fauxklore: (Default)
Celebrity Death Watch: Chuck Barris was a TV producer, responsible for The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show. Dallas Green played for several baseball teams (mostly the Phillies) and managed a few, including some success with the Phillies and remarkable lack thereof with the Mets. Lola Albright was an actress, best known for her role in the TV show, Peter Gunn. Pete Shotton played the washboard, but is better known for his friendship with John Lennon and for founding the Fatty Arbuckle’s chain of diners in England. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian was the Governor-General of St. Kitts and Nevis, but I wouldn’t have heard of him were it not for a couple of my ghoul pool rivals having him on their lists. (My picks are thriving, alas.) David Storey was, appropriately, a writer, and won the Booker Prize for his 1976 novel, Saville. Bernie Wrightson drew horror comics and is best known as the creator of Swamp Thing. Ahmed Kathrada was an anti-apartheid activist. Darlene Cates played the mother in the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. William Powell wrote The Anarchist Cookbook, though he later tried to have it removed from circulation. Roland Schmitt was an executive at GE and president of RPI. Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag as a symbol of gay activism. Richard Bolles wrote What Color is Your Parachute?, a frequently recommended book on job-hunting, though I never found it particularly useful. Lonnie Brooks was a blues singer. Gary Austin created the improv theatre troupe, The Groundlings. Yevgeny Yevtushenko was a Russian poet, best known for his work Babi Yar, which was set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Quarterly Goals: I have been working on various projects, but haven’t finished any. I have not been reading things from the goals on my life list, alas. I treated myself to a pedicure, perfume, and a couple of extravagant meals out. And I have gotten in touch with the daughter-in-law of a cousin twice removed (in Israel) and a couple of the descendants of my great-grandfather’s brother.

MIT Reception: Monday night was the reception for MIT student in their policy internship program. It is always good to corrupt young minds, er, try to persuade students to: a) get involved with space policy and b) take advantage of all the non-work things to do in the D.C. area. Overall, it was a pleasant evening of decent food (heavy hors d’oeuvres) and intelligent conversation.

Loren Niemi House Concert: Storyteller Loren Niemi did a house concert in an apartment in Adams Morgan on Tuesday night. It was a nice intimate setting and he is always interesting to listen to. I particularly liked his story about re-encountering a woman he once knew under unexpected circumstances, which evoked a lot of memories for me about how life circumstances change. He also told an excellent ghost story.

Book Club: Wednesday night was book club. It was interesting because the person leading the discussion really disliked the book (Someone Will Be With You Shortly by Lisa Kogan, which is not really a typical book club type of book). I didn’t think it was a brilliant book, but it was typical women’s magazine humor and an entertaining enough read. The other news is that the person in the group who has annoyed me (because of not so hidden racism) is gone. I knew she was moving but it has happened a bit faster than I expected. I’m sure somebody else will grate on me – and that I irritate some people, too, but I’m still pleased.

Rasika: This modern Indian restaurant is generally considered one of the best restaurants in D.C. and, therefore, it is next to impossible to get a reservation there. A friend had managed to get a reservation for Friday night, with the catch being that it was on the decidedly early side. Alas, she got ill and couldn’t make it, but I decided it was worth taking advantage of the opportunity, even alone. The famous dish there is palak chaat, which is crispy spinach with yogurt and date and tamarind chutney. It is amazingly good and lived up to its reputation. That was followed by lamb achari, which was decently spicy and very tender, but felt a bit heavy. It came with rice and a mint paratha, which was good, but the flavor of the mint was kind of drowned out by the spices of the lamb. I also had a champagne cocktail, which was okay, but did not have as much ginger flavor as the menu had led me to believe. For dessert, there was excellent gulab jamun with amazing cardamom ice cream. Overall, it was a good meal, though I would order a different main course if I went again.

Out of This World: I had never actually been to the Ringling Brothers / Barnum & Bailey Circus and, this being their final tour, suggested this to the group of friends for whom I am Chief Entertainment Officer. So Friday night (after Rasika) found me with a couple of friends at the Verizon Center for the circus. The show is space-themed, which was a nice plus. There were impressive aerialists and superb horseback riding, but my favorite act was the guys riding motorbikes in a metal orb, with seven of them at one time. The lowlights were the clowns, who were mostly at the far end of the arena, so I couldn’t see what they were doing, and the big cats, who just looked too unhappy. I found myself wondering what has to go wrong in somebody’s life for them to think that a career yelling at lions and tigers is a good life choice. (Yes, I do know most circus performers are born to the life. Still…) I’m glad I went, but, overall, I’m not really sad that it’s ending.

Midwestern Gothic: This is a new musical at Signature Theatre. The book is by Royce Vavrek, who I was unfamiliar with, and Josh Schmidt, who wrote Adding Machine, a show I didn’t know quite what to make of. And that was more or less my reaction to this show. The plot centers around a sociopathic teenage girl named Stina, ably played by Morgan Keene. She sets up her friend to be St. Sebastian, tying him to a tree and shooting him with an arrow. She flirts with her creepy stepfather, Red, who takes semi-pornographic photos of her. Her mother is mostly absent, running a bar. Red picks up a woman, who Stina kills. So she and Red run off to an old, condemned house, where there is more blood shed. The music is a mixed bag, some of it operatic and some of it livelier. Overall, the show just didn’t work for me – and I like dark humor. I think the problem is that the likeable characters are nothing more than victims. Oh, well, it’s always worth seeing something new.

Knitting Group: And Sunday was knitting group. I am finally past the part of an afghan square that I'd had to tink because I'd forgotten the border on the sides.

Whew! What a hectic week. (And things had been busy at work, too, with a couple of big meetings to deal with.)
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
Celebrity Death Watch: Betsy Bloomingdale was a socialite and fashion icon. Dave Bald Eagle was a Lakota chief who is probably most famous for having acted in the movie "Dances with Wolves." Miss Cleo was a TV psychic. Jack Davis co-founded Mad Magazine. Richard Thompson was a cartoonist ("Cul de Sac") and illustrator. Doug Griffin played second base for the Red Sox in the 1970’s. Fred Tomlinson wrote "The Lumberjack Song" for Monty Python.

Forrest Mars, Jr. inherited money from the candy company, some of which went to support historical projects, including support of Fort Ticonderoga and funding the construction of a coffeehouse in Colonial Williamsburg.

Marni Nixon dubbed the singing voices of several actresses in movie musicals. James M. Nederlander owned a number of theatres on Broadway and elsewhere. Zelda Fichandler co-founded Arena Stage, one of the major regional theatres here in Washington and, apparently, the first racially integrated theatre in the region.

The death I most want to highlight is that of Mary Ann Madden. She edited the New York Magazine Competition for many years and some of the best entries were compiled in such books as Maybe He’s Dead and Thanks for the Giant Sea Tortoise. I have distinct memories of several of the entries from the 1970’s. She was long retired and had, apparently, been ill for some time, but her spirit lives on in the Washington Post Style Invitational and the community it has fostered among its devotees.

