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Berries In Bed and The Incredible Hulk

Posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Dave!I've never been a really big dessert person. My vice has always been chocolate pudding, but once I had to start limiting carbs and go sugar-free, it got scratched from my list (sugar-free chocolate pudding is heinous). I like an occasional chocolate cupcake, but those had to be dropped too. So now I have an occasional cookie and call it good.

Except...

I have a real tough time passing up on berries.

My favorite berries are Maine blueberries. There's really nothing like them. They are smaller than the blueberries I can get here and the flavor is unreal. I will gladly chow down on Maine blueberries on any occasion I can get them. But any berry will do, really. I love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Marionberries, boysenberries, blackberries, huckleberries... so many berries to eat.

But... berries have sugar... and so I try not to eat them too often. The fact that berries are so insanely expensive makes this easy. I bought a tiny container of fresh blueberries and raspberries for $8 to eat at breakfast with some poundcake. I managed to get three servings for my money...

Berries in Bed

And yet my $8 will buy me 8 shitty burritos at Taco Bell or 8 shitty hamburgers at McDonalds off their dollar menus. Fresh, healthy foods are out of reach for so many people, but crappy unhealthy food is abundant and cheap. Crazy.

But typical of what government lobbyists can achieve when they put their mind and money towards something.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 2: The Incredible Hulk
Original Grade: B • Today's Grade: B-
Coming out a mere month after the summer blockbuster that was Iron Man, the second movie in Marvel's lineup falls short when you you drop it in the mix. Still... this is not a bad movie, and if you judge it on its own merits instead of comparing it to the rest of the Marvel Universe of films, it fares far better. Unfortunately, I can't do that, so it just doesn't hold up for me. The special effects are good for the day. The story is good enough. The acting is better than good. But it doesn't feel like a Marvel Studios film and I mostly forget about it. Especially after all the amazing stuff that followed. With that considered, I have to drop it a point.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: Can I say the pre-credits scene where Tony Stark walks in the bar to talk to General Ross, thus starting the long trend of all the movies being stitched together? No? I can't? Okay. Well, The Hulk tearing apart anything and everything is worth watching... but I love the scene where General Ross is in the gunship chasing down The Abomination over rooftops at sunset and The Hulk grabs hold. The aerial battle and subsequent crash is a visual and audio treat.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: General "Thunderbolt" Ross's near maniacal obsession with tracking down The Hulk borders on ridiculous and William Hurt badly overplays it. Doesn't help that he's so damn stupid. Leave The Hulk alone and nobody gets hurt. Fuck with Banner and The Hulk destroys everything. So why not just let him be? And while I really like Edward Norton's body of work and appreciate what he brought to this film, it's tough to overlook just how much better suited Mark Ruffalo is for this particular role. He has an easy charm about him that Bruce Banner needs in order to play against the non-stop angst he lives day to day. Without it, things are just too serious and bleak.
   
SIDENOTE: Is Betty Ross ever mentioned again? Like ever? I know they eventually paired up Banner with Black Widow, but it still seems odd.

   

Cat Bites and Iron Man

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Dave!When it comes to cats, I truly lucked out. Jake and Jenny are wonderful animals and rarely give me any trouble. They don't chew on my stuff. They don't scratch anything they're not supposed to. They rarely puke. They leave me alone when I sleep. They're affectionate but not too clingy. They don't meow constantly. They're just the greatest most perfect cats.

99.9% of the time.

Every once in a while though...

I've been bitten three times.

When I first got my cats, they came with hospital collars from having been fixed. My cats were absolutely terrified of me, so I couldn't get close enough to cut them off...

Kittens!
Calm Before the Storm.

After a few days, Jake would be distracted enough while eating that I was easily able to cut his off. Jenny though? Not on your life. And it was scaring me. They spent a lot of time hiding under stuff, and I was worried the collar would get caught and she'd hurt herself. Finally I managed to grab her and cut it... except she was not having it. She clawed my arm so badly I still have marks. And she bit my nose repeatedly, resulting in blood gushing down my face. Not fun for me... and Jenny hid under the couch for two days.

