march 2019

A few weeks ago Will's Cub Scout pack announced a weekend trip to the space camp in Huntsville, which sounded pretty fun. But there was one problem: in order to maximize the number of scouts who could go on the trip because of limited spots, only one parent per scout was allowed to register. If they didn't fill up, then second parents could also register, but we wouldn't know that for sure until right before the trip.

Will's den leader is a woman we've known for years (her son and Will go to school together and have been in the same class for a couple of grades), and since she and Julie are good friends and she was the one taking her son, we decided that Julie should be the one to go if only one of us could go. Well, the trip is this weekend, and all the spots got filled, so she'll be the parent that takes Will on the trip.

It turned out okay though—not only will I get a couple of days to have a quiet weekend, but I ended up getting scheduled into a big college fair at the convention hall down near the airport on Sunday afternoon. I'm sure I could have gotten out of it if I had had the previous commitment of the space camp trip, but I like to do as many of the Atlanta events that happen on the weekends and evenings since my regional recruitment travel in the spring and the fall is pretty light compared to the full time admission counselors.

At the college fair yesterday, one of my colleagues asked me how long I've been working in this industry, and as I started to think about it, I realized that his question was very serendipitous: exactly 17 years ago today was my first day in the Johns Hopkins admission office.

It's now been nearly seven years since I left there for Emory, and while my daily responsibilities have changed a lot over those 17 years, the core mission is the same: help the university find the students who will add the most to the campus community, and help students find the place where they will have the most opportunities to thrive (even though it's not always my institution).

I always thought tech would be my career and I would explore that career through a variety of different industries, but I realized years ago that enrollment and admission are my career, and my background in IT gives me a fairly unique perspective and skillset compared to many of my colleagues. I don't know if there's much that could convince me to leave Emory and Atlanta, but I'm pretty sure that if I ever do, it will be for another role in this field.

The Emory women's basketball team got an at large bid to the NCAA D3 tournament last week, their first postseason appearance since 2013. But the first two round of the tournament were in northern Kentucky, so we couldn't attend in person to cheer them on, and then they were eliminated in a very close first round game.

This is a good sign for the program, but I am interested to see what happens nest year. The team was led by a senior player who really came into her own the past couple of seasons, and they don't really have anyone with her size, leadership, or skills to replace those points next year.

There are a couple of girls who have the same physical makeup, but they are less experienced and they certainly don't have her confidence to lead the team (at least from what I've seen so far). And I guess they could have new recruits who could step up, but there are likely to only be three or four first year players next year, and they might not reap the recruiting rewards of this postseason appearance until the next recruiting cycle.

We use Slack at work, and one of the channels is a playlist channel where people post Spotify playlists that they're listening to while working or in the car on the way to work. I don't get the chance to listen to music at work anymore, and my commute is only five minutes, but I though about it and figured out a playlist I could build for sharing: one that captures all the concerts I've seen in Atlanta since moving here seven years ago.

I got obsessed with this idea over the weekend and spent a good deal of time trying to remember all the shows and track down playlists for them. This is how I'm structuring it: the playlist is in the order that I saw the shows, and the song representing the show has to be one that the band actually played at that concert.

When I put it all together, I was kind of surprised at how many shows I've seen here: over fifty as of current count, and while that list also included some of the opening acts (that was another restriction: I would only include bands whose music I owned and listened to), there were a few concerts that weren't represented when I went with a friend or something like that.

I know I'm way overthinking this and it's likely that no one besides me will ever listen to this playlist, but I'm going to keep updating it and adding new songs when I go to future shows. I'm also now interested in recreating as much as possible of my entire lifetime of concerts, but that's going to take a while to be really comprehensive.

I just finished I'll Be Gone in the Dark, a true crime book about a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized areas around Sacramento, California from the mid 70s through the mid 80s. He is believed to have killed at least 13 people, raped dozens of women (often while their husbands were bound helpless in another room), and was also likely a peeping tom and petty burglar who worked the same neighborhoods where he found his rape and muster victims.

The book was written by Michelle McNamara, a true crime blogger and the wife of actor/comedian Patton Owswalt. The story behind the book is almost as fascinating (and ultimately sad) as the killer's story itself: the book was published last year, but it was published posthumously, two years after McNamara's sudden death in her sleep at age 46.

She was still in the midst of writing the book at that time - you definitely get the sense that she was hoping that the killer's identity would be discovered before she finished, at least in part as a result of the articles she was writing as part of her research—but her husband, collaborating with two journalists, pieced together a fairly coherent narrative about the history of this killer using her unpublished notes and various articles and blog entries she'd written.

