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Spring Break - OVER!


Whew! 

Spring Sabbatical is over.  The day job has quieted down and I’m able to write complete sentences again.  Just in time, too.  Eaglemoss will be releasing another Enterprise (E) in their ever expanding Star Trek Starship Collection and I want to review those.  I have a book review to finish up before we run into Terry Cronin again.  And then there’s all the SDCC exclusives that’ll start popping up (Funko has already dropped their hint list) so I’ll be doing my best to get those posted up on the FB page.

I feel like I’m forgetting to mention something…oh, right.  What have I been doing with my time away?

Watching a lot of TV on Netflix.

‘Ripper Street’

A police procedural set in London right after that whole Jack The Ripper kerfuffle and at a time when forensic science wasn’t so much about ‘science’ but rather ‘accuse the guttersnipe’.   Can’t underestimate the power of likeable lead characters and plaid suits.  If it wasn’t on BBC, it’d probably be on A&E, right after or before…..

‘Longmire’

A police procedural set in rural Wyoming (and really, isn’t that ALL of Wyoming?).  Again, likeable characters make this show fun to watch.  And could they have made Walt look any more like Steve Austin, a man barely alive?

‘Dr. Who’

Yup.  Mr. Late to the Party has finally jumped aboard the Time Lord Express.  I love this show. 

The last time I watched Dr. Who was during a PBS pledge-a-thon that featured a scarf-ensconced Harpo Marx, a youngish Bjorn Borg, and some guy who looked like a very sad clown from a Red Buttons painting.   

Yeah, I was a fan.

On the advice of Bruce and others (mostly Bruce), I checked out the new Dr. Who episodes and I liked them.  They are SOOOOO much better than what I remembered.  The first series with Chris Eccleston was a little cheesey, but no more so than any number of other sci-fi shows I’ve watched over the years.  It got better as the episodes piled up.  Would have like to have seen a second season with Eccleston.  Could have done with less Captain Jack.

Tennant was a great choice. Hands down my favorite Doctor (and I have gone back and watched some of the old episodes).  Love the suit and the Chuck Taylors.   I never bought the ‘relationship’ between him and Rose and didn’t miss her much when she left.  Martha was a total CILF (Companion I’d Like to …..).  I even liked her as her character un-developed over the course of her series.  I think I’m the minority here, but I’m pro-Donna.  There was something about how she and the Doctor interacted that made the Doctor a better person and her less annoying. 

I’m almost through with the Smith episodes and he’s grown on me.  At first I thought he was playing the character too broadly, but the more I watch the more I enjoy.  Amy is a fun companion.  Rory could be played by a mime for all he’s given to work with.  I imagine the director just tells him to look forlorn, but not like in the last episode, maybe add a shade of wistful.  There was girl I worked at my first job who hated her boyfriend but loved the size of his ‘Rory’.  I’m thinking there’s a similar dynamic at play here, too.

Oh yeah, don’t Blink.

 ‘Scooby Doo:  Mystery Incorporated’

Surprised by that one?  Me, too.  My daughter is a big Scooby fan and I can’t tell you how many HORRIBLE direct to video releases I’ve had to endure.  Actually, I can.  All of them.  They’re pretty awful.  When my daughter started watching Mystery, Inc. I prepared myself for the worst. 

Except these turned out to be pretty good.

The stories themselves are by-the-numbers Scooby Doo.  Spooky bad guy who turns out to be the mild-mannered librarian who would have gotten away with it if only for those meddling kids.  The animation is decent, certainly better than the video specials, and there’s a self-awareness to the show that I find refreshing.   Big pluses for all the pop-culture references, throwbacks to the old show, and Lewis Black in a recurring role.  If I had a gripe, it’s that the monsters are much more intense and the violence more violence-y than in older shows, but hey, sign of the times.    Like many ‘monster of the week’ shows (X-Files, Fringe) there’s a background story/conspiracy arc that ties everything together.  It’s an okay addition, would have been fine without it.

