Today's Mighty Oak

We’re just a short bit into 2020, so it’s time for a quick look back at 2019 and a look ahead. I’m working on finishing up my year in review video for 2019 (as well as 2018), so those will be done soon. In the meantime, here are the two that I really enjoyed, first up from Google:

And secondly, the year in music from DJ Earworm:

As I have done the last few years, I like to make resolutions at my birthday, not the new year, but I have a few, very attainable, things I’d like to work on this year:

  • Purchase more music. I tend to make lists of music that I hear and like, and then never do anything about that.
  • Cook a wider variety of dishes for game nights. Specifically, I want to use the cookbooks that I have!
  • Clean at least one thing a month. By thing, I mean, a filing cabinet, a closet, a chest of drawers, etc. I have too many ‘things,’ and I need to declutter a bit, so we’ll go bit by bit!
  • I signed up on Goodreads for a reading challenge, but again, kept it attainable: hoping to finish 7 books this year! I have a big pile next to my bed, but just hoping to make a dent.
  • I’m also working on my birthday resolutions which include things like swapping out an outlet, installing a new thermostat, those kinds of things. Like I said, very attainable!

Happy new year, everyone: may it be better!

Alright, let’s see what we have today!

First up, the trailer for In The Heights. I saw the show, and am so excited for this movie:

As an independent, I know I don’t (currently) have a say in the democratic primary, but in the last cycle, O’Malley was my pick. And hey look, he’s still feisty!

Speaking of politics, I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for Mayor Pete (but, as I wrote about before, I am still really, really proud of his candidacy and his staunch defense of liberal Christianity), and just like before, I don’t think he’ll end up being the nominee. That being said though, he takes a lot of heat unnecessarily for being ‘the wrong kind of gay.’ And that is incredibly hurtful, both within the community and without. There has been some great writing (which of course, I”m missing the link for currently) about Pete and the idea of ‘the best little boy in the world,’ and I think understanding that mentality helps us better understand where he comes from and how he approaches the political realm. All in all though, I’m be voting blue, no matter who.

Dumb Runner knocks it out of the park with their coverage of the 1:59 challenge.

It’s from earlier this year, but still great, the ‘trailer’ for Oscar:

In awesome news from the government (yes, actually), the FCC is setting up a nationwide three-digit suicide hotline.

Someone went through and read every piece of advice Dan Savage has ever dolled out, and they sum up their findings. It’s all great advice!

As we’re in the holidays, if you need a yule log video to cast up to a TV, Nerdist has a good roundup. I typically go with the Darth Vader one.

The amazing mash up of Hamilton and The Mandalorian:

Disney+ is bringing us a Star Wars game show next year!

My friend Nate has an amazing piece about our running team and the lessons he’s learned and how we’re learning from each other (and building each other up). Give it a read.

A reminder from The Oatmeal: be kind.

That’s it for now, have a great one!

In preparation of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker coming out this week, I rewatched all the films. I took a few notes and observations, collected here for my amusement:

Disney+, Movies Anywhere and my phone

  • Disney+ adds a warning for depictions of tobacco (as well a a seizure warning).
  • There seems to be a lot of small changes in the Disney+ streaming versions. The Star Wars movies that aren’t yet available on the service have trailers and the date they’ll be available for streaming.
  • God, Disney+ has a lot of bugs. It takes forever to sync with Chromecast, there’s a ton of time wasted buffering, lots of starts and stops. The content is great, but the app itself still needs some work.
  • Movies Anywhere is really well put together. I had a digital code for a bunch of the movies, so I finally redeemed them, and was able to easily connect my Google Play Movies account for easy streaming.
  • Every time R2 squealed, I thought I was getting an e-mail (as it’s my notification noise), but that’s my fault.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

