John Scholvin

John Scholvin

still can’t fit a half-stack in the trunk

22 Oct 2022

friday(ish) five

I didn’t even make it one week into my new weekly regimen of Friday recaps without missing one!

tree displaying bright fall colors

This is an opinion decidedly in the minority, but I don’t like fall. I’m a summer person all the way, and fall is the lengthy, painful transition between the best part of year and the worst. Every day is two or three minutes shorter than yesterday, and more likely to be colder and grayer, too. Yes, there are some exceptional days if you take them out of context, and there are various fall traditions that I enjoy. Pretty trees for a few weeks, OK. Some improved running weather, and hopefully next year I’ll be well enough to partake. Mostly, though, it a vast liminal stretch, a slow trudge to the bottom of my yearly mental health cycle. When people ask where we might move when the kids are out of the house, I don’t know. But maybe if I have a place to escape from winter entirely, I can get through fall without all this dread.

One of the quirks of my job is that I routinely interview people who are vastly smarter than me. Recently, I talked to an astrophysicist whose specialty is how really heavy elements (A > 140 or so) form. As something of a physics dilettante myself, I couldn’t resist talking to him about it after we wrapped up the main part of the interview where we covered all the boring software development stuff. He lit right up when he started to tell me about how they are now pretty sure that the heaviest elements are mostly formed when neutron stars collide, revising previous theories about how they’re formed in supernovae. It was a fairly recent observation that confirmed it once and for all. They think that recent collision produced over 10 times the mass of the Earth in gold and platinum alone. 

Not long after we moved in twelve years ago, I mounted a flagpole near the front door. I attached a 3/4" pine board to the bricks with lag screws and lead anchors, and then screwed the flagpole mount to it. The board was primed and painted, but it recently gave in to entropy. Rain and sun found their way through the paint, opening the way for the microbes that break down the wood cells, and the mounting screws pulled out of the rot. I replaced the board with a urethane-coated chunk of teak, and that will certainly outlast our time here. I’d put the US flag out for holidays, though less so in recent years as I wasn’t feeling too great about the state of affairs. I put up a rainbow flag up each June, and I’d put the Irish flag up around St. Patrick’s day. Sometimes NU or IU flags went out, or the White Sox. Since March, though, I’ve had a Ukrainian flag out there. It can’t be an accident that those 8 months of wind shear led to the acceleration of the failure of the mount. Got a feeling that flag’s gonna be there for quite a bit longer, too, so maybe my predictions about that teak won’t hold.

I gave Midnights two full spins yesterday, and I’ll give it a few more before I pass final judgement. Some of her albums have grown on me over time, and this one will have to do that, too, if it’s going to make its way into the regular rotation. As of right now, though, my initial reaction to it is pretty flat. I don’t love Antonoff’s beeps-and-boops production ethic, and I’m looking for the hooks but not finding them. Lyrics are terrific. It’s OK. Babe Ruth hit a lot of singles and doubles. Not everything went over the fence.

Busy day ahead. Leah’s drill team ran a camp for kids this week, with my niece Harper as one of the performers. Leah choreographed the piece they learned, and we’ll go watch that this morning. Then we’ll head down to the south side to watch Danny’s first college volleyball game. It’s an unofficial preseason tournament…not even sure who’s the opponent, or if the freshmen will even play. Then over to my dad’s for some paperwork and other help around the condo, and finally to my aunt’s for a family dinner, with part of the Michigan branch in town. Bonus: this is one of those rare fall days that’s gonna feel like summer, and I’m glad I was too lazy to put all my shorts away for the season. Let’s go.