Categotry Archives: Quick Updates


Never Been to Austin

Categories: A Day in the Life, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , , ,

For the first time in a long time (maybe since Reykjavik, Iceland?), I will be visiting a previously unvisited town today exclusively via airplane. Not that I expect to get much beyond the airport (which Em would have you believe doesn’t count), but hey, Austin! For a town in Texas, I’ve heard good things.

Thus begins a three-week tour of the West that seems all the more meaningful for our recent absence from said region. We’ll be in the Bay Area tonight (one night only – come see as at Mario’s in Berkeley at 8 PM!), then trekking down to Fresno for Christmas or so, then over to Albuquerque for New Year’s.

The trip is slated to feature family, friends, food, and hopefully the conclusion of my ever-lengthening editing process. Currently at 33% of chapters and 24% of pages, still aiming (perhaps stretching slightly) for a January 1 distribution to volunteer readers.

And now I have to go scoop up the cat, who will be spending the next three weeks in Philly. Oh Pando…



Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , ,

I am pleased to announce that about seven minutes ago, I completed the first draft of American Dream On. Currently clocking in at 145,003 words, it has taken me 7 years, 6 months, and 2 days to write, though over 85% of it was written in the last 100 days.

I will be spending most of the time between now and my flight to Oakland (Friday, 18 December) furiously editing the work so I can have it in good enough shape to distribute to readers by Christmas. Please let me know if you want to read it (and haven’t told me this already).

Actually, I’m going to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the next week celebrating, seeing friends I’ve been neglecting, preparing for the trip, and basking in the glow of 100 days that have salvaged my faith in my life and its potential. But seriously, you should be able to read it by Christmas.



Travel Wednesday Round-Up

Categories: A Day in the Life, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Upcoming Projects, Tags: , , , , ,

Have been working furiously to prepare for Thanksgiving, which we’re spending in DC with Fish & Madeleine (think I got that spelling right), starting in just a few hours. Have been terribly remiss in updating things about my life, but there’s a good deal of news to report, if only blippily under the time constraints…

1. The Book Quiz II is done, but not being launched yet, because I’m actually being (gasp!) strategic about my webpage for once. Launching the quiz on one of the least Internety days of the year (everyone’s out traveling today) would be a classic Blue Pyramid approach, but I’m thinking that a launch at weekend’s end when everyone’s returned to their computers and are preparing for CyberMonday is actually optimal timing. So you’ll have to wait just a few more days to find out what other book you are. Quick preview, though: I’m apparently Jane Eyre.

2. Fordham went pretty well. I got to debate in a demo round between 4th and 5th round, running an emergency case I’d written about why RNC chair Michael Steele should publicly condemn Sarah Palin. One of our novice teams broke to novice semifinals, then won their semi round, advancing to finals and ultimately finishing second. While it’s not as glorious as being in the varsity outrounds, it shows that I’m probably doing something right that the younger generation is having such success. And it bodes well for the future, which is where it’s at. Taking the long view is a big part of coaching. At the end of the semester (we’ve basically hit the end of the line for tournaments the team can afford), I’d say we’ve exceeded expectations, with a varsity break, a novice break, two novices on the NOTY board, and countless winning records.

3. American Dream On is 105,820 words (~423 pages) and counting, with 14 chapters to be written in the next three weeks. Last night’s session was one of the best, writing a highly anticipated chapter that went even better than I was hoping, I think. I have to review it, but I’m pretty excited. The final push will take the book up to about 125k words or so, but I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll make deadline with other priorities (quiz, debate, etc.) fading out as December 15th approaches. I can’t wait to have people read it, but I’m highly conscious of the need for one solid round of editing before it makes the rounds of the volunteer reading corps. I do think that the palpable excitement of getting it out to people will fuel my energy for making a more prolific than average push to actually hit the deadline, which only further ups the excitement.

4. We got our car back, not having to pay any part of the ~$11,000 worth of damage to the vehicle. It’s pretty sobering that a crash where one’s car receives an out-of-control onslaught while stopped can do damage worth about 40% of the car’s original paid value, but such is the nature of things. So far, all the repair looks good (it’s guaranteed), but it’ll get a nice little workout on the way to DC today. All signs point to it being fully functional, though, so I’m grateful for that (in addition to, you know, surviving the ordeal in the first place).

5. I’m now running late.


Pumpkins Out, Snowflakes In

Categories: A Day in the Life, Metablogging, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

Just a quick note to observe the passage of pumpkins into snow. Sadly not yet in real life (the ninja-squirrels on our porch are still munching pumpkins while we wait for the first snowstorm of the year), but up top and all around this page.

