A Bit Rested

On the 6th day of my vacation I'm relaxed.

My normal goal setting strategy is to set very high goals either privately or with heavy caveats and attempt to achieve reasonable fulfillment of those goals. I almost never set and attempt achievable goals unless I'm being forced to put them on paper. Thus, my last blog entry was concluded with a large number goals for my vacation and the statement "Even if I get none of this actually finished..."

As it turns out, I've kept myself busy but I've not been keeping up with my writing goals. In addition, I've determined that I must ban Netflix for the duration of this vacation if I hope to experience it as I've already rewatched an embarrassingly large number of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes since starting my vacation - an activity which really brings no additional learning or viable experience as I can almost recite them at this point.

Since my last blog entry I've done a number of things both on and off the plan I set forth in the former entry:

First, I've read approximately 45% of "On Writing" - This book as it turns out is less on writing and more a biography. Although King goes out of his way to state that it is not an autobiography near the beginning of the book, it smacks far too close to be considered a book on any other topic in my opinion at least so far. I'd decided to start this book to get a portrayal of the life of an author (something I've always considered attempting). Very unsurprisingly, as with most things in life for which one is payed sums of money, writing seems to require large quantities of practice, effort and attention. The book itself is in King's humorous and accessible style and I find that I'm enjoying the stories he puts forth in his recollection of the life surrounding his career.

On Sunday, I was invited to a Magic the Gathering pre-launch event for one of the new sets by a coworker and her husband. I'd not played MTG since college and the format of the event (Limited) is such that the deck is built from a near-random set of cards provided at the event. I had a great deal of fun but, I don't intend to make a frequent habit of the game. This statement has nothing to do with ensuring I'm not thought of as a nerd by you, dear reader, surely an impossibility if you are indeed reading my blog and just read that I am able to recite most Star Trek episode from heart. It is intended as a reenforcement of my own self discipline. You see, MTG (at least in some formats) is a pay-to-win game. With a cost to random booster packs and an even greater cost to individual opened cards needed to strengthen a deck for Standard games, the long game is more about building the decks than playing the game. The cost of these decks can range in the hundreds and even absurdly into the thousands. I object to this style of gameplay for no other reason than I'm cheap. Anyway, I was delighted when told that this was limited play - $25 for random pack of the set and 12 games to play with additional booster packs as prizes. All-in-all, an afternoon of geeky fun with a few friends. I did not win any prizes, but I got to go and eat Indonesian food after the event.

Post the weekend, I'm down to one remaining episode of 'the Ultimate Guide to the Presidency' and I'm deeply disappointed that only one episode is reserved for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. I can somewhat understand this as the History Channel must maintain neutrality in presenting the modern presidents in order to achieve acceptance from their target consumers (high school history teachers). However given the historical presentation they made of political events, going so far as to label clearly 'mistakes' and 'successes' of each presidency, I'm a bit disappointed that they would relegate recent history to a completely abbreviated representation. I've not watched the episode yet, so perhaps I should refrain from judgement.

Throughout the series, I've been thinking over historical hindsight of our political system and find myself wondering what we'll think of our current situation in thirty of fifty years. I can only hope we'll look back on the horrendous gains of power made my corporate America (Citizens United and the end of Glass Steagall), how the politicians of today (mostly the Republicans) were bought and paid for by their corporate masters and finally how the government of our country came dangerously close to no longer being for the people as much as for the money before the necessary corrections to our political system were made in the best interests of freedom and individual liberty. Again, just a sincere hope. I am also saddened but a bit relieved to be reminded that our country has been through something like this before with the Railroad and Oil trusts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (relevant political cartoon below). I recommend the documentary for anyone looking for historical view of one of the branches of government. I should also note that I'm looking for similar series on Congress and the Judicial Branch.

trusts and congress

Finally, I'm midway through a recent round of money sorting and cataloguing for my collection. In return for helping my mother do her tax return, she's sent me some antique coins and notes picked up during some of her trips through thrift stores and yard sales. All of it appears to from prior to World War II. Of note are some pre-decimal UK coins bearing George V, George VI and Elizabeth II, some German 1910 and 1922 notes, and some Australian and French coins.

UK Penny George 5 UK Penny George 6 UK Penny Elizabeth II

German Mark 1 German Mark 10000

Jaime and I will be going camping with the dog at Deception Pass state park for the next three days.

I should have an upcoming entry on the rest of 'On Writing,' another book I've not written of yet and hopefully some good photos.

- Eli