Monday, January 08, 2007

Setting some goals

Well, what's a new year without some goals. These aren't 'resolutions,' as those imply some change in lifestyle. They are more a statement of things I really would like to accomplish, or at least keep in my mind to work on as the year progresses.

The books below present a challenge, as finding time to escape without interruption makes it slow going. If I get to half of them I'll be happy. I have a bit of a guilty chip in the back of my brain that says that if I'm at home, then I should be helping out with the kids. Even when I get some time to leave the chaos, I feel that obligation to help out creeping in, so a lot of the reading gets done on lunch breaks at work, or just before going to bed at night after the kids are down. But I've discovered that I read much faster and with more comprehension in the morning, so night time reading usually ends up only a few pages or a chapter at best. (Oh, if only I knew I was a morning person back in college! The things I could have accomplished!!)

The reading stack:
The Winter King - Bernard Cornwell (Book One of The Warlord Chronicles)
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch (Book One of The Gentlemen Bastard series)
The Mutineer - Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop, 1977-2005 - Hunter S. Thompson (Third and final volume of letters - to be released soon!)
Moby Dick -- or The Whale - Herman Melville
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
The Pale Horseman - Bernard Cornwell (Book Two of the King Alfred trilogy)
The Lords of the North - Bernard Cornwell (Book Three of the King Alfred trilogy)
The Darkness That Comes Before - R. Scott Bakker (Book One of The Prince Of Nothing trilogy)
1776 - David McCullough
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachett
The Once and Future King - T.H. White
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Bradley Zimmerman
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman


The cycling rides listed pose a different challenge, as once on the road, there is a commitment. The obligations are tugging at my brain, but keeping upright, or better yet with a group of riders helps to center the focus. With these, making a commitment is somewhat easier when there are entry fees paid in advance, or there are other riders expecting you to show up.

The Riding Goals for 2007
Start regular rides around neighborhood with the family. This would be awesome for me and hopefully fun for all four of us.
Get 500 road miles ridden before the first century in May. This means getting out on the bike for lots of small lunchtime rides and several 40-50 mile rides. If a few can be done in February, that would be great, but would like to get ramping up in March and April. The base miles will make the rides later in the Spring much more pleasant with less chance of falling off of the pace.
Joliet Sudden Century (100 miles) - May, Joliet, IL
Udder Century (100 miles) - Early June? - Union, IL
Horribly Hilly Hundreds (200k route) - June - Blue Mounds, Wisconsin
RAIN: Ride Across INdiana (160+ miles) - July - Terre Haute to Richmond, IN
Dairyland Dare (200k route) - August - Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Cream City Cycle Century (100) - August? - Waterford Wisconsin
More rides will be added, especially when consulting with folks from the Bike Forums site

Home improvement:

Housework is yet the other challenge for the year. Painting a bedroom, planting, and hopefully getting a patio put in before summer are the primary goals. Those involve getting off my lazy arse and making them happen. Sometimes it's a bit too easy to just ignore the home improvements until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's too warm outside.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a 50 degree unlimited sunny day as much as anyone else. In fact, I took a nice walk with the family around the neighborhood at lunch today. However, it is January 3rd. And this is the upper Midwest. 50 degrees shouldn't occur but as an aberration before a major front socks us into our flannel-lined jeans and heavy wool sweaters. For goodness sakes, there were thunderstorms on New Years Eve. What's up with that?j

I have a feeling we'll get some more bitter cold sooner or later, but this constant mild winter is getting a bit suspicious. Global warming? Well, big glaciers have been falling off of Arctic islands into the ocean. Greenland is actually getting green in the summer. Of course, certain politicians would have us believe we're on the verge of the oceans swallowing up Miami, NYC, and other coastal cities, while others say it's all a bunch of liberal hooey. I don't know, but it just seems that evidence continues to pile up in favor of climate warming.

Thankfully we live up pretty high and dry. ;-)

I've been reading and enjoying Brandon Sanderson's Elantris in the past week. For a change, I've picked up a book that doesn't start a whole series of books, though my to-read list is filled with such multi-volume stories. I'll compile a list soon and start to pick them off as the year progresses.