Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Goals I Probably Won't Achieve, May Not Achieve, and Already Have Achieved

Probably Won't:

My goal at KN@PPSTER is to average one blog post per day.

This is my 319th post of 2017.

I suppose I could try to knock out 46 posts in the next 12.x days, but I'm not going to do that just to be able to say I got in my 365 for the year.

May Not:

Among my resolutions for 2017 were to log 1,000 miles of bicycle riding and 300 miles of walking on the Charity Miles app, a cool app that lets you turn workouts into charitable donations via sponsors.

Unfortunately, shortly after I announced that goal, the app stopped working on my phone. As soon as I opened it, it would close with an error. After some research, I decided to go with Strava to log my miles ... and then I got lazy, both with the logging and the biking/walking.

I don't know the real numbers, so I don't know whether or not I'll make the goals. My educated guess is "no" -- that when the year closes out, I will have walked (as workouts) between 180 and 200 miles and biked between 600 and 700. So I'm planning to recycle that goal for 2017.

The other day, I decided to re-install Charity Miles on my phone. The latest version is even nicer than the original, and it's working on my phone again. So now I'm running Charity Miles and Strava when I walk or ride.

Already Have:

My goal for The Garrison Center was to have its op-eds picked up by mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications at least 1,000 times in 2017. That number is already in the rearview mirror. In fact, I think there's a better than even chance that it will hit 1,100.

Civics Education, Homeschool/Unschool Style

So yesterday, I put on the live stream of the Federal Communications Commission's session in which they were going to vote to end "Net Neutrality." I was somewhat surprised when my 16-year-old son came in, recognized what it was and why I had it on, and sat down and watched. I knew he'd been following the issue, but not how closely.

Of course, his commentary on the hearing itself ranged from "is that woman ever going to shut up so they can vote?" during one of the commissioners' interminable speeches (which included a Cheshire Cat metaphor leading into a verbal stumble culminating in the the memorable phrase "however they conjugate that")  to "oh, for crying out loud, how long can this take?" when the room was cleared for security theater purposes.

But I'm guessing that most 16-year-olds don't take it upon themselves to sit through FCC hearings in the first place, so his irritability with the slowness of proceedings doesn't strike me as odd. I'd even say it's evidence for what every parent wants to think ("my kid isn't most 16-year-olds"). He's been pressing us to let him take the GED so he can start college. And his elder sibling is gainfully employed while mulling EMT training versus nursing school.

Childe KN@PPSTER to The Dark Tower Came

I was stoked to see The Dark Tower on the big screen. Then it actually came out and 1) I was busy, 2) the reviews were terrible, 3) etc. Finally sat down and watched it at home last night.

Warning: One exceedingly minor spoiler which you probably either already know about or won't care about.

One-sentence review: Solid movie, for what it is.


What it is not is a novelization of The Gunslinger, the first novel in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Its Wikipedia entry claims that it "serves as a canonical sequel to the novel series, which concludes with the revelation that Roland's quest is a cyclical time loop." Which is a smooth way of saying "we bit off more than we could chew for one movie, and with sequel/TV series potential there was no way we were gonna kill off the kid, so we changed a bunch of stuff and used a plot loophole in the books to justify it."

But what the heck, that explanation works. Same universe. Same characters. Similar, but not identical, plot. Yeah, time loop, that's it.

Some fans got their knickers in a twist when the filmmakers cast Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, who is definitely white in the novels. One person who wasn't upset was Stephen King. I didn't have a strong opinion until I saw the movie, and now my opinion is that Elba nailed the role.

Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, aka Walter Padick, aka Randall Flagg: Perfect.

My first personal visual image of what Flagg would look/sound/act like was, for some reason, James Woods. I've got nothing against Jamey Sheridan and he did a fine job as Flagg in The Stand, but it didn't click with me. As soon as I heard McConaughey's name in the casting, I was like "why didn't I think of that?" And he owns it, completely. So long as McConaughey lives, there should never be another King film adaptation with a Flagg incarnation played by anyone else.

So, okay: What I really wanted was an eight-film blockbuster cycle that was resolutely faithful in every detail. But I doubt I was ever going to get that, and this version does deliver both as a story of its own and as a nicely done slice of the Dark Tower pie.

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