6.21.2017

THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP #2


Blog Service Announcement

I've been making some changes to my blog presence lately and that gets translated out into different platforms in different ways. My primary focus has always been about the look and the usability on a desktop (web version). I've done my best to make the mobile version a clean and simple experience that matches the web version. I also offer an email option for those who would like my posts delivered to their inbox. I have even less control in how the email version comes across. The more I learn about and have tweaked my presence with these different platforms, the better I'm able to give a more cohesive experience among them.

This is still a work in progress (and it will most likely be so in perpetuity, since I tinker and change things often). For example, I placed two videos in "THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP #1," and they did not show up in the emailed post. Please know that I'm working to make my websites and posts fully functional in all of the platforms I make available. It will take time. I could have it done professionally, and there would be no problems. It would cost money that wouldn't get recouped through my web presence. So... anyone want to send donations? GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Patreon seem to be the way to get money from the public these days. I'm determined to keep my websites free of outside advertisement.


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Sweet Dreams

Something one of the kids said to me recently made me think of this clip, and so I thought I would share it here. Email subscribers can use this link to view the imbedded video.




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The Special Lunch

My daughter requested a special lunch on her last day of school two weeks ago. I obliged her the night before and packed a special lunch, zipped up her lunch bag, and wrote a note, which in part stated that I had packed her a special lunch.

I was at work before anyone in the house was awake, so I wasn't able to witness what was going to unfold that morning. My wife told me that my daughter was so confident that I had packed her an awesome, special lunch that my daughter didn't bother checking and proceeded to put it in her book bag. My wife intervened and asked her if she thought she should check it. My wife shot a video of the unveiling and sent it to me.

In a nutshell, she didn't like it very much. It actually angered her. As she unpacked it, she said things like, "Really, dad?" Once she was finished unpacking the special lunch, she boldly stated, "Dad, you suck!" It WAS special by definition. I did as she asked. I wrote her a note expressing my feelings. She often expresses herself to us in notes.


So, what was in the lunch? A can of green beans, a container of garlic powder, blueberry pancake mix, and two plastic spiders. (My wife added the spiders.) Sounds special to me!


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Shine That Spotlight, You Crazy Diamond

This week I'd like to highlight my neighbor, Elisha. She has been a great neighbor and she and her husband have helped my family out plenty since they've moved in. I hope we've come close to helping them out half as much.

She's been working on finishing her graphic design degree, raising two kids, working at college doing things related to her degree, and she's starting to get clients for work in graphic design. She has been doing photography professionally for many years already. Considering her husband has a full plate himself and is in the military, she manages to do a lot well.

Elisha has a company for her photography and graphic design and is looking for your business.

She's got a website you should check out. Elisha-Johnson.com

And a Facebook page for you to Like and Follow. @ElishaJohnsonDesign


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Take A Dip In Shimmer Lake

If you haven't seen the Netflix movie, Shimmer Lake, do yourself a favor and watch it. Seriously. If you don't have Netflix, find a friend who does and strongly suggest (to the point of literal arm twisting) that you watch it together. I guess you'll have to see if you agree.

I won't be giving any of the story away, and that's best done by not talking about it here. What I will say, and what will also help you understand the movie better from the git-go, is that it's told in reverse, so keep your mind on the details, friends.


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Huh Muh Nuh Ma-nuh?

I'll avoid going on too long, so I'll wrap it up. I've set aside a handful of whatnots and thingbots for the next installment. I will leave you with a "lighter" clip than the one I placed earlier in this post. Maybe, it will make you dance? Can you at least smile, damnit?! Email subscribers! Click here for video enjoyment.





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6.13.2017

THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP #1


EXPLAIN! EXPLAIN! EXPLAIN!



THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP is an idea that came along simultaneously with the name. For the record, it really isn't a reference to a daily bathroom habit, pooping. Me being me and you being you means we will giggle at this because it is childishly funny. (But only briefly, because if we giggle too long, it might get weird.) What the name actually refers to is a dumping of accumulated information. I could have replaced dump with download or some other trendy, slick word, but I went with dump. It is funny. It does have a double meaning, even if unintended.

The "not so" part of the name is probably what you think it means. Will it be daily? Hell no. I've got no time for that. Will there be some kind of schedule it will be on? No to that as well, minus the hell. So why the name? What does it mean? I'm getting to that.

