Jan. 17th, 2016 01:09 am
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I've been feeling a bit tired the past few days. Not exhausted, exactly, or sick, but just easily tuckered out so I've been napping and curling up under the blankets a lot over the past few days. I think it's a bit of low grade depression, which I hope will pass since I'm using mood stabilizers again. Feisty has enjoyed the cuddling, I'm sure. Anyway, I spent seven hours watching football on TV, which is not something I have often done in the past, especially at my own home at my own discretion. Stoic was good company and made a delicious supper with fried pork and bok choy over spaghetti squash with something called dandan sauce (hot and peanutty). We watched the Patriots win handily, and then played cribbage while Green Bay come so close to winning against Arizona. The hail mary play with no time left to send the game into overtime was truly epic.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I have looked at a lot of art, lately, because I have had some time on my hands. Stories and games, and especially story games, have long been my preferred coping mechanism for life, so this is hardly a surprise. This is the first of a series of posts to sort of clear my mental buffer of thoughts about what I'm currently enjoying, and I'm going to start with the ridiculous amount of TV I have been watching.

Agents of SHIELD )

and speaking of Gotham... )

Sleepy Hollow )

The Good Wife )

Constantine )

Elementary )

Doctor Who )

Gracepoint )

Legend Of Korra )

Finally, it got cancelled after one short season, but Almost Human did quite well as a police procedural with strong SF/futurist elements. The heart of the show was the dynamic between Karl Urban as detective Kennex and Michael Ehle as his android counterpart Dorian. This was a fantastic show with lots going on, and great commentary on contemporary racial politics. A pity it didn't last.
grinninfoole: (Default)
1) I'm pleased by the results of last week's election.  Four more years of Obama will be better than four years of Romney, and six years of Elizabeth Warren will, I think, be better than Scott Brown.  More generally, I'm pleased that the hateful and blinkered clique that controls the GOP was so soundly rejected across the land.  I hope the real Republicans retake their party from the zealots.  We need them to call us lefties on our many failings.

2) Millari went back to see my family with me this weekend, and that was big help. She's been a rock for me, and I hope I don't lean on her too much.

3) Talking with friends has helped me to recognize that I'm someone who forms intense romantic bonds.  In the case of Grounded, the ones I formed many years ago, once unearthed and confronted with the marvelous reality of who she is now, became very strong once again.  Yet, I just don't see that she feels the same way, and I don't think the lives we have separately chosen mesh well.  So, I'm going to break off contact with her for a while, until I can accept things as they are.  I hope this won't take 5 to 10 years this time. :(

4) M and I saw Cloud Atlas the other day, and it's fantastic.  I love the book, and the movie adapts it for the screen well, keeping enough of its nested narrative structure to evoke the parallels and contrasts it featured, while keeping the action moving and providing a gorgeous spectacle.  Several actors played multiple parts in different times and places, and I think the complaints about 'yellow face' or other race fail problems miss the forest for the trees: all the actors who play multiple parts are made up in a different race or gender.  This isn't done as mockery or appropriation (the main issues this sort of race fail raises), but as a commentary on the fluidity of gender and identity.  I will not dispute with anyone who considers the experiment a failure, but I don't think it offends in the way that the Jazz Singer or White Girls do.

5) I have a friend who works for FEMA, and who is deployed in Brooklyn.  Apparently, even two weeks after Sandy, things are still pretty rough out there, and many people are desperate.  Kudos to the relief workers who are struggling mightily to help people, and kudos to the activists of Occupy Wall Street, who have started organizing their own informal relief effort.

6) Louis CK did a great bit on Saturday Night Live last week in the style of his sitcom, except he was playing Abraham Lincoln as a sad sack comedian.
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I watched some of the Republican convention, and a fair bit of the Democrats, and I'm astounded that this election is even close. 

blah blah politics blah )

On a related note, here is a brief snippet of an FDR speech, deriding the critics of the New Deal for saying essentially the same things the Romney camp says about the Affordable Health Care Act.

Meanwhile, in the senate mines... )
grinninfoole: (Default)
I'm a supporter of Elizabeth Warren and her candidacy for Senate here in Massachusetts.  I'm looking forward to her speech tomorrow night at the Democratic Convention.  Anyone who wants to come over and watch it with me (around 10 PM), leave a comment here and come on by tomorrow.
grinninfoole: (Default)
The local news did a puff piece on the opening of Dark Knight Rises, and came to my store and talked to me.  They used a few seconds of me saying obvious stuff about Batman.  My impressions are: 1) is that really my voice?  and 2) ugh, the camera really does add 10 pounds. :(

Plus, Mike Lacrosse got the name of my store wrong. 

