Is spring really coming already?

I guess it’s been a while since I updated things here. My state had its say in the presidential primary circus this past Tuesday, and while my choice of Ted Cruz wasn’t the victor, there were a lot of interesting takeaways from both races. Granted, there are some things I disagree with Cruz, but I’m not enthused with the other choices, especially Trump. I have vowed to vote Libertarian should the race be Trump v. either Democrat, because none of them should be elected. Unless I’m asked privately, this will probably be all I say on the matter.

In slightly less depressing matters, Chelsea aren’t as in dire straits as they once were, but having only the FA Cup left to possibly win certainly isn’t as exciting as last year. Leicester’s my sentimental favorite to win the league because I certainly don’t want any of the others in the top 5. (Although should West Ham make an unfathomable run to the top, that’s infinitely preferable to either North London side or Man City.)

The next big trip I have planned is to York, PA, in April. A group of us will check out some of the road projects in the area, and as always, the fellowship should be fun. If I think to remember, I may even post a trip report. The drive should be great, unless we get one of those rare April snowstorms. But then I suppose an April snowstorm is infinitely preferable to a Trump presidency or a Spurs title.


Fighting a cold

Yesterday I developed a pretty good headcold. It wasn’t enough to keep me from work, but all the sneezing and blowing my nose was a little annoying. I sucked down some green tea with lemon at our trivia game last night. Today seems much better, as I seem to be on the mend.

For some reason, this month is turning out to be rather bland. The Charlotte trip seems like forever ago while my next big trip isn’t until Labor Day weekend. And while I did go to a festival in downtown Battle Creek last weekend, I couldn’t really feel excited about it. (While it featured burgers and beer and had free admission, I had no patience to wait in the food vendors’ lines.) The two music acts I saw were fine, but I wanted to catch the end of the Bristol race, so I left before the third act came on.

Chelsea are off to a tepid start, as I knew this season was likely going to be tougher than the last one. Trying to keep track of the transfer news is dizzying in itself (Player X is not for sale, but then maybe he is, etc.) I’m just hoping the rust shakes off and we can be contenders in all the competitions this year. I hope to make it to Chicago more often (just became a CIA member this year), and perhaps I can think about starting a chapter closer to home (but I don’t yet have the time and commitment to make such a venture). It’ll be fun regardless.

Under two weeks!

Somehow it’s still hasn’t sunken in that I’ll be on the road in less than two weeks. Chelsea play Paris Saint-Germain in an International Champions Cup friendly in Charlotte, NC, and I’m making a weekend of it. And while the festivities surrounding the game will be exciting, for me the drive down and back will be nearly as fun. I’ll get to go through Appalachia for the first time in nearly 27 years. And while I have a list of various sites I intend to hit while in Charlotte, I’m sure there are spots I’ll hit in between here and there (mostly on the return, as I’m taking plenty of time to get back). On the way down I’ll stay in Parkersburg, WV, and the return trip will have an overnight in Lexington, KY. The weekend will be full of events courtesy of Chelsea in America, but I’ll also look to sate my NASCAR fandom. I’m staying within walking distance of everything and parking the car for the weekend, so having a little too much shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’m going to Uptown Charlotte to party!

The Field of Flight went as well as I could expect. The weather was just right, although one of the nights I had to wear a fleece hoody. (Hoodies in July? What blashphemy!) Seeing the people who work with my best friends and me was a blast as always, and we’re thinking next year’s event I may get to go up in a balloon! It would be a first in the six or seven years I’ve helped my friends who build the site. It’s almost a year away, but that sort of thing will creep up again before I know it.

So far this summer has just hummed along. There are probably a couple festivals I’ll attend between now and Charlotte. And I still need to make sure I get the Friday before Labor Day off as that trip is now less than two months away. Summer will be gone before I know it.

I can’t be mad about the water

We had a new coworker come on Wednesday, and already he seems to be making a favorable impression on me in the brief times I’ve had to interact. Just a few minutes ago, he sincerely apologized for taking a couple bottles of my water. (Others generally have left nominal money to compensate.) But I didn’t really mind the transgression. We made an agreement, and hopefully he’ll feel like I wasn’t offended.

