Archives : January 2000

2000 January 5

What I did on my Christmas Vacation, by Colin R., age 28 1/2

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, but I seem to have made one anyway. What's more, it's the most insipid and predictable of them all, which is that I'm going to rearrange my schedule to get some exercise on a regular sort of basis.

The reason I don't believe in Resolutions is that the only way important decisions will ever stick is that if they're made at their own proper time -- that is, the day you become determined to make a change, not before, and not after. And if you need the calendar to prompt you, you're almost certainly not serious. So my defence is that I claim this happens to be the right time to be making this decision, since I have been in this new job for just long enough now to establish that I'm not getting the even minimal amount of exercise I used to get biking to Stanford, and something has to be done.

. . .

Anyway, so I spent New Year's Eve at home, for the first time since high school. There was a party I could have gone to, but unfortunately my mother had to work (at the hospital), and in the end I decided I couldn't leave my father home alone.

It is true that the only way this New Year's was really any different than any other was for the sake of the stuff that was on TV; in particular, the efforts taken to knit stuff into a global party. All the rest of it has been done before.

So we had a shot of akvavit at midnight Atlantic Time to mark the millenium. It wasn't as raucous as a traditional New Year's party, but it was good.

. . .

What else has happened since my last journal entry, what, three weeks ago? Way too much for me to write down, but nothing that's probably all that exciting. Christmas was the usual, though like last year we didn't manage to have any guests for dinner -- my parents lead a very narrow social life these days. So we had a late dinner on Christmas Eve, turkey, dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, all the trimmings, and then stayed up late with liqueurs and coffee and dessert. My father, as usual, made it quite a spread. And then we repeated that for three or four nights in a row. My father gets more ambitious and elaborate with the food every year.

Also, I sat in on Michael's AD&D game one night in Boston (I spent a couple of days there before Christmas), and ran a short game for Bill and Pat while I was home (sadly, halfway through they lost the motivation to take it seriously, and decided to go psycho instead). I also managed to meet Jennifer for an afternoon while she was also home, went out to a party with my brother, took Mom out to lunch, and took Dad out to a hockey game.

The hockey game was pretty cool, actually. After Halifax lost its last AHL team (an NHL farm league), people rallied around the formerly obscure Halifax Mooseheads major-junior team. They've moved from the old Forum to the Metro Centre, and on Sunday they drew 9,500 for a game against Cape Breton, which is more than I can ever remember seeing for the Citadels. Apparently it now seems quite unlikely that Halifax will ever be interested in the merry-go-round of another AHL team, where any player that actually starts to make a name for himself is promptly stolen away by the parent club.

. . .

New Year's Day in Herring Cove now means the polar bear plunge off the government wharf; this event is about five years old now, and has been getting steadily bigger -- I think forty or fifty people jumped this year. They had three wet-suited divers in the water (in case anyone anyone suffered shock from the 4 C water temperature), a rescue van on the wharf, a bagpipe player, and at least a hundred spectators on the wharf, half a dozen nearby docks, and a fishing boat in the middle of the cove. I started out watching from our deck, but then wandered down to get a closer look. One of my brother's friends has done it in the past, but I didn't see him this year; he must have decided to go down to Crystal Crescent and do his dip there.

One year I may find the motivation to do it myself. It's supposed to be exhilarating.

I took a bunch of pictures; when I get them developed I'll scan them in.

. . .

I've been writing all of this sitting in Logan airport, waiting for my flight back to San Francisco. It's been delayed an hour and a half, but I think boarding time is now approaching. And anyway, I think I've written enough for the moment.

2000 January 8

New year, new look

No more beard. I shaved it all off. My lip feels funny.

2000 January 9

A real millenial retrospective

For all the recent hullabaloo about the millenium, for all you could tell from the celebrations or the media coverage, it might have been any old turn-of-the-century. That is, any history that happened longer ago than living memory might as well not exist; certainly the news media didn't have either the guts or the understanding to offer a real millenial retrospective. I have found one and only one heroic exception: The Economist devoted an entire issue to The World This Millenium, and it is I think the best single issue of any magazine I have ever read.


2000 January 16

A distressing realisation; also, bonus foreign currency

A distressing thought occurred to me the other day: I've lived in the Bay Area for a year and a half now, and my social circle here is still smaller than the one I have in Boston. And I've never lived in Boston. This is not a good thing.

Something has to change: either I have to do a lot better at finding friends in this hostile vale, or I've got to move to Boston.

. . .

I received this stray piece of Vulcan currency in change at Zellers. Live long and prosper.

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2000 January 30

No encouragement like success

I was in to the gym this afternoon, and was astonished to see that I've apparently lost three pounds this week. More realistically, that's four pounds this month. I decided I had to start a more formal exercise program because I'd gained something like ten pounds last year, but I really didn't expect it to go away this fast. I'd be happy with one pound a month, really.

In fact, I don't really believe it. It's got to be a fluctuation, or the scale is off, or something.

But still, nothing makes me keener to go work out more often than a sign that it's actually doing something for me.

. . .

Incidentally, those with an eye for literary foreshadowing will not be surprised when I say that last entry's rhetorical question has not gone away. I have, in fact, started seriously considering the idea of moving to Boston.

What's holding me in San Francisco? The answer appears to be, nothing very much.

2000 January 31

Thought for the day

Starting something new is not inherently more difficult than keeping something old going. It only seems that way because so many fewer people are any good at it. In fact, starting new things is easy: you just do it.