Christmas 2018

And so we gather to celebrate Christmas.

The tree, in all its splendor.

The meat pie, in all its splendor.

After breakfast and presents, we had a Fun Christmas Activity. This consisted of a variety of activities one could partake in. Here are some pictures of what we did.

Linda made a New Year’s scene from a purposefully limited supply of colored paper.

Matt’s scene

Matt attempts the blind Christmas tree tear.(After first cheating and folding a Christmas tree.)

His two results.

Linda’s blind Christmas tree.

Chris works away at the Christmas packet, consisting of trivia questions, a crossword, a word search, and a cryptogram. Aunt Pat cleaned the kitchen. (Cleaning up was a category, as was taking a nap.)

Mom made a New Year’s scene.

I attempted a Blind Christmas Tree tear, and was better at the Christmas tree then taking a picture of it.

Aunt Pat’s cat Roo takes a break.

Aunt Carol’s New Year’s scene.

One of our activities was reading a poem aloud. Inside one volume of the Book of Verse, I found my grandmother’s transcription of “Thanksgiving Day.” This was a great find. I so rarely come across her handwriting.

And here are the final standings of all who participated.

Broadway Rose Theater 1940s Radio Christmas Carol

It’s been a long drought of theater and then I get to see two shows in two days. My Aunt Carol was too busy to take advantage of her Broadway Rose ticket, so I got to come along to A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol.

This was a fine Christmas production which told the story of a 1940’s radio broadcast where the players combine song and story (and radio commercials!) and run into some problems with their radio version of Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas story.

Also, I always enjoy watching the radio sound man, and this play delivered on that front.

Asylum Theater Speed-the-Plow

The Northwest Classical Theatre Company has taken its last bow in Portland and I miss it. So when I received an email that one of the players from the NWCTC was starting a new company and would preforming David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, I made a note to buy tickets.

And we did! And here we are back at the Shoebox Theater, which is now the home of Theatre Vertigo. They’ve taken down the costumes which used to hang from the ceiling and done a few things different with the lighting and the painting, but otherwise it’s still the same cozy place.

I had forgotten that when you walk into the theater there are usually some newbies who gasp and exclaim at how tiny the theater is. That was fun to experience again.

Self portrait.

Speed-the-Plow was a great play! It was made better by the fact that when it started, it was trending in a direction of me not liking it. Two guys talking about the amazing deal they were going to make on a movie is not my favorite thing. But things kept shifting and I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me several times.

Jason Maniccia and Danny Bruno were great as Gould and Fox and Briana Ratterman was also very good as Karen.* Don Alder directed.

Matt and I had a lot to chew on as we drove home from the theater, which is always the mark of a good play. Hopefully we will see another production by Asylum Theater soon.

Fun audience moment: the music playing before the play started included “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” by U2 from their Rattle and Hum album. I was signing along quietly and noticed that the woman sitting on the other side of Matt was also singing along quietly.

*Fun fact: Madonna played Karen when the play debuted in 1988. Also fun fact: the revival of this play was supposed to star Jeremy Piven, but he begged off claiming Mercury poisoning due to eating too much sushi.

Christmas Eve Eve 2018

The MAunts and Matt’s mom Linda gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve Eve. (We celebrate Christmas Eve Eve not on 12/23, but on a random day in early December to kick off the holiday season.)

We ate the traditional Christmas Eve Eve meal of soup and bread and then we played a round of Uno. Aunt Pat won, with Matt being the first person to crest over 350 points.

We were playing Uno to kill time because the Miracle of a Million Lights didn’t open until 6 p.m. This Christmas lights display is just down the street from our house at an event rental space with a big old house. I’ve seen it for years, but this was the first year they put up a sign of what it was called. I could then Google it and find out information.

It was pouring. Though we were properly outfitted with umbrellas, I forgot my camera and didn’t bring my phone, so we have only these photos Matt took on his phone.

Here is everyone (Aunt Carol unfortunately in shadow on the right) amid the million lights.

We also got to tour the historical house. On the top floor were cutouts of many superhero cutouts including actual people portraying Shuri and Black Panther. Matt was very excited to get his picture taken with them.

We returned to the house to have gingerbread brownies and ice cream for dessert.

The 60/30 Rule Final Report

I came up five hours short of my time goal. But I still got 56 hours of work done that I wouldn’t have otherwise done.

