mellicious: Photo of a road framed by trees (spring trees)
2017-06-19 07:50 pm
Entry tags:

Games - Marvel Heroes and Portal Knights

I have some screenshots of one game (Portal Knights) and I'm also still playing Marvel Heroes a bit. In Marvel Heroes (I almost said Marvel Knights - I think that's a comic, right? but it's not the name of either game) June is "birthday" month in MH and is marked with lots of giveaways, so that's always fun, and because of that I've gone back to playing more. I've already used some of those goodies to unlock some of the heroes that still were locked - Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Cable - and then by coincidence, I got a "enhanced" costume which turns Spider-Man into Spider-Gwen (one of the two female versions), so to use that, I have to finally unlock Spider-Man, which I've avoided doing all this time. You unlock characters using Eternity Splinters, which are falling like rain (more or less) right now, so it won't take me long. Spider-Man has never interested me all that much and he's one of a handful of characters that are more expensive than the rest, which is why I haven't bothered before. (There are something like 62 heroes total right now, and I have over 50 unlocked. In fact the Spider-Gwen costume was not part of the birthday stuff, but rather was a reward for having leveled 50 heroes to maximum. I have a couple unlocked but still not leveled, which means I only have maybe 8 left to unlock after Spider-Man. But with several still to level that's not going to be a priority for a while.)

Switching over to the other game, Portal Knights has been in beta for a while and just came out very recently, and Col has been playing it but I was involved in Marvel Heroes and wasn't paying too much attention. Then it went on sale and Col bought it for me as a gift because he thought I would like it, which was really nice of him! It's sort of like Trove in that it's got the Minecraft-style building component and it's also got some questing/PvE to it - a little more actual story than Trove had, as I recall.

Fort Finch house (Portal Knights)
This house was already here in the game, although it required some repairs. It's considerably more elaborate than anything I would have built on my own. There was a lake between the spawn point and the house, so I built a bridge. The lake was originally higher than this, but I think I accidentally drained a lot of the water out! (Then I planted crops all over the former lake bottom.) - If you know what to look for, there's also some creatures at the back of that water area. The orange things are slime creatures and there's probably some turtles and a sort of mobile plant thing. I think they were originally spawning up at the top behind where they are now, and they migrated. (I built a doohickey which I can't remember the proper name of - and you can't see it because it's around on the back side of the house - which keeps anything from spawning near it. I put it up because tired of having angry turtles in my virtual front yard! It covers a pretty big area, so I think those guys are probably spawning right at the edge of its range. They don't come near enough to bother me where they are now.)

Here's a shot inside the house that's really not too interesting. I didn't make much in the way of changes to this floor - I just added some chests and stuff for storage.
Fort Finch house - 1st floor

That thing on the wall is a trophy - that's the head of one of the mobile plants that I was talking about. This is not a big room, you're seeing most of it. There are stairs which originally just went up, and a fireplace, and there were originally some chairs which I moved.

(I was going to add more pictures to this, but I hit enter by accident (again!) and so I'll do the rest in a separate post later.)
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
2017-06-17 03:50 am

45 years

 Forty-five years ago this week (it was Flag Day, that's the only reason I remember the exact date still) I had heart surgery to fix a heart murmur I was born with. I was 12. I saw that it was Flag Day this week and I did the math and came up with that rather staggering number - 45 - and so I also noticed it tonight on MSNBC when they said that the Watergate break-in was 45 years ago this week. I didn't remember that, but then it wasn't big news at the time, either. It only became big news later on. But that means that happened while I was in the hospital recovering - I was really bored sitting in the hospital for a whole week, at least after a couple of days when I started feeling better. I remember that well. I don't specifically remember watching the news, but everybody watched the evening news back then (usually referred to as "watching Walter Cronkite" the way I remember it) and it's possible I did. I do think I knew about that break-in pretty early on.

But that might just be in my head. I do know I remember being mad about the Watergate hearings being all that was on on the TV - this was during the summer, I'm assuming that was in 1974. And I remember Nixon resigning and I know I knew the basics about it at the time, at least, but it's hard to be sure how much of all the stuff that happened in that two-year time period I really remember from the time it was happening and how much I learned later, from All the President's Men (both the movie and the book) and so forth. I do think now that all of that may be a lot of the reason I'm so interested in politics today, though.
mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
2017-06-05 04:14 am

Movies: Wonder Woman (not terribly spoilery)

I mentioned lately that I was a big fan of the late-60s Wonder Woman comics. In retrospect, they may not have been as wonderful (so to speak) as I remember, but there was just nothing else like that out there at that time. (I wish I still had my old comics, but I think they were falling to shreds anyway.) What I remember is that there was some stuff on "Paradise Island" - I don't think it got named Themy-whatever until later on - and then there was the plotline similar to the 70s TV show where Diana goes to America and calls herself Diana Prince and maybe loses her superpowers for a while? I'm not sure. I probably need to go back and read up on this in Wikipedia or something. In a way it was sort of a defanged, powerless version of Wonder Woman. (I started to say "emasculated" but well, no.) Even the 70s version had some powers. In any case, I remember those comics fondly, whether they actually deserved it or not.

And I've wanted to see some sort of female superhero in her own movie for ages. I was never sure about Joss Whedon's efforts to get a WW movie made - if I'm remembering this right Gal Gadot's name first surfaced some years ago in connection with the Whedon version, and I didn't know who the hell this Gal person was and honestly, much as I've always loved Joss Whedon, I never quite trusted him about that whole project. Maybe I was just waiting for the day when they'd actually entrust it to a woman. (I do have to admit that I couldn't have told you Patty Jenkins' name until recently, and actually I couldn't even have told you the name of that movie of hers that won Charlize Theron her Oscar - Monster, in case you don't remember either - even though I saw it in the theater at the time and really liked it.)

Well, so, amazingly it got made, directed by a woman (screenplay still by a man, mind you) - and it's pretty good. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's good. It has the same third-act problems that pretty much every superhero movie has, that whole Big Action Climax thing. They're all the same. (Write your own joke there.) Back to Joss - he pulled the third act thing off best, in the Avengers, and he did it by making it funny. Wonder Woman lost its sense of humor at the end, although at least it had one in the first place. Also I have to say that if Joss really is the person responsible for first suggesting Gal for this, well, he was right about that part, She is awesome. The best part of the movie is the middle, the No Man's Land part and the Belgian-village section that comes afterwards, although really like I liked almost all of it til it bogged down at the end.

