My tweets of the last week:
Archives for July 2011
My tweets of the last week:
This weekend E, Amanda Nan, and I held our penultimate PotterThon – a 24hr sequential viewing of all of the Harry Potter DVDs that includes reverential silence, spirited debate, Mystery Science Theatre-style heckling, and reading passages out of the books to prove each other wrong. We followed it up with a trip to the theatre to see Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
(The final PotterThon will be held around Christmas when the full set emerges on Blu-Ray, and will feature considerably more champagne than one typically finds in a movie theatre.)
We all thought Harry Potter 7.2 was an immensely satisfying conclusion to the film series. It hit all of the major moments from the book, sometimes enhancing them from Rowling’s rushed read on events in the back half of Deathly Hallows. Even if it lacked a bit of heart and turned a certain pair of good guys into terrorist murderers, I still think it’s about as pitch-perfect as possible.
That’s not true for the other seven movies, as we love to hash out during the rest of PotterThon. Each of them manages to leave out a few key moments from the books.
I’m not talking about things that are best left on the cutting room floor, either for content or just not making sense on screen. Viewers were better off without SPEW, a centaur professor, Dumbledore’s unabridged life story, a Death Eater with a baby head, Voldemort’s (in)breeding, and Nearly Headless Nick’s death day. No, these are the sorts of things that actually could have improved the movies.
Here’s what we came up with… [Read more…] about Top 12 Omissions from the Harry Potter Movies
My tweets of the last week:
Here’s something I don’t do too often anymore.
This is me:
This is how I feel:
Right now I feel wired and exhausted.
You know that not-enough-sleep plus caffeine feeling? Hell, you might operate exclusively upon that feeling on a daily basis.
That’s not normal operating procedure for me. Mostly because giving me any amount of caffeine is like giving me really good drugs from before I was born – the kind Robin Williams did routines about. That’s me on caffeine.
Instead of being high on that, I’m high on my own body. I’ve been waking up super-extra early, partially due to the obscene bird chirping action going on in our yard, but partially to go to the gym as much as possible.
(Yes. Me. Exercising and liking it. Do not be alarmed. I swear, this is still Peter typing to you. This is not Pod-Peter. Even if Pod-Peter would say that. You have to believe me. I’m real.)
Today the gym didn’t have yoga or pilates or whatever, so I picked the next most girlish class I could find: Zumba, of all things.
Let me tell you: I was one very obvious white boy with moderate rhythm in a Zumbariffic room full of all colors of soulful, rhythmic women.
But guess what? I grew up doing Zumba – every week with my mother.
Okay, not actual Zumba. In the 80s it was called “dancing like Tina Turner,” which my mother is adept at doing. Highly, highly adept. Much more than you could ever hope to be.
I am much, much less adept at doing it, and I move my whole lower body when the women are moving just their pelvic bones, but if I can do anything it’s shaking my ass to the beat for 45 minutes straight. My mother might have not put a lot of expectations on me as child, but that was one.
I Zumba very well, thank you. Well, and with more sweat than I ever knew my body could generate in a single week.
After an intense gym day I get this hollow feeling. Not hollow like an egg shell with the egg sucked out of it. Hollow like something waiting to be full, and hoping I’ll be awake and upright long enough to do it.
Like I said, wired and exhausted.
This past week I’ve felt fulfilled.
E and I just made it through an insane pair of months featuring three weddings of three of my best friends, two of which I was in the parties for, and one of which I co-planned and dungeon-mastered and hosted the bachelorette party of.
That’s a lot of nuptial bliss to absorb in a short amount of time. I feel like I’m living inside of one of those TV wedding shows. To make things more surreal, E is designing wedding invites and errata for even more of our friends.
Our house is the mother effing My Best Friend’s Wedding channel.
Meanwhile, I rehearsed twice a week with two rock bands on two different instruments on which I need to know about 50 collective songs, which only get notated for me if I notate them myself. We played three shows in this pair of months.
Our house is also Rock Band Central (playing of the game Rock Band notwithstanding).
Also, E and I threw a housewarming party a day after going to #140conf in NYC. And I emceed two health fairs. Oh, and there’s the matter of having the best third wheel ever as a roommate – E’s brother has been here the entire time while acting at the Walnut St.
