Christmas Shopping? I’m Not Even Done With My November Chores

Raking Leaves!

Every day at work this week, the small talk turned largely to one of two topics: “Here, have some sugary snacks!” and “Got your Christmas shopping done yet?” I hate when small talk uncovers a festering wound the questioner didn’t know was there.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #8: Our Favorite NWSF Animals

Camel in 3-D!

EXTREME CAMEL FACE IN 3-D!

(No, that’s not a typo in the title.)

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.

Our Day Two visit to the Northern Wisconsin State Fair exposed us to familiar festivities, flavorful food, and one pro-Wisconsin propaganda poster. Also, there were, of course, animals. It was a State Fair. It’s what they do.

Right this way for a walk with the animals!

Hollywood Concedes Free Speech Battle on World Stage

James Franco!

appleseed : apple tree :: The Interview : cyberwar

I had no plans to see The Interview because I lost my tolerance for most R-rated comedies years ago, and the last time I tried a Seth Rogen film, The Green Hornet turned me against it within its first fifteen minutes, and it wasn’t even R-rated. That was before the brouhaha of the past few weeks.

Today Sony Pictures announced it’s canceling the Rogen/Franco flick’s planned theatrical release after all the major chains refused to carry it in the wake of strongly worded orders from our new internet overlords overseas. Even before our normally unflappable cinemas exercised their right to back down, Sony had been suffering through the controversial widespread release of every byte of information ever stored on every computer they’ve ever bought. Movie plans, budgets, salaries, sensitive personal data, candid undiplomatic emails, and zillions of other choice insider tidbits were extracted from behind whatever Sony cutely referred to as a “security system” by the forces of [GLORIOUSLY REDACTED] and dumped on the virtual front lawns of every muckraking internet quote-unquote “journalist” with Wi-Fi access and a dumbstruck conscience. After a long couple of weeks, some anxious Sony elder probably felt the theater-owner dogpile was the last straw, that the lives and livelihoods of thousands of employees were ultimately unfair stakes to put up against a possible gigantic bluff without thousands of notarized authorization forms from said employees, and that The Interview wasn’t worth any more headaches.

Sony is a for-profit corporation, not a ragtag team of do-gooder movie underdogs sworn to uphold their idealistic Lawful Good alignment at all costs. Just the same, it would’ve been awesome and patriotic of them to act like it and release the movie anyway. If we accept George R. R. Martin’s outraged argument that behemoths like Sony could buy and sell tiny Asian countries at will if it suited their interests, and if we accept the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, there’s a school of thought that believes the movie, if released now after all of this, could probably rake in five or ten times its original box office projections and afford to hire elite counter-hackers and armed mercenaries to protect their interests and civilians, albeit probably in that order.

All I know is, all of a sudden I really want to see this crappy comedy on principle.

Follow the link for more thoughts and a few tweets…

A Christmas Tree of Many Kindnesses

O Christmas Tree!In last night’s entry we shared pics of our geek-intensive Christmas decorations, including our collections of Star Wars and super-hero ornaments, a few Christmas-based action figures, and our li’l Charlie Brown tree. Longtime MCC readers were united in their complete lack of surprise at the characters who stand on Christmas watch around our house, bringing festivity and joy and smiles and repulsing any Scrooges or Grinches or ACLU lawyers who would dare darken our doorstep.

Pictured at left is our primary tree, which from a distance looks like any other. To the untrained eye it fits the minimum flair requirements, but you’d never know by looking that this isn’t our normal setup. Compared to the household customs exemplified in the previous entry, this year’s tree theme was, for us, an unusual approach.

Continued this way for ornaments and stories and memories…

Our Very Special Christmas Diorama and Wreaths

Christmas Diorama!

My wife and I have our conventional traditions. I drag our Christmas tree down from the attic so we can reassemble it and choose which ornaments see the light of day this year and which ones stay packed. She frees our Christmas dinnerware from the back of our kitchen cabinets. We send and gratefully receive Christmas cards. We watch a few Christmas specials. We avoid Christmas TV-movies. We look forward to Christmas Eve service at our church.

And then there’s our Christmas diorama, a time when geek and non-geek decorations gather ’round our Lord and Savior and celebrate the occasion in their own special ways, without any partisan courtroom squabbling to suck the spirit out of them.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #7: Another State, Another State Fair

Fried Cookie Dough!

Your ideal Wisconsin post-lunch dessert: fried cookie dough! Each ball of batter-fried gooeyness contains a different flavor of cookie dough: sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, and white chocolate macadamia.

Longtime MCC readers know my wife and I are loyal fans of the Indiana State Fair. Despite all the road trips we’ve done over the past fifteen years, we’ve never tried anyone else’s state fair. The idea has occurred to us more than once, but most state fairs are held later in the year than our vacation week. It’s not our fault that everyone else’s timing is wrong.

This year we were shocked to discover a state fair held in July and in one of the states we were already planning to visit: the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, held each year in Chippewa Falls for the benefit of upstate residents who can’t work out travel arrangements to the adjectiveless Wisconsin State Fair outside Milwaukee, down in the southeast corner of the state. Once we confirmed it would exist during the right time frame and not far off our route, we had to squeeze it into our Day Two schedule.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.

Read more of this post

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