Finding Inspiration in the Stars

November 15, 2016 3:40pm
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It started out with just a random suggested video to watch during lunch – this one was about Commander Chris Hadfield returning to Earth after living on the International Space Station, talking about his reacclimation and all of the great creative things that he did to help “sell space” to a curious public during his stay…

From there I was pointed to this related video about fellow astronaut/cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko from Russia, who most recently spent a full year on the ISS to study the effects of space on the body with the thought of travel to Mars in our not-so-distant future…

…and I think what I loved about watching both of these videos back to back is that they’re really a great reminder of how space exploration brings us together, from listening to the passion that both of these men share in talking about their work as well as the things that they each missed back on Earth while they were away.

Even something as simple as the need for subtitles were a positive reminder because in a way they’re proof that despite Kornienko clearly speaking Russian throughout the interview, that passion and humanity still shines through that he’s talking about returning to Earth and its natural features that he loves.

There’s also a couple of scenes of all the astronauts together on the ISS and they’re always smiling and waving and working together towards a common goal. It just seems like if they can come together for the greater cause of science to transcend boundaries up there, we should be able to figure it out back down here on Earth, too. 😉

movie thoughts … The Martian

January 3, 2016 1:06pm
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martianBest movie I’ve watched so far this year – hands down!

Ok, in all seriousness, it’s probably the best movie from last year that I’ve watched, too.

In fact, I’ve had this thing sitting here for a couple of weeks but we never felt like we were really in the mood for it I think because we thought it was more of a serious movie like Interstellar (which sucked), but as it turns out, The Martian was very much the opposite of Interstellar because it was fun, it featured science that actually sounded like it made sense, and Matt Damon didn’t end up being kind of a dick hole at the end, either! 😛

I mean, it’s no secret that Matt Damon is who really sold this movie because he’s the one who was on screen 80% of the time and his delivery was spot-on – they really did a good job of making a character with the desperation to live who never gave up. It’s why his monologue to close the movie out sent shivers down your spine – because you literally just watched this guy live every word he was preaching to the next class of astronauts going to Mars…

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

I especially loved the humor that he interjected into what otherwise could’ve been a pretty depressing tale of being stranded 140 million miles from home. “The greatest botanist on this planet” … “space pirate” … “I’d get to fly around like Iron Man” – he just had some fantastic dialog that helped really turn an otherwise dreary situation into something much more anxiously motivated because just as I was curious to see what he’d do next, I was equally terrified each time something would go wrong because really, how many things can go wrong while you’re stranded on another planet?!

Turns out a lot of things can go wrong, but in the face of disaster you just need to keep going.

It was a sweet movie and I can see myself watching bits and pieces of this one a bunch in the future. $200 billion to rescue Matt Damon from Mars? I think we got ourselves bargain this time!

I think this is my all-time favorite story arc from the Lord of the Rings movies – following Aragorn’s acceptance of his lineage to eventually rise to become the new King of Gondor. I love the music, love the dialog between him and Arwen, her and her father, and finally Elrond and Aragorn as he brings hope to men with the famed sword itself….

And I have no idea how I never watched this video before, but here’s a sweet look at a smithy actually making the sword that was broken! This would be so cool to have up on the wall … at least once we get past the toddler years and I don’t have to worry about a kid stabbing his brother or sister with it, mind you. 😀

From the latest Plex newsletter…

October 29, 2015 4:53pm
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I thought this was pretty cool the way this was handled!

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 4.48.34 PM

I wish I could do the same to get my hands on the @justlaugh handle – it’s currently owned by either a teenage girl from Chile or a spammer posing as one. Either way, they haven’t posted in 3 years. I tried reaching out via the Facebook profile that’s liked to Twitter, but never got a response. Oh well.

Silly Monster Jammies

October 7, 2015 12:30am
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silly_monster0

I’ve got to say, I see more and more of the very same silly sense of humor that I had when I was little in my son every day.

Tonight he was so well behaved while I had to be on a late night conference call in the other room, but when it was time to get him into his pajamas it was like he had flipped the switch over to full blown wacky! The jammies you see him in above are admittedly getting a little small for him, so I had a bit of trouble getting his feet into them to get him started. The first foot wasn’t too bad, but each time that I would try to get the other foot into place, he’d start wiggling and playfully poking at one foot with the other…

…which in these particular pajamas looked like a tiny, blue little monster was trying to get me…

…AND I JUST ABSOLUTELY LOST IT!!! 😀

Christopher is very much at this stage right now where he plays off of your emotions, so if you’re laughing, he’s laughing, and if he realizes that he’s the reason why you’re laughing … well, much like I know my pre-school teachers had to endure both years that they tried to temper my immature shenanigans, good luck getting him to stop once he really gets going!

It probably took me a solid five minutes to get the rest of those pajamas on – with several breaks included – because he just had me cracking up the entire time I was fighting with him, which honestly just made him act silly all the more. And it was kind of fantastic to see the little comedian playing off of my own amusement, even though he probably didn’t know exactly what it was that was making his Dad laugh his head off! 

He just kept doing it anyways … because that’s what you do when you’re making people laugh.

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movie thoughts … John Wick

August 23, 2015 11:06pm
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johnwickI actually first watched this a couple of months ago, but recently I’ve gotten sucked into bits and pieces of it a few different times and I realized that I’d never written about it the first time, so here we are!

