Toasty is in time out

He knows what he did. He can come out when he’s reflected on his behavior

He can come out when he’s reflected on his behavior
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Joshua’s 8th Grade Graduation – Thursday, June 20 2019

Our second graduation of the week was here. Josh was graduating from middle school after surviving 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, school lockers, running between class periods, and learning new skills on how to manage his workload. All in all, Josh accomplished a good amount, and I hope he learned a little bit more about himself. He also went from one honors class in 6th grade to four honors classes by 8th grade.

The weather was not as nice as it was yesterday — we had torrential downpours to darken everyone’s mood. Thankfully, the graduation ceremony (the 2nd one of the day) went well.

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Lily’s 5th Grade Graduation – Wednesday, June 19 2019

June 19th was a big day for Lily. She was graduating from 5th grade in elementary school, and moving up to 6th grade at the middle school.

It was a different year for her this past year. In order to accommodate all of the kids, our school district shuffled all of the kids from kindergarten to 5th grade among the four elementary schools. Instead of finishing out at the same elementary school she started at, she had to spend her last year in a new school. Furthermore, a lot of her friends got moved into a group, so she barely saw them this year. Totally sucked. To add insult to injury, with all of the kids and parents to accommodate, each school had to schedule two different graduation ceremonies. So Lily didn’t even get to graduate with all of her friends finally together. I’m aware that a few parents were really angry about the whole dual graduation situation, but it wasn’t the end of the world by any means.

Here’s to hoping that middle school will be better for the kids her age. Even if she doesn’t personally get into classes with her old friends, she’ll have opportunities to meet new friends with all of the switching of classes, clubs and organizations, etc.

Afterwards, we went out for lunch to one of our local Japanese restaurants for sushi. The rest of the day was pretty laid back, except for me catching up on work. There was just one more graduation to go the next day — for Joshua.

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Josh and I watched Danny Boyle’s new film Yesterday (2019) and we’re still confused on what was the point of the film

Josh and I were looking to do something while the girls were out doing their own thing, and we decided to go see Yesterday. This is director Danny Boyle’s latest film and stars Himesh Patel and Lily James. The film takes place in the UK. Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, and nice guy but unsuccessful local singer-songwriter. Lily James plays his close friend and manager. Unsuccessful is one way to put it, but “struggling” is more like it. He keeps playing these small gigs where only his small circle of good friends are the biggest percentage of the audience.

One day, he’s completely fed and quits music. That night, there’s an odd power outage, and Jack gets hit by a bus and wakes up in the hospital. Soon after, he learns that the world has inexplicably changed. Random things like Coca-Cola and cigarettes don’t exist…. as well as the Beatles. Sensing a unique opportunity, he does a recording session of him singing a set of Beatles singles, and begins to release them online. He gets discovered, opens for the real-life Ed Sheeran in Moscow, then gets super famous as an even bigger viral sensation. He gets a record deal, signs up with Ed Sheeran’s soulless manager Debra (played by Kate McKinnon). He gets famous for pretending to write the songs written by John and Paul, but he’s also drifting apart from Ellie.

Neither Josh or I gott the point or message of the film. The writers never explained why or how reality was altered, or why some people do remember the old reality. The film uses the music from the Beatles catalog, but there’s no reason to single out the Beatles. The writers could have erased the music of U2, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, or anyone really. There was no connection between the story and the music of the Beatles. There was no clear message or point at the end either.

Who should watch this film? I’d say that if you want to see the music of the Beatles applied as a soundtrack to a film, go ahead. I hate to say this, though, but you might be better off listening to the Beatles on your own, and saving yourself $13.

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I loves me some Asian representation, but I wish Always Be My Maybe didn’t feel so…. bland

Let’s get the bad / “It could have been better” out of the way – this felt a little bland. It’s a romantic comedy featuring two talented Asian-American actors, Ali Wong and Randall Park. The film is about their characters Sasha Tran and Marcus Kim being lifelong friends since being kids. They lose their virginity together one night and it alters the relationship. They split up and don’t see each other for another 15 years.

By the time we they meet again in San Francisco after those 15 years have passed, Sasha is a famous chef and sucessful restauranteur, and engaged to be married. Marcus has apparently stayed home to take care his father and work together in the family HVAC business. Also, he’s the lead singer in a local band. They meet and sparks (and rom-com hijinks ensue.)

I liked the Asian representation – Asian actors and actresses as the main characters in a romantic comedy is unique. And these are both funny comedians. Also, you have Nahnatchka Khan as director. However, I couldn’t get over the the overall blandness of the story and the characters. They hit all of the typical rom-com beats, but there wasn’t enough flavor or energy or something from the characters or the story. It was… bland.

