inhumans

29
Jun

Okay, so the trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans tv series (showing up on ABC in September with a limited IMAX preview in theaters prior) dropped today:



Ehhhh….

I really *want* to like this one; I really do. Inhumans in classic Marvel terms ought to be huge, dramatic, over-the-top space opera rife with with courtly intrigue and backstabbing. It’s Shakespeare by way of Jack Kirby, with weird superpowers and giant teleporting dogs; It’s day-glo, pop art Game of Thrones; or at least it should be.

We get some of that political intrigue here, with Iwan “Ramsay Bolton” Rheon as Maximus the Mad monologuing over some fade in/out shot of Atillan (looking pretty grey and spartan) about taking back Earth as the inhuman (who are descendants of ancient humans affected by alien scientific experimentation and exposed to the Terrigen Mists to awaken their superpowers…Comics, Everybody!) birthright, and challenging the leadership of his brother the king, Black Bolt.

After that, we get…Hawaii. Running. Quick shots of the other characters like Medusa, Crystal, Karnak, and Gorgon, and a quick flash of Lockjaw, the giant teleporting bulldog. And not a whole lot else.

I’m afraid this is going to tank, largely because it looks like it’s trying to ground something that is absolutely NOT grounded at all. I want to see Medusa throwing cars around with her super-strong prehensile hair; I want to see Black Bolt (who has a voice that levels mountains, so he remains mute most of the time) conveying emotions and thoughts beyond “constipated”…I get that this is a TV budget, and the property has gotten kicked around between movie and tv divisions thanks to the internal Marvel feud between Perlmutter and Feige…but they’ve laid down so much inhuman ground work with Agents of SHIELD the last two years, there’s plenty to work with to get there.

Oh well, I’m still going to give it a shot (of course I will), but I’m not expecting much.

The only thing that gives me hope is that stinger with Lockjaw doing his dog thing. That’s awesome. He deserves the chance to be the next runaway success like dancing baby Groot. I’m afraid he’s not going to get it.

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trail magic

28
Jun

As one might notice (as I write this, anyway) in the “current obsessions” block in the left sidebar, I’m working toward a goal of biking at least sixty miles this week, mostly to see if I can manage it, and I want to see if I can kick my body in the pants and kickstart the weight loss process a little bit (I’m still going down, but I’ve been languishing in the same general region -the 240s- for more than a week), and I’m thinking a little extra cardio along the way might just do the trick.

Yesterday afternoon, I hit the trail straight after work as I do at least a couple of times a week; I’m finding it helps clear my head after a busy day of program managing and office politics. I usually find myself doing ten or fifteen miles any given day. Monday’s fifteen felt pretty good, so about half way through my first lap (my trail of choice most of the time is the loop at Dutch Gap Conservation Area, not far from my house), I decided that I was feeling just as good, so I was going to try to get ahead of my pace and do twenty, especially since it’s been a little cooler and less humid the last few days.

…and I managed it. I might even say I felt virile afterwards, if my ass wasn’t so sore after being in the saddle for such a distance. While I was out, though, I met somebody who puts my efforts to shame, and really impressed the heck out of me. Typically, I lap most hikers pretty regularly (I average aound 10-12mph), and even a lot of cyclists. Along the way this time, I passed a fellow on a bike once or twice, and about twelve miles into my run, we found ourselves on an easy stretch together and got chatting for a mile and a half or so (I honestly appreciated the temporary slow down to recover a bit), and this guy amazed me.

This fellow, Bobby, is 80 years old. He rides the trail a couple of times a week, in spite of having had a knee replacement done a couple of years ago. I sincerely hope, should I live that long (and I’m doing my best to try to make that happen), I’m still out and active and doing stuff like he is. He told me about another guy who he rides with sometimes who’s 87!

Talk about an inspiring human being. Wow.

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somewhere on the journey I find we

26
Jun

Twenty years ago today, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published.

Somewhere in late 1999 or early 2000 (I honestly don’t remember quite when, but the experience sticks with me), I picked up a paperback copy of Sorcerer’s Stone (oh, how I still wish, all these years later, they just went with the original title and didn’t assume -likely correctly- that Americans were idiots) on the way to an appointment so I’d have something to read in the waiting room, based largely on the burgeoning hype these stories were generating.

I got started with it that afternoon, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in a couple of hours, and immediately grabbed the other two books that were available at the time (I’m dating my recollection based on the September ’99 first publication of Azkaban), and from then on, I was pretty much hooked.

