It's not a blog. It's a midlife crisis.

Power Rankings for Week 17

Wednesday 23 April 2014 - Filed under power

Power rankings for the week of April 23 to April 29. Only one new entry, and that’s a return to the charts of Rockstar Cherry Citrus. It’s been kind of a humdrum week, which is fine.

Comment This week Last week Weeks on Peak
The Tony Kornheiser Show No shows Thursday and Friday made me a grouchy man. 1 1 17 1
Baseball It helps that the Athletics and Braves are both kicking tail this season. So far. 2 2 9 2
Rainbow Rowell I’m liking Fangirl’s plot less but enjoying the narrative voice more. 3 4 2 3
Fargo Haven’t seen the second episode yet, so this is a predicted rating. 4 5 2 4
Spotify The workday is so much better with it. 5 9 10 2
Diet Pepsi The workday is so much better with it. 6 10 10 6
The Choir* The new album has some nice surprises; yet it’s the Choir all the way through. Lovely. 7 14 2 7
Kaley Cuoco This may be love. 8 13 17 6
Words with Friends I’ve been asked twice this week if I still play this. I do, and it’s still my favorite mobile game. 9 16 17 7
Scramble with Friends Second favorite. 10 17 17 8
The Big Bang Theory Good reruns lately, plus nice appearances by Melissa Rauch and Kunal Nayyar on some late-night talk shows. 11 12 17 3
Mom (TV series) I expect most of the prime time shows to drop off the list as we head into summer. 12 3 17 3
Feedly My feelings grow increasingly mixed. Still contemplating that essay. 13 11 4 11
Grantland It was a slow week. 14 6 4 5
The Dan Le Batard Show Listened a bunch thanks to Kornheiser doing only three shows last week. 15 7 17 2
Scrivener I think Scrivener is lying about my cumulative word count. Gr. 16 8 15 7
Outshine fruit bars The non-sale price is about a dollar per bar. Can’t decide if that’s a good deal or if that’s expensive. 17 15 4 15
Twitter Life in 140 characters. I think I prefer it. 18 18 17 7
Facebook There’s been a lot of illness in my stream. Despite the bummerness of this reality, I think knowing is better than not knowing. 19 19 17 8
Five Thirty-Eight I can’t decide anymore if I prefer the political articles to the pop culture articles. Jonah Keri’s weekly The 30 is still a highlight for me. 20 20 5 16
Kindle Paperwhite Whipped this out the other night and was reminded of its many coolnesses. 21 22 16 1
Pardon the Interruption Some good moments as the NBA playoffs begin. And the episode hosted by the Highly Questionable guys was great. 22 23 16 11
iTunes Watched a couple of old favorites that were iTunes purchases some time ago. It would be nice to consolidate everything, but the reality of the marketplace kind of makes that hard. I can live with it. 23 24 10 4
Rockstar cherry citrus Poor sleep lately equals more Rockstar. 24  – 2 20
Highly Questionable Lately I watch it because I like the guys, not because I like the conversations. 25 25 7 18

*Biggest jump

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-23  ::  me

It’s a Long Way Down to the Place

Sunday 20 April 2014 - Filed under work

Man, have I been mired lately.  Changes in my work situation, which I’ve known about since December, are about to become realities, and there’s been some tension about those changes, not anything really having to do with me, but because I’m the advisor I’m getting a lot of emails and phone calls from some pretty prominent people in the local media.  I’m deflecting, mostly because I’ve been given permission to do so, and that’s cut a little of the stress out, but man, are these next few weeks not going to be much fun.

It’s interesting how things turn.  I was on the verge of accepting a pretty cool position, one that was likely to pay me considerably more than I’ve ever made.  Then bureaucratic stuff intervened and about a year later, I may not even be the front-runner for that same position’s new look, which is probably going to be a half-time or part-time position.

New opportunities present themselves, and it I’ll be teaching some short-term, non-credit, continuing education courses, which will be fun (and, looking at the hourly rate, considerably more lucrative by more than double), and could open up some new doors.  There’s a certain amount of uncertainty and inconsistency that I’m mostly okay with but which grip me with less than a minute of panic here and there, at unexpected and irregular moments, a few times a day.  It’s just a gasp, a quick, sudden intake of breath, the realization that I may be underemployed for pockets of time, and then a forced calming and realization that so far things have been okay and there’s no reason really to expect them not to continue to be.  There’s a blind turn up ahead, but around that bend could just as likely be a freezer full of ice cream as a pit covered with leaves.