And did anybody else notice that once they left Paradise Island, it was pretty much just as gray and dreary as any other DC movie? That's not really intended as a slam, because at least it was well-made gray-and-dreary, but I just thought that was sort of amusing and I hadn't seen anybody mention it at all.

I say I liked the whole movie up til the end, but actually we went to a 3D showing (just because it was at the time that we wanted to go) and I thought for a while that I was going to feel uncomfortable for the whole movie about the 3D, because the whole island section had this really weird look to it, where it looked like it was almost in 3D but then it wasn't. I felt like my eyes were trying to focus and refocus on it as it went in and out of 3D - does that make sense? Really I don't like 3D at all, but what happens most of the time I notice the 3D for about 5 minutes, if that, and then forget about it completely, for most movies. But in this movie, the whole island section seemed like really-badly-made 3D and then once they got off the island I forgot about it like I usually do. There was something about the way they shot the island part that looked really weird and almost ruined it for me. (But obviously it didn't, really, or I wouldn't have forgotten about it until 5 paragraphs in.) (The fact is, I don't like 3D and really I should stop paying extra for a "feature" that I don't even like and then depending on my brain's ability to ignore it.)

Added: I've been watching various videos about this, like I always do these days, and I did see somebody else say that something was off about the Theymiscira (sp?) sequence. But I don't know whether they saw it in 3D or not. Since so many people have seen this and I haven't seen more complaining than that, I assume the 2D version is fine.

Added (even later): I saw somewhere in the last couple of days that it was actually Zack Snyder who first wanted to cast Gal Gadot, not Whedon. And Patty Jenkins said that she didn't think it was a good idea at first, that she would have cast an American actress, probably, although obviously she was won over eventually.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
2017-05-29 10:53 pm

Movies generally, including Guardians of the Galaxy (definitely SPOILERS here)

(Sorry, hopefully this is not completely incoherent - certainly it's totally parenthesis-riddled - but I already posted it by accident so I'm going with it as is!!)

The beginning credits of GotG2 are the best thing in the movie. Maybe my favorite movie credits ever, actually. (I'd have to think about that some more, though.)

And apparently there's a reason for that. I read somewhere - one of the umpteen things about this I've read, and I tried to find it again and had no luck with that - that James Gunn has been working on that credits sequence since the original GotG movie came out - three years ago. Maybe he should have worked that hard on the rest of the movie.

Not that it's bad, it's not. But that opening credits really captures the - whatever it is, magic, I guess! - that made the first movie so extraordinary. And the rest of the movie is brilliant off & on but not consistently, and there was a long stretch when they're on Ego's planet (which I guess is just Ego, but that sounds weird) where I was flat-out bored for a while. Anyway, I did like it (and it's been a couple of weeks ago now so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details) and I definitely want to see it again. (Rob doesn't seem to be quite as enthusiastic but he never wants to rewatch stuff as much as I do, that's pretty normal for us.)


We actually have not been to see anything together since then. I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for Alien Covenant so Rob finally went by himself. (He came back laughing, he seemed to think it was pretty ludicrous.) Certainly no Baywatch for us. I was going to mention the Joss Whedon news bit that I just saw - not only is he apparently directing a Batgirl movie but he is doing the reshoots for Justice League since Snyder is not available. (I was watching that Kevin Smith YouTube thing, here. But if you want to know what happened with Zack Snyder, google it, because they didn't talk about it and and it's depressing as hell so I'm not going to either.)

I'm sure we will go to Wonder Woman next week, since (even though actually reviews are still embargoed) the general consensus seems to be positive. I adored Wonder Woman as a kid - I'm talking about 60s comics, not the 70s TV series, although I watched that too. (It comes on METV or someplace and I've seen a couple of those recently - for 70s TV it doesn't hold up all that badly. Although it's still pretty ludicrious.)
mellicious: "I think the subtext here is rapidly becoming text." (Buffy quote - subtext)
2017-04-26 02:24 am
Entry tags:

Not-so-odd things

This is part of what was supposedly a "40 odd things" questionnaire, except there's not much that's particularly odd here and there weren't actually 40 questions when I got it. But y'know, that doesn't stop me from doing it anyway. I didn't get around to answering all of these but I'm posting the part I did. (I stole this from Crickwooder, incidentally.)

(Note, because I might as well get this out of the way at the start: any time you ask me what my favorite movie/tv show/color/whatever is, usually I pick at random from a sort of mental shortlist. I rarely actually have one favorite anything, so if anybody bothered to go check from survey to survey my answers are unlikely to match. This does not apply for things like "do you like blue cheese" or "do you like eggnog" which are always going to be resoundingly negative. Well, unless it's "pizza" but nobody ever asks that, somehow.)

Do you like blue cheese? Ugh, no.

Coke or Pepsi?
These days I mostly drink tea. For years I was a Diet Coke drinker, and hated Pepsi. Now I think they taste about the same.

Do you own a gun? I don't, but my husband owns several (rifles, not handguns). I have fired a gun exactly once in my whole life.

What flavor Kool-Aid? Grape

What do you think of hot dogs?
I eat one occasionally - maybe once a year.

What is your favorite television show?
Let's say the collective Marvel stuff on Netflix (Jessica & Luke & the first season of Daredevil, is mostly what I've seen.)

What is your favorite movie?
 Star Wars (A New Hope, that is)

What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
tea (I head straight for Starbucks when I leave the house, usually, though)

Can you do a push-up?
I seriously doubt it.

What’s your favorite jewelry?
Tiaras. (I love jewelry but I hardly wear any any more. Some of you guys may remember when I used to be all into making jewelry a few years ago, so it's kind of weird. I gave up on earrings because they hurt my ears, and I never liked rings. I wear a bracelet or a pendant once in a while but that's about it.)

What is your hobby? I guess it's nail polish blogging, nowadays. (Not vlogging, which I don't do, just an old-fashioned blog.) (added: in case that interests anybody and you don't already know where it is, it's here.)

Do you have ADD?
almost certainly, although I never figured it out until I was an adult

Do you wear glasses?
yes

What are your favorite cartoons? Miyazaki movies, does that count? I love Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, especially.

Current hates? That would have to be the president.

Favorite place to be? Online :)

How did you bring in the New Year? At home with Anderson & Kathy on TV.

What is your favorite color? Today I'm going with the color of the nail polish I'm about to put on, a bright sort of raspberry color.

Can you whistle?
No, never could.

