Monday, October 21, 2019

Stream of Consciousness Day

an accurate transcript of the things Maia says to herself as she falls asleep

2:07 PM

*door closes* My eyes get better. My eyes get better. My eyes get better. My eyes got better. My eyes get better. My eyes get better. My eyes get better. Sap. Shoot. One dalbation. My eyes got better. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to dog. Happy Birthday to Bunny. Happy Birthday to K'nuffle Bunny. Wall. Walk. I got present. Hingy ing ging. Woom woom. Happy Birthday to you. Nolan is gonna drive! Drive! Happy Birthday to Nolan. Happy Birthday to Nolan. Tickle tickle! Happy Birthday to Bunny. Shoop shoop shoop.

*picks up book, 101 Dalmations* One dalbation! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! Spot! One. Hundress. One Hundress. Live in a big house. 1, 2, 3, 6. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 6, 7. Get em! Get em! Woof! Woof! Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof! 1, 2, 3. Yip yip! Get up puppies! I found! RIGHT back to the barn. Woof! Woof! The dalbation puppies are found! MEOWWWWWWWW! On his head. On Jax's head. Oh there too many. Yeah. 1, 2, 3, she got em! *closes book* I did dalbation book. Whoa.

2:23 PM

Old McDonald had a fwarm. And there dalbations. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 6, 7, 8, 9! Spooky old house! 1! 1! Dalbation Old McDonald had a fwarm. Old McDonald had fwarms, he had some kitty cats said, MEOW MEOW. Old McDonald had a -- he has a dog there woof woof woof. Come on, Jax. Old McDonald had a fwarm, had moo men there. Woof! Old McDonald had a fwarm, had some horses there. NEIGH NEIGH NEIGH. Old McDonald had a -- he had some dogs there, Old McDonald had a -- he had some kitty cats there, MEOW MEOW. Old McDonald had a puppies, WOOF WOOF. Old McDonald had a 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 6, 7, 8. Old McDonald had 7, 8, 9, 10, 7, 8, 9, 10, 6. Old McDonald had a fwarm, Old McDonald had a wog wog GAS! Woof woof.

Old McDonald had a fwarm, it said some big doggies said WOOF WOOF WOOF. WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF. WOOF. They send a message, WOOF! Old McDonald puppies, yeah. Old McDonald had a fwarm, it had a horse say NEIGH NEIGH, it had a dog say WOOF WOOF, it had a cat say MEOOW. Old McDonald had a fwarm. He had some puppies. Old McDonald puppies. They raced back to barn, WOOF WOOF. Old McDonald had a fwarm, it had little WOOF WOOF WOOF. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had the dogs. Oh yeah. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had some horses there. NEIGH NEIGH. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had a kitty cat says MEEEW MEEEOW. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had a doggies. Woof woof. Big woof. Big dog. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had two big blue men. Old McDonald had a fwarm, he had a kitty cat, hey! He had a langy angy! He had a bird. He had a langy angy kitty catty, it went WING WING WING. This is right there!

2:34 PM

Eeee. Eek! Eek! I said Eek! Eek. Eek. Eek. Eek. Eek. Eek. Eek! Eeks. *peels ancient spine off of 101 Dalmations* Whee! I got a flag! It's racing back and forth. I'm watching the tree! I'm watching the trees! I'm watching with the mice. Old McDadDog had a fwarm. WOHEEEEE THE MICE FOUND THE BONE. Whoa! Way wag around. Way wag around. The dog came. I went up, up, up, up. Dog on rule, puppies. Dog in the room. *shrieks and rolls away from book*

Doo doo dung dung, dinga dinga dung dung dung, dinga dinga dung dung dung, dinga dinga dung dung dung, dinga dinga dung dung dung. Dinga dinga ding. Dunga dunga dung. Dunga dunga dung dingy. Dunga. Dingy dung. I'm walking right in here. *grabs broken spine again* Look my flag waves! It waves! I'm walking. I'm blowing up my teeth. I broke my book. NOW IT IS FIXED. It not fixed. I'm riding on my horse. This is Maia's. That is not mine, that's Bruddah Bear's. I'm riding. Now Sistah Bear's. Bruddah Bear, Bruddah Bear. I'm RIDING around. I'm going in the forest. I'm going in the forest. I'm going in the forest. I'm RIDING a bike. RIDING the bike! RIDING! I RIDING! RIDING MY BIKE! Bike. Bike. BIG BIKE! I can reach up. Oooh oooh oooh oooh. I'm going up. RIDING MY BIKE through the long town. Hum hum. Come come. Shake one foot. One foot, shake shake! I got out! I should shake my -- zee zeeeee zee.

2:47 PM

Run down! Down down. I'm down, down. K'nuffle! I read enough. Swimmer, swimmer, swimmer, swim. Nolan is gonna come. Nolan come over. One dabation. One dalmation. One dabation. One dalmation. Aunt Sena puts. Sena got playdough. Aunt Sena walk. I'mma get some. My mommy. *grabs broken spine and shakes like a rattle* Hello Maia! Glad to see you! Hello dalmation. *puts spine in between toes* I put in my toes. I cut my toes. I'm walking to my toes. I like it. I cut this. Daa da daa da daa da daa! Ooooh. Whistle whistle. Coming out. *plays broken spine like a recorder* Wooooooooo! Woooo! Wooooodooooo! It is a flute! I do cut the fire. I play with the light. I cut it into little pieces. Then I sit. I'mma sing. Anybody need help? They're flying. *curls into a ball and starts kissing her Bunny*

3:05 PM

*asleep*

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Review Day: The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

There are no major spoilers in this review.

