Day twenty-two

A busy day of work and parenting, somehow fitting in XBox skating with the boy and measurable progress on the Vargas Llosa book I’m reading (translated into English), but practicing my Spanish has been one of the highlights of my week so far.

I’ve explained hundreds of times, en Español: Soy de Miami, y cuando era joven, estudié Español por muchos años en escuela. Despues, estaba viviendo en Nueva York, y estaba hablando Español con mis vecinos Puertorriqueños y los camioneros Mexicanos a mi trabajo.

(I can go on, often mentioning my wife’s family, or where I practiced Spanish when we lived in Santa Cruz, or Albuquerque, or somewhere else along the way.)

These days I explain that I don’t know much business Spanish, but puedo hablar de comida o familia sin problema, context is everything. And probably repetition.

Day twenty-one

It was so cold today here that I ended up with Tom Waits in my head: “…colder than a welldigger’s ass…”

And I can’t remember now if Diamonds on my Windshield is on Heart of Saturday Night or if I first heard it on the hilarious/sad/underwhelming Beat Generation box set I bought myself (likely with my employee discount) all those years ago, after coveting it for months in the record store.

It had some real gems on it, Ginsberg reading America as the closer, touches from Burroughs, Lenny Bruce (beat??), Kerouac himself reading his own work, implanting his cadence on my memory of some of his favorite words, exposing how much he enjoyed them himself.

But also, for some reason, Tom Waits makes multiple appearances.

Whenever I spot these sorts of oddities, it’s my record store days and my understanding of film rights for music that make me wonder if the same label had the rights to a bunch of it and just flipped through their own catalog for filler.

Need something else tangentially about Route 66? Check Tom’s stuff. Probably something in there about a road.

Day twenty

Yesterday, we watched Temple of Doom with the kids (well, the one who was stubborn enough to stay on the couch and suffer through it with us).

Let me be the last one to tell you, it is as bad as you remember.

I knew I had never really seen the whole movie more than once, because of the part with THE HEART but do you remember…

  • The poorly developed female character?
  • The racism?
  • The other racism?
  • Pretty sure there’s a third racism in there, too?
  • Monkey brains?
  • Bugs?
  • The condescending continuity gaffe of setting this movie before Raiders but then having Indy pull the “brought a gun to a knife fight” trick again?
  • Spielberg and Lucas’s joint excuse that they were going through breakups at the time and things just got really dark?

Today, we made up for it by watching Black Panther and it was glorious.

Days seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen

I’ve been dealing with what appears to be literally the flu, which seems to justify some excused absences from blogging here.

We’re getting to the age where “living vicariously through your children” becomes a viable thing to do. They’re not what anyone would call “overscheduled,” but we do get out to swimming and soccer a few times a week, spending little bits of evenings by the pool or the field or the gym.

I usually try not to sit inside the indoor pool area anymore, preferring the slightly less chlorinated air quality of the benches on the other side of a glass wall, but there’s a lot to be said for the light inside that place.

Day sixteen

I almost forgot again!

This aging challenge thing, where people are posting pictures of their early avatars and then today — this seems like close to the worst we can do, but maybe it’s just in fun. How many things is that true of, though?

I saw one today of a glacier.

Literally, 10 years ago, much ice, big wall, and today, kinda melty. You get the idea. I saw another meme about trans people NOPEing right off the road rather than play this game.

It does seem insensitive: Reveal your old self, in context of the present, in full view of all your friends and family and really, maybe baby pictures are easier than that.

Or maybe it depends on your age. 10 years ago or first profile pic is no big deal to me, but if you so much as breathe near a picture of me from age 13-19 or so, I would not be a happy camper.

The earliest profile pic of me still around online is this one, a heavily overprocessed thing cropped out of a much much wider shot where I am operating a camera crane in front of a sailboat on a mountain in New Mexico and really that sounds much more impressive when I write it all down.

I have no idea if I ever owned a print of the original, if someone mailed it to me, which seems unlikely, or if it was taken with my own camera by a colleague, also unlikely.

It’s from October 2002, one of my last days in New Mexico, working on Off The Map.

Day fifteen

It was easier to find “all my pictures of my dog” in the early days of Flickr, when I used tags for every family member and albums for every trip and no taxonomy was too obscure for me to fret over.

Today I wanted to find “all my pictures of my dog” and it was hard and silly and dumb and I liked all my taxonomies just fine before I started dispersing everything thinly across the networks.

I’m reminded of Delicious — the first time it looked dead, I imported All My Boomarks to this blog. There were… pros and cons to that. Thousands of posts, thousands of tags, not much in the way of an indicator that they cane from another platform — it’s still a little weird.

