Hanson Day 2021

Last weekend I made my 16th (?!) trip to Tulsa, but my first since being vaccinated.  Despite all airlines going back to filling the planes entirely (the fall concert series had open middle seats on Delta each time) there was a sense of relief knowing that I had the extra protection of being vaccinated (and I stayed masked up, as required, the entire time.)  I was a little bit nervous about my 6:45am flight as I knew I would want to sleep and wasn’t sure how sleeping in the mask would go as it didn’t go all that great on past trips, but that turned out to not be the issue so much as the very, very loud children several (?) rows behind me screaming “EIGHTY! EIGHTY! DOUBLE Q!” at 7am.  (If you’re half asleep and your name is Katie W, Eighty Double Q sounds oddly similar)  Despite being shh’ed the children didn’t really shut up or turn the volume down so sleeping turned out to not be an issue.  Upon arriving in Dallas I headed to my gate and got some Dunkin Donuts (which tasted nothing like it does in New England) and finally arrived in Tulsa after a gate change and a minor delay.

Thursday night we went to check out a Tulsa Drillers game against the Wichita Wind Surge.  Though we left before the end, the Drillers went on to win 4-2 and despite it looking like it might have gotten rained out before we arrived, it turned into a pretty nice evening. (As evidenced by the gorgeous sunset pictured above.)

This trip made for a lot more down time than the typical go-go-go of Hanson Days past. I tried to enjoy it and take it all in, because I know just around the corner I will be figuring out our schedule for a long weekend full of events and constantly asking “but, when will we eat!?”





Friday night was the 20th +1 anniversary show for Hanson’s 2nd album, This Time Around.  They did acoustic, stripped down versions of the album and played them in order in its entirety.  They did an encore of 2 of the B-Sides that were released as bonus tracks with the album.  Although there were a couple more songs I wouldn’t have minded them adding in (Bridges of Stone and I Don’t Know) it turned out to be one of my favorite shows of theirs.  After the show we hosted a few friends in our room to enjoy Taylor’s after party. (The band had videos and activities going on for fans via their website that had started on Monday night to help celebrate “Hanson Days” which was a fun way to bring everyone together)

Saturday Night’s show was the “HDay Concert” and for me it was a big miss.  I know they had to do a lot of rehearsing and rearranging for the Friday night TTA show and all the activities earlier in the week, but when a Hanson Day show kicks off with Waiting For This – it ends up feeling more like an every day festival show than a special yearly celebration.  I was less than impressed with this setlist and was not quiet about that. I’m not exactly sure what I was looking for instead, but it seems like last year’s EP Continental Breakfast In Bed is going to fall into a black hole never to be heard from again and I really like a lot of those songs.  (Zac did do Good Days as his solo, at least)  I also was extremely disappointed with Taylor’s choice of a solo of With You In Your Dreams.  It wasn’t a bad show and I was happy to be there and would want to be at a mediocre Hanson Day show than anywhere else (and I know so many others could not get there and not for lack of trying) but it just fell flat for me and I feel like they were/are capable of so much more – especially after having the last year of nearly no shows – it could have been a big special celebration making up for the past year.  (Or maybe I am just a spoiled brat. I don’t know.)  It also being the last distanced table show – a set up that actually allowed me to see all 3 guys at once while seated with my friends and not shoved in a corner by myself maybe able to see one of them like it is at a typical show for me, may have also had something to do with my disappointment.  (And when I was raging after the show about how mad I was about the setlist, a friend decided to tell me that Bridges of Stone was indeed on the setlist for Friday night as an encore and they skipped it!  I was glad to find this out on Saturday instead so I had 24 hours to be happy and in love with that show before some air got let out of my balloon!)  I was also happy when we went to get drinks after the show, I was able to see some of the fireworks from the Drillers game that we had missed seeing the night before due to somewhat hiding out because of it raining.

Sunday there were a bunch of street closures for the Ironman competition.  Just thinking about swimming 2 miles, biking 112 and then running a full marathon made me tired – but there were something like 2500 athletes in Tulsa who came to do just that.  I wish I could have seen more of the race to cheer them on, but after brunch we had to make our way to the airport to head home.  And of course, after getting to Dallas and finding my gate, the gate was changed and then boarding delayed.  They were offering up $575 to several people who were willing to bump off the flight and either spend the night in Dallas or the night in Charlotte.  I would have stayed in Tulsa another night since a few of my friends were still there and I had been actively trying to change the flight but they wanted $600 from me, but I wasn’t going to jump at missing a day of work to get stuck somewhere else alone.  After a maintenance delay that delayed boarding, we were on our way.  Or so we thought.  We ended up getting back an hour later than scheduled because there was a computer issue and it would not reboot and the captains needed to get help from maintenance once again.  Fortunately after that the flight was uneventful.

