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Showing posts from May, 2019

Summer Hiatus

Kids,

I'm going to take a month or so off to focus on really kick starting revisions on the third book and getting that closer to Final Draft form. I may pop back on with the odd post here or there if the mood strikes me, but for now we're turning out the lights and locking the doors and heading out to do other things for awhile.

I'll be back to regular posting after July 4th.

Have a great summer!

This Week In Vexillology #290

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Well, we've done it. We've finally reached the end-- there might be some armorial banners or purely metropolitan/city banners out there that I've missed, but according to the map I've been coloring in with sharpie and the one of the computer screen I've been squinting at, this is it: Greater Manchester and Tyne and Wear.

Let's start with Greater Manchester. As it turns out, Manchester is relatively easy to find. Essentially if you find Leeds and Liverpool, Manchester is more or less in between them. Make your way across the map from one of them to the other and you'll be bound to hit it. It's one of the great cities of the north of England and, naturally soccer is kind of a thing there, with Manchester United and Manchester City being the major clubs in the area. Wigan Athletic plays in the Championship. Bolton Wanderers, Oldham Athletic, Bury F.C. and Rochdale A.F.C. all play in League One and Salford City F.C. plays in the National League and Stockpor…

Squawk Box: Spring Grab Bag

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Shrill: I think Aidy Bryant is pretty funny, so when I saw this show pop up on Hulu and saw that it was only six episodes, I popped it on and gave it a go and it was... pretty funny. Bryant stars as Annie Easton, an overweight young woman who is struggling to find her voice in journalism while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, a perfectionist boss and a world that sees her as not being good enough, just because of her weight. A touching and humorous exploration of body image issues and all the horrible baggage women get weighed down with because of it, the show could easily have been just a meandering meditation on body image and not much else. However, Annie decides that she is good enough and takes on the world to find her voice at her job and gain some confidence along the way.

I'd say: it's six episodes, so it's not a big time commitment. If you're looking for a show to try, this is worth a peek.

The End of 'Catastrophe': Not just the end of Catastrophe

Let's Talk About Apraxia

Medium Spawn said a complete sentence a couple of nights ago at dinner. "I want ice cream." Normally, I doubt anyone would bat an eye if their three-year-old announced that he wanted ice cream, but for Medium Spawn it was an achievement that made both the Missus and I cry some happy tears- because every word represents a step toward him finding his voice and speaking out loud the way we know he wants to. That's apraxia.

I don't really know how to describe his personality-- he's always been a little...  laid back isn't exactly the right word. He didn't really crawl and he didn't really start walking until we gave him a little push and started encouraging him. Once he saw the point of walking and how fast he could go places, it was fine- and that seemed to be his personality. He didn't want to do if he didn't see the point of it. His speaking seemed to be heading the same way, but last fall we brought the Early Access people out for an evaluatio…

Netflix & Chill #62: Ant-Man and The Wasp

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2018
Directed By: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip 'T.I' Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Pick: Mine

Two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is on house arrest for helping them violate the terms of the Sokovia Accords. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are on the run- but briefly open a tunnel to the quantum realm, where they believe that Pym's wife, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) is trapped after shrinking to sub-atomic levels back in 1987. When Lang visited the quantum realm (during the events of the first Ant-Man) he become quantumly entangled with Janet and receives a message from her.

Lang's relations with Hank and Hope are somewhat strained: they …

This Week In Vexillology #289

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Well, we're almost at the very end of our tour of the counties of England...  there might be the odd metropolitan county that I've missed, but between this week and next week, we should have covered  just about every corner of England from Cornwall to Cumbria and everything in between. I'm honestly not sure where we're going to go next after this-- maybe some more subnational flags are lurking across the border in Wales or Scotland, or maybe I'll mix it up a bit. But in our second to last stop on our tour of the county of England, we're settling in the middle of the country with the flags of Leicestershire and the West Midlands!

Let's start with Leicestershire! The obvious question we need to start with: where the heck is it? well, if you head north from London on the M1 between (roughly) Northampton and Nottingham-- between them you're going to find the city of Leicester, which is the center of the county. Coventry, Birmingham and Burton Upon Trent and …

Free Write Friday #11: The Importance of Curses

A man gets cursed by an incompetent wizard. While still technically cursed, the man finds the side effects to be helpful in certain situations. 

The afternoon was perfect. Spring was finally here, chasing away the last tendrils of winter. The temperatures were getting warmer and warmer each day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as Preston headed down the long pedestrian walkway that cut through the middle of campus heading toward the Chemistry Building. It was lab day. Preston hated lab, but Curses and Incantation was a required course for all first year students and it had a nasty reputation as a 'weed out' course that was well deserved. It consisted of a lecture section (one and a half hours), a discussion section (a forty-five minute 'attendance required' eight o'clock on Monday morning hellscape) and a lab section (three hours- three!) on Thursday afternoons. It was probably the biggest and most important class of his fall semester and he was already dreadin…

Bookshot #119: Defend The Realm

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I tend to take a somewhat skeptical view of histories of the various intelligence agencies around the world. How much can one author really have access to? How much of it is really true? There's good reason to approach a lot of these books with a certain amount of trepidation- but Defend The Realm is different. MI-5 was founded in 1909 and for the occasion of their centenary in 2009, they actually commissioned a history of their first one hundred years- which means that this book is probably one of the few authorized histories of an espionage agency that I can recall coming across.

Christopher Andrew was probably the most obvious choice to tackle the work. The jacket cover describes him as being 'Britain's leading historian of Intelligence' and he's been on the history faculty of Cambridge University- but he's also actually the author of another book I own, The Mitrokhin Archive (which goes over the files smuggled out of KGB Headquarters and turned over to the …