Anyway, here it is.
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•Ran two Magic tournaments at the store this weekend. Was hoping for 32 people to play today, but only got 29. Still our biggest one yet, and I think everyone had a good time.

•I like the new set, Avacyn Restored. It has a lot of great cards, but I think my favorite is the Conjurer's Closet artifact.

•Feisty still sneezes sometimes, which worries me. I want to take her off the steroids altogether, but I don't want her to get plugged up again. She's nearly 14.

•Put $5000 more into the store, to help start up the New York location. I do hope this works out well.

•I have many balls to juggle, and a couple of them have bounced a bit.
-I need to finish and submit a claim for my dad's long term care insurance. (ughh, it's not the hard intellectually, but very difficult emotionally.)
-I need to fine a contractor to come repair the damage to my house.
-I have some work projects that dangle unfinished.
-My home is getting messy
-I'm not losing weight. I need to make more healthy food, go to Weight Watchers, and exercise. I still want to fit into my tux for Bottledgoose's wedding.
-I want to get some new furniture for my house, which is cash I probably don't have.
-Also, just spent 1300 getting brakes etc. fixed on my POS minivan. Probably more than its worth. Should have just unloaded it.
-I can't tell if I'm scarily obsessive about Grounded or not, because I think about her constantly. Not just every day, but all through the day, whenever my brain slips into neutral.

•Reading the new history of AIDS, Tinderbox, and loving it.

•Great TV: the recent run of Fringe, the season finale of the Good Wife, and the new Avatar series, Legend Of Korra. (Amon is totally a puppet of Ko, the Face-Stealer, hence the mask.) the Awake series is growing on me, too.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Last month, Dark Horse published the first graphic novel continuation of the Avatar The Last Airbender series, the Promise. It's the first part of the story, but it's picking up on the loose threads of Zuko's dad in jail, his missing mother, and the great task of constructing the peace now that the war is finally over. I quite like it: the art keeps the look and feel of the cartoon, but works as comics, and not just screen caps. The writing seems true to the show in themes, characters and dialogue. If you like the show, you should rush over to my shop and get this book.

(Oh, and in my post the other day, I forgot to mention that M and I have watched the first season of Warehouse 13, and actually quite liked it. Saul Rubinek is a lot of fun, and the rapport between the two Secret Service agents working for him is enjoyably functional and comic. I like that the guy (can't recall his name) is so easy-going and friendly that he can play ping pong with his reflection in the Mirror Universe (courtesy of the Lewis Carroll's Looking Glass) while other people dread it because it will unleash their subconscious dark side. I think we'll watch more when we get the chance.)
grinninfoole: (Default)
I meant to post a few days ago, but I got sick a few days ago, and I'm only recovering now. (Some sort of gastro-intestinal whatsis, which made it so I couldn't eat for almost 2 days straight. Now I'm feeling better, but I still feel a bit of discomfort just below my sternum.) M was so kind and helpful in taking care of me during this ordeal.

My dad has, as they say in biz, plateaued. He's not likely to get much better, so he's switching to custodial care, which means Medicare won't cover his bills any more. Which means it's time for me to step up and get serious about making claims on my Dad's insurance policies, because the bills come out to more than $10,000 a month. A lot more. I don't know how families without our resources cope.

I'm going to have to work some convention in New Jersey at the end of the month. Not looking forward to all the driving, and I've already missed one weekend visiting Dad because of my illness.

M is preparing to move out at the end of the month. I'm going to stay here in our house. We're figuring out what's going to stay, and what she's taking with her, and so forth. It's pretty low key, but I do find myself tripping over the mental change from team mode to solo mode.

M and I are awaiting the final season of DS9. Until then, we're watching other stuff, like the new Tinker Tailor (which we loved, though was there gay subtext added to the story, or did we just miss it in the Alec Guinness version?), the 1981 BBC TV Smiley's People (less gripping plot, more comprehensible characters than Tinker Tailor), some Jeeves & Wooster (glad it holds up so well), and now Rome. We're half-way through a rewatch of season 1, en route to the unplumbed wonders of season 2. It's such a good show, though I had forgotten just how shockingly, explicitly sexual and violent it is.