Lesser of Evils: It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential race. I’m not especially enthusiastic about her (she is, after all, a Yankees fan), but this is a clear lesser of evils for me. I challenged myself to see who would be so awful that I would vote for Donald Trump over them and came up with two names. The first was Robert Mugabe, who is not, of course, eligible, not being an American. The other was Cthulhu, who I could argue was born in Rhode Island. I generally prefer my political candidates without tentacles.

On a More Serious Note: The major impact of the veepstakes is that it gives some insight into how a politician makes decisions. I’d argue that the single most important thing a President does is make political appointments. (That is especially true of the Supreme Court, of course, but applies to various Cabinet and other posts.) The choice of a running mate is our first opportunity to see this in action.

This is an area in which I think Hillary Clinton made an excellent choice. I’ve lived in Virginia through Tim Kaine’s term as governor and his tenure in the Senate. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I’ve been impressed with his integrity and with his ability to work across the aisle. I think he can provide some good balance to the race.

One More Political Note: There is nothing wrong with trying to develop third parties to better represent certain advocacies. However, it makes sense to start doing so at the local level. Not enough attention gets paid to city and county races to begin with. Even at the state level, there is plenty of room for expanding the slates. For example, I remain appalled at how many candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates run unopposed.

Damn You, Noodles & Company: They added spicy Korean beef noodles to their menu. I have no particular objection to that, but in doing so, they got rid of the Indonesian peanut saute. That, with tofu, has been my mainstay of their menu.

Storytelling: Saturday night was the Better Said Than Done show in which I told my summer camp story. The show was an interesting mix of stories, which always makes for more fun for me as a listener. The audience was very responsive and I got plenty of laughs in the right places. All in all, a fun evening.

Knitting Group: There was a fifth Sunday in July, so we met at Starbucks, instead of the police station. The disadvantage of that is more cramped space. But the advantage is that we recruit new members who happen to see us there. I also ran into someone I used to work with who lives a few blocks away from there. And, oh, yeah, I got some work in on a charity afghan, though I am still skeptical about some aspects of the pattern. (Well, one aspect, which has to do with how the final triangle making up the hexagon gets joined and whether there is one or two decreases in that row.)
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
I’ll write up my weekend trip to New York separately, but here is the rest of the catch-up.

Celebrity Death Watch: Al Molinaro was a character actor who, among other things, played Murray the Cop on The Odd Couple. Fred Thompson was an actor and senator. Helmut Schmidt was the Chancellor of West Germany in the late 1970’s. Allen Toussaint was a major New Orleans musician.

New Job: For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, I am going to be moving to a new job (within the same company) in a few weeks. I will be working on early development activities for the next generation Navy communications satellites. It should be a good challenge.

I should note that this wasn’t a matter of any particular dissatisfaction with what I’ve been doing. While I hate the building I work in, the people are fine and the work is fine. It’s just that I’ve been here over four years, so was ready when an appealing opportunity came up.

Girlstar:This new musical at Signature Theatre had a talented and energetic cast and an interesting concept. There’s a fairy tale sort of opening which gives the back story of a pair of twins (boy and girl). The girl is immensely talented, but a jealous older sister uses a magic liquid she’s found to steal that talent and store it in the belly of her pet snake. And, of course, without talent, one dies. But not before having a daughter, who is then raised by the brother and protected from music by him. Now that daughter is all grown up and ready to seek her aunt, who is the music producer, responsible for the careers of every major star.

What doesn’t get explained is why the aunt can’t use the talent herself, but needs to put it into her girlstar. There are two other stars who mysteriously die to give the girl her voice and her dancing moves, making her ready for a big concert. Everything goes bizarrely wrong, but maybe there is a happyish ending after all.

The problem is that the story doesn’t quite follow the way fairy tales are supposed to work. Overall, a lot of stuff happens out of sheer convenience, instead of making even a limited amount of sense. That’s a pity because there’s some enjoyable music. It’s really a waste of a particularly talented cast, with Donna Migliaccio giving an excellent performance as the evil aunt and Desi Oakley as the sweet niece not sure of what is happening to her.

Halloween: We had a house concert / swap for Halloween. It was a lot of fun. I told "Ida Black," which went over okay though I don’t think I told it especially well.

Knitting Group: I am officially a quarter of the way through this afghan I intended to finish by about March.

Book Club: This session’s book was Euphoria by Lily King, which is a fictionalized story about a thinly disguised Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson. I think having been to Papua New Guinea (and, specifically, the Sepik region – in real life, Bateson worked with the Iatmul people) did help with it. The ending of the novel, however, annoyed me.

Lost Keys: Somehow, my house keys disappeared. My best guess is that they fell out of my bag when I was pulling out my badge for the bus. And, of course, I got home from book club after our complex office was closed. The weather was dreadful, so it took a while for the locksmith to get there. Not the end of the world, but it’s annoying.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
Celebrity Death Watch: Burt Shavitz had bees (and a related business). James Tate was a poet. Ernie Maresca was a songwriter, notable for "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." Omar Sharif and Roger Rees were actors.

Thing I Want to Make: I just discovered these toy animals made from sock yarn. They’re knitted in a tube and tied like balloon animals, which is just such a cool concept.

I also want to make these crocheted toys, which are done with hexagons and pentagons pieced together. The stegosaurus and the giraffe are particularly cute.

Of course, I should probably finish the three sweaters and two afghans I have in progress first. Come to think of it, make that four afghans. Or maybe five. Um, yes, I have a short attention span and a lack of time to spend playing with yarn. (I did get some stuff done at knitting group on Sunday, but I spent much of the weekend napping, reading the newspaper, doing a few chores, and did I mention napping?)

Reasons to Retire, Part 9753: The things that are frustrating are often things other than work itself. Today’s top annoyance has to do with telecommunications infrastructure, otherwise known as our internet being deadly slow. How bad? It just took me an hour and 17 minutes to get into my corporate website for long enough to enter my time in my timesheet, a task that normally takes about 6 minutes (and really should not take more than 2).

And don’t get me started on our VOIP phones. I am an old person who believes one should not ever have to reboot one’s telephone.

Weather Whine: We are in the midst of the annual block of 90/90 days (i.e. 90 degrees Fahrenheit, 90% humidity). I have, of course, set the air conditioning to stun, but it is still annoying.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
I’m leaving for Recouvery tomorrow, so I wanted to get caught up before then. Here is what I’ve been up to.

Las Vegas: Vegas is a good destination for mileage running as: a) airfares are reasonable, b) the distance is enough to be worth accumulating PQM but not so far as to be punishing, and c) you can entertain yourself there easily between gambling and people watching. So I did a quick trip over the holiday weekend, flying there on Friday and back on Saturday. The down side of the trip was that this is summer and the temperature was roughly like walking on the surface of the sun. My key people-watching observation was that it is apparently a thing now for young women to forgo carrying a purse and, instead, tuck their phone into either a bra strap or their cleavage. I feel old.