It's incredibly well-written, even though the story is harrowing and not for the faint of heart. She manages to get inside the heads of the victims, the killer, and various detectives who worked the related cases over the years in a way that both allows us into the heads of all these people and preserves her authorial voice. It's a great piece of nonfiction writing that I couldn't put down even as some of the events described made me recoil with revulsion—it wasn't just the physical assaults and killings, there was also the psychological terror he inflicted on all his victims, even the ones he left alive (for example, a favorite trick was to sit silently for a half hour or more until a rape victim started to believe he had finally left, only to then make a noise that let them know he was still there).

The real end to this story is currently being written - a 78 year old man who worked as a police officer in the general area of the crimes during the period when the killer was active was apprehended last year after his familial DNA that was submitted by a relative to a commercial DNA firm came up as a strong match for the killer's DNA. It only took a little detective work after that hit for police to narrow down to the suspect, who is currently awaiting trial on several of the crimes attributed to the Golden State Killer (with more to come in other jurisdictions).

Not only would it have been great to see McNamara finish the book we have now, but it would have been even better if she had been able to end it with his identification and apprehension, and to backfill from there how close law enforcement and amateur internet sleuths came to identifying him. Someone else will undoubtedly write that story, but it's hard to imagine that it will be as good as the book that McNamara was capable of writing.

I like to say I'm a big Christopher Nolan fan, but I haven't watched Dunkirk yet, my opinion that Inception was a good movie went away after some initial puzzle box fascination with it, and I have never seen Memento. But his Dark Knight Trilogy is amazing, especially the centerpiece second installment, and The Prestige remains compelling and watchable even after you know how all the riddles are solved.

Interstellar is his film that I have the most mixed feelings about—there are moments of brilliance, both in the plot, the characters, and the visuals, but overall I'm still not sure if the long buildup is worth the payoff. I saw it once in the theater, where the visual impact was stuffing, and a couple of more times at home, but I han't seen it in a couple of years until I sat down recently to watch it with Julie, who had never seen it.

I'm still not sure what to think of it. One of the most amazing things about it is that lead Matthem McConaghy (Cooper) not only doesn't ruin the film, he's actually really great. And I love the nods to sci fi classics like 2001 and Contact, from which it takes more in the way of tone and style than plot points. But the film's biggest reveal having do with the connection between Cooper and his daughter, Murph, loses a lot of its power in subsequent viewings, and although they are interesting tangents, you have to question the red herrings/dead ends of the two unihabitable planets that the exploratory team visits,especially in a movie with such a long runtime.

I have a feeling this film will always live in a middle ground for me, and that I'll continue to revisit it every few years to appreciate its good qualities and hope the poorer choices become less bothersome.

Our Saturday plan was to go out and see my mom at her place and take her to dinner, but that morning we hit an expected roadblock. While doing launrdry, we noticed that the sump pump (where the washer drains to) was overflowing and not pumping out water.

We ended up calling a plumber who works on Saturdays, and he was at our house within a couple of hours, where he diagnoised what we suspected: the sump pump motor had failed and needed to be replaced. We had hoped that by getting there so quickly we still might be able to make it out to mom's for dinner, but he didn't have the parts he needed and his trip to Home Depot to pick them up took a lot longer than we anticipated.

So we had to tell her we'd made it out as soon as we could, but it wouldn't be that day. It was also pretty expensive, almost $1000 for parts and labor, which adds to our list of major unexpected expenditures this year (a heavier than expected tax burden—thanks Orange Circus Peanut in Chief—and the out of picket expenses for my upcoming eye surgeries, which we still don't know the exact cost for but which I'm guessing will be at least a couple thousand).

The good news was that he was able to get it complete fixed by dinner time, and although we still had to clean up the water, everything was back to normal by the time we went to bed that night. We've been mostly lucky with this house in the six and a half years we've owned it, but this particular issue not only messed up our weekend plans but also came at a terrible time in terms of our other expenses this year.

On Sunday Julie was able to make it out to my mom's to make up for our last-minute change in plans on Saturday due to the sump pump failure, but I wasn't able to join them—that was the day of the first home game of the season for last season's MLS champions Atlanta United.

