Life updates

I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff lately, but haven’t been posting much about current status of most of it. Figured it was time to post an update.

(I’m not looking for advice about any of this.)

Unread-books project

  • I’m down to only 200 unread trade paperbacks and hardcovers! I continue to expect that I’ll finish this project in late 2025, but progress has been fairly slow lately, and many of the remaining books are long, so it might take a bit longer than that.
  • I’m continuing to try to read (or skim) a story from a Year’s Best sf volume pretty much every day. I’m now reading stories published in 2011. I have about 26 Year’s Bests left to go, so about 1/8 of my remaining unread books are YBs. There’s an average of about 20 stories in each YB that I haven’t read before, so roughly 520 stories left to read, which means if I can keep up this pace, I’ll finish the YBs sometime around early 2025.



I’ve now at least glanced at all 2,400 songs in Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. I’ve found about 35 songs that fit all of my current criteria:

  • I know how to play all the chords they use.
  • I know the tune well enough to sing it.
  • I can figure out the weird RUS chord notation well enough to see where each chord goes.
  • I’ve tried playing and singing it, and it sounds reasonably good.

Next step: I’ll pick one of the songs, and create a version of the lyrics with chords in the right places, and print that out, and learn to play and sing it at least tolerably well. (I’ve done this with a couple of songs already.)

Oh, and both of the apps I was using (Justin Guitar and Simply Guitar) have been on hold while I’ve been going through the RUS books, but I think it’s now time to get back to those apps.


I’m continuing to make only slow progress in the Simply Piano app, but I’m continuing to play at least a little nearly every day. Currently working on songs from the “Arpeggios” section, which are focusing on (a) different sets of notes for a given chord that I already knew, and (b) chords that I didn’t previously know. (The ~10 chords that I had previously learned came easily to me, but I’m finding it harder to keep track of these new ones.)

Music theory

I’m learning a little more about chords and how they interact with melody from both guitar practice and piano practice, and from a guitar-playing friend, but haven’t gotten around to doing a music theory class or reading a music theory book.

Constellation Press

  • I have a reprint book planned, which I hope to be able to announce soon.
  • I’m also making plans to edit an unthemed original anthology. More about that soon, too, I hope.

My website

  • I’ve copied over nearly all of the material from my old plain-HTML site into my WordPress site.
  • In particular, I’ve now got all of the VRML (3D graphics) stuff in place; it’s viewable in a web browser for the first time in about 20 years.
  • I’ll link to some of this stuff soon.

Converting FrameMaker documents

  • I’ve created PDF and/or RTF versions of dozens of old FrameMaker documents in the past month or so, using a trial version of FM running under Windows, running under Parallels, on my old non-Apple-Silicon Mac.
  • It has gone mostly pretty smoothly, and I think I’ve done all of the most important such files now.
  • There are still a lot of files to go, but I think most of the remaining ones are unimportant, and I may just give up at some point.


  • My streak is at 137 days now, though there’ve been a few streak freezes mixed in there.
  • I’m currently learning about indirect-object pronouns in Spanish.
  • I’ve been pleased that I can understand some things that I see in written Spanish lately, such as some spam.
  • But I’m still very far from fluent. And I’m still not doing the speaking exercises at all—I’m more interested in the written part.

Dealing with old links-to-post

  • I completed my first pass of posting links from my big backlog-of-links-to-post file. The links that I posted in that pass were the ones that I had marked as low-effort.
  • I’m now partway through the medium-effort links. Progress is slower, but continuing. I expect to finish that sub-list in a couple months.
  • At that point, most of what’s left in the file will be high-effort links (where I feel like I need to do a fair bit of looking things up and/or a fair bit of careful framing), which I may or may not ever get around to posting.
  • There are also a whole bunch of Words & Stuff links, which mostly aren’t high-effort but which I somehow never get around to posting.
  • I’m also posting new stuff as it comes in, to avoid adding to the backlog.


