Posts Tagged ‘Bastion Crider’

A promo poster for The Avengers made by frmjewduhh and available at http://frmjewduhh.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2r1jjm

Promo fan art by frmjewduhh. Click the image to link to his page.

The short version:

Astounding.  The movie is exciting, hilarious, clever, and has some of the most exciting and interesting action sequences ever filmed.  If you’re an Avengers fan, a comic book fan, an action movie fan, a comedy fan, or there’s any chance you’d enjoy anything on that list, then you will almost certainly love the Avengers.  If you’re none of the above, your odds of loving it are still better than 50/50.

The long version:

The greatest danger (in my mind) in bringing together so many super-powered good guys is that it can be hard to find a villain or team of villains powerful or clever enough to pose a realistic threat.

Loki from the new Avengers movie.

Enter: Loki

I already enjoyed Loki in Thor, so to see him displaying both physical and mental prowess was exciting.  He was charismatic and clever, looking both twisted and majestic at the same time.

Didn’t just one of the Avengers already beat him?

I’m actually retroactively impressed by the Thor plot after seeing this movie.  (Thor Spoiler: Loki never bent himself on defeating Thor and as a result, Thor and friends merely defeated Loki’s guardian while Loki succeeded in orchestrating the end of an entire world–an effort which was only prevented by Loki’s own loss of confidence and a particularly powerful and pissed-off Odin.) In other words, we know Loki is capable of bringing down the planet and he makes it very clear very early on that he has no intention of doing otherwise.  Brilliant and scarily clever.

The Plot (without spoilers):

There are definitely some question marks for the team at How It Should Have Ended to parody, but as far as viewers are concerned, the plot holds together, remains consistent (with enough twists and revelations to stay gripping), and doesn’t contain any glaring “why didn’t they just…” moments.

The Avengers and their Screen Time

The movie did a wonderful job of balancing screen time, giving each character at least two “WTF!?!? THEY ARE SO AWESOME!!!!!” moments, and most importantly, making each of the characters enjoyable and interesting.  There was never a time in which I found myself thinking–as I have in other movies–“I’m really tired of this character.  Let’s see someone else.”

Acting:

I’m not an actor so I gauge good acting by this single criteria:

If I don’t notice a line or action being delivered poorly, then I’d consider the actor to have done good work. – Bastion

By that standard, all of the actors (most of whom we already knew rocked) were great.  It’s a comic book movie about gods beaming in from the Odenheim to join up with super-powered humans to battle aliens, so there are obviously some sentences that must have felt really strange in the actors’ mouths, but the delivery was always appropriate, contextual, and believable. The cast of The Avengers posing at Comicon.

The Credible HULK

I was worried about the Hulk for two reasons:

1.  He’s my least favorite Avenger. 2.  He wasn’t played by Edward Norton.

Fortunately, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but both Bruce Banner and his big green alter-ego became my second favorite character(s) in the movie (Loki stole it, as far as I’m concerned).

A blended image of the Hulk and Loki from the new Avengers movie.

The Hulk, Loki, and if you click the picture, an article about the characters and actors who played them.

A note on the Avengers in general:

I’ve always been an X-Men fan but I had never been that big on the Avengers.  I’ve read a few of their comics (mainly the ones in which they interact with the X-Men) and I’m familiar with most of the characters, but aside from enjoying each of the prequel movies (Thor, Ironman 1 and 2, The Hulk, and Captain America), I’ve never immersed myself in them. Something I noticed in this movie is how spectacularly branded each of the Avengers are.  I enjoyed the characters in X-Men first class because I knew them–not because any one or two of them were cultural icons.  I was awestruck the first time I saw Ironman and Captain America standing beside each other because that’s IRONMAN AND CAPTAIN AMERICA.  When you finally see the whole team, together, ready to rock, well…  I hope you managed to get to the bathroom BEFORE that scene.

Special Effects

What special effects?  I never once felt like I was watching anything that wasn’t actually filmed in real life. In other words, the effects were absolutely seamless.  I think we’ve finally gotten to the point where (at least in high budget movies) movie producers can show us anything they want.  In the Avengers, they evidently wanted to blow our minds. A wide-shot of the Avengers doing battle, featuring Ironman, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye.

