What’s new with me

While my ankylosing spondylitis usually flares up in the spring and fall, this year I’ve been caught off guard by it in both seasons: it has arrived about a month before I expected it to. On Thursday the old familiar pain and stiffness began manifesting itself; it’s been worsening since then, so it’s not a brief bout. I’m back in flare again.

That will put a crimp in my plans: so much, for example, for attending the opening of the new Apple Store in Laval today, or the reptile expo in Mississauga tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my web host had some troubles last night, which I didn’t take very well — after all, I’ve been dealing with substandard performance for about two months now. What was all the more frustrating was that the sites would come back every hour or so, but would last only about 10 minutes before disappearing again. Since you’re able to read this, the worst is over, but the host’s servers will probably continue to limp until Monday night, when a core router will be replaced. Hopefully that will fix things once and for all; during the process, though, everything will be down for 30 or 45 minutes.

Both developments are getting in the way of a couple of new web projects I’ve been working on, though both are still in the earliest stages. Even so, I managed to get a lot done in the past week before my spine and server both started malfunctioning. I updated the designs of both The Map Room and Gartersnake.info, posted a lot of new map entries, and wrote a long essay on Steve Irwin that went over well (at least with my friends). And last weekend I started a major project at the Pontiac Archives: cataloguing their map collection. So I’m reasonably pleased with my productivity, even if it’s about to plunge next week.

I’m trying to keep up with my reading. I’m maintaining my six-month lag with F&SF and Asimov’s — Jennifer’s only three months behind, so we’re not fighting over the magazines. I also read Freakonomics, which I managed to find in a used bookstore for $4, to see what the fuss was about. It’s slighter than I had hoped, but quite accessible and shibboleth-destroying. Right now I’m plowing through another book I picked up at the same time: Apollo 13, the ghosted memoir of the accident that formed the basis of the movie.

I’m big on inside baseball of all kinds, especially about science fiction writers, so I reread Heinlein’s Grumbles from the Grave this week as well. When you reread a book, you’re a different person each time — so I got something new from it this time. This time, I could relate to his battles with illness and his struggle to turn out material in the face of distractions and nuisances. I’m no Heinlein, but I could relate.

This weekend, though, I’m going to (try to) allow myself to be distracted. Read books and play Civilization IV — that’s my plan, it is.