For the five or so people who actually read this sorry blog, you may wish to check out Ah, Medium, where I am doing a bit more posting, alongside my wife. There, we share heartwarming stories of married life ridiculous notes from academia and GIFs of kangaroos.

As to the fate of this blog, I will have my final Trek post up sooner or later, and also a wrap-up of that series. After that, we shall see. It’s always something I want to do more, and then don’t. Since I have managed to take not one but two side-jobs over the next couple of months, which pay somewhat more than the zero dollars that this blog does, this will probably be even less a priority than usual, sadly.

Somehow it’s been almost three months since I posted anything. I was surprised to see this myself. I thought it had been like, a few weeks. Sorry, seven loyal blog readers. One of my math teachers in high school supported the theory that time goes faster as you get older because each year is a smaller fraction of your life. Of course a year seems like forever when you’re eight. It’s only 1/8 of your life. When you’re 34, it’s a lot less. Also you occasionally say the wrong age because you don’t immediately remember how old you are.

Well, fact is this summer was a blur. I got a new job, a dog, we did some traveling. Mostly it was probably the job taking up a lot of mental space, though still, I don’t know where all my time went. Seriously. There were three months this summer, right? Like, the usual amount? I remember spending a lot of time mowing the lawn and sweating.

Guess I’ll fill in some details. Then, maybe three more months of silence? I dunno. The blog lives in a weird netherworld these days. Though I’m back to watching Trek again, so there’s that.

*Let’s get the puppy pictures out of the way first.

*Job blogging is generally not appropriate and often boring, so I won’t be doing that, but I will note that I’m doing something pretty new after several years as a librarian. I still liked being a librarian but had an opportunity to round out some experience with web analytics, programming, and statistics. And I was able to do it without moving and while getting a raise. So, yeah. It was the right thing to do for now.

*Seriously, if I’m not going to talk about my stupid projects on this blog I may as well not even have the thing, so: more on that Ticket to Ride thing I mentioned a while ago. I spent a bunch of time developing a new map for the game Ticket to Ride. They were running a contest for new designs, and winners scored $10K and they’d publish your map. Well, the deadline for them notifying winners came and went, and I barely mentioned it here because I was too busy sobbing in my basement. Recently they announced the winners. They’re pretty great, though in retrospect it seems like they probably had something specific in mind and I was pretty far outside the box. Come on though, Steampunk tie-ins! Clearly they made a terrible oversight here.

*I started out the summer with the intent to read Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. But I failed very, very miserably. Part of the failure was the general busy-ness and not having as much time to read. The other part was that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I’d hoped, and it ended up being a bit of a trial to get through. I slogged through book one, then got pretty far into book two before putting it down for a while. I intermittently read some other things but I am grappling with whether I’ll actually even bother finishing. I love Neal Stephenson, but these haven’t really been doing it for me.

*I took a statistics class, which, come to think of it, was a major culprit in my loss of time. It cost me at least ten hours a week when I was already busy. All for education and self-improvement and professional development. Which sucks, because I could have played Metroid: Other M this summer instead.

Yes! Maybe!

Although not now. The last few months have been a little crazy with lots of goings-on and blogging has been pretty much the lowest priority. For now I offer only tantalizing* highlights:

  • I get a new job
  • I waste hours painstakingly developing a new Ticket to Ride map for a user design contest and lose…or did I????**
  • I take a ridiculously intense summer class on statistics that might kill me***
  • I undertake Neal Stephenson’s 2700-page Baroque Cycle, which will finish me off if stats class doesn’t

I’ll try to touch more on all of these in a bit later on when I have more than ten minutes to type stuff on the internet.

*Not really.
**Yep, sure did, barring some sort of ridiculously contrived miracle. (“Josh, this is the President of Days of Wonder. We just discovered your entry under a pile of Alan R. Moon’s laundry. You would not believe the number of frock coats we have had to deal with. Anyway, we are deeply sorry. You win double prize money for this oversight.”)
***I like it though! It’ll be really useful in the new gig. If I survive I’ll take more later.

Well! I have had an eventful week. “Eventful” in this context means “terrible, mostly.” But then again, depending on one’s perspective, maybe it means just “eventful” and even a little lucky.

