Nov 19

Where you step

Last week I was counting grey days. We were moving into winter, after all. I’m not embracing it — Three, four, five days in a row! Hoo-grey! Like that was something to be excited about, other than the morbid curiosity of wondering how long that would last, and what I would one day be able to do with that information. (Nothing.) — but you have to step into it to step back out of it. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s an approach to try, as much as any other.

Then Saturday came, and it was chilly, but the sky was blue and lovely. And Sunday was another beautiful looking day. I mean, consider:

That was during the bike ride, and I was wearing gloves, sure, but shorts and a windbreaker. I wore wool socks, but my toes weren’t frozen, like on Friday when I’d forgotten the rule of cotton.

(The rule of cotton: Is it cold? You’re going to be cold.)

And then Monday, yesterday, was another fine looking day, even if I was inside for the entirety of it. And tonight, I got home just in time to run for a few miles in that moment between the twilight and the gloaming, and into the fullness of the evening:

It was about 5:40.

Today, another fine and crisp day. You can just feel it in this video:

For all the technology available to us, though, you can’t really express fall. The sites are never grand enough and the smell is never there. It isn’t a season for just the one sense.

But before we get ahead of ourselves … we’ll have a lot more grey and winter-like conditions later this week. It’s a touchy time in an intemperate place, meteorologically speaking.

This morning, I finally figured out to take the picture I have been admiring on the parking deck. I park on the second level, in case the little creek a block away sneezes, I guess. And that second floor parking routine means I take two 180-degree turns. And after the second turn there’s this view, which looks lovely through polarized sunglasses and, finally, my pictures looks as it all does in my minds eye.

As ever, the key is in where you do your metering.

You have to step in, then, before you can step back.

Oct 19

This week we show color

Since this week we’re using color as the gimmick here, I suppose this post is in the “These colors don’t run … but I do” category.

So I’m walking in the building today and I just casually pass by the Ernie Pyle display case. And I thought, this shouldn’t be a thing you don’t even think about. It isn’t a shrine, but Ernie is sort of the patron saint of the journalism program here. He grew up not far away, attended school here, dropped out his senior year to go write at a commercial paper and then built, one column at a time, one of the most successful careers of the mid-20th century. He was killed in the Pacific near the end of World War II and he’s venerated here, almost 80 years later.

Just sitting there, is the man’s typewriter.

I believe that’s one of his domestic machines. He perhaps wrote tons of self deprecating letters and some of his better stateside professional work on this. It’s next to his medals and diplomas and books and his action figure — this is a journalist with an action figure — and some other personal effects.

Here’s the left shoulder of his European field jacket. You can still see the sweat and dirts ground into the collar. But the patch is interesting of its own accord.

Someone had to stitch that as a part of the war effort. How many of those did they make? And who sewed that on the jacket? How many of those did they make? And what did the men who saw them on other men’s soldiers think?

We know what they thought of Ernie Pyle. They absolutely loved him. They loved him because he wrote about the men, not the generals, and he endured the unendurable with them. The work he did meant it was an inevitable byproduct.

These colors I saw while running today:

It was the neighborhood 5K. It was cool, but not so bad that you minded once the heart rate got up, but you noticed it when you got the full sweat. In the last mile I saw this balding tree. The winds are coming in tomorrow. None of these trees will look the same by the weekend.

But look what the sky did in that photo. More accurately, look at what my phone’s processor did to the background of the photograph when I stopped for three seconds to frame up the shot in the third mile of my run. It’s a grey sky, but we’ve got a white one here. Which, hey, snow is also in the forecast tomorrow …

Snow. October. People are going to hear about this.

Oct 19

Just add sawdust

That parking deck, I said to a colleague yesterday, is like a sundial. The topic was how you could tell the time of day just by what floor you wind up parking on. I usually get the second level. Yesterday he barely got the fourth level, and almost had to park in the rain, horror of horrors. The bigger issue was he had to trudge up two more flights of stairs because anyone that rides that parking deck’s elevator will only do it the once.

But that parking is also a clock looking from the outside in, as well. There, at the turnaround onto the second deck, you get this view just before you hang a right:

Those trees are telling us a story and, right now, it is the best part of the morning drive.

This evening I got in just over an hour of sanding, which means I got one piece of the current, and perpetual, project halfway done.

At this rate, in three more hours I’ll be two-thirds of the way through the sanding.

No one likes sanding, but it is acceptable to like the process toward the result. If anything it slows the project down, though, just because you have to work up the morale to sit down and sand the wood that will make the darn thing. (Plus there’s the rest of your life to consider … ) For me, to know you’re going to get an hour here and there doesn’t really fit the workflow. People that can steal a few minutes and make progress, on any project, are geniuses. I need big blocks of time, for any kind of project, it seems. This is a problem with sanding, though, because I am doing this project entirely by hand and you can’t sand for hours at a time without having a shoulder fall off. So the problem is the sanding, really. Which no one likes.

The idea, which is well more than a year old, and which begin in December, picked up steam in April and then lulled its way into a soft summer slumber, is going to gain momentum in the next few weeks just because I am going to grit (Get it? That’s a sandpaper joke!) my teeth and push through.

