January 1st, 2011

Hangover

New Year's Day

I spent New Year's Eve with friends, playing Apples to Apples and singing along (badly) while the kids played "We Got the Beat" in Rock Band. And feeling awful for Dick Clark.

Despite the lack of resolutions last New Year's, I managed to accomplish a couple of worthwhile things this past year. For one, even though I gained some weight back last winter, by the end of the year was I was a few pounds net to the good, so that's something.

The other thing is that for the first time in 25 years I have no credit card debt to speak of. I paid them off in June, and have since been able to not only pay off the balance every month, but also bank the money that I'd been previously putting towards payments. The only debt I am currently carrying is the mortgage on the house (which is about half of the current assessed value). My 401K is recovering from the recent unpleasantness, and just to add a cherry on top of the year, for Christmas my father gave each of my sibs and me a chunk of stock in the company the family business represents.

I have never had much of a head for money. I've also never been one to whom wealth was particularly important. Fortunately, I've almost always had a job that paid me enough to live comfortably. Where I got into trouble over the years was in frittering away what I could've been using to make myself even more comfortable on credit card interest and such like. I think I'm finally learning. On the other hand, money can't buy me love.

Other than those things, though, not much happened. Mostly I went to work, rattled around the house, or rode one of my bikes. I rode more than 1600 miles, my second best total ever. Probably could've beaten the old best, too, if I hadn't wussed out the last couple of months because of the cold weather.

So, the year gone by wasn't particularly exciting, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I know people who had terrible years, and that makes me feel lucky to live such an uninteresting life.
Books 04

The Year in Books

"Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." - Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

More books than ever since I started keeping track. A lot of rereads, too, especially towards the end of the year.

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I bought an e-reader a few weeks ago, an Aluratek Libre. It was $90 on sale at BJ's, and came with 100 public domain books already installed (including the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes). I like it. It replaces the Palm Tungsten I had been using mostly as a reader*. The Libre uses a non-backlit LCD screen. It's very readable, as long as you're not trying to read it in the dark. I prefer it to epaper. I did like the screen on the Palm better, first because it was in color, and second, and more important, because you could highlight text on the Palm. That's the biggest weakness of the Libre (for me). It does let you set bookmarks, but then you have to figure out what exactly it was that made you want to bookmark it in the first place.

* The battery in the Palm, which I'd replaced not all that long ago, was completely shot. I could've gotten another battery, but the last one lasted barely a year, and replacing it involved soldering it into place. No thanks.

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My current book is by a fictional character, Richard Castle's Heat Wave. Detective Kate Beckett Nikki Heat and writert reporter Rick Castle Jamie Rook (Castle=Rook, get it?) fight crime. So far it's a little better than I expected.