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Not able to get to any uke practice today like I had anticipated so lucky you – I’ll blog instead. I’ve recently consumed a few media items so time to share and review.
Gone Girl, a novel by Gillian Flynn. I read this about a month ago. I have not seen and probably never will see the movie that was made based on this book. (I really don’t watch movies, please stop asking if I’ve seen _______). The story was fantastic. It developed quickly and moved along swiftly the entire time. The one and only thing I disliked was the ending. I understand why the ending was done the way it was, but I was left feeling ‘robbed’. There was no justice served and that is not a normal ending for a western-style novel. It’s hard to get over that. All in all, I liked it, and will probably seek out some of Flynn’s other work when I remember.
Not long after that, I read the first graphic novel series I’ve read in probably decades. This was Tatsuhiko Takimoto’s Welcome to the NHK. Like Gone Girl, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. They actually both ended similarly with an Asian-style ending, which is no end – they just keep repeating cycles. People making the same mistakes and history repeating itself. It’s a rather Hindu/Buddhist style ending, which is just hard to accept, although reflect reality quite well. All in all, this was quite a compelling story. I also came away with a new perspective on some Japanese-related cultural aspects, which is cool.
For both of these novels, if you are looking for a typical Western ending (boy gets girl, hero saves the day, the bully is embarrassed/quashed, etc.) you will be disappointed. If you can handle that things just end the way they started, you’ll probably like these a lot more.
Two weeks ago, I was listening to the OTR show, Suspense. One of the episodes I heard was Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Wait?! What? Isn’t that just the name of a Jimmy Buffet song? Turns out the answer is no. It was actually a story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (or probably Zelda and he just stole it from her). It is a historically dated story, but still a good and fast read. It covers the usual theme for Fitzgerald – the excessively rich and what they do with their money. Find a copy online (it’s everywhere) and read it. It’s short and worth your time.
On the TV end of things, we’re on the precipice of NHL Hockey playoffs. Huzzah! I really want to wax on how stupid the NHL is in their decision regarding the 2018 Olympics, but I will save that for another day.
My favorite new TV show is Designated Survivor, staring Keifer Sutherland. In talking to some family, we learned a lot of us are watching this. Are you also? If not, start now! It is hands-down the best new show I’ve seen on TV in a long time (last time I liked a show this much was Breaking Bad.)
OK, the clock is ticking down and my lunch hour is almost over. Go Hawks!
Today is International Women’s Day. Social media is informing me that many females are participating in protests to recognize this date. The encouraged protests are apparently to wear the color red and to not go to work or shop.
So help a sister out here – I understand that a lot of my fellow citizens feel a need to protest their government. While I usually don’t agree with the reasons, I understand it. Peaceable assembly and seeking redress are inalienable rights that should be exercised and often. But that is all centered on protests of the government…so why are women protesting their employers and not the government? It seems like they are missing the forest for the trees and/or shooting themselves in the foot. Can anyone explain this?
I have one more George L. Smith State Park story for you that I forgot in my last post. Really, it’s not GLS-specific, but something that happened there. Truly, I’m sure I could have overheard a conversation like this in a lot of places.
Here’s the scene – Mike and my friend, Kim, walk to the rental station to pick out a paddle for her to rent. I stayed in my kayak on the water and paddled around the launch area while they did this. While paddling and killing time (I was mostly circling and practicing turns), I notice a group of young men approach the boat-rental area. I think there were about 6 or 7 of them and they all appeared to be early 20s in age.
The boat rental area is not very complex, but there is no one on site to explain anything (there is construction going on there so the actual staffed rental area was up a slight hill and around a corner). Of course, there really isn’t much to explain. There is a line of worn-looking jon boats, canoes, and kayaks. After you pay the staff in the rental office, you walk to the boats, pick one out and go. Seems easy enough…unless you are one of these young men.
This is what ensued as they approached the line of available rental boats:
Six to seven Dudes gather around a jon boat and inspect it, many of them scratching their heads and looking confused. They then group-wandered to a canoe and stared at that for a minute. Then I begin overhear things like, “well, which one is the canoe?” “They’re both canoes” and so on and so forth as they tried to determine what they had just rented and which boat to take out.
Eventually, one of them decides to turn the jon boat over – because clearly – that will help them see the difference. After turning it over, the same dude then stands in the jon boat in a sort of Washington Crossing the Delaware pose. His friends seem delighted, and I hear things like “So that’s the canoe?” “Are you sure that’s it?” Washington-Wannabe responds, “Yeah, I can stand in it. Like the Indians. It must be the canoe!” So they piled into the jon boat and paddled off (with a lot of strain & effort because you know, it wasn’t a canoe. Although, I suspect that paddling wasn’t going to be easy for them regardless of the boat).