What’s in your pockets?
I wear middle-aged lady jeans that don't have pockets

What’s your favorite animal? cats

How many TVs in your house?
two, one of which we never watch

Do you like to dance? yes, but I'm a terrible dancer.

Do you enjoy camping? I haven't been camping since I was a kid. I liked it then, though.
mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
2017-04-17 07:59 pm

Baseball, MST3K, Dr Who

It's baseball season! I don't know if people who know me online necessarily know what a big baseball fan I am, because the "peak" of my baseball fandom happened before I even had a computer at home. (I think I inherited my dad's old Compaq in the fall of 1999, that was my first home computer. Little did he know what he was letting loose there.) I used to go to about half of the Astros home games in the last four years they were in the Astrodome; I probably went to about 200 baseball games total between 1996 and 2000. (Often with Rob or with friends, but also often alone.) Once they moved to the "new" park in 2000 it became a much more expensive hobby - I can't imagine any circumstances other than, y'know, winning the lottery under which I would see live baseball that much again. (If I was rich I would buy a townhouse near the ballpark and season tickets.) So I gradually went to fewer and fewer games, but we still watch a lot on TV. That's partly because it's just so much more expensive to go to games now, but it's also just life circumstances. In those years I had a day job and Rob had a night job, so I partly went to the games rather than sit at home alone. In the late 90s you could walk up on game day, especially on weekdays, and usually get a single in the field boxes behind the plate - it was $25, which is what an upper deck seat costs now. (Or if I was feeling broke, the good upper deck seats were only $7.) Rob started out not a baseball fan at all and I would drag him along some of the time, and he would eat his way through the games, pretty much, but he gradually got more interested. (I realized this was happening when he started asking me questions about double-plays and such.) By the time the Astros traded for Randy Johnson in the second half of 1998 he was really into it, too.

I'm partly thinking about baseball because I made a comment on Twitter over the weekend that baseball is one of the few things tying us to an actual TV any more. You can get MLB.tv but it still blacks out home games. We haven't figured out a way around that one yet.

(Rob also watches that goofy channel that shows all-old-TV-all-the-time, but there's bound to be some sort of substitute for that.)

Let's see, we watched a couple of episodes of MST3K, and I think that was the only thing I watched on Netflix over the weekend. MST3K was pretty good. Rob used to watch the old MST3K a lot more than I did, so he said it was taking him a while to adjust to the new robot voices, especially. I thought the skit parts of it hadn't quite jelled, maybe, but the jokes during the bad movies seemed just as funny to me as ever. (The first movie is a 1961 Danish (Danish?!?) monster movie called Reptilicus and it is just the most MST3K movie you can imagine.)

And in the middle of the night last night I watched the new Doctor Who. (U-verse was down all night Saturday night, which is the kind of time when I start thinking about whether we get our money's worth out of old-school television.) I liked "The Pilot" a lot. I liked Bill and I liked Nardole and I liked the Doctor more than I have a lot of the time in recent seasons. (I love Peter Capaldi but I think his doctor is either harder to write for or the scripts have just gone down in quality generally. Or maybe both, but I don't have the sort of DEFINITE OPINIONS on this question that a lot of people do.) This episode managed to be simultaneously very creepy and quite funny. Also, while I pretty much expected to like Pearl Mackie as Bill, I really liked her much more than I thought. And I liked the way Bill was clearly gay without anybody ever having to label her as such. SO refreshing. (Admittedly, that might have been why they announced it quite loudly ahead of time, so not too many people were surprised. I only float around on the edge of Doctor Who fandom, though, so I don't know how much flouncing around about it is going on over there.)

I feel like I'm forgetting something else that I watched that was worth noting. If I remember I'll come back and talk about it later!
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
2017-04-08 01:46 am

Movies: Beauty and the Beast (+ some related TV)

Let's just start right out with this: no, Beauty and the Beast didn't really need to be remade. I adored the old cartoon version. What I read about that was that Disney is apparently making tons of money overseas on all these live-action remakes of the old cartoons, so these movies aren't really being made for American audiences at all. It's the best explanation I've heard, anyway.

I guess this one was the first of those remakes I've seen - what else is there so far, just Cinderella and Jungle Book? but there was nothing else we wanted to see last weekend, and I thought if we were going to see it, seeing it while it's still in the big theater seemed like a good idea. Rob hadn't been dying to see it but he liked the old one too so he didn't gripe.

(My mother and I also went to see the Broadway-bound musical way back in 1993, I guess that was. See here. I know I saw it but it didn't make a big impact, to tell you the truth. The most famous person in it, at least then, was Tom Bosley, and I remember being slightly impressed by that part. And it had pretty impressive staging but that's really about all I remember.)

And I have to say that I liked the new movie more than I expected to. I didn't love love love it like I did the older one, but it was still pretty good. The love story works, and a lot of the changes worked at least reasonably well, and... it was pretty good. I do have a tendency to compare it to all those retellings I've read in the interim, like both of Robin McKinley's versions, in one of which the Beast does stay a Beast at the end. But I don't really feel like that would have worked here. This Beast wanted to be a boy again.

I ended up watching a bunch of interviews and stuff on YouTube when I got home, and a bunch of interviews with Dan Stevens (I didn't watch Downton Abbey so I didn't particularly know who he was) and the upshot of that was, that I watched the beginning of Legion - he stars in that also, in case you're not getting the connection there - and I liked it. So then I made Rob watch part of the first episode also, and I'm not sure if he saw enough of it to get hooked but I definitely did. It's interestingly trippy and not at all like what I'd think "Uncanny X-men" would be like even though that's what it's based on. (I haven't read any of those comics but I guess I would expect something more like Doctor Strange, to the extent that I'd thought about it at all.)

(But we also are still watching Daredevil Season 2 and Iron Fist, etc, so we are getting more and more backed up with the TV stuff, and now baseball season has started so there's another thing to compete for our time. So I don't know when we'll get around to that.)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Default)
2017-04-06 02:08 am

Moving Day

I haven't decided what I'm doing with my LJ yet (like, deleting? not yet, anyway) but I am here and I'm not posting to LJ any more except maybe a link. (Some of my stuff is also here as "mellificent" - i.e., same as LJ - but I tried a while back to figure out how to update that and couldn't. So I just did a fresh import here instead.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
2017-03-19 11:35 pm
Entry tags:

Movies 2017

Last year I did a pretty good job of keeping up with the movies I'd seen here on, and this year I keep forgetting, so let's see if I can remember what we've seen in the last 2-1/2 months. Not a whole lot until the last few weeks, really. We did see Hidden Figures, which was of course awesome. I think we saw Rogue One again at some point after New Year's. Oh, and we went to see Lego Batman, which was (like the other Lego movie) surprisingly good. And then Get Out and Logan on successive weeks, both of which were really good in their - very differing - ways. I'm not going to try to go into that too much.

