Category Archives: adventure

We Watched All the Marvel Universe Movies in Chronological Order: What I Learned

Eighteen movies and about forty hours of explosions: That’s what the Marvel Universe was — up until Avengers 3: Infinity War turned it all on its head. There are NO spoilers ahead for Avengers 3… and if you haven’t seen the other 18 movies, well, you might as well quit reading now.

To get ready for the big adventure, Pat and I decided to watch all of the Avengers movies in chronological order — not in order of release — in the weeks leading up to Avengers 3. Here’s what we (I) learned:

  1. That’s a lot of time to spend on the couch.
  2. Winslow does not like explosions.
  3. Chris Hemsworth is a manly specimen of awesomeness; even Pat acknowledged that… repeatedly. **ANGEL PIRATE!**
  4. The second outing of every character’s series appears to be the weakest.
  5. It goes without saying, but seriously people: WHY DOES ANYONE LEAVE THE THEATER AFTER THE CREDITS START TO ROLL?

Here’s the order to watch – and the events in Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol 2. apparently happen pretty close together, ergo back-to-back, which is a lot of fun. Added bonus: My quick thoughts on whether you should invest in couch time and Thor ogling:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger – This is where it all starts. Pay close attention to the location and the villain. Oh, and beefed up Captain, shirtless! Special appearance by the Space Stone / Tesseract. MUST WATCH.
  2. Iron Man – Without Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, none of these movies happen. Pay attention to his Dad. MUST WATCH.
  3. The Incredible Hulk – We skipped this one. Now that Mark Ruffalo is the Hulk, it wasn’t worth revisiting Edward Norton Jr. SKIP IT.
  4. Iron Man 2 – Not my favorite Iron Man, but it gives us a little more on Tony’s relationship to Howard Stark. OPTIONAL
  5. Thor – Hello, Chris Hemsworth, oh, and welcome to the party, Hawkeye! Oh, and please take off your shirt again, Thor. MUST WATCH.
  6. The Avengers – Fun to see the band getting together. Hulk, smash! And please take off your shirt again, Thor. Hello Mind Stone / Scepter. Greatest post-credits ever: Schwarma! MUST WATCH.
  7. Iron Man 3 – Good character development for Tony Stark, and really fun callbacks to the 1990s. OPTIONAL.
  8. Thor: The Dark World – The best part of this movie is Chris Evans playing Loki playing Captain America… and shirtless Chris Hemsworth. Natalie Portman doesn’t have anything to do. The only reason you’d watch this is for the Reality Stone / Aether. SKIP IT.
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier aka Avengers 1.5 – Again, the second outing is always weak for these characters. They could’ve done so much with Steve Rogers integrating into the modern era, but it plays more like Avengers-lite. Would’ve loved to have seen more on his and Bucky’s relationship. OPTIONAL. (If you’re trying not to sacrifice an entire week of your life on the couch, you can skip it — but my friend Paul says it’s a MUST WATCH)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy – Chris Pratt, shirtless! Truly, a breath of fresh air from the brooding, overwrought Dark World and Winter Soldier. Still the greatest soundtrack in movie history and so damn funny… Hello, Power Stone / Orb. MUST WATCH.
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – Still fun, but needs a lot of editing. Scenes go on a little too long and the Kurt Russell / Ego infodump-diorama is tiresome, but it’s still funny. OPTIONAL.
  12. The Avengers: Age of Ultron – This really is a mess — the second outing is always a drag — gets confusing at times and again, could use a good edit, but, Thor shirtless! Basically, Vision is invented, and this is important for Avengers 3. Plus, Thanos throws on the gauntlet in the post-credits sequence. MUST WATCH. (sorry)
  13. Ant-Man – Paul Rudd, shirtless… DAAAAMMMMNNN, son. Has he been working out with Thor? This is fun and funny with terrific special effects. OPTIONAL.
  14. Captain America: Civil War, aka Avengers 2.5 – Again, this really is more of an Avengers movie right up until the end when Captain America and Iron Man duke it out. Still, it deals with interesting themes, and some neat callbacks in the history of the universe, but no shirtless Thor. Welcome to the party, Black Panther! It does set us up for Avengers 3. MUST WATCH.
  15. Doctor Strange – Kind of like Iron Man but with magic! And I could watch Benedict Cumberbatch all day. Introduces the Time Stone / Eye of Something-Or-Ruther. Important for Avengers 3. MUST WATCH.
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming – I felt a little weird watching shirtless Tom Holland, but this was adorable and a lovely reminder that, at heart, Peter Parker is a kid. Plus, he and Robert Downey Jr are terrific together. OPTIONAL
  17. Thor: Ragnarok – Thor got his groove back (and his shirt is off!). This is so much fun, especially as it becomes a bro-mance between Hulk and Thor. Sets up well for Avengers 3. MUST WATCH.
  18. Black Panther – There’s so much good here. Feminism. Anti-colonialism. Cool tech. This is one of the best in the MCU, plus lots of shirtless Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan. MUST WATCH.

