Today's Mighty Oak


I’m actually not one for new year’s resolutions. Typically I set out some very manageable goals for me at my birthday, and work on those for the year. So what did I do this year? Set new year’s resolutions.

To be fair, last year I had a new year’s resolution to update my wardrobe and (to steal from Thug Kitchen Bad Manners), dress like I give a fuck. It went well, and I’m generally really happy with what I did, so let’s apply that to this year!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on:

Read more books

I read a lot, but feel like I’ve fell behind that a bit lately, so I set out to read at least seven books this year. Modest, I know, but with everything else going on, and an ever-growing pile on my nightstand, this seemed like a good place to start. Here’s what I finished:

  • Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore. The second book in the death series (after A Dirty Job), such a fantastic time!
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. I enjoyed this a lot, and the ebook that I borrowed from the library had a short afterword by the author, as well as the ‘Toast’ from Screwtape.
  • Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. This expanded on the podcast of the same name, both of which are highly recommended!
  • Queer x Design by Andy Campbell. Amazing book about the history of queer design, highly recommended!
  • The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited. Book two of the Balance Arc of the podcast, brought to life as graphic novels.
  • hello mr., Volumes 7, 8, 9, 10. Literary journal about queer men, consistently some of the best writing in print, and a shame that it’s no longer in production.
  • Naturally Tan by Tan France. A deep dive into Tan’s life and work, a fun read that showed me a different side of the Queer Eye star.
  • Hamilton: The Revolution. Book about the creation of Hamilton, including a full script with notes from LMM.
  • The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Kramer. A book about the character from Welcome to Nightvale involving pirates, spies and revenge.
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman. The story of the women who have the power to destroy the world.
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. A reread for me, but I had forgotten how poignant and good this book is!
  • Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. Her next book, just as fun as the first.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I reread this so I could discuss it with a friend, and I as reminded why it’s easily one of my favorite books of all time.
  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. Murder in a haunted Ohio IKEA competitor, just wonderful.

Other books and audio books

So, I’m not counting audio books for this challenge (hot take: it’s not actually reading. Not saying it’s not great, it’s just something else), or a couple other books that didn’t really require much reading:

  • The Little Blue Kite by Mark Z. Danielewski. As recommended by the author, I read it through three times, each time following a different path (but it’s a really short book).
  • Coincidences at Museums by Stefan Draschan. A wonderful little book of photography at my uncle and aunt’s house.
  • The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen. Audio book based on the podcast, listened to during my long runs.
  • Vodou by Manuela Dunn Mascetti. Short little book.
  • Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-fix recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Some great recipes, but like any cookbook, many I won’t make. But some great running and racing content in there as well!
  • Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. A series of meditations on the writings of John.
  • The Book of Blessings. Small book about Tibetan prayer flags.
  • The Book of Urizen by William Blake. Small textbook that was mentioned in Origins so I decided to give it a quick reread.
  • Firefly: The Sting by Deliah S. Dawson. Graphic novel about the women of Firefly/Serenity.
  • Vox Machina Origins Volume II by Matthew Mercer. Graphic novel about the Twitch/Youtube show

Clean spaces

In a general sense of decluttering and cleaning, I’d like to clean ororganize 12 small spaces, one a month. These are things like closets, bookshelves, dressers, etc. I have too much stuff, and it’s time to do some purging!

  • Dressers in my guest room
  • Filing cabinet in my office
  • Nightstands in my bedroom
  • Glove box
  • Desk
  • Organized office bookshelves
  • Cleaned office closet
  • Cleaned and organized laundry room
  • Organized hall closet
  • Scrub kitchen counters (bigger deal than it seems, finally found the right combination of cleaners to get them really clean!)
  • Cleaned cable totes (random computer/electronic cables)
  • Garage shelves
  • Camping/Burn/Relay race totes

Buy more music

So, I get in the habit of hearing new music that I like, identifying it, and then not actually buying it. So I’m making an effort this year to put together a playlist throughout the year:

  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Fort Nowhere
  • Julie-O by Kevin Olusola
  • Arsonist’s Lullabye by Hozier
  • Calvary by Mashrou’ Leila
  • Dreamboy (album) by Dan Terry
  • Hiroshima by Ben Folds
  • Your Turn to Roll (Critical Roll theme song)
  • Take Me Away by Barefoot McCoy
  • Precious Love by James Morrison
  • Dreamboy main theme by Dane Terry
  • Hallelujah by Panic! At The Disco
  • Be Me by VINCINT
  • All Rode off Together by Meeting of Important People
  • Caution by The Killers
  • Reasons I Drink by Alanis Morissette
  • Simply the Best (From Schitt’s Creek) by Noah Reid

This goal took a bit of a backseat after Google Play Music closed, and now I’m at a loss of where to buy music from if I don’t want to use iTunes (and not stream). Any ideas?

