Monday


10
Sep 18

Time for a ride

A perfectly regular day in the office, and that means there’s a need for a special early evening:

I did the usual route and a nearby subdivision, which is familiar enough. No records were broken, and no great hills were climbed. But I did find a road that is closed for re-design and construction and for a few wonderful minutes I had both lanes to myself and no traffic to worry about as I went up and down the silent little stretch.

I had the road to myself, my lecture for tomorrow already in place and the sun off to the side. It was on my left as I went uphill and peeking through the same trees, now on my right, as I tucked into the bars and headed down the same hill.

It was as just about a lovely a feeling you can find by pedaling easily through neighborhoods.

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3
Sep 18

The best thing

The best thing about today could have been sleeping in. The best thing about today could have been about last night, camping out on an air mattress in the living room for no reason in particular. It could have been that it was an off day, a three-day weekend, and prior to a four-day workweek. (That’s a solid contender, no doubt.)

The best thing could have been a hot lunch date, a truly hot lunch date because the restaurant lost its air conditioning last week. On a normal day the best thing could have been the groceries we picked up, or that my car cranked dependably after I replaced the battery this weekend. Those are all good things.

The best thing could be that I made a bunch of slides for an upcoming class. The best thing might have been that I watched football, and I’m talking about that in class tomorrow. The best thing could have been any number of those regular things, or the dozens of tiny things that really make up the details of any of our days.

The best thing could have been some of the text messages I received, or an email that came in late, or the fish we had for dinner.

But, in fact, the best thing was sitting in the recliner, trying to decide what to do about lunch. The Yankee set me up for a joke, and she started laughing at it before I’d even really finished formulating the punchline, because she knew what it was going to be.

That was the best thing.


14
May 18

Where are we?

This guy just sits up there all day and keeps time. Him, a roller and a lonely squeegee. I wonder how long it took to create that. At least an hour, right? And when does that guy gets a break, who keeps things on schedule up there?

This particular art is in the Amsterdam airport:

Oh, by the way, we’re traveling. And Amsterdam was a layover, but also your first hint. We left Indianapolis this evening — it was supposed to be this afternoon, but that flight got canceled for whatever reason. So, instead of going through Detroit, we went through Minneapolis:

We saw cool clouds. I sent a picture of this to one of my former students:

He said that’s a virga cloud, which produces rain, as we see here, but the dry air evaporates it before the rain gets to the ground. He said that is what often creates the classic wispy look in clouds.

Anyway, our flight cancellation meant we got an upgrade. So we had those nice first class seats that all but turn into beds. This became a red eye, but I can’t sleep on planes. So I watch movies. Only this time the inflight selections were, I felt, somewhat lacking. I did watch Darkest Hour:

I fell asleep in the last few minutes, just before Gary Oldman’s big speech before Parliament. But I woke up in time to have breakfast, or lunch, or who knows, and watched the end of the movie. And then we landed in Amsterdam. And then another flight. And a car rental, and a brief drive and checking in and then dinner. Oh, finally food and sleep.

Where are we?

Here’s your second hint:

We didn’t have calzones, because the regional food here is bistecca fiorentina. (That’s your third hint.) Our host recommended a place, we went there, and had the bistecca fiorentina. And that was a delicious steak.

And now, the jet lag. Tomorrow we’ll figure out where we are.


30
Apr 18

What I did at work on Saturday

We are going to finally, officially say it:

Spring is here, at last:

It was late, but is not here to last. We’ll probably move directly into summer in a week or two. But for the moment, you revel in it. This is what I was doing on Saturday. Outside, dancing between the daylight and the shade, enjoying the breeze and the temperature and my sunglasses and the sun, waiting on a donor to show up to our building on campus.

A gentleman wanted to give something to the Media School. It fell to me to help get the thing in the building. The gentleman chose Saturday, so there we were. And he was on his way, late, but on his way.

He hopes out of his SUV, his two middle school children and a film student, and they all start offloading chunks of cast iron. I knew what it was, or what it would be again when he had it indoors and reassembled, but in its constituent parts it didn’t look like much. And then you started looking at details. It’s an old car:

It has great tags, and easy-to-use controls:

The thing still worked, the donor said.

And this particular tag gave you the timeline. This is from about 1937. Still in working conditioning. Mechanically mint.

It was all made in the US. The East Coast and the Midwest. Do you know what it is yet?

The only problems are a few scratches on the finish, like this one:

And some peeling 80-year-old paint:

It has a glass piece on top, still original, still pristine:

And if you’re still trying to figure it out, this piece should look a bit familiar:

Here’s the top part, beneath is the big heavy cast iron setup:

And here’s the full machine:

This is a movie projector.
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It was donated by a locally-based actor, James Lee Guy, who is very successful in Chinese cinema. He donated it to The Media School because he is a passionate, passionate film fan. He’s owned it for several years, having picked it up from a man who was running a private screening room in his home a few towns away. Before that this had been in a drive-in theater. Guy estimates it was made in about 1937. It still works and now is a fine display piece.
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A most generous donation, indeed.


23
Apr 18

Social media embeds

It’s a busy week. Things are liable to be light here, in places.

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