Sure, I was an “adult” who didn’t grow up with the series like so many other fans did, but I played along with the community going to midnight release parties, posting and discussing theories of what was happening next online and in person (especially with my lovely wife, who went right down the rabbit hole with me), and perhaps most significantly, catching Harry and the Potters at a free library show on a mid-week afternoon in DC on a lark some time in 2006-2007 (I honestly can’t remember anymore), which, at least indirectly, led to my discovering “wizard rock” and eventually finding a much beloved community and creative outlet as I got myself hooked up with The Blibbering Humdingers, who I first met (according to my blog archives) in 2010, and have been playing bass and assorted other instruments with for most of the last five years(!).

My association with Scott and Kirsten (two of the most wonderful and creative people I have the pleasure of knowing) led to my own personal initiation into a larger world (sound familiar? that’s intentional) of both wrock and nerd/geek music in general, where I’ve made some very dear friends and have gotten to have all kinds of wonderful and novel experiences that wouldn’t have been possible if not for a certain book published with little fanfare, written a single mother living on public assistance who jotted the whole business down while hanging out in a coffee shop in Edinbugh.

So, thanks Ms. Rowling, for giving the world something that ended up meaning a lot to so many people, and that led me, personally, to find such wonderful community and outlets for creativity that bring me so much joy.

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friday random eleven: “what a craic” edition

23
Jun

Another week down. I spent quite a bit of it doing the usual work/exercise/etc thing. Pretty standard, aside from a couple of car service appointments (one of which is still in process – a recall repair/rogue check engine light on the van is taking a while, so the spouse is currently rocking a 363hp Chrysler 300C with a huge V8 and the capability to store half a dozen dead hookers in the trunk as a loaner) and doing my grocery shopping on Tuesday instead of over the weekend because Awesomecon.

Weight loss project still looks good, though I’ve kind of plateued a bit – I’m still going down, just not at the same rate as before. I’m pretty sure the easy weight is gone now, and the last 15-20lb is going to take a bit longer. I’m actually okay with this, rationally, but it’s screwing up the nice trendline I had going on my personal data crunching spreadsheet, which is kind of infuriating to my inner pedant. Oh well.

I’ve also put a bunch of miles behind me on the bike (some of them in fifteen mile chunks, which I appreciate, but my ass doesn’t), though I had to cut yesterday’s short, as I think it’s time to replace the rear tire; the tread’s down, and I think I have a slow leak in the tube (the ass-end of the bike was sliding all over the place yesterday afternoon). I’ll probably live with it for another couple of days (keeping the pump in the car) and get it to the shop on payday (it needs a gears-and-brakes tune-up anyway).

As for the weekend, that’s going to be mostly all about the HOI recital, where I’m helping out with sound/lights/tech/whatever else they need me to do while everyone else dances. Tonight’s dress rehearsal, and Saturday evening at 7pm at Thomas Dale HS is the big event.

Also – if you’re down the NC triangle way, check out my bandmates from the Blibbering Humdingers (as a duo, because of my responsibilities in the last paragraph) performing at Steampunk Mid-Atlantic in Raleigh Saturday at 6:30!

Anyway, here are some tunes. Nice and indie this time around:

  1. “Phantom Limb” – The Shins
  2. “Rocket”- Def Leppard
  3. “Farm on the Freeway” – Jethro Tull
  4. “Luxury Problem” – Lunachicks
  5. “Soul Meets Body” – Death Cab for Cutie
  6. “Ran” – Future Islands
  7. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
  8. “Lord of the Blacksmiths” – Falconer
  9. “She’s Amazing” – Team Dresch
  10. “First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
  11. “Kiss and Ride” – Bratmobile
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wonder, awesome, love

19
Jun

‘Twas a pretty busy weekend, overall.

While work has kind of settled into a new routine now that development on our piece of the larger project is in full swing, my two contractors (responsible for different parts of the process) are kind of at odds (this rivalry pre-dates my involvement, but it’s currently my problem), with little bits of sniping and calls to me from both sides complaining about something the other one did. It’s really annoying; we should all be better. I ended up having to put my foot down and tell them all to grow up on Friday afternoon (in a pretty professional and eloquent manner, if I do say so myself), though I suspect this business isn’t totally over.

