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180524 new horizons

It's the name of a NASA project, and, it's also my situation this May. I've been seeking out new horizons for about a month now, and it's really opened up my world a lot. I was due for an in-rush of fresh air, and I'm getting it. The world seemed to reward me for this by bringing on spring almost as soon as I was free, and this month has really been a joy. I'm trying out new things, I'm experimenting, I'm learning, and I really feel more momentum and growth than I have in quite a while. Please forgive my lack of updating while I've been figuring it out.

One fun thing I got to participate in recently was the return of Trivia Night. At one point in the long-ago past, my cadre and I would participate in these at the Des Moines Social Club. It was a great time for years, but then the DMSC moved, the Trivia went from a swanky restaurant at the Kirkwood to a somewhat dingy basement bar, and the crowds became intolerable and tight. Not my scene.

But now, the Triv (or, at least, one facet of triv) is taking place at the Court Ave. Brewing Company, and my cadre and I participated in it once again around the middle of the month. Not only did we participate, but--we won! It had all the hallmarks of thrilling competition, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Definitely will be doing that again in the near future.

Another thing I'll be doing more of in the near future is getting my ass out there. I've been hermited far too long, and I've got a renewed interest in being part of the world again, with confidence. I'm still an old-school introvert, but I think I've found my niches.

One small bit of bad news, my treasured bicycle companion, Kinetica, is in dire straits at the moment--he's apparently needing a lot of work. That's the trouble with having an old bike that you ride all the time. In fact, that's exactly how the repair person from Bike World put it when he called to tell me Kinetica was in need of help. First thing he said was, "You ride a lot, don't you?" To which I could only laugh uproariously. Yes, sir, I do indeed ride all the time. I was told that the chain stretch tool only goes to 12 millimeters, and my chain had stretched off the meter, to 12.4 mm, farther, apparently, than my repairman had ever seen.

Now, don't let it be said that I do not do maintenance on my vehicles--I certainly do, if grudgingly. In fact, Kinetica has had proper service for all five of the years I've been riding him daily. So I'm not entirely sure why this was not brought up to me on the last tune up. But, in any case, here it is, and I'll have to bite the bullet and find a solution here. But, fear not for Kinetica's future, as he will remain a prominent member of the Bikefleet.

180414 the weather rabbit hole

I've always had an interest in weather, as I think most who live in the middle part of the USA do, since it affects our lives so directly. Of course, people on the coasts get weather, but it's not such an 'every day point of focus' for them as it is for us.

When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I noticed this most directly. I can think of maybe three or four times in two years that weather made any difference, and they were mild compared to anything I experienced in Kansas or Iowa. But even here, over most of my life, I've remained very much a layperson with regard to meteorology.

I don't suspect that will change, certainly not from a professional standpoint. But I can say that my personal interest in weather has increased this year, thanks to Jenn. She has certainly rekindled the embers of interest that I had from middle school and the childish days where I thought that I wanted to go into meteorology in 1986-1990.

Her interest in weather has been mostly focused on using weather apps like PYKL3, which, at least to my untrained view, seems like a powerful tool. I have not dug into it yet myself. I have been a longtime user of the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar, which has none of glamor of apps or TV's SUPER ULTRA MEGA DOPPLER!!!, but seems to give me all the information I need.

In any case, we've attended both the basic and the advanced storm spotter training seminars hosted by the NWS offices in Iowa. I have done the basic seminar in the past (amateur radio and weather spotting often overlap in interest areas), but how much I retained and how much I used it in life in 2009 and 2010 could likely be rated in the "very little" category. This time, though, I feel like I am retaining and gaining knowledge, and that's very gratifying to me.

I am certainly going down the rabbit hole a little more deeply, reading the NWS's FAQ pages on radar and learning about relative velocity of wind, downdrafts, types of clouds, and so on. As I said, this is a personal interest, and I don't think I'll be classifying myself as anything more than a general storm spotter anytime soon. But having a subject to delve into that doesn't have heavy duty personal stakes for me is refreshing and healthy.

And, who knows, maybe I'll spot something worth reporting one of these days!

180401 my favorite song of the seventies, no foolin'

I have been for a long time wanting to make Yearbook Albums for each year of my life. I've done it for a few years, but not all, and I'd like to make it one of those projects I really get behind rather than put on the shelf and say, I'll get there someday.

But it's apropos as I have decided on what I think is my favorite song from the 1970s (not counting Genesis): "Strawberry Letter 23" by The Brothers Johnson. It came out, appropriately, the year I was born, a few months prior. I would like to imagine that maybe it imprinted itself on my developing mind when I was still in utero.

This song is just outstandingly ethereal and joyous, without being too saccharine to me. It makes me think of spring, the loveliness of the '70s, and of childhood. It also picks me up when I'm down. Take a listen, if you feel it. I hope you feel the same.

It might be a good cheer-up for me to spend some time finishing my yearbook albums. For me, every year has its own unique mood and characteristics, and I live them again through music that I loved at those times. If anyone would like to see my track listings for my yearbooks, just let me know!

One last note of housekeeping: I now will be archiving my entries by month, and you can access them using the links at the bottom of the page.

180331 goodbye, march, and to hell with you

It's been a hard March for reasons I can't get into, but I'm doing my best to keep my head and keep my focus. Fortunately, I have supportive people in my life who are making things better for me, and I'm going to do my best to stay positive.

In bad situations, of course, the thing to do is look to the future, and I'm looking creatively at my options and considering things I haven't considered before.

Now is the time, as they say, I'm not getting any younger. In the past at transition points, I've felt like I've not been as diligent as I could have been. Perhaps I didn't give myself enough credit in some of those situations, but, in others, I know I could have done better for myself with a little more consideration and effort. I am working to avoid making that mistake these days.

Instead of telling you about the past, I look forward to telling you of the exciting present-yet-to-come. But I better stop here, I'm starting to sound like a motivational speaker.

In other news, I'm decorating eggs. Because Easter? Naw, fuck that. Because I have eggs past their sell-by date, and a Sharpie. BUT HOW DO I DECORATE THEM??

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