jesse leo dot com - 2017 edition
Old junk:


E-moi: jesse at (duh)
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Dirt Dash
4/27/17 -- Nice little write-up on The Darius, a seemingly charming B&B we seriously considered for a romantic June getaway. But in the end, price won the day - we're opting for two nights at the spartan yet adequate New Shoreham House, and actually spending less than one night at The Darius would've cost.

-- Was guilted into running the 2017 Pratt Center Dirt Dash last weekend. I finished! So, there's that. When I look at my 5k times in recent years, and then look back at what I used to be able to do... *SIGH*. But hey - use it or lose it. Now that we're into spring I'm hoping to get out there at least once or twice a week. I don't particularly enjoy running, but I recognize it as the one exercise we as a species have evolved to do.
4/26/17 -- Reddit thread: What is your single biggest regret? Some of these are painful to read. A few had me sighing, going Yeah, me too... But most of all it's the follow-up comments that stand out. In an ocean of nastiness, Reddit is the one internet community comprised (largely) of seemingly decent human beings.
4/25/17 -- The Frasier Tewksbury scene. Such a great TV moment.

-- Had to drag him out of the house kicking and screaming, but was able to steal 30 minutes at the coffee house with Jake the other day. We both read our Warriors books (yes, I'm reading one too... at this point just looking for a common interest), him chomping on a scone while I slurped some coffee concoction. Had a few laughs. Strolled through Play, afterwards.

There aren't may of them, but these kinds of moments with him do exist. Work in progress...

4/21/17 -- A collection of drool-worthy LOTR posters. Gorgeous.
4/20/17 -- NPR has a new(ish) series called Reading the Game, in which they examine popular video games from a literary perspective. And of course their bit about Bioshock:Infinite (and by extension the entire Bioshock series) is right on point.

"That game, the original Bioshock, made dump trucks full of money and became not just a hit, not just an Art Deco Atlas Shrugged in bang-bang drag, but a paradigm-shifting triumph of narrative-driven storytelling told at the business end of a smoking shotgun."

Still generating discussion after all these years... makes me want to go back and replay the whole damn thing.

4/14/17 -- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser!!
4/13/17 -- Spring Break this past week, and though our boys wanted nothing more than to stare at their handheld electronic devices all day, we tried desperately to enrich their experience. We started off the week with a day trip to Central Park - it was the first truly sunny and gorgeous day of spring, and I'd forgotten that the best days in NYC are sometimes the ones with nothing on the agenda.

A few days later we hit Pirate Day at Mystic Seaport, and despite some bitchin' and moanin' the scurvy landlubbers actually enjoyed themselves.

Note for Spring Break 2018: have a plan. It makes all the difference.

4/6/17 -- Hey, NYT: Tell us how you really feel about Trump's foreign policy agenda...
4/4/17 -- Some high schoolers have been recently volunteering to work with area Special Needs kids, and just like that my faith in humanity is restored. Over the years, my attempts to get Aidan to dribble or shoot a ball have ended in frustration for both of us. But there he was the other day, hooping it up and having a blast. Even if his helper friend was providing most of the muscle behind the shots, Aidan's follow-through looked pretty good. As did his smile.
4/1/17 -- For her entire life she wanted nothing more than to be held. But on her last day, we couldn't get near her. Her body was failing.

I picked up Madeline (aka Beetsy) at a pet shop some 15+ years ago. Don't look at me like that - back then rescuing wasn't really a thing. Though she was clearly the runt, she seemed far more energetic than her siblings and choosing her was a no brainer.

She was the quintessential lap cat, everything you could ask for in a companion. Loving and affectionate to a fault. I keep catching myself glancing over at the various nooks and crannies she would occupy. Today at the Feed Barn my hand instinctively reached for the packet of treats she loved. For so many years she was just so... present. That first night I brought her home, Maria and I were living in the barn next to Nanclyn's house... Beetsy was our last living link to simpler times.

Folks, I encourage you to grab your kitty/doggy/goldfish/whatever and hold on tight. I would give the world for one more night by the pellet stove with her curled up on my lap.

3/29/17 -- Hosted Jake's birthday party last weekend, and lived to tell the tale. His preferred celebration modus operandi in recent years has been to invite three or four of his most trusted cohorts over for a slumber party consisting of pizza, video games, regrettable music, body odor, sugary drinks, and bad behavior in general. Hey, it's one night a year - won't kill us. And I must say it's much easier on the wallet than most other party options...

So, his brother is 13 and Jake is 11. It's truly happening too fast...

3/23/17 -- Rogue One ends, A New Hope begins. Cool, right? (Spoilers, obvi).

-- Kong: Skull Island is pure popcorn fun and I loved every second of it.
3/21/17 -- So this new stove, which arrived today from The Home Depot, turns on. And gets hot. And cooks food. And does not have a family of mice living in it. By these measures it is far superior to its predecessor...

