Monday, July 22, 2019

Party Month 2019: Happy Birthday no. 3


It is nearing the end of July so that means the annual tradition of Party Month is coming to a close for another 11-and-a-half months. For those of you who don't know Party Month represents a sequence of:

Grace's birthday (July 26)
Lynda's birthday (July 1)
Wedding anniversary (July 8)
Sarah's birthday (July 22)

***

Last year at this time, I was waxing poetically about Sarah growing up, graduating, and moving out onto her own in the world. And she has started to do just that. Sure, we saw quite a bit of her during her first year of college (she was only 20 minutes down the road after all). But Sarah definitely got to be more independent and she has learned more and more about how to make her own choices, set her own schedule, and see her own life in front of her rather than the life we have been laying out for the last eighteen years.

She still has miles to go before she sleeps--and she doesn't get loads of that in college anyway. But she is handling the challenges well. And Lynda and I continue to be proud of who she is, what she thinks, and how she sees herself and the world.

This summer she has been hard at work almost every day down in the North Market at Destination Donuts. It's been more exhausting than relaxing during the summer months when she hasn't been at school. But we're all glad that she has the job and that she has some extra money to spend. And she'll be able to keep working there during the school weekends to help maintain that cash flow. So, as usual, there is much to be proud of.

She's turning nineteen today and is doing a great job of figuring out who she is and what she wants to do with her life. I've been praising her on this Web site since she was four years old, so sometimes it seems like I've run out of nice things to say. But she keeps on growing and getting better. I don't always remark on it here or in person, but I'm always taking notice and being happy for what I see. 

It is hard growing up in today's world. And Lynda and I have always put high expectations on our girls. So we haven't always made it easier. But through it all Sarah has maintained her calm and found ways to be happy. She doesn't always go out of her way to show her personal side to the world, so sometimes you have to stretch out yourself to engage with her. But I promise that if you put in the effort to know her better, you'll find a thoughtful, creative, and fun person. She'll well worth knowing--and I should know because I've been paying attention for a long time.

Happy birthday to you Sarah! Here is to many, many more to come.





Friday, July 19, 2019

WWYG Old School Review: Top Gun--Maverick


Let's do this Old School (or as my friend EH said back when WWYG?! was a regularly going concern--"Let's kick it Old Style") and review the trailer for Tom Cruise's new death wish Top Gun: Maverick.

As with all Tom Cruise movie vehicles of the past decade, the persistent storyline of the movie promotion is that he does his own stunts. This has been said about him since the Mission: Impossible 2 days when he was beginning the movie by free climbing some rock face. So, after three seconds of watching a video where people were hyping TG: Maverick, they pointed out that Cruise is piloting these jets himself.

And so that makes you wonder how well he's trained to do this?
And what is the insurance policy on this film like?
And where are these highly technical and very expensive jets coming from that we can just hand some over to Tom Cruise like it's a financial rounding error and nobody is gonna worry about it?

(But please, remind me how we don't have money in this country to properly give asylum seekers adequate food and housing or that we can't really afford to battle climate change. Sure.)

Everything for the all-mighty God of Cinema! Please Tom Cruise, switch to guns and hammer my heart with your nostalgia bullets!

(This isn't really a review as much as a sequence of Twitter posts collected together under a thematic heading.)

But what is there to review? If you've seen Top Gun--and I can only think of four people I personally know who definitively have not--then you've already seen this movie. As far as the trailer goes, all it is doing is reminding us of what Top Gun was back in the Reagan '80s and giving it to us again. In fact, I assume that the world premiere of this movie in 2020 will just happen at the Republican National Convention and that Tom Cruise himself will rappel on stage from the rafters of the Charlotte, North Carolina Spectrum Center to nominate Donald Trump.

Back to the trailer.
Are they saving the dramatic reveal of Meg Ryan? Was Kelly McGillis even approached? Or is Tom waiting to unleash his latest hit on them to gather all of the nostalgia feelings for himself alone? See Hollywood--I know how to manipulate nostalgia as well! I used to say all the same that Tom Cruise was Insane when celebrities died. Yet even though he's increasingly involving himself in dangerous stuff, I don't worry about his safety anymore. The movie is already made. If Tom died during filming we'd know. Unless Hollywood really does own cloning technology so advanced?*

And maybe Hollywood does since it keeps cloning old ideas in new guises?