So mostly, I say bring it on.  Except during those one-minute panic attacks.

The long-term effects of my self-grounding have been both less severe and more severe than I predicted.  While I miss my socialization and freedom about as much as I expected, I wasn’t counting on increased moodiness.  This is probably because of the work situation kind of tainting my mendicant experience with thoughts of uncertainty and negativity.  There’s also a kind of depression over its taking so long to get caught up on things.  It’s my own fault; I acknowledge that and I am encouraged by my taking control now, but it’s just this major bummer that my recovery is slowed by (a) the unexpected pay cut I took last fall and (b) the fact that I’ve been in an underpaid profession for my whole career.

There are a few other consequences I’m not mentioning because I’m saving them up for reflection later, when this is over.  Which will hopefully be before mid-June, but even more hopefully by the end of May.  I’m not sure about that.  Depends on a few things.

So these doldrums (a word I’ve avoided using because I’ve already used it in this space recently) have leaked over into other areas of my life, such as the side-gig which is of increasing importance to me.  I’m finding it harder to be productive, and the other side-gig, which I’m not behind on prepping for yet, but which I will find pressing in all around me if I don’t get on the ball soon.

I’m allowing myself this malaise for the next few hours.  The plan is to get up Monday morning and start taking care of those other things.  I need the reassurance a checked-off checklist brings, or something.  I just dislike this waiting-room feeling that I can’t seem to shake.  I need to feel more in control of some things so that the things I can’t control won’t be such a heavy weight.

In case I’m not being clear, I still like my job.  I don’t like some of the directions it’s going in.  And I don’t like the uncertainty that’s been part of it for going on a year now.  It didn’t used to bother me, but now it’s getting hard to carry.

And I’m really looking forward to those continuing ed courses.  I think I’m going to have lots and lots of fun teaching them.  I’m eager to get back in front of a classroom of eager learners, eager to interact with people who think I have something valuable to offer, especially eager to get back to doing one of the things I do best.

Determined to make this a good week.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-20  ::  me

Power Rankings: Week 16

Thursday 17 April 2014 - Filed under power

Power rankings for the week of April 16 to April 22.

Comment This week Last week Weeks on Peak
The Tony Kornheiser Show My prediction was wrong. Fewer shows but some laugh-aloud moments and time spent not listening was time spent in sadness. 1 1 16 1
Baseball Should really be 1A. Loving the radio broadcasts. 2 2 8 2
Mom (TV series) I don’t like the Janney/Pollack recoupling, but final episode was a major tear-jerker. In a good way. 3 4 16 3
Rainbow Rowell * Jumping onto the Rainbow bandwagon a little late with her most recent novel, Fangirl. 4  – 1 4
Fargo New Billy Bob Thornton miniseries on FX adopts the look and feel of the great Coen Brothers film. 5  – 1 5
Grantland Okay. I may actually be crushing on this website now. 6 5 3 5
The Dan Le Batard Show This is meant to be flattering: I love falling asleep while this show is on. 7 7 16 2
Scrivener I have 11 days to meet my self-mandated first-draft deadline. 8 11 14 7
Spotify New J. Mellencamp and Yes playlists. 9 13 9 2
Diet Pepsi This is crossing over into unhealthy territory. 10 19 9 10
Feedly I want to write a little essay on feed aggregation. 11 20 3 11
The Big Bang Theory TBBT really needs to ramp up the geekiness soon; I fear it is losing some direction. 12 6 16 3
Kaley Cuoco Cover of Cosmo. 13 8 16 6
The Choir New crowd-funded album has some nice surprises. Need a whole weekend to really soak it in. 14  – 1 14
Outshine fruit bars Grape is excellent. 15 23 3 15
Words with Friends Invented a new game with one of my friends. Rule #1: You must cheat. Learning great new words. 16 18 16 7
Scramble with Friends App is slightly glitchy lately. 17 17 16 8
Twitter It’s still the first thing I check when I get up in the morning. 18 14 16 7
Facebook Recent participation has been pretty much phoned in. Not enjoying it as much lately. Steam not to my liking. 19 15 16 8
Five Thirty-Eight Drop in ranking is only because I’m spending more time with Grantland. 20 16 4 16
Anna Kendrick Pitch Perfect 2 will feature Anna and Rebel as graduating seniors. 21 3 7 3
Kindle Paperwhite Still a fan but not spending as much time with it lately. 22 10 15 1
Pardon the Interruption Riding with Derek Rose on a unicorn named Ditka. 23 21 15 11
iTunes Anyone know a way to replace multiple files’ XML tags with a pre-written corrected list of metadata? I have spent far too much time lately editing each song’s title info. I know how to bulk-edit with identical info, but that’s useless when it comes to individual song titles. 24 22 9 4
Highly Questionable Still has some great moments despite the kitchen being too crowded. 25  – 6 18

