Update, Take 12

During an IM conversation with my new friend Will, it dawned on me that a lot of what I’ve put on this blog has been … safe.  A few years ago, the previous incarnation of this thing was much less restrained in terms of the subject-matter of my postings, and I ended up getting mildly burned for it during an interview.  So, when my old host had some unfortunate database problems, I simply recast A Mild Voice of Reason as something far less controversial.  Hence, the relatively infrequent postings that read more like a travelogue than a true blog.

I’ve been tracking several personal blogs, including some diary-type ones that are absolutely fascinating.  My chat with Will, and some e-mails with friends, plus a sense that I’ve kept my core personality under wraps for far too long, suggest a change in tactics.  We’ll see.

And … the obligatory update:

  1. I had a pleasant chat with Rick yesterday; he’s wrapping up a 10-day vacation.  Signs are positive that he’s actually going to finish his degree … hooray for Widdow Wicky!
  2. I also called Duane.  Been far too long, as usual.  He’s doing as well as can be expected given the trials of being a grad student in California.  If ever there was a non-Muslim who deserved his 70 virgins upon death, it’s Duane.  Unfortunately, he’d probably just make friends with them, and it’d stay platonic for all eternity.  But that’s exactly why he deserves them.  I’ll offer up a prayer to The Shania for his deliverance.
  3. I ended up being asked, at the last minute, to lead the weekly Catholic worship service in prison last Saturday.  It went well; the inmates in that facility are very easy to work with and astonishingly devout in their faith.  I’ve got to say, though — I have a new respect for preachers.  Part of my preparation was to deliver a “homily” of sorts that was supposed to last 15 minutes, and be based on the readings of the day.  So, I delivered a lecture on spiritual greed — which, judging by feedback during the “sharing” time, was well-received by the two-dozen men in attendance.  Still … delivering an extended reflection isn’t an easy task, and it requires much more prep work than I expected.
  4. This Saturday is belt-testing day at the dojo.  I intend to test for orange belt.  Our school’s ranking system has colored belts with up to four stripes (in order:  white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown) before hitting the dan ranks and the black belt.  Orange belt, at which level I should remain until January, is really the end of the road for the “building blocks” phase of karate; green belt and above is more intense and disciplined.  At any rate, these last eight months have been a tremendous growing experience, and I look forward to the next two years of training.
  5. I changed all of my phone numbers a few weeks ago.  My cell number switched from the Kalamazoo area code, to Grand Rapids, and I re-established cheap home service with AT&T (since that company provides my DSL coverage, anyway).  The only down side is that the previous holder of my new cell number apparently skipped out on some sort of debt, so I got spammed by a Texas company looking for her.  It took an escalation to a supervisor and the threat of a criminal harassment complaint for them to take the number out of their system.
  6. I also switched up all of my banking, too.  Completely.  New accounts, new payroll direct-deposit allocations, shiny new debit card with the American flag on it, everything.  And I feel good about it.

Enough for now, I suppose.

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