And I got my driver’s license.
Our house is insane.
You know what? I chose it all. Friends I love and music I love and people I love. I got myself into it all at once, and I made it out. I didn’t freak out. I still was as awesome as possible every day at work. I didn’t quit anything or cancel any engagements. I only got sick for a day or two (stupid conference cold).
I chose it all. Two months of projects are over, and I’m lining up the next two months. Driving. Blogging. Recording. Top secrety secreting. And I’m going to love it all.
I like it: feeling fulfilled.
On the whole I feel accomplished.
I’ve made many choices the past few years – to get married, buy a house, to make and break friendships, to collect thousands of X-Men comics.
To learn to drive. To get in shape.
You know, important choices. Choices that often started off as nebulous goals.
All of my friends and co-workers know about my annual “GOALS” spreadsheet. Some have even stared into the visage of the mythical beast which, like Medusa, can turn lesser men into stone with its stringent requirements and merciless points system.
It’s less like a normal person’s goals and more like the balance sheet for a Fortune 500 company.
Most goal-setting people say when you set a goal you should visualize how your life will change when you achieve your goal. Maybe my fantasy life is already over-active, so that has never worked for me. Unless my goal is going to result in me becoming a superhero, nothing in my head is going to be particularly more exciting than the daydream I just had about dueting with Lady Gaga on “Love Game.” Not even having a six-pack of abs is as cool as either of those things.
Me, I just like having hard things to accomplish. I don’t always choose the most rational thing to accomplish, but it’s always something within my power as President and CEO of Peter to achieve.
And do you know how the Fortune 500 company of me is doing right now, as we start Q3 2011?
Really well. Highly achieving. Moving forward in all areas – work, blog, rock, and house. Achieving things I didn’t even originally set out to achieve, like (healthily) losing weight and having CK earn some money for once.
Buy some stock in me while I’m cheap.
I feel accomplished.
This is me, and this is how I feel: happy.
My tweets of the last week:
Does this describe you: You dig the X-Men – from the movies, cartoons, toys, or video games – but you’ve never read a comic book.
It’s not so unusual! In the nearly fifty years since their introduction in 1963 The X-Men have become a ubiquitous pop culture presence – making the word “mutant” synonymous with being a superhero.
While it’s easy to be an X-Fan without ever touching a comic book, if you’ve never read a comic you’re missing out! At their best, X-Men comics far outstrip their representations in any other medium.
However, it’s hard to know what’s “best” with almost 50 years of comics to choose from – over 3,500 individual issues of dozens of titles. Plus, those comics are collected in hundreds of “trade paperbacks” or “graphic novels,” making your entrance into comics even more confusing. I created a Definitive Guide to Collecting X-Men to help, but it’s still hard to know where to begin.
What to do? Try this – a budget path to becoming a quickly well-read X-Men comics fan.
- For under $25 each, every one of these books stands alone as an excellent story whose effect can be seen monthly in today’s comics.
- For under $125 for them all, they make a terrific condensed crash course through half-a-century of comics legacy.
Intro to X-Men for $125 or less
Why? The 1980-81 Dark Phoenix Saga remains one of the pinnacles of the X-Men’s long history, as well as one of the most widely acclaimed stories in all of comics. It takes the team from the New York sewer to a distant galaxy, with displays of powers and pathos throughout. Writer Chris Claremont does a great job of introducing each character and explaining what they can do, which makes this a perfect starting place. (Watch out – there’s also a $75 hardcover with the same title and issues – it’s not worth it!)
Why? Witness the end of Chris Claremont’s unparalleled era of solo scripting as well as the pinnacle of X-Men’s popularity with this multi-million selling introductory arc from 1991-92. This affordable hardcover pits the team against Magneto, Sabretooth, and brand new foe Omega Red. If you loved the 90s X-Men cartoon this version of the team will seem very familiar to you.
Why? Notable comic author Grant Morrison was brought in to reboot the X-Men’s secondary title to be more palatable to fans of their hit movie debut. As long as he slimmed down the roster and slipped them into black leather he was allowed a slew of liberties, like killing millions of people and breaking up a marquee Marvel romance. While his fast-paced, sci-fi laced writing can sometimes be off-putting, there’s no denying he plotted one of the best introductory arcs the X-Men have ever seen.