*Biggest jump

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-17  ::  me

Review: St. Elmo’s Fire

Monday 14 April 2014 - Filed under film

St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
Mare Winningham, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, and Andie McDowell. Directed by Joel Schumacher.

stNo fan of Brat Pack films should admit he’s in his mid-forties and still hasn’t seen Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire, one of two films that literally define the Brat Pack itself, yet until this weekend I had not seen it. It was rated R by the MPAA and I was sixteen when it was in theaters, and for some reason I just never got caught up. My parents were strict about movies, and although I’d seen The Breakfast Club in high school at my father’s urging, the number of R-rated films I saw before I turned eighteen is about equal to the number of Brat Packers who served their detention at Shermer High School on that storied Saturday.

I’m kind of glad I waited this long, because what the movie lacks in believable script, admirable characters, and thoughtful dialogue, it makes up for, twenty-nine years later, in nostalgia, at least for an aging Gen-Xer like me. The quality of this nostalgia makes the movie much more likable than it deserves, and that’s okay with me.

elmosSeven recent Georgetown University graduates, best friends in college and still best friends a few months later, work through a variety of issues. Wendy, a welfare worker played by Mare Winningham, struggles to find an identity separate from her wealthy family’s greeting-card business, wanting to make her own way on her terms, and not to rush into marriage and family with another of her father’s hand-picked employees. She’s not-so-secretly in love with Billy (Rob Lowe in typically creepy fashion). Billy’s still trying to hang onto a frat-boy life, despite being the only one in the group with a spouse and child. He’s good enough a saxophone player to have his own band and a regular gig at a favorite bar, but he can’t hold down any of the regular day jobs he gets recommended for by his friend Alec.

fireAlec, played by Judd Nelson, is an aspiring politico, working for a Democratic congressman but making a move to work instead for a Republican, because there’s more money there. He’s living with (and begging to be married to) Leslie (Ally Sheedy). Leslie’s not in a hurry to wed because she hasn’t established a career yet, and doesn’t want to be identified as someone’s wife before she’s found an identity as her own person. Alec’s best friend Kevin, an aspiring newspaper writer played by Andrew McCarthy, seems to be struggling with sexual identity issues after a conversation in which Jules (Demi Moore) tries to convince him he’s gay. Jules, a bank employee, is living well beyond her means in a huge apartment and in what we’ve come now to think of as a stereotypical partying yuppie lifestyle.

fireThe group’s seventh member, and the only one who doesn’t seem to have issues with any of the others, is Kirby, played by Emilio Estevez. He’s a waiter in the group’s hangout, St. Elmo’s Bar, and I write about him separately because his piece of the plot surrounds the pursuit of an older Georgetown alumna, Dale (Andie McDowell), a physician at an area hospital, and Kirby’s interactions with the group are a lot less involved. Kirby goes to ridiculous lengths to woo Dale, and if certain other characters remind one of the better teen films of the Eighties, Kirby seems to be there to remind one of the most juvenile, least believable of those films. Or, to give Schumacher the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he’s there as a foil for Billy. Where Billy has the reality of a real grown-up life with grown-up responsibilities he’s too immature to deal with, Kirby is still playing a child’s game with grown-up pieces and no sense for real, post-college relationships.