It's been a rough offseason for them. Not only did they sell the rights to one of the major stars (and fan favorite) Miguel Almirion (who went to the English Premiere League's Newcastle United), but the founding coach, Tata Martinez, left to take over management of the Mexican national team. There's still a lot of talent of this team, but all fans recognize what a killer combo Josef Martinez and Almiron were as attackers, and we also recognize how vital Tata's leadership and game plans were to the success of the club.

The first home game back was very, very disappointing. Despite playing against an expansion team (Cincinnati), they ended up with a 1-1 draw. Despite an early, aggressive goal from Martinez and possessing the ball for 2/3 of the game, the team lacked any real energy, and their fun, carefree, aggressive personality was completely absent after that initial goal. And even though it was frustrating to watch, it would have been easier to take if it had ended in a win, but they allowed Cincinnati to score in the 86th minute, leading to the draw.

Not only have they been trying to gel with new players and a new coach with a completely different style, they've also been playing a lot more games than other MLS teams due to their participation in the CONCAF Champions League. The season is obviously far from over, and they could still come together. But their aggressive playing schedule continues through the end of the month, with three more games between now and March 30, after which they'll get a little break before the season resumes in earnest.

The sooner this team finds its identity and the sooner the new coach understands how to use the unique talents he's been gifted, the sooner we can get back to the exceitement we saw from the team in its first two years. But let's hope that happens sooner than later so we don't lose the upward trajectory we built in season 1 and continued with a league championship in season 2.

NFL free agency started today, and the news so far is not good for the Ravens. They lost former first round pick and four time Pro Bowler CJ Mosley, a great player and a leader on defense who was expected to be the centerpiece of our defense for many more years. We were willing to go far beyond what the club tuypically pays for free agents, but the Jets, who have an astronomical amount of room on the aalaray cap, offered him money that I think they're going to regret within two years.

We also lost Terrell Suggs, a career Raven, a future Hall of Famer, and the greatest defensive player in the history of the franchise besides Ray Lewis. Suggs is likely playing the last year of his career, and he decided to spend it in Arizona, where he played his college ball and where he still lives in the offseason.

Those were the biggest losses, but we also let go of Eric Weddle, a veteran safety and fan favorite; John Brown, our only real speedster/deep threat wide receiver; and Za'Darius Smith, the sacks leader for the team last year. Brown makes our already-tenuous WR situation that much more difficult to navigate, and we've lost two big parts of our edge rushing corps, which is going to be vital if we're to take full advantage of our still-strong secondary.

The big dilemma for me is that I'm going to have to buy a new jersey next year. My Ravens jerseys, in order, are Haloti Ngata, who was traded to Detroit in 2015; Ed Reed, who left the Ravens in 2013; Ladarius Webb, who never panned out as a star despite spending 7 years on the team before being released after the 2017 season; Terrell Suggs, who will be playing in Arizona next year; and CJ Mosley, who just signed a mega deal to play for the Jets next year.

I'm not invested enough in our new quarterback, Lamar Jackson, and we really don't have any other stars who have established themselves on offense. As you can see, all of my former jerseys have been for defensive players, but right now I'm not sure who I would pick from that side. Jimmy Smith is a former first round pick and is fantastic when he's healthy, but it's difficult to believe he'll be with the club after next season. Matt Judon (our best remaining edge rusher) and Marlon Humphrey (our best young corner) are possibilities, but they are young and haven't proven themselves to be stars yet.

Snce part of my goal is to pick a player who will hopefully be a key producer for us for at least three or four years, I don't have a lot of great options (the last time I gambled on buying the jersey of a potential star was when I bought Webb's jersey, and that turned out to be my shortest lived jersey of all of them). It's possible we'll pick up a stud draft pick or a big name free agent, but at this point I might be better off going with Justin Tucker, our superstar kicker. He's currently only under contract through the end of this season, and he's likely to become the highest paid kicker in the leagiue whether he resigns with us or goes on the free agent market, so I'd love to see us sign him to an extension before I committed to his jersey.

I went back to the eye doctor yesterday to get measured for my replacement lenses and set the dates for my cataract surgeries. The earliest they can do the first surgery is April 24, which is later than I'd like. I had to wait until at least the second week of April because I couldn't get it done before we go on our spring break trip (no swimming for at least two weeks after a surgery), but I was hoping I could get it done the week after we got back. But they only do surgeries on Wednesdays, the next time they had an opening wasn't until the 24th.