Rob had already seen Get Out once before he talked me into going. (He told me it was not a horror movie and so did other people; while I liked it, I came out of it and said "That was a freaking horror movie and I am disturbed." And I was, but I calmed down pretty fast.) Rob also saw Split twice, if I remember right. He really liked it too and he tried to get me to go and I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for that. He may have seen another horror movie or two but if so I've forgotten what.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (new year)
2016-12-30 12:34 am

Music Advent, days 21-25

(Dreamwidth note: I fixed this where the links work, at least, but if you want the version with the nice embedded links you have to go back to the original Livejournal entry.)


To go back to the last MA post, the video that I posted on the 20th was "Black Sun" and the day before that, "Hard Sun" - there was sort of a method to my madness there, because the 21st was solstice and I wanted to go from the sun to the stars, for solstice. It just seemed appropriate.

And it also seemed appropriate that it be Bowie.
David Bowie Starman (1972) official video

Next is a video that Bowie was not in, I believe that was because he had some kind of scheduling issues. He did record a taped message for the B-side, though.
Do they Know it's Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984

Bowie wasn't in it, but George Michael was, so next I went to a George Michael song. I always liked Michael and I liked Wham! back in the day but they were definitely not taken seriously, back when they were first popular. And I have to admit this was not my favorite of Michael's solo songs or of the Wham! songs, but it fit in with my connections so this is what I used. (I may do another post about him and Wham! if I get a chance.)
George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)

The reason that fit into my connections was that I was thinking about Rick Astley. When I was poking around on the internet trying to work this out, I found a mention of how people think "Never Gonna Dance Again" is the name of that song, and so that made it a good lead-in. Last year when we were doing the alphabet for Music Advent, I had this idea that it would be funny to rickroll Music Advent - except of course most of Music Advent goes on on Twitter, and if you put a link to a video there it's generally going to give you a preview, so it's not really possible to do a rickroll in the old sense of the word. But anyway, I remembered that this year and so I wanted to work in this song.
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

I actually have two different connections for the next one. For some reason I completely didn't even think about the "Never" connection at the time. The connection I originally used was that Rick Astley and the Bunnymen are both from Merseyside, from the area around Liverpool.
NEVER STOP Echo and the Bunnymen

I got excited when I figured out that this video is apparently from the same tour (or anyway, the same year) that I saw Echo and the Bunnymen, which was in Austin in 1984. I knew the minute I saw it that it looked kind of the same - although Austin was a much smaller venue - I think it was the Opry House, which is quite small, relatively speaking - and so we didn't get all the strings and stuff. I'm not even 100% sure they did this song. (It seems like I remember being unhappy because they didn't, actually. But I'm not sure I'm remembering that correctly. That was a long, long time ago.)

Anyway, I actually used this song for Music Advent last year, and I usually try not to repeat myself (because y'know, it's not like there's a shortage of songs to use) but I made an exception for this one because it swung back around to day 1: it was on the tape that we played at our wedding reception. "Chapel of Love" was the first song on that tape and "Never Stop" was much further down the list but it was definitely there, because I insisted on it. The main criteria was that the song be a love song (about "real love" rather than just about hooking up) and we figured "this love we found should never stop" qualified. (Even further down the list we actually included Georgia Satellite's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - which was a new song that spring - because of its jokey take on sex before marriage. I'm not sure many people got that joke, but Rob and I thought it was really funny.)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
2016-12-28 10:42 pm

Never gonna dance again

I'll get around to doing the last Music Advent post sometime this week, but one of the videos was "Careless Whisper" and that just makes me sad all over again about all these people dying this week. Then I looked at the phone earlier and there was a breaking news e-mail about Debbie Reynolds being rushed to the hospital, and so it was like, aaand here we go again.

It occurred to me that I didn't mention much about gifts in my last post. As I've said before, Rob and I are terribly pragmatic about gifts. We usually give each other some small surprises but we pretty much pick out the larger gifts so as not to waste money on stuff we don't want. (He gave me some nail things, for the surprise, and I bought him an Ohio State shirt that I had found on Amazon.) We got a couple of nice gifts from my cousins - a pair of those large stainless steel travel mugs (my cousin actually apologized because they were Sam's Club brand and not the name brand, and I said, "Honestly, I don't care at all about that, I like them") and a very pretty wreath that I can put out on my balcony. And my aunt gave us gift cards, as she nearly always does. I gave all the females who are old enough to wear makeup little gift bags full of sample stuff - everybody really seems to like those. I also gave some Star Wars stuff, which of course also goes over well. As for me, my big gifts were my planner - I like Erin Condren's and they are not exactly cheap - and I got a Kindle Fire when they were on sale on Cyber Monday. (I had a regular Kindle - in fact I' on my 3rd one, I think, but I'd never had the Fire.) (Rob wanted - and went and picked out for himself - a weight vest. To each his own.)

We went to see the Pixar movie Moana this afternoon - I knew it was supposed to be good, and it was - and on the way home we went down this street with a lot of big houses to look at the lights. In particular this one house has a gigantic oak tree in their yard that is completely covered in blue lights. Something about it is just mesmerizing, I love it. Also it always makes me happy when people still have the lights up the week after Christmas. There's something depressing about it when all of the decorations disappear on the 26th. (I do think it's fair game to take stuff down closer to New Year's because I know a lot of people have to go back to work right after the 1st. I don't insist they stay up until Epiphany or anything.)

We are watching one episode of Stranger Things a day. I figured out that this will get us finished on Sunday, just in time for Rob to go back to work on Monday. Some of the episodes have big cliffhangers, though, and sometimes it's really tempting to just keep going. But so far we haven't. (Episode... I mean "Chapter" 4 - they don't call them episodes - is called "The Body" so I think you've gotta say that's a direct Stephen King callout there. I also still think it's very reminiscent at times of early Spielberg - the thing where the lights kept going off and on reminded me a lot of Close Encounters - with a big heaping dose of X-Files and maybe even Twin Peaks. All of those are good things as far as I'm concerned.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
2016-12-27 12:16 am

Holidays

I'm off all week - it's not actually holidays for me, technically, because I'm part-time and I don't get paid if I don't work. But we'll manage, financially, and I can't say I'm unhappy about the break.

