I love movies!

If you’ve read more than a couple of my blog posts you’ve probably gathered that I’m a big fan of movies.

Every year for the past several years my son has put together a spreadsheet of the films he expect will be in the running for Oscars and we all keep track of which ones we’ve watched. When the nominations are announced, he updated the sheet accordinngly. At that point we also begin to plan the menu for Oscars viewing. The menu is always based on the best picture nominations. On the day of the awards I also post my predictions for the winners, etc.

I used to confine myself to writing movie reviews at most once per week, but since this is prime movie viewing time for me I think I’ll pull out all the stops and post reviews as much as I want. Unless I have something else I really want to share, I’ll probably post a review every day until the awrds show.

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Go Jaguars! Go Vikings!

As I’ve written about before, my enthusiasm for the NFL is waning (while my interest in the NBA is re-emerging).

But this year I have been pretty excited about the playoffs.

Last week, we had two teams to root against on Saturday - Patriots and Eagles - and then two teams to root for on Sunday - Jaguars and Vikings. I am not an Eagles fan but I grew up in Eagles country, and now I’m back in the shadow of Philadelphia again, so there is a lot of excitement about this season.

In between those times, I lived in VA and then in the Jacksonville area for the Jaguars inaugural season. My son was a Jaguars fan from day one. He lives in NYC now so he’s become a Jets fan like his dad, but he and the rest of us are really pulling for the Jaguars this season.

Meanwhile, my brother is a life-long Vikings fan who will be alone in a house full of Eagles fans watching the game today.

I have not been this excited about two NFL games in a long time. :)

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Off the Grid Indeed

You could have almost predicted it. I wrote about going off the grid and then I stopped blogging for a week.

I just happened to miss my writing the next day, then I didn’t post anything here. I was bummed that I had missed a day - my first in 2018 - but then I thought “no big deal, it’s one day.” The next day, I missed again! Then I thought I’d just get back to it on Tuesday, after the Monday holiday.

The next day, I almost missed my writing again (I’ve been not feeling well and sleeping in later) but I did it later in the evening. So I thought for the next ten days I would write late at night and get my The Night Bat badge.

It is obvious to me again why I prefer writing in the morning.

Hopefully, I can stick to it again.

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Off the Grid

I spent much of 2017 working on two things. One, a project that is designed for people who would prefer not to be connected all the time. The other was doubling down on cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

The news over the last month has me re-thinking the same thoughts I have had over and over for the last twenty years. Should I - or more precisely, do I want to - go “off the grid.” Even more fascinating a question is would it even be possible?

I wake up this morning, read another article about the possibilities of hacks, and I seriously start to think of it again.

On the one hand, it seems preposterous. After all, I make my living online. On the other, the work I do is evolving and I really think I could find a way to do it off the grid.

Meanwhile, since we are empty nesters now, we have been thinking of moving to some island somewhere and living on the beach.

It will almost certainly not happen, but I find myself dreaming of it more and more.

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Perspective

As I may have mentioned in one of my first posts of the year, last year was not a great one. The one before that wasn’t so great either.

I have been planning to share more about that with some people tomorrow morning and it hit me how important perspective is.

In my estimation, I have been very, very blessed. When I mention that to others, who look in from the outside and see some of the challenges I’ve faced - even before the last two years - they just don’t get my positive attitude. My attitude is a direct result of my perspective. Even now, when I talk think about the last two years and 28 days, which has been, without doubt, the hardest stretch in my life, I still seem able to see how things could have been worse.

Because of perspective.

What made me think of it tonight was Terri telling me that a former student is coming in to school tomorrow to thank the students for raising money for his cancer treatment. All I could say was “wow!” She said he has a pretty good outlook on life, despite having gone through this twice now. She said something like “I guess when you stare death in the face like that, you think differently. You know what I mean?”

And I said, “I know exactly what you mean.”

It wasn’t cancer, but I’ve stared death in the face a few times and it gives me some perspective.

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Minecraft Screenshots

The other day I posted something about playing Minecraft. I am playing a bit more lately since I’ve introduced a couple of my nephews to it, so I will probably write more about it in the days ahead.

For today, I thought I might just share a few screenshots from a while back.

Skeleton on a Spider

Creeper in Ravine

Snow

Ravine

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Ice and Snow

I grew up about 90 miles from where I live now. I spent a total of about 28 years living very close to that area, and I’ve lived another 15 years here.

I was talking to a friend who has spent most of his life in thie area too - longer than I.

