Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daughter's Stage Debut Excellent!

Drama and comedy made for fine entertainment.

The Daughter hit it big with her portrayal of the Sea Captain and Friend to Viola in William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."

I was very impressed with the high quality of the production. I made a highlight video to celebrate the young one's step out onto the stage.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Skate Park Birthday A Big Hit

Who has time for subculture? Let's just party!
Fifth graders enjoy the spirit of the indoor skate park at Commonwealth Skateboarding.

Pizza and skating go together like really excellent activities and good food. A great venue for a birthday party.

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Lemons" Has Become A Thing Because Of Video Game

These are the guys who make sure the new fad sticks
There is a character in the video game Portal called Cave Johnson, voiced by J.K. Simmons. He does anger very well. I don't play the game but celebrate this voice clip.

Friday, January 22, 2016

An Excellent Friday!

The daughter delivered a superb drash at school today.

The son produced beautiful music at the same ceremony.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where The Daughter's Head Is At

A still of Anita Sarkeesian of the Feminist Frequency website.
I'm always happy when the daughter (or son) shares videos that she finds funny or interesting. This is because I am becoming old and out of touch.

Below is a feminist critique of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The line I like best is that we can enjoy media and still be critical.

I enjoyed Sarkeesian's comments in the review, agreeing that the lead character was a refreshing change from the usual Hollywood formula.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Winter Brings Feathers To Car

Leaky down jackets underscore the time of year.
I never notice the jacket leaking, but the evidence on the dark seats is overwhelming.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quidditch Is An Actual Game Played By People

I stumbled upon this game in New York.

Biking around New York I came upon a group of young people in athletic attire seriously involved in their activity, quidditch -- a competitive sport in the wizarding world of the Harry Potter universe.

In the books, the young students of magic fly around on brooms, chasing magically animated objects.

The people in the park were serious, yelling out commands and encouragement in the way those immersed in their game have done for time immemorial.

However, these people did so with representative brooms (short sticks) jammed in their crotches. I suppose I should salute their commitment, but I just can't stop giggling. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Birthday Art

Add caption if you feel compelled as an observer to do so. Such is not required unless you, the viewer, demand that it exist.

Attending a birthday party in New York I had the good fortune to witness a unique artwork presented as a gift.

What made it so wonderful was the fusion of different concepts, the found object (the ceramic Chinese sage) and the plaster blob. The plaster had been formed with a magnum (large size) condom stuck with a key to the artist's studio stamped with the birthday boy's name -- all of this adding to the work's provenance.

Even better, Jon Kessler, the artist, made a video of the work's manufacture, bringing a layer of virtual whimsy to the special occasion, as well as verifying the claims of the type of condom and the key's actual utility.

I really enjoyed the way seeing the video tweaked how I now consider the object.

Well done!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Crazy Day At EWK

Newark airport is a big place with all sorts  of travelers. I mostly put myself in the "not completely insane" category, but recent events push me to reconsider. 

In the security line the woman behind me appeared visibly drunk. She was laughing loudly, teasing the TSA staff about their last names, her breath smelling like an explosion at a holiday Tiki bar. 

She noted that we had similar laptop computers and should try hard to avoid confusion. I agreed, saying my data was quite boring. "Mine is scintillating," she said. 

I then focused on getting myself through screening. In front of me a woman removed her neckbrace  and went through the imaging machine. 

After I cleared security and collected my gear, I noticed the neckbrace had been abandoned. "Who forgets she is wearing a neckbrace," I thought. I set out to fix this. 

Afterwards when I stopped to arrange myself, I realized I had forgotten to claim my laptop. The drunk woman had been querying bald men about the computer.

"What kind of person forgets his laptop?" She asked. I mumbled something. 

I walked towards my gate, eager to sit down and verify I had the right machine. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

We Are The House Of Comedy

Some people are addicted to selfies. I am addicted to photos of myself with simulated hair.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Ice Storm And Big Day Out For Portdaddia

A screen capture shows Portdaddia in action on the icy street.

After a few days trapped indoors, I needed to go out and run errands and get some exercise. As these things go, I had no idea I was going to have such an eventful day.

First on the list was the film crew in our neighborhood -- it helps when a next-door neighbor is a reporter for the local news.

