Monday, July 4, 2011

Quarterly Report to the Shareholders, Spring 2011, part I


Blogging has survived a worklife that, during June, reached a frenetic pace greater than anything I've really experienced before.  I probably should have taken a sabbatical but didn't, although I think I did miss a Tuesday in there.  Michael Reads the Bible is moribund and, if I'm honest, likely to stay that way for some time to come. State of the Craft is in mothballs. Vexillophilia, my joint venture with Cartophiliac, was jointly cancelled when we jointly realized that, yeah, flags are fun and all, but not that interesting.


I consumed 27 books over the course of the quarter, which is kind of weird because it's the third quarter in a row I've gone through 27 books.  I guess I'm a 108-book-a-year sort of guy. Fifteen of these were audio books with the usual mix of the serious (The Great Gatsby, Zadie Smith's On Beauty, Rushdie's Midnight's Children) and the fluffy, and as always with a generous sprinkling of Scandinavian detectives. Two audio books that I read with a certain degree of ironic intent are worthy of note; Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People turned out to be surprisingly intelligent and humane, while Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, through which I am still trudging, turns out to been less intelligent and less humane than I could have imagined.

Of the 17 books that I eye-read, three were graphic novels or otherwise not really full "books" per se.  A standout, among books not reviewed in these web pages, was Nabokov's Pale Fire, one of the most strangely structured books in any given library.  The winner in the Respectable Genre Fiction division was The Laughing Policeman, the fourth and best so far of the 1970s Norwegian Inspector Martin Beck series.  Most Disappointing Novel goes to the adequate but not-to-potential China Mieville sprawler The Scar.

Filmed Entertainment 

I watched hardly any movies at all this quarter!  Mrs.5000 and I, however, went on a Monty Python binge, watching the 40 year old series in its entirety.  We then watched the first episode of Fawlty Towers, discovered that it disproved sister jen's hypothesis that anything featuring John Cleese is inherently funny, and left it at that.  Acting on the advice of my emergency backup attorney, I have also been working through the mid-aughts sitcom "Arrested Development."  It is quite clever and well crafted and was of course a commercial failure.

Dr. Who

Frankly, we've hit a snag.  My available Dr. Who resources ran out precisely at the moment when the original 3 "companions" -- the only three, you remember, that I have ever known -- returned to Earth.  And, the next available Dr. Who at my disposal is a few years later, with a whole 'nuther Dr. that I would not have seen the transition to.  What I'm saying is, I reached the end of a satisfying story arc, and what lies ahead of me is bits and fragments, and I'm thinking: is it worth going on?

As I see it, my options are thus:
  1. manfully press on watching whatever I can salvage.
  2. skip ahead to a point where a coherent flow of Dr. Who becomes available.
  3. skip ahead to "the new Dr. Who" like a norm.
  4. or, declare victory, declare that I have watched all of the existing episodes of the adventures of Barbara, Ian, little Vickie, and Dr. Who, and move on.
Comments from the floor would be welcome on this point.


There were only six geohashing expeditions this quarter, all successful. There has been a recent drought of accessible hashpoints -- it's random! -- and the second coolest, second wettest spring in the history of the City of Roses hasn't exactly helped.  However, Ms.5000 and I have high hopes for our upcoming geohashing vacation.  Really.

The Chess Project

I played a number of new countries this quarter: El Salvador, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Iceland, Benin, Turkey, Antigua & Barbuda, Mali, Ukraine, Yemen, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan. That brings me up to 145 out of’s 240 countries.  I've won a game against 77 countries, and show no sign of getting any better at the game.

Almost all of those new countries were gathered in April, before the above-mentioned expansion of work pressure and the length of my work day, and a not-coincidental binge of Angry Birds.


Very little, but I did finish one important piece and will show it to you one of these days.

House and Garden

Both are total wrecks!  We've had a car-sized pile of mulch in the street outside of our house for like a month.  My intent is to start spreading it this Independence Day, with two additional days off work this week to be devoted to bringing the jungle into some sort of semblance of domesticity.  It will not be nearly enough.


I find that my interest in music is on the wax.  You know, as opposed to "on the wane."  My guitars are considerably less dusty than they've been for a long time.  We'll see what comes of all this.


I did not visit any new counties during the quarter; it seemed possible that I might, but the aforementioned aforementioned work spasm meant that I sent Mrs.5000 off to Colorado without me.

I did, however, manage to at least get some ink on the Atlas of All Roads Traveled by taking a circuitous route home from Seattle.  It has been a while since I drove a new highway.



Tommorow: The physical fitness categories.  But shareholders may pose questions now if they so choose.


PB said...

Wait a second, 15 audiobooks, 17 physical books, 27 total - do 5 not count for some reason?

Also, you should check out - it's basically Project Gutenberg for audiobooks - a lot of great stuff on it free to download, and you may find it fun to volunteer to record something yourself.

mrs.5000 said...

He's probably just being coy about those five olfactory books--it's always jolly to see him go out for a run with his book respirator strapped on.

Michael5000 said...

Hmm, that's a relic of an earlier miscounting. I think it's 15 audio and 12 book books, but it could by 10 and 17. I shall perhaps check at some point. Ms.5000 is of course kidding about the olfactory books; the WORST POSSIBLE TIME to huff a nose book is when you are engaged in strenuous physical activity and your body has high oxygen demand.

UnwiseOwl said...

When it comes to Dr. Who, the full experience has not been garnered if you haven't struggled through the mess of missing episodes and uneven production that was the Late Hartnell/Troughton period. Although you have now seen off the best companions the Doctor will ever have, there's much more work to be done, and I'm pretty sure that you're the guy to do it.

Thom said...

I'm very happy to hear that my Martin Beck recommendation was taken up heartily enough to reach at least book four.

Jenners said...

I'm a HUGE Arrested Development fan. The fact that it wasn't a huge hit just proves to me that the American viewing public has no taste. So you should try 30 Rock too if you haven't. That is fantastic but has few viewers.

I also think I heard a rumor that they might be making a movie version of it. Can't quite imagine that but I'll take whatever I can get.

Have nothing to say on the Dr. Who situation.

Nichim said...

I believe that there is only one remaining glitch in my ability to burn DVDs of Dr. Who episodes for you. But in my humble opinion there is little shame in skipping to the third doctor (Jon Pertwee) and going on from there. You can always go back to the lost and crumbly episodes. This, in fact, is the recommendation I plan to make on my Dr. Who website, Two Hearts, which hopefully will join the interwebs sometime in the near future. I do not feel that you would be satisfied, however, with just starting with the new series, and I cannot in good faith recommend that plan of action. I mean, it would be okay if you wanted to watch one (I recommend The Girl in the Fireplace) so you can see where it goes, but I'll be sorely disappointed if you become one of those people who loves the new series but "can't get into the old ones."