The Year Ahead

Let’s start out 2016 with some goals, shall we?

Last year we spied our dream home on Zillow and in a matter of weeks, somehow managed to turn our dated mid-century ranch into something beautiful; something that someone would actually want to buy. We busted our asses to make magic happen while aligning a thousand moving pieces in order to end up at that closing table in May, and damn…I’m amazed every day.

That’ll be tough to beat in 2016. But, fuck it….let’s give it a whirl.

This list won’t include the obvious goals:

  • Be happy, healthy, and kind
  • Be a good husband and father
  • Read more, see more, learn more
  • Floss
These are mostly personal goals; things on my bucket list.  Me with a sense of accomplishment is a lot more fun to be around than me with not a goddamn thing to show for anything so the family will benefit by proxy if not directly involved.

  1. Write a short story.
  2. That is, come up with an idea, write it down, finish it…and NOT throw it away.

  3. Complete a short film with the boys.
  4. Even if it’s five minutes long staring toilet paper tube puppets. Let’s do this thing.

  5. Start making music again.
  6. Play guitar for at least 30 minutes a week. Start there. Get hooked. Get the boys hooked. Build a band. Even if we never finish a song.

  7. Get caught up on photo editing.
  8. I still have piles of shots from 2012 to get through. Gonna need a few sprints of laser-focus and strong drink.

  9. Complete quotation application.
  10. The whole thing. Get it out on Azure or use Xamarin and get it in the App Store. Start to finish. Get it done.


What are you most proud of from 2015?
What are your goals for 2016?
2016 is gonna be a great year, I can just tell. Let’s see what we can do.

 

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Making a Murderer

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Wow. So good. If you haven’t yet seen it, watch it!

As someone who followed the news story more closely than some – we have a family property up in Two Rivers – this documentary really resonated with me.  What little faith I had in the criminal justice system (from the have-not’s perspective, especially) has been torn away and I’m left frustrated and, well, pissed off.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Here are my issues with the case against Avery:

  • Ex-boyfriend/roommate. Shady. Hacking her phone? And where are the missing messages? Never suspected? No alibi asked of him?
  • Mike Halbach “grief process”…
  • Where’s Theresa’s blood? None in the garage? Really? On or about that pile of junk in there? Or in the trailer bedroom…where her throat was supposedly cut?
  • No Avery prints in the Rav4, but blood?
  • Why did they use her Rav4 to move the body from the garage to the burn pile right next door?
  • Everyone’s changing stories: 3′ fire = 13′ fire.
  • It’s agreed that the Fassbender/Wiegert confession can’t be used in Avery’s trial, but then it’s used to convict Dassey.
  • Manitowoc County’s continued involvement in the case, even though they pretend otherwise.
  • Why didn’t they crush the Rav4?
  • Ken Kratz and Len Kachinsky and Gene Kusche. Yuck.
  • Sheriff dept video in the trailer: Michaelyn Culligan comments –  Avery wont be making the Wisconsin Law school luncheon before he’s even arrested; “We should take all those shoes in case we have any unsolved burglaries with foot impressions.”
  • Mike O’Kelly’s Dassey “confession” and “one branch” email.
  • Tampering of the Avery blood sample.
  • People’s disbelief re: the DNA evidence and exoneration in the 1985 case. WTF is that all about!?
  • The excused juror’s remarks about the 2-3 jurors with minds made up. The fact that going into deliberations there were seven who voted not guilty.
  • No Halbach DNA on the key!??
  • Kachinsky and O’Kelly working for the prosecution in the Avery case instead of FOR DASSEY.
  • The analytical chemist testimony: “I’m an analytical chemist. I don’t guess what’s in bottles” – unlike the other one who did just that.
  • The fact that the case was heard in Manitowoc County. Those are THEIR cops.
  • James Lenk and Andrew Colborn are there for ALL of if. As is Kenneth Peterson. About to be deposed and then…whamo! Conflict of interest doesn’t begin to cover it. Never mind the magically-appearing key and bullet or Colborn’s radio to verify the plate number.
  • And, again…where is the blood!?
  • EDIT: Forgot about Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych.

Worst Quote:
“Reasonable doubt is for the innocent.” – Ken Kratz

Best Quote:
“All due respect to Counsel, the State is supposed to start every criminal case swimming upstream. And the strong current against which the State is supposed to be swimming is a presumption of innocence. That presumption of innocence has been eroded, if not eliminated, here by the specter of Brendan Dassey.”- Dean Strang

 

The Best of 2015

Yes, this again. And why not? I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, much less what music or movies I dug last year. If I didn’t make these lists I’d have to live in – and maybe even occasionally enjoy – the present; a very foreign concept to an overly anxious hyper-focused pile such as myself.*  Add to that a terrifyingly imminent and unknown future and what’s left? It’s hard to not just sit back and dig around in the archives of a safe and secure past. Put on a well-worn and familiar record and the highlight reel GLOWS.

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Here’s to what we know and what we’ve seen and heard and loved.

Here’s to this past year.


The Best Albums

This is a hard list to compile every year as I always feel like I’ve been too focused on this or that artist and don’t branch out nearly enough. Why can’t I come up with a longer list? Why do I struggle to find five fuckin artists worth mentioning?

Why can’t I be more like Mike Brody???

Same story, different year, and here’s the best I could do. For what it’s worth, I loved EVERY track on the first two, and almost every track on the other three. This is big victory for the ears of someone with my sort of attention span.

  1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell – Hauntingly perfect. Better than Illinois. Beautiful.
  2. Daniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Daniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Just what I needed. Love this guy’s story, love this groups’s throwback vibe. Jake and Elwood would be proud.
  3. Tame Impala – Currents – Brilliantly released as tease after tease. In the end, I’d hoped for only slightly more when it was all laid before me.
  4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love – Not quite as good as its predecessor, but very fun with a few instant classic tracks.
  5. Leon Bridges – Coming Home – Speaking of throwback, we need more doo-wop. We need more Leon.

The Best Films

From 2015:

  1. Ex Machina – YES. So good. Perfect. Never have I had such feelings for a robot.
  2. It Follows – GREAT new horror. Loved the anxiety caused by an unrelenting and persistent threat. So modern.
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road – I sighed and laughed off the first few scenes as “silly” and “dumb” but I was left feeling awe and it was just –  let’s face it – beautiful.
  4. Inside Out – great, tho not epic; apropos to my effort toward seeing into the the minds and behind the eyes of my children.
  5. The One I Love – Quirky, fun, mysterious, well-written and acted. What else can we ask for?

From 2014 (’cause I’m a parent and I never get out):

  1. Interstellar – SPACE! Black holes!
  2. Boyhood – Perfect.
  3. Gone Girl – Very well written and executed.
  4. Edge of Tomorrow – Time travel FTW.
  5. Big Hero 6 – LOVED.

Stuff I really dug:


Worst shit I saw this year:

 


 *FTR: I love my life, but bitch a lot for effect. I’m happy and lucky and surrounded by the most beautiful, awesome, funny, intelligent, adorable, loving, kickass people a guy could ever hope to run into, let alone spend any time with. I’m amazed every.single.day.

You should be too.