I caught the tail end of the Superbowl last week, and I was briefly sad that the Patriots lost. While my football loyalty remains a foot wide and an inch deep, however, I did form a powerful emotional attachment to a new fandom during the game, though I suppose it's really more of an anti-fandom: the New York Giants scored their winning touchdown in the last minute, and the guy who scored it actually turned and completed the play butt first. I really can't stand arrogance or a sense of entitlement, and, which is what's always bugged me about the Yankees, and this struck me as a blatant display of same. So, I still don't care all that much about the Patriots, but I really hate the New York Giants. Funny how these things work, isn't it?

P.S. I'm having lunch with [Grounded] on Wednesday, so cross your fingers, eh?
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Tonight I'm at my parents' house in Andover. Because of the nor'easter that hit last Saturday, kids are out trick or treating now. I'm lounging in the guest room, listening to the door bell. Shortly, I shall head over to Cambridge to celebrate the Feast of Rhotus at the shrine of St. Whatserface. The Pope, the Popess, the Team Captain, and others should be there, too.

Power was out here from Saturday night until Wednesday night. Mom and Dave spent the first night freezing here in the house, and then went to a hotel. Dad collapsed on Sunday evening when they went out to dinner, and was taken to the Lahey Clinic. While the cause isn't clear, Dad apparently has orthostatic hypotension, and he is thus prone to falls, blackouts, fainting spells, and more. He slips in and out of lucidity, and this is only making his failing memory worse.

Dad doesn't grasp the full extent of his condition, in part because he doesn't want to, and in part because he can't recall recent events well enough to make sense of things. It's emotionally challenging to talk to him, because he wants to come home, but Mom and Dave can't deal with his current level of illness, and don't want the stress of waiting on him hand and foot.

We're thus starting to explore options about home nursing care, assisted living facilities, and so forth. At least I have managed to smooth out a few things for Mom and Dave, and talk the staff the at the rehab hospital in Salem (where Dad is now) to give him a private room.

I am really fortunate that I was able to just leave work for a week to come here and help out. Mike G and the rest of the staff have covered for me, and I haven't had to think twice about it. Working for Mike has been fun, challenging, and very low stress. I'm very lucky.

Feisty is taking new medicine, which is apparently helping, though we may still need to take her for expensive tests, etc.

In frivolous news, I quite like the show Castle.
grinninfoole: (Pathway)
I have been meaning to post for the past week, but I haven't made the time, despite staying up late.  Well, no more.  Surely you, my myriad readers, are desperate for news of me, so here it is. 

I moved into my new space last Saturday, so it's been a week.  It still feels a bit strange, but I'm adjusted better than I feared.  I feel rested when I sleep, and I like the space, though it still looks new to my eyes, and so this still feels like a bit of an adventure.  I must keep making time for making it mine.   There shall be a place for everything, and everything shall be in its place, but I shall first have to find all the things, get rid of stuff I no longer want, and then find places for the rest.  I can do it, but I must keep plugging away, and not just allow piles to acrete.  F found the change in dad space weird for a couple of days, but now she's got it figured out.

One good thing is that I'm so far succeeding in developing a habit of exercising when I get up in the morning.  I hope to end the year feeling strong and healthy and confident.  I had a look at the online schedule for my old dojo, as I'm thinking of starting Aikido again in the spring, and I was shocked to see that Kanai sensei had died seven years ago.  I know I have been away for a while, but damn....


I'm helping to organize the Paint and Pixel Festival in April.  It's a new event to showcase the many great artists in the wilds of western New England.  I have managed to hook a couple of headliners, but now I need to follow through on spreading the word so folks actually buy some tables.  I don't have any money in this, but I'd like it to become a success.  I took this on because I kind of miss the fun of organizing 5Con, I'm looking for new things to do to reinvent myself, I figure it will look OK on my resume, and the organizer is smoking hot.  (And happily married, so there's nothing in the offing there, because I'm done with that dance, but apparently I'm still susceptible to the prickings of my libido. :)

I have some friends who are apparently struggling to pull themselves from the slough of despond, and I haven't heard much from them of late.  You guys know who you are.  I'm pulling for you.  Call when you can.

(It's quite windy with gusts up to 50 mph; earlier there was a <i>thunderstorm</i>.  In February.  Frakking global warming.)

I made really tasty stew tonight.  M and I had some after we watched Fringe.  It feels good to watch a new show and be current on it.  Fringe isn't my favorite show, but it's really well done, and I'm impressed by how well written and structured it is.

