Joss Whedon definitely knows how to put together a superiour superhero movie.
As I believe I said roughly three years ago, almost to the day... MR JOSS MUTHAFUCKIN WHEDON!
I thought that the first movie was the definitive Avengers movie... well, Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks the first movie's butt, takes it's lunch money and sends it home with a bloody nose.
This movie had me... from start to finish and all points in between, this movie just had me. And as always with Mr Whedon it was all the characters (and I do mean ALL the characters, just about everybody shows up in this thing at some point... or is at least name checked... and that's on top of introducing five new characters including the main villain) and their relationships. And if there is one thing that Joss Whedon does exceptionally well is write for a disparate group of characters and given them all a voice and find a way to bring them together believably.
Everybody gets their little beat... and sometimes more than that. Thor actually gets to be humorous this time around... Tony Stark is pretty much always Tony Stark, and it seems like his role in the Avengers movies is to be the self involved kid that nobody else wants to play with... there's a whole new world of Hawkeye... Black Widow and Hulk get to enjoy new and interesting territories... and even Captain America actually has stuff to do this time around, even if that stuff is mostly being in charge (it always feels like he's the least interesting guy in the room, although it does feel more like he's found his groove this time).
Personally all my favourite stuff is the emerging relationship between Scarlett Johansson's Romanoff and Mark Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk. And Johansson gets to take Natasha in all these new directions and open her past up a little. But I still hold to the idea that I don't want a Black Widow solo movie... not because I don't think Johansson would be great, and with the right writer and director it wouldn't be interesting, but I still like being able to just see tiny slivers of her past rather than laying it all out. And given what we've seen so far, I also think it would be hard to make without making it really, really dark and borderline depressing.
Having said that, I'd love to be proven wrong.
Oh, and as always, it's nice to see Chris Hemsworth perform his contractually obligated shirtless and wet Thor scene... not quite as lingering as the shots in the Thor movies, but still very pleasant. Also bless the makers of Under Armour for putting many of the cast in very, very tight fitting, body hugging shirts... particularly Chris Evans with those arms...
But getting back to the actual movie.
While the plot feels more grounded than the last (which is weird to say when you're talking about hordes of robots), or at the very least the threat is internal, rather than external, the movie definitely ramps up the spectacle... instead of just New York getting flattened, this time three different cities get the Battling Avengers treatment. The most spectacular of these, unsurprisingly, is the final battle, which is pretty damn amazing. In a lot of ways it's the best parts of the first movie's final battle sequences, where they all work together, but ratcheted all the way up.
And I think this is maybe the first of the Marvel movies where I wouldn't have minded seeing even more of the villain... there's just something about James Spader's voice performance that's kind of compelling... plus Ultron is clearly bat-crap crazy in a very human way, which is intriguing in a machine.
There also wasn't a single moment where I felt the movie's 141 minute run time... yes, thinking back on it after the fact, they probably could have trimmed down a couple of the earlier fight scenes, but like I said at the head of this post, the movie had me all the way through, so I never even noticed the time.
yani's rating: 5 vibranium androids out of 5
Essentially, due to the whole Anzac thing, there was no shopping this morning. I don't actually know if either our regular supermarket or the one here in the Village were open... but I assume they weren't because of the usual morning public holiday.
I'm not even going to get into the insanity of having a public holiday on a Saturday... I don't even care about not having a day off work, it's more that my own personal timeline was thrown off due to the weird Saturday half-holiday thing.
Had it not been Ma's haircut day today we may have gone and checked out the supermarkets... or at least Ma would have paid attention when she was going past the regular one... but given that I was left to my own devices, I didn't really end up doing much of anything, and then around the time I was planning on heading out, Ma messaged me that she was on her way, so not much point in doing anything at that point.
When she did arrive, I was in need to food, so we decided to head out and have breakfast out somewhere. That somewhere ended up being the Royal Oak, my usual go-to for having breakfast out. Perhaps not the very best option but it's familiar, and they do do good coffee.
And there were some guys in airforce uniform out the front... it is amazing how just putting a service uniform on a guy (more so airforce and navy to be honest), and then putting him in a group of similarly dressed dudes, he gets several degrees hotter. Its just a fact, and you can't argue with science.
