We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Arrival - movie

Dangrdafne review

Arrival with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.

We had just seen Avengers Infinity War and missed Hawkeye, so we watched Arrival ;)



SPOILERS

Maybe

I am not sure what this movie was about. It was very grey, very confusing at times and very “deep”. Maybe too deep for me. The only thing that helped me determine what it might be about was that in the credits it mentioned it was based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. So it was a just a story about Amy Adams’ life I am guessing. But her future life in the current time from her future self?? If someone knows, please let me know in the comments.

Anyway the linguistics part of the movie was very interesting and I really enjoyed watching it and the aliens were pretty cool with awesome sounds! But overall it was just an ok movie. I normally like just a story but I guess when there are aliens involved I expect a little more than a story.

The acting was good and I am glad the main people are actors I really like or else I may not have stuck it out until the end of the movie. I feel like this movie should have been more to me but I just couldn’t grasp it. I would try watching it again but not any time soon I don’t think.

2 paws

Speaking of Avengers Infinity War, that review will come later.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for May 18, 2018



[Earworms] -- I recently read the Quartz Obsession article about earworms. You know what an earworm is, right? It's a song that gets stuck in your head because it has a hook or a lyric that is particularly catchy, and it just plays over and over and over. There's even a scientific name for the phenomenon: Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI). Well, that got me thinking about my favorite 80s earworms. Not necessarily the annoying ones ... the ones I actually enjoy having stuck in my head, at least for a little while. If you want to know what a few of those songs are for me, you can read and hear more after the jump. And I hope you'll share a few of your earworms in the comments or via Twitter.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Free Comic Book Day 2018

Saturday May 5, 2018 - Dangrdafne write up

The first Saturday in May every year is Free Comic Book Day across the country. And what a day it is. If you have never attended this I highly recommend it, even if you don't collect or read comic books. I don't and I love heading out and seeing everyone enjoying the day.

This year was a big year for us. We went to three different comic book stores (including returning to the first one at the end of the day)!

First up was New Wave Comics in Skippack PA.


I unfortunately was so excited about being there and looking at everything that this is the only picture I have from this shop. Ooops. But they really put on a great time. There was popcorn, free Star Wars pins, 3 free comic books each unless you were in costume then you could get 6 free comic books, there was raffle for some very cool prizes (we didn't win), sales and two artists taking commissions.

We got our free books, had lots of popcorn, got our Star Wars pins and then shopped. A huge part of the free comic book day is that it is suggested you shop the rest of the store and hopefully purchase something to support the day. It may seem counter-intuitive to a free day but the stores purchase the books to give away. So it is definitely not free to them. And if you are out I can't imagine there are not other things you might want to buy from the store.

I certainly found something for my collection ---- Mom, look away now ----



Second was Cyborg One in Doylestown PA.





Look at all those comic books!!!! Not only the ones on the wall but the pile Brainwise was able to take. Here they allowed one of each to their "pull" customers. Since Brianwise has had a pull list at this store for years, he was definitely with the in crowd and he was very excited. He carefully curated his pile (as seen in the above photo) and then started to shop since they were having a sale too.

And I found something here too ---- Mom look away again -----


I love how we (accidentally) set her up in the collection:

Do you get it?


Then to Uncanny in North Wales PA.


This store is located in Montgomery Mall and the last time I was there on my own for this day, there were lots of comic available when I arrived later and I was able to pick 6. This year, wellllll


This was all that was left when we got there. We are not sure exactly how many books they had this year but let's pretend it was lots... so this is a great sign that this store was able to give away so many free comic books. Hopefully some new people will join the ranks of comic book readers.

I didn't buy anything here ---- Mom you are ok with this store ---- :)

Then we headed back to New Wave Comics to close out the day. We needed to go back because Brainwise commissioned a drawing from the evening artist Khoi Pham and needed to drop off the item for the artist. We ended up having more popcorn and talking for quite awhile with Khoi.

It was a really great day. It was pretty tiring and we did waaay too much driving but it was worth it. It was great to see all the costumes and all the kids having a great time. It was also nice to catch up with the store owners and workers and talk comic books, movies and TV.

I will leave Brainwise to tell his side of his finds at each of the stores.

What did you do for Free Comic Book Day this year? Let me know if the comments.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback (on a Saturday) for May 11, 2018



My own mother passed unexpectedly in October 2017. So, I'll be taking the money I would have spent on her Mother's Day cards and gifts, and I'm making a donation to A Woman's Place.  Also, in place of a new Flashback post, I am re-running my Mother's Day post from May 11, 2012. This post is largely, but not entirely, unchanged from its original incarnation.
 