I wanted this to be better and I like the folks involved in this production. I hope to see them do more with better material in the future.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

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I took the kids to see the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie, and I wouldn’t say the movie made a lot of sense

Not my first choice but the kids both wanted to see the Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) movie that came out in May. They both do love Pokémon and I haven’t spent as much time as I’ve wanted to recently, as my work schedule as been chaotic at best.

So we went.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds (voice of Pikachu), Justice Smith (the protagonist), Kathryn Newton (she was in Blockers), Bill Nighy, and others. In a world where Pokémon creatures freely roam the world, many seem to be also partnered up with humans. Not everyone has their own Pokémon, so I’m not sure what the deal is.

Justice Smith plays Tim Goodman. His father Harry is a police officer in Ryme City, and partnered up with Pikachu. One night, Harry goes missing during a police investigation, and Tim and Pikachu must partner up to solve the mystery of what happened. They soon discover there’s a fiendish plot afoot.

Okay, that’s it really. While the juxtaposition of Pokémon and live-action humans is pretty decent, the plot doesn’t make a lot of sense. It becomes more of an excuse to see the Pokémon in CG form. The acting was alright, but the plot was a bit nonsensical to me.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

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Joshua and the 8th Grade Semi-Formal

Next week, Josh is graduating from middle school, and moving on to high school in the Fall. With less than one week to go, the school hosted a semi-formal dance for the entire 8th grade at the school itself last Friday. Did they do this every year? We definitely didn’t have a semi-formal when I was in junior high school.

It was a big deal — most of boys were dressed in suits, and many of the girls took the afternoon off so they could get their hair and makeup done. We got Josh a new suit, shirt, and tie for the evening.

Before the dance started, many people got together at a nearby park for pictures before heading over to the school at 7 PM. Josh said he had a really good time — some dancing, but also a photo booth, snacks, and goofing off with friends. I ended up picking up Josh and another boy at 9:30 PM, and driving them home.

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We went to see the live-action Aladdin film, and I didn’t think it was all that necessary

Nums, Lily, and I went to see the new Disney live-action Aladdin (2019) film. I have to admit that the folks at Disney are smart — they can make a live-action film version of every animated film in their vault and mint money. Personally, I don’t think the story needed a live-action version, but whatever. Josh was very much against seeing the film, so he stayed home.

The film is very similar to animated version, except there are two new songs in this film. I would write more about this film, but….. meh. The only good part of this film was that I got to spend time with my two favorite girls.

Will Smith was kinda okay as the Genie. If you were worried about Will Smith spending the entire film in blue face paint, don’t worry, because he’s not.

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June 1 Trenton Thunder Game and CMB Demo Team Performance

The kids caught a ride at 5 PM with some friends to Arm & Hammer Park, and we cleaned up after the picnic at our house. We got on the road by 5:45 PM and made it to Trenton in time to park, and get inside to watch them perform. I wish the team was allowed to perform a little closer to game time so more people could see them actually perform, but water under the bridge.

The performance went well and was done in 4 minutes. After that, the kids went to their seats. The game was fun, and the Thunder won 2-1 against the Harrisburg Senators.  Our church folks were nearby so we did stop by to say hi to them, but we basically sat in the seats we purchased through CMB Karate.

After the game, we watched the always-nice fireworks display.

And without further ado, their last CMB Karate Demonstration Team performance:

June 1 2019 CMB Karate Demo Team – Trenton Thunder from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

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Church Picnic at the Ipes

For the past few years, members of our church have been going least annually to go watch a Trenton Thunder game as a small fundraiser for the church. We’ve been meaning to have a number of the church members over for lunch, dinner, or something along those lines. I got the bright idea that we should have a picnic at our place before the game, and then we could go to the game afterwards.

We settled on June 1, as the kids would be performing with other students from CMB Karate before the game. Little did we know it would be their last performance. A few weeks before the picnic, we set up a sign-up sheet at church for folks to bring sides, drinks, or dessert. I had many grand ideas in the months prior to have the interior of the house painted, new outdoor speakers, but none of that turned out to be feasible. We lucked out with good weather, and everyone basically stayed outside.

We set up three eating areas (including one under a pop-up tent out in the yard, with borrowed folding tables and chairs). For food, we served up Italian sausage, hot dogs, and hamburgers, plus all the sides. I also went out to buy lots of bottled beverages.

For entertainment, we purchased and set up a few different game or activity areas in the backyard– a giant Jenga-type game , cornhole, and badminton.

In the morning, I was still running around buying supplies, including Tiki torches and citronella candles, drinks, ice, etc.

We even used our new bar cart.

Overall, I thought the party went very well. I’m so nervous about hosting parties, but each one has been fine. I mean, look, you have good food, activities, keep the drinks flowing, keep the conversation going, and what more do people need to have a good time?

Well, ice for one. Even though we had 20-30 lbs of ice on hand, we still ran out during the party. Lesson learned — don’t underestimate how much ice you’ll need. Whatever you need, double it!

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