It's time to review my blogging habits:

Today, on a walk across the Duke University campus, I saw my friend Mark Schreiner standing in front of the engineering school where he works, and I asked him to accompany me to the coffee shop. Mark and I have been friends for nearly 30 years, since our days at John Carroll University.

From work, over to watch Anna's final volleyball game. The team won, a few points after Anna had a block and a tip over in quick succession.

Then, to the home of my friend Russ Campbell to chat and join his family at the dinner table.

Earlier this week

A conversation with Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD, director of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine, about his recent presentation on the history of Duke Hospital and Durham (watch here) and the many activities across Duke Health relating to health disparities and helping our trainees and students understand the history of Durham.

Lunch with John Rose, PhD, associate director at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, about the Arete Initiative exploring ‘characteristics of a life well lived’ and Rose's expertise in Aristotle's philosophy of a virtuous life.

Following on the heels of the successful Narrative Medicine Colloquium plan, I  have submitted a proposal to the Duke Institute for Health Innovation pilot projects program, for a Voices of Duke Health listening booth and podcast.

I want people - staff and visitor alike- to leave Duke Health thinking, "They listened to me."

Erin read my proposal, and had me listen to Really Long Distance, a segment from This American Life, about a "phone booth in Japan that attracts thousands of people who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake."

In the Harvard Business Review, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy writes about the loneliness epidemic and the workplace.

At work, loneliness reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs other aspects of executive function such as reasoning and decision making. For our health and our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.

I finished reading that article, which urges companies to  "create opportunities to learn about your colleagues's personal lives," after I submitted my Voices proposal. I think I'm onto something.

Our proposal for a Narrative Medicine Colloquium at Duke University has been approved.

The Narrative Medicine Colloquium will be a year-long exploration of the activities and programs already in place at Duke that give faculty, caregivers, students, and others the opportunity to reflect on their lives through stories. The colloquium is also a focused effort to look for new ways to build narrative into the research, medical education, clinical care, and employee health at Duke. It's especially a chance to ask how narrative can strengthen the resiliency of us all.

This colloquium will be one of many interdisciplinary activities funded by the School of Medicine that bring together basic science, translational and clinical faculty members with common interests in a biomedical problem or area.

Blogging where?

Now, where to put our narrative medicine blog to keep track of our discussions and explorations and events?

For example, the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library will present an Oral History Workshop with Craig Breaden on October 20.

Maybe we'll use the MedicineNews blog, or maybe we'll use 1999.

Over there

I bought the domain dukenarrative.blog.

Yesterday, drove through the rain to work with Guns N' Roses playing on the radio. Today, on my way in through the fog, played Resphighi's Ancient Airs and Dances. Glanced up to see a cyclist, sitting up on his seat, silhouetted against the mist.

I know I'm living in the Matrix because each fall the algorithm provides more and more roadside goldenrod and tickseed sunflower for me to enjoy.

Went with my daughters last night to see Wonder Woman. Enjoyed the film very much.

Went today with my daughters to the mall, then to Gray Squirrel for coffee and chai. Enjoyed spending time with them very much.

With Erin, my wife, we are doing our best to raise our daughters to be strong, energetic, and kind-hearted. Our world needs saving, and I believe they can be part of the answer. 

After a series of good conversations at work, I'm really itching to have a place to blog more of activities as a Duke park ranger. Should it be the MedicineNews site? The Threedot Duke Health blog? Zuiker Chronicles? Or right here in 1999?

Dave, always digging, is developing Electric Outliner, and the Old School node app, to take his blogging back to pre-Twitter and pre-Google Reader days. Exciting.

Sure, there are plenty of others documenting the insanity of the new administration in Washington, but here's my contribution:

From Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze (1/23/2017):

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch.

From Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (1/25/2017):

Sec. 16. Hiring. The Office of Personnel Management shall take appropriate action as may be necessary to facilitate hiring personnel to implement this order.

Earlier this week, I updated the outline with my list feeds of the sites I regularly read. I'd previously set up my reading-list river, at my.zuiker.com, to watch for changes to that opml list, but the river stopped working once I had changed the outline. I guess I was expecting River5 to work in a way it's not meant to, though I think the Duke River is doing what I wanted my personal river to do.

Anyway, I tried to restart the river, getting an error every time, so then recreated the river on my webhost trying to remember the steps I'd previously taken, and finally figuring out that I needed River5 to use the opml list directly and not via an include.

All this, by the way, as I prepare my short presentation about the "river of news" concept for the AAMC GIA17 professional development conference I'll attend this spring.

