Jan 012019
 

It is now 18 years after the dreaded Y2K scare. I wonder if there is anyone still hiding in their bunkers. While the Y2K date issue was a valid bug in most software, it would never have caused the catastrophe the fear-mongers were predicting. Be that as it may, 2018 is over and another year is in the books. Most of us are still here but its hard to tell if any of us still like each other. Lots of people still have a hard time seeing past party boundaries and misguided political correctness. I’m going to cover a lot of the usual retrospective topics, I might throw in a couple of new items. So with that said, time for the 2018 Year in Review.

Notable Celebrity Deaths

I know this is rather macabre but I like to take this opportunity to talk about the celebrities we lost this year. I have two reasons for doing this. The important reason being to honor their memory. These people brought joy and entertainment to our lives, we owe them some homage. The other reason is merely for acknowledgement. There have been times in the past when I did not know a celebrity has passed away (e.g. when Leslie Nielsen died).

I’m only going to mention those in the entertainment industry. While I believe any person in political office definitely deserves recognition, I avoid making any political statements or allude to political leaning. Therefore I avoid mentioning specific names so as to not show favoritism toward any one political party. I will say that I appreciate their valuable service to our country and that I hope their actions were driven by their heart and values and not by kickbacks or constituent persuasion.

Celebrity Deaths: TV

John Mahoney as Martin Crane

Jerry Van Dyke (86) is widely known for his role as Luther in Coach. He was also the younger brother of legendary actor Dick Van Dyke. I didn’t watch a lot of Coach but Luther was hilarious, much like Jerry himself. Going from brother’s to father’s, I was really sad to learn about the passing of John Mahoney (77). My all time favorite show is Frasier and John Mahoney was Martin Crane, the crotchety father of Niles and Frasier. One of the most surprising facts about John Mahoney that blew my mind, he was born in the UK, he should have had an accent very similar to Daphne Moon in Frasier. Speaking of great shows from the past, Night Court was a fantastic show from the mid-80s with the honorable Harry Stone portrayed by Harry Anderson (65) who left us too soon from a stroke.

Celebrity Deaths: Movies

I know several of the TV actors that passed away were also in movies, but they are better known for their TV roles. So, with that said, we start notable movie deaths with R. Lee Ermey (74). Everyone probably knows him best as Gny. Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, I think a drill sergeant is a role he was most comfortable playing as it seemed its a role he

Mini-Me

was always playing. We had to give a heartfelt good-bye to “the Bandit“, Burt Reynolds (82) was definitely one of the “good ol’ boys” and watching old Celebrity Jeopardy videos will never be the same. Speaking of iconic roles, Verne Troyer (49) will always be known for his role as “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers franchise. He brought a lot of joy to the role however, despite all that Verne Troyer drank himself to death. Please watch your friends for early warning signs of depression. There were far too many celebrity suicides this year and I’m sure it represents a mere sample size of the number of deaths by suicide in the country.

And Then There’s Stan Lee

I’ve already said a lot about Stan Lee. Losing him is a mighty blow to Marvel and comic book fans. X-Men is the only comic book I ever read as a kid and I’ve enjoyed all of the comics brought to the screen. Stan Lee inspired all geeks to be ourselves and fight for your dreams. He would have been 96 this past December; while nearly a century old, his legacy will live on for many centuries to come.  

Continue Reading for Movies, FitBit Stats and Biggs’s Lab projects

Jan 012019
 

Time to make those conventional New Year intentions. I wasn’t very successful in 2018; while I did make an effort to fulfill my intentions, I fell short on a few. The Reading Challenge and Professional Skills Development is where I was really lacking. The important thing is I never gave up attempting to meet my intentions, many resolutions barely survive the third week. Be that as it may, here are my 2019 New Years intentions.

Biggs Labs – Smart Home

I actually made some strides in my home automation projects and I will go into detail of that in the upcoming “Year in Review” post. Just know that Samsung really handicapped me with the sudden change to the app. I’m not really sure what the goal will be for 2019 for any of my home automation endeavors (other than fixing the bugs and issues from 2018). I know we have a few more things we want to integrate, we just haven’t purchased them yet and I’m not entirely sure I’m done with the Raspberry Pi and home automation integration. Watch for a (long overdue) Biggs Lab post in 2019.