I think I enjoy this movie because John Wick is a complete and total badass.

Nobody fucks with John Wick, and yet the son of a crime lord ignorantly fucks with John Wick anyways, and thus we get to watch John Wick enact his revenge by killing pretty much anyone who crosses his path.

I loved Keanu Reeves in this role – the way he delivers is flawless, both in terms of badass-ed-ness as well as the heavy clout that anyone who really knows who John Wick is continues to honor even as he’s on the warpath. Some of my favorite exchanges are with the people from his past whom he comes back into contact with through this new ordeal…

  • Jimmy, the all-too-familiar police officer sent to respond to John’s “noise complaint”
  • Francis, the VIP doorman at the Red Circle who John courteously pardons
  • The Manager at the Continental, who professes that no laundry service is good enough to clean John’s blood-soaked shirt after his assault on the Red Circle

The whole build up of The John Wick Legend – mostly by Viggo himself, who’s arguably the second-most feared man in the city – is damn near perfectly executed in such a select few lines of dialog. It’s clear that this is the kind of guy you don’t underestimate – no matter who you are, and if you do, you’re as good as dead.

“John wasn’t exactly the Boogey Man … he was the one you sent to kill the fucking Boogey Man.”

“You will do nothing because you can do nothing.”

“They know you’re coming…”

(John himself) “Of course, but it won’t matter.”

What can I say – I loved Keanu Reeves in this movie! I’ve always been a huge fan of his, from The Matrix to Speed to even The Devil’s Advocate … the man plays a great lead and an even better action star.

And fun fact – at one point Keanu was actually in a band! They called themselves Dogstar and I remember going to see them play at some casino in Michigan back in my early 20s. I have no recollection whatsoever whether they were any good – Keanu played bass guitar, mind you – but it was really cool just to see him up on stage in person. 🙂

This was a sweet action movie, and apparently they’re now talking about making a second. Interesting, though admittedly part of the mystique of this one was knowing just enough about John Wick’s past to be absolutely terrified of him. A sequel could go either way…

Push It to the Limit!

July 2, 2015 12:42pm
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This song amuses me to no end simply because I was first introduced to it while playing Grand Theft Auto 3 and listening to the ridiculous lyrics, I legitimately thought that it was a fictional song that had been made up for the game – in line with all of the great fictional ads like PetsOvernight.com and the Maibatsu Monstrosity!

“Welcome to the limit!”

Grand Theft Whale

May 17, 2015 10:52pm
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I have not yet played GTA5 yet and typically I would play it on a console rather than PC anyways, however the ability to mod the game to drop whales on your unsuspecting victims is certainly a compelling reason to download a copy for the PC!!! 😯

I found myself reminded of this old tune circa 1983 from the episode of Fraggle Rock that Christopher got to watch after eating lunch today, and it amuses me how whenever I watch these older Muppet works like Fraggle Rock or The Muppet Show or even the classic episodes of Sesame Street just how much Jim Henson himself bled through the characters that he played – with this one, it’s almost hard not to picture Jim himself playing that magical flute down in the Fraggle caves, singing his song of songs to anyone who cared to listen.

In fact, you can actually see some fun pictures of Jim posing and performing this character (Cantus the Minstrel) over on the Muppet Wiki!

The other day I was posed with the challenge of naming who my creative mentors would be if I were to gather them all around a table for their advice and wisdom, and though I’m probably going to write about the exercise later in greater detail because I really found it to be pretty interesting, I’ve got to say that at the time the very first person to pop into my mind was none other than Jim Henson. And I’m not entirely sure why, but what I’ve pieced together so far is that even though I’m not necessarily precisely where I’d like to be in my writing career at this point in my life, I can say that I’m trying to get there by embracing in these things that I’m the most passionate about and you don’t have to watch more than a couple of minutes of any Muppet act to know without a shadow of a doubt that Jim Henson lived creatively by doing exactly that.

It’s also interesting – and admittedly a bit relieving – to note that as epic as those regrettably short, last twenty years of his life were, looking at Jim Henson’s career, some of my absolute favorite things to come from the legend actually didn’t come to be until later on in his life:

  • Sesame Street first aired in 1969, when Jim was 33 years old
  • The Muppet Show first took roots in 1976 (40 years old)
  • The Muppet Movie hit theaters in 1979 (43 years old)
  • Fraggle Rock first aired on HBO in 1983 (47 years old)
  • And probably my personal favorite – A Muppet Family Christmas – was released in 1987 when Jim was 51 years old (only two years before his death)

I bring this up simply because lately it’s been easy to sort of look around and panic when I see that I’m 34 years old and I’m not exactly where I want to be in life, but I try to think of a guy like Jim Henson – one of my creative mentors – and not only acknowledge that some of his best works came far later in his life, but also – and more importantly – that frankly it’s hard not to look back at any of these moments in his career and not see just a happy, bubbly guy having the time of his life creating these bizarrely charming stories about wandering minstrels and strange, little creatures living just out of sight, and it kind of makes me stop and question my priorities and whether I should really be beating myself up for not being farther in life than I would like instead of simply living in the moment and enjoying every last step of the process along the way.

Hmmm. 🙂

Louis CK on Gay People

March 30, 2015 4:46pm
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I think this glorious video sums up everything that I could ever possibly say about gay people.

I think “How am I supposed to explain to my kid?” is my all-time favorite Louis CK quote. 😉

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