Let me know if the font contrast is too low to make reading functional. I think it’s readable, but my view of the Internet is not equal to everyone’s.

That’s about all to report for now – new D&C below, was able to write last night, everything’s coming up more or less roses. Trying to keep my freaking out about my deadline to a minimum – it’s looking like a real photo-finish is coming up with less than a month to go. But I have to take these things seriously or nothing will work.



Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , ,

I love how a bad day can be salvaged by a good session of writing.

I love how I can transform from feeling utterly unproductive, a blob waiting around for nightfall and wondering why I’m squandering my time, into the most productive joyous person graced with a ticket to hang out on Earth.

Most of my days aren’t bad now, most of them have been productive in their own right with shorter works or web projects or just taking care of the household chores. But when they are, what a nice surprise it is to be saved by the “work” of these days. How strange would it have been for any prior job to save me in this way? To keep me going when the chips were down in other parts of life, even if for only a day at a time?

This must be what it means when people say they love what they do.

I spent the better part of a decade, let alone what kind of a use of time even more years at school were, spinning wheels at pseudo-productive pursuits while somehow claiming that this prevented me from doing what I really felt driven to do. Always apologizing to myself, others, the world at large, my earlier years, that I wasn’t able to be productive, wasn’t on the road I needed to travel.

How satisfying, then, that this is what’s going well in my life now. That this, my work, is the antidote to any troubles that arise.

I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging. I hope it sounds like inspiration. To you.


Streak On!

Categories: A Day in the Life, Metablogging, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , ,

The streak didn’t end tonight after all (as I just just alluded – in fact, I had one of my most productive writing sessions of the whole week. And the word count was higher than it would have been had I been watching the count the whole time in some silly tracker.

Moreover, I just noticed that the URL assigner is all messed up in this format, somehow skipping numbers. All my posts are numbered and there have been a couple discards, but generally the number of the URL of the post aligns with a straight count of the number of total posts I’ve written. But since I installed the beloved “upgrade”, posts 656 and now 659 have followed 653. I guess it counts by 3’s. Hooray.

You know what other number has 6’s and 3’s in it? 63,315. I like that number best of all. At least for tonight.


Monday Monday

Categories: A Day in the Life, Duck and Cover, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Days like this, I miss having Introspection. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and uninspired and like I have thousands of things to catch people up on. Just like 2.5 weeks ago, it’s time for bullet points:

  • I spent most of the weekend (36 hours from midday Friday till the end of Saturday) at the Swarthmore Novice tournament.  I had a blast, we had 3 teams go 3-2, I gave a workshop (which was filmed and may be visible at some point on the web), LO’ed the demo round, and judged through finals.
  • On the way back from the tourney, we had an epic time, including me accidentally entering the Penn Turnpike via an EZ Pass lane (and later talking my way out of a $23.75 lost ticket fee at the exit), endless joking with three novices and one of the team’s juniors, and a torrential downpour throughout.
  • Em’s birthday and accompanying party were yesterday, and both went very well.  Emily is now thirty and thanks everyone for making her birthday such a great time.  We had cake, ice cream, enough snacks to sink a ship, and board games at the end with the loyal folks who stayed a long time.
  • Next hosted celebration:  October 24th pumpkin carving.  Evite to come soon.
  • Em and I watched “The Notebook” last night, which both of us had somehow missed seeing.  Though predictable at times, it was pretty amazing overall.
  • For some reason, I’ve just been feeling uninspired on Duck & Cover lately.  I don’t know if it’s feeling disconnected from politics, having disconnected from cable, or not finding much to be funny these days.  I’m hoping to get over that soon.
  • I haven’t written fiction in three days either, though the events of the weekend are responsible for that, not some lack of inspiration.  The fact that three days feels like a major drought is a good sign.
  • I can’t believe it’s not October yet.  That’s also a good sign, that time is going slowly and is thus full, rather than flying by and seeming empty.  Keep an eye out for the annual theme change ’round here soon.


Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, Awareness is Never Enough - It Must Always Be Wonder, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , , , ,

Today (defined loosely as from noon yesterday till right now), I:

  • Took delivery on a flat-screen television, which will hopefully never have network or cable TV thereon.
  • Spoke to my parents on the phone.
  • Listened to Barack Obama’s speech and…
  • …Decided that I am against the current incarnation of “healthcare reform”.  (More on this later!)
  • Spoke to Em’s mom in person.
  • Welcomed Pandora back into our home.
  • Ate a bunch of fried food.
  • Had a soda for the first time in weeks.
  • Wrote Chapter 21 of American Dream On, weighing in around that magic 2,000 words.
  • Played “Hero” by Regina Spektor on repeat for some time.