I haven’t looked it up, but neither of us can remeber a time when it was this cold for this long at once.

I don’t get cold easily, but this is pretty stinkin’ cold.

I might have to rethink moving further north. :)

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Minecraft

I realized earlier today that I have never written anything here about Minecraft.

I was very late to the Minecraft party. I knew about it from the very beginning, but I didn’t start playing until about 18 months ago. I remember seeing one of my nieces play on her tablet a long time ago, but I didn’t really get it. It wasn’t until some time later that I decided to try it. I kept hearing teachers talk about using it in the classroom. Some even talked about letting student turn in “Minecraft worlds” as assessments. So, I figured I should at least see what all the talk was about.

After playing just a few times, I was completely hooked.

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Our Favorite Girl

I wrote yesterday about how Terri and I would be saying goodbye to Becky again for another quarter this morning.

Because of the airport trip this morning, I got a late start on my writing. After about thirty minutes, I hear Terri stirring upstairs. I heard her say something but I couldn’t quite make out what it was.

Then she calls out “Bill, did you know about this?”

“What? Hold on, I’ll be right there!” The tone of her voice concerned me.

“She left me a huge box.”

“To ship?” I said. She and Terri had gone on a shopping spree one day (a new Christmas tradition, Terri tells me) so we expected her to leave a box for us to ship to her.

But as I reach the top of the steps, Terri is coming out of Becky’s room crying and soliciting a hug from me.

She left her mom a box of gifts to open after she left.

I am at a loss for words, really? I can’t even focus on anything but how special our little girl is. This surprise she left for her mom blows me away, but it’s only a part of it. She is the best daughter we could have hoped for. We love her dealy.

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Is that your given name?

Lady Bird is a fun film centered around difficult themes - family and growing up.

You’re not gonna get in a car with a guy that honks, are ya?

My daughter saw it at the premeire in LA promised it would be one of our favorite movies from last year. I am still working through my list, but she is right. It will certainly be among my favorites.

She really wanted to see it with us, but we were unable to go the first time we planned it. That actually led to some tension in the family that night, an irony that wasn’t lost on my daughter or on me after I saw the film. We say goodbye to my daughter for her second quarter of college tomorrow, so the film really hit home with us.

Highly recommended.

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More Meltdown

I just can’t stop reading about this.

I have a lot of thoughts, but not much to add to the conversation right now.

I am sharing some links I find today. You can see them via my linkblog (or RSS), but here is what I’ve share so far…

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Meltdown

Meltdown and Spectre - Wow, what a mess!

Two of my favorite bloggers - and humans - on Spectre and Meltdown:

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Back to Work

Most years, I take a couple of weeks to enjoy the holidays and I work a little bit here and there.

Most years, I am excited to head back to a full-time work schedule.

This is not one of those years. I’m back to work full-time, and while I’m not dreading it, there is a little less excitement about it this time.

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Happy 2018!

I am looking forward to the new year.

This time of year is always the same for me. After Christmas, which I enjoy very much, I always begin to look forward to the new year. January 1 is my birthday, so that brings an added layer of excitment, but it also comes with all of the other complicated feelings one has on a birthday.

It’s the same for me every year. Excitement and anticipation before the new year, more excitment, now mixed with anxiety when the new year actually begins.

Some great things happened in 2017. Becky had a great final season on the mock trial team, and made the state tournament for discus in May. She was also accepted into some great schools, including UCLA where she decided to attend. It’s a beautiful place in a beautiful place and we are thrilled she has the opportunity to study there. We are very proud of her.

Aside from those highlights, and perhaps a lot of smaller things I don’t remember now, 2017 was not a banner year. In fact, it was a very hard one.

Terri and I are pleased to move on to 2018.

We are looking forward to new things.

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Working hard or hardly working?

Though I finally learned it was okay to relax some time ago, I still wonder sometimes which it is. read more

Free Range or Helicopter Parent

Over the last few weeks, I've read a lot of opinions about "free range" vs. "helicopter" parenting. The issue is not a new one, but people are talking about... read more

Faith, Dogma, and Reason

I've struggled for many years trying to reconcile my faith with my commitment to reason. Sometimes I've wondered if they are incompatible. What I've come to understand, though... read more

No more obsessing

I am learning how to not obsess so much about things. read more

Keeping Secrets

When I was in second grade, my friends and I used to use a secret cypher for passing messages to one another. The way I remember it, it was very simple, but only we knew how it worked. read more

Common Core math problems

I'm not thrilled with Common Core either, but it's not because of the math. read more