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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stahma- I love you, but do not TRUST you

     I watched the first season of Defiance with eagerness, and when  it came back, I looked forward to it again. It's very much sci-fi meets western frontier, not unlike Firefly. Familiar themes, interesting characters...a lot of more adult themes( the town brothel is known as the "NeedWant")

     So, a quick rundown, if you have not watched; Defiance takes place on Earth, but an earth that has been invaded by and made peace with several alien races, collectively known as Votans. Their ships crashed, they have nowhere else to go, so Earth and the Votans have both changed and adapted. In addition, the Earth has been Unterraformed(since to terraform would be to make a world more earthlike) so we have new shapes to the terrain, new creatures in the wild, and so forth.

     That's all I really want to say about the show itself for now. You have the power of the internetz if you want to know more. What I want to talk about is character.

     For me, far and away the stand out character of season 2 is Stahma Tarr

     Portrayed by the lovely british actress Jaime Murray, known to me for Warehouse 13 and Dexter(season 2), the Makeup and effects wizards at SyFy changed this

into this: 

What words would I use to describe her? She has been compared to Lady Macbeth, but I think that is too shallow a description. 

Beautiful...elegant...demure...graceful...deferential...subtle...treacherous...insidious...devoted ...

The list could go on far past your point of patience. Suffice to say- when she graces the screen in Defiance...don't make an enemy of her. She is not interested in keeping an enemy around for very long. And she is not always easy on her friends either

Sunday, September 14, 2014

League Assignment: It's So Goood

          Sort of a wide open topic; I decided to focus on some things that I like...that I wasn't sure I would like. Things I tried at someones suggestion that turned out to be

 Soooo Goooood

I was raised in a household where the most exotic food was something my mom called Mock Sukiyaki- my guess is that this came from a magazine, but it was basically pepper steak over minute rice. This would be a meal intended to feed a family on a limited budget. It would not be a meal intended to craft an epicurean palate. so years later when it was suggested I try "sushi" by a girlfriend of the time, my first thought was of revulsion. Stuff you do to keep a relationship going, eh?

     It was good- really good- and it was a gateway to other foods, of other cultures. I don't have the most educated palate in the world, but I also don't eat minute rice, if you get my drift

     Louis L'amour- I knew my Dad had this Collection of books, never saw the appeal. Just a bunch of cowboy stories, I reckoned, and I read Sci-Fi and Fantasy. One day my Dad gave me a book of L'amours short stories, and I thought.,. free book. And I read...and I asked to borrow more. And Now I pick him up every time I see one of his books at a thrift store. And I talk with my Dad over what I read, and he amazes me by remembering the stories, almost every one with only a little prompting

     Transformers Prime: I saw a little of the animation, and I thought "well, this sure as hell isn't G1" and turned up my nose. A couple of friends and then the Seibertron Podcast made me rethink things, and Damn! What a good storyline! The end of Predacons Rising brings me to tears every time

     I was walking through Sprouts Farmers Market one day, when my eye was caught by a flash of green where only gold should have been, or possibly spots of blue. I beheld these weird green muffins, and my first thought was something had gone terribly, terribly wrong

     But I bought, and I tasted Pistachio Muffins. and they may actually be the final evolution of muffin technology. I can't conceive of better

     Back to my origins. I grew up in an America where you had a cat, or a dog, or both, or you were a damn weirdo. My sister had a parakeet I remember her calling a "boyd" so the cats would not know(true!). My first real exposure to birds was a lovebird a friend of mine had that would call for him to let it out, and then laboriously work his way across the room to climb my friend, and love on him, and groom his beard. And I thought that was weird as hell...that this alien creature, not a mammal by any means, would want to love this man. Tweren't right, I tell ya- un-natural

     Cut forward to my first night in the apartment of my second wife, and the horror of "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT NOISE" first thing in the morning. Bolt upright, heart pounding, as she explained "that's just my bird". This was a cockatiel, who had gone feral and was living with pigeons, that she had spent eight hours catching. Fast forward to now, 17 years later, and we have this: my wonderful, intelligent little friend

So I guess this topic for me is all about embracing new experiences, and keeping the stuff that enriches my life. I hope the same for you all

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


   Pronounced : Warez-Ah-zo
 definition: where is Aldo?

