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Things Making Us Happy Today


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#1 Niko

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:03 AM

NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast has a segment with this title where, at the end of every podcast, each panelist talks briefly about some small thing that's bringing them joy, but in a more fleeting or individualized way than the main topics of the podcast would be.  It's just a little segment to let them pimp something they like.

I was feeling the urge to post some random squee somewhere this morning, and thought a thread like this could be nice, in the same vein as Virgil Vox's "Random Book Reviews" thread. :)


So... Thing Making Me Happy Today:

I'm having a bit of a rennaisance in my love of interactive fiction (aka text adventures) lately.  I loved them when I was young in the form of the Scott Adams and Infocom games, and when I got older, I discovered that there's a whole community of people still making them in modern day, but widening the range of the medium from pure "games" to playing also with interesting literary or gaming devices (unreliable narrators, puzzle-less games or one-room games that are one big puzzle, games with only a single turn, etc.)   I've been really engaged over the years with how a simple text parser can create a sense of immersion and an illusion of interactivity, even while telling a story that is blatantly limited by "things the author thought to implement".  I've also dabbled on and off with the programming side of writing this sort of thing, and the challenges it presents from the authorial end also interest me a lot.

Anyway, I started listening to a podcast called "Eaten by a Grue" recently - where the hosts have set out to play through every Infocom game, and discuss a different game in each episode - and THAT led me to another podcast, called "Clash of the Type-ins".  I started back at the first episode of this, and OMG, it is DELIGHTFUL!

The basic concept of the podcast is that the hosts, Ryan and Jenni, are joined by a guest who is an I.F. author, and they play through one of the author's games.  Ryan and Jenni serve as the "player" and give commands to the game, and the author types in their request and reads the results.   The games they've chosen so far in my listens have all had a great sense of humor and are hugely entertaining in their own right (seriously, the creativity in the "amateur" community writing these games over the years has far outstripped even Infocom, at this point).  Then, added to the fun of the actual games, you have plenty of entertaining discussion between the players reacting to events in the game, as well as occasional asides with the author on why they made a certain narrative/puzzle choice, or challenges they ran into implementing a certain piece of the game, or whatever.  So it bounces around from being a podcast version of a "Let's Play" with a twist, to giving insight into the creative process and shop-talk about the IF format itself.   I listen to quite a lot of podfics right now, but this is the only one that makes me laugh out loud in practically every episode.  Highly recommended.  :)

So, that's mine.

What's making YOU happy today?
- Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.    (Matthew 25:40)

- Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.  (Proverbs 3:3)

#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 06:48 PM

Hey, I love Interactive Fiction and the old Infocom games. I had most of them for the Commodore 64 (as well as the non-Infocom versions of Asimov's Robots of Dawn and Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama). I then bought the entire Infocom library on CD some years later-- and when I got my iPhone, I got the complete Infocom app. I've also dabbled in writing my own, but didn't get very far (I played around with TADS for a while). If you have any links to places where I can find some new IF, I'd be grateful.

Let's see, what is making me happy today? I guess it's this new book I got from the SFBC. It's a collection of stories by Seabury Quinn featuring his occult detective Jules de Grandin, which originally appeared in Weird Tales back in the 20s. I love ancient Pulp fiction, and I had read some of these de Grandin stories in random anthologies over the years, so I was excited to see this collection.  When I got it, I was shocked to learn that it is the first of five volumes!  Apparently this character appeared on a regular basis in Weird Tales from 1925 to 1951. And this was in addition to all the other stories that Quinn published. At the time, he was more prolific (and arguably more popular) than writers like HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, yet somehow over the years he has become rather obscure. So I'm delighted to be reading these early stories and excited that four more volumes are on the way (the next in September).
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#3 Niko

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 08:57 AM

I played around with Inform, myself... I never got very far either, more because my creative juices failed on the story side than any issues with programming.  Then they came out with a "new" (as in, it's been around for 10 years now) version of Inform that uses natural language and somehow I just could NOT wrap my head around that, so I ended up drifting away.   I've always wished I could get back around to it.

