May

Thursday the 2nd I finally found an epic #TBT I’d been looking for. In 1991 I was in LA with my family on Spring Break, and we got tickets to the Tonight Show, hoping to get Johnny, but we got Jay. I remember the Pet Shop Boys covering U2, but I didn’t realize that one of them had walked off stage in the middle of the song, and I didn’t remember Jim Carrey being there until I saw the clip (and how awkward it was to watch what Shelley Winters was saying next to my mom). From Literaly (Pet Shop Boys Fan club magazine): “During the first song (“Where The Streets …”) Chris noticed -watching a monitor showing the broadcast -that he hadn’t appeared on camera once and, understandably miffed, walked off during the song. The people from the TV show refused to re-shoot the song and so the Pet Shop Boys refused to play their second song.”

Jim Carrey Jay Leno

Saturday Jill joined friends at the Maryland sheep and wool festival, while I took Nina to tumbling, then Free Comic Book Day at Comic Logic Books & Artwork where Nina marveled at the staff member dressed as Black Widow and peppered me with questions. She loved her Disney Descendants comic and couldn’t wait to read it, then we ate lunch at Frito Chicken. Sunday we had an ER visit after we thought Nina might be having a reaction to new medication (likely heartburn, thank goodness) then had dinner at Mod Pizza. Nina asked for Oreos for dessert as this was her jam of the moment. I continued exploring the 4 pack of Game of Thrones beer with #gameofbeers part 2. This week was King of the North, a barrel aged stout. Heavy, but decent. B

Nina

Monday I thought this is just all kinds of awesome. Maybe we’ll make a return sometime. Thursday the 9th was concert #12: Neil Gaiman at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. On a night where traffic was so bad Google had me go west around Leesburg, we still got some quick seafood for dinner at the Shuckin’ Shack and managed to make it to our seats 5 minutes late, when he hadn’t gone on yet. Plus he read “Chivalry” (first time I’ve heard him do it in 20 years) and answered my question in the first group of questions and answers.
Q: I’ve seen the first episode of Good Omens, [well done] and while I’ve seen people discuss its influences, I felt it owed a debt to the television adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Was that intentional?
A: Absolutely. The first three minutes, more or less, of Good Omens is an absolute hat tip to the late Douglas Adams and to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series. Tried to do it as if it was now. I loved Hitchhiker’s. When I was 25, 26 years old, I got to write The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy companion and worked with Douglas Adams. He was an inspiration and wonderful, ridiculously tall man. And so my brief to our wonderful graphics people was go wild, do what the Hitchhiker’s television show would have done for one of those early sequences where the voice of the book talks to you about something – if they could do it now, if they had our resources, if they had real computers rather than a very sweet man named Kevin Davis very slowly making it look like things were done with them. So yeah, absolutely intentional.

Jill

Saturday Dad and Patricia came over again for computer help – this time we had an early Mother’s Day brunch of french toast and bacon. Sunday was #gameofbeers part 3: Mother of Dragons, a smoked porter and kriek blend. Expected more smokiness, but a good mix to pair with grilled chicken and pasta that night (one of Jill’s favorites). B+

Nina

Thursday Jill’s car repairs cost more than her car so she got the Subaru Outback she’d been eyeing. Saturday the 18th was Nina’s tryouts for the new cheer year (some lovely new tastes at Old Ox while I waited), then by request I picked up Popeyes chicken for a neighbor’s pot luck party. We left Nina there so she could play with the kids after her babysitter arrived, then we went to concert #13: Eddie Izzard at Warner for his Wunderbar show, which ended with a very funny Lord of the Rings bit. Afterwards Jill and I had drinks at Proper 21 (and how could I say no to a drink called “Benny & The Jets” and made with rum & rhubarb?). Sunday we went to the Fine Arts festival then broke in the two seater inflatable kayak, then that evening was #gameofbeers part 4 and the series finale. Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. A sour blonde ale, kinda goes with my feelings. B

Eddie Izzard

Friday the 24th was Nina’s “graduation” from Tae Kwon Do as she’d been taking afterschool classes. She and I had dinner at Flippin’ Pizza before and I signed her up for some more classes. We also realized we weren’t as good friends with people as we thought we were when we were blindsided to see pictures of friends at a wedding that weekend we thought we would have been invited to. We did finish watching Good Omens as eBay is a wonderful place to find what you want. And yes, the show is as good as I had hoped.

Nina

Wednesday I saw this. If you’re a fan of the Dark Tower by Stephen King, there are some fascinating tidbits. Also from Warren Ellis’ weekly newsletter, 100% true for me:
“Also, a continuing personal rejection of Music As A Service. I purchase all my downloads. And if something for sale is offered for free on a streaming site, I try to track the thing down and buy it if I love it. (Hence I now own the Brian Eno “New Space Music” I put here a couple weeks back, thanks to EnoShop.) Sampling is fine. That’s what radio was/is for. I use YouTube and other services to sample things, and I think – I hope – it can help artists. But renting a music collection is bullshit and bad for everybody.
(As is, of course, acting as if music is free like air. That only works if you don’t let all the trees die.)
(But, I reiterate, personal. Not trying to make you feel bad for streaming here. This is just what works for me, and I am well aware of my personal privilege of having an amount of disposable income for music.)”

Nina

Friday the 31st what else would I do on a bachelor weekend but drop off the girls at Dulles (it was Jake’s graduation) at 6:30am so I could leave work by 3 to go to George Mason University and go to Fenwick Library for the first time since I was taking grad school classes there 25 years ago? I had an appointment at the Special Collections Research Center I made after seeing this article. I wanted to see if they had any of the articles I’d written for Expulsion then that I didn’t have. Unfortunately they didn’t have many of the papers I was missing. Then I stopped at Crazy Crab for some delicious seafood, loved how the gloves and the bib had me walking away unstained for once. Then it was time for concert #14: Sammy Hagar with Night Ranger at Wolf Trap. 4th time seeing Sammy (1 solo, 2 with VH), but 1st time seeing Night Ranger, and they were great. But Sammy (with Michael Anthony and Jason Bonham) just knocked it out of the park, especially on a cover of Rock And Roll (on John Bonham’s birthday no less).

June

Friday June 2nd there was a massive Marvel collection sale on Kindle (which transfers to Comixology). I let Chris he could get the entire Star Wars run for $20. That night was a Daddy/daughter dinner night. Usually we’d just gone to Flippin’ Pizza, but Nina had seen the 2 person tables between Red’s table and Cafesano, and wanted to eat pizza plus Cafesano’s lentil soup. Too bad Cafesano didn’t have their lentil soup that night, but it was redeemed by feeding pizza crusts to the geese on the lake.

Nina

Saturday I took Nina to get a booster seat, then to her tee-ball game (Jill was gone for the weekend at Maddie’s graduation). That night we sold restaurant coupon books for the Reston Herndon Little League at the North Point Glory Days, then had dinner there with the family we were selling with (plus an ice cream cone afterwards). They have a genius drink called Shark Attack, which is a Sprite with a toy shark filled with red grenadine that they can mix in themselves (it was a big hit).

Nina

Sunday Nina and I went to the Herndon Festival, checked out the vendors, watched Cal Everett and Nelly’s Echo, ate some food, and did some arts and crafts. I let Nina get one thing from the vendors, and after much consideration, she went with a rainbow ponytail holder. That night I watched The Leftovers finale – I didn’t have great expectations of this series, even with one of the creators of Lost, but I really enjoyed seasons 2 & 3. The last episode really stuck the landing.

Nina

Wednesday the 7th it was Nina’s graduation from Sunset Hills Montessori after 4 years there. I had to go back to work afterwards, but Sue came to visit and she and Jill took Nina out to lunch and to Zoofari. Thursday Sue watched Nina in the morning, then Jill and I came home from work to take her to her class party in the afternoon (which included an ice cream truck).

Nina

Saturday the 10th was Nina’s final tee-ball of the season. Dad and Patricia came in addition to Sue. That evening Jill, Nina and I went over to Celebrate Fairfax. I got to eat from a delicious Indian food truck and see some of Vertical Horizon and Everclear, and Nina got to ride a lot of rides; the Ferris Wheel was her favorite.

Nina, Dad & Patricia

Friday the 16th Nina had her rehearsal for her dance recital the next day, then Nina and Sue and I went to Red’s Table for dinner (Nina refused to have anything but fries). I was disappointed to learn that night that half.com would be closing. Nina’s recital the next day went well, then Jill and Sue went to Leesburg for tea, and I took Nina to the Bready Park playground and the Taste of Reston (she really liked the Hen Penny fried chicken and no longer liked her old favorite strawberries dipped in chocolate). I was glad I had a change of clothes for her as the thing she most wanted to do was go to the spraypark.

Kerry Nina Jill

Sunday I got a great Father’s Day with 2 of my favorite Davids: Tennant and Matthews. First up was Awesome Con where we got there just in time for our photo with two Doctor Who castmembers: David Tennant and John Barrowman. We got to meet some comic creators and Nina got some prints and coloring books, and she was more excited to get her picture taken with Shimmer and Shine. We drove up to Columbia and stopped at a playground for a bit, then had dinner at the Mall of Columbia (the Veracruz salad from Noodles & Company is delicious), then over to Merriweather Post Pavilion for Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds.

Us, David Tennant and John Barrowman

Friday the 23rd was Summer concert #1: Jonathan Coulton and Aimee Mann. That was friggin’ delightful (if she’s looking for another partner after Ted Leo, he’d be perfect), and the surprise duet at the end on “Voices Carry” was welcome. Saturday we took Nina to The Burger Shack for diner, then to Monster Mini Golf where her tee-ball team had a party for selling the most coupons. It was Nina’s first time playing mini golf, and she had a blast (I also enjoyed playing Aliens: Armageddon while they golfed).

Nina

Monday the 26th I was excited to see Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie that night at Wolf Trap for Summer Concert #2. I was surprised by how much I like their album, considering how meh I was on his last 2 solo albums. I wouldn’t have argued if they’d slapped the Fleetwood Mac name on this. Then Jill got a sinus infection, and I had to sell her ticket. It was a fine way to kick off the Wolf Trap season, great mix of new and classic songs. Nina also started a new camp that day with the Reston Association, her first camp not at school. Happily she loved it, especially going to the pool just about every day.

Nina

What comics to read

Pop culture columnist Whitney Matheson at usatoday.com recently ran a series of columns on what comics you should read. I found the first three to cover the essentials – the last one didn’t have any I liked. Nearly everything I really love is covered: Sandman, Watchmen, Dark Knight, Bone, Buffy, Fables, Planetary, Preacher, Strangers In Paradise, etc.

Part one: 25 essential graphic novels
Part two: 25 family-friendly titles
Part three: 25 must-see series
Part four: Twenty-five personal favorites

Books I’ve read, week four

8. 100 Bullets:First Shot, Last Call
9. 100 Bullets:Split Second Chance
Writer: Brian Azzarrello Artist: Eduardo Risso
The first two collections of the comic book, an intriguing take on revenge: what would you do if you had an untraceable gun and 100 bullets for it? There’s also an overarcing storyline, so it mashes up noir and spy genres. This was a sampler to see if I liked it enough to buy more – I think I will. B+