accent shadow

Hidden Figures (2016) and Lion (2016)

I still pay for this account, so i guess i should use it sometimes, huh.
Everything about the movie fit into a nice neat package for me - nothing felt overly drawn out, nothing felt left out, and the pacing of everything felt exactly right.  The only real complaint I can lodge is that I've only ever seen Aldis Hodge in Leverage and his character in that was so drastically different than his character in this movie that it distracted me.  I guess if i wanted to nitpick, i could say that there were aspects that felt like they had dramatic potential but weren't actually dramatic, but that's probably because since this was based on real events, they opted to keep it more pure rather than exaggerate the drama, and given the choice between one over the other, i'll take pure over exaggerated any day.  Somewhere around the end of the movie, the question came into my head about whether Trump or other whites would look at this and deny that it happened this way, but i think it's more likely that they just wouldn't watch the movie at all.


The first "act" of the movie was pretty great, the last "act" of the movie was similarly pretty great.  The middle part I wasn't into so much becuase the Saroo's conflicts - with Lucy, Mantosh, his family to a degree - all felt half-assed and I would have preferred that that conflict was dealt with either more deeply or not at all.  Not that it needed more time necessarily, but maybe it needed more weight or impact because ultimately it made the story feel like it was in a spin cycle and directionless rather than contributing to the end goal.  Unlike Hidden Figures i don't think i would ever feel the need to watch it again, but i'm still glad that I did because it's a neat story and they did a decent job in telling it.  Also, i wish that that main theme music was used about 50% of the time because boy did it get old.


In general I get this sense that the film industry as of late has been trying to fill in some sort of void that's being left by the wake of the current political climate.  It's kind of like how there was an increase in positive military stories or superhero stories after the 9/11 attack and other signs of terrorism - an entertainment industry push for either some srot of escapism or some sort of perception steer one step at a time.  Both of these movies feel like they're designed to do a similar thing but with a different sort of message - one showing a historical example of racism at a time when racism is making some sort of comeback and is trying to push against that, and one that is deliberately designed as a movie for an american audience that has no american context whatsoever and is trying to create a sense of global versus national outlook of our worldview.  I dunno though, i might be reading that wrong.  I don't actually pay attention to movies a whole lot.
accent shadow

PT Part 2: pain management skills

I have a pretty high tolerance for pain which is great for pushing through life things but not so great for diagnosis.

Sudden pain is something i typically notice, but sometimes it doesn't register as actual pain but just a different sensation, and then when the pain goes away, i can forget that it happened in the first place.  Chronic pain, depending on the degree, is something that I have a tendency to adapt to in my lifestyle to a point where it can sometimes take a while to register that pain is actually happening.

Today, one of fhe first things that my physical therapist Renee asked me (who is the only person i know who regularly calls me Mr. Lee) asked me where i was on the pain scale from 1 to 10.  And i had to stop and think about it for several seconds before coming up with the answer of "2" - even though a part of my mind felt like the answer was 0, which i knew to be false.  At the end of the sessioni she asked me again, and I struggled to find the right answer because i couldn't exactly remember how i felt walking in.  I ended up saying, "two point two."

PT has already been successful in some way then, because it's recalibrating and refining my brain to be more aware of my body in ways that I've gotten much better about in the past decade (versus when i was a total ignorant about my body when i was a teenager) but still could use further fine-tuning and focus.  I did a lot of new exercises today where i had to consciously remind myself to try to relax my shoulders (which are never ever relaxed) and she did a lot of new pressure touching and massaging asking me "does that increase or decrease your level of pain (as opposed to mere pressure)" that could take me a good 5-10 seconds of evaluation to answer because i'm so used to ignoring pain.  I need to change that so that relaxing and pain monitoring is the instinct as opposed to the conscious effort.

