Friday


27
Dec 19

Good pace, pizza and pucks

The holidays are over, the holidays continue. Christmas has a way about it, doesn’t it? So much build up, so much frantic build up in these shorter holidays years, and then you hit all of the parties and family fun and then … there’s that paper pile, your presents and the now empty tree. Good thing we’ve come to think of all of this time as being about the people, then. Good thing we’ve had the time to spend.

We are fortunate that way. It’s back home and back to work for most people, but we are able to enjoy an early start and a delayed ending to the holidays. So the holidays continue.

Nice run this morning. I ran around the park where The Yankee played as a child, where we took our engagement pictures in a nor’easter 11 years ago last week. It’s much warmer today, thanks. Also, the roads have been freshly paved.

We went to Pepe’s for pizza salad. They make the best salad pizza you can find anywhere.

Truly great stuff. And my in-laws were nice enough to bring us, and to share. They’re kind people that way.

Here’s Frank Pepe. He opened his first restaurant in 1925, after he ‘d come to the U.S., returned hom to fight in the Great War and then returned to America and found his way into the restaurant business. We’re dining at the third one, which opened decades after he died. The guy in this photo has no idea there are going to be a dozen stores bearing his name.

He started out making two pies and selling them off his head. And now here we are. The server did not bring out our pizzas on her head, which was a bit of a disappointment, but that was the only disappointment.

After dinner, a dilemma! We went to a minor league hockey game. The Wolf Pack at the Sound Tigers, in a battle of compound nicknames. The Sound Tigers are the home team, and a part of the Islanders organization. The visitors are in the Rangers farm system. You’d cheer for the home team, because they’re the home team. But this is a Rangers family. So this was a confusing time. A confusing time mollified by my new favorite past time.

Who knew they needed a go kart on ice? They ran this guy out in between segments of play and he was purely a stall. The promo was watching two guys race across the ice putting on a fire fighter’s turnouts. They were too fast, so this guy got to do his laps.

The Sound Tigers won 5-1. Also, it was teddy bear toss night, which was great fun to see. After the first goal people toss their new stuffed friends onto the cold, cold ice as part of a toy drive.

If only we’d known, we could have continued the giving. It should never end, after all.


20
Dec 19

Travel day

I took this picture at the end of my run yesterday. The run was remarkable in its unremarkable-ness, and in its slowness. But for this, it wouldn’t be worth talking about at all:

If you think that sky is a winter rarity rather than the miracle of normalcy, I would encourage you to find a new, and better, frame of reference.

I also forgot to share a picture of BB. So here’s the lovely and wonderful BB, who’s still getting treats from the mail lady, and chasing red dots down the hall and chewing on a sock monkey and generally a lovely time with all of it.

We had to hit the road again, and we managed to almost time dinner in Nashville, so we stopped for some barbecue. It’s the right and delicious thing to do.

And we made it back to the house. Late … but not too late. Tired … but not too tired. Cold … but not too cold it was plenty cold.


13
Dec 19

We made it — last day of the term

A video our student-employees produced today, the project being the video game design student’s big contest. The student groups pitch their games to industrial professionals. Many teams enter. One will be crowned a winner … at some anticlimactic later time.

Video looks pretty good though. This is the second thing that we’ve produced, at the school-level, that has been entirely run by students. It’s something I suggested about four years ago — something that was probably already an idea — and we’ve finally realized it this fall. And while this particular pitch project is now a traditional event, this is the first time we’ve put it in the studio.

Stars aligned nicely. They did a fine job with it.

Those are the students who are working for the Media School. And now a moment about the students working for the television station.

All of which is pretty great, considering they have to put up with the likes of me. And you just know they’re happy that today is the last day of classes.


6
Dec 19

Friends, let us weekend

My friend Bryce took this picture of me, outside the studio this morning. It was an ambush job which, as a shutterbug myself, I appreciate. This was somehow the only pose I could imagine at the moment:

I assume that was because my mind had already been melted for the day after an early meeting.

Also, in looking at it, this is the photograph that told me I needed a haircut. And some go-to poses for photographs.

Anyway, the morning show was in the studio this morning. It was their last show of the term. We have one more night of productions, next week, shooting our last two shows of the semester.

I’ve been looking for a new fall guy for stories. Somehow, this never occurred to me until today:

It’s a big fib. My roommate was a great guy. He dated nice people. But it’s just far enough removed to not seem mean-spirited, but close enough to feel plausible.

I mean there was that one young woman he dated from back home. She really worked him over at one point. Set him free for other people though, but not until after many, many nights of ballads and conversations trying to figure out what just happened.

What just happened was … hang on … let me check his social media. OK, good, that’s not the woman he married.

