Showing posts from 2021

10 For 2021: How Did I Do?

Given the times we live in, the idea of New Year's Resolutions seems idiotic, but I'm doing it anyway because lists are easy to make and strangely satisfying to cross things off of. But before I launch on yet another exercise in mild futility (I do usually get some of these things accomplished), it's time to look back on 2021 and see how I did. 1. End the year under 200 lbs Nope, but it's coming with me for 2022. 2. Get another tattoo (I've known what I want to get for a while, I just need to do it.) Nope. Not yet- but it's coming along for 2022. 3. I want to complete a 200 day Duolingo Streak  I got to 141 days before I fell off the wagon, but I've picked it back up again and I'm pushing 50 days as of this writing. 4. New deck! We got rid of (most of) the old deck this year, but in 2021 I want to finish out the project and get a shiny new one. Success! We did get a new deck done. 5. My Goodreads goal for 2020 was 40 books and I came up short by just a

Retro-Binge: Babylon Five (And Thoughts On The Reboot)

So, I have three seasons of Babylon Five and a collection of the movies on DVD. It used to be on Netflix for a long time and I kept desperately hoping that it would show up on streaming somewhere else, but it never did until HBO Max came along. Naturally, once we hopped on that train and I found out that they had not only all five seasons but a remastered version of all five seasons I had to hop on that binge-train and check it out. First of all: massive props to HBO Max and WB for cleaning this up. It looks awesome... it even starts with 'The Gathering' (the backdoor pilot/movie that preceded the show by about a year or so, I think) before plunging into the first season and going from there.  Second: it would have been nice to have some of the movies included on streaming too- but given the transition to TNT after the end of the fourth season, there might be some rights issues there as well. (I have no idea how any of that works and maybe that's the reason, maybe it'

Bookshot #148: Dignity

A lot of very rich, allegedly smart people entrenched in our elite classes like to make grand pronouncements about how they "understand" the country. Too many of them treat anything outside of Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles as some kind of exotic, dystopian, a foreign country. A lot of them churn out the typical pieces about "working-class voters in the Rust Belt" every four years and leave it at that. The number of writers or journalists that actually attempt to understand what's going on in those parts of the country is vanishingly small. Salena Zito is one . Chris Arnade and his book Dignity: Seeking Respect In Back Row America is another. Arnade left his Wall Street job and ventured into the neighborhood of Hunt's Point in the Bronx and began documenting what he saw there and learning about the lives of the people who lived there. He then headed out across the country- to places like Selma, Alabama, and Cairo, Illinois, Portsmouth, Ohio- al

Netflix & Chill: The Complete Archive (So Far)

Netflix & Chill: The Complete Archive (So Far) Editor's Note: Please note that the count is slightly off in a few places because I'm bad at math and I can't count. #1: Filth #2: Save The Date #3: Notting Hill #4: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot #5: Mr. Holmes #6: Moonrise Kingdom #7: Spectre #8: Table 19 #9: The Big Short #10: Doctor Strange #11: What Happened, Miss Simone? #12: Kubo and The Two Strings #13: The BFG #14: Gimme Danger #15: The Secret Life of Pets #16: The Bonds of Roger Moore, Part 1  #17: War Machine #18: Cars 3 #19: The Bonds of Roger Moore, Part 2 #20: Beauty and the Beast #21: Jodorowsky's Dune #22: Rogue One #23: Cake #24: For The Love of Spock #25: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #26: Burnt #27: No Reservations #28: Wonder Woman #29: The Big Sick #30: The Hunt for Red October #31: The Right Stuff #32: Arrival #33: Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull #34: The Bonds of Timothy Dalton #35: Silence #36: Bright #37: A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Netflix & Chill #100: Dune (2021)

I feel like Hollywood has been chasing adaptations of Dune on and off for decades now. David Lynch took the first real crack at it in 1984. The Sci-Fi Channel did a miniseries of it in 2000 and followed that up with a sequel mini-series that incorporated some of the sequels in 2003. There have been documentaries about attempts to get this movie made (Jodorowsky's Dune, which would have been wild had they managed to make it) and now, finally, I think they've got it right with what the best and perhaps most faithful adaptation of the book. Set in the far future of the year 10191, Duke Leto of House Atreides, ruler of the planet Caladan is assigned by the Emperor to replace House Harkonnen as rulers of Arrakis. Arrakis is a harsh desert planet and the source of the mysterious 'spice' that is necessary for interstellar travel. Threatened by the growing power of House Atreides, the Emperor plans to have the Harkonnens (the prior rulers of Arrakis), stage a coup and take bac

Bookshot #147: Anything But Silent

Shortly after K was diagnosed with apraxia, I think both the Missus and I did some digging to find books, resources, anything about apraxia so we could understand what it was and how people deal with it, and more importantly, what the prognosis might actually look like. Anything But Silent made the list very early on, but we never actually ran it down and purchased the damn thing until recently. (Well, really until I found out about and it was on there for a cheaper price than Amazon and I figured for that price, we may as well finally get this book and find out what it was all about.) Written by Kathy Hennessy and her daughter Kate (with one chapter by her son Andy as well), Anything But Silent is a chronicle of their family's journey through apraxia of speech. At 154 pages, this is a quick read- and Kathy and Kate alternate chapters, so you can get the perspective of a parent and of a child who grew up with apraxia of speech. The writing style is very personal:

