It’s finally feeling like spring here in North Dakotaland and the flood waters are receding. In fact, today we’ll see highs in the 60s and it looks like the trees and our gardens are finally waking up from what felt like a very long winter.
We also appear to be on North Dakota’s infamous 7-day rain cycle where we get showers on the weekends which clear out during the week. Fortunately, I have plenty of grading, reading, and packing to do this weekend to keep myself busy. Plus I’m looking forward to see the Formula 1 guys race in Miami for the first time and watch the painful, but not entirely unexpected conclusion to the 76ers 2021-22 campaign.
And, of course, there are some quick hits and varia:
It’s rainy Friday here in North Dakotaland and that’s usually disappointing, but this week, we can enjoy it a bit because it’s not SNOW.
We’ll hunker down by the fire, enjoy the sound of the spring rain, and focus on end of the semester tasks. Of course, I’ll also enjoy the NBA playoffs, the Formula 1 race, and the big heavy weight fight as well. And I’ll almost certainly invest more time in some book production projects, some revising, and a bit of reading.
And, of course, I’ll try to do a bit better than this very meager gaggle of quick hits and varia:
One of the most charming sights of North Dakotaland is watching winter clinging on for dear life against a relentless spring assault. We had some rain this week and some wind and some flying slushy snow. It was all quite epic. This weekend, it will feel like spring has prevailed. Next week, we’re being told to expect 5-8 inches of snow.
Fortunately, baseball is back and with it the promise of summertime in the future. The Phillies this season should be fun, even if they aren’t likely to be good. There is plenty of other sport to watch this weekend as well. The NBA season comes to its close with playoff seeding up for grabs. The Formula 1 guys are in Melbourne for the first time in two years. The NASCARlers are at Martinsville at NIGHT. And there is good boxing up and down the dial with GGG making his ring return, Ryan Garcia, Mikaela Mayer, and Sebastian “Towering Inferno” Fundora (who is not only a great boxer to watch, but also someone who doesn’t quite know what his ring name means).
There are also books to read, some papers to grade, a journal to edit, and a book to publish as well as a little gaggle of quick hits and varia:
Spring continues its relentless advance here on the Northern Plains with temperatures soaring into the 50s today. The rivers has mostly crested and appears to be returning to its regular course and I expect that the piles of snow even in the shady corners of our backyard will be gone by the end of the weekend.
This weekend is all about reading and regrouping. The sports calendar isn’t particularly exciting especially for someone who is not very interested in college basketball. The Cup guys are at Richmond, which usually produces a good race and the Sixers have a couple of games to try to get their rotation sorted out. Otherwise, this weekend feels like a good time to catch up on odds and ends and prepare for the final push of the semester.
In the meantime, here are some quick hits and varia:
Over the last ten days the snow has all but disappeared and twice over the last week we’ve seen temperatures closer to 50 than to 0. It’s been wonderful, but all a bit abrupt. Today we’ve been told to expect a lot of wind which will bring more seasonal temperatures to the region this weekend.
I do plan to fire up the smoker this weekend for the first time in a few months and try my hand at beef brisket. I’m also looking forward to catching some of the the NCAA basketball, the Cup guys at the first road course of the weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, and the Formula 1 guys take on their first street course at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. This morning, I’m enjoying Australia pressing for a result in their final test in Pakistan and I can’t wait to watch Miguel Berchelt return to the ring and watch Kiko Martinez vs. Josh Warrington on Saturday.
As usual, I have a whole stack of things to read that range from a half-finished novel to a pile of articles, a draft manuscript, a couple of books on Babylon, a dissertation on transnational archaeology, and (perhaps best of all) a whole gaggle of undergraduate creative writing projects to read for a local contest!
These will be my excuse for a rather meager list of quick hits and varia this morning:
As winter slowly gives way to spring, I can now shift my complaints from the cold and snow to the ankle-deep puddles forming all over town! In fact, our back yard is doing its best to start a new Lake Agassiz (and we all know how that ended).
