Monthly Archives: April 2013

The NJ DIS Weekend Meet 2013

Folks who follow my blogs regularly know that I write a lot about Disney. I like Disney a lot, and not just because they own the Avengers either. The Bride is the Disney nut, and I’m just along for the ride most of the time, but I do enjoy that ride. The movies, they do good work; the parks, meh, I’m not a park person, but I have had my fun there; but the Disney Cruise, that’s my happy place. There’s nothing like standing (or sitting) on deck or on a veranda and watching the open sea. I love it, and yes, any cruise can provide that, but the customer service and the way they take care of you on DCL is phenomenal, and second to none.

Rant and sales pitch over. The point is, The Bride likes this stuff even more than me. And with all the podcasts and vidcasts I subscribe to and/or am involved in, DIS Unplugged is not one of them. I’m kinda ashamed to say I’ve only heard it a dozen times or so, usually when in the car with The Bride. She loves it, and has even appeared on the podcast more than a few times. Such a fan, when they announced they would be just an hour or two away in Bridgewater NJ doing a fan get-together and live podcast, we made plans to go. Either way, a weekend getaway was a welcome break in routine.

DIS Unplugged is a hardcore professional podcast I should mention. This isn’t two guys having fun on Skype without a plan, just saying anything that pops into their head. What surprised me the most upon arrival is how friendly and welcoming everyone was, especially the hosts. Friday night was game night, starting with some music trivia, various kinds (everyone had their own rules) of Bunco, and then a Tastykake Krimpet eating contest. Heh, I don’t think these tourists to the Philadelphia area have ever had Butterscotch Krimpets before.

As I said, the live vidcast was very professional. Not only did everyone have headsets, they also had a sound engineer(s) and a sound check. They have been around for almost a decade, so of course they know what they’re doing. Professional and friendly are watchwords with this group. I think now I will be putting the DIS Unplugged on my regular podcast subscription list. Good folks, good show, and thanks for a great time.

And stay out of the damn lakes.

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Hostess Potato Chips

Arrow: Home Invasion

Deadshot has been a growing threat in the world of “Arrow.” While a minor Batman villain and Suicide Squad superstar in the comics, here he is a one-eyed super-assassin for hire. His most twisted attribute, besides the weird red eye piece, is his penchant for tattooing the names of his victims on his body.

His biggest claim to infamy on the series is that he killed John Diggle’s brother. Diggle is now obsessed, perhaps ever more so than Oliver. Not only is revenge biting his ass, but Diggle’s can’t really move his relationship with his sister-in-law (his late bro’s wife) until Deadshot is dealt with.

We open on Diggle training with Oliver, while Deadshot makes another hit. Felicity has hacked into ARGUS and is tracking Deadshot. I really have to wonder where this is going with ARGUS. Is there a Justice League in Oliver’s future? Probably not, as this ARGUS acronym isn’t the same as the comics.

Diggle’s contact in ARGUS has a little more fire. Named Lyla in the show, she’s given the surname Michaels in the Arrow companion comic. Lyla Michaels is the real name of Harbinger, a power player in DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths way back in 1985. Harbinger was missioned with the task of collecting the superheroes who would then save the universe/multiverse. Harbinger is even her codename in the show. What an interesting connection.

The opening shoves a whole lot of plot, subplot, and information into a very short amount of time, so much so, my head began to spin a bit. The current dynamic of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity is counterpointed by the flashback dynamic of Oliver, Deathstroke, and Shado. We also learn Oliver is lunchdating Laurel even though he’s on the outs with Tommy. Bad, Oliver, just the first of many bad decisions this episode.

This is all under eight minutes, before the credit sequence. We are also introduced the main plot/subplot of this episode. Laurel is working with a family who were testifying against a bad man, List-worthy, but surprisingly not on it – it could be his dumb name, Edward Rasmus. His hired killer, Mr. Blank, gets the parents but misses the seven year old son. Laurel takes the kid in. Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that most times when you add a kid, you’ve jumped the shark.

This is all in about ten minutes. The episode hasn’t really even started. It doesn’t get less complicated as the episode continues. After a few awkward moments between ex-friends Oliver and Tommy, some bonding between Tommy and the kid, and a fairly cool scene where Mr. Blank attacks Laurel, the couple and the kid move in with the Queens to enjoy the heavy security there. I found that puzzling. Besides Diggle, Queen security has seemed extremely lame. Obviously it’s The Hood who will protect them, but Quentin Lance shouldn’t have agreed to it.

It gets very predictable at this point. There are newborn kittens who knew Oliver will be distracted with Deadshot the next time Mr. Blank attacks, letting everyone down, duh. Or the other way around, although it should have been the former. As one would expect, Oliver makes the bad choice. The worst choice, and we lose Diggle over it. At this point, the only thing that could make this worse would be an appearance by the Huntress.

