Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Plans . . . Revisited

Credit:Billy Barker from

You are all wondering what my big digital plans for the summer are.

Well, you should already know about the first order of business. (#SummerHat13)

(And if you haven't yet voted, please do so. I'll be providing an update before next week that gives the results so far.)


My first thought for summer/digital fun was to live off of Entertainment Weekly's 99 Ways to Spend 99 Days list.

I thought it would be an intriguing way to keep people interested, by placing a scorecard against me and seeing how well I might do keeping up with things. But then I started reviewing the list. (That's right. I was going to subject myself to this without fully investigating the list contents. Can anyone say Soup for a Year?) And when I saw the list, I realized that it involved lots of recommendations to see movies that I'm probably not going to see, such as Day 1's recommendation to see Hangover III. So, if I am going to be out of compliance on Day 1, then it's just going to get depressing.

Moving on, then.

As of right now, I think I'll be doing some reading and book reviewing.First up? Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding. I'm only about 50 or so pages in at this point, but I'm already getting a strong A Prayer for Owen Meany vibe. If so, that is a good thing.

More to come . . .

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mad Men: The Better Half

I was briefly talking to someone at work today about Sunday's Mad Men episode. And so I was inspired to write some quick thoughts.

What is there to say about the show now? It is meticulously crafted; the actors know what they are doing and do it well. But my problem with the show now is that, while I watch each episode and enjoy them, I don't feel that they are really heading anywhere.
(At which point, mastermind Matthew Weiner mentally scoffs at me for my lack of understanding and vision and dismisses me outright. Which . . . I guess is fair, since I'm the same guy that wrote this only a few hours earlier TODAY. . . )

ANYWAY . . . so, yeah. Skill and technique and limited mental ability of the viewer aside . . . where is it all going? By now we should all get that Don is a struggling lecher and Peggy is torn and Pete is a tool and Bob Benson is (probably) a sociopath. And we long ago figured out that Roger is a meaningless cad.


I think that I my own personal problem. We don't get much in the way of ad pitches anymore. It's too much about the tumult of history and the upheaval of people's LIVES and stuff. I want to see significant ad campaigns breathed into first life. I want to believe that Don can use that charisma to sell the Ford Pinto or hawk Mello Yello. I don't need to see yet more evidence that his best use of those pipes is to get ladies (even his old lady) out of their panties . . . AGAIN.

And yet, there were some promising developments in this week's episode that I will spend a moment or two to praise--most notably the important clues given regarding Bobby Draper.

Weiner's best moments revolved around the interesting dialogue Bobby had with his parents in the camp restaurant. (Was it a camp restaurant or simply a restaurant near the camp? It certainly didn't look like the campground cafeteria that I remembered from Camp Villa Marie.)

You might have missed it, mesmerized as you surely were by this weird sing-along moment:

gif copied from

(I've heard this song sung A LOT around my house. A function of my wife's many years of her own church camp upbringing and her inability to ever forget a camp song.)

But really the subtext of this was that Bobby was announcing his own future embarkation to being a serial killer--perhaps the future Tom Cruise?) Because he was saying that he would search out and destroy all past incarnations of Bobby so that he could continue on as Bobby Prime. And his loyal subjects would acknowledge his supremacy with the Father Abraham salute.

(Be afraid Bobbys I through IV.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I've been conducting a video contest to determine my Official Hat of Summer for the last three years.
I present candidate hats to choose from and ask you the public to vote on which hat you like the most. Whichever hat gets the most votes will be the only hat I wear outside for the entire summer upcoming.

I would love it if you vote.
Leave a comment here or in the comment section of the video itself, if you want to travel over to my actual YouTube channel.

Laid Back? Nope!

It's tough to learn things about yourself.
Earlier tonight I took Grace to her second softball game of the season. Unfortunately, Grace wasn't playing because her right arm is still healing from a procedure we had to undergo LAST Friday night. But hopefully she'll be able to play after the weekend of healing is finished.

Anyway, the game is nearing the end; its the bottom of the fifth inning; Grace's team is down by four. If they get the league maximum of five runs scored (since they are the home team for this game), they can win because it is already 8:15 and games aren't supposed to go past 8:30. And anyway, the clouds are moving in and the predicted rain is approaching.

Unfortunately, the Lions don't score. So I thought Grace would go home disappointed. But the umpire decides to let the final and sixth inning begin--even though the other team (the Cobras) already have the lead and the weather and the overall time limit and whatnot.

I get frustrated because it seems like it would only guarantee that Grace's Lion teammates will end up losing by a higher margin and they won't even get a chance to bat in the bottom of the sixth. And this is heightened by the fact that the other team is slow taking the field for defense when the Lions DO miraculously get their chance to bat in the bottom half of the sixth (and really final) inning. The Cobra defensive players get out on the field, but the pitcher just stands there while the coaches get the catchers gear on their team catcher.

Now, why isn't one of the three team coaches for the Cobra's not filling in for the catcher while the girl is getting her pads strapped on? And why must we wait for the pitcher to warm up when the catcher is finally ready, when something could have been done with an adult in the interim? And don't forget about the coming darkness, the time limit, the rain clouds, and did I just feel some rain drops? And why are we playing this sixth inning anyway?

I'm not chill enough to be involved in this. I can only be a (not entirely) silent spectator.

And yes, the Lions did lose. (But I think they'll improve when Grace can get on the field to help them.)