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Jane and I went up to Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore, and stayed at the Lazy Duck in one of their Eco-Lodges. Which is a cabin built for two, with electricity, gas cooking, and (distant, wobbly) wifi, right next to a large duck pond full of a variety of different species of ducks.
Loads of photos and four videos )

Interesting Links for 22-09-2017

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
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Sep. 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
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Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:34 pm
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[personal profile] darkphoenixrisn
My paternal grandaunt Frances A. "Fran" Libardi (née Gruber) was born 20 Sep 1924 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York to cook Isidor Gruber and ex-dressmaker Dora Gruber (née Schreiber) who were Jewish immigrants from what are now Ukraine and Poland respectively, married US Navy veteran of World War II Joseph Albert Libardi 24 May 1947 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, had 2 sons with him, widowed in 1994, and died 24 Feb 2017 in Oak Park, Ventura County, California at the age of 92. Religion: raised Jewish, but converted to Catholic upon marriage.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:19 pm
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Wonder Woman (2017)

[Blu-ray] "I fight and I give for the world I know can be." It took 76 years for Wonder Woman to make her feature film debut, and it was well worth the wait, as the film is pretty much perfect and has raised the bar for what a superhero film can and should be.

It's an origin film that begins with Wonder Woman's youth on Themyscira as Princess Diana, then takes us though her first meeting with Steve Trevor and her going out into Man's World during World War One to confront Ares, the God of War. Created by psychologist William Moulton Marston for DC Comics in 1941 as a character who could triumph over evil through love, Wonder Woman quickly became an iconic comic book character. With the exception of 1970s television, the character has been absent from live action productions. There have been previous attempts to bring her to the big screen, but none of them went anywhere.

This film's story was conceived by producer Zack Snyder (director of "Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice") along with Jason Fuchs ("Ice Age: Continental Drift", "Pan") and comic book writer/tv writer Allan Heinberg (who previously wrote a pilot script for a proposed Wonder Woman tv series that didn't go anywhere), with a screenplay by Heinberg, director Patty Jenkins ("Monster"), and comic book writer/DC Comics president Geoff Johns. The writers understand the character and what makes her who she is, and their work here gives her a powerful introduction on the big screen. It's a smart, thoroughly engaging, at times moving, story, that captures the spirit of the character, well, wondrously.

In her first feature film since 2003's "Monster" (which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature), Jenkins delivers a superhero masterpiece and demonstrates that a woman-directed film about a superheroic woman can succeed. As a director, she delivers exciting, well-staged action scenes without overwhelming the characters or the story's emotional core, while she guides her cast through exploring that core. So many films these days pummel the audience with empty spectacle, but "Wonder Woman" serves up a meaningful story to surround the action. As the third film in the DC Extended Universe, it moves away from the grim and gritty to provide an inspirational hero, and its success will hopefully lead to more films like it. If there's any justice, Jenkins needs to be under heavy consideration at Oscars time. The sequence recounting the history of the Amazons is breathtaking and a literal work of art come to life.

One quibble: I'd question having a Native American character referred to as "Chief", although after actor Eugene Brave Rock brought his concerns to Jenkins, she allowed him to have input into his character's development.

On its technical merits, the film is absolutely top shelf. Cinematographer Matthew Jensen ("Game of Thrones", "Fantastic Four") uses a painter's palette to light everything from Themyscira to 1918 London to the battlefields of Europe. Production designer Aline Bonetto ("Amélie", "Pan") and costume designer Lindy Hemmings ("Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy) magnificently conjure up the world of Wonder Woman and make it believable. Rupert Gregson-Williams' ("Hotel Rwanda", "Hacksaw Ridge") score brings an added emotional dimension to the story. The visual effects are superb. The film was shot in Italy, France, and England. The Italian filming locations used for Themyscira are stunningly beautiful, fitting for a place also known as Paradise Island.

In her second appearance as the title character, Gal Gadot delivers a strong, humane portrayal of her character, as she develops from a princess whose mother wants to keep her sheltered to someone discovering Man's World to a hero who can save it from itself. It's an Oscar-worthy performance. Had it been a lesser film, Gadot's charismatic turn would still have carried it, but it's not lesser and neither is her genuinely delightful performance. She demonstrates that producer Snyder made the right choice when he cast her in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", even if there were doubters at the time. I'm not ashamed to admit that I had some doubts. She seemed a solid enough actress, but I wondered if she could pull off the charisma needed for this character. "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" proved she could. An actor's director like Jenkins takes her from good to great, and gets real magic out of her. Lynda Carter is still beloved for her iconic performance as Wonder Woman in the 1970s, but Gadot is now the definitive Wonder Woman.

