Birthday Plans, AudioFeed, Deliverance

DAY 9 -- Remember a few years ago when I saw One Bad Pig at the nearby AudioFeed music festival? A band I listened to like crazy when I was a kid.

It appears that AudioFeed is bringing on another favorite from my youth this year -- Deliverance!

I'm old as dirt these days and so are these guys...


...but I cannot wait to hear them hit me with This Present Darkness live after almost thirty years (despite their line-up changing a bajillion times over the years)!


The three-day AudioFeed festival offers the opportunity to pitch a tent and camp for a few nights on site. My birthday happens to fall on the second day of this festival and a few days on my own, in a tent, with live music aplenty, is what Amy has agreed to as a gift to me this year. I'm all in for some solitude, but even more I'm in for some Deliverance, Propaganda, Project 86, and Listener.

Man. I can't wait for this.




Office Help, Poison Ivy, Guns

DAY 8 -- The seniors graduated last Friday so they're done and work is much quieter this week with a quarter of the student body no longer in attendance. With plenty still to do in the next five days, I had a "helper" on hand at work today.


Anna woke up feeling crummy this morning but I had too much to do at work...so she hung out with me all day in my office. I'm saying her "sickness" was nothing more than allergies but if you ask Anna, we were pretty close to calling the paramedics. It's amazing how much better she felt tonight once school was over and it was time for softball and dance.

Rules are rules, though. No school...no stuff after school.

. . .

Our modest garden is looking good except for the fact that the berm continues to produce a healthy crop of poison ivy.


With calamine lotion on my feet and a gallon of Round-Up soaking the berm, I'm declaring myself victor! Even so, it appears that mowing the berm in flip-flops last week was not my best idea.

. . .

Now guns.

I'm tired of guns. I'm tired of guns killing people. And I'm tired of the excuses.

It's my right! The second amendment! Guns don't kill people...people kill people!

STFU.

When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. That was my hobby. Had I been an irresponsible baseball card collector and others had put their hands on my legally owned baseball cards, that's on me. But if those cards went on to kill other people and destroy the lives of countless families every day, that's a problem.

Let me repeat.

That.

Is.

A.

Problem.

But we're not talking about a 1985 Topps Mark McGwire USA card made of cardboard and ink. We're talking about weapons -- oftentimes weapons that are far beyond what any reasonable hobbyist should ever own for recreational use. Even if your guns are legally owned, the end result can be catastrophic. Case in point being last week's shooting in Texas.

Here's a slightly altered quote from a recent news article about the shooting in Santa Fe:
Pagourtzis was armed with his father’s 1976 Topps Pete Rose and a Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card, a law enforcement official told NBC News.
Police responding to a baseball card collector inside Santa Fe High School got locked into a 25-minute battle with the collector. 
Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds? If that was the actual story over and over again ... every day on the news ... I'm quite sure some anti-baseball card legislation would start to emerge.

But the baseball card industry doesn't pad the pockets of those in power to make such changes like the NRA does.

If my Tony Gwynn rookie card kills a dozen innocent people, you might question my baseball card collection. If multiple baseball card collections killed multiple people in multiple cities every day for weeks and months upon end...a rational person might question the need to own those baseball cards in the first place.

Get it? We're not talking about somebody saying guns are bad because they're loud and they annoy the neighbors.

Guns kill people.

Dead.

Maybe you're a responsible gun owner, but so was the father of the Santa Fe shooter. So were so many other gun owners whose weapons caused unnecessary killing. What's it going to take for you to get it? Do you need your own innocent child to die a bloody death? Maybe your spouse or your sibling needs to be gunned down by a stray bullet?

No? Your hobby is more important than those lives? Look at the faces of the people in this article and tell me you're okay that they're dead as long as you're still able to play with your guns at the firing range.

The problem is not people. The problem is guns.

You can save your counter-argument. You're not going to change my mind.

Seriously. Don't waste your time.

Your guns are killing innocent people on a daily basis. Your hobby is causing others to suffer and for their lives to be changed forever in a terrible, terrible way.

Every day.

How you justify that is beyond me.

Nada Limonada. Again.

DAY 7 -- Deja vu.

  

See also, yesterday.

Nada Limonada

DAY 6 -- Nothing better than a day like this. A pretty nothing kind of day capped off across the street with a few drinks around my in-law's pool.


See also, tomorrow.

Sicko, Neighborhood Talent, Biker Gang

DAY 5 -- Mason went to bed with a fever last night and woke up at the same temperature this morning.

Sick day.


Yes, I realize it looks like we don't feed him, but I assure you he has plenty to eat on a daily basis. No need to make any phone calls.

. . .

The official word went out today for an event in Indianapolis I've been invited to be a part of. Heartland Film will be hosting a viewing of the Mister Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor on June 6th -- a few days prior to it's official release later that week.


First of all, if you have the means and it's screening in your neighborhood, go see this film. My investment in Mister Rogers aside, you will not be disappointed.


Second, I'm humbled to be the "talent" on hand for the Heartland event as I'll be there as an "official" Mister Rogers archivist/historian for a discussion following the film. If you're in the Indianapolis area and are interested in this at all, check out the Heartland site for details.

. . .

Speaking of Mister Rogers, an advance copy of the upcoming biography The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers arrived in my mailbox today.


I'm only about fifty pages in and it's, so far, the best Fred Rogers book I've read since Michael Long's Peaceful Neighbor. So very well done from what I've read so far and I'm sure it'll have my full endorsement come September. In the meantime, if you're interested in a solid look at the work of Fred Rogers from an adult (and social issues) perspective, I'd definitely recommend Peaceful Neighbor.

. . .

My friend from high school, Mike, texted me tonight with a picture that sparked my interest in an immediate road trip. Apparently, Southern Grist -- a brewery out of Nashville, TN -- has created a coconut infused milk stout they're calling "Copra Kai." Reminiscent of the Sweep the Leg peanut butter stout from last year, this Karate Kid fan may stop at nothing to get his hands on a can or two.


. . .

This evening wrapped up exactly like I'd love to see many of this year's summer nights come to a close -- with some time relaxing in the yard and having fun with the kids. After some basketball and hammock time, the five of us took a bike ride in the church parking lot behind our yard. As we all rode our bikes back to the house, I was reminded of this awesome picture from 1983 taken by my brother.

Me and our friends, Greg and Brett -- three tough guys with their rad bikes.


Only one thing to do with that kind of memory.


. . .

Mason's feeling better, by the way.

And it's still "yanny."

Bus 16 + 70 Kids = 1 Dairy Queen

DAY 4 -- Those of you following along for a few years are likely familiar with the annual water gun fight planned by my kids' bus driver where they battle it out with another bus after the last day of school. This year, along with the water gun fight scheduled for next week, Miss Linda took Bus 16 to Dairy Queen.

Seventy kids packed into one Dairy Queen.

Bless her heart.


. . .

As I was finishing up some yard work tonight, I saw my in-laws making their way across the street carrying pots in their oven-mitt-covered hands. That could only mean one thing!

The bacon-wrapped pork was terrific! Much better than whatever we hadn't planned yet for dinner!


. . .

The third of the three Mister Rogers Pop! figures arrived today!


For those maybe unfamiliar with my Mister Rogers story, check out NeighborhoodArchive.com.

It's a thing I do.

. . .

Oh, yeah. And it's definitely "yanny."

Coach Tim

DAY 3 -- Came home from work to put together this guy's new bed!


The bunk beds are dismantled, sold, and ready to be picked up this weekend. Now this room seems twice the size it did before!

. . .

Anna's back on the softball field and, following my plans to have some fun this summer, I've found myself as a volunteer assistant coach. I don't get the fancy team shirt and hat, but I do get to remind girls to watch the batter instead of making designs in the dirt.


Actually, I'm kidding. Anna's team seems to be having a ton of fun as they learn the basics of the game. Her coaches last year were clearly only invested in their own daughters, so I'm glad to help two other dads this year as we invest some time in this great group of girls.