Not that i don't want to lose my ability to ignore it when i want to; i love my high pain tolerance, not only is it important so that i can function in my current condition more optimally than if i didn't have it, but it allows me to relish that pain in the context of pushing myself in physical exertion and focus past it to reach certain goals.  But i also want to be able to switch that tolernace on and off at will, to register the pain for its intended and practical purpose of being a diagnosis mechanism, and also in particular to learn how to register the pain in my shoulders in such a way that i have no choice but to learn to relax them long-term.

I'm kind of ready to start a regimen that's linked to the mental part of my PT routine or maybe more accurately the link between the physical and the mental.  I also need to start a serious documentation of self-diagnosis so that Renee can be better guided to how to help me.  I know that in her position i would want data data data, and i need to place myself in a position where i can give her that as much and as accurately as possible.
accent shadow

PT part 1

when i did PT for my extruded disc years ago, it didn't really do much for me.  Part of that was my fault because i didn't really know how to take it seriously or something, but part of it was that the clinic that i went to also didn't do a great job of inspiring confidence that they actually knew what they were doing.  I exhibited some symptoms that seemed contradictary to what they expected in a lot of cases, particularly when it came to my reaction to traction, and as opposed to making any sort of adjustments or asking me for feedback so that they could make those adjustments, the clinic guy and cute blonde in chargef of me both kind of scratched their heads and said, "well, i'm not sure, but let's just keep going and give it more time."

in contrast, at the clinic i went to today, the person i was assigned to, a fairly young and attractive brunette, was very quick to evaluate and assess my situation and not only gave me the exercise program but also the whys behind it in easy to explain terms.  The PT regimen was also designed to not just help but also diganose the issue and help guide her on what to do next if i showed improvement or no improvement, which would allow her to explore new pathways in the future.  She emphasized me giving her feedback as detailed as possible to help guide her and to teach me how to be aware of my own body, something i've improved on greatly in the past decade or so but still have some ways to go.

I'm supposed to do PT for about two months and then see if i show signs of improvement.  i'm not sure what constitutes improvement right now, i kind of want the improvement to be less about the pain which i don't actually feel much of and more about the numbness which i, ahem, feel more often.  but it's very true that the numbness could be an effect of the root issue which is likely still to do with the extruded disc, so we'll see.

It's possible i may try to slowly reinsert some arrowstomping in too based on how arrowstomping seemed to go okay the other day - i'm out of shape and it was more dfificult with the weird foot issues, but it didn't seem to make the issue worse, so i think that so long as i do it at an easy pace and not try to overdo it, it might be okay.  going to play that one by ear.
accent shadow

daredevil season 2 (relatively spoiler free)

There were things about it that I thought were much more polished than season one, but overall I felt like it wasn't as strong.  I attribute it to two things.  The first one is simple enough - although the character portrayals of Punisher and Elektra were very strong, they didn't have the same magic that Fisk/Kingpin had in season one.  D'Onofrio really stole the show in season one, and that was made even more painfully obvious in the middle of season two.

The second issue is more difficult to explain, but the easiest way i can do it is to parallel it to a season one episode of Elementary called "Déjà Vu All Over Again".  In that episode, Holmes and Watson end up working on two indepedent cases - Watson on a case where a woman disappears, and Holmes on a case from a year prior about a woman who was pushed in front of a train - something that the disappeared woman references in her goodbye video.  For most of the episode they're working separately, but then there ends up being a piece of evidence that links the two cases together in a way that no one expected but made a lot of sense in retrospect.  Thus, the separate energy and their separate efforts came together into a sharp singular focus that helped them figure out exactly what happened and why.  It was a pretty brilliant episode.

Once Elektra was introduced, the second season of Daredevil split into two distinctly independent plots, and i found myself waiting for that moment when those two plots would come back together and unify like the Elementary episode did.  But that moment never came.  There was some token crossover between the two, but it was all glancing blows that ended up resulting in multiple characters and multiple threads that were fighting for equal weight and screen time with no real harmonization.

Not that it wasn't nice to see Foggy and Page have their own spotlight in a way that they didn't really have in season one; it's a double-edge sword, because from what i fuzzily remember in season one, they were pretty 'sidekicky' whose stories were only developed as a means of extending the development of Murdock, and that definitely wasn't true here.  But without those threads coming together in the end, it felt like its sole purpose was to make Foggy and Page non-sidekicky and therefore it felt contrived.