This was a very good exercise and it’s gotten me much closer to getting 3SMR in shape for publication. FFI, hasn’t progressed at all. Lesson learned about how much time it takes to start a website.

Fifteen minutes trying to take a good picture of myself

I need a good picture of me for the new websites and so I spent some time in the backyard attempting a timer photo. There were a lot of medicore results. Photos are hard.

This was perhaps the best one, but I got annoyed at several things: the background, my shirt, the shadows on my face, the fact that I’m not 20 anymore, etc.

I did some test photos while bundled up, adjusting the zoom and the tripod and such. For those I made funny faces, this being my favorite.

A photographer will have to be called.

The daunting task of updating Three Sentence Movie Reviews.

It was very easy to import all my 1000+ movie review posts. Thanks for that, WordPress!

And now I have 20 phrases with an SEO score and 1068 without a focus keyphrase. If I did two a day, I could have this task done in a year and a half. And two a day seems like a tall order.

Turkey-shaped butter = holiday joy

My mom bought a turkey butter sculpture for Thanksgiving and she made the mistake of letting it soften before trying to remove it from the package.

We ended up with a headless turkey at our table which seemed rather appropriate and had me bent over laughing.

Lesson learned: take those butter sculptures from their packages when they are still cold!

The 60/30 Rule Report 11/18

Another week with not enough hours in it.

Part of the problem was that I had something Monday, (Librarian Book Group) Tuesday, (Business Fundamentals I) and Thursday (Birthday dinner, REI shopping) nights, which precluded me getting any work done on those nights. 

Business Fundamentals I is the class I am taking through Mercy Corps. The first class was last week and it was great! It was also three hours long, something I hadn’t quite realized until I sat down at 4 pm and realized 4-7 pm is three hours, not the two I was thinking. So there will be no blog work on Tuesday nights for five more weeks.

What did I accomplish this week? Ads finally showed up on the site! But they are only on the front page, not on any individual post pages. I poked around to try and figure out why they are not there, and eventually decided to wait a few days to see if they appear. That’s what happened with the front page.

I also wrote two posts, since I’ve pledged to myself to be officially “live” on December 1. That means getting up all the posts from October that haven’t been written since I’ve been working on the website.

I also decided I should figure out this SEO thing before I go any further with tagging posts. I starting reading an article et voila! my time had ended.

During my next session. I wrote two more posts, edited the previous posts I had written, and wrote drafts of three more posts. I’m still working on the flow of how to get things written and published. 

I read more about SEO and feel like I have a handle on it. I also signed up to be an Amazon Associate, so I can have affiliate links on my site.  I then went through and added affiliate links to my September top movies post. It took a long time. 

One of the things that makes tagging old posts and linking to Amazon products a very slow process is that my current monitor is 17.5 inches. I can only have one window visible at a time, which means I have to toggle back and forth a lot. Since I have three monitors at work (one very, very large) I’ve gotten used to having at least three open windows at once. Deciding that this one-window madness could not continue, I bought a 24-inch monitor. It should be available to pick up at Best Buy next Saturday.

My mental state this week has not been very good. I was disappointed not to meet my seven hour goal this week, and disappointed to not meet that goal for two weeks in a row now. Plus, I had a small flame of hope that I could avoid working at the paid job next week, but unfortunately, the work rolled in, so I must go to my day job on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  This more or less crushes my hope of catching up, hours-wise.

I’m also very tired. I was hoping to become more rested over nine days of not going to work. Now that resting must happen over four days of not going to work. Which, since it’s four days and two of those days are a weekend just like any other weekend, and the other day is full of family obligations, it feels like I must do all my catching up, resting and other various chores (Decorating for Christmas! Making a baby blanket! Shopping for the fall wardrobe! Getting a haircut! Writing back to people who have written me! Etc!) on Friday.

So I head into next week feeling defeated. I’m making progress, but I feel like falling behind. John Green’s video then, was quite on point.

John Green says that acknowledging it helps (I’m not really feeling that). He also says that prioritizing the most important relationships in my life is important. Okay, then, it was good that I spent time with Matt, and sang karaoke when I could have been doing work on the websites.  And I should not begrudge the loss of my Thursday to spending time with my family. 

He further says I should remember what actually matters. Which I guess is that I’m making progress, even if it’s not all the progress I want to be making.

I don’t really feel that, John Green. But I appreciate you for mapping it out.

Still not sure when I’m going to get a haircut.