There were two other things I didn't expect: the cost and the fact that I have to go in for surgery twice. I have pretty good insurance (I work for a university that also owns a major healthcare system) and my doctor is a tier 1 provider within my network, but after paying down my annual $1999 deductible, it's still going to cost us $5000 out of pocket. And that's directly related to my other concern: the second surgery.

The rationale for this is that they do your weaker eye first so in case there are any problems they are better prepared to address them when the do the stronger eye, but I also have to believe that it's because they get to charge you for a whole new procedure, including the prep, the drugs, the various doctors' and nurses' time, etc. The actual procedure is only supposed to take 15-20 minutes total, and I don't see why they couldn't do both at once if there are no problems with the first surgery.

But I'm just a patient who has to trust the process to give me my sight back. I'm completely terrified about this whole ordeal - I haven't had surgery since I was 5, and that was to correct another eye issue that I was born with—but I've got a month to mentally prepare for the experience.

Will has been sick all week this week. It started with a headache on Monday that turned into a fever by Monday night, and every day since then he's still been running a fever. Julie and I have had to rearrange our schedules so someone can always at home with him, but as long as we give him Tylenol on a regular schedule, he's mostly been okay.

Julie took him to the doctor this morning and he tested negative for strep, so hopefully this clears up over the weekend. We don't have a lot on the schedule for once, so he should be able to continue to get rest and let his body heal itself.

On Friday night Will was feeling well enough that we were able to leave him with a babysitter and go to his annual school auction. This year it was at a really cool venue called the Inman Park Trolley Barn, which is exactly what it sounds like—a barn-like space where they used to bring in the Atlanta street trolleys for maintenance.

The last couple of years I've ended up mostly talking to the husband of one of Julie's friends who also has a kid on our grade while Julie chatted with that woman and another one of our friends whose son is in Will's class (and whose husband never comes to this kind of thing). I mean, we were all at the same table, but it was so loud that you could really only talk to the person who was right next to you.

As usual, this year we bid mostly on experiences that Will had prioritized, and we ended up winning two things: office worker for the day on the Kids Run the School day at the end of the year (in previous years, he's been teacher for the day and aftercare boss for the day) and also vet for the day at our veteranarian's office.

We stayed around a bit for the live auction where the rich people at the school bid on things like a week's rental at a villa in Italy and other things that are way out of our price range, but we were still home before 10.

The Ravens lost a ton of talent, especially on defense, the minute free agency opened, with veteran stars C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs and rising edge rushing stud Za'Darius Smith signing with other teams. But the Ravens, who are typically pretty quiet at the start of free agency, quickly announced two pretty big signings of their own: Earl Thomas, a former Seahawks safety who is expected to come in as an upgrade to fan favorite Eric Weddle (who was released) and be the quarterback of the defensive unit, and Mark Ingram, a former New Orleans running back who brings a veteran presence to the that group.

Thomas is the bigger star, but Ingram could be just as valuable. He's a bit old for a running back, but he's been used relatively sparingly in his career so far, so he should still have plenty of juice in his legs. He brings a veteran presence to a running backs group that is currently composed of a second and fourth year player. With the emphasis the team is expected to put on the run this season in order to take advantage of the unique skillset of our young quarterback, bolstering the running backs is a key move that gives the offense more options and should make defending us much more complicated.

I still don't know which jersey I'm going to buy in advance of the season though. Thomas is signed to a four year deal, and he'd be a pretty solid choice, but I'm also thinking about our rising star cornerback Marlon Humphrey. If I really had faith the the electric Lamar Jackson was going to pan out as our long term solution at quarterback, I'd get his jersey, but I'm not quite there yet.

They did sign kicker Justin Tucker to a four year extension, however, which means he'll be with us through at least 2023. A kicker isn't usually a hot choice for a team jersey, but he is a superstar (he has the best completion percentage on field goals and extra points in the history of the league), so he might be my best bet at this point.

Today was decision release day for our Regular Decision applicants, and despite another massive increase in applications and six new staff members on the reading team, this cycle went really, really smoothly. We had a little party where we invited our colleagues from around the university to watch the dashboard as students opened their online decision letters and committed to the university, and it was nice to catch up with some folks I hadn't seen in a few months.

We won't really know how well we did our jobs until after May 1 when all students have to choose from among the schools they were admitted to, but I feel really good about this year. There's no lack of tweaks, improvements, and analysis that we'll want to tackle before we start back up again with reading applications in the fall, but for now, we can pause for a couple of weeks and take a breath before we dive back in to our summer projects.

