Yeah. that sounds good. Particularly since I think it’s his birthday? Or was that yesterday?

Yes. It’s today. Happy Birthday, Weird Al! :throws confetti:

This concert was the third time I’ve seen Al in concert. The first was when he opened for The Monkees in 1987 (or, as my friend Ray used to say, when The Monkees closed for Weird Al). Then there was last year’s “unplugged” tour. Then there was this year’s Strings Attached tour in which Weird Al (and his bandmates) played with a symphony orchestra.

I was trying to imagine Al on a bus with timpani and string basses and such, only it turns out that isn’t how it worked at all. The conductor traveled with him. The performers were from local orchestras.

Weird Al Yankovic, Strings Attached Tour, June 16, 2019.
Boy, I wish I could remember which song this was. At any rate, this is the only picture I got where Al wasn’t overexposed. If I can remember which song this was, I’ll update the post. Probably.

There was a little interpersonal drama surrounding the concert. I didn’t realize when I bought the tickets (in February) that the day of the concert, June 16, was Father’s Day. In fact, I didn’t realize it until about a week before the concert. Thomas was understandably upset about this, and I offered to let Thomas have Alex for the night because it was my error. I also offered to let Thomas and Alex have my tickets for the show and to buy my own ticket and sit elsewhere. In the end, though, Thomas allowed Alex and me to go to the concert together and they’d plan for a “designated” Father’s Day at some other time.

The show was held at the Majestic Theatre in downtown San Antonio, an old movie palace. I’ve never failed to be impressed by the work that went into putting the building together (and the work it must take to keep all of that ornamentation dusted!). The Majestic was the first fully air-conditioned theater in Texas and, near as I can tell, the first theater in San Antonio to be integrated. This is the South and so, of course, the theater was initially segregated. African-American patrons had a separate entrance that led to a separate balcony (from what I can tell, that balcony is used to store lighting and other equipment now and is not open to the public). They tried a test integration in 1961 and when doom didn’t follow the test, they formally integrated. The other theaters in the city followed suit soon afterwards. I have a pretty good picture of the inside of the Majestic from the B-52s concert. I’ll try to remember to post it then.

The concert was, as always, awesome. Apparently the 9-minute “Jackson Park Express” went over well enough on 2018’s tour that he performed it again on this tour. He did most of his greatest hits. He skipped the Michael Jackson songs given that some of the (now adult) kids that Jackson had at his home are now saying that he did abuse them. Al has said that maybe someday he’d perform them again, but that wasn’t going to happen on this tour.

There were costume changes and a big screen and a surprise performance of a song that couldn’t be done justice without a symphony orchestra. I seem to recall that Lisa Popeil got a bit louder applause than the other singers (though maybe that was just me).

The only problem is that occasionally the orchestra was drowned out by Al’s band, at least I couldn’t hear the orchestra from my seat on those songs.

I know I need a concluding paragraph and maybe someday I’ll write one. But it’s 11:00 pm right now and only going to be Al’s birthday for another one or three hours (depending on if you’re talking about me here in Texas or Al in California (unless Al’s at his home on Maui right now, which will give us a few more hours). So I’m going to post this and maybe start working on another post.

I did end up going to the Maluma concert and I visited an average of 1.5 state parks per day this weekend (unless you’re counting unique state parks, in which case it’s an average of 1 per day) and I intend to write about both. Also about the Weird Al Yankovic concert, the B-52s concert, and the Try Guys show. But first, there’s Kiliamo.

Or, was Kiliamo. And there’s the problem.

When Alex was about 2 years old, he let us know that he wanted a cat of his very own. So we took him to the shelter and introduced him to a bunch of little kittens and he wasn’t interested in any of them. As we were about to give up, I saw a black medium haired kitten in one of the cages. The kitten was about six months old, so not a tiny kitten, but still not yet an adult.

It was love at first sight.

We named him Cosmo, after the husband fairy from the Fairly Oddparents cartoon but Alex soon renamed him Kiliamo, which was baby-Alex for Kitty Cosmo. And everything went smoothly until Kiliamo was about 12.