Knitting: I was home on Sunday so went to knitting group. I finished another of the large afghan squares, but I am still well off the pace I had intended. There was also lots of entertaining conversation.

Metro Woes: Monday morning was a mess, since Metro does not know how to handle irrops. I don’t blame them for the selfish person who decided that being struck by a train would be a good way to end his miserable life. But if you announce you are single-tracking through a station, you should not then send one shuttle train in 40+ minutes, have that train go one station and then sit another 40 minutes, and then offload everyone to wait for a train that is then too crowded for people to get on.

Thinking suicide?
Please find some other day to
Do it – not by train.

Aside from the impact to my commute (which, let’s face it, is what really matters), it isn’t very nice to inflict that trauma on a train driver.

Also, my experience on the overcrowded train I squeezed onto suggests that the residents of Fairfax County have stopped spending money on deodorant, using it instead to buy garlicky food for breakfast.

Story Slam: Last night I went to the Storyfest Short Story Slam in Silver Spring. I’m not really crazy about the competitive aspect of story slams, but I do like to know what is going on with all storytelling in the area. The theme was "Song and Dance" so I told my ballet story. Or, more precisely, an abbreviated version of it, since the slam has a 5 minute time limit.

The event was better than I had anticipated. The stories that had problems had the usual sort of problems with personal stories, e.g. no real idea of what the story was about, leading to a lack of a real ending. But, overall, there were several satisfying stories. From the standpoint of a teller, I thought the audience was a good, highly responsive one. I should also note a particularly high level of diversity among the attendees, which is (sadly) all too rare. I will definitely go again, schedule permitting.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
·For several years, I have been seeking organizational nirvana. I am a complete sucker for organizing tools and, for example, consider hanging file folders to be one of the greatest inventions of my life time. (They are right up there with velcro and Lee press-on nails, but I digress.)

One thing that has defied organization, however, is knitting needles. Circular needles are not a real problem, as there are binders with pockets that work perfectly well for them. (Cheap tip: there are similar binders sold for fly fishing which work just as well and cost a lot less.) I have a couple of good enough zip-up cases for crochet hooks. Double points are also no problem, as I hate them and only keep one set that I use as cable needles, so they fit in my notions bag. (The notions bag is, by the way, a repurposed United Airlines Global First amenity kit.)

But straight needles are a pain. They can be up to 14 inches long. I have a zip-up fabric case that looks like it should work well, but it is built upside down, so unzipping it makes all the needles fall out. I’ve never really liked the roll-up fabric cases. What I really want is something with a hard case.

I had a moment of inspiration today on something else to try. What else is long and straight? Spaghetti, of course! And they sell plastic containers for spaghetti, don’t they? I’ll have to make sure those are actually long enough, but it is worth a try.

Miscellany

May. 19th, 2014 04:36 pm
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
Books about organizing often say that one should never have a filing category labeled "miscellaneous." You are supposed to, instead, actually make more folders or just get rid of stuff or something else that I don’t understand. My goal is to have just one "miscellaneous" file. Consider this entry the electronic equivalent.

Celebrity Death Watch: Mary Stewart wrote romantic suspense. Jerry Vale was a singer. And Jeb Stuart Magruder was a Watergate conspirator. Most of the obituaries I saw omitted his middle name, but it is how I think of him. I have to admit to feeling vaguely guilty about not having paid enough attention to Watergate at the time, but I was a teenager and the crush du jour was always a higher priority in those days.

Dinner at Jaleo: I went out for dinner at Jaleo in Crystal City on Friday night with friends from flyertalk. We ate all sorts of good things, as one does at a tapas place. And I drank sherry, as I do when eating tapas. The service, however, was underwhelming. There were a dozen or so of us at a long table and we had sort of ordered in groups of 4. The waiter auctioned off dishes, not making any attempt to get things near the part of the table that had ordered them. Several people got talked into ordering the strawberry ice cream for dessert and got raspberry sorbet first, though it was corrected afterwards. (This did not impact me – I am a coffee and brandy person with such a meal.) Still, the food was tasty and the conversation was enjoyable.

Story Swap: This month’s story swap was Saturday night. I would normally have taken metro since it was in the city, but there was the inevitable weekend track work on the Orange Line, so I drove. Surprisingly, I did not get lost and found parking quite close by. The swap was fun, with a good mix of stories and several newcomers, most of whom just listened.

Knitting Group: I don’t get any knitting or crocheting done other than at knitting group lately. So, despite the great weather on Sunday, I did go for a couple of hours and crocheted a couple of afghan squares.

Dream Geography: I spend a lot of time in my dreams on trains. But dream geography does not match real world geography. For example, in a recent dream, I was taking a train north from California to Canada but ended up in Brazil. I wonder how many frequent flyer miles I would get for that routing.

Shoe Failure: I had a catastrophic shoe failure at work today. The front seam on my right shoe just disintegrated. I suppose that is a lot better than other things that could fail, since someone at the office had a stroke last week. But it is still annoying.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
This is the more general catch-up entry. Yeah, I know.

Celebrity Death Watch: Bob Hoskins was an actor. So was Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., who people of my generation will associate with The FBI. I want, however, to highlight Al Feldstein, the editor of MAD, a magazine that was a significant influence on my childhood. My father bought it, allegedly for my brother and me, but we noticed that the fold-in was always done by the time we got it. I understand that there is a game of 43-man squamish going on right now in his memory.

Yiddish Poetry Game: I like Yiddish (though I speak little of it) and like poetry, so I thought this special event put on by the Jewish Study Center would be fun. And it was. The idea is that everyone got two cards with poetry cues and two cards with Yiddish words (with English definitions). You matched a word to a cue and offered that up as something for people to use as a rule in writing a poem. For example, my combination led to "an acrostic on the word shtetl." Then everybody had time to write a poem using at least three of the rules. The results were interesting and I could definitely see playing this again. (Note that one can, of course, play the poetry game just in English.)

Business Trip: After getting back from Northlands, I had to leave for a business trip to Los Angeles early the next morning. There was the obligatory jog across ORD when my first flight was delayed and I had less than 15 minutes to make my connection. But things worked out okay. The design review I was there for was successful for the most part, but exhausting. The highlight of the trip was getting to see an aircraft assembly line, which had nothing to do with the actual purpose of being there. But, I suppose, it’s a lot tougher to show off software development.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival: I always swear I will not spend money at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which is the largest fiber festival in the Eastern United States. (Think of it as a cross between a county fair and the world’s largest yarn store.) And, inevitably, there is irresistible temptation. In this case, it was the Tsock Tsarina Shark Week sock kit. It will be challenging, given my history with sock knitting, otherwise known as failing to complete a pair of socks . But some day I will master these.