  • Kam and I have continued playing the boardgame version of Dorf Romantik, sometimes joined by a friend. We’re fairly close to unlocking all of the special tiles and cards.
  • I’ve acquired the new boardgame Mists Over Carcassonne, which is the official cooperative version of Carcassonne, but we haven’t had a chance to play it yet. I’m kinda dubious about it; I suspect that I’ll end up thinking that Dorf Romantik is more like what I want cooperative Carcassonne to be. But we’ll see.
  • I’ve been occasionally playing CuBirds with various people on Boardgame Arena lately. Fun, lightweight, a fair bit of randomness. The physical version is expected to be available in the US in a month or two; I’ve preordered that.

Sorting-old-papers project

Very slow progress, but still progressing.

Family-history projects

  • Hoping to see a cousin sometime soon and hear more about some aspects of my mother’s family.
  • At some point, I’ll get started on transcribing the letters that my grandfather George wrote to my grandmother Helen during WWII.
  • I have a set of photos to get digitized that I set aside to deal with later months ago and haven’t gotten back to yet.


I’ve been making food at home a lot more in the past couple months than I ever have before. In particular:

  • I’m making brown rice in my rice cooker fairly often, and learning that I really like brown rice. (I’ve eaten it all my life, but more out of habit than anything else; it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that I actively prefer it to white rice.)
  • I’m using that rice to make burritos for myself fairly often. Yum.
  • A couple of times now, I’ve made coconut rice (with white rice). Once, I then made peanut sauce from a package, and added it to some fake meat, and had that with the coconut rice; worked pretty well. Hoping to try that again sometime soon.
  • I recently found half of a big bag of lentils in a cabinet. I always think of lentils as kind of scary to cook—I somehow think of them as involving hours of soaking followed by hours of cooking, possibly in a pressure cooker (which I don’t have). But, encouraged by some recipes, I tried something very simple: boil 3 cups of water, add 1 cup of lentils (and a bit of salt, I think), reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes. And it worked! The resulting lentils were quite edible. Next time, maybe I’ll look up lentil recipes in Mary Anne’s Feast of Serendib cookbook, and buy some relevant spices and other ingredients, and do something a bit fancier.
  • I recently discovered that I can make perfectly good smoothies and milkshakes in my vegetable chopper (like a super-basic mini-blender). I’ve found that the smoothies taste at least as good as the shakes to me, so I’m mostly focusing on those. My usual approach involves fresh berries + frozen berries + half a banana + a tablespoon of honey + a tablespoon of peanut butter + some milk, all blended together. Tasty!

Fiction writing

I hadn’t done any in a long time, but recently got interested again in a particular story-in-progress, and have been poking at that intermittently. It’s possible that at some point I might finish it and submit it somewhere. We’ll see.

Other projects

I have half a dozen other projects that I haven’t listed here because they’ve been more or less on hold. I hope to get back to some of them as I wrap up some of the ones I mentioned above.


  • Continuing to have calls with some friends.
  • Continuing to fail to get in touch with other friends. (Sorry, all! Not intentional.)
  • Have seen a couple of friends in person lately, either going for walks in local parks or sitting in my backyard. I continue to mask, even outdoors, as I work on figuring out what’s comfortable for me.


I still have COBRA coverage. Not sure how long I’ll continue that, though, so I’m trying to do appointments and such sooner rather than later.

Physical health

  • Next week, I have a hearing test, after which I hope to be able to get prescription hearing aids.
  • Also next week, I have an optometrist appointment.
  • I’m continuing to take eye drops to manage glaucoma. Seems fine so far. And so far, I don’t think I’ve had the side effects of my eye color changing or my lashes getting extra-long.
  • At some point, I need to schedule an annual physical, which will presumably require me to pick a new primary-care doctor.
  • Probably time to get a flu shot sometime soon, maybe next month.
  • As usual, no particular physical health issues other than the glaucoma.

Mental health

  • I continue to have my usual anxiety about the usual things.
  • But mostly it’s been pretty muted in the past few weeks. It hasn’t been particularly intense, and there’s been nothing particularly stressful.
  • I haven’t had a lot to talk about with my solo therapist lately.
  • I may be switching to seeing her every other week instead of every week sometime soonish.

Job search

No progress yet. Sooner or later, I’ll get back to working on my résumé, but I’m currently in no rush.

One Response to “Life updates”

  1. Sumana Harihareswara

    Many neat things here! I am looking forward to (if you are open to it) at some point in the future hearing you play music. And maybe singing along!


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