They should make a documentary about people who lost weight when the sight of an obese person shocked them into health.

They could call it “Scared Skinny.”

It worked for me. And the oversized guy that scared me was the one staring back from the mirror.

Twitter’s not all bad

Turtledove’s “How Few Remain,” an alternate history of a divided America.

I followed Harry Turtledove on Twitter. He followed me back. And he even sent me a note.

How bloody cool is that?

Mugology: Hydroflask FTW

The Hydro Flask is ridiculously expensive, by far the costliest caffeine receptacle in the house. It is finicky, requiring a hand-wash (and occasional de-staining with a soak in white vinegar), and heavier than a wet collie. But damned if it doesn’t chill my day-old coffee and keep it cold all day so that I can sip and not gulp the stuff.

Reasons to Love Amtrak: Service

They gave these to me for free. Portland station for the win again.

When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, domestic US airlines had a culture of service that they extended to everyone regardless of whether you were flying first or coach. That sentiment is mostly dead unless you are seated in the front of the plane, and even then, its a crapshoot.

Amtrak, on the other hand, has a service culture that harks back to the golden era of air travel. I will choose Amtrak over any domestic US airline, and this simple gesture on the part of a Portland baggage handler is just one more example of why that is the case.

There is More to a Notebook than a Pile of Paper

Back when I was working and had a few coins in my pocket, I subscribed to a service that each month sent me a small package of notebooks of different types, styles, and designs; artist’s pens; and stickers.

Most of these things I would never buy retail: my notebook of choice was a Moleskine, and my pen of choice was a Pilot G-2 with a .038 tip. Had it been up to me, this might have been all I ever used. But having $20 worth of notebooks dumped on my table each month, each in a different format or style, taught me to rethink my writing implements.

It’s not that every person has their preferred notebook format: it is more that every notebook format serves a different purpose. Some notebooks are great for journaling, others for lists, and others for composition. Some composition notebooks are better for prose, others for poetry, and still others for waste books.

The medium is important. Over the coming months, I’ll share a little of what I mean.

Sunset over the old neighborhood

Lots of memories are encompassed in this photo. Memory is a prankster, tempting you to coat everything with either sugar or salt. Coming back to the place where I grew up finds me struggling to find the truth behind the filters of nostalgia, anger, regret, and grief. But just being here, sitting on the balcony, walking the old streets, and dealing with all of those things is bringing something I didn’t expect: healing.

Today is apparently one of those days when I get in the shower, soap my hair and beard, have a sudden writing inspiration, rinse, dry, dress, and make it downstairs to start making coffee before I remember that I had forgotten to wash anything below my neck.

Do I:

  • Go back and get in the shower again;
  • Do a quick “pits and tuchas” job with a washcloth and a bar of soap; or
  • Put on deodorant and hope for the best?

Distractions! Aargh!

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