priorities, part two

OK, a quick follow-up to this morning’s post:

  1. I watched nearly all of the Roland-Garros men’s final. It was fun! Spoiler: Alcaraz won.
  2. I took a break from tennis at 10 AM to walk over to the Somerville farmers market, and bought a bunch of stuff, so that was cool.
  3. And I got myself into the NYCC ticket queue at 10 AM too. When I came back from the farmers market, I was still in the queue. I didn’t get out of the queue until noon. At that point, all ticket types were still available. I briefly considered buying a four-day pass, but then I saw how much it would cost: $250. (And that’s before whatever taxes & fees they add on.) I could afford it, I guess, but since I was on the fence about going at all, the price kinda pushed me over the edge into “nope” territory.
  4. And, at some point, I realized that I also wanted to watch the Phillies/Mets game from London today. That was set to start at 10 AM, and I thought about maybe switching back & forth between tennis and baseball, but honestly the tennis was good enough to keep my attention, so I stuck with that. I thought about watching the baseball game later, from my DVR, but I’ve already seen the headline to this article, so I know the outcome, which makes me a little less enthusiastic about watching it.
  5. And I usually like to make some progress with the Wheel of Time on Sundays, so I should take some time this afternoon and do that. So that’s likely what I’ll be doing for the next hour or two.

So, for anybody, who wanted to know more than anyone needs to know about what I’m doing with my Sunday, you’re all set now.

priorities

I normally try to take it easy on Sundays. I get most of my chores done on Saturday, so I can rest and goof off on Sunday. I don’t usually have much of a plan on Sunday. I realized this morning, though, that I have a few conflicting priorities. They’re all basically leisure priorities, so I’m not complaining, but I thought it might make a fun blog post.

First, there’s the Roland-Garros Men’s final. That’s starting at either 8:30 AM or 9 AM, depending on who you believe. The NBC/Peacock coverage starts at 9 AM. But the Roland-Garros app says it might start at 8:30. I tuned into RG radio a few minutes ago, and they were airing a repeat of a previous match, so that’s no help. I guess I’ll tune into RG radio at 8:30 and see if the match has started.

I resubscribed to Peacock recently, since they had a deal where you could get a one-year sub for $20. I assumed they’d have more coverage of Roland-Garros than airs on NBC, but they really don’t. I guess that’s all just on Tennis Channel.

My second priority is the Somerville farmers market, which runs from 10 AM to 1 PM today. I have a few things I want to get there today. I also know that there’s going to be a tent there collecting donations for the people displaced in last week’s fire, so I want to give them some money too.

My third priority is the NYCC ticket presale, starting at 10 AM today. I’d kind of decided to give up on NYCC entirely last year, after getting COVID right around the same time that NYCC started. I’ve found myself considering it again though.

And finally, the Pathfinder campaign that my brother tried to put together in 2023 fizzled out, but someone else who was going to participate in that has decided to take the bull by the horns and organize a D&D campaign, so I’ve been invited into that. They had a “session zero” last week, which I missed, because the info got sent out on WhatsApp, and, while I was on the chat thread for it, I’d turned off notifications on WhatsApp a long time ago, due to spam. I think they’re probably doing a session today, though I’m not sure. I feel like I should reply to the WhatsApp thread and see if I can get in on it, but since I missed the “zero” session, I’d be a little behind the curve. And since it’s D&D instead of Pathfinder, I’d be dealing with a slightly different set of rules. I’m not sure I have the mental energy to deal with it right now.

So, wow, even typing all of that up tired me out a bit. It probably makes sense to prioritize activities that involve interacting with other humans, since that’s probably better for my mental health than sitting in front of the TV. But I’m not sure I have the mental energy for any of that. I think I’ll turn on NBC at 9 and watch some tennis, then head over to the farmers market at 10 or 11, depending on where we are in the tennis match.

And maybe I’ll click on the NYCC presale link at some point, and get myself in the queue, just for yuks. Maybe it’s better to just stay out of it though.