The Red Knight (Book 1 of 5 in the Traitor Son Cycle) is a master class in weaving multiple points of view together into a satisfying convergence of plot, suspense, and character development. This master class isn't for everyone, however, spanning three whole semesters and requiring much more concentration than you might be used to in your fantasy reading. The book tells the tale of a mercenary company that accepts a contract to protect a convent of nuns and finds themselves in the midst of a siege between humans and the creatures of "The Wild", a catch-all stereotype for varied races in the North deemed (by humans) to be primitive and beast-like. The story effectively blends the raw, martial depiction of war with an interesting magic system and a feudal-like social and religious system.

The Red Knight functions equally well as a standalone and a lead-in to the rest of the series (which I have not read yet). Sufficient reveals are included to make the mysteries in this book feel complete without cliffhangers, but enough hints to a broader conflict exist to lead into later books. The most difficult aspect of enjoying this story is the sheer number of characters involved. While the language is very easy to process, characters surface for a few pages at a time before vanishing, sometimes given different names, nicknames, or (in the case of The Wild) species names depending on the current POV.

The old adage that people can only remember 7, plus or minus 2, bits of information at a time holds true here. I originally purchased this on Kindle and the fact that I would regularly forget that I had already been introduced to a character led to tedious bookmarking and searching to refresh my memory (and I read pretty fast!). Ironically, switching to the paperback edition did not help because it was deckle-edged and impossible to flip back in search of where I had heard of a character before. If you are willing to keep a notepad handy and record the pages / locations where characters are first introduced, your overall reading experience will be much friendlier.

The book is not without flaws -- some readers (myself included) will get distracted by the number of minor editing errors, like the use of it's vs. its, or odd run-on sentences that a generous reader might dismiss as attempts to create a unique dialect. Characters will often do an action like "raised his hand" or "sat down", only to do it again just one sentence later. There is constant confusion in the use of east and west, which is particularly noticeable since there is no printed map included in the book. For people that like to build a mental map in their head, this makes the relationship between the location of the convent and other cities in the world more difficult to piece together.

There are also an exorbitant number of details about combat moves and expertise in weapons and armor. I understand that the author has plenty of real-world expertise in these topics, but they felt overproven and sometimes read like a pedantic D&D dungeon master. After finishing, I was very impressed that no scene felt unnecessary, although many scenes could clearly have been tightened by a good editor. This is a 500 page story in a 650 page book.

In spite of these flaws, the implied relationships between characters and Rube Goldberg-esque trickle of events towards a common conclusion are tantalizing and kept me reading. Most characters are fairly two-dimensional with a few memorable traits (like "this one likes to eat a lot"), but they work well within the world to propel the plot forward. By the time the last "main" character had been introduced about halfway through the book, I had no choice but to eagerly see how it all turned out. And by the time I reached the end, I felt as tired as the depicted knights and squires, who fought The Wild in a perpetual state of exhaustion throughout the siege.

Final Grade: B-

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Proof of Genius Day

In the early months when Maia started growing attached to a particular bedtime bunny, I wisely purchased a second one online as insurance in case we accidentally left a bunny somewhere or it had a catastrophic encounter with a campfire. Since then, backup bunny has also functioned as a nice way to throw one bunny into the laundry and seamlessly replace it with Maia none the wiser.

Unfortunately, the backup bunny is not an exact match with the original. On our most recent sleight-of-hand attempt (over a year later), Maia noted, "Bunny opened his eyes!" It's a good thing she still loves both.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

6:13 AM: Showered and ready for some early morning work.
7:18 AM: Breakfast.
9:00 AM: She woke up and quietly started reading a book this morning.
10:55 AM: Not happy about the missing piece in this Goodwill puzzle. "Daddy, find it."
11:41 AM: Sitting in on the stool of an animal at SterlingFest 2019.
12:15 PM: Petting zoo.
1:14 PM: The best part of SterlingFest.
2:38 PM: Exercising and rewatching Serenity.
5:34 PM: Simultaneously prepping dinner and poker foods.
6:33 PM: Someone won this interesting sweater in a SterlingFest raffle!
7:50 PM: Poker Night.
8:25 PM: Larry is first to go out, with pocket Kings. (Final Ranking-- 1: Larry taking over for Jack's stacks, 2: Chris, 3: Rebecca, 4: BU, 5: Kathy, 6: Larry)

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Stranger Things, Season Three:
Finally, a season of Stranger Things I can stand behind. There's no bloat or unnecessary episodes and the pacing kept my interest from episode 1. The show transcends its traditional overreliance on 80s nostalgia to tell a compelling coming-of-age story full of humor and fun characters. The homages (like an episode featuring horror movie tropes in an under-construction hospital) are still there, but serve the story rather than overshadowing it. Winona Ryder is finally given something to do besides freaking out about a missing child.

This season is worth a watch even if you don't totally remember everything that happened up until now. It functions well as a trilogy ender if there are no more seasons coming, in spite of a very minor cliffhanger after the final credits. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A-

Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen by Bird and the Bee:
I'm not sure if the world needed an indie re-imagining of songs from Van Halen, but it is what it is. There's nothing wrong with any of them, but they all feel a little forgettable. I'd rather get an album of new original material.

Final Grade: C

Money Heist, Part Two:
This is a perfect treadmill show -- interesting enough to make me want to exercise, but not so good that I want to binge it. Part Two has a few good twists and builds the tension well, although there are a few too many flashbacks and repeated scenes to pad it out. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Between Two Ferns: The Movie:
This movie is based on the webseries where Zack Galifianakis asks weird, insulting questions to real movie stars that don't appear to be in on the joke. The awkward, Andy Kaufman-esque humour is intact, although the road trip storyline that glues all of the interviews together here feels obligatory and not as funny. The best part of the movie is actually the 10 minutes of outtakes at the end where the movie stars can't help but to laugh at the ridiculous questions. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

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