Status: Good

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Status: good. back to my normal self. three and half drinks on a Saturday night and I’m fucked for three days. I’m getting old. Actually, I think it’s more than that because I was having this issue during dry January and February; lack of sleep is also a contributor. So, I guess this is just the way it is now. I’ll just have to deal with it.

Captain Marvel.

Finished. Finally. That was like pulling fucking teeth. Once I complete the current list of (superhero) movie reviews I’m going to retire this section of the blog. I’m not enjoying the process and I think I’ve gotten all I wanted from this. Time to move onto other things.

Photography.

Started processing the photos from Comicon last night. I have a few good ones in there, including the potraits I took for this guy who requested them (and whose name I totally forget). Will continue to process them throughout the week and then drip feed them onto IG. Toying with the idea of creating a new account specifically for cosplay pics to see what kind of response I get.

The weather has started to get much better and it isn’t too cold outside anymore, so I no longer have any excuses to continue working through my shot list (which is growing). Suspect that the best way to approach this is to get it in the calendar and then methodically follow the schedule. Time is growing short, so I don’t have a lot of wiggle room left to procrastinate or put it off because I don’t feel like it. I’d also like to dispose of the camera before I leave, and I’m going to need a little lead time to do that.

It’s a short entry today. I have a few other things percolating in the background, but I think I’ll stop here so that I can spend some time closing off a few items from The Task List.

 

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Captain Marvel (2019) – Movie Review

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There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding the release of this movie with one side wanting it to do well to support their camp, and the other side wanting it to fail to support theirs.

I don’t care about that either way (but I will take this opportunity to be a little provocative and use an OG Captain Marvel image on this post instead of the current movie poster). I just want to be entertained by a good superhero movie which continues the story that Marvel has been telling for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the better ones. I found it to be very mediocre and forgettable. And that’s really as charitable as I can be with this movie.

Brie Larson certainly looks the part, but based upon her performance it seems like she was miscast in the role. Her time on screen is spent vacillating between looking indifferent and an unidentifiable expression, which many have attributed to smugness, for most of the movie. Personally I found it to be a bit off-putting and not only was the Carol Danvers character unlikable as a result, it also kept pushing me out of the movie by making it hard to suspend my disbelief.

Unfortunately, it goes downhill from here.

The underlying subtext of the movie is female empowerment, which is fine. Comic books are allegories, and always have been, at least when it comes to Marvel Comics. It’s one of the (many) things I love about comics, but there’s a fine line when creating these kinds of stories. They still have to be relatable and engaging, and ultimately entertaining, which is something that the comic book industry does quite well (for the most part). If you lean a little too far towards the underlying subtext then it looks a little ham-fisted and people perceive it as propaganda. And that’s what happens here; it’s so busy trying to be a feminist film that it forgets to be a superhero movie.

It’s clear that Marvel (and ultimately Disney) is trying to capitalise on the current zeitgeist, which is a bit of a departure for them. Past efforts have been focused more on telling entertaining stories which remained reasonably faithful to the source material. This movie doesn’t do that and as such has a different look and feel than its predecessors. So much so that it doesn’t really feel like a Marvel movie at all.

An unfortunate side effect of this are the changes made to existing characters, both from the source material and the MCU itself. In this movie Nick Fury doesn’t resemble the character we’ve seen over the course of his appearances in 11 of the MCU movies. His character is not bad within the context of the narrative they’re trying to support, but his actions are not congruent with what we’ve seen and know about that character. On the back of that, having him lose his eye to a cat is a disservice to the character and shows that the filmmakers don’t really have any respect for the source material or, I would argue, the fans.

It’s the casual fan base which underwrites the financial viability of these movies, not the fringe elements. When you dogmatically service these elements specifically, on one side or the other, you risk marginalizing the culture we love by forcing out this casual fan base.

Personally, I enjoyed Alita: Battle Angel much more as a female empowerment movie. These two films essentially have the same plot, but the execution of the story, of the allegory, is done more competently in Alita with characters that are more fully formed, coupled with superior performances from the actors. It’s a superior movie in every way and I recommend seeing this one instead and giving Captain Marvel a miss.