The second time I got bit was when Jake escaped from the catio. Eventually he made his way back to the door, but he wouldn't come inside. So I grabbed him...

Jake Rescued from Outside!

Jake, who is usually a very mellow cat, went full-on psychotic. He was a Tasmanian devil of fury... biting my arm and clawing at my abdomen so deep that I thought my guts were going to spill out Hannibal Lecter style.

And the latest time I got bit? TODAY.

With the heat we've been having, my cats have been shedding their fur constantly. It's so bad that I've been brushing them with The Furminator every day. Jenny loves it. She rolls around while getting brushed and purrs like a diesel truck. Jake, however, merely tolerates it. Most times he doesn't mind so much, but there are other times you can tell he's annoyed. He'll "fake bite" me a couple times, but that's as far as it goes. Today was no different. He was irritated, he pretended to bite me a few times, I ignored him as I always do... and then he lashed out. With a real bite. It wasn't all that painful, but it was shocking.

And so...

Lesson learned. From now on when Jake acts perturbed while being brushed, I'll wait for one "fake bite" and then stop brushing.

Because I like having the greatest most perfect cats.


As I mentioned yesterday, watching the "Director's Roundtable" extra from the Avengers: Infinity War digital home video release made me want to watch all the Marvel Studios movies all over again. And so I am. Starting today...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 1: Iron Man
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
   
At the time it was released, it was impossible to comprehend just how revolutionary Iron Man would be, nor what it would lead to. In retrospect, it should not be as surprising as it is. All the elements were there. Robert Downey Jr. inhabiting Tony Stark in a way that was beyond flawless... painstaking faithfulness to the source material... exceedingly good special effects... a story that was highly entertaining, laced with humor, and had no wasted moments... and... did I mention Robert Downey Jr. being beyond flawless? As impressed as I was with this film back in 2008, I am doubly impressed today because it holds up so damn well. It was the perfect beginning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I love it as much now as I did then. Of particular note is the raw mechanical nature of the suit, which literally had to be bolted around Tony. This was incredibly cool to see and, though the process was streamlined with each new appearance, it always maintained its awesome brute-force physically mechanical nature. Until Infinity War where the suit was "nanite enabled" which completely ruins what makes Iron Man be Iron Man. Bummer.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: So many. But when Tony first dons the finished Iron Man armor and takes out all the bad guys in Afghanistan... it's movie magic. And when he returns home and Pepper catches him doing "not the worst things she's caught him doing?"... it's LOL funny too.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: While Jeff Bridges makes the perfect Obadiah Stane, I question why the villain always has to be a slightly more powerful duplicate of the hero in these films. Iron Man vs. Iron Monger? Sure. But it set a lame precident for too many Marvel Studios films which followed. So much so that they're only just now breaking free of of that trap.
   
SIDENOTE: Nick Fury showing up in the post-credits scene to discuss "The Avengers Initiative" is the icing on a very delicious cake. When I saw this movie in the theater, I was leaving during the credits when some guy started shouting to everybody "DON'T GO! THERE'S MORE AFTER THE CREDITS!" and so I stayed. I was already thrilled with the film. After that scene I was downright giddy leaving the theater.

   

Infinity War: Revisited

Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Dave!Of course I rushed to the theater when Avengers: Infinity War was released. I saw it twice, just because it was such a huge spectacle that I had a tough time absorbing it all. I liked it much better the second time around.Now that the film has been released on digital home video and I've had some distance between my last viewing... I like it even more.

Everything I said in my first review still holds true. But I wanted to revisit it now and figure out just why this film keeps growing on me...

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Poster

   
But, before we go there... an aside about those extras you get. They are pretty lame. At least what I'm finding in the "iTunes Extras" you get on the digital release...

1) The directors/writers commentary doesn't really add a huge amount of insight to the film. Not that it's bad... just that so much of what's discussed is obvious. This is fairly understandable though. If they went into much depth, they'd spoil the second part that's coming in the fourth Avengers film.

