Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not the Super Power I Was Hoping For

The other day, as I was leaving Walgreens, I heard this horrible high-pitched sound in my car.  I first made sure all of the windows were rolled up properly.

They were.

I turned off the radio to make sure it wasn't part of some (horrible) song.

It wasn't.

I realized I had the A/C going, so maybe one of the vents wasn't opened all the way?  You know how sometimes if you open or close the air vents, some air squeaks through (literally)?  I checked them all, and it made no difference.  I could still hear the high-pitched whining noise, almost like an awful whistle or some tiny fairy screaming while it's infesting the tissue of my brain.  The only thing that made the noise go away was cranking the A/C fan up to 3.

So I did.

Until I got too cold, but then I was thankfully near my destination so I didn't have to be cold or have a headache by the horrible squealing noise Satan brain fairy.

Later that night, when leaving rehearsal, I heard the sound again.  Crap! I thought, and I went to crank the A/C fan to 3...when I realized I didn't have the A/C on.  At all.

But you know what was "on"?

The pink car lighter adapter and (matching pink) lightning cord I had purchased from Walgreens earlier that day, which was currently charging my phone.

What the...???

I unplugged the cords at a stoplight.  The high-pitched noise stopped.
I plugged them back in.  The noise started again:  eeeeeeeeeeeeeeIIIIIIIEeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I unplugged them again.  The tiny demon fairy noise stopped.

I plugged it back in -- eeeeeIIIIIIIEeeeeee -- I wiggled the plug around to make sure it was connected all the way.
It was.
The noise didn't stop.

I sighed and unplugged the cord for good so my brain would stop screaming in unison with the squealing.

This was not the super power I wanted*, Universe!

It's the same super power that lets me hear if a TV or computer monitor is plugged in within a 20+ foot radius.
It's the same super power that lets me hear "silent" dog whistles.
And now it lets me pick up iOS charging materials.

*Where's Leonard's origin story?  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, have you heard about my #lightningcar?  Or the airplane I was in that was struck by lightning?  Or those times I was electrically shocked?  But instead of Electro, I got Krypto the Super Dog.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Team Iron Man

You should know, before even going into my review of Civil War, which side I'm on.  Tony and I go way back.  It's a matter of loyalty at this point.  And of stubbornness.  So while I'm in the minority, I know which side I'm on.  But enough about me, on to the bullet points!

