Saturday, March 16, 2019

Band Review: Koppige

Koppige makes and mixes dance music in the Netherlands.

Okay, I am assuming it is supposed to be dance music based on the beat; there is very little artist information available. It pulsates with a beat you could dance to.

There is a deeper tone to it than I find with a lot of dance music. On one level it reminds me of the growls that frequently came with post-core. I think it allows the music to pair well with sci-fi. Like maybe when the angst gets filtered through techno, it references a sleek dystopia.

I don't know if that's what he was going for, but that's what I got.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back up!

I yelled at someone Saturday.

As I was heading from the theater to Fred Meyer, I had to cross TV Highway. It is a pretty busy road with some pretty long lights. I was waiting for my signal when the previous direction's turn signal ended with a woman in a large vehicle (a Blazer, probably) blocking the entire crosswalk.

I had some time to observe and feel irritated while the traffic continuing on the highway went through.

It is pretty common for cars to be partway in the crosswalk. I don't like that, and I think about things like hitting their hood or something, but I don't really do anything because that would be escalating and that is not my general way.

In this case, there was not going to be any safe way to get past her. Going in front of her would be out in traffic, but going behind her would also be in traffic and not easily visible, and crawling underneath would be the most dangerous of all. If her doors were unlocked, going through the back seat might be an option (I think that happened in a Mentos commercial), but really, she had not left me any safe way across.

She had plenty of space to back up. The length of the signals actually did lead the car behind her to start creeping into that space, but then they backed up again. Perhaps that driver noticed me. Perhaps they noticed me glaring, I can't say. As it was, while that was better for safety purposes, the driver behind her had no impact on the driver blocking the crosswalk.

I really wanted to yell something at her like "Get back, you moron!", or maybe "you idiot" - something to indicate my lack of admiration - but mainly I was hoping she would do the right thing. No dice.

Then the light changed and I had my signal. I also noticed that her window was down a crack, meaning she should be able to hear me.

I barked out my order: "Back up!"

She gave me a look of surprise and annoyance (mostly annoyance), but she backed up. In fact, there is no way that she was as annoyed me with as I was with her.

When I wrote earlier that I effectively yelled at someone, I didn't mean that in effect I did so; I meant that it was effective. It worked.

I realized I had not added an epithet, and thought that was probably for the best. I don't actually think her problem was a lack of intelligence so much as an issue of self-absorption anyway.

You are forgiven for thinking I am over-analyzing this, and I may be, but I saw her face - that there was annoyance at having to move and no contrition. There were teens waiting at a bus stop snicking, and I heard them. I know my shout was ugly and unfeminine, and I am fat, poor, aging, and sans vehicle. I know there are a lot of vectors on which I don't count, and anything drawing attention to that is subject to being looked down on.

That is a rotten system. The least I can do is buck it.

My other option seemed to be waiting through another full cycle of the signal, which would not only be a pain, but what if you get some other road hog? (Seriously, drivers, crosswalks exist for a reason.) I have a voice. I can sometimes make it loud.

Maybe I'm still mad that I didn't punch that guy in the nuts at the Alkaline Trio concert. (I still think I was right to not do more, but that doesn't mean it feels good.)

Maybe having just watched back to back superhero movies was a factor.

I just know it would have been easy to be quiet, and it felt good being loud.

The standard response to me asserting myself (with rude people) is that they get surprised and annoyed.

The least I can do is make it less surprising.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Comics connections

When I got back from seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Captain Marvel, the thing I wanted most was to talk to someone who has read comics relevant to the movies. I didn't even know where to go for that.

I swear I have real-life friends who read comics, but generally not my closest friends, plus I had just had several hours of respite time and needed to return to my care-giving life. There's a reason that most of what I want to say comes out in the blog.

There is still not just the blog. I can get to that in a roundabout way, but let me say a little about the movies without giving a full review of them, or really even any spoilers.

I liked both. I liked Captain Marvel more. At least it pumped me up more.

