Daily tasks part 43: Podcasts

I’m looking for some more things I can promise to do every day/week/month and then fail at the next day. And the current idea is to listen to podcasts. I hear about them a lot and even occasionally listen to one and enjoy it. So I figure it might be something to do on a regular basis.

The first one I’m listening to is Josh Marshall’s podcast. I’ll try to listen to one or two a day and see how it goes. He’s talking about Bob Dylan’s Christian music period. It’s 50 minutes, so I imagine he’ll talk about a variety of things. I suspect I’ll have this on as background noise.

The Witch of Lime Street

Here was a really interesting book. I’m not sure what to call this kind of book. It’s history, but it’s kind of like novelization non-fiction. The other book I’ve read that felt the same way was The Devil in the White City.

The Witch of Lime Street is about the spiritualism of the early part of the 20th century popularized by people like Sir Arther Conan Doyle and debunked by Harry Houdini. A fascinating time period with larger than life characters. A fun read that gave me a lot of ideas to put in my books.

Things I learned: There is a Society for Psychical Research that still exists. When I read about them in the book, I thought that would be neat to put in my novel, but then I found they are still around and I’m not sure if I should put in a real organization in the novel. Something to think about, I suppose.

Black Panther

Yesterday, I went to see Black Panther. It was as good as I had hoped. I like the Marvel movies and superhero movies in general, so I’m glad to see really well-made movies that have a message but doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Ryan Coogler did a good job of balancing. He kept it going with not too much exposition. THere was some and I’ve seen complaints that there was too much, however, I think it would have been confusing without some. They didn’t go into why Klaw had a missing arm (ripped off by Ultron) but did use it as an excuse to start revealing the extent of Wakandan technology. I liked the little joke at the end where the asshole diplomat wonders what a bunch of sheepherders could offer the modern world and T’Challa’s little smile.

Oh, spoilers.

I also liked the bits with the White Gorilla M’Baku. They got that conflict between him and Black Panther but then went a slightly different direction from what I am used to in the comics. Although it is also possible that there have been changes in the comics I’m not aware of. That’s the thing about comics, stop reading for a year and everything you know is wrong. Also different universe: movies versus comics.

It’s an important movie that I’m glad they nailed. We need more voices and diversity in entertainment. Everything being the same gets boring. In addition, seeing all the right wing racists get all upset about a movie called Black Panther is hilarious.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. The seats were weird and uncomfortable. Some weird couch like thing that I don’t think I ever want to sit in again.

More Black Panther

Here’s another recommended article talking about the early years of Black Panther in comics. I’ve not read those stories, something I’m going to remedy in a few minutes, but the article looking back at how the character formed in the early years is well worth reading.

The early appearances of Black Panther he had a lot of what made him great, but like a lot of other ideas in the initial few years of comics creation, the details were kind of left open. It took later writers to really flesh out what was only hinted at before. Sometimes unintentionally hinted at. Like I’ve read that Magento was just intended to be a villain and only later converted into the two halves of how to fight for equality. The MLK versus Malcolm X. It seems obvious with hindsight but they were so busy creating new things every month they didn’t have time to dwell. It was off to create next months dozen comics.

Black Panther’s struggle between being the leader his country wants and the hero the world needs makes for a great story. The movie looks like it’ll capture a lot of that dynamic. Can’t wait to go see it.

Also, I love this picture of Don McGregor posing as Black Panther. I think he’s posing, maybe he just always looked that awesome.

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Black Panther (before I go see it)

An article on the new Black Panther movie in the Hollywood Reporter by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

At its Hollywood premiere, Black Panther received a rousing standing ovation. What’s impressive is that this ovation occurred before the movie was shown. Equally significant is that presales for tickets have broken Fandango’s record for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, in the weeks before the film was set to open Feb. 16, more than 200 grassroots campaigns in black communities from Denver to Toronto to Ghana were arranging screenings in order to commemorate the movie event. This is an unprecedented global rallying for something that doesn’t include Beyonce. All this fuss over a superhero movie?

I wanted to quote this part because I remember when Black Panther first appeared in Captain America: Civil War, there was a huge applause from the audience. I like the character and am looking forward to the movie, but I wonder why the larger enthusiastic response, presumably from non-comic nerds. It’s probably the obvious. All the main movies in the MCU have been white (and male) super-heroes. Now we finally have a lead hero who breaks the mold. It’s interesting and I look forward to more like this. Early preorder sales looks like I’m not the only one looking forward to it.