Action and Interaction

When I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I was sure of two things:

1.  The final battle was the most moving I’d ever seen. 2.  It would be a few years before a movie topped it.

The action sequences through the Avengers were all exciting (and furthered the plot–not just unnecessary fighting), but the final battle(s) changed my world.  I’ve always had a lot of faith in technology so even when watching incredible things that I’d never seen before (like the Matrix movies as they came out or Transformers 3’s war in the Chicago streets), I’ve never been terribly surprised that it was done. By the end of the last action sequence of the Avengers, I was amazed.  I had winced more than three times.  I had leapt from my seat in laughter more than three times.  I had felt senses of excitement, fear, and vengeance multiple times each.  The few times my mind was able to catch up with itself, I found myself marveling at the fact that I was seeing what I was seeing. This was a roller-coaster.  Hilarious, moving, exciting, and awe-inspiring.  Definitely worth the wait, the hype, and a second viewing. Movie poster for The Avengers.

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com. You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my Pinterest.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got. – Bastion, of Grace at Arms

I’m really in love with internet memes these days (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, internet memes are the recurring images with clever text on them that you see everywhere–for LOTS of examples, check out my Pinterest boards here).

I don’t usually celebrate of Star Wars Day though I do give a “may the fourth be with you” to all of my Star Wars fan friends, but today I noticed a meme that made me decide to make an image of my own.

Someone posted this on Facebook:

An internet meme making fun of people who pretend to be nerds picking on non-Star-Wars-fans celebrating Star Wars Day (May 4, 2012).

That meme (that image of that girl) is normally used to pick on people who claim to be nerds but really just watch the Big Bang Theory or own a Star Wars t-shirt (welcome to the internet–“nerds” is now an elitist group).

The picture is funny, but, as a member of the internet, it’s my duty to jab at everything, whether I like it or not!  In an appropriately passive-aggressive move, I designed a little picture (for those purists out there, it isn’t a meme–it’s just a picture until it catches on) of my own:

An image of a Star Wars geek with funny text by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) prepared in celebration of Star Wars Day (May 4th, 2012).

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

It’s Friday again and we hope it’s the start of a great weekend for everybody! Here’s what the members of GRACE@ARMS are up to:

Bastion:

I’ve done some stupid things in YouTube videos like drinking a bottle of Tabasco sauce or speed-eating Qdoba burritos, but I hadn’t yet attempted to chug a 40.  Some people had been pushing me, so here it is (oh, I decided it wasn’t awesome enough so I went ahead and chugged a bottle of Tabasco sauce, too)!  Here’s the short version of the video.  If you want to see the whole version with the Capri Sun and me sitting around, scroll down!

Milo:

I’m fired up because the show on Saturday went well [Thanks, JB for covering! – All] and now I’m preparing to intern in Chicago this summer!

Bastion (again):

If you want to see the whole video (the only parts I really cut out are me waiting to burp), I decided to post that, too:

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) chugging a 40 oz Magnum high gravity malt liquor while wearing a Grace@Arms shirt.  This is a screen capture from a YouTube video.  All art and logos copyright Grace@Arms, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC.

Bastion’s speed-eating burritos, Milo’s partying for Little 5, and Cooper’s slack lining!  Check it out!

Also, we’re a week and a day away from our concert at Mike & Joe’s in New Castle, Indiana so be sure to tell your friends, make your plans, order your sick new t-shirts, and pick up your GRACE@ARMS cards (worth $1 off the ticket price)!  In the mean time, here’s what we’re up to:

Bastion:

After I ate that over-stuffed Qdoba burrito in about two minutes, my good friend Andy Adams approached me about eating another one.  I felt like I spent too much time chewing last time and was pretty sure I could beat my time, so Adams and I sat down to tackle a pair of well-packed chicken burritos with fajita veggies, ancho chili BBQ sauce, rice, two scoops of extra-hot salsa, a scoop of corn salsa, cheese, and sour cream.  These things were monsters, but, when I matched my previous time of 2:08 and Adams polished off his burrito, we celebrated… by eating a second round of giant, over-stuffed burritos!

Milo:

I’m enjoying my final Little 5 week at IU!  BOOM!!!

Cooper:

My friend introduced me to slack lining this week.  Before attempting the endeavor, I was apprehensive.  In retrospect, I was right to be.  Slack lining is like safe, easier tightrope walking.  I used the word “safe” loosely.  If you slip, and the line happens to get between your legs, complications arise.  My advice;  respect the line.

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) and Andy Adams eating giant Qdoba burritos with chicken, fajita veggies, rice, extra-hot salsa, corn salsa, ancho chili bbq sauce, cheese, and sour cream.

