NFL Wild Card Weekend

Life

Just a few quick thoughts.

Oakland vs Houston should have been an easy win for the Raiders, but Derek Carr is out with a broken leg and their QB will actually be a third string guy. What a shame for such a great team in a great year. As it is now, I really can’t say who will win as both teams are in a QB funk. All things considered, I’m rooting for the Raiders.

Does anyone think that Miami has a chance to beat Pittsburgh? I mean really? You’ve had a great season, marine mammals. But it’s over after this weekend.

Seattle hosting Detroit is one that should be closer than some are saying. But ultimately I expect the home team to win this game, sending Detroit back… to Detroit. Which sounds really depressing to me.

And the highlight of the weekend for any football fan without a rooting interest in the previous three games is the New York Giants at Green Bay. Green Bay won in the regular season, in a lower scoring game. I expect the score to be higher for both teams and I expect to see Green Bay travelling to Dallas next week for the divisional round. #RunTheTable #GoPackGo

Home teams all around. That’s my prediction. To hedge my bet, historically the home teams win on wild card weekend 75% of the time, so one of these predictions will likely fall through. I hope the Packers win, so if I’m to be wrong in any of these predictions, I suspect the Texans could take advantage of a wounded Raiders team.

Well-Protected Yo-Yo Strings

Quick Thoughts

I got a yo-yo in my Christmas stocking, so I bought a 10-pack of yo-yo string from Amazon.com. I actually feel a little bit bad about not adding to that order. I really took advantage of my Prime account. One pack of ten strings!

Anyway, when I got the notification that it had shipped I wondered if it would arrive in a regular envelope or a padded one. Much to my surprise, it arrived yesterday. In a box about twice the size of a shoe box. Stuffed with those big bubble wrap balloons that sound like a shotgun when you stomp on them.

I’m very grateful that they took such care to ensure that my yo-yo strings didn’t get damaged en route to my home. Those FedEx guys have been known to drop packages on my doorstep a bit more forcefully than necessary!

When Escalator Steps Move at a Different Speed than the Handrail

Airing of Grievances

My New Year’s Resolution, decided upon just recently, is to complain more often. If you like, we can call it an “airing of grievances.” Before you correct my attitude or behavior, please know that I am doing this for comedic purposes, not serious ones. If you have read this before, maybe just a day ago, save it. Yes, I understand that the airing of grievances is associated with Festivus. No, I won’t include the unadorned aluminum pole or the feats of strength. Maybe, I will label easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”. What, you demand an unadorned aluminum pole? Fine. I’ll include a picture of one. Good enough.

I was at the mall recently, against my will in case you’re wondering, and I had to change levels, or floors if you will. You’ve done it before. You know what it’s like. You get on the moving steps a little tentatively at first to make sure your Crocs aren’t anywhere close to the edge of the step, then you reach out with your free hand and grasp the safety rail next to you. As you go up (or down if that’s your trajectory) you notice that your hand is no longer right beside you. And by the time you reach the next level of the mall, you find yourself standing at a 45 degree angle, possibly with a dislocated shoulder.

This is completely unacceptable! Do they expect you to let go and reposition your hand as you look at all the next floor of the mall has to offer? Don’t they understand the annoyance of that? Isn’t the customer always right? The whole purpose of an escalator is to move customers from one store to another with minimal effort. The only rational response I have left is to buy a baby stroller so I can take the elevator without looking like I’m too lazy.

/rant

Two Shows Coming to Amazon Prime Video

The Art of the Story

Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have the brand or saturation of Netflix yet but it is rapidly gaining thanks to Amazon’s dominance in online shopping and the quality (if not the quantity) of the shows. People get Prime for the free shipping and a lot of us don’t even think about what’s available in Prime Video.

Well please allow me to direct your attention to two shows that I have enjoyed very much. Shows that will have you directing your smart TV, Roku, game console or connected DVD player toward Amazon the next time you want a good story.

The Man in the High Castle, Season Two

This Amazon original is set in the 1960s, but not the ’60s that you may remember or imagine. The premise of this story is that the USA did not develop the hydrogen bomb or win World War II. Rather, Germany was able to make their own bomb and they ended the war by dropping it on Washington D.C.

In the years following the war, all continental territory of the US (and I believe neighboring countries as well) is under an occupied status. To the west of the Rocky Mountains, the Japanese rule over the people. To the east of the Rockies the Germans control the people. Within the Rockies there is a buffer zone. The Germans and Japanese have a tenuous partnership, and the citizenry is quite literally living in the middle of the way things are and the way they should have been.

There are films that are being passed around the black market. Films that show things that the occupying forces do not want the people to see. And there is a resistance that is trying to get these films to The Man in the High Castle. And nobody seems to know why he would want them or what he would do with him. But it’s important that they arrive. Deathly important.

The story is top notch. The struggle of the characters is felt. You will find yourself loathing and loving the same character at the same time. Season two is coming out soon. Right now would be a great time to watch season one in preparation for it.

The Expanse

The Expanse Season 1 is coming to Amazon Prime on Dec 14th. I watched the season on the SciFy network and it prompted me to buy the book. I know, that’s a bit backwards. But I found that the series is faithful to the book, which makes the nerd in me very happy.

The premise is pretty straightforward. The show happens roughly 200 year in the future. With certain jumps in technology, Earth has begun to explore the solar system. Major leaps in knowledge have been made, but not in understanding or wisdom. Humans are still humans. We have colonized Mars as well as the asteroid belt, and the citizens of Mars have declared independance from Earth. We have also colonized the asteroid belt and begun mining the asteroids for mineral and resource wealth. The belters, likewise, no longer see themselves as citizens of Earth. Three factions, each with their own understandings and misunderstandings, each with a grudge against the other two.

The story is told from the vantage of a police detective on one of the asteroid stations and also from the captain of a small ship. Both found themselves in a mystery that they didn’t ask for and the rabbit hole in each case is much, much deeper than they could have imagined.

Let me be blunt here. If you are still crying that FOX cancelled “Firefly” like I am, you absolutely need to get on board with “The Expanse.” It has been a long time since science fiction this good was presented to us, on the large screen or the small. It is time to invest in the converging stories of “The Expanse.”

Remember the Cabbage Patch Craze?

Life

Do you remember the Cabbage Patch phenomena from 1983? Whenever it is brought up, the first thing I remember is the scenes from this footage. The store clerk with the baseball bat, trying to keep the rabid shoppers from overrunning the store.

The second thing I remember is my grandmother. She was one of the millions of Christmas shoppers who were on the hunt for the doll that captivated that year. And she was searching for more than just one. She had four granddaughters who wanted one, and to give a doll to three of them just wouldn’t do!

In retrospect, I gotta say that my grandma Belva is one tough lady!