Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Timeline

A smattering of events from 2014

January:
  • We had 15 of Rebecca's family from her mother's side over for a holiday dinner.
  • I released v0.1.0 of Auricle which quizzed you on music notation, and then I never worked on it again.
  • It rained, snowed, or iced over almost every other day, destroying the fan motor on my heat pump.
February:
  • It snowed a million times and the Winter Olympics had too many speed skating events.
  • We partied with the Miricks for the first time in forever, at a 222 Reunion gathering (on 2/15 because 2/22 was booked).
  • Rebecca got her first iPhone.
  • I got food poisoning and mostly died.
March:
  • We ate bacon for Marv's birthday at a giant McMansion in Arlington.
  • We tried Bonchon for the first time and Rebecca ate all of the super spicy wings without hesitation.
  • We went to Delmarva's Taphouse for one of the last visits before they were closed for tax evasion.
April:
  • We went to the Greenbrier Resort and were confused by modern slot machines.
  • I made my own badminton net.
  • I finished my first Coursera class, which was somewhere between "bad" and "not good".
May:
  • We planted some more tomatoes, which quickly overshadowed a useless pepper plant.
  • Rebecca went to Columbus for a weekend while I played ultimate frisbee.
  • We had our first of two barbeques for the year.
June:
  • We went to Taste of Reston with child-free Kathy.
  • Rebecca had a birthday dinner with Asian Fusion Pork.
  • Rebecca went to yoga camp in Massachusetts, and then we met to go camping in Pennsylvania.
July:
  • We finally saw Anna's parents again in Colonial Beach.
  • We took out a second mortgage to eat tapas at Mokomandy with Marc.
  • I tried out Wildstar, which didn't last.
August:
  • We had a barbeque with the Newdorfs and Ahlbins.
  • We saw Jim Gaffigan at Wolf Trap.
  • Rebecca got a new laptop to replace the one made out of stone.
September:
  • We went to Beach Week in Kill Devil Hills with the Jacksons and many others.
  • I arranged Tenting Tonight for brass quintet.
  • Rebecca went to Ocean City with the girls, and I taught the Ahlbins how to play Gloom.
October:
  • I lost my FitBit in Harper's Ferry, on the occasion of our fifth anniversary.
  • We played a weird German boardgame at the Smiths.
  • We took a whirlwind tour of Seattle and its environs.
November:
  • Mike of (Mike and Ghost Chompy) came out to visit us from the West.
  • We learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons.
  • We had one fake Thanksgiving and two real ones.
  • I started playing the trumpet again for about 15 minutes a day (so more than most undergraduate music ed majors).

How was 2014 for you?

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Theory of Everything (PG-13):
I'm not a fan of bio-pics because they're either an obligatory parade of truncated vignettes or they go on forever so as not to miss anything. This well-acted movie about the life of Stephen Hawking did not change my opinion. After a setup reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, the movie starts bouncing through time like the island in LOST (but thankfully only in one direction), fading in on particularly notable events quickly before moving on to the next. This lessens the emotional connection to any given scene, and probably forced the directors to cherry pick the scenes that viewers would most likely expect to see. One of the big problems in my mind was that Stephen Hawking's area of expertise is hard to translate for laymen, and although we are constantly told that he's brilliant, we never see evidence as to why he's so important.

Final Grade: C-

Sons of Anarchy, Season 6:
One thing I appreciate about the storytelling in this show is that plot lines are allowed to naturally end when they're ready to end -- game-changers regularly occur in midseason episodes where other shows would just save it for the finale. One thing I dislike is that the show was extended from 40 to 60 minutes, leading to lots of boring, brooding reaction shots and way too many musical montages (this is a Shakespearean biker show, not Grey's Anatomy). One thing I hated was the very contrived way in which the season finale's climactic events were allowed to occur, based on a lack of communication between characters. One minus two is a negative number, so this season gets a C. The math is sound.

Final Grade: C

24: Live Another Day:
I'm not sure why they didn't call this Season Nine, but I'm glad they took my advice to have only 12 episodes*. This season contains all of the standard 24 tropes you've come to expect, without the dithering usually needed to pad out the run time. Even the female characters aren't as helpless as they're usually written to be.

Final Grade: B+

*"The show would be great if they called it 12 and then pared the plot down to just the major storyline." - BU, February 13, 2006

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in 1981 at the age of 2. There is a sane amount of ornaments on the tree, because our next-door neighbour had not yet begun her annual tradition of gifting and regifting tacky ornaments in twos. Ten years later, there would be a regular standing argument between my sister and I, who argued that the tree was full, and my mom, who argued that there were still ornaments left in the box. My mom usually won.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Twelve 12 of 12s

A montage of my amazingly interesting year.


January: We only made it to Taste of Burma twice this year.

February: Cat hugs.
March: Rebecca gets addicted to Hearthstone.
April: Birthday dinner with my mom.
May: Taco Night would be more enjoyable if there were fewer ingredients to prepare.
June: Arriving at my office.
July: Sunkissed nap.
August: Booty reheats some pizza.
September: A uricorn cake.
October: Steak night.
November: This plant only gave us 1 edible red pepper all year long.
December: Spot the differences from June.

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