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

It’s Friday and we’re two weeks and one day away from the last show Bastion scheduled before his back went out!  If you haven’t marked it on your calendar, mark Saturday, April 28 at Mike & Joe’s in New Castle, IN now!  GRACE@ARMS will take the stage at 6pm!  Bastion’s got some more information (and the other guys have some fun thoughts, too):

Bastion:

Admission for the April 28 show is $5 (you get a scoop of ice cream and some other give-aways) BUT if you show your GRACE@ARMS Ancora card (the one where you put the stickers on it to get free G@A stuff) OR any other G@A card, then you get a dollar off the admission price!

Images of Grace at Arms' (GRACE@ARMS) various business, contact, and Ancora cards.  Artwork, "Ancora", and logos copyright Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, and Greg Crider LLC.

Milo:

“It may be that those who do most, dream most.” – Stephen Butler Leacock

Cooper:

I just finished reading the final installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I find myself feeling kind of empty.  The books pull you in and nearly force you to keep turning the pages.  The last hundred pages or so left me wondering, “could this have been done differently?”  All in all, however, I loved these books and would recommend them to anyone.  Cheers!

It’s Friday and we’ve got news!  Bastion will be making a solo acoustic appearance at a several-band concert outside of Imagine Music in New Castle, IN, at 1:00pm on March 31 to support local businesses and charities!  We’ll be posting more information on facebook.com/graceatarms, but save the date!  Now, here’s the band:

Bastion:

I’ll make an official announcement if/when there’s something official to announce, but IF I/GRACE@ARMS had a solo/acoustic project coming out in January, which of our songs on YouTube would you like to see on there?

Vote for your favorites by either going to youtube.com/graceatarms and “Like”ing the songs you’d most like to hear (if you don’t have a YouTube account, they’re free) or by going to facebook.com/graceatarms and voting for songs in the Poll we posted!  If you do both, your vote counts twice.  Vote for as many songs as you’d like!

 (If my vote counted, I’d vote for “A Love Poem For Ghosts”!)

Milo:

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday completing part 1 of the national boards in optometry.  Now it’s time to relax [with me at the resort/casino in French Lick! – Bash]!

Cooper:

We are in the season of growing!  The grass is sprouting anew, trees are budding, and everyone and their buddy is crowding the weight room.  One observation I’ve made is that the best lat pull-down machine is never open!  If I have learned one thing in that place, it’s to circle that piece of equipment like a vulture.  That rant aside, it has been nice to work out more often and feel a little healthier.  Cheers!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) playing acoustic guitar in his home, Valhalla.
If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I hope everyone is having a great day and that everyone has a great evening as well!  I, myself, will be celebrating my second birthday today!

Artwork designed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) for a Grace at Arms t-shirt commemorating Bastion's and Chrysalis' birthday ("B-Day)".  All art, design, logos, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK", @LIVE 2012, and B-DAY are copyright 2012 by Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC.

Wait… second birthday?

I refuse to go too far into detail (GRACE@ARMS has entire albums ready to record about growing up), but I’ll offer a brief (or as brief as it can get) explanation of what I mean.

Fight Club was right!

Three movie quotations which I always thought were obtuse, over-generalized, poorly worded, or just plain wrong (but later learned that they were EXACTLY right) are as follows:

There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

– Morpheus, The Matrix

This always felt half obvious and half wrong.  Doing and talking are obviously not the same, but isn’t the difference just a matter of decision?  As it turns out, it’s a lot bigger than that.  Not only do we learn through doing, but we feel and experience our decision and its consequences.  As anyone who’s ever stepped outside of their comfort zone will tell you, “it’s not how you think it is.”

If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

– Count Rugen, The Princess Bride

I ripped a hamstring in a soccer game and stopped two of my opponents before going off the field.  I used to look forward to getting strep throat so I could spend a day on the couch.  Pain?  I’ll just play through.
Enter: two back surgeries.  As it turns out, you SHOULD listen to your body (specifically your back, neck, brain, and nervous system).  If you lose your mobility or even limit it, you are dead until it heals.  Don’t learn this the hard way.  Protect yourself.

It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club

I used to think that this was obtuse.  I thought that the writers were trying to find a way to sum up the whole mentality of the movie into a single sentence and that they trimmed it just a little too much.

