Suicide Squad – Movie Review

I took the wife to a movie last night. It was a really good time, partly because the movie theater business is dying. This is a really nice theater in a good part of town watching a hot movie only a week after premier. There wasn’t 50 people in there. Of course, I spent 27 dollars on tickets plus a few on coffee. Not bad, but equivalent to buying the blue ray pack. Well, I don’t much like crowds, so this was fine. We had a nice night.

Suicide Squad is a great movie. I understand people’s quibbles, but they are wrong. Well, let me be more clear. The Marvel superhero movies are good. Character development is a bit scanty in them, character arcs are fairly underdeveloped. Lots of fun action and snarky comments. Critics hate them, people hate critics, it all works out in the end.

Suicide Squad is somewhat different. At the end of the movie you will know a lot more than you ever wanted about Deadshot and Harley Quin, Diablo and Flagg also get a good treatment. I admit that I spend most of the movie hoping someone would blow Boomerang’s head off. Croc was a bit shallow, but he had a character, they just didn’t look at it. Enchantress scared me, really, made me think Horror Story from first look. Amanda Waller is the Devil. Not sure I remembered anyone else. Joker showed up, was scary crazy. Katana was central and boring, sorry.  In an extended version, they’ll probably add 30 minutes of Joker, which won’t really improve the movie. It was good, tight even, at two hours. Lots of action, but it isn’t complex. It is mostly smashing weird looking things on the head.

I’d just say that this movie felt a lot more adult than Avengers or Spiderman. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d say that they aimed the age of viewer in the 20s at least, not the usual teenager. It hit this nearly 50 year old in the feels. I liked it a lot.

Recent Activity

Ok, so more of an explanation than an excuse. Work changed the security settings and now blogging is impossible. Sure, impossible means I could figure something out and cheat, but I won’t. They clearly don’t want us blogging from work. Blah. I just spent the money to extend this website for 2 more years, so I’m just going to have to get a better interface at home.

Sorry for the long absence.

Camp Nanowrimo

So, everyone knows (or ought to know) that I am a major failed writer. I’ve not been published by most of the big names out there. I have a regular spot in the nanowrimo competition, which I also fail at.

I do have a book waiting for a read at BAEN, but it may be a century before the editor actually looks at it. Slush piles ain’t fun. So, I recommend everyone give up. (that should lessen the slush pile enough that I can get another book in.)

Nanowrimo is a book writing challenge in November. Camp Nanowrimo is in July. Not exactly the same challenge, but a good one. I’m planning on knocking out some good chapters, cleaning up some of my interludes, building a good book II to my unpublished book I.

I’d appreciate some help, comment. Maybe an edit or two. Mostly, just comment on here if you want to play with words. Set up a nanowrimo account and we go from there.

Oh, and don’t overthink it.


That bit of content is from XKCD.COM

Pandagators – The long joke I promised you.

So, the Pandagator joke takes a good long while to unwind, and no pictures, so relax and sit back. Several years ago, we had an “Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow, whether you like it or not” panel at Dragon Con. For those of you who have never been…why are you reading this? … it is a lot of fun. If anyone has pictures, I’ll post them, but I don’t have any at work.

First, imagine down at the bottom of the hill of Dragon Con, 2pm on Saturday in the Hilton Atlanta, downstairs in the Crystal Ballroom, 600 people in the audience, four guy up on stage. There was a range of personalities on the stage, but I was the regular, Dr. DNA was a regular, everyone else was there for a few years. We had a flock of assistants in lab coats making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, my big DOOM Box in the corner, flashing sparks and smoking lightly, JonnyX and his cattle prod. People screaming. It was a hell of a show.

On that year, we had a PhD Neuroscience guy (Evil Brain), a PhD Bio Chemist (Dr. DNA), a PhD Physicist (Evil G), and a Nuclear Engineer of no particular merit. (Me). Pardon me if I don’t get everyone’s degrees right, I can never remember my own, much less everyone else’s. Just remember that they’re much smarter than me. The fun of an hour variety show was that we each had a time slot where we took over the panel, did a few power point charts, some comments, a joke or two.

Well, to get to the joke, we had talked the previous year about “evil plots to take over the earth.” My plot, I think, involved black holes. Evil G was using a beam of charm quarks directed at your hometown.

“If the effects are good, send me money, I’ll keep it up. If the effects are bad, send me money, I’ll quit. If you’re not sure, I’d advise sending me money anyway, as it couldn’t hurt.”

So, for his presentation, Evil G brought it up again. He had a slide show for this year’s work.

“SO, Last year I talked to you about taking over the world using a beam of Charm quarks. I have since decided that using physics to take over the world is too hard. I’m using something easy this year, DNA Splicing.”

