The Olympics. They’re that thing that happens every two or so years where I watch and feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. Yeah, pretty weird. But hey, I like it.

This time around, I found out that my SlingTV subscription is good enough to qualify as a valid TV provider; good, because I can use my subscription to stream all of the games on the NBCSN app on my Android and Roku devices. And good because it’s significantly cheaper than buying the expanded cable package with Time Warner just so I could get a tier that included NBCSN, which is the only real requirement for streaming.

The new media landscape is a joke.

That being said, I’ve picked up a few new things, like knowing more about Korea. Curling is pretty cool, too. Also, The Netherlands is kicking ass in lots of events, and their country doesn’t look too bad as a destination or place to live. Really progressive lot.

Kinda sad now that we’re in the second week of the games, but there’s still plenty more going on, and the closing ceremony is this weekend. Kinda solemn, kinda blue, but that’s that, eh? I’m glad I’m able to see it this time.

Ice, Your Only Rivers Run Cold

At the end of an Austin ice storm. Couped up at home all day, working through VPN, bored to tears. Streets were slick and icy earlier, but the stiff dry wind has made all the ice disappear. Now it’s just bitter cold.

Couped up inside. I need some wind to evaporate the ice keeping me stuck. I’d like a full thaw, some warmth, some heat, those would be nice. Anything to loosen my stasis is welcome.

Walk on by, walk on through, walk to your own and don’t look back, for here I am.

Holy Season, Holy Light

I’ve always considered Winter to be a holy season. As the Earth’s axis tilts backward in relation to the Sun, the constellations that are typically below the equatorial line at night move north and become visible once again. The first time I see Orion bounding low and large across the horizon, I stop and gasp. It’s that feeling of seeing an old friend and confidant after months of separation.

Orion was there when I took my frosty night walks through the fields north of my college campus. I had all the troubles of youth, I spoke them to the sky, and he looked down and smiled while he did cartwheels over my head. He never said anything, but after years of praying to an intercessor that I could not see, even a pattern of lights in the sky was more concrete than nothing and offered me a better sense of peace. After leaving all the gods on the shelf, I still felt drawn to apply some manner of animism to Orion’s cluster of stars. The belt, the scabbard, the trapezoid — they’ve all become part of my soul. Instantly recognizable, immediately reunited.

When he comes around again, we have a moment. “Hey, old man,” I say with a warm grin. “Long time, no see.” It’s a thing I still do. I’m fine with this.

Lightly Seasoned

I think I need to move North.

This isn’t a funny-ha-ha because I’m currently living in the hottest, driest part of a summer scorcher in central Texas, but because I miss having weather to talk about. I miss having a change of seasons. I miss being thrilled when winter thaws to bring on the swell of spring, or when summer cools to bring the awe of autumn. There are cycles in weather. There are overcast days. There are clear blue skies. There’s frozen precipitation. A cold front is a guarantee of rain. And rain can go on for days. In central Texas, not so much.

I’ve been looking at pictures of Europe, Canada, and Alaska during the summertime, and I’m floored by how lush and vibrant everything is. Flowers on the hillsides. Mountains typically covered in snow are rolling in tall green grass. Even the areas less picturesque are still in bloom. Since the winters are harsh, sometimes unforgiving, everything that grows takes the fullest advantage when it can. So the greens are greener. The woods are thicker. Nature has a narrow window to thrive, and it does it at full power. Our green season is in April, but we’re south of the latitude that stays green. Everything below that turns brown and red and becomes arid, so our green season ends in June.

It’s been 11 years since I moved to Austin, and I will confess that I love this place. It’s usually dry, so the driving is decently safe, roadwise. It’s usually sunny, so the sightseeing is abundant. It’s usually warm, so people wear less more often. It’s a great town and a good area. But that’s just it: these are constants. We have our “cold” months between December and mid-march; maybe a bit of snow once or twice every three years. Otherwise, it’s the same-old. Excepting the four-month scorching drought of summer, this area is flatlined as far as seasons go.

Austin is the Paxil of seasonal weather.

I like that I can drive on dry roads and stroll around during 40°F nights during the winter, but I want some variety. There’s a reason most of the best electronic bands come from the north; for 5 months of the year, they’re locked in and snowed under with little to do outside. There’s a rich life indoors. And when the winter thaws, oh damn do they throw some parties. The ones locked up the most have the wildest throwdowns because that’s their limited window of opportunity. They have to bring out their colors. They have to bring on their rut. They have to live it up because that’s their time to shine in the sun. Winter is constantly around the corner, so motivation is strong.

It’s always nice weather here; even when it’s shitty, it’s still relatively nice. So what’s the rush here? There’s always a nice weekend to have a barbecue or sit on the porch. Central Texans live on a different clock. But when most northern cultures are living it up, we’re either stuck inside due to overheating (and hating the boredom) or biking/kayaking/climbing because that’s what hard-core “extreme” people do (the rest of us sweat miserably and do nothing because we’re stifled).

I know I don’t do well in cold weather, but that’s a matter of training and acclimation. I don’t think I would mind learning how to handle it. If the yankees will teach me how to survive the winter, I think I could find it in my heart to teach them how to survive the summer. Deal?