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What’s Good: The My Most Anticipated Album of 2016 is Out Edition

So, I’m not really doing this well in the #MTBoSBlaugust Challenge (I don’t know what doing well is, but I haven’t been as prolific as I was week 1, the drop off is a mixture of laziness, end of summer blues, and busyness), but I’m hoping that I’ll get back in the groove as I trudge toward the beginning of the school year.

I decided to change the “Stuff I Like” weekly/biweekly/whenever I get around to it post series to “What’s Good”. I feel like the phrase is more inclusive. And maybe I can get suggestions from people in the future to put on here. Just a thought.

maxresdefaultTV: I started watching Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down on Netflix. 1 uneven episode in, I’ll definitely be back for more, but the show is kind of all over the place tonally. Thankfully, the young leads of the show are compelling and the history & artistic integrity of the show are on point (Grand Master Flash and Nas are consultants/producers.

Last week I finished Stranger Things and it’s the best thing I’ve watched all year. Everything about the show is fantastic, it’s so much more than an homage to the 80s movies it clearly is referencing.

I enjoy watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette (the former more than the latter), but I really love watching Bachelor in Paradise. Part time villain, Nick Viall, did a really good podcast interview with The Ringer’s Juliet Litman this week that gives a peek into how that show works and what it’s like being on The Bachelorette twice in a row.

Movies: Jen and I watched The Big Short this week and both really enjoyed it. I tried reading the Michael Lewis book the movie is based on when the book first came out, but couldn’t get into it. I followed the housing crisis pretty closely by listening to things like the Planet Money podcast from NPR, so the subject matter is something I’m historically interested in. Thankfully, we didn’t get caught in that bubble, but I can imagine how people who were affected by the housing collapse would find that movie incredibly hard to watch.

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Video Games: I never had an Super Nintendo growing up, so I never played The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I have rectified the situation by building myself a RetroPie emulator using a Raspberry Pi 3. I now understand why this is considered to be one of the great games of all time.

I’ve been playing Dots & Co on my phone. I found out about it on my Twitter timeline. I don’t know who mentioned it, but I would like an apology.

Music: Burying the lead! Frank Ocean’s new album Blonde has finally been released. It was apparently going to come out a few weeks back (with a different title) but ended up getting pushed after a New York Times article spoiled the surprise (this gives new meaning to Trump’s failing NYT critique). Channel Orange is on my Top 10 albums of the decade list, so to say this is hotly anticipated, is an understatement. So far it hasn’t disappointed. I’ll probably write more about it next week.

Misc: I took Beckett to Disneyland twice in the last 2 weeks. Going on E-Ticket, big boy rides with your 3 year old son for the first time is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Over the last week I took him on Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Radiator Springs Racers for the first time, and he has loved all of them.

I made my first Desmos Activity the other day. It’s an activity to introduce limits to my AP Calculus class. It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of it.

So, what’s good with you?

A No Work, All Play, Very Good Summer

To help myself mentally prepare for the upcoming school year I’ve decided to jump into the #MTBoSBlaugust challenge. You can check out the other awesome participating blogs here.

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If you look back in my archives, you’ll notice that I haven’t posted anything since last year. I’ve had a lot of big things going on in my personal life, so my ability to write professionally, even if it was doing a #teach180, wasn’t really on my radar (just to recap: my wife and I welcomed our second kiddo in January, he suffered through some respiratory issues in his first couple months, but is now doing fine; I lost my dad in February; all in all, not a lot of stuff by volume, but a lot of stuff by weight).

This summer, I’ve had my amazing 3 year old son home with me (in previous years he would continue going to daycare to keep his spot, but he’s starting preschool in the fall) and that has been a major adjustment for me. Every summer since I started teaching high school has been an equal mix of prepping for next year, video games, and napping, and this summer I haven’t touched a spreadsheet, planning document, or textbook (I’ve had a little bit of time to read teaching related stuff like the excellent Classroom Chef book), only play video games during nap times or while the rest of the house is asleep, and have taken fewer than 10 naps (a travesty).

Even though I haven’t done the things I usually do during my summer, I’m learning to embrace the idea of OUR summer with my son. We take weekly trips to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World (over the last few weeks I’ve learned that both of those places are excellent spots to catch Pokemon). We have both learned about patience. We have bonded and gotten closer over the last month than we have at any other time in his life. I’m fascinated by his innate desire to learn new things, explore without thought of consequence, and order his world in rational ways. Seeing that these traits are innate in young kids shows me that they could be there for my juniors and seniors as well, we just need to be able to draw them back out of hiding.