It was a ton of money but it was time.

3/15/17 -- So apparently subway racing between stops is a thing.

-- Still shoveling out from Snowmageddon 2017. The cars are barely visible and I owe the plow guy a small fortune. Done with this crap.
3/14/17 -- RIP Windows Vista. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

-- Cuz every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed toad...

And again I ask: What would we DO without the Internet?

3/12/17 -- I love Emma Watson just like everyone else, and of course I'll be lining up with the masses for Beast as soon as it comes out... But what is up with that VF photo shoot? Just not feelin' it.
3/10/17 -- Leave it to March to get us all hyped up for blue skies and 65 degree days, and then kick us in the arse with this nonsense...
3/8/17 -- A collection of staggeringly gorgeous LOTR posters.
3/6/17 -- Report: 2017 will be a whopper of a year for Lyme Disease. Greeeeaaaaaaat.

-- John Legend is cool and all that, but Ariana Grande is no Angela Lansbury... And since we're on the topic, grab the tissues and click here.
3/1/17 -- A little freaked out when I heard celebrity trainer Bob Harper had a heart attack. I recently started doing his Daily Burn program (Bob is no Shaun T, but they're decent workouts overall), and by all accounts he's an icon of health. Just a bit older than myself...

Past a certain age even if you take care of yourself and exercise 'til the cows come home, strange things can happen. The stressors of the past year or so have aged me about 5 years, and I'm not working out nearly enough. So if I keel over tomorrow, well, please write on my tombstone that I was a decent guy who did the best he could.

2/28/17 -- I really think we need to talk about the latest (and final) trailer for Kong: Skull Island.
2/25/17 -- I'd heard it a million times - It passes so quickly. Cherish every moment. Bah! How trite, I'd say...

And then I blinked, and Aidan is a teenager.

To the moon and stars, Duppy. And don't you forget it.

2/22/17 -- A nice little write-up about the morning show guy I listen to sometimes. I love that station.
2/21/17 -- Took in Lake Street Dive in New Haven over the weekend - quite possibly the best band you've never heard of. They have such a fun catalog of tunes we know by heart, and they're so painfully talented. One minor gripe about the venue - our seats weren't conducive to dancing! How could we be expected to stay in our chairs during Call Off Your Dogs? Next time we'll be up in the mosh area for sure.
2/16/17 -- In space no one can hear you poop.
2/13/17 -- Our DVR is perpetually full, flirting with 98% capacity and warning us that certain beloved shows are in danger of being auto-deleted. But no, I shall not erase last night's Grammy Show, because the Prince tribute - a quick set by The Time followed by Bruno Mars doing Let's Go Crazy - deserves a permanent place in our home. I didn't think anyone could do Prince justice, but Bruno delivered... and who knew he could shred like that?

The other tribute I was really looking forward to was Adele doing George Michael, and when she announced that she was doing FastLove I nearly lost my sh*t. See, that's one of my fav dance tracks in recent memory, but then Adele flipped it on its head and did this mournful dirge typa thing... just wasn't feeling it.

The rest of the night? High highs and low lows... How about Busta Rhymes thanking President Agent Orange for (his) "unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban." You just have to watch it. And ain't it lovely to see A Tribe Called Quest back in the thick of things?

2/11/17 -- My future home.

-- That dog food commercial, the one with Duck the Chocolate Lab... I can't, I just can't.
2/9/17 -- A collection of staggeringly gorgeous Adventure Time title cards. It's a shame that before each episode the card only flashes on screen for about one second... so much time, love, and creative mojo goes into them.

-- No, she's not ours. Lilah is Kate and Grover's newest addition to the family, and she's a doll. She'll likely grow to over 100lbs, so that's the last photo you'll ever see of someone actually picking her up.
2/4/17 -- Do not trifle with JK Rowling on Twitter. She will blast you back like a Ginny Weasley stun spell. Rowling's recent criticisms of Trump had her facing some backlash on Twitter, one former fan even promising to burn her books and movies. Rowling returned fire: Well, the fumes from the DVDs might be toxic and I've still got your money, so by all means borrow my lighter.


2/3/17 -- 11 second book review: Steve Hamilton's The Second Life of Nick Mason - A compelling thriller. Solid, likable characters. Entertaining and highly reusable plot - expect a sequel. Also highly movie-able, in fact I think it's in development. This one belongs in your summer 2017 beach bag.
1/31/17 -- Check out this handsome fella we spotted en route to Kent a few weeks ago. Something about owls, I freaking love them.
1/27/17 -- It was getting late, but G. Love kept coming back for encore after encore at The Brooklyn Bowl last night. At some shows it feels to me like the whole encore thing has become so predictable: make a bunch of noise and they'll do another jam or two, more so out of obligation than anything else. But not this guy. Last night the energy of the crowd and the vibe in the room made it so he wanted to do it, and it really came across in the performance.