Rose Valley Storytelling House Concert: After leaving the sheep and alpaca and rabbits (oh, my!), I drove to Philadelphia to go to a storytelling house concert at the home of Megan Hicks and Jack Abgott. It was an excellent evening. Kitty Hailey told amusing stories about her experiences as a private investigator. Robin Bady did an excerpt from her anti-bullying story, "Every Day is Basil Houpis Day," which left me wanting to hear the rest of the story. And Tom Stamp performed a mix of unusual literary stories. There was a great mix of types of material and the audience was responsive and engaged (and mingled well before the show, during intermission, and afterwards). It was definitely worth dealing with I-95. (Note, however, that I stayed up that way overnight. I’m not quite crazy enough to drive up and back the same day.)

Three Penny Opera: I drove back from Philadelphia on Sunday morning so I could see Three Penny Opera at Signature Theatre in the afternoon. Setting the story in the present day was an interesting decision – and not entirely effective, in my opinion. For example, having people snapping cell phone photos of Macheath on the gallows is mildly amusing but doesn’t really add to anything. The performances were more effective. Nastascia Diaz was excellent as Jenny. I also want to note Erin Driscoll as Polly Peachum. I was less enthralled by Mitchell Jarvis as Macheath, though I suspect that has more to do with the character’s inherent smarminess than with his performance per se. All in all, I’d say the production is not entirely successful, but I am not sure anybody could do this show in an entirely satisfying way.

Michael Reno Harrell: Storyteller and folk musician Michael Reno Harrell was passing through town last night and Ellouise Schoettler was offering a house concert featuring him. There was a small group, so it ended up being a "sit around the kitchen table and swap stories" type of evening instead. That was still a good time.

A Brief Note on Why Women Should Run Everything: I had a meeting today. It ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no break. Only a man would schedule things that way.

Snippets

Jan. 24th, 2014 02:56 pm
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
As usual, I have a bunch of catching up to do.

Used Bookstores and Spices: I finally got around to doing a used bookstore run last weekend. It was a particularly successful one, in that I left the house with 65 books and came home with only 4 of those (plus 18 new to me books, but that is to be expected). I also took advantage of the last store on my route being in that general vicinity to stop into Penzey’s and buy saffron. I will note, however, that they had no true cinnamon, at least not in stick form, but only cassia. (My issue is not the coumarin, as I don’t use it in huge amounts, but cassia is harder to grind and has a harsher taste.) They also don’t carry rosewater, so I still need to make a trip to one of the Indian stores (probably Aditi) to stock up. Actually, I should check first to see if Shopper’s Food Warehouse in Fairfax has it, since they carry some seasonings other supermarkets around here don’t (e.g. star anise) and do have a Middle Eastern section.

Game Night: My Chavurah had a game night on Saturday night. It was kind of weird, but I realize that most people would consider what I think of as a game night as weird. Basically, there was no interest in strategy games at all and complete distaste for anything that suggested actual competition. It was still reasonably fun. We played Balderdash, which I am very good at because: 1) I have a good vocabulary, meaning I don’t consider words like "succubus" to be the least bit obscure and 2) I understand what dictionary definitions sound like and can, therefore, snooker other people into picking my definition. We also played Sour Apples to Apples, which adds a silly penalty thing if your choice is considered least appropriate. In my opinion, that adds nothing to the game.

I should try to make time to go to real game nights, i.e. ones where people are more amenable to playing things with some level of complexity, thought, and feigned malice.

Knitting Group: Sunday involved knitting group. I finally found the needles, yarn, and pieces in progress for a particular sweater I’ve been working on. I even found my notions bag. So, of course, the pattern went missing. I worked on something else instead, but this is extremely annoying.

Weather: Monday was decent out, but we got 4 or so inches of snow on Tuesday, leading me to work from home. That’s a reminder that I really need a new desk chair. It’s been extremely cold since and I am feeling a certain amount of cabin fever.

Do Not Analyze This Dream: I had a dream the other night in which I stopped at a semi-rural resort / retreat center for dinner on my way to somewhere in Pennsylvania and found that several of my friends were there at a storytelling workshop. They talked me into staying for the night, during which I discovered that I had forgotten to bring my Volksmarch books with me. Much of the dream involved whether or not I should drive back home to retrieve them.

Notes to Myself: I scribbled the following in the front of a crossword book:

102 Loon Lake

105 (?) Yellowhead Lake

I am reasonably sure that there is no significance to this being in a puzzle book and that was just a handy piece of paper, suggesting I most likely wrote it on a plane or a train. If it were not for the question mark, I’d think it had to do with Volksmarch events. But, as it is, I am befuddled. Any ideas?

Make the Punishment Fit the Crime: When I rule the world, anyone who submits a document for approval without an acronym list shall be subject to drowning in a large vat of alphabet soup.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
If I don’t wait an entire month to write stuff, the blog posts get shorter. I am pretty much caught up on what I've been doing, though I am heading to the NPL Con imminently so will be uncaught up again.

Pink Martini: I started off July by seeing Pink Martini at Wolf Trap. The sultry summer evening was well accompanied by the sultry music. There was lots of familiar material (some of which is still stuck in my head over a week later) but some new stuff, too. The only problem is the usual one with Wolf Trap. Namely, it takes me 10 minutes to drive home, but first I have to spend 30-40 minutes getting out of the parking lot.

When Art Danced With Music: The National Gallery of Art has an exhibit on Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes and I went with a couple of friends this past weekend. The exhibit was impressive, with paintings, backdrops, costumes and film excerpts. The latter were very helpful in seeing the rest in context. The key point is that Diaghilev had no particular artistic talent himself, but was able to bring together composer, choreographer, designers, dancers, etc. to influence the development of ballet. That prompted one of my friends to say, "so he was the systems engineer of the ballet!" I love that as a way of explaining what systems engineering is about. Anyway, it was an excellent exhibit, even if I think Picasso’s costumes for Parade are too absurd to dance in.

Not Quite Knitting: I went to knitting group on Sunday. I attempted to wind a hank of a complex yarn into a ball, but the swift fell apart just after I started. I managed not to have the right needles with me for any of the yarn I’d brought to work with. And I seem to have lost half a sweater in my living room. This was not my finest hour.

In Memorium: My colleague, Young Shin, passed away in his sleep on the Fourth of July. The memorial service was last night. It’s something of a tribute to a person when a few hundred people show up for their memorial. He was an interesting character and we’d had many discussions about history and language, among other topics. I know he was extremely proud of his children and I hope they can take some comfort in the deep feelings he had for them.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
Now that June is over, maybe I should write something about it. It was a relatively unbusy month, but unbusy for me just means that I didn’t go out on weeknight, other than one happy hour for a former colleague whose contract was not renewed. That should probably have been called an unhappy hour. But, anyway, much of the month was spent recovering from jetlag.

Celebrity Death Watch: Frank Lautenberg was a senator from New Jersey. Iain Banks wrote science fiction. Richard Ramirez, better known as The Night Stalker, was a serial killer. Gary David Goldberg created Family Ties and, more significantly to me, the short-lived Brooklyn Bridge. Alan Myers was the drummer for Devo. Marc Rich was pardoned by Bill Clinton for various financial crimes. The most bizarre story of June (well, in this category) was that of Bollywood actress Jiah Khan who committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan.