We went to see my aunt and my cousins yesterday, Christmas Day, and came back today - which is Boxing Day, other places, but nobody calls it that here. It really should be called Returns and Gift Cards Day - although I admit it's not terribly catchy - because that's what an awful lot of people do on the day after Christmas, right? You return what doesn't fit, etc, you maybe buy some Christmas junk that's marked down (I used to do that a lot but I don't as much as I used to), and you spend the gift cards that people gave you, often on newly marked-down merchandise. However, we didn't do any of those things today. We got up (terribly, terribly early, by my standards), we went to my aunt's and had breakfast, and then we came home. Rob went to the gym after we got home; I played Marvel Heroes for a while and then went and took a nap, because I only got maybe 5 hours of sleep last night. And then when I got up we watched another episode of Stranger Things and then the Doctor Who Christmas special, which luckily taped because I set it in some past year and it always remembers. I do love U-verse for that (although we are plotting to get rid of the TV portion of U-verse if we can figure out how to make that work - I'm not really sure it's doable at this point but I'll report back if we make any progress on that).

I guess I should back up and talk about yesterday. Oh, no, actually I'll back up to Saturday night (or very early on Christmas morning, really) right after I posted the previous entry. I did paint my nails - the color is Twinkle Lights, if you want to know. I do really like it but it was a bit difficult to get opaque. Between coats of nail polish, I was messing around on the internet like I always do, and at some point I went back into Marvel Heroes and my inventory panel was suddenly chock-full of stuff. Presumably this was a Christmas gift of sorts from Gazillion (who runs the game), although there were two of everything and Col said today that the rumor yesterday was that the doubling-up was a mistake which they just decided not to try to rectify. It was all these different kinds of gift boxes, and I was determined to sort it out before I went to bed, and I felt like it took for-freaking-ever. There was lots of good stuff in there, so I'm not exactly complaining but it did stress me out for a while there. I did still get to sleep at what for me is a decent hour, because I knew I had to get up by 10 or 10:30, so we could get to my aunt's house in time for a late Christmas lunch.

I had talked to my aunt on Friday and I told her that we were leaving about 11, and she said "but it'll take you three hours!" and I'm not sure where she came up with that number, but we made sure to time ourselves because we were sure she was wrong. We started out the door at 11, actually pulled out at 11:15, and got there at 1:30 even with a brief stop at Buc-ees for a bathroom-and-cold-drinks break. so it takes, what, actually about two hours flat, driving time. (Of course there wasn't all that much traffic, on Christmas Day.) I had told her if they got ready to eat and we weren't there, not to wait, and they didn't. We got there right when they were finishing up. I was trying to decide if it was rude not to get there on time, but since they won't actually ever set a fixed time it's hard to work up much guilt there. There were actually still a couple of people lingering at the table and we just fixed plates and joined them, so it was like Christmas dinner, act 2, more or less.

I'm not going to try to distinguish too much between my various relatives, because there's too many of them, but basically, this group of people is composed of my aunt, who is actually my aunt-by-marriage (my uncle died about 15 years ago), my two first cousins who are in their 40s, their four children (between them), and the family of the oldest of those four children (husband & three little girls). (I always just say "my aunt and my cousins" - obviously some of them are actually first cousins at a remove or two,)  Plus there was my aunt's father, who is 103 and not in particularly good health (although he's hanging in there very stubbornly) and his caregiver. He is still living at home but he broke his hip and now has round-the-clock care as of this past year. (I can't imagine what costs them, but he's pretty well-to-do so I assume he can afford it.) The caregiver just joined right in with everything like she was part of the family. This is all a pretty extended family, I imagine you're getting that from this description if you've read this far, and so it has expanded and contracted to include a variety of people over the years. We usually only see them this one time of the year, but they always seem happy to see us, and it's sort of the last remnant of Christmas that we much participate in.

We normally go on Christmas Eve, stay one night, my aunt ritually complains that we don't stay longer, and we normally go on home late in the afternoon on Christmas Day just the same. This year, since we had to work on the 23rd, we begged off coming until Christmas Day. I enjoyed being home on Christmas Eve, as I said in the last entry, but I'm not sure if the logistics will work out to be able to do that every year. (We'll worry about that starting 11 months or so from now.) Anyway, people came and went, we opened gifts, we watched movies at my aunt's house ("Elf" and "Enchanted") and then Rob & I & a couple of the younger ones went down the street to my cousins' house to spend the night, and we watched more movies ("A New Hope" - which I hadn't actually seen in years, I decided - and part of "Avatar" before we finally collapsed. (To connect around to what I said earlier, I got about 5 hours of sleep, woke up at 6am and never did go back to sleep again. I finally gave up and started setting up my new paper planner that I got as one of my gifts.)

It was a pretty good Christmas, overall.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
2016-12-24 11:01 pm

Christmas Eve Gift

Well, the junk first of all: If you went to movies a lot in the '80s, like we did, this is a stupendously easy quiz. (A 50-question quiz that 11% of people get 100% right can't be too difficult, after all.) (I did have to guess on a couple, but they don't even make guessing terribly hard. I am kinda the queen of the educated guess.)

We went to see Rogue One again (still love it) and ate lasagne and watched the first episode of Stranger Things. That was our Christmas Eve. Honestly, it beats most Christmas Eves cold, at least the ones of recent years. Tomorrow we have to do the family stuff. I've washed my hair and I need to do my nails and I'm sure I'll think of ten other highly-important things I have to do before bedtime. I can't much make myself care, though.

Stranger Things was pretty awesome, although more of you probably know much more about it than I do. (Does that sentence make any sense at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaving it like that anyway.) We finished Jessica Jones yesterday (also awesome) and I told Rob that we could watch Stranger Things next if he wanted before we go on to Luke Cage. I don't know that Rob knew anything at all about it, but *I* knew that he would love Stranger Things, it's totally right up his alley. (Speaking of '80s.) It's very, um, early Steven Spielberg crossed with Stand By Me. Or something like that.

Col and I played Marvel Heroes for a while. He is playing Luke Cage and is surprised that he likes it. I liked Luke too (not to mention that he's stupendously hot in Jessica Jones, but I hadn't seen that yet when I was playing him) so I'm not too surprised. Oh, having seen Jessica Jones TV now, I realized suddenly what she's wearing in the game, the other day - it's the "Jewel" superhero outfit that Trish is seen in the series trying to get her to wear. She's been standing talking to Ben Urich in Avengers Tower since I've been playing, and I always wondered what the hell that was she was wearing. (I believe you can also play Jessica as a team-up but I haven't tried it; I'm pretty sure she's wearing something else in that incarnation. And Ben Urich in this game is a younger-looking white guy, in contrast to the older black guy who's in the first season of Daredevil. Reconciling all this now that I've watched half - exactly half - of the existing Marvel Netflix stuff is kind of weird.)

