I really loved this book/experiment.
I really loved this book/experiment.
Nothing huge or earthshattering to report or discuss, but not everything has to be, I guess, right? I mean, not everything reaches the lofty heights of green poop, now does it?
Life’s been life. I’m trying not to think too hard about workplace shutdowns in December, and I don’t expect the news media, regardless of which outlet, will report on it much until then. Still, I try to keep an eye on the competition for House Speaker, as that will likely have some influence on what happens (not that any of the names inspire much confidence in a good result). Most of my news is the relatively even-keeled NPR reporting, though I occasionally wade into the weird end of the pool and listen to American Family Radio (Bryan Fischer’s American Family Radio show coincides with my commute home when Terry Gross is wrapping her amazing voice around something that doesn’t spark my interest), and while it’s probably not good for my blood pressure, I’m sort of fascinated by how that side of the world lives. The worldview is completely different from mine, and so much of the motivation behind that flavor of conservatism is so based on fear of the other; I can’t imagine living my life constantly under the impression that the entire universe is out to eliminate my entire way of life. Also, for someone who’s fond of the term “low information media”, Mr. Fischer certainly gets a lot of objective facts wrong, or simply glosses over important concepts, particularly when it comes to government.
When I’ve not been delving into those sorts of weird places, I’ve been looking into others. I started watching Gotham on Netflix, and I’m finding it oddly compelling. I’m most of the way through season one now, and while the straight-procedural “Spirit of the Goat” episode is the one that hooked me, I’m staying for the overt camp; the characters chew scenery like nobody’s business, the “police” work and settings are laughable, but damn if I’m not invested. Donal Logue is a national treasure. Also, I kind of love the theory that it’s actually a prequel to Batman ’66, which makes sense in a really weird sort of way.
This past weekend, I went to an Irish Dance show my kid was dancing in out in Williamsburg. This is a once or twice a year theater show with live music (featuring most of a band I used to see on the con circuit) and dancers from my girls’ school as well as some folks from the school the guy producing/starring/etc the show runs. The dancing’s really nice, the music is pretty great (other than some of the overbearing backing tracks), though many of us agreed that the flow/throughline was off, and there’s a hell of a lot of mugging from “the guy”, who’s a great dancer and an okay musician, but when he brought out the swords and then started playing matte black seven string electric guitar and vamping in a fur and leather warrior costume, all I could see was the unrestrained id of a nerdy twelve year old who listened to way too much Richie Blackmore and was really into Michael Moorcock novels; his posing with the claymore looked like it kind of belonged in that kid’s bedroom in front of the mirror, or not unlike this. It was…weird…but impressive, and well on it’s way to being a neat show if a few changes were made, but honestly, doesn’t Michael Flatley kind of have this market cornered?
If you look over toward the left, you might see mention of some books by Kevin Hearne, collectively known as The Iron Druid Chronicles – they’re a blast, you should read them, especially if you like dogs, because Oberon the Irish Wolfhound is one of modern literature’s great characters; so much so that my friend Mikey Mason wrote a song about him, “The Wisdom of Hounds”, that totally catches the flavor. If you like stuff like The Dresden Files, you’ll love these.
And, that’s about it, really…the storm this weekend was a bust, thankfully (I was bracing for power outages); got a long weekend (thanks to the federal holiday celebrating the conquest of paradise), so hopefully I’ll catch a bit of a break…who am I kidding, of course I won’t.
With Age of Ultron out on disc today, there’s been a lot of talk with Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige about all kinds of things, including, it seems, Captain Marvel, who, according to this piece, we won’t be getting any casting announcements on this year.
Fan casting continues unabated on the internet, however (as one would expect), and, per the Feige quote I used for the title, Marvel’s paying attention, even if it’s not necessarily driving their eventual decision. As Captain Marvel film (out in 2018) producer Jeremy Latcham says of fan casting lists:
We read it, we go through it, we read the comments, we look at who people like. Sometimes it’s really enlightening. Sometimes it’s the exact same person that they’ve been saying over and over again that we don’t think is right. It’s always fun to kinda go through it and see what people are up to.
