Tag Archives: Carter Balbuena

Best Movies & Shows To Watch Over The Summer

By Carter Balbuena

With a lot of time on our hands over the summer and with various streaming services, what better way to spend all of that free time than watching something on TV, your phone, or computer? If you find yourself with nothing to watch, then refer to this list of movies and shows you should give a try even if they don’t seem to be your style of entertainment. There will be alternatives to all if you have a different streaming service.

*CW = Content Warning (forgive me if I miss some)

Nezha (2019)

Available (with purchase) on Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV.

A movie that tells it’s own story about Nezha, a teenage protective deity who protects teenagers and professional drivers. As believed in Chinese mythology, Nezha was carried by his mother for 3 years and 6 months until he was finally born with superhuman strength and ability to speak. To learn more about the deity, visit this website.

The movie starts with a bit of background information that tells us about a Mixed Yuan Bead that is split into 2 beads, a spirit bead and a demon bead. Before being born, Nezha was to receive the spirit bead, but instead was birthed with the demon bead. Having the beads switched, Nezha grew to be feared and was isolated from the rest of the village. After being persuaded by his mother, he seeks to learn how to protect the village in hopes of painting himself in a new light.

Supernatural

Available on TNT; also (with purchase) on Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, iTunes, Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video.

CW: Violence and language. Following two brothers on a journey to find their father as they meet supernatural creatures along the way, Supernatural starts off with Sam and Dean Winchester who were both trained to become hunters and protect the public from the supernatural. However, Sam wanted to go on his own path and went to college, wanting a normal life away from it all. Unfortunately, Dean shows up to his dorm and tells him that their father has gone missing to which he needs his help. This starts their adventure as  they look for their father in various states and ask those that work with him.

Rango

Available (with purchase) on Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Apple TV.

After falling out of his owner’s car, Rango, who is a chameleon, is left to adventure on his own which lands him in a desert. He quickly adapts to his new life, but runs into trouble along the way

Black Mirror

Available (with purchase) on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

CW: Violence and language. In a world full of high-tech inventions, Black Mirror is a show where each episode is about technology in a dystopian world and its effects. The episodes also include different casts each time.

Soul Eater

Available (with purchase) on Netflix.

Soul Eater is a classic anime that is about three teams that consist of a meister and their weapons that are also humans. Maka Alburn and Soul Evans go on adventures with their friends at the Death Weapons Meister Academy. Black Star, Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, Death the Kid, Patty, and Liz.

Stimulus Checks From Government

By Carter Balbuena 含光君

The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:

Direct Payments

Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.

Unemployed Benefits

Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.

Public and Education

Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.

Other Benefits

Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.

Check out more on the American Rescue Plan and the stimulus checks.

Game Review: Genshin Impact

By Carter Balbuena

Amongst all the new games released during this pandemic, Genshin Impact rose above and caught the attention of many gamers. This new Chinese-based action RPG was released on September 28, 2020 and has since then released a couple of updates to make the game appealing to those looking for a new game to play. The game’s developer and publisher, miHoYo, is a small Chinese company based in Shanghai, China and known for its mobile gacha games. When it comes to gameplay, Genshin Impact does not disappoint with its high quality graphics and exquisite plot, including 4 different language options. It is currently available on PS4, Mac/Windows, Android, and IOS, but is soon to be released on Nintendo Switch.

As for content of the game, the characters each have their respective element which can be Anemo (wind), Cryo (frost), Electro (lightning), Geo (earth), Hydro (water), or Pyro (fire). The game starts off with you choosing a twin, either a boy or a girl. Whichever one you choose, you lose the other and end up on a beach where you meet a traveling guide who floats, Paimon. You travel through Mondstadt with your emergency food and meet the Knights of Favonius who are all characters you can obtain as you play or, if you’re lucky enough, roll in the gacha. In the most recent update, a highly anticipated Geo character by the name of Zhongli was released along with a new Pyro character, Xinyan. These two characters are obtainable through the gacha, but most of the time you will get 3 star weapons as a 5 star character/weapon has a 0.7% rate and a 4 star character/weapon has a 5.1% rate. May not be ideal, but you never know when you will get lucky.

As for my review on the game, Genshin Impact is definitely a game I have been playing a lot and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It’s fun to collect the characters, weapons and upgrade them to make them stronger to defeat bigger bosses. Genshin Impact comes with a tutorial in the beginning which makes the game easy to understand right away. If your friends give you their User ID (UID), you are able to add them in the game.

At adventure rank 16, the game gets more interesting as you can now play with friends who are also rank 16 or above. 16 does seem like a high number, but if you play more often than I did then you can easily level up within 3 days or so. As for obtaining characters, the party you’re given are fairly manageable, but I managed to roll a Geo character called Noelle who has improved my team immensely. The game does reward you with a currency called “Primogems” which can be used to roll in the gacha, so it is only a matter of how lucky you are. 

The characters themselves have distinct personalities which brings to me my favorite which is Diluc, a scarlet-haired winery owner whose element is Pyro. I have not been able to obtain him, but he’s known as an S tier character which is the highest, better set of characters. The types of characters deal a massive amount of damage or provide the best support. Next best are A tier then B tier, C tier, and then D tier; who belongs in each tier differs as there are no bad characters, it’s just a matter of if you know how to use that character.

Overall, Genshin Impact is definitely an interesting game you should check out if you have storage and a system that can actually run the game. I probably missed a few things but that’s what Google and YouTube is for.

Carter Balbuena

Names are complicated, you can call me Wangji (忘机) for the time being. This is my third year at Glenn. There’s not much to know about me. I’m involved in band as a percussionist. My interests currently lie in Mo Dao Zu Shi《魔道祖师》, Owari no Seraph, Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer), and Genshin Impact. I get most of my news off of Twitter; very convenient. 我非常愛我的妻子。他是我的寶貝。

Mulan Controversy

By Carter Balbuena

Before the live-action Disney movie Mulan was released, there was controversy surrounding it. Some people had their own thoughts and opinions regarding the lead actress. Liu Yifei who plays the title lead, was under fire as she commented on the Hong Kong protests on a social media platform called Weibo.

The actress said, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now.” She added, in English, “What a shame for Hong Kong,” which sparked the social media hashtag #BoycottMulan. Disney was also under fire for filming in infamous Xinjiang, known to keep over 1 million Uighurs in camps that strip them of their human rights.

As for the film itself, I have not seen it because Disney+ requires an extra charge to buy the film. Many here at The Shoemaker Bugle felt that it was simply not worth it to buy Mulan after already having to purchase the Disney+ service. However, according to Rotten Tomatoes, reviewers generally felt that the film was average, at best. It has a score of 74%, which means that about one in every four reviews calls the film a failure. Besides the professional critics, audiences rate the film even more poorly, with just a 50% approval rating on the website.

A writer for Rolling Stone Magazine named K. Austin Collins notes that there are some good parts to Mulan, but they don’t add up to make a quality whole. He wrote,

“Its cast, its attitude, its overall eagerness to please… don’t add up as a good movie. They add up to a blueprint of the movie this ought to be.”

-Rolling Stone Magazine

I think Mr. Collins’ review is a good summary to back up my case that it would be better to wait for Mulan until after Disney+ takes away the paywall and just adds it to the collection of movies that you can already watch with a paid subscription.