Note: You are totally welcome to read this post, you may even find it marginally interesting, but I am writing it primarily to hold myself accountable over the summer.

This summer is going to be a new experience for Cate and I. We are not getting married or having a child or buying a house. We might take a small vacation, but that’s it. In short, for the first time, the summer sits out in front of us like a vast plain of freedom. We are both looking forward to it. That said, I don’t want to just sit on my ass, so here are my summer goals:

1. Finish Lonely Human Atoms and send it out into the world. This novel should have been finished at least a year ago, but life is very good at intervening (and I can be lazy, especially when it comes to editing). I have one light edit remaining and then it should be actually, finally finished. We’ll see, I guess, but my intent is to spend a few hours on it everyday until it’s done. I’m guessing it will take about a month.

2. Read three very long books. I do love long books and I’ve had several sitting on my shelf for a while that I simply haven’t tackled because those 350 page books just look so much easier. No more of that. Correspondingly, I’m going to read one behemoth a month. This brings us to my long awaited summer book queue (to be completed by the start of school-ish):

  • An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  • The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

3. Really get the yard in shape. When we moved in, the yard was basically a disaster. All the previous owners had ever done was mow the lawn. We’ve been working, and it’s getting there, but there is still a ways to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though.

4. Get prepared for my advanced writing class. I am very excited for this class, but I need to work to get myself up to date with playwriting and especially poetry. I currently have a stack of ten library books to this end. Mercifully, plays and volumes of poetry tend to be short and will nicely counter-balance the longer selections I’ll be reading

5. Write about baseball and music. Assuming everything turns out, I’ll be writing a series of articles on the Reds for RedlegNation this summer. I also intend to write various music-related posts for this blog simply because I like music, and don’t write about it enough.

6. Spend time with Cate and Simone. I’m listing this one last, but it’s the most important. The end of the school year is always a strain on my relationship with Cate, and the summer comes as a welcome reprieve. We need to stay up late and reconnect while we have the chance. Next year will come faster than we realize. I also want to make it a point to play with Simone a lot. I try to always give her my best, but it can be hard after a bad work day.

Book Queue

January 10, 2009

Because I am prone to forget, here is a list of books I would like to read or reread sometime reasonably soon:
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
The World According to Garp by John Irving
Drown by Junot Diaz
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Gun with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

Goals (Cliche Warning)

January 7, 2009

Oh it’s after the New Year and now he’s going to post a list of his goals! I know, can you feel the excitement? Cate and I have actually been talking about keeping around a list of things we want to accomplish for a while, and I thought it might help me to stay on top of it if I blogged about it every few months or so. Incidentally, these are all five year goals.

Mutual Goals:

1. Buy a House – Cate and I both really want a decent sized house that is actually ours and that we can do whatever we want with. We’re actually really far away from being able to do this, but once she gets Doula certification and I finish graduate school (here, I am making the assumption that I will get in), we should be pretty stable financially and able to save her income while living off mine. This would get us into a house pretty fast.

1A. Have Two Kids: One is currently on the way so we’re almost halfway there. Mostly, we just don’t want our kids to be separated by too many years, and I don’t want them in the house when I’m 50.

2. Financial Stability – See number 1.

3. Take at least one good vacation and one small vacation – We both love to travel and even though we’re going to be poor and have a child, it would be nice if we could find a chance to get away here and there. We would both really love another trip to Europe. Obviously, this is the bottom goal on the list, but if we can make it happen it would be great.

My Goals:

1. Publish a Book (or Two) – I have written two now. I have an idea for another. What I really need to do is try and find an agent. This will be my project after the Charles book is edited. Personally, I hate doing that kind of stuff, but it is, apparently, what you have to do.

2. Get My MFA – I will know whether or not this will happen in a few months.

3. Get a job I am comfortable with – This may be teaching at another high school, at a college, or not teaching at all. I’m not sure, but I have to get out of JCPS. It’s too backward of a district and I don’t approve of basically any of their policies. Also, I would love to have a job that did not require me to get up before 7:00.

