A handful of updates:
- The social scene’s been a bit more active lately. On Friday I had drinks with the Irritable Bastard and V-Dub. Last week, drinks with Jared. The weekend before last, dinner in Lansing with Tony and Jen. Last Friday, we had our monthly writer’s meeting at Brittany’s house. And this week we’ve got a Cigar and Cocktail Evening on the books.
- Stopped into Moby’s Dive Shop yesterday to inquire about additional diving certifications in the SSI world. A very nice young man introduced that shop’s training system to me. Looks interesting, and less expensive than PADI-style certification. Will have to keep advancing as the weather warms this spring.
- I’m pretty sure that I’ve effectively geared up for the spring/summer/fall outdoor season. I’m ready to kayak and I’ve got everything in order (except for perishables) for hiking trips. Still need a bike, but I’ve got some time. Perhaps Abbi can give me some pointers on what to get.
- Lent is upon us once again; its arrival — punctuated by the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI — marks a period of introspection and renewal in the life of the Church. I attended an Ash Wednesday prayer service at the hospital with a few of my co-workers. Over the last few days, I’ve read quite a bit about Benedict’s departure. It seems like the devout Catholic journalists (George Weigel, Kathryn Jean Lopez) seem to get it. Others clearly don’t — e.g., the scribe at FireDogLake who announced that it’s time for an LGBT-friendly pontiff. It never ceases to amaze me just how willing some people are to expound at length on subjects far outside their scope of competence.
- Turns out that the skeleton found under a parking lot in England really is King Richard III. The last Plantagenet monarch — and the last English king to die on the battlefield — Richard’s reign marks a turning point in the life of Western Europe. What if he had beaten the Tudors? We might have been spared the schism under Henry VIII. The what-if scenarios fascinate. Hard to believe just how central a single person can be to the historical arc of a people or even a civilization.
- More and more people are making comments about the length of my hair. My stock response: Yes, it’s getting longer. Yes, there’s a method to the madness. Yes, I’m going to look like a homeless dude for a while. Deal.
- I’ve finished transitioning to an all-Windows technology infrastructure. I have a Win8 desktop, a Win8 laptop, a Surface Pro and a Windows Phone 8. Files are consolidated on SkyDrive and music harmonized through Xbox Music and notes standardized in OneNote. So far, so good. It feels like I’m actually part of a coherent tech ecosystem now instead of cobbling things together among different services with spit and twine.
- I kicked up the temperature in my residence from 62F to 64F. Makes a huge difference — especially in my bedroom. A mere 2 degrees doesn’t sound like much, but means the difference between being cold at night and being deliciously toasty.
- Obama’s State of the Union speech this week felt more like an extension of the vapid 2012 campaign than a serious statement about public policy. Obama rehashed a laundry list of left-wing talking points, many of which have no real foundation in logic. The idea, for example, that America doesn’t have a spending problem looks like willful blindness. I can only hope the House Republicans hold the line, and that the GOP gets its act together in time for the midterm elections.
- Over the last few months I’ve felt increasingly tired and unfocused throughout the day. After a considerable amount of research and reflection, I think the problem is easily correctible: I just need to start eating breakfast and stop mainlining coffee after I hit the office. My habit lately has been to skip breakfast, drink a pot of coffee, eat a large lunch then go home to a light dinner. But the food I eat, despite falling below my calorie counts, is more on the sugary side, so I get trapped in a cycle of stimulation and crash. I’m going to try evening things out by eating a reasonable breakfast, reducing my caffeine intake and watching the sugars.
- Note to Michigan drivers: If you want to drive 20 mph below the speed limit because the roads have a snowflake on them, fine. When you get a caravan of vehicles tailgating you because of your irrationally slow speed, pull the fuck over and let us pass. </rant>
- On the bright side, the tree in our front yard — a mighty ash that the city forester decided needed to die — ended up chopped into bits and stored in the garage. It’s now seasoned to the point that it makes kick-ass firewood. There’s something satisfying, in a primal sense, in sitting by a roaring wood fire. Good for the soul. Especially when you’ve got some Bach playing and a glass of wine to keep you company.