Friday afternoon involved a doctor’s appointment, checking in on the weight loss program, and my doctor was very impressed and happy with my progress. We talked a bit about ultimate goals, and it turns out she and I are on the same page, and all is well. Friday night was nice as well, getting out of the house with the family to grab a meal out and catch a screening of Wonder Woman, which I recommend you all go see if you haven’t, because it’s really good. Unlike the rest of the current crop of DC movies, WW manages to balance the tone much better; a WWI movie, by virtue of the setting, is going to be drab and a little dark, but you get a nice contrast between that and the bright paradise of Themyscira in terms of visuals, and the characters get to actually be people, finding pleasure and humor in life, despite the dark situation they find themselves in. Gal Gadot is a joy; a great Wonder Woman who embodies both the warrior and the peacemaker – the strength and compassion that are both core elements of the character.

Saturday, as indicated earlier, was Awesome-Con in DC, where Dimensional Riffs had a panel/short performance in the afternoon. This con, being largely an autograph hunter thing with a big exhibition hall/dealers room, focused less on our kind of thing; and was frustrating for me in terms of organization and some of it’s growing pains (it’s only four years old, and has gotten *really* large); things like crowd management and layout were less than optimal, and a lot of the attendees don’t necessarily understand con etiquite (this introvert would characterize the exhibition hall as “agressively unpleasant”). Several of us who are in this community had a nice discussion about it on FriendFace this weekend, both the strengths and weaknesses. That said, the volunteers and staff I dealt with were pretty accommodating and pleasant, I got to see a bunch of dear friends I haven’t seen in a while, and our panel went pretty well, sparked some nice discussion with folks in attendance, and driving some online music sales, which is always nice. I’m still not sure if I’m interested in returning in the same capacity next year, but we’ll see how it goes.

Sunday, being Father’s Day, was rather pleasant. The kids did a good job making the holiday pretty cool. Cards, gifts (a pretty awesome understated hawaiian shirt!), and a nice meal, including my favorite dessert, apple pie. I felt like I’d gone off my diet requirements a little bit, but I also was not going to pass up apple pie (in a nice turn of events, my weigh-in Monday morning showed me dropping again after being plateued for a couple of days – it’s a Father’s Day Miracle!).

I’ll take it.

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so i have an adult now

19
Jun

this is the face she's probably making right now if she's reading this

Eighteen years ago today, I watched a tiny little person under five pounds come into the world, being quite feisty and full of life in spite of having to hang out in one of those plexiglass incubator things for a lot of the first week.

In the interim, there were dance classes, road trips, laughs, tears, and all that other stuff that happens in, you know, life.

Today, she’s legally considered an adult, has graduated high school, is smart and poised and talented and all that other cool stuff, has a solid (as solid as anybody’s plan can be, anyway) for the immediate future, and impresses everyone she encounters (seriously, kid, people tell me that all the time, without prompting!), including me.

So, happy birthday, kid legal adult, go make the world a better place; I know you have it in you!

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my hero this week

16
Jun

Senator Harris went above and beyond this week during her questioning of AG Sessions during his testimony this week. Calm, professional, and effective. I know my body language would be a lot less restrained than hers had I been in her place dealing with the word salad bullshit coming both from the questioned and her fellow questioners:

Bravo, Senator. California’s lucky to have you.

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friday random eleven: “it’s me or wheaton!” edition

16
Jun

After a shaky start to the week (some program schedule weirdness that is still sort of getting worked out), I seem to have fallen back into at least something of my routine again, which is, to be honest, so much better for my health and sanity. The weather and a couple of doctor’s appointments are throwing at least some of the afternoon biking off the schedule a bit, though I’ve still got 35 miles in for the week, and will try to get another ten or fifteen in on Sunday if the universe cooperates. I think I kind of need that, as I’ve hit what I hope is a momentary wall in my weight loss progress – I’ve been hovering around in the same half-pound range for the last couple of days, and need to give the system another kick in the pants. I’m not that concerned, because the range I’m hanging in is under 250 pounds, and I haven’t been there for any significant length of time in years.

I’ll throw my patterns off again this weekend, thanks to a con gig in D.C. tomorrow, but it should be an interesting time, assuming I survive the trip up (I’m also driving the “band bus”) with this particular gang of weirdos – As I said earlier, we get started bright and early (because our singer really wants to see David Tennant), so we’ll be wandering around the con for a few hours before our panel/performance at 6pm in room 154.

Can’t be there? Going to see the Mr. Wheaton instead? Here’s a draft of the notes I’m going to use for “Nerd Rock 101”.