So this is your list. Suffice it to say, we really enjoyed watching Avengers 3 and will likely see it again. That 2 hours, 40 minutes flew past, though sadly, no shirtless Thor. But, dear Lord, Captain America’s beard!

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Sugar Sak

 

Who knows what evil lurks inside this Sak of Sugar?
Who knows what evil lurks inside this Sak of Sugar?

Last Sunday morning, Winslow interrupted our leisurely walk by following her nose into a black, satiny mass that was hiding under a bush.

“What the hell?” Pat said, straining to keep Coolidge from lifting his leg on the mystery object.

“Looks like someone’s panties,” I said, pulling Winslow aside to gingerly pick up the litter. “No, wait. It looks more like a wine bag – like you’d give as a gift.”

I pulled the black satin bag from the prickles and thorns. The interior was a jaunty black-and-white leopard print. Fastened with a satin drawstring with bejeweled ends, its tag read, Sugar Sak™: Protected with Bioshield 75®.

“Bioshield 75®? What would you put in there that needs Bioshield 75®?” Pat asked.

“Maybe it’s a bag to carry your panties? Like on the walk of shame?”

Then I wondered why the bottom of one’s purse wasn’t a suitable vessel? I mean, it’s not like you’re gonna wear them again before putting them in the laundry.

“Wait, there’s something inside,” he said. “Oh… it’s actual panties. There are panties inside.”

Continue reading The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Sugar Sak

The Lonely Donor, Part VI: Donation Day

Me and my machine
Me and my machine. Yes, I have a bottom lip. Yes, I’m on narcotics.

He is alive, and so am I.

And never I have felt so alive: Lying in a hospital bed, the apheresis machine sucking stem cells from my veins for the better part of a workday. 6 hours, 10 minutes to be exact.

I reported for duty at Mayo Clinic Hospital at 7:15 AM in my favorite, long-sleeved dress-pajamas with my lucky New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Champions T-shirt underneath. They needed ready access to my veins, and I needed a good omen… or three.

Continue reading The Lonely Donor, Part VI: Donation Day

The Lonely Donor, Part V: Preparation

 

Not sniffing my pits, just showing off all the bruises and spots from my subcutaneous chicken-wing filgrastim shots.
Not sniffing my pits, just showing off all the bruises and spots from my subcutaneous chicken-wing filgrastim shots.

 

Good morning, fourth metatarsal.

Hello, tibia. Hello, fibula. Right back atcha,’ femoral head.

Unfolding from my fetal position among the dogs and husband, today I can feel my thoracic spine, right there at T5. The metacarpal bones of my right hand spent the fretful night reminding me that I am, in fact, right-handed.

This is my life on filgrastim – the stem-cell stimulating drug. I got two shots of it per day for five days leading up to and including the donation – one shot in each chicken wing, among the ample, subcutaneous margins of my triceps.

Continue reading The Lonely Donor, Part V: Preparation

Stacy’s Mom Has Got It Going On – The Funeral Flower Edition

 

For Ray, our Ace of Hearts
For Ray, our Ace of Hearts

We lost a wonderful member of our poker group to cancer in May.

Ray was a man who rode jacks to ruin on more than one occasion. He had this crafty smile that crossed his cheeks whenever he was trying to figure out whether you were bluffing. He grilled a wicked Polish sausage and traded naughty barbs about his own Polish sausage, that resulted in a good laugh and a little blushing.

Old men are allowed do that, especially around the card table.

So when I learned of his passing, I called some of the players and proposed an idea that I’d seen on The Wire.

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Continue reading Stacy’s Mom Has Got It Going On – The Funeral Flower Edition