Sunday, November 19, 2017

Congratulations To Teams Roth And Schuster!

While I'm not a sports fan I have to admit that Omaha has been very good at bringing sporting events to the city.  Omaha has been the home of the College Baseball World Series for decades.  The city has hosted the Olympic Swimming Trials for the past three Olympic cycles and, last week, it hosted the Olympic Team Curling Trials for the first time.


We have been interested in curling since at least the 2010 Winter Olympics.  A year later the Wife and I participated in an ameteur curling competition.  We participated four times over the next few years but we never really got any better at curling and I lost interest in participating in 2015.

In August we attended a few of the Curling Night in America sessions which were fun.  But the main event was the Olympic Curling Trials last week.  We had tickets for seventeen sessions.  After going to three sessions I realized my limit per session was around two hours.  After my third session I decided to skip the next few days.  We ended up using only six of those tickets.  We did spread around the fun by giving some of our unused tickets to friends.  I still like to watch curling, especially now that I understand the game strategy better, but I think me not being a sports fan all my life has limited how much sport I can watch at any one time.  


The best of three finals finished on Saturday with Team Schuster beating Team McCormick (Men's teams) and Team Roth beating Team Sinclair (Women's teams).  The fact that they both needed to go all three games of the best of three finals tells you that the teams were well matched.  The Wife and I didn't even go to the final games but we did watch the Men's team on TV.  (Hey NBCSN!!!  Why didn't you show the Women's final live like you did the Men's?)

Team Roth sweeping in a rock.
Omaha came through with record attendance for an Olympic Curling Trials.  Omaha always seems to deliver the crowds.  Hope this means we can go see some curling again in four years ... at least the amount I can tolerate.

Kids left messages for the curlers.
It will be nice watching the teams compete in next February's Olympic Games.  It always helps when you've seen the competitors in action.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Night With John Cleese

After a relatively slow start to the month, this week has been pretty full for me.  The week was dominated by curling and Monty Python.  I'll post about curling once the Olympic trials are over (the last playoffs are today).  I will post about last night.

Friday the Wife and I went to the newly renovated Orpheum Theater to watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".  I'd already seen the movie years ago.  The Wife had never seen it before.  It was as funny and odd as I remembered it.  The Wife ... didn't get it.  British humor is often like that - you either get it or you don't.  Fortunately, the movie was not the highlight of the night.

Following the rather raucous viewing of the movie (lots of vocal fans in the theater) we enjoyed an hour with one of the python's himself: John Cleese.  He was interviewed by a local radio DJ.  Cleese was very funny talking about the movie, his TV shows, and his life on tour (the DJ tried to be funny but just seemed awkward).  We both enjoyed this part of the evening.

If I could have changed anything, I would have skipped the movie entirely and increased the time spent with Cleese to ninety minutes.  I think he would have benefitted from using the same format as Shatner's show.

Note: I read Cleese's autobiography in 2015.  Here is my review.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Photograph: "Late Hunter Moon"

The Hunter Moon was earlier this week but it was obscured by clouds here in Omaha.  Tonight the clouds added a little mystery to the almost full moon.

"Late Hunter Moon"
by Bruce H.


Friday, November 03, 2017

Book: Kapka Kassabova's "Border: A Journey To The Edge Of Europe "

My latest read is about the border between Europe and Asia, the people who cross it voluntarily or not, and how their lives are affected.  Kapka Kassabova's "Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe" looks at the the borders between Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.

The story of the borderlands and the often forced migrations of Muslim and Christian populations between Europe and Asia (and back) is told through the experiences of people living in villages on both sides of the borders.  The stories, ranging from personal family histories to fables of treasures and the supernatural,  keeps the reader engaged.  We soon learn of the rich history and mythologies linked to the mountains and forests of region.

The region has been shaped by many forces including the Ottoman Empire and the Cold War.  As I read this book I realized my knowledge of the Ottoman Empire was severely lacking.  I will have to fill that gap.

