Monthly Archives: June 2017

2017 Stuff Read, #s 1-12

I’ve been woefully neglectful regarding this, if you’ll excuse the pun, bookkeeping. Typically, I like to say a little something about each item I’ve read or listened to, but since this is literally my whole list for the year so far, there’s just too much — even though the pace itself is nearly as pathetic as my efforts to post regular updates on the subject. Instead, I’ll just take a moment to state that I feel like I need to come up with a new name for this series of posts, which I’ve maintained since 2011. When it first started, entries were titled “Books Read” and neglected to include audiobooks, lecture series, or shorter fiction read independently from a collection. Those items now all appear and the name changed to “Stuff Read,” but that doesn’t feel like an apt description either. I considered “Media Consumed,” but that implies a wider scope that includes movies and TV series. For now, “Stuff Read” will remain, but name change is certain as soon as a better one becomes apparent.

1. The Atrocity Archives, by Charles Stross (audiobook/eBook)
1(a). “Overtime,” Charles Stross (eBook)
2. A History of Hitler’s Empire, 2nd Edition, by Thomas Childers (audio lecture series)
3. The Farthest Shore, by Ursula K. Le Guin (audiobook)
4. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (audiobook)
5. Parable of the Talents, by Octavia E. Butler (eBook)
6. Sixty Days and Counting, by Kim Stanley Robinson (audiobook)
7. Feedback, by Mira Grant (dead tree)
8. Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature, by Pamela Bedore (audio lecture series)
9. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (audiobook)
10. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
11. American Gods: The 10th Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman (eBook)
12. Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History, by Craig R. Koester (audio lecture series)

Weekly Weigh-In, Week #22

(Numbers are from yesterday, as Tuesday is my normal weigh-in day each week.)

Loss since last post (5/16): 1.0 lb
2017 Cumulative loss: 24.2 lb
Pounds from goal: -0.8 lb

Well, it took three weeks, but I finally made it — officially. Actually, a couple days after the last WWI post, I made my goal, and Sally made the argument that I shouldn’t have to wait for the next regular weigh-in before declaring victory. I certainly appreciated the merits to the argument, but given how much my weight can fluctuate over the course of just a few days, I decided that I wanted to be at my goal on my usual weigh-in day to make it official. Later that same day, I went on a three-day bender of eating whatever I wanted and avoiding anything that remotely resembled real exercise.

It took me over two weeks to recover from that lapse in sticking to my proper exercise and eating habits/routines.

The point is that I finally made it, and I can now move into maintenance mode. In an unintentional fashion, the past three weeks have served as a kind of preparation for it. In addition to the three-day bender, I also experienced two other off-diet days where my caloric intake was much higher than typical for the past five months. It does give me a sense of how much more I can eat, provided I continue with my exercise routine from since starting this particular round of weight loss. However, moving forward I intend to increase my calories in a more evenly distributed fashion.

These posts will continue under a new name, yet to be decided.

Fatherhood and Little League Baseball

A little over a week ago, I received an email stating that Manchild made his Little League’s All-Star team. It was an exciting moment, and I couldn’t have been more proud of or excited for him. He loves playing baseball, and receiving this honor easily rates as one of his biggest childhood achievements. Amazingly, as great as the honor was in of itself, at the All-Star Game on Saturday he had one of the best days of his season: he went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, & an RBI. Furthermore, he made a great play in the field that I will detail soon.

I too had a role in the game (aside from being a proud, supportive parent): I volunteered to keep score and count pitches for his team and thought little of it. It was an extension of a role I filled all season; ideally, I would’ve have volunteered to help coach his team, but the fact he played in Montgomery County, where his mom lives, meant I would miss at least half his practices. Luckily, my work schedule allowed me to attend all his games, where I frequently volunteered to assist in any way possible. When the All-Star coaches started looking for someone to maintain the team’s scorebook, I readily accepted the role. It meant I couldn’t simply enjoy watching the game and take pictures, but I truly wanted to help if possible.

I did get a few pictures, but IMG_1018I needed to rely on Manchild’s mom to perform the yeoman’s work of getting as many as possible. She didn’t disappoint (nor was there any concern that she would), and a large number of those photos, as well as videos of his at bats, ended up on Facebook. Next time I see her, I plan on providing her with a thumb drive that she can then place all the videos and pictures on it.

As much as I would have enjoyed taking my own pictures, my involvement in the game meant I was closer to the field than most of the other parents, and it allowed me to interact with Manchild at various times during the game. This most notably occurred while he was catching. He doesn’t particularly enjoy it, but he’s a consummate team player and will play any position the coaches tell him to field. During his first inning of work while behind the plate, there were a couple pop-ups that he couldn’t locate quickly enough to make a play on. On both of them, I very good-naturedly gave him guff, telling him, “Carlos Ruiz would have made that play.”

He persevered, and I received my comeuppance on his last play at that position. The bases were loaded with one out when the batter hit a routine grounder to second that resulted in an out at first. The runner on third scored, and then the runner originally on second attempted to score as well. Manchild took part in well-executed rundown and while running the runner back to the third, he noticed the runner who was originally on first scampering back to second from third. He made a perfect throw to second, and the fielder covering the base was able to apply the tag for the inning’s third out. As he returned from the field, Manchild emphatically pointed to second base and exclaimed to me, “And, Carlos Ruiz would’ve done that!” Once again, I swelled with pride, while simultaneously guffawing.

After the game, his mother and I took the time to speak with the coach of his regular team to thank him for all his hard work this season. Then, to my surprise, he thanked me for everything I did during the season, and pointedly stated that my volunteering to keep score during the All-Star Game was an example of the type of things most parents don’t do. Although not officially a coach for the team, my contributions were just as valuable, and he wished there were more parents like me. It always amazes me to hear things like that. Yes, I know that many parents are happy to simply show up and watch the game — those that actually do stay and watch, rather than just drop off and pick up — but I just cannot fathom how a parent wouldn’t volunteer if there was something they could do to help.

Anyway, Manchild has two more remaining games this spring before the season ends. No matter how he performs in them, I will view his All-Star game as the fitting end to his season. I’m looking forward to see how he’ll handle himself when he moves up to the next age division during the fall season, and I’ll continue to help his team in whatever capacity I can.