  • This is so bad.
  • Like really bad.
  • Jake Lloyd is really a bad actor.
  • I will say though, the editing in this movie is horrible, and it made Jake Lloyd look even worse than he was.
  • John Williams is a saving grace. This score is epic.
  • Anakin is so whiney.
  • There was a weird, and I think the only instance in the series, of first person view, with C3P0 at one point, and it was so jarring and out of place.
  • The city of Theed is really gorgeous.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • I forgot how amazing of an actor Alan Lee was. I feel like he was underused, although maybe having some space from the awful dialogue in this one helped his character. Either way, he’s missed.
  • Another great score from Williams.
  • The editing is much better compared to Phantom Menace, it’s a lot tighter and that helps.
  • There is however, a lot of bad CGI. All the prequel trilogy suffered from an over-reliance on CGI and green screen technology and it really shows in the effects here (as well as all the acting throughout).
  • Boba Fett is so whiney

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

  • In the opening crawl, they use the line, “There are heroes on both sides.” That has not aged well after Chartlotesville.
  • I kind of like General Grievous, except for his smokers cough. Respiratory afflictions seem to be a thing in this universe.
  • The Senate battle is still a huge highlight and it stands up.
  • Overall, the prequels are weird. Too much CGI, bad writing and acting and really, an overly complicated plot based around trade negotiations. I’ve always said Lucas can tell whatever stories he wants, but aside from Theed, Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan and Williams’ score, there’s not much from the prequels worth going back to see again.
  • The prequels do mirror and follow the original trilogy in some really neat ways. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not, but it at least made for some good writing about the subject elsewhere on the Internet.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

  • L3-37 is the best character in this movie.
  • Holy crap, I forgot how awesome this cast is.
  • It got panned, but it’s a fun heist movie. Enjoy it for what it is.
  • That being said, the story takes a bit of an unnecessarily complicated turn to fit in some fan service and connect it to the animated shows (which I haven’t watched)
  • That also being said, it was also clearly set up for a sequel.
  • That also also being said, this movie is just a ton of fan service and in jokes.
  • As mentioned, I haven’t watched any of the animated shows, but at least from the “legends” (which is worth another deep dive) Dathmoir is not where I would have expected Darth Maul to go.
  • Wait, Ron Howard directed this?
  • Both this and Rogue One had so many reshoots, edits and revisions (and so much stuff from the trailers not used), I’m really concerned about Disney meddling too much.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • K2-S0 was the best. Why is it always the droids who make the best characters?
  • Tarkin’s voice was just a little bit off, and it was distracting. He and Leia also had that weird “Polar Express” CGI look to them, although at least Tarkin’s scenes were dark enough to hide most of it.
  • Really, no Jedi? Not even Chirrut?
  • Also, can we talk about the relationship Chirrut and Baze have. It’s something deep, but heaven forbid Disney touch anything queer with any nuance or depth.
  • Visually, this is a beautiful movie. Really, really beautiful.
  • I’m curious about edits. This even more so than Solo. There were so many things left out from the first cut.
  • I’d love to see the story of the ‘many Bothans who had to die’ to get the plans for the second Death Star.
  • Leia looked way too young at the end, again, weird use of technology, just a bit of an uncanny valley situation.

Episode IV: A New Hope

  • Luke is whiney.
  • This has such a 70s feel. God lord this is really hokey.
  • The nostalgia is so strong with this movie.
  • But I got swept up by the Death Star attack, a testament to the storytelling
  • There are a lot of weird, little edits on Disney+, I wish everyone would just leave things alone.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • This is a huge change from IV in terms of tone and feeling.
  • This movie still stands up as easily one of the best in the saga, and is probably the one I’ve watched the most.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

  • Ewoks are dumb.
  • Jabba the Hut is listed as playing himself in the credits.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

  • This movie starts right off the bat with the action, a good choice.
  • This movie is also very much a rehash of the originals and an apology tour for the prequels.
  • Generally I’m meh about this one because so much of it is a rehash and an apology.
  • Kylo is the whiney one.
  • Yeah, Nazis. We get it, the First Order is Nazis.
  • You know what, it’s probably more important than ever that we remember to always punch Nazis in the face. So good on you, J.J.
  • I feel like we needed that deleted scene showing the republic worlds. Otherwise, the First Order destroying that system didn’t seem as consequential.
  • There’s a lot of politics in this, like the prequels, and it could have easily been too much.
  • They do a long one shot in the battle at Maz Kinata’s which is really in vogue, but it was well done and not terribly long.
  • That said, I disliked the last drone/crane shot. It felt like the only one in the series and out of place.
  • There are a lot of legit funny moments in this movie.