UPDATE the next morning

I've borked it again:

  • I added a new feed to my Little Outliner opml file.
  • I stopped river5.js.
  • I replaced the list.
  • I started river5.js using forever, and briefly saw the river page at river.zuiker.com. Then it went to a 502 bad gateway message. Forever list shows the process is stopped.
  • Trying to start river5.js with node reports an error. I suspect there is a problem feeds in my list. So I take out the 2 feeds I changed this morning, and reloaded the list. Still errors. 
  • This is frustrating. I don't know what I'm doing, or doing wrong.

Restarting the 1999 server, which seemed to have been down.

1. Commander: Fight To Retake Mosul Progressing Faster Than Expected
Major General Gary Volesky, who is leading U.S. forces in Iraq, gave clear, direct and reasoned answers on what's happening in the fight against ISIL.

2. Just In Time For The Election, It's Time For Some Family Political Therapy
This week's StoryCorps segment featured a father and daughter honestly addressing the way politics has divided them, but also how respect and love keeps them connected. Brought tears to my eyes.

3. 'Loving' Tells Story Of Supreme Court Ruling Legalizing Interracial Marriage
Jeff Nichols, writer and director of the new film Loving, talks about the amazing, down-to-earth couple at the heart of the constitutional case against miscegenation.

I'm cheering for the Cleveland Indians this World Series.

It was a tough choice. My family has a long history with the Cubs (and other Chicago teams). My father and uncles, and my grandfather, worked thousands of games selling popcorn and soda and beer. I watched a lot of Cubs games on WGN with my other grandparents, hoping Ron Cey and Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston and Leon Durham might break the curse. I walked on the Wrigley infield one spring day along with other Illinois high school honor roll students.

But then I moved to Cleveland for college, and that city became my home for the next 10 years or so. My first Indians game was a $5 upper-deck ticket that actually let me sit anywhere in the massive Cleveland Stadium. I met and married Erin, who worked Indians and Browns games as an usher. Since moving to North Carolina in 2001, I've visited Cleveland at least twice each year. I consider Cleveland my home.

So, I'm cheering for the Cleveland Indians this World Series. 

Race day was cold, but clear. The Twin Cities Marathon course was beautiful, through downtown Minneapolis and around a few lakes and into neighborhood streets lined with thousands of cheering spectators. Quite a few were holding out boxes of tissues, a rarity at other races I've run.

Mike and I ran the first half fast, but then I faded, and struggled through the rest of the miles. I approached the finish line with a painful cramp in my left calf, but I came in at 4:21:10, a personal record (by 5 minutes). Mike beat me by 10 minutes.

This was my third marathon this year, fifth in all (previously Tobacco Road 2016, Austin 2016, Honolulu 2014 and 1993). I'd still like to finish in under four hours, but I'm not sure how I'll fit in more training over the next six months, as I have plenty to focus on at home and work. Still, I'd run the Twin Cities Marathon again.

I'm in St. Paul, Minnesota this weekend with my brother-in-law, Michael Shaughnessy, MD. We're here to run the Twin Cities Marathon

Mike was here last year as an honoree of the Medtronic Global Heroes program, which each year brings two dozen runners from around the world to run in the 10-mile race or the marathon here. Each of the runners has a Medtronic implantable device or part: pacemaker, insulin pump, urologic device, or other. Each of the runners has a heartwarming, inspiring story.

In 2011, Mike discovered he had a life-threatening aortic aneurysm. He had open-heart surgery and received a new valve, and got a new perspective on living.

Here's Mike's story:


And here's Mike's Heart Beat Report, where he blogged his surgery and recovery and headlong dive into running and triathalons and living life to its fullest.

Mike decided he wanted to return for the marathon this year, and I offered to run with him. It's an honor to do so.

Here's another good video about the Global Voices group last year.

More troubles with the Duke River, so I'm taking this opportunity to update the main opml file in Little Outliner for a combined listing of all the Duke feeds I've collected.

Hope to have the Duke River home page, dukeriver.co, back to normal sometime in the next couple of days.

A postcard in the mail informs me that my number for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 9 will be 6182.

I've updated Zuiker Chronicles to Textpattern v 4.6.0, which was released earlier this month. As expected, upgrading went smoothly. The new admin layout is much more intuitive and conducive to writing. I like this CMS, and am supremely grateful to the volunteer developers who have nurtured it all these years.

I tried to add a couple of newsfeeds from the new Duke Today to the Duke River, but one of the feeds is not quite right, and so I attempted to backtrack. Not sure I did it right, or thoroughly, but the display of Duke River seems to be coming back, albeit slowly.

If you want to see all of the rivers with Duke River, see river5.dukeriver.co.

Follow up

Looks like it's all back to normal, and the Duke River is reflecting all the interesting news from around campus.

The house smells of hickory and vinegar this morning, with a pork shoulder slowly roasting in the oven, after searing and smoking on the small Weber grill in the backyard. Thanks to the instructions from Michael Ruhlman, making Eastern North Carolina barbecue at home is simple.

