Saturday, September 24, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 4


I love architecture.

I love looking at it. I love getting occasional times to tour office skyscrapers or stupidly expensive but amazing homes. I like to think about living in one of these showcases. Would I enjoy it?

I love watching documentaries on extreme homes. (There are some on Netflix. I'm also watching one on Apple +.) It was from the Apple + series that I learned about Gary Chang's "Domestic Transformer" home in Hong Kong.

And let me tell you, I am in love with this place.

It is so innovative. So unique. Such a wild response to a very difficult living space that turns it into something so amazing and lovely.

I won't write much more about this because I want you to spend the time watching this video. Really soak in the design of this place.

So . . . really . . . that's it for this week. Watch this video. Learn more about architecture. And DON'T watch any football today. Because if your team can't change on a dime and respond to their opponent as quickly as Gary Cheng can go from sitting room to kitchen . . . well . . . your team is gonna lose anyway.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022 Week 3

I'm sorry that my timing is a bit off today. Normally when I am attempting to distract you from watching football--with a special emphasis on the college variety--it is logical and most effective to center my distraction efforts on Saturday. Because that is the day in which college football is happening (for the most part). And I can't be here distracting you on weekdays when we've got jobs and other things to get accomplished. I'm just trying to get you to avoid spending hours of your precious weekend watching college football . . . on a Saturday.

So, posting about this . . . on a Sunday is not the best way for my strategy to win.

But showing up is a key ingredient to success. So I'm showing up this week, even if the effort is doomed to fail in my overall goal.

In the past, when I was very busy on a Saturday, I would carve out time during the week to plan and write and then I would schedule the post to go live on Saturday, right in the heart of the college football maelstrom. Then I would socialize my dynamite thoughts and happily check the Nielsen ratings and news the next day to see that viewership of college football had cratered in surprising ways that only a few people truly understood.

That is not what I did this week. I didn't plan ahead and I wasn't prepared. And I was entirely occupied for many, many hours on Saturday. Thus, my feeble distraction justifications here on a Sunday.

What was I up to yesterday? Doing the most non-football thing possible--helping with marching band. The North Marching Warriors competed in its first competition of the season yesterday in Bellbrook, Ohio. And they did a pretty good job and learned a lot from the experience. For a young band full of freshmen, competition experience is valuable. And they are learning what it takes to put together a quality show with few mistakes to win over judges. It's hard. But every competition helps them on this road to higher scores, more wins, and more success.

Do you want to know what the best thing about a band competition is? It's the atmosphere and the people and the joy and pleasure of watching bands perform. Unlike a sporting event where the can often be a sense of rivalry and enmity, that is largely absent with band competitions.

Sure, bands are (in fact) competing against one another. Some bands get more trophies than others. And there are scores and ranks. So I am not saying that everyone is all in it together all the time. But the vibe and the atmosphere is (to my mind) markedly more supportive. When one band is leaving the warm up area and heading into the stadium, other bands that are waiting their turn will clap, shout support, and wish good luck and good show to their (supposed) competitors. I love seeing that happen. And I love what that teaches these kids that are defining themselves in the world.

All that is to say, if you have time on a Saturday in September and October, chances are there is a marching band competition somewhere near you. Admission is not expensive. All that you spend most likely benefits the local high school marching band that is running the event as a fund raiser and to help them pay for their director, instruments, and truck rentals, and more. (School districts and tax payers just don't fund school arts programs anymore and I can promise you that running a marching band program is challenging and more expensive than you think.)

And while I'm here--let me plug the Westerville Invitational Marching Band competition coming up on October 1 in Westerville, Ohio! It's hosted by my kid's high school and I guarantee that you will have a great time on a wonderful Fall afternoon. Learn more on Facebook by following this link.

So, get out. Avoid football. Support high school arts. Enjoy the supportive vibes.

Until next week! (This time, hopefully on a Saturday.)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022 Week 2: Better Late Than Never Edition

 Yes, I know that the season is already well under way. And yes, I know that may significant things have already happened. (Or at least I would know this if I watched College Football. But since the premise of these posts is that I don't . . . and I don't want you to either . . . then maybe I don't actually know that?)

(Christopher Nolan--call me. I've available to pitch similarly knotty ideas to you for future movie treatments.)

ANYWAY . . . what are you doing watching College Football!? Don't you have better things to do on Saturday?