Crafty stuff: June 8th was International Knit in Public Day. For attending the event in a local park, I got a gift card from the sponsoring yarn store. I also made it to knitting group once and resurrected a UFO. (That’s knitter talk for an unfinished object.)

Not Quite the Beatles: I went out to dinner with a group of friends and then to see a Beatles tribute band at a free concert. I mostly enjoyed the music, but I really wish Americans would not attempt to speak in accents they haven’t mastered. I also have deeply mixed feelings about the whole concept of tribute bands.

Company: The final show in the Signature 2012-2013 season was Company . This was an excellent production of one of Sondheim’s greatest works. There is a lot that is dated in the book, of course, and I’ve never figured out how Bobby actually knows all these people. But who cares when there are so many delights in the score and such sparkling wit in the lyrics? The gimmick in this production is that the married couples were all played by actual married couples. Matthew Scott was very good as Bobby, but the real highlight was Erin Weaver as Amy, whose rendition of “Getting Married Today” stole the show. My one (very minor) disappointment was that Carolyn Cole as Marta could have enunciated better in her performance of “Another Hundred People,” which is, by the way, one of my all time favorite Sondheim songs.

Baltimore: The Red Sox were playing the Orioles, so I couldn’t resist a trip to Baltimore. I drove up a few hours before the game and walked over to the Lexington Market to have lunch at Faidley’s, a classic Baltimore experience. Lexington Market is allegedly the oldest continually operating market in the U.S. and the neighborhood is a bit sketchy (though not nearly as bad as some people make it sound). Standing up at a market table to eat well-prepared seafood is what it’s about.

Then I walked down to Camden Yards and visited Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, a pop culture museum next to the ballpark. There’s an interesting collection, largely organized by decade, but not many of the individual items are labeled. The 60’s and 70’s rooms were of the most interest to me for obvious reasons. But the real delight was the comic book collection for a different reason. See, for years, I have told people about this brief period in the early 1970’s when D.C. Comics tried to be relevant. That included things like Wonder Woman giving up her powers and studying martial arts and Lois Lane having herself changed into a black woman (via some machine). The ultimate attempt at relevance came when Green Arrow (who shared a comic book with Green Lantern) arrived home to discover his ward, Speedy, shooting up heroin. Nobody ever believes me about that. But there it was right in that display case – that classic cover with Green Arrow lamenting that his ward was an addict. I am vindicated.

As for the baseball game, the Red Sox won but it was weird. There was a highly dubious call in favor of Dustin Pedroia, for example. And, while John Lackey recovered from a slow start, Andrew Bailey nearly blew it in relief in the 9th. Still, they did win, so I was happy.

Storytelling and Minor League Game: The Workhouse Arts Center had a summer arts day event and I was part of a storytelling program at it. I thought it went well and enjoyed the other stories / tellers on the bill. A couple of friends had come along (independently of each other) and one of them stayed around afterwards to join me on a crawl through the galleries and a quick look at the museum which discusses the facility's former use as a prison. I’d like to do some research on the suffragettes who were held there when I get some time.

I took advantage of being only a few miles away to go to the Potomac Nationals game that evening. One nice thing about minor league baseball is that you can walk up at the last minute and get a seat behind home plate for 11 bucks. Of course, you still have the opportunity to pay way too much for mediocre junk food to eat during the game, but so it goes.

Colorado: The final weekend of the month featured my periodic pilgrimage to a big party given by friends in Colorado. It also ended up featuring the worst domestic travel experience of my life, which I will write about separately. But all worked out in the end – I got there and had a good time, with lots of good food and lots of good conversation. My contribution to the former was a box of chocolates from a newish place near where I live. My contribution to the latter included travel recommendations and literary recommendations. But when the talk turns to computer programming, I have nothing to say.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
The Story Surge will get its own entry, but here is some general catching up.

Crafting 1: I did manage to make some hairpin lace. I am now slightly obsessed with it and engaging in a project that I cant yet talk about publicly. If you might want some of the results of it, let me know.

Crafting 2: Margaret Fisher taught an excellent freeform knit and crochet class in association with the Artisphere yarn bomb project. I ran into someone I used to work with there and it was fun to reconnect. (I have since seen her at the main yarn bomb get-together.) The interesting part was that I completely failed to recognize her out of the context of work, until she mentioned somebody else I used to work with.

Crafting 3: Looped Yarn Works was advertising that they'd do another Valentine's Day yarn bombing of Dupont Circle. I went a bit overboard and crocheted 32 hearts, strung together in various ways. That was mostly because this pattern is so easy and quick, with each heart taking me under 5 minutes to crochet. Then the weather sucked and they didn't put them up as far as I can tell.

Crafting 4: I did finish a giant orange circle (made with a doily pattern intended for thread) for the yarn bomb and am now working on knitting a rodent of unusual size.

Food Pornography 1: I went out to a Restaurant Week dinner at Lincoln with a few flyertalk friends a couple of weeks ago. I am attempting to try specialty cocktails and got a Shoemaker's Rickey, which was okay but not enough to persuade me to switch from G&Ts. The mushroom beignets were amazing. Beet salad was a bit disappointing, as there were too many dissonant flavors and not enough emphasis on the beets. Stuffed lamb chops were delicious but came out long after everyone else's third course. Fudge cake for dessert was excellent, as was the mocha custard with it, but the passion fruit gelee on the plate was too sweet. Overall, I would definitely be willing to eat there again.

food Pornography 2: I tried a Wild Ophelia Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips chocolate bar. The 70% dark chocolate was good, but the potato chips mostly added crunch without significant smoky barbecue flavor.

Antarctic Exploration: I went to a lecture at National Geographic. David Roberts was discussing his book Alone on the Ice, about Douglas Mawson. Having read Mawson's The Home of the Blizzard, I can't say that I learned much new, but there were photos and bits of film by Frank Hurley (whose first expedition it was and who, of course, took the iconic photos from Shackleton's Endurance expedition among others.) One new thing I did learn is that Hurley's mother tried to talk Mawson out of taking him along. Anyway, I remain impressed by Mawson's strength and accomplishment, managing to return to his base safely after both his companions died and most of his supplies fell into a crevasse with the first of them. I definitely need to check out the museum exhibit on him when I am in Adelaide in May.

Mileage Running: Yes, I did another trip to add another airport (and some miles) for that United challenge. That one was to Las Vegas. I stayed overnight at the Tropicana, which is now a Doubletree and was kind of a mixed experience. The room was okay but there are shutters, not blinds, and things don't get as dark as I'd prefer. And they charge a resort fee, which is especially obnoxious since some of the things it includes (e.g. free internet) I would get free as a Hilton elite member anyway. The casino there is small and not especially modern, but that is less of an issue since it is across the street from the MGM Grand. But I may try staying downtown the next trip I take out to Vegas.