[Word to the Mothers - Redux] -- This weekend we in the U.S. observe Mother's Day. I don't know if you've ever looked for "mother" songs before, but there are many, many songs with some variation of "mother" in the title or lyrics (mother, mama, mom, etc.). However, the subject matter of the vast majority of those tunes, particularly in the 80s, was not exactly fodder for Hallmark. And, on top of that challenge, two songs that I thought were perfect for the holiday were not recorded or released in the 80s. They both came out in 1991. So, I had to scramble a bit to fill out this week's playlist. I think I have successfully crafted a flashback set that honors mothers, recognizes folks who have less-than-perfect relationships with their mothers, and gives a nod to something that most mothers believe about their offspring at one time or another. So don't just sit there and wonder what three songs I have for you this week. Read and hear more after the break!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Great Philadelphia Comic Con - Part 2 (The Comics!)


Dangrdafne already posted the basics about the Great Philadelphia Comic Con 2018. So I refer you to that post to see an overview of the con itself and pics of some art we picked up. She has, however, left it to me to talk about the comic book aspect of our venture on Saturday, 4/28/2018.

Several weeks prior to the con, I identified the comic creators I wanted to meet and also determined what books I would like them to sign. I'll provide details below. Now, some of the comics I wanted to have signed were already in my collection. Unfortunately, I couldn't find my copies of The Steranko History of Comics Vol 1 and Vol 2, or even access some of my older issues still in storage. So, I had to acquire other books to fill the gaps. Fortunately, with help from a my local shops and a few judicious eBay purchases, I was pretty much set for the convention.

Jim Steranko's table was my first stop, and I had six of his books ranging from 1967 to 1973, all found at a shop near my office. They were:
Strange Tales Vol. 1 #157 and #167

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Great Philadelphia Comic Con

Saturday April 28, 2018

Oaks PA

After spending quite a long time to find a parking space, waiting in line to get in, we were ready to comic con!


Brainwise got lots of comic books signed by various people, I will leave that for him to post about. And I made sure to go directly to Regenerated Arts and get my Wonder Woman art work. I adore Regenerated Arts art. It is just beautiful, so much so, that I couldn’t pass up two more pieces.




I just love her viewpoint and I love that each one of these pieces are a different color but it brings out exactly what you should see. In fact looking at the photos I am realizing there is only one color in each but I see all the colors that I know exist in the view. Wow, so amazing.

Then we accidentally saw the time wrong and went to a panel too early, so we ate lunch and then moved up to the 4th row to see the Black Lightning panel. I am so glad we moved up. I really like Cress Williams and his work and he was directly in front of me on the stage. I really enjoyed that. But I also am glad we went to the panel.


We have not posted a review of the show for Black Lightning and I am glad I haven’t. I am not crazy about the show and especially can not stand the Tobias Whale character but after hearing the panel speak and learning about the actors I have a new appreciation for the show. In fact, I even went up to the Tobias Whale actor, Marvin Jones III, and told him how much I dislike his character but am grateful to find that he is a joy in person. I also had to add that the fact I hate his character makes him a great actor. Since the role is NOTHING like him. I mean nothing like him. I now will be able to watch him and see beneath the evil surface and realize he is just good at what he does.



Then we walked most of the floor and shopped. I only picked up two more pieces of art



and then we chose a book. I was hopeful my Mom would want to read the book we got but I don’t think so. She isn’t much into the supernatural but we shall see after I read it. The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski.



We also got cool pins


and I LOVE the “logo” tee shirt! I would love to wear this if I ever got to meet Clark Gregg and ask him to join our team :)


I had read not such great reviews of this con but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. You can do it all on the Saturday but you will be pretty tired and we didn’t start at opening for 10am and we were still tired. It is a loud place and no carpets anywhere, so just concrete. Also the “panel rooms” are just portions from the main area with curtains. Soooo if there is a panel going on and an announcement is made, you can no longer hear the panel. Luckily for use, the only announcement came at the end of the Black Lightning panel and Cress made fun of it so it was ok.

I had heard that their food options were limited and not good. I would greatly beg to differ. There were tons of options with even very healthy items and it was all good. Priced a little high BUT that is always expected at a convention center. We ended up wanting and getting French fries and a coffee and Gatorade which are our go to things when wearing thin at a con :) It was all delicious.

The workers and volunteers were all super nice and except for no markings on the aisles to know where you were, the place was set up very well. All the aisles were wide and except for a few times every aisle was passable. I would definitely come back to this con as I liked the ease of it and the smallness. Not overwhelming and the access to creators, celebrity and artists is excellent. It is also not too expensive ...as long as you don’t do VIP and to be honest I did not see a reason to be VIP. I saw no seating areas saved, nor anything really to support this higher pricing. Just get a ticket and enjoy the day, we did.

[Update: As mentioned above, you can also read about Brainwise's comic acquisitions from this con.]

Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for May 4, 2018 (Remembering May 3, 2013)





[Goodbye Dad, The Five-Years-Later Edition] -- Welcome to the five year anniversary of my Father's passing, 5/3/2013 to 5/3/2018. I did write a short reflection here, so I won't deviate too much from the usual structure of a Flashback post. Now, five years ago, 5/3/2013 fell on a Friday. And on that afternoon, I chose songs in light of my loss. There had been no Flashback post for the previous Friday, 4/26/2013. Instead, I had rushed to my Dad's bedside because his condition had worsened and the prevailing wisdom was that he was close to leaving us. Although he did improve slightly, it was not enough to merit a celebration. It was, I wrote at the time, simply a postponement of the grief to come.

Over the course of that week five years ago, Dad's condition continued to decline. He had an unidentifiable (yet treatable) infection, and fluid continued to build up around and in his lung. On top of that, his liver was failing. It turned out that the most probable diagnosis was that he was rejecting the transplant (bone marrow and stem cells) from 2010. Or, more technically accurate, the transplant was rejecting him. And, so, we opted to take him off the ventilator, suspend all treatment except pain management, and let him go. He finally did so in the early hours of Friday morning (3:07am, the time this post goes live).

Like I said at the outset of this post, I wrote a Flashback post that afternoon. I picked three songs to work through what I felt we all needed to work through. And if you've made it this far, and care to join me in revisiting those songs, you can read and hear more after the break.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Into the Wild - movie

Dangrdafne review

So I finally watched Into the Wild. Yes, it has been out there a loooong time. I for some reason never watched it, although I had wanted to since it came out. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to watch it when it came out, perhaps it was meant to be watched the day I saw it. One can never be too sure but I can tell you this, I am broken from this movie. Absolutely broken. I can not get the last moments of the movie out of my head. I can’t stop seeing two moments and I find myself crying still over it.


SPOILERS

Perhaps one of the reasons for my devastation is that I forgot it was a true story. That what happens actually happened to someone. Knowing that someone went through all that happened just breaks my heart. Also I had forgotten (or if I ever knew) how it would end.

He dies. And he dies from something really stupid. And only really stupid because he worked so hard to learn everything and do everything right that it just sucks that it was a mistake that makes him leave this world. And to make matters worse, people finally do come along.... just 20 days too late. I am not even sure I will be able to type up this post. My heart hurts just typing this paragraph.

Perhaps I am too emotional or sentimental. I just HATE that his whole life ended in abject loneliness and his realization that “Happiness is only real when shared.” Oh goodness gracious. A great learning point but with no way to then live that out... ouch.

He was a true philosopher and maybe if I researched philosophers I would find out that they all die alone and sad. I don’t know but actually there is no way I want to research that. My brain and heart hurt from this and while I learned a lot about myself while watching this movie, all that can not come to the front because I can’t get the end out of my mind. Sorry that this is more like a therapy session than a movie review but I think I need it. And maybe someone reading does too and that is why I am typing this.

Be sure to live your lives fully, engage with others no matter you introversion or extroversion, just find your people. Find your solace. Reach out when you need anything, there is always someone there. Basically don’t run off into the wild to live. I am not sure you can live there. And the evidence from Alex Supertramp supports my theory.

I am not sure I can recommend the movie but I still give it 4 paws because it made me pause. The soundtrack is incredible and the acting is impeccable. Hal Holbrook was a joy and Kristen Stewart was perfect. The whole cast brought their A games and I am glad because if they did not it would have made the movie even harder to process. I am sure most of you are not as emotional as I am, so if you have not seen it or if you have not seen in it awhile, check it out. Maybe it is a movie needed for these times.

If you find that you need to chat after watching, come find me in the comments.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The best TV show you are probably not watching

There is a new half hour family comedy that showed up on network TV, ABC to be exact, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Alex, Inc.


Starring Zach Braff, Tiya Sircar, Elisha Henig, Audyssie James, Michael Imperioli and Hillary Anne Matthews.

The story as it is shown is about Alex who decides to start his own podcast company. To me though the show is about family and how family comes together to support and love through all the craziness that life brings.

The extra bonus to the show is that Alex’s wife is Hindu and you get to see inside that culture. It is most apparent in the episode The Mother-in-Law when she visits to help with the family as Alex tries to get his business going. They talk about Holi and even try to go to a Holi celebration but Alex didn’t read the fine print on the celebration and it isn’t exactly what they were expecting.

I miss family shows. Happy, healthy, real, less drama, poignant family shows. There was The Neighbors, Parenthood, and The Middle (ending this season), just light, good shows, clever at times, shows I could identify with more than not. Alex, Inc. brings that back to my life.

Yes, there are still some odd things in the show but I can easily get past them or overlook them because I am just happy to see a family work together and be happy.

I highly recommend trying it out. I have two stories to tell in relation:

1) Zach Braff did a movie called “Wish I Was Here” and it was a tough, harsh, amazing film. A film that I originally turned off and didn’t finish because of the language and some of the scenes. But I went back for the second half one day and I am forever happy I did. It is an amazing film about perseverance, family and overcoming life. I see Alex, Inc. as the cleaner, sweeter side of the character Zach played in this movie and I enjoy seeing the other side of his life played out here.