Kiliamo just outside Alex's blanket fort in 2003
One of the earliest pictures I have of Kiliamo, from 2003. Alex was asleep when I was writing this, so I couldn’t ask for his permission to post any pictures with him in it (though technically he is in the picture — those are the fingers of his left hand just under the blanket).

Around then, he started pooping outside the box and it was mushy and discolored. The folks at the vet’s office did a fecal exam and nothing untoward turned up so we did a course of metronidazole just in case, because occasionally there’d be something in stool that doesn’t show up on fecal examination. And it didn’t help.

My vet gave us a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and we played around with this food for a couple of years and things would improve for a year or two and then go downhill again. We put him on prednisone for about a year which worked great until he developed diabetes from the prednisone.

So we put him on insulin and cyclosporine and three months after the diabetes set in, the diabetes was over.

All this time, my dad and I were fighting about him and whether I should put him down. Eventually, I put him on house arrest and kept him in my bedroom all of the time. His digestion finally settled down and I was able to take him off of the cyclosporine when I put him on Fancy Feast and things were pretty smooth for about a year.

Then he started to lose weight. We tested his thyroid, which turned out to be high, and put him on methimazole. He was still losing weight, so we tested his T4 which was also high, and upped his dose.

Then he began having seizures. My vet said that it was likely a one-time thing and that if it happened again, we could try anti-seizure medicine, but that wouldn’t fix the underlying problem, which she thought might be a brain tumor. We decided to try the anti-seizure medicine, which did stop his seizures.

About that time, he started to lose weight again. We tested his T4 again, which was high again, and bumped up his dose. And everything was smooth for another couple of months. Until he started losing weight again, his T4 was high again, and we bumped up his dose again (at this point, he was taking 10 mg per day, which is a pretty high dose for a human).

A month later, he had all but stopped eating and had lost a lot of weight. At this point, which was the day of the Maluma concert, my vet said that it was time. I asked for a few days so that Alex and a couple of my friends could say goodbye and we set the date for that Wednesday. My boss rearranged my schedule so that I could spend that last day with him and so, on October 2, 2019, we said our final goodbyes to Kiliamo.

I’m actually getting choked up just writing about it. Anyway, I’m writing all this because (a) I need to make a blog post anyhow and (b) I don’t want to have to go through all this when I do write about the Maluma concert.

Crap. I need a Gratuitous Amazon Link, don’t I? I should keep it on-topic somehow. Do they sell Fancy Feast on Amazon? Yes, they do. So here’s a link to the Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection. Kiliamo would have no part of the grilled or flaked varieties. He was a paté man. So if anyone out there sees this link and decides to buy this pack, crack open a Turkey and Giblets Feast (which was his favorite) and remember our beloved Kiliamo.

I feel like I should give this a subtitle like “the searchening” or something.

Anyway, when last I attempted to find where the North Salado Creek Greenway ends, I started out at the southern end, in John James Park, and couldn’t see where the greenway was from there. So then I attempted to go to each trailhead going north from there and was stymied by plumbing every time. Finally I ended up at Lady Bird Johnson Park and trying to walk south. I still hit the sewer work that stopped me from being able to park at either the Robert LB Tobin or Oakwell trailheads and had to give up and go home.

My second attempt began two weeks later. I looked at the city’s website to see if there were any closures on the greenway and was assured that there weren’t. “The main Salado trail will continue to remain open,” the website assured me.

So I took my bottle of ice and put my walking shoes on and headed out.

First I stopped at the Tobin trailhead. I flipped the Pokemon Go gym there and then did the math and realized that if I were able to go all the way through, I’d have to leave my car there on the access road to Loop 410 for two hours. Not that I think I’m terribly likely to have my car stolen. It’s not a very in-demand model, it’s going to be 13 next month, *and* it was damaged by the hailstorm that hit our area in April 2016. But that’s no reason to take chances, either.

So I headed for the Oakwell trailhead, figuring that it’s more out of the way, and since it’s closer to the middle of my planned route, my car wouldn’t be unsupervised for more than an hour.

So since I the whole purpose of this is to reach the southern end, I headed south. It was a nice walk, and I made good time. One of the paths that was closed, according to the city’s website, was the connecting trail to the intersection of Holbook and Eisenhauer and I noted that as I passed it. And then, a little less than half a kilometer later, there was a roadblock that said, “BIKE TRAIL CLOSED.” It certainly didn’t specify, “FINE FOR HIKING, THOUGH” and there was an awful lot of heavy machinery on the other side of the sign, so I turned around. By my calculation I had about half a kilometer to go to get to my goal, Rittiman Road across the street from John James Park. So close and yet so far.

So whenever I can finally get through, I’m going to have to walk an extra 1.5 kilometers to get back to where I left off. Then walk that half a kilometer and then do the whole thing back again.

I’ve been thinking in kilometers lately when it comes to walking distance because each step is about half a meter for me. It’s easy to think “I walked 3,000 steps to get to where I left off and then I have another 1,000 to go.” I have no idea what my steps-to-miles ratio is.

After I returned to the parking lot, I began my walk back north to the Robert LB Tobin trailhead. This was a nice walk with no plumbing interruptions. I played some Pokemon Go on the way up and some Wizards Unite on the way down and still had plenty of time to enjoy some nature. I checked on my gym once I got back up to the trailhead and then returned to my car and went, well, not home. I stopped at Hardberger Park East and left a Pokemon there, then swung by the Walmart on the other side of Wurzbach Parkway and then, I think, I went home.

right triangle on the Salado Creek Greenway, Robert LB Tobin Park
Look at that hypotenuse. Pythagoras would be proud. Or horrified. One of those.

Alex and I went to the Oakwell Trailhead at some point in the past and I couldn’t for the life of me remember which direction we went. I couldn’t remember, that is, until I came to one spot where the path makes a left turn that’s almost a perfect right angle. And humans being humans, there was a path cut through the grass forming the hypotenuse of a right triangle. I had a flashback to Alex and me arguing (in a friendly way, I think) about whether it was acceptable to take the hypotenuse. Alex argued in favor of it and I argued against it.

Stay tuned for The Search for the Southern End of the North Salado Creek Greenway, Part 3. Coming soonish* to a browser near you.

*Probably more than two weeks from now. Maybe.

Time for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. I forgot the GAL last time. Since I’m reading Rick Riordan’s, I don’t even know, 19th (?) book* in the Percy Jackson universe, maybe I should start plugging them on my blog. So here’s where it all started: The Lightning Thief. Adventure, humor, travel. Why would I not love this series? (These series? The Jackson-verse has, after all, been five different series.).

*I just went back and count again and I’m pretty sure we’re on 19.

I hadn’t touched my Howard W. Peak Greenway System project in ages. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure where I’d left off. I remembered starting out at Lady Bird Johnson Park and going north toward McAllister Park (and I think I made it all that way). I also started from the Oakwell Farms Trailhead and went some direction (probably north towards Lady Bird Johnson Park) but didn’t get very far. And that was it.

So since I wasn’t sure how much of the area I’d actually covered, I figured that my best bet was to start at the far end (since that would be a new-to-me park) and go north, seeing if I could make it all the way to Lady Bird Johnson Park.

So I drove to John James Park (named for a surveyor who helped set up a bunch of local towns including Castroville) and didn’t see a sign like this:

The Greenway sign outside of Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park. The coloration is imperfect because I took this picture at 10:00 at night.

Or like this:

The park rules for the Greenway system. Since there wasn’t one at John James, this is from Lady Bird Johnson. As I say below, it was hot today (and I had done a lot of walking), so I wasn’t about to drag myself down Nacogdoches Road looking for the above Greenway sign during the daytime.

So I walked around the park and also down the street until I crossed the creek (which looked like this):

Do you see a sidewalk in this picture? I don’t see a sidewalk in this picture.

Finally I decided that maybe the greenway ended on the other side of the bridge that carries Rittiman Road over the creek (and also over Holbrook Road)*, but there was no crosswalk in sight and it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) so I wasn’t going to go wandering around out there in the sun any longer than I had to. I also had a very strange conversation with the lady at Via Metropolitan Transit where I explained that I wanted to know how to get to the downtown lineup from the AT&T Center (I’m going to the Maluma concert on Saturday) and after leaving me on hold for nearly nine minutes she came back and told me where the downtown lineup is. Crap. I should probably do a post on taking the downtown Via lineup, shouldn’t I? Well, it’s 11:30 and I have to be up in 9 hours so I’m not going to write it tonight.