forIn one sense, St. Elmo’s Fire seems to do a pretty good job of tapping into what we now remember as Gen-X angst. Those first uncertain steps out of college and into career are riddled for all of us with countless missteps and misconceptions; for people my age they were also complicated by a few issues unique to us: following in the ridiculous wake left by the Boomers before us in a suddenly post-Cold-War world where things we learned to fear were slowly fading and things we learned to value were crashing down around us. Three of seven characters in this film have marriage issues at age 22, something that should not be lost on critics who might accuse it of lacking relevance.

just aYet where the film manages to find that space where characters struggle with the things we really struggled with, they are sequined with details and plot elements that do not do those characters (or the talented actors who play them) justice. Schumacher’s crimes are not egregious; except for the entirety of the Kirby plot, the story is mostly believable and not difficult to relate to. But where John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club gave us the feeling that its five characters might possibly say and do the things they say and do, the St. Elmo’s gang doesn’t seem to know how to have an interesting conversation.

momentAnd this is unfortunate, because where most of my nostalgia comes from is this group of beautiful, likable, fairly talented actors who are an indelible memory of my childhood, actors who played characters who played a part in my defining who I was, separate from the Boomers of my parents’ generation and yet destined in retrospect to figure it out in a way that was my own and yet not that different. Ally Sheedy’s pointed chin, Judd Nelson’s flared nostrils, Demi Moore’s raspy come-hither voice: they immediately take me back to a time when I naively thought that I would never sell out, when I thought I was different, a future world-changer.

demiThere’s no way Schumacher could have know that’s what these actors, not yet dubbed the Brat Pack, would come to represent. He could not possibly have known he was making an iconic film with an iconic soundtrack and iconic actors that someone like me, forty years later, could even get this wistful about, but maybe that’s my biggest criticism. My nostalgia deserves a better movie than this. John Hughes did it, and I think it’s fair to criticize Schumacher for not doing it too.

Despite these shortcomings, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie and will likely see it again. If not the ten million times I’ve seen The Breakfast Club, then perhaps just one or two million.


1 comment  ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-14  ::  me


Sunday 13 April 2014 - Filed under five

From here.

  1. What field trips, one from elementary school and one from high school, do you remember most fondly?
    I loved field trips. Loved them so much. The world is our classroom; that was the lesson I learned from even the earliest years. It’s something that has stuck with me, in my everyday life and in my profession. So there were very few field trips I didn’t care much for. I really like the performances at Honolulu Theater for Youth. I think those were my favorite. In high school, it would have to be our senior class trip to the island of Hawaii, but for day field trips, I remember our all-school picnic at Castle Park (a long-gone water park where there is now a K-Mart) in tenth grade with particular fondness.
  2. How does your handwriting today differ from your handwriting in high school?
    It’s basically the same, but quite a bit messier. Since my graduation from high school, I’ve added an all-lowercase style of handwriting for casual communication, something inspired by letters from V, to go with my long-established all-caps handwriting. Somewhere in the past few years, I’ve also developed an I’m-not-really-paying-attention style that blends the all-caps style with the all-lowercase style with no apparent lowercase-upppercase pattern. That one annoys me; I would like to cut it out.
  3. What let’s-pretend game did you most enjoy when you were a child?
    My sister and I had a kind of hybrid game of let’s-pretend that involved my Hot Wheels cars and our combined collections of stuffed animals. I often played that by myself, too. I still remember some of those games very fondly and have been tempted to buy a few Hot Wheels to try and recreate them.
  4. If you had to take the name of any one-named celebrity, whose would work best?
    I wish I could say Sting or Bono or (mostly) Coolio. But I think I’m going to go with Ichiro, which is a pretty boring answer.
  5. A brain, a princess, an athlete, a basket case, and a criminal: Which of these roles will you take, and which friends fill the rest?
  6. Probably the brain. Princess: Angela. Basket case: Desiree. Criminal: Ryan. Athlete: Clint. Names which mean nothing to anyone reading this, but there you go.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-13  ::  me

Power Rankings for Week 15

Thursday 10 April 2014 - Filed under power

Power rankings for the week of April 9 to April 15.