2) When my iPhone updated to the new calendar there was new items listed that I did not put on my calendar. One was Holi - which I firmly believed was an error on the calendar. That the actual holiday just didn’t finish loading its name on the day. Fast forward to April 18th and Alex, Inc. episode 5 and here Holi is a Hindu holiday! It is the “festival of colors” and how it works into this episode is brilliant and beautiful. In fact, that is exactly what I wrote in my tweet about the show and Zach Braff answered:


Check your local listings and let me know if you see what I see in it.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for April 20, 2018


[Greetings, Starfighter!] -- In 1984, Lance Guest, Dan O'Herlihy, Robert Preston, and Catherine Mary Stewart played across filmscreens across America as The Last Starfighter rocketed into our collective move consciousness. Lance Guest, in the movie's title role, portrayed a smart teenager named Alex Rogan. Alex was consumed with one goal: Escape from the trailer park where he grew up. Wait, make that two goals: He wants to beat the high score on the STARFIGHTER arcade game. While he has big plans to make it "out there," the game is his only other escape from the drudgery and isolation of the park. However, little does Alex know that the game is actually {** SPOILER ALERT **} a recruiting tool for finding people capable of being actual starfighters "to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada!" Anyway, this movie deeply resonated with me, a 16-year-old nerd who dreamed of escaping his remote part of Pennsyltucky. I wasn't much with video games, but I truly identified with Alex's yearning for more than the sparse options of his present situation. And The Last Starfighter remains one of my all-time favorite films to this day.

So, any time there's buzz about a potential reboot of or sequel to The Last Starfighter, I get a little cranky. Fortunately, such stories come and go pretty quickly without cause for concern. But earlier this month, another contender for a Last Starfighter redo (possibly a requel?) made the rounds, starting with this tweet. And there's concept art, so this one might actually have legs. Or thrusters. Whatever.

Anyway, at least this gives me an excuse to revisit the soundtrack to the original (and, so far, only) Last Starfighter film. Craig Safan composed and conducted the movie's score, which came out the same year as the film, 1984. There were two expanded re-releases -- the first in 1995 and the second, more complete one, in 2015 -- but the soundtrack is currently, and unfortunately, difficult to acquire. With a total of 22 possible tracks for me to choose from, which items made the playlist this week? Well, insert your quarter so you can read and hear more after the jump. (That was a video game joke; I'm not really asking for your quarters.) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Logan

Review by Dangrdafne

So we finally watched Logan. We meant to see it in the theater but it just never happened. Well just like Rogue One, I am kind of glad we didn’t see it in the theater. I cried... I cried a lot.



SPOILERS

It was very hard to watch Patrick Stewart playing a dying Professor Xavier and just as hard to watch Hugh Jackman play a dying Wolverine. Thank goodness the movie gave them things to live and die for before their ends. The young girl was phenomenal. I loved her primal scream, I felt her release every time she yelled and it was a good feeling.

I thought it was a good story for the most part but really I only cared about what was happening to the professor and Logan and what it means for the X-men franchise. I have a hard time with endings and I kept my hopes about these endings knowing that this movie is set in the future. Sooooo they still could show up in other movies :)

Of course, the movie was violent and sometimes just too violent for me but I understand that it is Wolverine and that is his MO. I know want to go back and watch the pre-release interviews etc. I am curious how you sell the child role to a child and their family. How do you tell them they are going to kill LOTS of people and it’s all ok. I think the girl handled it very well and she has a bright future if she wants it.

I give this movie 3 paws.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for April 13, 2018



[a-ha-coustic] -- I know you're probably expecting a Friday the 13th connection, but I decided to go in a different direction. A stripped down direction. But first, some background. A-ha's 1985 debut album, Hunting High and Low, was an international success. All four of its singles charted within the top 40 of most countries' music charts. In the US, their first two singles broke the top 20, and their debut single, "Take On Me," peaked at #1. The strength of the album's singles, and the band's video rotation, helped propel Hunting High and Low to a peak position of #15 on the United States Billboard 200 (album chart). A-ha was even nominated for a Grammy (Best New Artist in 1986). They didn't win, but this nomination made A-ha the first Norwegian band to earn a Grammy nod. And let's not forget about that iconic animated/live-action music video

But this week's post is not about that 1985 track. No. See, I recently learned that a-ha played at Giske Harbour Hall in Norway last June. Yes, they played last June, and the news I'm about to share made the round in October. I'm behind the feed! I get it! Anyway, during Norway show, a-ha performed a hauntingly beautiful, stripped down version of "Take On Me."


If you liked that, I have good news for you: that version of "Take On Me" and 16 other a-ha hit tracks are available on MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice, an album and DVD they recorded while in Norway. Read all about it on their website.

But before you dash off to their website, perhaps you'd like to check out more of this concert. Well, I've got you covered with a little help from DailyMotion:





That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Review by Dangrdafne

A little late to the party here but well worth the wait I would say.