See? Seems realistic.

Got in a nice little 5K this evening. And then I got the laundry in the washer. I did this because I like having laundry done before the weekend, but completely forgot about that fact on Thursday. So I’m doing laundry on the weekend. It’s a nice domestic feeling, knowing the clothes hamper is empty, the dresser and closets are full and there’s no noise coming from the laundry room.

It’s better than the alternative, washing clothes tonight, wondering if I’ll forget to finish all of this and have to put clothes away on Sunday night. What a modern sadness: I must go to the office tomorrow, I must sort the socks tonight.

Thursday, then, is an ideal time for laundry. Someone please remind me of this every other week.

But now it is time for the best part of postseason football:


29
Nov 19

We’re averaging 300 words per topic here

How was your Thanksgiving? As great as mine, I hope. The in-laws are in town, and we are having a lovely visit. The Yankee and her mother made a delicious meal (and I got in the way of things a little bit) and we were able to enjoy it last night and tonight. There’s still some good stuff in the refrigerator, so if you’re out of Thanksgiving provisions feel free to stop by.

Thanksgiving seemed to sneak up this year. It wasn’t until near the end of last week that it seemed an eventuality. I’ll blame the timeless nuance of the work structure. You’re bound into the regiment of the week, each week, this week, next week the one after, all just like the last in their own way. And it’s hectic in its own way. And then, suddenly, people are thinking and talking about their travel plans. And then the travel and you begin to focus on the good stuff: the family, the visiting, the food.

And then, almost as quickly as it arrives, it is gone. Swallowed by like leftovers, like a running back in so many bad Thanksgiving football games, or even worse Friday night games. It’s almost as if you’re reminded, just in time, to spend this moment as a moment for which you should be thankful, and remember all of the many blessings you have. That we have to reminded is a human failing. That we now follow a day of such humility with a day of crass commercialism – what once was shopping in stores became camping out and then shopping over night and shopping online and, now, “Dear Lord, how did all of these companies get my good email address?” — is probably the second problem.

Now it is the season of lights and cold and shopping and traveling and feasts and generically labeled office parties and more sugar cookies than you need and exploitive commercials.

Seven more emails from stores I once shopped at in 2011 rolled in just as I wrote that paragraph.

I put handles on the stove cover this evening. We started using it earlier this week, without them, to see if it was necessary. We quickly decided it was necessary.

So, fortunately, I’d purchased two drawer pulls earlier this week that are vaguely reminiscent of what is featured in the kitchen cabinets. And then I picked up four screws that were too long. So I sawed them down to an appropriate size earlier in the week. And then tonight, after everyone had retired, I agonized over how to do this.

It involved tape, a fair amount of muttering and wondering at how many ways I could get the measuring wrong. A lot, it turns out. But when you add hardware last, you are obliged to get the actual process correct the first time. This isn’t the finest piece of craftsmanship in the world, mind you, but when you put a drill bit into finished wood you are definitely stepping over the point of no return.

And I had to have that conversation with myself twice.

Sure, if you were making dressers or cabinets or anything in mass, you’d work up a template or a jig to speed things along. This was four screws on an artisanal piece of folk art from extra lumber and a few free moments grabbed from here and there. I’m an amateur, is what I’m saying.

For us amateurs, it isn’t the first screw that’s the problem. You have to have the second one in precisely the right spot, so the handle can actually attach.

That made for a few tense moment. Drill on wood, drill in wood, drill through wood. And now the screw, pushed from one side through the last. And where is the handle? There it is. They always escape, like they know something. Do they know something? Is this going to fit? Should I just start trying to soften up the handle now so I can warp it if it doesn’t fit? It isn’t going to fi — elbow grease it into place. It fit. But only just barely.

That was the second side when, presumably, I was more prepared for the task. When I’d figured out my process. After the first time, when I had to do a little hand shimming of the second drill bit whole.

Anyway, they both fit. The stove cover is done and in place and if it works for at least three weeks then we’ll have gotten the effort out of it, I guess. Also, the next time I make something like this, I’m using knobs. Just the one screw, after all.

So, next week, then, it is back to my tie rack. Only nine more pieces to sand!

But today, you have the books!

Today we’re wrapping up our examination of the April 1969 Reader’s Digest from my grandfather’s mound of books. It is the last of the Digest, so we’ll have to start something else in the next few days. Perhaps the stash of Modern Science. Perhaps some other thing that catches my eye. We’ll get them all eventually, but you can get this right now.

Click the book cover to see the latest. If you are catching up, you can see the entire 50-year-old April issue here. If you’d like to see some other things from the my grandfather’s collection — there are textbooks and notebooks and more — just follow this link.