I don't know how old any of you are. Because I don't know who actually reads these things. If I had to guess I'd say that most of you are middle age. Not because the middle-age demographic is most likely to stop watching College Football, bur rather because most of the friends, acquaintances, and family I know (who are most likely to see and consider reading this) are also middle-aged.

Given this, I think you might relate . . .

Most of the time when I look in the mirror I see what I've always seen. Me. 

(Obviously. . . . Still waiting on the jump scare scenario when I look up from the sink and see a phantom or ghost or something similarly unexpected standing behind me.) 

But it's always me. And generally I look the same. My haircut has been largely unchanged for quite a while now. I haven't acquired any strange or disfiguring facial scars in recent years. No replacement robot eyes. 

So, yeah. Mostly the same old thing.

But . . . every once in a while I look a bit deeper. And I notice that I'm looking older. I haven't been young for a while now. Heck, I'm almost 51 years old! But usually I just take a surface look and my brain fills in the gaps as it has for decades. Sometimes a bit thicker in the cheeks that a month ago. Occasionally looking a bit thinner, depending on my food patterns. But the eyes and the eyebrows, the nose and the chin and the hair and the ears are all there.

But sometimes I just look older. As old as I'm supposed to be. But it still sometimes strikes me that I'm getting older all the time and I am looking like it. My brain can sometimes trick me into thinking I'm still largely unchanged from who I've always thought myself to be. But my back and my legs and my muscles know better. And they tell me so often. And then my vision catches up in these bathroom mirror moments.

What to do about it? Nothing at all. Just an observation and a reason to sit down and type and bit and begin anew my promise of every year finding ways to distract you from spending your hard-earned weekend time watching College Football.

So, live your life. Use your time wisely this week. And don't party TOO hard when you inevitably watch College Football anyway and decide to celebrate because your Alma Mater got paid over $1 million dollars to defeat a Power 5 school. 

(Don't know what I'm talking about? Congratulations! You avoided College Football this past week. I'm proud of you.)

Monday, May 09, 2022

The MCU Ranked: An Ongoing List

Grace and I are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It's almost fifteen years in the making and 25 films deep. I'm updating on WWYG?! the MCU rankings that Grace and I put together as we have watched the movies together.

And yes . . . you'll notice that we decided to include Deadpool and Deadpool 2 plus Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse . . . and even Shazam! in our rankings. I regret nothing about this.

(This list is always being updated, as new movies come out.)

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming
2. Iron Man 3

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

6. Avengers Infinity War

[n/r] Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse

7. Black Panther
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
9. Guardians of the Galaxy
(n/r) Deadpool

10. Captain America: The First Avenger

11. Thor Ragnarok

12. Black Widow

13. Avengers Endgame

14. Ant-Man

15. Ant-Man and the Wasp

16. Captain America: Civil War

17. Iron Man

(n/r) Deadpool 2

18. Thor

19.  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

20. The Avengers

(n/r) Shazam!

21. Eternals

22. Captain Marvel

23. Iron Man 2

24. Avengers: Age of Ultron

25. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

26. Doctor Strange

27. Thor: The Dark World

28. The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton edition)

Don't like our rankings? That's fine. I know there are others out there that will suit you better. Here is another web writers thoughts on the MCU phenomenon.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Football Counter-Programming Week 6: Taskmaster

 I'm sorry that I've been off for a few weeks. It's been a very busy set of band-related weekends.

And as a result, I haven't carved out the time to distract you from football with other things. Which, when I think about it, is a bad job by me because I am filling my non-work weekend time with the ULTIMATE football distractor . . . marching band.

But I am thinking ahead slightly this week to try and fend off your unthinking acceptance of college football on Saturday or pro football on Sunday. But I also can't spend tons of time writing about something and getting into tons of detail in my argument.

Luckily, we live in a digital/visual world and everyone hates words. So I will try to keep my words to a minimum this week.

My football distraction this week is something that many of you have probably heard me talk about. I've been preaching its secular gospel for months now. But I still don't think most of you are taking me seriously or really trying to mix this recommendation into your media rotation.

What is it?

The British variety show Taskmaster.

It's off kilter, very funny, and engaging. You can watch almost all of it on YouTube.

It's very simple but simplicity makes it seem easy. And since I don't have tons of time, I'm gonna let this video do the explaining for me. Please watch this video and then take Taskmaster into your heart. And do it on Saturdays instead of watching football.

It's a lot more fun.