Film Review: Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Myra (Kim Stanley) is a psychic who makes a living holding seances in her front room. Her meek and compliant husband Billy (Richard Attenborough) has learned to stay out of the way even though he’s stuck at home on disability. Seances are Myra’s thing. They had a son together, but he passed away at a young age, leaving a hole in their lives. Myra still talks to him in spirit, however, and he inspires her…Read More

Steeped Coffee: It’s Coffee Hiding in a Tea Bag!

I get lots of interesting food products to try out and that’s generally a great thing. My kids and I have tried quite a variety of weird, curious, and sometimes fantastic foods and it’s always interesting. I’m also a big coffee drinker and have definitely reviewed not just coffees but coffee makers too, from cold brew to Keurig K-cups. One more data point: I was born in England so I’m pretty sure that a predilection…Read More

Game Review: Dowdle Jigsaw Puzzle “Hollywood”

I have to admit, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with jigsaw puzzles. I enjoy when I can find a piece and place it in the puzzle, but I hate when I look and look and just can’t find the one I seek. Puzzlers know that “I think this is the one piece missing from the puzzle!” angst of doing a jigsaw puzzle, even as the other voice in your head assures you…Read More

Film Review: Same Boat

It’s that old story: Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy turns out to be a time travelling assassin and the girl is his target. Now what? As it turns out, Same Boat does a surprisingly good job of finding the balance between a kitsch self-aware low budget comedy and an actually engaging and watchable movie. Yes, that reveals some of my bias towards modern indie comedies! Much of what works on…Read More

So Much Space! The 2020 Toyota Sienna LTD AWD Minivan

I’ve lost count of how many vehicles I’ve owned in my years of driving, but there’s no question, the roomiest were the minivans. When you have kids and pets, it’s just glorious to have all the space, and modern vans offer features we just dreamt of back in the day, like a blu-ray player for videos and fold-down seat stowage. We started with a Chrysler Town & Country van which was great, but the upgrade…Read More

Solo Game Review: Truck Off Food Truck Frenzy Roll & Write

From the outside it might look like the board gaming world is just a big melange of different ideas, concepts, and game settings, but it turns out there quite a few different well known categories and types of games. For example there are push your luck games, deck building games and worker placement games. I’ve played quite a few different types but I realize that I had never played what’s known as a “roll and…Read More

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE: 54mpg for $25K

Cultural trends tend to start on the coasts and gradually migrate towards the heartland of America. In a similar fashion, vehicular technology improvements tend to be introduced on the top end (read “expensive”) cars in a auto manufacturer’s lineup, then gradually make their way down to the more entry-level vehicles. Most of the modern wave of car safety tech is now in that place where that migration has borne great fruit. Enter the tricked out,…Read More

Film Review: Blumhouse’s The Hunt

The concept behind The Hunt is an ingenious one: what if radical members of one political group kidnapped and then hunted members of the diametrically opposite group? Kind of The Hunger Games, but with Elites versus Rednecks, Liberals versus Deplorables, Red versus Blue, you get the idea. Not The Hunger Games, though, something more akin to the classic Japanese horror thriller Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru); it’s people versus people, not people versus the system. When…Read More

Game Review: Tactical Tech

I imagine that most gamers have played chess at some point in their lives. It’s a complex game with millions of possible scenarios. It’s also complicated to learn because you have a variety of pieces and each has its own specific movement and attack patterns. A bishop can move one way, but a pawn is stuck plodding forward, unless there’s a piece to take, in which case it can jitter at an angle. Chess is…Read More

The Armageddon-Ready 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4

There’s really no way around it, when you climb into a Jeep Rubicon, you feel like you’re ready for the Earth to rip asunder, roads to vanish, streams to need fording and canyons to need crossing. It exudes a rugged sensibility and it’s very clear why the company continues to enjoy good sales as the Jeep faithful keep buying these sort of toughe 4×4 vehicles. I know, I just finished up a week driving the…Read More

Game Review: Sprawlopolis

Let me just start out by saying that it’s rare I acquire a game and immediately fall in love with it, but Sprawlopolis is just that sort of game. It’s a card game without any tokens, chits, scoreboards, inserts, folding boards, miniatures or dice. You know, all the accoutrements of modern board game design that require big boxes and a substantial price tag. Sprawlopolis is representative of a different class of game known in the…Read More

Film Review: The Invisible Man

In the classic 1933 horror film The Invisible Man, Dr. Jack Griffin (memorably played by Claude Rains) embodies the mad scientist. He figures out a way to become completely invisible, but, as luck would have it, goes insane along the way. The film is ostensibly about this murderous wack-job of a scientist but it’s just as much a warning on the dangers of science and unfettered research. The latter is, of course, a theme that…Read More

A Dad’s Perspective on Club Volleyball

All of my three kids have been active in sports. Gareth, now 19, played basketball the most, but also enjoyed a couple of years of lacrosse back in the day. He’s still ready for pickup basketball games, but it’s not a daily physical outlet as it was when he was younger. Ashley, now 23, enjoyed basketball but really loved volleyball, playing it on her school team for many years through middle and high school. And…Read More

Game Review: Shadows Over Camelot: The Card Game (Solo Play)

The life of a mercenary soldier in medieval times might have been harsh and tough, but even before the publication of Le Morte d’Arthur in 1485 the mythos of knights in shining armor has been a part of our culture. You know what I mean, the noble King Arthur, his lovely Queen Guinevere, the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Gawain, Sir Galahad, the evil Morgan le Fay, the kingdom of Camelot, and on and…Read More

Game Review: Palm Island

Classic board games took up about three square feet of table space. Think LIFE, or Monopoly. Card games? Generally quite a bit less, unless it involved laying out sets or building chains (e.g., Rummy or Solitaire). But modern games have become bigger and bigger affairs, and a monster like Massive Darkness or even Shadows Over Camelot can end up requiring a sizeable play surface, possibly bigger than your current dining table! If you follow me…Read More