2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge

really dropped the ball with my 2018 Reading Challenge. I set a reasonable goal of 12 books and only (just barely) finished 9. I’m resetting that goal to 12 books again for 2019 and I have a few Dresden books in mind to help me hit that goal. I also have some Star Wars books that are going to carry over from 2018 plus a couple more I’ve added to the list for this year.

As is always my style, when I complete a book I will post a corresponding book review that you will find both on Goodreads and on Amazon.

2019 Fitness and Health Goals

This category is going to be a big focus area for me this year. Of all the areas I’ve been making intentions, this is the one where I’m most successful. I will be kicking things up a notch in 2019. Now that I have two 5k races under my belt, I think it’s time to try for the 10k this year. Granted this isn’t necessarily just my choice; I’ve been encouraging friends to run more and they, in turn, are now challenging me to run a 10k. I will also be putting a heavier emphasis on additional fitness training (i.e. strength and core workouts).

Also, a few years ago I said that when I hit 40 I’m going to stop drinking so much soda. Therefore, since 2019 is the year before I turn 40 I am going to start by reducing the amount of pop I’m drinking on a daily basis. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have completely stopped. I’m also going to alter my diet a bit by more than just reducing portions. I’m going to watch what else is in my food before I eat it. No, I am NOT going vegan (I’d rather castrate myself with a broken coke bottle).

Mental health is just as important as physical health and I believe there is something very toxic to my mental health in my life. Social Media. The things I see on Facebook and Twitter sometime infuriate me to the point where I say and think things that are not very nice. I need to cleanse myself of that toxicity. Therefore, I will be greatly reducing my social media footprint in 2019. I’m going to reduce how much time I spend on Facebook and Twitter; hopefully down to maybe once or twice a week. I will find out what is going on the old fashioned way, talk to people. (I know, not very introverted of me).

I’m going to stop here. I don’t want to go into the Professional Skills Development this year as I don’t know what I’m going to do in that area. It’s so volatile that I cannot accurately decide on a skill set to focus on. So with that said …

Happy New Year!!

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Dec 202018
 

The next few days are going to be quite frenzied. Coordinating and orchestrating Christmas has its challenges and often leaves little room for anything else. With that said I want to take a quick opportunity to wish all those reading this (the 2 or 3 of you that exist) a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

I do appreciate any readers that I have and please always feel free to leave comments (so I know you exist). As long as the comments are not explicit or spam. You can disagree with me, you can simply say “nice post” or “nice ass”. I won’t get offended (I don’t offend easily).

Bet that as it may, enjoy the rare photo of myself in one (of 3) Christmas hats. Merry Christmas and God Bless.


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Nov 262018
 

The Grinch

Directed By: Scott MosierYarrow Cheney
StarringBenedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams

My Rating: 

I’m not really sure why there has to be another retelling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The only thing I found appealing was the voice acting of Benedict Cumberbatch. If I didn’t have a 4-year-old that loves the Grinch I probably wouldn’t have spent the time (or money) to see this movie in the theater. With that said, this is my movie review of The Grinch.

I don’t think I need to provide a synopsis of the movie. You should know the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This version of the classic story maintains the essence that Boris Karloff brought to life 52 years ago. Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant, as usual, and Max is just as lovable.

Modern Twist, Missing Text

I only heard “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch” once, and it was very brief. Also, it has a modern, hip hop twist to it that doesn’t match the essence of the story. The Grinch is not some gangster so it was just inappropriate. In the 1966 version you hear that song during the entire heist. The song is fundamental to the entire movie. It’s disappointing that its missing from a majority of the film.

Pharrell Williams is the narrator for this version, and he does a decent job. I just wish they kept all of the original text. Near the beginning of the movie you hear a lot of the original text, and they added some of their own. About half way through, it’s all new text and little to none of the original text. They keep with the Dr. Seuss prose but it begins to feel less like the beloved Grinch movie.

Overall it’s better than the Jim Carrey version of the movie. My daughter enjoyed it, which is all that matters, but I wouldn’t pay to see it again.

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Nov 152018
 

RIP Stan LeeNow that we have all had time to process the heartbreaking passing of Stan Lee, it’s time to dedicate a post to his legacy. The image to the right is one of my favorite, of the thousands of memes folks are sharing since his death. The truth in the image is indescribable. Only one other being has ever created a universe as massive and powerful as the one Stan Lee created. He has been inspiring us for 95 years so he was no spring chicken. His passing should come as no surprise, but we grieve the loss of such an extraordinary man. RIP Stan Lee.