Anyway, that’s what I got here – today’s the last day of school for the year as well for all of them (the eldest is, of course, done with all this business, the middle wrapped finals yesterday), so Monday should be absolutely wonderful, as I’ll be the only one who has to be up and around before the sun.

So lovely.

Here are some tunes. Pretty usual spread, trending toward “classic rock” this time. Patterns holding:

  1. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  2. “Montana” – Frank Zappa
  3. “You Got A Crush on Me” – The Donnas
  4. “Welcome to the Machine” – Pink Floyd
  5. “Aqualung” – Jethro Tull
  6. “Missed the Boat” – Modest Mouse
  7. “Houses of the Holy” – Led Zepplin
  8. “Entering Eternity” – Falconer
  9. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  10. “Too Many Humans” – Buckethead
  11. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot

Slow news for Stranger Things this week (I probably ought to let this business go until Halloween, when the new season hits Netflix), but the latest thing is word from the producers that the season may do things that “leave fans disappointed”. Maybe, but I’ll still dig it.

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this weekend – Awesomecon

14
Jun

Just as a heads’ up, I’ll be a guest (as part of Dimensional Riffs) at Awesome-Con on Saturday in D.C.!

We’re running a panel on “Nerd Rock” at 6pm on Saturday in room 154. We’ll talk about the history, future, and myriad flavors of “Nerd Rock”, and will also play a couple of tunes while we’re at it. If you happen to be around (and aren’t attending the Wil Wheaton Q&A scheduled at the same time in the main programming room… 🙁 ), we’d love it if you’d stop by and support us!

I’ve never actually been to this one before, but I have several friends exhibiting and vending (21st Century Sandshark Studios!, Capes and Babes!, etc), and they’ve got a hell of a guest list, including David Tennant and Stan Lee! Yeah, it’s an autograph hunter con, but what the hell.

Anyway, we’ll be around on Saturday, wandering around and checking things out (my band mates are desperate to catch Tennant’s panel at 10:30 – we’ll see if they get up in time) for a lot of the day before closing the regular programming day down with our panel. It should be interesting.

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hey Virginia….VOTE!

13
Jun

It’s primary day here in Virginia.

As it is every year after a presidential election, Virginia will pick a new Governor in 2017 (it’s always a new one – that office is term-limited, no more than one four year stint, at least sequentially), and the media always focuses on the race as a litmus test for how the Republic is feeling about the newly elected administration.

The most common story this year is the Democratic primary for Governor, which a lot of people are categorizing as a fight “for the soul of the Democratic party”, as one candidate (Lt. Gov. Ralph Northham) represents the establishment, at least by convention, as he’s got the support of all the statewide elected officials (Gov McAulliffe, Senators Kaine and Warner, and AG Herring – all of VA’s statewide offices are Dems right now – thanks, interstate corridors!), and is touting his understanding of the Virginia political landscape as a way of getting things done, and another (former Congressman Tom Periello) is running as the populist upstart, with the endorsements of folks like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth (swoon) Warren.

Three folks are running on the Republican side, but former RNC chair Ed Gillespie seems to have it all but wrapped up.

Also on the ballot is Lt. Governor (lots of former federal lawyers and state senators), and all the House of Delegates seats, and various and sundry other things.

My personal ballot’s only going to have the Statewide candidates (no primary for my House district; it’s possible the incumbent will be unopposed…argh); unsurprisingly, I’ll be picking the Democratic ballot, and casting my primary vote for Periello for Governor, mostly because I like the populist streak, and Liz Warren’s endorsement means something (not that Kaine’s doesn’t, but c’mon, Warren’s a superhero). I also like his position regarding creating jobs via localization of food and energy production (he uses the example of local craft breweries in VA revitalizing so many communities). That said, he and Northam are both very good candidates, and I’ll happily vote for either one in November.

For Lt. Governor, I’m going with Justin Fairfax, because I like a lot of his positions on small business (echoed by most of my business owner friends), the Democracy For America (PAC growing out of Howard Dean’s 2004 run) endorsement, and the endorsement of my congressional representative, Don McEachin, who’s done pretty well by my district since getting elected last year. Again, though, everybody looks pretty good overall.

My other bit of excitement about this one is that my daughter’s eligible to vote in this one (if you’ll be 18 by the general, they let you into the primary), which is a big deal to me.

So if you’re in VA, VOTE!

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