Monday, August 24, 2015

Squiddies 2015

The Armchair Squid turns six years old today.  It's time to hand out some hardware.  And the Squiddy goes to...

Biggest Surprise: Live-Tweeting Star Trek
via Twitter
It was exciting enough to have Spacerguy and Maurice Mitchell join me for an episode-by-episode exploration of Star Trek's animated series.  The real surprise came when Maurice suggested we watch an episode together over Twitter.  Schedules and technology often got in the way of perfect synchronization but it was loads of fun when we managed to make it work.

Biggest Disappointment: Five-Day Power Outage

Due to a nasty winter storm, we lost power at our house for five days in December.  No power also means no heat and - worst of all - no water for us so it's far from a minor inconvenience even in the short term.  It was a long five days, indeed.

Best Read, First-Time Category: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

It's been a good year for books, especially this summer.  I've read quite a few that have made me reexamine my very existence, but none more so than The Omnivore's Dilemma.  All humans are faced with the dilemma.  Since we can technically eat anything, we must find what is nutritious and avoid what is poisonous.  In the post-industrial world, the options are more dizzying than ever.  Pollan's book takes us on an exploration of the various paths food takes en route to our plates.  Awareness of those paths, more than the choice of any one over the other, is our responsibility as stewards of the Earth.

Best Read, Re-Read Category: The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

This book, a favorite from my youth, seems largely forgotten among children's classics.  Back in the day, I learned words like occult, familiar and seance from Snyder's novel.  At its heart, though, it's the tale of a family adjusting to new circumstances, in many ways easier to appreciate as an adult reader.  I'm hoping I can convince my daughter to give it a try sometime soon.

Best Comics Find: Best of Enemies by Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.

This two-part (so far) graphic novel series provides a 200-year history of U.S./Middle East relations.  Originally in French, the books maintain a remarkable neutrality in examining the issues.  Basically, everyone involved is at fault.

Athlete of the Year: Bobby Moch
via Pinterest
Robert Moch (1914-2005) was the coxswain for the University of Washington's varsity crew that won the gold medal for the United States at the 1936 Olympics.  I got to know Moch and his pals in The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  A coxswain sits at the front of the boat, steering the vessel and calling out the stroke rate for the oarsmen.  Whereas most rowers are long-limbed leviathans, the coxswains are petit.  Moch is a particularly likeable specimen: a strategic genius and a smart ass to boot.

Post with Most Unexpected Consequences: Star Trek: Turnabout Intruder

"Turnabout Intruder" was the final episode of Star Trek's original series, capping a two-year long exploration for me.  In my post for that episode, Maurice dropped a hint that if I were to take on the animated series in similar fashion, he might be willing to join me.  I could hardly resist an offer like that.  The TAS project, in turn, inspired a similar project with Andrew Leon, exploring Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Best Family Adventure: The Green Mountain Film Festival

For the second year in a row, we made an overnight trip to Montpelier, Vermont to cram in as many festival movies as possible over two days.  Over dinner, My Wife claimed the modest adventure as her ideal vacation.  We get to do something we can't at home, in this case watch independent films on the big screen.  We eat well.  Everything is within easy walking distance of the hotel.  I think she's still keen on a trip to Europe someday but it's nice that we can find such a gratifying getaway close to home.

Best Unexpected Benefit of Blogging: A New Purpose for Twitter

I like Twitter.  Though I don't use it as much as Facebook, it feels less manipulative to me.  That said, I haven't always been quite sure what to do with it.  It's great for creating my own news feed and for minimal effort networking but I've never been especially enthused beyond that.  Maurice's suggestion to use it for our Star Trek TAS project, though (see above), opened my eyes to the possibilities of coupling blogging with Tweeting.  I'm not sure where that will lead in the coming year, if anywhere, but it's another tool to keep in the box.

As you may have gathered, Maurice Mitchell has had a considerable influence on my blogging over the past year.  Maurice, in case you haven't heard, is moving onto a very exciting project indeed as editor of the soon to be launched Superman page at  I, for one, certainly hope he will continue to be a presence in the blogosphere.


  1. Well, a very happy six year blog birthday.
    Let there be cake !
    I have enjoyed reading your blog very much.
    Lucky me for finding it.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks, parsnip! I'm delighted to have found yours, too.

  2. Happy 6th! 5 days without power, heat and water must have sucked! I am happy that your pipes did not burst. You have read quite a few interesting books and I enjoyed the voyage with you re: Star Trek:)

    1. Amazingly, the inside of the house stayed above freezing, which preserved the pipes.

  3. Happy 6th Squid! It's been a crazy year. Can't wait to what happens in the years to come.