So I guess I don't know how to feel about this movie. Intellectually I want to reject it and demand new things. But I didn't go see Jupiter Rising did I? And I didn't go see Mortal Engines either did I? So I am for sure part of the problem. And if I am not squarely the demographic that Top Gun: Maverick was made for . . . then just put me on my ice floe right now and push me off into the ocean.

So, go ahead Tom! Inject your 80s nostalgia directly into my cerebellum!

* This is an oblique reference to a very distant early 2000s era Web site called "Damn Hell Ass Kings" that talked about entertainment, TV, and celebrity culture. I spent too long trying to find any evidence of its existence on the Internet and found nothing. I am confident the URL is dead and all of the content has evaporated. It's a shame. It would have worked really well within my theme of nostalgia. But if anyone knows how to find that site, let me know!

Monday, July 08, 2019

Party Month 2019: XXIV


Twenty-four years later and I'm still so very, very lucky. As I've said before, the decision to marry Lynda Thompson was hands-down the easiest and smartest decision that I've ever made. Done without hesitation and never with regret. 

It's been the basis of my good life and the foundation of all that makes my life good for the last several decades. 

What would life have been like if we had not chosen to go to Georgia Southern? What would things be like if we had not met and she had given me the inner courage to speak my feelings without fear? How might things be different if so many small things had spun in a slightly different direction? Certainly my life would be different. But I do not see how it would be better. She is better. And she makes me try to be better as well.

Thank you Lynda for saying yes then and for working to keep it going every day thereafter.

Happy anniversary!



Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The MCU Ranked [+ Deadpool, Spiderverse, and Shazam!]

Grace and I are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It's over ten years in the making and eighteen films deep (and always growing). Since Captain Marvel is coming out in theaters this weekend I've decided to finally put on WWYG?! the MCU rankings that Grace and I put together before Infinity War dropped.

And yes . . . you'll notice that we decided to include Deadpool and Deadpool 2 . . . and even Shazam! in our rankings. I regret nothing about this.

(This list is always being updated, as new movies come out.)

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming
2. Iron Man 3

3. Spider-Man: Far From Home

4. Avengers Infinity War
[n/r] Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse

5. Black Panther
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
(n/r) Deadpool

8. Captain America: The First Avenger
9. Thor Ragnarok

10. Avengers Endgame
11. Ant-Man


12. Ant-Man and the Wasp
13. Captain America: Civil War
14. Iron Man
(n/r) Deadpool 2
15. Thor
16. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
17. The Avengers

(n/r) Shazam!
18. Captain Marvel
19. Iron Man 2
20. Avengers: Age of Ultron
21. Doctor Strange
22. Thor: The Dark World
23. The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton edition)
Don't like our rankings? That's fine. I know there are others out there that will suit you better. Here is another web writers thoughts on the MCU phenomenon.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Party Month 2019: Happy Birthday no. 2


It's the first of July, so its time for the annual tradition of Party Month. For those of you who don't know Party Month represents a sequence of:

Grace's birthday (July 26)
Lynda's birthday (July 1)
Wedding anniversary (July 8)
Sarah's birthday (July 22)

***

Lynda's birthday is today and while it feels like this week is exceptionally busy, I do hope that we all take some time to celebrate her and acknowledge how important she is in our family life and in the community that we have created here.

Lynda is so committed to her work and her goals and to our family and to improving the world. (The only problem with establishing the precedent of Party Month every year is that I need to find new and more significant ways to say how great everyone is each year without sounding redundant or trite. And I hope that it doesn't come across that way.)

Simply states, Lynda is so important to me. She is my partner. She is my sounding board. She puts up with my moods and my failings. She helps me think about things beyond my nose. I'm so glad to share my days with her and so I'm very glad to take a moment to remind all of you to celebrate her as well.

So, happy birthday my love! Thank you for all the things you do. I hope you take time this week to reflect on the good things in life and to see how your presence has helped create some of that good as well.