Nov 19

We eeked perhaps the last bit of autumn out of the weekend

Hey look, it’s the Circle Tower! You can see the name, right there on the side! Completed in 1930, it is today on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Indianapolis’ Monument Circle Historic District. It features what they call smooth-dressed Indiana limestone, with the defining characteristic being the stepped back top stories.

I was more interested in the sign on the side. Some kids were more interested in calling it a pyramid. It’s more of a ziggurat, actually, with those upper stories receding from the outer façades in terraces.

(While pyramids were tombs, ziggurats were temples.)

The tower is one of Indianapolis’ prime examples of Art Deco architecture, especially this metalwork.

This is the north entrance, a one-and-a-half story arch lined with foliate banding. Circle Tower, being completed just a few years after King Tutankhamen’s tomb was rediscovered. Egyptology being a big fad of the time, you got a lot of decor like this:

Sculptor Joseph Willenborg, a German immigrant, filled the bronze grille with the hieroglyphic-like images. This is one of his more memorable works. He also has a lot of work in the nearby theater, the Purdue music building, several prominent hotels and a few social clubs, but the Internet runs out of information on him pretty quickly after that.

Here’s a quick look at some of banding that weaves its way around the door:

But we’re not here, early in the morning, wearing multiple layers in a serious chill, for architecture. We’re out in the cold, after waking up hours before dawn on an off day, for this picture:

By the time the sun woke up and burned off the morning grey, it turned into a lovely morning. Here’s the scene at the finish line:

And if are ever doing something and they give you a medal, make sure you pose for pictures at the capitol.

By the afternoon, the day turned out quite nice indeed:

Sunday was a beautiful day. Perhaps the last one for a while. We, of course, celebrated it with a bike ride:

Today? The bottom is falling out of the thermometer, the latest arctic blast — or whatever we’re calling this one — showed up, along with rain, which turned to snow. I watched it blow in the air in every direction. I watched it give an optical illusion of hanging in the sky. I watched parts of things get accumulation, and others just getting wet. And I watched it start to create little piles on the wooden deck and the chairs and the shrubbery. It was a good day to stay indoors.

Nov 19

Today we partied like it’s 1899

I’m flipping through a 50-year-old periodical. My grandparents leafed through this same book. That’s how I came to have it. It sat in storage for decades and then I got to go through a bunch of things and sometimes that’s how things of no real value are inherited. Some night in an Alabama spring, perhaps, my grandfather read some of these articles, whichever ones might have interested him. I’m taking pictures of the ads with the supercomputer I carry in my pocket. (I wonder what he’d think of that.) So, you know, the same experience.

Anyway, you can check out some of these images too. We’re about halfway through this last copy of Reader’s Digest. Click the book below if you’ve been following along.

To see all of the parts of this issue I’ve photographed, click here. To see all of my grandfathers books that are, so far, on the site, start here.

Sometimes red lights aren’t a bad thing. I had just enough time at this one to see this, decide it would be a good idea to capture the moment, and then make it happen.

That’s just a thing we do now. The technology isn’t terribly impressive at this point. That we can do it is a minor modern miracle, really, but we seldom even acknowledge that these days. What’s impressive is that we sit there thinking Should I? Is it worth it? What’s impressive is how quickly we’ve adjusted and adapted to do that.

Sort of like electricity. Sure, that’s my great-grandparents wonder, and your birthright, but you only think that because it is there every day, all day. We lost power on campus today, and the hard-working electricians from the power company didn’t get the entire outage restored until late in the evening.

I was watching a group prepare a television program when everything went off. They ended up doing it with field equipment and lots of batteries. I checked in on a handful of students who were about to record some podcasts, but they were out of luck. I visited with an instructor who was set to deliver a big social media lecture with videos and slides and, oops. She did the whole thing in the dark, students looking for examples on their laptops, eyes occasionally darting up to the power icon. I gave a tour of the radio station to a high school student, using flashlights. I sat in the dark at the end of the day and caught up on a few emails, also with my eyes darting up to the laptop’s battery icon. Welcome to Indiana University, in the 19th century. Except it is nothing like that.

A view from the parking deck this morning:

That tree is pretty incredible, but I bet it will be hardly recognizable by the next time I have a chance to check on it again.

I’m proud of this tree. The leaves show up early in the spring and they’re staying for as long as possible. Not like those maples, quitters that they are.

