It’s been a rough couple of weeks for reading. Sometimes life is like that. Things going on. Stressful things, and I am just so beat I can’t concentrate on a book. Still, gonna plan to knock out the short novel I’m currently reading this weekend and start another.

A while back I downloaded the audiobook of The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. I listened to the first 30 minutes of this acclaimed novel and found it to be just unlistenable. Now, this is weird because a lot of people whose opinions I respect really love this novel and the series. I am aware of what it is about. Yes, I’ve watched a lot of videos on Quinn’s Ideas about it. Yet still I found it pretty horrible.

Over the last few nights I’ve given it another try.  I’m doing better with it.

I don’t know if I have ever read a novel translated from Mandarin before. I feel like there might be some translation issues I’m running into. Let’s face it, literary translation is a very hard discipline. I am friends with one of the foremost translators of Mexican literature into English, and we’ve talked about it, and it is as much an art as writing the novel in the first place.

The other possibility is that the novel, even in its original language, reads like a technical manual.

At any rate, I’m listening because while it “listens” kind of soulless, the ideas are huge and interesting and I like them.

Another thing: because the last “big series” I read was Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion, the bar may be set pretty high. They were some of the best SF I’ve ever read, and wonderfully written.

Being Judgemental

Last weekend I flew to Tucson to be a judge in the first Tucson Thunderdome freestyle contest.

Great contest. Exactly the shot in the arm the U.S. freestyle scene needed, and I can’t wait for next year. Grass roots. By the skaters, for the skaters. Fantastic venue. Friendly town. Beautiful landscape. Just great.


2022 was a busy year. We did a major house remodel that took the first quarter of the year. We got a puppy in October, which is a challenge and tiring but also a joyous delight.

2022 was a year of healing in many ways. I started the year with severe anxiety but with the help of a good therapist and a patient wife I’ve learned to deal with it and for the most part I don’t feel like catastrophe is about to occur at any time (though of course it might).

I’d like for 2023 to be a year for regrouping. Not like in groups. I just feel like with all that happened in 2022 I was really out of any sort if rhythm in life. The remodel was all-consuming and exhausting. It was very hard to think about anything else while that was going on and we were in temporary living accommodations. And it was hard to recover from. As a result many of the personal pursuits that keep me sane were not pursued. These include skateboarding, gaming, and reading. I did get back to Aikido practice a few times, and I am not quitting Aikido, but my life is a lot different now than it was 10 years ago and it is very hard to work practice in. If I can get to practice once a month in the coming year that would be good, but I’m not stressing out over it. Frankly I’m still not excited about being up in my fellow aikidoists’ faces, breathing up all their Covid/Flu/RSV germs.

Like anyone else, when I’m tired I tend to do mindless stuff like stare at the TV or just fiddle around on the computer. Sometimes the idea of summoning 20 minutes of energy and focus to simply go to an empty room and read is just beyond what I can muster.  I really want that to change. Nothing makes me feel more down than getting to the end of a day and realizing I haven’t done a single thing that I enjoy just for me. And it’s my fault. The time is there. The focus and determination are not.

As our dog gets more mature and is eventually not freaked about by cars, trucks, and the other horrible noises of suburban life I’d like to get up early with my wife and take him for a walk. This will be a real stretch for me. I’m not a morning person. But I think this would be good for me. The current schedule and lifestyle clearly are not working.

If I can skate twice a week that would be good. That will be enough. And if we can get back to our D&D game that will be good too.

Overall 2022 was a good year though. We got our house fixed up. This year we’re getting the yard fixed up. We took a great trip to Mississippi to pick up a great puppy, and man we love this little dog. Most importantly, we are both healthy.