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Friday, May 29, 2015

One Last Season Finale for Now

     I didn't think I was going to do this, and that is because I didn't think I was going to see anything special. I started watching with a feeling of ..."Meh..."just as I have watched all recent episodes of this show

     And was American Skyper.

     The 144th episode and season 6 Finale features Alex's graduation party at Jay's house. Phil, however, is stuck in Seattle with an ear infection. His solution? A telepresence robot, hence the pretty clever title.

       What has bogged Modern Family down for me, the last couple of seasons, has been that they seem too comfortable falling back on sitcom cliches, like add-a-baby, farcical misunderstanding, and the like. And characters who were once realistic and a little edgy, and not afraid to sometimes be unlikable...well, they had become cookie cutter and stereotypical.

     I'm not saying one good finale stirs the show back to its brief former glory, but it reminds, perhaps.

      Oh, and I love a good bird pun. And I love a bad one even more.

     Mitchell has secretly lost his job, been sending out his resume, and playing checkers in the park with an old man named Spencer and his bird, George. He's ashamed to let Cam know, so he's hiding it. Cam sees texts on Mitchell's phone from Spencer, and finds s receipt in Mitchell's wallet from "the Avian (ah-vee-aan) hotel"

      The confrontation: (probably not verbatim)

     " it sounds seedy"

      " it is, and it's pronounced Ae-vee-an. It's where I picked up George"

     "So there's two guys?"

      "I'm talking about a cockatoo"

      "oh just one or two! How blase!"

     Add to that, Andy's girlfriend Beth being jealous of Haley, but in a subtly psycho way, and it was fun. "Perfect Beth" could probably kill you in your sleep without losing her smile and penetrating stare. I kid you not, there is a scene where she simultaneously demonstrates a takedown on Manny while setting Haley on fire. If she and Andy don't work out, I hear Dexter reactivated his profile on eharmony...

     Not sure why they are making Claire into a shrewish alcoholic. Kind of a sad, unfunny choice. Maybe they will figure out what the hell they want to do with her next year. As of this time, she is the least developed character.

      But the finale did it's job, made me somewhat interested in what comes next.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Season Wraps

     Disclaimer: this is in no way a comprehensive view of the entire year of TV. This is only the stuff I care enough about to lay stylus to screen for.

     Some of what I used to watch has given way to stuff I am more interested in. Some things I used to be really excited about took weird turns, like Grimm...not sure if that one will be redeemed. So here we go.

     Castle: after a shaky~ish start with a missing Castle drama, the show got back to its roots, and the season finale was a thing of pure beauty. It was such a good, fulfilling piece, that if Castle weren't already slated to return, it could serve as a more than adequate series finale.

     The Mysteries of Laura: I picked this one up on curiosity, and stuck. The finale opened up several new questions, but they were all ones I still want answers to. That being the case, it's still fresh and interesting, the characters still people I care to know more about. The little cliffhanger with Jake's evident memory loss will be interesting to see play out.

     Arrow: season 3 ended with Oliver hanging up his hood... forever??? And going off to live happily ever after with Felicity. This after he destroyed Ras Al Ghul, and saved Starling city. This could be an acceptable series finale, with the hero satisfied his work is done and leaving his legacy behind. It's that "Dark Knight Rises" wrapup. I'm truth, the show has a long way to go to get from the hood, to the arrow, to the green arrow. And I am not sure how they are gonna get there, but I'm  looking forward to seeing the next step.

     Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. :  we are left with Hydra initially dehydrated, then rehydrated by Grant Ward; The Inhumans defeated for now. Skye revealed as Daisy Johnson, AKA Quake, and about to get  her own team of enhanced agents. And Simmons, on the verge of finally having that first date with Fitz that we have wanted since 5 minutes into season1...getting sucked up into the new macguffin. All that and Coulson down a hand.

    Brooklyn 99: Captain Holt relegated to PR, and Jake and Amy kiss... and who is the new captain?

     Once Upon a Time: and the new villain is... Emma Swan!

     Supernatural: not the strongest season closer, but standard for the show. Renew the Winchesters bond, and introduce the big bad for next season.

