Archive for February, 2015

Time in a bottle…

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
Time in a bottle...

Thursday – 19 February 2015
Last night, Sara, #Team DiVa and I went out for dinner – the girls’ choice. While out, I ran into this little lady, my “cousin,” Kylie:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kylie: Disneyland – Electric Light Parade

The only thing: She wasn’t so little anymore. This picture was taken in 2001, so you can imagine what adding 13.5 years would do. And, it’s been at least 4-5 years since I last saw her. She has grown into a lovely young lady. (Her mom has every reason to be proud.)

It was a very pleasant surprise to my evening.

Stray Toasters

  • Your Coffee Addiction Is Officially Good for You (not that I needed validation)
  • Someone posted the following picture into an H.P. Lovecraft group yesterday:
    spider-cat
    It… inspired me to come up with this:

    Spider-Cat! Spider-Cat!
    More evil than a Devil-Bat!
    Claws your arm or your thigh
    Makes you sleep with one eye…
    OPEN!
    Here comes the Spider-Cat!

  • Adult Wednesday Addams
    “Adult” as in “not a child,” not as in “risque.”
  • DC Comics has made some… curious… decisions in the past few years. One decision that has been “good” is the one to start a new, out-of-continuity Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman book. If you’re a Wonder Woman fan and are not reading this book, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
  • From Javier Grillo-Marxuach: The Audacity of Being Jaded

Namaste.

Tautology

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Tautology

Wednesday – 18 February 2015
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also NBN Thursday Eve.

I was going to post something last night, but I got too distracted by The Flash and Firestorm(!)1.

And a RubySnap cookie and a glass of milk.

And Titanfall.

So, I’m posting today.

This past weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I took a trip to Promontory, UT to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (read: “TRAINS!!!”) and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. (For pictures, click here.) It was only a couple of hours to Golden Spike, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought. The site is way out in the middle of God’s own country, though. I commented to Sara! that for all the time – not really that much – that it took to get there at 65 MPH+, I could only imagine what it must have been like to try to cover that distance via horse, or wagon. Or, slower still, while trying to lay miles of railroad track. The site was nice, but I was a little disappointed that the locomotives weren’t on display. (That just means that I’ll have to head back up there to see the reenactment of the driving of the golden spike in May.)

From there, we headed out to the Spiral Jetty. While the two sites are only 15 miles apart, it took about 45 minutes to get from Golden Spike to the jetty. The water level on the Great Salt Lake was low. Very low. So low that we were able to walk out to the end of the jetty – 1500 feet – and we were still at least 300 feet from water!

Sunday, we decided to tackle a painting project: Our bedroom. Furniture out. Ladders in. Paint on. We moved our bed to the living room Sunday night, which threw Team DiVa for a bit of a loop Monday morning:

Diana: Why is your new bed in the living room?

Me: It’s not a “new” bed, we just moved it out here.

Diana: Oh.

We went on to explain that we did it since we were painting the bedroom; that answer appeased them.

Sara spent Monday morning/afternoon re-doing the baseboard and crown molding paint, while I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet, replaced four electrical outlets… and then tried to suss out why the overhead lights wouldn’t turn off.

*braincramp*

After a quick consultation with my father-in-law, he suggested that I check the old outlets and verify that they had broken metal connectors on the hot side. They did.  I broke the connectors on two of the new outlets and the lights worked in the manner to which we were accustomed once more!

We moved the furniture back in and slept in our newly-painted room on Monday night. Selah. It was a lot of ass-busting and elbow grease over two days, but it was worth it.

Stray Toasters

  • I stumbled across a picture of VP Biden holding/rubbing/whatever the shoulders of the newly-appointed Secretary of Defense’s wife last night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a caption:

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy...

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy.

  • Windows Updates. *sigh*
  • Despite the fact that Krispy Kreme UK unwittingly deemed today “KKK Wednesday,” I kind of still want a doughnut.
  • Today is apparently “National Drink Wine Day,” as well. I might have to imbibe a glass or two tonight.

And with that, I think I’m going to get “right on to the friction of the [rest of the] day.”

Namaste.

1Firestorm: The Nuclear Man debuted in 1978. I didn’t really become aware of the character until the second series, which started in 1982… but from then on, I was a fan. I haven’t been as invested in the New 52 version of the character, but I still like the character and the concept. So, when the news broke that he/they would be appearing on CW’s The Flash, my curiosity was piqued. The origin had been tweaked to fit the show, but it was close enough to the original for me. And, it featured all three of the main Firestorm characters – Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and (in a nod to the updated, pre-New52 character) Jason Rusch.

