Tuesday July 7, 2015

I'll Be Talking About Kickstarter

This Saturday I'll be at the Salt Lake Public Library at the invitation of Utah Sequential Artists and Illustrators.
 
Alan Gardner, newshound-in-chief at The Daily Cartoonist, and a founding member of USAI*, did the poster above, and I love the caricature.
 
Here are the details again, because copying and pasting text from an image is tedious:
 
July 11, 2015
10:00 AM @ Salt Lake City Public Library
Conference Room A
 
I'll have slides, I'll answer questions, and the whole thing will run for about 60 minutes. Seating is limited, and the event is open to the public. A few seats will be reserved for USAI members.

"No, This is Not an Oregon Trail LARP."

 
From Tuesday through Friday my family and I are participating in "Trek," which, in the local dialect of Mormon-speak, is interpreted to mean "hiking and camping with handcarts, hymns, and harmonicas." Just like our pioneer ancestors. I joked that this event was a cross between a Mormon Pioneer cosplay and an Oregon Trail LARP, but I've been told that this is not the case, and no, I'm not allowed to pretend to have died of dysentery so I can go home.
 
If it sounds like I'm making light of it, that's because I make light of pretty much everything. Especially things of which I'm frightened. Camping in general has lost its appeal for me. Hiking? Sounds suspiciously like work. Doing them together, so that after a long hike you get a crap bed and food you carried and zero long soaks in a hot bath? Let's just say it's not Reese's Peanut Butter Cup math.
 
I am not, however, a heartless, spineless fool who cannot see the benefit in these things. Sandra and I have been given the opportunity to walk the trail our ancestors walked one-point-six centuries ago, and we get to do so with all four of our children. The window of opportunity for this activity is pretty much this year, or never. Our kids are growing up and growing out. If we want to be miserable, all six of us, together in Wyoming, this is the time to do it.
 
Am I making light again? Perhaps.
 
We won't have "electronic devices" with us, which is Trek-speak for "no phones, no music-players, no movies, no laptops, no getting any work done Howard, and if you want to take pictures the camera must only be a camera, not a smart-something." If I want to tweet anything I'll have to write it by hand in my journal, and carefully count the characters on my fingers to make sure I don't use too many.
 
I am issuing an electronics exemption for my Fitbit, which I will be wearing for the whole trip. I have it on good authority that the pioneers had 1) odometers, and 2) timepieces. Besides, this is the damaged one (the replacement from the manufacturer is still in the packaging) and the repair scars I've inflicted upon it exemplify the old saw about thrift:
 
Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without.
 
 
That particular aphorism probably dates from after the time period in question, but only because during the time period in question you didn't need to say such a thing, because it was what everybody did without some pithy rhyme as a reminder.
 
In this spirit, everything I'm wearing, carrying, or packing is newly acquired for this trip EXCEPT for the anachronometer on my wrist. Especially the shoes, which have been thoroughly broken in subsequently stress-tested on a 22,000-step day. If my ancestors had crossed the plains in boots like these they really would have sang as they walked.
 
The point is that I'm going dark for four days. We'll be back on Saturday, and I'll be refreshed and ready for my presentation at the Salt Lake Public Library.
 

(cross-posted from howardtayler.com)

Terminator: Genisys

I'm listening to the Terminator: Genisys soundtrack, by Lorne Balfe, as I write this. It is quite good.

Per my remarks on Twitter, Terminator: Genisys is NOT the movie in which Starbuck says to Sarah Connor "this is my friend Neo. We're here to help with your robot problem." That impossibly wonderful crossing of the streams was my brother Randy's idea, and we both know that it's something we'll never have.  Perhaps our grandchildren will get it on SpacePirateBay, or Googazon's hTube, but it will never be ours.

Terminator: Genisys does manage to cross some streams, though, and to great effect. If you're familiar with the first two films, and perhaps a little confused by the third, the fourth, and the TV show, (the confusion results because you're trying to use the word "continuity" in conjunction with the words"time" and  "travel,") you will find that  Terminator: Genisys plays with all of the source material, and will reward those familiar with the franchise for paying attention.

(As of this writing the original Terminator film, starring the inimitable Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, is available on Netflix. Should you watch it first? Maybe!)

I would have enjoyed the film much more had I not seen so many cool reveals in the trailers. They telegraph quite a bit of what's coming, but the studio did manage to hold a few things back, and the surprises were delightful. I want to talk about those things, and how effectively the story turned expectations upside down, but then you'll have less fun in the theater than I did, and that is almost the exact opposite of what I should be causing to happen with these reviews.

Emilia Clarke, who plays Sarah Connor, initially struck me as looking far too young and tiny for the role. Funny thing: she's within a year of the same age Linda Hamilton was when she defined Sarah Connor for us in 1984's Terminator.

Despite being four inches shorter than Hamilton, Clarke had me convinced by the end of the movie. It's probably because she's a fine actress, and has that amazing ability to project herself as larger than life. Not having watched enough Game of Thrones to see her as Daenerys, I can't speak for everything she does, but that particular piece resumé should speak much more loudly to you than anything I say.

Terminator: Genisys did what few* sixth installments in a cinematic franchise do: it crosses my Threshold of Awesome, entering my 2015 list at #8.

Regarding that, it seems that either my standards are slipping, or this is a good year for movies that I enjoy. Or maybe I've become a better judge of what I should see in the theater. My Threshold of Disappointment has only been tripped once (Furious 7), and the middle ground between disappointment and awesome is occupied by four titles: Inside OutInsurgent, Strange Magic, and Seventh Son.

The year is half over. I hope this does NOT mean that I've accrued a stack of movie karma that will require balancing in the coming months.

(*Note: sixth installments that cross the Threshold of Awesome: The Avengers in 2012, and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in 2014. Sixth installments that don't?)  

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