After exploring the park a bit more, I decided to drive along Grantham Road looking for greenway signs or, more importantly, parking lots. When I didn’t find anywhere to park, I decided to head up to the Oakwell Farms trailhead and walk down to John James and hopefully find the trailhead from that direction. I got there and found that they were doing sewer work and the parking lot was closed.

So I went back all the way to Lady Bird Johnson Park and decided to head all the way down to John James. When I got to Robert L.B. Tobin Park, just past 410, though, I found that not only was the parking lot closed, but the greenway itself was closed, too.

So after briefly flirting with the idea of seeing if I could get close enough to the Pokemon Go gym to take it over (the Pokemon in there had been there for over three days and I’m sure their trainers would have liked them back), I turned around and headed back to my car. I stopped off at both Hardbergers and did some shopping at the Walmart on Blanco and when all the dust settled, I had visited five parks (I count both ends of the blocked-off part of the greenway as half a park each) and done more than seven miles of walking today.

*The satellite photos on Google Maps seem to show just that happening. I still don’t know how to get *down* there, though.

So when I started my project of paying myself to study my languages, I started a spreadsheet to track my earnings. I have columns for the CDs and shares of stock I’ve bought and for the interest they’re earning and projecting when I’ll be able to buy my next CD or share of stock, as appropriate. I spend about 50% of my language earnings on stock. I’ve been buying three CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock at $250. However, I really should be buying three CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock for about $250, then two CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock. Right now I have 10 CDs and three shares of stock. So I guess that a share of stock is next.

However, my spreadsheet is now really unwieldy, with 51 columns. I didn’t notice at the time, but my version of Microsoft Office doesn’t have Access in it. Adding Access to this version would cost me $130. Should I just upgrade to another version that has it, suck it up and pay the $130, or find a freeware database to hold me until I can come up with enough to upgrade Office?

I have good financial news regarding this project, though. I’ve wanted to go to grad school for my target language but there doesn’t seem to be a way to test into the ability to go to grad school. You need a certain number of undergraduate credits. I’ve recently found out that a lot of states will let people over retirement age take college courses — for credit — for free, so long as the credits aren’t going towards a degree. So, my new plan is to save up for another 13 years and once I’m 65, I can start taking the undergraduate classes I’ll need for free. Then once I have them, I can find a graduate school.

Now I just have to start working on choosing a language for that degree. Spanish is my best language, but am I really that passionate about it? I think I’m more passionate about Italian, but Italian is the lowest-paying of the languages. Chinese pays better and I’m more passionate about Chinese, but do I want to go to St. Louis? Or Honolulu (why can’t the University of Hawaii’s Chinese graduate program be at their Hilo campus?). I would love to go to graduate school in Berkeley if I can afford it, but could I even aspire to attending there? Or should I wait and see what the future holds? Maybe I’ll fall in love with a different high-paying language that is being taught somewhere that I want to be and that I can afford.

Oh, and I’ve added another language, maybe. 50% of my ancestry is Czech and I’ve always wanted to learn Czech, so I’m going to take a stab at it on Duolingo. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Now for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. This time it’s something I’m considering buying for myself but haven’t bought yet: Pimsleur Czech Conversational Course. The only time I’ve Pimsleured (?), it was when I first started learning Chinese. I checked Pimsleur Mandarin out of the library and it went so fast that it hurt my brain. I then took a step back and went with ChinesePod (speaking of which I need to get back to downloading those so that I can listen to them in the car again). But I’m starting with Duolingo Czech and so maybe I can Pimsleur in Czech. And if I can do it, maybe I can get my dad to take a stab at it as well. . . .

Let’s give Pharrell some money. I found that he was, like, all over the soundtrack album to the movie Hidden Figures. So here you go.