Speaking of bad choices, on the island, while being trained in archery, Oliver kisses Shado. For comics fans, we know how that works out. The cliffhanger here finally means forward motion on the island at least.

Mr. Blank is an intriguing villain, played by J. August Richards, formerly of “Angel.” He reminds me a lot of Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative in Serenity. He’s very calm, very precise, and likes to make conversation with his prey. He was a very suitable foe for this version of Green Arrow. His clash with Oliver is perhaps one if the best of the series so far.

As if there’s not enough going on, Roy Harper, who is apparently dating fellow Speedy, Oliver’s sister Thea, is trying to track down The Hood. There is a good scene where finally it’s addressed that The Hood is a murderer. Finally. Thea agrees to help Roy find The Hood. More shark jumping in the form of idiotic 1950s secret identity protection? I hope not, cuz that’s what breaks up Tommy and Laurel. Worst case scenario – Oliver takes on a teenage sidekick (or two) to replace Diggle. I know it’s the natural progression, but damn it, I liked David Ramsey’s Diggle a lot.

This was a very uneven episode, save some great character bits, a throwaway Wonder Twins reference, and of course, Mr. Blank. Only three more episodes to go, I wonder how it’s going to go…

Random Tater Pic of the Day #100

Curious Alice

This 1968 curiosity from the folks at Something Weird is a semi-animated fantasy based on Alice in Wonderland but with a more obvious drug theme woven through. It tries to be psychedelic, and probably would be if you were high, but the limited animation makes it difficult.

I can imagine this may have been pretty risqué back in the drug days of the late sixties, but its kinda tame for these days. But let’s face it, back in the day, Ralph Bakshi went much further. Hell, Bakshi could have even done this better.

In this Wonderland, the characters all seem to be using one drug or another – marijuana, pills, even LSD – though I’m unsure whether this short is actually supposed to be pro-drug or anti-drug. It is definitely worth a look-see, at least once, if only as a time capsule to a mostly lost culture.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #99

Evolve or Die, A Star Trek Rant

Those Star Trek people infuriate me. You know the ones I mean. Whether they call themselves Trekkers or Trekkies (and yes, I do know the difference), it makes no difference when it comes to the 2009 reboot of the franchise, and its upcoming sequel in just a few weeks.

Let’s be serious now – if Gene Roddenberry had actually gotten his “Star Trek: Phase II” on the air when he wanted to, would we be still talking about Trek now or would the proposed series just be an embarrassing footnote like “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch Hour”? Let’s all be thankful that Star Wars was so successful, and Paramount made Roddenberry move it to the big screen.

And while we’re being thankful, let’s be thankful for J.J. Abrams for finding a way to both be faithful to continuity, and to free himself of it. He paid respect to the fans, and opened up the field for a new generation of fans. It works in the story, and you have the old continuity and the new continuity existing side by side. And come on, it’s not like time paradoxes and parallel universes are foreign territory for the franchise. It’s almost the norm if you look at the original series.

Let’s talk about TOS, as “The Original Series” is called. It may as well stand for The Old Series, because it’s dated. Worse than that, “Next Gen” is even more painful when it comes to looking dated. Special effects and hairstyles weigh down TOS, but man oh man, ST:TNG just screams eighties. It’s so bad, it’s almost embarrassing. And for most of these Trek people, TNG is the gospel canon.

I lost interest in Trek television, when “Deep Space Nine” came along, and once the Captains met in the movies, I was out of there too. “Enterprise” brought me back. The Trek people hate “Enterprise.” I think it was great, it not only brought me back to Trek, it brought The Bride as well. The Trek folks whined about how the Vulcan protagonist behaved, behavior that was rationalized in the context of the series by the way.

These are the same people that don’t have a problem with Klingons not having ridges in TOS, faulty physics, jumbled histories and timelines, and of course the fantasy of a cashless society. But a Vulcan enacting free will, that’s wrong. It’s okay for Spock, but nobody else.

Seems to me that the Trek folks have a problem with the mainstream taking their toys. It was okay when no one else liked Star Trek, but when there’s a blockbuster movie, they get defensive. And I throw the “Doctor Who” latecomers into the same garbage bin.

I loved Abrams’ Star Trek, and can not wait for the sequel. All y’all old Trekkies and Trekkers, feel free to stay home and not see it, just shut up about it. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.

French Fry Diary 486: New York J & P Pizza

Sadly, Two More…

Richie Havens 1941-2013

Crissy Amphlett 1959-2013

Today is a sad day in music…

Random Tater Pic of the Day #98