Weekly Recap

Well, last week wasn’t as busy as the week before.  Which was good because I was exhausted throughout

I’m writing this on my new computer.  That is a thing that happened.  I spent yesterday afternoon doing the configurating.

But I’m jumping ahead.  First my brother returned from the wilds.  He brought with him comics.  Lots and lots of comics.  Sometime on Saturday night I finished the final one.,  As I tell you about the other stuff I did just assume that I was also in the middle of reading a comic at the same time.

I’m collecting some good series these days.  I am.  Image is particular is releasing a lot of interesting material.

I also read a couple non-fiction books.  This is atypical for me.  Normally I just read fiction.  Reading those books reminds me of why.  I mostly just grew annoyed.  One was a Catholic apologetic book.  The other was on the history of D&D.   I read the books and want to do nothing but sit and argue with the authors.  Generally they are writing things I agree with, but that actually gets more even more riled up.

I was sick on Wednesday.  I was scheduled to take Friday off, but instead I worked since I had missed Wednesday.  Work is going quite well.

I had folks over for gaming on Friday.  I kicked butt at a game of Eclipse.  In theory I was playing the aggressive race designed for attacking.  I couldn’t find many people to attack.  And I didn’t develop my ships well.  Really I played my race poorly.  But instead I had many opportunities to make points.  This I did.  Going into the endgame I had a solid lead.  Then Tim sneak attacked me. He’d ended up making his ships much tougher.  This put Dave in the lead.  So in the final turn Tim attacked Dave.  Tim is a vicious player.  It was the right move though.  Dave was certainly winning, but it didn’t give Tim quite enough points to win.  One rule adjudication we made might have changed that.

The last attack hurt Dave quite a bit though.  Since it didn’t help Tim enough, I ended up picking up so last turn points and squeaking a victory by a single point.

We aren’t a good group for in your face conflict.

Sunday I attended mass.  I welcomed our new priest to the parish.  That was cool.

I also fielded questions about what D&D monsters can be domesticated and what monsters could beat Orcus.  This is my highlight for the week!  Sigh.  I’m still a 12 year old at heart.

Then I bought a computer.  Then Robin and I went to a movie.  It was a good show.  We saw Elysium.  As Rob pointed out, the whole show was fairly predictable, but it was put together fairly well.    It was cool hanging out with Robin.  I like hanging out with my friends.

Wheelchair watch 2013 – All paperwork is now in.  Now we wait.  September 20th is when my application will be reviewed.  Likely there won’t be much to report in this watch until then.  I will try to short-circuit the process this week, but I don’t hold up much hope.

That is the week.  Travel safe traveling people.

Weekly Recap

Three of the four 17 year olds in this photo are now 40. One more to go.

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This was a big week for Toddly. Lots to cover.

Saturday I had guests. Pauly brought his two eldest over for a quick visit. That was cool. Tom asked me what Wolverine’s weakness is. 🙂 I gave a great, horrible answer. Tom wanted to know if he could be injured or die. Well, I can think of at least three times Wolvie has died – all in alternate time lines. I’m sure there are more. So the easy answer would have been that a sentinel could blast him. But I’ve also read a comic where he lived through a nuclear blast (plus see the most recent movie). So I skipped the easy answer.

My instinct was to get meta with my answer. His capacity to be wounded and hurt is entirely dependant on the necessities of the plot. But that would have been a crap answer for a kid.

I’m doing all this in my head while Tom is looking at me expectantly.

The answer I gave is that he is vulnerable through his relationships. Wolverine has the habit of mentoring young women: Katie Power, Kitty Pride, and Jubilee are examples, but not the only ones. Wolverine can go off his nut when they are threatened. That is a pretty good answer I think, but not very satisfying for the boy.

Still it was my favourite moment of the week.

Treek visited. Then he was off to the States to see his girlfriend. Yeah. That happened.

Mom visited. Hey Mom! Soon she will be in Tuktoyaktuk.

