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Happy Mother's Day! I Broke My Foot (Again)

Hello, fellow humans! It's raining today here in fair Boston, a sure sign of prosperity. Families will be crowding into restaurants all day, first the ones with small kids, then the boozy types who can stay up later (lucky!).

Meanwhile, hubby had prepared a billionaire bacon breakfast (secret mix: brown sugar, paprika, black pepper) for my special day. The open bottle of white wine in the fridge beckoned to me, but alas, we had no orange juice to mix it with. So I just had the wine, obviously.*

*I did not.

In other news, my wish to have some ~me time~ came true a couple of weeks ago. I really wanted a few days all to myself, to play video games and generally just laze around the house, perhaps do a little cooking without a small person issuing myriad, incessant demands.

I granted my own wish during my usual run, by rolling my right ankle so badly that a small piece of bone broke off my fibula. This is called a chip or avulsion fracture, and it hurts like a mother. Here is my ankl…
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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 retains the same hilarious irreverence and absurdity as the first film, but it also has deeper and darker moments that add layers to the characters. Highlights include Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), more murder, more name-calling, and betrayals! Ah, family!

Just like its predecessor, Vol. 2 has a perfect opening sequence: a formidable battle is mere background to Baby Groot dancing adorably. Then the adventure truly begins, as the team splits up after facing off against the golden-skinned Sovereign, led by the haughty Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki, the awesome femme fatale from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.).

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax (Dave Bautista) join Star-Lord's father Ego (Kurt Russel) and his servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to find out more about Star-Lord's heritage. Meanwhile, Baby Groot, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and a captive Nebula (Karen Gillan) find themselves under assault by the Ravager faction led by Yondu (Michael …

Tomb Raider and TTC

These past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with Endurance mode on Rise of the Tomb Raider. As other reviewers have pointed out, Endurance is much more what we expect from the series: Lara Croft surviving against ridiculous odds as she fearlessly explores and plunders ancient structures. It’s challenging, nerve-wracking, and has led to marital shouting matches in our household while Junior pretends to play the game with "his" (Wii)  controller. In short, it’s a fun family DLC!

***But actually: Endurance has moments of blood and violence. Parents can avoid exposing their small children to scenes of Lara brutally knifing men in the neck by sniping distant targets and explaining that they’re napping, or resting, or whatever lies work on your offspring, I don’t know.

In Endurance, Lara is in the Siberian wilderness to claim the prizes hidden in crypts before members of the evil organization™ Trinity can. She has limited supplies and two pressing needs: hunger and warmth, r…

Junior: Mid-Year Report

Several noteworthy developments have emerged since I submitted my last report. A summary is below.

Section I: Skills 
Junior has demonstrated remarkable growth in the following skills:

1. Cycling
Junior can pedal his tricycle along flat surfaces, with only a slight tendency to inadvertently go backwards. He dutifully wears his helmet, and likes to point to older children riding their bicycles. We are currently working on maneuvering and expect to continue training at this level for at least another year or two.

2. Climbing
Junior is an excellent climber of household furniture. His first foray into indoor rock climbing resulted in many cute photos, including the one above. However, he was not a fan of all the safety gear.
For the time being, he is honing his skill via playground jungle gym. The ultimate goal, of course, is to graduate to climbing trees like a monkey, a la his father:

3. Playing
Junior is now capable of surprisingly sophisticated social interactions with his peers. For …

Game Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a solid sequel to 2013's Tomb Raider reboot. This time, Lara Croft is pursuing her father's research, which had led to his downfall and death. Most of the action takes place in Russia, with a brief interlude in Syria. Mechanics from the first game have been improved, locations are diverse, and Lara now starts out as a badass. Overall, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a terrific action/adventure platformer that has me looking forward to the next installment.

Ways Rise of the Tomb Raider Rocks
The game has plenty of strengths: a compelling lead, lots of exploration, fun puzzles, gorgeous visuals, and a thrilling soundtrack. As always, Lara is a star: she's a force of nature, laser focused on her goal; and neither words nor bullets will deter her. It's a joy to have her perform improbable physical feats as she seeks the Divine Source that her father obsessed over. Lara scales sheer walls of ice, mows through mercenaries with only a bow and arrows, and …

Get Out (2017)

Get Out has a charismatic lead, a terrific soundtrack, and damn good cinematography. While it’s described as horror/comedy, it’s more disturbing/cringe-y than scary, and I mean that in a good way. This is an entertaining movie that’s also pretty effective as social commentary.

The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a photographer who’s about to spend the weekend at his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parent’s house. Naturally, it’s in a secluded spot in the woods. When they get there, the awkwardness that might be expected from a first-time meeting gives way to a series of bizarre behaviors and interactions. While Chris initially takes it all in stride, it eventually becomes clear that there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes.

The acting and dialogue are highlights of the film, as is the camera work. In particular, Kaluuya’s eyebrows and head tilts are so expressive that the audience knows what’s going on in his head even as he politely brushes off eccentricities. A…

I Won a Fitbit Flex 2!

Another day, another raffle prize! This time it's a Fitbit Flex 2.


What's in the box?

The packaging is fairly minimal. I got Apple vibes, mostly because of the little setup folder, which reminded me of the baby instruction manual that comes with an iPhone or MacBook.

Actual contents include the tracker, nestled in its charging dock, and two wrist bands: a Small and a Large. How thoughtful!


The manual contains a tiny card that instructs you to go to the Fitbit website, which in turn tells you to download the app. The app then asks you to register -- you confirm your email separately -- and asks your height, sex, weight, and birthday. Then it runs you through how to charge the tracker, how to attach it to the band, etc.

How Long Between Opening the Box and Using It?

Initial charging takes about two hours. Afterwards, I slapped it on immediately and synced it to my phone. All set and ready to go!

So How Is It?

Battery-wise, the Fitbit is great. I've been wearing it now for two …