The two guys with PhD’s in biology, head desk simultaneously. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I wish I had his power point. It had a variety of predators made by sticking together pictures of animals. an example is the EEL gle – an eel head with eagle body. The Apex Ambush Predator was the Panda Gator – Looks innocent from the bush, but when it jumps you, its got a big bite.

Dr. DNA, Supervillain, Found Dead in Lair

Dr. Paul Grigoli has died. He was found dead, suicide, on May 28th, 2016. Paul was better known, in Dragon Con circles, as Dr. DNA. I think he’d like the page title.


Dr. DNA strode around the Con in his trademark spotted lab coat, mouse lab-assistant in his pocket. He was one of the evil villains who manned the “Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow” Panel. He also won the “Who wants to be a Supervillain?” contest. His rants were epic. I was going to build a “DNA Mixer” for the next contest, but it involved alcohol (He loved Patron) and we were told to stop the booze on stage. I did get my wife to sew him a Pandagator. Head of a panda, body of an alligator. Apex ambush predator, very dangerous. (Just ask Dr. Granade about that one, long joke.)

I don’t really know what to say beyond that. He was a genius, a great guy and a good friend. Sure, he wanted to take over the world, but he promised me that I could have the first cloned T-rex. (Hey, I personally EVOLVED to eat that guy, I think I deserve at least a leg!)   jurassic

He had a lot to say, loudly, about all the time. But, at the moment you think he’s just crazy, he says something so amazing, science or philosophy, that you have to back him up to repeat it. Genius, on tap. One of the smartest men I’ve met, and I’ve met a lot. Maybe he wasn’t particularly adept socially, (he really worked at eccentric) but he had a lot of heart.

Paul hit some hard times, turned down for tenure at Vanderbilt and Murray state. He was finishing his exams to teach Physics in High School. I asked him to come out to DC, but between his dad, his kid, his ex-wife, his minions, and his friends, he didn’t want to leave Oklahoma. He didn’t want to leave his Lair.

He loved explosions. I was talking to one of his minions last night and she wanted me out in OK if just to blow something up, in memory. (They don’t really like it when you bring that stuff on planes, just saying.) But an explosion for old times sake.

Bikini Atol 1946

Oh, was THAT your secret superhero headquarters? Wow, you’re going to need a new one. yup.

Well, now the superheroes can sleep a little easier knowing Dr. DNA won’t be out to get them. probably. I mean, villains have been known to come back for revenge. I’d just beware of Pandagators, if I were you.


Wherever Dr. DNA is now, his secret Lair will safe forever.


Year End Round-up

What is there to say? I’m here to vent my spleen at the science of the day.

  1. Elon Musk wants to put a man/woman on Mars. Well, we all want that. Can his ship land/take off again? Maybe. Looks like a good concept at least. Still, long way from here to trusting a rocket to set my butt down on the red planet. “Many a slip twixt the glass and the lip.”


2. Steven Hawkings wants to send sail satellites to other stars. The idea is terrible. I love his work, especially after he decided the Black Hole evaporation doesn’t happen. His current theory allows mini black holes, but enough about that. Let me trash his space probe idea.

Sorry, but just imagine that they do get the satellite up to 3000 km/s, a hundred times faster than anything we’ve done before. How far is a light year again? Look, 3 kklicks is a good number, it means you cross a light year in a hundred years. the CLOSEST target is about 3 ly away. So, the mission, launched in 2020, would arrive in 2320. Exciting, we’d get the return broadcast in 2323. Except, that is a boring dead system. The closest living world is about 10 light years away, so we’d get the broadcast in 3030. I ain’t waiting up. Besides, it’ll only be in that system for a few days. It’ll only be “near” the planet for about a minute.

Great, first principle of the light sail, it doesn’t have a breaking rocket. Not that you could slow down anything at that speed. We’re accelerating it using a super laser for a hundred years. Unless the aliens have a super laser, and want to slow down this beast, it isn’t stopping there, or anywhere. It will just keep going forever…buh bye.


3. NASA is getting a change in plan. It hasn’t had a plan in the last 8 years. Constellation, however you want to trash it, was a plan. It had some elements which may or may not have worked. I know, I was there, I worked on some of them. The radiation part, duh. I wrote, had my hands on at least, the majority of the environment documents. It was a plan. The Obama administration killed the plan. They didn’t have an alternate idea, didn’t really want NASA doing its thing. Whatever. Now hopefully a real plan for a Lunar Mission will be articulated. We’ll see.

4. I’ve got a paper to write. so I took a break to vent my spleen. Back to paper writing. I hope everyone has a good summer planned.