An evening at the ballet

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
An evening at the ballet

Thursday – 12 February 2015
Last night, I had the pleasure of accompanying Sara! to see Ballet West’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

(c) Ballet West

Photograph (c) Ballet West

I saw the 2006 production of Swan Lake, but it was far enough that the details had slipped away from me. Last night’s presentation was, to put it simply: Amazing.

We had box seats (stage right), which not only afforded us a fantastic view of the stage, set, dancers and costumes, but also put us above the orchestra pit.

IMG_3721

Being able to watch the orchestra as well as the dancers made for an interesting experience – we could see the conductor, Jared Oaks, as he guided the orchestra through Tchaikovsky’s work. We were also close enough to see – though not really read – the various instrumentalists’ scores. But, the biggest benefit to being so close: We were close to the dancers. We could easily read the expressions on their faces, see many of the fine details of their costumes, and even see the sheen of sweat from their exertions.

The costumes, as I’ve come to expect from Ballet West’s tailors and seamstresses, were exquisite. Our vantage point made it able for us to juxtapose Odette and Odile’s costumes. Baron von Rothbart’s costumes were as full of menace as the Baron himself. Sara! also keenly pointed out how, despite the uniformity of the swans’ costumes, they appaeared “a little different” on each performer.

The company’s dancing was fantastic; the dancers moved with a verve that belied what had to be hours of rigorous practice. It was also very evident that the dancers enjoyed what they were doing. I’d also like to point out a few key performances:

  • Beckanne Sisk was a pleasure to watch in her dual role as Odette and Odile. One of the most captivating things about her performance was how she portrayed the characters. Her Odette, prior to meeting Prince Siegfried, was sad and full of anguish; after meeting him, you could see hope and even desire, tinged with fear of Baron von Rothbart. Her Odile was full of a malevolent glee, toying with the prince’s emotions at her father’s behest.
  • Christopher Ruud‘s Prince Siegfried was similarly multi-faceted. During the 21st birthday celebration, he seemed full of life and joy. After meeting Odette, he exuded a sense of connection and longing. In the third act, when princesses from many lands came seeking his favor, he was forlorn and lost… until Odile, disguised as Odette appeared, when his joy was evident to all (to the chagrin of the visiting princesses – especially the Princess from Spain, performed by Jenna Rae Herrera.) He also clearly exhibited bravery, dread and loss during Act Four.
  • Christopher Anderson, as Baron von Rothbart, not only conveyed a seething malevolence in his dance, but his makeup and facial expressions brought it – and a measure of dark desire – to the fore, as well. The audience could almost “hear” the schemes and machinations playing out in his head during Act Three.

In all, this production of Swan Lake was a phenomenal treat for the senses. It is easy to understand why it has been performing to (near-) capacity crowds for its run. If you have a chance to see it before the run ends on Sunday, 15 February 2015, I highly recommend doing so.

Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Saturday, February 7th, 2015
Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Saturday – 07 February 2015
On the “Trending” feed on Ye Olde Facebook, there were a couple of items: One about Kim Kardashian and one about (her step-father) Bruce Jenner.

trending

Fortunately, the Jenner article is not about his gender reassignment. I say “fortunately” because if that’s the choice s/he has made, it’s her/his choice. It doesn’t affect anyone outside of her/him and or her/his family. Period. Full stop. However, there’s been a lot of hullaballoo about it, I would assume based on Jenner’s fame as an Olympic decathlete.

I would qualify the above item as being newsworthy based on the fact that there was an accident and that someone, unfortunately, died.

The Kim Kardashian article, on the other hand? She got a haircut. Whoop-de-damn-doo. News? Hardly. People get haircuts every day (except, maybe, Mondays). Not newsworthy in the least. And, it’s only getting recognition because people have made her famous for being famous (1, 2).

And that’s today’s reason why I will probably never be a news director: I don’t see the percentage in putting someone in the spotlight for… non-news.

/soapbox

Oh, the Samuel L. Jackson article? *shrug* I’ll call it “entertainment news,” although it would probably be more of an “announcement.” But, it’s Samuel L. Jackson, so it kind of gets a bye on principle. Just because.

Namaste.

At the work week’s end…

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Friday – 06 February 2015
My niece, Grace, turned seven today:

grace_7

Team DiVa and I got to talk with her – and her sisters, my sister and brother-in-law, and my dad – over Skype this evening. I believe that it was one of the most engaged conversations that DiVa has had over Skype.

