The more things change …

It takes a bit of time without home Internet service to appreciate just how essential network connectivity is to living a happy and productive life.  Checking e-mail and USGS from the office just doesn’t cut it.  Now that I’ve switched from Comcast cable service to AT&T DSL (which, believe it or not, netted me an increase in actual bandwidth — My 3MB DSL service gives me average downloads of 2.7MB, compared to roughly 720K for Comcast’s “6MB” service) all is again at peace with the world.

Of course, since it’s been three weeks since the last update, there are some obligatory additions to the Chronicle:

  1. I went to the 12:05 a.m. showing of The Simpsons Movie with Tony, in Lansing, on opening day.  Well worth it!  The theater was crowded, but the film was superb, and Tony’s company (especially the part where we were pulled over by the police) was almost as amusing as Homer, Bart, and the clan.
  2. On the subject of movies … I saw the latest Harry Potter flick with my mom, grandmother, aunt, and cousin.  Yet again, a charming film — and I eagerly ancitipate the final two, even though I can’t bear to read the books.
  3. I marched in the Kentwood and the Byron Days parades for my dojo.  It’s kinda cool doing kata demonstrations in a parade — people really seem to enjoy it.  And you can really tell who is interested in supporting the dojo by seeing who attends.  On the bright side, both events allowed me a ride in a Mustang convertible — a shiny new 2007 model for the Kentwood parade, and a cherry-red 1965 model at Byron Days.
  4. Tony, Emilie, Jon, and I met for our quarterly fine dining extravaganza in Lansing.  Tony brought us to the State Room, a little restaurant on the MSU campus.  Dinner was lovely, although Tony couldn’t stomach his apple brandy.  Then we went back to Tony’s apartment for hours and hours of fun and games (Wii and board games), although I’m not sure which is more hilarious — the games, or watching Emilie hate the games until she wins, at which point she considered the games fun in retrospect.
  5. And on the Emilie/Jon topic … I received their wedding invitation in the mail a few weeks ago.  As expected, it was the height of elegance (she even had the envelopes sealed in wax).  I look forward to the ceremony and reception, almost as much as look forward to seeing whether Tony or I win our bet about when Emilie degenerates into Bridezilla.
  6. We had a family picnic at Mary & Doug’s a few Sundays ago.  A very nice time, and it provided me with an excuse for wearing my pith helmet in public.  Much to my amusement, my little nephew Kyler (now 2-1/2 years old) wanted to climb into the branches of a willow tree.  So, I gently put him up there, and then I climbed up, too.  But Kyler was not amused; he looked at me very sternly, shook his head, and said (very deliberately), “Uncle Jay, get down!”  Several times.  It was cute, but you had to be there, I guess.
  7. My cousin Callista, who will soon be departing to UW-Madison to begin graduate work in French, was also at the family picnic.  She really looks good; I guess her training for the Riverbank Run paid off!  It was actually a motivation to get back to the gym to return to my normal running routine, which was on temporary hiatus as my right sural nerve recovered from some unknown trauma.  Unfortunately, it’s use-it-or-lose-it when it comes to cardiopulmonary fitness, and it was clear I couldn’t just step back into my old routine cold-turkey.  Ugh.
  8. I ran across the wedding site of former co-worker Adam Voigt.  The thought of Adam getting married makes me feel … really, really old.
  9. Despite my very careful attention to proper stretching and warm-ups before working out or beginning a karate class, I managed to pull a muscle in my mid-back this morning.  How?  By rolling over in bed.  Some days, it just doesn’t pay to be me.  I might have to take up yoga or something.
  10. Earlier this year, I was asked to stand for election to be the Publications Officer-Elect for the Quality and Productivity section of the American Statistical Association.  OK, cool.  At the last minute, though, a statistician eminently more qualified than I applied to the ballot, and quite appropriately, she won.  Then she declined the office, so I was appointed to the job by the section chair.  This should prove to be an interesting professional opportunity.
  11. Work has been interesting.  My division, by the stroke of a VP’s pen, was dissolved.  We’re in a period of uncertainty as to what will happen next (although there’s no risk of unemployment … just concern about where our boxes will land).  On top of that, we’re in the meat-and-potatoes phase of building our comprehensive performance analysis and improvement plan, which is the end result of what I’ve been working toward for the last few years.  The timing is a bitch, though — just as we’re getting our front-end revenue cycle ducks in a row, we get integrated with Coding and the back-end of the revenue cycle.  One step forward, one step back, two steps to the side.

All for now.

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