Getting To Know You

Allllllllll the way back on the second day of Nano Poblano, Anyes posted a “Let’s get to know each other” entry on her blog, and it posed a few questions that I thought would be fun to come back to.

What’s the #1 most played song on your playlist?

When I saw this posted by Anyes, I checked the play counts in my iTunes app, and found that “Undisclosed Desires” by Muse was at the top of the list. Well, a non-musical binaural sleep track filled with white noise was actually the most played item, but Muse was right behind.

Here are the top five played (musical) tracks in my iTunes library. It is undeniably a fascinating cross-section of some of the music that makes me tick.

  1. Muse – Undisclosed Desires
  2. Anthony David – God Said
  3. Information Society – Run Away
  4. Sara Bareilles – Let The Rain
  5. La Roux – As If By Magic

There’s a problem with this list, though. Several problems, actually. First of all, I suffered a library glitch with iTunes on October 5th, 2008. All the data was reset on that day- no song in my iTunes library has a “Date Added” later than 10/5/08, and any plays from the years before are gone. I started using iTunes with my first iPod back in 2003, so that’s five years of play data gone.

Secondly, this question doesn’t specify which playlist. I have many, many, many playlists. Or even which audio source- there is still a CD in my car’s deck, although I’ve forgotten which one- but I used to spin it a lot. Before that, there were mix tapes and soundtracks that got played until they were practically worn out, and I’m confident some of those had more plays than the count on that Muse song at the top of this post.

Third, this question doesn’t take into account things from streaming sources like Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music- and you’d better believe I use all three.

Music is life.

I checked my Spotify account, and while I can’t find actual play totals, I can tell what the two most played songs on my Spotify account are. The first is Shriekback’s “Nemesis,” which I love in part because it’s a dance-floor banger and in part because they managed to squeeze “parthenogenesis” into the lyrics and it totally works. The other one is Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen from Nashville singing “If I Didn’t Know Better,” which is an absolute smokeshow of a song.

Clearly, the most played song is flexible, frangible. It can be changed by time, or mood, or salinity, by life events and tragedy or triumph.

Sometimes I just like to hear certain harmonies, certain orchestrations.

I strongly doubt that this has helped you to know me any better.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

I have loads of favorite quotes, but the first one that came to mind when I was writing this post was-

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” The words were Yoda, but the delivery was Frank Oz. This line is from a four minute long scene on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back which contains a heap of Yoda’s most famous lines: “Do or do not; there is no try.” “Judge me by my size, do you?” “That is why you fail.” These are all lines from the same scene, but the one that always gets me is this one. If this movie is playing on television and I happen to be walking through the room, I will stop dead in my tracks for this line.

I feel like my explanation for why I like this quote so much is inadequate. I do believe in the shining potential of most people, though, and I think it sums that up pretty well.

What sound do you love?

Anyes already claimed rain, so I can’t use that as my answer. I guess I’ll have to go with the sound of a rolling suitcase moving over sidewalk- that roll-click-roll-click-roll-click sound.

My apartment in Germany was less than half a kilometer, about a third of a mile, from the city’s main train station. People would walk past all the time with those rolling suitcases. Since I had no air conditioning, I kept the window open through most of the year, and that rolling thumping noise became very soothing to me.

Now that I think about it, all the other sounds of the train station are soothing to me as well. On a clear, quiet night, the announcements on the platforms were audible from my apartment. I could hear the sounds of trains rolling in or rolling out in the distance.

I loved all of it.

Now it’s your turn. Care to answer any of these questions?

33/52 (and 12 of 30!)

The London Film Museum

My previous post about London led to a conversation with a friend about London, and I wanted to look at the pictures I posted in my blog post about the London Film Museum. When I went to look for the post, I discovered to my vast surprise that I never wrote a post about the London Film Museum, I only wrote a paragraph in one of my previous London posts. In August of 2012, I said the following in a longer post about London:

I quite enjoyed the London Film Museum, which had a lot of neat stuff, including Daleks, a TARDIS, the superman suit from Superman Returns, the Batman Begins batsuit, and a large variety of props from other movies.  There was an entire room of Harry Potter stuff, and a large exhibit dedicated to Ray Harryhausen, including a full sized original Bubo.  This was a highlight for me.

That’s it- just that one paragraph. All the pictures I took at the museum, which I thought I had posted years ago, were still unshared. I will now correct that oversight.

When I visited the London Film Museum, it was in a section of County Hall, right near Westminster Bridge, close to the London Eye along the Thames River. I have since learned that it moved to a location in Covent Garden in April of 2012- my visit was in July of 2012, so I suspect the museum was still moving, and I saw only a fraction of the entire exhibit. What I did see was pretty dang cool though.