And what a great venue, that Brooklyn Bowl. As with G. Love shows we've attended at JE Winery, we were able to slither right up to front and center stage. In fact during My Baby's Got Sauce, he singled out my beautiful wife and leaned in for an extended hand-hold (check her FB feed if you don't believe me). Haven't seen her smile like that in years.

And here's the topper: as we grabbed our coats and walked out into the chilly Brooklyn night, an unmarked side door opened up and out popped Garret himself. Before boarding the tour bus he stopped to show us some quick handshake love and assured me that he'll be playing JE Winery again this summer.

A good goddamn night.

1/24/17 -- The next Star Wars movie now has a name: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I can work with that. So right off the bat we recall the ending of The Force Awakens and we're thinking Luke, or perhaps Rey. But let's not forget that the word "Jedi" can be singular or plural, hmmmm...
1/23/17 -- Proud of wife and son for joining a local Women's March this past Saturday. I find myself torn between two arguments: What good will it do? and Complacency and indifference is siding with the bad guys.
1/20/17 -- Welp, with the final season of Black Sails kicking off next week I have no choice but to add Starz back to my cable bundle. As if the bill isn't high enough already... So I called and as it turns out there's a special promotion - three months of Starz for free! Huzzah!
1/19/17 -- Well the results are in. 2016 was the hottest year in recorded human history, beating out 2015. Which beat out 2014. See a trend here? And our President Elect thinks the whole thing is a hoax.

-- Flew out to Seattle earlier this week, and even in the chilly rain I'd forgotten what a lovely city it is... and how unendurable sitting six hours in coach can be - middle seat, no less.

-- Remembering how last inauguration day was historic must-see TV... tomorrow it's unlikely I'll tune in at all.

1/17/17 -- Mother, the birthday light is ON! Hope it's a great one. Let's get a margarita this weekend?
1/16/17 -- Sad to hear that my sister and bro-in-law will be saying farewell to Oscar, their beloved dog of I don't know how many years. That handsome mug, that boundless energy, and that loyal heart... You couldn't ask for a better friend.

I don't know, I think I might be done. That whole is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? thing... I wonder if dogs are the exception. We love them like people, but they're only around for a tiny fraction of our time.

1/11/17 -- After watching the trailer for A Dog's Purpose, we simply looked at each other and said "I can't. I just can't." Too much Honey.

-- Was scolding the missus for feeding the Trump Trolls on social media. I went down that road back in the George W. Bush days, and I've learned that there's really no point. The internet can be such a nasty place, and no one is going to change their political views based on something they see on Facebook. I'll never forget one particularly nasty online debate I took part in back then (there was no FB at the time, but plenty of forums), it pertained to the seemingly bogus reasons for invading Iraq. In response to Why are we even there?, one Dubya supporter chimed in: "So your sister won't need to wear a burka."

In describing our current situation I've coined a phrase that I'm rather fond of: The system may be broken, but the system has spoken.

1/9/17 -- Took in La La Land yesterday, and yes it deserves every single award it nabbed last night at the Globes. You'll leave smiling and humming and tapping your feet, even if your heart is a little broken.
1/6/17 -- Hey wait a minute...
1/4/17 -- So here it is, the long-awaited list of what I liked and did not like about that dreadful voyage around the sun called 2016. Ready?


Block Island in July (briefly)
Block Island in September
The foliage... not the best ever, but still lovely
October, every hour of it (me new fav month?)
Rogue One
Changing jobs
Titanfall 2
G. Love live
Donavon Frankenreiter live
Game of Thrones
Crossfit Brookfield / Getting into shape

Did Not Like

The campaign. Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed.
The election results (seriously, was it all just some terrible dream?)
Mass killings on the news every morning
Stress / Depression
RIP Grandma Nanclyn
RIP George Michael
RIP Carrie Fisher
RIP Gene Wilder
RIP Prince
RIP David Bowie
RIP Crossfit Brookfield / Falling out of shape
RIP Sadie (our beloved guinea pig)

2017 Resolutions? Sure, why not...

Live better
Parent better
Eat better
Work better
Get in absurd shape
Read more
Blog more
Figure out the money thing
Get the kids outdoors
Fix things in the house

How very trite.

1/3/17 -- The story of Old Horse Charlie made me smile and sniffle at the same time.
1/2/17 -- I've long considered Disney's "Big Three" - Mermaid, Beast, and Aladdin - to be untouchable. Modern classics never to be matched. I mean sure, you've got your Toy Stories, Nemos, and your Monsters Incs, etc, and those are terrific. But for me that original trifecta stands alone. However, now having just seen Moana, I gotta say this one comes darn close. It's special. It's beautiful. Go check it out.
1/1/17 -- What choice do we have but to hope and strive for 2017 to suck less than its predecessor? Beloved celebrities dropping like flies, daily mass killings around the world, Donald Freaking Trump...

I choose hope. I choose optimism. These will carry the day.
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