Vacation: I got hit by a tornado

Gulf Wars 2016, Lumberton Mississippi

Ok, it sucked. I got in one war point, some nice fighting there, but then we got hit by a tornado and pretty much folded the show. Sucked. Water everywhere. Horizontal rain. Plastic tents were all blown down, many destroyed. Most of the heavy canvas ones did well, but may need repair/dried out. Rough week.

I drove 2000 miles and spent a thousand bucks to sit under a damn tornado. well. maybe better luck next year.


Vacation Time! A week in the Middle Ages.

Hey Everyone I’m going on a vacation. Yes, you won’t be able to tell from post frequency. If I keep dividing by zero, maybe you’ll show up and there’ll be infinite posts here….

I’m a medieval re-enactor. Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA, to be specific. It is mostly a sport, partly a family party, when I was younger it was a way to pick up chicks, but I haven’t been younger in a while.  So, how is it a sport? I’m so glad you asked.

Camera test 029

I’m the fellow with the green shirt and yellow belt, off to beat on the big fellow with the red sword. I think he won, actually, but it went a lot like this.

fight 1

So, Gulf wars is a bit of this and a lot of ….


Vacation, where you sit back and relax, have a beer. (After a few hours of beating people with sticks, watching the baby, cooking meals for 25 on a grill, tent maintenance, and buying stuff for the wife.) Ahh, relaxation.

mad scientist rapier_and_dagger_2

So yes, a rocket scientist, a nuclear warrior, has a vacation as a history nut, a medieval warrior. Some days I’m a mad scientist, some days a renaissance man.

Yeah, I’m in all those pictures. (By definition, I know I’m in the Heavy Ravine War Point, the “Hobbies” picture, but maybe not in the frame, who can tell.) So, I should have some good war stories when I get home. HOPEFULLY.

I’ll see if I can write some science soon.

All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy

all work

Right, so I’ve not been blogging. I haven’t tweeted, facebooked, or frankly emailed anyone but one friend outside of work. Last few weeks have been busy.

Planning the family vacation, it’ll be a week away from all of the above, camping in Mississippi. I hope the weather is nice. Weather here stinks, pretty much all the time. (Washington DC, come for the terrible weather, stay because the traffic won’t let you leave.)

So, I’ll try to write some science these days. I’m putting in a bit of work on my current fantasy novel, but it is very slow. I’ve been working on spending more time at home with the wife and baby. Less at work. The guys at work appreciate that, but they have a lot for me to do as well. I’m pretty over booked.

Watched a movie, “Home.” It is great. For those of us with less than stellar records in human relationships, Oh is so us. Most scientists don’t think of themselves as scientists, just guys who do a job. We try to be happy, friendly sorts, but we’re the “not good” at social. Watch it. Of course it is a tear jerker, damn cartoons.

I’ll “the science” later.



North Korea tests a bomb

Obviously, I can’t say anything about what NK did. You can get as much on the news as I can. However, we should talk about how a Nuclear weapon and atomic bomb are done.

It isn’t as simple as stealing a bunch of “radioactive” materials and … boom! That is the good, ole fashioned, dirty bomb.


Frankly, nails do more damage. We can argue, but I’d win. I don’t feel like it today. Any bomb is bad, a “Dirty bomb” isn’t as bad as blowing people’s limbs off.

The reasonable fear we have is from Fission and Fusion bombs. Fission being the simpler, or Atomic Bomb. One simply holds two near-critical masses of Uranium close together and the critical mass generates heat. Hold it close enough, long enough, you have a bomb. (the techniques are well established, but very difficult to master.)


The United States, of course, has mastered them.

NK is claiming it produced a Thermo-Nuclear event. This means it heated Tritium, or Deuterium Tritium mix, to fusion temperatures. A Fusion bomb can be much larger than a fission bomb. Thousands of times larger. Or, they found a cool word in the dictionary, that they thought was a synonym for Atomic Bomb, and decided to use it.

Look ignorance is on both sides. We (US, SK, and China reported numbers) measure nuclear events with a seismic detector. An American reporter announced this reported event as an earthquake detected near the test site… I’m sure he can do traffic and weather together every hour, so he’s better than 90% of the public, but most people are ignorant of nuclear matters.


I’m not sure the NK “reporter” is much better.

Sure, a bomb in the hands of a crazy person is scary. NK is a scary place. Still, this wasn’t anything new or particularly interesting. Imperious Leader just figured that he had been out of the news too long. He needed to break the ISIS ISIS ISIS refrain. Heck, he didn’t know that Obama had already pivoted back to Gun Control. I doubt he’ll get as much time on the 6 pm news as Terry McAuliffe, my anti-gun governor.


Maybe you should focus on Knife control.–and-seaport/2016/01/04/f062e9ca-b2ea-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html



Let me check my notes