Once the meat was in the oven, I sat on the front porch to read more of the Sunday NYTimes. The Travel pages, my go-to section, included a Q&A on shopping the markets of Provence — Erin and I did that in June — and also a long essay about Amtrak's California Zephyr train that goes between Chicago and the San Francisco area.

Riding the Zephyr

When I was 11 or 12, living in Idaho, my family drove south to Winnemucca, Nevada, where we parked the station wagon on a side street, and boarded the Zephyr for a trip west. I spent much of that ride in the observation car, watching the desert and mountains and valleys roll by. I fondly remembered that train trip when Erin and I were whizzing through France on the TGV this summer. I love trains.

On that earlier trip, my family visited relatives in San Jose. They lived in a geodesic dome. We went to San Francisco one day, and I enjoyed the waterfront but was frightened by the homeless veteran ranting in the middle of the street.

We took the train back east, and disembarked at the Winnemmucca station in the middle of the night, to find that someone had siphoned the gas from the station wagon. I helped my dad push the car down the hill, while my mother steered and my four brothers slept in the back. We eventually found a gas station, filled up, and drove four hours to our home in Caldwell.

Following the How to customize the editor docs, I was just able to update my 1999 server so that the template displays BlogTogether in the menubar. This should be the default menubar product name across any blogs on my 1999 server. You'll see it when logged into the editor.

The icon at right is part of the BlogTogether logo.

I walked into Flyleaf Books, in Chapel Hill, to buy a box of Blackwing pencils, and I walked out with just two pencils — a grey Blackwing 602 and a white Blackwing Pearl — but also a copy of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris.

Norris is a query proofreader at the New Yorker, and I've been enjoying her short videos on grammar and style here's a video of her at the C.W. Pencil Enterprise (a pencil boutique New York City!), talking about reflexive pronouns.

I'm testing the Blackwings, and liking how they write, so will probably be back to Flyleaf to stock up soon.

Department of Handy Haystacks

By the way, see the cool Search page at newyorker.com.

I like to search for the writings of Joseph Mitchell.

From Dave's Podcatch.com, I found the Incomparable podcast talking about the stunning 1996 novel The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell . I read that book soon after it first came out, because Northern Ohio Live, where I was editor, got to excerpt a bit of it. Russell lives near Cleveland, close to the Jesuit university John Carroll University, my alma mater.

Listen to the podcast: Just Add Jesuits!

A new issue of Saveur arrived today, and it features an essay by my friend Michael Ruhlman, about the egg, and his Egg book.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a vintage manual typewriter from Amsterdam Finds on Etsy, and after a minor snafu with the ribbon remedied just now by transferring a new ribbon to the old spools, I now have my caramel-brown Tippa 1 portable typewriter on my desk and ready for the typing.

I also recently purchased a Cole Steel typewriter, from Craigslist in Raleigh. This machine isn't advancing, so will need the attention of typewriter repairman Chris Shaw, who operated a business machine repair shop in Chapel Hill for decades.

Yes, I have succumbed. While I'm blogging like it's 1999, I'm also about to compose old-school Zuiker Chronicles the way my grandfather, Frank the Beachcomber, did it for so long.

The family-and-friends vacation on Tybee Island was great fun. 

Highlights for me:

  • Preparing red beans and rice for a group dinner on the beach, where the adults and kids sat on blankets under the moon and stars.
  • Stepping into Inferno, a tiny shop with hundreds of bottles of hot sauce -- I bought a smoky jalapeno sauce that was quite tasty on the beans and rice. 
  • Good pizza and cold beer on the deck at Huc-a-Poo's Bites and Booze, which is in the same cluster of shops as Inferno. 

Peace Corps and back

Three of the four friends who joined us on Tybee -- Kevin Anderson and Erika Rundiks, and Bridgit (Greene) Adamou -- were our fellow Peace Corps volunteers in the Republic of Vanuatu in the late 1990s. Kevin and Erika went back to Vanuatu with their daughter seven years ago. As we at beans and rice on Tybee beach, they talked about the experience of going back, and gave us tips for our return. Erin and I are getting serious about taking our family back next summer.

My mentor and friend, David Jarmul, was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal in the 1970s. He met his wife there. David retired from Duke University in 2015, and then he and Champa joined the Peace Corps again. Now they're in the Republic of Moldova, and David is blogging his experience at Not Exactly Retired.

Someday, maybe we'll re-up ...

A fine way to celebrate 20 years of marriage with the woman you love is to walk with her and your children through the streets and squares of Savannah, Georgia -- this is where you strolled a few days after you were engaged in 1995 -- then head over to Tybee Island to rendezvous with good friends, whom you've known since  your Peace Corps service in Vanuatu, and sit around a table for a simple meal, good conversation, and deep sighs of contentment. 

Life is good, friendships are strong, and your love is deep.

