Monday, January 3, 2011

Quarterly Report to the Shareholders, Fall/Winter 2010


In late November I reached the decision to discontinue blogging as of the New Year.  In mid-December, I reversed that decision and commenced scheduling out January and February.  I guess I'm just a blogging fool.

I am somewhat irritated that Michael Reads the Bible has been dormant for so long.  I blame Isaiah, of course, but I concede that I am partially to blame as well.  My challenge in coming weeks will be to bring that venerable project back to life at the same time I am faced with another Dostoevsky novel whose time in the Reading List has come round.  And, I'm also thinking to be more active with Vexilophilia.  We'll see how it all pans out.

Reading & Movies

I consumed 27 books over the course of the quarter. Eighteen of these were audio books ranging from the fairly serious (Our Mutual Friend, Germinal, Brideshead Revisited) to the fluffy (Love Among the Chickens, The Swedish Waif Who Kicked Some Ass). There were nine books that I sat down and read with my eyes, of which the most virtuous was probably The Canterbury Tales and the best perhaps The Last Samurai.  (Although there were two Patrick O'Brian books in there too, which are in their own way so perfect so as to make it hard to designate a "best" that is above them.  Avast!)

I completed the "More Movies" project and declared the end of my career as a movie critic, forgetting that Avatar still lurks deep in my library queue.  Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve I began a new, albeit much more specific, movie project, to which you will soon be subjected.  Lucky you.


The Quarter saw six geohashing expeditions.  This is dramatically down from summer's 17 expeditions, but this is what you would expect during the winter.  On Christmas Eve, Mrs.5000 and I became the first to geohash the Coos Bay, Oregon graticule; we have now pioneered no fewer than five Oregon graticules.  Basically, we own the southwest of the state.  

The Chess Project

I completed only 5 games of chess against players from countries I had not played before. This, however, got me over the halfway point of the project: I've now played against 122 countries out of the 240 defined by  After reaching the halfway point, I took a little bit of a break, but began issuing challenges again over the Christmas holiday.  Note that the second half of this project will become increasingly difficult, as I have checked the Russias, Frances, and New Zealands off the list, and am now hoping to find Naurans, St. Kitts and Nevisites, San Marinans, Equatorial Africans, and so on.


A lot of quilting happened in October and November.  I'll show you some outcomes in a few days.

House and Garden





I did not visit any new counties during the quarter.


Despite the onset of winter, I ran a over 150 miles during the quarter.  This included an organized 15K race, the longest run I've done for six or seven years.  I've been enjoying filling in my "box" of streets.

Biking mileage plunged, however, to only 35 miles for the quarter.  This reflects the onset of winter, but is nevertheless a disappointingly low figure.

Caffeine and Cola

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I surprised myself by ceasing to drink cola.


I been consistently under 200 pounds for half a year.


I have again successfully avoided the consumption of tomatoes qua tomatoes this quarter.

Dr. Who

My Dr. Who watching has advanced to May 1964, still within the era of the "First Doctor," William Hartnell.  A stumbling block has been introduced by the MCPL's incomplete collection of the Dr. Who corpus, which will add considerable but hopefully not insurmountable difficulties to the project.


Questions to the Prime Minister

Any questions from the floor may be posed at this time.


Nichim said...

Blogging: Hurrah for the proposed continuation of Michael Reads the Bible. Really, it's my favorite thing on the internet.

Reading: Do you use some kind of book tracking software or website? I am looking to get into that, as I tend to read books and promptly forget about them if there's not some kind of documentation involved. Of course, I suppose I could get a notebook, but that seems so anti-social.

Counties: Do you have a publicly accessible list or map of your counties somewhere? It is often that I cross a county line and wonder "Has Michael500o been here"?

Dr. Who: I probably don't need to reiterate how happy I am about this project of yours. I can probably hook you up with a Portland-area source for episodes not held by MCPL. I'll call my people.

In summation: Keep up the good work!

Elaine said...

Hand up for wanting Michael5000 to keep blogging til the kitchen sinks. I mean, gee--you're part of my week!

I'm interested in your 'book list' approach, too. The reason: I checked out some books for the Christmas break/New Year's trek, only to discover (not as quickly as I should have) that I had already read Mary Lawson's _Crow Lake._ (It is a well-written book that bears re-reading, it's just that I did not need a fresh reminder that I'm getting less and less 'with it.' SENILE has been in the NYT puzzle twice this week, too.)

Yay for blogging!

mrs.5000 said...

Did you really listen to a book called The Swedish Waif Who Kicked Some Ass? Isn't that Pippi Longstocking?

Jenners said...

Interested to hear your thoughts on the Swedish waif. Glad you decided not to throw in the blogging towel ... though I could see that you might want to ... you've lasted longer at it than many many people.

And if one cannot really sew all that well, how hard would it be to learn to how to make a quilt?

sister jen said...

The animated running map with soundtrack Kicks Some Ass!

Elaine said...

To make a quilt you need to know how to sew in a straight line forward and in reverse. There is even a quilt 'pattern' that does not require precise seams. I promise.

Michael5000 said...

Nichim: Mercy! I keep track of my books on the "Goodreads" website, a trifle of the Facebook variety. My county map can be seen here.

Mrs.: Pippi is of course the original Swedish Waif Who Kicked Some Ass.

Jenners: The Swedish Waif Who Kicked Some Ass you were thinking about had one and a half terrific novels in her; unfortunately, the half was spread over books two and three. I am more charitably inclined towards ol' Steig, however, since learning that he wrote them as a hobby for crying out loud.

And: quilting is pretty easy. It involves a lot of repetition of routine tasks, though, which may not be your long suit. I recommend recorded books.

sister jen: The animated running map's soundtrack happens to be sung by Anne Sophie von Otter, yet a third Swedish Waif Who Kicks Some Ass.

sister jen said...

I did note that she, also, was Kicking Ass. Thanks for the reference. I sense a new Pandora station coming up...

Michael5000 said...

The song is "Gruss," and it's by Grieg.

The Calico Cat said...

Shall I assume that no Pumpkin Cookies will be mailed to Maryland?

Michael5000 said...

This is just to say, I have eaten the pumpkin cookies that I baked and had considered sending to Maryland. Forgive me. They were delicious. So sweet, and so... pumpkiny...