for some values of x

The maxim of the week is “How come every time I want to just run away and hide out from everything, it’s at precisely the time I can’t actually DO that?” A question which helpfully, now that I’m an adult, answers itself. I feel incredibly fortunate that this year I’ve got most of my holidaytimes planned out in advance; everything else is details.

So, I go to the pool and walk in the deep wet snow and try to eat decently and wait for springtime (or enough snow to go decently snowshoeing in) and realize that everyone else in my local community is doing pretty much the same thing, and to go easy on them. Today was the first day I had really bad roads to drive on and I reminded myself, like I do every year, that I live here on purpose and if I don’t like it, I can leave. I’ve reupped for another year or a few. Bring it on, winter. Please be somewhat lovely. I’ll be here all year.

breathing room

Mystery Creature is really albino porcupine

The birds on the window feeder are officially winter colors now, though the snow hasn’t started in earnest. In fact over the weekend it was a bit of a steambath here which was disquieting. The albino porcupine I read about in the paper is going to blend right in real soon now. I’m done travelling for work for the year (the year of 2008) so it’s time to start looking inward, doing all those house things that I’ve been avoiding — yesterday was all about hanging up pictures and putting receipts away — and starting to finish reading some books.

My problem is that I read big books but they’re bad books for travelling with for one-backpack girl. So I read shorter/smaller books on the plane and then come back and start a new big book without finishing the first one. I have maybe three I’m in the middle of now, but cold evenings mean less time typing and more time in bed with books. Here’s the summary of the last few talks I gave over at Since I last typed I’ve been to Albany and I don’t think I really gave you a summary of my last two trips to Kansas and my one trip to Denver. I’ve been writing a mess of hotel reviews for Trip Advisor and filling in the guestroom photoset.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but I was interviewed for this Digital Nomads site — sponsored by Dell, interviewed by BigThink — about what exactly I do. Sort of scoots me into the “pundit” arena which seems like a weird place to be, but hey maybe it pays better than librarianship and/or lifeguarding! I’ve also been recording a few more pieces for YouTube — me reading stories by Donald Barthelme and Richard Brautigan — the Brautigan story is one of my favorites of all time, I was happy to give it a little more exposure.

I noticed that the “banking” tag on that video meant that a whole lot of people saw it in the first hour it was online. I am having my own banking/holiday issues. There are two local banks in town, mine and the other one. Mine is okay but not great. The other one is the one my friends use. I picked mine because the online banking feature is better and I get fussy over bad interfaces. Mine screwed up my checks. Mine has a few tellers who are sort of snotty. Mine gives me receipts with Christmas trees on them. I dislike this. I’m not sure if I dislike it enough to go waltz across the street and switch banks. The other bank in town probably has Christmas-themed receipts too and then where would I be? I’m aware that I live in New England where this sort of thing is fairly normal to most everyone. I’m aware that Christmas is a national holiday. I enjoy winter, even moreso since I got snowshoes and snowpants. I’m working on my “Celebrate Diversity!” plan early this year. It gets dark early, lots of time to scheme. The Solstice starts December 21st at roughly noon. Soon.

me and my underwear

Every time I travel I think “I should make a packing list…” and yet I don’t have an account on one of those list-making sites and don’t want one. So, for my posterity, here is my packing list for future reference. This time around — trip to Clearwater, Kansas and Denver Colorado — all I forgot were my headphones. Not bad. This is presuming a work trip; for pleasure trips I don’t really care what I remember and forget. At some point I’ll put this all on an index card.

Clothes & etc (backpack)
– one nice outfit per talk
– one knock-around outfit for every two leisure days (wear same outfit to/from home incl. heaviest sweater/jacket)
– one extra pair of socks/underwear/t-shirt/hoodie
– pajamas, tops & bottoms
– belt
– cold weather? hat, scarf, gloves
– swimsuit (always forgotten when I need it)
– jewelry
– laptop & sleeve

Toiletries bag
– benadryl
– melatonin
– toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
– moisturizer
– just in case: theraflu/dramamine/ibuprofen/acetominophen
– matches/smokes
– earplugs
– hair tie
– warm weather? razor

Tech bag
– dongles for video/ethernet
– cord for laptop
– EVDO card
– camera & charger & card reader
– cell phone & charger
– slide-show clicker
– headphones

– wallet w/ relevant transit passes/frequent flyer cards
– printed list of phone numbers & maps
– keys w/ USB drive
– pens
– folder for receipts
– power bar for plane
– velcro tie-down
– little flashlight
– safety pin
– something to read & spare something to read

Amusingly, money is rarely something I need to bring with me. I think I spent maybe seventeen dollars in the past five days that wasn’t paid for with plastic. With ATMs everyplace, this is less important than, say, a safety pin which is actually damned hard to replace.

yes we did

Sexy Librarians for Obama

I’d be lying if I said I thought this was going to be a fix for everything, though I enjoy the share the wealth aspect of Obama’s platform and the fact that he’s so forthright in talking about it that way. I’d like decently priced heath care as well. Living in Vermont means that it’s pretty much academic who I voted for at a national level. It’s nice, still, to like all my national-level representatives in Congress. Then again, the political climate in this state is one of the reasons I moved to Vermont and a continuing reason I stay here.

I spent last night having ice cream with friends by the fire up the road from here having walked there with two laptops in my backpack, one for work (MetaFilter requires more attention during big events, not less) and one for watching streaming video. I spent a lot of the evening watching my friends color in maps of the US, chatting with people all over the world, and listening to the returns on NPR. I walked home last night in a totally quiet neighborhood where most people had gone to bed before the race was called.

Barack Obama is the only president-elect that I have ever met. He came to the Blogger Breakfast when I was at the DNC and spoke to us about the power of the Internet, etc. I remember being surprised that someone running for Senator would even bother to take fifteen minutes to talk to thirty or so web dorks. I remember that he was tall and he smiled a lot. The speech he gave at the DNC was only one of only two that mentioned libraries (Kerry’s was the other) and one of five that mentioned gay people (one of two not given by a gay person) and it was one of the only ones that mentioned civil liberties or really interested me and my self-interests much at all.

Keeping it in perspective, he still voted for the telecom immunity bill and he’s pretty middle of the road for my tastes, but anyone electable would be. I head off to Kansas today to talk about rural libraries and computers and I’ll be curious to get a read from people there — and from Colorodo which is my next step on this trip — what, if anything, they think has changed in their worlds.