Also (still on the Marvel Heroes track) I spent some money on costumes last week and I now have the girl version of Thor and a couple of Christmas costumes (Daredevil and Squirrel Girl). I'm probably going to feel like I wasted my money on Christmas costumes later but I really like the female Thor. There are actually two female Thors; the other one is Jane Foster (who I think becomes Thor for a while in the comics?) but the one I'm using is the Earth X version, which I really know nothing at all about. She says something about Loki having tricked her into the new body (but she also says she kind of likes it.) Either I read somewhere or Col told me (I have no idea which) that this version, or maybe both versions, won't let anybody call her Lady Thor or anything like that; she's just Thor, still. That's about all I know about that, although I'm interested that they bothered to do two different female voices for Thor. He has a buttload of costumes, too (although not as many as Iron Man) - some of the male ones might have "enhanced" (aka different, rerecorded) voices, too, for all I know. I haven't paid much attention. But I tried playing regular Thor with the default costume and I stalled out about level 30-something. So I was hoping that the different take on Thor would propel me along, and it has - well, I'm still not all that far along in story progression but she hit level 60 tonight, so that's definitely an improvement. I'm not sure why it makes that much difference, exactly, but apparently it does.

OK, that's enough for tonight. I need to go do my nails. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or other holiday/nonholiday of your choice. Or Christmas Eve Gift, as my grandma used to say. (Family phrase of unknown origin; I think I end up explaining that one pretty much every year.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
2016-12-20 11:52 pm

Music Advent days 16-20

Day 15 in Music Advent was The Police's King of Pain - so my next set of connections involved Alison Krauss, because she has worked with a lot of different people, including Sting (formerly lead singer of The Police). This song is from the soundtrack to the movie "Cold Mountain" and was nominated for an Oscar, I believe. (A lot of bad music gets nominated for Oscars, but I really like this one.)
Alison Krauss & Sting You Will Be My Ain True Love
https://youtu.be/IHbmJb3aXE0

And then Alison Krauss also worked with Robert Plant (formerly lead singer of Led Zeppelin). (I'm trying not to make assumptions that people know these names. Both The Police and Led Zeppelin go back a long way!)
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir (Live Video)
https://youtu.be/hW_WLxseq0o

I talked in the last Music Advent installment about how I had stopped planning ahead with the videos but then I decided for the last week to go back to planning ahead again. So the next video below is where the planning started again - but I kind of screwed up getting there. I knew where I wanted to end up the weekend, which was at this Eddie Vedder song, and I had vague ideas about how to connect from "King of Pain" which is where I was at the time, and get there by Monday. I had the basic steps figured out, which was Sting > Alison Krauss  > Plant/Led Zep > The Who > Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder. I came up with two connections between Led Zep and The Who - one was that Who drummer Keith Moon is said to have come up with the phrase, something to the effect of "that went over like a lead zeppelin" and the other is that there were always rumors, at least, of a feud between these two bands, enough that even I had heard about it and I didn't really follow rock music that much back in the 70s. (By which I mean I listened to it, yes, but I didn't read magazines or join fan clubs or anything like that to hook up to the gossip pipeline!)  And then Pearl Jam's sound is heavily influenced by both of these bands, but I had seen quotes from Eddie Vedder where he talked specifically about Pete Townsend and The Who.

So that's my reasoning, but I screwed up the number of days somewhere in there and ended up skipping The Who and PJ and going straight to Vedder solo, just because it's another song I really like a lot.
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun (Extended) - Into The Wild Soundtrack
https://youtu.be/tz927SK5gYM
(I actually wasn't aware that this was a cover, originally done by Indio.)

And then there was another song with "sun" in the title that I became aware of recently (it was released in 2015, so it's a fairly new song). That was a really really obvious connection. (In fact you'll see that just because I planned these out ahead of time doesn't mean they're particularly more inventive connections.)
Death Cab For Cutie - "Black Sun" (Official Video)
https://youtu.be/eTbVIfqeDq0
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
2016-12-19 05:17 am

Yeah, I'm still obsessing about That Movie.

Actually, I've been watching stuff on YouTube about Rogue One off and on all night, but the last thing I watched was about The Force Awakens, and it's awfully good.
https://youtu.be/nVZGUV77aRg
It's not a series I was aware of before, I may be watching the Fury Road one next.

I started this one last night and finished it tonight (and Rob watched a good bit of it with me, too) but I still can't believe I sat through the whole thing: an HOUR AND A HALF of Kevin Smith and some guy I've never seen before rhapsodizing about Rogue One (and in case you're not otherwise paying attention, this is WAY SPOILERIFIC).
https://youtu.be/uLljgEUPmRQ
(Obviously I've never seen that series before, either, or I would already know who this other dude is.)

I watched some other stuff: nail polish, more nail polish, music videos (which I won't link to til I get to the next Music Advent post, probably tomorrow), somebody obsessively breaking down the GotG vol.2 trailer, more Rogue One stuff. Way too much YouTube, clearly. Oh well, I'll get over it in a few days, I imagine.


Oh, and I forgot to say that we watched two more episodes of Jessica Jones, before all of this. (Hey, it wasn't on YouTube, at least!) I think we have three or four more hours of that left, I've lost track.
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
2016-12-18 05:59 am

Rogue One, and its place in the Star Wars universe

(I'm starting here pretty spoiler free, if I get spoilery I'll put it under a jump.)

I'm sorry, I can't talk about anything else, because we saw Rogue One a few hours ago and it was pretty mindblowing. I'm not saying it's the best movie I've ever seen or anything, but damn, it's pretty good. I saw somebody trying to rank the Star Wars movies in order of quality, and while it's really way too too early to judge... well, let's put it this way. I, II, and III are at the bottom, certainly. I haven't seen them in years so ranking those is iffy. Mostly I just try to ignore them. After that you get to VI. Then IV and V are the top, and I waffle around about which is better, although basically it's just love of the original that makes me do that. I think Empire is pretty unequivocally the best, as a movie. And then the two latest installments are somewhere in between VI and IV. Much better than VI. In case Roman numerals are too confusing, let me do a seat-of-the-pants list.