 

1 out of 5 stars

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Mary Jane, Pulling Teeth and Fitness

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Staus: feeling much better this morning. despite the fact that a neighbour, who is above me, was drilling holes in the walls (or the floor) late last night. Briefly entertained the thought of blasting loud music when I got up at 5am this morning, however I would have affected all of my neighbours and not just the offending party, so decided against it. Perhaps it’s just best to leave this one alone. If I respond from a place of spite then I’m just inviting negativity back onto myself. That’s not productive.

Captain Marvel.

Almost finished. I mean, writing this thing has been like pulling teeth, and I’m going to take it as a sign that doing movie reviews is not really my wheel-house. I’m not enjoying the process in any case, and that’s really all I need to know. I feel like it is well reasoned, but is not all that complimentary. Circling back to my point above, I don’t feel the need to submit negativity into The World. That doesn’t feed my soul at all, nor interest me.

Dates.

Picking this back up from yesterday. I honestly didn’t enjoy the Jewish lady’s company at all during the Con on Saturday and kept on wishing that I was alone, doing my own thing. As soon as I start feeling that, or feeling like I’m alone in someone else’s company, it’s the Kiss of Death for the relationship. I fully appreciate that sometimes I don’t engage as much as I should, and you get out of it what you put into it, but yeah, just not feeling this one.

I was also a little turned off by the smell of marijuana smoke which was coming off her. It wasn’t overpowering, but just noticeable enough to push me away. I don’t really have an issue with people who partake, but I just find that people who use it turn me off. Mostly because when they are high they disengage, and I need that engagement to play off. Without the engagement, there is little value in the interaction for me and therefore I’d much rather be doing my own thing.

And that brings me to the coffee date I had on Friday afternoon. Per my previous blog post on the subject, she was exactly what I expected. The company wasn’t unpleasant, I really enjoyed interacting with her, despite the fact she seemed distracted while jumping from topic to topic without taking my responses into consideration. The other thing that jumped out was her profession; I don’t see how someone can afford that kind of lifestyle from working in the fitness industry plus a little personal shopping on the side, all while spending so little time doing it. I suspect that there may be wealthy parents or a benefactor subsidising the lifestyle, or both.

In any case, I enjoyed her company enough to invite her out for dinner on Saturday night. It was good for the most part, but her sense of humour took a little getting used to. It was inculcated into a woman’s natural inclination to challenge a potential suitor, which made it hard to tell when she was being serious or just joking. I have to admit that I felt like she was trying to force me onto the defensive for most of the night, which is a controlling behaviour, and as such it was less an easy back-and-forth get-to-know-you type conversation and more like an interrogation. I can’t say that was the most pleasant experience.

I was dead surprised when she texted the following day and told me that she, “felt energised from hanging out with (me) yesterday and woke up fresh this morning”. Really? Well that makes one of us.

Debating whether I should ask her out again. Not sure I really want to subject myself to another round of interrogation, but I’ll have a think about it.

 

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Photography and Comicon

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Status: groggy. head stuffed full of cotton. I slept heavily and for a long time last night, but still woke up feeling like I had a hangover even though I didn’t drink anything. I had zero forward momentum this morning. I was out and about on Saturday night, but didn’t drink all that much when compared to what I normally imbibe. So, feeling like this on a Monday morning was a little unexpected. When I get back to the island I’m going to retire this aspect of my life.

In the meantime…….

Photography.

Spent the whole weekend at Comicon taking photos and such. I can already see an improvement in the composition of my shots from the ones I took 6 months ago at the FanExpo. I seem to be gravitating more towards portrait style photography of the cosplayers – I like seeing the human element in the costumes versus the actual costumes themselves. I also found that I’m taking more photos of People Doing Things, or street photography as it’s referred to sometimes. Something to keep in mind going forward and as I continue to develop my style.