Ballet: I have a subscription to the Washington Ballet this season. Thursday night (Valentine's Day), I saw L'Amour (love, baby). This started with the world premiere of a one-act ballet based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos (which I read many years ago as part of a class on Evil and Decadence in Literature). The music was by Vivaldi, which is suitable in period but didn't really work in tone for me. The bigger sin - and one which is not uncommon in modern ballet - was sections in which the dancers danced to no music at all. Still, the ballet was reasonably true to the plot of the novel and Jared Nelson was an expressively wicked Valmont.

That was followed (after intermission) by a short piece called Opposites Distract which was my favorite of the evening for its matching of dance to the slightly jazzy, slightly Latin-inflected scrore by Ottmar Leibert.

Finally, there was a piece called Under Covers which featured dancers performing in and around beds to a variety of covers of pop songs. I had mixed feelings about this. Part of that was that I hated the concept of three young Asian women dancing in baby doll pajamas around an older white man. (There was a bit of balance with three men dancing in the dreams of a woman, but the costuming had them in tuxedos.) And, while the dance to it was fine, the cover of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Johnny Cash was the worst cover of that song I have ever heard. (I don't normally hate Johnny Cash, but this was simply awful.)

So, overall, it was a mixed night, which is about what I expect for mixed ballet programs.

Theatre:I saw Shakepeare's R&J at Signature Theatre yesterday afternoon. This is a provocative play, involving four boys at a Catholic military boarding school who act out the forbidden play late one night. When this was originally written and performed in the late 1990's, the gay aspect would have been far more shocking. Seeing two young men smooching nowadays (as they play Romeo and Juliet) is less controversial, so the issue is mostly one of their setting and their own reactions to their emerging sexuality. The whole thing is done with a fair amount of humor. At times I did find it hard to follow since I got a bit lost as to which of the secondary characters was which. (It might help if I had ever actually seen the actual Shakespeare play.) I also had some issues with the ending, which deals with the aftermath of the night. Is one night enough to make someone reject his entire background? It seems too easy, too conflict-free for Student #1 / Romeo to walk away from his regimented life.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
I spent last weekend mileage running. Star Mega Do 4 had this challenge for bonus miles if participants fly to or through 20 different airports on United. While the miles involved are realistically not worth it, its the type of challenge that appeals to the obsessive side of my nature and I decided to go for it. I'd already had three airports in January (since I flew JFK to IAD on United after my return from Israel on El Al and I flew to/from LAX on a business trip). Last weekend was close to a pure mileage run. I flew DCA to ORD to SFO to RNO on Saturday. Things were slightly risky because it looked like the first flight might get delayed, but they went with a shorter turn around time for the late arriving plane and I actually got to Chicago slightly early. I got to Reno about midnight and was flying out (RNO to DEN to IAD) at 6 a.m., so just got a taxi to the Atlantis and killed four and a half hours at the casino, easily staying within my gambling budget). Then there was a mechanical delay with the RNO to DEN flight, leaving me with about a 2 minute connection time, but United held the connecting flight for the 15 or so of us who were on it, so it all worked out.

This weekend was focused on errands. I did a used bookstore run, selling 31 books and acquiring 15. (Part of that was because I wanted to use up some previously acquired credit.) A couple of those books were even ones I had been looking for. I also had to run over to another bookstore to drop off flyers for an upcoming event. And there were less interesting chores like grocery shopping.

Today was knitting group and we were doing a destash sale. The idea was to bring yarn (and books and notions) you no longer wanted and try to sell them to other folks there. In the course of looking for things to destash, I uncovered a baby sweater that I think my mother must have knitted and given me for finishing. (I believe that because I have no memory of having knitted it myself. And because it is pink, though not a horrible pastel pink. And I have no idea who else would have given it to me.) I brought that along and did finish it, as well as finishing crocheting an amigurumi piece. I also knitted a hexagon for the Artisphere yarn bomb, mostly because I wanted to see how a particular pattern would work. I'd brought three skeins of yarn to destash, sold 2 of them, and donated the third (lime green muppet fur) to the charity pile at a local store. I did buy one skein and a pattern book, however.

I still have a ton of things to get done, but at least I had some productive activity. Which makes up for a work week where I felt like I was spinning my wheels, largely because of a couple of long meetings.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
I got home from vacation on Wednesday, January 2nd. Instead of recovering from jet lag like a normal person, I went out Friday night. I talked a friend into going with me to Jammin' Java to see two local a capella groups. The Chromatics have something of a specialty in songs about astronomy, but they also did several other things, including an excellent version of "Safety Dance." The Tone Rangers are a personal favorite. I was pleased that they sang "Helen" (a song that gets stuck in my head every time I hear it) but the real highlight was their new Neil Diamond medley.

On Saturday I went into the city to meet up with a storyteller who was visiting from Phoenix. We had breakfast at Eastern Market and I am pleased to say that both the blue bucks (buckwheat pancakes with blueberries) and the atmosphere are as good as ever. If you've never been, this is the best place to eavesdrop on a slice of Washingtonian life. We followed with coffee at Peregrine, where an old friend of hers joined us. Then we walked around the market (which has a lot of crafts vendors and a flea market on weekends), which included my purchase of a pint of pickles because there is a place there which is almost up to New York standards. Finally, we went on to the Library of Congress and walked around the Great Hall and the Reading Room overlook. I really ought to get a reading room card. Why? Because it's cool and I can.

After they left, I stayed and checked out the current exhibit ("Words Like Sapphires") on Hebrew manuscripts at the Library. It was well worth looking at, with a wide range of pieces. The most famous is probably the Washington Haggadah. I also appreciated the thoughtful commentary on the pieces exhibited.

Sunday was knitting group. I knitted a triangle for the yarn bombing project and crocheted most of a piece for another project I am being slightly secretive about.

And during the week I was off to Los Angeles for a business trip. The travel itself was undramatic, but tedious. In addition to the design review I was there for (and time calling into another meeting), I was able to sit down with a couple of people and get good info. I also had time for dinner with Mary Joan one evening and lunch with Milo the next day. And the timing of the trip was perfect for going to Community Storytellers. There was a small group, but it was great to see everyone.

Quiet week

Aug. 22nd, 2012 07:28 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
I actually had a quiet week last week. That is, quiet for me, meaning I only had things to do on four days.

Restaurant Week: On Tuesday night, I went out to dinner with friends from flyertalk. Greg always makes a couple of reservations for Restaurant Week and, even though it was the less exciting menu, the one at The Prime Rib was the one I was free for. The food was about as expected (classic American food, prepared well), the atmosphere is nice (albeit a bit stuffy) and the restaurant week deal is good value. But the service was indifferent. For example, they didn't ask if we wanted drinks and, in fact, did not bring a wine list until explicitly asked to. More egregiously, they didn't ask if anyone wanted coffee or tea with dessert. Overall, things felt rushed. On the plus side, they did offer us separate checks. Still, we tend to remember the service deficiencies and they certainly influence our decisions on where to go in the future, including non-restaurant week meals.