I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out. I missed going with my friends and Brainwise was not too interested in going otherwise. So I missed it in the theaters. Overall though I am ok with that after seeing it now on my TV. I am just glad I didn’t miss it completely.

I like the new Star Wars films better than the old, all of the old. I believe this is because when I saw the old films I was not the biggest sci-fi fantasy fan. And then when I was finally into it, it was the newer three movies and they just were not good to me. I distinctly remember laughing...with everyone in the $1 theater during the Yoda fight scene. It was like throwing a muppet around and seeing what would happen. Anyway, I digress, Rogue One was a thousand times better than the others but I would still choose The Force Awakens as my favorite overall (I have not seen The Last Jedi yet, shock there I know).

It is funny that I have seen all the newest Star Treks in the theater and pretty near opening day but Star Wars except for The Force Awakes when I went with my friends have all been later and now only on my TV. Thank you Netflix. Of course it was during the most recent Star Trek that I fully determined and realized I am a Trekkie. I like science more than fantasy.

Spoilers



Everyone dies.

No really, every.one.dies.

I hadn’t really thought about this until about half way through the movie. I realized... none of these people show up in the later movies... none. And it definitely made me sad. I was getting to know these people, like these people. While I know what they did was admirable and saves everything later, it did not make it easier to watch them get wiped out. Although this is not uncommon for me, I really cried at the end of this movie. I was grateful that I hadn’t seen it in the theater at that point. I really cried hard.

I loved Jyn and would love to have seen more of her life and her. Hmmm as I sit here thinking about what to write, I am realizing that no character is ever fully realized in this movie. The characters simply exist for this story and this story only. I don’t even mean that in the way that they all die, I mean that there is no background and no support for these characters outside this specific story. And while it seems odd, I am ok with it. I still enjoyed the movie and I still cried for the people but I guess I am ok that they will not appear again.

I definitely loved the humor from K-2SO and Chirrut and they were definitely the hardest, along with Bohdi, to watch die.

There were two things that really jarred me in this movie, though. The Polar Expressed Grand Muffin Tarkin (i am leaving this auto correct because it is too funny)  Polar Expressed young Princess Leia. Oh my that was not easy for me to watch. They didn’t fit, they definitely were out of place and I think just showing Leia’s robe would have been enough - we knew who it was. They were important parts but I had a very hard time with them not appearing real, although I am sure I may have freaked out more if they looked so real that you couldn’t tell they weren’t.

I give this movie 3 paws.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Atomic Blonde

Review by Dangrdafne

Oh how I wish I had seen this movie in the theater. Not only because it would have supported a woman lead movie, it would have looked incredible on the big screen.



SPOILERS

Soooo violent, like John Wick violent if not worse. It seemed even more real though. I easily believed they had hit each other and threw each other. The bruising and the pain were disturbing and completely realistic. The blood, etc splatter was beyond real looking *shivers*.

Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton was incredible. She was tough, vulnerable, gorgeous, wicked, sexy, shocking, brilliant, and absolutely perfect.

Sofia Boutella as Delphine was a great match for Charlize. They made a gorgeous couple and you never really knew which side Delphine was playing.

James McAvoy was incredibly sleazy and gross, exactly what he was supposed to be. For some reason, I found James distracting. I think I wish the role was an unknown actor. I felt like James was there to make sure males would see the movie, that it couldn’t just be Charlize against unknowns.

John Goodman and Toby Jones were ok. I always expect Toby to be bad so imagine my shock when he wasn’t anything at all. John was fine but again he felt distracting. Charlize’s character definitely shows them up ... or does she?

I almost don’t want to discuss the ending, just in case someone is reading who hasn’t seen the movie yet. I loved the ending but figured it out when she was driving the Asset. I noticed something different about her voice and I am curious to know if it was planned, an accident or my mind playing tricks on me. Either way it helped me figure out what would happen for the most part and I was very happy with the outcome.

Lastly I usually rate a movie on if I would watch it again. This movie can not fit into that reasoning. This is a movie that really is amazing once. With all the twists and turns, once you know what happens it makes it difficult to watch it again, especially with all the violence (for me at least). I am sure I could still appreciate the acting performances but the movie overall would lose some luster as the best parts of the movie are the twists and not knowing what is happening.

I still give this movie 4 paws.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for March 30, 2018

Fun Is Just Over There - by brainwise

For this week's Friday 80's Flashback, I'm revisiting a Flashback post from 3/29/2013. Five years ago this week, my mother and I were with my father while he was in the care of the Cleveland Clinic. 3/29/2013 was the start of Easter weekend, the first I had spent with both my parents in many years. And it was my second holiday overall with them at the Clinic (the first was Thanksgiving 1999). Unfortunately, it was Dad's last Easter; he succumbed to the complications of his cancer in May of 2013. And a mere five years later, I'm entering my first Easter weekend without either him ... or Mom. She passed away unexpectedly in October last year. 