     And finally....

     The Flash: I had high hopes for this show, and for 23 episodes, it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. For all the grim and purposeful darkness of Arrow, the Flash started on a note of heroic idealism, and held that note without getting corny, or self conscious. In the season finale, we have kind of an unnecessarily dire cliffhanger, with Barry racing into a world devouring vortex. Is he fast enough to stop it? If not, it will be a really short season 2.

Forever:  I liked it, thought they left it on a good note, but I guess I wanted a little more before we closed the book on Henry, Abe, Jo, and Lucas. I'm sad it cancelled.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Parragami, and other Avian News

    Tango has hit a point of being kind of aggressive to Sam. Total dominance/limit testing thing, but a small feathered psycho with a super-sharp beak and a better-than-working knowledge of Beakjitsu (4th degree green belt, 12th Dan)can put a serious hurt on fingers and other vulnerable parts.

     Sam's solution to the problem, since they do not make Lecter-masks (and she doesn't want to be tried with fava beans and chianti) in his size, was to turn to the near-forgotten art of Parragami, or "Parrot-Folding"

     Basically, she takes a shirt- usually one of mine. She holds it up, like a skilled Aviador, and waits for him. Tango leaps into the shirt...and gets folded up and has to find his way out. Rewind, repeat. Until one of them gets tired of it, or she gives him black oil sunflower seeds. He is also trying to teach her how to zip, but she has no beak.

     Now to a more serious subject. On the radio we have a man named Tom Martino, AKA the Troubleshooter. He has, for more than 30 years, tried to help people by giving advice, referrals, and mediation when they have trouble with a business. He can't help me with this, however.

     I put some talk radio on to keep Tango entertained, for about 2 weeks, maybe 3. I switch stations whenever he gets bored, and a lot of music stations tend to play the same songs until your ears bleed. Last night, Sam folded Tango into a shirt (charcoal gray, but that is not really a factor) and we both heard from the now wrapped parrot

"What's your Question?"
    It took me until this morning to figure out where that was being used so frequently, and I believe Mr. Martino uses that in the start of his calls and to keep people from going too anecdotal during a call.
     So I guess the moral here is that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And even if you are part of the solution, you probably taught my bird something new and weird to say. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Big Box Stores and Collectables Shopping

      I had an interesting experience at walmart today. I normally hit a store to do my shopping, make a beeline for toys and check to see what can be found, and shop from there. I will admit that this behavior does occasionally cause me to forget parts of my shopping list. But it is what I do.

     So today at the Walmart located at 440 Wadsworth, I had a shock, and not the good kind. you will see by the link what services they offer. What they appear no longer to offer, is transformers toys. Of any type, in any form. The space where they used to be in toys is blank. The employees around didn't know anything, nor did the co-manager. He offered me something lame about Jurassic World toys being important.

     I told him that an important part of any store I shop at is my collecting. And if their store didn't carry my interests, I would simply take my business elsewhere.

       More if this develops further.

     The sad thing is that the big box stores seem to be very shortsighted when it comes to collectibles. They buy in bulk, and so they have old product sitting around forever, and use that to justify saying "That brand isn't selling". Walmarts pegs are still littered with "pegwarmers" from last years Age of Extinction, but rather than clearancing the old stuff, they seem satisfied that stuff is on the shelves.

     Also of note...rather than getting people in who know that department. the department managers are often clueless, or simply apathetic.

     Don't get me wrong. I'm still going to shop. but if you want my money...get my toys in.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Assembly Complete

     As I sit here, with Applebees in my belly, and a gorgeous green parrot grooming on my shoulder,  I have seen the age of Ultron come, and have seen it pass. I have seen Avengers retire, and new ones step up.
Age of Ultron was a hell of a good ride. Good, consistent, character development from all that has gone before. New characters brought in ways consistent with both their comic origins and the Marvel cinematic universe.
The movie was worthy.
So was I.

     There were a few concessions made to simplify the mythology. Ultron was originally the brainchild of Dr. Henry Pym, rather than Tony Stark. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were mutants, not experimentally enhanced. And the Vision had a brain full of Simon Williams rather than Edwin Jarvis.

