We had our Advent Orchestra performance Sunday morning, and all my practice paid off. I played pretty cleanly, and I was able to play the high parts through the whole morning with minimal cheating. For the future, now that I have some exercise books lined up, I’m hoping to practice throughout the year so I won’t have to work so hard at the end of the year to get my playing in shape.
I think I’ve taken care of all my major, urgent-feeling concerns now. The main update is that my health insurance finished renewing my medication referral and I was able to make an infusion appointment for Monday afternoon, so my flare-up fears have been relieved. I haven’t set up my new table and chairs yet, but maybe this week.
Still chipping away. I’m about 80% done.
I listened to Anam Cara, which was unfortunately not the intro to Celtic spirituality I expected, though I benefited from it anyway. I wanted a map of the distinctives of Celtic thought, and what I got was more of a meandering tour of O’Donahue’s Celtic-inspired point of view with some side trips into Marx and Hegel. His insights felt pretty familiar, so I think the spiritual content of my Christian Education degree was even more Celtic influenced than I knew, but some of the book still felt foreign enough to my default perspective that Celtic spirituality is worth further exploration, so I’ll probably look for another overview at some point.
Now I’m on Nathaniel Branden’s The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, which basically promotes a philosophy of thoughtful individualism (as opposed to a brazen selfishness).
It seems to me that American politics is currently dominated by two battling sets of conspiracy theories, one on the Republican side and one on the Democratic, and right now my political reading list is about diving into the Democratic set. I’ve mostly procrastinated on these kinds of books, because I already read enough criticism of the president in articles and social media posts, and adding whole books just felt spiteful, but right now I’m interested in the broader international issues, so it seems like the right time. I’m also interested in seeing how serious investigative journalism is done, and these seem like good examples.
Last week I finished Craig Unger’s House of Trump, House of Putin, and it tied together a lot of the threads I’d seen in scattered political tweets and articles over the past couple of years. It treated its subject clearly enough that I was able to follow the names and details fairly well, when I was expecting nothing but confusion. Although I probably found the book via Amazon recommendations, I was put on the path to prioritizing it by this intriguing tweet about Trump’s mafia connections and the accompanying website on the topic. I recommend the book if you want an angle on the weird, ominous state of current world politics, at least as it relates to Russia.
Now I’m on a pair of books by Seth Abramson, Proof of Collusion and Proof of Conspiracy, which I’ve wanted to read ever since seeing his “Grand Bargain” tweets spreading the blame for 2016’s election interference to several other countries besides Russia (related Reddit thread).
Saturday I got together with a couple of other AI enthusiasts for lunch, an informal meetup that grew out of the futurism group I’m in. It was a lively and informative conversation, and as a side benefit I learned from the cyber security guy how to properly monetize hacking. 😉