Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Day at Sea

Well it's Thursday morning just after 10am as I sit in a cushy lounge chair at the aft "Serenity" section of the Carnival Inspiration. It will be Friday morning before this posts, as frankly I just don't want to pay for internet service. Which means, by the time this posts, I'll be getting ready to disembark and head for home.

It's been a great little getaway, a Monday-Friday cruise that one of the comedians on board refers to as a Section 8 Cruise. Yes, it's a cheap quick trip on an older ship to one of the least interesting Mexican ports (albeit one that has been working slowly but steadily to improve its image). I was offered $40 massages with happy endings multiple times in Ensenada yesterday, and one shopkeep even promised that he has great girls and no "crusty women". Keeping it classy, Ensenada.

But it's been a relaxing time at sea with mild temperatures and sunny skies spattered with white fluffy clouds. Lots of booze, lots of food, and lots of DJ-run pop and hip hop music. And also a rather entertaining piano bar. Also, I played just a wee bit of slots in the casino, and came out $4 ahead. So, that's a win.

This morning I had eggs Benedict at the Sea Day Brunch, then spent some time walking around the ship up on the open decks. And now, I'm just staring blankly at the vast ocean behind us as we slowly churn our way back to Long Beach. Sometimes doing nothing is just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Vacation Time

I realize this is my first post of the year, or if you are one of those "glass half empty" people, my first post since last year, but I've been terribly busy doing absolutely nothing of consequence. So, therefore, it is time for a vacation.

I'm currently a board the Carnival Inspiration in Long Beach, about to embark on a four-night journey to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. This was sort of my Christmas present to myself, and incidentally the first time I've ever traveled as a solo cruiser. So it should be interesting.

I've been onboard for about two hours now, and we just got the OK to go to our staterooms. While waiting i've had lunch at Guy Fieri's burger bar, and my first tropical drink to start the trip off right. Now I suppose I will relax a little bit before we have the obligatory Muster drill. And then we're off!

See you on the ocean. Or. I guess. Back on land. At the end of the week...

Monday, December 30, 2019

The End Is Nigh

Well, here we are on the eve before the eve before the New Year. As we enter into 2020, just over a day from now, we'll surely see all sorts of social media posts of peoples' adventures in celebrating the close of one chapter of their lives. Not to mention, probably, all manner of arguments as to whether the new decade begins this year or next. (Spoiler alert: the decade starts on Wednesday. Humans track passage of time starting from zero, after all).

For me, tomorrow is Tuesday. The next day is Wednesday. That's usually how grandiose my New Years celebrations are. I'm not a party person. I'm a social introvert. I don't make resolutions. I don't count down the seconds, while donning a plastic party hat and clenching a noise maker in my teeth, eagerly anticipating the clock striking midnight. I might have a drink.

I'm usually in bed before 9pm.

New Year's Day. It's just another day. Like any other day, it has only so much significance as we choose to bestow upon it. Still, I went for a walk this evening in the crisp 46 degree air, and reflected a bit upon life and this past year. Small patches of low lying fog drifted casually across the path from the fields. Orion stood clear and bright in the heavens. The moon hung low and large, a sliver of a smile in the sky. It was orange.

Several homes still clung to the holiday season, displaying proudly their bright decorations. But most have by now gone dark for the winter. With each passing day the remaining beacons seem more out of place, as Christmas becomes ever more a faint memory.

The holiday season takes a long time to get here. Months of buildup and anticipation. And then it's over so fast. Is it just a metaphor for life? Perhaps a discussion for another time.

Today I un-decorated the Christmas tree. Took the wreath off the front door. The tree now stands bare, naked to the world. Tomorrow I'll probably pack up the rest of the decor. I'll submit to the reality that the season is done. I suppose, more than anything else, the New Year is a symbol of that.

So did I have a productive year? Did it stand out in any way from my previous attempts at a useful existence? Well. Not really. I did however have a banner year at keeping up with this blog. At least compared to previous years. I read a bit, here and there, for my own personal edification. And I survived my first year as a single father. Was that it? Funny how in retrospect the entire year seems so brief. Or perhaps my memory is getting spotty. But it seems like not a lot happened this year. A lot of...surviving. Routine. That fills up a lot of days, it seems.