It gets wide release tonight, I think. I’ll probably go this weekend. Try to find a non-crowded time to watch it. I hate crowded theaters even if it does sometimes give memories like the cheering for Black Panther.

Soho Sins

This is another Hard Case Crime novel. They seem to be roughly split between classic crime novels and new ones. The classics are by far my favorite, which makes sense; they’re classics, after all. I couldn’t really get into this one. I didn’t much care for any of the characters and it felt old fashioned with new things peppering away throughout.

The problem may be that I just have had a bad month and if I had read it at some other time, I would have enjoyed it better. This month is almost done, so hopefully, next month is better.

Random Thoughts

I’m sitting here at my desk, dreaming about nothing. Listlessly looking through this and that in a fugue. I’m not sure why i’ve felt like this for the past few weeks. It’s like I started planning for how to approach the future and all of a sudden all energy is gone.

There have been a number of topics I have wanted to write about in the past month. There was a really interesting article on income inequality that brought up some interesting thoughts. Yet, I let it languish. There have been so many stories coming out of the White House that bares commentary.  There’s this whole Aziz Ansari date night thing. Although, maybe I want to stay out of that sort of discussion.

It helps to start writing, which is what my last post was about. It did help for a short period of time. And this is helping. I feel freer writing, than I did a few minutes before. So maybe I can start working on a book again.

I’ve not been really reading much either. I started a couple of books but haven’t been able to get into them. I’m not sure if that’s because of not being interested in those books or if I’m just not in to reading now. I need to correct it. I can’t just not read any books this month. That’d be a terrible start to the year. There’s still two weeks. I can get two books done. I need to find something light and breezy to get the pumps primed.

 

A post to reflect on how I’ve done since the new year

That’s a terrible title that expresses how awful the last two weeks have been. Well, week and a half really. It’s fine though, today has been much better. Wrote a micro story just to remind myself I knew how to write. Here it is:

The clock blinked 12:06. The power went out sometime during the night and came on six minutes ago. Stan watched it blink until it flipped over to 12:07. Then he continued to watch it blink until 12:08. Finally, he leaned over and pulled the power plug so that the blinking would stop.

He looked out the window of his apartment and through the cheap curtain he saw it was still dark. He threw the covers back and sat on the bed, his head pounding. He was tired but knew sleep would be impossible for now. He walked over to the window and pulled the curtain aside. Down on the street he saw nobody. Not even the prostitutes who normally hung out under the lone working streetlamp. It was early morning, Probably between four and five AM. Late enough for the night owls to have gone home, but not early enough for the early birds who got the city moving to have started their day.

Stan walked to the little table where he kept his booze and poured a finger of bourbon into a not completely clean glass. He drank some of the bourbon and wondered what he was doing with his life. In a few hours he would be dressed and making his way to a dead end office job where the day would pass and at the end he would have no idea what he had done to earn his paycheck.

He drank the rest of the bourbon from the glass and refreshed it. He would sleep off the worst of the drunk before going into work, but would probably still be comfortably numb. It was enough to get through the day and probably no one would notice. Even if they did, he couldn’t think of anyone who would care. Not even his boss, who had a tendency to drink his lunch on most days. A dead end life in a dead end world.

The New Year 2018

It’s 2018 and while the changing of a year doesn’t really mean anything. Life and history aren’t measured in nice orderly annual units. It still gives a moment to stop and reflect and make plans. I plan on taking what I did in 2017 and improving on it. I did the same in 2017 from what I did in 2016. My life is better now than it was and that’s really all I can ask.

My goals are to read more books this year than I did last year. To write more. To exercise more. To drink less. To learn something new every month. To travel somewhere I’ve never been before. Not too much to ask and we’ll see how things look a year from now.

I also would like to blog more. I’d like a goal of three times a week. I’d also like to blog more in each individual post. My posts tend to be a little light in content and I hope to improve on it.

If that all gets done and I have free time on my hands then I’d like to improve the website. Add content and things of interest. We shall see.

Oh, and I’ll probably play a few games. I’d like to get all the Secret World Legends achievements finished this year. I’d also like to play six different games (enough to feel I played them thoroughly).

First post of the New Year. Politics should be interesting viewing and only 11 months to what may be an historic mid-term election. This will be a wild year.