Monday, September 16, 2019

Just After Birth Day

Aren't you glad there's a space in the middle of today's post title?

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:32 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:49 AM: Breakfast.
7:11 AM: At work in the main home office (versus the satellite home office in the basement).
8:43 AM: Good morning!
11:51 AM: Sub for lunch.
12:57 PM: Home from "school" and ready for lunch.
1:12 PM: Staging supplies for an away game Poker Weekend.
1:48 PM: Running on the treadmill and finally getting around to watching the third season of Stranger Things.
4:28 PM: Post-nap strawberries.
5:26 PM: Heat relief at the mall.
5:45 PM: She ate my entire biscuit.
6:29 PM: "Maia wash!"

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 20 years ago today, on September 11, 1999.

The Marching Virginians had been relegated to the end zone to make more room for paid seats as Michael Vick performed various somersaults to get the Hokies to the National Championships. This particular game was on Band Parents' Day, where part of the halftime show involves spelling out "MOM" or (if we wanted to mix it up a little) "WOW" on the field. My parents attended annually, resulting in endless packets of real photographs with negatives developed at their local Costco.

The team beat University of Alabama at Birmingham 31 - 10 after which I returned to my room in East Ambler Johnston to eat a Hokie Express chicken sandwich and play Starcraft.

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Monday, September 09, 2019

Bad Book Day

We regularly get hand-me-downs through the ad hoc donation pipelines that magically spring up when you have a child. While this works wonderfully for clothes (I'm pretty sure we've never bought Maia a new outfit ever), it's less effective for books. The books that get donated by our friends tend to be the worst of the worst, like Rebecca's favourite about a pig that practices surfing on a surfboard on the beach and then magically surfs in the ocean and goes home satisfied.

One of the worst offenders in my opinion is the "first reader" series for Pete the Cat. There are more of these books than there are Family Circus paperbacks and they possess comparable literary qualities. Take, for example, Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher.

There are major spoilers ahead.

Pete's mom subs his class and spends the entire day taking them to the wrong classrooms. At the end of the day, they thank her with a giant sign covered in construction paper cat heads. So essentially, an awesome day in Pete's mind is the day he discovers that his mom is a literal moron.

Why would the school system hire someone who can't tell the difference between the playground and the cafeteria? Perhaps the titular "suprise" is that Pete's mom was able to get her teaching license in the first place without knowing how to read. Or maybe receiving the thank you sign is supposed to be more of a Godfather callback and the students are subtly telling her to get a new vocation using decapitated cat heads in a threatening way.

The worst of the worst (so far) is Pete the Cat Play Ball!, a book that can't even get the grammar in its title correct.

This book consists of over 30 pages of Pete playing a baseball game and doing absolutely everything possible except successfully hitting the ball. His team wins in the end, thanks to teammates that aren't content with mediocrity. There are two takeaway life lessons in this book: (1) associate with more successful coworkers to share in their glory without lifting a finger and (2) baseball is boring.

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Friday, September 06, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season Four:
The final season is uniformly mediocre. It takes about 7 episodes (of 17) before they finally recapture the spirit of the show, then immediately kill any good will by recasting a major role with a completely new actor. The original actor left in Season Two, and the story would have been just as strong without the callback. The show muddles towards something of a non-ending in the finale, although the live concert of several songs tacked on the end was pretty fun. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Carnival by Bryce Vine:
This is a modestly catchy album that's a little more mellow and a little less fun than his debut, and as equally mellow as his second album.

Final Grade: B-

The Good Place, Season Three:
This season was the weakest of the three so far. It felt a little like the plot was treading water a bit (the complete opposite of Season Two). That said, the jokes are still funny and it's over very quickly.

Final Grade: B-

The 100, Season Six:
The sixth season of this sci-fi show tries to be a clean slate, but the new stories often feel like obvious permutations of stories told previously. The clean slate idea is also held back a bit by all of the backstabbing and ill will amongst the main characters -- there are far too many scenes of characters apologizing for previous seasons' actions or accusing someone of betrayal. The weakest aspect of this season is how much of it takes place in what is essentially an extended dream sequence -- every show that tries to be deep with a dream sequence is wasting my time. Also, the finale was dull and mostly there to set up the next season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

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