I have read a lot of Captain Marvel, much more than the various iterations of Spider-Man. That could be part of it. I think that people who have not read the books should still be able to enjoy the movies, but they are definitely much richer if you have the background.

Captain Marvel was also made much better by the inclusion of a cat (spoiler coming) or something that mostly looks and acts like a cat anyway. That is partly my love of cats - which extended to Chewy in the comics - but they also made great use of Goose. For those wondering about the name change, this is probably not something that is going to happen, but having this be Goose may leave room for there to be a Chewy somewhere.

This did a good job of honoring what has come before while still leaving room for the future. Kit Renner is a young girl who is Captain Marvel's greatest fan and she was not in this movie. Based on her backstory, it would not make sense for her to be in this movie. However, there was another relationship in the movie that echoed it, both hitting those emotional chords, and also giving another future possibility that makes sense. There were things that reminded me of Kit and Marina, and there were things that reminded me of Helen. With so much from years of comics needing to go into a movie, that ability to evoke quickly is important. That is connecting on an emotional level, and there was a lot of that going on, even though I was there as a solo person.

There were little things, like Brian Bendis and Steve Ditko popping up in Miles Morales' phone contacts. There were big things, like the Stan Lee cameos and a pre-credits tribute to him before Captain Marvel. Someone a couple of rows ahead of me said she was going to cry right then. I felt a little misty myself.

I felt a connection through that which is not as concrete as reading comics with my friends (which has never been a regular activity for me) but was still meaningful. It sent me back to 2013.

I have not started going over my old music reviews yet, but I have thought about what is coming, and how many amazing things happened as I was getting started. That was a critical time for comics too, and a big part of that was attending the International Comic Arts Forum that year.

The main attendees were creators and academics, That meant a lot of people already knew each other, or if they didn't had plenty in common. I was neither, so was a bit of an oddball there. I wasn't completely outside of it either.

There were at least six creators there whose work I was already familiar with, and three creators whose work I sought out after. I talked to all of them.

I talked to college students studying comics and people working in comics. I am not sure that we exchanged name (I know I don't remember their names). I still remember the conversations, though, because we were talking about comics we had in common and that we'd had strong responses to and shared thoughts about. Without any kind of permanent relationship, we still had a sense of community there.

I have seen comments about the movies, and will see more. Sometimes I may reply, or post my own, depending on how it feels. That happens on line and it even happens in person, sometimes, often unexpectedly. I am sure many people will see Captain Marvel who have never read Captain Marvel.

There is a wider world out there, and sometimes it feels pretty small.

Related posts:

Monday, March 11, 2019

A pretty good respite

I had written about the ideal respite time a while back on the Sunday blog:

I had a comparable respite Saturday, it came with some insights, and that's what today's post is about.

One thing that made the respite from the other post such a relief was that I had gone about a month without. This time was not quite as dire, but I had been having some bad luck with getting out.

I may have let some extra time go by, because I had a really good one coming up, with a ticket for a band and venue I like. Unfortunately, they had to cancel. The circumstances that came up for them were way worse than me missing a concert, but I did still feel some disappointment. I still had the night off, so I meant to find an alternative.

That can be its own issue, especially at night, but it was complicated by a cold coming on. That left me feeling less motivated to do anything. Getting out is important, but leaving the house at night with nowhere to go and nothing to do while feeling sick is not particularly appealing. The lack of a car and extra money only makes that worse by eliminating more options. Also, there was a deadline approaching, because my sisters were going out of town.

I nearly went to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the night before they left, but I was still not feeling well enough and bagged it.

Saturday there was a Rose City Comic-Con viewing of Captain Marvel, which I thought would be really cool, but it sold out before I was sure I could commit.

As you can tell, disappointment haunted all of my dreams. However, I was feeling better, and while matinee prices aren't exactly half price, you can save some money.

Saturday I saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse AND Captain Marvel both!