Comment This week Last week Weeks on Peak
The Tony Kornheiser Show Will be off Thursday and Friday; I predict a new #1 next week. 1 1 15 1
Baseball The MLB at Bat app and my $20 season-long subscription may be the best two sawbucks I’ve spent in a really long time 2 2 7 2
Anna Kendrick Her SNL appearance wasn’t the greatest, but it was cute and sweet and fun, and she got to do a lot of singing. And that Ariel costume? Oh my. 3 5 6 3
Mom (TV series) False alarm on the baby; season finale coming up. Renewed for season 2! 4 3 15 3
Grantland Bill Simmons’s recap of the Letterman retirement announcement was excellent. He also (correctly) said without qualification that Colbert would be the replacement. 5 11 2 5
The Big Bang Theory I feel an essay coming on. 6 4 15 3
The Dan Le Batard Show I’m falling behind on the podcasts. Need a good long weekend of pod-vegging. 7 7 15 2
Kaley Cuoco TiVo picked up a stupid celebrity gossip show in which her anatomy is discussed. It was only about a minute, but it was a good minute 8 7 15 6
John Green Looking for Alaska was a good book. I still have a few reservations; going to read that OTHER title of his this month. 9 9 2 9
Kindle Paperwhite Still reading work-related stuff on it. Dedicating the next month or so to catching up on my pile of physical books. Can’t wait! 10 8 14 1
Scrivener Oh, Scrivener, my faithful auto-saving, lost-words-recovering companion. 11 10 13 7
HootSuite * This is some powerful stuff. Just scratching the surface so far. 12  – 1 12
Spotify April’s going to be a lean month; Spotify is going to see increased use. 13 13 14 2
Twitter I’ve been thinking that Google Glass would be pretty cool if you can make it show you your Twitter stream all the time. I’d use that. 14 14 15 7
Facebook I don’t want to be one of those complainers, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to track the activity I want; I need to be able to sort my stream by terms I define. 15 15 15 8
Five Thirty-Eight The infographics are a nice aide. Good, good material from Nate Silver’s crew. 16 23 3 16
Scramble with Friends There’s only one opponent I really care about lately, and I’m just about up to 50% against her. This pleases me a great deal. 17 16 15 8
Words with Friends Am considering a renewed focus on improving at this game. The opponent who I think is cheating keeps beating me. 18 17 15 7
Diet Pepsi I’ve actually had some at home recently. Very unusual. 19 19 9 10
Feedly Really need to spend some time customizing this some more. 20 12 2 12
Rockstar cherry citrus A recent addition to the morning lineup. Good energy and a nice, light flavor. Zero sugar. 20  – 1 20
Pardon the Interruption Off the air during the Masters, and probably not a bad thing. 21 22 14 11
iTunes Shuffle mode has me rediscovering all kinds of stuff I forgot I had. 22 18 8 4
Outshine fruit bars The pomegranate flavor is pretty good. Not as sweet as the strawberry. Grape is up next. 23 24 2 23
Patton Oswalt New Comedy Central special nailed it. I wish they wouldn’t bleep it even the tiny amount they do. 24  – 1 24
Ricky Skaggs Listened to a TON of bluegrass this past week. Skaggs is just the best. 25  – 1 25

*Biggest jump

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-10  ::  me

Take Me to the Old Playground

Monday 7 April 2014 - Filed under reading

madscientistsYou don’t have to know me very well to know that I amass enormous numbers of books that I will probably never get around to reading or that I’ve read so many times I can recite them practically by heart, so all they do is sit on my shelf, like the treasured baseball cards of my youth.

But I am alarmed (alarmed!) by how many of the books I loved as a kid are no longer available in print. When I first began to notice this terrible trend, I didn’t sweat it much because the libraries still had copies, many of them probably the very copies I borrowed. But shoot, that was thirty years ago, and the libraries don’t have them anymore either.

But then there were eBay and and the Amazon marketplace, a fresh source of the old books (especially those darned Scholastic titles, which seemed to be printed once, sold ten million times in those TAB and Troll book order forms, and then forgotten forever). I purchased a few of the ones I really needed, thinking I’d save the rest for later.

