Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stuff for the Podcast...IF I HAD ONE

Well, I was hoping to be bringing back my podcast at around this time, but, as it happens, life got in the way.

As I shared on Facebook a few weeks ago, I got a frantic text from my best friend.  He's kind enough to host chaosinabox.com for me.  And the text said, "SERVER'S CRASHING!!!!  BACK UP EVERYTHING NOW!!!"  Luckily, I was able to get everything backed-up, and my best friend had a new server lined-up and everything back online the next day.


Now I'm just futzing about with all those little things that come with a server move.  Fixing dead links, re-uploading images I used, stuff like that.  Well, at least when I completely redesigned the website to use WordPress back in the spring, all that stuff is easier now.  It's just finding the time to do it.

Working on my website is a real "falling down the rabbit hole" thing with me.  I'll put it off for the longest time, and then, on a bored Sunday afternoon, I'll go, "Well, I got nothing better to do.  I'll just do this one thing to the website."  16 hours later, I'm wondering where the day has gone.  It's like most things, right?  You got a roll, and you don't wanna stop.

So, yeah.  I've got to find the right bored Sunday afternoon to just sit down and get that done.  Obviously, this isn't it, because I'm blogging instead of clicking over to the site and working on it.

And the podcast will be back once the site is back up to 100%.

So the new trend these days are "box subscription services."  It's kind of an update of the ol' "Book of the Month Club" concept.  You pay your subscription fee, and once a month, they send you a box full of stuff.  I've seen them online for shaving products, healthy snacks...all kind of stuff.  But, me being me, the one that catches my eye the most are the monthly boxes of nerd-friendly merchandise.

The one that seems to sponsor most of the podcasts I listen to is Loot Crate.  A co-worker got a one year subscription to Nerd Block for his birthday.  He was raving about it in the office and trying to get me to sign up.  "Mark...the note inside this month's box says that next month is all Star Wars stuff!  Sign up now and you'll get the box full of Star Wars stuff!"

And that happened to be the same day they announced Star Wars: Smuggler's Bounty, the official Star Wars box subscription service.  Why settle for just one box full of Star Wars stuff, when you could get a box full of Star Wars stuff EVERY MONTH?  And Smuggler's Bounty is being run by Funko, the makers of those Pop! bobbleheads that are a popular collectible right now.  One of the selling points of Smuggler's Bounty is 2 exclusives Pops in every box.

And I will admit, that signing up for one of these is awfully tempting.  But, you've seen me lament in this blog lately that money's been awfully tight for me this year, and this definitely falls into the category of a "want" and not a "need."  Plus, at the end of the day, it's a box of stuff.  More stuff that I need to find a place for.  Now, I'm not getting all like my sister, who's all about the downsizing these days and minimizing clutter, but I am starting to ask myself how much more stuff do I really need?

So as much as it breaks my heart, I think I'm going to have to say no right now.

I'm so glad that season 3 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is finally on Netflix!  I love the weirdly meta final episode Mitefall!

For those who missed it, Batman: The Brave and the Bold was the Batman cartoon that ran from 2008 - 2011.  Figuring it was finally time for the Dark Knight to stop being so dark, it drew more from the Silver Age of Comics, being a more lighthearted adventure show.  Taking its cues from its namesake comic, each episode featured Batman teaming up with another hero from the DC Universe.  It was kind of DC's deep cuts, as several very obscure C-list heroes started showing up to team up with Batman, like OMAC and Uncle Sam.  But the true scene-stealer was Aquaman, who was reimagined into a blustering, high-seas swashbuckler.

But when season 3 was announced to be the last, they stopped with the deep cuts and started with the greatest hits, and we finally got team-ups with Superman and Wonder Woman.  Batman and Superman threw down in the episode Battle of the Superheroes!, when Superman, infected by Red Kyptonite, goes on a crime spree, and Batman has to take him down.  Although, Superman's crime spree seems to be nothing but a collection of the greatest covers from Superdickery.com.  Remember this viral site, where it collected the best Silver Age covers of Superman acting like a total dick?  The site even gets a shout out as the staff at the Daily Planet discuss Superman's rampage:

Jimmy Olson:  Yeah, Superman's turned into a real di--

Lois Lane:  (interrupting Jimmy)  DIFFERENT person.

But as I said, I was looking forward to the weirdly meta finale Mitefall!  A recurring character was the omnipotent imp Batmite, watching Batman's adventures from a parallel universe and becoming Batman's biggest fan.  However, because of his powers, Batmite is aware that Batman: The Brave and the Bold is just a TV show, and he's grown bored with it.  He yearns for a dark and gritty Batman cartoon of yore, like Batman: The Animated Series.  So, using his semi-phenomenal, nearly-cosmic powers, Batmite starts warping Batman's reality in the hopes of making Batman: The Brave and the Bold jump the shark so it'll get cancelled.  And it's up to the teleporting and fourth-wall breaking Ambush Bug (special guest voice, the actor who literally jumped the shark in that Happy Days episode, Henry Winkler) to alert Batman as to what's going on and save the show.

The thing is, that's really why Batman: The Brave and the Bold was cancelled.  The network execs got tired with it and demanded a new Batman cartoon that was dark and gritty like the old ones.  So The Brave and the Bold was cancelled to make way for Beware the Batman.

So, yeah.  Batmite starts throwing in all kinds of shark-jumping cliches, like super-obvious toy tie-ins, introducing annoying kids, and recasting Aquaman with Ted McGinley (special guest voice Ted McGinley).  And in our big twist ending, Batmite is successful, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold gets cancelled.  Ambush Bug appears to Batmite and reminds him that there's no place for Batmite in dark and gritty Batman cartoons, so all Batmite did was ensure his own demise.  And at that, Batmite fades from existence.

And then, Ambush Bug throws a wrap party in the Batcave, inviting all the heroes that appeared on the show back for one last hurrah.  And Batman talks directly to the camera, telling the children of the world that even though his show won't be on anymore, Batman will always be there for them.  The end.

It's a great show, and worthy addition to the lore of Batman animation.  Binge watch it today!

You know you're getting old when you tell someone your favourite Disney animated film is Fantasia and they think you're talking about Fantasia 2000.

The incident happened when I was at a co-worker's party a couple of weeks ago.  They saw that I recently posted on Facebook that I just bought Hercules and Mulan on Blu-Ray, and we got to talking about the Disney Renaissance.

But the bigger question is why did I buy Mulan?  I always had this weird thing with Mulan.  Back in the 1990s, when the Disney Renaissance was in full swing, Mulan was the only one where I got swept up in the hype.  I'd just been introduced to the Internet and was following its development online.  Hell, on my computer, I'm pretty sure I still have the official Mulan wallpaper I downloaded from the official Mulan website back in 1998.  It was the only soundtrack album in that era I've bought.

But after all this time, I can't figure out why, out that second golden era of Disney animation, Mulan  is the one that I glommed onto.  So, when I saw the Blu-Ray was dirt cheap on Amazon, I finally snatched it up.

And I snatched up Hercules because it was also dirt cheap, and buying the two got me the free shipping.

So after watching Mulan, I still can't figure out why that was the one film that captured my attention.  If anything, it struck me as a strange attempt to duplicate Aladdin.  We've got our hero masquerading as another person as a way to get out of her traditional societal roles, we've got the manic stand-up comic voicing the sidekick.

Don't get me wrong...it's a good movie.  But I want to go back in time to 1998, burst into my college dorm room, grab my college self by the shoulders and ask, "What is it with you and this movie?"  Because 17 years later, I have no freakin' clue anymore.

And Hercules is good, too.

Let's end things with the song of the show:

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