I gave this book four out of five stars on Goodreads as the book held my interest and I learned things I didn't know about the region which is always a plus.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Light That Fire

Early registration for Trek Up The Tower started yesterday.  Last year I registered but, due to unexpected minor surgery, I was unable to participate.  I decided to try again next year and registered.

I hope by registering I will light a fire under my butt.  My bike (trainer) rides and my hiking has been spotty at best.  My exercise motivation has been near nonexistent.

Maybe this minor goal is what I need to get out of my funk.  That and the desire to beat my 8 minute 39 second record.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!



Friday, October 27, 2017

An Unexpected Piece Of Shat

Continuing the Star Trek theme of this week, Last night the Wife and I went to the Holland Center to see William Shatner's one man show "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It"

Why would we go see this?  I saw the show advertised last week and, jokingly on my part, asked the Wife if she wanted to go.  To my surprise she replied "Hell Yes!"

William Shatner, an actor most famous for his role of Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek series, has never been on my list of favorite actors.  I like the Kirk character but the actor always seemed a bit pompous and full of himself.  For that reason I entered the Holland Center with a few mixed feelings and low expectations.

Shatner introduced himself over the PA and then made an entrance.  Over the next two hours he talked about his career, his childhood and family life, the love of his life (horses), and other topics.  All his storytelling was full of humor and punctuated with short video clips/photographs on a large screen behind him.  His performance sometimes seemed to jump between subjects at random but in the end it all came together in an entertaining way.

The strangest part of Shatner's life story is his music.  Yes, William Shatner has several albums.  Now, to be honest, his performance is less singing than spoken word.  Have you lived until you've heard Shatner performing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"?  I think not.

I went into the show thinking it would be an odd but mediocre experience and I left, I have to admit, finding him funny and engaging ... if not a bit odd in a good way.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rediscovering Star Trek

For many years I was a hard core Star Trek fan.  After the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise I had a falling out.  The new movies failed to rekindle my fandom but when CBS announced a new TV series set in the original Star Trek timeline I discovered something: Once a Star Trek fan, always a Star Trek fan.

This weekend I subscribed to CBS All Access (The only way to watch this show is to stream it) so that I could watch the new series and, after watching the first five episodes I am hopeful.  About CBS All Access - I am pissed I need another streaming service to watch this show - it is on Netflix outside the US.  I am also pissed that they are releasing only one episode every week making it nearly impossible to binge watch - so twentieth century.  Boo Hoo.

The new series, Star Trek: Discovery (often unfortunately shortened to STD), is a prequel to the original series taking place ten years before the events of the original Star Trek.  This has resulted in several heated disagreements online (where else?).  I was going to address a few in this post but decided that it wasn't worth the effort.  I will just say one thing: Could you imagine the uproar if the new show put their female officers in miniskirts?

There are two speculative theories going around the internet.  One involves the Klingon Voq and the other is about Captain Lorca of the Discovery.  I won't say more because both may become spoilers if one or both turns out to be true.  I will say that either of these speculations would be awesome if true.  It would take Star Trek into new directions.

Star Trek: Discovery is certainly a different approach to Star Trek and I welcome this new approach.  My continued support will depend on the risks the writers take.  It is not a time for timidity.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Book: N. K. Jemisin's "The Obelisk Gate"

My twelfth book of the year was the second book of the Broken Earth series.  Like the first book, "The Fifth Season" which I read earlier in the year, N. K. Jemisin's "The Obelisk Gate" also won a Hugo award (best novel in 2017).  While I had some mixed feelings about the first book, the sequel was a very solid second book.

The book starts where the first ended.  Instead of following only one main character, the book follows two: the main character from the first book and her daughter.  They were separated early in the first book and they took very different paths as the world around them was coming apart.

Like the first, this book sucked me into the story while fleshing out more details of the volatile world.  I'm not sure where it is going but I suspect the mother and daughter will end up on opposite ends of a war.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  I am looking forward to reading the third book soon.