Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

Tuesdays are $5.00 movie days at Bay Park Cinema just a couple miles up the road from us. So Ben & I went to see Suicide Squad after he was done at work. If I had been smart, I'd have stopped to buy tickets on my way to pick him up. Both the 9:50 and the 10:15 showings were sold out when we showed up about 9:40. We got tickets to the 10:45 show and went home for a bit.

Suicide Squad was all right. It was exciting. There was some really cool imagery. A few laughs. The soundtrack was awesome. Unfortunately, there were too many main characters and not enough story to go around. It would probably have been great as a series. You know, spend an hour or two fleshing out each character's story with a common thread pulling them all to the final epic confrontation. As is, there were some characters that just seemed extraneous. Some story elements that, because they were never developed well and didn't add anything to the climax, could have been skipped altogether. Such as Captain Boomerang or the whole Joker story line. They could have taken those out, used the time to develop other characters and made it a better movie.

If you're looking for some mindless action ... well, you could probably find better. But if you're running out of movies that got good reviews, this one isn't all bad.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Catching up with July

Tabby turned 9!  She had a fun birthday party with Amber & Ella.  Becky took them to Ashwaubomay Park, they came home and played some party games, did some crafting, ate burgers & hot dogs and choreographed some dances with sparklers.  Oh, and played with Tabby's mice.

Mice!?  That's right, Tabby's fish died.  Tabby asked if she could replace him with mice for a pet.  So we got two, Cornflower and Springald, named after mice from Brian Jacques Redwall stories.  We quickly figured out that mice are messy.  Unsanitary.  But they are adorable.  We just keep a bottle of hand sanitizer around all the time.

Ben took a week long kayaking trip up by the Apostle Islands with the young men from church.  They had a great time.

We spent last Saturday at Eau Claire Dells for Ryan Chadderdon's graduation party.

We have some cool news.  This school year we will be hosting a foreign exchange student from Spain.  His name is Santiago and he'll be senior at Ashwaubenon High School.  He actually lives in Paris, has for a few years, but was born in Barcelona.  His father's career took them to Paris.  We are really excited.  Should be a fantastic experience for our family and, I hope, for Santiago as well.

Other than that it's just been entertaining watching the election.  I have stopped being shocked by what Donald Trump says.  It's just too absurd.  I tell myself he's too much a buffoon to win.  Then I remember that after watching GWB be a bad president for four years, we still reelected him.  I guess maybe we get the president we deserve.  I just hope we're not so debased that we deserve a Trump presidency.

The only thing that's really driving me nuts is Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson trying to pass himself off as some sort of centrist alternative for both disaffected Republicans and Democrats.  His line is that, "If everyone who says he doesn't like the major party candidates voted for me, I'd win."  Which may be true, but makes the pretty big assumption that everyone who doesn't like Trump or Clinton would like him.  Which is not true. Disaffected Democrats would find themselves very unhappy with a Libertarian President.

His social policy isn't liberal, it's laissez-faire.  His foreign policy isn't liberal, it's isolationist.  His most convincing argument to attract disaffected Democrats is "Dude, we'll let you smoke weed!"  I'm not even sure that's really a liberal issue anymore and I kinda' hope my fellow Democrats want more from their president.

I do think Johnson is a good, viable alternative to Donald Trump for disaffected Republicans.  Johnson's view on the proper size and role of government jives really well with theirs. Which shouldn't be a surprise. Johnson is a Republican, just running as a Libertarian after running as a Republican didn't work out for him.

I like Hillary Clinton for President.  She's just a very capable politician.  I think she'd do the job well.  I'm a Democrat because I like the Democratic view on the role of government and that means electing Clinton.  Tabby is thrilled that a woman might get elected president and I think that's pretty awesome, too. That shouldn't be THE factor in electing her, but it could certainly be A factor. During the last school year on a bad homework day, Tabby actually told me she didn't have to worry about her math homework because "Math is for boys.  Art is for girls."  I guess that's the societal stereotype.  Unintentionally, we reinforce that in our home and it is so limiting for Tabby to really believe that.  It struck me how important social role models are.  I want so badly for Tabby to see strong, successful women in every field.

I started reading Brandon Sanderson's second Mistborn trilogy.  Finished Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning.  I really like them.  I'm looking forward to book 3 as soon as he writes it.  They read like noir detective novels with steampunk elements.  And the heroes and villains have superpowers. They're fun.  And well written.  With cool characters.  This trilogy takes the same characters from Sanderson's Alloy of Law, a book he wrote because he wanted to write a Western.  But he brings the characters out of the wild frontier and into an industrial revolution age city setting.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Vacation Photos

June 28th we started our Summer vacation.  First stop was Omaha, NE to visit Becky's Grandma & Grandpa Chadderdon.  We ate out at Godfather's Pizza and had a nice time.



We drove a couple hours further, stayed at a hotel in York, NE.  Then next day we drove across Wyoming.  There's a "historic marker" sign off  I80 right next to a lone tree that I've always made fun of as we drove past, "Hey, look!  A tree!  In Wyoming!"  This time we actually stopped to see what it was and found it the marker was actually because it's a tree growing out of a rock.  Moreover, it was used as a landmark for railway men back when the rails ran right along where the highway now is.

I'll probably continue to make fun of it, though, because you know, Wyoming.