…and then, shortly after completing law school and becoming an attorney, just as I was purchasing  my first home and preparing not to settle down, but to begin a post-school life of doing the things I want to do, rather than doing the things that would build a good future, my reason for doing it all–my whole heart–disappeared.

Again, I’m not going to get into details since they’ll be outlined in song, which I find less whiny and more relatable, but suffice it to say that I found myself standing in a big empty castle, the construction of which I had devoted my whole life to, perfectly designed for a life I was no longer able to live.

You either get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.

– Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
(Don’t worry–I always knew this quote was good.)

I found myself lost, confused, and caught for the first time in my life in a daily struggle against thoughts of suicide.  Fortunately, almost immediately after deciding to stick around a few more years, I realized just how true that Fight Club quote was.

“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything” doesn’t mean that if you make stupid choices, you’ll feel better.  Nor does it mean that throwing all your belongings away will lead to a happier life.

It means, at least to me, that if you lose your means to live but not your reason, that you are free to choose any means that will support that reason. If you lose your reason to live, but not your means, you are free to create any reason your means will support.  If you lose both, then you are free to create a new life.

Motivation > Decisions

When there’s no road forward, no road backward, and you refuse to fall to the side, I see no choice but to climb straight up.  “Perfect” was gone in my mind so I had no option but to create something better.

As I surveyed my obliterated heart, I expected to find rot and scars.  What I found instead was love and ambition pouring out of me.  Pure hope, like I hadn’t felt since I was an ignorant little child was gushing out of my gaping chest.

I thought back on everything I’d ever wanted to change about myself but had never had the strength to fix.  Finally, I had the motivation to do it.  Finally, I had lost everything except the ferocity with which I was going to fight.

Designing a New Life

I made a list of everything I was never strong enough to change and demon that had haunted me since I was little.  I had great ideas but I was too lazy to follow through on them.  I had struggled and fought against pornography addiction since I was in fifth grade.  I had deep-seeded rage that never seemed to escape.  I had written dozens of songs–more so, I had a dream–that I had never made real.  I had dozens of problems, big and small.

Rather than tying my pain and frustration to the past, to that which couldn’t be fixed, I instead tied it to the present.  I didn’t lie to myself or pat myself on the back.  I simply looked at what I was and what I wanted to be, and made them the same.  I taught myself how to think, how to feel, how to self-motivate, and how to conquer.  Every time I became upset and every time I relaxed, I felt that pain and I fought improve.  Every time I felt like fighting and every time I was too tired and broken to stand, I felt that pain and I fought to improve.  Every time I felt proud and every time I lost faith in myself, I felt that pain and I fought to improve.

Within six months (by my next birthday), I had lost thirty-five pounds, kicked addictions that had plagued me for years, developed a social confidence I had lacked my entire life, redeveloped my faith system, re-established myself as a bastion of hope and inspiration, wrote almost two dozen new songs (each of which were better than any I’d written previously), stopped the suicidal urges, started finalizing the recording of Chrysalis, replaced my crippling laziness with an unrelenting work ethic, improved my performance at my job drastically, shed fears and scars that I had carried since youth, and even released the rage that had shaken me for as long as I can remember.

When my birthday rolled around in 2010, I was a new life.  My smile, my interests, and my sense of humor didn’t change, but everything else had become what I had always wanted it to be.  I declared March 17, 2010 my re-birth day.  Within my first year as whom I am, I achieved what I never could have before; I completed and released the Chrysalis of Grace at Arms.

The present and the future.

I’m not yet happy with where I am, but this year, I’ve finally been happy with whom I am.  My ancient, ignorant hope has been replaced with two years of ferocious, defiant hope.  My pre-natal rage has been replaced with two years of unyielding ambition.  My old willingness to agree with all of the fools who believe in the “impossible” has been replaced with two years of exceeded expectations, conquered odds, and, for the first time in my life, success on my own terms.

This coming year is filled with difficult choices and ugly ultimatums in my career, my life, and my band.  If this were my 12th, 18th, 22nd, 30th, or 50th birthday, I wouldn’t be ready to face them.  If I were a victim of consequence or a product of real life, I would be too fearful to commit this to writing, let alone publish it to the world.  Today, though, on my second birthday, I am as I have designed myself; able, willing, ready, strong, hopeful, graceful, and of course, always at arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS)' logo alongside the @LIVE 2012 "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" slogan in an image designed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms in February 2012.  All art, design, logos, @LIVE 2012, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" are copyright Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, and Greg Crider LLC.

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms