Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.
Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this at work one day, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.
Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.
Watched the Greatest of All Time competition over the last two weeks – Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer competing for $1,000,000. Which made me wonder about trivia challenges and the like.
I’ve liked trivial knowledge for most of my life. Reading a lot made that easy, and I seem to retain many facts, though admittedly some are easier to recall than others. (I have trouble recalling dates and years, and geography isn’t something I’m strong at.)
But who wins trivia challenges? In this Salon article, we’re told Jeopardy! isn’t about IQ. At least, not all of it. It’s a game show, so we’re relying on television drama and a buzzer that Ken Jennings called “a cruel mistress.”
But all the contestants know facts. Many may even know most of the answers. So where does IQ come in? Looking up the intelligent quotient, it’s “a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person,” and from the Mensa website: “…it is an indication of how well one performs on mental tests compared to one’s contemporaries.”
If the average IQ is 100, and Mensa takes those of 132 or higher, where do trivia buffs fall on the scale? All over the place! According to Adam Holquist, contestants are split between “normal people” and super-performers. And on Vox, there’s a case to be made for the individual IQ score not really being predictive of performance.
So, yes, trivia buffs know a lot. But there are plenty of people who don’t play trivia games that know a lot too. And we all know a lot about something, even if no one is asking questions about those topics.
For a bit of fun, there’s a Twitter roast between the contestants from the GOAT shows highlighted on the Woman’s Day site.
Hello again, campers! Ready for your campfire tales? No? Not really?
I finished listening to the Camp Red Moon short anthology, and it took me a while to recognize the voice in the second story. Kevin T. Collins, who’s performed the audiobooks to the Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbot. Speaking of, it’s about time for another installment in that series.
Anyway, here’s what’s on my plate this week.
Reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Just getting started, and I haven’t seen the movie either, but I recognize the desire to travel, isolate, and found yourself. A lot of my library seems geared towards those sentiments, even if they all haven’t been read yet. A 26-year-old, reeling from tragedy, decides to make the 1100-mile solo hike.
Listening: You Learn from the Alanis Morrissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill. I had this in the nineties (it’s probably still floating around my cd collection somewhere). This ensemble number is really touching, and I enjoy it a lot.
Doing: Goal setting. I’ve been using a couple of resources – Designing Your Life, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, & Tim Ferris. Before I start making cuts to some of my projects and interests, I want to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. So having those goals set are important.
What I’m Reading: The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Picked it back up, and am just reading a chapter a night. Being a dog lover, it’s nice to read from the dog’s point of view, but also a bit sad given the context.
What I’m listening to: Camp Red Moon on Audible, from RL Stine and other authors. Fun fireside ghost stories, geared towards a younger audience. But I did grow up reading Goosebumps, so I don’t mind it at all.
What I’m spending time with: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt on Nintendo Switch. Started down the deep dive of the Witcher franchise last week, and wanted to give the game a go. Pretty good so far. I like the open-world environment, as well as multiple quests to accomplish. A little glitchy at times, which I heard is a flaw in the Nintendo conversion. But otherwise, a grade of A- so far.
What I’ve shared:
What I’m reading: I read very little this week. Best of intentions and all, but time slipped away. I did start perusing An Innocent Abroad, compiled travel wisdom by Don George and published by Lonely Planet. But, not enough to actually call it reading.
What I’m listening to: Die Winterreise by Franz Schubert. I learned of this song cycle five or ten years ago, and I listen to it every winter. It’s 24 pieces, poetry set to music, following a man’s journey into the snow to rid himself of his departed, lost love. Quintessentially German.
What I’m spending time on: The Witcher on Netflix, starring Henry Cavill. I hadn’t followed the phenomenon that is The Witcher, from a fantasy franchise based on the series of books from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. But the show has garnered some attention, and I wanted to see what it was all about. A man fighting monsters in a world with wizards, elves, and dragons.
What I’ve shared:
To start the year, I had two focus words I wanted to spend my time with: Harmony & Success. I made some progress with harmony, but not so much with success.
I began the year working as a development director for a nonprofit, as well as working two gigs. My contract with the nonprofit ended in April, but I hadn’t been enjoying the work all that much anyway. I went into a sales position after that ended, and picked up a couple more gigs along the way.
When I had another sales job lined up, I left the first one – only to have my new job placed on hold. So I bounced around a lot. From August to October, I was only working gigs and relying on savings to get through. By November I was worrying about what kind of work I’d land. Then in December, I added two more jobs, one in retail and one in a restaurant. And most excitingly, a tour guide job lined up for March – in Alaska.
As to achieving harmonious living – I believed it would take meditation, yoga, writing, and soul searching, all of which I did to some degree over the past year. I’ve been more consistent with my writing, and up until the end of November, I had been doing a lot of yoga.
Am I more harmonious? I don’t really know. But I usually feel pretty relaxed and even-keeled.
This past year had some highlights – my summer travel to Alaska; joining the improv troupe; a few really exciting gigs. But overall, it was a quiet year. A time for restructuring and decluttering. Much more harmony than success.
With 2020 mere hours away, I’m focusing on two new words to guide me through the coming year: Adventure and bravery. Tomorrow I’ll dig into my plans and goals for 2020, but for now, here’s to a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve!
Ah, Christmas. A time for relaxation, carols, food, and retail…
What I’m reading: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I found the name while reading Horizons, had the book, and had never read it. So I just started reading it.
What I’m listening to: Corner of the Sky from Pippin, New Broadway Cast Recording. The lyrics, “The rivers belong where they can ramble. the eagles belong where they can fly. I’ve got to be where my spirit can run from. Gotta find my corner of the sky.”, have been playing over and over in my head.
What I’m spending time with: Tidying up after Christmas. Seems like a lot was going on this week, run visiting family to prepping for after-holiday festivities. I found a couple neat hacks, including these tips cleaning.
What I’ve shared:
And that’s really it this week.