2) That being said... there is a "Director's Roundtable" with eight past Marvel Studios directors (Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Peyton Reed, James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, The Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi via FaceTime... sadly, no Kenneth Branagh, Shane Black, Alan Taylor,Scott Derrickson, Jon Watts, or Joe Johnston) which is fantastic. Listening to these people talk about their films made me want to go back and watch every last one of them all over again. If only it could have gone on longer.

3) The featurettes are okay but, again, don't add a heck of a lot to the film. Strange Alchemy touches on my favorite thing about the film, which would be the mixing up of the characters. The Mad Titan talks about Thanos from comics to film. Beyond the Battle: Titan and Beyond the Battle: Wakanda reveals the FX and stunts that went into the ultimate super-hero battles ever seen on film.

4) The deleted scenes are all worth watching. In the case of the extended scene between Thanos and Gamora... well worth watching.

5) LOLOLOL! As I was watching Infinity War tonight and Thanos starts speaking, Jenny immediately goes running for the television. And she was transfixed! "Jenny... are you in love with Thanos?!??" She turns and looks at me like "DUH!" — I think that Rick from Rick and Morty will be jealous. He's the only other character that Jenny reacts to this way...

Jenny Loves Thanos

Jenny Loves Thanos

Jenny Loves Thanos

   
And now? Do not proceed unless you've already seen the movie.

Spoilers await in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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Justice League: Revisited

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Dave!Today Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War was released on digital home video. I thought before I sat down and wrote my thoughts on the movie, I'd take a run through Justice League from the Distinguished Competition and jot down some notes on it as well.

It's no secret that, with one exception, I loathe the DC Comics Cinematic Universe. Wonder Woman was pretty great. But Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League were all festering piles of crap that were not only bad movies... they were bad adaptations of the comic books they were taken from.

Justice League was so bad that I couldn't even get through it. I've only just watched various chunks when I've seen it on HBO. But, in the interest of fairness, I thought that I would sit through the whole thing last night to see if that changes my opinion.

Turns out that, no, it most definitely does not...

Justice League Poster

   
If anything, it sucks even harder in one viewing because it's such an epic slog to force your way through. All that did was make me end up resenting the film even more than I already did. My notes are something I'm posting for myself so I don't lose them, but feel free to read along if you want to.

And now? Do not proceed unless you've already seen the movie. LOL! JUST KIDDING! You do not want to see this movie, trust me.

Spoilers await in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Let Sleeping Jakey Bear Lie

Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2018

Dave!Tonight was when I was supposed to be traveling home from Maine... but I finished work two days early and got in yesterday early-morning instead. When I waltzed home at 1:00am, both my cats came running to greet me, which is always nice. But then Jenny kind of wandered off to do whatever it is Jenny does. Jake, on the other hand, stuck to me like glue...

Jakey Bear Glue

I finally decided to turn in at 2:00am, but he was not deterred. He was rolling around for belly rubs and would not take no for an answer...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jenny still checked in from time to time, but wandered off after she made sure I was still home...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

In the morning I found that all kinds of toys had been left for me, and so I'm guessing the cats are happy I'm back home...

Jakey Bear Glue

Last night things went back to normal... or as normal as things can get when you have cats... but I slept through the Alarm set for Jake & Jenny's 7:00am breakfast this morning, which made for an awkward awakening at 7:45, because both cats were just sitting there glaring at me when I dragged my ass out of bed. They have been conditioned to expect breakfast when that alarm goes off, and don't know what to do with themselves if I don't get on that immediately.

After breakfast I went back to bed to go through the piles of email I had built up. Jake decided to throw himself on the floor and sleep like Jake likes to do. Every once in a while I'd lean over and snap a photo, because he is all over the place while he's sleeping...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

And now he's relocated to the window...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

I wish I could fall asleep wherever whenever like that.

Seriously!!!

Jakey Bear Sleeping

And why oh why oh why didn't I buy another catnip lobster toy when I was in Maine? Jake loves that thing...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Back to real life...