I thought gaming would fall apart on Friday. But I ended up with two surprise, welcome guests. We played a game until I botched the rules enough that there was no use continuing. Then Pauly stole my keys which did lead to his return the next day.

I read several books. None worth writing about unfortunately.

I’ve watched two episodes of Breaking Bad. It is slow and fast. Taut and yet… I dunno. Nothing ever happens per my expectations. This late summer is just dynamite for TV.

On Sunday I passed my kidney stone. Yay! I’m not sure I’d even mentioned it. I had a week or so of moderate pain back in July. Since then I thought it was gone. I figured it already passed. Nope. Saturday night it made itself known and I have no doubt about where it is now.

Finally, Wheelchair watch 2013 – well gah! The good news is that my facilitator is back from holiday. I finished my to do list. But it turns out my cheaper quote is likely missing a $3000 part. And now there is a new hoop to jump through too. Figuring that out is my task for tomorrow. In general, not much progress in the last week.

Hey, that was a lot. My thoughts and prayers are with the sick and the travelling. Take care.

Now I will watch Newsroom!

Geek cool

I spent a lot time time worrying about being cool when I was younger. I was almost positive I wasn’t cool, but I didn’t really want other to realize that. Especially strangers – it was easier being honest with those who knew me.

I had particular trouble with cool places: record stores or clothing shops and the like. I was acutely aware that a misstep here would reveal my distinct lack of cool. I wouldn’t dress in fashion because to go into a store and ask about the fashion would show that I had nary a clue.

My conception of what cool was was entirely based on the Fonz. Clothes, hair, motorbike. A way with ladies. But most of all a cool self-assurance that was the opposite of me. The Fonz knew he was cool and that would draw people to him. I felt I was not and that knowledge would drive people away. He didn’t care, but I cared desperately.

My Dad used to say, “Tha”s cool.” I was pretty sure he wasn’t cool either.

What I was sure of was that I was a geek. A geek is pretty much the opposite of cool. Geeks liked science, science fiction, computers, games and comic books. A geek might say, “Tha”s cool” the same way my father did.

I’ve been thinking about cool and geeks lately. Since I was a teen I’ve greatly reevaluated my definitions of both. My new definitions don’t put them at the opposite ends of a spectrum. Rather they are descriptors that could easily both be ascribed to the same person.

I read/watched the following three items recently and they helped crystallize my thoughts. Goodfellas, Wil Wheaton on Geeks and a UK teacher on technological literacy. . Mostly because I quite disagree with all three.

🙂

For my definition of cool, we can take away the clothes, hair, motorbikes and ladies, but you need to leave behind the self-assurance. Cool is an attitude and that is all that it is.

For my definition of geek, we can take away the games, comics and computers and leave the way you interact with something. You find something, anything really, and devote yourself to it. Devote yourself in a manner beyond the norm.

Geek might require a couple examples. A sports geek (often called a fan) doesn’t just watch sports. They need to interact beyond that. Talk shows, fantasy leagues, box scores, collecting their team’s swag. A sci-if geek doesn’t just read books. Collect books, blog about books, follow authors on twitter, write fan fiction and go to conventions.

In their extreme neither cool nor geek are healthy. Too cool is vanity, disassociation and self-denial. Too geeky is devoting yourself to your interest to the exclusion of everything else. This is where I have a problem with Wheaton’s speech and Goodfellas (who are in this context very cool geeks). Just loving something isn’t right. It ignores excess. In the, admittedly, extreme case in Goodfellas that results in a lot of dead people. Within the bubble of the geekdom, extreme behaviour can seem normal.

I think there is room to be a geek about 1 or 2 things in everyone’s life with the proviso that there is room for other normal non-geek relationships too. Temperance and moderation are not common watchwords today, but their importance has likely only grown greater. (I have a blog about virtues I want to get to soon too. But I still haven’t wrapped up my July list of blogs to publish.)

Professionals in a field don’t have to be geeks in that field. A sci-if writer, an athlete and an IT analyst might just be doing the work. They might even love the work although that isn’t necessary. But that love comes from accomplishment. The love of the geek is experiential. Not quite the same.