I have seen some season 1 Deep Space Nine episodes recently, because M borrowed them from a friend, and is watching them with her inamorata.  I had forgotten just how strong that show was, and how well characterized it was, right from the start.  I'll probably say more about this later.

M and I are going back east to visit my family tomorrow.  I plan to interview my dad about his life, before he either dies or becomes so senile he won't remember anything.  I hope I haven't left it too late.

Carla Speed McNeil has finally published a new Finder book, called Voice.  It's about Rachel Grosvenor, now a young woman, and her struggle to earn formal acceptance into Clan Llaverac.  Things have gone wrong, and she needs Jaeger, but he's not around, so she has to go find him.  It's superb.  Man, she really is amazing comics creator and SF writer.  With the possible exception of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, this is the best creator-owned, one person writer/artist comic currently ongoing.  if you aren't reading yet, start now. 

I'm going to start sleeping, myself. 

Good night everyone. 
grinninfoole: (Default)
The AV Club posted an article about a sequel to Avatar The Last Airbender. This is great news. I'm disappointed that it will take place 80 years after the original series, as there were a couple of loose ends I would like them to have pulled on, but that's a quibble. If the new show is anything like as good as Avatar, then this will be a joy for years to come.
grinninfoole: (Default)
The sore throat a few days ago turned into two days of sick in bed. Happily, I was able to take them as sick days (more or less--a work crisis on Tuesday had me suiting up for an hour and going in to help), so I mostly got better. Mostly. [Also nice: I rented and finally got to see Miyazaki's Castle In The Sky. Man, I wish I'd seen it in 1986, when it came out. I think it would have brightened my life in a tough period for me.] Wednesday was the busiest new comics day of the year, and yesterday we had a nice run of last minute shoppers. Lefty was cool and let me skate early to go home for Xmas eve, because Mami y Papi were coming to dinner. (BIG thanks to Morlock for helping us out on hotel accommodations!)

M spent much of the 23rd & 24th cleaning and cooking, getting things ready. I wasn't nearly the help I wanted to be, but I did some of the cleaning, the grocery shopping on Wednesday, and I made a pecan pie (which I slightly burnt, as I'm out of practice, but Breyer's Vanilla covers a multitude of culinary sins.)

Our feast last night featured a butternut squash/chestnut soup, an elegantly simple tossed salad and roast chicken with a side dish of spinach sauteed with raisins & pignoli, with my pie batting clean up. Martha brought agua frescas (jamaica and another one made from pineapples), and I think she brought a dessert, too.

It was a lovely evening. I was really glad to have family to our home for Xmas, to show off our tree, and entertain in our living room. We gave and received thoughtful gifts. And, by the time we wrapped at about 1:30 AM, I was totally out of gas. I wasn't really sick anymore, but I had no energy reserves, and I couldn't properly regulate my body temperature.

I went to bed after I put all the left-overs in the fridge, and I slept for many hours.

I awoke this morning feeling... improved. No longer lingeringly ill. I don't need to take more Nyquil/Dayquil. But I am weary. So much so that I did something I wouldn't have done in years past (and perhaps, since I was younger, wouldn't have needed to do): I called my parents and told them that I'd be coming home for Xmas tomorrow. I'm sad to miss spending the day itself there with them, but I just don't need to do the driving today.

So, I'm going to nap now. Later, I'll browse on leftovers, enjoy some gifts, stare at the tree, and perhaps make a fire.

Merry Xmas, friends and random internet readers!

[Edit: M spent a good chunk of the day stuck doing school work, but we watched Waters Of Mars again, and it made me cry to see the Doctor, like a true hero, fall prey to his tragic flaw. Afterward, I went back and watched Voyage Of The Damned and Partners in Crime, and it's interesting to see how RTD was setting up these themes all along. As Mr. Copper remarks in the otherwise so-so Voyage (a previous Xmas special): "Not the one you would have chosen as the sole survivor, I suppose. But still, if you were the one who got to choose who lives and who dies, you'd be some kind of monster."
grinninfoole: (Default)
I have sore throat, so I'm loafing as much as possible today. The great storm which apparently socked the hell out of south and mid-Atlantic states left the merest dusting of snow here, after I went to some trouble to secure studded tires for Skull Jr. Typical. :)

X-mas is bearing down, but I am mostly ready. I have gifts for friends and loved ones (mostly), and I got a tree yesterday (which we shall trim this evening), and we've hung stockings (monster stockings which I got at my store), and the Team has sent many X-mas cards, and gotten together with friends and swapped pressies... it's been nice, this year. I much prefer the holiday season when I have my act together.