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Bullet Sunday 472

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Dave!Home again home again... and just in time too, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Mutants! The news of the week? Disney's offer to buy out 21st Century Fox's movie properties was approved by the shareholders on both sides. They still have to get regulatory approval, but it's expected there won't be any issues. And so? The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Deadpool franchises will be headed to Marvel Studios. Which means we might finally get to see a good X-Men film... and we hopefully won't get more horrendously shitty Fantastic Four films. Deadpool was done right (twice!), but he lives outside of comic book reality, so he won't require a reboot. He'll just comment about his new universe and move on. In all honesty, I don't give too big a crap about the mutant teams showing up alongside The Avengers and so-on... but I am beyond excited to see The Fantastic Four popping up everywhere...

The Fantastic Four by Art Adams

There is so much potential there.

   
• Big Gunn! And speaking of Marvel Studios... they've cut loose Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn over offensive tweets he made almost a decade ago. I have mixed feelings over it all. On one hand he has repeatedly apologized for what he said, explained that it was a poor attempt at being provocative, he has moved on, and he tries hard to not be that person any more. On the other hand though... the jokes(?) were about things like pedophilia and rape and really don't qualify as "jokes" at all, assuming that was the intent. They certainly weren't funny. But... is that worth losing the third act of The Guardians of the Galaxy over? In the end I'd have to say "no." It would be a different matter entirely if he actually was a rapist and pedophile... but he's not. He was just entirely too stupid to understand he wasn't being provocative or funny... he was just being an asshole. And if we're going to start firing people in Hollywood for being stupid assholes, at least half of the industry would be gone.

   
• Printables! Downloadable guns? Well that sure took less time than I thought.

   
• Roasted! The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis was on tonight. It was raunchy, horrible fun as always...

Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis

But every time one of these comes up, I cannot help but think back to one of the best roast lines ever said. Sandra Bernhard was preceding Jeffrey Ross at the roast of Jerry Stiller. Jeffrey stepped up and said "Yeesh, I wouldn't fuck you with Bea Arthur's dick!"... with Bea Arthur in attendance. I had always wondered if Bea Arthur ever reacted to it, so tonight I Googled it. Turns out Jeffrey Ross has a story about that.

   
• McWrong! Ever wonder what happens when McDonald's wraps your Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich inside-out? Here you go...

Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis

I was too hungry to throw it all out, so I tore off as much of the color as I could. Hopefully it's non-toxic in case I didn't get it all.

   
• Kurzge-wha?! And here's my new favorite thing of the moment on the internet the Kurzgesagt Channel on YouTube...

If you've got time to waste, here's the place to go.

   
And that's the end of that. See you next Sunday.

   

Caturday 70

Posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Dave!And so my work ended two days early. I can either...

A) Take two days off, get some much-needed down-time and disappear... or...

B) Get an earlier flight home so I can see my cats.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Jenny

Jake

I'll have to think on that and get back to you...

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Mainetenance Protocols

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2018

Dave!Breakfast was leftover pizza. Lunch... was also leftover pizza. For dinner there was no more leftovers to be had, so I decided I'd wait 3 or 4 hours, put down my laptop, and venture out for a late supper. But then I heard thunder booming around 4:00, and decided I would rush out to eat before a torrential flood of rain unleashed like it did yesterday.

Dinner was uneventful... thank heavens.

The walk back from dinner? Mostly uneventful...

• There was a scuffle in the parking lot between two guys whom, it would seem, arrived together in the same car. It was more verbal than physical... except for one poorly-timed slap that landed badly and a spit-response. Then one of them ran off while the other got in the car. Apparently to give chase and run him down.

• Whenever I come to the Auburn/Lewiston Area, I note that the Androscoggin River (which divides the two cities) is bordered by "Great Falls Boulevard" on the Auburn side. Problem is... in the years I've been coming here, I've never seen the "Great Falls" be that great. I'm guessing it's great in the Spring, but I'm here in the Summer and Winter when it's just rocks. Today I finally asked about it. "Well, it's not really that great most years any more."

• Today I finally decided to make a quick stop at Veteran's Park next to the above-said-not-so-great-falls. I knew it was here... never stopped. It's dedicated with a marker, which I sadly noted didn't have any women in service on it (sorry for the glare)...

Veteran's Park

Until I took a closer look(?)...

Veteran's Park

The hands-on-hips should have given her away.

• Other than the odd choice to have a gun firing at a jeep(?) it's actually a nice little park...