Women Who Changed Things and Died Last Week: That drink I practically had to beg for was a Campari and soda, which I ordered in memory of Helen Gurley Brown, who had once recommended it as classy. (It is something I get from time to time, more often at Italian restaurants.) I have mixed feelings about the her. I think that making people aware that women actually like sex was a good thing. And some of her work emphasized the need for women to take responsibility for various areas of their lives, including finances. But I also think she (via Cosmopolitan) never challenged too many aspects of gender roles in our culture.

I also have mixed feelings about Phyllis Diller. I recognize that she was one of a very few women who were successful as stand-up comics in her day. But so much of her comedy was self-deprecating. I'm not a fan of insult comedy and it can be painful when the person being insulted is the one telling the jokes.

The Men of Celebrity Death Watch: Harry Harrison wrote science fiction. Ron Palillo played Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter. William Windom was a character actor who starred in the much funnier sitcom, My World and Welcome to It which was based on James Thurber's work. Scott McKenzie performed San Francisco (Be Sure to War Flowers in Your Hair), a song I am vaguely embarrassed to admit I like. I also like Kokomo which he wrote for the Beach Boys.

The death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, raises interesting questions about the political future of that country. Mr. Meles had initially helped Eritrean rebels and then, when in office, pursued the border war with Eritrea, so there could be some more turmoil in a region that has plenty already.

Finally, Johnny Pesky was a Red Sox hero, as much for his continued support of the team after he was no longer playing as for his performance during his career. That kind of association of a baseball player with a single team is rare in this day and age. And, by all accounts, Pesky was a true gentleman. Times are sad enough at Fenway this season (sigh).

Speaking of Baseball: I went to watch the Nationals play the Mets on Friday night. This was a case of divided loyalties for me, as I grew up an ardent Mets fan but I live here now and I am happy to see the Nats doing well. The game wasn't brilliant on either side, frankly, though I was pretty favorably impressed with Ryan Zimmerman's fielding. I had a good time and most of the rain held off until the game was over. It was also retro cap night, allowing me to add to my collection of ballpark gimmes. By the way, I am leaning towards getting season tickets for next year.

As If I Am Not Busy Enough: Speaking of season tickets, I ordered a subscription to the Washington Ballet. Those of you who have heard my rant on the subject of Swan Lake, the most nonsensical story ever to be immortalized choreographically, may now faint. Those of you who have never heard my rant on Swan Lake will have an opportunity on September 19th when I am performing the story it is part of at Friendship Heights Village Center in Maryland. Note that the series I subscribed to does not include any Tchaikovsky.

Story Swap: I hosted this months story swap on Saturday night. That meant spending most of my spare time during the week and all day Saturday cleaning up my place. Amazingly, it is possible to fit 20 people into my living room. We had a good mix of stories, including a lovely Ethiopian version of The Lion's Whisker told by Chris, who came all the way from Baltimore. I told Sawing Off Manhattan for the first time in a while and I think it went over fairly well. As always, storytelling continues to be fun.

Knitting Group: Finally, I went to knitting group on Sunday. I worked a little on each of two projects. I also showed off the pearl yarn and the merino I'd bought in Australia. The conversational highlight was the rather diplomatic statement regarding one person helping another which ran, "You didn't screw it up. You just didn't do it right."
fauxklore: (theatre)
Most people I know are trying to go out more. I am trying to go out less. The last cuple of weeks prove that I have not succeeded at that. Let's start with the weekend before this past one...

The Secret Garden: On that Friday night, I went to see the St. Marks Players perform The Secret Garden. The score of this musical is absolutely lovely and I know it well enough to have stopped wondering if the book would make any sense to someone who didn't know the source material. Overall, they did a good job, with particularly strong performances by Alex Stone as Dickon and Emma Kelly as Mary Lennox. A few of the other performers had trouble being heard over the orchestra. That is at least partially the fault of the sound system, but must be frustrating to people who don't know the show and want to hear the lyrics. But, all in all, this was well worth seeing and I was humming bits and pieces of the score for a few days afterwards.

Killing Women: This was a new play, produced by Pinky Swear Productions, which I saw Saturday afternoon at Spooky Action Theatre. The concept, involving sexism in the murder for hire business, was promising. To quote a cartoon I once saw, "it's not easy being a wife, a mother, and a hit man for the mob." There were also cute little nursery rhyme parodies between scenes, e.g. "The Lying Cheating Husband" to the tune of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." But, overall, the play lost its focus along the way and had a very weak ending.

God of Carnage: Sunday brought me to my beloved Signature Theatre and their production of Yasmina Reza's dark comedy about two couples whose discussion of a playground incident between their sons deteriorates into an illustration of the savagery lurking beneath the surface. I will admit that I am not sure what to think. The play is extremely funny, but it is also decidedly over the top. I like to think that we're better than this so it is uncomfortable watching the nursery antics of supposed serious grown-ups. I should note that the performances were all excellent, with all four actors seeiming very natural. I will particularly call out Paul Morella as Alan, the self-absorbed lawyer who takes every cell phone call and refers to his own son as a savage. I guess the bottom line is that this is entertaining but disturbing.

Roberto Rodriguez and the Cuban Jewish All Stars: When I saw this listing on the calendar for the Washington Jewish Musical Festival, I couldn't resist. (For anyone who doesn't know, my grandparents met and married in Havana.) The mixture of klezmer and Latin music was, indeed, right up my alley. It would be impossible to listen to this music sitting still and about the only thing that could have made for a better evening was more room to dance. All that energy on a Monday night, no less. Wow!

Friendship Heights Village Storytelling: On Wednesday night, Jane Dorfman filled in for Stephen Hollen, who had a family emergency. She told mostly Celtic stories and did so with her usual charm and grace. It was worth the schlep to Maryland.

Stitch and Pitch: Friday night was Stitch and Pitch at Nationals Park. This is a promotion to get women to come to baseball games by encouraging them to bring their needlework. I don't really need that incentive, but the ticket price was good. The Nats managed to lose to the Orioles, but the game was close enough to be exciting. And I did get through several rows of my second attempt at the socks.

Flora the Red Menace Saturday afternoon brought Flora the Red Menace at 1st Stage in Tyson's. I was glad I had left myself extra time to get there, as the theatre was fairly hard to find. (It is hidden among gyms and auto body shops.) I really wanted to like this show, which was Kander and Ebb's first. Alas, I found much of the score uninspiring and I was annoyed at the failure to provide a happy ending. That may be more realistic, but I still like shows with a nice uplifting final love song.

Story Swap: Saturday night was the monthly story swap. In this case, it was at Marc's. The lovely weather meant we could sit in a circle outside. Bill made the mistake of bringing up werewolves, prompting me to tell "Uncle Morrie and the Werewolves." This may not have the worst puns I've inflicted on people, but it must come close.

