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Showing posts from 2018

The Ice Storm

Twenty-eight years ago today was, of course, another Valentine's Day. It was also the day that a great ice storm swept through Champaign County, laying waste to the urban centers of Champaign-Urbana. I was a resident of Champaign at the time, and remember it (mostly) well, though certain exact details are now lost to memory.
February of 1990 saw me living on the north side of town. Mom and I (and her then-partner and step-kids) had moved over to a house in north Champaign. My maternal grandmother, Gummy, having recently moved back to town from Wisconsin, rented a small, cozy house in Urbana. My father still lived in Champaign, in a condo in the south part of town.

Numbers Game

"Recently, I've become aware that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind."
- Jean-Luc Picard

Back in December, I pontificated on what my 42nd birthday meant to me at the time. Turns out those were more immediate thoughts. During the intervening month-and-half since that birthday, a more long-term state of mind has come to the fore. Thoughts of life and of death, time behind and time ahead, have been been swirling in my mind of late. At this point, it is unclear if they are temporary, or if they're here to stay, perhaps needing to be dislodged by some sort of life-decisions?

My father died aged 52. I was 21 at the time, and remember -- during those hazy days between his death and the flurry of visitation and funereal proceedings -- that would give me another 31 years, if I were to make it to his age before life ended. It's one of those things we can't help but do, comparing ourselves to our parents, in all our -- and their -- facets. Or is it just me?…

The Presidents of the United States

Tonight is the State of the Union, where the President of the United States addresses Congress and the nation about where the county's at, and where it's going. Sometimes I watch, sometimes not. Regardless, I've been fascinated by the office of president for over thirty years.
In kindergarten, I had slim volume titled The Book of the Presidents, and it featured lush, color paintings and photographs -- along with bios -- of every president up through Reagan (then the current office holder). I read it for days.
In honor of that book, of my long-time interest in the presidency, and of the State of the Union, here are my rankings of the Top 10 presidents of the United States, presented without comment.
1. Abraham Lincoln 2. Franklin D. Roosevelt 3. Thomas Jefferson 4. James Madison 5. Dwight D. Eisenhower 6. Barack Obama 7. George Washington 8. Theodore Roosevelt 9. John F. Kennedy 10. John Adams

I almost included LBJ instead of Adams, but these lists are all a bit haphazard,…

Apologies and Thank Yous

We live our lives with gratitude and regret. Well, perhaps not everyone does, but I certainly do. So often I will replay events in my mind, thinking how they could have been handled better. Even when there are seemingly positive, successful episodes, it doesn't take long to stop and wonder if there was something I'd missed that could have made them worse than I remember. Perhaps I fall too far on one of the spectrum when it comes to self-doubt, though, if we're being honest, I wish it were more widespread.
It feels like, all too often, we go through life without giving enough thought to others around us, and the impact we have upon them. Of course, we are almost always cognizant of when others treat us poorly or well, but how often are we truly self-aware? How often do we stop, reflect, and think, 'I could have handled that situation better?' Taking it a step further, how often do we apologize to someone for something we've done to them? How often do we actual…

Busy Bees

Recently I was talking with a friend who all but apologized for referring to themselves as "busy," when there were other people out there doing more things than they were. I sometimes feel the same way, or, perhaps worse, will find myself judging others who -- in my jaded opinion -- aren't doing as much as they could be. It's a vicious cycle of internalized comparisons that, frankly should probably stop.
From an early age we're taught (well, most of us) that it is good to be busy. There's that old saying: The devil finds work for idle hands. You'll hear about some folks doing more in the early morning hours than others -- who aren't even awake yet -- do in an entire day. We nod our heads approvingly, standing back in admiration at the awesome productivity of our fellow humans. We'll look at someone who juggles (the word "juggles" is almost always used) a plethora of different things in their daily life. Busyness, dear reader, is to be a…

Podcastin'

It's time for another edition of our Mashley at the Movies film review podcast! Episode 3 sees us discuss the new horror movie Insidious: The Last Key, with our friend Garret. You can listen to the podcast here. Hope you enjoy.

Pic of the Week

Our first Pic of the Week for 2018 is UK diver Daniel Goodfellow.



Podcastin'

It's a new year, and time for a new medium. Regular readers of this blog will know how much I enjoy watching movies. I am forever ranking films, across all genres and sub-genres, and one of my longtime goals has been to present a more immediate, accessible version of (my) film opinion. Enter the Mashley at the Movies podcast!
Ashley & I are trying out this new (for us) format, and time will tell how it does. Our inaugural podcast is a review for the exquisite film Call Me By Your Name, and it can be found here. We've done more, to kick things off, for All the Money In the World. That review can be found here.
It is unclear how frequent these podcasts will be. Last year, we saw over fifty movies, so one per week wouldn't -- with that number -- be out of the question. But, every year is different. And, of course, the podcast will need to be somewhat good for us to continue. There will need to be value for the listener.
At any rate, please give a listen to the first two …