New Newsletter

Posted by – May 31, 2015

I know this may sound an antiquated move to some people, but email newsletters are actually a hot thing right now, and I launched a new one this morning. It’s just a weekly thing outside of work, though you may see some work references thrown in from time to time.

Here’s all the info: https://tinyletter.com/warmoth

Down from the mountain

Posted by – May 3, 2015

Sugarloaf MountainWe hopped out of the city briefly on Saturday to hike Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain. It was gorgeous, and there’s a winery up there that’s not too shabby. There’s nothing like a good binge on fresh air to cap a week. Here’s a recap.

Avengers: Age of Ultron


I appreciated the ideas behind the dream sequences for the purposes of character development. But they really did seem like under-cooked, over-extended abstractions that didn’t need to be there. That, said, the James Spader was a phenomenal villain (even if Ultron’s lip movements looked completely out of place), the Whedon-era spirit was strong during the film’s lighter moments, Stan Lee probably had his best cameo in a Marvel movie yet.

Additionally, the movie really does go all out to remind you that Marvel is part of Disney now with its use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio (1940) as Ultron’s personal song.

That actually worked for me as a meta-reference, as did Whedon’s Archie Comics-inspired naming of the Hulkbuster armor satellite, “Veronica” (named because Bruce Banner’s comics love interest is named Betty). That was clever.

I kind of wonder if Quicksilver’s fate wasn’t sort of a slap in the face Fox, given all the inter-company drama with the Marvel film rights, though.

Regardless, Age of Ultron was a great watch.

UFO sightings

I stumbled upon a great interactive map for visualizing UFO sightings since 1933. I brought up how no one seems to see anything in the District, but it uses records from all over the world. So no matter where you live, it’ll show where people have reported seeing strange things in the sky.

Metro’s funding on the chopping block

WMATA deserves some scrutiny and pressure right now, given its recent disasters and reluctance to spend money on maintenance. But the move in the House to halve federal funding in the coming year seems like it’s a little risky at a time when D.C.’s public transit system needs to get safer and more dependable.

Abe’s train dreams

Japan’s prime minister visited D.C., though he picked a bad week if originally had any intentions of discussing Baltimore. He has pressured Obama in the past about a high-speed rail project that could get transport people from there to D.C. in 15 minutes. And he’s still pushing to get more Japanese train technology into the U.S. as a part of his plan to get his country’s economy into better shape.

Allerton in the spring

Posted by – April 28, 2015

We hit Illinois over the weekend for a wedding at Allerton Park. This is a place familiar to a lot of Central Illinois/UIUC people. If you’ve never had the chance, though, I recommend making a day trip out of it in Monticello and hiking every inch of the property.

And (if you can) catch the Carl Milles statue “The Sun Singer” sometime in the morning.


Here's Carl Milles' "The Sun Singer," singing at the sun

A video posted by brianwarmoth (@brianwarmoth) on

Bloomsweekend

Posted by – April 12, 2015

National Arboretum

I’m doing the smart thing this year and waiting for peak tourism to subside before seeing the cherry blossoms, even if it means missing peak bloom. We did hit the National Arboretum for the first time last week, though. Blooming flowers were scare, though the Korean azaleas were out – and the old sandstone Corinthian columns that used to be part of the U.S. Capitol (until 1958) were impressive.

Other things in my line of sight that didn’t include the Basin cherry blossoms have included the following:

The new Daredevil series on Netflix

Wilson Fisk

This is one of the best casting jobs on a Marvel production yet. And I don’t just say that because people keep messaging me to tell me they think the guy playing Foggy Nelson looks like me. It’s heavy on violence – much heavier that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC ever will be, for instance. But it nails the Hell’s Kitchen of the comics. And I wouldn’t be sad to see Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk (show above) become a fixture within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The world of Metro

D.C.’s entering a brave new world on Monday with Metro reintroducing automated trains to the Red Line. That news came on the heels of word that plans to only run eight-car trains by 2020 area getting scaled back. Though Metro anticipates 84,000 new daily weekday trips by that year, which means capacity shouldn’t be ignored.

DC Comics closed up shop in NYC

I hope the move to California is good for everyone who followed DC’s offices out of Manhattan. But the city is going to be a different place now. And I echo Marvel’s sentiments.

 

 

Book critic Salman Rushdie

Maybe the best story I read this week was about Salman Rushdie’s three-star review of To Kill a Mockingbird on Goodreads. Hey, at least he’s being honest about how he feels. More online reviews should reflect that level of candor.

Google wants Android Wear to communicate with iPhones

If this Verge report is true, it could be one of the best developments in recent years for mobile and wearable devices. Apple making iTunes available to Windows computers changed the game – even if the software eventually became a bloated jungle (a “toxic hellstew,” even). As was the case for Microsoft and Apple before, Apple letting Google release that app will be good for both companies (and consumers) in the long run. Here’s hoping Apple does the right thing.

