Homer's Travels: May 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Happy .... mmm mmm Birthday!

I want to wish my Mom a wonderful CENSORED birthday.  I hope she enjoys the pink orchid I bought her.  I can't think about you without thinking about the color pink.

May you have many more.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Weekly Ephemera #98

Things are kind of coasting here in Homer's Travels land.  We are a few weeks from our return to the Camino.  There really isn't much to do to prepare so we are just getting the house in order.
  • We've been having crazy Spring weather this month.  Rain, hail, tornadoes.  There were a few nights this week the weather radio woke us up multiple times in the middle of the night.  On Friday morning I woke up at 2am to the sounds of tornado sirens.  It's disconcerting when you're watching the weather coverage in the middle of an alert and you lose the Internet.  Definitely not an ideal situation.

    At the suggestion of the Wife I cleaned out the tornado room this week.  The tornado room is a room in our basement away from windows where we can go if the unspeakable happens.  While all the rain is doing marvels for the yards and gardens in our area everyone is getting tired of having to watch the sky.
  • The bathroom people returned on Friday and finished the bathroom.  It's really nice to have all that behind us.  The only thing to do now is to pay for it all ... oof.
  • I walked only once this week.   A short 6.9 miles (11.2 km).  This is where I could really be preparing for the Camino ... but I'm not.
  • My semi-annual blood draw is coming this week.  As always I don't expect my test numbers will be that great but they shouldn't be bad either.  I'll know soon enough.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Weekly Ephemera #97

  • Took Mom to the neurosurgeon on Monday and we set a date for her surgery to correct stenosis in her neck.  The surgery will be after the Wife and I return from Spain.  If all goes well she will have more spinal surgery in six to twelve months to correct stenosis in her lower back.  The goal of all of this is to reduce the pain in her lower back and legs and, hopefully, improve her balance, gait, and quality of life.
  • The Tile Guy put in the tile floor in our bathroom this week.  It looks nice.  The lighter tile and wall color makes the bathroom feel bigger and brighter.  This coming Friday the bathroom people will come back to install the toilet, medicine cabinet, and other small details.  Yesterday I took my first shower in our new, larger shower.  It is very roomy now and doesn't feel like you are showering in a phone booth (For the too young this is a phone booth.).  Looking forward for it being completely finished.
Photograph: "Cotton Stars on a Puddle Sky"
By Bruce H.

  • I went walking twice this week.  I managed 16.6 miles (26.7 km) which is a bit short for two hikes.  During one of the hikes I walked through a park full of cottonwood trees shedding their fluffy seeds to the whims of the wind.  I took the picture above - slightly out of focus as usual - of cottonwood seeds on the surface of a rain puddle.
  • I watched season two of "Halo" this week.  I really liked it.  I started the final season of Star Trek: Discovery this weekend.  The last episode is in a couple weeks.  Interesting so far in a very Star Trek way.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Weekly Ephemera #96

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there, especially my Mom!!!

This week was not full of much activity.  I only have a few things to mention.
  • Yesterday we went to the combined birthday party for the niece's four year old son and two year old daughter.  Their kids are awesome and, after this party, they will need a bigger house to store all the toys these kids got.  The one gift we are all jealous of is a battery powered bubble gun.  Is it normal for a sixty year old man to want a bubble gun?
  • I watched "Star Trek: Lower Decks" this week.  I love all the easter eggs they can wedge into a Star Trek cartoon.  This week I'll take a Trek break and will watch the second season of "Halo".
  • The Wife went out to see the Aurora Borealis on Friday night.  I didn't join her as I was really tired.  She saw some good displays near Hitchcock Nature Reserve.  I was asleep before she even arrived there.  This is unlike me really since seeing the northern lights is on my informal bucket list.  Not sure why I couldn't find the energy to join the Wife.
  • One possible explanation for my tiredness is that I did a long walk Friday morning and really didn't nap afterwards like I usually do.  This week I walked twice for a total of 18.67 miles (30.0 km) with most of those miles being on Friday.
  • This week the tile guy is coming to tile our bathroom floor.  The end of our bathroom remodel is in sight.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Book: Robert M. Sapolsky's "Determined: A Science Of Life Without Free Will"

The latest read in my very slow progression through my reading list is Robert M. Sapolsky's "Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will".  The book explores the concept of Free Will and determinism.

Sapolsky comes from the school of thought that Free Will does not exist.  Basically, since everything we do and every decision we make are influenced/determined by history and events beyond our control, we cannot have Free Will.

Half of the book covers the arguments for the existence of Free Will and basically shoots each one down.  The second half of the book touches on how a world with no Free Will would work.  For example, Should you punish a person for doing a crime if he had no real choice but to do it?  Would a world where no one thinks they have Free Will be chaotic?

The book is very interesting since I lean towards agreeing with Sapolsky even though, frankly, I still live as though I do have Free Will.

I gave the book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  It's well written, though a bit repetitive at times, and I tended to agree with the author.

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Weekly Ephemera #95

  • The bathroom is ... almost finished.  In a week our tile guy will be putting down the tile floor.  After that the bathroom folks will be back to install the toilet and finish a few minor things.  If all goes well it should be done by the end of the month.  The Wife has started to take showers in the new, larger shower.  I am still using the guest shower.  I want to wait for it to be completely done before I use it.  Of course this could change at any time.
  • Work on our sprinkler system was completed this week before the rain moved in.  A blockage was bypassed and a couple sprinkler heads were relocated.  So far this spring has been wet and we have had no need for the sprinkler.  This will change soon enough.
  • I watched "Fallout" on Prime.  It was pretty good for a video game adaptation.  This weekend we reupped our Paramount+ subscription and I had started to work my way through the second season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds".  It's some of the best 'new' Trek.  (New Trek is all Trek television starting with "Star Trek: Discovery".)
  • I didn't hike this week.  I just didn't.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Music: Joe Satriani w/ Steve Vai at The Astro

On Sunday I went to The Astro, a relatively new music venue just five minutes from our home.  I was there to see Joe Satriani, a guitarist introduced to me by one of my coworkers, who I used to listen to back in the 90s.  It brought back a lot of memories.

The warm up was Steve Vai.  Vai, at the age of twelve or thirteen, knocked on Joe Satriani's door and asked him to teach him how to play guitar.  I'd never heard him play and his skill on the guitar was incredible.

Steve Vai playing a three neck guitar.
Vai's style is a bit chaotic, jamming, and improvisational.  Some people like this style.  I'm not a big fan but I have to acknowledge the skill he displayed.

Joe Satriani and his band.
Joe Satriani came on and I immediately recognized his style and I was pulled back to time when I listened to his CDs and rocked out.  His style is more 'orderly' and is infused with virtuoso guitar play. I really enjoyed it.

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai side by side jamming on their guitars.
Near the end Steve Vai joined Satriani on stage to play together and it was mind blowing.  They really did compliment each other and Satriani brought some order to vai's playing.  The only rough spot was when they did two covers - "You really got me" by the Kinks and "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.  The keyboardist sang the lyrics and he didn't quite get there vocally.  The guitar playing was incredible on both though.

This was my first concert in The Astro which opened up a year ago.  It's a medium sized venue with an attached outdoor amphitheater.  There were a few quirks like being able to enter a row of seats from only one end instead of both and only some of the seats are padded theater style seats with the rest being unpadded folding chairs.   A little more interior design planning would have been helpful.

Photos of the concert can be found in my "2024-04-28 Joe Satriani w/ Steve Vai, The Astro, La Vista, NE" Google Photos album.