It was a perfect coda to their story when we spot them later in the day at one of the other boat launches. This time all but one of our intrepid boaters have abandoned their jon boat in lieu of a four (small) person paddle boat. Their numbers and weight was far, far exceeding what the paddle boat could handle. They nearly tipped the thing and drown themselves. Meanwhile, they left one – just one – dude to paddle the jonboat. We have video of him nearly doing the splits just to get in the boat. I will spare him and refrain from posting it. He ended up getting on and not falling in. If he fell in, you’d have seen the video already. I love laughing at fools as much as the rest of you do.
I honestly wonder if they ever made it back home. Good luck fellas, you’re going to need it. Your future does not appear to have smooth paddling ahead.
Last Friday Mike and I rode out to the George L. Smith State Park for a weekend of camping and kayaking, with my friend Kim joining us for one of the days. This was our first time to this State Park, and I was impressed with how nice it turned out to be. We booked well in advance, which was a wise decision. Apparently this is a pretty popular weekend getaway for a lot of RVers in the middle Georgia area. Even though the entire campground was booked, it was quiet and peaceful. I would have liked it if the RVs were required to ‘go dark’ after 10p or so. The light pollution from them was a bit annoying, but not enough for us to dislike our experience.
The highlight of this campground is the sites are right on the water. We were able to launch our kayaks directly from camp. The water itself was so calm. There was virtually no current, and of course, no tide to contend with. The water is a ~400+ acre pond created by a millhouse. Because the pond was created by damning up a creek, the water is in a cypress forest. Paddling through tight trees gave me a great opportunity to practice navigating my kayak without the added struggle of current/tide. We didn’t get to explore the entire pond, so we will definitely be going back.
Being out that way, you really get a taste of the Georgia countryside in all its forms. For example, we inadvertently crashed a wedding that was either getting started or had just finished at the Park. The bride and groom were being given ‘pamphlets’ to ‘read later’. I think that was something religious, but not really sure. There is also the private RV park next to the State Park that features RVs bearing full sized refrigerators under their front awning as well as washing machines under an open sided, tin-roofed structure. It was…weird. Then down camp, there was the dude with the Molan Labe (μολὼν λαβέ) and ‘Straight Outta Clito’ decals on his truck (I had to look up that last one, too. No, it’s not obscene, so feel free to look it up yourself). I also heard this gem of a conversation from our NASCAR loving RVing camp neighbors, “Hey Ashley! You want a red hot dog or a beer sausage?” So people do eat those weird neon red/pink hotdogs I’ve seen in Kroger! I truly never knew. I also wish I got a nickel for every utterance of ‘might could” that I overheard that weekend as well. Totally would have paid for the entire trip…or to utilize the parlance, “I might could pay for this trip if ya’ll keep saying ‘might could’!”
All in all, our first trip to the George L. Smith State Park was incredible, and we will certainly be going back.
Another Saturday has passed, so of course, has another Saturday afternoon Philadelphia Flyers game. Have you hockey fans noticed this, too?
It seems like every Saturday afternoon this season has a Philadelphia Flyers game. This observation irked me enough to run the numbers. Was I experiencing some sort of observational bias or was I onto something? Are the Flyers playing more Saturday afternoon games this season than any other team?
The short answer is: Yes. The longer answer is: Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers are playing a significantly higher number of Saturday afternoon games over other NHL teams*. In fact, of the 18 Saturdays that host day games, the Flyers have or will feature in 11 of them. The next closest team that appears on Saturday afternoon with any frequency is Boston with 7, followed by Buffalo at 5.
Here are is the Saturday afternoon appearance breakdown for the entire NHL:
Philly – 11
Boston – 7
Buffalo – 5
Colorado – 4
Minnesota – 4
Nashville – 4
Washington – 4
Winnipeg – 4
Columbus – 3
Dallas – 3
Florida - 3
Carolina – 2
Detroit - 2
Montreal – 2
NYI – 2
NYR – 2
Ottawa – 2
St. Louis – 2
Tampa Bay – 2
Vancouver – 2
Arizona – 1
Chicago – 1
LA – 1
San Jose – 1
Interesting that some teams have no appearances – Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim – who am I missing? Ultimately, having this knowledge is of no real significance but it did confirm my perception that the Flyers were on a lot of Saturdays this year.