There are probably a few more trips to Tulsa this year in my future… but I am looking forward to 2022 when I can TRULY say “All my friends are here, I don’t want to go home”

(PS this coming weekend is 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre and I am incredibly saddened and disappointed to hear that a lot of the activities have been canceled because of the threat of problems from white supremacists. It’s been 100 years and nothing has changed. We need to do better.)

My Remarkable Journey

I absolutely love reading about Katherine Johnson and her work with NASA so I was thrilled when I saw that she had written a memoir that I had the chance to review!  If you’re not aware of Katherina Johnson – she was a black woman who is most well known for her role at NASA as a “human computer” and doing the math equations to help with their launches.  Since she was black, no one really knew about her and her work until the film Hidden Figures came out which tells the story about her and a few of her colleagues. (I especially liked in the book where Katherine talked about who were composite characters and what was added to the movie for dramatic purposes and what really happened.)  But beyond being a human computer, Katherine led a fascinating life and just recently passed away (February 2020 at the age of 101!)

Katherine was always very smart, especially with Math, and skipped some grades.  She was growing up in a time where blacks didn’t have as many opportunities as whites with schooling, but her parents found schooling to be very important and would move the family around when needed to make sure that the children could be enrolled in school. She also lived through a lot of changes in racial rights and one could only have wished that things weren’t better after her 101 years.

This was an absolutely amazing read and definitely recommended by me.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The remarkable woman at heart of the smash New York Times bestseller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures tells the full story of her life, including what it took to work at NASA, help land the first man on the moon, and live through a century of turmoil and change.

In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson became a global celebrity. President Barack Obama awarded her the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—for her pioneering work as a mathematician on NASA’s first flights into space. Her contributions to America’s space program were celebrated in a blockbuster and Academy-award nominated movie.

In this memoir, Katherine shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer. In her life after retirement, she served  as a beacon of light for her family and community alike.  Her story is centered around the basic tenets of her life—no one is better than you, education is paramount, and asking questions can break barriers. The memoir captures the many facets of this unique woman: the curious “daddy’s girl,” pioneering professional, and sage elder.

This multidimensional portrait is also the record of a century of racial history that reveals the influential role educators at segregated schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities played in nurturing the dreams of trailblazers like Katherine. The author pays homage to her mentor—the African American professor who inspired her to become a research mathematician despite having his own dream crushed by racism.

Infused with the uplifting wisdom of a woman who handled great fame with genuine humility and great tragedy with enduring hope, My Remarkable Journey ultimately brings into focus a determined woman who navigated tough racial terrain with soft-spoken grace—and the unrelenting grit required to make history and inspire future generations.

Book Review: The Cougar Candidate

I was hopeful about this book, a satirical story about a female running for president after there being a scandal with the other candidate and blackface.  But I just couldn’t make it through.  I forced myself to read half of it, but it seems like it all went over my head.  It seems to have great reviews on GoodReads but for me it was a DNF.

I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

New satire lampoons American politicians

In a world roiled by political scandals, Patty wants the presidency—and young Jack too.

A satirical portrayal of American political decadence, The Cougar Candidate depicts a bumbling politician struggling to hide her darkest secret as she strives for the world’s most powerful job.

Five years after her shocking re-election defeat, ex-governor Patty Pitypander is still sulking in her California mansion, bingeing on romance novels, and ogling her pool boy, when she is urgently drafted to run for president.

Setting her hurt feelings aside to save America, Patty takes on her rival’s smear tactics, a global plot to entrap her worthless billionaire husband, and the most dangerous foe of all: her special fondness for young men.

When a naïve rookie reporter pursues rumors of a scandal in Patty’s past, he quite unintentionally arouses her desire. The closer he gets to uncovering her sordid misdeeds, the more madly infatuated she becomes, even as she schemes to thwart his search.