Oh, also I transitioned this year into making YouTube videos of my life's adventures. So there's that.

What will the next year hold? Who knows, who knows. More days, more weeks, more months. Time will shuffle along. I have no grandiose plans, just to keep raising my son and otherwise getting by. And we'll see where it leads. Perhaps it will be a year of new beginnings. Transitions. Time will tell.

But hey, tomorrow is New Year's Eve! The end of the year is upon us.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Christmas Is Coming

Well, it's now December, and Christmas is coming. I suppose somewhere, a goose is getting fat. Well. Who isn't? After a full day of gorging on foodstuffs last Thursday, and hosting a mimosa brunch yesterday, followed by happy hour wings at Hooters, I certainly feel like I am. 'Tis the season. But Thanksgiving came and went without any headaches, and it successfully provided us with its annual placeholder between the Halloween and Christmas seasons. I actually put my Christmas tree up the week before Thanksgiving. Why not? Just more time to enjoy it. Plus, I know if I didn't get it done, I probably would not have gotten around to it until mid-December. And what a lot of work that would be just to have it up for a couple of weeks. So, the house is decorated and ready, more or less, and one present currently sits under the tree for Connor. With more to come. Well, for Connor at least; no one's buying me any presents to put under there.

Speaking of Christmas trees: yesterday I posted a holiday video on my You Tube channel which featured Connor describing the "proper" way to decorate the tree. Basically it amounts to putting a hook on the ornament, and then hanging it from a tree branch. Or as he puts it, "you put it on your thing". I guess he doesn't know the word "branch". Well, more educating of the kid is clearly necessary. But the video was a good excuse to post some pictures of my Disney-decorated tree, as well as some photos of the two of us with the tree. Our annual holiday tradition. Well, except for last year. But now I have some fodder to create some actual Christmas cards to send out to some people. I don't send a lot, really. But still it's nice to have them.

And with Thanksgiving so late this year, we're now entering the final week of classes at Sac State before finals. Usually we have a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving; I can't recall a time where we came back from the break and it was already December. But here we are. Which means, now, 10 concerts in 7 days. So it goes. Consistent and predictable, at least. And that is where I sit, now, at work with the final week upon us. Lots to do here this week, and then it will settle down. I'll probably be late at work most of this week, including Thursday when I'll need to step in and help run the choir concert downtown. There's just too much going on at once and not enough people to do it all. But hey, the concert should be festive anyway. And next week will begin the gradual slow down, for me, as we plod on towards the winter break. Getting quieter and quieter as each day passes. I kind of like that.

For now, I'm currently playing Christmas music through my computer at my desk. Why not? Everything is early this year, I guess. I mean I know it's not like the stores started stocking holiday paraphernalia in early October. Oh wait - they did, they did. But it's okay, I'm in the routine, in the groove. And Christmas is, after all, coming...

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Spell Check This

The auto-correct on my iPhone can be quite annoying. Especially when using the voice-to-text feature. I swear when it first came out, it actually worked better than the current version does. I often will speak sentences in to the phone, watching as they magically appear. And then as soon as I finish speaking, the phone says, "Hold on a minute, let me fix this for you...". And then it promptly changes half of the words into phrases that I have never once uttered in my life. Sometimes the message was actually perfectly correct, before the phone stepped in and messed it all up. I swear it's like my phone is a 6-year old.

Then of course there's the corrections that cannot help but to make me smile. Like when "Sac State" changes to "Sex tape". Or something like that. Who knew Sac State was so sexy? This morning I attempted to speak "vocal jazz ensembles" into the phone. It promptly changed to "vocal jazz and some balls". Maybe my phone just has its mind in the gutter. Like father, like son? Sort of how like pets often resemble their owners. I think maybe our "smart" devices are getting a little too smart for their own good. Or for our own good. Something to ponder later.

Anyhoo. This morning I went for a walk by the river by Sac State. On weeks when I don't have Connor, there's a lot less to get done in the morning, so I tend to get into work super early. But hey, a chance to get my steps in. And today I cam across a coyote, out near the water treatment plant not far from Alumni Grove. I froze in my tracks as soon as I saw him. But I think I startled him more than he startled me. He was only about 20 feet away, half hiding in the overgrown brush. I'd not actually ever come upon a live coyote before, so this was something of an event. Come to think of it, I actually rarely see any wildlife when I go out for walks along the river near campus. I've actually seen more right at our own building, with squirrels and skunks and turkeys. And the occasional opossum.

