10 Days of Travel Photos: Day 4 – Donner Lake Area

This one is from our family trip out west. My daughter loved the Daniel James Brown book The Indifferent Stars Above about the Donner Party so this was high on our list of places to go. It was a beautiful area.

10 Days of Travel Photos – Day 3 – Leeds Castle

We took both of our kids on trips after graduation, the Norway phot was from my son’s trip. This one was from the trip to England and France for my daughter’s graduation. We spent the night on the grounds of the castle so we got to wander around after it was closed to the public.

Leeds Castle

Am I Ready for the Post Pandemic World?

I just read this article from Drew Magary. He talks about going to DC to do a self guided walking tour and how he was not ready to be out and about even outside where everyone was wearing masks. He says this tells him he won’t be ready to fully embrace post pandemic life when it is possible.

I’m learning it’d be unwise to shock my system back to life in The After.
— Read on www.sfgate.com/sf-culture/article/drew-magary-pandemic-the-after-not-prepared-15849272.php

It made me think about how I will react to post pandemic life. I am different than Drew in that I have worked outside of the house during the pandemic. I have driven to Kentucky and back. I also didn’t really do much outside of the house before the pandemic anyway so I wouldn’t rush out to do all the things.

I might not rush out to take long plane rides full of strangers. I might not rush out to a packed indoor concert. I would go see family in Kentucky. I would get together with friends. I would take some day trips to cities nearby.

I don’t think my senses would be overwhelmed or that I would have a panic attack. It will probably feel weird, but I think it will be a good weird. A freeing weird. I hope it comes sooner rather than later.

Winning the Lottery

Both the Powerball and Mega Millions are at ridiculously high jackpots right now. High enough that when I was out picking up books and DVDs from the library yesterday I bought one of each. I’ve written before about what I would do if I won the lottery. I decided to once again revisit my list to see what has changed. I will skip the dumb first steps I had listed before and assume it is obvious that I would sign the ticket and have my wife, the CPA, manage the money.

  1. Claim the money quick because I would be afraid I would lose the ticket – this is still the same. I would be filled with anxiety until I actually claimed the money. Even if the ticket was in a safe place I would still constantly go to the worst case scenario. I don’t know how people wait so long to clam the money.
  2. Remain Anonymous – My state is one of the state where you an remain anonymous. I would definitely do this. I would not want to deal with what comes with everyone knowing you have won millions of dollars. I’m sure family and “friends” would all find a reason to “reconnect” after the announcement.
  3. Never Have a Job Again – This one was “quit my job”. I’ve already done that. The money would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about eventually finding a new job. I could instead focus on finding volunteer opportunities and places to do good. This also helps with #2 as I would not suspiciously quit my job after someone won the lottery.
  4. Trust Funds for the Kids – I would want to set it up in a way that encourages them to still be productive members of society. I don’t think my kids would become lazy rich people if they had a lot of money. That’s my job. I just wouldn’t want to encourage any thoughts of quitting school or jobs because of the money.
  5. Help Family – I would probably want to give my siblings enough that they would never have to worry about money again. I’m such a nice person.
  6. Car? – I had a better car on the list before, but now I’m not sure I would buy one. My car is fine and gets me where I need to be. I would buy my daughter a better car. The rest of us have relatively new ones. I would be tempted to hire a car to take me places. I don’t really enjoy driving.
  7. House Stuff – I don’t feel the need to have a mansion. I would just fix some things I don’t like about the current house. I would make the basement a much more pleasant place. Add a bar. Buy a giant TV and nice furniture. Make it the place we would use whenever we can have guests again.
  8. Second House – On new addition to the list is a second house somewhere warm. This January in isolation would be a lot easier if I was doing it at a house with a private beach area.
  9. Eventually Travel in Style – I really miss travel. I can’t wait until I can do it again. With millions I would upgrade to first class on long flights. I would take a train trip across the country. No reason to buy a mansion if I want to be on the go a lot.
  10. Splurge Responsibly – Fancy dinners. Spontaneous nights at fancy hotels. Last minute trips. The freedom and means to buy or do something just for fun.
  11. Charity – I would donate to charities once I made sure the money was being used properly.

It’s nice to dream about this. In a couple of days I will be a loser and will go back to the real world.

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Giving Myself a Break

I’ve spent some time this morning fretting over the fact that I have not been very productive in my writing so far this year. My blog stats are down. I haven’t worked on the book much at all. I didn’t have a blog post idea for this morning. Rather than let the fretting continue, I instead decided to look at what I have done and will do this week. While I have not been productive when it comes to writing I have:

  • been more active online which is important in getting your work out there when you do write
  • cleaned the bathrooms
  • taken down the outdoor Christmas lights
  • cooked dinner most nights
  • taken out the trash
  • done a load of laundry
  • organized my sock drawer, throwing away ones with giant holes in them
  • spent quality time with my daughter
  • taken multiple walks
  • exercised more

This week I may not be productive writing but I know I will:

  • pick up holds at the library
  • stop by the grocery store while I’m out to pick up some essentials
  • maybe also buy a lottery ticket while I’m out
  • go to my therapy session online
  • deliver some belated Christmas gifts to porches
  • virtually attend the funeral of a friend’s mom
  • do more laundry
  • go for more walks
  • clean the kitchen
  • vacuum the house
  • spend more time with my daughter

So, even if I don’t get much writing done, it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing. I need to give myself a break. Next week, when my daughter is back at her apartment and my wife is home I can get into a more regular routine.

What’s Good in Tater Town 1/10/20

It’s been an eventful week in the news. It’s been a very uneventful week in Tater Town. Let’s look at the good.