The crafty heroine of Patty’s novels appears in a vision, claiming to be an expert on young men. Prodded into action, the befuddled pol risks her lifelong dream of winning the White House, waging two hopelessly entangled campaigns—one for power, the other for passion.

Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier

As a baseball fan, I am well aware of the effect that Jackie Robinson had by becoming the first African American Baseball Player (in the modern era), I was not aware of every one else who was involved with this that you don’t hear much about so I liked reading Rocco Constantino’s in depth look at Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier.  He goes back to the beginning touching on guys who played only bit parts, but all of them combined were needed in order to break the color barrier and allow African Americans their rightful place on baseball teams.  It talks about what team was last to segregate and all the conflict around it.  The book also covers the present and future of baseball and was very eye opening for me.  If you are a baseball fan, this is a must read.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier: The Story of African Americans in Major League Baseball, Past, Present, and Future, Rocco Constantino chronicles the history of generations of ballplayers, showing how African Americans have influenced baseball from the 1800s to the present. He details how the color line was drawn, efforts made to erode it, and the progress towards Jackie Robinson’s debut—including a pre-integration survey in which players unanimously promoted integration years before it actually happened. Personal accounts and colorful stories trace the exponential growth of diversity in the sport since integration, from a boom in participation in the 1970s to peak participation in the early 1990s, but also reveal the current downward trend in the number of African American players to percentages not seen since the 1960s.

Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier not only explores the stories of icons like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Satchel Paige but also considers contributions made by players like Vida Blue, Mudcat Grant and Dwight Gooden. Exclusive interviews with former players and individuals involved in the game, including the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, add first-hand expert insight into the history of the topic and what the future holds.

Rocco Constantino is the director of athletics at Santa Barbara City College and a sports historian who has written for many national online media outlets, including Bleacher Report, Baseball Hot Corner, America Online, and multiple collegiate athletics official websites. Constantino’s first book, 50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball, was published by Rowman & Littlefield and was named among Sports Collectors Digest’s best baseball books of 2016. Constantino resides in Santa Barbara, California

Book Review: Python for MBAs

Python is a programming language I know a little about and was able to hold my own when it came up in my Cybersecurity courses but is one that is on top of my list to learn some more about.  While I am not an MBA student nor do I anticipate being one, I figured this book was as good as any to teach me a bit more about Python.  And teach me it did – I did not realize that it was named after Monty Python and not the snake! (A snake is its icon on computers.)  The first part of the book was a lot of the basic commands, most of this I knew, but it never hurts to give yourself a refresher to make sure that your syntax is correct so you’re not constantly editing what you’re writing after it errors out.   I found it amusing it also mentioned stackoverflow – a website I am on a lot and that my software engineer coworkers recommend for coding help in pretty much all languages!  Each of the parts of this book are broken down into easy to digest sections and even though I was familiar with the beginning – parts in the end that were all new to me never seemed to overwhelming to tackle.  The second part o the book worked more with data and Jupyter Notebook which I was not really familiar with.  Again, I am not an MBA student so none of the code in this book would 100% apply to me – but the functions and techniques used could certainly be applied to other things to use python for as well.  I thought this book could be stuffy, overwhelming and boring – but it was nothing of the sort! Definitely recommended if you are an MBA student or if you’re like me and just trying to learn everything you can about Python.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

From the ads that track us to the maps that guide us, the twenty-first century runs on code. The business world is no different. Programming has become one of the fastest-growing topics at business schools around the world. An increasing number of MBAs are choosing to pursue careers in tech. For them and other professionals, having some basic coding knowledge is a must.

This book is an introduction to programming with Python for MBA students and others in business positions who need a crash course. One of the most popular programming languages, Python is used for tasks such as building and running websites, data analysis, machine learning, and natural-language processing. Drawing on years of experience providing instruction in this material at Columbia Business School as well as extensive backgrounds in technology, entrepreneurship, and consulting, Mattan Griffel and Daniel Guetta teach the basics of programming from scratch. Beginning with fundamentals such as variables, strings, lists, and functions, they build up to data analytics and practical ways to derive value from large and complex datasets. They focus on business use cases throughout, using the real-world example of a major restaurant chain to offer a concrete look at what Python can do. Written for business students with no previous coding experience and those in business roles that include coding or working with coding teams, Python for MBAs is an indispensable introduction to a versatile and powerful programming language.

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