Other things that made today good:

  1. Post-work/post-daycare with Team DiVa.
  2. An end-of-the-work-day chat with Sara!.
  3. Introducing Team DiVa to Undercova Funk before bedtime.
  4. Learning that Sana Amanat, former editor and co-creator of the new Ms. Marvel, got what are colloquially referred to as “big ups” as she was named Marvel’s new Director of Content and Character Development.
  5. Conversations about fashion and style with a trio of coworkers.
  6. A discussion with a coworker about my standing desk, her pilgrimage o The Garden of Sweden to acquire one… and the confused looks on the employees’ faces as they showed her their standing desk (much more expensive) and she kept telling them “That’s not it.”

Things that did not make the day good:

  1. Yet another email spam/virus outbreak at work. (Fortunately, we caught it quickly and got ahead of it before it became too widespread.)
  2. Not getting to eat lunch because of the above.

On the whole, I’d call the day a “Win.”

Stray Toasters

  • I am running a nominally Valentine’s Day-themed tournament tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of teams my players bring.
  • I should comb through the various and sundry links that I’ve posted here, see if the links are still active, determine if I still care about them, and pin the worthy on Pinterest.
    • I may even move The Covet List from an Amazon Wish List over to Pinterest, as well.
  • The Pro Dumpster Diver Who’s Making Thousands Off America’s Biggest Retailers
  • It may just be the way I’m wired, but I’m not sure that I entirely agree with How Often You Really Need to Shower (According to Science)
  • Speaking of which, how often do you wipe down your kitchen counters?
  • Marvel, in other news, also announced a new book, spinning out of the upcoming Secret Wars: An all-female team of Avengers.
  • And, before I forget: Someone at DC seems to have had a rectal craniotomy and decided to make Starfire a little more palatable/accessible to readers, including those who mostly/only knew of her from the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons.
  • I might actually be one step closer to running a new Shadowrun campaign.

Time to find something to do now that Team DiVa has finally knocked out for the night.

Namaste.

Reason #2516 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
Reason #2516 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Thursday – 05 February 2015
While at lunch, the restaurant in which I was eating had televisions tuned to CNN. One of the items that they covered was the crash of TransAsia GE235.  That’s news. I was good with that.

What I wasn’t as good with was the running… and re-running… and re-re-running… of the crash footage, taken from the vehicle behind the taxi that got clipped as the plane crashed.

Yes, I realize that it’s probably the only footage you have, but seriously, do we need to see it eleventy-seven times over the course of two minutes?! No, I think not.

Tell the story.
Show the clip.
Give additional information about the story, if any.
Maybe, maybeshow the clip one more time.
Move on to the next news item.

To be honest, it reminded me of the way news stations kept airing footage of the Challenger explosion in 1986. I remember being in class at the time of the actual explosion, but walking down one of the hallways where a TV was on – shuttle launches were still pretty big deals – and Peter Jennings being on the air saying:

We want to show you… well, we don’t want to show you, but we are going to show you… footage of [the explosion]…

…then showing a 20-30 second clip of the event.

And, how often the clip kept being shown after that…

The same thing with the WTC collapse.

I’m not denying the events’ newsworthiness; I just wonder how often people need to be shown and re-shown (horrific) events.

/soapbox

Namaste.

World Cancer Day 2015

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Wednesday – 04 February 2015
Today is No Bad News Thursday Eve. It is also World Cancer Day.

world_cancer_day_11

From the United Nations’ World Cancer Day page:

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growths often invade surrounding tissue and can metastasize to distant sites. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if they are detected early.

Two of my friends, Mary and Jake, are cancer survivors. Their cancers were caught and treated early. I am able to enjoy their company today because cancer awareness and treatment methods have progressed to their current points. That, however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for more people to learn more about the awareness and for treatments to improve.

But, I’m glad for the strides that have been made.

Namaste.

“He Turns” – Epilogue

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
"He Turns" - Epilogue

As I mentioned in my this morning’s post, I used my standing desk today. My original goal was to see what it was like for an hour or two, but I wound up using it all day, with a couple of exceptions when I had to look at someone else’s system.

avengers-nick-fury2

The heights of my monitors and keyboard were just right – I’d definitely advise anyone/everyone to make sure that the heights you choose are correct for your body – and there was plenty of room for my mouse to scroll across both screens. As the shelf that’s used for the keyboard and mouse tray is rather rigid and unforgiving, I highly recommend a wrist pad.

If I had to identify a down side, it would be this: I spent the day standing on the hard plastic chair mat at my desk. It was my only source of discomfort, but it’s nothing that a floor mat – possibly memory foam – couldn’t fix.

