Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2017

The 2016 Kryptos - Movies



Welcome to the 2016 Krypto Awards.  This isn't just for movies, but that's where we're gonna start - by looking back at the Good, Bad and Ugly of 2016 movie-watching here at The Signal Watch.  If you haven't seen our post on what all we watched this year, numbers-wise, you can check it out here.

It's tough to say "Best Picture" means a whole lot, but we'll try to narrow it down some.  We're only really talking about the movies we saw for the first time in 2016, which really narrows the field here from 160+ to 88 films.

Of course, we didn't just want to heap congrats on things we adored.  We kind of hated some things this year, so we'd be negligent if we didn't discuss what didn't work for us and take some cheap shots on our way out the door.

So - Let's get to it.

Movies 2016 - Crunching the Numbers



Time to crunch the numbers.

In 2016 I tagged every movie I watched from beginning to end with "Movies 2016".  I did not include movies I only watched in part.  I also did not include any Hallmark Channel holiday movies as I intended to do a post on those movies, but once again did not get my act together.

It is likely this is off by a count here or there, as I am not too worried about this being 100% accurate, but a snapshot of what I watched this year.

To view my numbers and a complete list of movies, you can look at the spreadsheet by clicking on this link.

We'll talk about the actual movies themselves in a follow-up post.

The Numbers


Total times a movie was watched:  165
Movies "new to me":  88

My goal for this year was to watch more movies that would be new to me, and I actually managed to watch a majority of new movies instead of just watching old movies as comfort food.  If I re-watched a movie that was new to me (example:  Rogue One), it only counted once as a "new" movie.  So I think I did okay.

Given how much baseball I wound up watching this year, the number of movies I watched in October while I know I was watching tons of ball - I kind of wonder how much I left the house that month.  But I do think it helps account for why I watched roughly 20 fewer movies this year than last year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays From The Signal Watch


Right about now, most of you will be wrapping up your usual routine to begin setting in motion the rituals we go through at the end of the calendar year.  I don't expect that, by tomorrow, much of anyone will be making time to check with us here at The Signal Watch, if you haven't already had to put down the iPad for a few days as the in-laws are now arrived, etc...

So, while I have you - I want to wish you the Happiest of Holidays.

In this year of all years - no matter your creed or philosophy - I wish you peace, love, health and plenty.  And, as always, hope for a better tomorrow.

My wish for Christmas is for us to do something every day that I fail on a daily basis.  May we see the best in each other, treat one another as we would our loved ones, consider those we don't know as potential friends.  Let's do right by each other.  We're all we've got.

We can be a great people.  We can wish it to be.  We need only find the light within to show us the way.

As Christmas may not be your bag - Happy Holidays.  As it well may be, and because I hope your Decembers 24th and 25th are good days - Merry Christmas.




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Me in 2016

Me at the Start of 2016



Me at the End of 2016


What I think I better be ready for in 2017




Friday, October 28, 2016

This is why I shouldn't try to have fun


Cap Wolf

Today did not work out at all.

Several months ago, when I assumed UT Football would be great and I'd want to be home on a Saturday to watch the game, and back then when I assumed the Cubs would not be in the World Series, I purchased a ticket to the Alamo City Comic Con.  Just for one day - today.  So, I took the day off and drove to San Antonio for comics shenanigans.

Straight up, I don't know why I do these things.  Mostly, I find them depressing, but I show up every three years to a Comic-Con as some sort of mildly expensive reminder that this thing is not my bag.

I had to make it a short day of it if I wanted to go to SA and back AND watch the World Series, but I've yet to be at a Con in Texas where 3 hours wasn't way more than enough (what people do with a 3-day pass, I will never know.  Stand around looking a little peaked in your Ranma 1/2 cosplay by day 3, I'd guess).

What got me off my butt and to The Alamo City in the first place was the fact that Margot Kidder was scheduled as a guest, to appear all three days and, really, she's one of the very few people I'd be pretty excited to meet at this point in my life.