The above-mentioned blunder certainly couldn’t be as big as the one I saw in the Battle Creek Shopper News yesterday. They ran an ad for the upcoming Field of Flight, but unfortunately it was one for last year. I was told the publication will run the correct ad for no charge (a public apology having already been issued), but I can’t help but feel bad for all involved. It also serves as a reminder that the festival is fast approaching, with all the entertainment (both seen and behind the scenes) that it entails. I’ll be helping out my friends as I have for the past several years, so if you come, I’ll be around.

This weekend seems to be another ho-hum one. There are a couple different events I wouldn’t mind attending, but the weather doesn’t seem like it’ll be the best for either one of them. I’ll probably use the opportunity to see Jurassic World, although it’s not a film I absolutely need to see. I’ll always love Jurassic Park, The Lost World was merely ok, while I never had any desire to watch III. Perhaps the rainy weather will compel me to read the book I currently have faster. Frankly nothing else has for any of my books this year.

Such an underwhelming May so far

I know this will come off as crass to some people, but I’m really having a hard time enjoying this month. I feel as if I’m still unwanted. I had thought going to Spring into the Arts this past Friday might cheer me up, but I ended up going with my mother and her friend. It’s not that they’re bad people, I guess I just expect to be able to do those kinds of things with my friends. I suppose that’s my fault for not trying to reach out to some of them, but once Mom got wind that I was going, she just had to come, too. It makes potentially meeting up with anyone else difficult, as Mom insists on meeting up with me whenever she comes to these art walks. At least she paid for her share of dinner after I had treated her on Mother’s Day.

Meanwhile, my father is enjoying retirement and I’ll get to see him the Sunday before Memorial Day. It’ll probably be the last time I get to see him before he and Vicki embark on their national tour in their Airstream. I’ll be honest and say that I sort of envy him that he gets to enjoy the sort of lifestyle sans house. I’m pretty certain Mom does, too. Whether I fly out somewhere to meet up remains to be seen, but we’ll have to see what opportunities develop.

I am looking forward to my trip to Charlotte in July. This lightens my mood somewhat, but there’s plenty of time that I’d like to spend hopefully with non-related friends. The only other big thing I have planned is a U.P. roadmeet trip Labor Day weekend, and based on who else is going, I should enjoy that immensely. The western part of the U.P. is by far my favorite area of my home state. In all, summer should be good. We just have to get through May, first.

Random thoughts

  • I’m wearing shorts for the first time this year, even though the weather will probably preclude me from doing any outdoor activity after work.
  • We scored an 84 at Team Trivia last night (perfect score is 86). We only missed a question about Shiva. But the host played the new Twenty One Pilots song, which I hadn’t yet heard. I may have to listen again before I decide whether it’s good. (Yeah, it’s good as is the video.)
  • Reese’s Eggs seem to simply be Reese’s Trees with smoother edges.
  • The previous thought was rather pointless as is this one.

The junk versus the reality

I always seem to get SMS messages with requests to reset my Facebook password. Considering I don’t have anything of particular value there, I wonder why some unknown person keeps wanting me to reset my password. (It is said many of those unsolicited requests are accidental.) I wonder why my SMS inbox can’t be more real people wanting to do real things rather than some bot wanting to reset my password or alerting me to gas price hikes or offering me discounts on convenience store items I don’t intend to purchase. I’m pretty sure I lead a real life—you just wouldn’t ever know it based on what flows through my inboxes.

Our self-made purgatories

By now I’m sure most people are aware of yesterday’s passing of actor Leonard Nimoy. His role of Spock in Star Trek leaves an everlasting legacy. While I certainly can identify with many of the character’s traits, a part of the New York Times obituary really struck out at me.

In Episode 24 [“This Side of Paradise”], which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.

“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”

In one quotation, Spock expresses the despair and hope of human emotion. It rings true with me. While I have a lot of anxiety about how I carry myself, I can take solace in the fact that everyone else does as well. The details of our self-made purgatories will certainly vary, but as Spock says, none is worse than any other.

A day with FIRST Robotics

Yesterday I finally took the opportunity to attend the FIRST Robotics Competition held at Gull Lake High School. My friend’s son is pit captain for Team Stryke Force, and another friend was a judge for the first time and was trying to convince his company to start its own team. But really, teams came from various parts of the state to take part, and as might be expected, the area around the gymnasium and cafetorium was packed! Between the time that the preliminary matches ended and knockout matches began, every seat in that cafetorium was packed with hungry teens (fortunately breakfast had me sated), and finding an empty spot in the bleachers to watch matches was daunting.

