Archive for June, 2019

Media Update 19.6.6

June 6, 2019


Aladdin (2019)

If you have paid attention to this blog, you will know that I have an intensely personal relationship with the original animated Aladdin. I watched it once on heavy drugs in an ICU and it was one of the main reasons that I became a Robin Williams fan before I was old enough to listen to his standup. I love that movie and because of that, I was intrigued and not dismayed when the live action adaptation was announced. When Will Smith was announced as the Genie, I actually thought it was pretty perfect casting. Nobody was ever going to out-Robin Williams the original so they had to go a different direction. Like the original Genie evolved from Williams’ stand up, this new Genie is very much an extension of Will Smith’s acting. In that regard, he created a likable and different character with the same heart. Mena Massoud’s Aladdin had all the charm of the original and, if possible, was even more animated in my eyes. My favorite part of the new version is Naomi Scott’s Jasmine who was given way more to do in this version and comes out as a better character. The rest of the cast is really good as well. Overall, the movie was definitely not bad and was just a bit different from the original. There were some things added and some things taken away. I definitely recommend it but only if you have an open mind.


The Greatest Showman

When I found out that there was a movie musical coming out starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Effron, and Zendaya, I was immediately interested. On top of that, it was a musical about the genesis of PT Barnum’s Circus. While that story is not actually all sunshine and roses, I was on board for a sanitized version. I love the circus aesthetic (even after working for one) and the poppy music in the trailer sounded good. Hugh Jackman was so, so likable as Barnum and he has such a good singing voice and a smile that is hard to resist. Zendaya had a smaller role than I wanted her to have but she was really good. Effron had a darker role than I expected but he was also really great in his role. Michelle Williams was kind of a surprise with how prominent and good her character was. There was also an ensemble of literal ‘freaks’ many of whom were given great supporting roles. I would say that the movie went on a little long for me but they had to jam a lot of songs into it so I understand. This led to me not really knowing where the movie was going next as the storyline I thought it had was accomplished very early in the movie. Overall, it was a good movie but not as good as I expected it to be. I definitely recommend it, though.


The Accountant

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty good. I am a Ben Affleck fan and it looked like a thoughtful action movie. What it turned out to be is part mystery, part crime film, and part action film. It was way more thoughtful than I thought it would be. I should have realized that a movie called The Accountant would have some thought behind it. The movie is about a criminal tracking criminals while also being tracked himself so the movie has layers. Affleck is interesting since he is playing a man on the autistic spectrum who uses savant skills to accomplish all of his goals. JK Simmons plays a hardened Department of the Treasury investigator and is always great. Anna Kendrick plays a dorky normal accountant who balances out Affleck’s flat delivery. Jon Bernthal plays a very charismatic and charming hitman and was kind of my favorite character. Jeffrey Tambor plays Affleck’s mentor briefly. John Lithgow plays a somewhat hardened CEO. I definitely recommend the movie as it was really interesting.

Music of the Week:
Blackbriar – Snow White and Rose Red

Lil Pump – “Be Like Me” ft. Lil Wayne

PUP – Kids

Carly Rae Jepsen – Too Much

Psychedelic Horseshit – We’re Pink Floyd, Bitch

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Lying”
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I watched more Tuca and Bertie Season 1
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 2
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I started watching Supergirl Season 4
– I started watching Legends of Tomorrow Season 4

Landmarks

June 3, 2019

After my post this last Monday and a subsequent Home Owner’s Association meeting, I have been thinking a lot about what constitutes a landmark. I have come to the opinion that, like many things, it is a completely subjective nomenclature. I have been thinking about this because declaring something as a landmark can be a way to protect buildings from being knocked down. Still, I do not think that it should be a panacea to protect all buildings. If everything is a landmark then nothing ever gets torn down. Tearing buildings down is the prelude to building new things and that is how cities and towns evolve and grow. If buildings that are not being used are left up instead of building a new property that will be used, then the city or town begins to rot.

This is also important because decisions in development can impact the environment in ways that people sometimes cannot foresee. Here in Maryland there was proposed legislation for something called the “Rain Tax”. The proposed tax would impact developers who decided to build new projects. It would tax them based on the area of the concrete and blacktop that they covered the Earth with. Paving prevents water from seeping into the Earth and too much loose water can be very destructive. Some politicians scoffed at the new tax and belittled it and the new Governor effectively shut it down for good. The next rainy season, the town of Ellicott City was destroyed because it was downhill from new development. A year later and it was destroyed again by an even worse flood.

So what makes a landmark? For me, it is anywhere where something significant happened or a place where some famous person did something impressive. Independence Hall is a landmark because so many important events to the founding of the United States happened there. In Baltimore, the cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe is revered as a landmark because of the author’s importance and the long history of mysterious events that followed his death. Oriole Park at Camden Yards has become one of the defining landmarks of Baltimore City. Fort McHenry was where the flag hung that inspired the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. So many historic events that may have been more important locally but are felt nationally and sometimes globally.

And yet we also have a history of tearing down landmarks. The biggest one I can think of is Memorial Stadium, the original home of the Orioles that was torn down in my lifetime. I remember people being sad but the project went ahead. People talked about the civilization of rats that were unearthed when the stadium was torn down still. There had been a stadium there since 1922 and it was torn down in 2001. In the end, this was done for the betterment of the city. The site is now home to senior housing and recreational sports fields mostly used for children. That is way more useful than an old stadium especially since two new ones were built in the south part of the city in a much more accessible spot.

