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A-Z Me (ganked from Keith R.A. DeCandido)

This isn't the first time I've done an alphabet meme, but I think it's the first time I've done this particular one. Many thanks to Keith R.A. kradical DeCandido, from whom I took this. (He, in turn, took it from a friend of his on Facebook, and she probably got it from another friend, etc. I guess that's how memes work, huh?)

Twenty-Six Things About Me:

A. Age: 47
Curious fact: While looking up the spelling of Keith's last name, I discovered that he is exactly one month older than I am.

B. Biggest fear: Varies, but usually heights.
I am, in fact, so scared of heights that I can't watch certain scenes in movies or play certain levels of video games without curling up into a little ball and hyperventilating a little.

C. Current time: 10:31a.m. PDT (UTC – 07:00)

D. Drink you last had: Water.
I know. I'm boring.

E. Every day starts with: Appeasing the elder goddess of the house.
Or, in more mundane terms, feeding the cat.

F. Favorite song: Wildly variable, but right now I'm digging on "Come With Me Now" by Kongos.

G. Ghosts; are they real?: Only in our memories.
Of course, this is not to say that they aren't just as dangerous as real ones would be. . . .

H. Hometown: I'm actually not sure how to answer this. I was born in Paoli, IN; I lived the first four years of my life in Indianapolis, IN; I pretty much grew up in Los Angeles; but San Diego has been my home for over 25 years.

I. In love with: My sweetie, of course. :)

J. Jealous of: Way too many people for way too many things. It's one of the reasons I started doing meditation and trying to follow more Buddhist practice in my day-to-day life. I'll never be a perfect Buddhist, or even a very good one, but keeping some of its ideas in my mind has really helped me to not be as much of a reactionary asshole as I once was.

K. Killed anyone?: No.
Never have, never will, never will support or condone anyone else doing so. Period.

L. Last time you cried: While watching the Pixar short "Lava"

M. Middle name: Brooks
My performing name, Eben Brooks, is just my first and middle names. I drop the legal last name because I already have one unusual name; I don't need people fumbling over two.

N. Number of siblings: One brother.

O. One wish: To learn to be less attached to stuff.

P. Person you last called: neo_tanuki, last night, about gaming.

Q. Question you are always asked: "How are you today?"
It's how my sweetie greets me every morning when we IM.

R. Reason to smile: Many of the things on this list, including D, F, I, N, and P.

S. Song last sang: "25 or 6 to 4" while grocery shopping last night.

T. Time you woke up: Too damn late.
I.e., 8:45a.m. PDT

U. Underwear color: That's a bit bloody personal, ennit?
Okay, fine. White.

V. Vacation destination: I don't do vacations, I do conventions.
I seriously haven't had a real vacation since I went to London in 2004 (with neo_tanuki, as it happens).

W. Worst habit: Video games.
Once I start, I can't put them down. It's a known problem that I really don't have any serious interest in solving. ;-)

X. X-rays you've had: Yeesh, where do I start? Left foot, repeatedly. Teeth, at dentist's office, every couple of years. Torso, several times. Head, a few times. Hands, a few times each. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot more.

Y. Your favorite food: Come on, this is a cop-out. This should be F. A proper Y question would be "Yankees or Red Sox?" or something like that.
That being said, I don't really have a favorite food. I like to diversify.

Z. Zodiac sign: Western, Taurus. Eastern, Rooster.
This is why I refer to Cock & Bull Ginger Beer as "My ginger beer".

The live stream: What happened?

I am very, very sorry to everyone who tried to watch the live stream on Saturday as wasn't able to. I made a big ol' mistake getting the stream set up, and I ended up having to switch to a different stream just a few minutes before the show started, so I didn't have time to get a message out to people to let them know that the old link wouldn't work anymore.

That being said, a very big THANK YOU to everyone who DID manage to find the new stream and watch it. I hope you enjoyed the show! And I hope that, next time, I'll have everything set up properly far enough in advance that I won't be hyperventilating on stage. ;-)

Again, thanks very much! You are all awesome. :)

My friend's comic book!

My friend Ed Verso has been working on a comic book for the last couple of years, and the other day the first issue went on sale.

I've read it and liked it very much. It's definitely worth two bucks. Go take a look.


