Nov 21

That lovely Friday after Thanksgiving

Today is one of the best reasons to like Thanksgiving. The turkey is great, and days of leftovers are wonderful. Family is, of course, the biggest part of it, and the opportunity to reflect is the actual point. And you can do a lot of that on Friday, too. You can avail yourself of a lot of those things on the Friday after Thanksgiving, as it happens.

This was the morning view:

We had an early trip to the airport to drop off The Yankee’s parents. They’d flown in on Sunday and stayed the week and today was the least expensive flight back out to the east coast. They’re old friends who have retired to Indy came down for turkey yesterday. We had a fine time of it. A lot of toil in the kitchen; a lot of tittering in the dining room.

I said all of the good things on the table were my bride’s and anything bad was something I made, but everything was delicious. We were fortunate to have a table full of food and now we have most of a refrigerator full to enjoy all weekend.

And though the in-laws were back before I woke up from a nap, we’ll see them again in a few more weeks. Plenty of visiting for the holidays this year, happily enough.

We took a nice walk this evening, and I enjoyed seeing this tree on fire.

I hope I get back by there again before it deposits all of its leaves onto the ground.

And here was the almost-sunset. Between the tree line and the neighbors we don’t have the best view of the western horizon.

But you can always walk toward it, and try to make sunset heart hands.

Heart hands, we learned, are a bit more challenging in gloves for some reason. She gave it a few shots, but the laughter was better than the posing. Sometimes it’s like that. It’s always better that way.

And I read Craig Johnson’s new book today. He pulled no punches in the acknowledgments. It’s the theme of this part of his Longmire series, and it’s something you might have heard about in the news recently. It spanned two pages in the layout, but it’s worth remembering.

I prefer the series to the books. The character is here, of course. It’s in the first person, though, which is not my favorite style. And there’s always a scene where the central figure takes a bigger beating than necessary. And he’s a bit goofier in the novels than the way Robert Taylor played him in the series.

And there’s the aging problem. The books are now taking place right after one another, which helps. Each book takes place in a different season, so four books equals a year. So this is year four — and I’ve somehow read all 17 in this series. But the sheriff, in the books, is a Vietnam veteran living and working in a time of smart phones. In this one he directly mentions the 1963 Rose Bowl in which the character played. It’s a different sort of math. Whereas Taylor is 49 or 50 in that scene above. But if you can ignore that part, they’re good reads. The bad guys are always idiots or devious villains. The victims and bystanders have a certain heroic stoicism and some keen philosophy. The sheriff always gets his man. And, usually, a head wound.

That’ll do for now. Have a lovely weekend. See you here on Monday.

Nov 21

Thanksgiving Eve

I slept in until 9 a.m. this morning, which was lovely. I could get used to not having an alarm. I’ve spent the day puttering around the house, which would get old before too long, I’m sure. But I haven’t gotten anything accomplished today, which will be old by Friday.

I did record a podcast last night. Talked to a former student for a new show I’m rolling out after the first of the year. So that takes care of two days of productivity, I suppose.

OK, the lack of accomplishing thing kicked in just now. So I’ve beaten my tolerance prediction by two days. That, in a way, is an achievement, right?

No wonder I’m a bit tired.

One last thing from my Monday visit to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. Have you ever heard a lion roar? I had not. They say the sound can be heard up to five miles away. That seems unrealistic, until you hear it. We heard two lions and some lionesses. And now I believe it. You’d absolutely hear this miles away. And if you heard it in the wild it would definitely hold your attention. Anyway, they’re showing off here.

There’s a little clip of a lion, a bit of a lioness, and the third clip is just a silent bit of watching the lion walk around. This was a unique experience. Turn on your audio and press play.

These are all rescued animals. They’ve never been in the wild. And they have a good life here. The only part I don’t like is hearing about how the animals came to them. Some of them have terribly sad backstories. But they are well looked after, and it’s obvious and apparent the passion the staff have for the animals in their charge.

If you didn’t see them, I shared some high quality photos of the tigers and lions on Monday and again yesterday.

I started my winter indoor cycling season on Saturday. It was an easy 20 mile ride, averaging 19 miles per hour, with 535 feet of ascent. Pedestrian numbers, but it felt great considering how long I’ve been off my bike — for no reason whatsoever. The ride was in the Makuri Islands, which is a fictional Zwift locale. The part at the end looks something like this.

I finished in eighth in one of the sprints, which is weird. I am not a sprinter.

On Tuesday we rode in Watopia, one of the classic Zwift routes. It was a quick 16 mile ride and I set two Strava PRs. No one cares, but the route looks like this.