I do sympathize with people who want to save old buildings but I think we have to think it through and ask some tough questions. Is the existing structure being used? If it is not being used then why are we preserving it? That property could be revitalized so it can be used for a new purpose. Is the historical significance enough to prevent the property from being useful? This is difficult because the answers to some of these questions are different depending on who you ask. Also, people fear change but often appreciate positive change once it has been completed. I just hope people will not be close-minded and will do their best for the good of modern society.

The Nighthawk

June 1, 2019

(This was originally written in 2013 as part of NaNoWriMo.  I thought it was time to do something with it)

If this were a noir detective story then muted trumpets would be playing as I sipped whiskey with my feet on the desk.  There would be a haze of smoke in the room regardless of whether I am smoking or not. A leggy blonde or redhead would be cued up to enter in the next few minutes with some sob story.  For the record, this is not a noir detective movie. The room is in color and I quit smoking two years ago.  But the whiskey was spot on but only half a tumbler because I was just about to walk home for the day and the office was officially closed.

The private detective business had turned out to not be as glamorous as Humphrey Bogart advertised it.  Who knew that Hollywood did not, in fact, portray truth? I was stuck in this tiny basement office because I had been fired from my job as an actual detective for the police.  I worked narcotics with my partner, Harmony Hall, for years and we made a lot of busts and we received a lot of kudos from the big wigs.  I really believed that Harmony had been on track for a promotion.  She was going to get stuck with a desk job even though she always hated the idea.  At least, that’s what she said.

The good times ended when Harmony was killed during a stakeout gone horribly wrong.  Something came out of the shadows and tore Harmony and the crooks we had been tailing into shredded meat.  I call it a thing because I still do not know what it was.  I still cannot adequately explain my partner’s death.  I know that it was not human or anything that I had ever seen before.  I also know that the brass at the police station did not believe me when we got debriefed. What I do know is that they fired me or “let me go” for psychological reasons.  I feel that the only reason that I was not committed was that I eventually shut my mouth and agreed to walk away.

Harmony didn’t deserve to die and then get that horrible death swept under the carpet but I still didn’t know what to do about it. I don’t know if there is anything that anybody could have done about it.  I see that thing in my dreams.  It was all teeth, claws and sinewy shapes that made little sense. It stuck to the shadows and easily avoided shots from my service revolver. I had no experience hunting animals, especially ones intelligent and brutal enough to slaughter six drug dealers and one police officer and then slip away into the night without a trace.  How was there no forensics at the scene?

So now I was trying to make ends meet mostly by taking pictures of people cheating on their spouses.  It was the kind of thing that made me feel completely filthy but the landlady did not take reassuring smiles and good intentions as payment on the rent.  Some people are total hard asses when it comes to money. I was not prepared for the hustling up of clients or chasing them down and hassling them to pay me.  This job had quickly turned into a horrible headache but I had burned a lot of bridges by telling the truth.

But I still looked for that truth when I could.  In what little spare time I had, I scoured the news and the word on the street for anything weird.  I turned over whatever rocks I could find and poked my nose where I probably shouldn’t have.  I found some strange things that I could not really explain and honestly made me feel crazier.  I read through strange books on the weirdest subjects in search of something to explain.  A city is a strange place even without the supernatural elements that I thought that I had experienced.

The whiskey felt good going down in that sweet, sadistically masochistic sort of way.  Alcohol was dangerously seductive and there was a bad history in certain corners of my family.  Still, after a long week, it was much-needed anesthesia and that was good enough for the moment.  I was too restless.  I had spent too many days sitting in my car and watching motel rooms.  I felt like I wanted to do something but absolutely nobody had walked into my office today. Restlessness could become dangerous if I left it unchecked so I was just about to get up and go for a walk.

Of Course, that’s when the door to my office opened.  I had thought that I had locked that door and so I was about to look up and tell whoever that the office was closed.  To come back on Monday or never. Though, I did need something to do so maybe I wouldn’t send them away.  Then when I looked up they must have already left. If possible, I was both disappointed and relieved. They had left the door hanging open so I got up and closed it. I reached for my coat to just leave when some sort of smoke came in from under the door.  

At first, I thought it was a fire but the smoke was blowing under my door like it came out of a fog machine.  My church youth group had rented one when I was a teenager for a haunted house.  The memory was suddenly vivid. Whatever was going on, my fight or flight response must have been broken because I froze with one hand on my coat. I should have embarrassed that my first responder instincts had disappeared. I think part of the reason was that I could not smell any smoke.  I could not smell the smoke and I could not feel any heat or hear the crackle of flame.

With a strange, wet sound the cloud of smoke just suddenly dropped out of the air and condensed into a puddle on the floor.  As the guy who pays the rent, I started to properly freak out. I pressed myself to the wall and watched the puddle like a hawk with some sort of obsessive complex for watching puddles.  The puddle started to slide (or was it ooze?) across the floor toward my desk. I felt that if I followed it, I would be the guy in a John Carpenter movie who the audience was rolling their eyes at.  Maybe I should just bolt out of here and call the fire department. They wouldn’t believe me anyway. I wouldn’t believe me either.

Just as I was reaching for the door, fully willing to let the living puddle eat my damn coat, I heard a voice.  The voice came from the puddle. Of course, it did. With my luck, it would be a talking puddle.


The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

%d bloggers like this: