Category Archives: Like Life

More shoebox emptying

In 1999, I had a consulting gig that took me to New York frequently. On my last trip up there (which turned out to be the week of Hurricane Floyd [have I told you the story about the clueless D.C. cab driver?]), a music festival had hoovered up all the hotel rooms in Manhattan, so I found myself in a place called the Pan American in Queens. The matchbook cover that I saved touts it as New York City’s Most Convenient Hotel. Uh, no.

namesakeGorsline streetscapeBut it turns out that this patch of Queens, still known as Newtown, must have been the place where great-ancestor Josse had his farm in the very early 1700s. Gorsline Street runs one block, from 51st Avenue to Kneeland Avenue. As you can see, it’s beautifully kept Archie Bunker territory; it could easily stand in for Hauser Street.

Another hurricane story. The night that Isabel came through town in 2003 (downgraded to a tropical storm by then, but you could have fooled me), the Norway maple that shaded the ground between my house and my neighbor’s thrashed and flailed and generally sounded as if it wanted to crawl in my bedroom window for shelter. Finally, a shattering crack rang out, and I think I heard somebody yell, “Holy cow, look at that!”

Isabel maple doorwayIsabel maple splitIn the morning, I saw what had happened. A good third of the tree was lying in my front yard. It crushed a lamppost and generally made for difficult navigation.

Isabel maple cleanupA cleanup crew promptly showed up and reduced the entire thing to a stump and chips. My townhouse cluster never has replaced the tree. The Morrissettian irony is that I had just given up on trying to grow flowers that liked sun under the maple, and had just planted a little shrub that liked shade.

Pedro y AlbertaIn 1998, I drove Alberta to Florida for some birding. On the way back, I stopped at South of the Border so that she could meet Pedro.

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A mystery: 7

mermaidHow is it that Leta, with each annual WATCH awards, looks more fabulous than the year before?

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Leta is very special to me: here’s why

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 14:53:28 -0500
Subject: They don’t know us as well as they think
From: Leta
To: “David L. Gorsline”
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=20cf3040e37280039a04f199fe95

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Amazon wants me to give you a bunch of Frank Sinatra for Valentine’s Day.

Because I love you more than that, I won’t.

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Emptying the shoebox

A holiday weekend affords some time to scan some old photos.

AlgernonSusan and AlbertaErstwhile cars and girlfriends, much loved. Did I really have that much stuff growing in my front yard? I think that’s my neighbor’s Mitsubishi 3000GT behind Algernon.

findingfoundA Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) foraging at Huntley Meadows Park. This might have been my lifer.

the old old boardwalkIs this the original boardwalk at Huntley Meadows? I don’t think so, but it’s what we had in 1991.

Bonneville DamBonneville insideObsessions with the built environment on a trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1993. Bonneville Dam and its generator room.

closedopenThe bascule Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria. Today, it’s in the process of being replaced.

in your pocketWhere else in the world but Portland would you find an official city park the size of a manhole? Welcome to Mill Ends Park.

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New venues, 2013

I found a couple of performance spaces in the Smith Center that I hadn’t been to before, unless I’ve lost track.

2012′s list. 2011′s list.

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My year in cities, 2013

The year-end roundup posts continue. Overnight stays in 2013:

2012′s list. 2011′s list. 2010′s list. 2009′s list. 2008′s list. 2007′s list. 2006′s list. 2005′s list.

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On deck: 11

only one shelf (for now)The backlog has been reduced a bit, but there are new titles here (thanks, Leta!) and some more volumes on order. The play collections are probably the longest-tenured books on the shelf. I started the Kate Atkinson, hence I removed the dust jacket, but I only got about three pages in before something else tempted me more.

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Group photo

I’m in the back with Patrick.

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Longwood Gardens

conservatory cutiewaiting for a friendLeta and I spent most of our time at Longwood Gardens in the controlled environment of the conservatory, while the rain washed the outside. One of the destination plants of the conservatory is this single individual bread palm, Encephalartos woodii; the species is extirpated in the wild. Each of this cycad’s bright orange cones, each larger than a loaf of bread, is a pollen strobilus.

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Unboxed Ware

boxed Wareunboxed Ware 1My copy of Chris Ware’s Building Stories has been sitting on a shelf—well, lying on the floor propped up against a shelf—for months, too pretty to unwrap. This afternoon I finally had some time to clear off the coffee table and take a few snaps of the unpackaging.

unboxed Ware 2Also solved today: I made horizontal space on a shelf where I can store the book once I’ve finished devouring it.

unboxed Ware 3I like big books and I cannot lie.

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Just as I act on stage “for fun,” and I’m reluctant to engage in paid work because of the baggage that comes with it, I’m perfectly happy to record textbooks on a volunteer basis. But I think it’s great that the growing audio books industry is keeping some professional actors afloat.

Entertainer’s Secret? Gotta get me some of that stuff.

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Enroute: 3

I’m back with NPR for a short gig, working on- and off-site. As Scott Simon reported this morning, NPR is relocating from its Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. building (really two buildings stitched together: on the 5th floor, there’s a two-stair difference between the blunt end of the building and the Tiny Desk Concerts venue at the “skinny end” where Bob Boilen sits) to new digs on North Capitol Street.

countdownThe move is happening in phases; this posting in the elevator keeps everyone informed of the GO dates.

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Ready for my trip to Aleppo

My consultant’s badge for my new client has this awesome legend on the back:

All Authorities are requested to cooperate in facilitating the movement and emergency mission of this bearer.

Well, “awesome” isn’t quite the word for it. “Humbling” is better: a reminder that some people work at a job where they don’t get to come home every night to a warm bed and a roof.

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On deck: 10

spilloverNow that I’m not commuting downtown, the backlog is building. The read-me shelf has spilled over onto one of the DVD shelves.

Hmm. I see a lot of these titles are still on the shelf from last time.

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That Austin America

smaller than the ImpalaAs I was looking for pics of Mom, I found pictures of the Austin America (the one that I crunched). Something in the chronology is wrong here: the date on the edge of the print says 1970, but I would have been only 14 then. Did we really shoot pictures of me behind the wheel when I wasn’t legal? Also, I’m not sure when it was that we lived in the house on Roy Avenue, which you can see in the background. Was it 1970 or 1972? I remember hanging out in the semi-finished attic, reading David Copperfield for class, so maybe it was 1970.

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