Movies and legs, oh my

I’ve gotten stalled. I rented “Avengers: Age of Ultron” but didn’t get around to watching it before my one-week checkout period was about to expire, so I took it back. I have to re-rent it, but I have to be sure I have a night available to watch it within that week. For some reason that’s difficult.

My leg had started to improve, I thought, and then it all went to hell again. I have seen a different physical therapist who’s given me three different exercises from the ones the first guy gave me. This one is the one which noticeably helps:

Doing that for a full minute stretches the piriformis muscle, which is one of my areas of pain. I also do a reverse clam exercise:

and a prone quad stretch with resistance leash:

They help for a while, but I’m not feeling any permanent improvement. I really don’t want to live with this pain for the next 10-20 years, dammit!

Avengers: Age of Ultron

I made it through both Guardians of the Galaxy and was amused. I wonder which A-list actor is going to be in “Ultron?” After all, Robert Redford had a major role in “Winter Soldier,” and in GotG 2 Kurt Russell had a giant part as principal antagonist. Then there was Sly Stallone turning up once or twice, too. Who’s it gonna be?

Onward!

Next up, Guardians of the Galaxy!

I’ve now seen nine of the first ten movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (I’ll have to go back to “The Incredible Hulk.”) I’ve been pretty favorably impressed with most of them. Sure, they’re comic-book based, but hey, a whole lot of movies are based on preposterous material. Who read “The Bridges of Madison County” or “Ivanhoe” or “Robin Hood” or “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and didn’t say to him or her self “Oh come on. Really?”

The material in these films is mostly new to me, too. I read some “Hulk” comics, but the last ones I remember reading were the early “Fantastic Four” books. I was a Baseball Digest fan, not really a comics guy. It helps to be unfamiliar with the characters and the content, I think, because there’s little chance I’ll be disappointed in them. I remember the howling about Peter Jackson’s decisions to leave Tom Bombadil and “The Scouring of the Shire” out of LOTR!

I watched “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” last night. My goodness. There were certainly a lot of double-crosses in this movie!

I had to pause the movie and look hard at the case credits to confirm that, yes indeed, that WAS Robert Redford up there on the screen with a large role (a VERY large role). He surely did a good job playing strongly against type as a villain.

It was pretty darned exciting, although I wonder how it is that one blow from Captain Rogers leaves his opponents lying on the ground behind him over and over again (see “preposterous,” above).

On to the two Guardians of the Galaxy films. I’ve been told that I’ll like them if only because of their soundtracks. I surely hope those aren’t their only good qualities!

MCU Update

I watched Iron Man 3 last night. I have now seen 7 of the 8 films in the MCU up to that point in the saga. Next up, Thor: The Dark World.

I’ve seen more movies in two months than I usually watch in 7 years!

That’s true. I started going to movies after years of not doing so when the Harry Potter movies came out. Then there was the LOTR trilogy. Then the three Hobbit movies (blah), and then the new Star Wars movies began to come out. All of them were about one year apart when they were released. I saw Black Panther last year and Captain Marvel this spring, both in theaters. The same theater. In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve seen all but maybe one of those movies at the same multiplex. Huh.

So, the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Now that “Endgame” is out, I thought I’d at least make a stab at watching some of these movies. Better late than never, right? I checked, and it seems that my state library has copies of most and possibly all of them. I dutifully scoured the internet for advice on how to watch them and decided using the internal chronology as a guide would make more sense than taking the release date as gospel.

This order seems to be accepted wisdom, so I started requesting them at the library.

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (Introduces the concept of superheroes and takes place decades before any other movie. Watch it first.)
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. Iron Man
  4. Iron Man 2
  5. The Incredible Hulk (Could skip this one. Weakest of all Marvel movies.)
  6. Thor
  7. The Avengers
  8. Iron Man 3
  9. Thor: The Dark World
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  14. Ant-Man
  15. Doctor Strange
  16. Captain America: Civil War
  17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  18. Thor: Ragnarok
  19. Black Panther
  20. Avengers: Infinity War
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (Probably the 2nd weakest of the Marvel movies, but there is a bit of info here you need to understand before Endgame. You could just read a recap and save time, though.)
  22. Avengers: Endgame

So far I’ve seen “First Avenger” at home, “Captain Marvel” in the theater, “Iron Man” at home, and “Iron Man 2” (well, half of it; it became blindingly obvious what was going to happen by the end of the film). I just got “Thor” from the library today. I saw “Black Panther” in the theater a year ago. I don’t recall it had any connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. or any of the other players, but that could be my failing memory.

I also discovered that I have to watch these on my desktop. The remote control for my DVD player in the kitchen suffered that most awful of calamities: battery corrosion.

I went off in search of a new remote at Best Buy (no more Radio Shack!) and discovered that they don’t sell inexpensive universal remotes for DVDs anymore; they’re all streaming and television and soundbar. If you want one for a DVD player you have to buy online or pay as much as you’d pay for a basic DVD player (which I need; I have about 40 movies on disc; I don’t want to dump them for Netflix or any of the other options). Progress, bah! I ordered a $10 remote from Amazon which should be here in two weeks.

Reversion to YA-hood

Way back when I was in high school I read like crazy (still do). I had lots of paperbacks, including mysteries (Agatha Christie, Rex Stout), thrillers (Doc Savage) and, in hardcover, about half of the Rick Brant Science Adventure Stories. Those were “boys’ books” which tried to make real science more accessible than Tom Swift ever did. The first book was published in 1947 (complete list here) and the 23rd in 1968.

A few years ago I got a wild hair and tried to find e-book versions of all 24 of them. I downloaded Calibre and began searching. Gutenberg had eleven of them. Then I dug and dug and eventually found the other 13, including the 24th and last, published in 1989, 22 years after the 23rd book was released. Harold Goodwin, who wrote them, explained how it came about that the final book was published so many years later in his Afterword to that book: see page 183.

Anyway, once I bought a Kindle I uploaded the books from Calibre to the e-reader. A few days ago I didn’t want to read anything I had ready at hand and thought I’d try them. I read all 24 books over the space of the last three days.

They hold up pretty well, all things considered. The science is imaginative but realistic, the adventures are exciting and the characters are pretty well-defined. I doubt anyone but collectors and geezers would want to buy them now, but I note that Amazon has an 11-book collection of them in Kindle form for a price that can’t be beat: $1.99.

Book and music purchases arrive

In today’s mail: Paperback editions of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s “Neogenesis” and Eric Flint and Charles Gannon’s “The Vatican Sanction.” Also: the 2016 Celebration of Joan Baez’s 75th birthday, complete with a whole bunch of guest artists singing with her.

Here’s one of the songs: Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter singing Donovan’s “Catch the Wind.”

Here’s another: “Deportee,” an old Woodie Guthrie song sung by Baez, Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris.

Did you know that Jackson gave the induction speech for Joan at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017?