In any case, this coyote seemed to not particularly care that I was there, although he kept his distance a bit and eventually trotted off down the trail away from campus. So that was fun. I just stood and watched, and clumsily tried to get a photo. I suppose he was probably foraging for food, and I must have interrupted him. Shame on me! He did look a little scraggly. And also alone. I guess we were sort of kindred spirits out there, in that regard.

It's nice in the morning, peaceful and quiet generally. Though there's sometimes bikers whizzing by as if in training for the Tour de France. And of course there's random students, still half asleep, slowly shuffling there way to school. Like moths to a flame, only in slow motion. But aside from that, it's quiet and serene, and definitely pretty. If you get there early enough you can see the sun rising over the far reaches of the river. It's especially nice if there's some clouds in the sky. Clouds, backlit by the sun, are always nice. It adds a nice contrast and sense of dimension to them. I tend to snap photos of it often, when it's pretty enough to inspire me, so I have quite the collection building of shots of the river, the clouds, the sun. I don't know why I take them, or so many of them. Photos are nice, but can never compare to the live experience.

But after me and my coyote brother parted, it was about time to head back in to actually go to work. I already have 1.5 miles of walking in for the day. Or so says my phone. It could be a liar, I suppose. But I will assume it's being honest and consider that a win for the day, even though the day is still young. It's always nice to start with a 'win'. It's a busy time here of course, as the end of the semester draws near, and everyone is trying to squeeze in their concerts. Not to mention, it's now the scheduling period for the spring semester, so everyone is trying to squeeze those events into the calendar as well. As an aside - I appreciate that this blogger program doesn't try to auto-correct my typing. It just underlines with little red dots any words it doesn't recognize. It's less insistent that way, or more passive, depending on which way you look at it. It just calmly clears it metaphorical throat and says, "Excuse me...but I think you might have missed something there...". So much nicer than the phone, who just says "Nope! You meant to say this.".

No, phone, I didn't. Go spell check somewhere else.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Catching Up On Reading

So I'm not what you would call an 'avid' reader, though I suppose it's fairly relative. I read a lot more than some people, perhaps more than a lot of people, but I know quite a few people who really read a lot. In that sense I suppose I'm not what you would call "well read", but I do at the very least try and read a little before bed each night. I suppose part of it is just to tire out my eyes, in some sort of (often futile) attempt to wear myself out and help me fall asleep quicker. And of course it depends on the level and complexity of the writing as to how much I'll get through on any given night. Not to mention how tired I already am when I start reading. I might tire out after only a couple of pages of something that is rather wordy and intricate, or I might get through a dozen pages or more of something simple and straightforward.

This year I tried something new, for me. I started keeping a log of what I've read. I thought it would be interesting to see, at the end of the year, just how much I got through. It's not a particularly long list, but I like to think it is a least a little varied, in style and thematic material if nothing else. I mostly read fiction, often mixing juvenile books with more adult themed ones. And of course my favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut Jr., so he's definitely going to show up prominently in any list of books I read. I also find that I tend to like dystopian novels. Kind of gravitate towards them. That and satire, I suppose, are two biggies on my hit list. But in any case, here's what I've read (thus far) in 2019:

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
To A God Unknown, by John Steinbeck
Jailbird, by Kurt Vonnegut
Catch 22, by Joseph Heller
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

That's it, 8 books. Not quite one per month. I know it's not a lot in quatity, but in this day and age with our complex lives absorbing up so much of our time, it's often tough to make the time to just sit down and read. Or perhaps I'm just lazy, I don't know. Maybe this winter I will find some more time to read. I certainly have bought more books this year than I've read. If one were to view my personal library at home, you'd probably think I was much more of a bookworm than I actually am. Well, maybe I'll get there. At the least, I should start catching up on reading those that I've bought but have done nothing more with than to ceremoniously add them to my collection. Well, I still have 7 weeks left in the year after all...