7:00 Now Pharrell’s backlit in an alley. This is going nowhere very fast. Though that building with words on the side looks vaguely familiar. Is it something we’ve seen during this project or someplace I’ve been or a chain of some sort and I’ve seen it somewhere else? Or is it just one of those buildings?

7:04 A woman with a puppet is now in that alley, which is considerably better lit than it has been previously. It remains to be seen if that’s going to do us any good.

We come out onto the street and there’s a sign pointing to “Event Parking.”

A sign. Finally. It says “Twelve Street,” which is Google tells me is a women’s clothing store in downtown Los Angeles. Sorry. Which was a women’s clothing store in downtown Los Angeles.

Okay. We start out just off Pico Boulevard in between Grand and Hope. The plant from 6:56 is a tree. We walk up the alley that cuts through the middle of that block until we reach 12th Street. We come out on 12th Street and make a right, ending up at 12th and Grand. We make a left and cross Grand.

We follow Grand to Olympic and as we head southeast, it hits me that I don’t know exactly where the video to U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name was shot. Have we been there in this project? I don’t even know.

So I do some digging and find that they were at 7th and Main. We’ve been on 7th. We’ve been on Main. Have we been on that corner, specifically? I look at Google Street View and it doesn’t look familiar. But we were, in fact, there, from what I can tell, at 11:04 am.

Now I’m nervous. Was I right back when I did that entry? Crap. I’ve got to go back and check it out.

Well, I was less clear than ideal back in my 11:00 am post, but I do have the right place. The young man at 10:56 am dances right past the building where they shot the video.

7:16 Now I’m lost again. We’re probably still on Olympic but I’m just confused about the intersection. Let’s find out.

7:26 It looks likely that we’re on Olympic (we pass a sign saying Oneone77, which looks to be somewhere on Olympic) but you can’t prove it by me yet. There are, however, more Loading Zone signs, this time with cars parked in front of them.

I take it back. We’re on Olive. Let’s see . . . at 7:16, we’re on Olive and Olympic and we head northeast on Olive. OneOne77 used to be at 709 Olive, and that building is right where it should be. The corner of that building, at Olive and 7th, is the 7-11 that we pass just after the Loading Zone signs (which are there in Google Street View). Then we make a right onto 7th and another right onto Hill.

As we approach 8th Street, there’s another really beautiful building, the Garfield Building, which has, from what I can tell, sat empty for decades. It went up for sale in 2015 but there’s no indication that it’s been sold or that anyone is doing anything with the property. It looks like it’d be a steal at $15 million. Now if my dad would just win the lottery . . . .

We make a left onto 8th Street and then we cross and make a left onto Broadway (and we’ve been here before).

7:36 We may be somewhere else now. At least, I can’t see the clock in the background in Google Street View. I can see the word “Pants” across the street but cannot make out the word above it. “Silly”? “Family”?

I guess it is “Family.” “Family Pants” ought to be pretty unique. And “Family Pants” is pretty much across from where we were at 7:35:59, so we haven’t moved at all. I wonder what happened to that clock. It’s still there, it’s just harder to see from the Google Street View car’s perspective, I guess.

After crossing 3rd, we cross Broadway and keep going down 3rd.

7:56 We’re in a parking lot and I’m having deja vu. For some reason, this parking lot reminds me of something to do with Allie Brosh and someone sitting in a shopping cart. Why? Maybe it’s a movie I saw and that for some reason I was reminded of by one of Allie’s posts?

I recognize an H&R Block. Now we’re inside a supermarket and I have no idea what supermarket we’re in. Maybe it’s a Ralph’s? What are Ralph’s’s house brands? If I can identify a house brand I can find the supermarket. Huh. I didn’t know that Ralph’ses are Kroger’ses.

Are they sure this is a real supermarket? Everything looks like it’s brand-name, even the coffee filters and the freezer of paletas (which looks to be Helados Mexico (which doesn’t have an accent)).* Also, everything is zoned** perfectly, everyone in the store is wearing an “i am OTHER” t-shirt, and there are no employees in evidence.

Wait. I see a cashier and a customer in the background and there’s a bottle of bleach that isn’t Clorox or even Cloralex.