. . .

After putting in a few raised garden beds in the berm last fall, the veggies are planted and I've been getting some solid help from those who will be reaping the benefits.


Man, evenings like this remind me how much I enjoy our house in the trees.

Alexa, Naked Chicken, Cobra Kai

DAY 2 -- Alexa moved in to our house a few weeks ago and I think I'm in love. I was never really interested in making our house a "smart home" until I saw some of the capabilities in action. It's much like wearing an Apple Watch -- it's not necessary, but is sure is convenient (and fun) sometimes. So our house is slowly becoming smarter and I'm becoming a little less motivated to get off the couch. With Echos and Dots and accessories spread throughout our house, I assume it's only a matter of time before we're hydrating pizzas for dinner.

And, yes, I was torn between a Back to the Future reference and a Jetsons reference there.

While I was cleaning leaves and oak pollen off the roof this past weekend, Mason tells me he was given specific instructions from Amy:

"I'm going to the store. If dad falls off the roof, tell Alexa to call 911."

. . .

Let's talk about food.

My favorite thing over the past week or so has been avocado toast -- apparently a favorite among the hipster crowd. I eat it for breakfast with some fruit and feel like I'm starting my day off with something satisfying and nutritious.


Then later in the day, my amazing ability to make poor decisions occasionally sets in and I negate any bit of pride I feel from a healthy breakfast.

Today, for example, I needed to pick something up from Barnes & Noble over my lunch hour which took me right by one of my fast food nemeses -- Taco Bell. I have a love/hate relationship with Taco Bell -- while I love Taco Bell, Taco Bell hates me. Knowing full well that a Taco Bell lunch was sure to result in an afternoon gut bomb, I ignored my conscience and decided today was the day I'd give a shot at the Naked Chicken Chalupa.


There it is. In all it's glory.

If you're unfamiliar, it's exactly what it looks like -- a pretty basic taco but with a fried chicken shell.

After applying a healthy dose of Diablo Sauce, down the hatch it went and I have to admit ... I was pleasantly surprised. It kind of hit the spot and satisfied my Taco Bell craving. But I'm not smart enough to stop there. The burrito and two glasses of mango tea that followed put me over the edge.

Some day I'll learn.

Maybe.

. . .

It seems that this summer's Day 1 post created a bit of shock among the faithful Summer of Tim readers -- all with one simple word: "purge."

While I've spent several years amassing a somewhat ridiculous collection of ... well ... stuff, I'm realizing that there's a point where it's time to reign things in a bit. For as long as I can remember, I've loved a trip to a good thrift store and the feeling of walking out with something cheap and fun that I didn't even know I wanted in the first place. When I say I want to purge a bit over the summer, I'm not talking about the good stuff. All of my old toys and the other vintage and pop culture memorabilia is all staying put. What I'm talking about thinning out are the huge amounts of random stuff that I've picked up simply because it was cheap and it was there.

That said, I really haven't had the urge to go junk shopping in quite some time. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but I've reached a point since last summer where I'd rather have simple over stuff in many ways. For example, I've officially moved away from buying physical copies of music (with an occasional exception, of course) and even away from purchasing digital downloads. For a while it was Spotify and now we've moved on to Amazon Music Unlimited. For the cost of one album a month (or maybe two cheap albums), we've got an endless library of music at our fingertips.

Sure, I miss the liner notes and all of that jazz ... but I can't tell Alexa to change CDs while I'm in the shower.

. . .

Speaking of music, I've been listening to the new Frank Turner album a lot lately. It's pretty great. You should listen to it a lot, too.


. . .

Cobra Kai, the series based on the original Karate Kid trilogy, has been out for almost two weeks and I've watch all ten episodes through three times already. Amy even watched them with me once and said to me just last night, "I want to watch the Karate Kid show again."

After fifteen years, she knows me well enough to know that's my kind of flirting.


. . .