By the time this post will be published, I will have seen Captain America:  Civil War twice, and naturally, I have thoughts about that.  Here they are in some semblance of an order:
  • They wrote Pepper out of another film.  I realize it's not her movie (it's not even Tony's movie!), but it still feels like a bit of a cop-out.
  • Who else was completely and utterly weirded out by the CGI "young" Robert Downey, Jr.?!?  I was so distracted by his face during that scene I almost missed what was happening.
    • Civil War says this "memory" is 1991, the year the Starks died.  The flashback at the opening of Iron Man 3 (when they're in Switzerland) is in 1999.  I think they may have turned the Way Back Machine back too far for 1991's RDJ.
  • Sokovia?  Really?  His whole deal is "just" about Sokovia?  A friend asked me if rewatching The Winter Soldier would be helpful for this movie, and I said, "As long as you remember who Bucky/Winter Soldier is, you're fine.  In fact, rewatching Age of Ultron would be just as if not more helpful."  And I stand by that.  Because there's a lot more that has to do with Sokovia than anything else (in my opinion).
    • But Zemo's whole modus operandi did feel a little lacking to me.  This theory helped to allay some of that.  (CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS)
    • After my second viewing, I've realized that the above theory is incorrect in one major point:  there are bullet holes in the glass of at least four of the five "containers" (fifth container was not shown close on screen to check).
  • Speaking of MacGuffins, what about Crossbones?  Has anyone addressed this yet?  He was only there so the Avengers could cause some (accidental) mass destruction as a final catalyst to the Sokovia Accords.  We never really saw why he was doing it (except Cap "dropped a building" on his face), we did not know what biological weapon he was stealing (or why), and then he was dead before we could even really care.
  • Hello Black Panther!  Leonard loves her some cats, no matter the size.  What I appreciated most about Chadwick Boseman's portrayal is that they managed to make him look both feline and masculine.  We often associate cats with femininity (see:  Freud, literary theories, and DC's Batman), but I felt they managed to make him look, act, and move masculine and cat-like and, of course, bad-ass. 
    "Dude shows up dressed like a cat, and you don't wanna know more?"
  • Speaking of His Catness, what's his deal?  His suit is bullet-proof (possibly made of vibranium), but does he also have super powers?  Or is he just really athletic?  See my list below.
  • The airport fight scene, the one that everyone (Leonard included) lost their shit over in the trailers -- yes, THAT one,...felt a bit stiff and contrived for me at first.  It didn't feel like "THE" fight.  Thankfully Wanda addressed my issue (to Hawkeye):  "You're pulling your punches."  Of course it felt a bit stifled -- no one wanted to actually hurt their friends!  They're holding back, and I could tell.  As soon as that became clear, I felt better.  Even after Wanda's moment, they still (mostly) held back.  And I was glad; they're my friends, too, and I don't want to see any of them get hurt.
  • Spider-Man:  let's address address the Spider in the room.  Everyone (except Leonard) also lost their collective shit over seeing the Spiderling in the trailers.  I said it then and I'll say it now:  he sounds (and looks!) like he's twelve!  It's hard for me to take him seriously (or even like someone who has at least gone through puberty) with his li'l pumpkin face and giant awkward ears.  Yes, his lines were funny, but his intro scene with Tony was, well,...weird.  The timing of their dialogue was off, and not in that "this should be awkward" way; in a "this is awkward because we actors haven't been given proper direction" way.
  • Black Widow's hair was getting dangerously close to the "too fussy" zone in this film; in the mean time, ScarJo is doing her best Farrah Fawcett impression while kicking ass and taking names.
  • Holy Beefcake, Batman!  You know what I'm talking about: 
    Look at my guuuuuuuns!
    This was almost too much, when he switched his grip and we got the bicep pose and the manly grunting face.  There was a fair amount of beefcake in this film compared to the others, and I'm okay with that.  Similarly there was a lot less cheesecake (did you see Black Widow wearing pants, boots, and a COAT in the opening fight scene??), and I'm also okay with that.  Turn about is fair play, fellas.  It's your turn to be objectified for once.
  • Lots of fun lines, too many to quote, really.  Pick your own!
  • I thought the film did a really good job showing the points of both sides of the major argument.  Which is why this is STILL VERY UPSETTING!!! 
    2 against 1 isn't fair, people!
Having seen the movie twice in the theaters, I think I've memorized the lines I like and can now happily wait for it on DVD.  It has also inspired this spreadsheet of superheroes:

Black Panther
Probably some military
3 of 5 asses to kick
War Machine
3.5 asses to kick
Iron Man
Not really
Genius playboy billionaire philanthropist
Bucky/Winter Soldier
Yes (well, an arm’s worth)
Military & general brainwashing
4 of 5 asses to kick
Black Widow
Lots of military/assassin
ALL the asses to kick!
Captain America
Beefy arms.  And legs.  And chest.
Nearly Indestructible
Does having Jarvis in your make-up count?
Synthetic, Infinity Stone, Change Density at any time
Scarlet Witch
“she’s weird” and can apparently bend reality
Glass Cannon*
Scaling walls, shooting webbing, enhanced sensory all around
Ask me again after he hits puberty.
“Bird costume?  That’s cold.”
Ant Man
Just Thieving Stuff
Not the first I’d call unless I just wanted funny stuff
Pretty bad-ass for someone so vulnerable
Asgardian Military
Giant hammer, lightning & thunder
Very little Asgardian Military
Staff with Infinity Stone, glamours
So very pretty
ANGRY (and giant)

*My friend Casey explained this term:  can hit superhard ("cannon"), y'know, like take down friggin' Vision!  But is also fragile, will down from one punch from Cap ("glass")

**Not pictured in this film

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Don't Read the Fine Print

Or:  Ignorance Is Bliss
Or:  Why I Won't Be Going to the Y

In case you haven't heard, Leonard has started going to the gym again.  Well, two different gyms,...trying to find the right one.  And in case you don't remember, Leonard went to the gym once before.  If you want to read the boring reasons of why I'm trying a gym again, scroll to the bottom:

Two things to keep in mind while reading Leonard's Quest for Gym:

  1. I'm cheap.
  2. I'm lazy.
I don't want to spend a lot of money or really commit to anything.  And I don't want to travel too far out of my way to get to this place where I will sweat and smell bad.  Near me are two places that fit my requirements:  the YWCA and a Planet Fitness.  And at first glance, they appear to fit my very basic gym needs:  weight machines, some kind of cardio, locker rooms/showers.

