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Imprisonment Vacation

Posted on August 24th, 2021

Dave!For the first time in over a month, I was able to get through all the "to-dos" due on my list before leaving work. I celebrated by ordering a pound of fries at the local drive-thru for my dinner. I was going to make spicy black bean soup... but this was easier. Less chopping and cooking and dirty dishes and such. Oh well.

What I should have done after consuming a pound of potatoes and grease is catch up on all the sleep I have been missing because I'm staying up late working. What I actually did was a bunch of housekeeping on my work files while watching the What If... T'Challa was Star Lord episode of Marvel Studio's What If... cartoon anthology...

T'Challa as Star Lord.

T'Challa as Star Lord.

This is my third time watching it. And every time gets harder as it sinks in that this is the last time we'll be blessed with Chadwick Boseman starring as Black Panther. And it's absolutly gutting. He was taken from us far too early, and it just seems impossible that he's gone.

In other news... I'm in Facebook Jail. Again.

The previous time I was jailed was just plain stupid and ridiculous. This time is monumentally stupid.

I was watching a Hallmark movie last night when I saw an actor who looked familiar. So I Googled him to see what I might be recognizing him from. The first photo that popped up was the actor with one of his hands partly in his pants, but it wasn’t sexual. He wasn’t grabbing his junk. You couldn't see his junk. He wasn't even licking his lips. Nothing even suggestive... unless you call having his shirt off "suggestive."

I dropped the image in a CLOSE FRIENDS ONLY POST and asked the question "Why would an actor promote himself with a photo that looked like he has jock itch?" Within minutes... REMOVED FOR EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT! Three days in jail.

It’s just the most insane thing.

People regularly post music videos that are actually sexually suggestive and absolutely nothing happens. And then there's me.

I would love to tell Facebook to go fuck themselves, but a huge chunk of my friends are on the platform. And since they're scattered around the globe, this is what I got. And so... I'll probably just take a step back. Not devote so much of my time to Facebook, who can pull the rug out from under me over idiotic shit I have zero control over.

   

What If… “What If” Were Good?

Posted on August 11th, 2021

Dave!When I first started reading comics in the late 1970's it was nothing serious. Just some old issues that ended up and my grandparents' house (probably from my grandfather's barber shop). It wasn't until 1979 that I actually started buying them and collecting them. In the beginning, it was mostly DC Comics... Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I did pick up an occasional issues of Spider-Man though. Which is how I became familiar with Marvel's What If...? series. The issue that got me? What If... Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy? (as opposed to what actually happened in the comics... Spider-Man's girlfriend dying)...

The cover of What If where Spider-Man rescues Gwen Stacy

Hosted by Uatu the Watcher, What If...? speculates on how the entire Marvel Universe might be be changed if one thing were to happen differently. What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? and What if Dr. Strange had not become Master of the Mystic Arts? and What if Doctor Doom had become a hero? and so-on.

The quality of the stories varied wildly, so I was only a sporadic reader... usually only picking up issues when they were about a character I liked.

Fast-forward to today, and What If...? has come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of an animated feature on Disney+. It feels authentic, because so many of the characters are voiced by the original live-action actors. In the first episode, What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?, Peggy Carter becomes Captain Carter because she chooses to stay in the room where Steve Rogers was being infused with the super-soldier serum instead of leaving. This one event cascades until we don't end up with Captain America... but Captain Carter instead...

Peggy Carter as Captain Carter

Captain Carter is voiced by the original actor Hailey Atwell. Along for the ride is other original actors Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan), Toby Jones (Zola), and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes). Which is incredible, when you think about it. But then there's Steve Rogers, who is not Chris Evans, but instead some other guy. Not so incredible. Having Ross Marquand as The Red Skull is half-way cool, because he did play Red Skull in Avengers: Endgame... but it was Hugo Weaving who originated the character in Captain America.

In any event, the voice cast is exceptional, as you'd expect.

The animation is beautiful. It's quality stuff that looks gorgeous in every scene. Alas, they're using some kind of "flow-motion" to "tween" the frames (in order to make things appear smoother) which causes some weird voice-sync issues when viewed in close-up, but is otherwise fantastic. Money was spent...

