I got there, went through the metal detector, and went in to the courtroom. Officer Batista was already there with handfuls of paperwork. He had eleven cases today. I walked up to him and said something like "I'll go to traffic school, anything, can I get these points off my license??" Apparently, this is de rigeur because after talking for about 30 seconds we walked up to the bailiff and figured out what type of parking violation I could get that would still give me a $191 fine, but no points on my license. With that kind of fine, I'm sure I pleaded no contest to parking on top of a nun. When it was my turn to talk to the judge I just answered some rote questions, thanked everyone a lot, answered the judge's question about what my slide show had been on, and chatted about Australia for a bit, paid my fine [minus court costs, for some reason, I guess court costs are a little like bail] and left, driving the speed limit all the way home, more or less.
I had prepared a whole bunch of adorable maps ["you made evidence!" Greg said] with circles and arrows on them all ready to explain why I was speeding -- because I was passing a crazy person -- and why I deserved leniency -- 20 years of safe driving -- and was a little disappointed to not be able to plead my case, but very very happy to not have to endure years of punishing insurance surcharges because of this youthful indiscretion. I'll stop short of saying "Hurray the system works!" but I will say that it worked for me, this time.
I guess I don't care how high the stakes are, basketball is just boring to me. Here are a few more things I know, aka, it's link dump time this month.
- Terry S: funny, serious
- The same Ed Koren who draws cartoons for the New Yorker is the fire chief of a nearby town.
- Dr. Demento shows are now online in archived form, most of them.
- Greg and I are planning a sometime-trip to New Orleans and plan to stay here. Anyone who lives in NOLA have advice, or a guestroom?
- This census/map thingdoo is my new friend.
- I like when wildlife returns instead of just getting relentlessly beaten back. We saw a big fat grouse in a tree on our walk yesterday.
I miss dumb web memes since I've gotten so serious and introspective lately. But two things have happened. 1) I have been whited-out of the schedule at work [see above]. 2) I learned what the pop song was the week I was born, and I just had to share it with you. Can you see what the two things have in common?
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free
Listen, please listen, that's the way it should be
Peace in the valley, people got to be free
You should see what a lovely, lovely world this'd be
Everyone learns to live together
Seems to me such an easy, easy thing should be
Why can't you and me learn to love one another
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free (wanna be free)
I can't understand it, so simple to me (it is)
People everywhere just got to be free
If there's a man who is down and needs a helping hand
All it takes is you to understand and to pull him through
Seems to me we got to solve it individually
And I'll do unto you what you do to me
There'll be shoutin' from the mountains on out to sea (out to sea)
No two ways about it, people have to be free (they got to be free)
Ask me my opinion, my opinion will be (ah-ha)
It's a natural situation for a man to be free
Oh, what a feelin's just come over me
It's enough to move a mountain, make a blind man see
Everybody's dancin' [unintelligible]
Peace in the valley, now they want to be free
See that train over there
Now that's the train of freedom
It's about to arrive any minute, now
You know, it's been long, long overdue
Look out 'cause it's comin' right on through [fade]
Somehow being on a trip has meant I've been exposed to much more traditional media than I am used to. There are televisions in the airport, at the journalism school where I spoke, at the lunch place, in the biscuit restaurant [biscuit village? biscuit station? biscuit treehouse? biscuit caravan?]. It seems like this is a crazy week for news, with the Schiavo case seemingly requiring minute-by-minute updates and a school shooting and the pope going in and out of the hospital. Then again, it's in news's best interests to make you think it's a crazy week for news that week.
I resent television in public places both because they represent advertising-without-choice and because they distract me and keep me from thinking about what I want to think about. I enjoy having time to be alone with my own thoughts. The hand-wringing fake-newsness of what is happening -- this week or any week -- is just a particularly depressing side effect of the whole general public disaster which is semi-public space being used for pushing agendas, even if the agenda is just "buy more stuff" Of course, it's not just that, it's also agendas like "schools are unsafe" "the legal system is wrong and immoral" "the Catholic religion is very important to all Americans" "being rude to people you disagree with is a noble activity" and on and on and on. Since we're a C-SPAN household when we bother to turn on the box, I guess I had missed the rest of what we call "the news" getting truly terribly wretched even though I've read about it enough certainly. Actually, I think I knew, I had just let myself forget.
This is a long way of saying that the human-interaction antidote to big media infiltration was particularly refreshing and wonderful this week. I got a chance to meet a lot of people I've only communicated with over email, and whose work I respect and admire. I got to talk hacks with a bunch of smartie computer/library guys and gals who pleasantly suprised me with their high degrees of socialization. I got to look at a lovely library and see an exhibit about Chang and Eng Bunker who used to live in the area. I got to stay with friends, walk around their neighborhood, talk to their cats, hear about their lives, and sleep in the Most Comfortable Guestroom Ever. More from me once I'm settled in here.
When I used to live in a place with more than one bar, St Patrick's Day was something I would actually spend time thinking about. Now I just worry that the cabbage smell coming from downstairs where Ola is cooking may waft upstairs and flavor my dreams before I'm fully awake.
