Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Blizzard!

Michelle and I left the house this morning at about 10 past 8. We met Dave, Colleen, and Ben for breakfast at Old Town Cafe in Bellingham, and by the time we left the snow was coming down like crazy. Not only does Bellingham go for years at a time without seeing snow, I'm not sure there's EVER been snow in late March. Not like this anyway. Michelle and I were going to spend some time gardening today; last weekend Dean and Richard stayed with us and went golfing; I've been itching to go fishing; and now this:

To highlight the disparity between what I was hoping for and what I got weather-wise, here's my Texas-rigged plastic worm, all set to go, against the snowy backdrop:

Well, despite my previous post, I guess spring has un-sprung. More than likely it'll all melt by this evening; even now the snow is turning to rain.

In other news, Michelle and I watched No Reservations a few nights ago. It was better than I expected, and a good date movie. The best part was watching the chefs at work. It was cool to see the kitchen of a really upscale restaurant in action.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lighthouse Mission

For the last two months or so I've been going to the Lighthouse Mission on most Monday nights. It's a short stint in the kitchen, 4:30 to 6:30, usually cutting up vegetables for the next day's meal. The best part has been getting to know some of the guys. The fellow who runs the kitchen is a Spanish-speaking Scotsman with a fondness for rap music. He's aiming to be the first Spanish rapper to perform wearing a Tartan. I think he will be the first. He's a lot of fun to work with.

One of the other guys I work with is incredibly smart. Yesterday we were talking about Jean Paul Sarte and the economy (well actually, he was talking, I was listening mostly). I think we got talking about psychology because he was telling me about the mindset required to survive in prison. He told me some pretty scary stories, the most haunting parts of which were the reactions of the onlooking inmates. Since then I've been reflecting on my relatively soft life.

Yesterday I met a guy at work who was completely decked out for St. Patrick's Day, including face paint and a kilt. We were talking about how kilts were just multi-use blankets, and somehow got talking about how much killing and stealing the guys who wore them did. I think I'm part of a very small minority of humans in history who haven't seen anyone brutally murdered, or experienced hand-to-hand combat. I don't know how I feel about that. Certainly lucky and grateful... but also something else, like apprehension maybe? Or disconnection?

Perhaps it's a distorted view; maybe there have always been lot's of people who lead safe, happy, secure lives. Maybe that's just the boring part of history we never hear about.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Vantage Point

Michelle and I went to Vantage Point last night. We enjoyed it, but you don't really need to see it. It was redeemed because it didn't take itself to seriously or carry on too long. This blogger summed it up pretty well:

Coincidence and chance nudge the film increasingly towards implausibility...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring has Sprung!

I was walking home this evening and I noticed that the willows beside the sidewalk are budding. Pretty soon the apple blossoms will be out in full force. The weather's warmer, and we're up to 11 hours and 25 minutes of daylight (I've been keeping track). This weekend is the daylight savings time change, so next week I'll have almost two hours of daylight left after I get home from work. And, to top it all off, I might be going fishing for the first time of the season tomorrow. Just maybe.

I haven't been writing here as much recently because a lot of my energy for writing has been directed toward helium. So far I've written 9 articles on a variety of topics including GPS systems, Christianity, New York hotels, Chicago restaurants (I've been to neither), coffee, computer software, movies, and viral infections. My articles have made me a whopping 11 cents, but I did come in fourth in a contest, which made me $5. My articles and such can be viewed here.

I had a random thought today: do you think that the habits and general appearance of Patty and Selma Bouvier are a subtle jab at the French? Is Matt Groening that cunning?

In investing news, I'm thinking of buying an index fund, such as this one, or maybe this one. They're both at 12 to 15 month lows, and my Finance profs always said making money in the stock market is easy: "Buy low, sell high". Timing the bottom is the tricky part. What I should do is not be greedy; I should just start taking small positions, and if the market continues to fall, increase my position. It's not going to fall forever (he said just before the markets collapsed).

What have all of you fantastic people been doing?