“The Gunfighter” is a 9-minute award-winning western comedy. The title character steps into a bar, which sounds like the lead-in to a joke. We hear the narrator telling us what is happening. However, he is not only telling us as the people inside the bar can also hear what he says. The film is raunchy at times, but all so funny with how it twists this classic genre.
“But what you don’t understand Mrs. R, is that I really don’t like math… It’s not rocket science… Besides, I’m going to be an astronaut.” It is hard to argue with a second grader, especially after he has made such a convincing case. Still, you have to try. Anne is nearing the end of her eleven-week gig as a long-term sub / math teacher, just two more weeks to go and in case you were wondering, she is counting every single day. She has been really working her butt off on this assignment, with long hours at school and then mountains of work at home. She had last Friday off, because it was a professional development day, but she still went to school to work on report cards, even though she won’t get paid for it. This week’s agenda includes both report cards and fractions and next week features parent-teachers meetings, which hopefully she will get paid for, because I’m sure she’ll earn it.
Lego Andy Warhol
On Saturday, we walked over to the elementary school for a pancake breakfast fundraiser. It was the first time that I have ever been in the new school. Built on the site of our sons’ old Chaney Elementary, the new building hadn’t been completed until they had moved on. The new school is so airy and bright, much nicer than what our kids had. Lending to this perception, this year’s school as a museum is all about pop art, featuring legends such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and new artists like the Australian team, Pip & Pop. The new buildings, the creative new programs are also in part due to Anne’s efforts. Her volunteer work campaigning for new school bond issues and tax levies have helped to pay for all of these improvements. She was recognized for these efforts a few years back, when she was named Citizen of the Year by the school district.
Pip & Pop Under Black Light
Saturday afternoon, Anne was out canvassing for a new school tax levy. Prop Y will be voted on in April and is needed to maintain the current level of academic achievement, because in the ten years since our youngest son graduated from high school the district student population has grown by almost 40%. Maplewood has become a destination district. At the breakfast, one of Anne’s substitute friends remarked on how brave she must be to go door-to-door and afterwards I had to ask if she would have a partner, which she did. In past campaigns there has been violence and in the current political climate, what with its penis jokes, civility has pretty much gone out the window. We were right to be concerned, because another female door knocker was greeted by an angry and completely naked man, who yelled that no f-ing way would he support the proposition and then slammed the door in her face, which afterwards she decided was a good thing.
The Syfy TV network has renewed the series, “The Expanse” for a second season. This show is a space opera, set 200 years in the future, in the 23rd-century. Mars has been colonized and is its own political entity, separate from Earth and none too friendly with it anymore. The asteroid belt is the next frontier and also a no man’s land. The belters are a discontented lot, living in tin cans will do that. Their current gripe is an unexplained scarcity of water. The dwarf planet Ceres is the capital of the belt, where a downtrodden gumshoe is looking for a girl, read by inference Deckard of “Blade Runner” fame. What he is really looking for though is the show’s McGuffin, who happens to be a missing girl. The series is a bit derivative, but still ably performed and I love the genre and enjoyed watching the three episodes that were available on YouTube. There are flecks of originality in the show, like Mormon missionaries on Ceres and a Martian interrogator who uses drugs to enhance his ability, not to read minds, but faces. And there are themes greater than just the genre, like terrorism, climate change and the current wrestling between the US and China. I had watched the show several weeks ago, but when I came across the latest batch of space tourism posters from NASA’s JPL, I knew that I had to write about it. The line on the poster, “last chance for water…” is just serendipity.
Roll to save! “Critical Role” is a web series that portrays people playing Dungeons and Dragons. That’s right folks, it’s a TV show where you watch other people play D&D. For the uninitiated, think of it as fantasy reality TV. I’m coming pretty late to the scene, since they already have 30+ shows in the can. This show’s shtick, is that they have voice actors, as their on screen talent. The players and especially the DM are great at conjuring voices for and acting out their role playing, but what is even more fun is listening to the out of character repartee among the cast. The players play to the audience in a way that influences game play, but in a good way. Pratfalls are taken good naturedly by the player characters and there is a general realization that the game is just a game. It makes it more fun to watch. I tried watching the first episode, but debut production issues kept getting in the way. I recommend skipping forward, at least to the second episode, where they first enter the dungeon. They are playing 5th edition D&D. The show is LA based. I watched it on YouTube. Beware though, episodes run 2+ hours long. You could easily lose your soul with this show. 😉
No, I don’t have cabin fever, why do you ask? Work was closed today, so I didn’t even have to pretend to be sick. I’ve already called the employee hotline and work will be open tomorrow. I’ve been off work for 17 days now and I am almost looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Maybe I do have a touch of cabin fever?
I did get the cross-country skis out and skied up and down the street a few times. Anne made be come back inside every 15 minutes, she was afraid that I would frostbite my nose off. I used my new Go Pro camera to take the above photo. Thanks again, Jay! Anne wasn’t willing to venture outside today, but she did get some exercise. She did the “7 Minute Workout”, which reminded me of the hitchhiker scene from the movie, Something About Mary. She’ll be off again tomorrow, so maybe she can work up to the “8 Minute Workout”?
Hitchhiker: You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs? Ted: Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the exercise video. Hitchhiker: Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7… Minute… Abs.
I did spend waste a large part of the day online, but I did come across a video where a Wisconsin man turns a pot full of boiling water into snow, simply by tossing it into the air. I had to try to repeat it. He had a temperature of -25 °F to work with, so I wasn’t sure if I could repeat the experiment with this afternoon’s -3 °F. As it turns out, I could, as the following video demonstrates. According to an online article on the subject, boiling water has a greater viscosity than room temperature water. This increased viscosity creates smaller water droplets, which freeze faster than the alternative. The lesson from this science experiment is that unless your temperature has a minus sign in front of it, then it is not really cold where you are. Sorry. And we’re not talking about wind chill here either. These are absolute temperatures. It was -8 °F here this morning.