Veteran's Park

In case you are wondering... off to the right there are the Great Falls.

• As I was nearing the end of the bridge, I noticed that there was a Trump Protest going on across the street, almost all of them (I'm guessing) being senior citizens. They were calling for his impeachment...

Veteran's Park

Maine, like my home state of Washington, is a Blue State. But Androscoggin County, like my home county of Chelan, is a Red County. Meaning more than 50% of the people voting voted for President Trump. Don't know if that would be the case today.

• As I walked up to my hotel, the thunder was growing in intensity, but there was still no rain. As I walked in the sliding doors to the glass-enclosed vestibule, I saw a poor little bird flying back and forth. He was smashing into the windows from one side to the other, and I felt terrible about it. And so... I spent the next five minutes corralling the little fellow until I could shoo him out the front door. Time well spent, even though everybody in the lobby thought I had gone insane.

• When I got back to my hotel room, I noticed that there was a photo of the Great Falls (where there were actually falls) hanging in the bathroom (sorry again for the glare)...

Veteran's Park

Okay, I have to admit that this does look pretty great!

   
And thus ends my big day. Tomorrow it's back to work again.

   

The Rain in Maine Falls Mainely on My Brain

Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Dave!When I finished work at around 8:30am (which made it a 13-1/2 hour shift) I went straight back to the hotel so I could try and get some sleep after 23 hours of being awake. I was hoping for more than six hours, but I'll take what I can get.

And what I wanted to get at that point? Food.

When I went to bed, it had just started to sprinkle. When I went down to the lobby to drive somewhere to eat though? Rainageddon. My first clue was when the hotel staff was furiously attempting to clean up the gallons of water that had poured into the building...

The Rain in Maine

The Rain in Maine

The Rain in Maine

I was then told that many roads were closed because they were flooded... and the rain was so bad that part of the roof of the local hospital had collapsed. And so... I decided to walk to a local eatery rather than risk being out on the roads. Problem is, I didn't have a raincoat.

And so I made one by clipping a plastic bag into a long-sleeve shirt...

The Rain in Maine

That coupled with my faithful Boston Red Sox hat didn't do much to keep me from getting soaked, but it was better than nothing. Totally worth it... because pizza and beer...

The Rain in Maine

By the time I had finished eating, it was still raining... but not nearly as much. And yet the damage had been done. My clothes were completely soaked...

The Rain in Maine

I guess dinner will be leftover pizza and a Coke Zero from the vending machine followed by Bugles for dessert, because I ain't going back out in this.

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Mainestream Media

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Dave!It's 11:59pm and I've been on-site for a job for five hours. There's at least seven hours left to go... probably more... and my brain is starting to feel mooshy. If only I had taken a nap when I got into town instead of doing silly things like eat, unpack, check email, and spend time on Facebook. But, alas, it was my understanding that I would be finding out when work starts at 7:00 rather than actually starting work at 7:00, so my bad.

On the drive up to Maine, I stopped along the way to visit with an online friend I've never met in person before. He lives in a beautiful region of the state called Kittery Point, which is home to Fort McClary. The site is a bit confusing for a "fort" as there are no walls. Just a kind of hexagonal building overlooking the water...

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

Once you get inside, however, all is made clear. There's a sign saying that the fort was never completed because an advancement in weaponry made it obsolete, and the granite blocks for constructing it were just left where they lay when work stopped...

Fort McClary

After meeting up with my friend, we walked with his dogs down to the waterfront on a beautiful Maine day...

Kittery Point Waterfront

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

I always make time to stop in Portland for a glass of Allagash White (one of my favorite beers on earth) and whatever seasonal dessert is local. I always park across from the Old Customs House, but never thought to stick my camera out of the parking garage until this trip...

Old Customs House Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

My favorite summertime deserts here are made with Maine blueberries (seriously nothing else like them), but this time I happened onto Maine raspberry season, which is so short that I'd never had them before. Delicious, as I knew they would be...

Portland, Maine Dessert

On the way to work, I saw that Maine was still in prime blooming season, even though it's just starting to end back home...

Fort McClary

And now? Back to work I go...

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