Another positive from the weekend: one of the guests at the event asked me to take a portrait photo of him and also offered to pay me for it. I declined the money, but took the photos just for the experience. I don’t need the money, but perhaps I can use this as a lead into a paying job? Hard to imagine, but we’ll see what happens. In any case, I’ll process his photos and send them over to him in about a week.

Dating.

Quite a lot to write about here, and I may split this into a couple of entries as I don’t feel like I have the mental capacity to tackle this right now.

The Jewish lady accompanied me to the Con on Saturday and I was really uncomfortable the whole time she was with me. I spent most of the time feeling anxious about whether or not she was enjoying herself – I mean, not many people are up for these kinds of events and I’m okay with this. It just means that I’ll go on my own, which is not an issue.

I have to stop here. Will pick this up again tomorrow…..

 

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Born Again

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Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Status: good. need more sleep though. slept through the alarm again this morning, which is not very helpful because I have a pretty busy day ahead. I’m not exactly sure if the morning meditation is helping anymore. Maybe I should take the next step with it and see if that improves my focus.

Writing.

With everything that is going on, my reading has gone into the toilet. I just don’t have enough time for it, and I need to make some space to read because it does fuel the writing. Not sure exactly how I can do that; maybe dispense with the Joe Rogan podcast for now and get back to audiobooks. At least then I can “multi-task” and listen to it when cooking/eating and working out at the gym. That should be good for at least 2 hours a day.

Photography.

Went back through my older photos last night to see if I had anything worth editing and posting. Found a few, including the above shot. I actually quite like it, and while the composition is not the best, it lent itself to the editing processing quite well. The way the light from the sun plays off the eagle creates some drama, which is important for a black and white photo. Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ll spend a bit more time outside practicing street photography. I definitely want to get a bit of that done before I leave.

This weekend is Comicon and I’ll be there both days taking photos. Saturday I’ll have my Jewish wing woman for a few hours, but Sunday I’ll be on my own. This is a good opportunity to take a lot of portrait/people pictures in a space where they’ll be welcoming of the attention, so it’s a great place to get some practice without the fear of someone getting a little itchy that you took their photo. I’ve been challenged a couple of times taking photos of people on the street and it’s not a pleasant experience, for sure.

Date.

Connected with a part-time model on the dating app and we started a conversation about getting together. I was interested initially, mostly because she said I could photograph her for free, but then the convo veered off in a weird direction which then got my common sense tingling. Firstly, she will only correspond with me by email, she then told me about a hard luck story which centered around a rough relationship, her IG page links to some kind of Patreon page which has semi-nude photos of her, and she is stupidly covered in tattoos. I’m almost always up for going out with bad girls because they are fun AF, but this one looks a little bit too sketchy for me. The trust isn’t there and I think I’m going to listen to my common sense and give this one a miss. My instincts are typically pretty good, so I’m confident that this is the right move.

Besides, I have better options on the table. There’s no incentive for me to mess around with this kind of bad girl.

Nikon D3400
1/20 sec
f/11
40mm
ISO 100

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Captain Marvel and Neurokinesis

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Nothing lasts. You think it’s going to. You think, ‘Here’s something I can hold on to,’ but it always slips away. 

Status: good. overslept a little bit this morning. not fuzzy, sinuses are clear. My mood: good, not depressed and am generally upbeat.

Writing.

Sitting here struggling to write a review on Captain Marvel. I have that sinking unproductive feeling as I’m staring blankly at the page while intermittently watching the minutes tick past, and then distracting myself with a little YT dopamine loveliness to avoid experiencing that feeling.

I can charitably define it as a hit piece, which I’ve already decided I’m going to post to a number of different review sites. But, I’m hesitating. I’m thinking that this is overly venomous and negative, and at the end of the day I don’t know what I’m going to gain from doing this. Yes, I’m disappointed that they appropriated one of my favourite characters and turned it on its ear with a foreign narrative in order to sell more product. As companies do. However, my two cents won’t change that. Maybe it’s best to concentrate on more productive endeavours.

Fitness.

