07. August 2016 · Comments Off on Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two · Categories: Uncategorized

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun read for those who crave the nostalgia of the original Harry Potter novels. But don’t expect much more than that in terms of significant creativity or mind-blowing plot twists.

This isn’t a novel. It’s a screenplay that’s been published in book-form. Open up the book and you will find that settings are succinctly spelled out, there are stage instructions, and each character is listed with his/her dialogue. No back stories, no exposition, no clever punny geography lessons.

Because this is a screen play, you’ll hear that the reviews of the West End production are fantastic. You’ll read about how death-eaters will emerge from the aisles and audience, for example. I’m sure those visuals will be wonderful to experience in person.

As for the story itself, there’s a lot of back-and-forth in time and settings, and really, only those who are familiar with the original 7 novels are going to truly understand and appreciate what’s going on. For example, there will be mention of the Triwizard Tournament from the mid-1990s, and numerous scenes (due to time travel) where the Beauxbatons Academy female students’ cheers are half-hearted compared to those from Durmstrang’s. I feel that only those who have read Goblet of Fire will fully understand the irony and humor of those scenes.

The relationship that Harry has with his middle son Albus is worth exploring more deeply, but as a screenplay this will be difficult. You will only know what the stage directions and dialogue tell you, compared to how a novelization might present the story: filled with glimpses into Harry’s and
Albus’s inner conflicts about whether their relationship has a future or not.

However, if you take a step back and just enjoy the story, this is a fun, fast summer read. I read it in 5 days, my sons will probably read it in 1-2 weeks each.

View all my reviews

04. August 2016 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 50: Get Away from the Crowds with the Palmer Trail at the Garden of the Gods · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
The Palmer Trail at the Garden of the Gods is our family's favorite hiking spot.

The Palmer Trail at the Garden of the Gods is our family’s favorite hiking spot.

It is clear that the Garden of the Gods is among the most popular locations to visit in Colorado Springs. Trip Advisor will tell you that it’s the #1 tourist attraction in Colorado Springs, ranking higher than Pikes Peak and the U.S. Olympic Center. I even wrote about Garden of the Gods as one of my first-ever “Colorado Discoveries” posts. There are several reasons why it’s #1 for tourists: it’s centrally located in the city, it’s ADA-friendly, it’s not 14,000′ high, and there’s no cost to visit.

However, because it’s so popular, it can be very crowded. More »

04. August 2016 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 49: Air Force Academy Graduation & Thunderbirds Airshow 2016 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

AF Academy’s football stadium got a new scoreboard this past spring. It’s very nice. Each class designs a crest that is shaped for their class ring. This crest is very interesting to me because of the flames towards the bottom (this class reported during the Waldo Canyon wildfires in 2012) and the icicles at the top (they had their “Recognition” training during a blizzard in 2013).

For the 3rd year, our family was able to go the USAF Academy graduation. This year I was able to go in non-orders status, so I didn’t have to wear my uniform. However, you won’t see any pictures of me in this post.

We were especially excited this year because it’s a year that the President speaks to the graduating class. So we were able to hear President Obama give an uplifting, humorous speech to the graduates. Since this is an election year, the whole country was paying attention this speech. More »

03. August 2016 · Comments Off on Mother’s Day 2016: The Red Pandas at the Denver Zoo · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
As my sons get older, their posing together for photos is becoming more and more rare...

As my sons get older, their posing together for photos is becoming more and more rare…

Almost exactly one year after Timmy and I spent the day at Denver Zoo to celebrate his stock market contest win, I took both boys up there for Mother’s Day in May. Dave was in Pennsylvania visiting his own parents, and as I’ve said for many years, I only ever want a fun day—doing something I want to do—with my sons. More »

02. August 2016 · Comments Off on A Love Letter to My Local Library · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Image credit: P. Vollmer

This was my teen son’s first library book in about 5 years. Image credit: P. Vollmer

A version of this post originally appeared on GeekDad.com in May 2016.

As you know, we’ve gotten around quite a bit. I am on my 8th home since graduating from college, and our sons are now on their 5th home. Each move brings new discoveries. With each new community we learn about our local schools, local churches, local grocery stores (I miss you, Publix!), and local health care capabilities. One of those things we explore at each location is our local library. More »

02. August 2016 · Comments Off on Creating a Smart Home: Major Mom Style · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Smart Homes are coming. You can't escape it...

Smart Homes are coming. You can’t escape it…

Earlier this summer our family took our annual trip “east”. For the past several years we had been flying east, but this time we drove because we’d be spending quite a bit more time visiting with friends and family. The boys and I were “out east” most of the month of June, while Dave flew out for the latter part of the trip and drove home with us.

We visited our friends Don and Maryann in North Carolina. Their home was pretty well set up with a number of devices that were all tied together with their Amazon Echo. They could control lights, the door locks, and even their holiday decorations with Alexa. They were working on tying a humidistat into the system while we were visiting.

We also visited our friend Lisa, who lives in St. Louis. She was similarly increasing the intelligence of her home with WiFi enabled lighting and door locks.

Home automation had been on our family’s mind quite a bit. We were worried about crime in Colorado Springs, and our own neighborhood isn’t immune to that. More »

Cleaning up a big mess...

Cleaning up a big mess…

I’m doing a little housekeeping in my blog world this week. One of the things I was trying to straighten out turned into a monumental mess last week, for which I apologize.

I’m trying my hand at a capability called “IFTTT.” Which stands for “If This, Then That”…it’s a website where you can connect social media, blogging, mobile apps, and even smart home apparati together and you can have things work together pretty seamlessly. I like the idea of it, but I’m still learning here. More »