Quote

If you have any links to places where I can find some new IF, I'd be grateful.
During my bouts of re-interest, I always end up starting with the most recent competitions.  There's IFComp in the fall, and Spring Thing is actually happening right now, so I think I'm going to try playing some of those over the weekend, myself. :)

Beyond that, I've found the beginner info at brasslantern.org to be useful in helping me get to the right places to download up-to-date interpreters, and IFDB is the best place to browse for games, since they have all the pertinent details and download links in one place, plus ratings and lists to help narrow down the choices.  Pretty handy. :)

Quote

It's a collection of stories by Seabury Quinn featuring his occult detective Jules de Grandin, which originally appeared in Weird Tales back in the 20s.
Sounds interesting! :)   With an "occult detective", do you think these would count as "horror" stories?   I'm staring at a "fantasy bingo" card I want to work through this year, and one of the squares is for "horror", and I'm looking for something to read that would fulfill it.
- Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.    (Matthew 25:40)

- Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.  (Proverbs 3:3)

#4 RJDiogenes

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 01:55 PM

View PostNiko, on 14 April 2017 - 08:57 AM, said:

I played around with Inform, myself... I never got very far either, more because my creative juices failed on the story side than any issues with programming.  Then they came out with a "new" (as in, it's been around for 10 years now) version of Inform that uses natural language and somehow I just could NOT wrap my head around that, so I ended up drifting away.   I've always wished I could get back around to it.  
Interesting. I might take a look at that, as I'd really like to expand into interactive storytelling (if you're familiar with the old SSI games for AD&D and Buck Rogers, there's a great freeware program at Sourceforge that not only mimics it, but expands its capabilities a thousandfold).

Quote

During my bouts of re-interest, I always end up starting with the most recent competitions.  There's IFComp in the fall, and Spring Thing is actually happening right now, so I think I'm going to try playing some of those over the weekend, myself. :)  

Beyond that, I've found the beginner info at brasslantern.org to be useful in helping me get to the right places to download up-to-date interpreters, and IFDB is the best place to browse for games, since they have all the pertinent details and download links in one place, plus ratings and lists to help narrow down the choices.  Pretty handy. :)  
Thanks for all these links. Looks like plenty to peruse.  :D

Quote

Sounds interesting! :)   With an "occult detective", do you think these would count as "horror" stories?   I'm staring at a "fantasy bingo" card I want to work through this year, and one of the squares is for "horror", and I'm looking for something to read that would fulfill it.  
Oh, definitely horror. Think of the stories as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Carl Kolchak. The first story involved kind of a were-ape with elements of Jekyll and Hyde, and the second story involved an ancient castle cursed by a giant snake of sorts. Pretty creepy and entertaining, especially if you like the old stuff.
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#5 Norville

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 05:14 PM

What's making me happy today is that "Doctor Who" has returned with Series 10, unfortunately Peter Capaldi's last series as the Doctor (though, whatever mysterious thing happens in the last episode, he has one last Christmas special afterward). Fortunately, there's also Pearl Mackie as Bill (though, bittersweetly, she probably won't carry over to the next series with Chibnall as showrunner).

What made me happy yesterday was that it was Capaldi's birthday. *chuckle*

Another thing that made me happy was that I finally watched "The Expanse" and like it enough to feel fannish. Took ages to get around to seeing S1 on DVD, and wanted more show, so jumped ahead to second-to-last ep of S2 Wednesday on SyFy, and will watch season finale this coming week. Must get caught up sometime, somehow... suppose I have to wait for DVD release, unless SyFy reruns it. (It's based on book series by James S. A. Corey, but is diverging somewhat from what the books are doing. The two writers who constitute Corey are working on the show, so I guess they approve of the differences.)
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#6 Virgil Vox

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:45 PM

This is a great idea for a thread Niko.

Right now I'd say two things are making me happy. The first is Star Trek: Voyager. BBCAmerica has been playing the series more or less from start to finish and I've been watching random episodes whenever I get the chance. It has reminded me how much I loved the show when it originally aired. It was the first Star Trek show I watched more or less from start to finish. I know a lot of Trek fans have a low opinion of the show but I always loved it and watching the episodes again has been like re-connecting with an old friend. I've actually been tempted to start a thread to review some of the episodes and just to discuss the show. I might have to do that in the next day or two.