I had to be at work early today to administer an AP exam. That means I should have gone to bed at a reasonable time last night. Instead, I stayed up until after midnight watching reruns of Cops.

I think it's safe to say that full-on summer mode has officially set it.

Life Is Good.

DAY 1 -- Here we go again! Another Summer of Tim is underway!

Follow. Like. Share. Comment. Retweet. Ignore. Whatever.

I start off every summer break with goals in mind, plans for the coming weeks, and a general idea of what the time away from work is going to look like. Typically, I spend my summers digging around at thrift stores and hitting up nearby places I don't have the time to frequent during the school year. I share pictures of the junk I buy and the crappy foods I eat. I post links to the music I'm listening to and I share pictures of my kids swimming in my in-law's pool. I can't say there won't be any of that this summer because I'm sure there will be ... but this summer I have a slightly different focus.

Let me explain.

When my family and I were in Florida over spring break, we did some touristy shopping in Siesta Key. As I wandered one store, I kept coming back to a coffee mug that caught my eye as soon as I walked in the door. I've always been familiar with the "Life is Good" brand, but never really paid it much attention. This coffee mug featured the usual Life is Good character relaxing in an outdoor chair (his name is Jake, for those of you keeping score at home) -- an image I felt I needed to see on my desk at work as I spend the gloomy winter months each year in my windowless office longing for some fresh air and a peek of sunlight.


I decided to buy the mug but continued looking through the display of other Life is Good merchandise. I found myself thumbing through a book about the company and the two brothers who launched it back in the mid-1990s. Later that night, I downloaded this book to my iPad and spent the next few days reading about the Life is Good company which is based on the idea of simple optimism. With each chapter, I found myself drawn more and more to the ideas expressed through the Life is Good brand -- optimism, nature, fun, positivity, and just general happiness.

My biggest take-away?

Multiple times, the book mentions one motto of Life is Good -- "Do what you love. Love what you do."

I couldn't help but wonder... am I doing that in my own life?

I'm not sure.

And that thought didn't sit well with me.

After ten months in an office with no windows and no fresh air, I want to take full advantage of the next eighty days by absorbing all of the good there is in the world around me.

I want to dig in the dirt.
I want fresh air.
I want direct sunlight.
I want to sweat.
I want to ride my bike.
I want to sit on the porch and do crossword puzzles.
I want to laugh.
I want to try new things.
I want to taste new foods.
I want to create.
I want to purge.
I want to simplify.
I want to read.
I want to roll down the windows.
I want to unplug.
I want to relax.

Whatever, right? All of this may sound great in theory coming from a guy who many of you know as sarcastic, cynical, and sometimes just plain negative.

Well, guess what? It took me almost 42 years, but I was finally convinced by a coffee mug in a tourist shop.

Life is good.

Make way for the Summer of Tim.

Cobra Kai (Season 1) Nods to the Original Karate Kid Series

If you've not seen the new YouTube Red series Cobra Kai, stop reading here. There are spoilers aplenty in this post.

If you've seen it, let's get beyond the obvious references to the original Karate Kid movies like LaRusso Auto "kicking the competition" and a free bonsai tree for every customer. Let's dig into this amazing script-flipping first season of Cobra Kai and pick out some of the more subtle reference to the original 1984 classic!

