Showing posts from July, 2019

1,556 Miles Update #4

Oh boy. The summer has not been kind to me-- my promise of consistency in May sort of failed to materialize and I was really hoping to get a decent chunk done during my hiatus. Needless to say, it didn't work out that way. The good news is that I added 92.4 miles to my end of April total of 223.2 miles, which moves us up a respectable amount to 315.6 miles and pushes us into Iowa. Here's what the map looks like as of today: In terms of our view- this is where we were at the end of April:                                                     And this is where ended up now: To be honest, I'm not sure I'm going to make this in a year, but I want to keep doing it anyway. I think it's kind of fun- and yes, I need to up my game a little bit- but both the Missus and I have recommitted to the whole diet and exercise thing heading into August, so I need to get back on this. I'll try and chew up more of this goal, but it's looking more and more like thi

Netflix & Chill #64: Vice

Watched On: Hulu Released: 2018 Directed By: Adam McKay Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Jesse Plemmons Rotten Tomatoes: 66% Pick: Mine Vice is probably the most fundamentally honest movie I've seen in years. And there's the rub of it all: it seems like Director Adam McKay is doing what you'd expect from a big budget Hollywood biopic of a Republican Vice President. You think he's trying to take Vice President Cheney down and there are the usual shots you'd expect: Halliburton, the 2000 election, Iraq, but none of it lands effectively- and maybe that's the point. Cheney is an enigma. He's powerful. You, a mere mortal of a film director aren't going to be able to take him down. The story opens with Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) working hard as an electrical linesman in Casper,WY back in the early 60s. His wife, Lynn (Amy Adams) got him a scholarship to Yale, but he partied to

This Week In Vexillology #292

Well, after a break last week we're going to jump back in with both feet and dip back into the Lost Archives for a double shot of flags from North Africa: Algeria and Libya. First up, Algeria : Adopted on July 3rd, 1962 as the national flag, civil and state ensign, the flag of Algeria doesn't really have a lot of deep symbolism embedded in it. Literally the only thing I could find for a solid description of symbolism: "The crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion.)" So while the symbolism is pretty easy to explain, the history of the region digs up some interesting tidbits. For instance, while the crescent and star have been associated with Islam for centuries- in Algeria's case, the Barbary pirates of the region have been using flags with one or more crescents dating back to the Kingdom of Tlemecen in the 1200s. So, as a design element the crescent has been showing up on or off in flags for Algeria for centuries. P

Free Write Friday #13: Highland City

[IP] Highland City "It's always beautiful in Highland City, especially when you've learned to control the weather." Kreola sat at the small table, sipping her cup of coffee and savoring the warmth of the sun. It had been nearly a week since the project had gone fully online and she was sure that the emotional high she seemed to be riding would never quite go away. Twenty five years she had invested in the project, pouring her heart into it, believing beyond belief that ultimately, it would be the good that the High Council thought it would be. So, she sat. She bathed in the sunlight. She took in the incredible viewdown the long northern fjord. The sunshine made the city so beautiful. The colors of the distant houses, red white, yellow and brown seemed to be more brilliant than usual. The towers of the far distant central city where shrouded in a far distant rain cloud, which was what they had programmed for this time of the morn

Squawk Box: Fleabag

Look, as binges go you've got no excuse for not checking out Fleabag . It's two seasons, six episodes apiece and it's a sitcom, so we're talking like 25-30 minutes a pop, episode wise. I get the whole age of streaming exhaustion thing. I do, but finally you've got a show where you won't by physically exhausted at the prospect of getting lost in multiple seasons of a show. It's 12 episodes. They're short- and, dear reader, here is the kicker to end all kickers: it's an absolutely incredible show that leaves you begging, screaming for more than you just don't get. It's hilarious, bittersweeet, melancholy and riotously funny all at the same time- sometimes in the all in the same scene. The titular character is Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), who breaks the fourth wall frequently and is well, kind of a mess as we gradually discover in Season 1. She starts by recounting her day which begins with a one-night stand and then another encounter wit

Tap-Dancing On The Line, But Not Actually Over It: My Thoughts On Part Two of The Mueller Report

Okay, now that we've dispensed with the first part of the Mueller Report, we need to move into the second part of the Mueller Report, which, to me, contains far more troubling shenanigans than part one- mainly because, again, the reaction of this Administration and this President seems to be so bizarre it almost defies description. The ultimate frustration with Part Two- if not the whole Mueller Report has to go down to the Hedge To End All Hdeges: his principle conclusion was that the evidence he found doesn't seem to indicate that the President committed a crime, but the evidence doesn't completely exonerate him either. Like, what does that mean? Is there more evidence out there? Are you expecting more evidence to come to light? Is there so much political pressure to justify this investigation that you felt like you had to come up with something that might sort of fit the bill? (Minor tangent time: imo, the time has come to reevaluate the whole idea of a Special Couns