The other thing making me happy is the Nickelodeon show Big Time Rush. This was a show that ran for four seasons (plus a TV movie) and chronicled the lives of four hockey playing Minnesota teens who win a talent search and travel to L.A. and form the boy band Big Time Rush. In real life, the four actors were in the band Big Time Rush and released several albums and went on a few tours. The show was basically a promotional vehicle for the band as it featured a lot of their songs in the episodes. Surprisingly, the show turned out to be really good, IMO anyways, mainly because it had its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. It is a show that knows it is about a manufactured boy band and pokes fun at a lot of the boy band tropes, and at a lot of Hollywood tropes as well, like when the character Jo, who is dating main character Kendall, is forced into a fake romance with her co-star to drum up ratings for her show and is told to dump Kendall.

It reminds me of The Monkees, honestly. It's an out there show with a lot of silly humor and slapstick but it all works. While I had watched random episodes before, I had never watched the series in order. That's what I'm doing now. I was surprised to see that season 1 had a loose arc woven through the episodes as the boys travel to L.A., work on making a demo, then work on a full album, and then work towards performing their first live concert in the season finale.

Quote

Let's see, what is making me happy today? I guess it's this new book I got from the SFBC. It's a collection of stories by Seabury Quinn featuring his occult detective Jules de Grandin, which originally appeared in Weird Tales back in the 20s. I love ancient Pulp fiction, and I had read some of these de Grandin stories in random anthologies over the years, so I was excited to see this collection.  When I got it, I was shocked to learn that it is the first of five volumes!  Apparently this character appeared on a regular basis in Weird Tales from 1925 to 1951. And this was in addition to all the other stories that Quinn published. At the time, he was more prolific (and arguably more popular) than writers like HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, yet somehow over the years he has become rather obscure. So I'm delighted to be reading these early stories and excited that four more volumes are on the way (the next in September).

I looked it up on Amazon and the stories sound really good. I noticed that they have a Kindle edition for about $10 so I think I'm going to buy that and read the first story tonight. If I end up loving it I'll eventually buy the hardcover.

Quote

During my bouts of re-interest, I always end up starting with the most recent competitions.  There's IFComp in the fall, and Spring Thing is actually happening right now, so I think I'm going to try playing some of those over the weekend, myself. :)

Beyond that, I've found the beginner info at brasslantern.org to be useful in helping me get to the right places to download up-to-date interpreters, and IFDB is the best place to browse for games, since they have all the pertinent details and download links in one place, plus ratings and lists to help narrow down the choices.  Pretty handy. :)

Thanks for the links. I might have to check out a text adventure.

Quote

What's making me happy today is that "Doctor Who" has returned with Series 10, unfortunately Peter Capaldi's last series as the Doctor (though, whatever mysterious thing happens in the last episode, he has one last Christmas special afterward). Fortunately, there's also Pearl Mackie as Bill (though, bittersweetly, she probably won't carry over to the next series with Chibnall as showrunner).

I am sad as well that Capaldi is leaving. It took me a while to warm up to his Doctor but I finally have and don't want him to leave. I really wish we could get an actor to stay longer than three seasons. It would be nice to have a Doctor who stuck around for a while, like the Fourth Doctor.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#7 FarscapeOne

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 01:44 AM

BBC America plays the STAR TREK:  VOYAGER episodes edited... there's at least 4 minutes per episode cut.

The channel Heroes & Icons plays ALL series completely uncut.  From Sunday to Friday, they play each series from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in airdate order... they have finished TNG, DS9, and VGR once, and are now in reairing their 3rd seasons.  Original and ENT have been covered twice over now.

They also air the animated series some days.

It has become my escape after work, even though I have the episodes pretty much memorized after all these years and all my viewings throughout those years.

#8 RJDiogenes

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:08 PM

^^  I wish I got Heroes & Icons. I think that's probably the only retro channel I don't get.

