24 November 2010

On a Lighter Note

I realize that my posts have been increasingly anxious as of late, and so I wanted to shed a little light on another side of living here, namely what I have found to do in my spare time.  And we EC82s are discovering exactly that which previous volunteers made clear to us during pre-service training: there is lots of spare time.

As followers know, I am indeed catching up on my reading, something I had been forgoing months before leaving for staging.  Right now I am currently working on two books, a novel set in London spanning from prehistory to modern day, and a biography of Albert Einstein.  On my shelf (metaphorically speaking, since my apartment does not, in fact, have a bookshelf) is Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, a book which not only all of my finance professors, but also the multimillionaire major-corporation CEOs they invited to speak to our classes, insisted that we not graduate without reading.  Next to that is Kathy Reichs's Bare Bones, which is one of her murder mystery novels whose popularity helped launch the popular FOX television show now in its sixth season, Bones.  Next to that is A Brief History of the Caribbean.  Then John Grisham's The Firm.  Then the STAR WARS novel I am currently on, Star By Star by Troy Denning, which is kind of like the third act of a The New Jedi Order five act play, for you Shakespeare buffs out there.  It means that the major turning point in the series is expected by the end.  And rounding out the list is the relatively new fantasy first-part by Christopher Paolini, Eragon.  All in all, a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, I think, expanding on my usual fare while holding onto some familiar staples as well.

I also find time to invest in my most ego-sensitive pastime, chess.  Specifically, I rediscovered a lost love in internet correspondence chess, provided by Stan's Net Chess, for which there is none better.   Feeling up to a 2-month long game at a pace about 1 move per day, friend?  Find Rainman and challenge me to a match; provisional memberships are free!  In the meantime, I am currently fending off six opponents from six different corners of the U.S.  The leisurely pace is a welcome diversion from the typical play-against-the-clock speed chess so prevalent on popular hosting sites nowadays.

For exercise, the reader knows that I seek out opportunities to engage in recreational running, like attacking the hill here at Mattingly or participating in the monthly hash.  I also walk to the grocery store, roughly 10 minutes one way.  I do not have any handy weights in my apartment, though I have considered curling those 5 liter jugs of water to build up my biceps. (I'm half-kidding; I haven't actually done this)

Of course I still find time for my daily/weekly webcomics.  For those of you who are unclear about what those are, they are simply the internet response to newspaper syndicated comics: instead of having to be the top 1% of nationally-recognized comic illustrators to be published, for the mere price of a domain, anyone can create an internationally-available comic to be updated at whatever rate the artist thinks he/she can manage.  Still unclear?  Here are some of my family-friendly favorites, in spite of some of their names: xkcd, perhaps the most internationally recognized and widely parodied "nerd comic;" Cowbirds in Love, a philosophy and science comic with a penchant for bad puns; Spiked Math, far and away the funniest and nerdiest strictly-math-major humor site; and Brawl In The Family, a webcomic that parodies the lives of Super Smash Bros. characters when they are not brawling.

Since I am not willing to pay for cable television here, I have an incentive to use the internet for that purpose as well.  And through the glories of IP masking, I am able to bypass regional restrictions and still watch my favorite TV shows on Hulu and Comedy Central.  Also, Saturdays mean Gameday, and I can usually listen to the Yellow Jackets play by streaming the radio station carrying the game if I want.  In addition, I have a radio in my apartment, and I go back and forth between ZIZ radio (pronounced as in the British, "zed eye zed") and Big Wave 96.7 FM.

And of course the occasional Sporcle quiz.

Well, I hope that was as interesting or enjoyable for the reader as it was for me.  Suggestions?  Comments?  Reviews?  Add your thoughts here.  Thanks to everyone that is remembering to pray for me; I entreat everyone's continued prayers for faith and patience, among other things.

P.S. Yay 50 posts


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  2. Thanks, Abdul. That's some good advice.
    I was just going to say that you should watch Glee on Hulu.