We spent a very nice evening at our niece, Christie's, place in Rock Point, WY.  She took us for a walk to a nearby park where Becky caught some pictures of a fabulous sunset.


On Thursday we arrived earlier than than rental place was available, so we checked out a dinosaur park in Ogden, UT.  There was a museum indoors and some paths around the park lined with dinosaur models.  Including one of the fearsome MARSHOSAURUS!!!  Apex predator of its domain!


It was a pretty cool park. We had fun there.



The rental place my sister, Jennifer, lined up for us was up Ogden Canyon a little past Pineview Reservoir.  It was very a very pretty place.  Becky caught some deer on camera a couple blocks away from our place.


 Friday morning was time for a hike up Waterfall Canyon.  I'm sure that for any serious hikers, the trail is a breeze.  For a group of, I dunno', like 25 with old people (that would be me & Becky, the oldest two in our group) and little kids, it was good exercise.  The first quarter mile or so is pretty exposed.  It was hot, but level, easy walking.  After that the trail got steeper, a little more rocky, but also a lot more shaded with a nice stream running alongside it.  About a 1.5 miles up there is a cool little waterfall.  Also a zipline.  $30 for a there and back ride on the line.  None of us did it, but it sure looked cool.


Ellie, Elizabeth and Tabby were virtually inseparable the whole weekend.





Funny thing.  Becky was so vigilant making sure that we all had shoes appropriate for walking up a canyon.  Then when we actually did so, she forgot to put hers on and didn't notice until we were far enough up that she didn't want to go pack to the parking lot to get them out of the car.  Not only was she the oldest in our group, but she made it up the canyon in her hiking sandals! Way to go Becky!


After the hike we all got cleaned up and met at Memory Grove in Salt Lake City for family pictures.

Color coordinated by family, of course.




Facebook sometimes labels Ben as his cousin, Adam.








Joined by Katie, they became ... the Four Amigas!



Boy cousins are weird.




 On the way back from the pictures there was a beautiful sunset over the mountains.




Most of the day Saturday we just hung out playing games.  It was very relaxing.

That evening my aunt Diane invited a bunch of family to her place for dinner.  It was a nice time.  I got to see some family I haven't in a very long time.




Sunday morning we spent some time at Jeremy's.  Tabby had a great time with Leah and Katie & Peaches.


Sunday evening we stayed at my parent's house.  Watched The Martian.  Good movie.

On the Fourth of July we watched Galaxy Quest because it's awesome and Isaac Penrod (who also was at my parents' place) had never seen it.

Then that evening we went over to Joel's place for a grill out.  While we waited for the firework time, Becky took Tabby & Elizabeth to the park.  The rest of us stayed home and watched Captain America.  Because AMERICA!


We watched fireworks from Joel's balcony which had an awesome view of the Salt Lake Valley.  Fireworks went off non-stop for hours.  So many I couldn't even tell where community firework displays were happening.  It was really cool.


Tuesday we drove all the way back to Omaha.  Yay having four drivers in the car.  Wednesday we arrived back in Milwaukee to drop off Sam at about 5:30 PM, or so and then got home to Green Bay about two hours later.

It was a great vacation.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pictures!

I finally(!) got around to selecting some pictures to put online.  Man it's been a long time.

Back in January we took a family trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  I think the dolphin show was everyone's favorite.






Coming back from the Shedd, we stopped in Milwaukee to pick up Jack's new puppy, Annie.  Jack had her for a trial period before figuring out that he wasn't home with Annie enough time to really take care of her well.  So he doesn't have her anymore.  She was cutie though.


Winter was winter.  It wasn't too bad.  We had a few cold snaps, but mostly the temperature stayed above zero.



Tabby decided the space under our neighbor's pine tree was her snow fort.




On Sam's 19th birthday we met at Jack's place in Sheboygan for games and cake.  Taylor Chadderdon joined us, since she was living in Sheboygan at the time for an internship at Kohler company.




Jack still had Annie at the time and she was still a hit.



We went to Jack's place for Easter, too.  Took a family picture.


Becky went to Michigan to take engagement photos for Amanda and her fiance, Chris.




This picture cracks me up.  I mean I get it.  He's a cop, she's caught him.  But you know, a picture a thousand words, marriage, handcuffs.  The picture makes me laugh.


While Becky was there she got some cool winter lake pictures.



And some fun family pictures, like this one of Amanda's son, Axel, with his great grandma Chadderdon.

Spring finally arrived!  We had some rabbits living in our neighborhood.  Tabby actually got to pet one that was young enough that it hadn't yet figured out it should run from everything.


We took an outing to the Barkhausen water fowl preserve just north of Green Bay.  There were so many turtles out sunning themselves.


Tabby brought one of her best friends, Amber.



Chris is from New York.  Becky and Tabby went out there for the wedding and had a great time in the city.









And at the beach.


And somewhere on the trip back.


Becky has got some great early summer pictures here in Green Bay.




Becky and I spent our anniversary (24 years!) in Chicago.


The Field Museum had a display on the first emperor of China.  There was a special display of his Terracotta Warriors.


We wandered through Chicago's Blues Fest.


We wandered a lot up and down Grant Park and its neighborhood.



We found a flu bug. LOL.


Tabby stayed at Grandma and Grandpa Chadderdon's place in Wisconsin Rapids while we were in Chicago.  When we got back and went to pick her up we had a nice afternoon with them at Lake Wazeecha.