I finally feel like posting some things, so bear with me whoever might come across this. After the last time the site was hacked up, I lost the spirit for it. I still need to find a way to recover all the images from the last 15 years of posts, but I think that might be a lost cause. If it happens one more time, I’m tearing it all down and will hand build it on whatever open source dreamweaver I can manage.
The header will be the last image through these windows. My home is about 105 years old and the windows are original to the house in all their lead-encrusted glory. I’ve been complaining about replacing them for years and, after she tried to rehab the old ones herself, my wife finally relented. She’ll miss the sound and heft of the old windows, but I’m sure she’ll appreciate HVAC savings.
My “office” is in the dining room and my office hours are, essentially, from the time the kids leave until the time they get back in the afternoon. Combined with very, very early mornings that’s often enough. I have a standing deck next to the casement windows. Until recently, I had an office job, so I never had to experience how terrible they were at keeping out the cold. These windows are lovely, but they rattle and shake in the slightest breeze. The curtains blow in the wind even with the sash shut.
The way this house is set up, our radiators are directly beneath windows. With a little help from alcohol, there are days when I can see the radiators emit little green dollar signs that float up and through gaps in the sash. I’ll miss the spiders in the kitchen window, though.
We’re getting reasonable vinyl replacement windows. Nothing high end. We will lose a bit of character for the sake of energy efficiency and resale value.
Let’s talk about media we’ve ingested here at Stinkbug Manor. Spoilers below, so fair warning.
Media Consumed: The Batman
The Batman was good, but fell just short of great. I can’t argue with the cinematography or the performances — or even the characterizations. Unfortunately, its failures are in the parts of the movie that was supposed to differentiate this Batman from all the others.
The Batman was marketed as a noir mystery, and it handled the noir part really well. Its biggest failing was in the mystery, I think. It starts with a murder as a good mystery should. From then on, Batman isn’t following clues to solve a crime so much as following a serial killer from point to point, body to body. That is, he doesn’t do much detecting as the world’s greatest detective.
Yes, there is a twist at the end, involving an obscure clue that Batman didn’t pick up on — Batman clearly noted that the murder weapon was significant (the killer had to have brought that himself), but I guess Batman just got lazy. This twist was necessary to extend the already-bloated final act into a Nolanesque Gotham-changing act of terrorism.
The mystery needed to be tighter, overall. The Riddler’s riddles were almost childishly obvious. If he’s going to be your bad guy, the scriptwriters need to be up to the task.
Still, as far as Batmen go, Robert Pattison is a pretty good one. A little more Trent Reznor in his portrayal than was probably necessary, but I appreciated his physicality. As Bruce he brooded. As Batman, he was swift and decisive.
In fact, this feels like one of the most plausible Batman yet. His batcycle is just a motorcycle. His batmobile does have a jet engine, but it is basically just a muscle car with some armor and a rally car’s suspension. His cape lets him fly, but only because it acts like the sort of flight suit you see in stunts sponsored by Red Bull.
His armor probably takes a few too many hits without repercussions (a shotgun blast knocks him back 20 feet, but doesn’t bruise…), but he looks slick and cool. His chest batarang creates a new balance between practical and silly.
Overall, i’ll give it three broody Trents out of five.
Media Consumed: Reacher
I first encountered a double dose of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher creation on a business trip to Norfolk. I had an early morning flight and found an abandoned copy of a Reacher novel in the Philadelphia Airport terminal. It was a fun read, reminiscent of a well written Men’s Adventure novel of the type that I used to consume regularly as a pre-teen (long story).
That night at the hotel bar, Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher was playing on the TV. I had just read a physical description of the character Jack Reacher and Cruise was, to be delicate, a bold choice. The new series Reacher on Amazon Prime (which I’m considering cancelling at the end of the subscription in November) introduces Alan “Beef McLargehuge” Ritchson as Jack Reacher.
Ritchson is a good choice. To be honest, my Reacher trip to Norfolk was a long time ago now and I didn’t follow up the novel (whose name escapes me and was left for the next traveler in the Norfolk airport) with another. I don’t know if his choices are authentic, but Reacher does wryly laconic really well.
No complaints about the supporting cast at all. Malcolm Goodwin was particularly good as an out-of-place, tweed clad chief detective. It was good to see Bruce McGill make an appearance, he’s one of those great character actors you don’t see much of anymore; an instantly-recognizable “oh that guy” that I know best from appearances on MacGyver and one great turn on Babylon 5.
The mystery (take note The Batman) was engaging and felt enough to sustain the show. The only issue I had was with the initial coincidence of Reacher arriving in the town where his brother just happened to have been murdered hours before. They tried explaining it away with an unconvincing line of dialogue.
Each episode contained a murder or two, a great fight and some fun character moments. It was a solidly engaging serial. As an action-thriller-mystery series goes, it does its job well. It has the same low budget feel a lot of other Amazon shows has (with its small town coziness, it felt almost Hallmarkesque).
And yes, if someone creates a re-watch podcast about this show, it must be called Reacher Rounds. I’ll give Amazon’s Reacher a solid four beefcakes out of five.
Media Consumed: Peacemaker
Just a quick review for a trifecta of manly heroics comes John Cena in Peacemaker. Honestly, I’m not much of a DC superhero movie fan. Oh, I did my time as comic reader as a kid and, frankly, the Richard Donner Superman is still one of my favorite movies of all time. I never saw the Nolan Batman movies until recently and lost interest in the disjointed attempt to cobble together a DC superhero universe. I saw bits of Justice League on a flight and the entirety of Aquaman (a character who Ritchson from Reacher played in Smallville to tie a little DC bow on this whole thing) in the theater with my son and immediately lost interest in seeing any others. CGI slugfests are not compelling to me.
James Gunn does what he does best, creating new life for obscure, weird characters. Suicide Squad was a perfect Gunn vehicle (never saw the first one) and made the inherent goofiness of superheros fun. I’m not a wrestling guy (although maybe I’ll tell my recent tale of seeing some live pro wrestling in Philly recently), so I knew nothing of Cena before Suicide Squad.
To be honest, I thought Cena’s take on Peacemaker (or maybe just the character generally) was too cynical for me to enjoy. This show took him in a completely natural direction, with some compelling (albeit cartoonish) backstory. Just watch it.
Also, Gunn does for glam rock in Peacemaker what he did for 70s mellow gold in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. A worthy achievement in and of itself. I spent most of the 80s and 90s avoiding the genre, but now I kinda like it.
I give it six toiletbowl helmets out of five, with the additional one for the most amazingly unskippable credits sequence known to mankind.