Episode 1
  • When Miguel meets Johnny, he mentions that he and his family have just moved into the apartment complex and they’re having trouble with their sink. Daniel and his mother experienced a broken faucet of their own when they moved into their new apartment.
  • This one may be a stretch, but as the fight begins outside the convenience store, one of Kyler’s friends refers to him as “Kai.” Maybe an unintentional bit of foreshadowing?
Episode 2
  • The episode opens with Dean Martin’s song “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” -- an obvious reference to Daniel’s final kick in his first tournament.
  • Addressing his new student, Johnny notices that Miguel is distracted and delivers the line “What is the problem, Mr. Diaz?” The dialogue leading up to this line was also used by Sensei Kreese who noticed a distracted Johnny: “What is the problem, Mr. Lawrence?”
  • Johnny instructs Miguel to do fifty push ups on his knuckles -- a punishment also used by Sensei Kreese.
  • As Miguel washes the mats at the dojo, Johnny is sure to remind him to wash both sides. Mr. Miyagi similarly reminded Daniel that part of his training included painting both sides of the fence.
  • Daniel reminds his wife that he was once “pushed off a cliff on [his] bike.”
  • The knife Daniel uses at dinner was brought back from his first trip to Okinawa. This trip was, of course, the basis for The Karate Kid Part II.
  • As Miguel washes the windows in the dojo, he asks Johnny if there is any particular way he should be doing it. Mr. Miyagi may have had a specific method in mind, but in the spirit of Johnny’s lax training, he responds, “I don’t give a shit. Whatever’s easiest.”
  • At the end of the episode, Daniel and Johnny find themselves face to face on the mat in positions similar to where they found themselves in the All-Valley Tournament.

Episode 3
  • One of Daniel’s employees at LaRusso Auto is his cousin Louie -- possibly a reference or relation to his Uncle Louie mentioned in the early parts of the original film.
  • The kids in the Cobra Kai series attend West Valley High School -- the same school attended by Daniel and Johnny.
  • Daniel also attended the Halloween dance during his first year at West Valley High. Thanks to Johnny, Miguel arrives wearing a skeleton costume just like the ones worn by the Cobra Kai in the original film.

  • Daniel mentions that his mom used to drive him on dates -- like the time she drove he and Ali to Golf N Stuff.
Episode 4
  • One of Daniel’s breakfast specialties are his Bananarama pancakes. Bananarama performed Cruel Summer -- the song that plays as in the original film as he arrives for his first day of school.
  • After harrassing Miguel and his friends in the library, one of Kyler’s friends is heard making the comment, “I think he’s gonna cry.” When Daniel is confronted by Dutch in the locker room prior to the tournament, they are run off by the tournament official. As they leave, one Cobra Kai member can be heard delivering the same line.
Episode 5
  • Daniel dines at the Encino Oaks Country Club -- the same place where he was covered in spaghetti after seeing Johnny kiss Ali on the dance floor.
  • Johnny declares, “This isn’t a knitting class, it’s a dojo.” In the original film, when Sensei Kreese suggests that Daniel and Johnny square off immediately, Mr. Miyagi declines the invitation. Kreese responds, “This is a karate dojo, not a knitting class.”
  • Johnny gives his original gi to his student, Miguel in the same way Miyagi have Daniel the patch for his own gi.
  • As Daniel puts on his gi, the music playing in the background is the same music heard in the original film’s climactic final kick scene.
Episode 6
  • When young Johnny visits the Cobra Kai dojo, he watches a class in progress. The audio from this scene is the same audio from the original film when Johnny would have been a teenage student.
  • As Daniel mentions in the car lot, “Things aren’t always what they look like.” Mr. Miyagi delivered a similar message to a frustrated Daniel when he suggests, “Not everything is as seems.”
  • Sid refers to Johnny’s “drum set and roller skates” -- a possible reference to the music video for No More Kings 2007 song "Sweep the Leg."

Episode 7
  • In the episode’s opening scene, as Daniel teaches Robby proper technique for various chores, the music playing the background is the same used in the original film as Daniel trains on the beach.
  • Robby believe he is done with his chores at LaRusso Auto, but Daniel takes him by surprise when he asks, “Both lots?” This is similar to Daniel thinking he is finished painting the fence when Mr. Miyagi asks him, “Both sides?”
  • In an obvious reference to the original film, Robby is angry that he’s just doing all “shitty chores” and not learning karate. Daniel felt the same after his initial training with Mr. Miyagi.
  • The magazine advertisement and poster for the upcoming All-Valley Tournament has changed none from the image used in 1984.