After breakfast we stopped at the seven day supermarket to grab a paper and some milk, but they were out of papers and I had to go next door to the servo instead.
We then came back to my place, read the paper and killed some time until around noon when we headed into the city to go visit Josh's exhibition.
We found an odd little spot to park in one of the back streets and then wandered around. We hung out with Josh for about an hour, chatted about the exhibition, life in general and whatnot.
And that was really it... I'll head out tomorrow and do my shopping then, which will be weird, but I'll survive.
Not major league difficult, but you know, not a smooth week either.
Mostly it has to do with the fact that the flu-ey throat thing I had a couple of weeks back has returned with a vengeance. I don't have any other cold or flu symptoms really, just a cough and general throat congestion which isn't overly pleasant.
So yeah, mostly it's first thing in the morning that's the problem, but there have been a couple of instances where I've been laughing and it's turned into a cough, which is then kind of hard to stop.
You can definitely put me down as not being a fan of this... not a fan at all.
Otherwise work has been pretty damn busy, not necessarily that exciting, but busy.
After work today I ended up wandering around town for a while waiting for Josh's art exhibition to open... and that's pretty much all it was, wandering around.
There were a couple of things I probably should have done, but I didn't really want to have to carry anything around for the rest of the evening.
Eventually it was time to head off to find the gallery, which turned out to be a very tiny hole in the wall, gotten to down a back alley off a side street. But I got to have a chat with Josh, which is always nice... and I got to see Charlie again, who I haven't seen since Espionage closed.
I didn't stay all that long, although probably longer than I would have stayed in the old Espionage days... and I kind of ended hanging around to try and say goodbye to Josh, but realised that he was lost to the crowd and made my usual quiet exit.
Plus by that stage my feet hurt from spending all day in new shoes and wandering around for a couple of hours... so I took myself off home.
Now if only the neighbours would shut up so I could get some sleep, that would be lovely. Because seriously, why the fuck are they hanging out either outdoors or with all the sliding doors open, because it's fucking cold, windy and rainy out there... go the fuck inside already and shut up!
Anyway... thank god for earplugs.
It started out fairly regularly, I got up, tidied the apartment, got ready, Ma arrived, we did the shopping... and I bought about a billion tons of vegetables so that I can make a gigantic stew tomorrow for lunch next week.
After the supermarket portion, we did a loop around Target and I finally got around to getting some new dress pants. I do wonder if I should have gotten the ones which were a thicker fabric, but we'll see how I go with these ones.
Then after we came back here, did the usual unpacking and decided on a quick trip to Arndale in search of a kettle. And of course, the order of the day was shiny and red... because red. And I've already tested it out this afternoon and it works pretty well.
There was also a brief detour to EB Games where I grabbed a couple more Adventure Time blind box tins... of course it turned out they they had a special deal on them, and I ended up with two for not that much more than the price of one. Also, I got a Finn and Jake to go with my Fionna and Cake (well, kind of, a Jake tin and Finn figure, whereas I have a Fionna tin, etc).
Anyway, by the time we were leaving Arndale it had started raining... but it was actually a pretty brief shower and by the time we got back to my place it had stopped.
We were going to call it a day there, but Ma realised she had a catalogue for Paul's Warehouse (of the shoes) in her bag, and very unhelpfully I then remembered that I'd seen an ad on TV last night for them and had though about heading over to see if they actually had stock in this time after the disaster of our last visit.
While I appreciate the whole "buy one, get one free" ethos of the place, it could seriously do with a serious bout of organisation. Like for example, I'd screw the whole "sorted by style" tables, and replace them with "sorted by size" which would be a lot more useful.
I'd rather look through one table full of the correct size than six different tables to try and find something in my size, especially because my size must either be a very popular or unpopular one, because there aren't really all that many to choose from.
Although I did end up with ten possible pairs to chose from... and that's not including the ones that were seriously too ugly to live.
Yes, it was excessive, but given that I got all four pairs for the same price that two full price pairs would have cost me, plus it means that it will be a while before I have to go back and look for more.
I also think I made the day of one of the wandering teenage boys employed by Paul's to wander around. I previously thought that they had to put a code on the shoeboxes so that you got the discount... but I realised what they're actually doing is putting their own code on their so that they get credited for the sale... which explains why, after we've had no actual assistance from them, they're always very happy to write the code on the boxes as we're heading to the checkout (and why they ask you if anybody helped you out I guess). But I think this particular wandering teen had only just rocked up for his shift and with my giant haul would have been something of a coup.
So that was it... although we did manage to kill about an hour all up... and Ma just dropped me off outside my apartment and went on her merry way since there wasn't any point for her to come all the way upstairs and then go all the way down again.
On Sunday I tried out my new teapot and teacup... the cup is great, the teapot looks like it will have a bad habit of dribbling tea all over the place unless you pour very quickly. But it took me until the second cup to really work that out... so essentially I got tea everywhere.
I also moved some stuff around so that I could find a spot for the giant Labyrinth framed poster... but it does mean that my IKEA lamp is now in a totally different spot (more in the corner) and not producing as much light. Which actually is possibly a good thing, but will just take a little while to get used to.
And I put a couple of other pieces up... and remembered another poster that I've had sitting around rolled up since I bought it several years back... not that I have the faintest idea where it could possibly go at this stage, but I wouldn't mind getting it flattened out in a frame if nothing else.
Then at the end of the day I made a gigantic pot of tomato (and potato and bacon) soup for lunch all week, and I still have a couple of containers of it left over. I must remember to post the recipe, because while there is some degree of hovering around the stove the whole time, it's actually a pretty damn simple soup, even though I tweaked the recipe with a little chilli and have spent the week wishing I hadn't used quite so much.
I've also been on a bit of an Adventure Time binge of late... which is a little odd, given that when I originally watched the first couple of episodes I just flat out didn't get it... but like with many things of a televisual nature, I was slightly worn down by Tumblr a little, as well as the fact that I kept catching the odd episode here and there and quite enjoying them. Once I kind of got into it and the show really started getting good, I pretty much got obsessed.
So I've now worked my way through the whole series to date. And then earlier this week I went in search of Adventure Time related tchotchkes... which resulted in a Fionna tin and Cake blindbox figure... and then after looking in three different stores for some AT playing cards, I ended up buying them online (and may or may not consider turning them some of them into more artwork if I can work out what the hell to do with them, along with a 350 page art book.
I do feel a little like every time I get one of my parcels in the mail, there's another thing being ordered to replace it... which makes it sound worse than it really is, but somebody really needs to take my ability to do online shopping away from me at certain times. Although my greatest addiction at the present is teeshirts.
Likewise I've had a slight obsession with getting my hands on some steel cut oats this week... and thankfully a Google search plus a trip to the supermarket turned up the fact that Uncle Tobys have them in their range now... so that's going to be breakfast on Sunday... and then possibly I may try making up a giant batch to portion out and have all week... maybe also with some chunky stewed apple if I'm feeling inspired.
It was also really, really good to get to see my chiro again this week... ever since a particularly... massage orientated date... just after my last appointment, my back has been a little problematic, but a quick session at the chiro and I was all good again.
Like I said at the top, this week has been somewhat intense work-wise... not necessarily difficult, although it's had it's moments (especially given that various people have been away at various points during the week, and often multiple people on the same day), it's just more been that there has been a steady stream of things that have required my full attention and also a number of things that I wish didn't require any of my attention. Fortunately I got through 99% of them, and that was with a meeting that seemed to take up most of the morning this morning.
I also discovered that while I tried making fried rice once before and did a hideous job, ending up with a giant pan full of gluggy mess, if I don't really think about it and just grab some thing at random from the supermarket, I can actually make a pretty damn kickass fried rice with prawns and fresh peas and bacon bits. I still haven't got the flavouring quite completely balanced yet (thankfully though I under-seasoned rather than over-seasoned).
Oh, and I booked tickets to the next Unseen Theatre Company production, Small Gods, which should be interesting as this will be the first Discworld play from them since the death of Terry Pratchett.
And here I was thinking that this was going to be a short post...
I wasn't exactly running late this morning, but I did have to tidy up the kitchen before I could get ready myself, since it was a bit of a disaster area. So as usually happens, I was headed downstairs just as Ma got here.
The supermarket safari was much the same as usual... although maybe slightly more random things than usual.
