Try Something New

I’ve written about nostalgia and the need to stay with the old here in the past.  Hah,  didn’t realize that would come out quite that way!

Anyway.  For years, my go-to breakfast (and, honestly, all-purpose) cereal has been this stuff:


It’s tasty and nutritious and all that good stuff.  A little hard to find sometimes, but good.  It has some brown sugar and milk powder in it that give it a really nice mouth-feel.  I’ve been eating it off and on (mostly on) since I first encountered packets of it in youth hostels in England in 1983.  They also make a no-sugar-added variety, but I don’t like that one quite as much.

Then, last week, T and I were at IKEA to get some furnishings and I noticed a stack of these boxes:


I thought it might be worth a try.

So this morning, I poured a very small helping into a bowl, added milk, and took a skeptical spoonful.

Downside–you don’t need much.  there are about 30g of carbohydrate in 1/3 cup.

Downside–it looks like birdseed.

Downside–the package is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Upside–it doesn’t taste like birdseed.  It’s really very good.

Who knows?  I may have to try something else new!  But probably not liver.



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They’re selling postcards of the hanging.

On Saturday, T and I took an unusual route to get somewhere, and I noticed this building that looked like it was in the midst of being torn down.  So I went back Sunday morning for some photos.  Welcome to Desolation Row.

A reminder that all things will pass.


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I was thinking this morning that I’ve mentioned Richard Thompson quite a few times. See, for example, this post and this post.

This morning, listening to some of the material that was on the first album of his I ever heard, back in 1980 or so, I realized that this was my soundtrack in many respects.

What’s a soundtrack?

It’s the sound that you hear throughout your life.  Just like people in films have background music or, in some cases, themes (think Darth Vader), we all have accompanying music.  Some of mine comes from Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead…

But most of it comes from Richard Thompson.  This album is what I hear in my head.

Who provides your soundtrack?



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A Poisoned Heart and a Twisted Memory

Very little to say today.  I was thinking of this song, I suppose, because not long ago I learned that I have some electrical problems with my heart.  These are apparently related to the problems I have getting enough oxygen while climbing on the bike.  They’re not serious problems, but they do mess with my athletic (hah!) endeavors.

(Oh–and this video, while shot in Germany, is from a tour on which I got to see Richard Thompson (and band) at Tut’s in Chicago.)

Still, got to do some climbing this morning:



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Post 295

Last night I wrote yet another poorly-edited post and–just for the hell of it–started to wonder what it would be like to put together a book.  That’s not something I’m going to do.  So many posts depend on links that are broken, or protected, or otherwise unavailable.  And a book with links?  It is to laugh.

But I decided to see how many posts I’d written, and discovered that last night’s was #294, which makes this the eponymous Post 295.

That’s a very weird feeling.  It’s been a long enough time that I can go back and pick a post and not immediately remember what it was originally that sparked it.  In some cases, I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I wrote it, but very often that’s not the case.

In theory, I’ve been working on this blog since 2008, but since there are only two entries that year, which was the year I left software and went to law school, and no more until early 2011, when law school was almost over.  At that point I wrote:

Now that I’m using Microsoft’s Mesh product, I feel obligated to spend a little more time around, and so I noticed this sad little blog that hadn’t done much over the years.

Maybe this can serve as a kind of journal.

So here’s the deal.  I decided to go to law school a few years ago, and I thought I’d knock it out of the park.  But it’s hard.  Law school is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, harder than college, harder than grad school, harder than learning software engineering from scratch.  Hard.

So here I am, having earned my share of bad grades, and a few good ones to match, at age 52-almost-3 and about to graduate.  Law School is so over.  But what do I do now?

Mesh?  Anyone remember Mesh? I sort of do, but just sort of.  Anyway, here we are, more than 290 posts down the line, so it has served as a kind of journal.

So congratulate me for having one of the more densely-populated blogs on the web, and stand by, because I may do something fantastic for Post 300.