Thank you, Erin, for 20 wonderful years.

The family is watching the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 summer Olympics. Loved the music and dancing. Now the athletes are parading in. Vanuatu's team of four athletes will be at the end, eh, but they'll be there!

Apple's new commercial came on, with the poetry and voice of Maya Angelou.

I'll have to head to bed soon. I'm training for another marathon, and I need to meet the running group at 6:15 a.m., and then run 14 miles. These Olympians will be my inspiration.

 This is the weekend for more blogging, and I'll be digging into the 1999 updates I've planned for too long.

  • The publishing callback is working, and we can read this blog at blog.zuiker.com. (Can't recall if that will reflect live edits. I don't expect it to. Holy cow, it did. 1999 is awesome! )
  • Next is to customize the editor. Done. I changed the productName to BlogTogether.
  • Then to stylize the template.
  • Then to set the Google Analytics ID. Done, though I may not have GA configured correctly to watch for a subdomain.
  • Create a glossary. Done. Testing: Zuiker Chronicles is still my main blog.
  • Add Disqus comments. Done.
  • Then to write a story every day.

The past month, since we returned from our delightful trip to Provence, was one of the more intense we've had in quite a few years. Kids in camp, work super busy for both of us, the weather hot and humid, and then Oliver developed a serious staph infection on his arm -- bully impetigo, he called it, making the pediatricians smile (the medical term is bullous impetigo) -- with a viral infection and high fevers at the same time.

But Oliver is healthy again. A new month has begun, and another short, family-and-friends vacation is imminent.

And I caught the first glimpses of goldenrod along the country roads this week, and I stopped into the florist to get a bundle of sunflowers for my lover.

It's Friday, I'm in love with life.

Listening to NPR on WUNC today, I heard the following:

  • News from San Diego Comic-Con that Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang won the Eisner Award for best new series, for Paper Girls. My daughters and I have been reading this series from the start. We know Brian, who has been a friend of Erin's family in Cleveland for decades. (Brian was a summer intern when I was editor of Northern Ohio Live.)
  • Weekend Edition Saturday featured a report from Marfa, Texas, about the artist Robert Irwin, by Tom Michael. Tom is married to Erin's sister, and he's recently left Marfa Public Radio, which he founded a decade ago, to become general manager of Boise State Public Radio.

Congrats to Brian and Tom.

Blogging from Looking Glass Cafe this morning, after shopping at Carrboro Farmers Market. Last week at the market, I recognized Melody Kramer, and stopped to introduce myself, and tell her I appreciate the writing she does on Twitter and for Poynter.

Erin and I attended a pop-up dinner at Crook's Corner, in Chapel Hill, earlier this week, organized by Pableaux Johnson, a New Orleans-based photographer. He is on the road this summer with his #redbeansroadshow, in which he cooks up a simple meal of red beans and his grandfather's cornbread, along with tomato-and-mayonnaise sandwiches and deviled eggs. 

My friend and mentor, Paul Jones -- he's mentioned in my Zuiker Chronicles post about our dinner in Paris earlier this month -- snapped a pic of Pableaux explaining the reason for the night: Put your phones away, food is served family style, enjoy and talk with your tablemates.

So we did. The food was delicious. I talked at length with Sheila Neal, project coordinator for NC Choices. Sheila is organizing a conference for Carolina women working in the meat business. Just a couple days before, I'd made osso buco with beef shank I'd bought from Chapel Hill Creamery, a women-owned business that sells really good cheese at the Carrboro Farmers Market. Sheila and her husband, Matt, are owners of the acclaimed Neal's Deli in Carrboro, and they're friends with a couple couples that Erin and I know well.

So, it was an enjoyable evening on the humid patio of Crook's, where I had enjoyed brunch and a conversation with Dave Winer back in 2005. That conversation led to my many BlogTogether activities. The red beans dinner this week reminded me of my previous The Long Table dinners, and rekindled the back-burner idea to do my part to bring people together for good food, good conversation and stronger community.

BBQ

This week, I also made pulled pork barbecue, using a pork butt I bought at the farmers market, and following the Eastern North Carolina BBQ technique of my friend, Michael Ruhlman. I first seared the pork butt on the hot side of the small charcoal grill, then moved it to the cool side, added wet hickory chips, and smoked the pork for 30 minutes, then moved it to the oven for six hours. The next day, when we dug in, it was delicious. Of course, I'm lucky in that I have at least three good BBQ places within a 10-minute drive. But this home BBQ technique is a winner.

Yesterday's news out of Nice, France is tragic, horrifying. When I learned of it, a physical memory of the Mediterranean air, warmth, smell and serenity washed over me, briefly. I wish that feeling could last, for me and all those in Nice, forever. Wishing for peace.

My blog post about the holiday in Provence is on the Zuiker Chronicles.