Feb 18

As it turns out, I know precisely what I was doing in 2005

My friend Zach Osterman, who is a sportswriter for the Indianapolis Star, a Georgia boy and a lover of Publix, came back on to to my little podcast today. We talked about sports, the Indianapolis Colts, specifically, and the coach that wasn’t the piece itself is a little older than I’d prefer, but its a good piece, and Zach is a thoughtful journalist and I like how he approaches the stories and especially how he wants to talk about the craft. I have always enjoyed that myself. So that’s fun.

And this episode is already one of the most popular ones of the show, so you should download it, or just use the player below, to see what all the cool kids are listening to:

I got home at a decent time tonight, because it is Wednesday and I can do that on Wednesdays. So I went to Menard’s, because you can buy anything there. I got a little paint and some lumber and now I have a weekend project. I’ll show it to you when I’m finished, provided it resembles my grand vision.

So as not to build any suspense, it is a small weekend type project. It’ll be put to use around the house, and it probably won’t be nearly as cool as some of the other projects. It’ll be utilitarian. But it might also look nice. Or the plan could go awry in any one of four or five different ways.

All of those outcomes will be fine, if I all of my fingers stay attached to my body.

We went out for Valentine’s dinner. We usually don’t do this, because we prefer to avoid all of the various amateur nights throughout the year. Usually we are celebrating our first officially unofficial official date this week.

[There was a group of six of us in graduate school, The Chess Club, and we’d all been running around together for several months by then. I just checked in on them all and they’re all doing great, by the way … And I still have my chess piece.]

[So on Feb. 13 there was a dinner party. I remember the date. We had something called excited chicken, which was tasty, and there was an ultra-competitive Trivial Pursuit game. The specific game and meal I recall from old blog posts. (And, reading things I was writing, you could really tell I was in graduate school at the time.) I also recall Los Lonely Boys was playing on our hostess’ stereo that night. But what was most important was the group figured us out before we had. Someone, or maybe several or all of them, decided The Yankee and I might actually be a couple, rather than two people. And we came to realize, hey, you know, they might be right. We’d arrived at that party together, rather than separately. And that’s how we come to find ourselves at the Japanese steakhouse tonight, give or take 13 years.]

So we figured, why not? Well, because it is amateur night. But that could be part of the fun, we figured. And it was!

Also, it turns out the Japanese steakhouse in town has just relocated. They’ve gone from one of those little buildings that orbits a strip mall to the actual strip itself. And, also, most of the waitstaff was brand new tonight, except for our server, and she was happy to bag on the new people who were sitting people randomly and without communicating new store developments and spilling soups and forgetting salads and what not.

Valentine’s Day week is probably not the best night to start a new staff in your restaurant, to be fair to those people. But there we all were. Us and the strangers you sit with at a Japanese steakhouse, exchanging good natured small talk and sharing knowing glances about the guy who spilled the soup, but did not clean it up, and then the latecomers to the table who managed to sit in an awkward fashion around the chef, making him really change it up as he launched zucchini at us.

And now back home to watch more Olympics.

Fun as that is, for my money, the Trivial Pursuit was better.

Jan 18

This update only seems skimpy

We placed second in a restaurant-wide trivia contest tonight. We were in fifth-place after the first two rounds, but then our table, The Yankee and two more sports media scholar friends — one a German visited the U.S. for the semester – rallied late. The final question was ranking four actors from oldest to youngest. We nailed it, finished just points behind the winner and claimed a $20 gift card.

That’s two times in a row we’ve finished as the runner-up. We’re just not going to acknowledge that it was a bunch of students that beat us – like, a bunch. We did alright despite our weaknesses in pop culture. I decided we should recruit experts in various fields from across the university and see how we did. If you can build a big enough team, you’re liable to get enough experts, right?

I had a burger, because the only thing I like at that place are the fries. They somehow manage to make a moist burger with no flavor. This is disguised

I did a monologue, of sorts, because I read this guy’s story in the local paper and it is a good one. This will take you about four minutes.

And I think I have finally run out of photos I took last weekend. So enjoy these, while I go think up some additional fresh content for the next few days.

Here’s a sunset picture with a dark, foreboding tree line in the foreground. You just don’t see those sorts of photos anywhere, do you?

Frost on things can make for some dramatic photography. I did these with my phone, which doesn’t exactly excel at macro photographs:

And, finally, here’s an accidental selfie. We’d been throwing rocks into the lake, or onto the lake, trying to bust the ice. My fingers got muddy, which is why I was holding my hand

Just kidding about the content thing, there’s always something new. Especially when the bar is a photo of muddy fingers. You’ll just have to come back to find it all.

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Jan 18

A podcast, a video and 11 photos in between

There’s a lot here, owing to catching up from a full weekend. And it doesn’t at all get into the three-hour tin whistle concert we performed on Saturday. There’s a lot here.

We’re all from somewhere is the general theme of the show we produced today. It’s about a reporter who is using public records to look up the immigration histories of people who are lately very much anti-immigration. But most of us have family that started somewhere else. My old friend and former co-worker Justin Thurman of the USA Today Network told us about the story:

What’s funny is that Justin and his wife, when they tell me stories about their families, they sound exactly like my family. Just good old fashioned country folks, salt of the earth types. So much so that I have made a joke with them that we will one day find out we are related. And then as I learned more about my family history, it turns out that at one point my family was just a town or two over from theirs.

My family has some English and some Dutch and a few other things. One branch can be traced back to the War of the Roses, another apparently back to the Mayflower and still another group seems to know its way back to the 16th century. We’re all from somewhere.

Here are some photos I took of a walk we took yesterday.

A duck out at a frozen Monroe Lake:

Ice on scrubby brush:

I like photos of people at a distance, in silhouette. Sometimes the angles are such that you can’t see what they are doing, and so I wonder. I wonder what they are thinking, where they were before they got there, and where they might be heading after this. And I wonder about my wondering from a distance:

You don’t often see fog hang around until afternoon on a sunny day:

And then the sun turns the frost to droplets:

I think the birds like that a bit better. Warmer feet:

Here’s a picture of a vine holding a stick:

And a video I made:

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Dec 17

I made a friend

This is the time of year when it is cold enough to order hot chocolate:

And it is, therefore, also the time of year when you remember the problem with hot chocolate: there are no cups capable of holding the large amounts of hot chocolate required or desired.

We went to see our friends Paige and Kevin today. Paige was our wedding photographer, and the current joke is that since we took engagement photos in a 17-degree Nor’Easter and our wedding photos in something like 126-degrees heat index, then we really, really have to do something meteorologically fancy for our 10th anniversary. Fortunately, we have some time to figure that out.

Their daughter is a real cutie:

And she gave me a sticker. I’m told I am lucky because she doesn’t give her stickers away to just anyone.

Mickey and I go way back, of course, so it was a great gift.

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Dec 17

People we saw today

We ran in the cold, wet, early morning air. It was a 5K run benefitting the Houston food bank. I was in brand new running shoes. I bought them Thursday, laced them up and then shuffled through the 30-degree morning.

But before that, we met two Santas!

We got those hats and red shirts with a giant Santa beard print on the front.

This evening we went into New York City to have dinner with our friend Emily:

She’s an art scholar and world traveler and a wonderful person and it has been too long since we have seen her. (She’s probably been to two more countries by the time I finish writing this sentence.)

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