Up until a week or two ago, I still saw all this traffic to a post from search — people were looking for a fun but defunct lorem ipsum generator, and they found my (Delicious import) post so often I started seeing the outbound 404 in Google Webmaster alerts.

I unpublished the page.

If I were to import all my photos into a WordPress site, I’d want to curate it all first, maybe in OSX Photos (sooooooo slow and lumbering to use) or something of the sort, and I’d want all the metadata to stick, but I wouldn’t want a post per media item, I’d want to build galleries out of albums or something but I certainly don’t want to do that manually.

As my kids got older, I regretted tagging lots of pictures with their names. I haven’t been great about keeping them off the internet.

Another weeknight at the pool swimming upstream.

Day fourteen

I tweeted once today, but it was a retweet about work, so does it really count? I don’t think so. If you’re not steeping yourself in being an extremely online person and then you crack open the door now and then during a busy day, it’s like a wall of memes stares back at you.

You check Facebook once or twice a day and it’s not enough to see what’s new, so you just see the things your friends are most involved in right now. It’s quite zeitgeisty! You might see the same viral video three days in a row as it gets shared around your network. Surfer. Dolphins. Repeat.

I’ve checked my feed reader on mobile a few times during these two weeks, just to “pull down to refresh” something. There was a good story in The Verge about something I already forgot, but I ended up there again tonight searching for Space Opera and Hitchhiker’s Guide connections, but it was just a really thin review that said it was probably the funniest science fiction novel since, and while I agree, there were other obvious errors, a quote from the first chapter, all the easy tells of a senior who didn’t read the book and is faking their way through the essay test by teasing out a metaphor on page 30 and comparing it to three other things he’s read 30 pages of… ask me how I know?

Today I successfully convinced the dog to pose in the snow; trust me, she’s happier than she looks in this picture.

Day thirteen

Today the boy played in the snow for more than five hours, without lunch, without a drink of water, without a thought about soccer or school or video games — well, it’s likely he talked about all three with his friends, but mostly it was just continuous sled rides until I fetched him sometime past two.

Raiders holds up fine, but it’s also mostly a string of set pieces with a remarkably silly ending. I mean, in retrospect, the supernatural Ark is a solid setup for the climax of Holy Grail, but there’s no real logic holding it together.

The kids sort of enjoyed the opening scene, but it is punctuated with impalings. Speaking of, Alfred Molina gets a really high mention in the opening credits for a character that only lasts a few minutes.

Also, Indy is an absolute jerk to Marion.

On Sundays, we bury our snouts in the snow.

Day twelve, belated

My father always told me it takes three weeks to build a habit, but I didn’t make it two before forgetting to type something into this firstnamelastnamedotcom machine.

I mean, maybe it’s still yesterday somewhere in the far western Pacific just shy of the international date line? (A fascination to children with globes of all eras.)

We’re in the middle of our first respectable snow event of the season, so our plans for the day include a viewing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or at least the opening scene, depending on how the kids react.

I watched Raiders so many times as a kid, it’s kind of a blur, but one of my most vivid recollections of seeing it — maybe for the first time — was on video (VHS, obvs) on what I suppose might have been a rainy day at the local parks and rec summer camp.

My timeline is a jumble on this one: The movie was released in 1981 (same year as Empire Strikes Back, which I’m certain I saw multiple times in theaters), but I’m not sure I went to the camp I’m thinking of until a few years later.

I feel like I spend more time than the average person working out what year something happened in during my childhood. It’s not that my memory is usually that fuzzy, it’s that it’s so precise that no one believes me.

So, let’s record Jan. 13, 2019 as most likely the day my kids see Raiders for the first time, and they can argue with me about this fact in 30 years or so when it comes up at dinner.

Day eleven

Whew I almost forgot to blog tonight!

A thing about living in the exurbs is that to anyone else, your neighborhood could look explicitly like Anytown, USA, but to you these are distinct, recognizable views.

We live in an exurb with particular tracts of land delineated by homeowners associations, tracts that used to be farm (honestly, plantation), and now are dotted with clumps of townhouses, two-story single-family homes, and the odd bit of “affordable” apartment buildings blended into the landscape for good measure.

Our HOA (like many others) is strict enough to legislate what color paint you can use on your front door, so there’s an orderly uniformity, even if sometimes things get uniformly aged.

Growing up in suburban (exurban?) South Florida, our thirty-year-old neighborhood had once been relatively uniform, with just a few different facades and layouts for our ranch homes with attached garages, but time and individuality and I can only assume the developers and real estate agents themselves all did their thing and it wasn’t until I rode the bus in high school and saw our block from a different angle that I understood how alike all our houses were.

At least these days we’re transparent about our conformity.