Since the last time I posted, I traveled to Denver, CO, where I attended Percona Live 2023, an open-source database conference.
While I had a great time at the conference, I'm sure the details would be boring for most except for this one hair-raising event during one of the keynotes.
Previous CEO Peter Zaitsev gifted new CEO Ann Schlemmer a dart board with his face on it. And then proposed that she practice on stage with him holding the target!
Peter didn't seem scared at all, having full trust in either Ann's ability to hit the target or that he could take a dart to his midsection. Luckily, it all worked out, and Ann hit the target. Being in the front row, I found it a little hard to watch.
Denver has a few Alamo Drafthouse locations, so I couldn't resist catching a flick there with any that close. I saw Fast X, which I've reviewed below. To me, there really isn't a better place to see a movie. The Alamo's preshow even had the absolute best ten-minute recap of the film's franchise to remind us where we are at. I love Alamo Drafthouse.
Before heading all the way back home, my wife and I spent a few days in Phoenix, AZ.
One of the main things we did was attend a performance of Rite of Spring by the Arizona Ballet. It was outside the Desert Botanical Garden. End of May in Phoenix may seem like a mistake, but in the shade, the temperature wasn't too bad. Photos weren't allowed during the performance, but this post's masthead photo was taken during their practice beforehand.
The highlight of the trip for me was visiting Platform 18, which has been ranked as one of the top 50 bars in the world. And it doesn't disappoint.
Platform 18 is a small bar. No bigger than the train car it represents. It's not an actual train car, but it does make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Video screens where the windows are make it feel like you are moving through the bayous of Louisiana.
The atmosphere and cocktails were amazing. I'd relish any opportunity to visit again or one of their sister bars, Undertow or Grey Hen Rx. I'm surprised more big cities don't have experiences like this.
- Fast X has really become something more like a Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner cartoon. It's a world where family can solve all things, and as long as our main character is behind the wheel of a car, any diabolical scheme or challenge can be overcome. Senseless, yet fun.
- Blood & Gold is currently on Netflix and was a blast. Has a real grindhouse feel to it, and I enjoyed every minute.
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods is the follow-up to the original Shazam! film which I liked. This one, though... Not such a fan.
Reelhouse Foundation Films
A bit of a mix of themes the past few weeks, but two really incredible films.
- The Dam Busters (1955) was a big inspiration for George Lucas and Star Wars, mainly in regards to the low-flying missions to destroy the dams (e.g. battle station). While a good film, it is very dated, and the main character's dog is named something a bit offensive when the film was made, but even more so today.
- Trilogy of Terror (1975) aired on television when I was around nine years old. It's made up of three tales of terror. The last, entitled Amelia, is about a woman who gets a Zuni fetish doll for her archeologist boyfriend. Only she doesn't pay very close attention to the instructions. The doll comes to life and attacks. This leads to one of the scariest scenes I've ever, or will, see. It stands up today. Karen Black stars in all three stories as different characters and is absolutely amazing. A true case study in acting.
I've been reading a lot of positive reviews of Ark Nova and have been curious to try it. It recently popped up on Boardgame Arena, so doing a playthrough with my gaming group now.
It's about building a zoo. While building up the locations in your zoo and filling it with animals, you're also partnering with other zoos around the world and universities and donating to causes.
Can't say we've completely figured it out. May have to give this one another go in real time to completely get the rules and scoring.