January 18th

A few weeks ago, my wife took the kids to the zoo. It was the first day back from Christmas break, so I was back in the classroom for planning and training, but the kids got an extra day. In the way home, the car was shaking so she called the mechanic. He told her to stop by so she did. Turned out the control arms in both front tires were wrecked, and they were rapidly destroying my tires. Both front tires were worn to the point of splitting. He was able to fix the control arms, but had to send us elsewhere for the tires. Two weeks later, here we are finally resolving that issue on a Saturday morning. The only appointment we could get was for 7:45 in the morning. I set my alarm for 6:45, but in the haze of life I somehow also set my alarm for 6:00. I was in the shower before I realized. I did not sleep well last night, but such is life. It’s going to be a long day.

January 17th

Another day, another game. I’m starting to get tired. Very, very tired.

Tonight was our 5th game in 8 days. That’s a lot for a JV team especially, but Varsity was at 10th game in 14 days. It showed. Both teams lost by 30+ points. We had played these guys earlier in the season and lost, but not like this. They were definitely tired, but it didn’t help that they’re the worst possible matchup we could go against. Their JV team is big, and mine is not. On top of that, we were missing two starters (two of my bigger guys) to the flu. Our Varsity team is big, which is an advantage we have over most other most other teams. We did not have that advantage tonight.

Time to get some rest before another 3 game week next week. It’s starting to take its toll, but the season’s end is quickly approaching.

January 16th

We had our longest basketball trip of the season tonight. It was an hour and fifteen minute trek. After a mostly unsuccessful season, we switched up the offense before the last game. We went to a much more up tempo system that involves a lot of running and substitutions to keep guys fresh. We ran out of gas during the first game with the system. We had a day of practice yesterday to hone in on things, and tried it again today. We won! My team is a JV team, but about half of my guys are actually in Middle School. After a long losing streak, this one felt really good.

January 14th

What a night. What a day. My mom has to go to the emergency room. She’s had a hard time swallowing did the last few months. It’s been bad. She has basically been off solid foods since October. This weekend, the liquids became too difficult for her to get down, and that is a life threatening problem if not addressed. So, she went to the ER and was subsequently transferred to the hospital and admitted.

January 13th

Who watches the Watchmen? I do, and you should too. As a fan of dystopian literature, film, etc., this show hit me right in my sweet spot. As a fan of the source material, it was even better. This show is the television equivalent of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451 — that is to say a classic of the genre. Watchmen is one of the greatest season of television ever produced, and will forever live in the pantheon of television. It truly was the best show of 2019, and belongs in the conversation for best of the decade.

January 12th

When I posted my Best of 2019 lists, I predicted that my movie list would change pretty dramatically over the next few weeks as I started getting in some additional viewings. I still have several movies in my “must see” list (1917, The Irishman, Little Women, etc.), I’ve been able to see quite a few movies over the last several weeks. I’m going to give some basic thoughts on all the movies I’ve seen in the last two weeks.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in a long time. There is so much ugliness in the world, that it was refreshing to see a film about kindness. It is my favorite movie in a long time, and I highly recommend it. Great acting, great message, great film.

Jojo Rabbit

This movie is a lot of things. I understand some of the criticisms it had received, but I love the movie and its overall message. It is an anti-fascist film existing in a world that needs anti-fascist messages. There’s a stark tone shift about three quarters of the way through that takes it from entertaining satire to being biting and poignant.

Joker

So much has been said about Joker, so it was easy to go in with a pre-conceived notion, but even so it stood out on its own. I’ve read many comments along the lines that Joker is “trying to say something, but never quite gets there.” But I disagree. Joker is like the anti Mr. Rogers. What happens in a world devoid of kindness. I understand some of the complaints of this anti-hero, but as an overall film I thought this was phenomenal. Heath Ledger has the Jack Nicholson bar to pass, and somehow stands out as one of the most iconic roles in the last century. As iconic as Heath Ledger’s Joker was, Joaquin Phoenix made the role his own. The less I say about Jared Leto’s Joker the better.

Marriage Story

Marriage Story is ironically titled. It’s really about the story of the end of a marriage. It is heartbreaking, yet incredible. It feels a lot like watching a play, and I mean that as the highest compliment I could mean. The main cast is excellent, and many of the moments feel too real. Even so, the film is just funny enough that it’s easy to get past the despair and enjoy it for the riveting film that it is.