I've been spending this week dizzy. Probably I'm just dizzy because I caught the crud that's going around the office, but of course I was worried I was getting dizzy because my benign pituitary tumor had turned nasty overnight. Much subdued panic ensued and I feel much better now, in all ways. I head to North Carolina this weekend to talk about technology and libraries and eat biscuits. The warming weather here means that the air will shortly be filled with the scent of smoke and maple and the sight of sugar moths bumbling through the air. I saw a plant or two sprouting up through the snow and while it may be too early to hope for a total end to my scary mountain-pass commutes, the end may be near.
In a fit of nostalgia I uploaded all the old jessamyn.com home page images to Flickr. Click on the banner up above and you can see 7+ years of photos, clip art and miscellaneous found poetry.
Thanks to everone who participated in the happybirthdaymom Flickr tag event for my Mom's birthday yesterday [and it's not too late, I'm sure she'll still be checking in today and tomorrow]. I'm always pleased when I manage to hit upon an idea that combines my true hatred for shopping and buying things with something creative that actually pleases the recipient in the way I had intended. In any case, Happy Birthday Mom!
I was feeling a bit out of it yesterday because I worked the Business Fair for the library on Tuesday night during a terrible snowstorm. We had staff illnesses and injuries so instead of having three people at the table we just had me. The snow was piling up outside and even though I kept a brave face on when I was cajoling small children with my skunk puppet, I was dreading the drive home.
I have a somewhat irrational fear of driving in the snow. This is combined with the completely reasonable fear that most people have of driving in truly bad weather. I have a hard time deciding where to draw the line. So, on Tuesday, even though I had a place to stay in town if I needed it, I decided to brave the mountain. I can safely say it was the worst snowstorm I've ever driven in outside of those weird instant-skating-rink freezing rain episodes I've gotten stuck in from time to time. I headed home at 7 pm and the 30 mile drive took about 75 minutes. The roads weren't plowed. There was almost no one else on the road. There aren't a lot of guardrails to keep you from going into ditches, though there are some that keep you out of the river. I would fishtail pretty much any time I took a sharp turn, but when you fishtail at 25 miles an hour, you're not going anywhere fast. I'm not sure if I used the best judgment, but I do know that from now on I can look out the window at the snowstorm and say "this isn't any worse than the night of the Business Fair" and head out into it or say "this is worse than that night after the Business Fair" and stay the hell home.
Nothing worked this weekend. Yesterday we poisoned outselves with incredibly tasty but ultimately deadly calzones from the local pizza joint. I hate to say it, but we're getting so used to eating good healthy-ish food at home that the big gutbomb that is a chicken parmesan calzone didn't make me queasy in the stomach but actually killed my mood for 24 hours until I could balance it out with a spinach salad and some tea. Next up, the cable for the TV/Internet had been chewed by mice and our packet loss was terrible. Even with my excellent Google-fu, the best answer I could come up with was "buy this expensive tool" to do some splicing. I found this surprising but I did have to remember that Google is an ad agency, at the end of the day. Just like your movie theater is likely really an overpriced popcorn, soda, and candy retailer when you look at their numbers. So, when you want to solve a problem without buying something, sometimes it's harder to do than you'd think. After trying and failing to extract Gutless the ancient Toyota from the snowdrift [before she'd get stuck in the next one] we stopped by the hardware store and asked the guy there what we needed to do about the cable. I had already told myself that buying an overpriced splicer from the local folks was a better deal than getting it cheaper online because it supported the local economy blah blah blah. However, it turns out that splicing coax is sometimes as easy as getting a $2.29 twist-on F plug and going to work on the cable with some wire cutters. Now we're back to blazing which only serves to remind me how lousy things had gotten. Sort of reminds me of when I got my car stereo replaced and I realized just how much it had been annoying me that it would cut in and out for seemingly no reason
Lastly, to round off what was a mostly pesty weekend now on the upswing: Greg and I made BBQ for the first time ever using a pork roast and a variation on this recipe. To think that I am already in my mid-thirties and had never really made my own BBQ. For shame!
Town meeting was yesterday. I went even though I can't vote in Bethel yet; I'm still registered up where my house is. It was a nasty slog to get there down unplowed sidewalks. My landlady is one of the people who maintains the voting rolls and encouraged me to check it out. Greg was out of town so I went and took my camera and took some notes. Of a town of about 2,000, 165 people showed up for a Tuesday morning meeting, which wasn't too bad. Also in attendance were people from the New York Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post, among others. I guess the Iraq Resolution that was on the agenda in 50-ish Vermont towns made a bit of a buzz even outside of the state. We passed it, but not without some major modifications and almost an hour of discussion. This was double-plus interesting because the selectmen in our town tried to keep the resolution from getting on the Town Meeting agenda and had to be persuaded legally by the Secretary of State.
Some form of the resolution passed in at least 39 towns. People think that Vermont is doing all this just because we're a bunch of hippies. There may be some truth to that, but in a small poor state with a very high level of military involvement and commitment to national service, this issue cuts many ways.