Favorite episodes: ‘Art of Darkness’ and ‘Dance of the Undead’.  ‘Art of Darkness’ parodies Andy Warhol and modern art far better than it’s usually mocked on a kid’s show, while ‘Dance of the Undead’ gives us a  cameo from founding MTV VJ, Martha Quinn, and answers the age-old question: ‘Hey, do you older guys like the Ska?’

 

Reading a lot of Books

The Parker Novels by Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark.  Adaptations by Darwyn Cooke.

I’m a sucker for noirish crime fiction and these have been right up my alley.  I got into the series thanks to the excellent IDW adaptations and not the horrible, horrible, horrible Jason Statham/J-Lo train wreck of a few years back.  The writing style is minimalist and matter of fact.  Actually, I’d call it terse, like when you describe something unpleasant to someone you want to upset.  Yes, I stabbed that guy in the neck, is that going to be a problem?    I’ve blown through 10 or so of the books (mad props to my Kindle) and have enjoyed them all.  Favorites so far:  Slayground and The Outfit.

The Serge Storms books by Tim Dorsey

Talk about your polar opposites.  Parker books are tightly plotted, no muss, no fuss affairs.  A Serge novels, on the other hand, is a train wreck of exposition and prose, a riotous ramble of a travelogue peppered with plot points of interest.  Books start in the middle and end at the beginning.  Some start at the end and work their way forward.  I’m pretty sure one changed direction mid-book because Dorsey didn’t know how to end it.  Want to know where that one starlet stayed when she was shooting that movie with that guy about a thing that happened somewhere else?  It’s in there and it’s always a lot of fun.  I could do with a little less Coleman, tho.

And did I mention that in both series, the star is a criminal himself?  Parker robs people and sometimes beats them up.  Serge kills jerks.  So much for black and white.  Just shades and shades of gray. 

Hey!  That’d be a great title for a book.

Trek Toys

More on this in future posts, but until then, take a moment to Google ‘Eaglemoss Star Trek Starship Collection’.  I’m not getting all 70, but I am building a fleet of Enterprises.  Set phasers to hyperbole.

Superhero Movies         

Live or on Blu-ray, I’ve been binging on the MCU.  Also have the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer on a loop.

Iron Man 3 – by far the best Lethal Weapon movie yet.

Thor: The Dark World – Sometimes a little to Star Wars-y, but very entertaining.  Tom Hiddleston is a god.  Literally.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The most satisfying of the Avengers phase 2 films and the greatest meme generator of all time.  Hail Hydra! 

Wolverine – Enjoyable but overly long.  Would have been a lot better 20 minutes shorter.

Superman – Not MCU, but a decent comeback.  DC is taking a huge chance putting the DCU in Zack Snyder’s hands because he’s long on visuals, short on story.  Can’t wait to see who Batman and Superman kill next.

Amazing Spiderman 2 – this is the Spiderman 3 for this round of films.  Take 20 pounds of spider-crap and shove it into a 10 pound spider-sack.  I understand that Sony is trying to build their own version of the Avenger-verse, but they literally shoved EVERYTHING into this film except a theme.  As Bruce said, it was one of the greatest videogames he’s ever seem.  Remember, sometimes less is more.

X-Men: DOFP – Yeah, thanks to X3 and the never ending Wolverine I can’t get anyone in the house to go see this with me.  I’ve heard it’s pretty good and goes a long way towards undoing X3.  That’s enough for me. 

New Car Shopping!

I've basically driven the same car for the last 10 years.  Back to back Honda Elements.  Fun car, but at some point you realize that the clamshell doors are neater than they are practical in a parking lot.  So, lien release in hand, I went to find my new ride.  Is it the job that makes car salespeople douchebags, or does the industry just attract them?  'Hey, what can we do to get you into this car today?'  Let's start with fucking off.   Took a couple of weeks, but I finally drove off with a new Subaru Outback.  

I guess this means I start blogging about my lawn next week.


So, there you go.  A three month media binge that began with a trip to Hawaii and ended with a NEW CAR!  It was like being on a game show, except I paid for it all. 

Snark.  It's what makes a Subaru, my Subaru.

Aloha!

Posted in: Lifestyle
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