Chris Pine is also quite good as Steve Trevor. It's easily the most charming performance I've seen from him to date. His chemistry with Gadot makes their developing relationship believable. The rest of the cast is good across the board, and again, Jenkins knows how to get the best out of them. It includes the aforementioned Brave Rock as Chief Napi, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Robin Wright (and her incredible physique) as General Antiope, Danny Huston as General Ludendorff (based on an actual historical figure), David Thewlis as Sir Patrick, Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer, Ewen Bremner as Charlie, Lucy Davis as Etta Candy (woo woo!), Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison, Lilly Aspell as an eight-year-old Diana, and Ann Wolfe as Artemis.

It's not hyperbole to place this film on a pedestal reserved for only the absolute best. It's up there with "The Dark Knight" as a film that significantly raised the bar in the genre. I hope to see multiple Oscar nominations and some wins (Jenkins and Gadot are both highly deserving). "Wonder Woman" is a wonder indeed.

Interesting Links for 20-09-2017

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm

Using only the Brat Pack

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:07 am
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Cast a 1980s New Teen Titans film....
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It occurs to me I haven't looked at the Heavy Gear rules in a long time....

Interesting Links for 19-09-2017

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 05:02 pm
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[personal profile] darkphoenixrisn
My maternal 5th-great-grandmother Helenah Snider (née Daugherty) was born 18 Sep 1778 in Chesterfield, Burlington County, New Jersey to Irish immigrant William Daugherty Sr. and Mary Daugherty (née Wright), married farmer Jacob Snider Sr. 9 Apr 1797 in Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey, had 12 children with him, moved with her family to Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York by 1799 and to Jackson Township, Hardin County, Ohio in 1832 (Jackson Township became part of Wyandot County in 1845), widowed in 1858, died 13 Dec 1866 in Jackson Township, Wyandot County, Ohio at the age of 88, and buried at York Street Cemetery in Marseilles Township, Wyandot County, Ohio. Religion: Protestant.

My maternal 3rd-great-grandfather James Payne Woodruff was born 18 Sep 1800 in Bridgehampton, Suffolk County, New York to sailor James Woodruff and Jerusha Woodruff (née Payne), orphaned in 1804, apprenticed to a hatter, married my 3rd-great-grandmother Mary Crawford circa 1832, had 3 children with her, moved to Peno Township, Pike County, Missouri with his family circa 1835, widowered in 1843, married Martha Ann Little circa 1844, had 6 children with her, moved with his family to Monroe County, Iowa circa 1847 and to Buchanan Township, Sullivan County, Missouri in the 1860s, died in 1877 in Buchanan Township at the age of 77, and buried at Hawkeye Cemetery in Penn Township, Sullivan County, Missouri. He was a hatter, merchant, and farmer. Religion: Protestant.

My maternal great-granduncle William Sanders was born 18 Sep 1860 in Mono, Simcoe County (now Dufferin County), Canada West (now Ontario), British North America (now Canada) to English-born carpenter/farmer Thomas Sanders Jr. and Canadian-born Ann Sanders (née Patterson), emigrated to the US (Huntsville Township, Polk County, Minnesota) with his family in 1875, moved to Augusta, Lewis and Clark County, Montana with his family circa 1896, never married or had children, died of long-term alcoholism and opiate abuse 30 Mar 1926 in Yakima, Yakima County, Washington at the age of 65, and buried at Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima. He was a rancher. Religion: Presbyterian.

My maternal great-granduncle English Guy Crawford was born 18 Sep 1871 in Cunningham Township, Chariton County, Missouri to physician Elihu Millikan Crawford and Adalade Crawford (née Woodruff), moved to Jackson Township, Sullivan County, Missouri with his family between 1874-77, married Winifred Linn Yardley 15 Apr 1896 in Milan, Sullivan County, Missouri, had 13 children with her, died of stomach cancer 8 Mar 1946 in Pollock, Sullivan County, Missouri at the age of 74, and buried at Mt. Zion Baptist Cemetery in Jackson Township, Sullivan County, Missouri. He was a farmer. Religion: Baptist.

My maternal granduncle Phillip Herbert "Herb" Sanders was born 18 Sep 1911 in North Yakima, Yakima County, Washington to Canadian-born police officer Robert Neil Sanders and US-born Gladys Annette "Nette" Sanders (née Gatchell), was a private first class in the US Army during World War II, married Juanita Laura Palmer 12 Dec 1944 in South Carolina before shipping off to Europe, had no children with her, after the war he worked at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, retired to Sanford, Lee County, North Carolina (where his wife was from) in the early 1970s, widowered in 1985, died 7 Feb 2002 in Sanford at the age of 90, and buried at Carbonton United Methodist Church Cemetery in Carbonton, Chatham County, North Carolina. Religion: Methodist.

I will follow this advice

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:19 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
According to my brother, one should not bounce a chainsaw off one's knee as it is very hard on denim.


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