So, you will notice there are no pictures of Margot Kidder in this post, and that's because she never showed up while I was there and before I realized I didn't want to spend any more money, and so I gave up - the entire enterprise leaving me, once again, wondering what it is, exactly, I am doing with my life.

Other thoughts:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seattle VayCay - Star Trek, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and more at the EMP

GORN FREE!!!

We're in Seattle for a week of vacation.  We've seen the Space Needle, Pike's Place and a few other things as we caught up with old friends who've relocated to the area.

Today it was just me and Jamie, and he headed down to the EMP.

The EMP is a museum that was set up by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and was originally going to be all about music.  Well, half of the museum is - and we went to that, but this isn't a music blog and it's weird to take pictures of certain kinds of exhibits or art.  But the EMP is now also home to Paul Allen's other collections, I guess.

Above, you see me freaking the hell out about the Gorn costume from the Star Trek episode Arena, the episode that first piqued my interest in Trek as a kid and - in my humble opinion - one of the finest hours of television ever produced.

But, I was basically just freaking the hell out through the whole museum as it was truly an amazing spectacle of genre movie and TV props and FX items.

You can view my stash of photos here.


This is exactly the sort of stuff I'd wind up owning if I had billions of dollars

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Blogging Slow Down - The Olympics Are On



It's that time again.  Every two years I disappear for a bit as the Olympics come on and we slow our TV and movie watching to make time for sports we normally wouldn't watch if you paid us.  But not Beach Volleyball.  I always watch Beach Volleyball if its on.  We can make jokes about the uniforms being less than modest, but Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner April Ross are amazing.  Tune in.

Jamie is also a fan of gymnastics, and if you don't like your athletes standing over 5'10", I have good news for you.

Simone Biles is a ninja

And these gymnasts did A-OK in the team competition, doing the U.S. proud


Also been enjoying Michael Phelps' return to swimming in top form, the amazing performance of Katie Ledecky, catching some sports I don't usually watch like handball, field hockey, etc...

And as Jamie long ago determined - after Beach Volleyball, I really, genuinely enjoy track and field coverage.  Which is weird, because UT has a great track and field program, but I never, ever go watch and we put people on the team every four years.  Go figure.

So, yeah.  Olympics!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

I need to tidy my office

My new phone has a feature where it can capture a "panorama". It basically can capture a bunch of pictures and stitch them together. Really, it's pretty neat.

I've posted pictures of my office before (The Fortress of Nerditude), but it's a lot of close-ups and whatnot. Hard to see it as it is. And how it is, is in deep need or some cleaning and organization.  And, yes, it is a bastard to dust and keep clean.

Anyway, I was playing with my phone and took some quick pics today and was generally pleased with the final result despite the fact it demonstrates I need to clean. Thought I'd share.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

I'm Going to Harvard!


For a two day conference that starts Monday morning.

Just, you know, something that is happening.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This Week's Tragedy in Dallas and Beyond


As a record of what occurred this week -

Alton Sterling, an African American man, was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by two police officers during an arrest.  Witnesses and video of the incident indicate that the police were unwarranted in the shooting, that Sterling was upset but not able to resist - and the video definitely shows an immobile Sterling shot at point blank range by the officers.

In Minnesota, Philandro Castile, another African American man, was shot and killed by a police officers while reaching for identification while seated in his car with his girlfriend and a 4 year old child.  Castile's girlfriend live-streamed the video of what occurred to Facebook.  The video is available on YouTube and other locations as of this writing.

Thursday, 7/7, peaceful protests were scheduled in most major population centers, part of what has become known as #blacklivesmatter, a movement intended to draw attention to the unjustly assumed guilt,lives lost to police bullets, and the situation of African Americans in the United States in regards to overly violent responses of police especially in cases involving Black men and women.  

On Thursday evening, as the protest march drew to a close in Dallas, Texas around 8:45 P.M., a sniper began firing from the rooftops, striking 11 officers and killing five.  In the chaos, no civilians were injured, one man was briefly mistaken as a suspect and then cleared, and three wound up in custody and the/ a gunman was killed by police in the early morning hours of 7/8.

