Welcome to 2014

userpic=calendarEveryone seems to be doing end of the year / recap / welcome to the new year posts. I must not succumb to peer pressure.  I must not succumb to peer pressure. I must not succumb to peer pressure. Oh hell.

For us, our years have a remarkable steady state to them. In general, we suffer the same problems year to year (arthritis, migraines). Work stays about the same (I’ve been at the ranch in the same department for over 25 years now). This may sound dull, but that’s OK by us. It permits us to be there when others need us, and that’s a good thing. I have a sense that 2014 may be another year where friends and family will draw from our stability… and that’s just fine. If someone can say about you that you were there when they needed you, then you are doing something right in the world.

I’ll note that the year ended with our daughter demonstrating maturity, which is a great way to end the year. She had gone to a party, had a little to drink, and was starting to feel uncomfortable with the situation. So she called us to come and get her and her car, which we did – no questions asked. Her doing so was demonstrating that what we’ve taught her has sunk in, and I’ll say again what I’ve been saying a lot this year — I’m proud of the awesome young woman my daughter has matured into. I hope 2014 brings her more of what she’s looking for.

Alas, the morning of 2014 seems to be bringing me something I’m not looking for — another headache. Far too many of my light migraines in 2013; this is a trend that I hope breaks in 2014 (although I can be thankful that the debilitating migraines are infrequent — the last was the last day of ACSAC). Perhaps the Excedrin will work; perhaps I’ll need a triptan. If I’m lucky, perhaps this will be the last for while.

What do I wish for in 2014? Primarily, I wish the government gets its act together and decides that it wants to govern responsibly and in the interests of the Nation, as opposed to the interests of the party. Much of the stress of the last few years has occurred because the government can’t figure out how to fund itself for more than a month or two at a time, and the inability to budget and fund on a longer term basis makes tactical and strategic planning impossible — and costs the government more money. The preoccupation with all the short term financing bills also means that the government cannot provide its proper oversight roles in a number of areas both internal (the Agency) and external (financial markets and abuse).

I also wish for the health issues of family and friends to stabilize. I wish my headaches become less frequent and my wife’s arthritis pains lessen and the flares be few and far between. I also wish for stable health situations for our family’s siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, those whom we consider family, and for all our friends. May your health be stable, may you find the healthcare you need affordibly, and may you heal fast. If you are dealing with aging parents or relatives, may the wish above be doubly true.

As for the world, I wish we see a lessening of hate. Hate is consuming our culture: be it the large hatred that drives terrorism and terrorist acts (including school shootings), or the little hatred that we see in the increased bullying and on the comment pages on the Internet. Rodney King famously asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?”, and it is a great question. May 2014 bring increased understanding between people, and the realization that we all don’t need to agree, and that we don’t need to hate those with whom we disagree. May we all learn increased tolerance, and realize that the actions of others often don’t affect us at all (and may all those fighting gay marriage realize that the only thing affecting the relationship between two people are those two people, and that a gay marriage is no threat to your marriage).

Take care, and may 2014 be a great year for you.


Gaming the Year

Back when I was in high-school — quite likely before many of you were born or at least talking — I wasn’t the partying type (I’m still not). I wasn’t into going out dancing or drinking. Instead, I spent New Years Eve playing Diplomacy with a bunch of friend until the wee hours of the ‘morn. This continued when I was in college, having people over to play Diplomacy or Machiavelli or other games I had learned in the UCLA Computer Club. Fast forward to today, over 30 years later. I’m still doing New Years Eve Gaming nights, having new and old friends over for a quiet evening of strategy, food, and friendship.

Last night was no exception. We had about 15 people over — a mix of long time friends and new friends; a mix of people we see regularly and some we’d like to see more regularly. We played games. I personally played Cat 5, Traumfabrik, Days of Steam, Metro, 10 Days in the Americas, 10 Days in Africa, 10 Days in the U.S.A., and two good games of Coloretto. Other folks played D&D, Dominion, Monty Python Fluxx, and Lord of the Ring.

I think how you start the year serves to influence the rest of your year. Do you want to start it in a drunken stupor surrounded by strangers? Would you rather start it surrounded by friends, doing something intellectually stimulating? I prefer the latter.

Whatever your choice, you have my wishes for the happiest of new (calendar) years.

Music: Louis Armstrong In The 30’s – Fats Waller Last Testament 1943 (Louis Armstrong): Jeeper’s Creepers


It’s New Years Day… Welcome to 2011

It’s the new year, and that means it is time for my traditional start of year tasks. Some of the you should consider doing as well…

  • The Ritual of the Folders. One habit I picked up from my accountant parents was keeping a paid bills file. I keep one for the current year, and have folders for prior years. So, this morning I made sure all the bills were filed, and then made the 2010 folder set. I then transferred all the 2010 paid bills to the 2010 folders, leaving the current folders for 2011.
  • The Ritual of the Annual Report. One thing I do every new years, and you should too, is get one of my free annual credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. You get one a year from each of the agencies, and I recommending requesting one every four months from a different agency. But you should check your credit at least once a year.
  • The Ritual of the Backup. Based on my recent survey, a lot of you simply trust that your system will never crash or you’ll mistakenly delete something. That’s mistaken trust. Everyone should be doing regular backups, but lacking that, doing them at milestones is better than nothing. So pick your favorite backup program and do a full backup on January 1 and July 1. I did it for most of our systems earlier in the week; all that is pending is my wife’s notebook (trying to decide on the right backup software for a netbook running XP) and my daughter’s laptop (I’m waiting for her to finish moving the data to her system so her recovery backup will be complete).

Looking back on 2010, there were some highs and lows. I think the low point of the year was the death of ixixlix, our dear, dear friend. If you are wondering why I didn’t do New Year’s Eve gaming, it just didn’t seem the same this year without her. The high point was the focus on health: both my wife and I have been working on losing weight, and both have lost a significant amount over the year. I hope this continues in 2011.

I wish all the folks reading my journal, either on LJ or Facebook, the happiest of years. You can look forward to more theatre reviews and more news chum, and hopefully you’ll make the resolution to comment more. As a reminder to those on Facebook: You can use your Facebook ID to log into Livejournal and comment. So far, only one of my friends on Facebook has done it. So come on over and comment on LJ. We don’t bite (plus you may discover LJ is quite a good place if you like long form writing).