I’m going to take that, sadly, as tacit confirmation that Katee Sackhoff won’t be suiting up. A man can dream. At this point, I’m kind of hoping for an unknown (possibly named Chris?) who fits the role over the other suggestions like Yvonne Strahovski, Charlise Theron, or Emily Blunt (though the Natalie Dormer suggestion is intriguing).
Oh well. No news there for a while. However, they kind of owe us a picture of Spider-Man or Cumberbatch done up as Strange at this point, though, don’t they? At least they’re giving us these awesome Jessica Jones promos:
I’ll take it.
So today I did not pack a lunch for work; sometimes you just forget. So, around mid-day meal time today, I went to Burger King, where I acquired the Halloween Whopper, the watered down American version of the strange/awesome Japanese version with the black cheese and squid ink.
This, more or less, is what I had:
It was tasty, but not that different from a regular old whopper with a splash of A1 sauce.
The surprise came a few hours later, when I made use of the facilities…human poop should not be that vibrant a hue, or be this color at all. Food dyes are fun things, huh? Maybe Burger King should market this as a feature? I’m pretty sure it would be a selling point for a certain segment of the population.
I admit, I was amused.
In the meantime, here’s a little poetry I assembled from random phrases found in the spam comment folder of this here web site, because I do that now and then:
OMG It sounds like thousands of people are about to die.
Some times its a discomfort in the ass to read what folks wrote
but this internet website is really user friendly!
Continue to keep up the very good, operate
with the pork slow-cooked in root beer.
If one of the guys farts you just want to get to the finish
but on this occasion I think Gibbo needs to have a word.
Sweat had access
If you are going for best contents like myself, simply pay
before you go ahead significantly.
Infinitely Polar Bear.
Trolls need a passive audience, it is their oxygen
are we really on with washing machines?
To get to the point: I want an Eagle Talon.
I want an Eagle Talon for the same wack reason that I do my personal bookkeeping on a 1993 PowerBook…
They are just boobs.
Hi. Welcome to Monday morning. It’s not the best Monday morning, though really, I haven’t had a terribly great Monday morning in a while. I think that’s kind of the white-collar working-stiff bureaucrat default, though, so I’m not worried about that.
I am, however, still kind of worried about the shutdown business, even if the media’s kind of clammed up about it. Nothing of substance has happened since I talked about it on Friday, other than a bunch of talking heads on the Sunday morning shows expressing confidence that a shutdown won’t happen (as if they’d say anything else), but nobody’s moved on anything, and nobody, as far as I can tell, has scheduled any votes on anything yet (and as Monday’s traditionally a congresscritter travel day, nothing much is going to happen today except perhaps more bloviating). That leaves them with effectively two days to pass something, which doesn’t inspire much confidence, in either me, or the other of other federal employee acquaintance I’ve spoken to over the weekend while out and about – we’re both girding for at least a couple of days off without pay.
There was nothing on the newscasts this morning; today’s approved “big story” is that stuff at the UN, which is hardly minor, but you’ll forgive me if I’m focusing my attention on the stuff that hits a little closer to home right now. The best I think we can hope for at this point is that Boehner’s last-minute resignation announcement bought a bit of time (the Republicans in congress engineering the possible shutdown really don’t like their more establishment leader); his leaving might have been a compromise to buy a stopgap resolution funding things for a few weeks; kicking the can down the road to December or so, where, if a more conservative type gets the speakership, this crap will all go down again the first week or two of December…Merry Christmas.
So, that brings us to today. I’ve got a heck of a lot of stress built up, both from the uncertainty, plus some extra from paying bills this weekend, with a little extra effort to set things up in case I end up not getting paid for the next month or so, and instituting a few budgetary measures to ride things out (there are things we can do without at least temporarily); hopefully it will be unnecessary, but the Eagle Scout in me still believes in “Be Prepared.”
So, that’s where I am with this. I wish I could just let some things go and not worry so much about it, but that’s the way things go. I’ll get through it, logically I know that, but I kind of hate being a pawn in a political fight. I’ll just keep watching the news, trying not to speculate too much, and just ride this out; there’s really absolutely nothing else I can do.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the righteous WTF from wonkette in this piece from Saturday which describes the circumstances of this shutdown business pretty well, using some interestingly crafted colorful language.