  • When Robby films Daniel’s wife entering the security code at the dealership, a frame-by-frame look at this episode reveals that the code is “198484.” The original film was released in 1984.
  • Daniel refers to Mr. Miyagi’s Little Trees and suggests that the shop had a solid business plan but “ran into some bad luck.” This, of course, is a reference to the bonsai shop from The Karate Kid Part II.
  • Daniel teaches Robby to properly trim bonsai trees through visualization, just like he was taught by Mr. Miyagi.
  • The music that plays as the date scene at Golf N Stuff begins is the same music used as Daniel and Ali’s date begins at the same location in 1984.
  • At Golf n Stuff, Miguel and Sam’s date closely mirrors that of Daniel and Ali as they play mini golf and hockey. They also have their pictures taken in a photo booth.

  • As the episode concludes, Johnny and Miguel celebrate with a stiff drink -- similar to the drink Miyagi shared with Daniel.
Episode 8
  • The LaRusso family is visited Daniel’s mother -- Lucille from the original film (and a cameo in Part II).
  • Lucille refers to “those Cobra Kai” jerks and brings up the time they “pushed [Daniel] down that hill.”
  • Johnny talks about the summer of 1982 when Rocky 3 had just come out and his buddy Dutch was a huge Mr. T fan. Dutch, of course, was a part of the Cobra Kai gang from the original film. The original Rocky film was directed by John Avildsen, as were the first three Karate Kid films.
  • In the same conversation, Johnny recalls seeing Ali Mills for the first time and the summer that Daniel moved to California.
  • The music that plays during the training montage is multiple times during the original film.
  • Daniel wears a catcher’s mask and chest protector as he teaches Robby to punch -- just like Miyagi did when Daniel learned similar techniques.
  • Miguel unexpectedly finds Sam with another guy who she has no interest in, yet he misinterprets the interaction. This is similar to Daniel finding Johnny and Ali dancing together at the country club in the original film.
Episode 9
  • When Johnny arrives at Daniel’s house to confront him, he says, “You still can’t leave well enough alone.” In the original film, when the Cobras catch up with Daniel near the apartment building running from the Halloween dance, Johnny says to Daniel, “You couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you, you little twerp?!”
  • Offering a car from his dealership, Daniel takes Johnny to his trade-in lot and presents him with an opportunity: “Choose.” Daniel was presented with a similar opportunity with the cars outside Miyagi’s house on his sixteenth birthday: “Choose.”
  • Test driving his chosen car at high speeds with a nervous Daniel riding shotgun, Johnny says, “Relax, Danielle.” In the original film, when Dutch confronts Daniel in the locker room, he refers to Daniel as “Danielle.”
  • On the test drive, Daniel and Johnny stop by the South Seas apartment complex where Daniel and his mother once lived.

  • Sitting at a bar together, Daniel and Johnny recall the spaghetti incident at the country club and Daniel’s knowledge of Ali’s current whereabouts thanks to social media.
  • There’s a confrontation on the beach...and Miguel is wearing a red hoodie and ringer shirt...just like Daniel once wore.
  • Due to a shove from Johnny, Daniel’s All-Valley Tournament trophy is broken. Johnny’s second place trophy was also broken by Sensei Kreese in the parking lot in the opening of The Karate Kid Part II.
Episode 10
  • The Cobra Kai students enter the tournament floor chanting their dojo name -- just like the Cobras did in 1984.
  • Miguel’s first point is earned using Daniel’s famous crane kick.
  • Hawk makes illegal contact in the semi-finals with Robby just like Bobby did with Daniel.
  • Seeing Robby suffering from an injury that could keep him out of the finals, Daniel appears to be preparing Miyagi’s hand-rubbing treatment...before calling for a medic.
  • As Robby returns to the mat, it is announce that “Daniel LaRusso’s gonna coach!” In the same dramatic fashion, it was announce following his return from a devastating injury in the original film that “Daniel LaRusso’s gonna fight!”
  • Following the tournament, Daniel and Robby return to Daniel’s original training ground...Miyagi’s yard.

  • And if you watch all ten episodes, you’re fully aware of … well … you know.

Season 2 can't get here fast enough!