I started thinking a bit yesterday about the idea of “listening to my body.” I took two naps yesterday, mostly because I just felt like I had to. As I get older, I think I need to pace myself and be more careful about things. I shouldn’t feel guilty if I decide I need a nap, or take a day off, or whatever. I need to think about keeping myself healthy, overall, for the long run, which, at this point in my life, probably requires more napping that it used to. And fewer comic-cons.

disarrayed thoughts

My head has been a bit muddy lately. There’s probably a bunch of reasons for that, but I think a lot of it comes down to lack of sleep, which I think is mostly due to allergies. So this post might be a little dizzy.

First, here’s the latest on the fire. Main St is now open to traffic again, though the sidewalk in front of Mike’s and King Tut is still roped off. I’m guessing that Mike’s isn’t coming back any time soon, if at all. That’s a bummer for me, since I got food from there at least once a week. (And, yes, I know it’s a bigger bummer for the guy who owns Mike’s, and the people who lived above it, and so on…)

And here’s a couple of fire-adjacent topics: First, looking for news on the fire has reminded me of how broken local news coverage is. I’ve gotten info on the fire from a combination of sources: TapInto, Patch, MyCentralJersey, and NJ.com for “regular” news. All of those sources are, shall we say, flawed, though. And I’ve picked up bits and pieces from the Somerville town Instagram and Facebook accounts, and other Somerville-related social media accounts. But it’s hard to piece all that together, and there’s so much cruft to wade through. I guess what I’m saying here is that, if somebody wants to start a good local newspaper or news site, that would be nice.

And the second fire-adjacent topic: My renter’s insurance just came up for renewal. I’ve been with the same company (Liberty Mutual) for all 30 years that I’ve been in this apartment. I’ve never had a problem, but then again, I’ve never had to file a claim. The cost of the policy, 30 years ago, was fine, but it’s crept up, and this year, the renewal price was almost $400. So, for the first time in 30 years, I decided to shop around. It turns out that a Hartford Life policy, with AARP discount, would be about half what I was paying Liberty Mutual. So I called LM to cancel. And, of course, they offered to “rerun my quote” and see if they could get the price down. Well, they did that, and (with no change in coverage) they got the price down to $117. So, the lesson there is: maybe review your insurance more often than once every 30 years.

The fire isn’t stopping the Friday night classic car thing on Main St, but they did cancel the street fair this weekend. (If I had to choose one to cancel, I would have gone with the car thing, but that’s just me. It’s too noisy, and I’m old.)

Oh, and my last, totally unrelated, topic is this: We’re moving out of our temp space at work and back to our old (now remodeled) space. We moved into the temp space in March. We packed up yesterday; the movers should be moving our stuff over the weekend; and we’ll start working in the new space on Tuesday.

I’m not fond of the cubicles in the temp space, but I’m even less excited about the cubicles in the new space. The cubicle walls are a bit higher than the temp space, but not as high as our old cubicles. And the cubicles are smaller, with less desk space and less drawer space. (And no bookshelf.) The desks are sit/stand, with the monitors mounted on arms, so that might be cool. And we’re getting new monitors, so that’s nice. (Assuming they’re better than the old monitors.) I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to give it a shot and see how it all works out. I need to figure out if I can thrive in a more minimalist environment than I’m used to.

Fire follow-up

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I see that a section of Main St is still closed off. I had to drive around the back way when I got home from work today. Here’s a follow-up article from News 12.

Walking down there, it looks like King Tut and Mike’s Courtside are both in pretty bad shape. I never ate at King Tut, but I got stuff from Mike’s almost every week. Right now, their web site isn’t loading and I haven’t seen anything posted from them on social media. I guess they’re basically gone now. There are apartments above both of those businesses, and it looks like they’re all uninhabitable right now too. So, not good. But things could have been much worse. A lot of the buildings on Main St are basically connected to each other, so it seems like a fire could spread easily. And I haven’t heard about anyone being hurt in the fire, so that’s good.