It's positively thrilling to see Chadwick Boseman's voice coming out of T'Challa (one last time, alas) and Chris Hemsworth's voice coming out of Thor. And more than a little of a let-down when character voices are recast. I understand scheduling conflicts and such... but come on. They can literally set up a recording booth anywhere so an actor can take an hour out of their day to do lines. So why wouldn't they get all the originals? Unless people like Chris Evans didn't want to do it, which is even more inexplicable. I mean, Steve Rogers wasn't a huge part of this first episode. He probably could have knocked his lines out in 20 minutes and donated the money to charity. But... it is what it is, I guess.

Judging by this first episode, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this series. Just like the comics, it's fun to see "what might have been" had one little thing happened differently.

Next episode is What If... T'Challa Had Become Star-Lord? And who wouldn't want to see that?

   

He Who Remains

Posted on July 14th, 2021

Dave!And so the final episode of Loki was unleashed upon an unworthy world.

I have been enjoying the series up until this point, but wasn't necessarily blown away by anything. The idea of variant Loki's being the only characters to survive in multiple versions... or at least the only characters we've seen survive in multiple version... is kinda laughable. But, it did give us Loki Gator, and it's tough to be mad about that...

A poster for Aligator Loki... wearing Loki's horned helmet.

Needless to say, anything I say after this point is going to be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen all of Loki yet, you should probably get on that before proceeding.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Black Widow

Posted on July 9th, 2021

Dave!After being delayed over a year... Black Widow is finally here!

Well, I say "over a year" but it's actually more like eleven years because I've been waiting for a solo movie ever since the character first appeared in Iron Man 2 back in May of 2010. Instead she appeared in just about every other character's movie without getting her own. At least until now.

No, I did not go to a theater to watch it. I paid $30 to watch it at home, which is something I was thrilled to do. I would never step foot in a movie theater ever again if it was the option. Partly because I've got a great big-screen TV and sound-system at home... but mostly because I hate sitting in a theater with a bunch of selfish, inconsiderate assholes who feel the need to light up the theater with their cell phones, talk, and exist while I'm trying to concentrate on the movie. And, yes, I will undoubtedly buy the film on iTunes when it's released as well. Though it sure would be nice if Premiere Access customers got a bit of a discount on it! I love Marvel Studios movies, watch them over and over again, so I buy them.

As a non-spoilery review, about all I can say is that I liked it quite a lot. Don't know that I'd go so far as to say I loved it, because Natasha did get a little short-changed in her own film... but it was darn entertaining and continues Marvel's unfathomable streak of awesome movies...

Since Black Widow is... well... dead... in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (thanks to Avengers: Infinity War), they pretty much had no choice but to go back in time. Conveniently, there's a period after Captain America: Civil War where some of the characters are on the run for violating the Sokovia Accords, and that's when Black Widow is set. The story, in a nutshell, is that Natasha has to confront her past which is having a scary relevance to what's happening in her present (which is our past). Along the way we meet her former "family" of spies, including her father (David Harbor), mother (Rachel Weisz), and sister (Florence Pugh). All of whom are likely not done in the MCU.

So... yeah. Kudos to Marvel for not only finally giving Black Widow a film of her own... but for investing enough money to make it really cool as well.

I already watched the movie once. I am going to watch it again right now and live-blog it as I go. You can read that (along with other thoughts) in a spoiler-filled extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Ten Rings and Counting

Posted on June 24th, 2021

Dave!It's really weird to think that after a year of no new Marvel Studios films, we're making up for lost time by getting four of them in the second half of this year. I just prepaid my Premier Access fee for Black Widow last night so I'm all set for July 9th. I think the other three are all theaters-only, so I guess that's the end of the road for new releases at home.

After some social media posts this morning promising that the first full trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would be released... and here we go...

That cast tho! I honestly didn't know what to think of Simu Liu in the lead since all I knew him from was Kim's Convenience, but it looks like he's going to be the super-hero action type juuuuuust fine. Then, of course, there's Michelle Yeoh, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Fala Chen, and... Awkwafina! This film drops on September 3rd.

Then it's a one-two punch with Eternals on November 5th and Spider-Man: No Way Home on December 17th. On the Disney+ side, we've got What If? and Hawkeye and Miss Marvel also coming up sometime in the back-half of 2021.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be going into 2022 without half of its six original Avengers since Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow are all out of play. My guess is that Hawkeye will die or retire in his series, which would leave just Thor and Hulk (plus Nick Fury, of course). Black Panther was tragically lost to us, which leaves Ant-Man & The Wasp, War Machine, Okoye, Shuri, Nakia, Doctor Strange, Wong, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Vison, and The Scarlet Witch remaining from the second wave. Along with Falcon (the new Captain America) and Bucky. And then there's The Guardians of The Galaxy, which may be a very different team after the third movie of the trilogy wraps.