Still, the season was pretty compelling, and will probably get another watch.  I'll probably watch it again, and then go back and watch season one again only after, because otherwise i probably won't enjoy season two as much.
accent shadow

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

I can see why a lot of people disliked it, but i actually liked it pretty well.  it reminded me vaguely of the first book of the Khaavren Romances in that that whole book is pretty much a 300+ page setup for the next two books after that, and in a lot of eyes that would seem "boooooring" because it doesn't seem like a lot happens during that setup when that's not actually true and not quite the point.

It felt like the first hour of BvS was a setup and while i agree that it could have been trimmed lightly, i wouldn't want it to have gotten trimmed too much because the setup was still pretty immserive for me, and after that got the stage revving, the main act was pretty compelling.  Sure, the main impetus for the BvS smackdown was pretty cliché as was the "oh, i guess we're friends now" moment, but i liked a lot of the orchestration outside of that.

If gripes need to be spoken, there's two: while i don't agree that the setup was problematic because i like long setups, the epilogue *was* problematic because it was too long of a fade that nuked any sense of immsersion by having too much of a navel-gazing complex.

The second gripe is more subtle and i'm too tired to articulate it properly since it also would seem to negate what i like about the movie.  Let's just say that when it comes to the delicate balancing act of character focus, action, and story that can truly draw an audience in in a relatable way, none of the live-action DC stuff can compare to their animated counterparts that were driven by Bruce Timm.  That may not be fair since Timm set the bar so high, but it sometimes it still baffles me how those cartoons that are primarily aimed at youth can be much more adult than the stuff that's meant for adults.

fails the bechdel test.  two main female characters who never talked to each other.
accent shadow

lent 16: computer moods

a few months ago, the bluetooth on my lappy stopped working.

i rebooted.  i zapped the PRAM, the NVRAM, the Patrridge in a Pear Tree RAM, tried other fixes, nothing.

It wasn't a *huge* deal, but it was inconvenient.  Add the fact that one of my USB ports wasn't working either and i was putting some consideration into maybe buying a new laptop.  Not serious consideration, but it was a serious maybe.  It became a backburner consideration because life got super hectic primarily because of nienteForte and a few other projects, but it was something i was going to reexplore over the summer.

Then, just yesterday, the bluetooth started working again.  i'm fairly sure i didn't update any drivers at all since i never have automatic updates on.  It just decided to do it on its own.

computers are so finnicky sometimes.
accent shadow

lent day 15: poker at harrah's

warning:  this entry comes from a fairly tired brain, so the vocab used isn't too non-poker friendly.


Saturday i went to play poker at Harrah's for the first time in a couple of months, and i forgot how insane that room is in comparison to other rooms i'vie played across the country.  On the night in question, one guy who had started on the 1/3 table for $200 ended up with a stack of about $6000 due to a lot of crazy luck, and by the time i left, it had widdled back down to about $1200 - and i'm fairly certain that he probably finished the session broke.  At times, he was a decent player, but he was too obsessed with bullying and chasing and catching when he got bored or he smelled weakness, and that was his ultimate downfall.

I wish i had had more money on the table when i caught him on the pseudo-big hand, but i still got enough out of him to turn what had been an earlier unlucky break (where my AA got cracked) and some degree of sloppy play into profit.  Two hands in particular were instrumental in my success:

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I'm happy with those two hands and happy with a few other small bits, but I was unhappy with some of my play which made me bleed/leak small money at times when i went into automatic-hyper mode.  On the other table when my image was much more aggro, i still kept on PF betting and c-betting in ways that widdled me down, and it wasn't until an hour or so in that i took a mental step back and told myself, "back off."  Switching tables definitely helped, getting new info on the table made me take more of a backseat and not try to raise and steal with trash, but it was still annoying - it's a leak i was getting better at controlling when i was playing more regularly in the last few months before i stopped playing regularly, and it's something i need to get back if i'm going to play with any sort of regularity again.
accent shadow

lent day 14: updating about updates

my professional website needs to be updated which i'm probably going to do after the nF festival ends.

i need to catch up on lent entries.  My goal is to still write 40 entries even if it goes past easter.  I have some drafts set up for some incomplete entries, i just need to follow through on it all.