Memorial Day

I have a habit of writing posts on Memorial Day. Here are some past posts: 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020. This year, the Tour of Somerville prep started at 5 AM, with contractors setting up the metal fencing on Main Street, which of course woke me up. At some point between 5 and 5:30, we had a quick little storm, which dumped a bunch of rain outside. But it stopped by the time I got out of bed, at 5:40. Things are looking OK right now, around 9 AM, but there could be more thunderstorms in the afternoon, which would probably mean that the main race would have to be cancelled.

Coffee & Sleep

I had a lot of trouble sleeping this past week. I think that was mostly due to allergies and the change in weather. (It was very hot most of the week.) I’ve been compensating for that by drinking probably way too much coffee. So, for the weekend, I decided to go cold turkey.

Well, that didn’t last long! I had decaf on Saturday morning, then felt crappy all day. Not all of that was due to caffeine withdrawal, but some of it certainly was. So I had a Coke Zero at some point in the afternoon. And for Sunday and Monday, I’ve decided to have about half my usual weekend morning coffee. I usually have a full Moka pot, which means two scoops of ground coffee and enough water for two mugs full. Which might not sound like a lot, but the Moka pot produces something like espresso strength coffee. So, basically, I’m cutting back from around six shots of espresso to three shots. That’s working out OK. I’ve also cut out afternoon coffee, so I haven’t gotten cold brew from either of my usual coffee spots at all this weekend. And I’m sleeping a little better.

Pain & Finance

I also had some pain in my right hand that had been building through the week. So, in addition to going cold turkey on caffeine, I was going to avoid computer keyboards and mice, to the extent that I could. I really didn’t touch a computer on Saturday. On Sunday, I spent a good bit of time on my PC going through some financial stuff, and today, I’m writing this blog post, but probably won’t do much more. The pain has been gradually going away.

On that financial stuff yesterday: I moved a bit more money over to my new Marcus account, and opened a couple of CDs. So now I have some money making 4.6% in the savings account, a 12-month CD making 5% and an 18-month CD making 4.6% APY. So that should allow me to hedge my bets a little, if rates go up or down over the next year or two. Of course, all of that is pending until the banks open up again tomorrow, so I’ll have to check it again tomorrow or later in the week and make sure everything went where it was supposed to.

TV & Sports

I just hit the three-month mark on my YouTube TV subscription, so I had to make a decision on whether or not I was going to keep it going, past the $10 off promo rate, and into the regular pricing. I almost decided to cancel it, but changed my mind at the last minute.

Right now, I’m watching some coverage of Roland Garros on T2. I’ve found that watching tennis is very relaxing for me. YouTube TV includes T2 in their base package, but not Tennis Channel. I hadn’t really looked into this before, but I guess T2 is basically the overflow channel for Tennis Channel. So the bigger matches are on the main channel, and a bunch of “lesser” matches are on T2. I can get Tennis Channel with the Sports Plus add-on for YouTube TV, which costs an extra $11 per month. But I’m not going to do that. I’m mostly watching tennis as background noise, so it doesn’t matter if I’m watching an “important” match or not. And there’s going to be some Roland-Garros coverage on NBC later today, so I can watch that too. (And if I still had Peacock, they’ve also got Roland-Garros coverage. TV has gotten so confusing and fragmented.)

Kobo & The Wheel of Time

I’m well into Crossroads of Twilight on my Kobo now. I’m finding it to be a little better than the Kindle for most things, but not substantially. So, I really didn’t need the Kobo, but I don’t regret buying it. I want to get back to it and read a couple more chapters today, if I can.

And, with that, I should probably stop writing. My hands are starting to hurt again. (Getting old sucks.)

Jury duty and a rough week

This has turned out to be one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve barely made it through in one piece. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was still kinda rough. I had jury duty this week. I thought that might be kinda fun and interesting, but now I’m regretting not just finding a way to dodge it. In and of itself, it was perfectly fine, but I picked up a cold or something there, and I’m still getting over it.

