Monday, October 19, 2020

List Day: 10 Things I Did on Staycation

  1. Fall super-cleaning of the whole house.

  2. Rearranged two bedrooms.

  3. Moved a file cabinet full of 24 years of life's detritus into the basement.

  4. Repaired a broken sink pivot bar.

  5. Fixed a leaky tub cartridge.

  6. Hung new pictures on the walls.

  7. Ordered out for dinner 4 times.

  8. Solved 19 puzzles in Puzzle Boat 7.

  9. Started and finished the book, Long Light.

  10. Unraveled 0 new streamers in Paper Mario: Origami King because there are too many random battles slowing down progression.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Review Day: Wing Wind by Paige L. Christie

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Wing Wind is Book Two of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie (I also reviewed Book One). I enjoyed the first book for its uplifting themes, well-developed relationships, and effective use of time jumps.

Wing Wind continues to evolve the childhood friends, Leiel and Cleod, into their 20s and 30s, and thankfully deepens their relationships with wonderful supporting characters like Kilras and Gahree. While the pay-off here is excellent (I immediately started Book Three after completion), the order of how the story is told had me struggling to gain momentum in the first half.

With Draigon Weather, I felt like I was watching the author solve a jigsaw puzzle blind by picking random pieces out of the box and placing them exactly where they belonged, resulting in a surprising, satisfying conclusion. The structure of Wing Wind is more like doing all of the edges first -- and while the edges are necessary, I already know that the interim result will be a rectangle and I'm much more interested in finding out what's going on in the unexplored middle.

In this case, the first half of Book Two sequentially explores Leiel's evolution between two major events in Book One. This section is foundational to the choices that Leiel makes later, but it didn't surprise or excite me as much as I hoped it would. I'm glad I stuck with it though -- once the story catches up in time to the final moments of Book One (around the 60% mark on Kindle), the action explodes and the reveals pile up.

The writing continues to crackle throughout the story. The conversation that concludes Chapter 48 is horrifically awesome and forced me to recalibrate my expectations for the next books. This is not a series that will play it safe and hew close to the familiar baseline it established upfront (and sometimes, I'm in the mood for a book like that!) -- it will continue to grow beyond the original blueprints, much like its thoughtful, compassionate characters.

Final Grade: B

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Meanwhile, At the Beach... Day

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:25 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
6:38 AM: English muffins for breakfast.
7:02 AM: Quick Safeway run to restock on fresh, delicious bagels.
7:32 AM: In the new basement office.
8:41 AM: Working on Puzzle Boat 7 with my team from work.
11:36 AM: Shells and cheese for lunch. It's LIQUID GOLD, according to the box.
12:22 PM: Hanging art in the rearranged bedroom.
2:54 PM: Catnap.
4:45 PM: Exercising on the treadmill and watching Schitt's Creek, Season Two.
5:47 PM: Shroom burger from Red Robin for dinner, in the gentle shade of our avocado tree.
7:28 PM: Video chat with the family in Nag's Head.
7:38 PM: Playing Paper Mario: Origami King, which is 50% charming and 50% tedious.

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Friday, October 09, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Schitt's Creek, Season One:
I started watching this comedy from Eugene and Dan Levy based on the number of Emmies the final, sixth season received. It's pleasant enough but starts to feel a little one-note by the end. Still, it was over quickly and piqued my interest enough to start the next season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

I Love Beirut by Mika:
This live fundraising concert actually turned out to be a pre-recorded invitation-link-only concert, but this format allowed for a much more interesting 90 minutes, with plenty of guest performances and videos. A few songs had mixing or sync issues. A little sappy overall, but it comes for a good place, and it's always fun to watch Mika perform.

Final Grade: B

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh:
The long-delayed sequel to Hyperbole and a Half is not quite as good. The balance between seriousness and silliness is less effective, with a couple super serious chapters mixed into many more absurd ones. At 500 pages, it's a very heavy tome, but you'll zoom through it to enjoy all of the unique MSPaint art (whose style has noticeably evolved since the first book).

Final Grade: B

The Good Place, Season Four:
The third season of this show was the weakest, but the final, fourth season wraps everything up perfectly. There's a flurry of great episodes in the latter half of the season (with plenty of great guest star appearances), and each character gets the ending that fits. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

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