It’s later, and now many of those books are going for ridiculous prices, not because they’re in demand, but because they’re in short supply. Most can still be purchased for very reasonable prices, if one is willing to look; however, the trend is clear: except in the rare instances of reprints (thank you, publishers of The Mad Scientists Club), the numbers of these copies are dwindling, and I have to confess a small feeling of panic is settling in. I have to fight that off, because I have a feeling that if I’m merely attentive and patient for the next few years, I don’t have to rush out and buy everything.

As the likelihood of my ever having kids decreases by the day, there should be less panic. With no kids to share them with, I can get rid of the 42 episodes on VHS I still have in plastic cases of Little House on the Prairie (the TV show), and I don’t need all fifteen Danny Dunn books (which are getting more and more difficult to find!). And I still have my original copy of The Wednesday Witch, handed down by my uncle when he was done with it at age 11 and still marked by his elementary-school curly cursive signature on the inside cover. That book, and a few from the same period, have been with me for nearly forty years. Maybe that’s all I need.

wednesday I can, for now, still find acceptable copies of Jason and the Money Tree for $1.50 plus reasonable shipping, but will it be much longer before, if I really want it, I’m going to have to pay $96.36 because that’s all that’s left?

Part of me thinks I’m looking at this the wrong way. The decreased likelihood of my ever having kids is maybe a stronger reason for my getting these books back on my shelf. I can think of very few companions by which I’d rather be escorted into the end of my years than these lifelong friends.

Darn it.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-07  ::  me

A High Lonesome Sound

Sunday 6 April 2014 - Filed under work + writing

I hit a weird little patch of the doldrums with my prose fiction project.  Kept writing but not with any kind of big picture in mind, writing just to have something to share with my group every two weeks.  It was fun writing, and I got a few good things out of it, but most of what I did developed neither plot nor character, and I have this looming May 1 deadline I set myself for the first draft.

But my writing partner has been great, nothing but encouragement and a little bit of butt-whipping from her.  She could tell immediately my heart wasn’t in the stuff I was sharing, but she still found some good things to say about it.  So I sat down for a little while today, did some reflective free-writing on the work so far, and came up with an outline for the rest of the story.  The good news is that the outlining process itself helped me come up with a few answers to some nagging questions I’ve had about the characters and plot, something I didn’t at all expect.  The bad news is that I have three weeks to get through that outline, and I’m only on number 7 of like a 17-item bulleted list.

I still feel okay about things, though.  It’s going to take a little bit of focus, yet I am optimistic about getting through it.  I mean, three weeks is 75% of a NaNoWriMo, so I know from experience that if it’s just a matter of focus, I can certainly come up with that somehow.

I had to apologize to my writing partner a couple of weeks ago.  We met a few times not to share work, but just to sit down and work separately.  It was fun.  She said she’d never done it before and wanted to know if that’s what NaNoWriMo is like.  I said yes, it’s one of the best things about it.  Anyway, I had to apologize and explain that while she was the sort who psyched herself up to sit down and write, I very frequently have to psyche myself down in order to get to work. I call myself names. I get myself depressed. I remind myself of all those years of telling myself I was a writer but never really producing anything to show for it, and that I am forty-five years old now and if I’m not going to write TODAY, when the heck am I going to write? next year? There are no next years. There is only now.

I was really worried that I was going to drag her down. So I apologized. And she said (first) that she hadn’t even noticed, and (second) that she’s known me long enough to know how I am, and if I was too much of a downer, she would just ignore me the way she always ignored me when I was like that.

It’s good to have friends who know you, understand you, and still love you. This is a good partnership for me; I can only pray that somehow I’m making it a good partnership for her, too. She’s so young, and she doesn’t have that sense of desperation that I have. This project of hers is relatively new; she can’t look at her life as a writer and conclude that she’s so far been nothing but a failure.

If nothing else, I know that just the commitment we’ve made to each other to meet every two weeks and talk about our work has been enough to motivate her, most of the time. I have to remember that: if nothing else, my consistency and my encouragement are valuable to her, it not whatever expertise I might pretend to have.

No details about my project, but I was wrestling with a major decision about who should narrate this thing, and I reluctantly came to the conclusion that the narrator I was experimenting with was much, much better for narrating this story than the character I was secretly hoping to switch to in a future draft. I somehow, by some miracle, have stumbled upon a narrative voice that really, really works for this story, and she’s likable and interesting and smart, and the sort of character I think my audience will admire. Even though at first, second, and third glances, the story’s not at all about her.