I thought it might be fun to write up a few notes on how jury duty worked out. The process was kind of interesting. It started with a Zoom orientation session last Friday. That lasted about two hours. There were about 300 people in the session. It mostly consisted of watching this video. So that wasn’t too bad, though there’s no reason why they couldn’t have just emailed us a link to the video and a few notes and skipped the whole Zoom thing.

Then, I had to show up at the courthouse on Monday, at 8 AM. That’s not a big deal for me, since I live just a few blocks from the courthouse. And I was actually looking forward to seeing the inside of that building, since I’ve lived here for so long and never had a reason to go inside.

The jury assembly room is inside an old church that was built in 1898. It’s pretty cool. We spent an hour or two sitting around in that room. They showed us another video there, this time on bias. I think that’s something they started doing about a year ago. And I think there were about 75 people called to come in that day. (And, of course, I can’t stop wondering why they showed us one video over Zoom and the other video in person. Why not both on Zoom? Or both in-person? Or just email us the links and let us watch at home?)

Some time between 9 and 10, they starting taking people up to the courtroom, which was on the fifth floor of the courthouse. (This is the newer, modern, courthouse, and not the nifty historic courthouse that was built in 1907. So I still haven’t been inside that building.) They took us up in groups of ten, and I think they took up maybe 40 or 50 of us, total.

In the courtroom, they had us fill out a questionnaire while they went through some preliminaries. I was a bit surprised to find out that this was a murder trial. I had assumed it would just be something fairly ordinary, like a civil suit, or a low-level criminal thing.

Then, they picked 14 people to move into the jury box. And they questioned them one by one about any “yes” answers on their questionnaire, which would all be reasons why they might not be able to serve on the jury, or things that might prevent them from being impartial. There were some conversational questions too, like “what do you like to watch on TV?” and “where do you get your news?”. It was interesting to sit through that, and listen to what everyone said.

The judge dismissed a number of people fairly quickly. Those were mostly folks with prior commitments, or where being away from work would cause a hardship for them. And there were a few folks who knew some of the police officers involved, and one who knew the prosecutor personally. Then, a bunch of people were dismissed by the prosecutor and the defense lawyer. I guess they don’t have to state their reasons aloud for those, but I think they’re supposed to have reasons for most of them. I’ll admit to wondering about why some of them were dismissed. A few were kind of obvious, but most weren’t, to me. The whole process of going through the questions, dismissing people, bringing more people up, questioning them, dismissing some of them, and then bringing up more people took quite a while. It was long enough that we had to take a lunch break and come back. They finally had a full jury at 2:30 PM, and dismissed the rest of us.

Overall, initially, I was glad I got called in, and glad I got called up to the courtroom to see how the process worked. It was all pretty interesting, and everyone involved was professional and courteous.

Later, though, I kind of wish I’d found a way out of it. I got pretty sick on Wednesday, and it’s obvious that I must have picked it up at the courthouse on Monday. I’m a bit mad at myself for that, since I didn’t wear a mask. I’d brought one with me, and intended on putting it on at some point, but nobody else was wearing one, and I got lulled into a false sense of security, I guess. So I had to use up two sick days this week, on Wednesday and Thursday. I worked from home yesterday, and was feeling a bit better, but I’m still not back to 100%. I guess this is only a cold, since I took two COVID tests and they both came back negative, so that’s good.

So now, I’ve missed a half a day of work last Friday, most of the day Monday, and all day Wednesday and Thursday. And I wasn’t really 100% on Friday, and didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped to. Now I’m hoping I can shake the remnants of this cold over the weekend and be ready to work a full week next week. It’s a little annoying to me how easily I can get thrown off track by something like this, but I guess it’s part of getting older. And I guess I should appreciate that I have some flexibility at work, with regard to time off and working from home. But I don’t want to push things too far there. Oh well. I guess this weekend will be spend mostly watching TV and napping.