On the whole, I’d say that the maiden voyage of the desk was a success.

If you’re considering a standing desk option that’s relatively inexpensive, this setup works and is worth it.

Namaste.

“He turns.”

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
"He turns."

Monday – 02 February 2015
A few days ago, I set up an inexpensive standing desk in my cubicle at work. Why? Because I could. Also, because I have gotten tired of sitting in a chair for eight hours (plus or minus). I occasionally used a standing desk when I worked for the USPS; it provided a nice change of pace and I enjoyed the option of going from a seated desk to the standing one.

I had a few “technical difficulties” getting things set up the way I liked, but I’ve managed to work the bugs out of the system and things are working well now.

When I started working this morning, the following popped into my head:

Tony Stark: [Covering his eye, looks around] How does Fury even see these?

Maria Hill: He turns.

Tony Stark: Sounds exhausting.

Which made me think of this…

fury_screens

…despite the fact that I wore my long leather coat today, my standing desk and I aren’t nearly quite as cool looking.

Namaste.

Rise and Shine!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Rise and Shine!

Monday – 02 February 2015
Not only is it Monday…

1391205460783-Groundhog-Day-alarm-clock

…it’s Groundhog Day.
(Be glad you’re not Bill Murray. Or this clock, as the case may be.)

Namaste.

January’s End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
January's End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

Saturday – 31 January 2014

UPDATE: Of course, when I posted this last night, I neglected to include the link to the gallery of pictures I took. D’oh! So, here’s “take two.”

It’s been a good weekend… and it’s only half over!

Thanks to #BestWifeEver, Sara!, I attended the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience, colloquially referred to as “FanX” (pronounced “fan ex”).

slcomiccon2015

I went Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon for a few hours each day. Friday, I went with my coworker, Adam, and wandered the show floor, checking out the event. I ran into a few people I knew and saw some really good costumes, but I mainly wanted to see who and what was there. As I was originally not planning on attending the event, I decided not to go in costume.

Shortly before we were ready to leave on Friday, I ran into Jay Whittaker, who was dressed as Deadpool. Okay, let me amend that: I was talking with Big Movie Mouth Off and Geekshow Podcast‘s Jimmy Martin… and there was someone dressed up as Deadpool. I tried (mostly) to just ignore the cosplayer. Then, he just said: “Rob! You have no idea who I am,” and started laughing. Then I started laughing, because I recognized the voice. He told me that he was enjoying the anonymity of cosplaying behind a mask and noted that he was going to be cosplaying as Miles Morales – the Marvel Ultimate Universe Spider-Man – on Saturday. I jokingly quipped that I would have to show up on Saturday as Nick Fury. He said that I should do it…

Saturday morning, I broke out the Nick Fury outfit and headed back to FanX. My game plan for the day was to catch up with a few friends and to attend three panels:

  1. The Bechdel Test, hosted by Hello Sweetie Podcast‘s Charity O’Haodagain
  2. Comic Books on Television – DC, featuring my friends Jake, Jeremiah, and Jimmy, and
  3. Cosplayers and Charity, hosted by Jay (which I didn’t know until Saturday afternoon).

I’d barely gotten to the main floor when someone stopped me to take a picture. I was a little late getting to the Bechdel Test panel, but I did get there. It was a great discussion and some of the audience questions were insightful. I had some time to wander after the panel, so I caught up with my friend, Jamie. We wandered a bit. I got stopped for more pictures. We wandered some more.

I ran into Josh, Jack and Melody and their son. I’d seen pictures of Mel’s costume, but hadn’t seen the actual handiwork until today. The pictures don’t do it justice. That was an impressive piece of work. (Of course, that’s not entirely surprising, having seen her other artwork.) From there, it was off to the Comics on Television panel, which was just… fun. More wandering. More pictures. Then it was time for the Cosplayers and Charity panel, which featured six cosplayers from five charity cosplay groups (and one independent charity cosplayer). The panelists related stories of how they both got into cosplay and into cosplaying for charity.

After that, I did a little more roaming. I ran into Jamie again and we both ran into Danielle, also from Hello Sweetie. Charity and Sean passed by us on their way out and I took that as a sign that I should probably get on my way as well.

All told, the FanX event was a smaller affair than its September sibling, but that was not a detriment. It was easier to navigate (“Not all asses and elbows,” as I told a few people) and less chaotic. But, nevertheless, it was fun. I’m glad that I went and thankful to Sara! for the opportunity to go.

Namaste.