Start of Year Info Dump

Over the past couple months, there have been more than a few things I intended to jot down in the little leather journal I purchased at the New York City public library, but my laziness got the better of me in a number of different ways. So, I now need to do a giant info dump here on the blog because, frankly, I don’t want to get a sore, ink-stained hand from the amount of writing necessary at this point. Preamble finished; away we go…

  • As part of traveling to Kansas in the beginning of November for my brother’s funeral, we needed a rental car to get from the Kansas City airport to the small town where he lived. Having not rented one in years, I was surprised when informed that I needed to go to a particular lot and simply pick the car I wanted from there. When I discovered that renting a Kia Soul was an option, I immediately found one and left the lot in it. Yes, I love driving my own Soul so much that when given the choice to drive something different, I simply didn’t want to.
  • The following week, Sally and I took the Acela to New York City for our weeklong 10th wedding anniversary celebration. The trip could not have gone any better. The weather was perfect for early November – highs in the 60s and plenty of sunshine – and because it took place nearly a month before the Omicron variant fully reared its ugly head, we never once felt like we were taking any real risks in any of our walking around the city and dining. This was made possible by two factors. One, we didn’t go to Florida, as we were initially planning/hoping months previously, simply because of the mind-numbingly psychotic attitudes to public health and safety demonstrated by state and local officials throughout the state. Conversely (and the second factor,) New York City had proof of vaccination mandates at all restaurants, and just about everyone we saw seemed to be taking the pandemic seriously. Since we live in an area where you can readily encounter the maskless freedumb fighters, it was a pleasure to spend nearly a week in a city where nearly everyone seemed to care about the common good.
  • While there was so much about the trip that we loved and will treasure, the highlight of the New York trip was taking the potion making class of The Cauldron down near the financial district. In fact, we enjoyed both the class and atmosphere of the pub so damn much that we returned there a few days later, on the actual date of our anniversary, for our proper celebratory dinner and drinks. If there was anything similar to the Cauldron near our home hear in Northern Virginia, I’d almost certainly be a regular.
  • Taking the Acela back-and-forth to New York was a key component in making the trip so enjoyable. Seriously, taking the train between New York and Washington is so much more comfortable, relaxing and just simply civilized than any of the other ways to make the journey. Mind you, we chose the added expense of the Acela (as opposed to a regular Amtrak train) because of the special occasion the trip was celebrating. However, given how infrequently we go to New York, maybe it’s a choice we continue to make in the future.
  • While on the Acela on the way back home, it was hard not to notice just how close to the water much of the railbed is. Both the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay are going to rise quite a bit in the coming decades thanks to the effects of the global warming. It seems exceedingly unlikely that Amtrak will be able to continue to use those tracks without spending tremendous amounts of money to either elevate them, move them, and/or build dikes to keep the water away.
  • This year’s holiday Lego display is much more low key than efforts over the previous years. I’m happy with the final result and will post the usual pictures to Facebook sometime very soon. However, while it took a number of hours to build everything for the display, it really isn’t much more than a cluster of buildings and an array of minifigures positioned throughout. There’s no special touches this year – no Borg carolers, for instance – but I made it a point to include Krampus, because no holiday display of mine will be considered complete without him hiding menacingly somewhere in the scene.
  • As noted in my 2021 Books Read/MST3K post, I considered reading a bunch of short novels and standalone novellas in an effort to pad my total books read for the year. Although I didn’t go through with that plan, I did decide to briefly employ that tactic to start off 2022. As a result, two books are now finished. I’ve now moved on to my classic for the year: To Kill a Mockingbird.

That’s it for the moment. I’m sure I’ve already forgotten items I previously wanted to note. Hoping, but not resolving, to be better at this sort of thing as the year progresses.

2 thoughts on “Start of Year Info Dump

  1. Karin H.

    I have done the same thing when renting a car – I also have a Soul! In fact, I think renting a Soul was what convinced me to buy one of my own.

    I think this is going to be the year where I start following friends’ blogs more closely, and hopefully, do some of my own. I do have one, but it needs content. 🙂

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    1. Matthew Appleton Post author

      It’s funny you should mention that renting a Soul convinced you to buy one. For me, it was getting one as loaner from the dealer when my Rio was in for warranty repairs. I don’t think I would have traded in the Rio at the time I did if I didn’t already know how much I like driving the Soul.

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