Where my head’s at

Posted by – April 4, 2015

I’ve been telling people for a while that there are reasons to be skeptical about D.C.’s new streetcars. But the fact is that the city has already encouraged a huge development rush along H Street, and the fact that the line hasn’t opened yet (and that public officials have implied it might not open at all) does a disservice to the businesses there that have sacrificed street parking and patience while waiting to see a better public transit option in the area.

That’s why Mayor Muriel Bowser’s commitment on Tuesday to not only open the line, but also expand it to Georgetown, should be good for everyone involved – especially given that hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent to get things up and running.

Here’s some more recommended reading:

Cars as property vs. cars as a service

I know many friends and family members who would turn red in the face if you told them that they couldn’t repair and replace parts on their own cars. With computers becoming more and more infused with how cars function, there’s an important legal battleground being set up to determine who gets to do what with automobiles. Here’s a quick briefer on the crucial place where copyright and cars intersect, in case you want to catch up.

The art of He-Man

It’s pretty much impossible to overemphasize how great of a decision Dark Horse Comics made in picking Tim and Steve Seeley to do the writing duties on the new art of He-Man book that’s coming out this month. I’m really looking forward to seeing that.

April Fools’ Day

I actually really loathe April Fools’ Day. But the dev team at Streetwise pulled off a respectably executed gag on Wednesday by getting Clippy to show up in our CMS. I stand impressed.

 

As if I needed one more reason to loathe April Fools’ Day with every fiber of my being, WordPress

A photo posted by brianwarmoth (@brianwarmoth) on

 

Chess for peace

The leader of the World Chess Federation thinks he can get North Korea and South Korea to participate in youth chess matches against one another. It’s certainly no crazier than Dennis Rodman’s basketball diplomacy dreams, but I suppose that if anyone can pull it off, it’s Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

From the work desk (March 15)

Posted by – March 15, 2015

Washington, DC, sunset

This week was full of housing-, transportation-, and marijuana-related developments in D.C. (But what else is new, really?) Here are a few of the things that interested me in District news:

 

Crowler canning at the DC Brau brewery

Posted by – March 7, 2015

I read about these new cans a few days ago. We went out to the DC Brau operation in the eastern part of the District today and picked up a couple of them.


Meet the Crowler. Part can. Part growler.

A video posted by brianwarmoth (@brianwarmoth) on

From the work desk

Posted by – March 1, 2015

D.C. has some tough issues on its plate right now. Here are few that I looked at over the last week:

From the work desk

Posted by – February 21, 2015

Dupont Circle
In between snow doses from the sky this week, I learned during some national research that the Santa Barbara-Santa Maria metro area is sometimes referred to as the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara metro area. For the record, I’m not a fan.

Also, here’s a rundown of some D.C.-related things I covered:

January Love List

Posted by – January 10, 2015

Seems like I’ve been bouncing around nonstop since the holidays began, but here’s what’s been in my recreational diet of late.

FILM

Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice (2014) – All due respect to Paul Thomas Anderson, but I went into this one a little skeptical about how well Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice was going to translate to film – and it did feel condensed. That said, the tightly crafted shots and character performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and a handful of others kept the frenetic plot-twisting from the book alive and meaningful.

The larger plot is a massive, rickety construction for presenting everything that’s worth watching here. But that was kind of already the case in the novel. The leaps of logic and motivation just aren’t super-sensible, and that’s partially due to the detective noir genre that Pynchon used for the story, as well as compression of the longer story that leaves out conversations and beats from the original work.

What works the best is the perpetual vinegar-and-oil-splashing of contrasting and conflicting elements that keep the story alive. It’s a roller coaster and a poem about what makes America tick, and it’s funny while being tragic and gorgeous while being vulgar. Go see it for yourself.

BOOKS

Alias Omnibus

Alias Omnibus Marvel’s Max titles may be among my favorites that they’ve put out in the last couple of decades, but I somehow never got into Alias when it was originally in print. Then, by the time the omnibus collection got popular, I was late to the game again, and it was already going for way beyond my budget on eBay.

This is the kind of book that celebrates what Brian Michael Bendis writes best. It’s detective fiction. It’s crime fiction. And it’s stacked with little quips about Marvel history.

Superhero Afterlife

The Superhero Afterlife A. David Lewis generously offered me a look at this one ahead of its release in November. It’s a critical look at the different ways that the afterlife gets depicted in superhero comics. Notably, he gets into really interesting territory here, picking apart what death means in serialized fiction and what resurrections and multiple planes of existence mean to notions of self—particularly through models of understanding that will make sense to Derrida readers. And that definitely worked for me.

It’s an exploration worth reading for Thor lovers, Greek myth lovers and comics folk in general. (Also, there’s a great little Fantastic Four/Wizard Magazine-related flashback that I’m glad he reminded me about. Thanks, A.D.)

George Washington

Washington: A Life I’m knee-deep in this one right now. Maybe it was visiting Washington’s Mount Vernon estate last year. Living in D.C. was probably also a motivating factor. But Ron Chernow’s biography has a been a really enlightening read so far. I’m amazed about how many holes there are to fill in from Washington’s early life—but I probably shouldn’t be, given how long ago we’re talking about. It’s a solid, even-handed look at his rise to power, strengths and weaknesses.