Why, the next time we talk about this, I might be three-quarters of the way through the sanding.

Sanding, I think, is the part of the project where you really get to know the wood. And this particular lumber, which is a Western White Pine, is telling me a lot about itself.

Here are some photos from yesterday’s run. I got in four miles, which is the longest run since my April injury. I guess I’m on the slow road to recovery. Emphasis on slow.

Like my shutter! She’s both almost in, and definitely out of, focus:

Some years back, whenever they were planning that particular neighborhood, some designer drew these on a map. And a purchasing agent filled in some paperwork and then a delivery guy dropped off the order and a few people dug some holes and put these in the ground, just for moments like these:

So what you do today may take a bit of time to reflect its beauty. We may never see it, other projects and parts of life and all of that, maybe you just forget to go back and check. Other priorities, and all of that. Maybe it just never occurs to you. But there it is, out there, doing their thing, because someone got the thing started.

The trees on the path running behind our house:

That first rain of the fall, the first few leaves:

It’s easy to love the moment. But there will be more leaves, and then perhaps more rain. And that’ll turn to who knows what. Those moments are less easy for me to love. But that’s just me.

Oct 19

It only starts with Halloween puns

I didn’t order spooky soup or vampire vegetables or poltergeist pasta, but there were ghosts above my lunch today.

I did have a scary sandwich, though.

And we once again had the now age-old conversation about teaching tech versus teaching principles.
“You do not need,” I said, “a $20,000 camera to teach the principles of videography. Some of these I can teach with just this piece of paper.”

Look! Composition!

The point being not that paper replaces a camera — though if you had some good stock I suppose you could create your own camera obscura — but that you can do a lot with with a more basic, straightforward, efficient camera. Especially when you’re trying to teach the basics.

It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new toy, but to teach tools in a perpetually (and rapidly) evolving industry is to shortchange your students. Mostly, I was just pleased with myself. That paper-camera composition joke was on the short list for the day’s Best Point List.

Went for a run this evening. Just a quick, slow little 5K around the neighborhood. It was fun, except for the parts where I still have to do intervals. I’m almost done with those, I think, thankfully. I’m 17 miles into my run recovery. Still wrapping my foot. Still feeling pretty decent, except for the boring walking part. But I’m not up to running full speed — which isn’t fast, mind you — but I can blur a camera phone:

We’re starting to get a bit of secondary color in the neighborhood, though. The pecan trees are shedding their nuts. There was, briefly, a tailwind. Mostly just the mild sort that hits you in the face and chills the sweat off the skin.

Television! Time flies. Why, it seems like just yesterday that she was here, tripping over herself, learning how to do the TV thing. Now she’s a cool, calm, confident and self-possessed TV person at a station up north. She dropped by a segment last night, a total surprise.

And some news:

Are you following me on all the social media? You should follow me on all of the social media. There’s tons more fun stuff smeared all over the Internet, because the world has forgotten that we should host these things on our own platforms. Look me up. There’s genius and keen insights to behold and enjoy.

Oct 19

If only you could blame cardboard for all your problems

We went for a run this morning. We went for a run this morning because the weather broke. We went for a run this morning because it was about 30 degrees cooler than it was when we could have gone for a run yesterday evening.

So I got in a slow and sluggish 5K, because it was a morning run. And while it isn’t that I’m not a morning person, I’m just not a morning runner. Or, perhaps, a morning exerciser in general. That part may have to do with the morning person thing. Anyway, we ran on that path, and when we did a few trips around this little manmade pond. That’s not my house:

We beat the sun (above the treeline)!

At the end of the day I chose to take an elevator. I looked at the little pedometer on my phone, to justify the luxury, and that, and my attendant aches and pains, were how I remembered that I had gone for a run this morning.

In between I fired off the requisite rounds of emails, had lunch with my bride, assisted in the purchase of equipment that needed to be purchased, had a few meetings and other office things like that. We were also in the television studio for sports shows, and we’ll be back in the TV studio for another show tomorrow morning.

Tonight, for dinner:

The chicken is pretty good. The waffles … I’m not sure how you even miss on waffles, but that one was something of a miss. I think they deserve a second try, sometime, though.

At home I caught up on a bit of reading, fought with the cat, who just haaaaas to be in the garage. And it doesn’t matter that I’m trying to do him a solid by bringing in some cardboard boxes he can play in. And Poseidon will play in the boxes. I don’t feel I can leave in there by himself long enough to change from my suit, so there I am in slacks on my hands and knees being thwarted by a cat who has somehow lost all motor function.

Eventually I got the push broom behind him and pulled him out from underneath the car. Cat curling is the nicest thing I wanted to do.

I was tired by 8 p.m. — I blame the shorter days — but I’ve just finished, at 11-something, looking for the other cat. The search went from casual to concerning after the second sweep of the entire house, including closets and garage. Phoebe was hiding in one of those boxes I brought in when I got to the house this evening. We tent it up so they can sit in and under it and she found the dark back corner, the one without a motion sensor light.

Cardboard. I am defeated by cardboard. And cats.

I think we should recycle sooner.