created by Canadians, your welcome world.  He was created in 1933 and debuted in 1938 in action comics #1, and for 77 years now he’s been the most iconic superhero in the world.  Let’s skip the talk about his origin as most if not all people know it, and let’s talk about what he’s done since.
First a hero is only as good as his villains and superman has some of the biggest villains in the DC universe as his main antagonists.  From Darkseid God of Apokolips, to the cold calculating Brainiac, to the reverse of himself and finally to Lex Luthor.  Lex of course being one of the greatest comic villains of all time himself (when his plans don’t involve real estate).  Superman Returns aside, he’s had some interesting stories over the years, from becoming an all powerful being that must sacrifice himself to repair the sun, to being killed and resurrected, to being the leader of the Justice league.  Even in a more recent story, Justice League gods and monsters, where he is the son of Zod not Jor-el he still becomes the brightest of the heroes.  He raced the fastest man alive around the world and tied, is the best friend of Batman and has his own sidekicks in Supergirl, SuperBoy and Krypto the super dog.  He’s the most heroic though for one reason above all others though, he never falters in his ideals unless, it’s some alternate world or he’s not in control.  After 77 years, multiple TV appearances, video games, countless comics, and 6 movies, he’s never given up on his ideals.
The day my father Odin banished me from Asgard, I was bitten by a vampire and had radioactive waste dumped into my eyes. To make matters worse, my mutant ability to control weather activated just as I was hit by a blast of gamma radiation.” – Deadpool,  Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006)
Continuing on to the most interesting power there is, is when we get to the all powerful characters.  After all the most interesting powers are either the all powerful ones or the weird ones, that usually are super powerful anyways.  For this one I thought about characters like the squirrelly hero Squirrel Girl (she beat Thanos on her own), or the self harm induced powers of Penance, or even the probability controlling powers of Scarlet Witch.  Then it came to me what’s more interesting then being able to essentially use anyone’s powers and that’s why this category goes to Peter Petrelli from Heroes.  In Heroes Peter started out as an outcast to his family of wealthy politicians and socialites, choosing to become a nurse instead. That is until the day of the eclipse, the series was about humans evolving beyond that and the evolution lead to them having super powers, which the eclipse triggers.  Which was good for him, as Peter’s power was the most powerful of them all because he could use anyone’s power by thinking about that person.
In a show that had a time traveler, a mind reader, telekinetic abilities, flight, super strength, electricity manipulation, fire manipulations, and even essentially immortality he was both all powerful.  Which yes is greatly overpowered but it was an interesting idea, after all copycat powers like this have been in the comics for years.  Rogue, Taskmaster, even someone like Vixen I’d say all scratched the idea, but Peter is the one that got the full treatment.  Just imagine the possibilities that go along with that diversity of power, to go anywhere or any time in the world, do anything, survive anything.  It’s interesting because it’s near omnipotence only limited by the powers you have encountered.  If someone mind you in this world got that power just imagine all they’d need to do is think of a comic book character and you could do that.  It’s too bad the limited his power by the third season, if I remember correctly it became whoever he touched last or was near or something, was the only ability he could use, that took away from it greatly.
Honourable Mentions for the final category, this is just to acknowledge some of my favourites that I’d like to be in this list but can’t put in:
-The Flash (Wally not Barry)
-Martian Manhunter
-The Fantastic Four
-Iron Fist
-Luke Cage
-Beast Boy
Also a bunch of non super powered heroes but on with finale
Finally the big reveal that my favourite superhero is the amazing, spectacular, superior, ultimate friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.  How could it be anyone else, but Spidey he had to be a teenager hero with out being trained by a mentor hero.  Yes there are other heroes who accomplished this feat but Peter is special because he became the best of them.  From high school teenager, to moody college student, to a teacher for a bit and then to a freelance photographer, and in his superhero career becoming a member of the Avengers, New Avengers and Fantastic Four.  He’s had multiple costumes over the years, including his alternate universe ones that help show how adaptive the character is.  Whether it be a noir costume, a black symbiote, an ironman version, a cosmic one, or one from the year 2099 it’s cool to see the versatility of the costumes.  Then there’s the fact Spiderman is not just Peter Parker, although he’s my favourite the handle has been given to and used by Miguel O’Hara, Miles Morales, Ben Reily, and Doc Ock after a body swapping incident.
Speaking of Dock Ock some of the best Marvel villains belong to spidey.  You have a group of villains that are actually quite the force to be reckoned with from Electro, to Mystery, to the Chameleon.  That’s before mentioning the big 5, Doctor Octopus a brilliant yet insane scientist that has four metallic arms bonded to his skin.  The Kingpin, crime lord of New York and like 600 pounds of muscle too boot.  Venom, the symbiote who leeched his powers and became an evil counter part and his offspring Carnage a psychotic killer, before the symbiote found him.  Then there’s the Goblins both Hobgoblin and Green Goblin have caused spidey trouble over the years, in fact Green’s alter ego of Norman Osborn is one of the biggest villains in Marvel.  Green Goblin wins as his best villain though even going as far as being the reason for the accidental death of Gwen Stacey.
Gwen Stacey was the first girl Peter was with in the comics long before Mary Jane said her first “Hey Tiger”.  In issue #121 of the amazing title, Green Goblin throws her off a bridge to her death and spidey tries to save her but the pull back of the web that catches her broke her neck for one of the most famous deaths in comics.  Other allies of his died over the years including, Gwen’s father, Best friend Harry Osborn and of course Uncle Ben.  Thankfully Peter always had Mary Jane around, he was even married to her for a time.  He also got to date the mysterious Cat burglar Black Cat (100 times better than Catwoman) and X-Men Kitty Pryde.  He’s close to pretty much every hero there is especially fellow big mouths, Iceman and Human torch and is even good friends with Wolverine.  He was even incredibly crucial to the Civil War storyline in which he goes public with his identity and is the only one to really full on switch sides during it.
The reason Spider-Man is my favourite though is because I’ve grown up watching him since I was little, before I even knew who Batman was.  From Spider-man the animated series, to the new animated series (when he was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris!!!!), to Spectacular Spider-Man and even now through Ultimate Spuder-Man.  I’ve watched all 5 movies and even though I can’t stand Spider-Man 3 there some of my favourite superhero movies.  Ultimate Spider-Man volume one; Power and Responsibility was even the first comic I read, let alone the fact it’s the first graphic novel I read.  The ultimate title is even my favourite series of comics, especially for Spidey because it was marvels attempt to modernize the characters for the turn of the millennia.
There you have it folks my favourite superhero.