I was wary of the Planet Fitness.  Was the location skeezy?  Would people be creepy?  Would it be dirty?  What's up with offering pizza and doughnuts at a gym?  So then I looked at the YMCA, but I couldn't find any prices whatsoever.  I did sign up for a Guest Pass, though, and it was delivered to my e-mail box with a note that "someone would be contacting [me] about a membership."  I printed off the pass, put on my big girl panties, and went someplace new and large and loud and scary to the YMCA.

The people were friendly enough, and I told them that I was interested in membership details, but still no one got back with me on that.  This particular facility is downright huge for a Y, and it was the hopping place to be at 6 p.m. on a weeknight.  It was busy, but not too crowded.  They had a lot of cardio equipment (treadmills, stairmasters, stationary bikes, etc.), some weights (the big, "manual" kind), and a smattering of weight machines.  I'd say they had only one of each type of weight machine, sometimes two; that, in turn, meant I had to wait for the weights sometimes (see what I did there?) or do something else and come back.

I spent 30-35 minutes on the treadmill, which was about 15 minutes too many; by the time I got down, I felt like I was floating all the way to the locker room and beyond.  When I got home, still breathless, my Unit commented,  "You look pale.  Like all the blood went straight to your heart."

It wasn't a bad experience, although I was disappointed that I couldn't find any pricing information online and that no one had contacted me about it.  The next day I decided I wanted to work out again (who AM I??!??), but my YMCA Guest Pass was only good for one day.

I looked at Planet Fitness again online, but I couldn't find any information about guest passes. I called them and was informed that a "day pass" costs twenty dollars ("but that fee is then applied to your membership if you sign up").  Then I tried to research more on the Y's website (give me dollars and prices, people!) when I stumbled across their Membership Handbook.  I was scrolling through the PDF file when I discovered page three under "Lockers":
"Use the gender appropriate locker room with which you legally identify."
Wow.  What if my legal status hasn't been changed/updated to reflect my gender identity?  What if I don't have an updated legal photo I.D. with my new name/gender?  While it's not as bad as North Carolina saying to use the biological sex on one's birth certificate, it's close.

And then I found under "Code of Conduct" this little gem:
"We take pride in our family friendly environment. Please keep attire appropriate and modest."
"Modest" according to whom?  What is "appropriate"?  Your family and my family may be entirely different.  If it's hot and I'm busting through my cardio, am I not allowed to wear capris and a sports bra?  My swimsuit probably shows cleavage because I have big boobs; is that going to offend your family's modest sensibilities?

Granted, those things did not happen to me in the hour that I was there, but the fact remains that they could.  The fact remains that the language alone made me very uncomfortable.  And when I told all of these things to my Unit, she pointed out the same thought I was having, "YMCA does stand for 'Young Men's Christian Association.'"

And that clinched it for me.  Off to Planet Fitness I went, despite the charge to try out the facility. Luckily for me when I showed up to the desk, the attendant was the same person I had spoken to earlier.  And she let me use the facility for free (without me asking) -- which practically guaranteed that I would sign up for a membership because I am a sucker for good customer service.

So there ya have it.  Reading the fine print will usually destroy your blissful ignorance and remind you of what those pesky abbreviations stand for.

Prologue:  Why a Gym?  Why Now?  And then I dislocated my knee (for the third time), so I stopped.  But after last September's adventure on a trapeze (yes, a real trapeze!), I decided I wanted to try more things, new things, fancy aerial things.  And I did aerial yoga for a while.  And I really enjoyed it (and didn't hurt myself).  But my schedule of rehearsals combined with crippling anxiety ("where have you been? why haven't you been here?) mean I haven't been there in months.  And when I looked, the class I had liked was no longer on the schedule.  Also I realized that yoga was not doing enough; I wasn't sweating enough, getting my heart rate high enough. 
But you know what did do those things?  Going to the gym.  But I no longer teach at a university with a fitness center, so now what?  Cue Leonard's search for a gym.