Thursday, April 18, 2024

What a good bridge you've been!

Wasena bridge was a meaningful part of my everyday life from the day I arrived in Roanoke in 1978. I am not sure how I'll get to my favorite coffee shop over the next two years while the city does the (deperately needed) replacement project. It's an icon and feature of the neighborhood and the residents that make it My Neighborhood.

What a good bridge you've been!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Beauty of the Earth

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ---- Rachel Carson


Monday, April 8, 2024

Eclipse 2024

We didn’t travel, and weren’t in the totality, and the clouds obscured most of the show.
None of that mattered.
It was still a lovely day.

Other places and dates on my mind:
  • Playa de Las Catedrales, August 12, 2026
  • Morocco, August 2, 2027
  • Queenstown, July 22, 2028
  • Saturday, March 9, 2024

    Phase One

    Phase one of IKEA assembly

    Friday, March 8, 2024

    Let the Games Begin!

    And may the odds be ever in your favor.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2024

    The Heidi Game

    On the night of November 17, 1968, as the Jets played the Raiders, the sun shone brightly on a still and beautiful afternoon in the Oakland Coliseum. The skies were clear and the mid-fifties temperature was the epitome of “football weather,” where it’s cool enough to need a sweater and a stadium jacket, but not cold enough to be uncomfortable on the bare skin of your face or windy enough to make your eyes water. Across the country, the wind blew in light gusts in New York City, the waning crescent moon shining a last sliver before darkening completely later in the week. As darkness fell on the last day of the weekend in New York, many households sat in front of their television sets, cheering the Jets despite the odds being against them in their meeting with the Raiders in California.
    The game went long, longer than the normal two-and-a-half hours networks set aside for airing a football event. The game was widely viewed by American football fans, not merely because football had surged in popularity in the preceding decade, but because of the long-standing, deep-seated rivalry between the Jets and the Raiders. At least as contentious and spirited as the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, the tensions between Raiders and Jets fans got intensely emotional. Frank Ramos, director of public relations for the Jets, is said to have remarked that “When the Jets played the Raiders, it wasn’t a rivalry. It was a war.” The game had been heavily promoted for the preceding week, and bets had been placed in historic volume. Quarterback Joe Namath of the Jets was already a household name. 
    That night as the game stretched on, the Jets were ahead by ten points. With just over a minute left in the game, the East Coast broadcast switched to regular programming as scheduled, a remake of the 1938 movie classic Heidi, the Alpine lass penned into the modern imagination by Johanna Spyri with goats and mountains, a tale of healing love and kindness in the face of adversity, complete with a redemption-through-natural-purity heroine. With sixty-five seconds of game play left, the East Coast sets aired sounds of John Williams’ score for the much-hyped Timex television production starring the stepdaughter of Julie Andrews. Most viewers assumed the Jets won, an upset against Oakland, who was favored by seven and one-half points.
    While Jennifer Edwards and Michael Redgrave brought the iconic tale of a girl and her grandfather to life for the small screen, the Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns, blasting past the Jets’ lead, winning the game, and leaving egg splattered all over the NBC executives’ faces. 
    The NBC executives had reportedly debated whether to switch, deciding to delay the airing of Heidi just long enough to allow the game to finish, but were unable to communicate the decision to the station control rooms. Anxious fans had jammed the switchboard with inquiries about the programming schedule and demands to keep the game on. The call volume was so high that the switchboard blew. Callers continued unabated when the phones went down at NBC,  directing their pleas and complaints anywhere that would answer a phone, from the New York Police Department to The New York Times.
    The East Coast woke to news of the reversal of fortune for the Jets, and there was a collective outrage from fans for NBC; complaints flew as wildly as accusations. Bets had to be resettled in reverse. The network issued a formal apology the next day, vowing that henceforth regular programming would never preempt an in-process football game and declaring that dedicated “Heidi-phones” would be installed in broadcast command centers to ensure open and available communication between executives and local and regional broadcasting offices. 
    The Heidi Game Rule, as it became known, still holds, fifty years later. Even in the face of the changing nature of broadcasting due to cable networks and streaming channels, the major networks will not interrupt broadcast of a live sporting event for regular network programming.
    My mom was thrilled.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2024

    Neighborhood Things on a rainy day

    I slept well last night. I only made it through half the ShoGun episode before I knew it was time to go to bed. I laid down and closed my eyes, and had a moment of wondering if I would be up and down again like the night before, and then *poof* I was asleep. This is good; this is the Way.

    FitBit says I slept from 10:30 to 6:45, which is a nice solid sleep schedule (I stopped using an alarm of any sort when my then-current FitBit died in March of 2020). I felt refreshed but not exactly lively when I woke up, which is pretty solid for a "waking up" space. While I was making tea, I noticed a couple now-empty boxes that need to go out, and I decided to take advantage of the break in the rain to take them to the dumpster, then kept walking afterwards to the courthouse and back. It's supposed to start thunderstorming again soon and then last all day, as if the rainy weather is only pausing to gather itself into a proper storm. 

    On my walk, I passed a bailiff who came out to raise the flag and a few other court workers making their way in from one parking lot or another, and each one said a brief variant of "Good morning," or "have a nice day" or "get those steps in while it's still dry."  I find this incidental connectedness restorative and lovely. It reminds me of the intro to Sesame Street, when the camera pans across regular neighborhood people doing their regular neighborhood things, waving at the camera as it comes up and then moves along. We are here; we are seen; we are part of Neighborhood Things.

    The windows of the Loft are more directly in line with a church nearby, and while I sit in the library, I can hear the bells toll the hour and the half-hour. I like this as a way of marking my time in the day. The tea is ready and the bells are letting me know that it's time for the workaday tasks. I feel centered and whole.

    This is the Way.