For Me, It Started with X-Men

You didn’t openly talk about comic books in high school. Even our conversations regarding Star Wars or Star Trek were clandestine. My dad was into X-Men and thus that is where I began in the Marvel Universe. X-Men are still my favorite; the comics, the animated series and, eventually, the movies. Avengers are pretty good too. Stan Lee was one of the first ones to tell us that it’s OK to be a geek. He taught us that no matter what the world thinks of us, we should never be afraid to embrace our passions.

[Being a ‘geek’] has become a badge of honor. It’s geeks who really make or break a TV show or movie or videogame. They’re the ones who are passionate about these things and who collect [the paraphernalia] and talk about them.Washington Post

And Then Came Marvel Studios

Stan Lee as a Force ghost

Stan Lee is now one with the Force

When we heard that live action films of our favorite Marvel heroes was in the works, we were all rejoicing. I know in the back of our minds we hoped it wouldn’t ruin our favorite comic books. It was a comfort to know that Stan Lee was attached to all the projects. If Stan Lee was involved then all directorial decisions had to have been approved.

I think we all remember that first Stan Lee cameo in the X-Men movie. Its been an Easter Egg hunt for him in every Marvel film since then. We all felt like we just saw our grandpa in a movie. His paternal influence and sense of humor are his most endearing qualities. When we are watching the Marvel movies again and see his cameos it’s going to tug on the heart-strings. The lamentations will be stronger knowing that those cameos will be missing in future projects. It’ll feel a bit like seeing the end of Rogue One just after Carrie Fisher died; and its going to be hard to imagine the Marvel Universe without him. Who will carry on this man’s extraordinary legacy? How do we move forward from here? I know how Stan would respond  – “Excelsior!”

RIP Stan Lee and Thank You


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Nov 112018
 

I’m sure many are waiting for my manbaby to emerge and tantrum after the cancellation of the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan movies. The truth is that I’m not bothered by it at all. In fact the decision makes sense. It has absolutely nothing to do with the poor box office performance of the Solo movie. As much as the butt-hurt manbabies try to rationalize, the poor performance is not the result of fan protest. Fans actually went to see the Han Solo movie! That being said, why am I not butt-hurt about the cancellations?

We Know Boba Fett’s Origin

Fan art of Boba Fett’s escape – by Deviant Art

I don’t think Disney mentioned the plot of the Boba Fett movie. The other non-Skywalker movies take place between Episode 3 and Episode 4. I really doubt that a Boba Fett origin film was planned. Attack of the Clones is essentially the origin story. He’s a clone of Jango Fett that remained unaltered. I think it would be a surprise if this was the intended plot of the movie.

So if it’s not an origin story, there is only one other logical story line. The story line that has been an enigma since Return of the Jedi. Boba Fett’s rumored escape from the Sarlacc in the Pit of Carkoon. This is the story I believe Disney would have pursued. Everyone wants to know how Boba Fett survives the Sarlacc but I’m glad we won’t. I would prefer this remain a mystery, why ruin it? Now we are left to the manifestations of our own minds, which are better than any producer, writer or director could ever imagine. Besides, we wouldn’t have as much excellent fan art and depictions.

What Would We Learn About Obi-Wan?

The bigger mystery of these two movies is what would the plot be of the Obi-Wan movie? We learn more about the Death Star plans in Rogue One. We learn about how Han and Chewie met, the Kessel Run and the Millennium Falcon in the Solo movie. What would we have learned about Obi-Wan? The prequels told us how he became a General and the Clone Wars animated series told us how he and Anakin became friends.

A couple of reports emerged that suggested the story was going to take place while Obi-Wan was in exile in the Jundland Wastes on Tatooine. He would become involved with some kind of conflict between local farmers and the Sand People. It’s not a story I was terribly excited about, therefore cancelling this movie made sense to me. Besides, I think what we all really wanted to see is Ewan McGreggor as Obi-Wan Kenobi again.

The cancellation of the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan movies was the smart move by Disney. While we all really want to see more of the two biggest bad asses in the franchise, I think it’s better they remain enigmatic. I don’t think this is the end of more “Star Wars Story” films. I would love to see Donald Glover reprise Lando in his own film, which Lucasfilm has hinted at before.

/MTFBWY

The Force. It calls to you. Just let it in.