So, above you’ll find the latest teaser for Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the second of the “street level” MCU series on Netflix (coming in November). I was looking forward to this one anyway, because I really enjoyed the comic series Alias upon which this show will be based (plus, you know, I’ll watch anything related to Marvel comics, but…)
Mostly, though, I’m seriously impressed with this 48 seconds or so of video, for managing to completely capture the essence and tone of the character without even showing her face. It is, as a Pokemon referencing person might say, super effective.
The mess, the empty bottles, the tools of the detective trade, the alarm set for 3:00 in the afternoon, and the subtle (?) use of super-strength. This is Jessica Jones, former D-list superhero, current hard-boiled private detective dealing with the effects of post-traumatic stress through snark and self-medication.
Give this to me now.
So, if you’ve talked to me in the last week (don’t worry, there haven’t been many of you), you might have heard me talk about the potential government shutdown. It’s a pain in the ass, dick-measuring contest fighting over where approximately .0037% of the federal government’s spending goes (and it’s over whether women have access to health care for their lady parts, because of course it is) championed by relative handful of grandstanding blowhards who don’t know how government works (several of whom are running for the Republican presidential nomination). I won’t argue that there’s a place to discuss what sort of things ought to get government funding, but that place isn’t a routine procedural vote over whether the government is allowed to pay the bills it’s already committed to paying (one of those bills being my salary for the work I do in pushing federal electrons around).
I was hoping we’d head this business off, but things, at this point, aren’t looking great. A couple of things happened today that have me bracing a bit, and generally being glad I’m not currently behind on any bills:
♦- This morning I got the first official acknowledgement from senior management that this might be happening, including an official memo from the office of my senior-senior management (somebody with “Secretary” in front of their name) talking about contingency plans, and to stay tuned for guidance if this doesn’t settle down in the next couple of days, and…
♦- The surprise headline this morning of Speaker of the House John Boehner abruptly announcing his retirement from both congress and his leadership position.
To elaborate on this a bit: Speaker Boehner and I don’t agree on a lot, but the guy is an old-school public servant, understands the need to balance political grandstanding and reasonable compromise with the other guys to get the actual work of government done, which is an attitude I can respect. He’s been one of the lone voices of reason holding back the complete tidal wave of crazy rolling in from the far right Tea Party types who don’t understand basic civics, and think that shutting down the government (for the second time in three years) over relative pennies is a strong moral victory that will earn them support and power. I’m kind of the opinion that Speaker Boehner, after yesterday finally presiding over a Papal address to a joint session (one of this big bucket list goals), and a private audience with Pope Francis, he finally decided that the stress of governing when your caucus can’t be moved to reason or rational discourse just wasn’t worth it anymore, and decided he’s out.
I think I can respect that move; he did the best with what he had for a long time, and has decided that he’s done dealing with this shit. I hope Mr. Boehner enjoys retirement or interesting speaking gigs and stuff in the future.
Of course, I can’t really see this move as a vote of confidence that a budget will get passed and ratified and I’ll be coming into work on Thursday like usual.
As lukewarm as I am on my job sometimes, I like having the opportunity to do it (my team’s on the verge of affecting some real nuts and bolts savings to the government, maybe more than the kind of money they’re threatening to shut things down over, ammortized over a year or three, which feels good), and get paid for it. Getting locked out of the office for an undetermined amount of time where I won’t get paid (with more uncertainty over whether I might make that money back – even if that’s what usually happens) doesn’t exactly play well with my stress levels. It actually also costs the government billions in waste and idleness, and makes life inconvenient for all kinds of people who depend on public services.
So yeah, I’m not feeling awesome about my immediate future. Here’s hoping things work out better than they did two years ago (although that sorted itself out, kinda).
And because I promised a breakdown (besides the stress one in the previous paragraphs), here’s a “Foggy Mountain” one, brought to you by the Stray Cats, because why the hell not?