This is starting with WORST, and the numbers are worst to best, not the chronological ones.
8. Attack of the Clones
7. The Phantom Menace
6. Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
4. The Force Awakens
3. Rogue One
2. A New Hope
1. The Empire Strikes Back

I don't know why I feel compelled to do this. I don't like that either; it makes more sense in my mind to do it in tiers: prequels, then (lesser but still better) Return of the Jedi, then (bigger jump in quality) The Force Awakens, then Rogue One almost approaching the quality of the first tier, which is A New Hope and Empire. But I don't know, I may feel differently about where Rogue One fits in later. We are already making plans to go see it again - I said, "Next week" and then I thought and said, "Oh, no, we can't, it's Christmas" because we do have plans... so we'll probably go again some time during the holiday week, after Christmas. Luckily Rob liked it a lot too.

Hmm, this may be where I should put the jump. I wouldn't recommend reading further if you haven't seen it.


Rob said it was better than The Force Awakens (which I reluctantly agree with, but bear in mind that I liked that movie a lot as well). I think he liked it more because Rogue One is really a war movie. I compared it at some point to The Dirty Dozen, beforehand, and, well, I was more right than I knew. It has a lot in common with that movie. (Movie and book, both, actually - I think I may have mentioned at some point in the past that I was allowed to read that book when I was twelve. I don't know what my mother was thinking, except that she was (a) used to my father's reading habits and (b) didn't realize how adult of a book it was.) It had sex, it had violence, and while I don't remember how many of the dozen survived, it wasn't many. I think it was maybe even less in the book than in the movie. But with that in mind, I was almost prepared for the death count of Rogue One. I thought they'd let a token few get out, though.

Somehow I didn't find that quite as wrenching as I might have. I did keep expecting some ship to swoop down, in that last scene with Jyn and Cassian, and magically ferry them out (again), because that's how most movies work. But I wasn't in tears, even, and I'm a person who cries pretty easily, so that's saying something. It just seemed... realistic.

I expected Tarkin to show up, partly because he was in that book that I was talking about yesterday. Half of the stuff I thought was tedious in that book was Krennic and Tarkin vying for the emperor's favor. (Although it was clear that Krennic had to ultimately lose, because you don't see him on the Death Star in A New Hope, after all.) They did a good job with Tarkin; bringing a dead man back to life isn't an easy thing. I've heard people say it took them out of the movie but I thought it seemed entirely appropriate. I had more problems with the surprise Leia appearance at the end - it seemed like not as much care was taken with that brief shot, maybe. I don't know. I was excited to see the way it all fit right in with the beginning of the "next" movie, certainly.


We saw little boys on the way out arguing vociferously over plot points. I think the next generation of fans is all taken care of. I was thinking that Lucasfilm and then Disney did a genius thing with the animated shows - even some not-so-young kids were raised on Clone Wars, and more recently on Rebels. That's why this franchise (it might be more approprate to call it an empire) isn't in much danger of generational dying-out as seems to be happening with the Star Trek franchise these days.
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
2016-12-17 05:38 am

It's Rogue One day!

It's Christmas, as far as I'm concerned. We're even having Chinese food afterwards.

(We work til 9:30 on Friday so that left a tight window to go to any movie then. We just got the tickets for 7:00 Saturday instead.)

I don't think I mentioned that I actually read the Rogue One "prequel" book that came out a month or so ago. It's called Catalyst. It's not a great book but it was pretty interesting. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but rabid Star Wars fans, really. It's the backstory of Jyn's childhood and how her father - who wasn't at all interested in weapons design - got roped into the Death Star project. It has a lot of back and forth between Galen, her father, and Orson Krennic, who's trying to get a weapon built for the Death Star. Kind of the most interesting part was a lot of detail thrown in here and there about the building of the Death Star. It took them years and years to build it (which is logical but I've never heard anybody say so before) - they started out with a flat circle and built from there, and the early part all had to be done by robots since there was no air. That was honestly the part I liked the best, not all the bickering and politics between Galen and Lyra (Jyn's mother) and Krennic and Tarkin. I'll be interested to see how much of that backstory made it into the movie.


Added after seeing the movie: having read the book did help me understand why Krennic pretty clearly went into the confrontation at the beginning of the movie planning to shoot Lyra unless she shut up and came quietly. He blamed her for - well, basically he was trying to pull the wool over Galen's eyes about what he (Krennic) was trying to do with Galen's research, and she kept making Galen wake up and see. And she masterminded the getaway scheme that resulted in them escaping the Empire (temporarily) and taking up farming.


I went and looked and Rogue One made $29 million on Thursday night previews, which is not surprising, really.

I watched "The Force Awakens" just now, since I am so firmly in Star Wars mode. Oh, and also I put on my Star Wars nail polish - which I actually forgot about last year. It's called These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For. I was already wearing dark-blue polish so it goes really well over that.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
2016-12-16 05:38 am

Music Advent, days 13-16

(Added: ugh, I wrote this at like 5am so while that proves what I say below about going to bed at dawn, it also was very haphazardly written and even more haphazardly proof-read. So it've done some editing and hopefully it reads a bit better now.)

I started feeling like I'd gotten a bit off-track about Music Advent - which is to say, it's not that I was doing anything wrong, but I think it was more fun when I planned it a little more. I've kind of gotten myself into a time-crunch, though - I work in the evenings, we don't get home several days until after midnight, and while I do stay up literally until dawn a lot of the time (as in, it's often getting light outside by the time I go to sleep), I'm still dividing those night-time hours between a number of tasks. I partly stopped planning ahead on Holidailies because it saved some time, but eventually it started feeling like it was ultimately taking longer, and I was less happy with the results. But it's getting slower at work as it gets closer to the holidays, and so I sat at work with my planner calendar yesterday and started at the 25th - because I did have an idea where I wanted to end up, with Music Advent - and worked back to the date where I am now. I couldn't actually look at videos very well from there, but I think I got it figured out as far as songs and connections and it makes pretty reasonable sense. I hope it continues to.

Anyway, I'll elaborate when I get to the parts that involve that. The last song in part 3 was the Karla Bonoff song "Personally". The next connection was an easy one: I used a song that Karla had written, Wynonna Judd's "Tell Me Why":

I'm not generally a fan of mainstream country, but this is a good song, so go Karla & Wynonna.

