Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top 10 Things on my Mind

1.  The Oscars...and The Artist, which gets my vote for Best Picture.

How does a silent, black and white film become the most talked about feel good movie of the year?  I have no idea, but the moment the lights dimmed and the music began I was hooked.  This was one of the most enjoyable movie experiences I've had in years!

2.  New YA Novel...middle grade groundbreaker for boys...readable draft ready by mid-summer.

While waiting for Julia Milan to find a home, I'm keeping myself busy with a new novel about a fifth grader from Oakland named Martin, whose uncanny insights about leadership and human nature propel him to national promiance during the presidential election of 2012.  Presented as a biography about the young life of a future U.S. President, this political page turner is unlike anything in bookstores for middle grade readers (especially boys!). 

3.  Julia Milan news yet...

Good things come to those who wait, and great things come to characters like Julia who must wait to find an editor who understands why she is the way she is.

4.  Vanguard Mutual Funds

I've been meaning to update my 401k situation with a new strategy and positional shift to Vanguard and its low-fee, strong-performance mutual funds.  I never seem to have enough time to read annual reports and prospectuses, but I'm getting my act together this week.

5.  Neal's Visit last week

w/ Neal @ Chapel of the Chimes

My longtime awesome friend Neal Fowler visited last week and we had a TOTAL blast hanging out, eating Zach's pizza, the new burger joint down the street, watching a few flicks ("The Descendants" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") and even giving 4th grade neighbor Sophie a violin lesson.  Can't wait for Neal's entire family to come visit!

6.  Inspiration Point with Alice

This morning, Alice and I took a wonderful 4-mile walk through Tilden Park in Berkeley, walking along Inspiration Point on a crisp, cloudless day.  As Alice would say, "This is living!"

7.  1776 and George Washington

I listened to the audio version of David McCullough's "1776" last week and parts of it again this week.  The Battle of Trenton is still swirling around in my mind.  I now understand why George Washington is so revered by historians.  He needed a total game changer before the start of 1777, and on Christmas night 1776 he totally delivered what has to be one of the most dangerous, gutsy, midnight surprise attacks of all time.  Stunning.  Truly awe-inspiring.  I love this founding father right now.

8.  Racquetball

I'm preparing for the A division of the State Singles Tournament next month in Fullerton, CA, and it's amazing to me how consistent I can be one day and inconsistent I can be 24 hours later.  Yesterday morning I moved around the court like an 80-year-old.  I could barely move.  Steve B., Brian R. and I have been playing singles a lot in prepartion for March.  Next week is the Club One Doubles Tournament.  Can't wait!

9.  Page Plus Cellular on the Verizon Network

Last month, I was all set to upgrade my orginal iPhone to an iPhone 4 with AT&T, but quickly learned that would mean an additional $30 in monthly fees, so I searched for a less expensive but reliable option.  This company out of Ohio is very good and uses the Verizon Network.  For $30/month, I have all the minutes, texting and data I need.

10.  Downton Abbey Season 2

 Not as tight nor compelling as season 1, but still an engaging program with many likeable characters.  Can't wait for season 3!