Date posted: December 31, 2016 | Filed under life | Leave a Comment »

I don’t know what else I can write about 2016 that hasn’t been covered elsewhere; from my humble perspective everything in the world that I know seems to have gone completely sideways. We elected a narcissistic clown for president, we lost Prince, Bowie, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Abe motherfucking Vigoda. Closer to home, the plumbing crapped out, the boiler blew a gasket, we had to trade two trees in our backyard for a summer vacation, and on that vacation we had to deal with head lice.

On the positive side, the Lockardugans did what we could to make progress in 2016. Finley entered the Second Grade and tested in the 90th percentile for both math and english. She learned how to snowboard and ride a bike. We had fun at the beach and in Philadelphia for our vacation. I was lucky enough to travel to Mexico and London and work in some sightseeing time. We refinanced our house and set the wheels in motion to start working on it again.

Miles of copy has already been written about the possibilities and perils of the next four years. Personally, I’m terrified; I didn’t predict the election results, but I tried to get us as prepared financially as I could–we already know that interest rates are going up, and I’m betting that our new president’s inability to censor himself will cause gigantic ripples in the economy that he won’t feel. Beyond that, he’s surrounded himself with a bunch of supply-side economists, big business apologists, and frightening throwbacks to Jim Crow America. They will start making decisions that will have lasting effects on my family’s well-being for decades. Our balance on the knife edge of the Middle Class has never felt more precarious.

And yet, I’m still hanging on to optimism. I work for an organization that is gearing itself up to fight for sustainable environmental policies. My family is healthy, and my daughter is thriving. We will teach her to fight for the truth, think independently, make smart decisions for herself, and to be a compassionate and socially conscious woman. Because I think those qualities in that gender are exactly what this country needs.

Date posted: December 31, 2016 | Filed under life, links | Leave a Comment »

I just so happened to be watching cable the other night and Children of Men was on–one of my favorite movies. The next day I stumbled across this article, which asks if it’s 2016’s most relevant film.

Date posted: December 29, 2016 | Filed under entertainment, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The fifth graders at Finley’s school are trying to fuck up Christmas for my kid. They’ve been whispering in her ear about Santa and now she’s having doubts. She spent the last month fishing for answers from us, saying things like, “If you and Mama were putting things under the tree and telling me they were from Santa, you could tell me, and that would be OK.” It makes me feel like a serial killer. I can’t wait for THAT conversation when it finally comes. Plus, once we’ve admitted it to her, she is the kind of kid who will find it impossible not to share The Truth with the rest of her classmates. So, Jen and I schemed for weeks and hatched a plan to make this a memorable Christmas.

We decided that because Santa got all the glory last year with the bike, we were going to take back 2016 with big guns. Finley draws pictures of cats constantly. She plays cat games with her friend from school. She was asking for a cat five minutes after we put Pique to sleep. We’ve been waving her off since that time, enjoying the absence of vet bills, cat hair, and litter underfoot in the basement. This past month, she saw a commercial for a robotic cat on Cartoon Network, and asked Santa to bring her one.

Jen scouted out the local shelters and pet stores, and found a fresh batch of kittens at the local Pet Smart. She picked one out and took me to take a look, and she was right: the kitten was a beautiful little tabby with white socks, and she purred the moment I picked her up. While we discussed the paperwork, her littermate looked up at me and pawed at the door of the cage: a jet black boy with gold eyes and a small blaze on his chest. I picked him up and he immediately started his motor, reached up and batted at my face, and then crawled up my shoulders. I was smitten; he reminded me of Teller. So we walked out with two instead of one.


What followed was three weeks of subterfuge and skullduggery; the kittens were boarded at the piano teacher’s house while we prepared the surprise. We borrowed the neighbors’ dog kennel, set it up as a kitten hotel, and after the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve Jen went out and brought them back to the house. Meanwhile I’d built a box with a removable lid that Jen wrapped with a bow, and I preset some cameras on either side of the tree. Christmas morning, we had Finley open Santa’s gifts first and then she opened several clues: two sets of cat bowls, a scratching pad, and some toys. While she got through the last of those I wrangled the kittens into the box and placed it down in front of her, quiet mewling coming from inside. As it opened her eyes got big, and as she reached in the black kitten shot out of the box over her shoulder. She pulled out the girl and held her in her lap, and that made the whole thing worthwhile.


Santa brought her some cool stuff too, but 2016 will be known as the Year Of The Kitten.

Date posted: December 28, 2016 | Filed under finn | Leave a Comment »


…writeup to follow (click the link to view the video).

Date posted: December 27, 2016 | Filed under finn | Leave a Comment »

I would rather stay up past midnight pecking out an essay about not wanting to grade your Final Papers with one finger on my tiny outdated smart phone touchpad than grade your Final Papers because I do not want to read them.

Source: McSweeney’s

Date posted: December 21, 2016 | Filed under shortlinks, teaching | Leave a Comment »

I have Longreads set up in my Flipboard feed as a great source of excellent journalism and storytelling. Here’s the Longreads Best of 2016 list. Pour a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy.

Date posted: December 18, 2016 | Filed under general, list, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Jen traveled to Southern Maryland to attend a funeral on Saturday, which meant Finley and I were on our own for the majority of the day. I told her ahead of time that we were going to be handling a lot of errands, and asked her to be my co-pilot.

We started out with some breakfast after seeing Jen off. Down the street we got some BE&C and then completed that day’s Advent activity: reindeer droppings for breakfast. This was more delicious than it sounds–a bagful of chocolate munchkins at Dunkin Donuts look suspiciously like the real thing. Next, we hit the bank. From there, we drove into the city to go pick up a company lens I had dropped off for repair at the camera store a few weeks back.

While we were there I looked at a couple of used Fuji lenses and then asked if I could see the 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 zoom. I’ve been looking at this lens online for weeks. I’m committing to building a Fuji kit that spans a wide range of focal lengths, and this lens fills the middle to long-range gap. I hemmed and I hawed, but the focus speed and range sold me, so I put the money down for it.

Finn and I returned home and took a short break before going back out again, which was fortunate because just then I got a call from the contractor, who wanted to come by and see the bathroom space. I walked him through the area and he took measurements on windows and square footage, and hopefully we’ll get an estimate in hand sometime this week.

Then we warmed up the Scout and went out Christmas shopping for Jen. After taking care of that task, we hit the Panera on our way back for a late lunch. As we looked at the menu, a nice man told me I’d left our headlights on, so we went out and checked. This was a false alarm (the sun’s reflection sure did look like it) but we struck up a conversation as Finn and I came back inside. It turns out he’s got a diesel Scout he rescued from a barn, and Peer Pressure is the first Scout he’s seen around these parts. I wrote my email on a napkin and told him to get in touch so that we can set up a day to meet up and talk Scouts.

Back home, Finn and I put the lights on the porch and then I put the candles in the windows to make the house look cheerier. We then made some warm milk with cardamom and watched Rudolph before bundling up for bed.

Date posted: December 13, 2016 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: December 12, 2016 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

I love everything about this: The machinists who keep the New York Times running. Part engineer, part mechanic, part inventor, part investigator. It’s obvious how much pride these guys have in their work, and how rare this kind of job is in an ever vanishing industry.

Date posted: December 11, 2016 | Filed under general, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »