Smart Curling


There’s that old cliche about how it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. There’s some truth to it. In Midwestern river towns like the one where I grew up, it can take three showers a day to wash away the muggy August air. But a hundred degrees is a hundred degrees, and even in the dry New Mexico air you’d have to be a bit foolhardy to be out in the sun in the height of a summer afternoon. Maybe an ice rink isn’t the first thing you think of in the middle of summer in a small high desert town, but I’m glad we have one, and I’m glad that our town has a curling league with lenient admission standards that allow newcomers like me to participate.

When the Winter Olympics roll around, I always make time to watch the curling events. It’s like shuffleboard on ice. It’s mesmerising–the slow motion release, the aggressive sweeping, the satisfying thwack when one stone hits another. Like bowling or shuffleboard, it seems like curling takes an incredible amount of skill but not a whole lot of athleticism. And that’s something that a relatively uncoordinated fellow like myself can get behind. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, but until earlier this year I never lived in a town that had a curling league.

I haven’t been the most graceful newcomer. I wore a pair of tractionless shoes the first time out. I started out sweeping, and I didn’t even make it to the other end before hitting the ice hard. I was smarter the next time around and wore an old pair of running shoes, but it took another couple falls to convince me I needed to buy a specialty pair. As far as throwing goes, the first few matches have been trial-and-error in trying to stay balanced and judge the throwing distance. I am thankful for patient teammates.

I’m also thankful to occasional commenter and all-around amazing friend “thepitchforkemoji” for the wonderful birthday present. Smart Curling (tagline: Perfect Your Game Through MENTAL TRAINING) was written by Vera Pezer, a Canadian curling champion turned sports psychologist. I haven’t read the whole thing yet. Not all of the book applies to me: there’s a chapter on dealing with difficult teammates, which thankfully doesn’t apply to me. But she does offer some simple strategies to improve your game. I tried one this week. I don’t want to say that I’m great yet, but I can say that it helped. I no longer feel like I’m holding my teammates back. Quite as much. I’m somewhere between hopeful and confident that I’ll be able to hold my own by the end of the season.

The Wheel

handsome family

I’m not going to go into the whys and wherefores here, but by any objective measure, I’ve had a crazy year. Things have started to settle down in recent weeks, but leading up to now, there were lots of false starts, surprises, and changes; some were welcome, some less so. I don’t want to say I have been unreasonably negative, but when you have a string of big changes, there’s a natural inclination to turn inward and replay the series of events in your mind. Did A lead to B? Could a different approach to B have prevented C? But if C hadn’t happened, then I never would have gotten to D… etc, etc. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not a cycle I want to be in forever. It’s all about gratitude, baby! I’m going to use this blog to write about nice things. At least once a week, I’m going to post about something good that happened to me. I don’t want to say I haven’t been trying with my posts here, but I don’t think any post this year has topped the 150 word mark. Let’s change that. Each of these weekly posts will have at least 300 words.

So for my first cool thing: The Handsome Family came to town this weekend. They’ve been one of my favorite bands for a long time. When I first heard them, they were a husband-and-wife duo out of Chicago. I hosted a country music radio show in college, and I tried to play a Handsome Family song every week. I didn’t know it when I first moved to New Mexico, but they apparently relocated to Albuquerque. I discovered that when I shared a flight with them on my way back from Los Angeles from my Wheel of Fortune taping. I always thought they deserved a wider audience, so it was great to see that one of their songs got picked up as the opening theme for the HBO series True Detective.

The show was nice. They played a several songs I knew, and several I didn’t. They sang a really pretty song about Albuquerque, more specifically about broken glass in Albuquerque. I haven’t posted about it here, but there’s a special place in town that’s basically a field of broken glass.  which made me a little nostalgic. Santa Fe is great, but Albuquerque has its own kind of magic. They’re only an hour apart but the physical and psychic distance feels greater than that. After the show, I went to the merchandise table to buy a copy of the album that had “One Thousand Diamond Rings,” the song about Albuquerque. They were sold out of the album, but Rennie brought along some of her paintings. I liked the colors on her painting of a snake, so I got it. I told her about the flight we shared on the way back from my Wheel of Fortune taping, so she decided to title the painting “The Wheel.”

I guess the snake sort of loops around, maybe. Seems about right.

Halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe

I’ve posted one of these pictures elsewhere, but I figured I’d share here too. I visited Albuquerque this weekend, and halfway back home on the return trip, I came across a little caravan of horses right alongside the interstate. There wasn’t an easy place to to ask them about their trip, and I doubt they would have stopped to talk with me anyway, but it’s definitely not something you see everyday on that stretch of road.

usa mexico


Another new device 

I bought a tablet earlier this year, but when my old flip phone didn’t get reception in my new town, I figured I would get an iPhone too. I never really thought of myself as a gadget guy, but we are what we are, I suppose.

I’ve had it for a few weeks now but it just now occurred to me that I should install the WordPress app.

This is my iPhone test post.  Text is easy enough but what about pictures?

Easy as pie! Editing is a bit of a hassle but that is probably because I haven’t had coffee yet.


Upgrade Complete!

Well that was easier than I thought! Earlier this week, I realized that this page was all but unreadable on my phone, so I overhauled the place. I ditched the static front page and went back to the good old fashioned scrolling blog format. Also gone are the lovely background image and the big picture of me; I’ve replaced the background image with something where readers can actually, you know, read the page. And I replaced the header of me with a series of pictures of pretty things! The static page and big picture of me made sense at the time. I was looking for a job and using this page as a portfolio of sorts. I wanted to put ME in big bold letters front and center, and I figured there needed to be an emphasis on some of the cool things I’ve done. I guess it worked…I have a job now. So now I can go back to having the page all nice and comfortable. Maybe it will inspire me to post here more…


(The picture doesn’t really relate, but that’s Liam either yawning or smiling after a morning walk. I can’t tell. Thoughts?)