As for the future?

It's confirmed that we're getting (or have already spotted) Shang-Chi, The Eternals, The Black Knight, Lady Thor (Jane Foster), Photon (Monica Rambeau), Miss Marvel, Kate Bishop (Hawkeye II), She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Blade, Ironheart, Stature (Young Avengers—Cassie Lang), Patriot (Young Avengers—Elijah Bradley), Wiccan (Young Avengers—Billy Kaplan/Maximiff), Speed (Young Avengers—Tommy Shepherd/Maximoff), Falcon (Young Avengers—Joaquín Torres)... plus there's a rumor that the Netflix heroes will be integrated (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher)... plus Fantastic Four (and most likely X-Men) as well. Deadpool will be back, but how he'll fit into things is anybody's guess.

That's a lot.

But where's Alpha Flight, Namor, Wonder Man, Nova, Captain Britain, and The Silver Surfer?

   

Bullet Sunday 718

Posted on June 20th, 2021

Dave!I'm back from my quick trip over the mountains, so you know what that means... an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Happy Father's Day! Here's your Sunday Morning Happy. Watch until the end...

@dianabakerphotography

All part of my job! ##babyphotographer ##mumsoftiktok ##momsoftiktok ##babies ##tipsformoms ##baby ##babyboy ##edinburghbabyphotographer ##ukphotographer ##😁

♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) - Danilo Stankovic

And happy Father’s Day to the lucky dad of this adorable baby!

   
• Blame it on the Rain! Hope your Sunday weather is better than what these poor Guinnea pigs got...

@titorenogpigs

After sunshine comes… ##rain ##pigtok ##guineapig ##fyp ##foryou ##foryourpage ##xyzbca

♬ original sound - titorenogpigs

Yeah... there's yet another TikTok rabbit hole I fell down.

   
• Picard! The first season of Picard wasn't stellar, but good enough that I enjoyed it (despite not being a Next Generation fan). The second season, however? I am very interested in seeing what they do with it, especially since Guinan is returning...

Fascinating to see an 80-year-old Patrick Stewart playing a 98-year-old Picard. Even more fascinating? That an 80-year-old Patrick Stewart would want to. But, thankfully for whatever reason, he does.

   
• Luca! The sad thing about our pandemic world is that movies get sent to streaming services, which somehow makes them seem "less than" the big movie releases of years past. Like a cheap "straight-to-video" film or something. Take Luca, for example, the latest Pixar film. It is incredible... easily on-par with any other Pixar movie ever made. It's the adorable story about young sea monsters who long for something more on the surface world in 1950's Italy. And it is stunning. It's set in a fictional town, but it easily recognized as a mix of the five fishing villages of Cinque Terre (which you can read about here). And the voice cast has some real surprises that I won't spoil here. Love, love, loved this movie...

The poster for Luca showing adorable sea monsters become human once they are in the air. Half adorable human kids up top... half sea monsters under the water!

Even more amazing? Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this entire film was made from home! Highest possible recommednation. If you have Disney+, it's a no-brain to add to your watch list.

   
• Citizencide! Holy. Shit. This woman is literally the worst. Her sublime ignorance, stupidity, and complete lack of empathy typifies the horrors of so many of our elected government officials. Unbelievable, yet entirely believable. Even expected...

@dr.eric.b

##covid ##covid19 ##pandemic ##mask ##fyp ##facts ##vaccine ##doctor

♬ original sound - Eric

You can label my political disdain all you want, but this is what has be convinced that our government is actively trying to kill us. And we're voting for them to do it.

   
• "Today in Christian Love..." And people wonder why Pride Month is important...

@thedudetrader

This is how we see Christians - NO LOVE HERE....JUST HATE. #lgbtq #lgbtqtiktok #lgbtq🏳‍🌈 #lovenothate

♬ original sound - The Dude ✌️

   
• Snap Me! Ending on an LOL-worthy YouTube video seems like the way to go this Bullet Sunday...

THANOS WAS RIGHT!

   
=sigh= I suppose I really should clean up my house a bit since I was gone all weekend and have to go to work in the morning.

   

Loki the Kitten and Defect

Posted on June 9th, 2021

Dave!Remember yesterday when I was talking about trying so hard not to hate because I know where it leads? I've failed for two days in a row now.

Before I get to that, I need to pop some keywords up so Google can index this and perhaps help people who went through what I went through...