The still-novel-to-me parking deck foreground shot:

I just looked up at this one and thought the lights and colors made for good lines:

Speaking of maples, this Red maple is probably the last one still trying. But the green is gone, the yellow is giving ground. The seasons must grind to a halt.

The Red maple, then, is nature’s traffic light. And next week, winter will be here. Until April.

Probably the next time I show you the River Jordan, it’ll be frozen.

It’s diminutive for a river, I grant you. I prefer the previous name anyway: Spanker’s Branch. Maybe there was someone named Spanker, maybe parents spanked their kids for getting in the creek. No one knows why it had that name. But from such harmless mystery good lore can emerge. As it is we have to say: Jordan was a 19th century president who didn’t think a building should be named after him, so he said just name the creek after me and by the 1920s people were calling it the Jordan River casually, and it was formally renamed in the 1990s.

Spanker’s Branch is the better name, then.

But what’s even better is the weekend. And I hope you have a great one!

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.

Nov 19

This week we show color

Took the day for myself … and I vacuumed, because thats self-soothing. Also I slept in, and had a big lunch, and petted cats and took a few things off the DVR. So it was fine. I could do more, I could always do more, but I did enough to enjoy a casual day off.

We had a bike ride this evening. It was cold and I need shoe covers. It is also the time to wear wool socks. You only need to learn that lesson once a year. But a light windjacket and gloves kept the rest of me warm. And many people were out enjoying the first sunshine we’ve seen this week. Here’s my shadow selfie, near the end of the ride:

And here’s a little video, also near the end of the ride, cruising through a pleasant little neighborhood.

It would have been better if I’d taken this video the first time through, the sun was behind me and perfect, but I would have had to get to my phone, take off a glove and so on. Somehow that seemed easier the second time through.

We return to the books! Regular readers know this feature is an examination of my grandfather’s books. Presently, we are leafing through the April 1969 Reader’s Digest. I have four of his Reader’s Digests — which means a few weeks from now we’ll have to move to some Popular Science or some encyclopedias or something. Anyway, click the book below to see the latest.

If you want to see all of the ads I’ve digitized from this issue, click here. To see all of the books — including some early-mid 20th century elementary and middle school books — click here.

And to you, I say, happy weekend! We are going to a football game and the theater this weekend. Patrons of the arts and athletics, we are. Looks like I will need that extra hour of sleep. What are you going to do with that extra hour?

Oct 19

This week we show color

I looked outside Saturday and saw many colors. I like the many colors. We do not go into the wilderness and write essays about it. Not like before. Now, we put on our shoes and, this time of year, check the thermostat to see the external temperature so that we can dress accordingly and then grab our phone and go take photographs. So I did:

It wasn’t cold. But that’s coming, and that right quick. Right now, in fact, the color of the Midwest is upon us: grey. That’ll be the default and unassuming look until, oh, April if we’re lucky. Sure, there will be a few blue-sky days, but you can no longer take those for granted. Sunday was a beautiful goodbye. The season of drear, with a dash of Cimmerian, is upon us. But not yesterday. Egads, yesterday was beautiful.

Just look at that sky over the same tree:

We took a bike ride and wound our way down to the lake, to see about the leaves down there. We took a few pictures. And this is now the wallpaper on my phone, because we make photobomb wallpapers around here:

Even the ground had a moment yesterday. I just shot this as I walked by a tree. How many colors are in there?

On the way back to the house, I sought out a road I discovered because of some random overwriting I was doing here on the site last month. Geese were flying overhead and I looked at their basic route and found the nearest pond and saw this road on Google Maps and thought, I should ride that one day.

And maybe I picked the most perfect day of the season to make this come true, I don’t know. I rode down it, a mile of shade and leaves and alternating beams of light and twists and turns and fun. At the end, where pavement turned into what I presume is a long gravel driveway I turned around and thought, I should record this. So I rode back up it, one handed, up the hill, and had a great time. Just here, when the light changed and I happened to be watching the road through the screen, and it lit up in a golden hue while the phone’s sensors tried to catch up to the circumstance. That was the moment, and the ride was worth it and I knew in that explosive refrain that it was, in fact, the day for this road. That moment was this moment:

You can see the whole road, slightly accelerated, here:

And here’s our view of the lake from down by the water’s edge:

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So a nice weekend, then.

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