My first senior haircut

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I was sitting in the barber shop a few minutes ago, and I noticed a sign on the wall.  It has a listing of prices, including the “senior” rate.  The price indicated was the same as the old “regular” price (at some point in the recent past prices went up a buck), but there was no indication as to what constituted “senior”.  I found out that, at least to the 20-something kid cutting my hair, I qualified.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

This is the second time I’ve been given the “senior” discount without asking.  Several years ago, a teenage girl at the theater gave me the lower price without my saying anything about it beforehand.  I suppose I had better get used to such things.

I wonder if I should start practicing having ‘senior moments’? I can start by forgetting names, since I’m terrible at remembering them anyway, and always have been.  That way I can write it off to a pre-existing condition.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

 

This new guy really is a Bad Robot

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Space. The Final Frontier.

First it was Star Trek. Now it’s Star Wars. I don’t like where this is going.

You know who I’m talking about, right?  J.J. Abrams?  The wunderkind of movies these days?  In my little world, he’s trashed the Enterprise, and now he’s killed Han Solo.  Is nothing sacred?

OK, I suppose *he* didn’t kill Han.  The story is Harrison Ford wanted the character to die back in the carbonite block, but was talked out of it (read $$$).   But still.  Bad Robot.

First, the Enterprise.  I really like the bridge of the new version starship.  Especially the ’embedded-in-the-window’ viewscreen.  That was a cool idea.  The engine room, and whatever those huge tank things were, is just… not.  Unless the Enterprise is really a TARDIS, there’s just no way all that inside fits the outside.  Huge gaping spaces for our heros to dangle from is just nuts.  That thing-a-ma-jig that Kirk kicks back into alignment? Bad scripting there, plain and simple.  Really poor starship design.  The same engineers that came up with the viewscreen-window couldn’t come up with a better doo-dad for Kirk to fix at the last second? Really?  And those lens flares. Really annoying. Bad Robot.

I just saw Star Wars – The Force Awakens.  Not much force awakening going on there.  A lot of spaceship-blowing-up and what-not, but the force is not strong in this one.  More vast spaces to dangle the hero from, but mostly a re-hash.  We’ve pretty much seen this movie, before we’ve even seen it.  Bad Robot.

Nit-picking.  Did nobody do an after-action assessment when they lost the Death Star?  Nobody noticed the glaring design flaw in the super-weapon?  They basically built the same thing again, only bigger?  And using a star as a power source?  In such a way that you suck up the star itself to power the weapon?  Seems like a lot of money and resources to put into a weapon with a limited shelf-life! The Dark Side seems to have a rather large blind spot. Probably as big as the ego of the latest evil leader.  Bad Empire/First Order.

And haven’t we already seen this plot device?  The weapon is charging/coming into range!  We have only minutes before the rebel base is zapped!  Everyone’s about to die!  But wait! Our heroes blow up the Death Star/Star Killer in the nick of time, saving everyone!  I suppose if he’s going to re-hash old Star Trek movies, J.J. doesn’t worry about doing it in Star Wars, too.  Bad Robot.

I wonder if Mark Hamill is going to be able to pull off his own Obi-Wan in the next movie? Can we believe Luke going full-Yoda on us?  Time will tell.  JJ Abrams won’t be directing it, so maybe we’ll get something more George Lucas-like.  But it’s Disney, now, so maybe not. Especially after George’s crack about them.

This movie didn’t seem to really advance the story much.  I suppose it’s more a hat-tip to the previous films, and to set up the two to follow.  Seems a bit weak to be a top-grossing movie, but it does show the desire of the public to revisit this galaxy.  Disney and company seem determined to give them what they want.  The merchandising for this episode has just been insane.  Even a YouTube light saber gizmo on the control thingy?  Really?  Bad Robot.

The 3D version was pretty neat.  I enjoyed it, and most of the time didn’t realize I was watching a 3D movie.  When you don’t notice the effect, they’re doing it right.  Good Robot.

I went to the last showing on a Sunday night, and had the auditorium to myself.  Just me and the movie.  That’s both cool, and a little creepy at the same time.  Watching the opening crawl and then the closing credits in 3D was strangely mesmerizing.

Overall, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.  Excellent effects, especially in 3D, likable new characters, and the possibility of decent follow-on stories.  Dinged for re-hashed story and plot, no clear emotional buildup on Ben’s part to Han’s death (Ben did not seem conflicted, nor did the murder seem like his climax to completing his journey to the Dark Side), and it’s poor use of R2-D2 and C3PO.

The old man in the iPhone

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There’s something wrong with my iPhone.  I try to take ‘selfies’, but this old man keeps showing up.  I wonder if there’s an app for that?  Or maybe I should call 9-1-1.  Whatever the case, I think it’s just rude.  Come to think of it, my bathroom mirror has the same problem.  I wonder if it’s an iMirror?

 

Our part of the valley used to be an Oak forest

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South of Woodlake, California. Road 212, south of Avenue 328, looking southeast.

On a clear day…

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We get reminded, on occasion,  that there’s a rather major mountain range just a few miles east of us.  The geography of the valley, and the pollution we generate, quite often obscures them.  It’s common that we cannot see them, at all.

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This view from east of Visalia, on Road 172, near Avenue 352.

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From Road 212, south of Avenue 328, looking east. South of the city of Woodlake, California.

Local Stories: PFLAG to host speakers for National Coming Out Day. I’ll be one.

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October 11 is/was National Coming Out Day.  2015 marks the 27th annual observance, commemorating the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, held in 1987.  On this day, those still in the closet, whether they are LGBTQ or allies, are urged to step out and tell their stories.  In recognition of NCOD, PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties will host two Visalia residents as they discuss their “coming out”.

Since the first NCOD was celebrated in 1988, there has been a sea-change in the way society in general, and the law specifically, views the LGBTQ community.  From the riots in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City that sparked the modern LGBTQ movement, to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that made marriage equality the law of the land, few would have thought such progress possible.

In 1977, Harvey Milk of San Francisco won election to the City Council as California’s first openly gay person to run for office.  During his campaign, and his short time in office (he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in their offices on November 27, 1978), Milk often urged closeted members of the gay community to “come out”.  He maintained it was the only way for the LGBTQ community to truly advance.  As more people came out over the years, Harvey’s words have proven prophetic.  Harvey Milk is recognized in California with a “Special Day of Significance”, each May 22nd.

Each October, PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties recognizes Coming Out Day with programs related to the subject.  This year, two Visalia residents will speak, telling their “coming out” stories.  Gail McCarthy, author of a five book murder mystery series, the Alexandria Whitney mysteries, and Jim Reeves (that’s me!), 9-1-1 dispatcher, blogger, and LGBTQ activist, will be discussing the coming out process and how it’s impacted our lives.  We’ll talk about the societies we lived in as we approached our own “coming out”, the atmosphere that colored our perceptions, and how being “out” has affected our lives since.

The public is, as always, invited to attend PFLAG meetings.  Admission is always free, and refreshments are served.  This month’s will be Sunday, October 18, from 3 pm till 5 pm.  We meet at the Congregation B’nai David, in their Educational and Cultural Center, 1039 S. Chinowth, Visalia.  (Just follow the rainbow flags)

#ThrowbackThursday July 28, 1984

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jim_07281984_big_sur

July 28, 1984

Big Sur, California

26 years of age

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