The Politics Round-Up #2: Local Endorsements & Redistricting

LOCAL ENDORSEMENTS: Y'all, there's an election next Tuesday! I know it's an off-year election and not particularly sexy, but every election is important and there are some local issues (and candidates) to consider on the ballot this year both for School Board and for City Council. Let's start with the School Board . I don't really have any strong feelings about any of these candidates. I feel like Malone and Claussen have done a good job while on the Board, I see no reason not to re-elect them. Burrus with her background in data science intrigued me, but Pilcher-Hayek is already deeply involved in the District, being co-President of the DPO and Sheila Pinter, while not as outside the box as Phil Hemingway was, does provide a different perspective, which I think would be important to have in the mix for the Board. With all that said, I'm going to give the nod to: J.P. Claussen, Ruthina Malone, Maka Pilcher-Hayek, and Sheila Pinter. There's also a ballot quest

Squawk Box: The Morning Show/For All Mankind

Ever since Apple TV became a thing, there have been two shows that I have been itching to watch: The Morning Show and For All Mankind and when my Google Pixel finally gave up the ghost and I switched back to Team iPhone, it came with a free three-month trial of Apple TV, so I sat down and got binging. I don't know what it is about workplace dramedies, but I'm always up for a good one and right off the bat, The Morning Show proved that it's a great one. The show opens with longtime co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell) being fired amid allegations of sexual harassment. That revelation throws the entire show into chaos, including Mitch's longtime co-anchor, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) who has to announce his firing and then grapple with the fact that both the network and Mitch had kept her in the dark about the full extent of his harassment.  Meanwhile, a local reporter and firebrand Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) goes viral when she angrily fact-checks a coal m

The Game

I didn't watch.  In retrospect, that seems almost sacrilegious to admit- but in my defense, I don't have cable or live streaming at the moment. I also get a little superstitious sometimes. I get paranoid that as soon as I start watching or listening things go awry and it all goes pear-shaped, so I didn't watch. I figured that I followed the game versus Maryland last week on Twitter and Iowa stomped 'em, so my superstitious game brain figured a good result from doing that last week more or less demanded the same this week. Happily, it turns out that superstitious game brain was correct and Iowa won. This was the first top-five match-up in Kinnick Stadium since #1 Iowa versus #2 Michigan all the way back in 1985. That would make it titanic enough, but it was also the first Big Ten top-five match-up not involving either Michigan or Ohio State since 1962. In every way, this was Iowa's biggest game in decades and it more than lived up to the billing.  I had a roommate in

Serial Saturday #2.22: Six Months Later

The gentle beep of her alarm woke Sarah up. She rolled over and stared up at her ceiling, trying to gather her thoughts. Coffee. I need coffee. It was going to be one hell of a day. With an audible groan, she sat up and then swung her legs over the edge of the bed, taking a deep breath. “Get. Up. It’s time… to… get...up.” With another groan that turned into a yawn, she forced herself upright and padded across the plush carpeted floor to the bathroom. She shucked off her clothes and turned on the shower- this one had the option for water, but not wanting to be wasteful, she opted for a sonic shower.  It had been six months and Sarah didn’t want to admit it to herself, but finally, she had given up the struggle inside her own head: she was the Director of the Malagasy Venusian Authority and she had the best job in the solar system. A few minutes later, she emerged from her new apartment building and started heading up the avenue toward Antananarivo Tower, past the baobab trees, sipping h

Bookshot #146: The Anarchy

I did a lot of research focused on South Asia for my Master's Thesis, so I've been slowly collecting books over the years that, should I ever go back and take a run at a Ph.D., would help me have a well of potential historical and source material to call upon- or at least be familiar with, as I would plan to focus on South Asia in some way should I ever get that wild hair up my behind to go back and get a doctorate. And in that sense, The Anarchy is an excellent addition to a small and growing collection of books. But, it is also a fascinating historical account in and of its own right. It traces the story of the East India Company- from its humble beginnings in 1599 when it received a royal charter that granted them a monopoly on all trade between England and Asia. Early on, no one really took the English all that seriously. The Portuguese and the Dutch were still the dominant trading forces in the region and the English were just trying to get a foot in the door.  Their att

Serial Saturday #2.21: The Battle

Still a little unsteady on her feet, Sarah pulled herself upright and looked along the maintenance walkway. As she had predicted: quiet. Ema arrived next. Kamara and Mendrika grabbed her and helped her over the railing. She nodded thanks to them and collected herself for a moment before: “Which way?” “Elevators are that way,” Sarah pointed down the walkway.  “No other way up?” Ema asked. Sarah shook her head.  “Let’s go check it out,” Kamara suggested. “I might be able to make some magic happen.” “All right,” Ema pointed to the far end of the walkway. “Alan, Mendrika, watch our back. Sarah, you lead.” Sarah nodded and slipped past Ema and strode down the walkway to the elevator. “Don’t touch anything,” Kamara called from behind her. “Let me look at it first.” Sarah stepped aside and let Kamara squeeze by her. He glanced at the elevator and then tapped on a panel above the call button. He grinned and reached into his protective gear and pulled out a small screwdriver. “You contracted wi