Harry Potter props and costumes- A variety of items were present here, including some costumes, the Tri-Wizard cup, and Harry’s Nimbus 2000.

Star Wars stuff – London is the home of Pinewood Studios, which has been a production facility for most of the Star Wars films. There were a few Star Wars artifacts on hand during my visit. I saw much more at the Star Wars exhibit in Tokyo a few years later.

Alien – They had a sculpture of a Xenomorph and some facehuggers from the Alien franchise.

Doctor Who – A film museum in England would naturally have some Doctor Who items. Not as much as the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, but still- a Tardis and a handful of Daleks were still neat to see.

Superman and Batman – Pinewood has a long history with DC Comics, and there weer a number of Superman and Batman artifacts on hand. First up, some costumes!

Next, we have part of the ship that brought Kal to earth in Superman (1978) and a newspaper from Superman II.

Braveheart, Hellraiser, and various animation – The Dangermouse cardboard stand was my favorite in this part.

The Ray Harryhausen Exhibit – This was my favorite part, to be honest- they had a special exhibit in plae called “Ray Harryhausen: Myths and Legends.” It contained various items from Harryhausen’s stop-motion work, but I was most interested in the Clash of the Titans items, particularly the full-sized Bubo the Owl!

Have you ever been to a film museum? What’s your favorite prop that you’ve seen in person?

17/52

Hours could seem like days.

Today’s Nanopoblano post is kind of a cheat, because I feel like I have only a few words today. (Few words and kind of a head-ache.)  Numbers, on the other hand, I have lots of.  My brain doesn’t spin down much.

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From today, it will be:

1 day to the Pet Shop Boys concert.

6 days to my elder brother’s 50th birthday.

7 days until I start my last week of On-call for Mr. Company.  (And another few days after that until I get a full night’s sleep again without interruption.)

9 days to Thanksgiving.   Earlier in my career, I usually had to work Thanksgiving.  That doesn’t happen any more, but I kind of miss it.    There was always a camaraderie among those who were tapped to work a holiday.  Plus the food was always provided by management.  Those mashies were delicious.

13 days until the start of the four-way Supergirl-Flash-Arrow-Legends crossover event on the CW.  I am so fricking excited to see Supergirl interact with more of the established Arrowverse characters, you have no idea.

17 days to my birthday.  I’m not super enthused about this one.  I’ve got bigger things on my mind right now than reaching 44.

18 days until Amelie and I go to see the B-52s!  That’s gonna be a fun show.

21 days until my niece turns 6.  I could swear she was a toddler about five minutes ago.  I have no idea what to get her this year-  for a little while, I could just get something related to Frozen and it would be a winner.    I think if I got her another Frozen-themed gift, her mother might lynch me.

22 days until I move out of my apartment.  At this point, my to-do lists have their own to-do lists.  I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.

25 days until the next time Amelie and I visit a sci-fi convention.  There’s a little one here in Ft. Lauderdale, which should be fun.  The guest list for this one is not bad, including James Marsters, Summer Glau, Sam Jones, Judge Reinhold, Tim Russ, Billy Dee Williams, and Joey Fatone!  (I’m enthused about all but one of those.  Betcha can’t guess which one!)

30 days to the end of my job.  Which means I should really go to fewer concerts and whatnot.    (In reality, I am working far fewer than thirty days until the end-  it’s just thirty calendar days.)

And, as a final treat,

30+1 days until the next Star Wars movie, Rogue One, comes out.   This is the first feature film set in the Star Wars universe that isn’t about the Skywalkers and the Solos.   I’m pretty jazzed about it.

What’s the next thing you’re counting down to?  Where will you be in 31 days?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?

Visions Of Star Wars

Just before I went to Japan, I started looking into shows and events and interesting things to see in Tokyo.  One of the first things I learned was that there was a Star Wars: Visions exhibit in Roppongi Hills from late April until late June.    My colleague and I hit the train before work one day, to see the exhibit.   There were advertisements in the train stations.

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Before we went all the way into the tower, we stopped for a quick breakfast.  It turns out that Seattle-based Tully’s Coffee has a presence in Tokyo, and they make very tasty pastries.  I think this was an apple based pastry, if I remember correctly.  It was quite good.

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Mori Tower was our next stop.  This is where the Star Wars exhibit was being held, as well as a Naruto exhibit which we did not visit.

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On the walk into Mori Tower, there’s a giant spider thing.  Fun!

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If you’re not sure that you’re headed in the right direction, just look for a sign.

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I’m not really a fan of most anime, but it looks like Naruto fans would have really enjoyed this nearby exhibit.

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The exhibits are held on the top floors of Mori Tower, which means you get a pretty spectacular view of the city looking out toward Tokyo Tower, the one that looks like a red Eiffel Tower.  I’ll get to Tokyo Tower in another post.

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Star Wars: Visions is an exhibit of artifacts from the Star Wars universe, as well as some new art pieces.  The artifacts were far more interesting to me than the art.

First, you have to get past more giant signs though.

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Once you get inside, one of the first things you see is the Death Star!

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Here’s a Darth Vader figure in his regeneration chamber.

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There was a life-sized Darth Vader lightsaber duel set-up on the roof for you to pick up a lightsaber and get a good photo against the Tokyo skyline.  However, that part of the exhibit was closed when we were there.  (Dang it, it looks cool!)

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We didn’t get to fight a Sith lord, but we did get to see almost every light-saber in the Star Wars film universe.

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And models!  Lots of tiny lit up models of ships!

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The level of detail on these ships is amazing.

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So much goodness can be seen here.

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Look, it’s a recreation of the two second scene in Jedi when you see a shuttle landing on Endor!

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In case you ever wanted to see the individual components of Vader’s mask, here they are.  I’ve always been curious about the little brown postage-stamps that ring the face-mask.  I can see now that they’re covered in circuitry, which makes total sense to me.

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I believe this is an original Boba Fett costume and Han-sicle.

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This is an original Han Solo blaster prop.

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…and this is actual C3PO and R2-D2 costumes.

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On the way out, there’s some rather nifty art in a lucite box.

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Have you ever seen a Star Wars exhibit?   What was your favorite artifact?

August Break: Star Wars Celebration Europe

I’m on an August Break from my regular blogging schedule. Here’s today’s pictures.  There are 43 of ’em today, but I promise, this is still August Break.  Most of these won’t have commentary.

I went to Star Wars Celebration Europe in Essen, Germany during the last weekend of July.  There were cool panels with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Anthony Daniels (C3P0), Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok), and many many others.

When it comes to conventions, everyone goes for different reasons.  My friend Lorrie goes partly for the panels, but mostly for the vendor tables.  Some people go to show off their costumes.  Some go because they want to hear the panels.

I like the panels, and sometimes I come back with a fun geeky t-shirt or two, but the one thing I always do at a con is to walk around with my camera.  I love seeing other people’s costumes, especially if they’re really creative or accurate or just funny.  I took hundreds of photos in Essen.  Here’s 43 of my favorite shots from the weekend.

This was before the event.  I call this “Off-duty Bike Scouts.”

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There were a lot of Leias around.  And more than a few Padmes.

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The Hasbro area had recreated several scenes from the movies in incredible detail using their action figures.

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This half-scale model of Vader’s TIE-fighter was on display.

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You could also get a picture of yourself in the cockpit of this snow speeder.

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Bavarian clone trooper.  This man had the most amazing mutton-chops under that helmet.

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Wutini!

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I thought about posing in this scene recreation, but I forgot my giant diaper.

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The wampa was at least eight feet tall.  And very fast.

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This girl did an amazing Barriss Offee costume.

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Even a princess has to eat sometime.

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There were so many Mandalorians.

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…not to mention Angry Birds.

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I didn’t understand this gag at first-  Lorrie reminded me of all the people fleeing Bespin toward the end of The Empire Strikes Back

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Lorrie shot first.

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This was on the leg of the AT-AT in the main hall.  I didn’t even notice the sign until the third day.

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I only saw four or five slave Leia costumes.  It was refreshing to see so many more Leia variants that didn’t involve the bikini.  Don’t get me wrong; I love this look (as all heterosexual geek males do,) but it’s getting a bit overplayed.

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One of these Imperials is just a mannequin.   See if you can guess which one!

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These two did a hyper-accurate cartoon Clone Wars version of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano  Very impressive.

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Lots of droids.

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An AT-AT driver!  I was amazed at the variety of costumes people chose- it wasn’t all main characters.

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“I’m a Mog!”

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I snapped this picture because of the Dengar costume.  I didn’t realize until I saw it on a larger screen that Kenny Baker (R2-D2) is in the corner!

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Surprisingly few Vaders- only two or three all weekend.

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All four of these men have played Boba Fett at some point or other.  The youngest, Daniel Logan, was “Young Boba” in the prequel trilogy.  The other three were from the original movies.  The one wearing the costume is Jeremy Bulloch, the original Boba Fett, and the one who spent the most time in the role.

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It’s a trap!

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Ikea’s computer expert revealed:

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