Happy 2021


I love the pic on the right - five folks toasting in the arrival of 2021. Why are they smiling? Probably because they're farther away from planet Earth than anyone else. They're astronauts on the International Space Station. I envy them.

It brings to mind lyrics to Barry McGuire's old protest song "Eve of Destruction" in which he intoned "You may leave here for four days in space, but when you return it's the same old place." These guys have been up longer than four days, but you get the point. This world was friggin' nuts in 2020. The vaccine has rolled out all too slowly and I'm guessing that if all goes well, we won't be essentially done with the virus until July. Until then we're still a civilization that has too many people doing too many foolish things. Things will get worse before they get better. Yeah, it's safer in space.

Like many, 2020 was not a good year for me. On the good side, I my finances rely on investments, Social Security, and a pension, so I did well in that regard. Further, I didn't go anywhere or do much that was costly. Thus I was able to up my charitable giving substantially, and will likely do so in 2021.

I discovered porch singing. This was something that looking back, I should have started years ago. Practicing guitar on the porch is simply more pleasant than practicing indoors, and my neighbors seem to have enjoyed it. There's no accounting for taste, and two actually brought me Christmas gifts!

I had some good timing in that just before the COVID thing went down, I had a wonderful visit from my brother and sister-in-law. We went to Monterrey and spent time at the aquarium. Chip and I even made it to my favorite restaurant Nepenthe in Big Sur. And at the very start of March, I took my birthday trip to the Benbow Inn in Garberville. I love that place.

I made substantial progress on my 53 Town Pledge. COVID rules limit what I can do, but I should finish fairly early in 2021. See my Travel section for an update.

I brought my generator project to completion. I'm thus prepared for a power outage. I'd planned on at least two or three this fire season, and we had none, but wait'll next year! In a similar vein, I rethought and updated my emergency supplies.

Joe and Kamala won and challenges to this have thus far failed.

I got out and protested the George Floyd killing.

I did an excellent job of keeping up with my writing class, missing only one assignment.

On the down side, I have to say that the whole virus thing has gotten to me. I've truly missed hugs and touching people, not seeing many people face to face, traveling, and just watching the death and hospital stats has been a major downer. I consider myself fortunate to have not been infected (I was recently tested and came up negative) and to not have had any friends infected that I know of.

The John Shinnick Web Site


Last Update: January 2, 2021

John Shinnick 3.0: It's All About Me

Five Expedition 64 astronauts on the International Space Station celebrate 2021 by ringing in the New Year with a zero gravity ball drop. They are (clockwise from top left): NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker. 

(Image credit: NASA)

The election challenges continue.

I lost two very dear friends before their time. Peter Herbert was a band mate who died after a bout with prostate cancer. He was an excellent drummer, and I learned a ton working with him.  I knew Alan Naldrett from my college days and he remained a friend to the end. He was a prolific author and fellow musician, he died unexpectedly of an accumulation of ailments. I had the good fortune of having seen both not long before their passings.

I failed to complete a couple of major projects that shouldn't be all that major: I need a will and an advanced health care directive. Also an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card.

The resurfacing of some old music tapes only served to make me realize how little I did with music through the years. Vert little recording done. A surprise gut punch toward the end of 2020.

Other than a Zoom call, no real Christmas. I didn't miss the decorations and gift exchanges, but I missed actually getting together. In general, Zoom is better than nothing, but it only goes so far.

So what lies ahead for 2021? Dang, I don't know. It started with the traditional glass of champagne. But I'm thinking 2021 will be more like two six-month years (at least if we pick up the pace). The COVID half, probably through about June will be much the same as the last nine months of 2020. Yuk. I'll certainly finish my 53 Town Pledge! And my ICE card, will, and advanced health care directive.

But long about July 1, we should be in good enough shape to begin life again. Whenever we do that, another glass of champagne will be in order. I'll have massages. I'll celebrate Christmas with the family twice: once in July to make up for 2020. I'll travel. I'll keep playing on the porch. I'll hug more than even 2019. Beyond that, I'll just do what the muses tell me.