The GWBB page on the TUMB website also needs an update, but i'm hesitant to put a lot of work into that until we figure out what's going to happen to the TUMB website overall, which is something that's going to get propsoed in our operations summt in a couple of months.  A GWW page will also have to go up.

nF website is almost updated with all of the relevant nF info, it looks like a real site, finally.  There still needs to be some fleshing out, but overall i'm pretty happy with how it's going.  I need to start putting together the festival program and figure out what i need to do for the individual programs.

i've decided i need to get a new phone.  the nexus 5x is pretty much a failure because 2gb of RAM and slower processor.  Probably going to look into that in a couple of months.

i also need to update how i live my life.  not sure if i can apply for some sort of hardware upgrade to my brain. if someone has advice on that, i'd love to have it.      
accent shadow

lent day 13: Wednesday evening negatives and positives


1. within the first 20 minutes of our Winds rehearsal the sprinklers went off and we had to go into serious "TRUCK WATER TRUCK WATER" mode.  The floor is now soaked and needs to dry.
2. At the end of the evening, my bag disappeared.  It didn't have much in it because i unloaded a bunch of stuff, but it did have my work iPad, my $200 sunglasses, and the bag itself was about $150.


1. We recovered rehearsal and was able to get some good work done that made everyone feel more comfortable.  Even though we didn't get everything done that we needed to, the group has proven itself in its dedication and its earnest and is pushing really hard.  I feel good about the direction of the program in the long term, and i'm very proud of what they've accomplished to this point.
2. When i got home at about 02:00 after recording Rooks, i found a message on my facebook profile from a guy who said, "hey, i picked up your bag.  It's safe and sound, where and when do you want me to bring it to you?"

All in all, no complaints at all.
accent shadow

lent day 12: project checklist

Here's the work stuff that I'm trying to get done now in the next three weeks.  I'm putting it here mainly because lent - i use Wunderlist and Inbox as my primary checklist reminder, but I need to post something here since i'm already behind, and since all of this stuff is on my brain right now, then i might as well put all of the stuff i'm doing here, and use this to update my Wunderlist.

1. Deal with logistical set up of The Light Within for rehearsals and performance.  (six headphone setup and speaker setup.)  Also, practice that thing.
2. Deal with logistics of the last temple bowl for Dark Passenger, along with trap stands.
3. Print out posters and distribute.
4. Gather program notes and bios, create large program and small programs, address stage plot logistics for the concerts.
5. Update website, calendars, and create TUMB publicity.

Green Wave Brass Band:
1. Deal with recording session, create good mixes, create soundcloud account.
2. Contact clubs/schools so schedule for Chicago tour can be finalized
3. Choose the 5-piece group playing at the primary gig, buy plane tickets.
4. Contact Barry and/or Wendell to deal with rehearsals for the Shakespeare England trip
5. Publicity for said events, as well as other upcoming gigs.
6. Send video footage taken at the Rock and Roll Marathon to the MTV peeps.
7. Update bio.
8. Buy new jerseys.
9. Potentially buy a new snare drum.

Green Wave Winds:
1. Figure out transition from Part 2 to Part 3.
2. Choreography at the end of Part 3.
3. Reheasrse on/off logistics.
4. Resolve truck and van logistics with officers.

1. Finalize details of drum major audition process.
2. Contact Rachel about space reservation at Yulman for second day of tryouts.  Contact Battman for band room for first day.
3. Do better at conducting the Tichelli.
4. Find high brass and marching tech for band camp.
5. Start prep work for potential Program Coordinator replacement
6. Reconcile purchases and receipts, deal with the lost receipt from months ago.