I’ve been struggling with shoulder injuries for years, tearing both rotator cuffs multiple times and then making numerous mistakes in both treatment and subsequent training regimens which have then perpetuated the injury cycle. Fortunately I’ve learned a little bit along the way, and I now know what to do and what not to do, so it’s not a completely wasted exercise.

Earlier this year I started to feel a pinching in my left shoulder when I raised the elbow above shoulder level. I’m not doing any exercises which require that movement anymore; a result of the frequent injuries and the implementation of preventative measures in order to enable me to workout normally and stay healthy. But I would feel it pinching when putting on a t-shirt or applying deodorant, and while mildly alarming, I did what I normally do: ignore it. As long as I can workout then I’m good, which is not the smartest thing to do.

I finally decided that it’s been long enough and I should probably have someone take a look at it before it get’s worse. (Side note: I need to start rewarding that kind of productive self-care type behaviour.) In any case, I booked an appointment with an RMT I’ve used in the past to see if the issue could be resolved.

Calling Tim an RMT is not the best descriptor. A kinesiologist by training, he’s also certified in a number of different techniques to promote healing and alleviate pain from sports injuries. And he clearly has a passion for what he does. I booked an ART (deep tissue massage) session online, but when I arrived he suggested neurokinetic therapy instead, explaining that this will permanently solve the problem.

It is honestly a very odd treatment; a combination of light touching, functional movement and viewing cue cards with either an ‘X’ or an ‘=’ sign on it. The end result however far exceeded expectations. At the end of the session, and even now as I write this, the pain is gone and the shoulder is moving freely. Tim explained that the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff had contracted and become “locked” in place which was preventing the shoulder from rotating properly when I moved it in specific ways. The end result of which was the rotator cuff muscle would get pinched between the bones in the shoulder, thus the pinching feeling. By releasing the “locked” muscles, the shoulder was able to rotate properly and therefore was no longer pinching the rotator cuff muscle.

It’s a fkn miracle. I’m so impressed with the treatment. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I move back to the island, because I’m pretty sure they don’t have this level of (cutting edge) sports/physical therapy there.

Photography.

Finished processing the food photos from my visit to The Chase last Saturday night. Other than the desert, the food wasn’t very photogenic. Despite my poor photography skills the end results were passable, but not great. I’m beginning to suspect that I don’t have the right lens for this kind of photography, but a poor workman blames his tools, so I’ll take it as a learning experience. I’m likely not going to post these to IG as I don’t think they’re good enough, but I will put them on YT for completeness’ sake.

Nikon D3400
1/80 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 1600

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

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The worlds of superhero movies and superhero comics are not as similar as they seem on the surface. Currently, film studios are all about the “extended universe”, seeing how many different titles and characters they can shove into one franchise (Avengers, X-Men, Justice League), making for an easy way to squeeze a few extra bucks out of their lesser known properties. Comics have this as well, of course. However, they also have something modern movies haven’t really tapped into yet: story one-offs, a chance for a storyteller to create a unique tale and not be constrained by the implications on or from the larger universe. Spider-Verse gets to do just that, while playfully taking on the fun (if convoluted) absurdity of extended superhero universes. Listen, I hear you. “How could we possibly need another Spider-Man movie?” Spider-Verse understands that question and has a take on it. Yes, Peter Parker is here. In fact, there are two Peter Parkers. There’s also a Spider-Woman, a Noir Spider-Man, an anime Spider-Girl/Robot, and a Spider-Pig. At the center though is Miles Morales, an Afro-Hispanic Brooklyn teen who must help these other Spider-People get back to their own planes of existence. He fights with his cop dad, he adores his shady uncle, hates being simply the smartest kid in the room, and just wants to do something that matters. Being Spider-Man wasn’t his idea, but hey, when a radioactive spider gives you powers, what choice do you have? Look, I don’t have any sort of hot take on this movie. It looks great, the humor pops with surprises, the voice casting is beyond perfect. It’s simply a stylishly exciting and refreshingly unique take on the superhero genre, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

 

4 out of 5 stars

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