Thunder, Thunder Everywhere

Been a lot of thunderstorms in these parts lately.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call them thunder deluges.  Thursday night, in fact, coming back from the Acro-cats, we got caught in one.  As we first turned onto Jefferson Davis Highway, we agreed that said road really needed a name change, but by the time we got off it, it had gotten one-to Jefferson Davis River.  Familiarity with the roads and slow driving got everyone home safe, but it wasn’t a fun time.

But the really scary storm happened last night.  The first time the power went off, on, and then off again, it woke me up at 1 in the morning, to not only torrential rainpower, but constant lightning and thunder.  By which I mean the flashing light and rolling sound simply did not stop for minutes at a time.  It felt unnatural, and in this era of climate change and wild weather, huddled in the dark, it left you wondering what kind of wrath Mother Nature will visit upon us next.  Our area was fortunate enough to have the power return around 5 AM, but I know there were places in DC where it took much longer.  We also woke up to scattered leaves and tree branches all around the roads and roofs, some of which hadn’t even been cleared when I got home this evening.  Really, this is definitely not the best thing that could be happening in DC right now, when no doubt plenty of tourists have already arrived for the 4th of July weekend.

And right now, it’s thundering and pouring outside again.  Once upon a time I would have thought a storm with this amount of intensity impressive.  After last night, it feels mundane.

Back when he was alive, my father used to joke about regularly scheduled summer afternoon/evening thunderstorms, but I don’t remember them being this fierce.  The impact of climate change, absolutely no doubt about it.  The most powerful city in the world is being punished.

I’m back in business re: vidding. I think.

Having rejected Adobe Premiere, I tried Sony Vegas for the second time this weekend(fortunately I was still within the trial period), using it to recreate the Brian Joubert montage Windows Movie Maker had refused to save, albeit without the transitions or effects, because I haven’t figured out how to use those yet.  It saved, so I purchased the software, and I expect it will what I use from now on, though it’s harder to use if you don’t already know exactly what part of each video clip you’re using.  And now I have a Brian Joubert montage.  Password is “joubert”

by from Isobel Moody on Vimeo.

The Acro-Cats at Synetic Theatre

Thursday night my sister and I an a couple of her friends went to see The Acro-Cats at the Synetic Theatre in Crystal City, at least once we established that said theatre was in Crystal City rather than Shirlington(good thing curtain wasn’t until 8!).  It’s a traveling show, which will have four more shows in Crystal City this weekend before moving on.  The management at the place wasn’t the best, but the show itself was lots of fun.

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The last moments of Pottermore

And so Pottermore now has moments across all seven books, right up to the death of Voldemort at the end.  But to make it that far, they reduced the number of moments considerably; where once there were three per chapter, now it seemed they had one moment for every three chapters in Death Hallows!  Plus the moments had much less zooming, and possibly less contents in general.  That is especially annoying when one considers these are the big dramatic events of the saga; everything up to the end of book four is really setup, and yet book four is exactly where the creators of Pottermore started rushing to the end!  And really, I think most of us could’ve happily spent a few more years going through the moments of the books whenever they came to us.  It would’ve meant we’d get more out of the site and for longer too.  And when the artwork continues to be lovely, more of that would’ve been great too.

But at least now when we go back to the earlier moments, we can keep ourselves occupied finding everything we missed in them.  One of the smarter innovations as they went along was the bars in the thumbnails to let your know whether you’ve found everything there is to find or not.  Even if it generates frustration when that slider is almost all the way over, and it looks like you’ve got one more thing to find, but no matter where you move or click your cursor, you just can’t. find. anything. else.  Perhaps when we have done everything else on the website, we shall all go back to those moments and drive ourselves crazy a little more trying to find those one last hidden things.

There are other nice additions to the website as well.  Expanded moments(loving this whole concept of Hatstall), and it’s good to have the timeline of famous witches and wizards as well, even if they very deliberately fudged it to hide the problem of Merlin being at Hogwarts when it was supposed to be founded about half a millennium after his time.  With all the ones on the chocolate frog cards(why were there none of those in Death Hallows, though?) and other sources being so hard to keep track of, a timeline is a useful thing to keep them listed and in chronological order in relation to each other, and we even get some new names(that is a *lot* of Weird Sisters, although maybe the band lineup has changed during its history, and they didn’t all belong to it at once).

