Posted in Odds & ends

Let’s Go!

The mythical Pokemon Shaymin visited my garden

Remember the summer of 2016, when just about everyone spent a few weeks catching digital monsters in the augmented reality game Pokemon Go?

It may not be the global phenomenon that it was at launch, but Pokemon Go is still going strong – players have spent over $6 billion on the game over the past six years. And last weekend was the game’s big annual event: Pokemon Go Fest.

Real life got in the way of me being able to devote as much time to GoFest as I did the last two years, but I had fun playing and was able to add a few rare Pokemon to my collection.

Posted in Odds & ends

Semi-annual review

We’re not quite halfway through the year, but it seems like as good a time as any to take stock.

I’m much happier and in a much better place than I was last fall, when I was last trying to write regularly. But there are still opportunities to be better. I’m doing some of the things that I care about, and letting others fall by the wayside.

I can’t put more hours in the day, but I can try to use them better. That means less television, YouTube videos and Twitch streams, and more time spent creating things.

I want to get back to writing on a regular basis. For now, that means challenging myself to write at least one blog post per week for the month of June. Eventually I’d like to get back to creative writing.

I want to start drawing and painting again. I’m hoping to pick up a sketchbook this week.

I want to take and share more photos. Here are a few that I took in the park this weekend.

As we head towards summer, where are you? Do you have things that you want to change, opportunities to be better?

Posted in Odds & ends

‘Tis the season

We’re officially in the holiday season (I’m pretty sure it started before the Halloween trick-or-treaters got home with their candy), which means it’s time for cheesy Christmas movies. And I do love cheesy Christmas movies.

Netflix Original The Princess Switch feels like a mashup of The Parent Trap and The Princess Diaries, but it works because it embraces the ridiculousness of the concept. Vanessa Hudgens stars in the double role of Stacy, the Chicago baker who goes to the fictional monarchy of Belgravia to compete in a Christmas baking contest and Lady Margaret, a royal who’s soon to marry a Belgravian prince and wants to know what it’s like to live as a normal person. The two women switch places and romantic hijinks ensue. It’s sweet, fun, and recommended if you’re into this sort of thing.

Kurt Russell stars as Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles, a tale of two siblings who almost ruin and then save Christmas. Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) lost their father and Christmastime hasn’t been the same same ever since. But Kate is still a true believer in Santa, and talks her brother into staying up to try to catch old Saint Nick on video when he visits their house. It works, and they manage to sneak aboard his sleigh while he’s delivering other gifts in their neighborhood. When he discovers the stowaways, the distraction causes Santa to crash his sleigh and lose his sack of presents, his magic hat and his reindeer. The two kids become Santa’s helpers to recover the lost items and save Christmas.

I enjoyed this one for the relationship between Kate and Teddy, as well as Russell’s mugging for the cameras. I’m not quite sure what to make of the CG elves that show up near the beginning of the movie’s final act. They’re cute, and seem designed to interest kids and sell toys… but by the time they show up, I wonder if those kids are still paying attention… the first twenty minutes sets up the Pierce family dynamics and doesn’t seem all that magical to those with short attention spans. 

The Christmas Chronicles is also recommended for those who enjoy sappy Christmas movies.

Posted in Odds & ends

Happy Thanksgiving

A turkey made from Lego bricks

I hope that you had a good Thanksgiving (unless you’re not from the United States, in which case I hope you had a good Thursday.) After the last few hectic days at work, I appreciated the one-day respite. 

Tomorrow, it’s back to reality and the oncoming rush towards Christmas. Yay.

One of the prayers from the Thanksgiving Eve service I went to last night asked for forgiveness for losing track of what holidays are supposed to be.

Patient Lord, we are rushing headlong into the holiday season, forgetting that the word “holiday” is actually comprised of two words: “holy” and “day.” Forgive us when we treat the “holiday” as a task and a burden, when we load ourselves down with tasks that do not enhance this day. Help us move past the busyness of the day into the attitude of gratitude we should display for all the many wonders and blessings you have poured on us.

I’m pretty bad at this – I often look for the busyness to have something to do to make this time of year feel less empty. It sorta works – “busy” feels better than “empty,” but it probably explains why I don’t really look forward to Thanksgiving very much.

My goal – and my prayer – is to do better as we enter the Christmas season. 

Posted in Odds & ends

So that happened….

A Lego minifigure drinking tea in front of a computer

I usually work on weekends, but I had this past Saturday off. I spent part of my Saturday sorting food donations for my church’s food pantry. And honestly, that was nice. I got to do something that helps people who are less fortunate than I am, and also get out of my own head for a couple of hours. Volunteering is awesome.

She-Ran and the Princesses of Power

I also got around to checking out Netflix’s new version of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I remember the original show that aired when I was a kid, but I can’t say I was a fan. I’m not even sure that I would have paid any attention to this new version at all if it weren’t for the whiny, entitled fanboys who think everything has to be made for them making a lot of noise complaining about it.

And you know what? This new She-Ra is actually good. Noelle Stevenson took a property that was an extended toy commercial back in the 1980s and turned it into a show about friendship and family with complex characters that are better-developed than the ones on some shows that are aimed at adults. My favorite character ended up being Catra, who is at least nominally a villain.

Magic: the Gathering

I had planned to go to Friday Night Magic at one of my local comic shops, but I ended up having to stay late at work and couldn’t make it. So I still have a budget mono-black burn deck and a Dimir Etrata deck that I want to try out 🤷‍♂️ This weekend, Strictly Better MtG posted a video about a budget mono-black aggro deck that matches my preferred play style perfectly, so I ordered the cards that I needed to put it together. So that’s three decks waiting for trial runs to see if any of them are worth tweaking and upgrading… 

William Goldman

On Friday, screenwriter William Goldman passed away at age 87. He wrote the screenplays for a bunch of well-regarded movies, but the only one I’ve ever seen was The Princess Bride. It is one of my favorites. So I’m going to share a clip from one of its best scenes, and Atlas Obscura’s story about the scene-stealing Mad Max. RIP, Mr. Goldman.

How was your weekend?