HavaHart Live Animal Cage Trap Failure — HavaHart Trap Door Won't Stay Closed — HavaHart Handle Falls Off — HavaHart Trap Model #1079 — HavaHart Trap Defective — HavaHart Victor Trap Manufacturing Defect — HavaHart Trap Won't Work

Last night I had to work a few extra hours so that I could make up the time I lost arguing with shitty AT&T over money they wanted to charge me on a closed account. As I was leaving the office, I thought I saw a kitten running in the parking spaces across the street.

Fast forward to this morning and I was outside social-distanced from my uncle so I could give him some papers my mom had left for him... and I saw the kitten again. My uncle also saw it, so this time I knew it wasn't my imagination.

Well, obviously I'm not going to let a scared, hungry kitten suffer on my watch, so I immediately ran home to get my cat carrier and some food. Sure enough... the little guy (or gal) came running out to scarf it down...

A kitten chowing down.

He looked like there might be something wrong with one of his eyes, and he doesn't look 100% well. Which may just be the trauma of being out on the streets trying to survive, but I won't know until I manage to grab him. Except he's so skittish that I couldn't get near him...

A kitten looking not so happy and well.

And so I called local veterinarian offices to see if they had a trap I could borrow. They did not. So I called the Humane Society because surely they have one... left a voicemail, but never heard back. Eventually I went to Home Depot where they had them in stock...

A stack of animal traps on the shelf at Home Depot.

When I got back to the office, I unpacked the trap and followed the instructions to open it. Immediately the "handle" springs off and slashes a nice gash in one of my hand while the trap falls on my other hand to cut it as well...

The handle to the trap door on the animal trap.

A gash on my left hand.

A cut on my right hand.

Ouch. But whatever. I have a cat to catch. Train tracks run right next to where he's been hiding, and I am mortified that he might be run over. So I don't need a handle on the door. I set it up with stinky cat food, then covered it like what was suggested by a local cat rescue to make it seem more "safe" to the kitten...

Towels covering the cage trap.

I checked the trap every hour. On the third hour the door had sprung and I was ecstatic that I had got kitty so easily. But when I ran across the street to collect him, there was no cat inside. Thinking that maybe a gust of wind set it off, I reset it to try again. But the cat was wary of it...

TA small kitten looking over at the trap.

I worked until 10:00pm when it got too dark to see the trap. So I went home and started taking naps between my hourly trap checks. FINALLY at 2:00am my headlights revealed that the trap had sprung. But, once again, not kitten inside. What the hell?

So naturally I went to the internet to see what I was doing wrong. LO AND BEHOLD, WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A "HANDLE" WAS, IN FACT, A CRITICAL CLIP NEEDED TO KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED! There were videos on YouTube about it from FIVE YEARS AGO and everything...

The kitten had actually been trapped twice, but managed to squeeze out from under the trap door.

I was absolutely enraged.

This company, HavaHart, who never responded to a guy telling them that their product is defective... has ibviously known about this problem FOR OVER FIVE YEARS. Probably longer. How shitty is that? The only way I found out that the "handle" was not actually a handle was because one of the comments on that video explained it. With not a small amount of effort and a pair of wide-grip pliers, I managed to get the trap door clip installed in the slots that hold it...

The defective clip is back on the trap door to keep it closed when it springs.

This is so shitty that I can't even express how angry I am. The kitten is probably so frightened about being trapped twice that they may never go back in now that I've repaired it. My God... all it would take is a simple rivet... or a punch-fasten... or a frickin' dimple... to make it so that this clip... WHICH ALSO ACTS AS A HANDLE PER THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BOX... won't come flying out and hurting people when you pull on it to open the door. It would also make their product work as advertised. Rage. Rage. Rage...

All it would take to fix this shitty product is a simple rivet.

I continued to drive back to the office every hour, but the scared, hungry, possibly sick kitten never went back in the trap. And I don't blame them. I can only hope that they get hungry enough that they'll try to eat from the trap one more time so I can rush him to the vet and make sure he's okay. I'll still be checking every hour... even though I'm exhausted from lack of sleep worrying about a scared kitten getting run over by a train.

I don't really want a third cat, but I may not have much choice in the matter. I'm not going to abandon the poor thing. Which I've decided to name "Loki" whether it's a boy or a girl. Because Loki in the Marvel Studios movies is famous for being able to escape a trap... just like this kitten. And speaking of Loki...