Or not.


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Big X10

I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a Luddite.  Not in the sense that I hate technology, because I don’t.  But I’ve realized that there are some things that I do that indicate that my relationship with technology is complex.

The thing that got me thinking about this the other day was my camera.  I am aware that the best camera is the one you have with me, and I always have my phone with me.  But for me the real best camera is not a phone but a camera.  The phone in the photo above (which was taken, incidentally, with my iPhone.  A camera gives you control over things that a phone doesn’t.  It has physical interface elements.  If you’re lucky, it has a visual viewfinder, like the Fujufilm X10.

Another thing I’ve started doing lately is using a paper calendar (Moleskine) instead of–or more properly, in addition to–Microsoft Outlook.  Why?  I don’t know.  I like being able to see the week, and I like not having to grab for the phone and page through screens, or not having to boot up my computer.  It’s still a little awkward, because I’m half of one and half of the other…but I’m getting there.

Maybe one of the reasons I use a paper calendar is because I also use a fountain pen.  I’ve written about it here.  Actually, I use a bunch of fountain pens.  I like the feeling of a nib moving over good paper, and I like the smell of ink.  I abhor ballpoints, felt tip pens, and roller balls.

I ride a bike.  A lot.  And that bike has friction downtube shifters.  It’s been quite some time since these were in fashion.  But that’s OK.  They don’t click into place, and they don’t fit inside the brake levers at my fingertips.  I have to reach down to shift, and I need to listen to the gears changing.  It takes a touch–a little more work.  But on the other hand, I never need to adjust the shifter indexing.

I seem to like shifters like this, because I also have a stick shift in my car.  Apparently about 3% of cars sold in America have stick shifts.  It makes driving more fun, and it saves a little bit of gas.

It’s not that I hate tech.  I do own an iPhone that I use  (a lot) and I am typing this on a Lenovo ThinkPad.  I do like indoor plumbing.

Oh, and I don’t use a Keurig.

See?  Luddite.


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Modern Times

I graduated from college the year I turned 23.  Late that summer, I sat in St. Paul with a friend and we talked about what each of us was going to do someday.

I already had accepted a scholarship at the University of Chicago for graduate studies in sociology, and she was talking about going back to school at the U of M.

I was going to be a professor of sociology, and she was going to be a community organizer.  Neither of us thought we had much of an option–I need to earn a PhD to be respected so that I could move the views of our government toward peace, and she wanted to save the hopeless.

Neither of us thought we had a lot of time, either.  It was the height of the cold war, and the beginning of the Reagan administration.  The worst of times.  And for me, at least, I had been told a few years before that the expectation of a type one diabetic was about 25 years past diagnosis, and I had been diagnosed at 13.

So time was running out, and we sought positions of responsibility–so that we could, we thought, change the world for the better.

John Lennon sang that “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”  So it would be.  I met T, got married, had four kids, now have grandchildren, traveled a bit, moved a lot…

My friend became a student and then a professor; I flunked out of grad school, though not before teaching, and I’ve worked in software and I’m now a lawyer.

She developed cancer, and survived; I’m still alive at 61; we spoke for the first time in many years not too long ago, and discovered that both of us are still playing guitar; and the world didn’t, after all, end in a nuclear holocaust–though Reagan surely laid the groundwork for the Very Stable Genius.

So I didn’t persuade Congress to throw away its nukes; she didn’t lift the people of Minneapolis out of poverty.  Both of us did some good stuff, and I do think in some ways each of us has helped to make the world a better place.  I hope so.

But at my bonus advanced age, I’m realizing something new:  I don’t want responsibility. I have always had people depending on me; for many years, I was the sole financial provider for my family.  I have people who depend emotionally on me for support; and as an attorney, I have a mess of clients who depend on me.

And I am discovering that I want that to be over.

Is that odd?  Or, like Al Stewart’s companion in the song, have I had enough of modern times?


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