The only difference between these days and the old days is that these days matter. I am writing and that changes everything. My whole outlook on life can be determined through the filter of how much control I have over what I do on a given day and how much of that links to what I feel I was put here to do.

Daily fulfillment is not about the space in between, the margins, even most of the time spent. It’s about intentionality, living deliberately, and whether what is done is part of what should be done. Not on the path there, or some esoteric larger vision of being there, but actually a PART of what is intended overall.

This makes all the difference. And I am grateful, eternally grateful, for every day on this side of things.


New: Jersey

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Summer Sojourn 2009, Tags: , ,

We have arrived in Princeton.

Our place is just as small as we thought. The floor is not hardwood as advertised, but something like a parquet linoleum. It may be challenging to even get everything in, broken or not, let alone adding more furniture. On the plus-side, things always look smaller when empty.

Final statistics on our trip include:
39 days
16 states
6,206 miles

Our stuff will not be here till Tuesday morning. Our phone will not be hooked up till Wednesday afternoon. These facts combine to mean that I will be spending a lot of time in the computer cluster, which is thankfully close to our place and seems to be empty a lot.

I am hungry, so I must away at this point. But because of the above, there should be much more from me after my longest posting drought in the history of this incarnation of the blog. Adjusting to this new life is very very strange, so far three hours in.

I am about to become a New Jersey resident. Wow.


On the Road Again

Categories: A Day in the Life, From the Road, Quick Updates, Summer Sojourn 2009, Tags: , , ,

We have departed from Berkeley for our 6-week, 16-state tour of eastward travel. The last week has been filled with incredibly busy days and nights of packing, shipping, cleaning, and saying goodbye. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time (or a hooked-up computer) to chronicle the happenings.

Currently in Tracy, CA and on the way to Fresno sometime this afternoon. More updates, likely on a quite sporadic schedule, when time permits.


You Can Never Escape, You Can Only Move South Down the Coast

Categories: A Day in the Life, Just Add Photo, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Tags: , , ,

At least, I hope the cat won’t escape.

Pandora and I are heading to LA today. She’s going to her new two-month temporary home with Em’s cousins in Altadena, then I’m on to the BH to hang with Russ for a while before festivities officially begin for Jake’s wedding.

Given that Pandora has never once been in the car without meowing at least three times per minute with increasingly mournful cries, the next six hours are going to be an adventure.

Here’s the unsuspecting Pando, just moments ago:

Here’s what she’d look like if she knew what was coming:

(This photo is completely unaltered by any program – it’s just a result of the fun effects of flash photography in the dark on cat’s eyes.)

Finally, as a bonus animal pic, here’s a great one Emily snapped in the Academy of Sciences on Saturday:

Updates from the road possible; upon return definite.


Mariners Baseball: A New Day, A New Way

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Tags: , , ,

Trying to ride Obama’s coattails into ticket sales? Trying to distance itself from the Bill Bavasi era? Trying to highlight an ABCABC three-letters-or-less rhyme scheme? Trying to simply point out that tomorrow is, indeed, another day?

Whatever the motives behind my beloved Mariners’ new marketing slogan, I’m wildly excited to be attending my first game at Safeco in nearly six years tonight. Today opens a 4.5-day trip to the Pacific Northwest, the last venture therein as part of the West Coast Farewell Tour. Emily, her sister, and sister’s husband will be meeting up with me tomorrow.

Tickets to a whole three-game series? Check. Randy Johnson’s return to Seattle? Check. Ken Griffey Jr. vs. Randy Johnson? Check. The only three-day sunny streak in the Puget Sound all year? Check.

It’s 5 in the morning and time to get to the plane station. When I return, it’ll be time to have discipline and get serious about things again. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to rooting for the home team.


Cool Moment

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

So I was listening to the Mariners’ radio broadcast via MLB-TV’s audio package and this ad comes on the radio advertising tickets for the Giants’ series in Seattle, marking Randy Johnson’s return to Safeco. And I realized quickly that I already had tickets to all three of those games. And that it would be after I was free of day jobs and school for the first deliberately chosen time in my life.

And that was really cool.