Diversify meals for game nights

My last goal for the year is to make something different each time I host a game day. I’ve fallen into a lot of the same things, and I’d like to expand a bit, so the goal is to not repeat over the course of the year:

  • January: Broccoli and chickpea tacos (Thug Kitchen Bad Manners)
  • February: Curry Slurry (poorly named from The Lactose Free Cookbook)
  • And then we didn’t have any more in person games due to the global pandemic. Will try this again when we can meet up again in person!

Well, I’d say I was successful! The trick for me is to set reasonable and attainable goals, then I gain momentum to do more! (Side note, just surviving this year is enough. Don’t let anyone tell you differently).

I have some ideas for what I’ll be working on in 2021, including a lot of cleaning those same spaces again! I also have some digital cleanup to do, and am hoping to knock out some TV and movies I want to catch up on, as well as restart an epic fantasy book series.

Here’s to a great year!



Alright, let’s see what’s been going on.  First up, did you know that Harry Potter makes you more understanding of others?  It’s true!

Joseph Gorden Levitt writes about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers,obviously).

Like me, do you need a chart to see who owns the rights to which superhero?  Well this chart is handy (but won’t be accurate for long, I’m sure).

Super Mario Bros. in ragtime:

These are really bad times for queer people.  Just recently, the federal government has taken steps to allow doctors to deny services to anyone because they’re part of the LGBT community.

A new study has shown that 40% of LGBT high school students have considered suicide due to bullying because they’re queer.

The majority of people still think it’s okay for businesses to discriminate against queer people.  And the Supreme Court denied an appeal and Mississippi’s law allowing businesses to discriminate is able to stand.

Waste of oxygen and poor excuse for a human being, Mike Pence, will officially lead the US Olympic delegation and openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon is having none of it.

And in other slightly better news, Senator Doug Jones’ son, who is gay, stared down Mike Pence at his father’s swearing in and it made my day.

Here’s the Star Wars Cantina Theme played with pencil and paper, writing out a math equation:

In better news, a new ruling from the International Court of the Americas (didn’t know that was a thing) is bringing marriage equality to a lot of different countries (potentially)

And new year’s resolutions for gay men (and everyone, in some cases).  And speaking of resolutions, Surviving the World has a great coming about them.

Watch a Katana disappear.  Makes me think of the novel, “The 50 Year Sword”

Quite possibly the best thing ever, a T-Rex conducts the Jurassic Park theme music.

Pittsburgh non-profits come out hard against the PG and it’s owner’s racist editorial, published on MLK Day.

And finally, a great little comic about our place in the universe.



Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful celebration bringing in 2013.

Now, first up, I’ve talked about this before with some friends, and we all still have a problem believing that it’s a thing.  The Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve was robbed of $18 million worth of syrup.  Go ahead and read that a few times and just let your mind be blown.  Only in Canada.

The NYT has a great, long-form piece about the avalanche at Tunnel Creek.  It’s a great story, and the way it is presented is just amazing as well.  Some people are saying the ads break it up too much, but I didn’t find them that intrusive, honestly.

The gun control debate (hopefully) continues.  I don’t agree with the NRA’s idea of putting armed guards in schools (there’s also no evidence that that would work, case in point, the fact that everyone at Fort Hood had access to guns and the massacre still happened, the police department at Virginia Tech and the armed guards at Columbine).  But here’s a new angle I never thought of:

And as always, violent video games aren’t to blame.  Otherwise we’d have a much, much larger problem.

And this is scary, the Los Angeles gun buy back program produced two rocket launchers.

That’s it for right now, but I’ll be back with more soon, have a great one!

The Guardian and Information is Beautiful teamed up to look at that data for the end of the world, which, in case you weren’t aware, didn’t happen.

 

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