The sniper was targeting white officers, and details are still coming out about his background (but less, so far, about the three others held in custody).

To add to the confusion, the police used a remote controlled robotic device mounted with a bomb to approach and kill the gunman and bring the threat to a definite conclusion.

In short, it's been an awful week.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Signal Watch Fourth of July



Ann Miller, inspiring patriotism


And now, Lou Reed goes full on patriotic...  You may listen as you read.




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy 48th the KareBear and The Admiral


Here to my folks on their 48th wedding anniversary.

Like all great romances, my folks met in a bar in a small town near the Air Force Base where my dad was stationed and in the vicinity of where my mom was born, living and getting her degree.  This is their wedding in the church where my mom grew up, up in Negaunee, Michigan.

Over the years, they've really made it work in good times and tough times.  That's no small feat, especially when you consider - on paper - how different my parents were when they met.  Of course, 48 years together has knocked off some of those edges, and they've figured out the whole compatibility thing pretty well.  In fact, since retirement, they're more two peas in a pod than ever before.

Marriage is work, and it's okay if it doesn't work out.  Not all projects keep going.  But I cannot imagine these two any other way than still arm in arm, making their way together.  They've certainly been able to keep themselves a working, cohesive unit.

You're supposed to say that watching them has given you a model for marriage, and that may be true.  It's been internalized lessons, and I've done it differently, no doubt.  But I think I am aware, more than anything, that the secret for them was likely open and honest communication, and it's something I strive for.  And, of course, trying to have fun together.

Love you, Mom and Dad.  Here's to you.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I have gone to Port Aransas


Port Aransas is an island off the Texas Coast near Corpus Christi.  I'm here with family for a few days on a belated birthday trip for me mum and early birthday trip for me dad.

I haven't been to a Texas beach for a relaxing stay in about five years, and that's too long.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Signal Watch Reads: Old Green World (2015, by Jason Dewey Craft)



Full disclosure:  this novel was written by a buddy, and I was predisposed to like it for that reason.  I read about 100 pages of the first release of the book in PDF, then purchased the first self-printed run of the book - started that, and then Jason alerted folks that he'd actually landed a publisher, and to hang on a minute.  So, with my third copy of the book, I started over (again) and just wrapped the book Sunday afternoon.*

Old Green World (2015) is the first novel from Jason Dewey Craft, and it's a curious mix of science-fiction and fantasy, though it's unclear where or if the reader should bother to draw a line between the two genres.  It plays off of villages and castles while taking place in a future far removed from our own present day, a post-post-apocalyptic world on an Earth returned to something closer to a state of nature or without deep impact by humanity (depending how you mean).

I'm not much of a sci-fi reader, but part of why I abandoned the genre and had a hard time picking up sci-fi and fantasy was the weirdly patterned and mannered approach to sci-fi and fantasy writing, an overly descriptive method of world building and character which seems more in love with thinking up gadgets and whatnot and less with a reason for telling the story.  The tack can lead to a lack of narrative novelty as writers happily cut from the same few templates, the fandom and limited approach of authors showing through in the execution.

From the first pages, Old Green World seems to co-opt and then transform the conventions of the fantasy building, creating an understandable world despite economical detail in the prose, never bothering to fall into the trap of purple exposition, but, rather, simply describing location, character, scene, etc.. where necessary.  Much is left for the reader to imagine, to parse, to fill in the gaps.  The approach leaves the text subject to interpretation, of course, and many of the ideas that drive the conceit of the story rely on abstraction.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Travelogue: Work Trip to Dublin

Your fearless blogger amongst the tomes of Long Hall


So, the reason I went to Ireland was to attend a conference called "Open Repositories 2016", which is sorta/kinda the premier very-specific conference for people who do what I do, professional-like.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any extra days or time to go touristing, so I didn't see much of Dublin and nothing of Ireland beyond a couple kilometers of my hotel.

OR is one of those conferences that has great material in every session across 5 rooms running concurrently, is competitive to present in (we got in!) and that's still only, like, 40% of why you go.  The rest is the out-of-band conversations you have after hours.  This means you're at the conference for formal stuff from 9 - 6, then at conference social events until maybe 8, and then you go out with conference people to get the real work done until, oh, 1:00 AM.  Then do again until you get on a plane and leave.  It's a long 5 days.

I did skip out and go see a sight as it was on the Trinity College campus, but the rest was finding bars and restaurants and holing up for work chatter.  I really like the people I meet up with at conferences, but let's be honest, what we have most in common is what we do between 8 and 6 at our desks.

Friday, May 13, 2016

God Damn Cancer

One of my best friends is currently in Denver with his mother as she enters the final stages of her battle with cancer.  His girlfriend lost her brother last year to cancer.  And another good friend found out her dad had cancer and her father passed within 4 weeks.

Comics artist Darwyn Cooke, one of the finest talents in the industry as both writer and artist, is now moving into palliative care.

Goddammit.

Max's raffle is over with, but I highly recommend everyone think long and hard about giving to The American Cancer Society, or other similar organizations of your choice.

Here's to Darwyn.


Friday, May 6, 2016

I Spend Too Much Time Leaving

Travelling for work is strange.  Especially once you get into a job where you travel regularly.  The romance of travel fades away, and, air travel, in particular, becomes a series of repetitive, boring, sometimes risky events.

"Have you been to Atlanta?" people will now ask me.  "Yes.  Twice," I'll say.  "What did you see?" they'll ask.  "A hotel, a conference room and a hotel bar.  And another bar that served cheeseburgers."  And they always look disappointed.  Because for reasonable reasons people assume it's a grand romantic trip to America's Peach Land! or however people think of Georgia when you're travelling.  But it's not.  It's a series of steps you're taking, all of which you want to go as smoothly as possible.  You don't want a story.  You don't want an adventure.  You want to just do your conference, talk with work pals, get a reasonable amount of sleep, get home without any fuss.

What struck me on this go-round is how much time I spend leaving.

Maybe Shane had the right idea.  Just saddle up and bail.


Friday morning I woke up at 6:00 Central Time to get ready for my day (I never bothered to adjust to East Coast time), as well as pack up, and do that triple-check of the room you kind of have to do so you don't leave your power supply or vital cord behind (or ditty bag with your toothbrush and all that, which I did last summer).  Then I have to check-out (virtually, this time, from my phone).  Then find a bell station to check my bags.  Then go to my conference, then make my good-byes.  Then putter around the hotel looking for a functioning ATM.  Then find a store to buy gum so I can get change and I don't have to tip the bellhop $20 for 2 minutes of work.  Then I get a cab.  Then I fear for my life in the cab.  Then the cabby gets mad because I want to use a credit card instead of paying cash (this was entirely new in Atlanta, and a dick move.  What business traveler doesn't need a receipt?).  Then the kiosk and bag check at the airport.  Then whatever adventure awaits you in security.  Then the train ride you take in the Atlanta airport.  Then finding your gate.  Then sitting.  Then boarding.  Then sitting.  Then flying.  Then sitting.  Then de-planing (and all the shenanigans people get up to seemingly as if they've never gotten off a plane before).  Then baggage claim.  Then the shuttle.  Then my car.  Then the booth where I pay to leave parking.  Then I drive home.  Then I'm home.  Then I have to unpack.

If I'm driving, yeah, it's a drive, but it's so many fewer steps, and so much more is under my direct control.  Plus, audiobooks and scenery.  And a lack of annoying seatmates.  And way, way more legroom.

There absolutely was a time when I liked being A Guy On The Move.  But, the romance of air travel died in the 1970's, and airports somehow became just places where snackfoods have a 250% markup.  They're dull and depressing, and no one has ever invented a comfortable airport seat.

In short, I'm a bit over it.