  1. The Ravens won Sunday and are in the playoffs.
  2. Monday would have been the day I went back to work after the holidays, but I was home instead.
  3. The weather has been nice enough for me to take several walks.
  4. I finished my first book of the year. It was a 600 page zombie novel.
  5. My reading will likely go faster now.
  6. My daughter is still home for another week.
  7. Kentucky basketball is on a three game win streak.
  8. Free sandwich at Mission BBQ.
  9. Free coffee at Dunkin.
  10. Six NFL games to watch this weekend,

That’s all I’ve got this week. Next week I hope to be more productive with writing and work around the house. That can all change if there is another breaking news event.

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A Couple of Weeks in Books, Movies, and TV 1/8/20

The last two Fridays were Christmas and New Year’s Day so I didn’t do my regular weekly recaps. Let’s see if I can think of anything worth reporting over the last three weeks.

Movies – I watched American Pickle on HBO Max. It stars Seth Rogen as an immigrant worker in a pickle factory in New York who falls in a pickle vat and preserved for 100 years and then wakes up in modern day New York. Seth Rogen also plays his last remaining descendent. I expected it to just be about him trying to adjust to modern life, but it was not that at all. I really liked it, but I am a fan of Rogen and of Simon Rich who wrote the screenplay and the story on which it was based. We watched the new Wonder Woman movie. I liked it more than most people have reported, but I did feel like the ending was lacking something. Wonder Woman is still the best of the DC franchises. My son watched a lot of Marvel movies while he was with us so I saw pieces of Ragnorak, Ant Man, Spiderman, Infinity War and End Game. We did our annual watch of Miracle on 34th Street.

TV – Generally, regular TV viewing is replaced by random movies when the kids are home and this time was not different. I don’t recall a lot of TV shows we watched between the holidays. This past week, though, has brought us back to TV. We finished the latest streaming season of The Next Step. My daughter and I watched an old season of the Amazing Race. We are watching the final Alex Trbek episodes of Jeopardy. We tried the new TV show Call Me Kat. It was not good. I watched the premiere of Last Man Standing. They started mid pandemic but then flashed forward 2 years so the rest of the season is post pandemic. We watched the first episode of The Chase last night. It is a quiz show where contestants face off against one of the three Jeopardy GOATs. We love all three of them, so we loved the show. I like seeing the two chasers not playing commenting on the game. We will definitely watch more.

Books – I read three books over the last three weeks and fed one to the dustbunnies:

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham – This is the third book in the Jake Brigance series. In this one he is appointed to defend a teen who killed a police officer who was abusing his mom. It is about the case, but also about the fallout for Jake in regards to him defending the person who killed a popular police officer. Grisham is always good and that is the case here as well.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – A YA romance. Dimple has just graduated from high school and is going to Stanford. Her mom is more focused on finding her a husband. Her parents have payed for her to go to a summer program for aspiring web developers. Rishi is very traditional and has given up on drawing comics to go to MIT. He is very traditional and wants his parents to arrange his marriage. He is going to the program because his parents have arranged for him to marry Rishi. One problem – no one told Rishi. This is my second book I’ve read by Menon and I’ve loved both. I have a third in the TBR pile.

If it Bleeds by Stephen King – four new novellas including a new Holly Gibney story. King has been my favorite author since I was a kid and now I get his new book every year for Christmas. Reading the new King book is a great way to end the year.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – This is the one I fed to the dustbunnies. I started it. Put it down and read another book. Tried again. got a good distance in and it was still just a ramble of 80’s references and set up with no real story. I gave up for good.

On Deck – We are watching another old Survivor season. This time it is Pearl Islands. When my wife returns we will have two episodes of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. I love that show. I have some DVDs at the library, but I’m not sure if we will watch any movies this week. I am reading The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus.

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Watching the Attack on the Capitol

I’m glad I decided early on yesterday that I was going to get nothing done. I expected to read my book while keeping an eye on the certification vote. As is standard thee days, instead of reading my book I was scrolling through Twitter. As CNN was still on the speeches Twitter was reporting that a couple of buildings in DC had been evacuated. Then I saw a reporter tweet that people had breached the Capitol grounds and were trying to get in the building. It took a few minutes for CNN to switch coverage from the speeches to the events outside. Soon after it was reported that the hearing was paused. I watched stunned as the rioters broke into the Capitol building. I was seeing pictures from inside of guns drawn. I saw the woman who was shot being taken out on a stretcher. I couldn’t believe this was happening, but in some ways I guess I wasn’t shocked at all. We’ve had four years of a president who encouraged the worst behavior from his supporters. They threatened violence on the streets if he lost. I expect this is not the end. I expect more riots and violence in the days to come. I expect disruptions at the inauguration. I will not be shocked if someone attempts to assassinate Biden. Thats where we are as a country.

On Facebook I called it what it was – an attack on our country. I said the military needed to be called in to drag the rioters out in shackles. It is appalling that these people were allowed to wander around the Capitol doing what they wanted. It is appalling that there is video of them walking calmly out while a police officer holds the door open for them. No one should have let the building not in cuffs. Every single person who entered the building should be in jail and they should be in jail for a long time. An attack on our country should not be met with politeness. The president who incited this should be removed from office and indicted for treason. Allowing something like this to happen with no repercussions is damaging to our country and our elections.

This was not a protest. This was a riot. This was an attack on democracy. It should be treated as such.

I noticed today that a friend from high school unfriended me on Facebook after my post. I’m actually surprised it was only one. I saw before I was unfriended that she was going to unfriend anyone who called out this but was too silent on the Black Lives Matters protests. I’m not sad at all that she is gone the same as I’m not sad at people who unfriended me because I’m not “religious enough” for them.

I am who I am. Take it or leave it.