It feels good. I feel like I’ve untangled a lot of tangled thoughts about this project, and that first decision about who’s narrating this thing led me to a few pretty good ideas about how to make this story more about her.

I’ve been encouraged to apply for a short gig teaching non-credit business writing courses at the school where I work. That should be fun. There are no details on when the course would be offered or who would be taking it. The people who encouraged me to apply have been super nice, and even though that particular shade of writing is not my thing, I already know how I would teach it, and look forward to the challenge. Man, the people I’ve worked with so far in that department have been nothing but super super super nice and super encouraging. In fact, I’ve gotten a bit of that from some contacts I’ve made in other departments on campus, too. It’s nice to be valued for what I can do.

The workers at my neighborhood Starbucks have been getting too familiar. I try to avoid being too regular at any Starbucks for this reason, but my self-imposed grounding means I can’t really go to the cafes I prefer, the open-all-night joints where I actually don’t mind a little bit of familiarity. So I’m kind of stuck with the Starbucks cafes near my house and near my office. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I’ve spent most of my day listening to bluegrass and bluegrass-tinged stuff. Such good, good music. It’s been strangely good for the productivity, too, which isn’t always the case.

This week: a big deadline at work I need to power through, probably a day off Wednesday, a little bit of long-overdue car maintenance, a lot of writing, and figuring out a schedule for my side gig. Gotta finish reading the new Michael Lewis book, too, and do a review, then write a couple of articles. Good times.

 ::  Share or discuss  ::  2014-04-06  ::  me

Power Rankings for Week 14

Friday 4 April 2014 - Filed under power

Power rankings for the week of April 2 to April 9.

Comment This week Last week Weeks on Peak
The Tony Kornheiser Show A listener email destroyed the program one day last week. Funniest thing I’ve heard in years. 1 1 14 1
Baseball Ah, it feels like I’ve come home after a long journey. 2 9 6 2
Mom (TV series) Ooh, two very good episodes in a row. 3 15 14 3
The Big Bang Theory A nice, new, normal episode this week. And funny. 4 16 14 3
Anna Kendrick SNL this weeeeeeeeek! 5 19 5 5
Kaley Cuoco She’s on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Oh my. 6 22 14 6
The Dan Le Batard Show A few days this week were yawners, but there were also some great moments. 7 2 14 2
Kindle Paperwhite Immediate gratification on payday. Dangerous. 8 5 13 1
John Green Just about done with Looking for Alaska. 9  – 1 9
Scrivener Novel back on track, and using Scrivener for outlining too. 10 23 12 7
Grantland I think it’s finally reeled me in. 11  – 1 11
Feedly Tried to get along with an aggregator but I have too man jobs that require attention to too many websites now. Need feed. 12  – 1 12
Spotify Less music now that it’s baseball season. 13 6 13 2
Twitter Do you know about Tweet a Coffee by Starbucks? Try it; it’s pretty fun. 14 7 14 7
Facebook I wish it were more configurable so my stream shows up the way I want it. 15 8 14 8
Scramble with Friends I’m back, baby. 16 11 14 8
Words with Friends You should be playing me. 17 12 14 7
iTunes Listening as I go to sleep lately. 18 4 7 4
Diet Pepsi I’ve actually had some at home recently. Very unusual. 19 10 8 10
Starbucks App The new app is slicker but less elegant. 20 13 13 9
Secret My secrets never get hearts. 21 14 3 13
Pardon the Interruption And they get everyone with their April Fool’s joke AGAIN because they are so credible. 22 20 13 11
Five Thirty-Eight Baseball managers: there’s no evidence most of them make any difference in wins and losses. 23 24 2 24
Outshine fruit bars Not sure how this happened. I’ve developed a little bit of an addiction. 24  – 1 24
Louis C.K. Binging on Louis recordings while I do chores. New way to get through them. 25  – 4 10

*Biggest jump

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Cry Heart

Friday 4 April 2014 - Filed under decluttering

Digitizing some old letters and notes, hopefully to toss out eventually, and came upon this. Don’t remember getting it, and I am not sure who sent it. The handwriting has it narrowed down to three strong candidates, but I can’t tell which.


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