     All considered, however,they did the best possible job on the framework laid down by prior films. We get a dose of Pym particles in a couple of months time with Ant-Man.
     So Ultron shuffles off to sulk, to commiserate  with Proteus IV, Skynet, HAL, The Architect, and Brainiac about what might have been, and to think: " Next time..."
     And me? Well I want to pick up age of Ultron on DVD. Today. Not possible, I know, but the want is there.

Looking forward to Ant-Man  and Tomorrowland

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Tale of Summanus

     It's said that you never really know the service of a store while everything is going well. You only know them when things go sideways.

  • 2/28/2015: I ordered the eagerly awaited Summanus made by Planet X, from BigBad Toy Store
  • 3/5/2015: FedEx Deposits him upon my doorstep. I play with him, transforming back and forth a couple of times. I elect to display him in stegosaurus mode for a while. 
  • 5/4/2015: I take him down to transform him, and the last joint of his tail disintegrates
  • 5/4/2015: I go through several stages of grief
I pause here for pictures. the joint snapped, then just kept breaking.

  • 5/4/2015: I contact BigBad Toy Store, thinking it's a long shot. It's out of their posted guarantee period. 
  • 5/4/2015: Their customer service requests pictures. 
  • 5/5/2015: Customer Service reports that this is a known issue and that they are sending replacement parts from the manufacturer
  • 5/7/2015: replacement tail assembly arrives, is examined, and replaces the original on my Summanus figure. 
  • 5/7/2015: BigBad Toy Store becomes my official favorite online Re-Tailer
  • 5/7/2015: I finally take pics of Summanus

Planet X's engineering and aesthetic continues to astound me. it looks like they slightly reworked the weak joint, but I will continue to keep an eye on it. BigBad Toy Store amazes me with their service and dedication to their collectors happiness. I will continue as a loyal customer there.

Note: it is unknown if earthly Stegosaurs had large automatic shotguns mounted on their hips. Chances are, they did not. On the other hand, that could be why it's so hard to find a complete skeleton of a Tyranosaur

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Phase 2 Onward

     Phase 2 of the MCU begins with a different Tony Stark- or rather the same one, but shaken by what he has seen, and suffering panic attacks. 

(sorry, toys for this one were not to my standards of quality and articulation)
This was not my favorite on first viewing, but it has really grown on me over time. Iron Man 2 seemed like Starks darkest hour, and then his triumph, but 3 had him in an even darker place before his dawn, and took him back to his roots as "the mechanic". It was a lot of fun to watch him improvise weapons without his high tech armor, and be the hero, not just the suit. 

Most of the funnest moments in this one are in watching Thor and Loki work together. 


Gives us Cap working with the Widow, with a wonderful dose of the Falcon added in. You will note that Cap is on the Falcons left...

(for toys, see my post on IM3, above)

This film opens a new vista, a universe of possibilities. Despite having no heroes in it I have a strong connection to, this turned out to be my second favorite of the movies so far. 

So when I see Avengers this weekend...expect great things

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Phase 1 into Phase2 MCU

     If you have figured anything about me by now, you should know that I Binge before a big watching event, such as Transformers or a Marvel movie. Avengers: Age of Ultron is no exception to this process.

     I led up to the DVD release of Avengers Thusly, and started a few days ago this time with


Not much different to say about this one- it remains one of the best Superhero movies ever made.

From there, I moved on to THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Movie has some flaws- I don't think they had really cemented the plan when it was made, so it is shaky on some levels. 


is a helluva solid piece of cinema, and gives us a little slice of what is to come by adding The Black Widow (played to perfection by Scarlett Johansson). She is sleek, deceptive and 100% Femme Fatale


Gave us the Asgardian Avenger plus a cameo by Clint Barton, AKA Haweye. He has always been a favorite character of mine, due to my love of archery.

but none of these characters can be called 



 can. If Iron Man was perfection in an origin story, Captain America was sublime. It raised the standards, in the opinion of this writer. 

and put them all together, and you get THE AVENGERS