So, much like that weekend of five years ago, I still have a tendency to  experience highs and lows in the wake of my adult orphan status. And these songs are still appropriate. You could check them out at the original link (see above). Or keep reading here because I've duplicated the entire post here for your convenience.


[Highs and Lows] -- I'm still at the Cleveland Clinic with my father (17 days and counting). And this week (like much of his stay) has had its share of ups and downs. At one point, we were told to prepare ourselves for "this may be as good as it gets" (Dad on ventilator and bed-ridden for however long). And then we were told that, even without a specific diagnosis, there are things that can be done to ween Dad off assisted breathing and even strengthen his other muscles. So, this week's Flashback reflects the highs and lows we have felt here rather than the upcoming Easter holiday (though I am sure holidays also have their fill of ups and downs). Today's image comes from my own collection on Flickr. I figure the Ferris Wheel is a good model of the cyclic nature of ups and downs. If you want to know what tunes are playing on my Ferris Wheel this week, just read and hear more after the break.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Black Panther

Dangrdafne point of view

One word: incredible

I give it 4 paws!!

Everything amazing that everyone is saying is true. The action, the story, the women, the music, the everything. I loved this movie.


SPOILERS:

Chadwick Bozeman is perfect in my mind. Like Wonder Woman had to wait for Gal Gadot to come along, Black Panther had to wait for Chadwick Bozeman. He IS Black Panther. He just embodies the character how I think it should be. I have never read the comic books or really know anything so maybe I am crazy but I would have to say I pictured Chadwick whenever people mentioned Black Panther being in the movies... and I didn’t even know who he was. I just think he is perfect here. He is a king.

I also did like Michael B Jordan as Killmonger but let’s just get it out there, I am female so of course I like Michael B Jordan :) But seriously he is great as this character. I hated that I hated him but that means he played him well. I could feel the pain and anger he felt and that was certainly the point. I am sad that there couldn’t be a redemption for him as I would have liked to see him and Chadwick work together to meld Wakanda and the world but with a name like Killmonger, redemption really doesn’t seem to be in the cards for him.

The women in this movie are my world. Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba, Letitia Wright, Sydelle Noel and Angela Bassett are glorious. I felt empowered by watching them. They were intelligent, athletic, sassy, beautiful and best of all they were women. Nothing had to be lost in the characters just because they were women. It was equal footing and equal screen time and I am forever grateful for it. Young girls of color should cheer every time they appear, for the theaters would be filled with noise for almost the whole movie and that is just how it should be. I look forward to more stories of these women and supporting anything they do.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for March 16, 2018



[ASIA] -- Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Steve Howe, and Carl Palmer were already famous individually for playing in some of the biggest prog-rock bands of the 70s. And the sound they created in the early 80s as the four-piece called Asia owed more to the 70s than the New Wave that was taking over the radio. Still, their eponymous debut album was released in March of 1982 -- 36 years ago! -- and spawned two huge hits. Besides the hits, other songs on this album also achieved considerable radio play. Asia's sound was slickly produced yet still muscular, likely due to Palmer's steady percussion and Wetton's driving bass. All these elements propelled the album to great success, including peaking at #1 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart. Asia's music was majestic in scope -- you have to play at a grand level if you choose to name your band after a continent -- and I still feel something magical in the opening chords of just about every song on this album. Hel, I still have my original vinyl copy. I can't tell you how many times I tried to draw the serpentine dragon from this album cover, but I can tell you that I no longer have any of those attempts.

If you'd like to sample some tunes from this album, you can read and hear more after the jump.  

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for March 9, 2018



[Don't Throw Stones] -- I've been focusing on records rather than themes for the last several Flashback posts, and I wanted to continue in that vein. But picking this week's feature took a little longer than usual. Yeah, it's from March 1980, so you might think I would have stumbled across that quickly. But I don't run through the decade in chronological order until I find something. But when I finally stumbled across this week's record, it was a B-side that struck me. Don't get me wrong: I like the singles from this record, too. But the B-side holds the stronger memory for me. Anyway, this week's record is Glass Houses, Billy Joel's seventh studio album. It was released on March 10, 1980, so it is 38 years old this week! Glass Houses features Joel's first Billboard #1 hit, and the album itself peaked at #1 on the US Billboard 200. If the videos for this record's top singles were your first introduction to Billy Joel, you might have been confused by his reputation as a pianist. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for March 2, 2018



[Saint Julian] -- I discovered Julian Cope in 1987. By that time, he had released two albums with his second band, The Teardrop Explodes (1978-1982), and three solo albums. That third solo album, Saint Julian, was released in March of 1987. Given my crash course in Cope's musical output, I can say Saint Julian was the most directly rock'n'roll record that Cope had recorded up to that point, his previous ventures being more of the neo-psychedelic vein. In keeping with the new musical attitude, Cope even tried to embrace the role of an 80s rocker, wearing leathers and adopting the arrogant posture of a "Rock God." And as much as I enjoyed my brief exposure to the earlier material, Saint Julian record reached me on several levels the other records didn't. I'm not saying it was deeper than his prior work, but I do feel it was better crafted. Or, maybe, I just think it was better because it resonated so much with my gut. If you would like to sample this 31-year-old record, then read and hear more after the jump.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Still Alice

So while I was away on vacation awhile ago I actually read a book. A whole book. Front to back. Those who know me know this a rarity. I have a pile of books as tall as me to read but I just never choose them. But I was determined. My mother and sister both read this book and liked it and Alzheimer's is quite close to my life, so it was probably destined that I would read it.