And while our regular checkout girly was working, she had a line up by the time we were done, so we hit the other checkout instead... and the checkout girl asked if we were the ones who made the Christmas chocolates... which was totally out of left field, but it turned out that she was the older sister of our regular girly. It is indeed a small world. Also, bag packing skills are clearly hereditary in that family, because Big Sis packs a mean bag of groceries too.
We had a bit of a wander around Target... I still didn't find new pants. Well, to be honest, I didn't really look because I couldn't really be bothered trying them on and I hadn't remembered to check what size the old ones are. I also wanted some new slip on shoes, but the ones they had were either boring or not in my size.
I did discover that they had a big teacup and saucer as well as a teapot in the same range as the crockery I bought last year, so I snapped them up... because it really is a big ass teacup and perfect for Sunday breakfast tea.
Then it was back here for the usual unpacking before we headed off to Haighs to see what their post-Easter discounts looked like. Not too bad as it happens... they weren't flush with broken Easter eggs, which is usually what I'm looking for at this time of year, but they did have a lot of broken Easter ducks and some of the dark chocolate honeycomb eggs. Plus it's marshmallow season at Haighs, which is always a drawcard.
From there it was off to the framing place to pick up both my framed Labyrinth 2 poster, the Joshua Smith flamenco dancer I got Ma for Christmas and a couple of other bits and pieces. The Labyrinth piece looks AMAZING. It is completely gigantic and I have absolutely no idea where the fuck I'm going to actually put the damn thing, but it was just too damn pretty to leave rolled up in the tube.
But it's decidedly the largest piece of artwork that I now own. And while I still think that the acid green colour would have been amazing, it looks fantastic with the black matt and the white frame.
Given that the car was now officially crammed full of chocolate and picture frames, we brought everything back here, before heading back out again.
Ma wanted to hit IKEA briefly for more frames... yes, we both have a serious problem... so we did the hit and run version of an IKEA trip... went in the exit, grabbed what we needed and then left. I also wanted some more Command hooks, and there's a new hardware store, Masters, that has opened next door to IKEA. Turns out that it's owned by Woolworths (or at least I was given some Woolies vouchers by the cute but dopey checkout boy) and essentially just like Bunnings, but blue and not green.
After a quick sausage sizzle break (because sausage sizzle), we then headed around to Harbourtown so I could look at the Bonds store and Ma could look at handbags (again). We actually got a car park right next to the entrance by the Bonds store and I did that while Ma went and looked at bags.
I came away with a striped knitted sweater, another pullover hoodie and a new pair of trackpants. And Ma found her bag. That was literally all we did... no detours, no additional little wanders. In and out, nice and clean.
So definitely a productive day.
And while I've been pretty damn busy all week at work, a large chunk of it has ended up being outside of my regular stuff, so I feel a little like I've been chasing my tail.
On Tuesday I had to stop off at the Post Office on my way home to pick up a parcel I got a note in my letterbox about on Thursday, then when I got home there were four other packages waiting for me... plus, as I realised later, our tickets for Adam Hills in June were also in the box.
It turned out that two of my teeshirt orders, two different lots of underwear and my Hero Forge 3D printed minis. They ended up being smaller than I was expecting, but brilliantly detailed.
Now I just need to work out if I want to try and paint them or just leave them as they are.
Thursday was Haircut Day, so after dinner I took myself off to see Tink and get my hair did. The cut itself was a slight refinement of the cut I started off with the boy salon. It's still going to take a few months to get to the point where it's doing exactly what I want, but it's definitely a slightly sleeker version of my previous haircut. And of course, the blonde continues.
Tink and I talked about all the things as usual... the end of the Fringe, Stu's funeral, movies, Lego, to name just a few. And it was about 10:30 by the time I left. I'd also taken some Easter presents for the girls and Tink sent me an adorable video this afternoon with Tink Jr saying thank you for hers... so damn cute.
Annoyingly I'm still not over my cold/flu thing... I do feel better overall, but I'm still somewhat congested and whatnot, which just generally sucks.
And while the set isn't exactly the same design as the movie, I've likewise been obsessed with this set since it came out (see my earlier confession about Lego mech obsession). So it seemed appropriate to get it as a birthday present to myself.