I enjoyed them. And when I decided to splurge and get a small popcorn - because my sister had handed me her rewards card - it happened to be free. Then I walked across to Fred Meyer and got myself some spicy wings and a big pickle. Oh, and on the way I yelled at someone effectively. Also, the weather was pretty nice, and that helped. It was so nice I was toying with the idea of just walking home from there, but a friend I hadn't seen for a while saw me and picked me up.

(Walking would have been about 3.5 miles, which sounds like a lot, but generally on a good respite day I walk between 2 and 4 miles so it would have been in range.)

I do want to write more about how I felt about the movies, and the part about yelling at someone. That will happen in other posts.

In terms of analyzing the respite time itself, I guess the most concerning part is how much of it was luck. Being seen by someone and offered a lift and the free popcorn was definitely luck. It may not be obvious, but finding my spicy wings was also luck; lately they are always either out or they only have old dried out wings.

If you are relying on good luck, the cold and the cancellation would be signs that luck is against me more often than not. (Although the ticket refund included the service fees, and that never happens.)

The compatible show times were not so much a matter of luck as there being a showing of Captain Marvel about every half hour, which appears to have been appropriate planning.

The luck issues were all things that made it better, but finding something that I can enjoy, and getting family support so I can go out to do it, those things are not luck. They take some work, but they are doable.

Also, it is helpful that I have relatively modest dreams, but that's not really luck either; that has been developing for years.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Band Review: 20 Watt Tombstone

20 Watt Tombstone is a duo from Wisconsin that produces a pretty good groove. If you are at all inclined in that direction, listening may just make you want to pick up a guitar of your own.

With one guitar and one drum kit, it would be easy to draw comparisons to The White Stripes, but I heard more of an influence from CCR.

Attitude-wise, 20 Watt Tombstone goes beyond irreverent to gleefully, cheekily offensive. It's not even so much that it is hardcore. There are little things here and there that do not add to the music and might subtract, but the sense is that the band likes it that way.

There is an audience for that.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Band Review: Jon Ross

When reviewing a musician named Jon Ross, it is easy to find more than one. Because of that, with Nashville singer-songwriter Jon Ross I recommend going straight to his home page. He does have Facebook and Twitter links there, and I have included them, but searching on other platforms like Youtube or Spotify is too likely to produce uncertain results.

Fortunately, at that point listening becomes easy because Ross has a player embedded in the site that can be accessed from multiple pages.

Having listened a bit, I would say his tone is more of a good-humored slice of life; down home without being country. That may be most obvious on "#Adulting". There are songs that become more serious, and even sadder ("Keep On Playin'" is a good example of that), but the overall feeling is positive and resilient.

Describing the musical style is harder, but I think fans of Ben Folds Five could be interested.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Band Review: Toni Braxton

I find that even though I enjoyed listening to Toni Braxton, I don't have a lot to say about her. Maybe there is too much else going on.

Of course I was aware of her more prominent hits, like "Breathe Again" and "Unbreak My Heart", but my clear favorite was Pulse, especially "Why Won't You Love Me". The intro struck me immediately, so every time it played I was signaled right away, and there was my song.

To be fair, that is from 2010. Braxton has more recent work, including last year's Sex & Cigarettes. But music finds you when it finds you, and I never get tired of that.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Band Review: Brass Against

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that Brass Against covered "Cult of Personality",

It was only recently that I even knew they existed, mentioned by comic book artist Steve Lieber.

In the band's own description they reference rock and hip hop, which is completely legitimate. In addition to Living Colour, other bands covered by Brass Against include Audioslave and Tool. There are still two other genre-related terms that must be mentioned.

One is punk. The speed is not there, but the sense of the political and the move to change is.

Also, without checking the sheet music, I suspect Brass Against uses more chords than the average punk band. Much of that complexity comes via a fantastic horn section, which gives familiar songs a new life.

That leads us to the other necessary word: funk. I never thought I needed a funk version of "Cult of Personality", but I did.

After all, rage is not the only weapon that you can direct against the machine.