Then came the long trek to the post office. On the way I noticed the soles of my trusty hiking boots were starting to delaminate. What started as a bit of an inconvenience developed into full-blown catastrophe when the left sole fell completely off the boot.

In town I changed course and headed to REI for a new set of kicks as my feet began to soak up water. The staff made me feel like Grizzly Adams as I limped into the store with boots and boot parts, all so completely thrashed as to appease the most eco-conscious among them -- no further use for these things, just recycling. I suspect the flattery was to encourage me to purchase a more expensive pair of boots, one that would last the requisite 14 years as my last pair had.

After a haircut and a bowl of ramen I was back trudging up the frozen streets, feeling pretty happy that my crisis had been so easily dealt with. On an icy day like today there was no walking barefoot or having LSS pick me up. My backup plan was to go to a hardware store and duct tape the soles to my boots.

On my way home I passed my un-trusty VW Passat, parked on a road that would be eventually plowed and sanded. 

I don't know that I triumphed over adversity in any significant capacity, but I had fun, and for that I say Stoke!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Zip Line? Why The Hell Not?

Way up in the trees with lots of steel cables -- de riguer for Costa Rica.
Today is a snowy, cold day in Portland. As a result, I am thinking fondly of our recent vacation in Costa Rica. One good memory is the day we spent zip lining.

While I was in the haze of beach reading and sloth imitation (based on observation, not conjecture), the kids began to pester me about wanting to go zip lining. All of their classmates who had been to Costa Rica had done this, and should they return without having done so they would be cruelly mocked.

Fine. We will do this, I said. We walked to the outskirts of the town where there was a concession and I signed up for the three of us. Out in front of the building was a cable strung between two trees. I thought we would gear up and take a few runs on this.

As expected the staff fitted us with a climbing harness, a couple of carabiners, leather gloves, and a helmet. The piece of cable out front turned out to be for demonstration purposes. After a brief intro, our guide yelled, "Everybody into the truck."

Turns out the kids were as clueless as I was about the exact nature of zip lining. We all agreed that steel cables were involved, but beyond that we were stumped.

The truck took us up a winding dirt road that climbed a few thousand feet at a steep angle. We got out then hiked up a path another few hundred feet. When we got to the first section of cable we could see a vast expanse of tree tops and the coast several miles below. The cable appeared to disappear into lush jungle with no discernible terminus.

"You go first," the kids decided.

Turns out the zip line experience was a series of 13 cables, some as long as 400 feet, zig-zagging down a hillside between 50 and 100 feet above the ground.

The system felt robust, for after a turn on the cable the staff clipped your carabiner to a saftey cable on the tree platform. We saw some birds, but other wildlife fled in annoyance as we felt compelled to yell as we buzzed (zipped?) down the hill.

I understand why this is a keynote experience. For while I was flying down a cable, all I could see was jungle, sky, and the ocean in the distance, all amplified beyond any normal experience with a thrilling dose of speed.

Here's the surviving footage.



Saturday, January 2, 2016

Costa Rica Excellent Family Vacation

This is the view from the back of the Surf Inn hotel at Playa Hermosa, where we stayed for 8 days. Hard to argue with perfection.
LSS™ and I both turned 50 this year and felt that a significant vacation was in order to celebrate this decade birthday. Part of the protocol of this vacation was that it would not be to visit anybody, gain significant education, or involve strenuous activity unless such was specifically sought by a traveler.

Generally I wanted to read books on the beach, experience nature, and play in the water with the kids. Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica was the winner. We flew to San Jose and motored out to the beach for an excellent experience in large measure because of Christina, the proprietor of Surf Inn Hermosa. She helped us book tours and activities, always with excellent people, and showed no weariness for answering the questions she must have faced hundreds of times.

Front of the hotel.

Back of the hotel.
The kids took surfing lessons and experienced powerful waves in the 85-degree water. On a few days the waves came up and locals put on quite a display of high-octane short-board surfing. We had a GoPro and make this video of more pedestrian water play:

Other excellent activities included a visit to Manuel Antonio National park where we saw the son's (and this blog's) mascot -- the mighty sloth! We saw both two- and three-toed varieties, all in no particular hurry to do much of anything -- always nice when experience meets expectation.

More importantly we enjoyed each other's company, had long meals, drank copious amounts of fruit smoothies, and developed bizarre inside jokes. Mission accomplished!