Ten years of losing it

I was taking a break this morning and updating my WordPress install (as one does), and noticed a couple of posts in my “on this day” sidebar: Losing It and Five years of losing it. So, if my math is right, that means it’s been about ten years since I started trying to lose weight.

I started out (in 2013) at around 230 pounds. And, as of five years ago, I had hit 135. Somewhere during 2020, I started going back up again, and I’m now around 155. I’ve been trying to stop going up and maybe course-correct to get myself back down to 150. And then I want to see if I can stay there. I think that would be a nice healthy weight.

But I’ve been having some trouble with discipline. I’ve been snacking a lot, often on stuff that I know has more calories than I want to acknowledge. (For instance, the nice peanut butter cookies from the coffee shop across the street from my apartment…)

I may continue to have trouble with snacking, given that there’s a fancy French bakery opening up on just downstairs from my apartment soon. But maybe being back in the office three days a week will help me out. There’s no good coffee shop or bakery near enough to the office to tempt me, so my afternoon snack when I’m in the office is usually just an office coffee and a granola bar.

Well, either way, here’s my weight graph over the last ten years. If nothing else, I’ve stayed consistent about weighing myself every day and recording all of my meals and snacks.

a graph of my weight over the last ten years
a graph of my weight over the last ten years

rough day

Today did not start off well. There was some (presumably) emergency construction going on, right outside my window, from around 9 PM last night until 4 AM this morning. A good bit of jackhammer noise early on, then a whole bunch of back-up beeping throughout the night. (I understand that back-up beepers are well-intentioned, but are they really necessary in the middle of the night, on a street that’s been closed off to all traffic?)

So I was pretty out of it this morning. I was working from home, and it was a fairly quiet day at work, so I got some work done on a big project that I’ve been working on for weeks. So that was good. But lack of sleep, plus some other stuff, made me a little paranoid about some work stuff. It’s always a bit weird when you’re working from home, and you’ve got no meetings with anyone, and you’re not getting much email, and you notice a couple of weird things, and then your imagination starts going… Anyway, I think everything is (mostly) fine, but I guess I’ll find out next week.

And then, around 3:45 PM, I noticed that my water was out. I did some checking, and it looks like there was a big water main break, and most of the town is out. And tonight is “cruise night,” when downtown is overrun with classic cars, and various folks looking at classic cars. So that’s going to be a huge problem, if nobody’s toilet is working…

Meanwhile, it’s been another “air quality alert” day, with the AQI above 150, well into the “unhealthy” range. I guess the plan for tonight is to stay home, with the air conditioning on, drink beer, pee in a bucket, and go to bed early.

Memorial Day

Well, it’s Memorial Day again. They started assembling the fencing for the Tour of Somerville at 6 AM this morning. I was already up, though, because I’m an old man and I usually wake up before 6 now, whether I want to or not. It’s been relatively quiet outside so far. I went for a morning walk around 7:30. They were just about done with the fencing by then, and most of the tents and banners and stuff were also up. The “family fun ride” starts at 8 AM, in just a few minutes. I’m surprised they haven’t tested the PA system at all yet. Last year, they were doing that quite early, and it was a bit of an annoyance.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to engage with the race much this year, or just stew in my apartment and try to shut it out, which is pretty much what I did last year. I’m still on my Wheel of Time kick, and I’m well into book three, so I may spend the day reading, and ignore the race. If it gets really crowded outside (and I suspect it will), that’s probably what I’m going to want to do. I’m not as afraid of COVID as I was last year, but I’m still not enthusiastic about getting mixed up in a big crowd. I might try to venture out and buy a race t-shirt, if I can, but I’m guessing the t-shirt stand will probably be on the other side of the street, which will make it hard for me to get to.

I’m actually starting to feel a bit stressed just thinking about crowds right now, so I don’t know… I’d like to get into the spirit of things, but I’m not sure I can. Meanwhile, I’ve got WPRB playing, and the show on right now is called “The Cosmic Mosh,” so that’s fun. A little metal at 8 AM on a holiday is nice…