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

  • I really like VIII, I love how different it is, and how it subverts what you think a Star Wars movie should be/should do.
  • And it starts with that subversion tone right off the bat.
  • I do wish had shown some of Leia’s training, otherwise, her saving herself is a bit unbelievable (let’s not unpack that sentence too much, shall we).
  • There was one porg scene too many.
  • I’m still sad they killed off Admiral Akbar, but I get it.
  • I want more Maz. Hoping she’s back for IX.
  • Love the knocking down of cis het white men who try to bulldoze their way through life.
  • Remember how they keep going back to the Force being about balance? Yeah, let’s try to keep that in mind in terms of these movies.
  • I liked the bits on class and wealth inequality, a good addition.
  • “Tear down your legends.” Yeah, see my comments about subversion and balance. Remember, it’s just some movies. Get into them, love them, discuss them, find meaning and stories in them. But don’t tear down others because things don’t fit your insurmountable expectations.
  • I liked the cave scene, it reminded me of the similar scene in V.

Alright, we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo, so a quick break for me to write here.

Comparing a decade of music with DJ Earworm:

Here’s my thought. Michael Bloomberg is going to enter the race just so he can more easily spend money on campaign ads or get around Facebook ad guidelines or something, but he’ll use his fortune to support whoever the Dem candidate is. But who knows if I’ll be right.

I’ve seen this done before with bagpipes, and I love that this trend continues, this time with saxophones!

The trailer for the Star Wars IX:

USA Hockey is adding an indefinite suspension penalty for players using racist or homophobic language.

Trojan is running an awesome campaign about comprehensive sex ed and combating slut-shaming of all forms.

And finally, the trailer for the new season of The Crown:

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! (one of my annual posts). For the love of all that you hold dear, make sure you have a plan and go vote today (and a year from now)!  Do it for the people you love who at this point don’t see a future.  We’re all depending on you.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I know of no reason

Why the Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent

To blow up the King and Parli’ment.

Three-score barrels of powder below

To prove old England’s overthrow;

By God’s providence he was catch’d

With a dark lantern and burning match.

Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.

Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.

A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.

A pint of beer to rinse it down.

A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar.

Burn him like a blazing star.

Burn his body from his head.

Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.

Hip hip hoorah!

Hip hip hoorah!

Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, the trailer for the Zombieland trailer:

The National Cathedral (which is Episcopalian, by the way), has called out the President’s racism as a clarion call to white supremacists.

Here’s the cast for the Wheel of Time series. And here’s a primer about the the book series.

The Obi-Wan Disney+ series is officially happening! And here’s the trailer for The Mandalorian:

Speaking of Star Wars, how about a lightsaber bionic arm? Yes please!

The trailer for the new series, The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance (and the primer for that as well):

This German town will give you money to prove it doesn’t exist.

The trailer for the new season of AHS looks awesome. Slasher summer camp meets the 1980s (seems to be very Stranger Things influenced).

Holy crap, the cast for this show looks amazing and I can’t wait to watch the insanity:

Mayor Pete gives an eloquent and great breakdown about a form of homophobia often encountered.

The administration is once again pushing, this time to SCOTUS, to allow anti-gay workplace discrimination to be legal. Oh, and anti-trans discrimination too.

Brace yourselves, Texas passed a law I agree with! Sending unsolicited nudes is now considered a form of sexual harassment in their legal code!

I guess kind of a good story: a bigoted wedding venue changed their mind about barring a marriage when they couldn’t actually find proof in the bible that interracial marriage was a sin. They still block gay weddings, but hey, it’s nice to hear that they took the time to read and come to the right conclusion.

Guys, guns are totally gay:

Okay, that’s it for now, have a great one!

I spent July cleaning up my digital and physical life for a project I did for Camp NaNoWriMo.