So, I watched the new Muppets tv show this week, called, creatively enough,The Muppets (you can watch it too at the link if you missed it), which premiered to positive-to-mixed reviews this week. The premise is not-too-dissimilar to the original The Muppet Show back in the 70s, merely replacing the live theater variety show with the “Up Late with Miss Piggy” late night talk show, and implementing a few modern documentary/behind-the-scenes reality-tv tropes to the presentation; it’s still showbiz, and the characters generally fall into the same slots on the org chart, so to speak.
For my part, I enjoyed it; it mostly felt “Muppet”, if through the The Office/30 Rock lens. The jokes felt mostly right (cutting, slapstick, sarcastic, and occasionally warm), even if I found the “modern” shooting style a bit distracting (but I’ll get over that). The pilot was a little rough, but pilots often are, and I’m pretty confident that pre-air testing has already started ironing those out. I’ll keep watching.
Most of the reviews I’ve read (here are a few, from io9 and AV Club) were a little mixed, but a common thread between them (heck, even the expected protest from the always-offended American Family Association got in on the same thing) was the fact that the show was maybe too “edgy” or “adult”; and wasn’t the Muppets of their childhood.
I’m not necessarily on that train. The Muppets, especially in their Muppet Show guise, were always a little racy, and never afraid to push the envelope. We kids who watched in the 70s didn’t always notice the “adult” humor, but it was always there. Heck, the original Muppet show pilot/tv special was called “Sex and Violence”, and kind of lived up to the name, even if not to Meet the Feebles levels. Henson and company were always about working in service to the idea and not just making a kids’ show.
Sure, in the decades since, the Muppets characters have done a lot of stuff that might be considered less “adult” than The Muppet Show, including more than forty years on Sesame Street, shows like Fraggle Rock, and many of the 90s movies (particularly Muppet Christmas Carol), but the snark’s really always been baked in – this isn’t really different, other than the fact that TV standards might be a bit more permissive today than they were during the original 70s run.
the other “problem” people seem to have is with the “shake-up” of the status quo – i.e. – the “public” break-up of Kermit and Miss Piggy trickling out into regular real-world media, particularly people’s reaction to Denise, the new, Natalie Dormer-looking pig in Kermit’s life (““it’s the curly tail”). That people are so upset and concerned, to me, and as Steve Whitmire explained at Dragon*Con this year, that people are still invested in these characters after all these years, and that now is perhaps exactly the time for them them to make a comeback into the public consciousness. So, not really a problem at all, and, as Whitmire posited during one of the panels I sat in on, “maybe, you know, this breakup thing isn’t permanent?”.
So yeah…I feel generally pretty good about the new Muppets show, and am confident that the nostalgiac fans will come around to their love of and investment in the characters.
Maybe not the AFA, but then, I don’t expect them to get it anyway.
Me, I’m really pretty happy to have them back – the Henson Company and the Muppets specifically are a big deal to me.
Because it’s been hell of day and I don’t feel like futzing with my phone or my music archive, I’m not posting a random playlist, but rather a photo (taken by facebook personage Wendy Lea “WaltzingDog” Feldmann) from our Saturday night set at Dragon*Con last weekend, because it’s cool, and makes us look like a real band and stuff. It’s pretty sweet.
I’m not sure what song we’re actually playing here, though it’s probably “Raised By Nerds”*, because we played it in every set we did over the weekend, whether it be on stage, in the filk circle, or noodling around by the merch table. It went over pretty well. If you haven’t heard it, you should make the effort, because it’s pretty great (if we do say so ourselves), and you have absolutely no excuse now, because I embedded it below. Just, as they say, push play. (it even has a link to buy it** if you feel so moved):
So, that’s what’s going on here. It’s payday. I paid bills, which is occasionally depressing. I’ll live. Have a nice weekend, everyone!
* – “Nerds” is what I’m going to go with, but given a couple of hints in the photo (Kirsten’s tambourine, the fact that I’m way up there around the 17th fret on the top image), it might be “Zip Me Up”, another pretty great song we hadn’t played in a while and added to the set at the last minute. We call audiles like that.
** – Really…buy it. Please.