But what I took away from the event more than the crux of the competition (which is saying something as the robots and the game are impressive) was the enthusiasm displayed by the teams and their supporters. It was such a joy to watch these kids lend their cheers during the matches, and while I may have sarcastically derided it on Twitter, it was truly entertaining to know songs like “YMCA” and “Macarena” haven’t fallen out of fashion with their generation. And while Team Stryke Force itself got knocked out after its alliance was swept in the quarterfinal round and didn’t pick up any further awards, I couldn’t help but stay through to the end. It’s inspiring to see them all support each other. If all this talk I hear of our next generation being doomed really has any credence, I didn’t see it at all at Gull Lake High.

Eleven days in, and I still feel how I did last year

It has always been said that new years are ripe for new beginnings. While that certainly seems to be the case for some people, I’m finding that I feel the way I did before 2014 turned over. The holidays were what they were. I kept trudging along with my life, the difference being I got to see some family on Christmas. Nothing really exciting at all happened. Of course, New Year’s Eve/Day was too boring to go into any detail.

Perhaps one of the things I’ll do more of this year is blog. After I got out of the habit of regularly posting to my LiveJournal, I’ve sometimes felt like I have expanded thoughts I wanted to get out that wouldn’t fit in the social media spaces. I want to review Sycamore Row at some point, but of course there’s that time issue and all the other thoughts that seem to swirl inside my head. Of course, the main thing is getting my work life back to a proper order and then hopefully I can fix the other things that need fixing. (My poor car will need some work, for example.)

If anything at all happens, I want this year to be the one where I finally turn the odds towards my favor. Even though I know it’s tough fighting against the rest of the world, I still believe I can win in it. I just have to figure out what winning means in this context.

December’s just like any other month

The last couple weeks have been interesting to say the least. For once, an actually promising job lead came through a cold call. And while I’m still waiting to know whether that particular opportunity will pan out, I’m still sending out apps hoping some employer will bite. An overarching theme tends to be life keeps slowly chugging along. The same could be said for a friend of mine, who related basically a similar story when I visited his business during last night’s Art Hop (nothing really new or exciting since the previous time I saw him).

I’ve always enjoyed going to Art Hop. It always gives me an opportunity to walk around the city of my birth and marvel at the various works of art while occasionally running into friends I might not otherwise have a chance to see. December is usually one of the months where Art Hop is expanded, meaning there are many more venues that participate than what during a usual Art Hop, but even the regular ones I don’t ever have the time to see everything. Since I didn’t arrive until 6 p.m., I decided to focus my efforts this time near the Park Trades Center. But while walking around, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that there were some things that I’ve seen before. Certainly while there was plenty of new things to see, but I still had this feeling like this has all been done before. Perhaps it’s because Park Trades has resident galleries so when you visit multiple times, you eventually get a grasp of where certain artists are. And while there is a lot of familiarity, nothing really beats spending time at the West Michigan Glass Art Center on a frigid December evening. I just felt this Art Hop wasn’t as exciting as Art Hops I’ve attended in the past.

I also used the opportunity to try one of many new breweries which have popped up in Kalamazoo within the last year. While Tibbs was understandably packed because it was their opening night, I eventually got a seat at the bar at Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, which had opened since my last trip to Kalamazoo. While there certainly is plenty of space for the bar staff to work, the bar area looked quite large within the footprint of the building. The two beers I had were the VP Ale, a terrific vanilla porter which rivals Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter, and the Sub-Continental IPA, which is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever seen or tasted. I would put Sub-Continental with the likes of Hopslam; it was just that good. And while the pizza had some sourness that won’t get it to be one of my favorites, I definitely have to give credit for using spent grain in the dough. I may yet try their poutine, but a conversation I overheard about where they could get their cheese curds made me lean against it for the moment.

Hopefully the holidays aren’t too exhausting, but given my limited income, I know I won’t be traveling too often. I do enjoy seeing family, but like everything else, it just seems like it’s been done too many time before. Although should I get a new job (or at least be in the definite process of that), it’ll make my Christmas just a tad bit brighter.