So last Saturday some thunderstorms were rolling through. Artie was responding in his usual way, which was to hide in the basement. I decided to go down to hang with him whilst watching some TV. I went ahead and checked the weather and saw this:

April 16 tornado in Raleigh

(Scary full time lapse video here.)

An actual, serious tornado was about five miles south of my house, and heading our direction. The weather guys in the TV station building were retreating into their basement, so I figured, hmm, I ought to do the same. I told K she needed to do the same, and we scooped up Bea and headed downstairs.

When it passed through it honestly didn’t seem that bad. Windy and rainy but passed quickly. I was watching the neighbors’ hanging plants and they were swinging around but didn’t even get blown off their hooks. We lost power, but it didn’t  damage the house at all. Rain continued for a while but we went back upstairs and it was mostly bright out. But I was hearing on the radio that there was some serious damage to downtown and to some other spots. I thought we just go lucky and it passed a bit south of us.

Turns out that was exactly it: we were lucky. Just two blocks south a huge tree was uprooted and crushed a neighbor’s car. A mile south there was serious damage to lots of trees and a small college campus. Just northeast of us a trailer park basically got wiped out. A few kids were killed. Yikes, really. It went right by us and all we lost was power. There was some real devastation in town and some people here suffered real losses.

That was the scary and very sad, real part. On a less serious note, and what will eventually be amusing over time (NOT YET THOUGH) is that K’s parents were on their way down from NY to visit. We called them as the storm was coming and told them what was going on and to be careful. They ended up driving the whole way in the rain and arrived to a house with no power. Welcome! We were already planning go out to dinner so we were able to just do that, and guessed we would have power maybe later that night. It was hard to sleep–we kept thinking it might come back on at any minute. We were about 60 hours off.

Some of the neighborhoods around us got power back quickly, but we were in a pretty messy pocket, I guess. We still had running water but with an electric water heater we were without any showers but cold ones. Sunday we’d planned to do some landscaping work with the help of K’s dad, but feared getting too grimy before going out later that night, so we just relaxed instead. We’d decided to go to a Durham Bulls game, which would feed us dinner and get us out of the house for a while. There was a pretty touching moment of silence for tornado victims before the game and I felt really lucky to be there with my wife and family enjoying a beer, contemplating what abysmally bad-for-me ballpark sustenance I would consume for dinner, and being no more inconvenienced that being without power and unshaven or bathed.  It was overall fun, although tempered by the Bulls getting absolutely beaten down, as well as being driven nuts by the family seated in front of us (they consisted of three kids who did not hold still or sit down for three complete hours, an increasingly drunken bellowing dad, and an exasperated mom).

By this time we were aware that the power company was having to do major repair work. They reported that numerous lines and pieces of equipment were missing. Not down. Missing. We had been given an estimate of Tuesday night for power restoration. So we spent another night in the dark but at least this time I had no expectations about when it might come back on and slept fine.

Monday we weren’t planning on going anywhere. I was going to grill dinner (with fire! I do not require any of your fancy social trappings to cook meat!) and K’s parents were planning on staying in a hotel so they could shower. So we went ahead and got grimy with landscaping work. We headed over to the hotel…but wait! Are the traffic lights back on? This was unexpected. We headed back to the house and there was power! No need for hotel! Glorious power! Lights! Air conditioning! Refrigeration! Hot showers! I waited all of ten minutes for the latter and got in an unsatisfying lukewarm dousing. But it was good enough. We started getting dinner together. And BAM, the power turned back off. This was not met with good moods or continued optimism.

I went out to resume the original grilling dinner plan. It felt like something post-apocalyptic. I heard sirens. Helicopters were flying over. A few neighbors were standing around their yards. The charcoal was giving me trouble. Morale was not good. I got an update from the power company that a traffic accident had taken down the power lines. Seriously, really? We lost power for two days, get it back, and then a traffic accident wipes it right back out? I found out later a truck on the highway had managed to snag a power line. How this happened is a mystery. The power company blamed the truck for being too tall. Seems weird, though. You’re telling me that in the preceding years of the highway and power line existing, no vehicle had ever been quite that tall? It didn’t add up. What does make some sense is that our power had just been restored, then this happened. Stands to reason that some mistake was made with a cable and it was left too low. I suppose the workers have been putting in some long hours, but sheesh. It not only gave us just a taste of power then crushed us again, but it snarled up highway traffic during rush hour and they had to replace a bunch of equipment again.