Also, spreadsheets are fun. /glavin.
*Saturday afternoon games are those that are played on or before 3p EST on a Saturday during the regular season. I used this to pull my numbers: 2016-2017 NHL Season Schedule by date and time (pdf).
Just had an old lady leave me a voicemail. She was responding to a group email in which she was included. In her voicemail, she explained why she was leaving me a message rather than respond to the email, and declared, “I don’t have an email thing attached to my hip.”
Me neither, lady. Keep the voicemail coming. I love it.
Without getting into politics, I can admit that I wish that today’s modern SJWs (our era’s hippies, I guess) could write a song as half as good as they did in the late 60s/early 70s.
I’m not likely to listen to (most) SJW complaints, but I would listen to their music if it were any good. /she wrote while listening to Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Dirty hippies…
I like to read old newspapers. It’s my way of time-traveling and escaping from new news. Today I ran across this notice, linked here:
Subscription notice, The Hartford Herald, October 23, 1918
I’ve never heard of any system/law/regulation where the US Government was fining newspapers if their subscribers were in arrears (maybe it was a state or local law?). I spent a small amount of time poking around online to see if I could find more info on whether this was a law of some sort. So far, no luck, but as I said, I’ve not spent a lot of time looking.
I like history mysteries though so I would like to find out more. Do you know of the history surrounding this notice? Curiosity is getting to me.
So of course my neighbor is mowing, well now trimming, his lawn.
Hope everyone had a very nice Christmas. As I mentioned on the 22nd, we were going to be offline for that time, and we most certainly were.
Christmas 2016 was the most unique one I have ever had. For the first time in my life, we took a Christmas trip – to my favorite escape in the wilderness – the Okefenokee Swamp. Since we got our kayaks this summer, Mike and I have been gearing up to do an overnight camp that would require us to kayak in somewhere. We were supposed to have gone for my 2.0 birthday in October, but Hurricane Matthew had other plans for us. So it was now or never, and we chose now.
The trip was amazing. The highlight was the night of Christmas Eve. We paddled into Mixon’s Hammock, for which we had secured a permit to stay the night – just Mike and me and wildlife on a remote island in the swamp. The weather was ideal – upper 70s in the day and clear at night.
The Okefenokee has the darkest night skies on the entire eastern half of the US. The evening we were on the hammock was absolutely clear and we were able to lay out and stargaze. After we were out there for awhile and our eyes adjusted, I took out my binoculars.
Orion was overhead and clearer than I have ever seen him. It was the first time I have ever seen his full arch. I used that constellation to focus my binoculars since his belt is so easy to locate in the sky. Within a few seconds of my focusing, both Mike and I witnessed a very large meteor shoot across Orion’s belt. He saw it with his naked eye and I through the binoculars.
I immediately described what I saw to Mike, “It was red on the very tip, with a super bright yellowish-white light behind that and it had a blue/green tail.” It didn’t occur to me what I had just described until Mike gave me the classic raised eye-brow, which led me to blurt out “Santa!”
So now I know – Santa’s real. There is no way you can convince me otherwise. I saw it with my own eyes. I believe.
After tonight, I’m going to be very busy and it’s pretty likely I won’t be online much, if at all. So in case I don’t get a chance to say it before then – Have a Very Merry Christmas!
Christmas Island, Jimmy Buffett
This year is our 16th Southern Christmas. I’ve not been back to Illinois for a Christmas since we left in 2001. For those of you wondering, I won’t be back…not at Christmastime anyway.
I often say that the only way I like snow is 1,000 miles away and in pictures. That has not changed. Yesterday was the perfect example of why I am here and not up there. It was in the mid-70s, slight breeze, and beautiful. We had the windows open as we worked on my Christmas village and some other things around the house. Meanwhile, I was occasionally tuning into the Packers v Bears game where, in Chicago, it was a ripe 3 degrees. Ouch. That is beyond cold and into the painful territory.
Dad always included the Alabama Christmas in Dixie album (er, tape) among the ones we would listen to every Christmas when I was a kid. I haven’t listened to it in years, maybe over a decade. Some of it is a bit cheezy, but the eponymous song will forever be one of my favorites.
Christmas in Dixie, Alabama
Here’s to wishing you a very Merry Christmas from Dixie!
For as obsessed as I am with finding ‘weird’ music, and for Christmas carols, I can’t believe I haven’t posted this before now. It’s almost a decade old, so we may be able to consider this a classic, now.
