Pause; refresh

Sits a tree-girt courtyard

From bustle-rush removed

Where cometh the creative

To plumb their artsy grooves


I come here in the Autumn

To savor Shanghai breeze

And fight the black stress monster

Whose claws my heart doth squeeze


While others talk of beaches

To fight fatigue’s harsh clutch

I tell them “save your money.

It doesn’t take that much.


“Turn off your cloying mobile

In the coutyard build a nest

Then buy a fresh-squeezed OJ

And let Autumn do the rest.”

Movie Night

Image result for heptapod language

I watchedย  “Arrival” Found it enthralling.

It encourages me that it is still possible to make movies for people who think, and that it is also possible for those movies to earn back their production costs, especially after Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up sci-fi outing, Blade Runner 2049, was such a critical success and a commercial failure.

I didn’t see 2049 in theaters. You’ll understand why: my life since June has been a blur. But I will see it, and I will likely buy it in some form of video.

Heading out

The next 24 hours:


Patch of the Month: PALA

While I have yet to encounter serious opposition to the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, an argument can be made, perhaps, that a healthy life is its own reward, and that offering recognition – especially presidential recognition – for simply living a healthy life is a great big precious-snowflake-everybody-gets-a-trophy cow pie.

Statistics and my own experience speak volumes against it. Providing any reasonable incentive to entice people out of McDonald’s and off the couch is not only a good investment, it sets people on a positive path. Getting people addicted to achievement instead of instant gratification is a very different kettle of fish than rewarding mediocrity, especially if you build a program that rewards higher and higher levels of participation and achievement.

I weigh 50 pounds less today – and am healthier now than I was in my thirties – ย in part due to the President’s Challenge, of which the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA, is a part. The act of exercising regularly, recording the foods you eat, and gradually replacing less healthy foods with healthier choices is a powerful start, and was my ladder to a place that I always felt was beyond me.

I’ve won the award four times in the past five years, and subsequently used it as a stepping stone to higher achievements. But I can honestly say that this program probably saved my life and my marriage, and I have no doubt I earned this damned patch.

It is one of my proudest achievements, and I will wear it on my BSA Jac-shirt with pride.

You Know It’s Time to Go Home When

You know it’s time to get off the road and head home when:

  1. It takes you more than 10 minutes to figure out where you are when you wake up.
  2. You lose the ability to remember your hotel room number.
  3. You start choosing McDonalds over hotel breakfast buffets.
  4. You can’t shake that persistent cold/flu/sinus infection because your immune system took a vacation and forgot to tell you.
  5. You spend an hour before bed re-arranging your suitcase and think of it as “nesting behavior.”
  6. A can of tuna and a handful of crackers tastes better than anything on the room service menu in your five-star hotel.
  7. You start snarling at elevators (elevator: “ninth floor!” Me: “Piss off.”)
  8. You look up at departing airliners with undisguised envy.
  9. You know the names of the kids of the housekeepers on your floor.

Lunch, FL 280

We’re flying a little low to keep out of the worst of the Jet Stream turbulence.

The captain need not worry: it has been seven hours since a light breakfast. It’s going to take more than a few bumps to keep me from devouring this airborne spread of Kosher delights.