Do we ever leave this supermarket? There’s a person in a chicken suit at 8:48. We stay in this building until 8:55. When the 8:52 dancer leaves, you can see the number “2245” above the door and that’s all I needed. They were in a now-closed Super A supermarket located at 2245 Yosemite. The location is now a Sprouts. Yep. There’s the H&R Block.

That was fun. Now on to 8:56. There’s a church behind the dancer. Is it the same church we passed back when we were on Selma? It’s looking like a distinct possibility. The dancer passes a red metal fence with small plants around the base which looks like the fence at Selma & McCadden. It’s gotta be the same church. The building to the east of the church is identical.

Ack! Did the Super A/Sprouts increase the size of our polygon?

No. It didn’t. Pity.

*In Spanish, the accent goes on the last syllable unless (a) there’s an accent mark or (b) the word ends in a vowel, an “n,” or an “s.” If the word ends in a vowel, an “n,” or an “s,” unless there’s an accent mark, the accent goes on the next-to-last syllable. That means that in order to pronounce “Mexico” so that it sounds like “MEH-hee-co” in Spanish you have to put an accent on the “e.” Otherwise it’d sound like “meh-HEE-co.”

**Pulled to the front of the shelf

This is probably going to be pretty short because it’s just an announcement about an upcoming focusy/seriesy thing that I’m considering. Since my last post two months ago (!), I’ve seen three concerts. Well, two concerts and a performance on the Try Guys tour. I’m not sure if that’s technically a concert or not, though there was music. I also think I need to finish up my Happy series.

I’m also *this* close to buying my ticket to see Maluma in September. I’d really planned to go out today, but I went out with my friend Evelyn last night and didn’t get back until I don’t even know. 11:30? And then I had nightmares about the government deciding that I was an undocumented immigrant from Nicaragua all night. I ended up oversleeping and then not being worth anything until after the box office closed.

So at the rate I’m going, Weird Al, the Try Guys, the B-52s, Happy, and Maluma should hold me for a while. I may also make some posts about my own personal history regarding music. I may not. We’ll find out when we get there.

Music! That’s a subject that’s been much on my mind lately.

So I went to two concerts this month. On June 1 I went to see Wisin y Yandel and the concert was awesome, even if I was outside my comfort zone. And you need to leave your comfort zone sometimes, you know? The entire concert was in Spanish. And not just Spanish, but Puerto Rican Spanish. Even most of my Spanish-speaking coworkers can’t cope with Puerto Rican Spanish.

It looks to me like that’s because, Puerto Rican Spanish is a sort of mini version of English. You know how English is French on top of German on top of Latin (with bits of the other languages of the Roman Empire sprinkled in there) on top of Common Brittonic? Well, Puerto Rican Spanish is mostly Spanish, but where English has Common Brittonic Puerto Rican Spanish has Taino and the Spanish has words that came from Africa with enslaved African people and also from English, thanks to attempts to force Puerto Rican people to speak English. I do wonder where some of the peculiarities of Puerto Rican Spanish come from, like the dropping of the “d” from final syllables — You can see this in prominent display in the Wisin song Corazón Acelerao. I wonder if maybe that’s a Portuguese influence? Portuguese does have an “-ão” ending, though it doesn’t make them participles.

But, you know, “¡Manos arriba!” is pretty clear in any dialect.

I knew about half of the songs. Several of the songs I prepared for the occasion weren’t on the set list and several that I hadn’t gotten around to study yet were.

One of the moments that I really felt moved by was when they started listing Latin American areas and people started lighting the flashlights on their phones. My assumption was that they were asking people to light their phones by where their ancestors came from. They didn’t list Czechia or Latvia or Germany or Scotland, so I felt kind at loose ends for a moment until I realized how pretty the AT&T Center looked bathed in all of those lights.

There was music, and dancers, and pyrotechnics, and costume changes and more music and more pyrotechnics. It was very impressive.