View PostVirgil Vox, on 17 April 2017 - 08:45 PM, said:

I looked it up on Amazon and the stories sound really good. I noticed that they have a Kindle edition for about $10 so I think I'm going to buy that and read the first story tonight. If I end up loving it I'll eventually buy the hardcover.  
I hope you like it.  I'm going to get back into it tonight, with any luck.  I'm on the third story.
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#9 Virgil Vox

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:48 PM

Quote

The channel Heroes & Icons plays ALL series completely uncut.  From Sunday to Friday, they play each series from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in airdate order... they have finished TNG, DS9, and VGR once, and are now in reairing their 3rd seasons.  Original and ENT have been covered twice over now.

I don't have that channel, unfortunately. I know I can watch all the episodes from all the series on Netflix but sometimes it's nice to just channel surf and watch a random episode.

Quote

It has become my escape after work, even though I have the episodes pretty much memorized after all these years and all my viewings throughout those years.

I totally understand that. The Voyager episodes have been like that for me lately as well.

Quote

I hope you like it.  I'm going to get back into it tonight, with any luck.  I'm on the third story.

I just finished the third story today. I thought it was the best one of the three so far, with some genuine tension, an over the top villain who actually has a somewhat legitimate reason to be a villain, and a somewhat progressive look at racism (progressive for 1926 anyways).
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#10 RJDiogenes

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 04:13 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 21 April 2017 - 09:48 PM, said:

I just finished the third story today. I thought it was the best one of the three so far, with some genuine tension, an over the top villain who actually has a somewhat legitimate reason to be a villain, and a somewhat progressive look at racism (progressive for 1926 anyways).  
I finished the third story this week as well. It was remarkable for several reasons. First, the heroes were not able to save the other victims. Second, the dinner scene-- I was surprised that they did not somehow manage to avoid eating (I wonder if the next story will have de Grandin and Trowbridge turn into Wendigos :lol:). And third, there were no supernatural elements.

Hopefully I'll have time to get into the fourth story tonight.
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#11 Virgil Vox

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:53 PM

Quote

I finished the third story this week as well. It was remarkable for several reasons. First, the heroes were not able to save the other victims. Second, the dinner scene-- I was surprised that they did not somehow manage to avoid eating (I wonder if the next story will have de Grandin and Trowbridge turn into Wendigos :lol:). And third, there were no supernatural elements.

Agreed. I would argue that a giant, man-eating octopus could kind of count as supernatural elements, or at least not quite natural.

Since I was enjoying watching Star Trek: Voyager and since I wanted to treat myself for passing my tests, I went ahead and bought the Star Trek: Voyager Complete Series DVD Collection from Amazon. I've started to watch it from the first season and it's definitely bringing me joy.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#12 RJDiogenes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:25 PM

What's making me very happy today is that I started production on the second episode of my Blue Cowl OTR homage. My friend Abby was finally able to deliver her lines to me (she's had a very eventful life of late, which delayed her participation).
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#13 Niko

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:20 AM

^  What is a Blue Cowl OTR homage?  :)  I gather it's a radio play or other production from the delivering of lines, but the rest of it is not computing. :)

View PostNorville, on 15 April 2017 - 05:14 PM, said:

Another thing that made me happy was that I finally watched "The Expanse" and like it enough to feel fannish. Took ages to get around to seeing S1 on DVD, and wanted more show, so jumped ahead to second-to-last ep of S2 Wednesday on SyFy, and will watch season finale this coming week. Must get caught up sometime, somehow... suppose I have to wait for DVD release, unless SyFy reruns it. (It's based on book series by James S. A. Corey, but is diverging somewhat from what the books are doing. The two writers who constitute Corey are working on the show, so I guess they approve of the differences.)

Heh... I'm late replying to this, but it came up when I was searching for Expanse Season 2 threads, so this is as good a place to post as any.  The last week or so has been my version of a "binge" period for Season 2 of The Expanse, and like you, Norville, I seem to have turned some corner into feeling fannish about it.  S1 was uneven for me - part of why S2 sat on the DVR for so long was that I had a problem summoning enthusiasm for it - but S2 has been a tremendous improvement.  I'm finding myself really moved by the various characters' arcs.  Bobbi, Miller, and Naomi are favorites, especially Naomi.  The way she's caught in the middle in pretty much everything - second-guessing Holden's actions but not knowing any better approach, and her ties to both the belters and the Rocinante crew - makes me feel for her a lot.  And I've just been watching some episodes with Bobbi's reactions to visiting Earth for the first time, and that sort of thing - the space-born-marine's reaction to the "alien" world of Earth - is the sort of thing I really love in sci-fi.   The politics scenes are still a little on the dry side, but with the increased pace of different threats, those scenes at least feel pertinent to what's going on, and not just longwinded scene-setting.

Edited by Niko, 19 June 2017 - 10:22 AM.

- Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.    (Matthew 25:40)

- Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.  (Proverbs 3:3)

#14 sierraleone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:03 PM

Orphan Black is back! Even if it is for its final season :)
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#15 RJDiogenes

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:10 PM

View PostNiko, on 19 June 2017 - 10:20 AM, said:

^  What is a Blue Cowl OTR homage?  :)  I gather it's a radio play or other production from the delivering of lines, but the rest of it is not computing. :)
You've pretty much got it.  :)  The Blue Cowl is my homage to characters like the Shadow or the Spider. I did a radio episode a couple of years ago and I've been trying to get the second one done, but my friend who plays the female lead has had an amazingly eventful life lately (both good and bad) and wasn't able to do it.  Now she's done her part, so I'm working on it again, though I still need a couple of things to complete it.

If you're interested in the first episode, just click on the YouTube link in my sig and scroll down.  It's only about fifteen minutes long.

By the way, you get bonus points if you can figure out how I came up with the name Blue Cowl.  :lol:
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#16 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:12 PM

Midsomer Murders has been making me happy lately. I'm about halfway through the second season and am in love with it. The fact that the episodes are usually an hour and a half or longer really helps. It allows the episode to build up a strong cast of characters and give enough clues and red herrings to make for a good mystery. In the second season they've brought back characters from the first season which is nice though bad for the characters because they survived the murderers in the first season only to get killed in the second.

Quote

By the way, you get bonus points if you can figure out how I came up with the name Blue Cowl.  :lol:

I'm guessing because of Batman but that seems too obvious. I'm also thinking Blue Jay, but that's only because he was in a comic I just finished reading and I have him on my mind.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#17 RJDiogenes

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 04:00 PM

Today I'm happy because I got some cartooning, artwork, and writing done today.

View PostVirgil Vox, on 22 June 2017 - 09:12 PM, said:

I'm guessing because of Batman but that seems too obvious. I'm also thinking Blue Jay, but that's only because he was in a comic I just finished reading and I have him on my mind.  
No, those aren't it.  It's kind of an unfair question, because you have to be an aficionado of old-time radio to have a chance of getting it.  It's a reference to "blue coal," which was a frequent sponsor of The Shadow radio show. If you ever listen to an episode of The Shadow that has the commercials intact, you are bound to hear someone extolling the virtues of blue coal and how it burns more warmly and cleanly than regular crappy old coal. :lol:
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#18 G-man

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:00 AM

Oh, yes, made out of the finest anthracite, IIRC.

/s/

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#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 05:08 PM

Yup, that's exactly it.  :lol:
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#20 Virgil Vox

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:33 PM

I had forgotten about this thread but luckily I stumbled upon it again.

What is making me happy today is Galavant. I bought the series on DVD and have watched the first two episodes. The show is so amazing and hilarious with great music. You can't help but perk up after watching an episode.

I've gone on something of a nostalgia trip and have been watching shows from the 90s and early 2000s and that is making me happy. I've watched episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, Roswell, Home Improvement, Step by Step, Baywatch Nights, Hey Dude, etc. It has become a Friday night ritual, almost. For me it is a great way to unwind and relax after a week of teaching. I love my job but it can be stressful.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman


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