My Top 10 2011 Year In Review

1. Stayed employed

With the unemployment rate at 8.6%, 7% in MA where I live, I feel lucky to have a job.

2. Daughter loves college

My youngest daughter has had a successful year and a half at college. I can’t take credit for her academic achievements, but I encouraged her to apply to the small liberal arts college she attends.  It was her top choice and it has been a terrific fit.  Speaking of college, in the summer of 2011, I wrote a post on how to select the right college.

3. Blogged Alot

For my 2010 New Year’s pledge, I vowed to post 7 times a month, and on average did so in 2011, even when I thought I had nothing to say, or was too tired to write what I did have to say.

4. Loyal Up With Chris Hayes Viewer

This is a terrific early morning weekend political show hosted by one of the best young journalists in the country.  I have even been tweeting with other #uppers every Saturday and Sunday morning.  The show has only been on the air for a few months, but I hope it catches on and eventually gets a better time slot.

5. Bucket List Vacation

Took a family vacation to visit my mom and sister in Chicago.  En route, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and on the way back, spent a few days in Niagara Falls and Toronto.

6. Read First E-Book

William Dean Howell’s A Hazard of New Fortunes.  I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook so I read it on my HTC Evo.  However, my eyesight seems to have deteriorated, so I ended up with new, more powerful reading glasses.  Notwithstanding my eyesight, the portable e-book reading experience was pleasurable, partly because the book was such an entertaining and informative historical read and partly because it was free.

7. Became a Spotify Addict

I’m a huge Spotify fan and when my free trial runs out, I will buy a monthly subscription.  I can’t tell you how satisfying it has been to have virtually every song and artist at my fingertips.  I’m listening to a playlist I created as I’m writing this, a playlist I shared to


I’ve shared something like 20 playlists I created on Spotify in 2011.  What good is a playlist if you can’t share it?  Some of my playlists include:  Stereolab Mix, The Worst 40 Songs Ever, Kool Keys, Songs About Places and in a nod to my youth, the Mix of ’76.

9. Went to My 30th High School Reunion

Another bucket list activity.  My wife and I had a lot of fun at the reunion and driving around Little Rock.  We went to the Clinton Presidential Museum and caught up with some of my college friends for dinner at a spot along the banks of the Arkansas River.  At my high school reunion, I was one of the few who most had not seen in 30 years and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some didn’t recognize me or even remember me, as was the case with a few folks I should have recognized and remembered, but did not.

10. Went to a Handel & Haydn Society Concert

My oldest daughter invited me to see Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Haydn’s Clock Symphony on the evening of the show.  I was so tired I almost didn’t go, but I am glad I did.  We had a great time listening to some fantastic music.  My review of the concert can be found here.

2011 was a good year for me.  I hope 2012 will be as good or better.

Summer Reading

So what have I been reading this summer, you ask even though you most likely did not?  There is no rhyme and little reason to my list. Let’s see.  Well, my daughter has a big collection of V.S. Naipaul, an author she researched heavily for a senior paper.  She is not what I would call a big fan, nor am I, but I do like his writing style and find his explorations and opinions of the world intriguing.  So I’ve been reading Naipul.  I started with a book on India, then Islam and am currently reading a collection of essays on his travels:  The Writer and the World.  Next, I plan to read some of Naipaul’s fiction.  I have three on deck:  Magic Seeds, A Bend in the River and Half a Life, a book my daughter particularly enjoyed.  I’m reading Trout Fishing in America again, by Richard Brautigan.  I go back to it from time to time for inspiration.  I’m also reading a free e-book on my cellphone: A Hazard of New Fortunes by William Dean Howells.  It’s a bit of a trip reading a novel on my phone, especially one written in the 1890’s.