I just finished Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Trhough Our Lives by Mark Miodownik, a materials scientist who wrote a similar book that focused mostly on solids a few years back.

It was a pretty good read—when he's actually talking about materials science and explains the weird properties of a particular substance and giving us historical context on how it has shaped our modern world, he's one of the best pop science writers out there. The issues with this book are the same as his previous book: his insistence of a forced framing device (in this case, his experience of taking a transatlantic flight from London to San Francisco) and the character he creates to inhabit that framing device.

The frame is less annoying, and I could see how, if the personality he shares with us was different, it wouldn't get in the way at all. But he presents himself in a way that I think he believes is endearingly awkward but which actually comes across as annoyingly self-absorbed and self-conscious. He spends endless passages examine his odd behavior through the eyes of his poor seat mate (who improbably turns out to be a speaker as the conference he's supposedly flying to even though he doesn't speak to her once during the double digit hours in the air together), and by the time he's done, you're thankful that 1) he didn't end up speaking to her and 2) that you're not her.

But it's a good book and I would recommend it for anyone interested in science. It's deeply insightful when it comes to the explanations of the properties and history of common materials around us that you've probably never spent any time considering how they work, and it's a quick, engaging read. Just grit your teeth through the framing device passages and you'll be fine.

I've finally started to watch season 9 of Walking Dead (which started last October), and I binged until I got up to the fifth episode (the one that wraps up Rick's storyline, at least as far was the series goes). I generally like where the show is headed—I was sick to death of the Negan/Saviors conflict storyline that's been dragging out for the past couple of seasons, and it's nice to see all the communities focused on rebuilding and feeling like there might be a real future for these folks besides eventually dying horribly due to a swarm of walkers or a pack of asshole humans.

Rick isn't dead, of course, but he was whisked away in a helicopter with the weird leader of the garbage people. The plan is for Rick (and probably garbage lady?) to return in a series of three tv movies that will presumably explain the helicopters and the people who are flying them, presumably the remnants of the US milatary that survived the initial chaos of the rise of the walkers. It's a good way to allow actor Andrew LIncoln to take a break from the grind of the show without killing him off. My only disappointment is that they will likely stay away from the helicopter people until these movies, the first of which probably won't be released until at least next year.

I can probably do another chunk to take me to the end of the half season and then the first episode of the second half of the season (because there's always a cliffhanger that gets immediate resolution when the season resumes, and then one final push to finish off the rest of the second half. This is the most I've liked the show since the Saviors storyline started; I hope they can continue to move in new directions and not lapse back into their typical meet new people/get into conflict with new people/exterminate most of the new people while losing several of your own people pattern that has unfortunately become the trademark of the show.

On Saturday night Julie and I went to Terminal West to see Spiritualized, whose most recent record, ...And Nothing Hurt, came out last year. It's not a bad record, but frontman Jason Pierce has gotten so good at making Spiritualized songs that, as beautiful as many of them are, there aren't a whole lot of new ideas that we haven't heard several times before. Over the course of 25 years and eight albums, he's been slowly refining his style to the point where the last three records are pretty much indistinguishable from each other.

Still, I was eager to see him in a live setting again (I've seen him once before at the 9:30 Club in DC), and I was hoping Julie would enjoy the experience as well. It was one of those increasingly frequent shows where there was no opening act and the headliner went on stage pretty much at the stated start time, so we got there about half an hour before that to grab a good spot to stand.

The last time I saw him he left the center of the stage empty, ringing the perimeter with his band, while he set up at the front of the stage on the right (stage left), not facing the audience but instead staring across the center of the stage at his band mates on the other side. So we made our way to that side of the stage and found a decent spot about 10 people back.

I expected this to be a very chill show because of his style of music (slowly building loops of sound that gradually crescendo to a catharsis), but there were quite a few annoying idiots in the crowd, most of them forcing their somewhat reluctant girlfriends to try and dance to music that would be better suited to a ballroom than a mosh pit. But the band itself was great, and overall I'm glad I got to see them again.

I wish they had played their signature song, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, but after playing the latest album straight through, they did play a nice selection of songs from earlier in their career. Every time Pierce releases a new record, he says he'll never do it again, and since he only seems to tour when he's got a new record to promote, there's always a chance that this could be his last tour as well. I hope this doesn't turn out to be the case, but if so, that was a nice last memory to have of the band's live performance.