The concept behind this is as follows. Posts with this title and number (in a series) will consist of multiple mini-posts. Perhaps one of those mini-posts will turn into a bigger post later. Maybe, I just wanted to mention something and a paragraph or two or three was plenty. The best way to convey what one means is by showing, so I will try and show.

Will this concept be short-lived on this blog? Depends on your time scale, I guess. Most things are short-lived in comparison to the almost, and quite possibly, infinite life of the universe. However, it will outlast the lifespan of a mosquito. I've got that going for me. Mosquitoes are assholes.


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Broken Down Tractors Are NOT Sexy

This year, not so long ago, I wrote a post about getting a used riding tractor. Just recently, last week, it died on me and as much as I or the next door neighbor tried, we couldn't figure out why. We couldn't get it to start, let alone turn over very much. My wife reached out to an uncle who lives close by and is experienced with engines. She also contacted the man we bought it from, John, since he, too, is experienced with engines. Also, we bought it from him, so maybe he knew about something we didn't.

Well, Uncle Bob got it sorted out Sunday afternoon, and it's running again. One of the valve push rods had come loose and the other push rod got bent due to the movement of the engine running. He straightened it out, literally, and put it back together.

It's always good to be reminded that there are people in my life willing to help me out. I don't have an expertise in many things (maybe nothing), but both Uncle Bob and John and my neighbor were willing to check it out and at least give me information I wouldn't have been able to manifest alone. I might have to show them my gratitude beyond a 'thank you' and a high-five.


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Shine That Spotlight, You Crazy Diamond

One thing in particular that I wanted to accomplish with this feature, THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP, was to highlight other people I know. It could possibly come about that I run out of people to highlight. I'm not your average shmoozer, shmoozing around parties and 'it' people. But, I do know people who are out in the world doing their best and trying to make their mark in their own way. I know a lot of awesome people, and I want to share them with you!

The first person I want to highlight is my wife, because well, she's my wife. I've mentioned it before, but she started running seriously about a year ago, and she decided to start documenting her running experience with a blog this year. She's talented in many ways, has always been as supportive of me and my craziness as she can be, but for this post, I'm recognizing her for the running stuff. It takes hard work, focus, dedication, and drive to accomplish great things.

Check out her blog, Running on Empty, at christinesedam.com.

Like her page, Running on Empty Blog, on Facebook.


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The Night Of

I don't have a whole post's worth of words to comment on this HBO limited series, but I did want to bring it up here on THE NOT SO DAILY DUMP. Because, that's the point to this feature.

I had an idea about what the show was about before I started watching it with my wife. I'm not exactly sure, but I think that is what partly caused the odd feeling in my gut the first few episodes—having an idea of what was coming in the first episode, and then seeing how things can go totally wrong and spiral out of control.

I will happily admit that I'm glad the show was only eight (one hour) episodes. There are plenty of shows I currently watch and want to watch to keep me televisually satisfied for years. It's nice to watch a series you can get into with greater depth knowing there won't be a cliff hanger or unfinished business at the end. However, I would not consider the ending either a happy or unhappy one. Just numb emptiness, really.

You may be asking, "Why would I want to feel that way?" Because, art is life and life is art. You feel it, brah?





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6.05.2017

The Scandalous Lives Of Frog And Toad


Last year, I wrote a post about a play that I attended at the Children's Theater. I won't be getting into that because you could obviously just read it. But, much like the situation surrounding last year's event, this one was also a Girl Scout sponsored night that was a prize for Super Sellers. This year's play was "A Year With Frog and Toad."

Even though we only had three tickets, we all went to the Children's Theater. My wife and toddler son, much like last year, were going to peruse the adjoining Minnesota Institute of Art. Fortunate for us, not everyone who attends needs three tickets, and a woman asked my wife if she'd like her extra ticket. We said yes, of course. In hind sight, we probably didn't need an extra ticket and could've showed up with no tickets and still have watched the show. Whether it was lax security, a general trust of others, or the fact that the theater wasn't quite full, no one seemed concerned about making sure everyone there was authorized.

So, unlike last year, my wife and toddler son were able to attend, even if it was in the 'quiet room' in the back. I was happy she was able to see most of the show, since she plays a big part in my daughter being able to be a Super Seller in the first place. I help sell at work and my numbers aren't shabby at all, but I'm neither motivated nor willing to take my efforts to the level my wife is willing to. And like I told my wife that night, we all suffer during Girl Scout season. We all should be able to go to the play. There are always empty seats.