But I do think at the apex of every field you will either find a cool geek in that field or a cool geek whose interest is motivating geeks in that field.

It is easier to be a cool geek now than the 80s. Many geeky subjects are less reviled now due to their ubiquity. But that doesn’t mean there will be more geeks. That is where I think the UK teacher goes awry. He assumes that because computers are everywhere a greater percentage of people should geek out to them. But most people just want them to be tools. Tools that allow them to explore their actual interests or needs. There aren’t more computer geeks. Just more computers. And we should not expect everyone to code a regex or discern the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet.

But the Internet does allow us to interact with more cool geeks than ever before. That is pretty neat. Although the risk of us summing ourselves in a like minded crowd and turning geek era into obsession is greater too.

It doesn’t matter though. Cool geeks always existed.

It would be a great ending if I could circle around and point out that my Dad was my example of a cool geek. He really wasn’t though. I can’t think of anything he geeked out over. He was a should of moderation.

But as I now say these days, just as Dad used to say it, “Tha”s cool too.” That is decently cool.

Recap or some étude thereof

Wheelchair watch 2013 – almost zero progress to report since last week. Hmm. I should have more to report next week.

Starting last week we started a big change at work. I was most worried about having to remotely touch all the laptops around the province. If it went wrong, I’d be sending staff hither and yon for the rest of the month. The change went well. But all week everything else slowly blew up until Friday.

Friday was the day I kicked butt. Problems up and solutions down. Everything I touched worked. My team was excellent all week. I helped that last day. We went half live successfully today. The laptops go tomorrow and they’ll be fine.

Thursday I took my team out for drinks. Actually I invited some Service Alberta folks. It had a dual purpose. First to let my network team meet theirs. I always feel people work better together after meeting. Second, to thank SA for the help they’ve provided us. The second goal was a success. The first a failure as only one of my network guys showed up (bad timing, not negligence).

But we met a small crew from Enbridge too. They were also meeting Service Alberta folks. Together, the three groups were a decent sized party. I had a lot of fun. Much like work I ended up talking most with Tony and Suellen. They, and others, all seem good.

Then there were the normal comics and tv.

That was the week. And y’all?

Take care and stay good.

The Wolverine – a review

I liked this movie. It has a good character arc for Wolverine. In fact, a lot of the character work and acting is good. It also has some excellent fight scenes.

But I cannot recommend this movie. The plot makes no sense. The climax is fumbled. And the use of the Japanese setting and culture is wasted.

After the cold open, which is pretty cool, we find Logan (Wolverine) depressed and isolating himself in the northern woods. A young Japanese warrior named Yukio finds him and cajoles him to go to Japan to honour a promise made 60 years ago.

What awaits Logan is complicated. An old soldier, family intrigue, high technology, a venomous mutant, and ninjas are just some of the elements.

From the trailers it might seem as though the movie is about Wolverine losing his powers, but it isn’t. It is about Logan learning he is a hero with or without powers, with or without a costume. That it what works.

Those plot threads I mentioned before? Every one is botched before the end. Even the mutant power loss is botched as a plot point although it works as a character point.

You can ignore all that and enjoy the action though. Wolverine vs a horde of yakuza, Wolverine vs. more yakuza on a train, Wolverine vs. a samurai, Wolverine vs. a horde of ninjas, and the end battle. A battle I won’t spoil, but which is out of place after the yakuza, yakuza, samurai, ninja setup. The final battle is also less cool than the ones before, but it is still exciting.

The story draws inspiration from the first Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. I’ve never actually read it, but I know it from the impact it has had on the character since. The movie has all the same elements, but it mixes them in a very different way. In comics, the Japanese setting is generally used to contrast Wolverine’s basic feral nature with the reserve, disciple and honour of a samurai. Plus ninjas. The movie had the ninjas, but a different theme. I missed the old theme.

Finally, the movie has a cool credits sequence.