Welcome to 2014!

And, welcome to 2014. I’ll start by wishing you a happy New Year! This will, I think, be a relatively quick entry, who’s direction I’m not entirely sure of.

Looking back at 2013 though, I’d have to say that it was on balance a great year. I’ll probably do a more detailed retrospective on life in Durham when I celebrate that year mark on a little over three weeks. But, of course I have moved here.

I also got to visit the NPR headquarters in August. It already seems that I will visit another NPR property, as I have just won a contest to attend a live taping of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me some time this year. I’m thinking it will be in March, but am awaiting word from the show’s host. How cool is that, though? The show is done in Chicago, and already it looks like I’d have a packed itinerary should I get to that city. I love the power of social media ad what it does to my ability to so extensively network.

And on the subject of connections, it was also a good year for really getting to talk to my cousin. Even though he just got married, I think I actually saw him more in 13 than I had in the last three years. And, it looks like other less common connections are starting to be re-established as well. I hope that sort of thing continues.

With regards to bad things that happened last year, I’m glad to say I can’t really think of any. I guess the only thing I could say would be that I had a few issues trying to keep these hearing aids functioning, but I think that’s going to always be a part of the territory sadly. It was easier dealing with that this time, having money in my pocket, than it had been in 2010.

I guess that the year was mostly vanilla, with me rolling to and from work and reading a lot. My reading increased once the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) app came to the iPhone and I re-subscribed to Audible after reading Veronica Scott’s book. I didn’t keep up with all of my books in here as well as I should have, but let’s see if I can manage to list them all using the BARD and Audible histories.

List of Books Read in 2013

  1. And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
  2. Blue Skies, by Robyn Carr
  3. Cruising Attitude, by Heather Poole
  4. Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King
  5. Desired to Death, by J. M. Maison
  6. Is This Tomorrow, by Caroline Leavitt
  7. Just Say No!, by Omar Tyree
  8. Run, By Ann Patchett
  9. The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin
  10. The Forgotten, by David Baldacci
  11. The Heart of Applebutter Hill, by Donna W. Hill
  12. The Hit, by David Baldacci
  13. The Pact, by Jodi Picoult
  14. The Second Opinion, by Michael Palmer
  15. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  16. Water’s Blood, by Elaine Calloway
  17. White Fire, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  18. Wreck of the Nebula Dream, by Veronica Scott
  19. WWW (Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer
  20. WWW Watch, by Robert J. Sawyer
  21. WWW Wonder) by Robert J. Sawyer

Ah, well I suppose according to prolific readers, I’ve probably not read much. I won’t know what the total is until I submit this entry, but I think I finished up 2011 with 30 reads. Not sure what the number was for 2012. And it should be considerably higher for 2014, as my “To Be Read” pile is building more quickly than I can finish each, and I even get in more at work lately.

A cursory perusal of my titles suggests, duh, that I like stuff about travel with a particular emphasis on aviation. We’ll see how much more of that sort of thing I get into this coming year.

And that’s about all I have for the start of this year. I did find a nice place here in Durham to have my required New Year’s dinner: a local restaurant called Elmo’s Diner. And even though I’d basically decided what I wanted before entering, as I’d pulled up the place and its menu via Google Maps on the iPhone, I still appreciated that as soon as I was seated I was handed a Braille Menu. Many bigger establishments can’t even say they do that well, and especially without having being asked a million times. Of course, it is entirely possible that some previous blind patron there is the reason they’d complied, but if so that’s all good.

I thought I’d have the italian meatloaf with sides of skin-on mashed potatoes and black beans, as that sounded as close as I could get to my black-eyed peas as listed in the Square Meals Sides. However, my kind server informed me that those sides weren’t on offer at that time. Perhaps that place deliberately catered to New Year’s fare, as I instead got black-eyed peas, turnips, and cornbread.

The meatloaf was delicious. There was a choice of a somewhat tangy sauce or just plain gravy, and I took her recommendation of having the gravy.

“We’re not talking crazy spicy, are we?” I asked.

I can do some degree of spice, but too much and the stomach, ears, nose, every part of the body get unhappy.

Some seem to think so,” she answered: “but I think it’s delicious.”

I decided what the hey, and chanced it. It definitely enhanced the flavor.

The black-eyed peas, piping hot, felt good going down on this winter evening, and in combat with my cold. And the cornbread was as sweet as I’d have at home. The mac and cheese was a little less homely but definitely edible, while the turnips tasted kind of like paper. But then, I think I’d say that of any turnpis, so that’s not really a criticism of this particular place.

I don’t of course put much into the idea that somehow eating that stuff will make my year a lot better, but I can say that 2010, the one year I can remember not having consumed it, was not a pleasant one at all. So, we shall see. For myself, you, and all of humanity, I hope that 2014 goes above and beyond anything we’ve known. More later.

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