And then at the end of the concert, Wisin fell from the stage. I was looking directly at the stage but was pretty far back, so it wasn’t clear to me that’s what had happened and no one seemed concerned, so I assumed that he had jumped down there for some reason. Then the house lights came up and everyone was leaving so I just left. I was mostly kind of let down that the concert just sort of stopped with no encore. Later I found out what had happened and felt really bad about feeling disappointed in the ending, but, like I said, I didn’t hear any gasps or anything or anyone saying, “Wow, I hope he’ll be okay” on my way out, either.

And since Wisin wasn’t seriously injured (he got checked out at a local hospital), I have almost nothing but good memories of my first Reggaeton concert and I’m considering going to see Maluma in September.

I was about to publish this post and then I remembered the Gratuitous Amazon Link. Since I’ve been talking about Wisin y Yandel, I figure I should use one of their albums, only I’m sort of a baby fan right now, so I just sorted them by user reviews and picked the highest one. So here it is: Los Extraterrestes, Wisin y Yandel.

I don’t know what’s up with that. I sit down and open WordPress once a week or so but never make any progress.

Well, there’s an exceedingly slim chance that this might end up being a health blog about cancer. That’s something I could write about.

I’ve been having a “globus sensation” for the last day or so. A globus sensation usually is the result of GERD or stress or an abrasion in the throat but rarely it can be esophageal cancer. There’s also a slight chance it could be inflammation of the larynx from either bacteria or a virus and I found one story where it turned out to be a tonsil stone.

And I don’t think it’s cancer, really. I don’t feel nauseated and I can still eat and there’s no blood in my sputum (that’s the stuff you cough up when you cough) or stool. But it’s a nice unsettling thing to discover is an option at 3:00 in the morning. Actually eating soft food (I’ve been sticking to soft food because if it’s a scratch I don’t want to make it worse, not because I can’t eat not-soft food) and drinking cold water makes it feel better. And since eating makes it feel better, that increases the chance that it might be GERD.

I’m starting with throat abrasion and working my way up from there. That was the most common explanation when I first looked up “I feel like there’s something stuck in my throat” 12.5 hours ago. And I did eat some carrots and felt one go down the wrong way about 18 hours before that (about six hours before the sensation started), so I’m operating on the assumption that it’s a scratch in my throat and will be gone within three to four days, so by Sunday or Monday. If I still feel like this on Sunday morning, I’ll go to the Doc in a Box and have them look at it.

Come to think of it, the second most common explanation when I first looked up “I feel like there’s something stuck in my throat” was something stuck in one’s throat. So I guess it’s not impossible that that piece of carrot is still in there somewhere.

I’ve really been slacking off on the foreign language front lately. And since that’s my best chance to be able to retire (well, not retire as such but switch from a “punching the time clock” career to a “do it on my own time” career, which is probably the closest I’ll ever get to retiring), I need to step it up.

To that end, I’m listening to less foreign language music and have just started working on the podcasts at Radio Ambulante. Radio Ambulante is a project of NPR telling human-interest stories from Spanish-speaking areas. And they cover a lot of territory. Some of the accents are way more challenging than others, but it’s good practice.

I also blew a couple of bucks on a 3-month Rosetta Stone subscription for Castilian Spanish. I figure that’ll give me more to work with than I get from speaking at work and doing Duolingo.

I’m still doing Duolingo. I’m laddering Spanish and Mandarin. They don’t have Mandarin for Spanish speakers, so I’m doing Spanish for Mandarin speakers.

And I’m still working (slowly!) on reading in my target languages. In Spanish, I’m working on the translation of Prince Caspian by CS Lewis, and Ciudad de las Bestias by Isabel Allende. In German and Italian, I’m still in the translation of the first Harry Potter book and in Chinese, I’m about a third of the way through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

And, as always, I’m paying myself. 1¢ per Duolingo lingot, 2¢ per minute of Rosetta Stone, Radio Ambulante, and audiobooks, 1.5¢ per minute of music, 15¢ per page* of foreign language book (because that takes the most concentration of all). At an estimated $400 per credit hour for tuition and fees, I think I have my first four credit hours of my modern languages degree paid off, and it only took two and a half years to get there.

Crap. I’ve got to work harder, don’t I?

*Per paragraph for Chinese.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. Why not? City of the Beasts, in English and Ciudad de las Bestias in Spanish.