Mr. Holmes

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I found Mr Holmes a beautiful film, about old age humbling the once powerful mind of the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes. I loved how they interwove his snatches of memory and scenes of his fragile life as a beekeeper in the country with a smart young boy and the boy's mother, who is Holmes' housekeeper. I enjoyed the unexpected strange glass musical instrument in one thread and the post-war visit to Japan in the other. Holmes often commented on the fiction he had become through Watson's writings, which seemed like an excuse to take liberties with Holmes' behaviour.

Train Wreck

I liked Train Wreck more than I expected. The ads suggested the Amy Schumer character was a kind of drunken mess that might seem cool when you're younger but seems pathetic when you're older. Though she does play the messed up one who has to sort out her priorities, generally it fits a rom-com mould with a few raunchy scenes that were verbal more than visual. Basketball star LeBron James is unexpectedly fun playing himself as a compassionate friend. Maybe because of evolution, films where people end up happy not being together seem to only be for art houses.

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One More Thing by BJ Novak is So Funny

Loved this audiobook by BJ Novak. So funny. It included others like Rainn Wilson and Mindy Kaling from the Office. Played with expectations and the use of the language so well, capturing the situations and characters. A warlord on a date. A guy returns a sex robot because it falls in love with him. A John Grisham novel gets on the bestsellers list even before he has decided on the title. A new Hitler. So many different funny takes on modern life and culture. I borrowed it from the library, but now I want to buy the book to reread.

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Sea to Sky Outdoor School

I got to be an adult chaperone for my daughter's grade 6, three-day trip to Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast. The Islander leaders were fun, kind, and passionate people who had us outside and on the go for most of our waking hours. At meal times, we learned to appreciate food and reflect on our relationships to nature and each other. I was delighted to witness the students, with their nature-inspired, self-selected Island names, away from parents and the usual digital distractions, paddle canoes, search for crabs, walk barefoot in creeks, place slugs on their faces.

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China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

I enjoyed this (audio) book, even though I have no particular interest in extravagant wealth, fancy sports cars or designer fashions. I first was just curious about a story set in modern Asia. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the number of characters and all the brand name dropping. Maybe because this was a sequel and I didn't read the first one. Gradually, however, a main storyline and two minor storylines emerged, each involving outsider characters revealed different aspects of the appallingly materialistic and pointless lifestyles of the 1% in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. I wonder how realistic it is.

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Purple Dragon Black Belt Grading

Other families go to Florida to see Disney World, but my wife and I just spent four long days in Boca Raton witnessing our 11-year-old daughter sweat and strain through a Purple Dragon black belt ordeal for mind and body, with more than fifty other male and female candidates from five countries, from ten to sixty something, from black to white. She was lucky to have wonderfully supportive teammates and mentors. And I felt lucky to benefit from astoundingly encouraging, veteran parents. It has been an exhausting, emotional and memorable opportunity to see our girl struggle and succeed.

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