Despite the soggy surroundings, this weekend will provide plenty of entertainment. Not only will temperatures in the 40s give me a good excuse to go outside (and maybe go for the first outdoor run of the year?), but there’s plenty to watch and do indoors as well. Not only have the mighty Spiders advanced in the NCAA basketballing tournament and play again on Saturday, but the Formula 1 season kicks off in Bahrain, the Sixers continue to find their rhythm, the Cup guys are in Atlanta, and there are about three intriguing boxing cards on Saturday night. Plus, I have a half-finished novel, a stack of articles, and about three or four more undergraduate exams to read!
I will admit that spring break week full of distractions and recovery limited my random web reading time, but even so I have managed a little list of quick hits and varia.
After last night’s “snow squall,” it is pretty clear that winter is going to hang around for as long as it possible can. We had the mildest taste of spring over the last couple of weeks with temperatures nipping into the upper 20s and there are apparently milder days ahead, but today it doesn’t look like we’ll get much above 0.
Next week is spring break which means basketball, the start of the Formula 1 season, and a chance to catch up on some side projects. I have a few books of poetry to read for a regional book contest, a book review to write, some midterms to grade, and a pile of administrative tasks perhaps best accomplished while watching the NCAA tournament. This weekend, though, I’ll press pause on everything to watch the Leigh Wood vs. Mick Conlan title fight. I’ve been following Mick Conlan since his first pro bouts and love that he’s a favorite in this fight.
Other than that, I’m going to try to recharge for the final push in the semester and do a better job pulling together a collection of quick hits and varia:
Our little taste of spring earlier this week made the return of proper winter yesterday a bit hard to stomach. Fortunately, spring returns today with temperatures in the 20s and 30s predicted for foreseeable future. As they say out here, it’s not so much that winter is bad, it’s that it’s long.
Fortunately, there’s the return of overnight cricket with Australia taking on Pakistan in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Aussies are on one of their “don’t get the other team out” jags. The Sixers continue their James Harden experiment tonight with their first major test. The NASCAR guys are in Las Vegas, I believe, and there’s also some high quality boxing this weekend: Jose Ramirez faces Jose Pedraza tonight and Roman Gonzalez vs. Julio Cesar Martinez on Saturday night. While the latter isn’t the Chocolatito-Estrada III that everyone wanted to see, it is still one more chance to see Chocolatito. Do spare a thought for the great Ukrainian boxing champions Vasily Lomachenko and Oleksander Usyk who are fighting for their country.
Otherwise there are books to re-read, papers to grade, and some final touches to put on a project for The Digital Press. I’m also a judge on two creative writing contests.
And, of course, there are always some quick hits and varia:
It’s a cold Friday morning at the end of a long cold week here in North Dakotaland and the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine yesterday did little to make it warmer or easier. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of the end for Putin and his cronies in Russia, but my capacity for optimism is severely strained at this point.
It seems almost irreverent to note that Jame Harden will hopefully make his first start with the Sixers tonight or to point out that the Indy Car season starts in St. Petersburg (Florida!) this weekend while the Cup guys race in California. Josh Taylor fights Jack Catterall tomorrow with Taylor’s four belts on the line. If I was a novelist and had a character who was a boxer, his name might well be Jack Catterall.
I suppose finding some distractions isn’t entirely inappropriate, but it doesn’t feel very good. The following lackluster list of quick hits and varia reflect my mid-semester malaise and the continuous realization that the world in which we live is a pretty horrible place:
It’s been a long week of cold weather, but at last there’s a blizzard warning today and a three-day weekend to look forward to.
Of course, there’s also the Daytona 500 on Sunday, the NBA All-Star game, and a battle of middle-aged, Brits who lost to Bud Crawford (Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan). And I also have a stack of books, articles, and dissertations to read and digest while I continue to process the disturbingly long tail of my COVID infection.
If you find yourself with some extra time this weekend, do check out the first episode a season four of the Caraheard podcast that dropped this week! Richard Rothaus, Kostis Kourelis and I talk about our favorite books from the past year.
If you still have time and need more entertainment, check out some quick hits and varia: