Thursday, July 29, 2021

Simone Biles Did the Right Thing

Gymnast Simone Biles has pretty much dropped out of the Olympics being held in Tokyo this week. She said she needs to focus on her mental health.

Some people are mad at because she probably cost the US at least one if not more gold medals. I heard a news talking head say "There's Gen Z for ya."

But, I don't agree with that. As a person who is neurologically diverse (I'm bipolar), I understand Biles's motivations. As I explained in this blog post, you have to take care of yourself. It's important. More important than almost anything else.

Plus, watching gymnastics, I'm sure it takes a lot of concentration and you can't be distracted by anything. Otherwise, you could get hurt, perhaps seriously. It's like driving on a racetrack. You can't be distracted.

I admire Biles for having the courage to disappoint a lot of people to take care of herself. This is her third Olympics and she's 24 years old. That's a lot of pressure for a young woman. She'll be 27 when the next Olympics happen in 2024. She may still compete then. 

So, give Biles a break. She did the right thing.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Second Guessing

I suppose everyone second guesses themselves. But I seem to have made an art form out of it. I'm always second guessing myself. In my freelance work, I'll send off an assignment, then wonder if I did something wrong, or forgot something. So then I'm always double checking after the fact.

Or in my fiction writing, I'll always wonder if I forgot something important. Then I hope beta readers find it. I usually don't forget; I'm pretty good at keeping things straight. Although I was just editing a first draft of a work in progress and a minor character changed names.

This isn't just in my writing. Late in June this year I worried that I forgot to pay my estimated taxes (due June 15th). But I, of course, had.

It's frustrating to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop because I'm not sure I did something right, when I did.

I don't know if I second guess myself more than other people. I have the feeling I do.

Do you second guess yourself a lot? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

An Ode to Cruse Control

I like to drive. I enjoy it and the faster the better, at least for short periods. I've gone 155 mph on a race track. That was the most fun I've had with my clothes on.

But on long trips, I love cruse control. 

I recently went to Seattle and back in one day and, surprise, it rained. Also we ran into stop-and-go traffic on the way over (before the rain). Coming back it was raining hard on Snoqualmie Pass and for some reason traffic was heavy. I couldn't use my cruise control, which made driving more of a chore.

Also, around where I live, roads tend to be straight and not too busy. Cruise control is a must. Set your speed 5 mph over the speed limit and... cruise. It takes some of the tedium out of driving on straight roads. That, and having SiriusXM blasting out of the radio.

I also use cruise control to not speed (too much). My right foot is a rebel and without cruise control I'd likely go too fast (for the speed limit, not conditions). A few years back I rented a minivan to take the family on vacation. We drove to Yellowstone Park and then to Mount Rushmore. A lot of straight roads (especially in Wyoming and South Dakota). And the cruise control didn't work. I had to be careful lest I find myself going 85-90 mph (and most of the speed limits were 75 mph).

Four years ago I was in Idaho and the speed limit was 80. I set the cruise control at 85 mph and enjoyed the ride.

So I love cruise control. How do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Star Wars Prequels

Over the Independence Day long weekend, I watched Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones on Disney+ in 4K UHD and my Dolby Atmos 7.1 surround sound system. I then watched Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith last night, also on Disney+.

I haven't watched these movies since they came out on the theater years ago (1999 for Phantom Menace, 2002 for Attack of the Clones, and 2005 for Revenge of the Sith). I remembered my rank disappointment in these films, especially Phantom Menace. Watching them again about 20 years later I've changed my opinions a little. 

**Spoilers ahead**

Phantom Menace is as bad as I remembered. As a lot of people have said, Darth Maul was the only interesting character, and they killed him off. From the opening scroll about taxes and trade relations, the whole thing ends up being boring. The pod racing sequence goes on forever and isn't as exciting as I think Lucas thought it was. And then there's Anikan's virgin birth. Is Lucas trying to make him a Jesus figure? It was all a mess. The best part was the light saber fight with Darth Maul. 

And don't get me started on Jar Jar Binks.

Attack of the Clones was in some ways, better then I remembered. Anikan was still whiny and hard to like. How did Padmé ever fall in love with him? The action sequences were better than I remember (with Natalie Portman's top strategically ripped). But I still think the love story is completely unbelievable. 

Revenge of the Sith is definitely the better of the three movies even if it is a little over-long. Lucas did a good job setting up Star Wars IV: A New Hope. The two climactic light saber duels (Yoda versus the new emperor and Obi Wan vs Darth Vader) are well done and fun to watch. It's interesting to see how Anikan is seduced by the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader. I actually enjoyed this movie more than I expected to.

George Lucas is a visionary. His movies used to be exceptionally good... when he was constrained by budget and the studios. But when he has a free hand and lots of money, he tends to try to do too much and it doesn't always work as well. 

How do you like these movies? Did you like them more than I? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Movie Rankings

A while back I ranked the Star Wars and Star Trek moves in order from best to worst. I've thought about doing that for other movie series, but there haven't really been any series that I've watched that have that many movies (except the Fast and Furious movies, and there's at least one-Tokyo Drift-I haven't seen). Problem is, they aren't very memorable. I can barely tell you what they are about. I do remember the one with Nathalie Emmanuel in it. But then again, she's gorgeous.

Joke: hasn't the Fast and Furious series gone on long enough for J. J. Abrams to ruin them now?

I didn't watch all the Harry Potter movies. I did watch all the Hunger Games moves but I didn't like them much. And, of course, I didn't watch all the Twilight movies. Yes, I watched the first one just to see what it was about.

I could do the three Indiana Jones movies (yes, there are only three) but that's pretty simple:

1) Raiders of the Lost Ark

2) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 

3) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

(My wife might switch the first two's positions.)

Or I could do the Matrix movies

1) the first movie

2) the second movie

3) the third movie

(I've heard rumors of a fourth movie in the Matrix series. I hope it's better than I expect.)

I thought about doing the Pixar movies, but there are a lot of them and I haven't seen them all (I've see 21 out of 23, though).

I could rank the Toy Story movies:

1) Toy Story 2

2) Toy Story

3) Toy Story 3

4) Toy Story 4

So, I guess there's little to be ranked once you've done Star Wars and Star Trek movies.

Do you have any ideas for movie series to rank? Or do you think I've covered the gamut? Let me know in the comments below.