Mami y Papi will visit for Xmas eve, we'll dash out to Andover to see my family on the day itself, and then back home for a little household cheer on Boxing Day. M will be going to Germany, getting to know a new friend, over New Year's. I'll be looking for something to do on the 31st, but I am, apparently, cool enough to have been invited to TWO parties on New Year's Day. If possible, I shall go to both.

Xmas is my favorite holiday, but it is so precisely because of the secular nonsense that's built up around it. I'm not a Christian (and even if I were, the holiday doesn't really have anything to do with Josh from Nazareth) and I find the insistence of some, who claim that they are, on grounding any celebration in what they value quite tedious. I'm basically an atheist, and content to be so, and Christmas doesn't have to mean any more to me than 'that time when we put up lights, and decorate conifers, and swap gifts, and shop wildly, and send cards, and feast with family and friends'.

On a related note, we have had a nice Xmas rush bump in business at work, so it looks like we'll finish 2009 in the black, if only slightly. I shall be 40 in a few months, and I foresee the need to disrupt myself from my comfortable rut, but the rut does appear to run on towards the horizon.

Creatively, I'm still running a D&D 3.5 game using the Midnight setting. It's so much more work than designing stuff for 4th, but the setting requires the clunky lack of balance that 4th edition was specifically designed to fix, so what the hell. And I have a great group of players. Who knows how much longer it will last, but I have a couple of plot hooks to throw out at them, and then I expect the players to drive things to a thrilling conclusion. And then, we'll see. Perhaps the writing will come again, if I can accept that muse seems more sub-creative and transformative than path-breaking in its proclivities.

This weekend is also a good one for watching cool TV shows. Dr. Who Waters Of Mars premiered in the US last night, and it was terrific. There are two episodes of Dollhouse waiting my viewing as that plunges towards its finale, as two installments of Venture Brothers season 4 (which has been very satisfying). Also, M and I are making our way through Babylon 5, and we're at the half-way point of Season 3, having just seen Severed Dreams and Ceremonies Of Light & Dark. Oh, man, the show was so good.

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago, I happened to watch the pilot of the comedy/drama Chuck, and simply loved it. I watched the next four episodes, and this first impression was confirmed. Light, frothy, charming fun, with pretty people, Jayne from Firefly, good humor, and an actual plot arc bubbling away underneath. It'd be cooler if there were any people of color in it (besides Tony Todd in a minor part), but otherwise I recommend it.

ETA: I have been poking through older entries, and I stumbled across this post about the war in Afghanistan. I now take back what I wrote about the Bushies not fucking that up.

obla di

Aug. 8th, 2009 07:15 pm
grinninfoole: (Default)
Millari is home!

Yesterday, we hosted another Church Of Otis Bad Movie Night.  The Pope, St. Watserface (& Concubine) and Syd joined us for two entertainingly poorly made films.  The first was Modesty Blaise, a mid-60s action flick with five different directors and a female lead who spoke no English and learned her lines phonetically.  It did, however, have both Terence Stamp as an appealingly roguish criminal and Dirk Bogarde as an evil mastermind with a horror of violence and a different color theme in each scene.  It had random costume changes, a musical number, and lots of bad accents. 

The second was King Of The Zombies, a 1941 flick, just over an hour long, about a Nazi scientist in the South Seas, a voodoo cult and zombies.  It was as dumb as one might imagine, and also featured tons of blatant racism, especially around the character of Jefferson Jackson, the black manservant to one of the white leading men, as played by Mantan Moreland.  I see that Moreland played a lot of cowardly black servants in the 30s and 40s, and was considered funny, but with the rise of the Civil Rights movement in the 50s, he was seen as emblematic of rejected stereotypes.  It was uncomfortable to watch, especially since he really was hilarious, thanks to excellent delivery and perfect comic timing.  Also, honestly, he seemed the smartest and most interesting character in the piece.  I'd love to see more of his work.

Today, _usakeh_ came out for the day, and we watched the first couple of episodes of Life On Mars (the original BBC version with John Simm).  I had heard it was fabulous, and it did not disappoint.  We'll watch more later, in tandem.


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