I recently finished reading the novella Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds, a British author whose Revelation Space trilogy I read a couple of years ago. It's mainly set in a near future world where climate change has devastated humanity to the point where the last generation of humans is running out of food and a secret science base in Siberia discovers a technology that allows them to influence past events in the hopes that they can make enough significant changes to make sure that the food stocks don't die out, saving humankind.

It's got some interesting hard sci fi twists on how we might accomplish a form of time travel, and it has some nice descriptions of what it might be like to live through a time paradox where the version of events that you remember are no longer part of the reality you now inhabit. I feel like the book is the perfect length in many ways—it's a quick, compelling read - but at the same time I wish I'd gotten to spend a little more time immersed in this world.

I haven't gone back to Reynolds since the Revelation Space books, but I'll have to dig a little deeper into his catalog to see if there are any other gems like Permafrost lurking in his past works.

I stumbled on to HBO's Theranos documentary, The Inventor, a few nights ago and instantly got sucked in. I didn't know much about it except that it was a biotech company whose founder was often compared to Steve Jobs until it was revealed that it was all a shame and the company went from being worth billions to being worth nothing. Basically the headline info about the company's saga, but none of the details I would have gotten had I clicked through and read the actual articles.

I wan't expecting to be fascinated by this—the outlines of the story are actually not that uncommon in the tech startup world—but not only was founder Elizabeth Holmes a fascinating character (while being oddly disaffected and aloof), but this story much higher stakes because they weren't merely misleading customers or misusing customer data, they were misdiagnosing diseases and causing true stress in real people's lives.

The documentary consists of footage from three different sources: 1) public interviews and speeches given by Holmes; 2) documentary footage that was presumably supposed to be made into a triumphant story about the success of the company and the brilliance of its leader; and 3) interviews with disillusioned former employees. I liked the documentary so much that I want to dive even deeper, so I bought Bad Blood, the book on which the movie is based.

If you're into dissecting business scandals, especially in the tech sector, this is a great piece of journalism, but it's so well done that it's a compelling watch regardless of your interest in the particular subject matter.

I finally got Julie to start watching Game of Thrones last month, and although there's no way she'll be done with the existing seasons in time to watch the final season as it happens (we're not even done with season 2 yet), it's been a nice refresher for me to go back and remember how all the complicated storylines that the last season has to deal with got their start.

It's amazing (and nice) how slow the pacing is in the early years, where the resolution/shocking reveal to a particular plot thread was slowly built toward over several episodes. In seasons 6 and 7, there was a palpable sense that time was running out to wrap up the story, and it feels like we got two or three big reveals per episode (compared to one every couple of episodes in the early years).

I'm very curious to see how this show wraps up. There's almost no way it will be able to live up to fan expectations, given television history's track record with big finales, and especially given just how many messy stories are still left to be resolved. The easiest solution would be to simply kill off a bunch of important characters, which would also be in character for this show, but that's a lazy way out that would tremendously disappointing after so many years of buildup.

Julie's enjoying the show (and I wasn't sure she would), and I'm appreciating the chance to revisit these characters when we were still figuring out who they were and how the things they do weave into a much larger tapestry. It would be nice if we could finish season 7 not too long after season 8 ends so I could rewatch those episodes while they are still relatively fresh from my initial viewings (because no, I'm not going to hold off on watching the new season until Julie has caught up, although I'm doing my best not to spoil anything for her).

It's been a fun week so far - things are more relaxed around the office in this slight lull between decision release and all of our on campus admitted student events in April, and it's made for more leisure time in the evenings as well. Tuesday night I got together with a group of friends for a drink at Thinking Man, something we used to do at least once a month but which we haven't done since last October. I have about 7 or 8 people that I invite for these evenings, and we had five show up. The next couple of months are pretty busy for me, but I'm hoping we can do this at least once more before the summer hits (and then hopefully a lot more in the summer).

Last night Will's music school hosted its annual invite-only honors recital, which this year happened to be at the Druid Hills Country Club, which is only about a five minute drive from the house. My sister and her husband brought my mom into town for the show, and one of our neighbors was also able to come. Will did pretty well—he tends to start out playing too fast when he's playing in front of a crowd, but he maintained a pretty decent pace and played through a couple of mistakes.

Next week is Will's spring break, so tomorrow we're going to drive down to Florida, spend a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Sunday, and then drive to Port Canaveral on Monday to take a four night cruise to the Bahamas. It's Will's first cruise, and he's very excited. It should be a fun, relaxing week—we're planning to do snorkeling excursions on both of our days in port—but as usual I won't post anything while we're away.

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