For the next day I was looking at some of Wynonna's discography and especially some albums she had done with lots of covers on them. I found that she had done "Ain't No Sunshine" and I figured, "well a lot of people are bound to have covered that" and I listened to a couple and arrived at this one, just mostly because I really like it. It's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Des'ree:

Some beautiful singing there.

The next few days are where the part I'd already done intersects with the newly-planned part where I was working backwards. I have some more connections to firm up over the weekend, but I think I have a basic plan for that that seems to be working for far. But that'll be in the next entry. Here, I just went with songs having a portion of their name that's similar: "Ain't No..." you could say. For the above song that's "Sunshine", for the next one it's "for the Wicked". This is a pretty well-known song so it's not the most interesting choice in the world, probably, but I like it, and it works for where I wanted to go.


Then the link with the next one is that they were both used in the soundtrack to the tv series "Lucifer" - in fact in the first two episodes. If you've watched that show, Cage the Elephant was in episode 1 and The Police are in Episode 2.

I'm happier now that I have a definite plan. But I'll tell you more about it the actual plan four days or so from now. (Or watch the #musicadvent tag and see what pops up there.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (quilt - zipper)
2016-12-15 03:30 am
Entry tags:

Quilt backs

I said I would come back and talk about the backs of my quilts, so I might as well do that! Bear in mind that I haven't made a quilt in several years now so things may have changed, some, and/or I may have forgotten a thing or two. But I think the basic idea of it's still valid.

This first one is a more simple example of how I used to do the backs of my quilts. Even if you're doing the same fabric all over, you're going to have to put at least one seam in the back for most quilts, unless you buy special extra-wide quilt backing fabric. (That does exist but it's a bit pricey and the selection is relatively limited.) I just figure, given that, why not run a few seams and use up some scraps?

This was a quilt that KarenD and I did together. I know that fish fabric was hers, and the batik was a fabric we picked out online. I'm not sure any more which one of us contributed the other pieces. Basically, though, the idea is just that you just keep going until you get something big enough.Make a row that you know is wide enough, and then make another row, til it's big enough with several inches each way to spare. (Cutting it too close is a bad idea, here - if something comes out short you're really screwed.)
back of the fish quilt

Here's a more elaborate example (this is the back of the one that's in my icon). I had lots of little pieces left over - it's the "teeth" part of the zipper, see - and I just put them together in big strings, like so:
zipper+scraps.jpg
(I actually went and dug out the link from my old quilt blog because I knew I talked about this there. It's got more detail about the dimensions and stuff, and why I did it the way I did, but unless you're actually going to make a quilt you don't really need to know all that. That blog is unfortunately just a mass of dead links, mostly, so I really need to make some effort to pull the "good parts" out and catalog them somehow!)

Anyway, if you clicked over there, this is just a bigger version of that same picture. I worked the strips of small pieces between the bigger rows and this is what I ended up with for the back:
the+back+of+the+zipper+quilt.jpg
(A lot of it is things I didn't end up using on the front!)

Added: it occurs to me that people might want to see the front of the thing in a larger size than icon size, so here's that (with Rob's head peeking out at the top). Note that the binding is not whipped down here, but other than that, it's done.
no title

I've actually found a few more pictures of the back of things so I might have another entry about this eventually.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote - death star)
2016-12-13 08:11 pm

We have Rogue One tickets, woo!

Some movie and movie-related(-ish) stuff, starting with the Rogue One tickets. I'm excited about this and apparently so is Rob - at least, when the trailer came on for it the other day, he looked over at me and said, "Next week?" "Next week, yeah," I said. I didn't buy the tickets a month ahead like I did with The Force Awakens, but we've got them now and I'm excited. This is Christmas, to me. They did de-embargo the reviews today, apparently, because it went from "no reviews" last night on Rotten Tomatoes to 83% today, so yay. If it'd been 30% like Suicide Squad I would probably have gone anyway, but I'm glad it's not.

I know I've talked about this several times, but the movie theater we go to is a bit atypical (or maybe it just seems that way to me). It's Premiere Cinemas, a small chain. They own theaters in Texas and a few other places around the South. They started in this area, I think, because they used to just have a handful of theaters, including the one in my hometown, which I notice is not listed any more (so that probably means they sold it somewhere along the line). They've built some theaters from scratch in places that were "underserved" for movies (including Galveston, which for quite a few years didn't have a movie theater at all) and in our general area they also have the "dollar theater," which is on the freeway right next to the big Cinemark. We go to the dollar one a good bit (I forget, I think the tickets are actually about $2 except on certain weekdays that are cheaper) but mostly for first-run movies, we go to the one that's in the next town over from us. I started to say it's a small-town theater, but that's actually not true - in fact it's in one of those fast-growing suburbs that's coming up on 100,000 residents or so. Still, it's like a small-town theater: it's in a strip center, it's hardly ever terribly crowded like the Cinemark is, and it's cheaper. Even for things like The Force Awakens, we did have to stand and wait for a few minutes for that one, but nothing like the chaos I've experienced at other theaters. So I'm expecting to get into Rogue One without much trouble, too. It's about equidistant for us to go to the Cinemark or to go in the opposite direction to the Premiere, but the only time we go to the Cinemark these days is if we want to see something that's not showing at Premiere. (The Cinemark has 18 screens to this particular Premiere location's six.)

I've been playing Squirrel Girl in Marvel Heroes and I was amused to see a Squirrel Girl reference in today's Questionable Content. I wasn't sure I would like playing SG but I do. For one thing, there are a few heroes that I can't play because the things they say (each character has a limited number of these and so you end up hearing them a lot) annoy me so much I can't stand it. (The #1 example there is Invisible Woman, who's basically a nagging mother, in a really obnoxious way.) But Squirrel Girl's comments still just seem funny to me, where IW's are clearly intended to be funny but are actually funny maybe once, and then not at all after that. Squirrel Girl is also massively overpowered, as befits somebody who's supposed to have beaten both Doctor Doom and Thanos, and that also makes her pretty fun. Plus, y'know, massed squirrel attacks are just sort of inherently funny, and I'm surprised at how much I continue to think so even after a couple of weeks of it.

And then I haven't mentioned that we went to see Dr Strange again last weekend. It was my third time and Rob's second - I think that he liked it better the second time because he knew what to expect. As I think I discussed previously - yup - Marvel Heroes taught me plenty of background on the doctor - and the Wand of Watoomb and the Mindless Ones and other assorted Strange trivia - so that was never an issue for me. I still enjoyed the heck out of it, myself. (Rob is kind of hard to read, even for me, sometimes, have you figured that out?)