Great Moments in Sports

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

Tonight I watched one of the most incredible Mariners games in recent history, with the M’s crushing the Angels 11-3 on a grand slam by Ichiro in his first game of 2009, alongside Griffey’s first homer at home for Seattle since 1999. It was one of those thoroughly satisfying wins in every way, with a very close game that the M’s led throughout, capped by a 7-run 7th where they simply romped.

Meanwhile, the Blazers were pounding the Nuggets to wrap up their first playoff season in many years, clinching home court in the first round of the playoffs to boot.

It’s starting to feel a lot like 2001. This could be a very good year for more reasons than I’ve already compiled.


It’s Princeton!

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

Wanted to make the official announcement that Emily has chosen to return to Princeton University for two more years of academic rigor. We will become New Jersey residents sometime late this summer.

Many more plans to be announced as they develop, but at least we have a framework and a destination at this point. The decision to stay stateside means we will indeed be making our summer roadtrip (2009 Sunset to Sunrise Summer Sojourn OR 2009 National Parks and Baseball Parks Tour). Coming this summer to a city near you – details to follow pending Emily announcing an actual quit date from her job.

Given the aggregate concentration of friends in states bordering New Jersey (I guess Maryland doesn’t technically border NJ, but it might as well), this decision generally seems to maximize proximity to those we have spent much of the last seven years living apart from. This is probably the most exciting part of the decision, especially since the ground we inhabit won’t be quite as new as originally anticipated. Proximity to Waffle House is also maximized, which isn’t really the #2 positive factor; it only seems that way.

Thanks to everyone for your support and interest in this lengthy decision-making process. We will be seeing a good number of you (most?) over the next few months!


Emily Runs the Table

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

(+C, +H, ??+O, +P, +Y)

Still waiting to hear from two Oxford programs, but Em applied to five schools and was admitted to five schools. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Harvard surprised us with an earlier decision than expected, but the money info won’t be in till the end of the month-ish. (Though they said that’s when we’d have a decision, so who knows at this point.)

Em will be heading back to tour at least Yale & Princeton (and now maybe Harvard) in about two weeks’ time. As suspected, she won’t be able to join me in LA next week, so we’ll be spending a fair amount of time apart in about a week. Given that we’re preparing to have two pretty solid years of not being pulled apart by work, though, I think I can handle it.

Em’s also been joking about having other people make this decision for her, because it’s hard to break ties. So if you have a vote (based on something other than regional/proximity) favoritism, send it our way.


Oxford on the Board

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

We can put a + next to the O in our CHOPY algorithm, but it should be noted that there are a whopping 3 total programs within Oxford and Em only got into one today, the one-year Masters in African Studies. So if you’re scoring at home, it should really look like this:

3/3 (?C, ?H, ??+O, +P, +Y)

No word on money from Oxford’s one-year program, though it does put on the table a possible 9-month jaunt across the pond, with a return to one of the stateside two-year programs. The possibilities are multiplying.

In other news, it’s a really bad idea for me to go back to work when I’m still sick. It only took me 4.5 hours to realize how bad and return home. Odds of returning tomorrow (because I’ve already proven I love pushing bad metaphors tonight with my continued use of the code above) are something more like a Panama-USA WBC final in 2012, which is significantly better than Italy-Chinese Taipei. But a quick check with Vegas should tell you where I’m spending the day tomorrow. I mean, come on.


This Ballgame is Tied

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

I’m sick and exhausted and about to fall asleep on the couch by the heater with a pile of blankets. Barring a miraculous recovery, my odds of trudging to work in the rain tomorrow are somewhere below an Italy-Chinese Taipei World Baseball Classic final in 2012.

But I wanted to let you all know that Emily was offered a full ride plus nominal stipend from Princeton, squarely putting us back in the dilemma zone. In the best possible way.

With three schools to hear from, it looks like we may see more lead changes yet. Stay tuned…



Categories: A Day in the Life, Keepin' it Cryptic, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

Yes, I will be back to major posting sometime soonish. It is March, after all, and in force. But I am hamstrung and that limits creativity.

For a variety of reasons, I have to keep many secrets in my life at this juncture. I hate secrets. They make me sad. As someone who doesn’t really believe in privacy beyond passwords and social security numbers, secrets are antithetical to the way I aspire to live my life. And yet, I have some other obligations and constraints at times in this life.

So all I can offer you now is at the bottom of this message. I promised people I would keep them updated. Someday, hopefully soon, I will be able to use English to convey what’s going on and what I feel.

ELGC-GS: 1/1 (?C, ?H, ?O, ?P, +Y)

1 2 3 4 5 6