What do they do now?  More expanded info and such for special occasions?  More additions like the timeline?  Or maybe they could expand the later novels and put new moments in?

Star Wars Rebels premieres the second season early

And I thought the first season schedule for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a bit jagged.  I was lucky to catch the premiere of Star Wars: Rebels‘ second season last night; I only heard about it by a chance tweet Friday afternoon!  Previously I’d read about the second season happening in the fall-which is it; we have to wait that long for the rest of it!  Which ain’t a short wait, especially considering the last ten minutes of the hour-long premiere, during which, by the way, this show went up a whole new level of quality, though it concerns me a little that the character who *really* broke our hearts s the one from Clone Wars which we may or may not see much of during the rest of the season.

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A few music observations

Along with the Grand Prix announcements lately we’ve been getting music announcements, including a few high-profile ones.  Although so far, nothing from the past couple of weeks has left me as excited as the long-announced ShibSibs FD to Coldplay.  Even if it seems they are not getting that new coach they need.

No Phantom of the Operas so far.  Maybe the overuse of it last year actually will cause an informal moratorium, as least for this next season.  Instead, it looks like it’s going to be the season of all the Les Miserables programs!  I really hope Amber Glen and Karen Chen don’t end up skating their frees back to back at Nationals(or anywhere else).  There is also the question of what recordings people use, although the live-singing of the movie version is probably genuinely difficult to skate to, so we might generally be spared it.  Also, we seem to have two programs so far to Pavarotti’s version of Nessum Dorma so far.  In the future that version of Turandot just might prove as common as Vanessa Mae’s.  It’s actually kind of surprising we didn’t hear it last year.

Kind of disappointed Ashley Wagner’s not getting a new free.  Much as I love the Moulin Rouge one, she already ended up reusing a previous season’s free program once, and I’d kind of like to see her take on a new character(after hearing about her love for the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, I have a crazy wish to see her portray Gamora)

At least Yuzuru Hanyu is skating to something completely unique.  Will any of the other top skaters do that?

And in show program news, only Jeremy Abbott could skate to Black Skinhead and leave me actually looking forward to seeing it!

A few Grand Prix thoughts

So assignments came out Monday, and we’ve had time to digest retirements, non-retirements, and Jeremy Abbott apparently not retiring but skipping the Grand Prix anyway(if it gets him to Boston, we should be glad for it).  A few thoughts:

Of course the initial rosters and the final lineups for these events can often be very different, thanks to all the withdrawals that happen in the meantime, but it feels even more this year like multiple skaters on the roster won’t show up.  We can’t even be completely sure yet that Patrick Chan and Mao Asada will, and even if they do, there are multiple older skaters I suspect will either decide to retire or just get injured.  Perhaps the real intriguing entries are Kavaguti & Smirnov and Bobrova & Soloviev, who’ll be factors for gold at their events-if they show up, but who knows if they will.

Though even more eye-raising is the lack of Adelina Sotnikova.  Haven’t seen any announcements about exactly what she’s up to at this point, but that she’s not on this roster does not look promising for her continuing her career…

Then there are the skaters you are really happy to see make the circuit.  I’m especially happy about Laurence Fornier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorenson making it in(have there been Danish skaters on the circuit before?  I mean, ever?)  On the other hand, tough breaks for quite a few skaters who only got one assignment, especially Sinitsina & Katsalapov and Coomes & Buckland, who really should’ve gotten two, although at least they’re more likely than not to pick up a second.  Meanwhile, we’ve got poor Mirai, who’s been in this position before, and it took a while for her to get her second event that time.

Speaking of U.S. ladies, it seems the failure of the USFSA’s gamble on Liza T last year did not prevent them from attempting it again, apparently hoping Julia L doesn’t recover in time and Gracie has a clear path to gold at Skate America this year.  Although given how inconsistent she’s been lately, perhaps we shouldn’t rely on that anyway.  Poor Ashley has it much harder, going up against Liza T at her first event and Mao at her second, and at the latter especially that’s just for starters.