I grew up in Indiana on a street lined with corn and soy fields as much as houses. Everyone played basketball. Everyone. It was just slightly more urban than Hoosiers. The kind of place where you pretty much have to care about basketball if you want to be able to talk to other people during the winter. In my youth and all the way through college, I cared. I followed IU continuously. Sure, I was more passionate some years than others, but that, I suspect, is true for all of us who care about something for a long time. It’s been a while, though, since I really cared about IU the way I used to. And, finally, this year, I stopped. Just like that. I don’t care anymore.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching a well played basketball game now and then, I do. But it takes a lot of effort to follow a team. Especially a college team, where there is more turn over that at your typical 7-11. But I guess I could have made the effort, except…

Well, these guys are just kids. I know, I know pro-athletes often are, too. But it’s not quite the same somehow. I can’t help watching and thinking that, while it’s all well and good, college sports have really gotten out of hand. Few kids on these teams are at college to get and education. Instead, college basketball functions as a developmental league for the NBA, which, again, is fine, but it gets away from what a college is supposed to be about. Tuition should never go up to pay for a coach’s salary or improvements to an arena, but these things happen. And why? I mean, yes, it’s all good fun, but it seems to have become terribly big business now, and (I can’t help repeating myself), I just don’t care. College players screw up all the time. Because they’re kids, not professionals.

And all the recruiting BS. Honestly, they should just pay the players and not have them attend class. Or maybe give them an option. Say they can have a scholarship or a paycheck. But the silly insistance that they shouldn’t get paid or that a scholarship is sufficient financial compensation when others are raking it because of the performances of these athletes, it’s just dumb.

So that’s it. I don’t know if this blog post is particularly articulate, and frankly, I don’t really care. That’s the point afterall. This my goodbye to college basketball. We had a nice run, but now it’s time for me to move on.

Election Prediction

November 3, 2008

I think I will have to create a new tag for certain posts called, “because anybody cares” and file things like this under it. What follows is my official prediction of the 2008 presidential election.

My Predictions:

Popular Vote:

Barack Obama: 52%
John McCain: 46%
Nader/Barr/Other: 2%

Electoral Vote:
Barack Obama: 393
John McCain: 145

Best Case Obama:

Popular vote:
BO:54
JM:44
Other:2

EV:
BO:420
JM:118

Best Case McCain:

Popular Vote:
BO:49
JM:49
Other:2

EV:
BO:259
JM:279

How it breaks down:

I realize I am predicting quite a landslide here in terms of electoral votes, so here is my rational:

No-brainer states:
Obama:
NY, ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, RI, PA, MD, DC, DE, NJ, CA, OR, WA, IL, WI, MN, MI, IA, HI (Total: 259)

McCain:
TX, KS, KY, OK, NB, SD, SC, MI, AL, AR, TN, UT, WY, ID, AK (118)

So, looking at states that neither candidate can possibly lose, Obama is already close to victory with 259 EVs while McCain is looking pretty sad ar just 118.

Probably safe, but you never know states:
Obama:
CO, NM, NV, VA, OH (New Total: 311)

McCain:
AZ, LA, WV (New Total: 142)

A couple of things: Note that winning OH or VA puts Obama over the top. Also note, that any combination of two states gives Obama the election (NM and NV would make it 269 and send ti to the house).

Frankly, except for OH, I am as certain as I can be the Obama will win all of these states. I only put them as “probably safe because teu have been republican consistantly in the recent past. Still, it’s been along time since any poll has shown McCain leading in any of the non-Ohio state listed here.

For McCain, the biggest surprise is AZ, I think it will still go to him, but recent polls have shown the race there to be a statistical tie, which must be very encouraging for Obama. WV flirted with Obama a few weeks ago, but has since come back home to McCain. LA is curious because of the high AA population. I still think it holds McCain.

I have no earthly idea, but I’ll take a guess states:
Obama:
FL, GA, NC, MO, IN, MT (New Total: 393)

McCain:
SD (New Total: 145)

This probably a little optimistic on the Obama side, but early indications are that there will be greatly increased Democrat turn out this election, and I think that, combined with the “cellphone effect” (Obama gains 2-3% in the smattering of polls that have cellphone only households in their samples) will push Obama over the top in most of these states.

Last, I really, really have no idea about MT and SD, I think Obama will win one, but I have no idea wish.

So, there you go, I’m calling it Obama: 393, McCain 145. Huzzah!