A poster for the Disney+ series Loki by Marvel Studios starring Tom Hiddleston.

The first of six episiodes dropped. And it's glorious. It's Loki doing what Loki does best, but also has some heart in it that's surprisingly touching. So nice to see that Marvel Studios is killing it not just with their movies, but with their Disney+ series as well. Can't wait to see where this one goes!

   

Back in Black (Widow)

Posted on June 3rd, 2021

Dave!Marvel Studios dropped a new trailer for Black Widow today. As one would expect, it looks glorious. Since the character doesn't have super-powers or massive custom gear (like a Batmobile) or setting (like a Batcave) it would have been so very easy for the studio to cheap out and give Black Widow a budget movie... but they didn't do that. Wisely, they stuck to formula by investing the money to give her a spectacular action flick that looks every bit as awesome as the movies other Marvel characters have been getting...

And bravo to that, because Black Widow has been carrying other movies all this time without complaint, and she frickin' deserves to have a movie of her own that will measure up.

Fortunately, the film will be available to Disney+ subscribers upon release for a "premium access fee" so I don't have to go to a theater to see it... because I'm not quite ready for that. I will happily pay an early fee to see the movie in the safety of my own home. It would be nice if the early access fee included a digital copy of the movie when it eventually gets released for sale... but that doesn't seem to be the way it works, so I'll undoubtedly be buying it on iTunes as well.

Money well-spent if I watch it even half as many times as I've watched all my other Marvel Studio movies.

The next movie on Marvel's slate is Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings... another flick I'm dying to see (seriously, the cast is to die for). I don't think that this one will have simultaneous releases for home video and theaters like Black Widow. So I guess we'll find out come September 3 if I'm dying enough to go to a movie theater. If not then, maybe for Eternals in November or Spider-Man: No Way Home in December? It's tough to say. Personally, I'd love to never have to step into a movie theater ever again. As I've said many times now, I detest the experience of it all because people are shitty. But I know that movie studios have to recoup their investment somehow. These are not cheap movies to make.

In other Marvel Studio news... genius filmmaker Taika Waititi announced that Thor: Love and Thunder has wrapped filming and will now go into post-production for special effects and stuff. Which apparently takes a minute, because it's not due to be released until May 6, 2022! If any movie is going to get me back in theaters kicking-and-screaming, it would be this one. Thor: Ragnarok is easily in the running to be my favorite Marvel movie, so seeing it immediately regardless or where and how is a no-brainer.

Even if they did miss the opportunity to title it Thor 4: More Thor.

   

Eternally Yours

Posted on May 24th, 2021

Dave!Marvel Studio's new "teaser" trailer dropped today for Eternals (formerly The Eternals) directed by the visionary Chloé Zhao (her films really haven't been my cup of tea, but they look like absolute works of art). There was no other news today.

It's a long, long wait until November 5th, but this one looks like it will end up being worth it...

I have every confidence that Marvel Studios will end up delivering something fantastic... their track record has been stellar... but it will be interesting to see how they retcon Eternals into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I certainly hope it's more than "Sure aliens are invading earth, but we don't want to interfere" and "Sure Thanos (WHO IS ALSO AN ETERNAL, BY THE WAY!) is wiping out half the universe, but we don't want to interfere"... because that would be some serious bullshit. But what would be even bigger bullshit? Openly stating that the Eternals have been pulling the strings all along, and nothing that happened in the previous Marvel movies was due to the characters starring in those Marvel movies, but instead was always the Eternals.

In the comics, the Celestials (The Collector, The Grandmaster, Ego, etc.) created the Eternals. But it's not entirely clear if that will be the case here. Since the story spans thousands of years, having an appearance by Thanos, at the very least, would seem essential. But I don't know that Marvel wants to unleash a new franchise with that kind of baggage, so I guess we'll have to wait and see who does (and does not) make an appearance.

166 days and counting...

   

What You Want, Black Falcon?

Posted on April 27th, 2021

Dave!I finally stopped writing about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, because everything I wanted to say was based on what I know from reading the comic book source material that was unfolding on screen. No, it's not a perfect translation... I wouldn't want it to be... but there's a lot here that's coming directly from character arcs in the comics, so my speculation was nothing but spoilers.

But the final episode aired Friday, so we good? Can we talk about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now?

If you don't want to read my spoiler-packed recap and thoughts, you definitely don't want to click through to the extended entry. And, needless to say, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Marvel comic book spoilers abound...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

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