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Life Shambles Onward

I’ve been so busy with my “New Life Experience” (sounds like “New Xbox Experience,” har har) that I haven’t bothered posting anything here. So far, I’m happy to say that everything has been going quite well — and quite according to plan. I’ve done my 8 a.m. bike rides every weekday morning without missing a beat, have taken to reading during breakfast and lunch instead of watching TV, and enjoying a variety of new foods and new activities. Not all of these new experiences have been quite what I expected — for example, the humongous hot food area of the Whole Foods market is really lacklustre once you start putting it in your mouth — but it’s better to have tried it and hated it than not to have tried it at all.

Through it all, I’ve been trying to bring a more mellow attitude to everything and avoid getting bent out of shape by dumb little things. I admit that I did lose my cool a bit and had an old-fashioned fist-shaking, throttle-rapping moment when somebody stole the parking spot I’d been waiting for at the library a few days ago. My defense is that it was a one-time freak accident.

Overall, though, it’s all been going quite well.

Having Netflix back is lots of fun. Apple and I have been watching all kinds of stuff — between the saved shows on our TiVo(s), the new Netflix instant streaming features and the wealth of DVDs and Blu-rays we can get by mail, there’s certainly been no lack of things to watch. We’ve already discovered a few new favorites, the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers among them — and Apple really liked The Reader. (I thought it was good too, even though I walked into the room with the movie halfway over.)

Speaking of Apple, in the time that I’ve been neglecting this site, she’s put up one of her own. Her new Appleland blog is a primarily photo-centric effort, with a side order of life commentary and random tidbits. Since we’ve come home from Thailand, in fact, I’ve seen her take all kinds of initiatives on the road to her own “New Life Experience.” Besides doing yoga and working out at the exercise room, she’s experimenting with lots of new recipes, making her own bread and salad dressing, and getting quite involved in reading mystery novels. Seeing her engaged in a variety of enjoyable things makes me very happy! (Sometimes I feel like I’m hogging all of the hobbies here.)

Today was particularly exciting for me, because the two new Knight Rider soundtrack CDs I ordered from Hitchcock Media Records arrived. Don Peake and Ron Hitchcock have put together a top-notch effort with Volume 2 of the definitive Knight Rider scores. Even though the two episodes featured are not among my favorites, the quality of the mastering is simply astonishing. And there’s a much healthier dose of excellent music here than I remembered, including an awesome cue from the episode “Hearts of Stone” that apparently went unused in the final production. To my satisfaction, the sometimes oppressive echo from Volume 1 has been toned down, leaving us with a brilliantly clean digital copy of these 26-year-old scores.

Don Peake himself says that Volumes 4, 5 and 6 are on the way, as well as a nearly complete score to Knight Rider’s famous “Goliath” episodes. If they’re anything like the tracks I just spun this afternoon, I can’t wait.

In addition to the reading, movie watching and exercising that Apple and I have been doing, I’ve also gone back to revisit one of my other old favorite pursuits: Wolfenstein level editing. (I guess it’s all these World Ward II movies we’ve been renting lately.) A few nights ago I poked at MapEdit for awhile and really couldn’t come up with anything that great. So I did what I always do when that happens: I loaded up some of my favorite classic levels and played through them again, refreshing my memory as to what great level design is about. With those layouts in mind, I’m going to try again tonight. This time I’ll also cue up some old tapes I used to listen to while mapmaking in the mid-’90s. Gotta get that total retro atmosphere going.

Huh…Knight Rider…Wolfenstein…seems like everything I’m into lately is a throwback to an earlier time. Seriously, though, when you read the day’s headlines, can you blame me? Wake me up when shit starts looking up, that’s what I have to say. Now that we’re home, I’m absorbing even less news than I was in Thailand, somehow or other — no websites, no TV news channels, nothing. Okay, once in a while I read the local paper’s front page, check out the CNN website or check the news out of Detroit. This usually serves only to remind me of why I swore off such things, after which I’ll abandon any further attempts for a while more. The important stuff has a way of finding its way to me through Apple, however, who is like my news correspondent. I think that arrangement works perfectly.

We’ve got a long weekend coming up, thanks to the Memorial Day holiday. My boss is making it a four-day weekend, so it may be a quiet day for me tomorrow. Next week my parents will be in town, and I’m finally going to get to see the new Star Trek movie with my dad. Maybe the new Terminator flick as well. And of course there will be lots of catching up, socializing and dining on the schedule. Ought to be a good time.

Shortly after that, Apple and I are taking a little jaunt to one of our favorite beach resorts for a few days. Part and parcel of my “chill out” attitude, I’m taking my GTO — normally I would just scream “But what if bugs get on it!!” and leave it at home — lots of books to read, my iPhone, and no computer. It’s going to be three or four days of total disconnection, sorta like what we had in Koh Samui earlier this year. Except, y’know, a U.S. version. I could go for some more of that.

Work has wound down for the day, so I’m going to call it quits and go have dinner. I’m already looking forward to this evening, when I’ll be diving back into the book I’m currently reading — it’s called “Death’s Door” by Gail Lukasik, apparently part of a series. Apple picked it up at random when we were at the library last week and immediately fell in love with it. She blasted through the book faster than I’ve ever seen, and after she finished, I decided to read it. I started last night, and sat up until 2 a.m. reading the first 164 pages. Yeah, it’s pretty good. I think we’re both mystery buffs, but the story has to have enough constant momentum to hold our attention. “Death’s Door” reads almost like one long, contiguous scene that you don’t want to interrupt. Perfect.