SPOILERS

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice is a middle aged, professor with 3 children and a loving husband. She notices some small changes in her memory as the book starts. It all seems nondescript except that we, the reader, know where we are headed. Her problem comes to the forefront when she goes out for a run in her neighborhood, where she has run for years, and she can't remember how to get home. This section is written to show how terrified Alice is and we, the reader, feel it. I am pretty sure my breathing became shallow and my heart was pounding.

Alice decides she needs to see her doctor. After discussing all options as to what is going on, Alice chooses to see a neurologist. It is at this appointment that all she fears comes true. Alice is definitely having a memory problem that needs to be tested. After testing they confirm she has early onset Alzheimer's. She has the markers and her children should be tested to see if they are also carrying the marker for early onset Alzheimer's. It was at this point in the book when I realized that I know some people in my life that should have this blood test to look for the markers - if they so choose.

We all know what's coming next but I have to tell you, reading it was heart breaking. The first time she doesn't recognize her daughter I just burst out crying. Then when she can't remember that she needs to go to the bathroom, I was just as embarrassed as she was. Alice is strong but there is no strength to beat Alzheimer's. They try a clinical trial (fake trial in the book) but it does not work. Then we find out that Alice most likely started her onset waaaaay earlier than anyone thought. So medicine and any clinical studies were actually not going to help.

The most amazing part of the book though is when Alice is fully ensconced in Alzheimer's but she creates a support group for other patients. She is determined to be as normal as possible. She then gives a speech about early onset Alzheimer's and I could hardly get through this section. Her mind is fully there, she has things to say, she has opinions, she has feelings but Alzheimer's just keeps taking it all away.

I am grateful that the book does not end with her death or even with a sad ending per say. Obviously having Alzheimer's is sad but by the end of the book Alice doesn't seem sad. She seems stronger than ever. One can only hope to be as powerful as Alice with or without Alzheimer's.

Overall I am torn on the book but perhaps not for the reasons you think. The book is amazing but is it awful at the same time. It is so well written that you are in Alice's head and feeling the terror she is feeling. You feel like you are losing your mind when you read some sections but just like Alzheimer's does, you don't know it. So this terrible feeling is just because the book is written so well.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has Alzheimer's in their life. It gives you such a different perspective and teaches you to not forget (no pun intended) that Alzheimer's patients are still viable human beings with feelings and lives.


I give this book 4 paws

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Various and Sundry Movies

Recently we have caught up on some movies we hadn't seen when they were released. They were on commercial TV, Encore or a DVD. Here are some reviews:

Kingsmen: Secret Service (DVD)
Clive Owen was awesome. The main boy and the girl were really good. Samuel Jackson was interesting. I liked the "twist" of the movie. Other than that, I hated the movie. The ultra violence was just waaaaay too much for me. I actually compared the church scene to a horror movie. It was just too over the top.
1 paw
Dangrdafne would never watch again


Elysium (Encore)
Jodie Foster looked amazing. I liked the connection of Matt Damon and his friend. Again this movie was way too violent for me but even more than that, I didn't like that it was violence at the expense of a story.  I just could not get invested.
1 paw
Dangrdafne wouldn't watch again


Oblivion (commercial TV)
I always like Tom Cruise movies. I like Tom Cruise. I LOVED this movie. All I remembered when we decided to watch it was the name and that Tom Cruise was in it. I didn't even remember that Morgan Freeman was in it (a wonderful surprise). The music, sounds and story were incredible. I was completely invested in what was happening and could not take my eyes off this movie. When it was near the end, we both said "I think we'll buy this in Blu-Ray." It was just so interesting and different and intriguing to me.
4 paws
Dangrdafne watched it again the next night and has watched in pieces any time if on TV - can't wait to see it without commercials (although she did enjoy the lack of cursing on the TV)


Maleficent (DVR from Encore)
Gorgeous. Beautiful. Angelina Jolie was perfection as was the girl who portrayed young Maleficent. Elle Fanning was lovely. I really disliked the actor who portrayed Stefan, he was waaaay off to me, the only weak link to me. I loved this take on Sleeping Beauty. I loved that this movie lives my mantra "Because Nice Matters." I loved that the true love wasn't at all what you thought it would be and that made it even more beautiful.
4 paws
Dangrdafne can't wait to watch this again and I have a few times


