Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On the road again: DragonCon, day 0


Sometimes, I'm so dumb I can barely believe it.  Today, I had one of those times.

I got up after a modest amount of sleep and went straight to work.  I wanted to be completely caught up before I got in the car to go to Atlanta and DragonCon.  I finished all my work, showered, and was getting ready to go.  I rushed out.

After driving to Hillsborough, where we planned to eat lunch, and after walking almost to the restaurant, I realized I had changed my dressing ritual by rushing and in the process had left my wallet at home. 

Dumb.

Back home we drove, so I could get my wallet.

Total time cost was about a hundred minutes. 

Dumb.

The rest of the car trip went well.  When I wasn't driving, I was working on my tablet, but I could not keep up with the volume of email that was coming my way. 

I did tweet a picture of the butt-crack side of the giant metal peach; you won't want to miss that.

After checking into the hotel and finding the room to be completely fine, I headed to dinner.  The meal was a tasty one, courtesy of Alma, a place that offered an interesting combination of Brazilian and Mexican dishes.  None were great, but all were good.

Back at the room, I found a giant maelstrom of work email, which took me until the wee hours to finish.

Tomorrow, the con starts.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Expendables 3: Too artsy and sensitive for its own good



I bet I'm the only reviewer to criticize Stallone's third installment in the let's-get-all-the-old-action-stars-together series for being too artsy and too sensitive, but I'm right.  This one was fun, but not as much fun as it should have been, precisely because it tried too hard to be something it's not.

Let's examine how these movies work.  You assemble a team of aging action stars.  (Add more in each new movie.)  You give them a super-villain who happens to work in places where you can film cheaply and blow up a lot of shit.  You toss in a whisper of a motivation--really, you don't need much--cue the action, pause for the occasional bit of bro-love and fist-bumping, and you blow the hell out of your cheap-ass location.  Eventually, Stallone fights the super-villain and kills the dude in some suitably horrific way. 

As the series goes on, you add some younger action heroes because, hey, someday these guys won't be able to take all the physical abuse that comes from starring in these films, but they'll still be able to produce and direct. 

Rinse and repeat.  Have a grand time. 

This movie went wrong each time it deviated from that formula. 

Sure, give us the bro-love, but don't for the sake of all that's holy make these men actually emote.  Watching Stallone try to show his deep feelings for his team made me reach for a tissue, my sadness was so great at the utter inability of his face to move. 

Yeah, we're fine with the young action stars.  Hell, I was downright excited to see the formidable Ronda Rousey in an action flick.  When the film took more than 30 seconds on the characterization of any of them, however, it went too far.  Ditto its sad attempts to have them act.  I adore Rousey as a fighter.  I would love to write her autobiography with her.  I can even believe she might one day be a good actor--but that will take some time and training.  For now, she has two looks:  the hot smile, and her most common expression, the I'm-so-angry-I-might-just-kill-you-for-fun glare.  (By the way, I'm a huge fan of that look; it's just not right for every non-smiling scene.) 

Having picked on Rousey, I now must say that I loved every action scene she was in.  Stallone definitely needs to bring her back in the inevitable Expendables 4

I could go on, but you get the point:  More action, less acting.  More blowing shit up, less characterization.  Start fast, and pick up speed.

Despite all of its flaws, I, of course, had a fine time watching the movie.  It just could have been so much more big, dumb fun than it was.


Monday, August 25, 2014

5 reasons you should come to my comedy show at DragonCon


What comedy show, you may ask?

Why, thank you for asking.

This coming Friday, August 29, DragonCon has graciously given me an hour-long showcase at 5:30 p.m. in Embassy A-B of the Hyatt.  I will be filling that hour with my latest comedy show,

Mr. Poor Choices II:  I Don't Understand

Now that we have those basics out of the way, let me get back to the reasons I promised.
5.  To learn why so many people call me Mr. Poor Choices--and yet I'm still alive.

4.  To discover a way to make a hotel room your own that I guarantee you won't have thought of before.

3.  To feel good:  No matter how badly you've behaved in a mall, I'll make you feel better about yourself.

2.  To appreciate your mother more by hearing why my mom was the world champion of bad gift giving.

1.  To find out just exactly how insane my spending impulses get at four in the morning.

Most of all, of course, come to laugh and have a great start to your evening.

If you're at the con and want to attend the show but can't remember the details, just look for one of these posters.




We'll be putting them everywhere the hotels let us.

I hope to see you Friday!



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another nifty PT sabbatical video


As I've said in multiple past posts, I'm quite proud of PT's sabbatical program and of the many good works PT staffers have done while on their sabbaticals.  We make videos about those sabbaticals, and we recently completed another one.

Nathan and Sarah volunteered at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  Here's Nathan, telling a bit about their time at the Food Bank.



Helping make the world a better place is a key goal of our sabbatical program.  I'm very happy that so many PT folks, like Sarah and Nathan, donate their time to do just that.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another episode of Now with PT is online


and you should check it out.  With Gina and Drew hosting, this episode has something for anyone interested in tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks.



These shows are a great way to get a quick peek at some of the cool facts that PT is regularly producing.

Enjoy!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Where you should be next Friday late afternoon:
Dragon Con, seeing my comedy show


Yes, as you can learn from my Appearances page, I will be in Atlanta at Dragon Con.  At 5:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, August 29, I'll be in Embassy A-B in the Hyatt doing my latest comedy show:  Mr. Poor Choices II:  I Don't Understand

You should be there.

As I understand it, the room has plenty of seats, so I need plenty of people to fill them.  Comedy works best with a good crowd, so you should come and help be a part of one.

If you come, you'll learn about some of my more interesting poor choices, laugh a great deal, and leave for dinner with a smile on your face.

Spread the word, please.




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back at The Monti


Earlier tonight I headed over to Durham to tell another story at one of the programs from The Monti.  This evening's topic was "Heat." 

My story focused on a particularly disturbing incident involving a cat in heat; those of you who know me may well have heard variations of it before.  I thought I did a good job with the story, though I started a bit faster than I should have.

The other seven stories ranged widely in topics and approach.  The winning story and storyteller absolutely deserved to win; his tale was lyrical and moving.

I haven't yet decided if I'll return and tell more stories, but my guess is that I will, because it's a great opportunity to both practice oral storytelling and hear a lot of fun tales.  If you don't know these events and like this form of storytelling, I encourage you to check out The Monti.


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