Taking the format of NaNoWriMo, camp is more free-form, allowing you to write, edit, draw, really tackle any project you want. I set out about 40 different tasks and I completed 30 of them (and I was working on number 31 last night, but didn’t finish).

Here’s what I did:

Finished reading “Refocusing My Family”
Setup and started mental health BuJo
Updated personal ultrarunning packing list
Sorted papers on printer stand
Mango: Arabic lesson 1
Created Runnit Spotlight wiki page
Knit heart blog post
Magazines finished: 1
Cleaned up Google Keep
DnD Recap
Medical directive packet
Philly half training plan
Cleaned up mobile bookmarks
Cleaned up browser bookmarks
Clean bookshelves: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Updated videos for the Myst Linking Book
Social media pulls: Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June, July
Updated my running page
Sorted my ginormous pile of filing

The big projects I need to finish (besides the cleaning out my filing cabinet, which I got halfway through last night) is cleaning out my Gmail and updating my dating app profiles. I had also hoped to get through more magazines and cleaning some more physical spaces, but before I tackle those, I have to get the huge pile of books I’m getting rid of out of my house.

Overall it was a successful month and I’m glad I tackled what I called “Literary Miscellany.” It’s been nice to get those tasks checked off and out of my mind!

Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, we have the first look at the Mr. Rogers movie staring Tom Hanks.

Pete Buttigieg took over P-Town and it was Pete-Town for a weekend!

Pictures from World Pride in NYC to celebrate Stonewall 50.

Meeting the new president of the HRC:

In other Pride news, Gritty (who, even though I am a die-hard Pens fan, is still the best thing that we didn’t know we needed), did a great job at Philly Pride (and check out him waving the Philadelphia Pride flag)!

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (drag nuns who do street-level ministry to the queer community), were present at a commemoration ceremony of the queer lives lost in the Holocaust.

(Pennsylvania) Republicans are a disgrace, part I: screaming over the reading of a letter of a former homeless man because they want to slash the General Assistance Program.

(Pennsylvania) Republicans are a disgrace, part II: Congressman says he’s a person of color because he’s white.

And finally, as a palate cleanser, watch some T-Rexs run a race!

A while ago, I was walking into the mall, and attached to an exit door of the movie theater was a small crocheted heart:

The project is an outreach program designed to bring awareness to bullying and suicide. From their website:

The hearts are placed in public places around the world for people to find during their everyday lives. We hope the hearts cause people to stop for a moment and reflect on a young life lost to suicide, on bullying and on the fact that everyone’s life matters. We want to leave people with a feeling that there is still good out there in the world

It’s a beautiful heart and a wonderful project (which has spread across the world as I learned).

While the heart I found wasn’t in bright, cheerful colors, as is requested, it did bring a smile to my face, not only for the fact of finding a wonderful piece of art, but it was in the bear pride flag colors (a subset in the gay community).

Small pieces of art like that are sadly seen by some as litter (and to be honest, sometimes I suppose they can be, we need to think about sustainability when creating art), but things like this always bring a smile to my face.

The smaller pieces of art at a Burn, or the things that people do or bring to gift to one another, very often, mean more I think than the large projects funded by grants. Both have their place, and spectacle is wonderful, but there is something to be said for the intimate moments of small art and their immediacy that is only experienced by a small handful of people. It’s an experience you can only share with a few others, and that adds a layer.

Either way though, it brought a smile to my face, and I’m so happy to have found this small heart!

Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, in amazingness, a hotel clerk clapbacks at a racist customer trying to book a room.

In case you haven’t seen it, the trailer for the sequel to Breath of the Wild:

In Pride month news, an Alabama mayor defends his plan to kill queer people and a ‘death to gay’s pastor is going to hold a rally in Orlando because Pulse.

But in good news, the NYPD Commissioner has officially apologized for the raid on the Stonewall Inn.

Google has released a beautiful digital monument for the 50th anniversary called “Stonewall Forever,” preserving our history.

XKCD hits it out of the park. This. Absorb this:

And finally today, Mika announced a new album and he released the first single:

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