House of Boyd

The Personal Website of Jim Boyd

February 7, 2021 - Endurance

With covid floating around, cold, cold air, and being buried under a ton of snow, life is about endurance right now.

My most valuable possession at the moment: the Xbox. Which is also true for my girlfriend. We are agreeable about sharing, however, which is good. Actually I'm pleased at how well our relationship has weathered covid's intense isolation. No, the real covid isolation problem is the not being able to go outside. Once spring comes around, I'm going to be back out there with a vengeance.

And the plan is to have a new bicycle for rampaging out in the world again. As soon as the temperatures return to a tolerable level, I'm going to be buying one. I'm considering a Trek FX3, but we'll see what happens.

What matters is that I need to get some real time in the world again. Although I do love video games and books, I don't want to spend all my non-working, non-sleeping hours in a 21st century Holodeck. The other weird thing is, I seem to have lost interest in television and movies. We have streaming services, but I can't bring myself to watch anything. I'm on the verge of giving up Netflix and CBS (which will become Paramount+ in a month or so anyway). The problem seems to be that most of the plots of TV and movies are so thin and predictable that there is no point. All the genres are lame - science fiction is always some kind of dystopia with brooding characters, cop shows are ridiculous, and everything else is just dumb. And I've seen all the old TV shows. About the only thing still worth watching besides Star Trek is 60 Minutes.

Books, too, and that's what really sucks. There are good books out there, the question is, how do I find them? I've used Goodreads, the NYT, and Amazon to find books, but most of the books that people read are also total crap. So I often read history. I just finished The Fifties by David Halberstam, which was interesting, and I've also been reading about the history of television. Audible has good content, but again, you have to know what to look for.

Or, maybe I just need to get outside more.

January 18, 2021 - Hitting the High Notes

At least that's the way I feel today, I got to the dentist with no cavities, and got my first haircut since maybe September. That's some progress.

Now if we can just get through inauguration day.

I drive old cars, but I'm considering getting something newer - my Sebring is wearing out, which is not surprising as it is 21 years old now. Fortunately the engine is still fine, it's just little things. So I've been off-and-on checking out the scene.

It's insane. Apparently the used car market somewhere around September went up in price - in a straight line up. Seriously, used car prices have seemingly doubled. I'm seeing cars from 2005-2009 in the $7-10K range. I can tell you, it made my choice for me. I'm going to hang on to the Sebring a little longer. Assuming the engine doesn't blow up, I could probably wait until this next winter or thereabouts. Guess I better fix my CV boot and window motors, though. Eesh.

Like I have anywhere to go anyway. Gonna be at least another six months before it will be even kind of safe to travel. So instead of buying a car, I will be buying a new bike. Spring will be back soon, and I can go back to biking for most of my trips around town.

I know one thing, I put too much time emphasis on these things. I feel like there are better ways I could be spending my time. While the weather is still cold, I feel like I should reorient some of my priorities. 2020 and I think a good portion of this year will be good for contemplation. Understanding the world is both hard and easy to sidestep, but so necessary.

Coming back to travel, I have reoriented my priorities there. There are places I'd like to go, but my objectives have changed. I think, like many Americans, I have this notion that travel is about crossing things off lists. Mt. Rushmore? Check. White House? Check. But what do you get out of that? Not a whole lot. I want experiences more than sightseeing. So I took a hard look at the atlas and made a tightly-focused list of places I really, genuinely think I'd like to see - rather than a "oh-look-there's-another-monument-that-looks-like-the-photo" trip. An example? Well, I would enjoy taking an Amtrak train from Maine to Florida, let's say. That would be an experience, especially if I could break it into segments.

And I'm itching to travel. I had a couple scheduled for '20 that got blowed up because of the rona. We'll just have to see how I can do it coming up.

January 10, 2021 - Thanks everyone for your reach out!

Thank you everybody if you sent me an email or other message in response to my holiday message. I promise that I will email you back, I'm just slow. So that's why I have a website for you to read!

This year so far has been about the same as last year, with the added concern that the republic might just fall to the forces of darkness. Ah-yay. But enough of that crap, what's happening with me? Well, we're hiring my counterpart at work, and I have second interviews that I'm conducting this week. It's a tough choice, because we have some talented candidates, which is good, but how to choose?

One upside is that I have Forza Horizon 4 keeping me sane and giving me the opportunity to drive ridiculously expensive fake autos around fake Scotland really, really fast. Today, I won The Goliath, a 15-minute endurance race, driving a 1969 Pontiac GTO "The Judge". If I can talk myself into doing graphics here, maybe I'll share a photo. Another entertaining thing I've been doing with Forza is making fake magazine ads to celebrate my wins in the style of Porsche ads of the late '70s and early '80s. In additional Forza news, I just got a playseat, so I will no longer be destroying my shoulder while I play.

Another thing I've been doing is returning to long walks. I did this a lot in my late teens and early twenties, back before I had middle-aged paunch. Last year, I actually had a great gym routine at the Y, which was completely killed off by the rona. (Natch) I read something that said that people who exercise six days a week lost weight, while those who did a more traditional 3-4 times'/week routine did not lead to weight loss. So there I go, walking is easy, it gets my butt off the couch, and I can listen to audiobooks while I do the walk.

And getting out of the house is important. I've been working from home, so that means some days I spend the entire day inside these four walls. So a little time getting fresh air is crucial. Sometimes I almost forget there's a world out there. But then I go to Barnes and Noble on a weekend afternoon by mistake and realize that superspreading is not just a thing you do if you're trying to overthrow the US government.

January 2021 - A Subspace Message

Happy New Year, everyone!

Well, it's not an original sentiment, but it is an honest, well-meant one. Besides, I presume we're still all tired out from 2020 that we can't handle beating aroudn the bush.

If you're visting from my holiday message, welcome! That's the first one I've ever sent - consider yourself lucky. This is the place to come to get my updates and communication. I gave some thought to rejoining the world of social media. I left when that fool that I like to call Clown Shoes got made president like winning a ring in a cereal box in 2016. Now, I feel like I could come back, but these days there's way too much crazy on the Internet to get into social media.

Forget politics, though. I try to every day.

I think we can all be happy that we've managed to squeak through 2020 with the skin of our teeth, despite the fact that the year was trying to kill us to the very last moment. I'm not even kidding, the last thing I heard from my workplace yesterday afternoon was that they had to evacuate due to a gas leak! Sheesh. Me? I'm working from home, at least this month - which I can tell you is a wonderful blessing. I like my coworkers a lot, I really do. It can be distracting however and harder to be productive.

We have a pretty decent setup at home, too. We set up an office space so that we can both work from home when we need to, and I finished setting up the new screen for my personal computer as well. Given that we mostly only see people via a screen, it's both necessary and strange. It really is almost like being in a starship, far from home. Shields up. Red alert. Nevertheless, I'm well protected and healthy, and I consider that to be a major blessing, especially if all of you are likewise well. More to come.

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