K’s parents had planned to stay until Wednesday morning but when we woke up without power again Tuesday, they decided it was best to bail and head home. We didn’t know if it would be 12 minutes or 12 hours until we were online again, so we blessed the decision and saw them off. We promised that next time there would not be a historic natural disaster before their visit and they would be allowed to take showers.

The thing is, you can live without power, especially when you know lots of others around suffered much worse losses, especially when surrounding neighborhoods have it, and especially when you have water. But it’s decidedly inconvenient. More problematic, the simple fact that you have no power and are off your routine hangs over you like a soggy blanket. Once can’t really just not think about it. When you’re not used to losing power for more than a few hours, it’s a real pain to lose it for close to three days, which is where we ended up. It came back on around noon. We didn’t wait long to take hot showers, but waited a while to dare resetting the clocks or buy any food to put in the fridge again. (We lost probably a few hundred dollars’ worth of food in the end since we had to throw out most of the contents of the fridge and freezer. Most devastating was the loss of our pot pie leftovers from Saturday night’s dinner. Sniff.)

So also, we picked the wrong week to start our bathroom renovation. No really, they showed up 43 hours later to demolish an entire room and replace it. When we came home Thursday to a house full of dust, and again didn’t have hot water (thanks to a broken shutoff valve we discovered after using it that morning), it did not improve our moods. I had already spent Wednesday and Thursday in a fog from stress and lack of good sleep. BUT…everything’s fine. Contractor fixed it Friday morning and we actually have a pretty normal weekend going. The house is in a little disarray but we have a second bathroom to use during the renovation and at least we have power.

The cats actually are more stressed by the renovation. (Well, they don’t like strangers either, so didn’t enjoy K’s parents being around.) Turns out the power being out has zero effect on a cat. We were jealous.

So, with the blogging.  I understand it is National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, if you would like (I personally am ambivalent). I have wanted an excuse to re-energize things around here.

However!  I have not been making any sort of effort because other things were taking up my attention.  Namely, I got married.  Pictures aren’t going to be ready for weeks but some of the basics are for perusal on our officiant’s site. You will note that my wife is really, really pretty. Readers may or may not actually know her in person, and if you do not, rest assured that she is also ridiculously nice, and nice to me, and a generally awesome person to be married to.

I’m still a bit off my routine so I’ll probably share some more when I do get around to ramping up posting again.  Here is where I declare my intention to kick up my own second-rate version of NaBloPoMo in December, making at least one post every day for the whole month, in what at this point must be only a mildly believable promise.  So let’s just say that I would like to do this, and hope for the best.

Further, with KNOW YOUR 1980s DENVER BRONCOS coming to a conclusion, the table’s clear for new business.  Having a few regular series encourages posting and is also rather fun, so maybe it’s time to start a new series or two.  Some things I am considering:

  • In which I go through one of those lists of the 100 best jobs to have, and spend some time either lamenting my chance to have not done that thing, or being really really glad I never did that thing, but mostly making uninformed guesses as to what having that job would be like.
  • In which I seriously research how to develop an infomercial type of product. I have lots of ideas and no practical knowledge at all.
  • More capsule reviews of sci-fi shows similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation bits I used to write.  This will probably happen whether you like it or not because it helps me remember the episodes better.  I’ll probably watch old-school Star Trek next (because no one reviews those, right?), and Babylon 5 is around the corner.  Possibly even Deep Space Nine in the future.  I considered Quantum Leap, which I loved when I was 12, but re-watched the first few episodes and thought they were kinda blah.
  • In which I review my ability to do common household tasks ranging from drying dishes (5 stars – I am incredibly thorough) to creating custom Tivo searches (3 stars – I have promise but unfulfilled potential) to folding shirts (negative 5 stars – I am abysmal).
  • My top 100 albums ever.  Oh MAN will that be boring and obscure.  Plus I can’t write about music at all.  I mean, I could learn over the course of 100 painfully developing posts, but I doubt I’ll actually do this.
  • How about instead: Music that I used to like but is now gathering dust.  By which I mean, the only instance of it I own is on an outdated physical media format, such as CD or wax cylinder.
  • KNOW YOUR 1970s BUFFALO SABRES (just kidding)


Which of these will effectively drive away my last nine or ten readers?

Are there any series anyone would actually want to see?  (Listed above or otherwise?)