Why? Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon took the reigns in the wake of Grant Morrison and started with a hugely entertaining blockbuster arc. He maintains Morrison’s brisk pace, but focuses more on finding the definitive voice of the characters – especially fan-favorite Kitty Pryde. This story sets the scene for the last few years of X-Men, with Cyclops and White Queen in charge of the mutant race.
Why? This one is advanced level reading! Messiah Complex represented a huge change in status quo for the X-titles as the teams scrambled to find the first mutant baby born since the species was decimated. The process is a cinematic adventure that pits friends against friends, features some brutal fights, and fractures several long-time bonds across the X-Men. It lives up to its “complex” title, so be prepared to not recognize much of the huge cast of X-Factor and Academy-X students.
Why? Enter the modern age of X-Men, with the entire mutant race pulling up stakes from New York to move to San Francisco. This book captures a brief arc that followed Messiah Complex as well as a collection of short stories that will help you get to know the newer characters. From here you should be ready to pick up any newer X-book. (Beware, there is a second title with the same name and a different cover).
This is the first post in what could become a new series, so your feedback is appreciated! Are you a longstanding fan with a different where-to-start suggestion? Are you a new fan who nabbed one of these books and came back confused? Or, are you already started, and need second-step suggestions? Let me know in the comments.
In 2008, my bachelor party (planned by Gina and four of my other closest friends) was an 80s Prom entitled “Like a Virgin.” It came complete with DJ, decorations, catering, and friends dressed in period fashions – with hair to match. Plus, the DJ was actually a karaoke emcee, and all of the 80s tunes were sung by my friends and I.
Now, I am more than a little competitive. Not in the playing sports, head-to-head, high score kinda of way. I could care less, but not by much.
No, my style of competitive is “anything you can do I can do better.” Like, my blog is the longest running in Philadelphia, or I have the most expansive guide to collecting X-Men on the internet, or when Bruno Mars tracks came out for Rock Band 3 I wouldn’t let bro go to bed until we had 100% and were ranked in the top 30 internationally of all harmony vocalists.
Thus, when I was charged with planning Gina’s bachelorette party along with her best friends Kelly (a chemist in Belgium) and Mikki (an architecht & non-profit organizer in Seattle), I had something to prove. I had to conceive of the most memorable, most epic, and most fitting Bachelorette Adventure possible without actually having Gina go on tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.
My first impulse was to plan something with music and the 80s, but… surprise! Gina had already won the “Best Party Ever” designation in that category.
As Kelly, Mikki, and I talked about it over the course of several months, we kept coming back to a “this is your life” tour through Philadelphia landmarks. It was a cool idea, but didn’t sound fun. There’s your house! There’s your high school! Isn’t this awesome!?
We kept talking. What if it was a City Chase version, with special clues and teams racing the city? Cooler, but not the best format for celebrating around a single person. But, what if each location held a special challenge for the team – half Amazing Race, half Double Dare?
Now we were getting somewhere. We picked some locations and made up a few challenges. It was sounding somewhat entertaining, but not EPIC. It was lacking a grand scale and a clear theme, other than walking around Philly for eight hours.
Then, I had a not-rare-but-not-nearly-common-enough stroke of mad genius while idly humming one of Gina’s Arcati Crisis songs, “Fisher Price,” which goes a bit like this…
There comes a time when you realize
That you don’t get anymore chances
There’s no extra lives
You don’t get big from a magic mushroom
And you don’t find coins in an underground room.
My epiphany? Gina’s Bachelorette Adventure would be a video game. A real life video game that was part Super Mario Brothers, part Grand Theft Auto, and part live-action role playing game – all with Gina’s favorite parts of Philadelphia as its world map.
It sounded suitably epic, but would it make any sense to Kelly and Mikki… or to Gina and the 20 friends she asked us to invite?
Tune in for the next installment to hear how our motley trio planned to turn Philadelphia into a massive game board, and how having crafty and artist co-conspirators elevated my insanity to a whole new level.