Saw a couple of movies recently that I thought were worth mentioning:

Star Trek Beyond: Easily the best of the series so far. Don't get me wrong: I like the 2009 Star Trek*—it has its flaws, but overall it is a good, fun movie. Beyond, however, is where the series has hit its stride. It is the closest in feel, in character, in story, and in theme to the Star Trek that I grew up with. The main actors' portrayals of their characters have matured, with all of them getting a good amount of screen time and all of them fully inhabiting their roles. For the first time, I felt like I was watching Kirk, not Chris Pine playing Kirk; Spock, not Zachary Quinto playing Spock; McCoy, not Karl Urban playing McCoy; etc. Their portrayals are still different from those of their predecessors, but I don't get the sense that they're trying to be "as good as" anymore—they just let themselves be their characters, and it works!

Story-wise, it also feels very right. It's a Star Trek story, not an origin story (like the first movie) or a twisted, corrupted retelling (like Into Darkness). Simon Pegg and Doug Jung did a fantastic job with the script, and the director (Justin Lin), cinematographer (Stephen F. Windon), and editors (D'Auria, Highsmith, Matsumoto, and Sprung) did a fantastic job of bringing the script to life.

My Score: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars) — Dinged a half-star because I saw one of the major plot points coming long before it arrived, but then that happens sometimes.

Suicide Squad: Rotten Tomatoes can blow me. So can Rolling Stone, Metacritic, The Altantic, and The Hollywood Reporter. Suicide Squad is a fun movie! No, it's not a cinematic masterpiece. Yeah, it's slow in spots. Yes, it tries to milk pathos from a couple of characters who don't really have any. But despite all of that, it is a totally fun movie to watch. And sorry Rolling Stone, but Suicide Squad does NOT "mess up Harley Quinn". Okay, she's a little darker in places, and a little sillier in others, than the source material is. But to my mind, it's still Harley, and a damn fine Harley at that. (Also, what the movie adds to her origin story is both chilling and perfect.) Jared Leto's Joker is also very much the Joker, despite the visual differences. Of all the live-action Jokers there have been so far**, I actually like him best***.

But the absolute best performance in the entire movie is Will Smith's Deadshot. I can't comment on the performance without giving stuff away about the plot, but trust me: Will Smith nails it!

My Score: *** (out of 5 stars) — because the plot is kinda thin, some of the characters aren't sufficiently developed, and other minor flaws.


*Star Trek Into Darkness, on the other hand, I do not like very much at all—it's too dark for Star Trek, ignoring the message of hope that Trek had always embodied.

**But none of the live-action Jokers can compare to Mark Hamill's animated Joker. Seriously, movie guys, just cast Hamill as the Joker already!

**For those who are interested, my ranking of the four live-action Jokers in major media are 1) Jared Leto, 2) Cesar Romero, 3) Heath Ledger, and 4) Jack Nicholson. The gaps between 2, 3, and 4 are much smaller than the gap between 1 and 2.

Business politics is getting lethal...

At my work, there is a whiteboard where people write down things that they need. It's how I got my trackball mouse, for instance. Today, I walked past it and saw:


Knowing that it couldn't possibly have actually said that, I looked again and noted that it actually said "Lightning cables".

People who are depressed are stuck in the past.

People who are anxious are fixated on the future.

But people who are both depressed and anxious . . .

. . . are screwed.

Need a little metallic help

On my wall in my home, I have on display a replica of Glamdring.

The problem is, a little bit ago, it got caught on someone's clothing and was inadvertently pulled off the wall. It landed point first, which caused it to bend slightly.

I'd like to fix it, but I have no idea how to go about doing so without either scratching up the metal or risking breaking the tip clean off. Does anyone have any ideas or know someone I can consult on this matter?

Troubleshooted or troubleshot?

So the Masked Grammarian has a grammar question. The past tense of "troubleshoot": is it "troubleshooted" or "troubleshot"?

My sweetie says that she uses "troubleshooted", despite the fact that, obviously, the past tense of "shoot" is "shot". I myself said it that way just a little bit ago, but "troubleshooted" sounded strange to my ear, so I immediately wondered if it was right or if it really ought to be "troubleshot" instead.

What do the grammarians among you have to say to this question? I am quite curious.

I am in no danger at the moment

The wildfire burning in San Diego County right now is about 30 miles east of where I live and 35 miles southeast of where I work. Furthermore, there's a lot of urban territory between me and anything even vaguely resembling dense vegetation, so it would take some seriously bad firefighting or gale force winds for my neighborhood to be in any danger.

However, I know several people who do live in or near the affected areas, so I hope that they are all safe. If you were affected by the fire and you're reading this, please leave a comment if you can to let me know you're okay. (Or if you're not okay, let me know what kind of help you need.)


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