Mahmut Bells (Turkish Jingle Bells) by Mahmut Abi
And sing this you know what!
A long time ago (in internet years), I signed up for the Proctor & Gamble mailing list to get free samples, coupons, etc.* I never bothered to get off the list, so I still receive their ads from time to time. I got one today and am not sure what to make of it. You tell me what they are asking. I’m just not sure. As the title says, possibly NSFW:
*I have since revised my philosophy on this and refuse to sign up with companies who give out coupons, etc. in exchange for my personal info. I’ve learned my personal info. has lots of value, far more than a few coupons are worth. You should consider this too. Your privacy is worth more than fifty cents off on laundry soap.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
-Sewer problems have returned? Check.
-Unnecessary family drama? Check.
-Douchebag backs into our car and blames his rearview camera (guess he didn’t have eyeballs & mirrors?). Check.
So who has the voodoo doll of me and what do I need to do to get you to leave me alone?!?!
We were detoured on the ride home from work today…because of a found cannonball, left for us by the Confederates, apparently. Welcome to Savannah, my friends.
This is how Thanksgiving’s done, folks. This beautiful pot of stock will be gravy by Thursday.
Alright – which one of you wise guys gave the Democratic Party my home phone number? We’ve been subject to many, many pre-recorded voicemails since last night, including one from Jessie Jackson! Very hilarious. I suppose they may have just bought my info, but if that is the case, their desperation is showing. I don’t think I’ve voted as a Democrat in the general election since I moved here over 15 years ago. Oh well, they can spend their money any way they want I guess. It’s not like I ever answer my phone.
Mike and I went out fishing this weekend. This was my first time fishing as an adult. We ended up having some success yesterday and pulled in a couple of redfish. We promptly took them home, filleted, cooked, and then ate them. Sorry, no pics.
Maybe it was the euphoria of actually catching something we could eat, but it sure tasted like the best fish I’ve ever had. I’m excited to get out there again. Unfortunately, this time change came at the exact wrong time. I probably won’t be able to get out there again until this weekend – no fishing after work. Our fishing hole isn’t exactly easy to get to, and certainly not in the dark. Oh well.
I suspect this is the beginning of a new and interesting part of our lives. Probably going to be a good skill to know once Hillary wins, starts WWIII with Russia, and we have to live off the grid. Better keep practicing!
Like so many of you (Americans, that is), I am mired in negativity, and I do pin some of that on this election. Which, if you think about it, makes little sense. Despite what the pundits tell us, this election is SO unimportant. No matter who wins, we all lose. So why be negative? Maybe because the idea of being a loser before the contest is even over pretty much sucks.
In an effort to distract myself and maybe you in the process, here’s some random things that have piqued my interest as of late –
*Halloween – We had 26 kids trick or treat at our house this year. I was quite surprised by the turn-out. I had suspected it would be lower due to the Hurricane debris still being all over and it being a Monday. Sadly, it seems we’re back to a 2008-style economy. About a 1/3 of the kids didn’t have a costume at all. That always makes me sad. They still got candy. Not letting our house get egged!
*Fishing – For the first time in my life I finally own a fishing pole and got my license. I really don’t know much about fishing, but really want to give it a try. The idea of being able to catch my own dinner is extremely appealing. Going to give it a shot this weekend. Wish us luck!
*SciFi – I spent some of my October free time reading some old sci-fi. I ended up reading two stories by Robert Sheckley, Seventh Victim and Warrior’s Return. They were both incredible and I highly recommend them. The wiki description of Seventh Victim is misleading, however. It is about pay-to-play murder games, but it’s not sensationalized the way Wiki describes.
Zooniverse and the Chicago Wildlife Watch. Zooniverse is a very cool website were citizens can assist scientific researches on a whole host of topics. I’ve been participating for a few years now and really enjoy it. Recently they started the Chicago Wildlife Watch. I’ve submitted 178 records so far. It’s something that I can do while I have a hockey game on or tv in the background and have a little time to kill. If I had children, I bet this would be a fun thing to do with them. Plus you have the bonus of being educational and promoting citizen-science. Check it out, it’s really cool.
Well, I hope I have distracted us all, even if only for a few minutes, from the negativity that surrounds us.
PS – Congrats, Cubs. I was really surprised to a) wake up this morning at all. I was certain the world was going to end overnight, and b) not see any pigs flying over head. Now let’s hope their fans insufferability doesn’t last too long.