Parasite

Parasite had some great word of mouth. I had heard it recommended not only as the best movie of the year, but as one of the best movies of the decade. I’m not ready to go that far, but it was phenomenal. The twists. The turns. The humor The unexpected moments. It was probably the funniest movie I’ve seen this year, and save for my tepid response to the final twenty minutes, it probably would have been my favorite movie of the year. Regardless, it is up there. I’m anxious to see how the upcoming HBO adaptation with Adam McKay goes.

Uncut Gems

I’m very torn on Uncut Gems. The acting is phenomenal. The plot is tight. It is a great movie. With all that being said, I didn’t like it. That opinion has nothing to do with the crafting of the film, though. It deserves every accolade and award that if will win, but as a pure film experience I didn’t have a good time watching it. It is heartbreaking and anxiety enduring. Watching it was an experience unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. Even with the despair of Marriage Story, there were at least take-aways and enough moments of levity to make it an enjoyable experience. I did not get that with Uncut Gems.

January 11th

A big reason I started blogging was to get my creativity moving. I’m at a point in my life where it’s just too easy to be stagnant. I’m married with two kids. I started a new job in August. I started coaching basketball in November. I’m busy. Really busy. And every moment of free time I have is precious. My number one priority with my free time has been to be present for my family. That is important given how much I am away from them with the coaching. My second priority has been to rest and relax. I have done that, but probably not in the most effective ways. I’ve made it a priority over the last several weeks to use my free time to tackle some of the entertainment I’ve been a avoiding in lieu of sitting and doing nothing. Some people may think that that is a waste of time and not great to have as a priority. I get that. But in my thinking, a healthy diet of creativity is no different than a healthy diet of food. You get out what you put in. So in addition to starting my blog, I’ve made an effort to spend more time reading, viewing, and playing. I’ll spend the next couple of days diving into some of the topics I’ve been focusing on.

Star Wars

To start off, I’ve started back into a deep dive of Star Wars. I’ve been a huge fan for my entire life, but when The Force Awakens came out a few years ago, it really renewed my vigor. When The Last Jedi came out a few years later, it sucked me in completely. I spent about 10 months diving into the new canon of Star Wars. Books. Comics. Cartoons. By and large, they were excellent, world building pieces. Then life took over, and I fell away.

The Rise of Skywalker made me salty enough to renew my thirst to spend time in this universe

While I have a fair amount of complaints with the delivery of the finished product, I did like the movie. There are enough Star Wars stories being told through other mediums to make up for any complaints with the films I have.

The Mandalorian
Jedi: Fallen Order
The Rise of Kylo Ren

Enough has been said regarding The Mandalorian that I don’t feel the need to expound. Jedi: Fallen Order is an immersive experience that, hopefully, leads to a new Golden Age of Star Wars video games that are not only fun to play, but also expand the universe in a meaningful way. The comics have been consistently solid, but I’m finding The Rise of Kylo Ren is doing a great job of filling in all the holes on regards to Kylo, Snoke, and The Knights of Ren that people had been disappointed in not getting throughout the films. I highly recommend all of these.

Now it’s all just about biding time for the return of The Clone Wars net month.

January 10th

We’ve had two basketball games this week. Both had potential game winning shots at the buzzer. The first one was made — by the other team. The other one was missed — by our team. That’s not a fun spot to be in. Life is all about learning from the past, and basketball is no different. I’ve had enough learning for the week, though. We have our only Saturday game of the season tomorrow, so hopefully we can turn this week around.

January 9th

So my neighbor has a Herbie car. No. Two Herbie cars. And they’re both super charged. I’m sure there’s a niche somewhere that that’s cool, but not in my house. To each their own, though. That is, at least, until the super charged Herbie started keeping us up at night. He spends about twenty minutes per night switching the cars around. For what reason, I do not know, but one will sit and run on the sidewalk for a few minutes; then they’ll switch spots, and eventually he leaves. This had been mildly amusing until he stared doing it in the middle of the night. It got so bad one night that my wife had to go out and confront him (I slept through it).

We watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood last night. It was a glorious experience. The movie itself is odd. The first two hours or so of the movie barely contain a plot. It’s basically just hanging out with the characters that were created in the film. If you know anything about this movie, then you know it connects to the Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and her friends.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The fictionalized characters that Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio play are the stars of the film, and their presence disrupts the actual history and changes the scenes pretty dramatically (á la Inglorious Basterds). I don’t want to dive into any kind of film spoilers here, but there is a scene where a car parks in front of the house in the middle of the night, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is not having it. I have not laughed so hard at anything in a long time.

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