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I actually wrote this post last year and never posted it. I have a new list of movies that I will have to write up and then I would like to try and post right after I actually watch the movies :)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for February 16, 2018



[Alternative Religion] -- Time to take all y'all to church. Or, rather, The Church. You see, on February 16, 1988 -- thirty years ago today! -- these Australian rockers released their fifth studio album, Starfish. Although they had four other records to their credit (I nearly forgot about three of them before I wrote this post), this was the first one that made Americans take notice. And, boy, did we notice it over here. Starfish went gold in the US, launched a big hit single, and two of its songs were featured on that 80s television phenomenon, Miami Vice. The Church never equaled the success of this record, though they released new music fairly consistently up through 2017. It's a nod to the fact that most one-hit wonders have quite the catalog of music, much of it known only to their most fervent fans. Well, come on in. The Church service is about to begin. What are our hymns this week? Read and hear more after the break.    

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for February 9, 2018

© Olga Bogatyrenko ID 3802666 | Dreamstime Stock Photos


[Love] -- It's not often that February 9th falls on a Friday. It's not all that rare either: It happens, on average, every five or so years. So, I'm taking advantage of this particular occurrence to celebrate my wedding anniversary. You see, it was 18 years ago this very day, with snow on the ground and a slight chill in the air, that I exchanged wedding vows and rings with a woman I had met five years prior at an X-Files viewing party. Yes, even though I met her well after the 80s, I am still inclined to mark this occasion, our 18th wedding anniversary, in songs of the 80s. Specifically, love songs of the 80s. Now, there was no shortage of such songs, but I can select only three for this Flashback post. What tunes made the cut? Will they be sweet or sassy? Read and hear more after the break.  

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Big Little Lies

No lie, I am still around ... I just haven’t posted in a very loooong time
I am sorry for that but I hope to change that this year

I have watched a ton of shows lately but nothing that compares to Big Little Lies on HBO! It affected me so much that I put off talking about anything else until I got my new iPad and could write about it for you.

Seriously if you are looking for an amazing story, incredible cast, acting beyond belief (watch those kids closely), great writing and a mystery that leaves you breathless, please check this out.

There are some very difficult scenes to watch and there is language and sexual situations but please don’t let that deter you, they are necessary and it makes the show even more amazing.

Reese Witherspoon is superb in this show but really, the whole cast is. Here is a quick synopsis of the show:

Based on the same-titled best-seller by Liane Moriarty, "Big Little Lies" weaves a darkly comedic tale of murder and mischief in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey, Calif. Amidst doting moms, successful husbands, beautiful children, and stunning homes exists a community fueled by rumors and divided into haves and have-nots, exposing fractured relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors. Told through the eyes of three mothers -- Madeline, Celeste and Jane -- the series' narrative explores society's myths regarding perfection and its romanticization of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley star as the three prominent "mothers of Monterey."”

You have to insure that you watch the show without distractions, every scene and word means something and everything ties together... everything. Of course, David E Kelley wrote the show, so that should tell you a lot. He loves details and his words are all important and revealing.

It is only 7 episodes and it does cover the whole book (disclaimer: I have not read the book). I think it is best binged but some of the scenes are rough so a little break between the episodes is also advised. 

When the show ended I really felt like I was losing some friends. While I have a quiet life, I really can imagine that this is real life for some people and I think that is also what fascinated me. I also loved that this was a female centric show and being HBO it allowed for freedom to show what needed to be shown. Last piece of advice, just watch the show. Don’t overthink it, don’t try to solve it, just watch. It all unfolds so brilliantly.

I give Big Little Lies 4 paws and a tail up!!!!  

-dangrdafne



Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for February 2, 2018



[The Power (Light) of Earth, Wind & Fire] -- I don't know if the kids these days remember, or even know, but back in the 70s and early 80s, there was a little band called Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF). Now, this little band wasn't really so little. I mean, here is the personnel listing for their eponymous 1971 debut album, and here is the list for their 1983 album, Powerlight. Building from a funk foundation, they blended R&B, soul, jazz, disco, and even early electronica among other musical styles into a force to be reckoned with. And they had a horn section, The Phenix Horns, that was the envy of the industry. For example, after catching EWF on tour, Phil Collins brought The Phenix Horns in for several Genesis and even solo tracks. Speaking of EWF on tour, they were known for elaborate stage shows. I remember Earth, Wind & Fire in Concert, a 1984 TV movie that showed their Oakland Coliseum concert which had been filmed in December 1981. During the performance of "Jupiter" (the song starts around the 47:50 mark in this video), they staged a battle with an evil Darth Vaderish entity. I don't think that video is quite the same show I watched, but you'll get the idea. Anyway, in February 1983, EWF released their 12th studio album, Powerlight. The record buying public responded powerfully, lifting the album to #4 and #12 on the US Hot Black Albums and the US Top LPs & Tape charts respectively.