Knitting: Finally, Sunday brought knitting group. I finished the toe increases on the socks and worked a little more on Frankensweater. There was also the usual banter.

Everything Else: There has been much time filled with work, errands, and life in general. There has not, alas, been enough sleep, but I am trying to get caught up on that, too.
fauxklore: (Default)
Working (A Musical) After the science festival, I walked over to Dupont Circle to see Keegan Theatre's production of Working (A Musical). I'll admit to some skepticism about how the Studs Terkel book would transfer to the stage. While I am not normally a big fan of either Stephen Schwartz or of revues (and this is sort of a revue, consisting of vignettes by a number of people, talking and singing about their jobs), I was charmed by the sincerity and strong character development. While none of the songs was particularly memorable, I found the score pleasant enough. I also want to note the choreography by Kurt Boehm, especially for the song "Millwork."

Knitting Group: Sunday afternoon was knitting group. I showed off the completed amigurumi uterus (see previous entry) and worked on Frankensweater. As usual, a good time was had by all.

Shopping: I needed to run over to REI after knitting group, because the rain jacket I bought in 1996 had finally breathed its last. They didn't have exactly the same one, but I found something acceptable enough. While I was over at Fairfax Corner, there was an art show going on and I bought a photograph of peppers for my kitchen. I also stopped in at Comfort One and bought a pair of cork shoes. All in all, that made a surprisingly productive shopping trip.

The Tannahill Weavers: Finally, I drove to darkest Maryland (okay, just Rockville) to see The Tannahill Weavers perform at St. Mark's. As always, they put on a good show. The entire audience was singing along (when appropriate) and tapping fingers or toes. It was a great example of the energizing power of music.
fauxklore: (Default)
Let's see, I was halfway through the weekend before last. On Sunday, I went to see Really Really at Signature Theatre. This is a new play, written by a 26 year old wunderkind. It deals with the aftermath of a very drunken college party and is, essentially, a "he said, she said" date rape scenario, punctuated by the reactions of his and her friends. (More precisely, it was "she said, he was too drunk to remember what happened.") There are reasons not to trust any of the people involved, as well as implications that a difference in social class is a contributing factor. That was all pretty interesting, but the play didn't quite work for me for two reasons. One problem was that the ending removed the ambiguity and seemed to be done that way entirely for shock value. My bigger issue was that there was nobody to like.

Monday night, I went over to Looped Yarn Works in Dupont Circle. Along with The Phillips Collection, they were yarn bombing the area. We knitted and crocheted hearts (I crocheted four) and hung them around the area. You can see a little of the result at the Phillips blog entry. (I have some pictures but still need to upload them. And I am having internet issues at home, so it may be a while.)

And Thursday night was an MIT Club of Washington event at the Turkish embassy residence. The building is truly spectacular. It was built for Edward H. Everett, who made a fortune by inventing a machine to make crimped bottle caps for soda bottles. He gave free reign to the architect, George Oakley Totten, Jr. The result has lots of polished wood, marble, stained glass, original art, and pretty much everything you associate with rich people. There were the usual talks (one by the Deputy Chief of Mission, who was quite entertaining, and one by an MIT professor, who was less so) followed by a dinner of finger foods (miniature kebabs, domades, cheesy things, etc.) And, of course, the opportunity for conversation with intelligent people, which is the main reason I go to these things.

I went away for the weekend (to Las Vegas) but that will be a separate entry.

Yarn Frenzy

Feb. 5th, 2012 08:25 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
I may have misled people a bit with my protein query. I'm not looking at anything particularly radical - just something to be somewhat more conscious of when grocery shopping and meal planning. For example, I can choose a higher protein alternative for, say, breakfast cereal (or, for that matter, Greek yogurt over regular yogurt).

My biggest event of the week was the change in my commute. We had a nice cushy private bus from West Falls Church to the Mark Center. Key word is "had." On Tuesday, it switched to a metro bus. Not only is it less comfortable, it is just an "express" not a non-stop. Apparently "express" means it stops only every 3 blocks instead of every single block. It takes 20 minutes longer. There is much grumbling.

I did a minor experiment on Wednesday and took advantage of excellent, spring-like weather. I walked from the Mark Center to Ballston Metro. If I figured correctly, that is just under 5 miles, which is a nice distance for a weeknight mind clearing walk. Most of it was pleasant and I noticed a couple of potential route alternatives that might be even nicer. Given that it still gets dark early and I have a terrible sense of direction, I was loathe to deviate from the route I'd planned. As the sun returns, I plan to see what happens if I pick up some of the trails, instead of sticking to streets.

Finally, my knitting group had a yarn frenzy last week and this. One of Tom's coworkers inherited a large quantity of yarn (and related books) and, after keeping half of it, passed the rest along to him. He picked over things and kept some, but he still had 13 some odd tubs of yarn and 3 boxes of books to share. Free yarn doesn't count as stash accumulation, right? And free books don't take up bookshelf space. I even know what I intend to do with some of the yarn I took.
fauxklore: (Default)
First, I did reschedule the dentist. Unfortunately, I rescheduled to today so I think I will need to call again since the roads are not exactly wonderful right now. (We are on 2 hour late arrival for work, though the metro is running fine. I am actually surprised about that, since the report is that Vienna got 8 inches. When I retire, I will spend the northern hemisphere winter somewhere in the southern hemisphere so I will have no snow and lots of light.)

I used yesterday's early dismissal to do some actual travelogue writing! I am through the London part of my May 2009 trip. Having found my notebook was helpful, but it also took some effort to find the photos from that trip since I had, apparently, never transferred them from the CD to my hard drive. (I had, for various reasons, taken only the film camera with me on that trip.) Which also means I never labeled them. Fortunately, I can recognize things like Nelson's Column and the Eiffel Tower. Identifying what is what in Dijon and Beaune may be more challenging. Now I am furiously searching for my file folder with maps and brochures and the like.

All of which explains why I am putting more effort into dealing with the box of shame. And I have found some old planner pages with various unexplained notes. I would normally think a random 7-digit number is a telephone number, but it starts with a 1 and is not hyphenated so that is unlikely. Since it is on a planner page from two years ago, I don't think I will worry about it. The same page has a note, by the way, regarding a lawn on a cruise ship.

An address in Ortanna, Pennsylvania probably has to do with a Volksmarch event. The list of hotel names must be places I was considering staying at somewhere in Switzerland. And I think I already wrote about my former boss coining the term "pseudocide" for killing off your avatar. I thought at first the name above that referred to a friend from college, but it is actually the last name of one of 90 people who were going to be leaving during the following months. If you are considering giving your child a first name that is more typically a last name, please consider the potential to confuse people like me.

Finally, I ran across a knitting pattern for a sweater called "Cheesy Puffs." I think I should be glad I did not print the picture in color.

I will spare you the whining about old "to-do" lists that are just as relevant today as they were two years ago.

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