And today we did a few loops around London. Clearly that’s the Thames. I was looping Westminster and Belgravia and maxed out at 37.3 miles per hour.

But, if I say 60 kilometers an hour, it sounds like something serious. All the metrics say I maxed out at 1,276 watts and averaged 20.9 miles per hour. I’m slow.

Oh, here’s a sports thing. It’s Thanksgiving, of course, and the students have the whole week off, but my friend Ta Lao is still producing good stuff.

Ta talks to IU’s goalkeeper about his amazing year and, at 3:20, that save. That sequence was number one on Sportscenter’s Top 10 that evening, and I’m still in awe of it. And you can see it, right there in that video.

Ta is an IUSTV beat reporter for men’s soccer, which is in the national championship tournament yet again. He also published today an interview with the team’s head coach and one of the young players. He also covers soccer in his native Thailand and runs podcasts and a video channel and who knows what else. Oh, and he’s also a student. The guy is tireless.

It helps to be tireless in student media. It’s almost a prerequisite.

After which I re-read the first three paragraphs on this post and laughed.

Nov 21

More of the big cats

Here’s the final batch of photos from our Monday trip to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. We took my in-laws, and had a private tour because they’ve just recently reopened (masks required) to small groups. Because it was just the four of us, our guide let us linger. And it’s a great family fun visit, too. We’ve been before with kids, and the sense of wonder is palpable. And most of the kids survive the tour!

Only kidding. Children are easy targets for apex predators. But, the fences are sturdy, and the cats at Exotic Feline Rescue Center are well pampered.

You won’t find anyone that isn’t impressed by the experience. Visit if you can. Go before lunch if possible, because the cats are a bit more active in the morning.

You can see the first installment in yesterday’s post. Here’s my second batch, full of tigers and a grumpy lioness. Enjoy!

Come back tomorrow! We’re going to hear a lion roar! And maybe some other stuff, too!

Nov 21

Seeing the big cats

We took my in-laws to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. Really cool place with a great mission.

We provide permanent homes for exotic felines that have been abused, abandoned or for some reason have nowhere to live out their lives, while educating the public about these beautiful cats.

· We do not buy, sell or breed cats

· We do not allow public contact with the cats

· We give big cats a home for life

The EFRC owns approximately 260 acres of land in Center Point, Indiana where a staff of around 15 employees, as well as many interns and volunteers care daily for over 100 big and small exotic cats, give educational tours, sell and ship merchandise, construct and maintain enclosures, and many other tasks. We have cared for over a dozen different species throughout the years. There are just a handful of sanctuaries in the US that provide the same services that we do. We work and cooperate with many organizations including: Indianapolis Zoo, USDA, Louisville Zoo, Indiana DNR, US Fish & Wildlife and New York DEC.

Everyone loves visiting there. And if you’re ever nearby, you should definitely plan a few hours and make a visit for yourself. Here are a few pictures.

And more of those tomorrow.

Nov 21

You’ve got video options

Right as I cross the street onto campus I walk under this ginko tree. It was having a busy morning. And this is your moment of Friday meditation. It’s 60 seconds. Just watch it over and over until your weekend begins.

I will.

This is directly below that same tree, and it’s the next installment in my jigsaw puzzle project.

Wouldn’t you like to have a whole series of puzzles like that? I think it’s a 5000-piece puzzle. And, of course, as my contribution to the innovation puzzle industry, I’m proposing two-sided puzzles. This side yellow leaves, the other side red leaves.

One more show before the Thanksgiving break. This is the talk show the sports gang produced Wednesday evening. So if leaves aren’t your things, there’s always more sports talk to be had, right?

This week’s episode is a deep examination of the current state of the NFL.

And if you’re not in the mood for leaves or sports talk, here’s a car chase I watched this live this evening. One of the better ones I’ve ever seen. It had a little bit of everything — high speeds, PIT attempts, spike strips, wrong-way-down-the-freeway, bystanders trying to pitch in, a standoff, K-9, rubber bullets, bumper cars — it was a roller coaster of emotion and, happily, no one was hurt.

Some Fridays you just want a good chase and some Fridays deliver.

The daily duds: Pictures of clothes I put here to, hopefully, help avoid embarrassing scheme repeats.

Here’s a pocket square I made. First time I’ve worn it.

And I also made these cufflinks this summer, as well.

Looked pretty snazzy for a quiet day in the office.

And that’s my last day before the break. There will be some stuff here next week, so if you’ve not logged off for the week, stop back by and see the good stuff.