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A Word About Dannah

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My friend Dannah (Russell) Jones died this past Friday morning, after collapsing following exercise the night before.  She was thirty-eight years old.

I met Dannah when we were freshmen at Georgetown College in 1997.  She was a self-proclaimed "military brat" lately of Dayton, Ohio.  She had a spark of life, humor, and intelligence.  She made some friends, but she wasn't a "joiner."  If Dannah didn't like you, you'd know about it.

That entire freshmen year, Dannah and her roommate Crystal hung out often with me and my roommate Charlie.  We'd knock around the greater Lexington, KY area in her Hyundai Accent 2-door hatchback, Charlie and I smashed into the back seat.  The first (and only) time I ever saw Titanic we went in her car.

As people do, we parted ways.  I decided to bury my heart in work, where it would stay for the next 15 years and Dannah apparently went to to a career at NASA and other concerns in Alabama.

She loved her family like she lo…

Review: Baby Driver

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Much as it takes a symphony in multiple movements to fully exercise an orchestra, Edgar Wright's Baby Driver fully exercises film as a systemic input to your brainstem. I left exhausted, happy, and eager to see it again. Act I, Take Me Away! Act 1 is Wright's original concept writ large: "Baby" is a getaway driver, and we see a contender for the best getaway scene in film set perfectly to a soundtrack. This is the overture, the who, what, and where. There's almost no dialog--just searing "wow....Wow....WOW!!!!!"

Then from that allegro, an adagio: A minutes-long scene shot as a SINGLE FOLLOWING SHOT with lyrics from a song visually embedded throughout.  Once my brain got it, it was this surreal joy, all from an unassuming kid going for coffee down a street.

Per IMDB, this shot took 28 takes to get, and it seems a miracle it took that few.

Act 1 closes with the divvying up of the money, the thieves going their separate ways, with John Hamm's greasy, …

Down

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I've just been having a rough time lately.

I'm like an overstuffed Tupperware and me trying to close the lid and put one foot in front of the other isn't working so well in the past few days.

This is me attempting to talk that out, to myself.

To begin: My sixteen-year-old stepson chose not to live with us, and the Kentucky judiciary has supported that decision.  Months of preparation and legal wrangling resulted to a seven minute conversation in chambers.  That was a month ago, June 8th, and the reality of it settles upon me a little more each day.  It's all just sadness and anger, and it comes out at inconvenient times for no apparent reason.

Sometime in August, I'll put the kid I swore to love on a plane and send him back to a bad situation because ultimately he chose that over being part of our family.  Maybe if I write that sentence a thousand times I'll understand it.

Everyone in my family has accepted the above reality, and I've had a year to get r…

The reality of the next car purchase

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I haven't bought a car for myself since 2008, at which time I bought an eighteen year old car I never should have sold.

In the intervening ten years, I've had two cars, both welcome hand-me-downs from my wife:  The Camry-of-Doom and Sparky, my current 2010 Ford Fusion.
Having moved to Austin, paid-off my wife's Sienna minivan, and begun to sock-away some funds for a new ride, it seems time to consider what's next.
Idly checking KBB.com, I noticed my Fusion's worth has nose-dived from around $9000 during the $4/gallon fuel days to roughly $2000.  There are other things: Some electrical gremlins are popping up.  The traction control system was inoperative for an entire day, then fixed itself.The tire pressure systems likewise seems to be dying.  Likely this is just dying batteries in the in-wheel sensors, but still.The Sync system seems more an more reluctant to work with my iPhone.  Every iPhone firmware update makes this worse, it seemsIt's not as safe as a newe…

Fathers: Never Give up. Never surrender.

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I kid you not, this is like the Winston Churchill "never give up" speech for me.

Wow.

No 'Bite' today

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"You've lost the bite in the bit!" my dad yelled.

"Huh?"

I was about nine and we were installing a swinging gate on our farm, drilling two holes in this gigantic post my father sunk into the ground in front of our tobacco barn.   I was excited to be helping him, since I was a general doughy screw-up (his pre-conversion past time was calling me 'Lardy').

Anyway, I'd been using the brace and bit apparatus because we were probably 100 yards from the nearest electrical outlet.  It was a neat hand tool: You basically put the drill bit where you wanted a hole, put your shoulder to the knob at the back, then turned it until you bored the hole desired....

...unless, that is, unless the drill bit lost its 'bite'.  The front of the bit had to be cutting fresh wood.  Mine was spinning uselessly.  There was little to do but withdraw the bit from the hole, clear out the debris, and begin again while pressing much harder.

* * *

All that to say: That'…

Dr Who Series 10: Bill Saves the Day?

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So, after the dirge that was series nine--Clara's gone, yay!--we waited.

We waited since DECEMBER 25, 2015.  We noticed there'd be a new companion and she'd be "cool and different".  We heard Moffat was leaving.  We noted Capaldi was bowing-out.  None of these were good signs.

This sounded much like Poochie had come to the Whoniverse



Thus far, it would seem that's entirely wrong. 
Bill's a (slightly unintelligible) delight, and Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor is now....well....spry.  Wiping his memory clean of dour Clara seems like it made him whole again, like he's once again the madman in the box, with all of Time and Space.
Want to take a ride?  For the first time since Matt Smith's 11th hung-up his bowtie and fez, the answer seems to be: "YES!"
The first two episodes have been small, almost in the way that Series 1 and its zero-budget was small.  In "The Pilot," we're largely stuck on earth, learning who the doctor is wi…