And yes, I have become the person with two cast recordings of Anyone Can Whistle, two electric hedge trimmers, and two translations of Du côté de chez Swann.
Say hello to Dr. Hardtacks on his first road trip, already a little dusty from the drive. We’re at the trailheads for Buffalo Mountain in Floyd County, early enough to pick our own space before the parking lot fills up (and it did, on a Friday morning).
With multiple new safety features and an automatic backy-uppy parking trick, the doctor is definitely smarter than me. His surname comes from the name of a turtle that Aaron Posner likes to work into his scripts.
For the first 1000 miles, we’re doing 66.5 mpg.
I’m Washingtonian-famous, for the month at least, recommending Mucca Pazza’s Tiny Desk Concert. Spelled my name right and everything.
Two bits of juvenilia from my business school days, published in the student newspaper, The Wharton Journal, in 1978-1979: a guide to the non-credit courses in computing and calculus offered in the summer, and a satire of too much life hacking. I had about 20 pieces published in the paper, and in exchange for meeting once a week to proofread, I got my name in the staff box with the fancy title of News Editor.
Likewise, I got one road trip in before we all went home. No Turkey Day dinner at Charlie’s this year, alas.
Overnight stays in 2020:
- Titusville, Brevard County, Florida (and)
- Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Hi, Scott!)
I was lucky to visit two new spaces before everything went behind a screen:
- Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Bethesda
- National Sylvan Theater, Washington
- 2019’s list.
- 2018’s list.
- 2017’s list.
- 2016’s list.
- 2015’s list.
- 2014’s list.
- 2013’s list.
- 2012’s list.
- 2011’s list.
Diminished by a year of no book exchanges, no visits to the ARC shelf at work, no used book sales, and judicious avoidance of booksellers; augmented by a couple of thoughtful holiday gifts from friends—I’ve reduced the three boxes plus shelf to one box plus shelf.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m not reading that much more these days. I have set aside what was my morning commute time for reading. But evening commute time has evaporated into reading the news and wondering what to stream for the evening. Reading at home, as opposed to reading on the train, is more conducive to material like Chris Ware and books that require flipping back to a reference book. I have picked up a collection of French short stories with English parallel texts that had languished for a while.
At my desk away from my desk, 12 weeks since we started working remotely full-time. I’ve added a larger work table, a second monitor, and a rolling desk chair since I moved in. The overhead lighting is actually flattering in this case. But that’s the end of the shaggy hair: hair salons in Montgomery County reopened this week.
Overnight stays in 2019:
- New York, Manhattan County, New York
- Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia 1 2 3 4
- Reykjavík, Iceland (2 stays) (and)
- Brjánsstaðir, Iceland
- Vík, Iceland
- Höfn, Iceland
- Egilsstaðir, Iceland
- Mývatn, Iceland
- Harrisonburg, Virginia
- Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia (Thanks, as always, Charlie!)
I found some performance spaces around town that I hadn’t yet visited.
- Anacostia Playhouse
- Milkboy Arthouse, College Park, Md.
- Mead Center Kogod Cradle
- KC Jazz Club
- Atlantis, Sterling, Va.
- River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bethesda, Md.
- Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village, Columbia, Md.
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, College Park, Md.
Bonus out-of-town space: The Village Vanguard, New York.
My to-read bookshelf has spilled out into an annex of three to-read crates. Free books rescued from work, possibly interesting reads from book exchange, a few things of Leta’s that I might pick up, a good-intentions attempt to review my college calculus text (what’s a Lagrange multiplier, again?) (water-damaged from a small basement flood some years ago), a couple of doorstops for a long train journey, some finds from the AAUW used book sale, time to read Pirsig again.
In Leta’s (and by inheritance, Ann’s) effects I found a promotional notepad from the Southern Railway System, with a handy list of freight facilities on the inside cover. (Leta’s grandfather worked for a railroad.) Southern would have used that branding up until about 1980. A historian of the system might be able to pin down a date, given the list of facilities. It’s possible that
200-79 on the inside cover encodes a printing date. Yankee that I am, I used up the notepad.
On the back of the backing is the real mystery: the inscription
GLV 823. A vehicle license plate number, perhaps? But what state? Who made the hasty note, and why did they use the backing rather than a leaf from the pad? Does it capture a red light runner? A hit-and-run accident? The imagination trembles.
The Fairfax County Park Authority ran a donor profile of me (looking a little bedraggled in the mugginess) in a recent issue of the catalog of classes. Flick to p. 106.