Areas of Unrest
1 July 2001 - Six Month Followup
QOTD: "Cut off the human race from the knowledge and comprehension of its history and its government will just turn into a monkey cage. We need the guidance of history. All our yesterdays, it is true, have only lighted fools the way to dusty death. But we need at least the dates of the yesterdays and the lists of the fools." - Stephen Leacock
Reading: Andrew Spielman and Michael D'Antonio, Mosquito: A Natural History of Our Most Persistent and Deadly Foe
Listening to: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Beethoven's Last Night
This was a fairly frustrating week at work - mostly filled with tedious meetings. I did take advantage of three days up in Sunnyvale to get together with Elliot. I finally got some time in my office on Friday. The positive part was that one of my more fun projects (involving infrared stars) is progressing. The negative part is that my computer is behaving strangely again. Outlook says that I don't have permission to get into my mailbox, but it never even asks for my password. Top on the list of things you don't want to hear from tech support is "that's the strangest problem I've ever seen." This is one of the reasons I keep my home a Microsoft Free Zone as far as possible.
I had a moderately lazy weekend. I did get out long enough to stop by the hot sauce store at the Farmer's Market to get a going away gift for someone from work. While there, I discovered that there is an international soda store, but they don't carry Schweppes Bitter Lemon. (I didn't ask about Kinnie or Stoney. At least I can buy the latter at African Hut down in Laguna Beach. But, actually, I'm trying to avoid drinking anything except water and limited amounts of tea.) After that, Penny and I went over the the L.A. County Museum of Art, where we looked at the Cuban photography exhibit that is about to close and some of the permanent collection in the modern art wing. The great thing about museum memberships is that you can go for just an hour or two and not feel like it's a waste of money.
This week's celebrity death is Tove Jansson, author of the Finn Family Moomintroll books. I've never read the series, but I suspect I'd like it from what I've heard.
As for news stories, Derek Jeter has managed to reach a new height of tackiness, proof that the Source of All Evil infects all it touches. What heinous act has he committed? He celebrated his 27th birthday this past week. And charged admission to his birthday party.
A more positive news story is that Ellen Spertus won the second annual Sexiest Geek Alive contest. Apparently the talent competition included her counting to 20 in binary - not something that sounds all that hard to me. Her prize is a cruise for two on Geek Cruises. I'm looking into what I need to do to enter next year.
In my final news story of the week, Marilyn vos Savant, who is annoying at the best of times, wasted this weeks column on making fun of questions her readers ask. I'm not convinced that they're all such bad questions, though I can't imagine why one would bother asking her the sex of Tweety Bird, instead of doing an internet search or phoning a reference librarian. But I think that asking why we say "cute as a button" is a perfectly reasonable question. And I actually know the answer to one of the questions she made fun of. Namely, the "cob" in "cobweb" is simply an obsolete word for a spider.
Anyway, what I really wanted to do was a followup on my Life List, since it's been about six months since I wrote it. The only item I actually completed was learning bookbinding. (I count it as completed since I've made a complete book. There are obviously tons of other binding techniques I can learn.) I added going to Angkor Wat to keep the number at 101. I've made progress on some goals and totally ignored others. Which is, I suppose, to be expected.
1. Do a Volksmarch in every state capital and in Washington, D.C.. I've done Phoenix, Arizona and Annapolis, Maryland. I had done Nashville, Tennessee previously. And I will probably do Providence, Rhode Island later this month and Albany, New York in September.
3. Go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I have definite plans for September.
4. Go to the Galapagos Islands. I have reservations for December.
33. Go to a game at every major league baseball stadium. I had previously been to Shea Stadium (NY Mets), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), and Dodger Stadium (L.A. Dodgers) of ones that are still open. I added the Oakland Colosseum (Oakland A's) and have tickets for PacBell Park (San Francisco Giants) in August.
34. Go to a minor league baseball game. I haven't done anything specific, but I did learn of the existence of the Long Beach Breakers.
36. Have my photo taken straddling the equator. Likely to happen on the Galapagos trip in December.
18. Make an afghan for every year of my life and donate them to a homeless shelter. I've finished one and done significant work on two others. I had two done before I started the list, so I still have a long ways to go.
6. Learn to read the Arabic alphabet. I bought a "teach yourself to read Arabic book" but I haven't opened it yet.
13. Read all of the books on Howard Haycroft's list of significant mysteries. I bought a copy of Voltaire's Zadig. There are several books on the list I had read already, though.
14. Read everything on the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society's list of classic science fiction novels. The list turns out to be science fiction for teenagers. That makes it easier. However, a lot is out of print. There's a fair amount I had read previously. The stuff I've read from it since I started this project is:
15. Read everything in Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan. I remain stuck on page 174 of Thucydides, just as I have been for roughly the past four years.
20. Go snorkeling. Likely to happen on the Galapagos trip in December.
21. Read all of the Bible (in translation). I bought an Oxford University Press edition.
31. Trace my family tree back to at least the 18th century. I'm only back to about 1878 now, but I have gotten all sorts of interesting things from the Polish State Archives.
Copyright 2001 Miriam H. Nadel
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