     This was asked of me/Sam this evening as I carried Tango about on my shoulder. He's been very talkative lately, adding appropriately used "thank you"s and "you're a silly shawn" to his already impressive vocabulary skills

     I'm not sure if he is some rare conure genius, or if it has to do with how I talk to him, or if it is just the way I listen. What I know is this: the bird is SMART. He was working on words within weeks of coming home with me, and now has a vocabulary of about 30-35 words, including comprehension of at least a portion of what he is saying

     I took him this weekend for a wing trim/nail trim(Wini/Pedi)(yes, I invented that turn of phrase, far as I know) and one of the ladies at the shop offered him a tortilla chip(loves them) and was surprised when he said "thank you"-I was surprised he made himself understood. He learned thanks and its usage from me thanking him for stepping up tho.

what follows is a far from comprehensive list of his sayings. Bear in mind also he uses different words and phrases in conversation with Sam than he does with me

  • What's up?
  • yeah
  • that's fine
  • whatcha doing?
  • what are you doing?
  • pretty bird(learned from another bird, not me, so he has the other birds accent)
  • chi-chi-wah(hard to describe, you just have to hear it)
  • you're so silly
  • hey shawn
  • daddy
  • dadddyyyy?
  • bad bird(not directed at himself-directed at Aldo)
  • Sam
  • Nancy(you know who you are)
  • Come here
  • Come on( a specific direction, it means I am to take him around the house)
  • you step up(yes, it is intentional sass)
  • What you say?
  • Tango(various intonation)
  • baby
  • aldo
  • seewee(sidney)
  • treats
  • crust
  • let go
  • let go right now
  • come here right now
  • Let's see
     Of course- he is smart, and strong willed, and thinks he is the boss of all of us- this can lead to bites, and bites lead to the time out cage

     I did not want his home cage to be a punishment-ever- it's his play area, his safety, his sactum sanctorum. So I set up a smaller cage with a perch, and a water dish(read as BORING) and a timer shaped like a green owl. Timeouts are 5 minutes for a first infraction, 10 minutes for second onward as well as for multiple bites on a first infraction.

     Curbing his biting, which had seriously gotten out of control took about ...get this...

three days
which is about how long it took him to figure out he really did not like time outs(day one) and that it was going to be a consistent reaction, and would not be going away(day two and three)
     Of course, now when he bites...he tries to make the bite go the extra mile, but we are working on that...
this parrot update has been a service of this blog, and the fine people at the national center for parrot updates 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's Time to Eat Your Vegetables

     Back in the old days of 2007(seven years ago today, in fact), this crazy movie came out. It was part action movie, part video-game shooter, part ultraviolent live action cartoon even. It combined cheesy dialog, referencing Bugs Bunny and Brer Rabbit with barely believable action sequences and it was a lot of fun to watch again

     Part action film, part action film parody (maybe)

we have

     The hero, "Mr Smith" sees a pregnant woman running from some thugs and gets involved, and winds up taking care of the baby

     things I learned from this movie:

  • Even  a disaffected loner with anger issues can be a hero with near supernatural gun skills
  • It's good to know a lactating prostitute, just in case
  • Carrots are useful for all kinds of things
  • It's wise to have clear cut boundaries on the things you hate and the things you don't
  • When you run out of bullets, there is always another gun to pick up
  • Even a disaffected loner with anger issues can make a fatherly connection with a baby over a gun
  • Even a psychopathic overconfident bad guy had better not be late to his son's birthday party
without spoiling anything, this is a fun, violent, film. If that is your cup of tea, give it a watch