So, I sat in the third row with the Girl Scout and her oldest brother, sitting between them to keep the peace. After we established our dominance and fought off another parent and child who were trying to take the same seats, my daughter and son went down to the stage to observe the orchestra pit before the show. I stayed with our seats, baring my teeth and growling so that the others respected my turf.

My daughter did what my daughter does and made a new best friend. I don't know how it all went down, but they became besties while exploring the front of the stage at the beginning of the show. Perhaps part of the reason had something to do with her mother and brother sitting next to us during the show, but I don't think they met until we had already picked our seats and the kids were stage bound. Her BFF's little brother got booted from his original seat so the girls could sit by each other. Maybe, someday, they will reunite and have ALL of the fun. It could be next year. One thing is certain, though. If they couldn't remember each other's names that night, they probably won't when the day they reunite comes.

As with last year, intermission was stocked with cookies and drinks for attendees. Buying was an option, but with every ticket came a cookie and drink voucher, and that was good enough for us. Having experience with the event, my wife was already trying to come up with how we could make everything run more smoothly. Whether or not it was an option last year, we found out that the vouchers could be used to obtain the goods before the show. So, that is how it went down and when intermission began, we went to the lobby where the kids could begin snacking immediately.

This year, a staff member of the Children's Theater seemed to take a shining to us, or rather to my toddler son. During the show, she was stationed by the 'quiet room' and was able to observe and interact with him. When we came out to the lobby, just outside of the theater doors, she stayed and chatted with us. It seemed to me that she has cerebral palsy, in part because she needed a motorized wheelchair. My toddler son must have thought she was lucky to have a set of wheels to drive around in. He's been getting more and more interested in "cars" and the sounds they make. He kept pointing to her chair and making a bbbmmm bbbmmm sound. Then, she would honk and he'd say beep beep. All the while, he was in his own set of non-motorized wheels (the stroller).

After intermission, I went back down to our seats and chased off scavengers, while my daughter and son went down to the orchestra pit to hang out with the other rowdy kids. My son lingered a bit too long and was asked to go back to his seat moments before the second half began. It's a good thing it wasn't me. He just might have had a melt down. It's always hard to know.

He was mostly well-behaved throughout the show, asking if the show was over every time it got dark. That made sense as the show got closer to the end, but I swear the first of many times he asked was ten minutes in. I told him that the lights would be more likely to turn on than off if the show was over. He also felt the need to tell me towards the end of the show that his seat felt like a chair, you know, like, a real chair. I found that odd. Is six old enough to worry about whether or not drugs were involved, you know, to 'enhance' the experience? Probably.

My wife, as she had already planned before we arrived at the Children's Theater, got in line for autographs before the show was over. She was the first person in line, as she was the first person to leave the theater.  Autographs don't mean a whole lot to me, but I think it's important for the kids beyond a mere signature. It puts them within touching distance of people they just watched do something out of the ordinary, something that takes guts and practice. They can talk to them and feel important because the performers talk back. It provides that little bit of extra inspiration to do extraordinary things themselves. It makes the night twice as memorable. That's what I think, at least.

I was able to go to the Children's Theater with my daughter earlier this year on a class field trip. We watched them perform a version of the Dr. Seuss book, Sneetches. One of the two main characters in "Sneetches" was also the man who played Toad. I noticed this right away, in part because he has a unique singing voice, but also because he looks like himself. I made my daughter aware of this and she was able to bring up that tidbit when she got his autograph. The little things.

(I just realized right now as I'm writing this that Frog was also in "Sneetches." He played the entrepreneur, McBean, who had the star-off/on machine. Then again, maybe all of the cast was in "Sneetches." Also, Frog was the only cast member not present at the signing.)

The cast for this show was really small, five people. The three people that weren't Frog or Toad played the rest of the characters and it worked well. I'm sure it's just par for the stage and such, but it was still interesting that they pulled off all of the acting with five people. Last year's production, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and "Sneetches" had a considerably larger amount of people. Regardless, the sets and backdrops for 'Frog and Toad' weren't lacking in the least despite the minimal cast size.

I don't know how I'd rank these shows in relation to each other, but considering I don't like ranking in the first place, I guess it doesn't really matter. After the first half of the show, I remember thinking that I enjoyed the two previous shows more at that point. After the play was over, I walked away from an experience I enjoyed, my family enjoyed, and that's all that mattered.

Hey! We got home and got the kids to bed sooner than we thought we would. Still, the morning (and work) came too early. C'est la vie.





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