"Good News, Everyone": My Thoughts On Part One of The Mueller Report

After about six months of the media screaming about Trump and Russia Russia and Trump and breathless insisting that this time they had found the smoking bullet, by God, this time they had him, I eventually settled firmly into the somewhat exhausted position that once Mueller completed his report, I would read it and formulate an opinion of my own, especially since no one in the media appeared to be all that interested in being well, sane about this. So when it finally came out, unlike many members of Congress, I actually sat down and slowly and painfully picked my way through the entire report, redactions and all. And at the end of the day, my biggest takeaway from this mess is that the whole damn thing is just so fucking bizzare it's kind of a head scratcher that the people involved actually behaved the way they did. The overall report is two parts: one, looked into the main portion of the Special Counsel's brief- the question of the extent and success of the Russian inter

Star Trek Voyager, Ranked

I was on the hunt for another podcast to listen to and saw some recommendations for the Voyager-centric podcast, Seven of Wine, so I decided to give it a go and listen to their first episode about the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager , 'Caretaker' and then, I sat down and watched the episode again. And then, it was just too late- Voyager sucked me in for another re-watch and as I was going through all seven seasons, sometimes paying more attention, sometimes just using it as background noise, I started keeping track of the episodes that stood out to me with the grand intention of ranking all 172 episodes- but then sort of decided that was too much to handle. So how did I do this? Kept track of all of my favorite episodes and at the end of it all, was surprised to find out that I had 100 episodes to rank. Then I set down to work and damn, this shit was hard , kids. If there's a frustrating thing about Voyager , it's probably the fact that it's blatantly obvious they

Netflix & Chill #63: The Wandering Earth

Watched On: Netflix Released: 2019 Directed By: Frant Gwo Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat, Zhao jinmai, Wu Jing, Qu Jingjing Rotten Tomatoes: 71% Pick: Mine I read the novella, so naturally, when Netflix grabbed the movie, I sat down to watch that as well- albeit with a certain amount of trepidation- the novella is epic storytelling in every sense of the word and even with a huge budget and all the movie making magic you could hope for, this would be a difficult story to do well- but as it turns out, not only did they do it well, they absolutely nailed it. In the year 2061, the sun has aged and is about tot urn into a red giant, which poses something of a problem for Earth, as they don't want to be destroyed in the process. The nations of the world consolidate into a United Earth Government and start constructing giant Earth engines to move the planet out of the current solar system. Humanity's population is severely reduced as catastrophic tides swee

This Week In Vexillology #291: Some Thoughts On The Betsy Ross Flag

So, this flag is officially problematic in some quarters now and since we're back and we missed the usual July 4th and Flag Day Specials, we might as well jump back into things with both feet and unpack some stuff about the Betsy Ross Flag . The origin story of our flag is one of our Great National Myths and to be honest, it's still kind of controversial in parts. Generally speaking, most scholars and vexillologists don't agree with the usual story of a lady in a bonnet filled with the fire American Revolutionary Zeal staying up by candle light to hand stitch the very first version of the Stars and Stripes. The truth is a lot more complex and complicated than that- even though it's a great story and it's easy to see how it became some intertwined into our foundational mythology as a country. The story in question was started in 1870 by the grandson of Ross, Willian J. Canby who presented a paper to the Pennsylvania Historical Society claiming that his grandmo

Free Write Friday #12: Let Us Begin

[SP] The Amish create a military. "I still say it's sinful, Ezekial. We've always kept to ourselves and minded our own business." "The world doesn't always care about us and our business, Jebediah," the other man replied. "Our beliefs are under attack. We have to defend the community." The two men were walking across a field toward a large hill. At the top of the hill, there was the skeleton of a barn that had been erected that morning. Reaching the bottom of the hill, they began to hike up it, even as the man named Jebediah shifted uncomfortably. "Defending the community is one thing," he said. "This. This is something else entirely." For so long, life had been simple. They kept to themselves. Practiced their faith. The young would have their rumspringa and some would leave, others would come back to be accepted into the faith and get married and raise families of their own. There had been an order and a rhythm to i

Bookshot #120: Gravity's Rainbow

Well, I did it. After several fits and starts, I finally settled down in January of 2018 and determined that I was going to crack this book wide open and I finally, after over a year of inching my way through it, finished Gravity's Rainbow . I have no idea where to start with this book. It was frustrating, maddening, beautiful, genius, incomprehensible and rage inducing- sometimes, all in the space of a single page. Am I entirely sure I understood the plot? Well- to answer that question, I think you'd have to be entirely sure there was a plot- at least a conventionally structured one and I'm not sure of that. All that I'm left with if the nagging feeling that I read over seven hundred pages of either a work of staggering genius or complete gibberish and I have no idea which it was. So: The first part of the novel is the part that problem made the most sense to me and was the easiest to follow-- basically, it opens with Pirate Prentice awakening after a dream (and

And We're Back...

The Summer Hiatus is over and if you're reading this, I'm sure you've noticed we've changed up our look a little bit-- I figured it was probably time to shake things up somewhat. What did I do on my summer hiatus? I started a podcast , just for kicks. (New episode will hopefully drop this week, so stay tuned!) Got one short story done and I'm real close on a second. Got three chapters of revisions on the third book in the bag and I'm pushing forward on Chapter Four. In short, it wasn't as productive as it could have been, but I also did enough to feel good about taking the wee break from all of this. It also gave me time to push forward on a few other things that will be appearing as blog posts over the coming months- so you have those to look forward to. It's good to be back.