Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trying Not To Be Dead: An Update

2012 has not exactly been the year I finally obtained that lean, Terry Crews physique that I was aiming for.  I screwed up my wrist after Christmas, and that kept me from doing much for several weeks (certainly not lifting weights).  Then I worked out a bit.  Then I got sick, then I had to travel.  Anyway, its been such a stutter-step of a year, I'm finally back to where I wanted to be at the gym, but my weight is yo-yoing.*

Today I was at the gym and two things happened.

1.  It failed to be the promised "judgement free zone" as promised on the walls.  A middle-aged gentleman, not an employee, came by and corrected my form on a machine.  Thereby JUDGEING ME.  Not really.  Its good to know these things.

2.  I realized the homunculus behind the counter was the star of the Planet Fitness commercials that run incessantly on our local 24-hour news station.  She's, like, 4 feet tall and has a voice like Minnie Mouse.  Its creepy.

You have no idea how tiny this girl is.

Oh, did I not tell you that place is purple, yellow and black?  It is.  It is VERY purple, yellow and black.

Its kind of funny to go online, and do any reading about Planet Fitness.  You get the usual "oh, I got ripped off" complaints tied to any gym that you'll ever try to quit, but there's also this vocal group of guys very offended by the fact that Planet Fitness is not aimed at the gym-culture folks, and, in fact, sort of makes fun of them.  But a lot of people get turned off by gym culture, including myself, and as hard as it is to get Americans to get off their butts, put down the Bugles and get on the elliptical, you know, you've got Gold's or wherever...  go be happy there.  The rest of us want to go to the gym without mostly working out the muscle that enables the exasperated sideways glance.

Its true.  My gym is not the pricey upscale amusement park of Lifetime Fitness that's clearly aiming at upper-middle-class folks with kids.  But its also not Gold's (I've belonged to both).  Its $10 a month, and its just not the same as a lot of other places you could go with towel service, etc...  But.  $10 a month.

Anyhow, the next step is to work on the diet, which has, admittedly, slipped a bit since the holidays.  I'm about where I was, mass-wise, prior to the holidays, but its time to start working on losing weight again.  No more pretzels or anything but fruit after dinner.

*oh, to be sick again and watching the pounds melt away as all I wanted to eat was soup.

Today is Our 12th Wedding Anniversary

Not too long ago the joint families in the Austin area met up for brunch at Green Pastures in South Austin.  If you go, try the Milk Punch.  Seriously.

Some snap shots were taken and I will share a few as, for once, I was not sweating or in a Superman t-shirt.

I am reminded, as I so often I am, of how lucky I am to have the family I've been dealt, and that my wife is one fantastic dame.

Just look at her.  Here you can see that she's stunning, but what you can't see is how great she is, and that she is my very bestest pal.  And she is.  Every day I get to wake up knowing how lucky I am.  Except on weekends when she thinks its funny to wake me up by letting dogs leap on me.  Then I curse her name.

By the way, we got married at this place on April 28th, 2000, so it holds some very nice memories.  I was also thinner, younger and generally nicer back then.  I think my shoulders sloped less in those days.

and the whole clan:

(left to right:  AmyD, Jason, KareBear, The Admiral, Judy/m.i.l., DocDik, Jamie and yours truly)
I used to get annoyed that my folks left the date/ time burn on the images, but these days I just think its nice to know exactly when these things happened.  It will certainly remove any questions in the future.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

No Post Thursday: Hail to the King

This is from a Jimmy Olsen comic book from Kirby's run circa 1971.  Jimmy.  Olsen.

Take your "edgy" comics and stick 'em in your ear.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Avengers Assemble! Captain America - The First Avenger (2011)

Yup.  I was going to wait and give Jamie some pacing when it came to watching Captain America (2011), but I got the BluRay of this movie a couple weeks back, and I am an impatient fellow.

I was a bit curious as to how well I'd like Captain America as the last time I saw it, there were extenuating circumstances.  Namely: Mark Waid was there and was a hell of a nice guy.  Also, Austin Books was there shooting t-shirts out of a gun, and the place was full of friendly comic nerds.  Also, I'd had a margarita right before the movie.

If you read my review last August, you may recall I sort of freaked out and gushed about the movie.

like a boss...

You know what?  I still find this a very satisfying movie, superhero or otherwise.  I mean, its not exactly Citizen Kane, and it doesn't have either the grandeur or myth-making of Superman: The Movie, nor the "geez, I can relate" feel of the Young American Hard Luck Case that comes part and parcel with Spider-Man.  But its a celebration of what is best about why we fight, and what it means to be the good guy in the old school, unironic way, nor by becoming the anti-hero.

All very strange because I'm not much of a fan of director Joe Johnston, shy of his work on The Rocketeer.

I suppose part of my attraction is still the pacing of the film, and that even more than Iron Man, I feel like we get a complete story that takes place over an extended period of time.  And, Cap's evil opposite makes a lot of sense in the context of this film, at least in my crazy head.

Sure, it would have been nice to have Mark Waid stop by and enjoy the movie with me (you're welcome anytime, Mr. Waid), but even without his presence or any comic geeks who are not my wife or my black lab, its still a decent flick and a solid entry in the superhero genre.

Of course, its a mix of the original tales as told my Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (I am aware that Kirby did leave to go serve in WWII after Cap debuted, but am unaware if Simon did the same).  Of course it harkens to the Avengers work done around 63'-64' when Cap returned to comics thanks to Smilin' Stan and Jack Kirby.  But it also is an interesting mix of both The Ultimates take on things, leaning heavily on the recent work of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting on Captain America (which is highly readable in collected editions).

Special bonus:  I had a moment of clarity not too long ago when some stray neurons fired and I remember trying to impress a girl when I was a freshman in high school by showing her the Captain America poster I'd recently acquired and hung above my dresser.  Yeesh.

I found a picture of that poster online.

also... like a boss

She did still go out with me a couple of times.  That's the power of Cap, I guess.

Dang, man.  What happened to that poster?  Also, my picture of Earth?  And my Michael Jordan poster...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avengers: Meet-Up, Saluting the Creators

So, not too many of you live in Austin, but if anyone is interested in seeing the movie of Avengers on May 6th, I guess (I just realized we have a graduation party to attend on Saturday, so its got to be Sunday), let me know.

We'll hit one of the Alamo locations to ensure the bestest experience for seeing the movie.  And if you're Aaron, I think I promised you a ticket.

Am I excited for Avengers?  No, not really.  I am probably more excited for this than, say, Tintin, but less excited than I was for...  lots of other stuff.  I mostly get excited at about the 30 minute mark if a movie hasn't let me down yet.  That's how, these days, I deal with the crippling disappointment that comes with trying to enjoy superhero movies.  People, I saw both Fantastic Four movies, a Ghost Rider and Daredevil in the theater.  This is the only sane reaction.

If you want to join me and the missus (who is revealing herself to be more into all this than you'd think), contact me anyway you like, and we'll sort it out.

Leading up to the movie, I think its only fair I do something in honor of the men and women who paved the way for Avengers to become a huge, tent-pole type movie.  So do not think I will diss Jack and the gang as we head towards big summer fun.

If you'd like to join in by writing about Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, Joe Simon, Stan Lee, etc...  just let me know!  I'd welcome the participation.

Avengers Assemble! THOR (2011)

It seems like just yesterday that I went to see Thor (2011) a second time in the theater.  Yeah, I pretty much liked it that much, plus, I don't think I paid to see it on round 2.

CanadianSimon is a big fan of the Thor comics, but I'd never really read them.  Something about Thor didn't click with me when I was a kid, and then as an "adult", I just never swung back to checking out the character for more than a few issues at a time.

Anyway, I stand by my review of about 12 months ago, give or take a week.  Its still a nifty movie with cool FX, a swell cast, and a story I find oddly moving for a movie about two brothers with very different takes on filial piety and affection.  Sometimes a story, even one about transdimensional space gods, can be universal enough at its core to be effective.

I really like Chris Hemsworth in this movie.  He's actually quite good, especially when you realize he's working with folks like Rene Russo, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and the very, very talented Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki.  Hewsworth was almost unrecognizable (but well cast) in The Cabin in the Woods, and I hope he does well.  Hollywood needs to make room for more actors over 5'6".

Also, this movie has Sif.  And that is okay by me.

Her deadly polearm really brings out her eyes

So now we're down to Captain America, and then Avengers itself.

I wish I could find some way to salute Jack Kirby in all this.  After all, Kirby originally envisioned Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, and the concept of The Avengers.  If you have ideas for what we can do to salute King Kirby, lemme know via email.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

One cannot talk about this movie without SPOILERS.  If you have not seen the movie and plan to see the movie, please do not read this post until such time that you have seen The Cabin in the Woods (2012).

So, seriously, go away.  Just...  Look, I'm recommending it for horror fans, so just go see it and don't ruin it for yourself.  In fact, don't read anything about this flick.  Just go see it.

If you have seen the movie or do not plan to see the film?  Stick around.

So....  Those other guys gone?

Signal Watch Watches: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

I have never been to Comic-Con International in San Diego.  I am on record as finding the much smaller Cons I've attended here in Austin and one in Phoenix sort of depressing, expensive and uncomfortable.  So, selling me on the ideal that Comic-Con is a sort of geek-topia where nobody need feel out of place as they pursue their passions doesn't necessarily sing.

This evening we checked out the latest Morgan Spurlock documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope.  As suggested by the grating title, the movie seems done by folks with a cursory knowledge of the sci-fi, gamer and comic geek culture, and outsider looking in and starting to understand the contours enough to know "oh, Star Wars isn't just called Star Wars?  Weird!" but not enough to realize everyone in the Cantina has a name and homeworld the Star Wars geeks will know.  

The doc is relentlessly pro-ComicCon, told from an outsiders enthusiastic perspective, perhaps not entirely seeming to know what its doing sometimes right up to and including the "let's switch to comics panels between scenes" thing you've seen in a few other comics-related films, not the least of which was last year's HBO doc on real-life superheroes (who went to ComicCon.  Awk-ward).