The first bag produces the basic frame of the Mech body, complete with custom license plate, along with all of the minifigs.
This set also means that I now have three different Emmets (Construction Hat Emmet, Double Decker Couch Emmet and Construct-o-Emmet) and three UniKitties (Sad Couch Kitty, Super Angry Kitty and Angry Kitty).
Likewise, the finishing details of the second bag with the control cage and roof... and it's hard to see from this angle, but there is something almost rabbit-like about the roof... with these two long yellow struts sticking out of the back. Yeah, I know, anthropomorphising my Lego sets again.
Interestingly, there's no fixed spot for the roof and cage to be folded down to... I wanted to keep the plate exposed, but you could cover it completely too.
And that pose on the box? I would even attempt that, because I'm pretty damn sure the model would just topple over sideways.
It was interesting, not just with the legs but also with both arms, to try and see where the various components in the model had come from... since the Mech itself is built by Emmet out of other construction vehicles, there are certain parts that make that very clear.
But one of my favourite bits of detail is the hydraulic rod on the sides of the arms.
Firstly the fact that it has the rubber band is going to end badly at some later stage when the band rots through... and then there's the fact that the two scoops don't fit together well. If you rotate them further so that the teeth touch, then they're not locked into place, but if they're locked in place, then they're open pretty much like they're show in the photo above.
And they're just these great little contained units that then get added to the model with a very simple set of parts.
And I will say that the crane arms really just finish off the model... they do make it incredibly tall, and fairly wide, but I don't think the piece would be the same without them.
All things considered, I'm pretty damn happy with the finished model though... now I just need to work out a way to arrange the other Lego Movie sets and minifigs around the Mech.
It all started out fairly ordinarily... I got ready and got to the bottom of the stairs when Ma appeared around the corner. We headed off to the supermarket and did a reasonably quick shopping trip... a combination of neither of us needing that much stuff and wanting to make sure that we had enough time to get to the Convention Centre.
After the usual unpacking, we headed off to the Convention Centre, found a park by the Parade Grounds and walked along the Torrens to Brick-a-laide.
Bricktopia, everything this year was inside, including the spot for waiting to go into the exhibition... although weirdly, no actual queue... just a large open area for people to sit around on the floor in (they really could have done with some more chairs).
I think possibly next year, if it's on the Easter weekend again, we may need to go on the Friday... or if we do go on Saturday, we actually go to the very first session and do the shopping later.
Sydney Brick Show. And I know that the primary audience is kids, and all of the displays are down at a height for kids to be able to see them, but just the fact that they stick their heads clear into the displays and don't move, or are completely spatially unaware, was a little frustrating.
And at a certain point I realised that I actually wasn't really in the moment... I was viewing everything through the camera and not really seeing it properly. But then it was also kind of hard to see a lot of things due to the sheer crush of people.
One of the seemingly unofficial mascots for Brick-a-laide were these Lego sheep... they seemed to be everywhere, not least of all in this big display of dozens and dozens of them, even if most of them were these weird yellow zombie sheep.
Among my favourites were the two Hobbit displays (Laketown and the Barrel Escape), the giant red bridge complete with lights and the airport setup. Oh and a number of the brick portrait pieces, particularly Wonder Woman.
When we'd done all of the main area, we wandered into the secondary area which held all the retail stalls. There was also a little stand selling Brick-a-laide printed bricks with the name and date and whatnot on them... and I could resist getting one.
We called it quits at about that point... we stopped off for something to drink and then headed off... doing our best to avoid the bogan, racist, xenophobic parade of morons that was leaving the banks of the Torrens at the same time we were leaving the Convention Centre.
We weren't expecting a lot, since there didn't seem to be any wind, but once we got down to the beach there was actually a decent display on.
Robert Brasington, who also happened to have a ton of kites up in the air (and given what I now know, he's usually had the kites we really liked each year as well).
Specifically, the ones in the photos above, but also the one at the very top of the post, as well as the other mosaic ones above (and the bird-like kite below). He seriously does a good kite. And it turns out that my Angel's Play kite is by him as well.
So we headed over to the Palais Hotel to grab some lunch.
But that was pretty much it... after lunch we had another quick look at the kites and then headed back here and called it a day.